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The Tempest

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Act V, Scene 1

Before PROSPERO’S cell.


[Enter PROSPERO in his magic robes, and ARIEL]

  • Prospero. Now does my project gather to a head:
    My charms crack not; my spirits obey; and time
    Goes upright with his carriage. How's the day?
  • Ariel. On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord,
    You said our work should cease. 2020
  • Prospero. I did say so,
    When first I raised the tempest. Say, my spirit,
    How fares the king and's followers?
  • Ariel. Confined together
    In the same fashion as you gave in charge, 2025
    Just as you left them; all prisoners, sir,
    In the line-grove which weather-fends your cell;
    They cannot budge till your release. The king,
    His brother and yours, abide all three distracted
    And the remainder mourning over them, 2030
    Brimful of sorrow and dismay; but chiefly
    Him that you term'd, sir, 'The good old lord Gonzalo;'
    His tears run down his beard, like winter's drops
    From eaves of reeds. Your charm so strongly works 'em
    That if you now beheld them, your affections 2035
    Would become tender.
  • Ariel. Mine would, sir, were I human.
  • Prospero. And mine shall.
    Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling 2040
    Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
    One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
    Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?
    Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,
    Yet with my nobler reason 'gaitist my fury 2045
    Do I take part: the rarer action is
    In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,
    The sole drift of my purpose doth extend
    Not a frown further. Go release them, Ariel:
    My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore, 2050
    And they shall be themselves.
  • Ariel. I'll fetch them, sir.


  • Prospero. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves,
    And ye that on the sands with printless foot 2055
    Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him
    When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
    By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
    Whereof the ewe not bites, and you whose pastime
    Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice 2060
    To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid,
    Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm'd
    The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
    And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault
    Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder 2065
    Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak
    With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory
    Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up
    The pine and cedar: graves at my command
    Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth 2070
    By my so potent art. But this rough magic
    I here abjure, and, when I have required
    Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
    To work mine end upon their senses that
    This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff, 2075
    Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
    And deeper than did ever plummet sound
    I'll drown my book.
    [Solemn music]
    [Re-enter ARIEL before: then ALONSO, with a] 2080
    frantic gesture, attended by GONZALO;
    SEBASTIAN and ANTONIO in like manner,
    attended by ADRIAN and FRANCISCO they all
    enter the circle which PROSPERO had made,
    and there stand charmed; which PROSPERO 2085
    observing, speaks:]
    A solemn air and the best comforter
    To an unsettled fancy cure thy brains,
    Now useless, boil'd within thy skull! There stand,
    For you are spell-stopp'd. 2090
    Holy Gonzalo, honourable man,
    Mine eyes, even sociable to the show of thine,
    Fall fellowly drops. The charm dissolves apace,
    And as the morning steals upon the night,
    Melting the darkness, so their rising senses 2095
    Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle
    Their clearer reason. O good Gonzalo,
    My true preserver, and a loyal sir
    To him you follow'st! I will pay thy graces
    Home both in word and deed. Most cruelly 2100
    Didst thou, Alonso, use me and my daughter:
    Thy brother was a furtherer in the act.
    Thou art pinch'd fort now, Sebastian. Flesh and blood,
    You, brother mine, that entertain'd ambition,
    Expell'd remorse and nature; who, with Sebastian, 2105
    Whose inward pinches therefore are most strong,
    Would here have kill'd your king; I do forgive thee,
    Unnatural though thou art. Their understanding
    Begins to swell, and the approaching tide
    Will shortly fill the reasonable shore 2110
    That now lies foul and muddy. Not one of them
    That yet looks on me, or would know me Ariel,
    Fetch me the hat and rapier in my cell:
    I will discase me, and myself present
    As I was sometime Milan: quickly, spirit; 2115
    Thou shalt ere long be free.
    [ARIEL sings and helps to attire him]
    Where the bee sucks. there suck I:
    In a cowslip's bell I lie;
    There I couch when owls do cry. 2120
    On the bat's back I do fly
    After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily shall I live now
    Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
  • Prospero. Why, that's my dainty Ariel! I shall miss thee: 2125
    But yet thou shalt have freedom: so, so, so.
    To the king's ship, invisible as thou art:
    There shalt thou find the mariners asleep
    Under the hatches; the master and the boatswain
    Being awake, enforce them to this place, 2130
    And presently, I prithee.
  • Ariel. I drink the air before me, and return
    Or ere your pulse twice beat.


