The Tempest

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Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
Guillaume Apollinaire
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By my prescience I find my zenith doth depend upon a most auspicious star, whose influence if now I court not, but omit, my fortunes will ever after droop.

The Tempest is a play, often described as a comedy or romance, by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written ca. 1610 - 1612 (or, as some modern-day scholars have suggested, ca. 1603 - 1604).

Act I

I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer!
The hour's now come;
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear.
What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
  • Antonio: Where is the master, boatswain?
    Boatswain: Do you not hear him? You mar our labour: keep your cabins; you do assist the storm.
    Gonzalo: Nay, good, be patient.
    Boatswain: When the sea is. Hence! What cares these roarers for the name of king? To cabin! silence! Trouble us not.
    Gonzalo: Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.
    Boatswain: None that I more love than myself. You are counsellor; — if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more. Use your authority; if you cannot, give thanks you have liv'd so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.
    • Scene i

  • I have great comfort from this fellow. Methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is perfect gallows.
    • Gonzalo, scene i

  • A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous,
    incharitable dog!
    • Sebastian, scene i

  • All lost! to prayers, to prayers! All lost!
    • Mariners, scene i

  • Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground — long heath, brown furze, anything. The wills above be done, but I would fain die a dry death.
    • Gonzalo, scene i

  • Miranda: If by your art, my dearest father, you have
    Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
    The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
    But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek,
    Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered
    With those that I saw suffer! A brave vessel,
    Who had, no doubt, some noble creatures in her,
    Dash'd all to pieces! O, the cry did knock
    Against my very heart! Poor souls, they perish'd!
    Had I been any god of power, I would
    Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er
    It should the good ship so have swallow'd, and
    The fraughting souls within her.
    Prospero: Be collected;
    No more amazement; tell your piteous heart
    There's no harm done.
    Miranda: O, woe the day!
    Prospero: No harm.
    I have done nothing but in care of thee —
    Of thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter.
    • Scene ii

  • Miranda: You have often
    Begun to tell me what I am; but stopp'd,
    And left me to a bootless inquisition,
    Concluding, Stay; not yet.
    Prospero: The hour's now come;
    The very minute bids thee ope thine ear.
    • Scene ii

  • What see'st thou else
    In the dark backward and abysm of time?
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • The government I cast upon my brother,
    And to my state grew stranger, being transported
    And rapt in secret studies.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
    To closeness, and the bettering of my mind.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • Like one
    Who having unto truth, by telling of it,
    Made such a sinner of his memory,
    To credit his own lie.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • My library
    Was dukedom large enough.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • Knowing I lov’d my books, he furnish’d me,
    From mine own library, with volumes that
    I prize above my dukedom.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • Know thus far forth:
    By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune —
    Now my dear lady — hath mine enemies
    Brought to this shore; and by my prescience
    I find my zenith doth depend upon
    A most auspicious star, whose influence
    If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes
    Will ever after droop.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come
    To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly,
    To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
    On the curl'd clouds. To thy strong bidding task
    Ariel, and all his quality.
    • Ariel, scene ii

  • Ferdinand,
    With hair up-staring, — then like reeds, not hair, —
    was the first man that leapt; cried Hell is empty,
    And all the devils are here.
    • Ariel, scene ii

  • From the still-vex'd Bermoothes.
    • Ariel, scene ii

  • I will be correspondent to command,
    And do my spiriting gently.
    • Ariel, scene ii

  • Caliban: As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd
    With raven's feather from unwholesome fen,
    Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye,
    And blister you all o'er!
    Prospero: For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps,
    Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins
    Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
    All exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinch'd
    As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
    Than bees that made 'em.
    • Scene ii

  • This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
    Which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam'st first,
    Thou strok'st me and made much of me, wouldst give me
    Water with berries in't, and teach me how
    To name the bigger light, and how the less,
    That burn by day and night; and then I lov'd thee,
    And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle,
    The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile.
    Curs'd be I that did so! All the charms
    Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
    For I am all the subjects that you have,
    Which first was mine own king.
    • Caliban, scene ii

  • You taught me language, and my profit on't
    Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you,
    For learning me your language!
    • Caliban, scene ii

Is the third man that e'er I saw; the first
That e'er I sigh'd for.
  • If thou neglect'st, or dost unwillingly
    What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps,
    Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar,
    That beasts shall tremble at thy din.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • 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.
    • Ariel, scene ii

  • 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.
    • Ariel, scene ii

  • The fringed curtains of thine eye advance,
    And say what thou seest yond.
    • Prospero, scene ii

  • This
    Is the third man that e'er I saw; the first
    That e'er I sigh'd for.
    • Miranda, scene ii

  • There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:
    If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
    Good things will strive to dwell with ’t.
    • Miranda, scene ii

