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3d Position. Down with the topmast ! * The gale encreasing, the topYare ; lower, lower! Bring her mast is struck, to take the to try with the main-course! weight from aloft, make the
ship drive less to Jeeward, and bear the mainsail under which the ship is laid-to.
4th Position. Lay her a-hold, a-hold! set The ship, having driven near her two courses ! off to sea the shore, the mainsail is hawl. again; lay her off?
ed up; the ship wore, and the two courses set on the other tack, to endeavour to clear the land that way.
(1) SCENE I. -We split, we split!] The following observations on the maritime technicalities in this scena, are extracted from an article by Lord Mulgrave, which will be found at length in Boswell's Variorum edition of Shakespeare, 1821 :
“ 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 succession of events is strictly observed in the natural progress of the distress described; the expedients adopted are the most proper that could have been devised for a chance of safety: and it is neither to the want of skill of the seamen, or the bad qualities of the ship, but solely to the power of Prospero, that the shipwreck is to be attributed
“The words of command are not only strictly proper, but are only such as point the object to be attained, and no superfluous ones of detail. Shakspeare's ship was too well manned to make it necessary to tell the seamen how they were to do it, as well as what they were to do.
“He has shown a knowledge of the new improvements, as well as the doubtful points of seamanship; one of the latter he has intrnduced, under the only circumstance in which it was indisputable.
“The events certainly follow too near one another for the strict time of representation : but perhaps, if the whole length of the play was divided by the time allowed by the critics, the portion allotted to this scene might not be too little for the whole. But he has taken care to mark in tervals between the different operations by exits.
(2) SCENE II.-ARIEL.] According to the system of witchcraft or magic, which formed an article of popular creed in Shakespeare's day, the elementary spirits were divided into six classes by some demonologists, and into four,-those of the Air, of the Water, of the Fire, and of the Earth,-by others. In the list of characters appended to “The Tempest" in the first folio, Ariel is called “an ayrio spirit." "The particular functions of this order of beings, Burton tells us, are to cause “many tempests, thunder, and lightnings, tear oaks, fire steeples, houses, strike men and beasts, make it rain stones, &c., cause whirlwinds on a sudden, and tempestuous storms." But at the behest of the all-powerful magician Prospero, or by his own influence and potency, the airy spirit in a twink becomes not only a spirit of fire-one of those, according to the same authority, which “cmmonly work by blazing stars, fire drakes, or ignes fatui ; * * * counterfeit suns and moons, stars oftentimes, and sit upon ship-masts"but a naiad, or spirit of the water also : in fact, assumes any shape, and is visible or unseen at will.
For full particulars, de operatione Demonum, the reader may consult, besides the ancient writers on the subject,
* The striking the top masts was a new invention in Shakspeare's time, which he here very properly introduces, Sir Henry Manwaring says, “It is not yet agreed amongst all seamen whether it is better for a ship to hull with her topmast up or down." In the Postscript to the Seaman's Dictionary, he afterwards gives his own opinion: “If you have sea-room, it is never good to strike the topmast." Shakspeare has placed his ship in the situation in which it was indisputably right to strike the top
who are legion, Batman uppon Bartholome his booke De proprietatibus rerum, 1582; Scot's “Discoverie of Witchcraft," &c., 1584; " The Demonologie ” of James I.; “ The Anatomie of Sorcerie " by Mason, 1612; and Burton's “ Anatomy of Melancholy,” 1617.
of his company about hym, he was greatly amased, and made signes, holdyng up his hande to heaven, signifying thereby, that our men came from thence. This giant was so byg, that the head of one of our men of a meane stature came but to his waste. He was of good corporature, and well made in all partos of his bodie, with a large visage painted with divers colours, but, for the most parte, yelow. Uppon his cheekes were paynted two hartes, and red circles about his eyes. The heare of his head was coloured whyte, and his apparell was the skynne of a beast sowde togeather. This beast, as seemed unto us, had a large head, and great eares lyke unto a mule, with the body of a camell and tayle of a horse. The feete of the giant were foulded in the sayde skynne, after the maner of shooes. * . The captavne caused him to eate and drynke, and gave him many thinges, and among other a great lookyng glasse, in the which, as soone as he sawe his owne lykenesse, was sodaynly afrayde, and started backe with such violence, that hee overthrewe two that stoode nearest about him. When the captayne had thus gyven him certayne haukes belles, and other great belles, with also a lookyng glasse, a combe, and a payre of beades of glasse, he sent him to lande with foure of his owne men well armed."
