From The Tempest. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
1, 2. If by ... them. If by your art you have cast the waves
into such a state of wild commotion, I entreat you to calm them
again; wild is proleptic, the waters which you have made wild; for the usage of roar, a subs. for the verbal noun, Wright compares 'stare,' iii. 3. 95, below.
3. stinking pitch, a deluge of rain as black and foul as pitch.
4. But that, if it were not that, etc. Malone quotes Lear. iii. 7. 69-61, "The sea in such a storm as his bare head In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoy'd up And quench'd the
stelled fires": welkin, sky; derivation uncertain, used as an adj. in W. T. i. 2. 136. For cheek, Delius compares R. II. iii. 3. 57, "the cloudy cheeks of heaven"; Cor. v. 3. 161, "The wide cheeks o' the air."
5. fire, a dissyllable.
6. brave, gallant, fine-looking. This sense of the word is intermediate between 'courageous' and 'showy.' Shakespeare and
Bacon both use 'bravery' in the sense of 'ostentation,' 'display,' e.g. M. M. i. 3. 10, Essay xxxvi., and also in the sense of 'bravado,' e.g, Oth. i. 1. 100, Essays xi., xxv., lvii. These senses,
whether in the sub. or the adj., are now almost entirely obsolete.
7. creatures. Knight retains the reading of the folio, 'creature,' believing that Miranda meant some 'superior person' on board as well as the 'poor souls,' the common sailors, whom she saw perish.
9. Against ... heart, penetrated to the very centre of my
10. god of power, god possessed of power, powerful god; cp.
1. 55, below, "prince of power," A. C. iii. 4. 29, "the Jove of power."
11. or ere. See Abb. § 131.
13. ffraughting souls, those who formed its fraught or freight:
Be collected, do not be so distracted, recover your equanimity.
14. No ... amazement, let there be no more, do not give way to
any more, amazement, consternation; cp. K. J. v. 1. 137, "And
wild amazement hurries up and down The little number of your doubtful friends."
15. woe the day! woe to the day, alas for the day; cp. 'woe the while,' 'woe is me,' etc., and see Abb. § 230: No harm, Johnson and Walker would give the words, with a note of
interrogation, to Miranda.
19. Of whence, for the redundancy here, see Abb. § 179, and
for the double comparative § 11.
20. full poor, thoroughly mean, wretched.
21. And ... father. And thy father, whose greatness consists
in nothing more than being master, etc.
21. More ... thoughts. It never mixed with my thoughts,
entered into my mind, to wish to know more than this.
24. So, that is well.
25. Lie ... art, apostrophizing his mantle, with the putting on
or off of which his magic powers were assumed or laid aside. "Sir W. Cecil, lord Burleigh, lord high treasurer, etc., when he put off his gown at night used to say, 'Lie there, lord treasurer.' Fuller's Holy State" (Steevens).
26-32. The direful ... sink. The wreck, the sight of which
touched to the quick your feelings of pity, I have, by the provident care belonging to my magic art, so managed that not a single creature on board the vessel has suffered so much injury as the
loss of a single hair. Various emendations have been proposed here: Rowe, 'no soul lost'; Theobald, 'no foil'; Johnson, 'no soil,' i.e., stain, blemish; Capell, 'no loss': but probably
Shakespeare began the sentence with one construction and ended
it with another; cp. Oth. i. 3. 62-4; M. V. iv. 1. 134-6. The
... virtue, "the most efficacious part, the energetic quality; in a like sense we say, the virtue of the plant is its extract" (Johnson). For provision Hunter conjectured 'prevision,' which
has been adopted by Dyce and Singer.
31. Betid, see Abb. § 342: cry, of course, refers to creature, sink to vessel .
33. must ... know, i.e. the right moment to tell you has now
35. And ... inquisition, and left me vainly to question myself as to what it was that you were going to tell me; though she says above, "More to know did never meddle with my thoughts":
bootless, vain; Shakespeare uses both the subs. 'boot,' profit,
and the impersonal verb 'it boots': A.S. bot, profit, advantage.
37. The very ... ear; not merely has the hour come, but this
very instant it is necessary that you should listen to what I have
to tell you.
41. Out ... old, fully three years old; cp. below, iv. 1. 101, "and be a boy right out," i.e, completely.
42. by any ... person? What is it which enables you to
remember a time before we came here? Is it by your recollection
of any other house or person that you are enabled to recall that
43-4. Of any ... remembrance. Mention to me any fact or
occurrence the recollection of which still dwells in your mind.
In kept with there is the idea of dwelling in a house with
someone else; cp. M. V. iii. 3. 19, "It is the most impenetrable
cur That ever kept with."
44-6. 'Tis ... warrants. What I remember is in the far background of time, and more resembles a dream than any fact the certainty of which can be guaranteed by recollection, justly so called.
50. backward, as examples of adverbs first turned into
adjectives and then used as nouns, Wright compares 'inward,' M. M. iii. 2. 138, 'outward,' Sonnets. lxix. 5. See Abb. § 77. abysm, abyss, a depth that is without bottom; directly from the O. F. abisme.
52. thou mayst, i.e., remember. But that ... not, but how I
came here I do not remember.
53. Twelve ... since. In order that this line should scan, some editors have supposed that year in the former instance is a dissyllable, in the latter a monosyllable; but the Camb. Edd. well remark, "That one word should bear two pronunciations
in one line is far more improbable than that the unaccented
syllable before 'twelve' is purposely omitted by the poet; and few readers will not acknowledge the solemn effect of such a verse." For the sing. year, cp. 'fathom five,' i. 2. 396, below;
'ten mile,' M. A. ii. 3. 14; 'fifteen year,' T. S. Ind. ii. 115;
'a thousand pound,' Haml. iii. 2. 298. In all such cases measurement or weight are spoken of, and these are looked upon in the aggregate.
55. A ... power, see note on 1. 10 above.
56, 7. Thy ... daughter; an indirect way of saying that he
was her father. For piece, to denote a person of supreme excellence, cp. A. C. iii. 2. 28, Per. iv. 6. 118, W. T. iv. 4. 32, "Their transformations Were never for a piece of beauty rarer" (than Perdita). The word was, however, sometimes used in contempt.
