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of Shakspeare are remarkably decent; but it is not sufficient that his defects are trilling in comparison with writers who are highly defective. It certainly is my wish, and it has been my study, to exclude from this publication whatever is unfit to be read aloud by a gentleman to a company of ladies. I can hardly imagine a more pleasing occupation for a winter's evening in the country, than for a father to read one of Shakspeare's plays to his family circle. My object is to enable him to do so without incurring the danger of falling unawares among words and expressions which are of such a nature as to raise a blush on the cheek of modesty, or render it necessary for the reader to pause, and exam mine the sequel, before he proceeds further in the entertainment of the evening.
But though many erasures have for this purpose been made in the writings of Shakspeare in the present edition, the reader may be assured that not a single line, nor even the half of a line, has, in any one instance, been added to the original text. I know the force of Shakspeare, and the weakness of my own pen, too well, to think of attempting the smallest interpolation. In a few, but in very few instances, one or two words (at the most three) have been inserted to connect the sense of what follows the passage that is expunged with that which precedes it. The few words which are thus added, are connecting particles, words of little moment, and in no degree affecting the meaning of the author, or the story of the play. A word that is less objectionable is sometimes substituted for a synonymous word that is improper.
In the following work I have copied the text of the last Edition of the late Mr. Steevens. This I have done so scrupulously, as seldom to have allowed myself to alter either the words or the punctuation. Othello's speech, for example, in the second scene of the fifth act, will be found as it is in Mr. Steevens, and in the old editions of Shakspeare, not as it is usually spoken on the stage. In a few instances I have deviated from Mr. Steevens, in compliance with the original folio of 1623. I do not presume to enter into any critical disputes as to certain readings of “ Judean or Indian,” “ Sables or Sable," or any thing of that nature, respecting which many persons of superior abilities have entertained contrary opinions. The glossary (but nothing except the glossary) is borrowed from the edition of 1803. It was compiled by Mr. Harris, under the direction of Mr. Steevens.
My great objects in this undertaking are to remove from the writings of Shakspeare some defects which diminish their value, and at the same time to present to the Public an edition of his plays, which the parent, the guardian, and the instructor of youth may place, without fear, in the hands of the pupil; and from which the pupil may derive instruction as well as pleasure ; may improve his moral principles while he refines his taste; and, without incurring the danger of being hurt with any indelicacy of expression, may learn in the fate of Macbeth, that even a kingdom is dearly purchased, if virtue be the price of the acquisition.
*My first idea of the Family SHAKSPEARE arose from the recollection of my father's custom of reading in this manner to his family. Shakspeare (with whom no person was better acquainted) was a frequent subject of the evening's entertainment. In the perfection of reading few men were equal to my father ; and such was his good taste, his delicacy, and his prompt discretion, that his family listened with delight to Lear, Hamlet, and Othello, without knowing that those matchless tragedies contained words and ex. pressions improper to be pronounced; and without having reason to suspect that any parts of the plays had been omitted by the circumspect and judicious reader.
It afterwards occurred to me, that what my father did so readily and successfully for his family, my inferior abilities might, with the assistance of time and mature consideration, be able to accomplish for the benefit of the public. I say, therefore, that if “ The Family Shakspeare” is entitled to any merit, it originates with my father.
Alonso, King of Naples.
MIRANDA, Daughler to Prospero.
ARIEL, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
SCENE, the Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an uninhabited Island.
SCENE I. - On a Ship at Sea.
Gon. Good; yet remember whom thou hast
aboard. A storm with thunder and lightning.
Boats. None that I more love than myself. You Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain.
are a counsellor ; if you can command these ele
ments to silence, and work the peace of the present?, Master. Boatswain, –
we will not hand a rope more; use your authority. Boats. Here, master : what cheer?
If you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, Master. Good : Speak to the mariners: fall to't and make yourself ready in your cabin for the yarely', or we run ourselves aground : bestir, bestir. mischance of the hour, if it so hap. — Cheerly, good
[Erit. hearts. -
[Erit. Enter Mariners.
Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow;
methinks, he hath no drowning mark upon him ! Boats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, hearts ; yare, yare : Take in the top-sail; Tend to good fate, to his hanging; make the rope of bis the master's whistle. - Blow till thou burst thy destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage! wind, if room enough!
If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miser
able. Enter Alonso, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND,
[Ereunt. GONZALO, and others.
