« PreviousContinue »
The TEMPEST is supposed 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 p sent the main incidents of the plot in consecutive succession.
ALONZO, King of Naples.
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.
STEPHANO, a drunken butler.
Master of a ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
ARIEL, an airy spirit.
IRIS, CERES, JUNO, Nymphs, Reapers, spirits.
SCENE.-The Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an uninhabıed Island.
Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, has been dethroned by his brother Antonio and 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,
May 18th 1857 mon.
SCENE II.—The Island: before the Cell of PROSPERO.
Mira. If by your art, my dearest father, you have
With those that I saw suffer! a brave vessel,
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
O, woe the day!
I have done nothing but in care of thee,
I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand,
And pluck my magic garment from me.-So; [Lays down his mantle.
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-
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Sit down;
For thou must now know further.
And left me to a bootless inquisition;
The hour's now come;
The very minute bids thee ope
I do not think thou can'st; for then thou wast not
Certainly, sir, I can.
"Tis far off:
Pro. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda: But how is it,
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.
Bcth, both, my girl;
O, my heart bleeds
To think o' the teen* that I have turn'd you to,
Pro. My brother, and thy uncle, call'd Antonio,—
The government I cast upon my brother,
Sir, most heedfully.
The creatures that were mine; I say, or chang'd them
To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was
And suck'd my verdure out on't.-Thou attend'st not:
O good sir, I do.
Pro. I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicate
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood, in its contrary as great
But what my power might else exact,—like one,
To credit his own lie, he did believe
He was indeed the duke; out of the substitution,
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
Now the condition
This king of Naples, being an enemy
Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?
Well demanded, girl;
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not;
With colors fairer painted their foul ends.
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd
Alack! what trouble
Was I then to you!
O! a cherubim
Thou wast, thou didst preserve me! Thou didst smile,
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt;
How came we ashore ?
Pro. By Providence divine.