  • Gonzalo. All torment, trouble, wonder and amazement 2135
    Inhabits here: some heavenly power guide us
    Out of this fearful country!
  • Prospero. Behold, sir king,
    The wronged Duke of Milan, Prospero:
    For more assurance that a living prince 2140
    Does now speak to thee, I embrace thy body;
    And to thee and thy company I bid
    A hearty welcome.
  • Alonso. Whether thou best he or no,
    Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me, 2145
    As late I have been, I not know: thy pulse
    Beats as of flesh and blood; and, since I saw thee,
    The affliction of my mind amends, with which,
    I fear, a madness held me: this must crave,
    An if this be at all, a most strange story. 2150
    Thy dukedom I resign and do entreat
    Thou pardon me my wrongs. But how should Prospero
    Be living and be here?
  • Prospero. First, noble friend,
    Let me embrace thine age, whose honour cannot 2155
    Be measured or confined.
  • Gonzalo. Whether this be
    Or be not, I'll not swear.
  • Prospero. You do yet taste
    Some subtilties o' the isle, that will not let you 2160
    Believe things certain. Welcome, my friends all!
    [Aside to SEBASTIAN and ANTONIO]
    But you, my brace of lords, were I so minded,
    I here could pluck his highness' frown upon you
    And justify you traitors: at this time 2165
    I will tell no tales.
  • Prospero. No.
    For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother
    Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive 2170
    Thy rankest fault; all of them; and require
    My dukedom of thee, which perforce, I know,
    Thou must restore.
  • Alonso. If thou be'st Prospero,
    Give us particulars of thy preservation; 2175
    How thou hast met us here, who three hours since
    Were wreck'd upon this shore; where I have lost—
    How sharp the point of this remembrance is!—
    My dear son Ferdinand.
  • Alonso. Irreparable is the loss, and patience
    Says it is past her cure.
  • Prospero. I rather think
    You have not sought her help, of whose soft grace
    For the like loss I have her sovereign aid 2185
    And rest myself content.
  • Prospero. As great to me as late; and, supportable
    To make the dear loss, have I means much weaker
    Than you may call to comfort you, for I 2190
    Have lost my daughter.
  • Alonso. A daughter?
    O heavens, that they were living both in Naples,
    The king and queen there! that they were, I wish
    Myself were mudded in that oozy bed 2195
    Where my son lies. When did you lose your daughter?
  • Prospero. In this last tempest. I perceive these lords
    At this encounter do so much admire
    That they devour their reason and scarce think
    Their eyes do offices of truth, their words 2200
    Are natural breath: but, howsoe'er you have
    Been justled from your senses, know for certain
    That I am Prospero and that very duke
    Which was thrust forth of Milan, who most strangely
    Upon this shore, where you were wreck'd, was landed, 2205
    To be the lord on't. No more yet of this;
    For 'tis a chronicle of day by day,
    Not a relation for a breakfast nor
    Befitting this first meeting. Welcome, sir;
    This cell's my court: here have I few attendants 2210
    And subjects none abroad: pray you, look in.
    My dukedom since you have given me again,
    I will requite you with as good a thing;
    At least bring forth a wonder, to content ye
    As much as me my dukedom. 2215
    [Here PROSPERO discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA]
    playing at chess]
  • Miranda. Sweet lord, you play me false.
  • Ferdinand. No, my dear'st love,
    I would not for the world. 2220
  • Miranda. Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,
    And I would call it, fair play.
  • Alonso. If this prove
    A vision of the Island, one dear son
    Shall I twice lose. 2225
  • Ferdinand. Though the seas threaten, they are merciful;
    I have cursed them without cause.


