Front Page Titles (by Subject) Scene I.—: Before the Cell ofProspero. - The Tempest
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Scene I.—: Before the Cell ofProspero. - William Shakespeare, The Tempest 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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Before the Cell ofProspero.
EnterProsperoin his magic robes; andAriel.
Now does my project gather to a head:
My charms crack not; my spirits obey, and time
Goes upright with his carriage. How’s the day?
On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord,
You said our work should cease.
I did say so,
When first I rais’d the tempest. Say, my spirit,
How fares the king and’s followers?
In the same fashion as you gave in charge,
Just as you left them: all prisoners, sir,
In the line-grove which weather-fends your cell;
They cannot budge till your release. The king,
His brother, and yours, abide all three distracted,
And the remainder mourning over them,
Brimful of sorrow and dismay; but chiefly
Him, that you term’d, sir, ‘The good old lord Gonzalo:’
His tears run down his beard, like winter’s drops
From eaves of reeds; your charm so strongly works them,
That if you now beheld them, your affections
Would become tender.
Dost thou think so, spirit?
Mine would, sir, were I human.
And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier mov’d than thou art?
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: they being penitent,
The sole drift of my purpose doth extend
Not a frown further. Go, release them, Ariel.
My charms I’ll break, their senses I’ll restore,
And they shall be themselves.
I’ll fetch them, sir
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 bedimm’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 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.
Re-enterAriel:after him,Alonso,with a frantic gesture, attended byGonzalo; SebastianandAntonioin like manner, attended byAdrianandFrancisco:they all enter the circle whichProsperohad made, and there stand charmed; whichProsperoobserving, speaks.
A solemn air and the best comforter
To an unsettled fancy, cure thy brains,
Now useless, boil’d within thy skull! There stand,
For you are spell-stopp’d.
Holy Gonzalo, honourable man,
Mine eyes, even sociable to the show of thine,
Fall fellowly drops. The charm dissolves apace;
And as the morning steals upon the night,
Melting the darkness, so their rising senses
Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle
Their clearer reason.—O good Gonzalo!
My true preserver, and a loyal sir
To him thou follow’st, I will pay thy graces
Home, both in word and deed.—Most cruelly
Didst thou, Alonso, use me and my daughter:
Thy brother was a furtherer in the act;—
Thou’rt pinch’d for’t now, Sebastian.—Flesh and blood,
You, brother mine, that entertain’d ambition,
Expell’d remorse and nature; who, with Sebastian,—
Whose inward pinches therefore are most strong,—
Would here have kill’d your king; I do forgive thee,
Unnatural though thou art!—Their understanding
Begins to swell, and the approaching tide
Will shortly fill the reasonable shores
That now lie foul and muddy. Not one of them
That yet looks on me, or would know me.—Ariel,
Fetch me the hat and rapier in my cell:—
I will discase me, and myself present,
As I was sometime Milan.—Quickly, spirit;
Thou shalt ere long be free.
Arielre-enters, singing, and helps to attireProspero.
Why, that’s my dainty Ariel! I shall miss thee;
But yet thou shalt have freedom;—so, so, so.—
To the king’s ship, invisible as thou art:
There shalt thou find the mariners asleep
Under the hatches; the master and the boatswain
Being awake, enforce them to this place,
And presently, I prithee.
I drink the air before me, and return
Or e’er your pulse twice beat.
All torment, trouble, wonder, and amazement
Inhabits here: some heavenly power guide us
Out of this fearful country!
Behold, sir king,
The wronged Duke of Milan, Prospero.
For more assurance that a living prince
Does now speak to thee, I embrace thy body;
And to thee and thy company I bid
A hearty welcome.
Whe’r thou beest he or no,
Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me,
As late I have been, I not know: thy pulse
Beats, as of flesh and blood; and, since I saw thee,
Th’ affliction of my mind amends, with which,
I fear, a madness held me: this must crave,—
An if this be at all—a most strange story.
Thy dukedom I resign, and do entreat
Thou pardon me my wrongs.—But how should Prospero
Be living, and be here?
First, noble friend,
Let me embrace thine age; whose honour cannot
Be measur’d, or confin’d.
Whether this be,
Or be not, I’ll not swear.
You do yet taste
Some subtilties o’ the isle, that will not let you
Believe things certain.—Welcome! my friends all:—
[Aside toSeb.andAnt.] But you, my brace of lords, were I so minded,
I here could pluck his highness’ frown upon you,
And justify you traitors: at this time
I will tell no tales.
[Aside.] The devil speaks in him.
For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother
Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive
Thy rankest fault; all of them; and require
My dukedom of thee, which, perforce, I know,
Thou must restore.
If thou beest Prospero,
Give us particulars of thy preservation;
How thou hast met us here, who three hours since
Were wrack’d upon this shore; where I have lost,—
How sharp the point of this remembrance is!—
My dear son Ferdinand.
I am woe for’t, sir.
Irreparable is the loss, and patience
Says it is past her cure.
I rather think
You have not sought her help; of whose soft grace,
For the like loss I have her sovereign aid,
And rest myself content.
You the like loss!
As great to me, as late; and, supportable
To make the dear loss, have I means much weaker
Than you may call to comfort you, for I
Have lost my daughter.
O heavens! that they were living both in Naples,
The king and queen there! that they were, I wish
Myself were mudded in that oozy bed
Where my son lies. When did you lose your daughter?
In this last tempest. I perceive, these lords
At this encounter do so much admire
That they devour their reason, and scarce think
Their eyes do offices of truth, their words
Are natural breath: but, howsoe’er you have
Been justled from your senses, know for certain
That I am Prospero and that very duke
Which was thrust forth of Milan; who most strangely
Upon this shore, where you were wrack’d, was landed,
To be the lord on’t. No more yet of this;
For ’tis a chronicle of day by day,
Not a relation for a breakfast nor
Befitting this first meeting. Welcome, sir;
This cell’s my court: here have I few attendants
And subjects none abroad: pray you, look in.
My dukedom since you have given me again,
I will requite you with as good a thing;
At least bring forth a wonder, to content ye
As much as me my dukedom.
The entrance of the Cell opens, and discoversFerdinandandMirandaplaying at chess.
Sweet lord, you play me false.
No, my dearest love,
I would not for the world.
Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,
And I would call it fair play.
If this prove
A vision of the island, one dear son
Shall I twice lose.
A most high miracle!
Though the seas threaten, they are merciful:
I have curs’d them without cause.
Now, all the blessings
Of a glad father compass thee about!
Arise, and say how thou cam’st here.
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!
’Tis new to thee.
What is this maid, with whom thou wast at play?
Your eld’st acquaintance cannot be three hours:
Is she the goddess that hath sever’d us,
And brought us thus together?
Sir, she is mortal;
But by immortal Providence she’s mine;
I chose her when I could not ask my father
For his advice, nor thought I had one. She
Is daughter to this famous Duke of Milan,
Of whom so often I have heard renown,
But never saw before; of whom I have
Receiv’d a second life; and second father
This lady makes him to me.
I am hers:
But O! how oddly will it sound that I
Must ask my child forgiveness!
There, sir, stop:
Let us not burden our remembrances
With a heaviness that’s gone.
I have inly wept,
Or should have spoke ere this. Look down, you gods,
And on this couple drop a blessed crown;
For it is you that have chalk’d forth the way
Which brought us hither!
I say, Amen, Gonzalo!
Was Milan thrust from Milan, that his issue
Should become kings of Naples? O, rejoice
Beyond a common joy, and set it down
With gold on lasting pillars. In one voyage
Did Claribel her husband find at Tunis,
And Ferdinand, her brother, found a wife
Where he himself was lost; Prospero his dukedom
In a poor isle; and all of us ourselves,
When no man was his own.
[ToFer.andMira.] Give me your hands:
Let grief and sorrow still embrace his heart
That doth not wish you joy!
Be it so: Amen!
Re-enterAriel,with the Master and Boatswain amazedly following.
O look, sir! look, sir! here are more of us.
I prophesied, if a gallows were on land,
This fellow could not drown.—Now, blasphemy,
That swear’st grace o’erboard, not an oath on shore?