(3) SCENE II.
- on the topmast, The yards, and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet, and join.) This, as Douce remarks, is a description of the well-known meteor, called by the several names of Saint Helen, Saint Elm, Saint Herm, Saint Clare, Saint Peter, and Saint Nicholas. “Whenever it appeared as a single flame, it was supposed by the ancients to be Helena, the sister of Castor and Pollux; and in this state to bring ill-luck from the calamities which this lady is known to have caused in the Trojan war. When it came double, it was called Castor and Pollux, and accounted a good omen."
Hakluyt's collection of the “Voyages, Navigations, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation," furnishes an interesting account of this meteor, as seen during the “ Voyage of Robert Tomson Marchant, into Nova Hispania, in the yeere 1555:"
“I do remember that in the great and boysterous storme of this foule weather, in the night, there came upon the toppe of our maine yarde and maine maste, a certaine little light, much like unto the light of a little candle, which the Spaniards called the Cuerpo santo, and saide it was S. Elmo, whom they take to be the advocate of sailers. * * * This light continued aboord our ship about three houres, flying from maste to maste, and from top to top: and sometime it would be in two or three places at once. I informed myself of learned men afterward what that light should be, and they said, that it was but a congelation of the winde and vapours of the sea congealed with the extremitie of the weather, which, flyinge in the winde, many times doeth chance to hit on the masts and shrowds of the ships that are at sea in foule weather And in trueth I do take it to be so: for that I have seene the like in other ships at sea, and in sundry ships at once."-HAKLUYT, III. 450, ed. 1600.
(6) SCENE II.
As wicked deu as e'er my mother brush'd
And blister you all o'er /] Wicked, in the sense of baneful, kurtful, is often met with in old medical works applied to sores and wounds. “A wykked felone," i.e. a bad sore, is mentioned in a tract on hawking, MS. Harl. 2340. An analogous use of the word, fierce, savage, is mentioned in A Glossary 01 Provincial Words used in Herefordshire, 1839, p. 119, as still current.-HALLIWELL.
The following passage in Batman uppon Bartholome his booke De proprietatibus rerum, 1582, folio, will not only throw considerable light on these lines, but furnish at the same time grounds for a conjecture that Shakespeare was indebted to it, with a slight alteration, for the name of Caliban's mother, Sycorax the witch." The raven is called corvus of CORAX . ... it is said that ravens birdes be fed with deaw of heaven all the time that they have no black feathers by benefite of age," lib. xii. c. 10. The same author will also account for the choice which is made, in the monster's speech, of the south-west wind. " This southern wind is hot and moyst. ... Southern winds corrupt and destroy; they heat and maketh men fall into sicknesse," lib. xi. c. 3.--DOUCE.
(4) SCENE II.-The still-vex'd Bermoothes.] Shakespeare's first knowledge of the storm-vex'd coast of the Bermudas, was probably acquired from Sir Walter Raleigh's “Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of Guiana,” 1596, wherein, after speaking of the Channel of Bahama, the author adds, —“The rest of the Indies for calms, and diseases, are very troublesome; and the Bermudas a hellish sea, for thunder, lightning, and storms." (See Chalmers' Apology, p. 578.) Or he might have derived his information from Hakluyt's Voyages, 1600, in which there is a description of Bermuda, by Henry May, who was shipwrecked there in 1593.
