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The Tempest and The Midsummer Night's Dream are the nobleft efforts of that sublime and amazing imagination peculiar to Shakspeare, which foars above the bounds of nature without forsaking 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 Tbe faithful Shepberdess. But when he presumes to break a lance with Shakspeare, and write in emulation of him, as he does in Tbe False One, which is the rival of Antory and Cleopatra, he is not so successful. After him, Sir John Suckling and Milton catched the brightest fire of their imagination from these two plays; which shines fantastically
indeed in The Goblins, but much more nobly and serenely in The Mask at Ludlow Caftle.
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 in. duction to Bartbolomew Fair, he says : “ If there be never a servant 66 monster in the fair, who can help it, he says, nor a neft of antiques ? “ He is loth to make nature afraid in his plays, like those that beget “ Tales, Tempefts, and such like drolleries." STEEVENS.
I was informed by the late Mr. Collins of Chichester, that Shakspeare's Tempeft, for which no origin is yet afligned, was formed on a romance called Aurelio and Isabella, printed in Italian, Spanish, French, and Englith, in 1588. But though this information has not proved true' on examination, an useful conclusion may be drawn from it, that Shakspeare's story is fomewhere to be found in an Italian novel, at least that the story preceded Shakspeare. Mr. Collins had searched this subject with no less fidelity than judgement and industry ; but his memory failing in his last calamitous indifpofition, he probably gave me the name of one novel for another. I remember he added a circumstance, which may lead to a dis. covery, that the principal character of the romance, answering to Shakspeare's Prospero, was a chemical necromancer, who had bound a fpirit 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 gold 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 Tempeft must have been written after 1609, because the Bermuda islands, which are mentioned 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 shipwrecked there in 1593.
it was, however, one of our author's talt works. la 1598 he played a part in the original Every Man in bis Humour. Two of the character are Profpero and Stephano. Here Ben Jonson taught him the pronuncia: tion of the latter word, which is always
rigor in Tbe Tempeft. “ Is not this Stepbăno, my drunken butler ? And always wrong in his earlier play, The Mercbant of Venice, which ball been on the stage at lealt two or three years before its
publication in 1600 “ My friend Stepbāno, fignify, I pray you," &c.
So little did Mr. Capell know of his author, when he idly fupposed his fcbool literature might perhaps have been lof by the diffipation of yourb, or the busy scene of public life ! FARMER.
This play must have been written before 1634, when Jonson (neen at it in his Bartbolomew Fair. In the latter plays of Shakspeare, he has less of pun and quibble than in his early ones. In Tbe Mercbant of Van nice, he expressly declares against them. This perhaps might be one cri. terion to discover the dates of his plays. BLACKSTONE. See Mr. Malene's attempt to ascertain the order of Sbakspeare's plays.
Alonso, king of Naples.
Trinculo, a jefter.
Master of a fhip, Boatswain, and Mariners,
Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
Hefano - hath bin used in cesh for & masi's betti. franek, craven
agub. Had. Dech.
by Sohn Ilorio.in sol.
On a Ship at Sea.
Enter a Ship-master and, a Boatswain.
Mall, Good : Speak to the mariners : fall to't yarely, or werth ourfelves aground: beftir, bestir,
(Exit. Enter Mariners. beats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts;
, yare : Take in the top-fail; Tend to the master's avhiftle.-Blow, till thou burit thy wind, if room enough! Enter ALONE, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND,
GONZALO, and others.
Boats. Do you not hear him?' You mar our labour ; Keep your cabins :
do assist the ftorm. Gan. Nay, good, be patient.
Boats. When the fea is. Hence! What care these roarers for the name of king? To cabin: filence: trouble us not. Gor. Good; yet remember whom thou haft aboard.
fall to't yarely,] i. c. readily, nimbly. Our author is frequent in his use of this word. STIEVENS.
Here it is applied as a fea-term, and in other parts of the scene. So he uses the adjective, Act V. sc. v. “ Our thip is tight and yare." And in one of the Henries : “ yare are our ships.” To this day the Sailors say,," fit yare to the helm.” T. WARTON.
3 Play sbe men.] i, e. act with spirit, behave like mea. STEEVENS