58, 9. thou ... issued. The folios read, "and his only heir and princess," etc. Pope altered 'And' in the latter line to 'A,' and has been followed by Dyce, Delias, Singer, Staunton; Dyce and Singer in the former line read 'thou his' without 'and.' These two alterations I have adopted: no worse issued, of no
meaner descent; cp. M. M. iii. 1. 143, "For such a warped slip of wilderness Ne'er issued from his blood"; i. H. VI. v. 4. 38, "Not me begotten of a shepherd swain, But issued from the
progeny of kings."
60. that ... thence? which resulted in our coming, etc.
61. Or blessed ... did? Or was it a fortunate circumstance
that we came, etc.
63. holp, for 'holpen,' see Abb. § 343. 'Holp' is also used by
Shakespeare as a preterite; cp. R. III. i. 2. 107, "Let him
thank me, that holp to send him thither."
64. teen, trouble, anxiety.
67, 8. that ... perfidious! to think that a brother should, etc.; what an awful thought!
69, 70. and ... state, and made over to him, entrusted him with,
the, etc.: manage is also used by Shakespeare of the training or
breaking in of a horse; 'management' is a later coinage.
70-2. as at ... duke, which at that time was the first in rank
of all the principalities, while I had the reputation of being
superior in point of dimity to all my peers, and, in knowledge
of the liberal arts, without equal: liberal, contrasted with
'mechanical'; cp. Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, i. 1. 35, "His
study fits a mercenary drudge ... Too servile and illiberal for me":
on as = 'as regards which,' 'though,' 'for,' see Abb. § 111.
74. those ... study, those being the whole subject of my occupation, I being wholly taken up with, etc.
76. stranger, seems to be a subs. here: transported, carried
78. Dost thou ... me? Are you attentive to what I am saying?
79-82. Being ... 'em: Having once made himself perfect in the
art of granting suits and of refusing them (without exciting ill-will), and having learnt whom it would be expedient to advance and whom to check for behaving in an overbearing manner, created as his own officers those who had originally been of my creation, or changed them for others, or else, if he retained them, formed them anew after his own pattern. Schmidt takes changed as = 'transformed,' which does not seem to differ from
or else new formed 'em, and takes away from the force of else.
Wright considers or ... or as equivalent to either ... or. Two
interpretations have been given for 'to trash,' (1) to lop, (2) to clog; in the former case the metaphor is from arboriculture, in the latter, from hunting. The majority of modern commentators are in favour of the latter, but it has not been shown that to 'overtop' is a technical term of the chase, though it is
of arboriculture; nor that 'trash' is used in arboriculture, though it is in hunting. That Dryden took 'trash' in the
former sense is evident, as in his and Davenant's recension of the play the line runs, "Or lop for over topping." Perhaps there is a confusion of metaphors.
83-5. having ... ear; i.e., the tuning key; being, able to
dispose of all offices as he pleased, and to make the holders of
them act exactly in accordance with his wishes. Cp. a similar
metaphor in Oth. ii. 1. 202, "O, you are well tuned now! But I'll set down the pegs that make this music."
85-7. that now ... on't. So that by this time he had become,
in reference to me, the ivy whose overgrowth obscures the tree
round which it twines, and sucks its ireshness, its life's blood,
out of it. Ellacombe, Plant-Lore of Shakespeare, says the ivy
"will very soon destroy soft-wooded trees such as the poplar and the ash by its tight embrace, not by sucking out the sap, but by preventing the outward growth of the shoots and checking—and at length preventing the flow of the sap." ... on, for
of, is frequent in Shakespeare. For the idea here compare Bacon, Hist. of Henry the Seventh. vol. vi., p. 202, Spedding's edition:
"But it was ordained that this winding-ivy of a Plantagenet (Perkin Warbeck) should kill the true tree itself."
89-92. all ... rate, being wholly given up to the life of a recluse, and to the improving of my mind with inquiries which, if it were not for their being of a nature demanding such close and solitary study, were worth more than all popular applause and esteem, rate, for 'estimation,' as below, ii. 1. 109, and frequently in Shakespeare.
93-6. and my ... was; and my trust, as is often the case with
parents in regard to the children they beget, engendered in him
a treachery correspondingly great. "Alluding," says Johnson,
"to the observation that a father above the common rate of men has generally a son below it." For its, see Abb. § 228.
97. sans, without: Wright remarks that this French preposition "may perhaps have been employed at first in purely French phrases, such as 'sans question,' L. L. L. v. 1. 91; 'sans compliment,' K. J. V. 6. 16. But Shakespeare uses it with other words, as here and in Haml. iii. 4. 79, 'sans all' and other passages.
Compare A. Y. L. ii. 7. 116"....
97, 9. He being ... exact, he being invested, as a lord, not only with the wealth which my revenues yielded, but also with whatever the exercise of my power might forcibly exact: the words like one ... his own lie are parenthetic, and the nom. case he is repeated in consequence of the length of the parenthesis.
100-3. Who ... duke, "who having made his memory such a sinner to truth as to credit his own lie by telling of it [i.e., by repeatedly telling it]" (Boswell), came to believe he really was
the rightful duke. Malone quotes a passage from Bacon's Hist. of Henry VII, regarding Perkin Warbeck: "Nay himself, with long and continual counterfeiting, and with oft telling a lye, was turned by habit almost into the thing he seemed to be; and from a liar to be a believer." it, sc. the lie: into, for unto, as fre
quently in Shakespeare.
103-5. out ... prerogative: in consequence of having filled my place, and having worn the appearance, and exercised the functions, of royalty, with all its dignities and privileges; 'prerogative' meant a previous choice or election, and was originally used of those whose opinion was asked before others; a technical term, in Roman elections, of the tribe that was first called upon to give its vote. For substitution, cp. ii. H. IV. i. 3. 84, "But who is substituted 'gainst the French, I have no certain knowledge," i.e. who is to act as deputy for the king in commanding his forces against the French.
106. thou, "in Shakespeare's time ... was the pronoun of (1)
affection towards friends, (2) good-humoured superiority to servants, and (3) contempt or anger to strangers. It had, however, already fallen somewhat into disuse, and, being regarded as archaic, was naturally adopted (4) in the higher poetic style and in the language of solemn prayer" ... (Abb. § 231).
