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last forty years, has been such as probably never was surpassed in the annals of literary investigation; yet so far are we from information of the conclusive or satisfactory kind, that even the order in which his plays were written rests principally on conjecture, and of some of the plays usually printed among his works, it is not yet determined whether he wrote the whole, or any part. We are, however, indebted to the labours of his commentators, not only for much light thrown upon his obscurities, but for a text purified from the gross blunders of preceding transcribers and editors; and it is almost unnecessary to add, that the text of the following volumes is that of the last corrected edition of Johnson and Steevens.
Alonso, king of Naples.
Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan.
Antonio, his brother, the usurping duke of Milan.
Gonzalo, an honest old counsellor of Naples.
Caliban, a savage and deformed slave.
Stephano, a drunken butler.
Master of a ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
Miranda, daughter to Prospero.
Ariel, an airy spirit.
Other spirits attending on Prospero.
Scene, the sea, with a ship; afterwards an uninhabited island
SCENE I-On a ship at sea. A storm, with thunder and lightning. Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain.
Boats. Here, master: what cheer?
Mast. Good: speak to the mariners: fall to't yarelyl, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir. [Exit.
Boats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts; yare, yare: take in the top-sail: tend to the master's whistle.-Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!
Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, and others.
Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.
Boats. I pray now,
Ant. Where is the master, boatswain? Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour! keep your cabins: you do assist the storm.
Gon. Nay, good, be patient. Boats. When the sea is. What care these roarers for the name of king? To cabin: silence: trouble us not.
Gon. Good; yet remember whom thou hast aboard.
Boats. None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor; if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present1, we will not hand a rope more; use your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.-Cheerly, good hearts.-Out of our way, I say. [Exit. Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, good fate, to his hanging! make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage! If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miserable. [Exeunt.
Boats. Down with the top-mast; yare; lower, lower; bring her to try with main course. [A cry within.] A plague upon this howling! they are louder than the weather, or our office.
Renter Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo.
Yet again? what do you here? Shall we give o'er, and drown? Have you a mind to sink?
Seb. A pox o' your throat! you bawling, blasphemous, uncharitable dog!
Boats. Work you, then.
Ant. Hang, cur, hang! you whoreson, insolent noise-maker, we are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.
(1) Present instant.