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TEMPEST.] The Tempeft and The Midfummer Night's Dream are the nobleft efforts of that fublime and amazing imagination peculiar to Shakspeare, which foars above the bounds of nature, without forfaking fenfe; or, more properly, carries nature along with him beyond her established limits. Fletcher feems particularly to have admired thefe two plays, and hath wrote two in imitation of them, The Sea Voyage and The Faithful Shepherdefs. But when he prefumes to break a lance with Shakspeare, and write in emulation of him, as he does in The Falfe One, which is the rival of Antony and Cleopatra, he is not fo fuccessful. After him, Sir John Suckling and Milton catched the brighteft fire of their imagination from these two plays; which fhines fantaftically indeed in The Gollins, but much more nobly and ferenely in The Mafk at Ludlow Cafile.
No one has hitherto been lucky enough to discover the romance on which Shakspeare may be supposed to have founded this play, the beauties of which could not fecure it from the criticism of Ben Jonson, whofe malignity appears to have been more than equal to his wit. In the introduction to Bartholomew Fair, he fays: "If there be never a fervant monfier in the fair, who can help it, he fays, nor a neft of antiques? He is loth to make nature afraid in his plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and fuch like drolleries." STEEVENS.
I was informed by the late Mr. Collins of Chichester, that Shakspeare's Tempeft, for which no origin is yet affigned, was formed on a romance called Aurelio and Ifabella, printed in Italian, Spanish, French, and English, in 1588. But though this information has not proved true on examination, an useful conclufion may be drawn from it, that Shakspeare's story is fomewhere to be found in an Italian novel, at least that the story preceded Shakspeare. Mr. Collins had fearched this fubject with no lefs fidelity than judgement and induftry; but his memory failing in his laft calamitous indifpofition, he probably gave me the name of one novel for another. I remember he added a circumftance, which may lead to a discovery,-that the principal character of the romance, anfwering to Shakspeare's Profpero, was a chemical necromancer, who had bound a spirit like Ariel to obey his call, and perform his fervices. It was a common pretence of dealers in the occult fciences to have a demon at command. At least Aurelio, or Orelio, was probably one of the names of this romance, the production and multiplicity of gold being the grand object of alchemy. Taken at large, the magical part of the Tempeft is founded on that fort of philofophy which was practifed by John Dee and his affociates, and
has been called the Roficrucian. The name Ariel came from the Talmudiftick myfteries with which the learned Jews had infected this fcience. T. WARTON.
Mr. Theobald tells us, that The Tempeft must have been written after 1609, because the Bermuda Iflands, which are mentioned in it, were unknown to the English until that year; but this is a miftake. He might have feen in Hackluyt, 1600, folio, a defcription of Bermuda, by Henry May, who was shipwrecked there in 1593.
In 1598, he
It was however one of our author's laft works. played a part in the original Every Man in his Humour. Two of the characters are Profpero and Stephano. Here Ben Jonfon taught him the pronunciation of the latter word, which is always right in The Tempest:
"Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler?" And always wrong in his earlier play, The Merchant of Venice, which had been on the ftage at least two or three years before its publication in 1600:
"My friend Stephano, fignify I pray you," &c. -So little did Mr. Capell know of his author, when he idly fuppofed his fchool literature might perhaps have been loft by the diffipation of youth, or the busy fcene of publick life! FARMER.
This play muft have been written before 1614, when Jonfon fneers at it in his Bartholomew Fair. In the latter plays of Shakspeare, he has lefs of pun and quibble than in his early ones. In The Merchant of Venice, he exprefsly declares against them. This perhaps might be one criterion to discover the dates of his plays. BLACKSTONE.
See Mr. Malone's Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, and a Note on The cloud-capp'd towers, &c. A& ÏV.
Alonfo, king of Naples.
Profpero, the rightful Duke of Milan.
Antonio, his brother, the ufurping Duke of Milan.
Ferdinand, fon to the king of Naples.
Gonzalo, an honeft old counsellor of Naples.
Adrian, } lords.
Caliban, a favage and deformed flave.
Trinculo, a jester.
Stephano, a drunken butler.
Mafier of a fhip, Boatfwain, and Mariners.
Miranda, daughter to Profpero.
Ariel, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on Profpero.
SCENE, the fea, with a fhip; afterwards an uninhabited ifland.
*This enumeration of perfons is taken from the folio 1623.
ACT I. SCENE I.
On a Ship at Sea.
A Storm with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter a Ship-mafter and a Boatswain,
BOATS. Here, mafter: What cheer?
MAST. Good: Speak to the mariners fall to't yarely, or we run ourfelves aground; beftir, heftir. [Exit.
Boatfwain,] In this naval dialogue, perhaps the first example of failor's language exhibited on the ftage, there are, as I have been told by a skilful navigator, fome inaccuracies and contradictory orders. JOHNSON.
The foregoing obfervation is founded on a mistake. These orders fhould be confidered as given, not at once, but fucceffively, as the emergency required. One attempt to fave the fhip failing, another is tried. MALONE.
2-fall to't yarely,] i. e. Readily, nimbly. Our author is frequent in his ufe of this word. So, in Decker's Satiromaftix: "They'll make his mufe as yare as a tumbler." STEEVENS,
Here it is applied as a fea-term, and in other parts of the scene. So he ufes the adjective, Act V. fc. v: "Our fhip is tight and yare." And in one of the Henries: "yare are our fhips." To .this day the failors fay, "fit yare to the helm." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, A& II. fc. iii: "The tackles yarely frame the office." T. WARTON.
BOATS. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts; yare, yare: Take in the top-fail; Tend to the mafter's whiftle.-Blow, till thou burft thy wind,3 if room enough!
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others.
ALON. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the mafter? Play the men.4
3 Blow, till thou burst thy wind, &c.] Perhaps it might be read: Blow, till thou burft, wind, if room enough. JOHNSON. Perhaps rather-Blow, till thou burfi thee, wind! if room enough. Beaumont and Fletcher have copied this paffage in The Pilgrim:
Blow, blow weft wind,
"Blow till thou rive!"
Again, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
Again, in K. Lear:
"Blow, winds, and burft your cheeks!"
Again, in Chapman's verfion of the fifth book of Homer's Odyffey:
Such as might fhield them from the winter's worst, "Though steel it breath'd, and blew as it would burst.” Again, in Fletcher's Doulle Marriage:
"Blow till you burft the air.”
The allufion in these paffages, as Mr. M. Mafon obferves, is to the manner in which the winds were reprefented in ancient prints and pictures. STEEVENS.
Play the men.] i. e. act with fpirit, behave like men. So, in Chapman's tranflation of the fecond Iliad:
"Which doing, thou fhalt know what fouldiers play the
"And what the cowards."
Again, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, p. 2:
Viceroys and peers of Turkey, play the men." Ω φίλοι, ἀνέρες ἐςὶ, Iliad, V. v. 529. STEEVENS.