Fiction > Harvard Classics > William Shakespeare > The Tempest
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Tempest.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act II
Scene I
[Another part of the island]

  Gon.  Beseech you sir, be merry; you have cause,
So have we all, of joy; for our escape
Is much beyond our loss. Our hint 1 of woe
Is common; every day some sailor’s wife,        4
The masters of some merchant, and the merchant
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        8
Our sorrow with our comfort.
  Alon.        Prithee, peace.
  Seb.  He receives comfort like cold porridge.
  Ant.  The visitor will not give him o’er so.        12
  Seb.  Look, he’s winding up the watch of his wit; by and by it will
  Gon.  Sir,—
  Seb.  One. Tell. 2        16
  Gon.  When every grief is entertain’d that’s offer’d,
Comes to the entertainer—
  Seb.  A dollar.
  Gon.  Dolour comes to him, indeed; you have spoken truer than you purpos’d.        20
  Seb.  You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should.
  Gon.  Therefore, my lord,—
  Ant.  Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue!
  Alon.  I prithee, spare.        24
  Gon.  Well, I have done. But yet,—
  Seb.  He will be talking.
  Ant.  Which, of he or Adrian, for a good wager, first begins to crow?
  Seb.  The old cock.        28
  Ant.  The cockerel.
  Seb.  Done. The wager?
  Ant.  A laughter.
  Seb.  A match!        32
  Adr.  Though this island seem to be desert,—
  Seb.  Ha, ha, ha! Antonio! So you’re paid.
  Adr.  Uninhabitable and almost inaccessible,—
  Seb.  Yet,—        36
  Adr.  Yet,—
  Ant.  He could not miss ’t.
  Adr.  It must needs be of subtle, tender, and delicate temperance. 3
  Ant.  Temperance was a delicate wench.        40
  Seb.  Ay, and a subtle; as he most learnedly deliver’d.
  Adr.  The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.
  Seb.  As if it had lungs and rotten ones.
  Ant.  Or as ’twere perfum’d by a fen.        44
  Gon.  Here is everything advantageous to life.
  Ant.  True; save means to live.
  Seb.  Of that there’s none, or little.
  Gon.  How lush 4 and lusty the grass looks! How green!        48
  Ant.  The ground indeed is tawny.
  Seb.  With an eye of green in ’t.
  Ant.  He misses not much.
  Seb.  No; he doth but mistake the truth totally.        52
  Gon.  But the rarity of it is,—which is indeed almost beyond credit,—
  Seb.  As many vouch’d rarities are.
  Gon.  That our garments, being, as they were, drench’d in the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and glosses, being rather newdy’d than stain’d with salt water.
  Ant.  If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not say he lies?        56
  Seb.  Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report.
  Gon.  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.
  Seb.  ’Twas a sweet marriage, and we prosper well in our return.
  Adr.  Tunis was never grac’d before with such a paragon to their queen.        60
  Gon.  Not since widow Dido’s time.
  Ant.  Widow! a pox o’ that! How came that widow in? Widow Dido!
  Seb.  What if he had said “widower Æneas” too? Good Lord, how you take it!
  Adr.  “Widow Dido” said you? You make me study of that. She was of Carthage, not of Tunis.        64
  Gon.  This Tunis, sir, was Carthage.
  Adr.  Carthage?
  Gon.  I assure you, Carthage.
  Ant.  His word is more than the miraculous harp.        68
  Seb.  He hath rais’d the wall and houses too.
  Ant.  What impossible matter will he make easy next?
  Seb.  I think he will carry this island home in his pocket and give it his son for an apple.
  Ant.  And, sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring forth more islands.        72
  Gon.  Ay.
  Ant.  Why, in good time.
  Gon.  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.
  Ant.  And the rarest that e’er came there.        76
  Seb.  Bate, 5 I beseech you, widow Dido.
  Ant.  O, widow Dido! ay, widow Dido.
  Gon.  Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as the first day I wore it? I mean, in a sort.
  Ant.  That sort was well fish’d for.        80
  Gon.  When I wore it at your daughter’s marriage?
  Alon.  You cram these words into mine ears against
The stomach of my sense. 6 Would I had never
Married my daughter there! for, coming thence,        84
My son is lost and, in my rate, 7 she too,
Who is so far from Italy removed
I ne’er again shall see her. O thou mine heir
Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish        88
Hath made his meal on thee?
  Fran.        Sir, he may live.
I saw him beat the surges under him,
And ride upon their backs. He trod the water,        92
Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted
The surge most swoln that met him. His bold head
’Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oared
Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke        96
To the shore, that o’er his wave-worn basis bowed,
As stooping to relieve him. I not doubt
He came alive to land.
  Alon.        No, no, he’s gone.        100
  Seb.  Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss,
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,        104
Who hath cause to wet the grief on ’t.
