Imatges de pÓgina


Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle
Their clearer reason.-O my good Gonzalo,
My true preserver, and a loyal sir

To him thou follow'st; I will pay thy graces
Home, both in word and deed. Most cruelly
Didst thou, Alonso, use me and my daughter:
Thy brother was a furtherer in the act ;—
Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebastian.-Flesh and


You brother mine, that entertain'd ambition ", Expell'd remorse and nature; who, with Sebastian,

(Whose inward pinches therefore are most strong,) Would here have kill'd your king; I do forgive thee,

Unnatural though thou art!—Their understanding
Begins to swell; and the approaching tide
Will shortly fill the reasonable shores,
That now lie foul and muddy. Not one of them,
That yet looks on me, or would know me:-


Fetch me the hat and rapier in my cell;

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I will dis-case me, and myself present,
As I was sometime Milan:-quickly, spirit ;
Thou shalt ere long be free.


the ignorant fumes-] i. e. the fumes of ignorance.

HEATH. 7 Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebastian.-Flesh and blood,] Thus the old copy: Theobald points the passage in a different manner, and perhaps rightly:

"Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebastian, flesh and blood." STEEVENS.


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[Exit ARIEL.

that ENTERTAIN D ambition,] Old copy-entertain. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.


REMORSE and NATURE;] Remorse is by our author and the contemporary writers generally used for pity, or tenderness of heart. Nature is natural affection. MALONE.

ARIEL re-enters, singing, and helps to attire PROSPERO.

ARI. Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie2 :

There I couch. When owls do cry3,

2 In a cowSLIP's bell I lie:] So, in Drayton's Nymphidia : "At midnight, the appointed hour; "And for the queen a fitting bower, "Quoth he, is that fair cowslip flower "On Hipcut hill that bloweth."


The date of this poem not being ascertained, we know not whether our author was indebted to it, or was himself copied by Drayton. I believe, the latter was the imitator. Nymphidia was not written, I imagine, till after the English Don Quixote had appeared in 1612. It was not printed till 1627. MALONE. When owls do cry,] i. e. at night. As this passage is now printed, Ariel says that he reposes in a cowslip's bell during the night. Perhaps, however, [as Mr. Capell has suggested], a full point ought to be placed after the word couch, and a comma at the end of the line. If the passage should be thus regulated, Ariel will then take his departure by night, the proper season for the bat to set out upon the expedition. MALONE.

So, in Drayton's Owle, 4to. 1604:


such thieves as hate the light,

"The black-ey'd bat, the watchman of the night." That the crying of owls was introduced as descriptive of night, and not to mark the season of the year, is proved by Shakspeare's frequent mention of the same bird in various places, in all of which the owl is introduced as an attendant upon night. So, in Macbeth: It was the owl that cry'd, the fatal bellman, “That giv'st the stern'st good-night."


Again, in King Henry VI. Part II.:

"Deep night, dread night, the silent of the night,
"When scritch-owls cry—."

Again, in his Venus and Adonis :

"The owl, night's herald, shrieks; 'tis very late," &c. Again, in Cymbeline :

"The night to the owl, and morn to the lark, less welcome." MALONE.

The pointing of Ariel's song, its third line in particular, is in the last degree bad, and that in every edition; couch has no stop at all in any of them, and cry a full one what results from this

On the bat's back I do fly,
After summer, merrily * :

pointing, let them examine that like; the editor will think his duty discharged in showing that under his punctuation the song recovers its beauties, and has a perfect consistency. All the thoughts of it turn upon Ariel's approaching happiness, in that he should now be able to pursue the summer, and live upon the more delicate productions of it-pleasures he had long been deprived of by his confinement in this island; first by Sycorax, and now by Prospero; and to paint his eager relish of them, he is made to express himself as if in actual


Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
"In a cowslip's bell I lie;
"There I couch:


possession :

which couch is not a tautology, but an enforcing and heightening of the image, to make us conceive more strongly the extreme minuteness of this being, which can thus nestle itself whole in the cup of such a small flower. CAPELL.

4 After summer, merrily:] This is the reading of all the editions. Yet Mr. Theobald has substituted sun-set, because Ariel talks of riding on the bat in this expedition. An idle fancy. That circumstance is given only to design the time of night in which fairies travel. One would think the consideration of the circumstances should have set him right. Ariel was a spirit of great delicacy, bound by the charms of Prospero to a constant attendance on his occasions. So that he was confined to the island winter and summer. But the roughness of winter is represented by Shakspeare as disagreeable to fairies, and such like delicate spirits, who, on this account, constantly follow summer. Was not this then the most agreeable circumstance of Ariel's newrecovered liberty, that he could now avoid winter, and follow summer quite round the globe? But to put the matter quite out of question, let us consider the meaning of this line:

"There I couch when owls do cry."