(5) SCENE II.-CALIBAN.] It has been surmised that the idea of this marvellous creation was derived from the subjoined passage in Eden's “ History of Travayle in the West and East Indies,” 4to., London, 1577-a book from which it is exceedingly probable that Shakespeare borrowed the names of some of the principal characters of this piece, as Alonso, Ferdinand, Sebastian, Gonzalo, Antonio, &c.
“Departyng from hence, they sayled to the 49 degree and a halfe under the pole antartike; where being wyntered, they were inforced to remayne there for the space of two monethes: all which tyme they sawe no man, excepte that one day by chaunce they espyed a man of the stature of a giant, who came to the haven daunsing and singyng, and shortly after seemed to cast dust over his head. The captayne sent one of his men to the shore, with the shyppe boate, who made the lyke signe of peace. The which thyng the giant seeyng, was out of feare, and came with the captayne's servaunt, to his presence, into a little ilande. When he sawe the capta yno with certavne
(7) SCENE II.-It would control my dam's god, Setebos.] The same work, Eden's History of Travayle, contains a curious notice, showing that Setebos was a mythological personage in the creed of the Patagonians :
“The captayne retayned two of these [giants) which were youngest and beste made, He tooke them by a deceite in this maner,-that givyng them knyves, sheares, looking glasses, bells, beades of crystall and suche other trifles, he so filled theyr handes, that they could holde no more; then caused two payre of shackels of iron to be put on theyr legges, makyng signes that he would also give them those chaynes, which they lyked very wel, bycause they were made of bright and shining metall. * * * When they felte the shackels faste about theyr legges, they began to doubt; but the captayne dyd put them in comfort, and bad them stand still. In fine, when they sawe how they were deceived, they roared lyke bulles, and cryed uppon theyr great devill, Setebos, to helpe them. *** They say, that when any of them dye, there appeare x or XII devils, leaping and daunsing about the bodie of the dead, and seeme to have their bodies paynted with divers colours, and that among other there is one seene bigger then the residue, who maketh great mirth and rejoysing. This great devyll they call Setebos."-P. 434,
(1) SCENE I.
endes, of which the Willow, Byrche, or long Hazell are - but nature should bring forth
best, but indeed acording as the Country will afford, so Of it own kind, all foizon, all abundance,
you must be content to take. To feed my innocent people.]
"Thus being prepared and comming into the Bushy or
rough ground where the haunts of Birds are, you shall then Among the most treasured rarities in the library of the first kindle some of your fiers as halfe, or a third part, British Museum, is Shakespeare's own copy of Florio's according as your prouision is, and then with your other Montaigne, 1603, with his autograph, “Willm. Shakspere,” bushy and rough poales you shall beat the Bushes, Trees on the fly-leaf. This work, intituled, “ The Essayes, or and haunts of the Birds, to enforce them to rise, which Morall, Politike and Millitarie Discourses, of Lo: Michaell done you shall see the Birds which are raysed, to flye and de Montaigne, Knight," was evidently a favourite of the play about the lights and flames of the fier, for it is their poet, and furnished him with the materials for Gonzalo's nature through their amazednesse, and affright at the Utopian commonwealth. The passage he has adopted strangenes of the lightt and the extreame darknesse occurs in the thirtieth chapter of the First Book, and is round about it, not to depart from it, but as it were almost headed, “Of the Caniballes :"