  Alon.        Prithee, peace.
  Seb.  You were kneel’d to and importun’d otherwise
By all of us, and the fair soul herself        108
Weigh’d between loathness and obedience, at
Which end o’ the beam should bow. We have lost your son,
I fear, for ever. Milan and Naples have
Moe 8 widows in them of this business’ making        112
Than we bring men to comfort them.
The fault’s your own.
  Alon.        So is the dear’st o’ the loss.
  Gon.  My lord Sebastian,        116
The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness
And time to speak it in. You rub the sore,
When you should bring the plaster.
  Seb.        Very well.        120
  Ant.  And most chirurgeonly. 9
  Gon.  It is foul weather in us all, good sir,
When you are cloudy.
  Seb.        Foul weather?        124
  Ant.        Very foul.
  Gon.  Had I plantation 10 of this isle, my lord,—
  Ant.  He’d sow ’t with nettle-seed.
  Seb.  Or docks, or mallows.        128
  Gon.  And were the king on ’t, what would I do?
  Seb.  Scape being drunk for want of wine.
  Gon.  I’ the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things; for no kind of traffic        132
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, 11 bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;        136
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all men idle, all;
And women too, but innocent and pure;
No sovereignty;—        140
  Seb.        Yet he would be king on ’t.
  Ant.  The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning.
  Gon.  All things in common nature should produce
Without sweat or endeavour: treason, felony,        144
Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine, 12
Would I not have; but nature should bring forth,
Of it own kind, all foison, 13 all abundance,
To feed my innocent people.        148
  Seb.  No marrying ’mong his subjects?
  Ant.  None, man; all idle; whores and knaves.
  Gon.  I would with such perfection govern, sir,
To excel the golden age.        152
  Seb.        Save his Majesty!
  Ant.  Long live Gonzalo!
  Gon.        And,—do you mark me, sir?
  Alon.  Prithee, no more; thou dost talk nothing to me.        156
  Gon.  I do well believe your Highness; and did it to minister occasion to these gentlemen, who are of such sensible and nimble lungs that they always use to laugh at nothing.
  Ant.  ’T was you we laugh’d at.
  Gon.  Who in this kind of merry fooling am nothing to you. So you may continue and laugh at nothing still.
  Ant.  What a blow was there given!        160
  Seb.  An it had not fallen flatlong. 14
  Gon.  You are gentlemen of brave mettle; you would lift the moon out of her sphere, if she would continue in it five weeks without changing.
Enter ARIEL[invisible], playing solemn music

  Seb.  We would so, and then go a bat-fowling.
  Ant.  Nay, good my lord, be not angry.        164
  Gon.  No, I warrant you; I will not adventure my discretion so weakly. Will you laugh me asleep, for I am very heavy?
  Ant.  Go sleep, and hear us.  [All sleep except ALON., SEB., and ANT.]
  Alon.  What, all so soon asleep! I wish mine eyes
Would, with themselves, shut up my thoughts. I find        168
They are inclin’d to do so.
  Seb.        Please you, sir,
Do not omit the heavy offer of it.
It seldom visits sorrow; when it doth,        172
It is a comforter.
  Ant.        We two, my lord,
Will guard your person while you take your rest,
And watch your safety.        176
  Alon.  Thank you. Wondrous heavy.  [ALONSO sleeps. Exit ARIEL.]
  Seb.  What a strange drowsiness possesses them!
  Ant.  It is the quality o’ the climate.
  Seb.        Why        180
Doth it not then our eyelids sink? I find not
Myself dispos’d to sleep.
  Ant.        Nor I; my spirits are nimble.
They fell together all, as by consent;        184
They dropp’d, as by a thunder-stroke. What might,
Worthy Sebastian, O, what might—? No more:—
And yet methinks I see it in thy face,
What thou shouldst be. The occasion speaks thee, and        188
My strong imagination sees a crown
Dropping upon thy head.
  Seb.        What, art thou waking?
  Ant.  Do you not hear me speak?        192
  Seb.        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        196
With eyes wide open; standing, speaking, moving,
And yet so fast asleep.
  Ant.        Noble Sebastian,
Thou let’st thy fortune sleep—die, rather; wink’st        200
Whiles thou art waking.
  Seb.        Thou dost snore distinctly;
There’s meaning in thy snores.
  Ant.  I am more serious than my custom; you        204
Must be so too, if heed me; which to do
Trebles thee o’er.
  Seb.        Well, I am standing water. 15
  Ant.  I’ll teach you how to flow.        208
  Seb.        Do so. To ebb
Hereditary sloth instructs me.
  Ant.        O,
If you but knew how you the purpose cherish        212
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.        216
  Seb.        Prithee, say on.
