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The mariners all under hatches stow'd;
Whom, with a charm join'd to their suffer'd labour,
account of these islands, p. 172, says, "that the Bermudas were so fearful to the world, that many called them The Isle of Devils."p. 174: "to all seamen no less terrible than an inchanted den of furies." And no wonder, for the clime was extremely subject to storms and hurricanes; and the islands were surrounded with scattered rocks lying shallowly hid under the surface of the water. WARBURTON.
The epithet here applied to the Bermudas, will be best understood by those who have seen the chafing of the sea over the rugged rocks by which they are surrounded, and which render access to them so dangerous. It was in our poet's time the current opinion, that Bermudas was inhabited by monsters, and devils.Setebos, the god of Caliban's dam, was an American devil, worshipped by the giants of Patagonia. HENLEY.
Again, in Decker's If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1612: " Sir, if you have made me tell a lye, they'll send me on a voyage to the island of Hogs and Devils, the Bermudas."
The opinion that Bermudas was haunted with evil spirits continued so late as the civil wars. In a little piece of Sir John Berkinghead's intitled, Two Centuries of Paul's Church-yard, una cum indice expurgatorio, &c. 12mo in page 62, under the title Cases of Conscience, is this:
"34. Whether Bermudas and the Parliament-house lie under one planet, seeing both are haunted with devils." PERCY.
Bermudas was on this account the cant name for some privileged place, in which the cheats and riotous bullies of Shakspeare's time assembled. So, in The Devil is an Ass, by Ben Jonson :
keeps he still your quarter "In the Bermudas?"
Again, in one of his Epistles:
"Have their Bermudas, and their straights i' th' Strand." Again, in The Devil is an Ass :
I gave my word
"For one that's ru away to the Bermudas." STEevens. the Mediterranean FLOTE,] Flote is wave.
Flot, Fr. STEEVENS.
Supposing that they saw the king's ship wreck'd,
Past the mid season.
PRO. At least two glasses: The time 'twixt six and now,
Must by us both be spent most preciously.
ARI. Is there more toil? Since thou dost give
Let me remember thee what thou hast promis'd,
How now ? moody?
What is't thou can'st demand?
I pray thee
Dost thou forget
9 What is the time o' the day?] This passage needs not be disturbed, it being common to ask a question, which the next moment enables us to answer: he that thinks it faulty, may easily adjust it thus:
"Pro. What is the time o' the day? Past the mid season?
"Pro. The time 'twixt six and now-."
Mr. Upton proposes to regulate this passage differently: "Ariel. Past the mid season, at least two glasses. "Pro. The time," &c. MALONE.
I Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, serv'd.-] The old copy has
"Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, serv'd—.” The repetition of a word will be found a frequent mistake in the ancient editions. RITSON.
2 Dost thou forget-] That the character and conduct of
From what a torment I did free thee?
PRO. Thou dost: and think'st it much, to tread the ooze
Of the salt deep;
To run upon the sharp wind of the north;
Prospero may be understood, something must be known of the system of enchantment, which supplied all the marvellous found in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen spirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion, some being confined in hell, "some (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expresses it,) dispersed in air, some on earth, some in water, others in caves, dens, or minerals under the earth." Of these, some were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits seem to have been thought the most depraved, and the aerial the less vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel:
Thou wast a spirit too delicate
"To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands."
Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed or charms learned. This power was called The black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonology)" one who commands the devil, whereas the witch serves him." Those who thought best of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over spirits, and compelled their agency; others who condemned the practice, which in reality was surely never practised, were of opinion with more reason, that the power of charms arose only from compact, and was no more than the spirits voluntarily allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not equally criminal, yet unlawful, and therefore Casaubon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind, who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure enslaved to the enchanter, at least for a time, and as serving with unwillingness; therefore Ariel so often begs for liberty; and Caliban observes, that the spirits serve Prospero with no good will, but hate him rootedly.—Of these trifles enough.
I do not, sir.
PRO. Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot
ARI. No, sir.
ARI. Sir, in Argier *.
Thou know'st, was banish'd; for one thing she did,
ARI. Ay, sir.
PRO. This blue-ey'd hag was hither brought with child,
Thou hast: Where was she born? speak; tell me.
And here was left by the sailors: Thou, my slave,
3 The foul WITCH Sycorax,]
This idea might have been caught from Dionyse Settle's Reporte of the Last Voyage of Capteine Frobisher, 12mo. bl. 1. 1577. He is speaking of a woman found on one of the islands described. "The old wretch, whome diuers of ovr Saylers supposed to be a Diuell, or a Witche, plucked off her buskins, to see if she were clouen footed, and for her ougly hewe and deformitie we let her goe." STEEVENS.
in ARGIER.] Argier is the ancient English name for Algiers. See a pamphlet entitled, A true Relation of the Travailes, &c. of William Davies, Barber-surgeon, &c. 1614. In this is a chapter" on the description, &c. of Argier." STEEVENS.
for one thing she did,
They would not take her life:] What that one thing was which saved the life of Sycorax, the poet has nowhere informed us. I cannot but think that this adds support to the opinion that there was some novel upon which the fable of The Tempest was founded, in which this circumstance was mentioned, to which Shakspeare thought it sufficient to refer. BOSWELL.
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,
As fast as mill-wheels strike: Then was this island,
Yes; Caliban her son.
PRO. Dull thing, I say so; he, that Caliban,
To lay upon the damn'd, which Sycorax
I thank thee, master. PRO. If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak,
And peg thee in his knotty entrails, till
I will be correspondent to command,
I will discharge thee.
Do so; and after two days
to a nymph o' the sea;] There does not appear to be VOL. XV. E