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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act V. Scene I.

The Tempest

Before the Cell of PROSPERO.

Enter PROSPERO in his magic robes; and ARIEL.

Pro.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?

Ari.On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord,

You said our work should cease.

Pro.I did say so,

When first I rais’d the tempest. Say, my spirit,

How fares the king and’s followers?

Ari.Confin’d together

In the same fashion as you gave in charge;

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,

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 them,

That if you now beheld them, your affections

Would become tender.

Pro.Dost thou think so, spirit?

Ari.Mine would, sir, were I human.

Pro.And mine shall.

Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling

Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,

One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,

Passion as they, be kindlier mov’d than thou art?

Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,

Yet with my nobler reason ’gainst my fury

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,

And they shall be themselves.

Ari.I’ll fetch them, sir.[Exit.

Pro.Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves;

And ye, that on the sands with printless foot

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

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 azur’d vault

Set roaring war: to the dread-rattling thunder

Have I given fire and rifted Jove’s stout oak

With his own bolt: the strong-bas’d promontory

Have I made shake; and by the spurs pluck’d up

The pine and cedar: graves at my command

Have wak’d their sleepers, op’d, and let them forth

By my so potent art. But this rough magic

I here abjure; and, when I have requir’d

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,

Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,

And, deeper than did ever plummet sound,

I’ll drown my book.[Solemn music.

Re-enter ARIEL: after him, ALONSO, with a 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 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.

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

Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle

Their clearer reason.—O good Gonzalo!

My true preserver, and a loyal sir

To him thou follow’st, I will pay thy graces

Home, both in word and deed.—Most cruelly

Didst thou, Alonso, use me and my daughter:

Thy brother was a furtherer in the act;—

Thou’rt pinch’d for ’t now, Sebastian.—Flesh and blood,

You, brother mine, that entertain’d ambition,

Expell’d remorse and nature; who, with Sebastian,—

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 shores

That now lie 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:—[Exit ARIEL.

I will discase me, and myself present,

As I was sometime Milan.—Quickly, spirit;

Thou shalt ere long be free.

ARIEL re-enters, singing, and helps to attire PROSPERO.


  • Where the bee sucks, there suck I
  • In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
  • There I couch when owls do cry.
  • 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.
  • Pro.Why, that’s my dainty Ariel! I shall miss thee;

    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 boat-swain

    Being awake, enforce them to this place,

    And presently, I prithee.

    Ari.I drink the air before me, and return

    Or e’er your pulse twice beat.[Exit.

    Gon.All torment, trouble, wonder, and amazement

    Inhabits here: some heavenly power guide us

    Out of this fearful country!

    Pro.Behold, sir king,

    The wronged Duke of Milan, Prospero.

    For more assurance that a living prince

    Does now speak to thee, I embrace thy body;

    And to thee and thy company I bid

    A hearty welcome.

    Alon.Whe’r thou beest he or no,

    Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me,

    As late I have been, I not know: thy pulse

    Beats, as of flesh and blood; and, since I saw thee,

    Th’ 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.

    Thy dukedom I resign, and do entreat

    Thou pardon me my wrongs.—But how should Prospero

    Be living, and be here?

    Pro.First, noble friend,

    Let me embrace thine age; whose honour cannot

    Be measur’d, or confin’d.

    Gon.Whether this be,

    Or be not, I’ll not swear.

    Pro.You do yet taste

    Some subtilties o’ the isle, that will not let you

    Believe things certain.—Welcome! my friends all:—

    [Aside to SEB. and ANT.]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

    I will tell no tales.

    Seb.[Aside.]The devil speaks in him.


    For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother

    Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive

    Thy rankest fault; all of them; and require

    My dukedom of thee, which, perforce, I know,

    Thou must restore.

    Alon.If thou beest Prospero,

    Give us particulars of thy preservation;

    How thou hast met us here, who three hours since

    Were wrack’d upon this shore; where I have lost,—

    How sharp the point of this remembrance is!—

    My dear son Ferdinand.

    Pro.I am woe for ’t, sir.

    Alon.Irreparable is the loss, and patience

    Says it is past her cure.

    Pro.I rather think

    You have not sought her help; of whose soft grace,

    For the like loss I have her sovereign aid,

    And rest myself content.

    Alon.You the like loss!

    Pro.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

    Have lost my daughter.

    Alon.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

    Where my son lies. When did you lose your daughter?

    Pro.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

    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 wrack’d, was landed,

    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

    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.

    The entrance of the Cell opens, and discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA playing at chess.

    Mira.Sweet lord, you play me false.

    Fer.No, my dearest love,

    I would not for the world.

    Mira.Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,

    And I would call it fair play.

    Alon.If this prove

    A vision of the island, one dear son

    Shall I twice lose.

    Seb.A most high miracle!

    Fer.Though the seas threaten, they are merciful:

    I have curs’d them without cause.[Kneels to ALON.

    Alon.Now, all the blessings

    Of a glad father compass thee about!

    Arise, and say how thou cam’st here.

    Mira.O, wonder!

    How many goodly creatures are there here!

    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

    That has such people in ’t!

    Pro.’Tis new to thee.

