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1. There be some sports are painful. For the omission of the relative cf. Abbott, § 244, and for the use of be cf. Abbott, § 300.



1-2. and their labour Delight in them sets off. (1) Labour may be nominative to sets off, and delight accusative, in which case sets off means heightens by contrast." This is the sense in which sets off" is most frequently used by Shakespeare, and this rendering best suits the use of and. (2) Delight may be the nominative and labour the accusative. In favor of this is the more natural sequence of acc. nom. verb, instead of nom. acc. verb. In this case sets off means "is a set-off against,' removes."

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3-4. most poor matters Point to rich ends, very mean transactions or operations have rich issues in view.

5. heavy, burdensome.

6. quickens, gives life to.

9-10. In the case of the shipwrecked mariners of The Sea Venture, this toil of log-carrying brought on mutiny. For the building of pinnaces, Strachey says, the Governor held them strictly to their work, "namely, to fell, carry, and sawe Cedar, for the Carpenter's purpose," till they conspired and rebelled. 11. sore injunction, an injunction laid upon me with a sore penalty attached.

13. I forget, i.e. to go on with my work.

15. Most busy lest, when I do it. These words form one of the most difficult problems in Shakespearean textual criticism. The different emendations and interpretations of the passage since the time of Pope occupy twelve pages of Furness' Variorum edition. As it stands it cannot be construed. Of the emendations suggested, the following are the most important: (1) Most busy, least when I do it. This is the reading of the later Ff, except that they put the comma after least. The passage may then be paraphrased, "I forget to go on with my work, but these sweet thoughts about my mistress do, as a matter of fact, give fresh alacrity to my labors, and so I am really most engaged on my task when I am least occupied with it." With this interpretation we must look on the natural order of "least when as reversed, and “it a3 referring to "the work understood from my labours in the previous line. (2) Most busiest (or possibly busil'est for busilyest) when I do it. In this case it' refers to forget," and we interpret, "I am most busy (for my mind is so occupied with thoughts) just when I am forgetting my work,







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and so seem idle." (3) Spedding conjectures, most busiest, when idlest, which Wright regards as on the whole the best suggestion yet made. (4) Most busiless when I do it, "least busy when engaged in the work, because the thought of my mistress makes the task seem trivial." This is, however, most unlikely, for busiless is found nowhere else, and is a word of more than questionable formation.

31. worm, used in the sense of creature as a term of commiseration.


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32. visitation: suggested by "infected in the previous line, both words being used of the plague.

37. broke, for broken.

Cf. Abbott, § 343.

38. the top of admiration, that beyond which admiration cannot go.

46. put it to the foil, foiled, defeated.

52. features: used in E. E. of the whole bodily shape, not, as now, merely of the face. Cf. Richard III, i. 1. 19, where the hunchback king complains that he is "Cheated of feature by dissembling nature."

53. skilless of, ignorant of.

62. wooden slavery, bondage of bearing logs.

than to suffer. For the construction cf. Abbott, § 350: "To is often omitted in the former of two clauses and inserted in the latter, particularly when the finite principal verb is an auxiliary or like an auxiliary."

63. The flesh-fly blow my mouth, the stinging horse-fly light on my lips. Shakespeare uses the word blow in connection with flies in Antony and Cleopatra (v. 2. 60) and in The Winter's Tale (iv. 4. 820).

70. hollowly, insincerely.

invert, change, pervert.

71. What: used for the indefinite pronoun any or anything. Cf. Abbott, § 255.

78. and much less take, and much less dare take.

79. die to want, die through wanting. Cf. Abbott, § 356. 80. it relates to nothing expressed by Miranda, but to what her characteristic delicacy shrinks from naming - love.



81-86. Miranda speaks with the sacred candour from which spring the nobler manners of a world more real and glad than the world of convention and proprieties and pruderies (Dowden). A similar instance of this 'sacred candour is Elaine's declaration of love to Lancelot, in The Idylls of the King.


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84. fellow, companion.

94. book, the magician's conjuring-book. The last cry of Marlowe's Faustus, as the devils come to drag him to hell, is, "I'll burn my books."



In this scene we see that the conspiracy against Prospero, so enthusiastically started, is not prospering. Quarrels between Trinculo and Caliban are already disturbing the unity of the "triple alliance"; and Ariel's unseen interference provokes a downright hand-to-hand encounter between Stephano and lieutenant Trinculo. But peace is patched up for a time, and Stephano inspirits the company with his song, which Dowden has jestingly named the Marseillaise of the enchanted island.”


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3. bear up: a nautical phrase meaning to put the helm up, and keep a vessel off her course. Servant-monster. For Ben Jonson's mockery of this phrase, cf. Introduction, p. vii.

