« AnteriorContinua »
ACT V. SCENE I.
Before the Cell of PROspero.
Enter PROSPERO in his magick robes; and ARIEL. PRO. Now does my project gather to a head: My charms crack not; my spirits obey; and time Goes upright with his carriage. How's the day? ARI. On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord, You said our work should cease.
ARI. In the same fashion as you gave in charge; Just as you left them, sir; all prisoners In the lime-grove which weather-fends your cell; They cannot budge till your release. The king, His brother, and yours, abide all three distracted; And the remainder mourning over them, Brim-full of sorrow, and dismay; but chiefly Him you term'd, sir, The good old lord, Gonzalo ; His tears run down his beard, like winter's drops From eaves of reeds: your charm so strongly works them,
I did say so,
Say, my spirit,
Goes upright with his carriage.] Alluding to one carrying a burthen. This critical period of my life proceeds as I could wish. Time brings forward all the expected events, without faultering
under his burthen. STEEVENS.
the king and his ?] The old readscopy "the king and his followers?" But the word followers is evidently an interpolation, (or gloss which had crept into the text,) and spoils the metre without help to the sense. În King Lear we have the phraseology I have ventured to recommend:
"To thee and thine, hereditary ever," &c.
till your release.] i. e. till you release them.
That if you now beheld them, your affections
PRO. Dost thou think so, spirit?
ARI. Mine would, sir, were I human.
And mine shall. Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling" Of their afflictions? and shall not myself, One of their kind, that relish all as sharply, Passion as they 3, be kindlier mov'd than thou art? Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,
Yet, with my nobler reason, 'gainst my fury
In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,
I'll fetch them, sir. [Exit. PRO. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves';
7 -а TOUCH, a feeling-] A touch is a sensation. Cymbeline:
a touch more rare
"Subdues all pangs, all fears."
So, in the 141st sonnet of Shakspeare:
"Nor tender feeling to base touches prone."
Again, in The Civil Wars of Daniel, b. i. :
"I know not how their death gives such a touch."
that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they,] I feel every thing with the same quick sensibility, and am moved by the same passions as they are. A similar thought occurs in King Richard II. :
"Taste grief, need friends, like you," &c. STEEvens. 9 Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves ;] This speech Dr. Warburton rightly observes to be borrowed from Medea's in Ovid: and, "it proves," says Mr. Holt, "beyond contradiction, that Shakspeare was perfectly acquainted with the sentiments of the ancients on the subject of inchantments." The original lines are these:
And ye, that on the sands with printless foot
Auræque, et venti, montesque, amnesque, lacusque, Diique omnes nemorum, diique omnes noctis, adeste. The translation of which, by Golding, is by no means literal, and Shakspeare hath closely followed it. FARMER.
Whoever will take the trouble of comparing this whole passage with Medea's speech, as translated by Golding, will see evidently that Shakspeare copied the translation, and not the original. The particular expressions that seem to have made an impression on his mind, are printed in Italicks :
"Ye ayres and windes, ye elves of hills, of brookes, of woodes
"Of standing lakes, and of the night, approche ye everych one. Through help of whom (the crooked bankes much wondering at the thing)
"I have compelled streames to run clear backward to their spring. "By charms I make the calm sea rough, and make the rough seas playne,
"And cover all the skie with clouds, and chase them thence again. By charmes I raise and lay the windes, and burst the viper's jaw, "And from the bowels of the earth both stones and trees do draw. "Whole woodes and forrests I remove, I make the mountains shake,
"And even the earth itself to groan and fearfully to quake. "I call up dead men from their graves, and thee, O lightsome
"I darken oft, though beaten brass abate thy peril soone.
"Our sorcerie dimmes the morning faire, and darks the sun at
"The flaming breath of fierie bulles ye quenched for my sake, "And caused their unwieldy neckes the bended yoke to take.
Among the earth-bred brothers you a mortal warre did set, "And brought asleep the dragon fell, whose eyes were never
"Ye elves of hills," &c. Fairies and elves are frequently, in the poets, mentioned together, without any distinction of character that I can recollect. Keysler says, that alp and alf, which is elf with the Suedes and English, equally signified a mountain, or a dæmon of the mountains. This seems to have been its original meaning; but Somner's Dict. mentions elves or fairies of the mountains, of the woods, of the sea and fountains, without any distinction between elves and fairies. TOLLET.
It would be an injustice to our great poet, if the reader were not to take notice that Ovid has not supplied him with any thing
When he comes back; you demy-puppets, that
Is to make midnight mushrooms; that rejoice
By my so potent art: But this rough magick
resembling the exquisite fairy imagery with which he has enriched this speech. BOSWELL.
with PRINTLESS foot
"Thus I set my printless feet." STEEVENS.
(Weak MASTERS though ye be,)] The meaning of this passage may be, Though you are but inferior masters of these supernatural powers-though you possess them but in a low degree." Spenser uses the same kind of expression in The Fairy Queen, b. iii. cant. 8, st. 4:
Do chase the ebbing Neptune,] So Milton, in his Masque : "Whilst from off the waters fleet,
by whose aid,
(Weak masters though ye be,)" That is; ye are powerful auxiliaries, but weak if left to yourselves;-your employment is then to make green ringlets, and midnight mushrooms, and to play the idle pranks mentioned by Ariel in his next song;-yet by your aid I have been enabled to invert the course of nature. We say proverbially, "Fire is a good servant, but a bad master."
"Where she (the witch) was wont her sprights to entertain, "The masters of her art: there was she fain
"To call them all in order to her aid." STEEVENS.
BUT this rough magick, &c.] This speech of Prospero VOL. XV.
I here abjure: and, when I have requir'd
[Solemn musick. Re-enter ARIEL: after him, ALONSO, with a frantick gesture, attended by GONZALO; SEBASTIAN and ANTONIO in like manner, attended by ADRIAN and FRANCISCO: they all enter the circle which PROSPERO had made, and there stand charmed; which PROSPERO observing, speaks.
A solemn air, and the best comforter
To an unsettled fancy, cure thy brains,
Now useless, boil'd within thy skull! There stand, For you are spell-stopp'd.——
Holy Gonzalo, honourable man,
Mine eyes, even sociable to the shew of thine,
sets out with a long and distinct invocation to the various ministers of his art; yet to what purpose they were invoked does not very distinctly appear. Had our author written-" All this," &c. instead of "But this," &c. the conclusion of the address would have been more pertinent to its beginning. STEEvens.
BOIL'D within thy skull !] So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream :
"Lovers and madmen have such seething brains," &c. STEEVENS. Again, in The Winter's Tale: "Would any but these boil'd brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty, hunt this weather?"
fellowly drops.] I would read, fellow drops. The additional syllable only injures the metre, without enforcing the sense. Fellowly, however, is an adjective used by Tusser.