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Find this grand liquor that hath gilded them??How cam’st thou in this pickle ?
Trin. I have been in such a pickle, since I saw you last, that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing
Seb. Why, how now, Stephano ?
2 And Trinculo is reeling ripe : Where should they
Find this GRAND LIQUOR that hath Gilded them?] Shakspeare, to be sure, wrote-grand 'lixir, alluding to the grand Elixir of the alchymists, which they pretend would restore youth and confer immortality. This, as they said, being a preparation of gold, they called, Aurum potabile; which Shakspeare alluded to in the word gilded ; as he does again in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ How much art thou unlike Mark Antony ?
“ With his tinct gilded thee.” But the joke here is to insinuate that, notwithstanding all the boasts of the chemists, sack was the only restorer of youth and bestower of immortality. So, Ben Jonson, in his Every Man out of his Humour :- “ Canarie, the very Elixir and spirit of wine.” This seems to have been the cant name for sack, of which the English were, at that time, immoderately fond. Randolph, in his Jealous Lovers, speaking of it, says,-“ A pottle of Elixir at the Pegasus, bravely caroused.” So, again, in Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas, Act III. :
“ Old reverend sack, which, for aught that I can read yet, “Was that philosopher's stone the wise king Ptolemeus
“ Did all his wonders by.”. The phrase too of being gilded, was a trite one on this occasion. Fletcher, in his Chances :- “ Duke. Is she not drunk too? Whore. A little gilded o'er, sir; old sack, old sack, boys!"
WARBURTON. As the alchymist's Elixir was supposed to be a liquor, the old reading may stand, and the allusion holds good without any alteration. STEEVENS.
FLY-BLOWING.] This pickle alludes to their plunge into the stinking pool ; and pickling preserves meat from fly-blowing.
STEEVENS. 4 -- but a CRAMP.] i. e. I am all over a cramp. Prospero had ordered. Ariel to shorten up their sinews with aged cramps. “ Touch me not ” alludes to the soreness occasioned by them. In
Pro. You'd be king of the isle, sirrah ?
[Pointing to CALIBAN.
CAL. Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter, And seek for grace: What a thrice-double ass Was I, to take this drunkard for a god, And worship this dull fool ? Pro.
Go to, away! Alon. Hence, and bestow your luggage where
you found it.
SEB. Or stole it, rather.
[Exeunt Cal. Ste. and Trin. Pro. Sir, I invite your highness, and your train, To my poor cell: where you shall take your rest For this one night; which (part of it,) I'll waste With such discourse, as, I not doubt, shall make Go quick away: the story of my life, And the particular accidents, gone by, Since I came to this isle : And in the morn, I'll bring you to your ship, and so to Naples, Where I have hope to see the nuptial
his next speech Stephano confirms the meaning by a quibble on the word sore. STEEVENS.
s I should have been a sore one then.] The same quibble occurs afterwards in the Second Part of K. Henry VI. : " Mass, 'twill be sore law then, for he was thrust in the mouth with a spear, and 'tis not whole yet.” Stephano also alludes to the sores about him. STEEVENS.
6 This is as strange a thing as e'er I look'd on.] The old copy, disregarding metre, reads—
“ This is a strange thing as e’er I look'd on." For the repetition of the conjunction as, &c. I am answerable.
Of these our dear-beloy'd solemnized
I'll deliver all ;
our dear-belov'd SOLEMNIZED.] Thus the old copy. The modern editors read “ beloved solemniz'd,” but solemnized was the accentuation of the time. So, in Love's Labour's Lost, vol, iv. p. 309 :
" at a marriage feast,
SPOKEN BY PROSPERO.
NOW my charms are all o'erthrown,
7 With the help of your good hands.] By your applause, by clapping hands. Johnson.
Noise was supposed to dissolve a spell. So, twice before in this play: No tongue;
be silent.” Again :
hush! be mute; “ Or else our spell is marr’d." Again, in Macbeth, Act IV. Sc. I.:
“ Hear his speech, but say thou nought.” Again, ibid :
Listen, but speak not to't.” STEEVENS. 8 And my ending is despair,
Unless I be reliev'd by prayer ;] This alludes to the old stories told of the despair of necromancers in their last moments, and of the efficacy of the prayers of their friends for them.
Which pierces so, that it assaults
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
9 It is observed of The Tempest, that its plan is regular ; this the author of The Revisal thinks, what I think too, an accidental effect of the story, not intended or regarded by our author. But, whatever might be Shakspeare's intention in forming or adopting the plot, he has made it instrumental to the production of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved with profound skill in nature, extensive knowledge of opinions, and accurate observation of life. In a single drama are here exhibited princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speaking in their real characters. There is the agency of airy spirits, and of an earthly goblin. The operations of magick, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a desert island, the native effusion of untaught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final happiness of the pair for whom our passions and reason are equally interested.
Johnson. Dr. Johnson, in a note on the first scene of this play, has observed upon the authority of a skilful navigator, that the naval dialogue is incorrect. See p. 19, n.l. I am happy to have it in my power to present the reader with a most satisfactory refutation of this criticism from the pen of a distinguished naval officer, the right honourable Constantine, the second Lord Mulgrave, for which Mr. Malone was indebted to the kindness of Sir George Beaumont. BOSWELL.
The first scene of The Tempest is a very striking instance of the great accuracy of Shakspeare's knowledge in a professional science, the most difficult to attain without the help of experience. He must have acquired it by conversation with some of the most skilful seamen of that time. No books had then been published on the subject. The first publication, in the year 1626, was,
“ An Accidence or Pathway to Experience, necessary for all young Seamen, or those that are desirous of going to Sea ;” by Captain John Smith, some time Governor of Virginia, and Admiral of New England. In his Dedication he says, " I have been persuaded to print this Discourse, being a subject I never see writ before." His book is very short ; there is an example of a ship carried through a variety of situations, with all the words of command expressed; there are several of these of Shakspeare intermixed with many
others of more detail.