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The TEMPEST is supposed to be the last production of Shakspeare's mighty genius; as it is generally acknowledged to be the most original and perfect of his works. In this Play the Poet has literally "given to airy nothings a local habitation and a name," endowing them with qualities and furnishing them with a fitness of language, which invests these creatures of his imaginings with all the charm and semblance of reality.
The story is simple in its construction, yet it is deeply interesting. Our selections pr sent the main incidents of the plot in consecutive succession.
ALONZO, King of Naples.
SEBASTIAN, his brother.
PROSPERO, the rightful Duke of Milan.
ANTONIO, his brother, the usurping Duke of Milan.
FERDINAND, Son to the King of Naples.
GONZALO, an honest old counsellor of Naples.
ADRIAN, FRANCISCO, lords.
CALIBAN, a savage and deformed slave.
TRINCULO, a jester.
STEPHANO, a drunken butler.
Master of a ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
MIRANDA, daughter to Prospero.
ARIEL, an airy spirit.
IRIS, CERES, JUNO, Nymphs, Reapers, spirits.
Other spirits attending on Prospero.
SCENE.-The Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an uninhabued Island.
Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, has been dethroned by his brother Antonio, and banished from his dominions. Prospero seeks refuge in a desert island, with his daughter Miranda, and by magic arts, surrounds himself with " potent spirits," which
are obedient to his will. Having learned by his "magic" that his brother Antonio has embarked in a vessel for Naples, in company with Alonzo, King of Naples, the king's son, Ferdinand, together with certain lords of Milan and Naples, Prospero commands his trusty spirit Ariel, to wreck the vessel near the island, but to save the lives of the noble passengers and crew, and bring them safely to shore. Prospero and his daughter Miranda witness the destruction of the vessel,
SCENE II.-The Island: before the Cell of PROSPERO.
Mira. If by your art, my dearest father, you have
With those that I saw suffer! a brave vessel,
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
Be collected ;
No more amazement: tell your piteous heart,
O, woe the day!
I have done nothing but in care of thee,
More to know
Did never meddle with my thoughts.
I should inform thee further. 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 order'd, that there is no soul—
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink.-Sit down;
You have often
The hour's now come;
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear;
Obey, and be attentive. Can'st thou remember
I do not think thou can'st; for then thou wast not
Certainly, sir, I can.
Pro. By what? by any other house, or person? Of any thing the image tell me, that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
"Tis far off:
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants: Had I not
Pro. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda: But how is it,
If thou remember'st aught, ere thou cam❜st here,
But that I do not.
Pro. Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve years since, Thy father was the duke of Milan, and
A prince of power.
Sir, are not you my father?
Pro. Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was duke of Milan; and his only heir
A princess, no worse issued.
O, the heavens !
What foul play had we, that we came from thence;
Or blessed was't, we did?
Both, both, my girl;
By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heav'd thence;
O, my heart bleeds
To think o' the teen* that I have turn'd you to,
Which is from my remembrance! Please you, further.
Pro. My brother, and thy uncle, call'd Antonio,
pray thee, mark me,-that a brother should
Be so perfidious !-he whom, next thyself,
Without a parallel: those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother,
And to my state grew stranger, being transported,
Dost thou attend me?
Pro. Being once perfected how to grant suits,
The creatures that were mine; I say, or chang'd them
And suck'd my verdure out on't.--Thou attend'st not:
O good sir, I do.
Pro. I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicate
As my trust was: which had, indeed, no limit,
But what my power might else exact,-like one,
To credit his own lie,-he did believe
He was indeed the duke; out of the substitution,
Your tale, sir, would cure deafness. Pro. 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
(So dry he was for sway) with the king of Naples,
O the heavens !
Pro. Mark his condition, and the event; then tell me If this might be a brother.
* Cut away.
I should sin
To think but nobly of my grandmother.
Now the condition
This king of Naples, being an enemy
The gates of Milan; and, i' the dead of darkness,
Alack, for pity! I, not rememb'ring how I cry'd out then, Will cry it o'er again: it is a hint,
That wrings mine eyes to't.
Hear a little farther,
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
That hour destroy us?
Wherefore did they not
Well demanded, girl;
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not
With colors fairer painted their foul ends.
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd
Was I then to you!
Alack what trouble
O! a cherubim
Thou wast thou didst preserve me! Thou didst smile,
Infused with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt;
Under my burden groan'd; which rais'd in me
An undergoing stomach, to bear up
Against what should ensue.
Pro. By Providence divire.
How came we ashore ?