  • My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up.
    My father's loss, the weakness which I feel,
    The wreck of all my friends, nor this man's threats,
    To whom I am subdu'd, are but light to me,
    Might I but through my prison once a day
    Behold this maid. All corners else o' th' earth
    Let liberty make use of; space enough
    Have I in such a prison.
    • Ferdinand, scene ii

Act II

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
  • Gonzalo: Here is everything advantageous to life.
    Antonio: True; save means to live.
    • Scene i

  • Alonso: You cram these words into mine ears against
    The stomach of my sense. Would I had never
    Married my daughter there! for, coming thence,
    My son is lost; and, in my rate, she too,
    Who is so far from Italy remov'd
    I ne'er again shall see her. O thou mine heir
    Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish
    Hath made his meal on thee?
    Francesco: Sir, he may live:
    I saw him beat the surges under him,
    And ride upon their backs; he trod the water,
    Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted
    The surge most swol'n that met him; his bold head
    'Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oar'd
    Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke
    To the shore, that o'er his wave-worn basis bow'd,
    As stooping to relieve him; I not doubt
    He came alive to land.
    • Scene i

  • Sebastian: Well, I am standing water.
    Antonio: I'll teach you how to flow.
    • Scene i

  • We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again:
    And, by that destiny, to perform an act,
    Whereof what's past is prologue, what to come
    In yours and my discharge.

  • While you here do snoring lie,
    Open-ey'd Conspiracy
    His time doth take.
    If of life you keep a care,
    Shake off slumber, and beware.
    Awake, awake!
    • Ariel, scene i

  • All the infections that the sun sucks up
    From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him
    By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me,
    And yet I needs must curse; but they'll nor pinch,
    Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i' the mire,
    Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark
    Out of my way, unless he bid 'em; but
    For every trifle are they set upon me;
    Sometime like apes, that moe and chatter at me,
    And after, bite me; then like hedgehogs, which
    Lie tumbling in my barefoot way, and mount
    Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I
    All wound with adders, who, with cloven tongues,
    Do hiss me into madness.
    • Caliban, scene ii

  • A very ancient and fish-like smell.
    • Trinculo, scene ii

  • Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
    • Trinculo, scene ii

  • The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,
    The gunner, and his mate,
    Lov'd Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
    But none of us car'd for Kate;
    For she had a tongue with a tang,
    Would cry to a sailor
    Go hang!
    She lov'd not the savour of tar nor of pitch,
    Yet a tailor might scratch her where'er she did itch.
    Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang!

    This is a scurvy tune too; but here's my comfort. [Drinks]
    • Stephano, scene ii

  • Stephano: Here; swear then how thou escapedst.
    Trinculo: Swam ashore man, like a duck; I can swim like a duck, I'll be sworn.
    Stephano: Here, kiss the book. Though thou canst swim like a duck, thou art made like a goose.
    • Scene ii

  • Caliban: Hast thou not dropp'd from heaven?
    Stephano: Out o' th' moon, I do assure thee; I was the Man i' th' Moon, when time was.
    Caliban: I have seen thee in her, and I do adore thee.
    My mistress show'd me thee, and thy dog and thy bush.
    • Scene ii

  • I prithee, be my god.
    • Caliban, scene ii


  • There be some sports are painful, and their labour
    Delight in them sets off; some kinds of baseness
    Are nobly undergone; and most poor matters
    Point to rich ends. This my mean task
    Would be as heavy to me as odious, but
    The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead,
    And makes my labours pleasures.
    • Ferdinand, scene i

  • Full many a lady
    I have ey'd with best regard; and many a time
    The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
    Brought my too diligent ear; for several virtues
    Have I lik'd several women, never any
    With so full soul, but some defect in her
    Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow'd,
    And put it to the foil; but you, O you,
    So perfect and so peerless, are created
    Of every creature's best!
    • Ferdinand, scene i

  • Ferdinand: Wherefore weep you?
    Miranda: At mine unworthiness, that dare not offer
    What I desire to give, and much less take
    What I shall die to want.
    • Scene i

  • I am your wife, if you will marry me;
    If not, I'll die your maid. To be your fellow
    You may deny me; but I'll be your servant,
    Whether you will or no.
    • Miranda, scene i

  • Ferdinand: Here ’s my hand.
    Miranda: And mine, with my heart in ’t.
    • Scene i

  • Servant-monster! the folly of this island! They say there's but five upon this isle: we are three of them; if th' other two be brain'd like us, the state totters.
    • Trinculo, scene ii

  • How does thy honour? Let me lick thy shoe.
    I'll not serve him, he is not valiant.
    • Caliban, scene ii

  • Ariel: Thou liest.
    Caliban: Thou liest, thou jesting monkey, thou: I would my
    valiant monster would destroy thee: I do not lie.
    Stephano: Trinculo, if you trouble him any more in's tale, by this hand, I will supplant some of your teeth.
    • Scene ii

