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Fer. The ditty does remember my drown's father:-
Pro. The fringed curtains? of thine eye advance
What is't? a spirit?
-But 'tis a spirit.
I might call him
Most sure, the goddess
The same burden to a song occurs in The Merchant of Venice, Act III. sc. ii. Steevens.
1 That the earth owes :) To owe, in this place, as well as many others, signifies to own. So, in Othello:
that sweet sleep “ Which thou ow’dst yesterday." Again, in the Tempest:
thou dost here usurp “ The name thou ow'st not.” To use the word in this sense, is not peculiar to Shakspeare. I meet with it in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush:
“ If now the beard be such, what is the prince
" That owes the beard ?" Steevens. 2 The fringed curtains, &c.] A similar expression occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
her eyelids Begin to part their fringes of bright gold.” Again, in Sydney's Arcadia, Lib. I:
« Sometimes my eyes would lay themselves open-or cast my lids, as curtains, over the image of beauty her presence had painted in them.” Steevens.
3 It goes on,] The old copy reads--" It goes on, I see,” &c. But as the words I see, are useless, and an incumbrance to t] metre, I have omitted them. Steevens.
On whom these airs attend !4–Vouchsafe, my prayer
No wonder, sir;
My language! heavens !
4 Most sure, &c.] It seems that Shakspeare, in The Tempest, hath been suspected of translating some expressions of Virgil ; witness the O Dea certè. I presume we are here directed to the passage, where Ferdinand says of Miranda, after hearing the songs of Ariel :
Most sure, the goddess,
On whom these airs attend ! And so, very small Latin is sufficient for this formidable translation, that, if it be thought any honour to our poet, I am loth to deprive him of it; but his honour is not built on such a sandy foundation. Let us turn to a real translator, and examine whe. ther the idea might not be fully comprehended by an English reader, supposing it necessarily borrowed from Virgil. Hexameters in our language are almost forgotten; we will quote, there. fore, this time, from Stanyhurst:
“ O to thee, fayre virgin, what terme may rightly be fitted? “ Thy tongue, thy visage no mortal frayltie resembleth.
No doubt, a goddesse !" Edit. 1583. Farmer.
certainly a maid.] Nothing could be more prettily imagined, to illustrate the singularity of her character, than this pleasant mistake. She had been bred up in the rough and plaindealing documents of moral philosophy, which teaches us the knowledge of ourselves; and was an utter stranger to the flattery invented by vicious and designing men to corrupt the other sex. So that it could not enter into her imagination, that complaisance, and a desire of appearing amiable, qualities of humanity which she had been instructed, in her moral lessons, to cultivate, could ever degenerate into such excess, as that any one should be willing to have his fellow-creature believe that he thought her a goddess, or an immortal. Warburton.
Dr. Warburton has here found a beauty, which I think the author never intended. Ferdinand asks her, not whether she was a created being, a question, which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue, which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on pursuing his former question :
0, if a virgin,
I am the best of them, that speak this speech,
How! the best?
Fer. A single thing, as I am now, that wonders
Alack, for mercy!
The duke of Milan,
Mira. Why speaks my father so ungently? This
O, if a virgin,
Soft, sir; one word more.
6 And his brave son, being twain.] This is a slight forgetful. ness. Nobody was lost in the wreck, yet we find no such character, as the son of the duke of Milan. Theobald.
control thee,] Confute thee, unanswerably contradict thee. Fohnson.
8 I fear you have done yourself some wrong:] i. e. I fear, that in asserting yourself to be king of Naples, you have uttered a false. hood, which is below your character, and, consequently, injurious to your honour. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor—“ This is not well, master Ford, this wrongs you.” Stcevens.
From me, the lord on't.
No, as I am a man.
[He draws. Mira.
O dear father,
What, I say,
Beseech you, father!
9 He's gentle, and not fearful.] Fearful signifies both terrible and timorous. In this place it may mean timorous. She tells her father, that as he is gentle, rough usage is unnecessary; and as he is brave, it may be dangerous. Fearful, however, may signify formidable, as in K. Henry IV:
“ A mighty and a fearful head they are.” and then, the meaning of the passage is obvious. Steevens.
my tutor!] So, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587, p. 163:
" What honest heart would not conceive disdayne,
“ To see the foote surmount above the head." Henderson. Again, in K. Lear, Act IV. sc. ii. one of the quartos reads
“My foot usurps my head.” Thus also Pope, Essay on Man, I. 260 :
“What, if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread,
“ Or hand to toil, aspir'd to be the head?” Steevens. 2 come from thy ward;] Desist from any hope of awing me by that posture of defence. Fohnson.
So, in K. Henry IV. P. I. Falstaff says:-" Thou know'st my old ward;-here I lay, and thus I bore my point.” Steevens.
Pro. Hence; hang not on my garments.
Sir, have pity;
Silence: one word more
Come on; obey: [T. FER.
So they are:
3 Thy nerves are in their infancy again,] Perhaps Milton had this passage in his mind, when he wrote the following line in his Masque at Ludlow Castle:
“ Thy ne. ves are all bound up in alabaster.” Steevens.
are but light to me,] This passage, as it stands at present, with all allowance for poetical licence, cannot be reconciled to grammar. I suspect that our author wrote—" were but light to me,” in the sense of_would be. In the preceding line, the old copy reads—nor this man's threats. The emendation was made by Mr. Steevens. Malone. 5 Might I, but through my prison, once a day,
Behold this maid:] This thought seems borrowed from The Knight's Tale of Chaucer; v. 1230:
“ For elles had I dwelt with Theseus