107-9. To have ... Milan. In order that there might be nothing between the part assumed and the reality, he was determined to become Duke without any restrictions. him ... for, not Prospero, but the Duke in the abstract.
109, 10. Me ... enough: i.e. as for me; for the construction, Dyce quotes Tim. v. 1. 61, 2, "whose thankless natures, — O, abhored spirits, Not all the whips of heaven are large enough"; M. M. ii. 1, 15, "Erred in this point which now you censure him": large enough, sc. in his contemptuous estimate of me.
111. incapable, unable to wield: confederates, enters into a confederacy, league; Shakespeare does not elsewhere use the verb, though 'confederate,' the subs., 'fedary' and 'federary'
occur in the same bad sense.
112. dry, thirsty; Steevens compares T. C. ii. 3, 232, "His ambition is dry."
114. his coronet, dim., crowns worn by noblemen or petty rulers; cp. H. V.. ii. Chor. 10, "With crowns imperial, crowns, and coronets," i.e., crowns such as are worn by emperors, by
inferior sovereigns, and by peers.
114-6. and ... stooping. And bow his dukedom, which as yet had never acknowledged any sovereign as paramount lord, to a most ignoble subordination.
117. his condition, his contract, engagement, with the King of
Naples: the event, what resulted from that contract.
118. If this ... brother. If this could possibly be; see Abb. §
118, 9. I should ... grandmotber: it would be unbecoming in
me to think anything but what was noble of my grandmother,
which I should be doing if I doubted whether this man was
really your brother; she takes her father's words literally.
122. inveterate, of long standing, and, so, rooted, determined:
hearkens, listens to with a favourable ear; for omission of prep, see Abb. § 199, and cp. M. A. iii. 1. 12, "To listen our purpose."
123, 4. in lieu ... tribute, in consideration of the stipulated
rendering of homage, and the payment of a certain annual
tribute, the exact amount of which I do not know, or remember; in lieu of, lit. 'in place of,' is always used by Shakespeare to mean 'in return for': premises, the things premised, mentioned before between them.
125. presently, at once, immediately; as most generally in Shakespeare: extirpate, with accent on the second syllable.
127. whereon, on which, as a consequence of which agreement
and for which purpose.
128. levied, being levied; the part. absolute.
129. Fated ... purpose, decreed by destiny, and, so, made suitable; for purpose, which occurs again two lines lower, Dyce reads 'practice,' i.e. plot, scheme, a conjecture made by Collier's MS. Corrector.
130. i' the dead of darkness, in the death-like stillness of midnight; cp. Haml, i. 2. 198, "in the dead vast and middle of the night"; T. A. ii. 3. 99, "at dead time of the night."
131. The ... purpose, those to whom the execution of the design had been entrusted.
132. Alack, alas; derivation uncertain, commonly said to be a corruption of 'alas' but possibly, acoording to Skeat, to be referred to M.E. lak, signifying 'loss,' 'failure,' etc., and thus meaning 'ah! failure' or 'ah! a loss.'
134. Will ... again, will cry my cry over again; cognate accus.
134, 5. it is.... to 't. What you tell me compels me to have
recourse to these tears; hint, motive, occasion, as below, ii. 1. 3, "our hint of woe is common." "Hint properly signifies 'a thing taken,' i.e. a thing caught or apprehended; being a contraction of M. E. hinted, taken; or rather a variant of the old pp. hent with the same sense" (Skeat, Ety. Diet.): wrings, forces, tortures; cp. H. V. iv. 1. 253, "his own wringing" i.e. torture.
The word originally means to twist.
135-8. Hear ... impertinent. Listen to a few more words as
to what happened in former days, and then I will come to the
matter with which we have now to deal, and but for which this
relation would be irrelevant, not to the purpose; 'impertinent'
and 'impertinency,' are used by Shakespeare in this, their proper, sense only, cp. Lear. iv. 6. 178; in M. V. ii. 2. 146, impertinent is misused by Launcelot for 'pertinent.' So, Bacon, Essay viii,
"Account future times impertinencies" i.e. things wholly irrelevant, and Essay xxvi., "and some whatsoever is beyond their reach, will seem to despise, or make light of it, as impertinent or
curious," i.e. as irrelevant or over-nice. For the which, see Abb. § 270, and for its use after a previous 'which,' cp. C. E. v. 1. 230, "The chain which God he knows I saw not, for the which He did arrest me."
139. That hour, i.e. at that hour.
139. Well demanded, that is a pertinent question: wench, though now more commonly used in a bad, or, at least, contemptuous sense, was in Shakespeare's day "a general familiar expression in any variation of tone between tenderness and contempt" (Schmidt).
140. provokes, suggests, naturally elicits: durst, the past
indicative of dare, in all persons of both numbers. "Dare
makes a new preterite, dared, when it signifies to challenge, as
'he dared me to do it'" (Morris, Hist. Outl. etc. , § 299).
141. nor set, nor dared they set.
143. With ... ends. But disguised their foul designs under
more specious appearances.
144. In few, in a few words, briefly; for instances of this use
of adj. for subs., see Abb. § 5.
146. A rotten ... boat, the mere ruins of a boat utterly unseaworthy; cp. M. V. iii. 1. 6, "where the carcases of many a tall ship lie buried."
147. Nor tackle, nor having tackle, etc.
147, 8. the very ... it: the belief that rats have a presentiment
as to a vessel fated to be wrecked, and therefore leave it before
a voyage, is of very old origin, and is still held by many sailors.
A similar belief is that crows will not build upon trees likely to
148. hoist, thepast tense of 'hoise'; the fut. is used in ii. H. VI. i. 1. 169, "We'll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat."
150, 1. To the ... wrong. To the winds that out of sympathy returned our sighs, and so, though only through their love, did us harm; the wrong done him by the waves seems to be contrasted
with that done him by his brother. Steevens compares W. T. iii. 3. 101, "how the poor souls roared and the sea mocked them."
152, 3. O, a ... me. Rather, says Prospero you were an angel whose presence with me saved me from despair: cherubin, the form of the word which, except in Haml. iv. 3. 50, Shakespeare always uses.