Now I will believe
That there are unicorns; that in Arabia
There is one tree, the phoenix' throne, one phoenix
At this hour reigning-there.
  • Why, as I told thee, 'tis a custom with him
    I' the afternoon to sleep; there thou mayst brain him,
    Having first seiz'd his books; or with a log
    Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake,
    Or cut his wezand with thy knife. Remember,
    First to possess his books; for without them
    He's but a sot, as I am, nor hath not
    One spirit to command: they all do hate him,
    As rootedly as I — burn but his books.
    • Caliban, scene ii

  • Flout 'em and scout 'em, and scout 'em and flout 'em;
    Thought is free.
    • Stephano, scene ii

  • He that dies pays all debts: I defy thee. Mercy upon us!
    • Stephano, scene ii

  • Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
    Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
    Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
    Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
    That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep,
    Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
    The clouds methought would open and show riches
    Ready to drop upon me, that, when I wak'd,
    I cried to dream again.
    • Caliban, scene ii

  • Alonso: Give us kind keepers, heavens! What were these?
    Sebastian: A living drollery. Now I will believe
    That there are unicorns; that in Arabia
    There is one tree, the phoenix' throne, one phoenix
    At this hour reigning there.
    Antonio: I'll believe both;
    And what does else want credit, come to me,
    And I'll be sworn 'tis true; travellers ne'er did lie,
    Though fools at home condemn 'em.
    • Scene iii

  • A kind
    Of excellent dumb discourse.
    • Alonso, scene iii

  • You are three men of sin, whom Destiny, —
    That hath to instrument this lower world
    And what is in't, —the never-surfeited sea
    Hath caus'd to belch up you; and on this island
    Where man doth not inhabit, you 'mongst men
    Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad;
    And even with such-like valour, men hang and drown
    Their proper selves.
    [Alonso, Sebastian, etc., draw their swords]
    You fools! I and my fellows
    Are ministers of Fate; the elements,
    Of whom your swords are temper'd may as well
    Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs
    Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
    One dowle that's in my plume.
    • Ariel, scene iii

  • O, it is monstrous, monstrous!
    Methought the billows spoke, and told me of it;
    The winds did sing it to me; and the thunder,
    That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounc'd
    The name of Prospero; it did bass my trespass.
    Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded; and,
    I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded,
    And with him there lie mudded.
    • Alonso, scene iii

Act IV

  • The strongest oaths are straw
    To th' fire i' the blood. Be more abstemious,
    Or else good night your vow!
    • Prospero, scene i

  • Ceres: Hail, many-coloured messenger, that ne'er
    Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter;
    Who, with thy saffron wings, upon my flow'rs
    Diffusest honey drops, refreshing show'rs;
    And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown
    My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down,
    Rich scarf to my proud earth; — why hath thy Queen
    Summon'd me hither to this short-grass'd green?
    Iris: A contract of true love to celebrate,
    And some donation freely to estate
    On the blest lovers.
    • Scene i

  • Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
    As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
    Are melted into air, into thin air;
    And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
    The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.
    • Prospero, scene i

  • Pray you, tread softly, that the blind mole may not
    Hear a foot fall; we now are near his cell.
    • Caliban, scene i

  • Trinculo: Ay, but to lose our bottles in the pool —
    Stephano: There is not only disgrace and dishonor in that, monster, but an infinite loss.
    • scene i

  • With foreheads villainous low.
    • Caliban, scene i

Act V

How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!
  • Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,
    Yet, with my nobler reason 'gainst my fury
    Do I take part; the rarer action is
    In virtue than in vengeance.
    • Prospero, scene i

  • 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 moonshine 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 though ye be — I have be-dimm'd
    The noontide 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 given 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, op'd, and let 'em 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.
    • Prospero, scene i

  • Where the bee sucks, there lurk I;
    In a cowslip's bell I lie;
    There I couch when owls do cry.
    On the bat's back I do fly
    After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
    Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
    • Ariel, scene i

  • O, wonder!
    How many goodly creatures are there here!
    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
    That has such people in't!
    • Miranda, scene i
    • It is this statement by Miranda which provided Aldous Huxley the title of his dystopian novel, Brave New World, in which "The Savage" quotes this passage.


  • Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
    And what strength I have's mine own,
    Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
    I must be here confin'd by you,
    Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
    Since I have my dukedom got
    And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
    In this bare island by your spell;
    But release me from my bands
    With the help of your good hands.
    Gentle breath of yours my sails
    Must fill, or else my project fails,
    Which was to please. Now I want
    Spirits to enforce, art to enchant;
    And my ending is despair,
    Unless I be reliev'd by prayer,
    Which pierces so that it assaults
    Mercy itself, and frees all faults.
    As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
    Let your indulgence set me free.
    • Prospero

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