Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

announces to Ludolph that the son of his enemy will shortly become his prisoner. After a comic episode, Prince Leudegast, with his son Engelbrecht and the counsellors, is seen hunting in the same forest, when Engelbrecht and his companion Famulus, having separated from their associates, are suddenly encountered by Ludolph and his daughter. He commands them to yield themselves prisoners; they refuse, and attempt to draw their swords, when he renders them powerless by a touch of his magical wand, and gives Engelbrecht over to Sidea, to carry logs of wood for her, and to obey her in all things. Later in the piece, Sidea, moved with pity for the prince's labour in carrying logs, declares that she would · feel great joy, if he would prove faithful to me, and take me in wedlock"; an event which is at last happily brought to pass, and leads to a reconciliation of their parents.

Here the resemblances are evidently much too close to have been accidental: either the German must have borrowed from Shakespeare, or Shakespeare from the German, or both of them from some common source. Tieck gave it as his opinion that the German was derived from an English original now lost, to which Shakespeare was also indebted for the incidents of The Tempest. There the matter has to rest for the present. — There is, besides, an old ballad called The Inchanted Island, which was once thought to have contributed something towards the play: but it is now generally held to be more modern than the play, and probably founded upon it; the names and some of the incidents being varied, as if on purpose to disguise its connection with a work that was popular on the stage.

There has been considerable discussion as to the scene of The Tempest. A wide range of critics from Mr. Chalmers to Mrs. Jameson have taken for granted that the Poet fixed his scene in the Bermudas. For this they have alleged no authority but his mention of “the still-vex'd Bermoothes.” Ariel's trip from " the deep nook to fetch dew from the still-vex’d Bermoothes” does indeed show that the Bermudas were in the Poet's mind; but then it also shows that his scene was not there; for it had been no feat at all worth mentioning for Ariel to fetch dew from one part of the Bermudas to another. An aerial voyage of some two or three thousand miles was the least that so nimble a messenger could be expected to make any account of. Besides, in less than an hour after the wrecking of the King's ship, the rest of the fleet are said to be upon the Mediterranean, “ bound sadly home from Naples.” On the other hand, the Rev. Mr. Hunter is very positive that, if we read the play with a map before us, we shall bring up at the island of Lampedusa, which “lies midway between Malta and the African coast.” He makes out a pretty fair case, nevertheless I must be excused; not so much that I positively reject his theory as that I simply do not care whether it be true or not. But, if we mụst have any supposal about it, the most reasonable as well as the most poetical one seems to be, that the Poet, writing without a map, placed his scene upon an island of the mind; and that it suited his purpose to transfer to his ideal whereabout some of the wonders of Transatlantic discovery. I should almost as soon think of going to history for the characters of Ariel and Caliban, as to geography for the size, locality, or whatsoever else, of their dwelling-place. And it is to be noted that the old ballad just referred to seems to take for granted that the island was but an island of the mind; representing it to have disappeared upon Prospero's leaving it :

From that day forth the isle has been
By wandering sailors never seen:

Some say 'tis buried deep
Beneath the sea, which breaks and roars
Above its savage rocky shores,

Nor e'er is known to sleep.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

ALONSO, King of Naples.

Boatswain, and Mariners. FERDINAND, his Son. - SEBASTIAN, his Brother.

MIRANDA, Daughter to Prospero. PROSPERO, Duke of Milan.. - ANTONIO, his Brother.

ARIEL, an airy Spirit. GONZALO, an old Counsellor. Other Spirits attending on Prospero.. ADRIAN, L

Lords.
FRANCISCO, SL

CERES,
CALIBAN, a deformed Savage. JUNO, presented by Spirits.
TRINCULO, a Jester.

Nymphs,
STEPHANO, a Butler.

Reapers, Master of a Ship.

SCENE. — A Ship at Sea; afterwards an uninhabited Island.

IRIS,

ACT I.

SCENE I. - On a Ship at sea. A Storm, with Thunder and

Lightning.
Enter Master and Boatswain severally.
Mast. Boatswain !
Boats. Here, master; what cheer?

Mast. Good, speak to th' mariners : fall to't yarely,? or we run ourselves a-ground : bestir, bestir.

[Exit.

1 Here, as in many other places, good is used just as we now use well. So a little after: “Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.” Also in Hamlet, i. I: "Good now, sit down, and tell me,” &c.

2 Yarely is nimbly, briskly, or alertly. So, in the next speech, yare, an imperative verb, is be nimble, or be on the alert. In North’s Plutarch we

Enter Mariners. Boats. Heigh, my hearts ! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts ! yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to th' master's whistle. [Exeunt Mariners.] — Blow till thou burst thy wind, 3 if room enough ! 4 Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO,

and others. · Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.5

Boats. I pray now, keep below.
Anto. Where is the master, boatswain ?

Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour : - keep your cabins; you do assist the storm.

Gonza. Nay, good, be patient.

Boats. When the sea is. Hence! What care these roarers for the name of king? To cabin : silence ! trouble us not. Gonza. Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

Boats. None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor: if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present, 6 we will not hand a rope more ; use your authority: if you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin

have such phrases as "galleys not yare of steerage," and "ships light of yarage," and “galleys heavy of yarage."

3 In Shakespeare's time, the wind was often represented pictorially by the figure of a man with his cheeks puffed out to their utmost tension with the act of blowing. Probably the Poet had such a figure in his mind. So in King Lear, iii. 2: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks !

4 That is, “ if we have sea-room enough.” So in Pericles, iii. 1: “But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the Moon, I care not.”

5 Act with spirit, behave like men. So in 2 Samuel, x, 12: “Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people."

6 Present for present time. So in the Prayer-Book: “That those things may please Him which we do at this present."

for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap. — Cheerly, good hearts ! — Out of our way, I say.

[Exit. Gonza. I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks he hath no drowning-mark upon him ; his complexion? is perfect gallows. — Stand fast, good Fate, to his hanging! make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage! If he be not born to be hang'd, our case is miserable. Re-enter Boatswain.

[Excunt. Boats. Down with the top-mast !8 yare ; lower, lower ! Bring her to try wi’ th' main-course. [A cry within.] A plague upon this howling ! they are louder than the weather or our office. 10 –

Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and GONZALO. Yet again! what do you here? Shall we give o'er, and drown? Have you a mind to sink?

Sebas. A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog !

Boats. Work you, then.

Anto. Hang, cur, hang ! you whoreson, insolent noisemaker, we are less afraid to be drown'd 11 than thou art.

7 Complexion was often used for nature, native bent or aptitude.

8 Of this order Lord Mulgrave, a sailor critic, says, “ The striking the top-mast was a new invention in Shakespeare's time, which he here very properly introduces. He has placed his ship in the situation in which it was indisputably right to strike the top-mast, - where he had not sea-room."

9 This appears to have been a common nautical phrase. So in Hackluyt's Voyages, 1598: “And when the bark had way we cut the hauser, and so gat the sea to our friend, and tried out all the day with our maine course." Also in Smith's Sea Grammar, 1627: “Let us lie at trie with our maine course." And Sir Walter Raleigh speaks of being “obliged to lye at trye with our maine course and mizen.” To lie at try is to keep as close to the wind as possible.

10 Weather for storm. “Their howling drowns both the roaring of the tempest and the commands of the officer,” or “our official orders."

11 "Less afraid of being drown'd.” So the Poet often uses the infinitive gerundively, or like the Latin gerund. See vol. i. page 207, note 12.

« AnteriorContinuar »