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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act I. Scene II.

The Tempest

The Island: before the Cell of PROSPERO.


Miro.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 th’ welkin’s cheek,

Dashes the fire out. O! I have suffer’d

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 swallow’d and

The fraughting souls within her.

Pro.Be collected:

No more amazement. Tell your piteous heart

There’s no harm done.

Mira.O, woe the day!

Pro.No harm.

I have done nothing but in care of thee,—

Of thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter!—who

Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing

Of whence I am: nor that I am more better

Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,

And thy no greater father.

Mira.More to know

Did never meddle with my thoughts.

Pro.’Tis time

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 wrack, 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 an 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.

Mira.You have often

Begun to tell me what I am, but stopp’d,

And left me to a bootless inquisition,

Concluding, ‘Stay; not yet.’

Pro.The hour’s now come,

The very minute bids thee ope thine ear;

Obey and be attentive. Canst thou remember

A time before we came unto this cell?

I do not think thou canst, for then thou wast not

Out three years old.

Mira.Certainly, sir, I can.

Pro.By what? by any other house or person?

Of anything the image tell me, that

Hath kept with thy remembrance.

Mira.’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 hadst, 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.

Mira.But that I do not.

Pro.Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,

Thy father was the Duke of Milan and

A prince of power.

Mira.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.

Mira.O, the heavens!

What foul play had we that we came from thence?

Or blessed was ’t we did?

Pro.Both, both, my girl:

By foul play, as thou say’st, were we heav’d thence;

But blessedly holp hither.

Mira.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, call’d 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

The manage of my state; as at that time,

Through all the signiories 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?

Mira.Sir, most heedfully.

Pro.Being once perfected how to grant suits,

How to deny them, who t’advance, and who

To trash for over-topping; new created

The creatures that were mine, I say, or chang’d ’em,

Or else new form’d ’em: having both the key

Of officer and office, set all hearts i’ the 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.

Mira.O, good sir! I do.

Pro.I pray thee, mark me.

I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated

To closeness and the bettering of my mind

With that, which, but by being so retir’d,

O’erpriz’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, into 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 o’ the substitution,

And executing th’ outward face of royalty,

With all prerogative:—Hence his ambition growing,—

Dost thou hear?

Mira.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,—wi’ 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.

Mira.O the heavens!

Pro.Mark his condition and the event; then tell me

If this might be a brother.

Mira.I should sin

To think but nobly of my grandmother:

Good wombs have borne bad sons.

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 honours 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 cried out then,

Will cry it o’er again: it is a hint,

That wrings mine eyes to ’t.

Pro.Hear a little further,

And then I’ll bring thee to the present business

Which now’s upon us; without the which this story

Were most impertinent.

Mira.Wherefore did they not

That hour destroy us?

Pro.Well demanded, wench:

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 colours 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 carcass of a boat, not rigg’d,

Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats

Instinctively have 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.

Mira.Alack! what trouble

Was I then to you!

Pro.O, a cherubin

Thou wast, that did preserve me! Thou didst smile,

Infused with a fortitude from heaven,

When I have deck’d the sea with drops full salt,

Under my burden groan’d; which rais’d in me

An undergoing stomach, to bear up

Against what should ensue.

Mira.How came we ashore?

Pro.By Providence divine.

Some food we had and some fresh water that

A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,

Out of his charity,—who being then appointed

Master of this design,—did give us; with

Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries,

Which since have steaded much; so, of his gentleness,

Knowing I lov’d my books, he furnish’d me,

From mine own library with volumes that

I prize above my dukedom.

Mira.Would I might

But ever see that man!

Pro.Now I arise:—[Resumes his mantle.

Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow.

Here in this island we arriv’d; and here

Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit

Than other princes can, that have more time

For vainer hours and tutors not so careful.

Mira.Heavens thank you for ’t! And now, I pray you, sir,—

For still ’tis beating in my mind,—your reason

For raising this sea-storm?

Pro.Know thus far forth.

By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune,

Now my dear lady, hath mine enemies

Brought to this shore; and by my prescience

I find my zenith doth depend upon

A most auspicious star, whose influence

If now I court not but omit, my fortunes

Will ever after droop. Here cease more questions;

Thou art inclin’d to sleep; ’tis a good dulness,

And give it way;—I know thou canst not choose.—[MIRANDA sleeps.

Come away, servant, come! I’m ready now.

Approach, my Ariel; come!

Enter ARIEL.

Ari.All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come

To answer thy best pleasure; be ’t to fly,

To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride

On the curl’d clouds: to thy strong bidding task

Ariel and all his quality.

Pro.Hast thou, spirit,

Perform’d to point the tempest that I bade thee?

Ari.To every article.

I boarded the king’s ship; now on the beak,

Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,

I flam’d amazement: sometime I’d divide

And burn in many places; on the topmast,

The yards, and boresprit, would I flame distinctly,

Then meet, and join: Jove’s lightnings, the precursors

O’ the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary

And sight-outrunning were not: the fire and cracks

Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune

Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,

Yea, his dread trident shake.

Pro.My brave spirit!

Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil

Would not infect his reason?

Ari.Not a soul

But felt a fever of the mad and play’d

Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners,

Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,

Then all a-fire with me: the king’s son, Ferdinand,

With hair up-staring,—then like reeds, not hair,—

Was the first man that leap’d; cried, ‘Hell is empty,

And all the devils are here.’

Pro.Why, that’s my spirit!

But was not this nigh shore?

Ari.Close by, my master.

Pro.But are they, Ariel, safe?

Ari.Not a hair perish’d;

On their sustaining garments not a blemish,

But fresher than before: and, as thou bad’st me,

In troops I have dispers’d them ’bout the isle.

The king’s son have I landed by himself;

Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs

In an odd angle of the isle and sitting,

His arms in this sad knot.

Pro.Of the king’s ship

The mariners, say how thou hast dispos’d,

And all the rest o’ the fleet.

Ari.Safely in harbour

Is the king’s ship; in the deep nook, where once

Thou call’dst me up at midnight to fetch dew

From the still-vex’d Bermoothes; there she’s hid:

The mariners all under hatches stow’d;

Who, with a charm join’d to their suffer’d labour,

I have left asleep: and for the rest o’ the fleet

Which I dispers’d, they all have met again,

And are upon the Mediterranean flote,

Bound sadly home for Naples,

Supposing that they saw the king’s ship wrack’d,

And his great person perish.

Pro.Ariel, thy charge

Exactly is perform’d: but there’s more work:

What is the time o’ th’ day?

Ari.Past the mid season.

Pro.At least two glasses. The time ’twixt six and now

Must by us both be spent most preciously.

Ari.Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains,

Let me remember thee what thou hast promis’d

Which is not yet perform’d me.

Pro.How now! moody?

What is ’t thou canst demand?

Ari.My liberty.

Pro.Before the time be out? no more!

Ari.I prithee

Remember, I have done thee worthy service;

Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, serv’d

Without or grudge or grumblings: thou didst promise

To bate me a full year.

Pro.Dost thou forget

From what a torment I did free thee?


Pro.Thou dost; and think’st it much to tread the ooze

Of the salt deep,

To run upon the sharp wind of the north,

To do me business in the veins o’ th’ earth

When it is bak’d with frost.

Ari.I do not, sir.

Pro.Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot

The foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy

Was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her?

Ari.No, sir.

Pro.Thou hast. Where was she born? speak; tell me.

Ari.Sir, in Argier.

Pro.O! was she so? I must,

Once in a month, recount what thou hast been,

Which thou forget’st. This damn’d witch, Sycorax,

For mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible

To enter human hearing, from Argier,

Thou know’st, was banish’d: for one thing she did

They would not take her life. Is not this true?

Ari.Ay, sir.

Pro.This blue-ey’d hag was hither brought with child

And here was left by the sailors. Thou, my slave,

As thou report’st thyself, wast then her servant:

And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate

To act her earthy and abhorr’d commands,

Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,

By help of her more potent ministers,

And in her most unmitigable rage,

Into a cloven pine; within which rift

Imprison’d, thou didst painfully remain

A dozen years; within which space she died

And left thee there, where thou didst vent thy groans

As fast as mill-wheels strike. Then was this island,—

Save for the son that she did litter here,

A freckled whelp hag-born,—not honour’d with

A human shape.

Ari.Yes; Caliban her son.

Pro.Dull thing, I say so; he that Caliban,

Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know’st

What torment I did find thee in; thy groans

Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts

Of ever-angry bears: it was a torment

To lay upon the damn’d, which Sycorax

Could not again undo; it was mine art,

When I arriv’d and heard thee, that made gape

The pine, and let thee out.

Ari.I thank thee, master.

Pro.If thou more murmur’st, I will rend an oak

And peg thee in his knotty entrails till

Thou hast howl’d away twelve winters.

Ari.Pardon, master;

I will be correspondent to command,

And do my spiriting gently.

Pro.Do so; and after two days

I will discharge thee.

Ari.That’s my noble master!

What shall I do? say what? what shall I do?

Pro.Go make thyself like a nymph of the sea: be subject

To no sight but thine and mine; invisible

To every eyeball else. Go, take this shape,

And hither come in ’t: go, hence with diligence![Exit ARIEL.

