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323. a south-west. Southerly winds were supposed to bear fogs and vapors, causing sickness. Cf. As You Like It, iii. 5. 50:
Like foggy south, puffing with wind and rain ”; and Coriolanus, i. 4. 30 : “ All the contagion of the south light on you.” One critic has ingeniously inferred from Shakespeare's constant disparagement of the south wind that he was a person of a somewhat relaxed habit of body, and required a bracing air to be in the full enjoyment of health.”
you . . . ye. Originally ye is nominative, you accusative; but the distinction is not observed by Elizabethan authors. Ye is often used for you where an unaccented syllable is wanted.
326. pen thy breath up, make thee gasp for breath.
urchins, hobgoblins. The meaning of the word is made evident by the connections in which it is used by Shakespeare and other Elizabethan writers, e.g. Merry Wives, iv. 4. 19: “ Like urchins, ouphes, and fairies.” So Reginald Scot in his Discovery of Witchcraft speaks of having been frightened in childhood by stories about spirits, witches, urchins, elves, hags, fairies.” An old song, The Urchins' Dance, runs as follows:
* By the moon we sport and play,
And about go we, go we.” The word has also the meaning of hedgehog, and it is probable that the uncanny, nocturnal habits of this animal came to be attributed to the obsession of fairies, and thence the name itself came to be applied to a class of malicious spirits.
327-328. “ Shall, during that desolate period of night when they are permitted to work, all practice upon thee.” For this use of vast cf. Hamlet, i. 2. 198: In the dead vast and middle of the night.” The various orders of spirits were supposed to have certain stated limits of time during which they might be active. Thus in King Lear, iii. 4. 121, the foul fiend, Flibbertigibbet, “ begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock." The Ghost in Hamlet departs at daybreak.
334. Water with berries in 't. Some critics have detected in this a reference to coffee, which was as yet little known in England. But the reference is to cedar-berries. Stracbey (see Introduction, p. xiii) says: The whole Islands .
are full of Shawes of goodly Cedar . the Berries whereof. made a kind of pleasant drinke.”
339. Cursed be I that did so! the reading of F 1, but the later Folios read Curs'd be I that I did so,” which is preferable as throwing the emphasis on curs’d instead of on I.
342. sty, keep pent up as in a sty.
351-362. This speech is assigned by the Ff to Miranda. Theobald, following Dryden's version, transferred it to Prospero, and the change has been accepted by practically all modern editors. Yet the evidence against the Ff reading is not entirely conclusive. The passage as a whole certainly suits the lips of Prospero better than those of Miranda, and it is natural that the enchanter, whom Caliban has already admitted to be his teacher, should remind the monster of the instruction that he has bestowed on him. Moreover, Prospero must almost inevitably have taken pains to make Caliban speak before Miranda was old enough to act as tutor; on the other hand, if the speech be Miranda's, it explains how Caliban had opportunities of associating with her, which he sought to turn to evil account. The words “I pitied thee fall naturally from Miranda, with her tender heart, and there is possibly a reminiscence of the maiden's instructions in Caliban's reply to Stephano's claim of having been “the man i' the moon,” ii. 2. 143-144:
“I have seen thee in her. ... My mistress show'd me thee.”
358. race, hereditary nature.
364. red plague. Cf. Coriolanus, iv. 1. 13: “Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome.” In The General Practise of Physicke, 1605, three different kinds of plague sore are mentioned : Sometimes it is red, otherwhiles yellow, and sometimes black.”
rid, despatch, destroy. 365. learning, used here, as often in E. E., in the sense of
teaching.” In 0. E. leornian learn, and læran teach, but already in M. E. the meanings had become to some extent confused.
Hag-seed, son of a hag.
366. thou 'rt best : a confusion of two constructions: “ To thee it were best,” and “ Thou had'st best.”
367. malice, malicious thing.