154. Infused, inspired, lit. poured in; cp. T. C. i. 3. 69, "heaven hath infused them with these spirits.
155. deck'd, "would seem to be a form, if it be not a corruption, of the provincialism degg'd, i.e. 'sprinkled' ('Deg, to sprinkle,' Craven Dialect)" (Dyce, Gloss.): full salt, very salt,
like the sea itself.
156. Under ... groan'd, sc. and groaned under the burden of
my grief which was too heavy to bear without complaint.
156-8. which ... ensue. Which (sc. your smiling) animated me
with a courage enabling me to bear up against the coming
misfortunes: cp. Cymb. iii. 2. 7, "She's punished for her truth,
and undergoes. More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults
As would take in some virtue." stomach is used figuratively
by Shakespeare for power of digestion, inclination, anger,
stubborn courage, arrogance.
162, 3. being ... design, he being then entrusted with the management of this business; the folios read 'who being,' etc.
Pope omitted who, Capell changed it to 'he'; if the folios are rignt there is a confusion of construction.
164. stuffs, goods.
165. have ... much, have stood us in good stead, been of the
greatest use to us, cp. Oth. i. 3. 344, " I could never better stead
thee than now." so ... gentleness, and in like manner out of his
kindness of heart.
168, 9. Would I ... man! 0, that I might only see that man,
whenever it might be; see Abb. § 39.
169. Now I arise: Dyce, who in an earlier edition had given as a stage direction, "Resumes his robe," writes in his latest, "I cannot dispel the obscurity which has always hung over these words.... Mr. Staunton gives the words as spoken '[Aside to Ariel, above]'; and cites, in confirmation of that
stage-direction, the conclusion of Prosperous next speech, 'Come
away, servant, come! I'm ready now: Approach, my Ariel, come.'" Delius prefers Dyce's original suggestion, as indicating that Prospero is about to resume his character as a magician.
172. profit, probably a verb here.
173. princesses, many edd. give the contracted form princess',
i.e. 'princesses.' Walker, Shakespeare's Versification, p. 243, says
"The plurals of substantives ending in s, in certain instances in se, ss, ce, and sometimes ge; occasionally too, but very rarely, in
sh, and ze; are found without the usual addition of s or es, in
pronunciation at least, although in many instances the plural
affix is added in printing, where the metre shows that it is not
to be pronounced."
174. For vainer hours. "'Hours,' of course, is here used for
the occupations with which time is employed, as in R. II. iii. 1.
11, 'sinful hours,' and v. 1. 25, 'profane hours'"... (Wright).
and tutors, i,.e. and have tutors who are not so careful as to the
way in which the time is spent, as I have been in your case.
176. For ... mind, for the thought is still throbbing in, etc.
177. thus ... forth, this much further.
179. Now ... lady, who is now my auspicious mistress, not
unpropitious as in earlier days. Delius quotes Cymb. ii. 3. 158,
"Your mother too: she's my good lady."
181-4. I find ... droop. I find by my calculations that my
prosperity will rise to its highest point, or for all future time
sink to its lowest, according as I obey, or neglect, the warning
given me by a most auspicious star now in the ascendant; 'zenith,' 'auspicious' and 'influence,' are all terms in the so-called science of astrology. Cp. J. C. iv. 3. 218-21, "There is
a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to
fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life, Is bound in
shallows and in miseries."
185, 6. 'tis ... way: it is a sleepiness that is good for you, and one which it will be well for you to yield to; for the construction, it is a good dulness and give it way, cp. M. A. v. 1. 303, "I do
embrace your offer; and dispose For henceforth of poor Claudio," i.e. 'and do you dispose,' etc., and v. 3. 28 of the same play, "Thanks to you all and leave us." "Dr. Warburton rightly
remarks that this sleepiness, which Prospero by his art had
brought upon Miranda, and of which he knew not how soon
the effect would begin, makes him question her so often whether
she is attentive to his story" (Johnson).
186. canst ... choose, cannot help it, have no choice but to yield to it.
189. All hail, lit. all health to you; a common form of greeting: grave sir, reverend sir, as Florizel addresses his father, disguised as an old man, "my grave sir," W. T. iv. 4. 422.
190. thy ... pleasure, whatever in your will it may seem best
for me to do.
192, 3. to thy ... quality. Tax me, and all my fellaw-spirits, by giving me commands the most difficult to execute that you can think of; quality, for profession, is frequent in Shakespeare,
e.g. T. G. iv. 1. 58, M. M. ii 1. 59, Haml. ii 2. 263, and seems
here to mean the members of his profession, his confederate spirits, the "meaner ministers" of iii. 3. 87. Schmidt takes the word as = faculty.
194. to point, exactly in every particular; cp. M. M. iii. 1.
254, and below, 1. 500, "all points of my command:" for performed ... the tempest, executed the design of the tempest, cp. below, iii. 3. 84, "Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou Perfom'd, my Ariel."
195. To ... article, even to the minutest detail; article, lit.
a little joint.
196, 7. beak, bow, cp. Lat. rostrum used in the same sense,
waist, the part of the vessel between the quarter-deck and the
198. I ... amazement. I appeared in the shape of a flame and
terrified every one; for amazement = confusion, consternation,
cp. K. J. V. 1. 35.
200. distinctly, having divided myself into several flames; cp.
Cor. iii. 1. 206, "And Dury all which yet distinctly ranges In
heaps and piles of ruins," iv. 3. 48.
201, 2. Jove's ... thunder-claps, Steevens compares Lear. iii. 2. 5, "Vaunt couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts:" more
momentary, more things of a moment.
203. the ... cracks, the flashes of lightning and reports of the
206. My ... spirit! Well done, my fine spirit!
207, 8. Who ... reason? Were there among them any of such
resolute courage that their reason was not infected with madness?
coil, turmoil, confusion, a word of Celtic origin frequent in
Shakespeare, and no connection with 'to coil,' to gather together,
208, 10. Not a ... desperation. There was not one of them but
behaved like a madman, when the fit is on him, and played some
desperate prank or other.
211. quit, quitted; see Abb. § 341.
213. then ... hair, then standing up so stiffly that they
resembled reeds rather than hair; for up-staring, cp. J. G, iv.