Where? in the cowslip's bell, and where the bee sucks, he tells us : this must needs be in summer. When? when owls cry, and this is in winter:

"When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
"Then nightly sings the staring owl."

The Song of Winter, in Love's Labour's Lost.
The consequence is, that Ariel "flies after summer." Yet the
Oxford editor has adopted this judicious emendation of Mr. Theo-

Ariel does not appear to have been confined to the island summer and winter, as he was sometimes sent on so long an errand as to the Bermoothes. When he says, "On the bat's back I do fly,"

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Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough3.

&c. he speaks of his present situation only; nor triumphs in the idea of his future liberty, till the last couplet : "Merrily, merrily," &c.

The bat is no bird of passage, and the expression is therefore probably used to signify, not that he pursues summer, but that, after summer is past, he rides upon the warm down of a bat's back, which suits not improperly with the delicacy of his airy being. After summer is a phrase in King Henry VI. Part II. Act II. Sc. IV.

Shakspeare, who, in his Midsummer Night's Dream, has placed the light of a glow-worm in its eyes, might, through the same ignorance of natural history, have supposed the bat to be a bird of passage. Owls cry not only in winter. It is well known that they are to the full as clamorous in summer; and as a proof of it, Titania, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the time of which is supposed to be May, commands her fairies to


keep back

"The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots."



Our author is seldom solicitous that every part of his imagery should correspond. I therefore think, that though the bat is no bird of passage," Shakspeare probably meant to express what Dr. Warburton supposes. A short account, however, of this winged animal may perhaps prove the best illustration of the passage before us :

"The bat (says Dr. Goldsmith, in his entertaining and instruc tive Natural History,) makes its appearance in summer, and begins its flight in the dusk of the evening. It appears only in the most pleasant evenings; at other times it continues in its retreat; the chink of a ruined building, or the hollow of a tree. Thus the little animal even in summer sleeps the greatest part of his time, never venturing out by day-light, nor in rainy weather. But its short life is still more abridged by continuing in a torpid state during the winter. At the approach of the cold season, the bat prepares for its state of lifeless inactivity, and seems rather to choose a place where it may continue safe from interruption, than where it may be warmly and commodiously lodged."

When Shakspeare had determined to send Ariel in pursuit of summer, wherever it could be found, as most congenial to such an airy being, is it then surprising that he should have made the bat, rather than the wind, his post-horse; an animal thus delighting in that season, and reduced by winter to a state of lifeless inactivity? MALONE.


5 shall I live now,

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.] This thought is

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PRO. Why, that's my dainty Ariel: I shall miss thee;

But yet thou shalt have freedom: so, so, so.-
To the king's ship, invisible as thou art:
There shalt thou find the mariners asleep
Under the hatches; the master, and the boat-

Being awake, enforce them to this place;
And presently, I pr'ythee.

ARI. I drink the air before me, and return
Or e'er your pulse twice beat.

[Exit ARIEL. GON. All torment, trouble, wonder, and amaze


Inhabits here: Some heavenly power guide us
Out of this fearful country!

Behold, sir king,
The wronged duke of Milan, Prospero:
For more assurance that a living prince
Does now speak to thee, I embrace thy body;
And to thee, and thy company, I bid
A hearty welcome.

not thrown out at random. It composed a part of the magical system of these days. In Tasso's Godfrey of Bulloigne by Fairfax, b. iv. st. 18:

"The goblins, fairies, feends, and furies mad,
"Ranged in flowrie dales, and mountaines hore,
"And under every trembling leafe they sit."

The idea was probably first suggested by the description of the ve-
nerable elm which Virgil planted at the entrance of the infernal
shades. En. VI. v. 282:

Ulmus opaca, ingens; quam sedem somnia vulgò
Vana tenêre ferunt, foliisque sub omnibus hærent.

I drink the air -] "To drink the air"—is an expression of swiftness of the same kind as 'to devour the way' in K. Henry IV. JOHNSON.

So, in Venus and Adonis :

"His nostrils drink the air." Again, in Timon of Athens:


and through him

'Drink the free air." MALONE.


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