    Alon.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,

    And brought us thus together?

    Fer.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

    Is daughter to this famous Duke of Milan,

    Of whom so often I have heard renown,

    But never saw before; of whom I have

    Receiv’d a second life; and second father

    This lady makes him to me.

    Alon.I am hers:

    But O! how oddly will it sound that I

    Must ask my child forgiveness!

    Pro.There, sir, stop:

    Let us not burden our remembrances

    With a heaviness that’s gone.

    Gon.I have inly wept,

    Or should have spoke ere this. Look down, you gods,

    And on this couple drop a blessed crown;

    For it is you that have chalk’d forth the way

    Which brought us hither!

    Alon.I say, Amen, Gonzalo!

    Gon.Was Milan thrust from Milan, that his issue

    Should become kings of Naples? O, rejoice

    Beyond a common joy, and set it down

    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,

    When no man was his own.

    Alon.[To FER. and MIRA.]Give me your hands:

    Let grief and sorrow still embrace his heart

    That doth not wish you joy!

    Gon.Be it so: Amen!

    Re-enter ARIEL, with the Master and Boatswain amazedly following.

    O look, sir! look, sir! here are more of us.

    I prophesied, if a gallows were on land,

    This fellow could not drown.—Now, blasphemy,

    That swear’st grace o’erboard, not an oath on shore?

    Hast thou no mouth by land? What is the news?

    Boats.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,—

    Is tight and yare and bravely rigg’d as when

    We first put out to sea.

    Ari.[Aside to PRO.]Sir, all this service

    Have I done since I went.

    Pro.[Aside to ARI.]My tricksy spirit!

    Alon.These are not natural events; they strengthen

    From strange to stranger.—Say, how came you hither?

    Boats.If I did think, sir, I were well awake,

    I’d strive to tell you. We were dead of sleep,

    And,—how we know not,—all clapp’d under hatches,

    Where, but even now, with strange and several noises

    Of roaring, shrieking, howling, jingling chains,

    And mo diversity of sounds, all horrible,

    We were awak’d; straightway, at liberty:

    Where we, in all her trim, freshly beheld

    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.

    Ari.[Aside to PRO.]Was ’t well done?

    Pro.[Aside to ARI.]Bravely, my diligence! Thou shalt be free.

    Alon.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.

    Pro.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

    These happen’d accidents; till when, be cheerful,

    And think of each thing well.—[Aside to ARI.]Come hither, spirit;

    Set Caliban and his companions free;

    Untie the spell.[Exit ARI.]How fares my gracious sir?

    There are yet missing of your company

    Some few odd lads that you remember not.

    Re-enter ARIEL, driving in CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, in their stolen apparel.

    Ste.Every man shift for all the rest, and let no man take care for himself, for all is but fortune.—Coragio! bully-monster, Coragio!

    Trin.If these be true spies which I wear in my head, here’s a goodly sight.

    Cal.O Setebos! these be brave spirits, indeed.

    How fine my master is! I am afraid

    He will chastise me.

    Seb.Ha, ha!

    What things are these, my lord Antonio?

    Will money buy them?

    Ant.Very like; one of them

    Is a plain fish, and, no doubt, marketable.

    Pro.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.

    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.

    Cal.I shall be pinch’d to death

    Alon.Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler?

    Seb.He is drunk now: where had he wine?

    Alon.And Trinculo is reeling-ripe: where should they

    Find this grand liquor that hath gilded them?

    How cam’st thou in this pickle?

    Trin.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.

    Seb.Why, how now, Stephano!

    Ste.O! touch me not: I am not Stephano, but a cramp.

    Pro.You’d be king of the isle, sirrah?

    Ste.I should have been a sore one then.

    Alon.This is a strange thing as e’er I look’d on.[Pointing to CAL.

    Pro.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.

    Cal.Ay, that I will; and I’ll be wise hereafter,

    And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass

    Was I, to take this drunkard for a god,

    And worship this dull fool!

    Pro.Go to; away!

    Alon.Hence, and bestow your luggage where you found it.

    Seb.Or stole it, rather.[Exeunt CAL., STE., and TRIN.

    Pro.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

    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,

    Where I have hope to see the nuptial

    Of these our dear-beloved solemniz’d;

    And thence retire me to my Milan, where

    Every third thought shall be my grave.

    Alon.I long

    To hear the story of your life, which must

    Take the ear strangely.

    Pro.I’ll deliver all;

    And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales

    And sail so expeditious that shall catch

    Your royal fleet far off.—[Aside to ARI.]My Ariel, chick,

    That is thy charge: then to the elements

    Be free, and fare thou well!—Please you, draw near.[Exeunt.

  • Spoken by PROSPERO.
  • Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
  • And what strength I have ’s mine own;
  • Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
  • I must be here confin’d by you,
  • Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
  • Since I have my dukedom got
  • And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell
  • 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,
  • Which was to please. Now I want
  • Spirits to enforce, art to enchant;
  • And my ending is despair,
  • Unless I be reliev’d by prayer,
  • Which pierces so that it assaults
  • Mercy itself and frees all faults.
  • As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
  • Let your indulgence set me free.