to scorch their wings in the same : so that those which “Those nations seeme therefore so barbarous unto mee, haue the rough bushye poales may (at their pleasures) beat because they have received very little fashion from humane them down with the same, and so take tho. Thus you wit, and are yet neere their originall naturalitie. The may spend as much of the night as is darke, for longer is lawes of nature do yet commaund them, which are but not conuenient; and doubtlesse you shall finde much paslittle bastardized by ours. And that with such puritie, as time, and take great store of birds, and in this you shall I am sometimes grieved the knowlege of it came no sooner | obserue all the obseruations formerly treated of in the to light, at what time ther were men, that better than wee Lorobell ; especially, that of silence, vntill your lights be could have judged of it. I am sorie, Licurgus and Plato | kindled, but then you may vse your pleasure, for the noyse had it not: for me seemeth that what in those nations we | and the light when they are heard and seene a farre of, see by experience, doth not onlie exceede all the pictures they make the birds sit the faster and surer. wherewith licentious Poesie hath prowdly imbellished the “The byrdes which are commonly taken by this labour golden age, and al hir quaint inventions to faine a happy or exercise are, for the most part, the Rookes, Ring-doues, condition of man, but also the conception and desire of Blackebirdes, Throstles, Feldyfares, Linnets, Bulfinches, and Philosophie. They could not imagine a genuitie so pure and all other Byrdes whatsoeuer that pearch or sit vpon small simple, as we see it by experience; nor ever beleeve our boughes or bushes." societie might be maintained with so little arte and humano combination. It is a nation, would I answere Plato, that hath no kinde of traffike, no knowledge of Letters, no intel
(3) SCENE II.-They will lay out ten to see a dead Inligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politike
dian.) Some verses written by Henry Peacham, about the superioritie; no use of service, of riches, or of poverty ; no
year 1609, give a curious list of most of the popular exhibicontracts, no successions, no dividences, no occupation but
tions then to be seen in the metropolis, together with a idle; no respect of kinred, but common, no apparell but
few notices of some of the sights of the country :naturall, no manuring of lands, no use of wine, corne, or mettle. The very words that import lying, falshood, treason,
“ Why doe the rude vulgar so hastily post in a madnesse,
To gaze at trifles and toyes not worthy the viewing ? dissimulation, covetousnes, envie, detraction, and pardon,
And thinke them happy, when may be shew'd for a penny, were never heard of amongst them.”
The Fleet-streete mandrakes, that heavenly motion of Eltham,
Westminster monuments, and Guild-hall huge Corinæus, (2) SCENE I.- We would so, and then go a bat-fowling.)
That horne of Windsor (of an unicorne very likely),
The cave of Merlin, the skirts of old Tom a Lincolne. The instructions for Bat-fowling in Marlham's “Hunger's
King Johns sword at Linne, with the cup the Fraternity drinke Prevention," &c. 1600, afford an accurate description of the
in ; way in which this sport was pursued in former times :
The Tombe of Beauchampe, and sword of Sir Guy a Warwicke; “For the manner of Bat-fowling it may be vsed either The great long Dutchman, and roaring Marget a Barwicke, with Nettes, or without Nettes : If you vse it without The Mummied Princes, and Cæsars wine yet i' Dover,
Saint James his Ginney Hens, the Cassawarway moreover; Nettes (which indeede is the most common of the two) you
The Beaver i' the Parke (strange beast as er'e any man saw) shall then proceede in this manner. First, there shall be
Downe-shearing willowes with teeth as sharpe as a hand-saw. one to cary the cresset of fire (as was showed for the Low
The Lance of John a Gaunt and Brandons still i' the Tower: bell) then a certain number as two, three, or foure (accord The fall of Ninive, with Norwich built in an hower! ing to the greatnesse of your company), and these shall King Henries slip-shoes, the sword of valiant Edward ; haue poales bound with dry round wispes of hay, straw, or
The Coventry boares-shield, and fire-workes seen but to bedward.
Drakes ship at Detford, King Richards bedsted i' Leyster, such like stuffe, or else bound with pieces of Linkes, or
The White Hall whale-bones, the silver Bason i' Chester: Hurdes dipt in Pitch, Rosen, Grease, or any such like
The live-caught dog-fish, the Wolfe, and Harry the Lyon, matter that will blaze. Then another company shall be Hunkes of the Beare-garden, to be feared, if he be nigh on." armed with long poales, very rough and bushy at the vpper
HALLIWELL, I. 327.
