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The Tempest is sopposed to be the last production of Shakspeare's mighty genius; as it is generally acknowledged to be the most original and perfect of his works. In this Play the Poet has literally “given to airy nothings a local habitation and a name, dowing them with qualities and furnishing them with a fitness of language, which invest ! these creatures of his imaginings with all the charm and semblance of reality.
The story is simple in its construction, yet it is deeply interesting. Our selections pie sent the main incidents of the plot in consecutive succession.
Alonzo, King of Naples.
SEBASTIAN, his brother.
PROSPERO, the rightful Duke of Milan.
ANTONIO, his brother, the usurping Duke of Milan.
FERDINAND, son to the King of Naples.
GONZALO, an honest old counsellor of Naples.
ADRIAN, FRANCISCO, lords.
CALIBAN, a savage and deformed slave.
TRINCULO, a jester.
STEPHANO, a drunken butler.
Master of a ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
MIRANDA, daughter to Prospero.
ARIEL, an airy spirit.
IRIS, CERES, JUNO, Nymphs, Reapers, spirits.
Other spirits attending on Prospero.
SCENE.—The Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an uninhabned Island.
Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, has been dethroned by his brother Antonio ind banished from his dominions. Prospero seeks refuge in a desert island, with his daughter Miranda, and by magic arts, surrounds himself with “potent spirits,” which
are obedient to his will. Having learned by his “ magic" that his brother Antonio has embarked in a vessel for Naples, in company with Alonzo, King of Naples, the king's son, Ferdinand, together with certain lords of Milan and Naples, Prospero commands his trusty spirit Ariel, to wreck the vessel near the island, but to save the lives of the noble passengers and crew, and bring them safely to shore. Prospero and his daughter Miranda, witness the destruction of the vessel,
SCENE II.—The Island : before the Cell of PROSPERO.
Enter PROSPERband MIRANDA.
Mira. If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them :
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek,
Dashes the fire out. O, I have sufferid
With those that I saw suffer! a brave vessel,
Who had no doubt some noble creatures in her,
Dash'd all to pieces. O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart! Poor souls ! they perish'd.
Had I been any god of power, I would
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
The freighting souls within her.
Be collected ;
No more amazement: tell your piteous heart,
There's no harm done.
0, woe the day! Pro.
I have done nothing but in care of thee,
(Of thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter !) who
Àrt ignorant of what thou art, nought
Of whence I am ; nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
And thy no greater father.
More to know
Did never meddle with my thoughts.
I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand,
And pluck my magic garment from me.—So; (Lays down his mantle.
Lie there my art.-Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort.
The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch'd
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 a hair,
Betid to any creature in the vessel
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink.-Sit down;
For thou must now know further.
You have often
Begun to tell me what I am ; but stopp'd
And left me to a bootless inquisition ;
Concluding, Stay, not yet.-
The hour's now come ;
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear ;
Obey, and be attentive. Can'st thou remember
A time before we came unto this cell ?
I do not think thou can'st; for then thou wast not
Out three years old.
Certainly, sir, I can.
Pro. By what? by any other house, or person ?
Of any thing the image tell me, that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
'Tis far off:
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants : Had I not
Four or five women once, that tended me ?
Pro. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda : But how is it,
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou remember'st aught, ere thou cam’st here,
How thou cam’st here, thou may’st.
But that I do not.
Pro. Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve years since,
Thy father was the duke of Milan, and
A prince of power.
Sir, are not you my father ?
Pro. Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said—thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was duke of Milan; and his only heir
A princess, no worse issued.
0, the heavens !
What foul play had we, that we came from thence;
Or blessed was't, we did ?
Bcth, both, my girl;
By foul play, as thou say’st, were we heav'd thence;
But blessedly holp hither.
O, my heart bleeds
To think o' the teen* that I have turn'd you to,
Which is from my remembrance! Please you, further.
Pro. My brother, and thy uncle, callid Antonio,
I pray thee, mark me,—that a brother should
Be so perfidious !—he whom, next thyself,
Of all the world I lov’d, and to him put
my state ; as, at that time,
Through all the signories it was the first,
And Prospero the prime duke; being so reputed
In dignity, and, for the liberal arts,
Without a parallel : those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother,
And to my state grew stranger, being transported,
And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle-
Dost thou attend me ?
Sir, most heedfully.
Pro. Being once perfected how to grant suits,
How to deny them; whom to advance, and whom
To trash* for over-topping ; new created
The creatures that were mine ; I say, or chang’d them
Or else new form’d them; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state
To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was
The ivy, which had hid my princely trunk,
And suck'd my verdure out on't.—Thou attend’st not :
I pray thee, mark me.
O good sir, I do.
Pro. I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicate
To closeness, and the bettering of my mind
With that, which, but by being so retired,
O’er-priz'd all popular rate, in my false brother
Awak'd an evil nature : and my trust,
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood, in its contrary as great
As my trust was : which had, indeed, no limit,
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
Not only with what my revenue yielded,
But what my power might else exact,— like one,
Who having, unto truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory,
To credit his own lie,–he did believe
He was indeed the duke; out of the substitution,
And executing the outward face of royalty
With all prerogative :—Hence his ambitior:
Growing,–Dost thou hear ?
Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
Pro. To have no screen between this part he play'd,
And him he play'd it for, he needs will be
Absolute Milan: Me, poor man !—my library
Was dukedom large enough; of temporal royalties
He thinks me now incapable : confederates
(So dry he was for sway) with the king of Naples,
To give him annual tribute, do him homage ;
Subject his coronet to his crown, and bend
The dukedom, yet unbow'd, (alas, poor Milan !)
To most ignoble stooping.
O the heavens !
Pro. Mark his condition, and the event; then tell me
If this might be a brother.
I should sin To think but nobly of my grandmother. Pro.
Now the condition This king of Naples, being an enemy To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit ; Which was, that he in lieu o' the premises, Of homage, and I know not how much tribute, Should presently extirpate me and mine Out of the dukedom ; and confer fair Milan, With all the honors, on my brother: Whereon, A treacherous army levied, one midnight Fated to the purpose, did Antonio open The gates of Milan; and, i' the dead of darkness, The ministers for the purpose hurried thence Me, and thy crying self. Mira.
Alack, for pity! I, not rememb’ring how I cry'd out then, Will
cry it o'er again : it is a hint,
That wrings mine eyes to’t.
Hear a little farther,
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon us; without the which, this story
Were most impertinent.
Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?
Well demanded, girl;
My tale provokes that question.. Dear, they durst not;
(So dear the love my people bore me,) nor set
A mark so bloody on the business ; but
With colors fairer painted their foul ends.
In few, they hurried us aboard a bark;
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd
A rotten carcase of a boat, not rigg'd,
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us,
To cry to the sea that roar'd to us; to sigh
To the winds, whose pity, sighing back again,
Did us but loving wrong.
Alack ! what trouble
Was I then to you !
0! a cherubim
Thou wast, thou didst preserve me! Thou didst smile,
Infused with a fortitude from heaven,-
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt;
my burden groan'd; which rais'd in me
An undergoing stomach, to bear up
Against what should ensue.
How came we ashore ?
Pro. By Providence divine.