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The Tempest

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Act I, Scene 1

On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noise


of thunder and lightning heard.

[Enter a Master and a Boatswain]

  • Master. Good, speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely, 5
    or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir.


[Enter Mariners]

  • Boatswain. Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts!
    yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the 10
    master's whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind,
    if room enough!
    GONZALO, and others]
  • Alonso. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? 15
    Play the men.
  • Antonio. Where is the master, boatswain?
  • Boatswain. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour: keep your
    cabins: you do assist the storm. 20
  • 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 25
    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 30
    the hour, if it so hap. Cheerly, good hearts! Out
    of our way, I say.


  • Gonzalo. I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks he
    hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is 35
    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.


[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 45
    the weather or our office.
    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, 50
    incharitable dog!
  • 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 55
    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!
  • Gonzalo. The king and prince at prayers! let's assist them,
    For our case is as theirs.
  • 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 70
    And gape at widest to glut him.
    [A confused noise within: 'Mercy on us!'—]
    'We split, we split!'—'Farewell, my wife and
    'Farewell, brother!'—'We split, we split, we split!'] 75
  • Antonio. Let's all sink with the king.


  • Gonzalo. Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an
    acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any 80
    thing. The wills above be done! but I would fain
    die a dry death.