(1) SCENE II.—The picture of Nobody.) “No-body" was | ginning of a popular old ballad, called “The Well-spokon a ludicrous figure often found on street signs, and of which Nobody," the unique copy of which, in the Miller colleca representation is prefixed to the comedy of “No-body tion at Britwell-house, supplied Mr. Halliwell with a curious and Some-body," 1600. The following verses form the be- | engraving, showing a floor all bestrewed with domestic
utensils and implements broken to pieces, and a fantastic figure in the midst bearing a scroll with the words,
"Nobody is my name
that bepreth eberg bodges blame." “ Many speke of Roben Hoode that never shott in his bowe, So many have layed faultes to me, which I did never knowe; But now beholde here I am, Whom all the worlde doeth diffame Long hath they also skorned me, And locked my mouthe for speking free. As many a Godly man they have so served, Which unto them Gods truth hath shewed ; of such they have burned and hanged si me, That unto their ydolatrye wold not come: The ladye Truthe they have locked in cage, Sayeng that of her Nobody had knowledge, For as much nowe as they name Nobodye, I think verilye they speke of me: Wherfore to answere I nowe beginne,The locke of my mouthe is opened with ginne, Wrought by no man, but by Gods grace, Unto whom te prayse in every place."
(2) SCENE II.-I would I could see this taborer!] "Severa. of the incidents in this scene," Steevens remarks, “viz.Ariel's mimickry of Trinculo, the tune played on the tabor, and Caliban's description of the twangling instruments, &c., might have been borrowed from Marco Paolo, the old Venetian voyager; who, in lib. I. ch. 44, describing the desert of Lop, in Asia, says : Audiuntur ibi voces dæmonum, &c. voces fingentes eorum quos comitari se putant. Audiuntur interdum in aere concentus musicorum instrumentorum.'” This work was translated into English by John Frampton in 1579, under the title of “The Most Noble and famous Travels of Marcus Paulus, one of the Nobilitie of the State of Venice," &c., and the above passage is rendered:-“You shall heare in the ayre the sound of tabers and other instruments, to put the travellers in feare, &c., by evill spirites that make these soundes, and also do call diverse of the travellers by their names," &c.ch. 36, p. 32.
-was doubtless effected by the agency of filmy curtains which, being drawn one over another to resemble the flying mists, gave to the scene an appearance of gradual dissolution; when the objects were totally hidden, the drapery was withdrawn in the same manner, veil by veil, till at length even that too had disappeared and there was left, then, not even a rack behind.
(1) SCENE I.
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.} . It is impossible to doubt that Shakespeare in this sublime passage remembered the lines in Lord Sterline's "Tragedie of Darius," 1604:
“Let greatnesse of her glascie scepters vaunt,
Not sceptors, no, but reeds, soone brus'd, soone broken ;
Evanish all like vapours in the aire." With regard to the disputed word, “rack," which some editors, Mr. Dyce among them, conceive to be no more than an old form of wreck, the reader is recommended to consult Whiter's “Specimen of a Commentary on Shakspeare," &c., pp. 194-198, and Horne Tooke's Erea Ntepvevra, Vol. II. pp. 389-396. To what those writers have said on the subject we have only to add, that while it is evident that by rack was understood the drifting vapour, or scud as it is now termed, it would appear that Shakespeare, in the present instance, as in another, occurring in “Antony and Cleopatra," Act IV. Sc. 12,
"That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns," &c. -was thinking not more of the actual clouds than of those gauzy semblances which, in the pageants of his day as in the stage-spectacles of ours, were often used partly or totally to obscure the scene behind. Ben Jonson, in the descriptions of his masques, very frequently mentions this scenic contrivance. Thus in his “Entertainment at Theobalds : " _"The King and Queen, with the princes of Wales and Lorrain, and the nobility, being entered into the gallery after dinner, there was seen nothing but a traverse of white across the room; which suddenly drawn, was discovered a gloomy obscure place, hung all with black silks," &c. Again, in his * Masque of Hymon : "_"At this, the whole soene being drawn again, and all corered with clouds, as at night, they left off their intermixed dances, and returned to their first places."
