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Like Prospero, he had sacrificed his position to his art, and, like him, he had dwelt upon an enchanted island in the ocean of life. He had been its lord and master, with dominion over spirits, with the spirit of the air as his servant, and the spirit of the earth as his slave. At his will graves had opened, and by his magic art the heroes of the past had lived again. The words with which Prospero opens the fifth act come, despite all gloomy thoughts of death and wearied hopes of rest, straight from Shakespeare's own lips :
'Now does my project gather to a head:
My charms crack not; my spirits obey; and time
All will soon be accomplished and Ariel's hour of deliverance is nigh. The parting of the master from his genius is not without a touch of melancholy :—
'My dainty Ariel! I shall miss thee,
Prospero has determined in his heart to renounce all
'To the elements
Be free, and fare thou well!'
He has taken leave of all his elves by name, and now C utters words whose personal application has never been approached by any character hitherto set upon the B stage by Shakespeare:
'But this rough magic
I'll break my staff,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
Solemn music is heard, and Shakespeare has bidden farewell to his art.
ALONSO, King of Naples.
PROSPERO, the right Duke of Milan.
FERDINAND, son to the King of Naples.
CALIBAN, a savage and deformed Slave.
STEPHANO, a drunken Butler.
Master of a Ship.
MIRANDA, daughter to Prospero.
presented by Spirits.
Other Spirits attending on PROSPERO.
ACT THE FIRST.
On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard.
Enter a SHIP-MASTER and a BOATSWAIN.
BOATS. Here, master: what cheer?
MAST. Good, speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir. [Exit.
BOATS. Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the master's whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others.
ALON. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.
BOATS. I pray now, keep below.
ANT. Where is the master, boatswain?