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The Tempest

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Act II, Scene 1

Another part of the island.



  • Gonzalo. Beseech you, sir, be merry; you have cause,
    So have we all, of joy; for our escape
    Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe
    Is common; every day some sailor's wife,
    The masters of some merchant and the merchant 710
    Have just our theme of woe; but for the miracle,
    I mean our preservation, few in millions
    Can speak like us: then wisely, good sir, weigh
    Our sorrow with our comfort.
  • Sebastian. He receives comfort like cold porridge.
  • Antonio. The visitor will not give him o'er so.
  • Sebastian. Look he's winding up the watch of his wit;
    by and by it will strike.
  • Gonzalo. When every grief is entertain'd that's offer'd,
    Comes to the entertainer—
  • Gonzalo. Dolour comes to him, indeed: you 725
    have spoken truer than you purposed.
  • Sebastian. You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should.
  • Antonio. Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue!
  • Gonzalo. Well, I have done: but yet,—
  • Antonio. Which, of he or Adrian, for a good
    wager, first begins to crow?
  • Adrian. Though this island seem to be desert,— 740
  • Adrian. Uninhabitable and almost inaccessible,—
  • Adrian. It must needs be of subtle, tender and delicate
  • Antonio. Temperance was a delicate wench.
  • Sebastian. Ay, and a subtle; as he most learnedly delivered.
  • Adrian. The air breathes upon us here most sweetly. 750
  • Sebastian. As if it had lungs and rotten ones.
  • Antonio. Or as 'twere perfumed by a fen.
  • Gonzalo. Here is everything advantageous to life.
  • Antonio. True; save means to live.
  • Sebastian. Of that there's none, or little. 755
  • Gonzalo. How lush and lusty the grass looks! how green!
  • Antonio. The ground indeed is tawny.
  • Sebastian. No; he doth but mistake the truth totally. 760
  • Gonzalo. But the rarity of it is,—which is indeed almost
    beyond credit,—
  • Gonzalo. That our garments, being, as they were, drenched in
    the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and 765
    glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with
    salt water.
  • Antonio. If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not
    say he lies?
  • Sebastian. Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report 770
  • Gonzalo. Methinks our garments are now as fresh as when we
    put them on first in Afric, at the marriage of
    the king's fair daughter Claribel to the King of Tunis.
  • Sebastian. 'Twas a sweet marriage, and we prosper well in our return.
  • Adrian. Tunis was never graced before with such a paragon to 775
    their queen.
  • Gonzalo. Not since widow Dido's time.
  • Antonio. Widow! a pox o' that! How came that widow in?
    widow Dido!
  • Sebastian. What if he had said 'widower AEneas' too? Good Lord, 780
    how you take it!
  • Adrian. 'Widow Dido' said you? you make me study of that:
    she was of Carthage, not of Tunis.
  • Gonzalo. This Tunis, sir, was Carthage.
  • Sebastian. His word is more than the miraculous harp; he hath
    raised the wall and houses too.
  • Antonio. What impossible matter will he make easy next?
  • Sebastian. I think he will carry this island home in his pocket 790
    and give it his son for an apple.
  • Antonio. And, sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring
    forth more islands.
  • Gonzalo. Sir, we were talking that our garments seem now
    as fresh as when we were at Tunis at the marriage
    of your daughter, who is now queen.
  • Antonio. And the rarest that e'er came there.
  • Sebastian. Bate, I beseech you, widow Dido. 800
  • Antonio. O, widow Dido! ay, widow Dido.
  • Gonzalo. Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as the first day I
    wore it? I mean, in a sort.
  • Antonio. That sort was well fished for.
  • Gonzalo. When I wore it at your daughter's marriage? 805
  • Alonso. You cram these words into mine ears against
    The stomach of my sense. Would I had never
    Married my daughter there! for, coming thence,
    My son is lost and, in my rate, she too,
    Who is so far from Italy removed 810
    I ne'er again shall see her. O thou mine heir
    Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish
    Hath made his meal on thee?
  • Francisco. Sir, he may live:
    I saw him beat the surges under him, 815
    And ride upon their backs; he trod the water,
    Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted
    The surge most swoln that met him; his bold head
    'Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oar'd
    Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke 820
    To the shore, that o'er his wave-worn basis bow'd,
    As stooping to relieve him: I not doubt
    He came alive to land.
  • Sebastian. Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss, 825
    That would not bless our Europe with your daughter,
    But rather lose her to an African;
    Where she at least is banish'd from your eye,
    Who hath cause to wet the grief on't.
  • Sebastian. You were kneel'd to and importuned otherwise
    By all of us, and the fair soul herself
    Weigh'd between loathness and obedience, at
    Which end o' the beam should bow. We have lost your
    son, 835
    I fear, for ever: Milan and Naples have
    More widows in them of this business' making
    Than we bring men to comfort them:
    The fault's your own.
  • Alonso. So is the dear'st o' the loss. 840
  • Gonzalo. My lord Sebastian,
    The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness
    And time to speak it in: you rub the sore,
    When you should bring the plaster.
  • Gonzalo. It is foul weather in us all, good sir,
    When you are cloudy.
  • Gonzalo. Had I plantation of this isle, my lord,—
  • Antonio. He'ld sow't with nettle-seed.
  • Gonzalo. And were the king on't, what would I do?
  • Sebastian. 'Scape being drunk for want of wine. 855
  • Gonzalo. I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
    Execute all things; for no kind of traffic
    Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
    Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
    And use of service, none; contract, succession, 860
    Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
    No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
    No occupation; all men idle, all;
    And women too, but innocent and pure;
    No sovereignty;— 865
  • Antonio. The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the
  • Gonzalo. All things in common nature should produce
    Without sweat or endeavour: treason, felony, 870
    Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine,
    Would I not have; but nature should bring forth,
    Of its own kind, all foison, all abundance,
    To feed my innocent people.
  • Sebastian. No marrying 'mong his subjects? 875
  • Antonio. None, man; all idle: whores and knaves.
  • Gonzalo. I would with such perfection govern, sir,
    To excel the golden age.
  • Gonzalo. And,—do you mark me, sir?
  • Alonso. Prithee, no more: thou dost talk nothing to me.
  • Gonzalo. I do well believe your highness; and
    did it to minister occasion to these gentlemen,
    who are of such sensible and nimble lungs that 885
    they always use to laugh at nothing.
  • Gonzalo. Who in this kind of merry fooling am nothing
    to you: so you may continue and laugh at
    nothing still. 890
  • Antonio. What a blow was there given!
  • Gonzalo. You are gentlemen of brave metal; you would lift
    the moon out of her sphere, if she would continue
    in it five weeks without changing. 895

[Enter ARIEL, invisible, playing solemn music]

  • Sebastian. We would so, and then go a bat-fowling.
  • Antonio. Nay, good my lord, be not angry.
  • Gonzalo. No, I warrant you; I will not adventure
    my discretion so weakly. Will you laugh 900
    me asleep, for I am very heavy?

[All sleep except ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, and ANTONIO]

  • Alonso. What, all so soon asleep! I wish mine eyes
    Would, with themselves, shut up my thoughts: I find 905
    They are inclined to do so.
  • Sebastian. Please you, sir,
    Do not omit the heavy offer of it:
    It seldom visits sorrow; when it doth,
    It is a comforter. 910
  • Antonio. We two, my lord,
    Will guard your person while you take your rest,
    And watch your safety.
  • Alonso. Thank you. Wondrous heavy.

[ALONSO sleeps. Exit ARIEL]

  • Sebastian. What a strange drowsiness possesses them!
  • Antonio. It is the quality o' the climate.
  • Sebastian. Why
    Doth it not then our eyelids sink? I find not
    Myself disposed to sleep. 920
  • Antonio. Nor I; my spirits are nimble.
    They fell together all, as by consent;
    They dropp'd, as by a thunder-stroke. What might,
    Worthy Sebastian? O, what might?—No more:—
    And yet me thinks I see it in thy face, 925
    What thou shouldst be: the occasion speaks thee, and
    My strong imagination sees a crown
    Dropping upon thy head.
  • Antonio. Do you not hear me speak? 930
  • Sebastian. I do; and surely
    It is a sleepy language and thou speak'st
    Out of thy sleep. What is it thou didst say?
    This is a strange repose, to be asleep
    With eyes wide open; standing, speaking, moving, 935
    And yet so fast asleep.
  • Antonio. Noble Sebastian,
    Thou let'st thy fortune sleep—die, rather; wink'st
    Whiles thou art waking.
  • Sebastian. Thou dost snore distinctly; 940
    There's meaning in thy snores.
  • Antonio. I am more serious than my custom: you
    Must be so too, if heed me; which to do
    Trebles thee o'er.
  • Antonio. I'll teach you how to flow.
  • Sebastian. Do so: to ebb
    Hereditary sloth instructs me.
  • Antonio. O,
    If you but knew how you the purpose cherish 950
    Whiles thus you mock it! how, in stripping it,
    You more invest it! Ebbing men, indeed,
    Most often do so near the bottom run
    By their own fear or sloth.
  • Sebastian. Prithee, say on: 955
    The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim
    A matter from thee, and a birth indeed
    Which throes thee much to yield.
  • Antonio. Thus, sir:
    Although this lord of weak remembrance, this, 960
    Who shall be of as little memory
    When he is earth'd, hath here almost persuade,—
    For he's a spirit of persuasion, only
    Professes to persuade,—the king his son's alive,
    'Tis as impossible that he's undrown'd 965
    And he that sleeps here swims.
  • Sebastian. I have no hope
    That he's undrown'd.
  • Antonio. O, out of that 'no hope'
    What great hope have you! no hope that way is 970
    Another way so high a hope that even
    Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond,
    But doubt discovery there. Will you grant with me
    That Ferdinand is drown'd?
  • Antonio. Then, tell me,
    Who's the next heir of Naples?
  • Antonio. She that is queen of Tunis; she that dwells
    Ten leagues beyond man's life; she that from Naples 980
    Can have no note, unless the sun were post—
    The man i' the moon's too slow—till new-born chins
    Be rough and razorable; she that—from whom?
    We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again,
    And by that destiny to perform an act 985
    Whereof what's past is prologue, what to come
    In yours and my discharge.
  • Sebastian. What stuff is this! how say you?