3. 280, "Art thou some god ... That makest my blood cold and
my hair to stare?"
215. Why, ... spirit! Well done, you are my trustworthy
216. But ... shore? i.e. but I hope you managed the wreck so
that those on board should be near enough to the shore to swim
218. sustaining, two explanations have been given of this
word, (1) the garments which bore them up, as in Haml, iv. 7. 176, "Her clothes spread wide. And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up," (2) garments which suffered this wetting. The Camb.
Edd. conjecture 'sea-stained'; Spedding, 'unstaining,' or 'sea-staining.'
219. But fresher than before, but they are fresher, etc. For
the ellipse, see Abb. 403.
220. troops, groups.
222. coollng of, cp. 'by telling of it,' l. 100, above, and see
Abb. § 178.
223. odd angle, some out of the way corner or nook.
224. in ... knot, with his arms folded and looking very sad;
Ariel here imitates the prince's attitude; cp. T. A. iii. 2. 4,
"Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot."
224, 5. Of the ... disposed, tell me how you have disposed of,
where you have left, the crew of the king's ship?
226. Safely, see Abb. § 78.
229. still-vex'd, ever agitated by storms. The Bermudas
(formerly 'Bermoothes') in the West Indies were popularly called the Isles of Devils, by reason of the boisterous nature of the sea round about them, which sailors accounted for by saying they were inhabited by devils.
230. under ... stow'd, packed away in the lower deck with the
hatches or gratings battened down to prevent their escaping to
the shore: to 'stow' is generally used of cargo, and the crew are here spoken of as if they were little better than cargo.
231. with ... labour, the sleepiness produced by their exertions
was increased by a spell which Ariel threw over them.
234. flote, "flood, wave, sea ... Minsheu has 'A flote or wave.
G. flot. L. fluctus,' The Guide into Tongues"... (Dyce Gloss.)
236, 7. wreck'd ... perish, 'wreck' being a trans, verb, the past part, is necessary, while 'perish,' intrans., is in the infinitive.
240. glasses, hours; time being formerly measured by hourglasses, with bulbs filled with sand which took an hour to run from one bulb to the other; a still earlier instrument for measuring time was the water-clock of the Greeks. Staunton, to obviate Prospero's answering his own question, would read,
"At least two glasses — the time," etc., makine 'two glasses' in apposition to 'the time.' But there is nothing strange in Prospero's confirming Ariel's statement that it was past noon, by saying, though he did not know the exact time, that it must be at least two hours beyond noon.
242. pains, laborious tasks.
243. remember, remind; cp. W. T. iii. 2. 231, and see Abb. §
244. Which ... me. A promise which has not yet been kept;
for me, the indir. obj., see Abb. § 220. How now? moody? What's the matter now? Are you in the sulks? Dyce reads, "How now, moody!" i.e. what's the matter with you, you sulky fellow?
245. canst, have any claim to demand.
246. Before ... out? before the stipulated time is complete,
before the time is up, as we say colloquially.
248. made ... mistakings, made no mistakes in your service; for mistakings, cp. M. M. iii. 2. 150, "Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking."
249. Without ... grumblings: without either repining or murmuring.
250. bate ... year, abate a whole year of service for me; me, indir. obj., cp. A. W. ii. 3. 34, "I will not bate thee a scruple."
252. think'st ... ooze, think you are performing some heavy task when, bidden by me, you dive beneath the waves and walk upon the soft mud at the bottom of the sea; for ooze, cp. H. V. i. 2. 164, "the ooze and bottom of the sea"; Cymb. iv. 2. 206, "Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find The ooze."
255. To do me, see Abb. § 220.
256. baked, hardened, and therefore more difficult to penetrate.
257. malignant, evil-minded, ill-tempered, lit. ill-born, Lat. malignus. Johnson points out that the fallen spirits over which magicians had power were all more or less malignant, and that Caliban asserts that those which served Prospero "hate him rootedly."
258. Sycorax, has been derived from the Gk. corax, a raven,
and also from another Gk. word, psychorrhagia, the death-struggle, whence Psychorrhax, "which may be translated 'heart-breaker'" (Lloyd): but neither derivation can be depended upon. envy, malice, as most generally in Shakespeare, and as frequently invidia in Latin.
259. Was ... hoop? was bent double by age.
261. Argier, the old, but less accurately spelt, name for Algiers: O, was ... so? O, you remember that, do you? said scornfully.
261-3. I must ... forget'st: I must constantly be reminding you,
or you would forget it altogether.
264, 5. sorceries ... bearing, acts of sorcery terrible to relate,
to be heard.
266. one thing, what this was is not specified; Boswell thinks that the incident may have been mentioned in the story, whatever it was, on which the play was founded.
269. blue-eyed, has been explained as referring to what we now
call the blackness, the livid colour, seen under ttie eyes of those
who are in ill-health; Dyce compares A. Y. L. iii 2, 393,
"a blue eye and sunken." Staunton is inclined to the conjecture 'blear-eyed.'
271. As thou ... thyself, said contemptuously; as you profess
to be, though you have just been complaining of having to serve
272. for, because.
273. earthy, gross; as opposed to his 'delicate' nature.
274. grand hests, mighty, important, behests, commands: refusing, as you refused; for this use of the participle with a nom. absolute, see Abb. § 376.
276. unmitigable, not to be softened by any entreaties, however urgent: for into, we should now say 'in' or 'within.'
277, 8. within ... thou, the construction is 'imprisoned within
which rift, thou,' etc.
281. As fast ... strike, the metaphor is from the wheels of a
mill striking the water in its rapid revolutions.
282. litter, used properly of dogs, wild beasts, etc., though in
W. T. iv. 3. 25, Autolycus speaks of himself as being "littered under Mercury."
283. hag-born, born of that wizened old witch; so, l. 365
below, he is called 'hag-seed': whelp carries on the metaphor in
288, 9. penetrate ... bears, excite the pity of the always-savage
bears; in Lear. iii. 1. 12, the bear is again instanced for its
290. To lay, it was a fitting torment to be inflicted upon, etc.
290, 1. which ... undo, she having effected it only by the help of
'her more potent ministers' (l. 275).
