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Be free, and fare thou well!- [Aside. Please you, draw near.
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 pardoned be, Let your indulgence set me free.
“ Play the men." - Act I, Scene 1.
Act like men.
- "Nor that I am more better
Than Prospero,” &c.— Act I, Scene 2.' " More better," and similar instances of placing two comparatives together, are not uncommon with the old writers.
- "O, you wonder!
If you be maid or no?” — Act I., Scene 2. In the passage quoted above, it is not improbable but that a pun was intended upon the word “maid,” as though Ferdinand would ask if so divine a creature were made, like other mortals, or a pure spirit.
“ They have changed eyes." — Act I., Scene 2. A beautiful figure, expressive of the mutual transposition of selflove, or transfer of personal identity, at sight of the beloved object.
* To trash for over-topping." — Act I., Scene 2. To lop for running up too high. The expression will be found in old books of gardening.
“ My foot my tutor!” — Act I., Scene 2. Shall my heel teach my head ? - Shall that which I tread upon, give me law?
“When I have decked the sea with drops full salt.” – Act I., Scene 2. " Decked," or sprinkled: it is, or was, a north-country word.
-“Which raised in me
An undergoing stomach.” — Act I., Scene 2. A stomach, or stamina, to undergo and bear up against all adver sities.
- "The still-vexed Bermoothes.” — Act I., Scene 2.
“I the commonwealth, I would by contraries
Execute all things.” — Act II., Scene 1. The entire substance of this passage is borrowed from Montaigne. See “ FLORIO'S TRANSLATION,” 1603.
The still vexed. the ever-vexed, or, the Bermoothes vexed ever since. Bermoothes was the old word for Bermudas, and is used in the books of royages of the time to designate those islands. This of fers some additional corroboration of the opinion expressed in the Introduction, concerning the origin of the plot of the TEMPEST.
“ Trebles thee o'er." — Act II., Scene 1. You may be thrice the man you are, if you heed the advice I shall give you. Or, should we understand Antonio to reproach Sebastian's lovity, and say, that it requires thrice such a man to beed the serious advice he would give ?
“ In Argier." — Act I., Scene 2. Argier is the old name of Algiers: the letters r and I are frequently exchanged for each other, according to the genius of the language adopting the word in which they occur
- “She that dwells Ten leagues beyond man's life." — Act II., Scene 1. As Naples is by no means at any such wonderful distance from Tunis, this speech is quoted by Steevens as an instance of Shakspeare's “great ignorance of geography." His geographical errors are sufficiently numerous; but in the present instance, is it not probable that Antonio speaks in banter and purposely exaggerates ?
“ I have no long spoon." -- Act II., Scene 2.
- "Lifted up their noses,
As they smelt music." — Act IV., Scene 1. I cannot reach both your mouths at once; besides, I don't like to como so near the devil. It also alludes to an old proverb, “A long This passage is a most accurate description of the effect produced spoon to eat with the devil;” and may be found in Chaucer, Tyr- upon colts by music. On first hearing even a trumpet, instead of bewhitt, &c.
ing terrified, they will often advance and thrust their nose up the
very mouth of the instrument, while it is blown, provided this be " Well drawn, monster, in good sooth.” - Act II., Scene 2.
done with some consideration. Caliban has just had another draught from Stephano's bottle of “ celestial liquor,” and Trinculo compliments him upon having taken “Now is the jerkin under the line: now, jerkin, you are like to lose 80 capital a "pull" or " draw.”
your hair." -- Act IV., Scene 1.
Malone says, that goat's-hair jerkins, both plain and ornamented,
formed part of the theatrical wardrobes of this period; and he sug“ By'r lakin." - Act III., Scene 3.
gests, that in the present instance they were hung upon a hair line. By our lady, or little lady, or lady-kin.
Steevens thinks there is some gross allusion in the passage. Edwards
says it refers to the loss of hair by fever on passing the equinoctial * Each putter-out on five for one." - Act III., Scene 3.
line! Did the sailors shave folks with an iron hoop in those days?
Stephano was, however, drunk; half with wine, and half with his
us ideas of royalty. undertakings, who put out money to usurious interest, which was probably only paid in case they lived to return.
" And time "Destiny,
Goes upright with his carriage.” – Act V., Scene 1. That hath to instrument this lower world." - Act III., Scene 3.
Time goes upright with his burden: all events move on rightly. That hath the world to play upon as an instrument.
“ Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves.” - " Is nothing but heart's sorrrow,
Act V., Scene 1. And a clear life ensuing.” — Act III., Scene 3.
The original of this speech will be found in the speech of Medea in Nothing can avert this doom but sorrowful repentance and a good Ovid:-“ Auræque, et venti, montesque, amnesque, lacusque,” &c. life hopceforward.
Shakspeare availed himself of a free translation by Golding. Or
this discovery, Warburton, Holt, Farmer, and Malone, make far more - “It did bass my trespass.” — Act III., Scene 3.
than it is worth. All the finer parts of the poetry belong to Shaks
peare. He borrows a few words, and adds many ideas. It gave the bass notes to my trespass.
“I drink the air before me, and return
Or ere your pulse twice beat.” -- Act V., Scene 1. “ No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall.” — Act IV., Scene 1.
An exquisitely poetical passage, wonderfully illustrating the rapid“ Aspersion," from aspersio, a sprinkling; now used in a calumni
ity of a spirit's flight to and fro on its errand. In explanatory elaboous sense, as, bespattering.
ration, - I swallow the intervening space in one draught of pure
ether: I return before the heavy fluid of inortality can twice perform “Bring a corollary,
the quickest movement of its most potent function. Rather than want a spirit.” — Act IV., Scene 1. Does "a corollary" mean a surplus (of spirits), rather than Pros
“ That could control the moon, make flows and ebbs, pero should be deficient? Is it used in a botanical sense for a crowd
And deal in her command without her power." of petals in the center of a flower, taken metaphorically for a crowd,
Act V., Scene 1. a garland, or coronal of spirits? Or does Prospero desire Ariel to Sycorax could deal in, or direct, the operations of the moon, withbring him a corollary from his magic books?
| out the moon having power to resist.
SONGS IN THE “TEMPEST.”
THE Songs in the “TEMPEST" have troubled some of the learned commentators, and occasioned many remarks which were nothing to the purpose. Dr. Johnson apparently took up his pen to indite a grave reproof upon those who despised Ariel's songs, but concluded his sentence by coinciding with the objections. He observes, that “ Ariel's lays (which have been condemned by Gildon as trifling, and defended, not very successfully, by Dr. Warburton), however seasonable and efficacious, must be allowed to be of no supernatural dignity or elegance; they express pothing great, nor reveal anything above mortal discovery.” This is all very true, very wise, and quite inapplicable. Neither dignity nor elegance (in the scholastic sense in which the term is evidently used) is the attribute of any such elfish sprites as Ariel. How they could reveal anything above mortal discovery, or be intelligible to us if they did, we shall not enquire. All the songs in the “ TEMPEST” are admirably characteristic of the different singers. The coarse, ses doggrel of Stephano is of the earth, earthy," like his nature; and of the sea, scummy, like his circumstances: the songs of Ariel are those of a quaint and beautiful creature, who lives floating about in the air, or sits in a tree by night, and mimics the wind's echoes when they seem to bark or erow" dispersedly” (some of Ariel's songs are as though a bird warbled them): and the elated chant of Caliban may be regarded as an extraordinary ebullition of the rudimentary or lowest condition of humanity; while his repetition of parts of words conveys a clear impression of the aboriginal chorus, and how it first arose among the savage populations of the world.
R. H, H.