Awake, dear heart, awake! thou hast slept well;


Mira.[Waking.]The strangeness of your story put

Heaviness in me.

Pro.Shake it off. Come on;

We’ll visit Caliban my slave, who never

Yields us kind answer.

Mira.’Tis a villain, sir,

I do not love to look on.

Pro.But, as ’tis,

We cannot miss him: he does make our fire,

Fetch in our wood; and serves in offices

That profit us.—What ho! slave! Caliban!

Thou earth, thou! speak.

Cal.[Within.]There’s wood enough within.

Pro.Come forth, I say; there’s other business for thee:

Come, thou tortoise! when?

Re-enter ARIEL, like a water-nymph.

Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel,

Hark in thine ear.

Ari.My lord, it shall be done.[Exit.

Pro.Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself

Upon thy wicked dam, come forth!


Cal.As wicked dew as e’er my mother brush’d

With raven’s feather from unwholesome fen

Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye,

And blister you all o’er!

Pro.For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps,

Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins

Shall forth at vast of night, that they may work

All exercise on thee: thou shalt be pinch’d

As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging

Than bees that made them.

Cal.I must eat my dinner.

This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother,

Which thou tak’st from me. When thou camest first,

Thou strok’dst me, and mad’st much of me; wouldst give me

Water with berries in ’t; and teach me how

To name the bigger light, and how the less,

That burn by day and night: and then I lov’d thee

And show’d thee all the qualities o’ th’ isle,

The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place, and fertile.

Cursed be I that did so!—All the charms

Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!

For I am all the subjects that you have,

Which first was mine own king; and here you sty me

In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me

The rest o’ th’ island.

Pro.Thou most lying slave,

Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have us’d thee,

Filth as thou art, with human care; and lodg’d thee

In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate

The honour of my child.

Cal.Oh ho! Oh ho!—would it had been done!

Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else

This isle with Calibans.

Pro.Abhorred slave,

Which any print of goodness will not take,

Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,

Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour

One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,

Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like

A thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes

With words that made them known: but thy vile race,

Though thou didst learn, had that in ’t which good natures

Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou

Deservedly confin’d into this rock,

Who hadst deserv’d more than a prison.

Cal.You taught me language; and my profit on ’t

Is, I know how to curse: the red plague rid you,

For learning me your language!

Pro.Hag-seed, hence!

Fetch us in fuel; and be quick, thou ’rt best,

To answer other business. Shrug’st thou, malice?

If thou neglect’st, or dost unwillingly

What I command, I’ll rack thee with old cramps,

Fill all thy bones with aches; make thee roar,

That beasts shall tremble at thy din.

Cal.No, pray thee!—

[Aside.]I must obey: his art is of such power,

It would control my dam’s god, Setebos,

And make a vassal of him.

Pro.So, slave; hence![Exit CALIBAN.

Re-enter ARIEL invisible, playing and singing; FERDINAND following.

  • Come unto these yellow sands,
  • And then take hands:
  • Curtsied when you have, and kiss’d,—
  • The wild waves whist,—
  • Foot it featly here and there;
  • And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.
  • Hark, hark![Burden: Bow, wow, dispersedly.
  • The watch-dogs bark:[Burden: Bow, wow, dispersedly.
  • Hark, hark! I hear
  • The strain of strutting Chanticleer[Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow.
  • Fer.Where should this music be? i’ th’ air, or th’ earth?

    It sounds no more;—and sure, it waits upon

    Some god o’ th’ island. Sitting on a bank,

    Weeping again the king my father’s wrack,

    This music crept by me upon the waters,

    Allaying both their fury, and my passion,

    With its sweet air: thence I have follow’d it,—

    Or it hath drawn me rather,—but ’tis gone.

    No, it begins again.

  • ARIEL sings.
  • Full fathom five thy father lies;
  • Of his bones are coral made:
  • Those are pearls that were his eyes:
  • Nothing of him that doth fade,
  • But doth suffer a sea-change
  • Into something rich and strange.
  • Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:[Burden: ding-dong.
  • Hark! now I hear them,—ding-dong, bell.

    Fer.The ditty does remember my drown’d father.

    This is no mortal business, nor no sound

    That the earth owes:—I hear it now above me.

    Pro.The fringed curtains of thine eye advance,

    And say what thou seest yond.

    Mira.What is ’t? a spirit?

    Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir,

    It carries a brave form:—but ’tis a spirit.

    Pro.No, wench; it eats and sleeps, and hath such senses

    As we have, such; this gallant which thou see’st,

    Was in the wrack; and, but he’s something stain’d

    With grief,—that’s beauty’s canker,—thou might’st call him

    A goodly person: he hath lost his fellows

    And strays about to find ’em.