297. correspondent to command, performing your commands
298. And do ...gently, and do my work as a spirit without
reluctance; whether we read spriting, with the folios, or spiriting,
the word is a dissyllable; for gently, cp. Macb. v. 7. 24, "the castle's gently rendered."
299. That's ... master! That is like my generous master, i.e. I thank you for showing me your usual generosity; cp. above, l. 215, "Why, that's my spirit!"
302. Be ... mine: I have followed Steevens and Dyce in striking
out the words 'thine and' of the folios, as to which the former remarks that "the ridiculous precaution that Ariel should not be invisible to himself plainly proves that they were the interpolations
304. go hence ... diligence, go, take yourself hence at once.
305. dear heart, my beloved one.
307. Heaviness, sleepiness; the Camb. Edd. conjecture, 'Strange
heaviness,' which greatly improves alike the metre and the sense.
310, 1. But ... him: Though he is what you describe him, yet,
in our present circumstances, we cannot do without him; for miss, cp. Cor. ii. 1. 253, "he would miss it rather than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him"; offices, duties, functions.
314. Thou earth, you mere clod; cp. 1. 273, above, "her
earthy and abhorr'd commands."
316. tortoise! sluggard, you who creep about your business as slowly as a tortoise: when? an exclamation of impatience; how long am I to be kept waiting by your laziness? Cp. R. II. i. 1.
162; T. S. iv. 1. 146.
317. quaint, dainty, spruce; according to Skeat, derived from the Lat. cognitus, known, well-known, famous, not from the Lat. comptus, neat, as is commonly alleged.
320. dam, here, and frequently, a contemptuous term for
mother, from being chiefly applied to animals; but not necessarily so, it being a mere variation or corruption of ' dame.'
321. wicked, baneful, poisonous; brush'd, collected by brushing.
322. With ... feather, ".. ravens' feathers were formerly used by witches from an old superstition that the wings of this bird carried with them contagion wherever they went" (Dyer, Folk-Lore of Shakespeare, pp. 142, 3). Cp. Marlowe, Jew of Malta, ii. 1. 1-41, "The sad presaging raven, that tolls The sick man's
passport in her hollow beak. And in the shadow of the sable night Doth shake contagion from her sable wings."
323. a south-west. "A book with which Shakespeare appears
to have been familiar tells us, 'This Southern wind is hot and
moist. Southern winds corrupt and destroy, they heat and make men fall into the sickness,' Batman upon Bartholome" (Singer). Cp. Cymb. ii. 3. 136, "The south-fog rot him"; Cor,
ii. 3. 34; ii. H. IV, ii. 4. 392.
326. Side-stitches ... up, sudden twitches, catchings of the breath that impede its freedom, shall hinder the breath from your lungs: urchins, "are fairies of a particular class. Hedge-hogs were also called urchins; and it is probable that the spirits were so named because they were of a mischievous kind, the urchin being anciently deemed a very noxious animal. Shakespeare again mentions these fairy beings in the M. W. iv. 2.
49, 'Like urchins, ouphes (i.e. elves), and fairies green and white.' In the phrase still current, 'a little urchin,' the idea of the fairy remains" (Singer).
327, 8. Shall, for that ... thee; 'vast, i.e. waste, applied to the darkness of midnight in which the prospect is not bounded by distinct objects" (Schmidt); shall, during that period of the
darkness for which they are allowed to work, all plague you
to the uttermost. Ingleby, who has been followed by Delius and
Schmidt, supports T. White's conjecture, "shall forth at vast of
night, that they may work All exercise upon thee," i.e. "shall go forth in the darkness of night that they may perform on thee all the penalties that I have allotted them." He denies that "to work an exercise" is a pleonasm, and says that it means to perform a penal act. Steevens remarks, "In the pneumatology
of former ages, visionary beings had different allotments of time suitable to the variety of their employments. Among these we may suppose urchins to have had a part subjected to their dominion. To this limitation of time Shakespeare alludes again in Lear. iii. 4. 121, "He begins at curfew, and walks till the
328-30. thou ... 'em. Your body shall be as full of pinches as honey-combs are of holes, and each pinch shall be sharper than the sting of the bees that make those honey-combs: if honey-combs is the right reading, it is perhaps to be taken as a pl. in the same way as 'balance' M. V. iv. 1. 255, is used uninflected,
"Por. Are there balance here to weigh the flesh? Shy. I have
them ready." In both instances the idea is of the aggregate made up of two or more portions: 'em, "we often find in the dramatists em (acc.), usually printed 'em, as if it were a contraction of them which represents the old heom, hem" (Morris, Hist. Outl. p. 121).
330. I must ... dinner. In reference to Prospero's order to him
(to come forth from the cave) which interrupts him while eating
his dinner, and causes him to break out into cursing.
331. by ... mother, by inheritance from Sycorax, etc.
333. wouldst ... me, were in the habit of giving me; see
Abb. § 330.
334. Water ... in't. Wright remarks that it would almost seem
as if this were intended as a description of the yet little-known
335, 6. To name ... night, the sun which shines by day, and the moon which shines by night; cp. Genesis, i. 16, "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser
light to rule the night."
337. qualities, capacities, endowments.
338. brine-pits, salt pits, pits from which salt is obtained
339. that did so! for doing so: charms, baleful spells.
342. sty me, pen me up like swine in a pig-sty.
343. whiles, the gen. case of 'while' (time) used as a conjunction, as 'needs,' 'twice' (i.e. twies), 'else.'
346. Filth ... art, filth that you are: with ... care, with all
350. I had ... else, otherwise (i.e. if you had not stopped me)
I should have, etc.
352. Which ... take, whose nature is such as to be incapable of
receiving any impression of goodness, of being shaped into anything good; for which = who, see Abb. § 265.
353. Being ... ill! though your capacity for evil is unbounded; capable of, susceptible to; as frequently in Shakespeare, e.g, K. J. iii. 1, "For I am sick and capable of fears."
355-8. when ... known. When you jabbered and uttered
sounds which resembled the cries of animals, and bore no consistent meaning even to yourself, I taught you how to express your wants and ideas in intelligible language.