Re-enter Boatswain. Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the
Boats. Down with the topmast ; yare ; lower,
lower ; bring her to try with main course. master? Play the men. Boats. I pray now, keep below.
within.] A plague upon this howling! they are Ant. Where is the master, boatswain ?
louder than the weather, or our office Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour! keep your cabins : you do assist the storm.
Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and Gonzalo. Gon. Nay, good, be patieut.
Yet again ? what do you here? Shall we give o'er Boats. When the sea is. Hence! What care and drown? Have you a mind to sink ? these roarers for the name of king? To cabins : Seb. A plague o'your throat ! you bawling, blassilence : trouble us not.
phemous, uncharitable dog !
Boats. Work you, then.
I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand, Ant. Hang, cur, hang! you insolent noise-maker, And pluck my magic garment from me. — So; we are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.
[Lays down his mantle. Gon. I'll warrant him from drowning ; though | Lie there my art. Wipe thou thine eyes; have the ship were no stronger than a nut-shell.
comfort. Boats. Lay her a-hold, a-hold; set her two The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch'd courses ; off to sea again, lay her off.
The very virtue of compassion in thee,
I have with such provision in mine art
So safely order'd, that there is no soul
No, not so much perdition as an hair, Mar. All lost ! to prayers, to prayers! all lost !
Betid to any creature in the vessel
[Exeunt. Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Boats. What, must our mouths be cold ?
Sit down; Gon. The king and prince at prayers ! let us assist for thou must now know further. them.
You have often For our case is as theirs.
Begun to tell nie what I am ; but stopp'd Seb. I am out of patience.
And left me to a bootless inquisition ; Ant. We are merely s cheated of our lives by Concluding, Stay, not yet. drunkards.
The hour's now come ; This wide-chapped rascal ;—'Would, thou might'st The very minute bids thee ope thine ear ; lie drowning,
Obey, and be attentive. Canst thou remember
A time before we came into this cell ?
I do not think thou canst ; for then thou wast not Though every drop of water swear against it,
Out + three years old. And gape at wid'st to glut him.
Certainly, sir, I can. [A confusedl noise wilhin.] Mercy on us! - We
Pro. By what? by any other house, or person ? split, we split! - Farewell, my wife and children!
Of any thing the image tell me, that Farewell, brother; -We split, we split, we split!
Hath kept with thy remembrance. Ant. Let's all sink with the king. [Erit.
'Tis far off ; Seb. Let's take leave of him.
[Exit. And rather like a dream than an assurance Gon. Now would I give a thousand furlongs of
That my remembrance warrants : Had I not sea for an acre of barren ground ! long heath, brown
Four or five women once, that tended me? furze, any thing : The wills above be done! but I
Pro. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda : But how would fain die a dry death.
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else SCENE II. The Island: before the Cell of If thou remember'st aught, ere thou cam’st here,
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
How thou cam'st here, thou may'st.
But that I do not.
Pro. Twelve years since, Mira. If by your art, my dearest father, you Miranda, twelve years since, thy father was have
The duke of Milan, and a prince of power. Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them :
Mira. Sir, are not you my father ? The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch, Pro: Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek, She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father Dashes the fire out. 0, I have suffer'd
Was duke of Milan; and his only heir With those that I saw suffer ! a brave vessel,
-no worse issued. Who had no doubt some noble creatures in her,
O, the heavens ! Dash'd all to pieces. O, the cry did knock What foul play had we, that we came from thence? Against my very heart! Poor souls ! they perish’d. Or blessed was't we did ? Had I been any god of power, I would
Both, both, my girl : Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heav'd It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
thence; The freighting souls within her.
But blessedly holp hither.
O, my heart bleeds No more amazement: tell your piteous heart, To think o'the teen 5 that I have turn'd you to, There's no harm done.
Which is from my remembrance !
No harm. Pro. My brother, and thy uncle, callid AntoI have done nothing but in care of thee,
nio, (Of thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter!) who I pray thee, mark me, that a brother should Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing Be so perfidious ! - he whom, next thyself, Of whence I am ; nor that I am more better Of all the world I lov'd, and to him put Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
my state; as, at that time, And thy no greater father.
Through all the signiories it was the first,
And Prospero the prime duke; being so reputed
In dignity, and, for the liberal arts,
'Tis time Without a parallel : those being all my study,