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All exercise on thee: thou shalt be pinch'd
I must eat my
dinner. This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother, Which thou tak’st from me. When thou camest first, 3 Thou strok’dst me, and mad'st much of me; would'st
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 shew'd thee all the qualities o'the 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 of the island. Pro.
Thou most lying slave,
Cal. O ho, O ho!4-'would it had been done!
subjected to their dominion. To this limitation of time Shakspeare alludes again, in K. Lear: “ He begins at curfew, and walks till the second cock." Steevens.
3 Which thou tak’st from me. When thou camest first,] We might read“ Which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam'st here
first " Ritson. 4 O ho, o ho!] This savage exclamation was originally and constantly appropriated, by the writers of our ancient Mysteries and Moralities, to the Devil; and has, in this instance, been transferred to his descendant Caliban. Steevens.
5 Abhorred slave ;] This speech, which the old copy_gives to Miranda, is very judiciously bestowed, by Theobald, on Prospero.
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Cal. You taught me language; and my profit on't
Mr. Theobald found, or might have found, this speech transferred to Prospero, in the alteration of this play, by Dryden and Davenant. Malone.
when thou didst not, savage, Know thine own meaning, ] By this expression, however de. fective, the poet seems to have meant-When thou didst utter sounds, to which thou hadst no determinate meaning: but the following expression of Mr. Addison, in his 389th Spectator, concerning the Hottentots, may prove the best comment on this passage: “- having no language among them, but a confused gabble, which is neither well understood by themselves, or others.” Steevens.
But thy vile race,] The old copy has vild, but it is only the ancient mode of spelling vile. Race, in this place, seems to signify original disposition, inborn qualities. In this sense, we still say–The race of wine: Thus, in Massinger's New Way to pay old Debts :
“ There came, not six days since, from Hull, a pipe
“ Is it of the right race ?" and Sir W. Temple has somewhere applied it to works of literature. Steevens. Race and raciness in wine, signifies a kind of tartness.
Blackstone. the red plague rid you,] I suppose, from the redness of the body, universally inflamed. Johnson:
The erysipelas was anciently called the red plague. Steevens. So again, in Coriolanus :
“ Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome!" The word rid, which has not been explained, means to destroy. So, in K. Henry VI. P. II:
-If you ever chance to have a child, “ Look, in his youth, to have him so cut off, “ As, deathsmen! you have rid this sweet young prince."
This musick crept by me upon the waters ;5
Of his bones are coral made ;
Nothing of him, that doth fade,?
5 This musick crept by me upon the waters ;] So, in Milton's Masque:
a soft and solemn breathing sound
“ And stole upon the air." Steevens. 6 Full
fathom five thy father lies; &c.] Ariel's lays, (which have been condemned by Gisdon as trifling, and defended not very successfully by Dr. Warburton,) however seasonable and efficacious, must be allowed to be of no supernatural dignity or elegance; they express nothing great, nor reveal anything above mortal discovery.
The reason for which Ariel is introduced thus trifling is, that he and his companions are evidently of the fairy kind, an order of beings, to which tradition has always ascribed a sort of diminutive agency, powerful but ludicrous, a humorous and frolick controlment of nature, well expressed by the songs of Ariel. Johnson.
The songs in this play, Dr. Wilson, who reset and published two of them, tells us, in his Court Ayres, or Ballads, published at Oxford, 1660, that “ Full fathom five,” and “Where the bee sucks,' had been first set by Robert Johnson, a composer, contemporary with Shakspeare. Burney.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change -] The meaning is–Every thing about him, that is liable to alteration, is changed. Steevens. 8 But doth suffer a sea-change-] So, in Milton's Masque:
“ And underwent a quick immortal change.” Steevens. 9 So, in The Golden Garland of Princely Delight, &c. 13th edi. tion, 1690: “ Corydon's doleful knell to the tune of Ding, dong.”
“ I must go seek a new love,
Fer. The ditty does remember my drown'd father:-
Pro. The fringed curtains? of thine eye advance
What is't? a spirit?
Pro.No, wench; it eats and sleeps, and hath such senses
I might call him
Most sure, the goddess
The same burden to a song occurs in The Merchant of Venice, Act III. sc. ii. Steevens.
1 That the earth owes :) To owe, in this place, as well as many others, signifies to own. So, in Othello:
that sweet sleep “ Which thou ow’dst yesterday." Again, in the Tempest:
thou dost here usurp “ The name thou ow'st not.” To use the word in this sense, is not peculiar to Shakspeare. I meet with it in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush:
“ If now the beard be such, what is the prince
“ That owes the beard ?” Steevens. 2 The fringed curtains, &c.] A similar expression occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
her eyelids “ Begin to part their fringes of bright gold.” Again, in Sydney's Arcadia, Lib. I: “ Sometimes my eyes would lay themselves open-or cast my lids, as curtains, over the image of beauty her presence had painted in them.” Steevens.
3 It goes on,] The old copy reads—" It goes on, I see,” &c. But as the words I see, are useless, and an incumbrance to the metre, I have omitted them. Steevens.
On whom these airs attend !4-Vouchsafe, my prayer
you be maid, or no? Mira.
No wonder, sir;
My language! heavens !
4 Most sure, &c.] It seems that Shakspeare, in The Tempest, hath been suspected of translating some expressions of Virgil; witness the O Dea certè. I presume we are here directed to the passage, where Ferdinand says of Miranda, after hearing the songs of Ariel :
Most sure, the goddess,
On whom these airs attend ! And so, very small Latin is sufficient for this formidable translation, that, if it be thought any honour to our poet, I am loth to deprive him of it; but his honour is not built on such a sandy foundation. Let us turn to a real translator, and examine whe. ther the idea might not be fully comprehended by an English reader, supposing it necessarily borrowed from Virgil. Hexameters in our language are almost forgotten; we will quote, there. fore, this time, from Stanyhurst:
“ O to thee, fayre virgin, what terme may rightly be fitted? Thy tongue, thy visage no mortal frayltie resembleth.
No doubt, a goddesse !" Edit. 1583. Farmer.
certainly a maid.] Nothing could be more prettily imagined, to illustrate the singularity of her character, than this pleasant mistake. She had been bred up in the rough and plaindealing documents of moral philosophy, which teaches us the knowledge of ourselves; and was an utter stranger to the flattery invented by vicious and designing men to corrupt the other sex. So that it could not enter into her imagination, that complaisance, and a desire of appearing amiable, qualities of humanity which she had been instructed, in her moral lessons, to cultivate, could ever degenerate into such excess, as that any one should be willing to have his fellow-creature believe that he thought her a goddess, or an immortal. Warburton.
Dr. Warburton has here found a beauty, which I think the author never intended. Ferdinand asks her, not whether she was a created being, a question, which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue, which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on purguing his former question :
0, if a virgin,