  • Alonso. Now all the blessings 2230
    Of a glad father compass thee about!
    Arise, and say how thou camest here.
  • Miranda. O, wonder!
    How many goodly creatures are there here!
    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, 2235
    That has such people in't!
  • Alonso. What is this maid with whom thou wast at play?
    Your eld'st acquaintance cannot be three hours:
    Is she the goddess that hath sever'd us, 2240
    And brought us thus together?
  • Ferdinand. Sir, she is mortal;
    But by immortal Providence she's mine:
    I chose her when I could not ask my father
    For his advice, nor thought I had one. She 2245
    Is daughter to this famous Duke of Milan,
    Of whom so often I have heard renown,
    But never saw before; of whom I have
    Received a second life; and second father
    This lady makes him to me. 2250
  • Alonso. I am hers:
    But, O, how oddly will it sound that I
    Must ask my child forgiveness!
  • Prospero. There, sir, stop:
    Let us not burthen our remembrance with 2255
    A heaviness that's gone.
  • Gonzalo. I have inly wept,
    Or should have spoke ere this. Look down, you god,
    And on this couple drop a blessed crown!
    For it is you that have chalk'd forth the way 2260
    Which brought us hither.
  • Alonso. I say, Amen, Gonzalo!
  • Gonzalo. Was Milan thrust from Milan, that his issue
    Should become kings of Naples? O, rejoice
    Beyond a common joy, and set it down 2265
    With gold on lasting pillars: In one voyage
    Did Claribel her husband find at Tunis,
    And Ferdinand, her brother, found a wife
    Where he himself was lost, Prospero his dukedom
    In a poor isle and all of us ourselves 2270
    When no man was his own.
  • Alonso. [To FERDINAND and MIRANDA] Give me your hands:
    Let grief and sorrow still embrace his heart
    That doth not wish you joy!
  • Gonzalo. Be it so! Amen! 2275
    [Re-enter ARIEL, with the Master and Boatswain]
    amazedly following]
    O, look, sir, look, sir! here is more of us:
    I prophesied, if a gallows were on land,
    This fellow could not drown. Now, blasphemy, 2280
    That swear'st grace o'erboard, not an oath on shore?
    Hast thou no mouth by land? What is the news?
  • Boatswain. The best news is, that we have safely found
    Our king and company; the next, our ship—
    Which, but three glasses since, we gave out split— 2285
    Is tight and yare and bravely rigg'd as when
    We first put out to sea.
  • Ariel. [Aside to PROSPERO] Sir, all this service
    Have I done since I went.
  • Prospero. [Aside to ARIEL] My tricksy spirit! 2290
  • Alonso. These are not natural events; they strengthen
    From strange to stranger. Say, how came you hither?
  • Boatswain. If I did think, sir, I were well awake,
    I'ld strive to tell you. We were dead of sleep,
    And—how we know not—all clapp'd under hatches; 2295
    Where but even now with strange and several noises
    Of roaring, shrieking, howling, jingling chains,
    And more diversity of sounds, all horrible,
    We were awaked; straightway, at liberty;
    Where we, in all her trim, freshly beheld 2300
    Our royal, good and gallant ship, our master
    Capering to eye her: on a trice, so please you,
    Even in a dream, were we divided from them
    And were brought moping hither.
  • Ariel. [Aside to PROSPERO] Was't well done? 2305
  • Prospero. [Aside to ARIEL] Bravely, my diligence. Thou shalt be free.
  • Alonso. This is as strange a maze as e'er men trod
    And there is in this business more than nature
    Was ever conduct of: some oracle
    Must rectify our knowledge. 2310
  • Prospero. Sir, my liege,
    Do not infest your mind with beating on
    The strangeness of this business; at pick'd leisure
    Which shall be shortly, single I'll resolve you,
    Which to you shall seem probable, of every 2315
    These happen'd accidents; till when, be cheerful
    And think of each thing well.
    [Aside to ARIEL]
    Come hither, spirit:
    Set Caliban and his companions free; 2320
    Untie the spell.
    [Exit ARIEL]
    How fares my gracious sir?
    There are yet missing of your company
    Some few odd lads that you remember not. 2325
    [Re-enter ARIEL, driving in CALIBAN, STEPHANO]
    and TRINCULO, in their stolen apparel]
  • Stephano. Every man shift for all the rest, and
    let no man take care for himself; for all is
    but fortune. Coragio, bully-monster, coragio! 2330
  • Trinculo. If these be true spies which I wear in my head,
    here's a goodly sight.
  • Caliban. O Setebos, these be brave spirits indeed!
    How fine my master is! I am afraid
    He will chastise me. 2335
  • Sebastian. Ha, ha!
    What things are these, my lord Antonio?
    Will money buy 'em?
  • Antonio. Very like; one of them
    Is a plain fish, and, no doubt, marketable. 2340
  • Prospero. Mark but the badges of these men, my lords,
    Then say if they be true. This mis-shapen knave,
    His mother was a witch, and one so strong
    That could control the moon, make flows and ebbs,
    And deal in her command without her power. 2345
    These three have robb'd me; and this demi-devil—
    For he's a bastard one—had plotted with them
    To take my life. Two of these fellows you
    Must know and own; this thing of darkness I
    Acknowledge mine. 2350
  • Caliban. I shall be pinch'd to death.
  • Alonso. Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler?
  • Sebastian. He is drunk now: where had he wine?
  • Alonso. And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they
    Find this grand liquor that hath gilded 'em? 2355
    How camest thou in this pickle?
  • Trinculo. I have been in such a pickle since I
    saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of
    my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.
  • Stephano. O, touch me not; I am not Stephano, but a cramp.
  • Prospero. You'ld be king o' the isle, sirrah?
  • Stephano. I should have been a sore one then.
  • Alonso. This is a strange thing as e'er I look'd on.