369. old may either (1) be used in an intensive tense: cf. Much Ado About Nothing, v. 2. 98,“ Yonder's old coil at home"; or (2) it may mean Such as age brings on ”; cf. iv. 1. 255,
370. aches, pronounced dissyllabically. In E. E. the noun is spelled ache, and the verb ake. This distinction is invariably preserved in the Ff. The pronunciation of ache, like the letter H, is made clear by an epigram of Heywood, quoted by Wright:
“H, is worst among letters in the crosse row,
For if thou finde him other in thine elbow,
373. Setebos. The name was probably taken by Shakespeare from Eden's History of Travayle, 1577, which contains a translation from the Italian narrative of Antonio Pigafetta, who accompanied Magellan in his circumnavigation of the globe. He relates that Magellan “ took by a deceit ” two gigantic Patagonians by loading them with presents, and then causing shackles of iron to be put on their legs, “ makynge signes that he wold also gyve them those chaynes: which they lyked very wel by cause they were made of bryght and shynynge metal
when they felte the shakels faste abowte theyr legges, they begunne to doubte. In fine when they sawe how they were deceived they rored lyke bulles and cryed uppon theyr greate devyll Setebos to helpe them.”
375. Re-enter Ariel, invisible. A conventional stage costume was used to indicate invisibility. Henslowe in his diary mentions among the wardrobe of his company, the Lord Admiral's men, a robe for to go invisible.”
376–380. Mr. Gosse has suggested that in these lines we have a reminiscence of the passage in Marlowe's Hero and Leander, where Hero describes her watch-tower to her lover as standing
“ Where all is whist and still,
378. kiss'd. This was customary at the time before certain dances. Cf. Henry VIII, i. 4. 95–96:
“ I were unma
mannerly, to take you out, And not to kiss you.”
378-379. If the Ff punctuation be preserved, as in the text, the American critic Allen's interpretation is probably correct :
The nymphs are formed on the sands for a dance; the waves are converted by the poet's imagination into a crowd of spectators, restle an noisy, until the spectacle shall begin ; vhen the nymphs indicate by taking hands, courtesying to, and kissing partners, that they are beginning, the waves are hushed by the signal into silent attention, and thus the nymphs do, in effect, kiss the wild waves whist, although they actually kiss, not the waves, but each other.” Most editors put a comma after kissed, and interpret The wild waves whist as a parenthesis, “ the wild waves being silent.” Such a parenthesis, however, is awkward in a song, and the Ff punctuation is preferable. For whist in the sense of hushed ” or “ silenced,” cf. Spenser, Faërie Queene, vii. 7. 59: So was the Titanesse put down and whist."
380. Foot it featly, dance gracefully. 381. the burthen bear : Pope's emendation of the Ff reading, • bear the burden."
382-383. The Ff print these lines as the burden of the song, in which case Hark, hark! and The watch-dogs bark are probably said by the “sweet sprites," and the double Bow-wow is supposed to come from watch-dogs behind the scenes. Capell assigns Hark, hark, and The watch-dogs bark to Ariel, in which case Bow-wow alone forms the burden.
388. waits upon, attends.
396. fathom: another use of the singular for the plural. Cf. 1. 53. The Ff reading is fadom.
399-400. Everything about him that is liable to alteration undergoes a change through the action of the sea.”
With this beautiful sea-dirge should be compared the earth. dirge in Webster's The White Devil, v. 4:
“ Call for the robin redbreast and the wren,
Since o’er shady groves they hover,
To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm,
Lamb's comment on this lyric is classic in English criticism: “ I never saw anything like this dirge, except the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his drowned father in the Tempest. As that is of the water, watery; so this is of the earth, earthy. Both have that intenseness of feeling, which seems to resolve itself into the elements which it contemplates."
405. ditty : properly the “ words of a song.” Cf. Bacon's Essays, xxxviii: ' And the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty."
408. Raise your eyelids with their fringe of lashes.” For this use of advance cf. iv. 1. 177: “ Advanced their eyelids.” That most subtle of Shakespearean critics, Coleridge, says that
the solemnity of the phraseology assigned to Prospero is completely in character, recollecting his preternatural capacity, in which the most familiar objects in nature preserve themselves in a mysterious point of view."
414. but, except that.
432. A single thing. Ferdinand plays upon the word. He believes that he and the King of Naples are one and the same person; he therefore uses this epithet with reference to its further sense of “solitary,” and so “ feeble and helpless."
433. Naples, the King of Naples. Cf. the following line: myself am Naples.” 435. never since at ebb, always since then flooded with tears
438. And his brave son. There is no further allusion in the play to a son of the Duke of Milan. He may have appeared in some lost source of The Tempest, and this accidental reference may have been preserved. Or Shakespeare, as Theobald suggested, may have marked out such a character in his first plan, but on second thoughts found it unnecessary.
The Duke of Milan, Prospero, the rightful Duke.
439. more braver. For the double comparative cf. Abbott, § 11.