Fiction > Harvard Classics > William Shakespeare > The Tempest
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Tempest.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Scene I
[Before Prospero’s cell]
Enter FERDINAND, bearing a log

  Fer.  There be some sports are painful, and their labour
Delight in them sets off; some kinds of baseness
Are nobly undergone, and most poor matters
Point to rich ends. This my mean task        4
Would be as heavy to me as odious, but
The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead
And makes my labours pleasures. O, she is
Ten times more gentle than her father’s crabbed,        8
And he’s compos’d of harshness. I must remove
Some thousands of these logs and pile them up,
Upon a sore injunction. 1 My sweet mistress
Weeps when she sees me work, and says such baseness        12
Had never like executor. 2 I forget;
But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours,
Most busy least, when I do it.
Enter MIRANDA; and PROSPERO[at a distance, unseen]

  Mir.        Alas, now, pray you,
Work not so hard. I would the lightning had
Burnt up those logs that you are enjoin’d to pile!
Pray, set it down and rest you. When this burns,
’Twill weep for having wearied you. My father        20
Is hard at study; pray now, rest yourself;
He’s safe for these three hours.
  Fer.        O most dear mistress,
The sun will set before I shall discharge        24
What I must strive to do.
  Mir.        If you’ll sit down,
I’ll bear your logs the while. Pray, give me that;
I’ll carry it to the pile.        28
  Fer.        No, precious creature;
I had rather crack my sinews, break my back,
Than you should such dishonour undergo,
While I sit lazy by.        32
  Mir.        It would become me
As well as it does you; and I should do it
With much more ease, for my good will is to it,
And yours it is against.        36
  Pros.        Poor worm, thou art infected! 3
This visitation 4 shows it.
  Mir.        You look wearily.
  Fer.  No, noble mistress; ’tis fresh morning with me        40
When you are by at night. I do beseech you—
Chiefly that I might set it in my prayers—
What is your name?
  Mir.        Miranda.—O my father,        44
I have broke your hest to say so!
  Fer.        Admir’d Miranda!
Indeed the top of admiration! worth
What’s dearest to the world! Full many a lady        48
I have ey’d with best regard, and many a time
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear; for several virtues
Have I lik’d several women, never any        52
With so full soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow’d 5
And put it to the foil; 6 but you, O you,
So perfect and so peerless, are created        56
Of every creature’s best!
  Mir.        I do not know
One of my sex; no woman’s face remember,
Save, from my glass, mine own; nor have I seen        60
More that I may call men than you, good friend,
And my dear father. How features are abroad,
I am skilless 7 of; but, by my modesty,
The jewel in my dower, I would not wish        64
Any companion in the world but you,
Nor can imagination form a shape,
Besides yourself, to like of. But I prattle
Something too wildly, and my father’s precepts        68
I therein do forget.
  Fer.        I am in my condition
A prince, Miranda; I do think, a king;
I would, not so!—and would no more endure        72
This wooden 8 slavery than to suffer
The flesh-fly blow my mouth. Hear my soul speak.
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service; there resides,        76
To make me slave to it; and for your sake
Am I this patient log-man.
  Mir.        Do you love me?
  Fer.  O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound,        80
And crown what I profess with kind event
If I speak true! if hollowly, invert
What best is boded me to mischief! I
Beyond all limit of what else i’ the world        84
Do love, prize, honour you.
  Mir.        I am a fool
To weep at what I am glad of.
  Pros.        Fair encounter        88
Of two most rare affections! Heavens rain grace
On that which breeds between ’em!
  Fer.        Wherefore weep you?
  Mir.  At mine unworthiness, that dare not offer        92
What I desire to give, and much less take
What I shall die to want. But this is trifling;
And all the more it seeks to hide itself,
The bigger bulk it shows. Hence, bashful cunning!        96
And prompt me, plain and holy innocence!
I am your wife, if you will marry me;
If not, I’ll die your maid. To be your fellow
You may deny me; but I’ll be your servant,        100
Whether you will or no.
  Fer.        My mistress, dearest;
And I thus humble ever.
  Mir.        My husband, then?        104
  Fer.  Ay, with a heart as willing
As bondage e’er of freedom. Here’s my hand.
  Mir.  And mine, with my heart in ’t. And now farewell
Till half an hour hence.        108
  Fer.        A thousand thousand!  Exeunt [FER. and MIR. severally].
  Pros.  So glad of this as they I cannot be,
Who are surpris’d withal; but my rejoicing
At nothing can be more. I’ll to my book,        112
For yet ere supper-time must I perform
Much business appertaining.  Exit.
Note 1. Pain of severe punishment. [back]
Note 2. Performer. [back]
Note 3. Smitten (with love). [back]
Note 4. Visit. [back]
Note 5. Owned. [back]
Note 6. Marred it. [back]
Note 7. Ignorant. [back]
Note 8. Of carrying wood. [back]


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