[Pointing to Caliban]

  • Prospero. He is as disproportion'd in his manners
    As in his shape. Go, sirrah, to my cell;
    Take with you your companions; as you look
    To have my pardon, trim it handsomely.
  • Caliban. Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter 2370
    And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
    Was I, to take this drunkard for a god
    And worship this dull fool!
  • Alonso. Hence, and bestow your luggage where you found it. 2375


  • Prospero. Sir, I invite your highness and your train
    To my poor cell, where you shall take your rest
    For this one night; which, part of it, I'll waste 2380
    With such discourse as, I not doubt, shall make it
    Go quick away; the story of my life
    And the particular accidents gone by
    Since I came to this isle: and in the morn
    I'll bring you to your ship and so to Naples, 2385
    Where I have hope to see the nuptial
    Of these our dear-beloved solemnized;
    And thence retire me to my Milan, where
    Every third thought shall be my grave.
  • Alonso. I long 2390
    To hear the story of your life, which must
    Take the ear strangely.
  • Prospero. I'll deliver all;
    And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales
    And sail so expeditious that shall catch 2395
    Your royal fleet far off.
    [Aside to ARIEL]
    My Ariel, chick,
    That is thy charge: then to the elements
    Be free, and fare thou well! Please you, draw near. 2400

[Spoken by PROSPERO]

  • Prospero. Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
    And what strength I have's mine own, 2405
    Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
    I must be here confined by you,
    Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
    Since I have my dukedom got
    And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell 2410
    In this bare island by your spell;
    But release me from my bands
    With the help of your good hands:
    Gentle breath of yours my sails
    Must fill, or else my project fails, 2415
    Which was to please. Now I want
    Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
    And my ending is despair,
    Unless I be relieved by prayer,
    Which pierces so that it assaults 2420
    Mercy itself and frees all faults.
    As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
    Let your indulgence set me free.