Sidor som bilder

"Enter FERDINAND; and ARIEL invisible, playing

and singing.


Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands;

Curt'sied when you have, and kiss'd,
(The wild waves whist ;)

Foot it featly here and there;

And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.

[Burden dispersedly.

Hark, hark! bow-wow the watch-dogs bark,


Ariel. Hark, hark! I hear

The strain of strutting chanticleer

Cry cock-a-doodle-doo.

Ferdinand. Where should this music be? i' the air
or the earth?

It sounds no more: and sure it waits upon
Some god o' th' island. Sitting on a bank
Weeping again the king my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air; thence I have follow'd it,
Or it hath drawn me rather :-but 'tis gone.—
No, it begins again.


Full fathom five thy father lies,

Of his bones are coral made :

Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,

But doth suffer a sea change,
Into something rich and strange.

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell

Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong bell.

[Burden, ding-dong.

Ferdinand. The ditty does remember my drown'd


This is no mortal business, nor no sound

That the earth owes: I hear it now above me."

The courtship between Ferdinand and Miranda is

one of the chief beauties of this play. It is the very purity of love. The pretended interference of Prospero with it heightens its interest, and is in character with. the magician, whose sense of preternatural power makes him arbitrary, tetchy, and impatient of opposition.

The TEMPEST is a finer play than the Midsummer Night's Dream, which has sometimes been compared with it; but it is not so fine a poem. There are a greater number of beautiful passages in the latter. Two of the most striking in the TEMPEST are spoken by Prospero. The one is that admirable one when the vision which he has conjured up disappears, beginning "The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces," &c. which has been so often quoted, that every school-boy knows it by heart; the other is that which Prospero makes in abjuring his art.

"Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves, And ye that on the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him When he comes back; you demi-puppets, that By moon-shine do the green sour ringlets make, Whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew, by whose aid (Weak masters tho' ye be) I have be-dimm'd The noon-tide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds, And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault Set roaring war; to the dread rattling thunder Have I giv'n fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak With his own bolt; the strong-bas'd promontory Have I made shake, and by the spurs pluck'd up The pine and cedar: graves at my command Have wak'd their sleepers; oped, and let them forth By my so potent art. But this rough magic I here abjure; and when I have requir'd Some heavenly music, which even now I do, (To work mine end upon their senses that This airy charm is for) I'll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, And deeper than did ever plummet sound, I'll drown my book."

We must not forget to mention among other things in this play, that Shakespear has anticipated nearly all the arguments on the Utopian schemes of modern philosophy.

"Gonzalo. Had I the plantation of this isle, my lordAntonio. He'd sow it with nettle-seed.

Sebastian. Or docks or mallows.

Gonzalo. And were the king of it, what would I do?
Sebastian. 'Scape being drunk, for want of wine.
Gonzalo. I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things: for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;

Letters should not be known; wealth, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation, all men idle, all,

And women too; but innocent and pure :
No sovereignty.

Sebastian. And yet he would be king on't.

Antonio. The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning.

Gonzalo. All things in common nature should produce Without sweat or endeavour. Treason, felony,

Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine

Would I not have; but nature should bring forth,
Of its own kind, all foizon, all abundance

To feed my innocent people!

Sebastian. No marrying 'mong his subjects? Antonio. None, man; all idle; whores and knaves. Gonzalo. I would with such perfection govern, sir, To excel the golden age.

Sebastian. God save his majesty !"



BOTTOм the Weaver is a character that has not had justice done him. He is the most romantic of mechanics. And what a list of companions he has— Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Joiner, Flute the Bellows-mender, Snout the Tinker, Starveling the Tailor; and then again, what a group of fairy attendants, Puck, Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed! It has been observed that Shakespear's characters are constructed upon deep physiological principles; and there is something in this play which looks very like it. Bottom the Weaver, who

takes the lead of

"This crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,"

follows a sedentary trade, and he is accordingly represented as conceited, serious, and fantastical. He is ready to undertake any thing and every thing, as if it was as much a matter of course as the motion of his loom and shuttle. He is for playing the tyrant, the lover, the lady, the lion. "He will roar that it shall do any man's heart good to hear him;" and this being objected to as improper, he still has a resource in his good opinion of himself, and "will roar you an 'twere any nightingale." Snug the Joiner is the moral man of the piece, who proceeds by measurement and discretion in all things. You see him with his rule and compasses in his hand. "Have you the lion's part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study."-"You may do it extempore," says

Quince, "for it is nothing but roaring." Starveling the Tailor keeps the peace, and objects to the lion and the drawn sword. "I believe we must leave the killing out when all's done." Starveling, however, does not start the objections himself, but seconds them when made by others, as if he had not spirit to express his fears without encouragement. It is too much to suppose all this intentional: but it very luckily falls out so. Nature includes all that is implied in the most subtle analytical distinctions; and the same distinctions will be found in Shakespear. Bottom, who is not only chief actor, but stagemanager for the occasion, has a device to obviate the danger of frightening the ladies: "Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed; and for better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but Bottom the Weaver: this will put them out of fear." Bottom seems to have understood the subject of dramatic illusion at least as well as any modern essayist. If our holiday mechanic rules the roast among his fellows, he is no less at home in his new character of an ass, "with amiable cheeks, and fair large ears.' He instinctively acquires a most learned taste, and grows fastidious in the choice of dried peas and bottled hay. He is quite familiar with his new attendants, and assigns them their parts with all due gravity. "Monsieur Cobweb, good Monsieur, get your weapon in your hand, and kill me a red-hipt humble bee on the top of a thistle, and, good Monsieur, bring me the honey-bag." What an exact knowledge is here shewn of natural history!

[ocr errors]

Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, is the leader of the fairy band. He is the Ariel of the MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM; and yet as unlike as can be to the Ariel in the Tempest. No other poet could have made two such different characters out of the same fanciful materials and situations. Ariel is a minister of retribution, who is touched with the sense of pity at the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »