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Whe'r thou beest he, or no,
ALON. Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me, As late I have been, I not know thy pulse Beats, as of flesh and blood; and, since I saw thee, The affliction of my mind amends, with which, I fear, a madness held me: this must crave (An if this be at all,) a most strange story. Thy dukedom I resign; and do entreat Thou pardon me my wrongs:-But how should Prospero
Be living, and be here ?
Or be not, I'll not swear.
First, noble friend, Let me embrace thine age; whose honour cannot Be measur'd, or confin’d.
Whether this be,
You do yet taste Some subtilties o' the isle 9, that will not let you
7 WHE'R thou beest he, or no,] Whe'r for whether, is an abbreviation frequently used both by Shakspeare and Jonson. So, in Julius Cæsar :
See, whe'r their basest metal be not mov'd." Again, in The Comedy of Errors:
"Good sir, whe'r you'll answer me, or not." M. MASON. 8 Thy dukedom I resign;] The duchy of Milan being through the treachery of Antonio made feudatory to the crown of Naples, Alonso promises to resign his claim of sovereignty for the future. STEEVENS.
9 You do yet TASTE
Some SUBTILTIES O' the isle,] This is a phrase adopted from ancient cookery and confectionary. When a dish was so contrived as to appear unlike what it really was, they called it a subtilty. Dragons, castles, trees, &c. made out of sugar, had the like denomination. See Mr. Pegge's Glossary to the Form of Cury, &c. Article Sotiltees.
Froissard complains much of this practice, which often led him into mistakes at dinner. Describing one of the feasts of his time, he says there was grant planté de mestz si etranges et si desguisez qu'on ne les pouvait deviser;" and L'Etoile speaking of a similar entertainment in 1597, adds "Tous les poissons estoient fort dextrement desguisez en viande de chair, qui estoient monstres
Believe things certain: - Welcome, my friends
But you, my brace of lords, were I so minded,
I'll tell no tales.
SEB. The devil speaks in him.
For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother
If thou beest Prospero,
How thou hast met us here, who three hours since1
marins pour la pluspart, qu'on avait fait venir exprès de tous les costez." STEEVENS.
who THREE HOURS since-] The unity of time is most rigidly observed in this piece. The fable scarcely takes up a greater number of hours than are employed in the representation : and from the very particular care which our author takes to point out this circumstance in so many other passages, as well as here, it should seem as if it were not accidental, but purposely designed to shew the admirers of Ben Jonson's art, and the cavillers of the time, that he too could write a play within all the strictest laws of regularity, when he chose to load himself with the critick's fet
The Boatswain marks the progress of the day again-which but three glasses since, &c. and at the beginning of this act the duration of the time employed on the stage is particularly ascertained; and it refers to a passage in the first act, of the same tendency. The storm was raised at least two glasses after mid day, and Ariel was promised that the work should cease at the sixth hour.
I am woe for't, sir 2. ALON. Irreparable is the loss; and patience Says, it is past her cure.
I rather think,
You have not sought her help; of whose soft grace, For the like loss, I have her sovereign aid,
And rest myself content.
You the like loss? PRO. As great to me, as late 3; and, portable To make the dear loss, have I means much weaker Than you may call to comfort you; for I Have lost my daughter.
O heavens! that they were living both in Naples, The king and queen there! that they were, I wish Myself were mudded in that oozy bed
Where my son lies. When did you lose your
PRO. In this last tempest. I perceive, these lords At this encounter do so much admire,
That they devour their reason; and scarce think
2 I am woE for't, sir.] i. e. I am sorry for it. often used by old writers to signify, to be
So, in the play of The Four P's, 1569: "But be ye sure I would be woe
"That you should chance to begyle me so." MALONE.
3 As great to me, as late;] My loss is as great as yours, and has as lately happened to me. JOHNSON.
-portable-] So, in Macbeth :
To be woe, is
these are portable
With other graces weigh'd."
The old copy unmetrically reads-supportable. STEEvens.
Are natural breath :] An anonymous correspondent thinks that their is a corruption, and that we should read-these words. His conjecture appears not improbable. The lords had no doubt
Been justled from your senses, know for certain,
Upon this shore, where you were wreck'd, was landed,
To be the lord on't. No more yet of this;
Not a relation for a breakfast, nor
Befitting this first meeting. Welcome, sir;
The entrance of the Cell opens, and discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA playing at chess.
MIRA. Sweet lord, you play me false.
I would not for the world.
MIRA. Yes, for a score of kingdoms ', you should wrangle,
And I would call it fair play.
No, my dearest love,
concerning themselves. Their doubts related only to Prospero, whom they at first apprehended to be some "inchanted trifle to abuse them.' They doubt, says he, whether what they see and hear is a mere illusion; whether the person they behold is a living mortal, whether the words they hear are spoken by a human creature. MALone.
-playing at CHESS.] Shakspeare might not have ventured to engage his hero and heroine at this game, had he not found Huon de Bordeaux and his Princess employed in the same manner. See the romance of Huon, &c. chapter 53, edit. 1601: "How King Ivoryn caused his daughter to play at the chesse with Huon," &c. STEEVENS.
I cannot see why Shakspeare should have gone to Huon de Bordeaux for a practice which was probably common in his day, and certainly is so in ours. BoSWELL.
7 Yes, for a score of KINGDOMS, &c.] I take the sense to be
Shall I twice lose.
If this prove
A most high miracle!
FER. Though the seas threaten they are merciful:
I have curs'd them without cause.
Of a glad father compass thee about!
[FERD. kneels to ALON. Now all the blessings
How many goodly creatures are there here!
PRO. 'Tis new to thee. ALON. What is this maid, with whom thou wast at play?
Your eld'st acquaintance cannot be three hours:
Sir, she's mortal; But, by immortal providence, she's mine; I chose her, when I could not ask my father
only this : 'Ferdinand would not, he says, play her false for the world: yes, answers she, I would allow you to do it for something less than the world, for twent kingdoms, and I wish you well enough to allow you, after a little wrangle, that your play was fair. So, likewise, Dr. Grey. JOHNSON.
I would recommend another punctuation, and then the sense would be as follows:
Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle, "And I would call it fair play;"
because such a contest would be worthy of you.
""Tis honour with most lands to be at odds,"says Alcibiades, in Timon of Athens.
Again, in Fletcher's Two Noble Kinsmen :
They would show bravely,
Fighting about the titles of two kingdoms." STEEVENs.