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On a Ship at Sea.

A Storm with Thunder and Lightning.

Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain.

MASTER. Boatswain,'

BOATS. Here, master: What cheer?

MAST. Good: Speak to the mariners: fall to't yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir. [Exit.

Boatswain,] In this naval dialogue, perhaps the first example of sailor's language exhibited on the stage, there are, as I have been told by a skilful navigator, some inaccuracies and contradictory orders. JOHNSON.

The foregoing observation is founded on a mistake. These orders should be considered as given, not at once, but successively, as the emergency required. One attempt to save the ship failing, another is tried. MALONE.

"-fall to't yarely,] i. e. Readily, nimbly. Our author is frequent in his use of this word. So, in Decker's Satiromastix: "They'll make his muse as yare as a tumbler." STEEVENS.

Here it is applied as a sea-term, and in other parts of the scene. So he uses the adjective, Act. V. sc. v: "Our ship is tight and yare." And in one of the Henries: "yare are our ships." To this day the sailors say, "sit yare to the helm." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. sc. iii: "The tackles yarely frame the office." T. WArton.

Enter Mariners.

BOATS. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts; yare, yare: Take in the top-sail; Tend to the master's whistle.-Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!


ALON. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.*

Blow, till thou burst thy wind, &c.] Perhaps it might be read: Blow, till thou burst, wind, if room enough. JOHNSON.

Perhaps rather-Blow, till thou burst thee, wind! if room enough. Beaumont and Fletcher have copied this passage in The Pilgrim:


Blow, blow west wind,

"Blow till thou rive!”

Again, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
"1st. Sailor. Blow, and split thyself!"

Again, in K. Lear:

"Blow, winds, and burst your cheeks!"

Again, in Chapman's version of the fifth book of Homer's Odyssey:

"Such as might shield them from the winter's worst, "Though steel it breath'd, and blew as it would burst." Again, in Fletcher's Double Marriage:

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Rise, winds,

"Blow till you burst the air.-"

The allusion in these passages, as Mr. M. Mason observes, is to the manner in which the winds were represented in ancient prints and pictures. STEEVENS.

Play the men.] i. e. act with spirit, behave like men. So, in Chapman's translation of the second Iliad:

"Which doing, thou shalt know what souldiers 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 ἰδὲ, Iliad, V. v. 529. STEEVENS.

BOATS. I pray now, keep below.

ANT. Where is the master, Boatswain?

BOATS. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour; Keep your cabins: you do assist the storm.

GON. Nay, good, be patient.

BOATS. When the sea is. Hence! What care these roarers for the name of king? To cabin: silence: trouble us not.

GON. Good; yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

BOATS. None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor; if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more; use your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you have lived 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.


GON. I have great comfort 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

Again, in scripture, 2 Sam. x. 12: "Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people." MALONE.

assist the storm.] So, in Pericles:

"Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm." STEEvens.

— of the present,] i. e. of the present instant. So, in the 15th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians: " - of whom the greater part remain unto this present." STEEVENS.

? Gonzalo.] It may be observed of Gonzalo, that, being the only good man that appears with the king, he is the only man that preserves his cheerfulness in the wreck, and his hope on the island. JOHNSON.

our cable, for our own doth little advantage! If he be not born to be hanged, our case 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.


Yet again? what do you here? Shall we give o'er, and drown? Have you a mind to sink?

SEB. A рох o' your throat! you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!

BOATS. Work you, then.

ANT. Hang, cur, hang! you whoreson, insolent noise-maker, we are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.

GON. I'll warrant him from drowning; though the ship were no stronger than a nut-shell, and as leaky as an unstanched wench."

bring her to try with main-course.] Probably from Hackluyt's Voyages, 1598: "And when the barke had way, we cut the hauser, and so gate the sea to our friend, and tried out all that day with our maine course." MALONE.

This phrase occurs also in Smith's Sea Grammar, 1627, 4to. under the article How to handle a ship in a Storme: "Let us lie at Trie with our maine course; that is, to hale the tacke aboord, the sheat close aft, the boling set up, and the helme tied close aboord." P. 40. STEEVENS.


- an unstanched wench.] Unstanched, I am willing to believe, means incontinent. STEEVENS.

BOATS. Lay her a-hold, a-hold;' set her two courses; off to sea again,2 lay her off.

Enter Mariners wet.

MAR. All lost! to prayers, to prayers! all lost!


BOATS. What, must our mouths be cold?

GON. The king and prince at prayers! let us assist


For our case is as theirs.

SEB. I am out of patience.

ANT. We are merely3 cheated of our lives by drunkards.

This wide-chapped rascal;-'Would, thou might'st

lie drowning,

The washing of ten tides!


He'll be hanged yet;

'Lay her a-hold, a-hold;] To lay a ship a-hold, is to bring her to lie as near the wind as she can, in order to keep clear of the land, and get her out to sea. STEEVENS.


set her two courses; off to sea again,] The courses are the main sail and fore sail. This term is used by Raleigh, in his Discourse on Shipping. JOHNSON.

The passage, as Mr. Holt has observed, should be pointed, Set her two courses; off, &c.

Such another expression occurs in Decker's If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1612: " off with your Drablers and

your Banners; out with your courses." STEEVENS.


merely-] In this place, signifies absolutely; in which

sense it is used in Hamlet, Act I. sc. iii:


-Things rank and gross in nature

"Possess it merely."

Again, in Ben Jonson's Poetaster:


at request

"Of some mere friends, some honourable Romans."


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