358. race, the nature hereditary to you from your mother; 'race' in this sense of lineage, descent, direct line, is said to
have no connection with Lat. radix, root. Cp. M. M. ii. 4. 160, "And now I give my sensual race the rein," though there Shakespeare may be usmg the word equivocally.
360. to be with, to dwell with.
361. Deservedly, suspected by Walker, who would arrange as follows, "Confin'd into this rock, who hadst deserved More than a prison": "note," he says, "the difference in the flow."
363, 4. and my ... curse, and the advantage I derive from it is the ability to curse.
364. The red plague, explained by Steevens as 'erysipelas,' by Rolfe as 'leprosy,' by Schmidt as one of the three different kinds of the plague-sore mentioned by the physicians of the time, the red, the yellow, and the black. rid you, destroy you; cp. iii H. VI. v. 5. 67, R. II. v. 4. ii., "I am the King's friend and will rid his foe." In modern English 'to rid' means to deliver.
365. learning teaching; see Abb. § 291. Hag-seed, see note
on 1. 283, above.
366. thou'rt best, see Abb. § 230.
367. To ... business, to meet other demands which will be made upon you; cp. 1. 297, above, "I will be correspondent to command": Shrug'st thou ... malice, do you shrug your shoulders in contempt of my orders, thou spiteful beast; abstr. for concr., as below, v. i. 240, "Bravely, my diligence," i.e. my diligent one.
369. old cramps, probably intensive, as frequently in Shakespeare; abundant, plentiful; though below, iv. 1. 208, we have, "aged cramps," i.e. such as old people are subject to, in which sense Schmidt takes the word here.
370. aches, a dissyllable. Staunton remarks that, as a subs. "the word was written aches and pronounced as a dissyllable; when a verb, it was written akes, and its pronunciation was monosyllabic. This distinction is invariably marked in the old text [i.e. of Shakespeare]:" the ch was pronounced soft, is in M. A.
iii. 4. 56, "Beat. By my troth, I am exceedingly ill: heigh-ho! Marg. For a hawk, or a horse, or a husband? Beat, For the letter that begins them all, H."
371. That, so that; 'so' omitted for brevity, see Abb. § 283. No, pray thee, do not do so, I pray thee ; the pronoun was frequently omitted in this phrase, which was also contracted into 'prithee.' See Abb. § 401.
373. Setebos, "according to various authorities both before and since the time of Shakespeare, was worshipped by the Patagonians; but Sycorax, as we learn from Ariel. ...was from Argier" (Collier).
376. take hands, join hands, i.e. for the dance.
377, 8. Courtsied...whilst. There are two interpretations here,
(1) When you have courtsied and kissed the wild waves into silence, so that they become silent; (2) when you have courtsied and — the wild waves being silenced — have each kissed his partner. For this custom of kissing by partners before a dance, cp. H. VIII. i. 4. 95, 6, "I were unmannerly to take you out
And not to kiss you. "Wlilst, the part, of the old verb 'to whist,' is frequent in Elizabethan literature.
379. Foot it, see Abb. § 226. featly, nimbly, dexterously, as in W. T. iv. 4. 176, "She dances featly.
380. the burthen bear, take up the refrain; with an allusion to the more usual meaning of bearing a burthen.
385. chanticleer, lit. clear-singing, i.e. the cock.
Stage Direction. [Burthen dispersedly, within]: i.e. the burden, 'Bow-wow,' is heard coming from different directions. The Camb. Edd. and Knight follow the Folio in making "Hark, hark," and "The watch dogs bark," part of the burthen, or refrain.
387. Where ... he? Where can it possibly be? For should used in direct questions about the past when 'shall' was used about the future, see Abb. § 325.
388. waits upon, attends as a servant.
390. Weeping again, i.e. over and over again, repeatedly; see Abb. § 27: the king my father's, to be taken as a single many-worded term, the-king-my-father's.
392. passion, sorrow.
393. its, see Abb. § 228.
394. Or it ... rather. Or rather I should say, it has drawn me; i.e. my following was compulsory, not voluntary.
396. fathom five, see note on i. 2. 53.
397. are ... made, i.e. pieces of coral.
399-401. Nothing ... strangle. All of him that is subject to decay is assimilated into something rich and strange connected with the sea, as his bones have become coral, his eyes, pearl.
405. ditty, a sort of song, more usually of a plaintive nature, but originally meaning nothing more than 'what is dictated.' does remember, makes reference to; i. H. IV, v. 4. 101., ii. H.
IV. V. 2. 142.
407. owes, owns, possesses; the -n of owen, to possess, which was dropped in Elizabethan writers, has now been restored; see Abb. § 290.
408. The ... advance, lift up your eyelids, look up; cp.Per.
iii. 2. 101, "her eyelids Begin to part their fringes of bright gold:" yond, yonder, adv., used incorrectly in ii. 2. 20 for yon, adj.
410. looks about, in all directions with wonder.
412. wench, see note on i. 2. 139, above. such, i.e. and no
414. and, but he's, and only that he is, etc.
415. that's ... canker, that eats into, and spoils, the bloom of beauty, as the canker-worm eats into and spoils the blossoms of flowers; canker, in the sense of a worm that preys upon blossoms, is frequent in Shakespeare both literally and figuratively, e.g. T. G. i. 1. 43, "in the sweetest bud The eating canker dwells; "i. H. IV. iv. 2. 32, "the cankers of a calm world and a long peace"; it is a doublet of 'cancer,' from Lat. cancer, a crab, the tumour being so named from the notion of its eating into the flesh.
417. I ... him, you say that but for his being 'something stained with grief,' I might call him a goodly person, a man of handsome figure; rather, I might caU him a thing divine:
419. It ... on, my charm works.
420. fine spirit, that is my fine spirit! well done my dear spirit!
421, 2. Most ... attend, most surely it is the goddess to whom these magical sounds, which have drawn me here, are attendants.
422, 3. Vouchsafe ... island; grant that my prayer may know
whether you live upon this island; 'my prayer,' i.e. I who humbly ask this question.
424. And that, on 'that' omitted and then inserted, see Abb. § 285.
425. bear me, conduct myself: prime request, request of first importance, though I make it last.
427. maid, unmarried.