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5. the folly of this island: possibly a toast which Trinculo proposes to Caliban to drink, but more probably one of Trinculo's jealous asides.

7. brained like us, having brains like ours.

10. set in thy head, having a fixed look through drinking. In the next line Trinculo interprets the words literally.

18. standard, standard-bearer.

19-20. he's no standard, he's too drunk to stand. 28-30. in case to justle, in the humor for jostling. 29. deboshed, debauched.


63. this thing, Trinculo.

dare not, would not dare under any circumstances; stronger than dares.

75. quick freshes, the living springs of fresh water. Strachey notes the lack of "fresh Rivers " in the Bermudas.

78-79. make a stock-fish of thee, beat thee as a stock-fish (dried cod) is beaten before it is boiled.

98. paunch him, run him through the paunch or belly.

101. nor hath not. For the double negative cf. Abbott, § 406.

103. but, only.

104. utensils, apparently accented on the first syllable.

105. With which he will deck his house, when he has it."


The clause" which he'll deck his house withal is interrupted by the change to when he has a house."

106. that, that which.

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Cf. Abbott, § 405.

to consider, to be considered.

109. she, for her.

111. Is it so brave a lass? For this use of it, cf. i. 2. 134. 127. but while-ere, only a short time since. 128. do reason, do what is reasonable.




132. Thought is free. This was a proverbial expression; cf. Twelfth Night, i. 3. 73: Now, sir, thought is free.' Furness refers to Skelton's Phyllyp Sparowe, 1. 1201: Thought is franke and fre"; and Wright quotes an instance of the phrase from Lyly's Euphues.

136. the picture of Nobody. We cannot identify the exact picture alluded to; it may have been the print of Nobody, depicted as a man, with merely head, arms, and legs, which is prefixed to the anonymous comedy, Nobody is Somebody, printed before 1600; or it may have been the engraving on an old ballad, The Well-spoken Nobody, which represents a ragged man surrounded by broken household utensils, and bearing the motto, Nobody is my name that beareth everybodyes blame.”


Cf. Abbott, § 211.


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144-152. After all, Caliban is a poet. For the sake of this one passage, his ugliness is forgotten by the delighted reader, and all his faults are forgiven..

151. that, so that.

156. by and by may here, like presently in E. E., mean immediately, or it may shortly, as in 1 Henry IV, V. 4. 109: "Imbowelled will I see thee by-and-by."

162. Wilt come? These words have been transferred by some critics to Stephano. But they are probably addressed by Trinculo to Caliban, who, vexed at his companions for running after the music instead of hurrying to Prospero's cell, may have lingered behind.


Antonio and Sebastian are still intent on carrying out the fell design against Alonso in which they have once been foiled, but they are now to have their misdeeds brought home to them with appalling suddenness. They find themselves bidden to a mysterious banquet, which vanishes in thunder and lightning,

whence Ariel in the form of a harpy warns them of their doom. "The whole past stands out before them as no more than the story of one foul deed and its avenging; the very sea which they had made the innocent accomplice of their crime has bided his time to requite them, and the shores, yea, every creature, are incensed against them. The future looms before them as lingering perdition stretching beyond death. All space and time seems to have resolved itself into a trap of fate for them; and there is but one small avenue of escape hinted at in 'heart-sorrow and a clear life ensuing (Moulton). Alonso is moved to repentance by the strange apparition, but Antonio and Sebastian are inspired for the time to fresh fury.


1. By 'r lakin, by our ladykin, or little lady, i.e. the Virgin. 3. forth-rights and meanders, straight paths and tortuous windings.

8. for my flatterer, to flatter me.

11. he's so out of hope, there's no hope of his being still alive.

14. throughly, thoroughly.

15. oppress'd, overcome.

Above. In the Ff this stage direction reads on the top, meaning, perhaps, in some machine let down with ropes from the ceiling, or possibly only in the balcony at the back of the stage."

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21. A living drollery. A drollery, in Shakespeare's time, meant a puppet-show. A living drollery is a show in which the figures are not wooden dolls, but living persons.



22-24. unicorns. Described by Pliny as having "the head of a stag, the feet of an elephant, the tail of a boar, while the rest of the body is like a horse. It makes a lowing noise and has a single black horn projecting from the middle of the forehead, two cubits long." He wisely adds that this animal cannot be taken alive." Pliny, to whom we owe also our original information about the Phoenix, confesses ignorance as to whether it be a tale or no that there is never but one of them in all the world, and the same not commonly seen." He describes the bird" by report' 66 as being as big as an Ægle; for colour, as yellow and bright as gold (namely, all about the necke); the rest of the bodie a deep red purple; the taile azure blew." For the further legend, that there is only one tree in Arabia on which the Phoenix builds, cf. The Phoenix and the Turtle:


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