The Tempest

William Shakespeare

Preview: Issue 1 of 10

ACT I

SCENE I.

On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard.

Enter a Master and a Boatswain

Master Boatswain!

Boatswain Here, master: what cheer?

Master Good, speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir.

Exit

Enter Mariners

Boatswain Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the master's whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!

Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others

ALONSO Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.

Boatswain I pray now, keep below.

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 a 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 lived so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap. Cheerly, good hearts! Out of our way, I say.

Exit

GONZALO I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, good Fate, to his hanging: make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage. If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miserable.

Exeunt

Re-enter Boatswain

Boatswain Down with the topmast! yare! lower, lower! Bring her to try with main-course.

A cry within

A plague upon this howling! they are louder than the weather or our office.

Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and GONZALO

Yet again! what do you here? Shall we give o'er and drown? Have you a mind to sink?

SEBASTIAN A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!

Boatswain Work you then.

ANTONIO Hang, cur! hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker! We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.

GONZALO I'll warrant him for drowning; though the ship were no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as an unstanched wench.

Boatswain Lay her a-hold, a-hold! set her two courses off to sea again; lay her off.

Enter Mariners wet

Mariners All lost! to prayers, to prayers! all lost!

Boatswain What, must our mouths be cold?

GONZALO The king and prince at prayers! let's assist them, For our case is as theirs.

SEBASTIAN I'm out of patience.

ANTONIO We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards: This wide-chapp'd rascal--would thou mightst lie drowning The washing of ten tides!

GONZALO He'll be hang'd yet, Though every drop of water swear against it And gape at widest to glut him.

A confused noise within: 'Mercy on us!'-- 'We split, we split!'--'Farewell, my wife and children!'-- 'Farewell, brother!'--'We split, we split, we split!'

ANTONIO Let's all sink with the king.

SEBASTIAN Let's take leave of him.

Exeunt ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN

GONZALO Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any thing. The wills above be done! but I would fain die a dry death.

Exeunt

SCENE II.

The island. Before PROSPERO'S cell.

Enter PROSPERO and MIRANDA

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 creature 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 ere 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, who Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing Of whence I am, nor that I am more better Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell, And thy no greater father.

MIRANDA More to know Did never meddle with my thoughts.

PROSPERO 'Tis time I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand, And pluck my magic garment from me. So:

Lays down his mantle

Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort. The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch'd The very virtue of compassion in thee, I have with such provision in mine art So safely ordered that there is no soul-- No, not so much perdition as an hair Betid to any creature in the vessel Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Sit down; For thou must now know farther.

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; Obey and be attentive. Canst thou remember A time before we came unto this cell? I do not think thou canst, for then thou wast not Out three years old.

MIRANDA Certainly, sir, I can.

PROSPERO By what? by any other house or person? Of any thing the image tell me that Hath kept with thy remembrance.

MIRANDA 'Tis far off And rather like a dream than an assurance That my remembrance warrants. Had I not Four or five women once that tended me?

PROSPERO Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else In the dark backward and abysm of time? If thou remember'st aught ere thou camest here, How thou camest here thou mayst.

MIRANDA But that I do not.

PROSPERO Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since, Thy father was the Duke of Milan and A prince of power.

MIRANDA Sir, are not you my father?

PROSPERO Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father Was Duke of Milan; and thou his only heir And princess no worse issued.

MIRANDA O the heavens! What foul play had we, that we came from thence? Or blessed was't we did?

PROSPERO Both, both, my girl: By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heaved thence, But blessedly holp hither.

MIRANDA O, my heart bleeds To think o' the teen that I have turn'd you to, Which is from my remembrance! Please you, farther.

PROSPERO My brother and thy uncle, call'd Antonio-- I pray thee, mark me--that a brother should Be so perfidious!--he whom next thyself Of all the world I loved and to him put The manage of my state; as at that time Through all the signories it was the first And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed In dignity, and for the liberal arts Without a parallel; those being all my study, The government I cast upon my brother And to my state grew stranger, being transported And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle-- Dost thou attend me?

