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Darwin's discoveries threw a new light upon the manmonster, which Daniel Wilson exploited in his Caliban, or The Missing Link (1873). Politics,
metaphysics, anthropology, literary history, have each been divined in the cloudy symbols of Shakespeare's high romance.1 Few of these interpretations have had any vogue. One, however, the world by a common instinct refuses to resign: that which regards Shakespeare as having, in Prospero's epilogue, himself bidden farewell to the stage.
1 Cf. the summary in Dowden's Shakspere, His Mind and Art,
On a ship at sea: a tempestuous
noise of thunder and lightning heard.
Enter a Ship-Master and a Boatswain.
Boats. Here, master: what cheer?
Mast. Good, speak to the mariners: fall to 't, yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir.
Boats. 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.
Alon. Good boatswain, have care.
the master? Play the men.
Boats. I pray now, keep below.
Ant. Where is the master, boatswain ?
Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour: keep your cabins: you do assist the storm. Gon. Nay, good, be patient.
Boats. When the sea is.
these roarers for the name of king? To cabin: silence! trouble us not.
Gon. Good, yet remember whom thou hast 20 aboard.
Boats. 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.
Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow': 30 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 [Exeunt.
Boats. Down with the topmast! yare! lower,
18. roarers, blusterers.
37. Down with the topmast; the second manoeuvre, still further reducing the weight aloft.
The movable topmast was a new invention in Shakespeare's time. This order is introduced to prepare for the next.
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
o'er and drown?
do you here? Shall we give
Seb. A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!
Boats. Work you then.
Ant. Hang, cur! hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker! We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.
Gon. I'll warrant him for drowning; though the ship were no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as an unstanched wench.
Boats. 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!
Boats. What, must our mouths be cold?
Gon. The king and prince at prayers! let's assist them,
For our case is as theirs.
38. Bring her to try with main-course, bring her close to the wind with the main-sail. To 'lie as try with the main-course' was a recognised expedient in a
40. our office, my orders.
I'm out of patience.
courses off to sea again, bring her close to the wind by hauling up the main-sail, and set her two lowest sails (courses) on the other tack, to try to clear the land that way. The third manoeuvre; which however fails, and the ship, not being able to weather a point, is driven ashore.
Ant. We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards:
This wide-chapp'd rascal-would thou mightst lie drowning
The washing of ten tides!
He'll be hang'd yet,
Though every drop of water swear against it
[A confused noise within: 'Mercy on us!'
'We split, we split!'-'Farewell my wife and children!'
'Farewell, brother!'-'We split, we split, we split !'] Ant. Let's all sink with the king.
Seb. Let's take leave of him.
[Exeunt Ant. and Seb. Gon. Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, 70 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.
Mir. If by your art, my dearest father, you have
With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel,
Dash'd all to pieces.
63. glut, swallow.
O, the cry did knock
70. long heath, a variety of
heath, 'which beareth his flowers alongst the stemmes,' was then so called.