    Mira.I might call him

    A thing divine; for nothing natural

    I ever saw so noble.

    Pro.[Aside.]It goes on, I see,

    As my soul prompts it.—Spirit, fine spirit! I’ll free thee

    Within two days for this.

    Fer.Most sure, the goddess

    On whom these airs attend!—Vouchsafe, my prayer

    May know if you remain upon this island;

    And that you will some good instruction give

    How I may bear me here: my prime request,

    Which I do last pronounce, is,—O you wonder!—

    If you be maid or no?

    Mira.No wonder, sir;

    But certainly a maid.

    Fer.My language! heavens!—

    I am the best of them that speak this speech,

    Were I but where ’tis spoken.

    Pro.How! the best?

    What wert thou, if the King of Naples heard thee?

    Fer.A single thing, as I am now, that wonders

    To hear thee speak of Naples. He does hear me;

    And, that he does, I weep: myself am Naples,

    Who with mine eyes,—ne’er since et ebb,—beheld

    The king, my father wrack’d.

    Mira.Alack, for mercy!

    Fer.Yes, faith, and all his lords; the Duke of Milan,

    And his brave son being twain.

    Pro.[Aside.]The Duke of Milan,

    And his more braver daughter could control thee,

    If now ’twere fit to do ’t.—At the first sight[Aside.]

    They have changed eyes:—delicate Ariel,

    I’ll set thee free for this!—[To FER.]A word, good sir;

    I fear you have done yourself some wrong: a word.

    Mira.[Aside.]Why speaks my father so ungently? This

    Is the third man that e’er I saw; the first

    That e’er I sigh’d for: pity move my father

    To be inclin’d my way!

    Fer.[Aside.]O! if a virgin,

    And your affection not gone forth, I’ll make you

    The Queen of Naples.

    Pro.Soft, sir: one word more—

    [Aside.]They are both in either’s powers: but this swift business

    I must uneasy make, lest too light winning

    Make the prize light.—[To FER.]One word more: I charge thee

    That thou attend me. Thou dost here usurp

    The name thou ow’st not; and hast put thyself

    Upon this island as a spy, to win it

    From me, the lord on ’t.

    Fer.No, as I am a man.

    Mira.There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:

    If the ill spirit have so fair a house,

    Good things will strive to dwell with ’t.

    Pro.[To FER.]Follow me.—

    [To MIRA.]Speak not you for him; he’s a traitor.—[To FER.]Come;

    I’ll manacle thy neck and feet together:

    Sea-water shalt thou drink; thy food shall be

    The fresh-brook muscles, wither’d roots and husks

    Wherein the acorn cradled. Follow.


    I will resist such entertainment till

    Mine enemy has more power.

    [He draws, and is charmed from moving.

    Mira.O dear father!

    Make not too rash a trial of him, for

    He’s gentle, and not fearful.

    Pro.What! I say,

    My foot my tutor?—Put thy sword up, traitor;

    Who mak’st a show, but dar’st not strike, thy conscience

    Is so possess’d with guilt: come from thy ward,

    For I can here disarm thee with this stick

    And make thy weapon drop.

    Mira.Beseech you, father!

    Pro.Hence! hang not on my garments.

    Mira.Sir, have pity:

    I’ll be his surety.

    Pro.Silence! one word more

    Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What!

    An advocate for an impostor? hush!

    Thou think’st there is no more such shapes as he,

    Having seen but him and Caliban: foolish wench!

    To the most of men this is a Caliban

    And they to him are angels.

    Mira.My affections

    Are then most humble; I have no ambition

    To see a goodlier man.

    Pro.[To FER.]Come on; obey:

    Thy nerves are in their infancy again,

    And have no vigour in them.

    Fer.So they are:

    My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up.

    My father’s loss, the weakness which I feel,

    The wrack of all my friends, or this man’s threats,

    To whom I am subdued, are but light to me,

    Might I but through my prison once a day

    Behold this maid: all corners else o’ th’ earth

    Let liberty make use of; space enough

    Have I in such a prison.

    Pro.[Aside.]It works.—[To FER.]Come on.—

    Thou hast done well, fine Ariel!—[To FER.]Follow me.—

    [To ARIEL.]Hark, what thou else shalt do me.

    Mira.Be of comfort;

    My father’s of a better nature, sir,

    Than he appears by speech: this is unwonted,

    Which now came from him.

    Pro.Thou shalt be as free

    As mountain winds; but then exactly do

    All points of my command.

    Ari.To the syllable.

    Pro.[To FER.]Come, follow.—Speak not for him.[Exeunt.