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THÈ Tempest and The Midsummer Night's Dream are the noblett
efforts of that sublime and amazing imagination peculiar to Shakspeare, which soars above the bounds of nature without fore saking sense; or, more properly, carries nature along with him beyond her established limits. Fletcher seems particularly to have admired these two plays, and hath wrote two in imitation of them, The Sea Voyage and The Faithful Shepherdefs. But when he presumes to break a lance with Shakspcare, and write in emulation of him, as he does in The False One, which is the rival of Antony and Cleopatra, he is not so füccessful. After him, Sir John Suckling and Milton catched the brightest fire of their imagination from thesc two plays; which shines fantastically indeed in The Goblins, but much more nobly and serenely in The Mask at Ludlow Castle.
WARBURTON. 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 secure it from the criticism of Ben Jonson, whose malignity appears to have been more than equal to his wit.
in the induction to Bartholomew Fair, he says: “ If there be never a “ fervant monster in the fair, who can help it, he says, nor a nest of “ antiques ? He is loth to make nature afraid in his plays, like those " that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like drolleries." STEEVENS.
I was informed by the late Mr. Collins of Chichester, that Shakpeare's Tempest, for which no origin is yet alligned, was formed on a romance called Aurelio and Isabella, 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 somewhere to be found in an Italian novel, at least that the story preceded Shakspeare. Mr. Collins had scarched this subject with no less fidelity than judgment and industry; but his memory failing in his last calamitous indisposition, he probably gave me the name of one novel for another. I remember he added a circumstance, which may lead to a discovery,—that the principal character of the romance, answering to Shakspeare's Prospero, was a chemical necromancer, who had bound a spirit like Ariel to obey his call, and perform his services. It was a common pretence of dealers in the occult sciences 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 goid being the grand object of alchemy. Taken at large, the magical part of the Tempest is founded on that sort of philosophy which was practised by John Dee and his associates, and has been called the Rosicrucian. The name Ariel came from the Talmudistick mysteries with which the learned Jews had infected this Science.
T. WARTON. Mr. Theobald tells us, that The Tempest must have been written after 1609, because the Bermuda islands, which are nientioned in it, were unknown to the English until that year; but this is a mistake. He might have seen in Hackluyt, 1600, folio, a description of Bermuda, by Henry May, who was thipwrecked there in 1593.
It was however one of our author's last works. In 1598 he played a part in the original Every Man in his Humour. Two of the characters are Prospero and Stephano. Here Ben Jonson taught him the pronunciation of the latter word, which is always right in The Tempeft.
“ Is not this Stephăno, my drunken butler ?" And always wrong in his earlier play, The Merchant of Venice, which had been on the stage at least two or thrce years before its publication in 1600.
" My friend Stephāno, fignify I pray you," &c.
So little did Mr. Capell know of his author, when he idly supposed his school literaturs might perhaps have been lost by the diffi. pation of youth, or the busy scene of publick life!
FARMER. This play must have been written before 1614, when Jonson (neers at it in his Bartholomew Fair. In the latter plays of Shakspeare, he has less of pun and quibble than in his early ones. In The Merchant of Venice, he expressly declares against them. This perhaps might be ope criterion to discover the dates of his plays.
BLACKSTONE PERSONS REPRESENTED.
ALONSO, king of Naples.
MIRANDA, daughter to PROSPERO.
Ariel, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on PROSPERO.
T E M P E S T.
ACT I. SCENE I.
On a Ship at Sea.
Boats. Here, master: What cheer? Mast. Good : Speak to the mariners : fall to't yarely, or we run ourselves aground : bestir, beftir. [Exit.
Enter Mariners. Boats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts; yare, yare: Take in the top-fail ; Tend to the master's whistle.-Blow, till thou burit thy wind, if room enough! Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND,
GONZALO, and others. Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the malter? Play the men.
Boats. I pray now, keep below.
Poats. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour; Keep your cabins : you do assist the storm.
Gon. Nay, good, be patient.
roarers for the name of king? To cabin: filence: trouble us not.
Gon. Good; yet remember whom thou hast aboard.
Boatf. None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor; if you can command these elements to filence, and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more; use your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you have liv'd so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.Cheerly, good hearts-Out of our way, I say.
[Exit. Gon. I have great confort from this fellow: methinks, he hath no drowning mark upon him ; his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, good fate, to his hanging! make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage! If he be not born to be hangod, our cafe is miserable.
[Exeunt. Re-enter Boatswain. Boats. Down with the top-mast; yare ; lower, lower ; bring her to try with main-course. [A cry within.] A plague upon this howling! they are louder than the weather, or our office.
Re-enter SEBASTIAN, Antonio, and GONZALO. Yet again ? what do you here ? Shall we give o'er, and drown ? Have you a mind to fink?
Seb. A pox o’your throat! you bawling, blafphemous, incharitable dog!
Boats. Work you, then.
Ant. Hang, cur, hang! you whoreson, infolent noisemaker, we are less afraid to be drown'd than thou art.
Gon. I'll warrant him from drowning; though the fhip were no stronger than a nut-shell, and as leaky as an unitaunch'd wench.