The setting 16 of thine eye and cheek proclaim
A matter from thee, and a birth indeed
Which throes thee much to yield.        220
  Ant.        Thus, sir:
Although this lord of weak remembrance, this,
Who shall be of as little memory 17
When he is earth’d, hath here almost persuaded—        224
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
As he that sleeps here swims.        228
  Seb.        I have no hope
That he’s undrown’d.
  Ant.  O, out of that no hope
What great hope have you! No hope that way is        232
Another way so high a hope that even
Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond,
But doubt discovery there. 18 Will you grant with me
That Ferdinand is drown’d?        236
  Seb.        He’s gone.
  Ant.        Then, tell me,
Who’s the next heir of Naples?
  Seb.        Claribel.        240
  Ant.  She that is Queen of Tunis; she that dwells
Ten leagues beyond man’s life; she that from Naples
Can have no note, unless the sun were post—
The man i’ the moon’s too slow—till new-born chins        244
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
Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come        248
In yours and my discharge.
  Seb.        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        252
There is some space.
  Ant.        A space whose every cubit
Seems to cry out, “How shall that Claribel
Measure us back to Naples? Keep in Tunis,        256
And let Sebastian wake.” Say, this were death
That now hath seiz’d 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        260
As amply and unnecessarily
As this Gonzalo; I myself could make
A chough of as deep chat. 19 O, that you bore
The mind that I do! what a sleep were this        264
For your advancement! Do you understand me?
  Seb.  Methinks I do.
  Ant.        And how does your content 20
Tender 21 your own good fortune?        268
  Seb.        I remember
You did supplant your brother Prospero.
  Ant.        True.
And look how well my garments sit upon me;        272
Much feater 22 than before. My brother’s servants
Were then my fellows; now they are my men.
  Seb.  But, for your conscience?
  Ant.  Ay, sir, where lies that? If ’twere a kibe, 23        276
’Twould put me to my slipper; but I feel not
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,        280
No better than the earth he lies upon
If he were that which now he’s like, that’s dead;
Whom I, with this obedient steel, three inches of it,
Can lay to bed for ever; whiles you, doing thus,        284
To the perpetual wink for aye might put
This ancient morsel, this Sir Prudence, who
Should not upbraid our course. For all the rest,
They’ll take suggestion as a cat laps milk;        288
They’ll tell the clock to any business that
We say befits the hour.
  Seb.        Thy case, dear friend,
Shall be my precedent; as thou got’st Milan,        292
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.
  Ant.        Draw together;        296
And when I rear my hand, do you the like,
To fall it on Gonzalo.
  Seb.        O, but one word.  [They talk apart.]
Re-enter ARIEL [invisible],with music and song

  Ari.  My master through his art foresees the danger
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-ey’d Conspiracy
    His time doth take.
If of life you keep a care,
Shake off slumber, and beware;
    Awake, awake!
  Ant.  Then let us both be sudden.
  Gon.        Now, good angels        304
Preserve the King.  [Wakes ALON.]
  Alon.  Why, how now? Ho, awake! Why are you drawn?
Wherefore this ghastly looking?
  Gon.        What’s the matter?        308
  Seb.  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.        312
  Alon.        I heard nothing.
  Ant.  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.        316
  Alon.        Heard you this, Gonzalo?
  Gon.  Upon mine honour, sir, I heard a humming,
And that a strange one too, which did awake me.
I shak’d you, sir, and cried. As mine eyes open’d,        320
I saw their weapons drawn. There was a noise,
That’s verily. ’Tis best we stand upon our guard,
Or that we quit this place. Let’s draw our weapons.
  Alon.  Lead off this ground; and let’s make further search        324
For my poor son.
  Gon.  Heavens keep him from these beasts!
For he is, sure, i’ the island.
  Alon.        Lead away.        328
  Ari.  Prospero my lord shall know what I have done.
So, King, go safely on to seek thy son.  [Exeunt.]
Note 1. Occasion. [back]
Note 2. Count. [back]
Note 3. Temperature. [back]
Note 4. Luxuriant. [back]
Note 5. Except. [back]
Note 6. My inclination to hear. [back]
Note 7. Opinion. [back]
Note 8. More. [back]
Note 9. Like a surgeon. [back]
Note 10. Colonization. [back]
Note 11. Boundary. [back]
Note 12. Implement. [back]
Note 13. Plenty. [back]
Note 14. On the flat side. [back]
Note 15. l.e., in an indifferent attitude. [back]
Note 16. Fixed expression. [back]
Note 17. As little remembered. [back]
Note 18. Whether there is anything higher to be seen. [back]
Note 19. A jackdaw that could talk as profoundly. [back]
Note 20. Inclination. [back]
Note 21. Regard. [back]
Note 22. Better fitting. [back]
Note 23. Chilblain. [back]


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