    'Tis true, my brother's daughter's queen of Tunis;
    So is she heir of Naples; 'twixt which regions 990
    There is some space.
  • Antonio. A space whose every cubit
    Seems to cry out, 'How shall that Claribel
    Measure us back to Naples? Keep in Tunis,
    And let Sebastian wake.' Say, this were death 995
    That now hath seized them; why, they were no worse
    Than now they are. There be that can rule Naples
    As well as he that sleeps; lords that can prate
    As amply and unnecessarily
    As this Gonzalo; I myself could make 1000
    A chough of as deep chat. O, that you bore
    The mind that I do! what a sleep were this
    For your advancement! Do you understand me?
  • Antonio. And how does your content 1005
    Tender your own good fortune?
  • Sebastian. I remember
    You did supplant your brother Prospero.
  • Antonio. True:
    And look how well my garments sit upon me; 1010
    Much feater than before: my brother's servants
    Were then my fellows; now they are my men.
  • Antonio. Ay, sir; where lies that? if 'twere a kibe,
    'Twould put me to my slipper: but I feel not 1015
    This deity in my bosom: twenty consciences,
    That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candied be they
    And melt ere they molest! Here lies your brother,
    No better than the earth he lies upon,
    If he were that which now he's like, that's dead; 1020
    Whom I, with this obedient steel, three inches of it,
    Can lay to bed for ever; whiles you, doing thus,
    To the perpetual wink for aye might put
    This ancient morsel, this Sir Prudence, who
    Should not upbraid our course. For all the rest, 1025
    They'll take suggestion as a cat laps milk;
    They'll tell the clock to any business that
    We say befits the hour.
  • Sebastian. Thy case, dear friend,
    Shall be my precedent; as thou got'st Milan, 1030
    I'll come by Naples. Draw thy sword: one stroke
    Shall free thee from the tribute which thou payest;
    And I the king shall love thee.
  • Antonio. Draw together;
    And when I rear my hand, do you the like, 1035
    To fall it on Gonzalo.

[They talk apart]

[Re-enter ARIEL, invisible]

  • Ariel. My master through his art foresees the danger 1040
    That you, his friend, are in; and sends me forth—
    For else his project dies—to keep them living.
    [Sings in GONZALO's ear]
    While you here do snoring lie,
    Open-eyed conspiracy 1045
    His time doth take.
    If of life you keep a care,
    Shake off slumber, and beware:
    Awake, awake!
  • Antonio. Then let us both be sudden. 1050
  • Gonzalo. Now, good angels
    Preserve the king.

[They wake]

  • Alonso. Why, how now? ho, awake! Why are you drawn?
    Wherefore this ghastly looking? 1055
  • Sebastian. Whiles we stood here securing your repose,
    Even now, we heard a hollow burst of bellowing
    Like bulls, or rather lions: did't not wake you?
    It struck mine ear most terribly. 1060
  • Antonio. O, 'twas a din to fright a monster's ear,
    To make an earthquake! sure, it was the roar
    Of a whole herd of lions.
  • Alonso. Heard you this, Gonzalo? 1065
  • Gonzalo. Upon mine honour, sir, I heard a humming,
    And that a strange one too, which did awake me:
    I shaked you, sir, and cried: as mine eyes open'd,
    I saw their weapons drawn: there was a noise,
    That's verily. 'Tis best we stand upon our guard, 1070
    Or that we quit this place; let's draw our weapons.
  • Alonso. Lead off this ground; and let's make further search
    For my poor son.
  • Gonzalo. Heavens keep him from these beasts!
    For he is, sure, i' the island. 1075
  • Ariel. Prospero my lord shall know what I have done:
    So, king, go safely on to seek thy son.