The evanishing of the actors, then, in Prospero's pageant -who
"Melted into air, into thin air,"
(2) SCENE I.-Come, hang them on this line.] Mr. Hunter successfully exposed the error of those editors who deemed it necessary to change the old spelling of “line-grove." to "lime-grove;" see note (a), p. 41 ; but to our thinking he has committed a graver mistake than theirs in his ingenious endeavour to prove that the “line" in this passage meant a line-tree ;-"When," he observes, “ Prospero says to Ariel, who comes in bringing the glittering apparel,
Come, hang them on this line,' he means on one of the line-trees near his cell, which could hardly have been if the word of the original copies, line-grove, had been allowed to keep its place. But the ear having long been familiar with lime-grove, the word suggested not the branches of a tree so-called, but a cord-line, and, accordingly, when the play is represented, such a line is actually drawn across the stage, and the glittering apparel is hung upon it. Anything more remote from poetry than this can scarcely be imagined."-Disquisition on Shakespeare's Tempest.
However unpoetic, and perhaps, as Mr. Knight has remarked, the incidents of the scene so far as the drunken butler and his companion are concerned were purposely rendered so, it is hardly possible to conceive that the coarse jesting,—“Mistress line, is not this my jerkin ? Now is the jerkin under the line : now, jerkin, you are like to lose your hair, and prove a bald jerkin;" and,
- "we steal by line and level,” &c. could have been provoked by, or indeed would have been applicable to any other object than the familiar horse-hair line which was formerly used to hang clothes on.
(3) SCENE I.-And all be turn'd to barnacles.] It was anciently believed that the barnacle shell-fish, which is found on timber exposed to the action of the sea, became, when broken off, a kind of goose. Some, indeed, supposed that the barnacles actually grew on trees, and thence dropping into the sea, became geese ; and an interesting cut of these birds so growing, from a MS. of the fourteenth century, is given by Mr. Halliwell, who observes that “the
barnacle mentioned by Caliban was no doubt the tree. | Maundeville, who declares that in his country “- weren goose ; and the true absurdity of our old writers, as Douce trees that beren a fruyt, that become briddes fleeyage ; has observed, consisted in their believing that this bird and tho that fellen into the water, lyven; and thei that was really produced from the shell of the fish." Innu fallen on the erthe, dyen anon : and thei ben right gode merable allusions to this vulgar error occur in our old to mannes mete." writers, but we will adduce only the testimony of Sir John
Our Sorcerie dimmes the Morning faire, and darks the Sun at
GOLDING's Ovid, lib. 7, 1567.
(1) SCENE I.-By my 80 potent art.) This speech is founded upon the invocation of Medea in Ovid's Metamorphoses, for which it is evident, from several expressions, that Shakespeare consulted Golding's translation :" Ye Ayres and Windes, ye Elves of Hilles, of Brookes, of Woods
alone, of standing Lakes, and of the Night, approch ye everychone. Through help, of whom (the crooked bankes much wondring at
the thing) I have compelled streames to un cleane backward to theirspring. By charmes I make the call. seas rough, and make the rough
(2) SCENE I.- Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.] The beautiful fancy in the second line of Ariel's song,
“In a cowslip's bell I lie," was once supposed to have been borrowed from a stanza in Drayton's delicious “Nimphidia :”—
" At midnight the appointed hour;
And for the queen a fitting bower,
On Hip-cut hill that bloweth."
CRITICAL OPINIONS ON THE TEMPEST.
“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 Shakespeare'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 accurat; 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 Ipagick; the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a desart 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.
“The Tempest,' according to all appearance, was written in Shakspeare's later days : hence most critics, on the supposition that the poet must have continued to improve with increasing maturity of mind, have honoured this piece with a marked preference over the Midsummer Night's Dream.' I cannot, however, altogether concur with them : the internal merit of these two works are, in my opinion, pretty nearly balanced, and a predilection for the one or the other can only be governed by personal taste. In profound and original characterisation, the superiority of The Tempest' is obvious : as a whole we must always admire the masterly skill wbich he has here displayed in the economy of his means, and the dexterity with which he has disguised his preparations,—the scaffoldings for the wonderful aërial structure.