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Then say if they be true. This mis-shapen knave,
His mother was a witch, and one so strong
That could control the moon, make flows and ebbs,
And deal in her command without her power.
These three have robb'd me; and this demi-devil-
For he's a bastard one—had plotted with them
To take my life. Two of these fellows you
Must know and own; this thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine.


I shall be pinch'd to death.

Alon. Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler?

Seb. He is drunk now: where had he wine?

Alon. And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they
Find this grand liquor that hath gilded 'em?
How camest thou in this pickle?



Trin. I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.

Seb. Why, how now, Stephano!

Ste. O, touch me not; I am not Stephano, but a cramp. Pros. You'ld be king o' the isle, sirrah?

Ste. I should have been a sore one then.

Alon. This is a strange thing as e'er I look'd on.

[Pointing to Caliban.

Pros. He is as disproportion'd in his manners

As in his shape. Go, sirrah, to my cell;
Take with you your companions; as you look
To have my pardon, trim it handsomely.

Cal. Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter
And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
Was I, to take this drunkard for a god

And worship this dull fool!


Go to; away!


Alon. Hence, and bestow your luggage where you found it.
Seb. Or stole it, rather. [Exeunt Cal., Ste., ana Trin.
Pros. Sir, I invite your highness and your train

To my poor cell, where you shall take your rest
For this one night; which, part of it, I'll waste

With such discourse as, I not doubt, shall make it
Go quick away; the story of my life
And the particular accidents gone by
Since I came to this isle: and in the morn
I'll bring you to your ship and so to Naples,
Where I have hope to see the nuptial
Of these our dear-beloved solemnized;


And thence retire me to my Milan, where
Every third thought shall be my grave.


I long

To hear the story of your life, which must
Take the ear strangely.


I'll deliver all;

And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales
And sail so expeditious that shall catch

Your royal fleet far off. [Aside to Ari.] My Ariel, chick,
That is thy charge: then to the elements

Be free, and fare thou well! Please you, draw near.



Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 't is true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.






(For words not explained here, see Glossary.)







.Dr. E. Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar.

.S. T. Coleridge. Lectures on Shakespeare.

Professor Dowden's Shakspere: His Mind and Art.
Elizabethan English.

.H. H. Furness. Variorum Edition of The Tempest.

F1, F2, F3, F4..1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Folios.


M. E.

Md. E..





.All the Folios.

.G. König. Der Vers in Shakspere's Dramen.
Middle English (about 1100-1500).

Modern English.

.R. G. Moulton. Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist.
..Old English (Anglo-Saxon).

..Old French..

..Aldis Wright's edition of The Tempest in the Clarendon Press

Dramatis Personæ. This list is given in the Ff., where it follows the Epilogue.

Act I. Scene I.

This opening scene, contrary to Shakespeare's usual practice, throws little light on the subsequent action of the play. It serves merely to transport us from the world of realities to the domain of enchantment. It contains a vivid sketch of naval operations, which proves that Shakespeare was proficient in the details of seamanship. Dr. Johnson asserted that in this dialogue, "perhaps the first example of sailors' language exhibited on the stage, there are, as I have been told by a skilful navigator, some inaccuracies and contradictory orders". But the second Lord Mulgrave communicated to Malone “a most satisfactory refutation" of this criticism, maintaining that this scene “is a very striking instance of the great accuracy of Shakespeare's knowledge in a professional science, the most difficult to attain without the help of experience". Lord Mulgrave's explanations of the successive operations are given below.

Enter a Ship-Master and a Boatswain. Captain John Smith, in his Accidence for Young Seamen, 1626, says that "The Master and his mate is to direct the course, command all the saylors for steering, trimming, and sayling the ship. The Boteswaine is to have the charge of all the cordage, tackling, sailes, fids, and marling spikes, needles, twine and saile-cloth, and rigging of the shippe."

3. Good is not used in answer to the Boatswain's question, 'what cheer?' The Master could not speak of the cheer as good, when the ship was in danger of running aground. The word expresses satisfaction that the Boatswain is ready to take orders. A similar interjectional use of good occurs in line 14: "Nay, good, be patient"; and in line 18: " Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard". It is probably a contraction of a common form of address, e.g. 'Good, my lord'.