MIRANDA Sir, most heedfully.

PROSPERO Being once perfected how to grant suits, How to deny them, who to advance and who To trash for over-topping, new created The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed 'em, Or else new form'd 'em; having both the key Of officer and office, set all hearts i' the state To what tune pleased his ear; that now he was The ivy which had hid my princely trunk, And suck'd my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not.

MIRANDA O, good sir, I do.

PROSPERO I pray thee, mark me. I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated To closeness and the bettering of my mind With that which, but by being so retired, O'er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother Awaked an evil nature; and my trust, Like a good parent, did beget of him A falsehood in its contrary as great As my trust was; which had indeed no limit, A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded, Not only with what my revenue yielded, But what my power might else exact, like one Who having into truth, by telling of it, Made such a sinner of his memory, To credit his own lie, he did believe He was indeed the duke; out o' the substitution And executing the outward face of royalty, With all prerogative: hence his ambition growing-- Dost thou hear?

MIRANDA Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.

PROSPERO To have no screen between this part he play'd And him he play'd it for, he needs will be Absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library Was dukedom large enough: of temporal royalties He thinks me now incapable; confederates-- So dry he was for sway--wi' the King of Naples To give him annual tribute, do him homage, Subject his coronet to his crown and bend The dukedom yet unbow'd--alas, poor Milan!-- To most ignoble stooping.

MIRANDA O the heavens!

PROSPERO Mark his condition and the event; then tell me If this might be a brother.

MIRANDA I should sin To think but nobly of my grandmother: Good wombs have borne bad sons.

PROSPERO Now the condition. The King of Naples, being an enemy To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit; Which was, that he, in lieu o' the premises Of homage and I know not how much tribute, Should presently extirpate me and mine Out of the dukedom and confer fair Milan With all the honours on my brother: whereon, A treacherous army levied, one midnight Fated to the purpose did Antonio open The gates of Milan, and, i' the dead of darkness, The ministers for the purpose hurried thence Me and thy crying self.

MIRANDA Alack, for pity! I, not remembering how I cried out then, Will cry it o'er again: it is a hint That wrings mine eyes to't.

PROSPERO Hear a little further And then I'll bring thee to the present business Which now's upon's; without the which this story Were most impertinent.

MIRANDA Wherefore did they not That hour destroy us?

PROSPERO Well demanded, wench: My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not, So dear the love my people bore me, nor set A mark so bloody on the business, but With colours fairer painted their foul ends. In few, they hurried us aboard a bark, Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepared A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd, Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us, To cry to the sea that roar'd to us, to sigh To the winds whose pity, sighing back again, Did us but loving wrong.

MIRANDA Alack, what trouble Was I then to you!

PROSPERO O, a cherubim Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile. Infused with a fortitude from heaven, When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt, Under my burthen groan'd; which raised in me An undergoing stomach, to bear up Against what should ensue.

MIRANDA How came we ashore?

PROSPERO By Providence divine. Some food we had and some fresh water that A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo, Out of his charity, being then appointed Master of this design, did give us, with Rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries, Which since have steaded much; so, of his gentleness, Knowing I loved my books, he furnish'd me From mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom.

MIRANDA Would I might But ever see that man!

PROSPERO Now I arise:

Resumes his mantle

Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow. Here in this island we arrived; and here Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit Than other princesses can that have more time For vainer hours and tutors not so careful.

MIRANDA Heavens thank you for't! And now, I pray you, sir, For still 'tis beating in my mind, your reason For raising this sea-storm?

PROSPERO 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. Here cease more questions: Thou art inclined to sleep; 'tis a good dulness, And give it way: I know thou canst not choose.

MIRANDA sleeps

Come away, servant, come. I am ready now. Approach, my Ariel, come.

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