Hast thou no mouth by land? What is the news?
The best news is that we have safely found
Our king and company: the next, our ship,—
Which but three glasses since we gave out split,—
Is tight and yare and bravely rigg’d as when
We first put out to sea.
[Aside toPro.] Sir, all this service
Have I done since I went.
[Aside toAri.] My tricksy spirit!
These are not natural events; they strengthen
From strange to stranger.—Say, how came you hither?
If I did think, sir, I were well awake,
I’d strive to tell you. We were dead of sleep,
And,—how we know not,—all clapp’d under hatches,
Where, but even now, with strange and several noises
Of roaring, shrieking, howling, jingling chains,
And mo diversity of sounds, all horrible,
We were awak’d; straightway, at liberty:
Where we, in all her trim, freshly beheld
Our royal, good, and gallant ship; our master
Capering to eye her: on a trice, so please you,
Even in a dream, were we divided from them,
And were brought moping hither.
[Aside toPro.] Was’t well done?
[Aside toAri.] Bravely, my diligence! Thou shalt be free.
This is as strange a maze as e’er men trod;
And there is in this business more than nature
Was ever conduct of: some oracle
Must rectify our knowledge.
Sir, my liege,
Do not infest your mind with beating on
The strangeness of this business: at pick’d leisure
Which shall be shortly, single I’ll resolve you,—
Which to you shall seem probable,—of every
These happen’d accidents; till when, be cheerful,
And think of each thing well.—[Aside toAri.] Come hither, spirit;
Set Caliban and his companions free;
Untie the spell. [ExitAri.] How fares my gracious sir?
There are yet missing of your company
Some few odd lads that you remember not.
Re-enterAriel,driving inCaliban, Stephano,andTrinculo,in their stolen apparel.
Every man shift for all the rest, and let no man take care for himself, for all is but fortune.—Coragio! bully-monster, Coragio!
If these be true spies which I wear in my head, here’s a goodly sight.
O Setebos! these be brave spirits, indeed.
How fine my master is! I am afraid
He will chastise me.
What things are these, my lord Antonio?
Will money buy them?
Very like; one of them
Is a plain fish, and, no doubt, marketable.
Mark but the badges of these men, my lords,
Then say, if they be true.—This mis-shapen knave,—
His mother was a witch; and one so strong
That could control the moon, make flows and ebbs,
And deal in her command without her power.
These three have robb’d me; and this demidevil,—
For he’s a bastard one,—had plotted with them
To take my life: two of these fellows you
Must know and own; this thing of darkness I
I shall be pinch’d to death
Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler?
He is drunk now: where had he wine?
And Trinculo is reeling-ripe: where should they
Find this grand liquor that hath gilded them?
How cam’st thou in this pickle?
I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.
Why, how now, Stephano!
O! touch me not: I am not Stephano, but a cramp.
You’d be king of the isle, sirrah?
I should have been a sore one then.
This is a strange thing as e’er I look’d on.
He is as disproportion’d in his manners As in his shape.—Go, sirrah, to my cell;
Take with you your companions: as you look
To have my pardon, trim it handsomely.
Ay, that I will; and I’ll be wise hereafter,
And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
Was I, to take this drunkard for a god,
And worship this dull fool!
Go to; away!
Hence, and bestow your luggage where you found it.
Or stole it, rather.
Sir, I invite your highness and your train
To my poor cell, where you shall take your rest
For this one night; which—part of it—I’ll waste
With such discourse as, I not doubt, shall make it
Go quick away; the story of my life
And the particular accidents gone by
Since I came to this isle: and in the morn
I’ll bring you to your ship, and so to Naples,
Where I have hope to see the nuptial
Of these our dear-beloved solemniz’d;
And thence retire me to my Milan, where
Every third thought shall be my grave.
To hear the story of your life, which must
Take the ear strangely.
I’ll deliver all;
And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales
And sail so expeditious that shall catch
Your royal fleet far off.—[Aside toAri.] My Ariel, chick,
That is thy charge: then to the elements
Be free, and fare thou well!—Please you, draw near.