Слике страница

Prof. O, a cherubim Thou wait, that did preserve me! Thou didit smile Infused with a fortitude from heaven, When I have deck'd the sea (5) with drops full falt, Under

my burthen groan'd; which rais'd in me An undergoing stomach, to bear up Against what should ensue.

A Father's Tutorage.

Here in this island we arriv'd; and here
Have I, thy school-master, made thee more profit
Than other princes can, that have more time
For vainer hours, and tutors nor so careful.

Fortunate Moments.

By my prescience (6)
I find, my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious ftar ; whose influence
If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes
Will ever after droop.

Ariel's Description of his managing the Storm.
I boarded the king's ship: now on the beak, (7)


(5) Deck'd the sea.] i. e. cover'd : so to deck the table : the deck of a Mip, &c.

(6) By my prescience,] This passage furnishes a prudent and necessary reflection to the mind of the reader, that man's success in life often depends upon some lucky and critical occasion, which, suffered to flip by, may never return again. S. expresses himself more fully on this subject in another place. Some other poet too presents us with a poetical image to the fame purpose, where he says that opportunity is “ bald behind.” Mrs. G.

(7) On the beak.] The beak was a strong pointed body, at the head of the ancient gallies : it is used here for the


[ocr errors]

Now in the wate, the deck, in every cabin,
I flam'd amazement: sometimes I'd divide,
And burn in many places : on the top-mast,
The yards, and bolt-sprit would I Aame distinctly,
Then meet and join : Jove's lightning the precursers
O'th'dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary,
And fight out-running were not: the fire and cra
Of fulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune
Seem'd to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble;
Yea, his dread trident shake.
Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mind (8) and play'd
Some tricks of desperation; all, but mariners
Plung'd in the foamy brine, and quit the vessel,
Then all a-fire with me: the king's son, Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring (then like reeds, not hair)
Was the first man that leap'd: cry'd“ hell is empty,
And all the devils are here.".


forecastle. The waste is the part between the quarter-deck and the forecastle. 7.

(9). A fever of the mind.] A fever of the madde, the folio reads: and I apprehend properly: the editors in general read, a fever of the mind; which appears to me rather a too common expression; befides, the following words-and play'd some tricks of desperation, seem to confirm the old reading. Perhaps this fever of the madde was some particularly violent fever that rendered the persons absolutely delirious; fomething like a calenture, a diftemper peculiar to failors, wherein they imagine the lea to be a green field, and will throw themselves into it, if not prevented. I have heard some propose to read,

But felt the fever of the inad,

Ariel's Expresion a little above, is very fine and pic


-To ride (9)
On the curl'd clouds.

As is the following

Thou doft: and think'st it much to tread the ooze
Of the falt deep :
To run upon the sharp wind of the north :
To do me business in the veins of the earth,
When it is bak'd with frost,

Prospero's (9) So, in the scripture, Thou causest me to ride upon

wind, Job. xxx, 22. he Lord rideth on the swift cloud, IS. xix. 1. Extol him that rideth upon the heavens, Ps. xlviii, 4. Satan, speaking of what was appointed them to do in hell, (Milton, B. 1. 150.) says,

Whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,

Or do his errands in the gloomy deep.
And in the ad Book, v. 500, Milton has the same expression
with s.

To ride the air

In whirlwind, That fine expression in the Pfalmift, He walketh upon the wings of the wind, is a good comment on To run upon the marp wind :

as is the following from Ecclefiafticus, of bak'd with frost-chap. xliii, 20, 21. When the cold north-wind bloweth, it devoureth the mountains and burneth the wilderness, and consumeth the grass as fire. So Milton, B. 2. 594.

The parching air

Burns frore.
And Virgil, Georg. 1. 93.

Borea penetrabile frigus adurat.
Or penetrable cold of Boreas parch.

[ocr errors]

Prospero's Threat to Ariel.
If thou more murmur'ft, I will rend an oak,
And peg thee in his knotty entrails, till
Thou hast howl'd (10) away twelve winters.


(10) Thou hast bowl'd, &c.] Speaking of Ariel's former situation, he says that,

He did vent bis groans

As fast as mill-wheels strike. That the character and conduct of Prospero may be understood, fomething must be known 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 fpirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion; some being confined in hell, fome (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expreffes it) dispersed in air, fome on earth, fome 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 aërial the least 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 perforined, or charms learned.

This power was called The black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonolo&y) one who commands the devil, whereas the witch serves which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held, that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over fpirits, 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 voluntary allowed them for the feduction of man. The art was held by all, though not



C 5

Caliban's Curses.
As wicked dew, (11) as e'er my mother brush'd
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen,


equally criminal, yet unlawful; and therefore Causabon, 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 laft scene. The spirits were always confidered 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 bim rootedly.

(11) As wicked dew, &c.] S. hath very artificially given the air of the antique to the language of Caliban, in order to heighten the grotesque of his character. As here he uses wicked for unwholesome. So Sir John Maundevile, in his Travels, p. 334. edit. Lond. 1725.- at all tymes brennethe a vesselle of cristalle fulle of bawme for to zeven gode smalle and odour to the emperour, and to voyden away alle WYKKEDE eyres and corruptions. [So Spencer says, wicked weed; fo, in opposition, we fay herbs or medicines have virtues," Bacon mentions virtuous bezoar, and Dryden virtuous berbs.] It was a tradition, it feems, that lord Falkland, lord C. 7. Vaughain, and Mr. Selden concurred in observing, that S. had not only found out a new character in his Caliban, but had also devised and adapted a new manner of language for that character.' What they meant by it, without doubt, was, “ that S. gave his language a certain grotesque air of the savage and antique, which it certainly has." See W.

6 Whence these critics derived the notion of a new language, appropriated to Caliban, I cannot find, says 7. they certainly mistook brutality of sentiment for uncouthneis of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Prospero and his daughter, he had no names for the sun and moon before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own without more understanding than S. has thought proper to bestow upon him: his diction is indeed fomewhat clouded by the gloominess of his temper, and


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »