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Re-enter ARIEL, like a water-nymph.
My lord, it shall be done. [Exit. Pro. Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself Upon thy wicked dam, come forth!
In Prospero's summons to Caliban, however, as it stands in the old copy, the word forth (which I have repeated for the sake of metre) is wanting. Steevens. 9 Cal. As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd,
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen,
Drop on you both! ] It was a tradition, it seems, that Lord Falkland, Lord C. J. Vaughan, and Mr. Selden concurred in observing, that Shakspeare had not only found out a new character in his Caliban, but had also devised and adapted a new manner of language for that character. What they meant by it, without doubt, was, that Shakspeare gave his language a certain grotesque air of the savage and antique ; which it certainly has. But Dr. Bentley took this, of a new language, literally; for, speaking of a phrase in Milton, which he supposed altogether absurd and unmeaning, he says, Satan had not the privilege, as Caliban in Shakspeare, to use new phrase and diction unknown to all others and again-to practise distances is still a Caliban style. Note on Milton's Paradise Lost, l. iv. v. 945. But I know of no such Caliban style in Shakspeare, that hath new phrase and diction, unknown to all others. Warburton.
Whence these critics derived the notion of a new language, ap. propriated to Caliban, I cannot find: they certainly mistook brutality of sentiment for uncouthness of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Prospero and his daughter; he had no names for the sun and moon, before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own, without more understanding, than Shakspeare has thought it proper to bestow upon him. His diction is indeed somewhat clouded, by the gloominess of his temper, and the malignity of his purposes; but let any other being entertain the same thoughts, and he will find them easily issue, in the same expres. sions. Fohnson.
As wicked dew—] Wicked; having baneful qualities. So Spenser says, wicked weed; so, in opposition, we say, herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous bezoar, and Dryden virtuous herbs. Johnson.
So, in the Book of Haukyng, &c. bl. I. no date : “ If a wycked fellon be swollen in such a manner that a man may hele it, the
Pro. For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps, Side-stitches, that shall pen thy breath up; urchins? Shall, for that vast of night that they may work, 2
hauke shall not dye." Under King Henry VI. the parliament petitioned against hops, as a wicked weed. See Fuller's Worthies : Essex. Steevens.
urchins – ] i.e. hedge-hogs. Urchins are enumerated by Reginald Scott, among other terrific beings. So, in Chapman's May day, 1611:
to fold thyself up like an urchin." Again, in Selimus Emperor of the Turks, 1584:
What, are the urchins crept out of their dens, “ Under the conduct of this porcupine!” Urchins are, perhaps, here put for fairies. Milton, in his Masque, speaks of “ urchin blasts,” and we still call any little dwarfish child an urchin. The word occurs again, in the next act. The echinus, or sea hedge-hog, is still denominated the urchin. Steevens.
In the Merry Wives of Windsor we have “ urchins, ouphes, and fairies;” and the passage, to which Mr. Steevens alludes, proves, I think, that urchins here signifies beings of the fairy kind:
“ His spirits hear me,
Malone. for that vast of night that they may work,] The vast of night means the night, which is naturally empty and deserted, without action; or when all things lying in sleep and silence, makes the world appear one great uninhabited waste. Hamlet :
“ In the dead waste, and middle of the night." It has a meaning, like that of nox vasta.
Perhaps, however, it may be used with a signification some. what different, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609.
“ Thou God of this great vast, rebuke the surges." Vastum is likewise the ancient law term for waste, uncultivated land; and, with this meaning, vast is used, by Chapman, in his Shadow of night, 1594:
When unlightsome, vast, and indigest, “ The formeless matter of this world did lye.” It should be remembered, that, in the pneumatology of former ages, these particulars were settled with the most minute exactness, and the different kinds of visionary beings had different al. lotments of time, suitable to the variety, or consequence of their employments. During these spaces, they were at liberty to act, but were always obliged to leave off at a certain hour, that they might not interfere in that portion of night, which belonged to others. Among these, we may suppose urchins to have had a part
All exercise on thee: thou shalt be pinch'd
I must eat my dinner.
give me Water, with berries in't; and teach me how To name the bigger light, and how the less, That burn by day and night: And then I lov'd thee, And shew'd thee all the qualities o’ the isle, The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place, and fertile ; Cursed be I that did so!
-All the charms Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you ! For I am all the subjects that you have, Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me The rest of the island. Pro.
Thou most lying slave,
Cal. O ho, O ho!4_'would it had been done!
Abhorred slave ;5
subjected to their dominion. To this limitation of time Shakspeare alludes again, in K. Lear: “ He begins at curfew, and walks till the second cock.” Steevens.
3 Which thou tak’st from me. When thou camest first,] We might read" Which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam’st here
first —" Ritson. 4 Oho, ho!] This savage exclamation was originally and constantly appropriated, by the writers of our ancient Mysteries and Moralities, to the Devil; and has, in this instance, been transferred to his descendant Caliban. Steevens.
5 Abhorred slave;] This speech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously bestowed, by Theobald, on Prospero.
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Cal. You taught me language; and my profit on't
Mr. Theobald found, or might have found, this speech transferred to Prospero, in the alteration of this play, by Dryden and Davenant. Malone, and is so m The musisol. 1632.
when thou didst not, savage, Know thine own meaning,] By this expression, however defective, the poet seems to have meant-When thou didst utter sounds, to which thou hadst no determinate meaning: but the following expression of Mr. Addison, in his 389th Spectator, concerning the Hottentots, may prove the best comment on this passage:
having no language among them, but a confused gabble, which is neither well understood by themselves, or others.” Steevens.
But thy vile race,] The old copy has vild, but it is only the ancient mode of spelling vile. Race, in this place, seems to signify original disposition, inborn qualities. In this sense, we still say—The race of wine : Thus, in Massinger's New Way to pay old Debts :
“ There came, not six days since, from Hull, a pipe
“ Is it of the right race ?” and Sir W. Temple has somewhere applied it to works of literature. Steevens. Race and raciness in wine, signifies a kind of tartness.
Blackstone. the red plague rid you,] I suppose, from the redness of the body, universally inflamed. Fohnson,
The erysipelas was anciently called the red plague. Steevens. So again, in Coriolanus :
“ Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome!” The word rid, which has not been explained, means to destroy. So, in K. Henry VI. P. II:
-If you ever chance to have a child, “ Look, in his youth, to have him so cut off, “ As, deathsmen! you have rid this sweet young prince.”
Hag-seed, hence ! Fetch us in fuel; and be quick, thou wert best, To answer other business. Shrugs't thou, malice? If thou neglect'st, or dost unwillingly What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps; Fill all thy bones with aches; make thee roar, That beasts shall tremble at thy din. Cal.
No, 'pray thee! I must obey: his art is of such power,
[Aside. It would control my dam's god, Setebos, And make a vassal of him. Pro,
So, slave; hence! [Ex.CAL. Re-enter ARIEL, invisible, 1 playing and singing ;
FERDINAND following him.
And then take hands :
(The wild waves whist,) 2
my dam's god, Setebos,] A gentleman of great merit, Mr. Warner, has observed, on the authority of John Barbot, that " the Patagons are reported to dread a great horned devil, called Setebos." - It may be asked, however, how Shakspeare knew any thing of this, as Barbot was a voyager of the present century ?Perhaps he had read Eden's History of Travayle, 1577, who tells us, p. 434, that “the giantes, when they found themselves fet. tered, roared like bulls, and cried upon Setebos to help them.”The metathesis in Caliban from Canibal is evident. Farmer.
We learn, from Magellan's voyage, that Setebos was the supreme god of the Patagons, and Cheleule was an inferior one.
Tollet. Setebos is also mentioned in Hackluyt’s Voyages, 1598. Malone.
1 Re-enter Ariel invisible,] In the wardrobe of the Lord Admiral's men, (i. e. company of comedians,) 1598, was—" a robe for goo
invisebell.” See the MS. from Dulwich college, quoted by Mr. Malone, Vol. III. Steevens.
2 Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,] As was anciently done at the beginning of some dances. So, in K. Henry VIII. that prince says to Anna Bullen
“ I were unmannerly to take you out,
“ And not to kiss you." The wild waves whist;] i. e. the wild waves being silent. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. VII. c. 7. s. 59:
“So was the Titaness put down, and whist.”