3, 4. fall to 't, yarely, or we run ourselves aground. "Land discovered under the lee: the wind blowing too fresh to haul upon a wind with the topsail set. This first command is therefore a notice

to be ready to execute any orders quickly" (Mulgrave).

4. 6, 7. master's whistle. In Shakespeare's days a great whistle of gold was the ensign of a naval commander, even of the highest rank. Cf. Pericles, iii. 1. 8-10:

"The seaman's whistle

Is as a whisper in the ears of death,

The description of the storm in Pericles, iii. I should be compared throughout with the present scene.

7. Blow, till thou burst thy wind; addressed to the storm. A similar apostrophe in Pericles, iii. 1. 44: "Blow, and split thyself". "The danger

if room enough, if there be sea-room enough.

in a good sea-boat is only from being too near the land" (Mulgrave). 9. Play the men, act with spirit.

When the verb in E. E.


15, 16. What cares these roarers. precedes a plural subject it is frequently in the singular. the subject is as yet future and, as it were, unsettled, the third person singular might be regarded as the normal inflection" (Abbott, § 335, where numerous examples are quoted). A plural nominative is also often followed by a singular verb, which Abbott regards as a survival of the M. E. Northern plural in es.

16. roarers. In the language of Shakespeare's time a blustering bully was called a roarer. Cf. Massinger, The Renagado, i. 3: “A lady to turn roarer, and break glasses".

for the name of king? In this allusion to the contempt of the elements for regal authority we have an anticipation of the problem of the true limits of obedience and service which underlies this play.

To cabin. Notice the contempt of the 'old salt' for the ‘land

lubber', however high his rank. The boatswain is an extraordinarily lifelike sketch. "What a grand old sea-dog is he! Neither Smollett, nor Marryat, nor even Fenimore Cooper ever drew a more graphic character. In the space of a single page we learn to know him as thoroughly as though he lived and moved in our presencea thorough seaman is he; a fine, hardened, blustering, dogmatic, domineering old fellow, whose shaggy beard has been outspread in a hundred tempests, one not apt to spare either himself or his subordinates in the way of duty" ("Shakespeare a Seaman”, St. James's Magazine, July, 1862).

21. work the peace of the present, create peace at this instant. Of, signifying 'coming from', 'belonging to', when used with time signifies during'. (Abbott, § 176.)

26-30. An allusion to the proverb, "He that's born to be hanged needs fear no drowning".

28, 29. the rope of his destiny, the hangman's rope.

31, 32. "The gale increasing, the topmast is struck to take the weight from aloft, make the ship drift less to leeward, and bear the mainsail under which the ship is laid to" (Mulgrave).

31. Down with the topmast! strike or lower the topmast down to the cap.

31, 32. Bring her to try with main-course, keep her close to the wind with the main-sail. To 'lie at try' is to keep as close to the wind as possible. Cf. Hakluyt's Voyages, 1598, I. 277: "And when the barke had way, we cut the hawser, and so gate the sea to our friend, and tryed out al that day with our maine-course".

33. they are louder than the weather or our office, they drown the roaring of the storm and my orders.

42. for drowning, against drowning. Cf. Abbott, § 154.

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44, 45. lay her a-hold...lay her off. The Boatswain, finding the effect of the single sail unsatisfactory, and the danger of shipwreck ever more imminent, issues fresh orders: Keep her to the wind as close as possible, set her fore-sail as well as her main-sail, so as to carry her off to sea again'.

47. must our mouths be cold? Possibly a contemptuous reference by the seaman to the chilling effect of prayer at such a crisis. Cf. Beaumont and Fletcher, The Sea Voyage, i. 1:

"Thou rascal, thou fearful rogue, thou hast been praying.

Is this a time

To discourage our friends with your cold orisons?"

In The Scornful Lady, however, the phrase is used simply in the sense of being dead, which it may bear here.

50. merely. See Glossary.

51. wide-chapp'd, with a wide mouth.

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