428. My language! i.e. she speaks the same language as I do.
429, 30. I ... spoken. I am the noblest of those who speak this tongue, or should be so, were I only where, etc.
431. What ... thee? i.e, you would not dare to say so if you
were in the presence of the King of Naples.
432. A ... thing, a solitary wretch; "Ferdinand plays upon the word. He believes that himself 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.' Cp. Macb. i. 6. 16 (Wright).
433. 4. He does ... weep: he does hear me, for I myself who speak am King of Naples; and it is this iact, that by his death I am so, which makes me weep.
435. never ... ebb, which have ever since been flowing with
437, 8. the Duke ... twain. "This is a slight forgetfulness.
Nobody was lost in the wreck, yet we find no such character as
the son of the Duke of Milan" (Theobald).
439. control thee, check and so confute you; "control is short for conter-rolle, the old form of counter-roll -- O. F. contre-role, a duplicate register, used to verify the official or first roll" (Skeat, Ety. Dict.). Staunton rather strangely fancies control may be a misprint for 'console.'
440, 1. At .. eyes. They have mutually fallen in love at first sight; they have exchanged looks of mutual affection immediately upon meeting each other.
443. I fear ... wrong; I fear that in asserting yourself to be King of Naples you have wronged yourself, not by claiming less than what is due to you, but by claiming more; a word, let me
have a word with you aside.
446, 7. pity ... way! may pity move my father to look upon him with the same favour that I do!
447, 8. if ... forth, if you are still a virgin (unmarried), and if your love has not yet gone out towards, been given to, some one else; for the ellipse, see Abb. § 387.
450. They ... powers, each is in the other's power, each is subdued by love for the other; cp H. V. ii. 2. 106, "as two yoke-devils sworn to either's purpose," and for this use of both
for each see Abb. § 12.
450-2. but this ... light; but I must put obstacles in the way of this love affair which is proceeding too fast, lest that which is so easily won may be valued too lightly. Cp. M. N. D. i. 1. 134, "The course of true love never did run smooth," which has passed into a proverb.
453. attend me: see note on i. 1. 78, and Abb. §§ 200, 369. owest not, have no right to.
456. the lord on 't, for this use of on for of, see Abb. § 182. as
I ... man, I swear it by my manhood.
457-9. There's ... with't. It is impossible that anything of an evil nature, any soul that is not noble, can inhabit such a body; or if an ill spirit have (subjunctive in order to indicate the improbability) such a habitation, then, for the sake of its beauty, good things will desire to share that habitation; for temple, as the bodily abode of the soul, cp. Macb. ii. 3. 73, "Most sacrelegious murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple"; Haml, i. 3. 12, "as this temple waxes." For the omission of the relative before can, see Abb. § 244.
460. Speak ... him, addressed to Miranda.
461. I'll ... together: this was effected by an iron wring round the neck and another round the feet, with a perpendicular bar of iron connecting them together.
463. muscles, or 'mussels,' a common shell-fish, found both in the sea and in brooks of fresh water; i.e. nothing but the coarsest and least appetising fare.
464. Wherein ... cradled: which was once the cradle of the acorn.
465. entertainment, treatment; cp. T. N. 1. 5. 231, "the
rudeness that hath appeared in me have I learned from my entertainment."
Stage Direction.charmed, spell-bound by Prospero's
468. fearfull, formidable, terrible. From the words, "Make not too rash a trial of him," Staunton believes that Smollett's interpretation is the true one — "he's of a lofty spirit and not to be intimidated": but Miranda in her present state is more inclined to be afraid of what may be done to Ferdinand than what he may do, and the context shows that she is fully alive to the power which her father possesses. The words, Make ... him, are quite in keeping with her anxiety for Ferdinand's safety in the sense of 'Do not be too hasty in using
your powers to subdue him.'
469. My ... tutor? Do you (addressing Miranda), who are but as one of my meanest members, presume to teach me what I should do? Walker, comparing Fletcher's Pilgrim, iv. 2, "When fools and mad folks shall be tutor to me," would read, 'fool' for foot, and Dyce follows him.
471. so possess'd with, so entirely taken up with guilt; perhaps with the idea, common in Shakespeare, of being 'possessed' by a devil: from thy ward, from your posture of defence, from standing on guard with your sword drawn; for ward, cp. i. H. IV. ii 4. 215, "Thou knowest my old ward; here I lay and thus I bare my point"; and metaphorically, W. T. i 2. 33, "He's beat from his best ward."
473. Beseech you, see note on l. 372 above.
476. Shall ... thee; will cause me to rebuke you severely, and
almost to hate you.
480. the most of men, the majority of mankind; to, in comparison with, in relation to.
484, 5. Thy nerves... them. Your sinews are as feeble as in your infancy; so we speak of a very feeble old man as being in his 'second childhood.' Nerves, as more usually in Shakespeare = sinews, not the fibres that convey sensation.
488, 9. nor this ... me, i.e. neither my father's death, nor the
weakness which I feel, nor the wreck of all my friends, nor this man's threats, by whose superior power I am subdued, are anything but trifles, if, etc. Malone would alter are to 'were,' but Dyce points out that 'have' is used in the last line of the speech, and the construction is similar to that in iv. l. 11, 2, i.e. 'are, or would he, if,' etc. The omission of the first of several negatives is frequent in Shakespeare.
491. all corners else, all the rest of the world even to the
remotest comers; cp. K. J. v. 7. 116, "Come the three corners of the world in arms, And we shall shock them."
492. Let ... of, let those who are free make, etc.: abst. for
495. Hark ... me. Listen to the further instructions I have to
497, 8. this ... him. The treatment you have received from
him is not such as he usually shows.
499, 500. but ... command. Provided you strictly execute
501. follow, to Ferdinand. Speak ... him, to Miranda.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 15 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/temp_1_2.html >.
Points to Ponder ... "The beauty and insight of Shakespeare's finest portrayals of the comedy and the tragedy of love were not reached at once. His conception of love If was still, at the opening of his career, relatively slight and superficial; his mastery of technique was equally incomplete. The early plays accordingly abound with scenes and situations where from either cause or both the dramatic treatment of love is not yet in the full sense Shakesperean. It will suffice in this sketch to specify two types of each." C. H. Herford. Read on...