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that came into his head. He was a student of Chaucer: he beheld the living fame of Spenser; and his fellow-dramatists did not help to restrain him. The players told Ben Jonson that Shakspeare never blotted a line; and Ben says he was thought invidious for observing, that he wished he had blotted a thousand. He sometimes, he says, required stopping. (Aliquando sufflaminandus erat.) Was this meant to apply to his conversation as well as writing? Did he manifest a like exuberance in company? Perhaps he would have done so, but for modesty and self-knowledge. To keep his eloquence altogether within bounds was hardly possible; and who could have wished it had been ? Would that he had had a Boswell a hundred times as voluminous as Dr. Johnson's, to take all down! Bacon's Essays would have seemed like a drop out of his ocean.
He would have swallowed dozens of Hobbeses by anticipation, like larks for his supper.
If Shakspeare, instead of proving himself the greatest poet in the world, had written nothing but the fanciful scenes in this volume, he would still have obtained a high and singular reputation,—that of Poet of the Fairies. For he may be said to have invented the Fairies; that is to say, he was the first that turned them to poetical account; that bore them from clownish neighbourhoods to the richest soils of fancy and imagination.
WHOLE STORY OF THE TEMPEST.
ENCHANTMENT, MONSTROSITY, AND LOVE.
The whole story of the Tempest is really contained in this scene.
Mira. I pray you, sir,
(For still 'tis beating in my mind) your reason
For raising this sea-storm?
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.
Come away, servants, come; I am ready now;
Approach, my Ariel ; come.
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.
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. Sometimes, I'd divide,
And burn in many places; on the top-mast,
The yards, and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet, and join : Jove's lightnings, the precursors
O'the dreadful thunder-claps more momentary
And sight out-running were not: the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune
Seem'd to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble ;
Yea, his dread trident shake.
My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?
Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mind, and play'd
Some tricks of desperation; all, but mariners,
Plung'd 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.
Why that's my spirit !
But was not this nigh shore ?
Close by, my master,
Pro. But are they, Ariel, safe?
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 kn
Of the king's ship,
The mariners, say, how thou hast dispos’d,
And all the rest o' the fleet?
Safely in harbour
Is the king's ship; in the 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 ;
Whom, 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 wreck’d,
And his great person perish.
Ariel, my charge
Exactly is perform’d; but there's more work:
What is the time o' the day?
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.
How now ? moody?
What is 't thou canst demand ?
Pro. Before the time be out? no more.
I pray thee
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.
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 of the earth,
When it is bak'd with frost.
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.
Thou hast: where was she born ? speak; tell me.
Ari. Sir, in Argier.
0, 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?
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, was 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 which she did litter here,
A freckled whelp, hag-born) not honour'd with
A human shape.
Yes ; Caliban her son.
Pro. Dull thing, I say so,-he, that Caliban,