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Another part of the island.
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, GONZALO, ADRIAN, FRANCISCO, and others
GONZALO
Beseech you, sir, be merry; you have cause,
So have we all, of joy; for our escape
Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe
Is common; every day some sailor's wife,
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
Our sorrow with our comfort.
ALONSO
Prithee, peace.
SEBASTIAN
He receives comfort like cold porridge.
ANTONIO
The visitor will not give him o'er so.
SEBASTIAN
Look he's winding up the watch of his wit;
by and by it will strike.
GONZALO
Sir,--
SEBASTIAN
One: tell.
GONZALO
When every grief is entertain'd that's offer'd,
Comes to the entertainer--
SEBASTIAN
A dollar.
GONZALO
Dolour comes to him, indeed: you
have spoken truer than you purposed.
SEBASTIAN
You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should.
GONZALO
Therefore, my lord,--
ANTONIO
Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue!
ALONSO
I prithee, spare.
GONZALO
Well, I have done: but yet,--
SEBASTIAN
He will be talking.
ANTONIO
Which, of he or Adrian, for a good
wager, first begins to crow?
SEBASTIAN
The old cock.
ANTONIO
The cockerel.
SEBASTIAN
Done. The wager?
ANTONIO
A laughter.
SEBASTIAN
A match!
ADRIAN
Though this island seem to be desert,--
SEBASTIAN
Ha, ha, ha! So, you're paid.
ADRIAN
Uninhabitable and almost inaccessible,--
SEBASTIAN
Yet,--
ADRIAN
Yet,--
ANTONIO
He could not miss't.
ADRIAN
It must needs be of subtle, tender and delicate
temperance.
ANTONIO
Temperance was a delicate wench.
SEBASTIAN
Ay, and a subtle; as he most learnedly delivered.
ADRIAN
The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.
SEBASTIAN
As if it had lungs and rotten ones.
ANTONIO
Or as 'twere perfumed by a fen.
GONZALO
Here is everything advantageous to life.
ANTONIO
True; save means to live.
SEBASTIAN
Of that there's none, or little.
GONZALO
How lush and lusty the grass looks! how green!
ANTONIO
The ground indeed is tawny.
SEBASTIAN
With an eye of green in't.
ANTONIO
He misses not much.
SEBASTIAN
No; he doth but mistake the truth totally.
GONZALO
But the rarity of it is,--which is indeed almost
beyond credit,--
SEBASTIAN
As many vouched rarities are.
GONZALO
That our garments, being, as they were, drenched in
the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and
glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with
salt water.
ANTONIO
If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not
say he lies?
SEBASTIAN
Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report
GONZALO
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.
SEBASTIAN
'Twas a sweet marriage, and we prosper well in our return.
ADRIAN
Tunis was never graced before with such a paragon to
their queen.
GONZALO
Not since widow Dido's time.
ANTONIO
Widow! a pox o' that! How came that widow in?
widow Dido!
SEBASTIAN
What if he had said 'widower AEneas' too? Good Lord,
how you take it!
ADRIAN
'Widow Dido' said you? you make me study of that:
she was of Carthage, not of Tunis.
GONZALO
This Tunis, sir, was Carthage.
ADRIAN
Carthage?
GONZALO
I assure you, Carthage.
SEBASTIAN
His word is more than the miraculous harp; he hath
raised the wall and houses too.
ANTONIO
What impossible matter will he make easy next?
SEBASTIAN
I think he will carry this island home in his pocket
and give it his son for an apple.
ANTONIO
And, sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring
forth more islands.
GONZALO
Ay.
ANTONIO
Why, in good time.
GONZALO
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.
ANTONIO
And the rarest that e'er came there.
SEBASTIAN
Bate, I beseech you, widow Dido.
ANTONIO
O, widow Dido! ay, widow Dido.
GONZALO
Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as the first day I
wore it? I mean, in a sort.
ANTONIO
That sort was well fished for.
GONZALO
When I wore it at your daughter's marriage?
ALONSO
You cram these words into mine ears against
The stomach of my sense. Would I had never
Married my daughter there! for, coming thence,
My son is lost and, in my rate, 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
Hath made his meal on thee?
FRANCISCO
Sir, he may live:
I saw him beat the surges under him,
And ride upon their backs; he trod the water,
Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted
The surge most swoln that met him; his bold head
'Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oar'd
Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke
To the shore, that o'er his wave-worn basis bow'd,
As stooping to relieve him: I not doubt
He came alive to land.
ALONSO
No, no, he's gone.
SEBASTIAN
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,
Who hath cause to wet the grief on't.
ALONSO
Prithee, peace.
SEBASTIAN
You were kneel'd to and importuned otherwise
By all of us, and the fair soul herself
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
More widows in them of this business' making
Than we bring men to comfort them:
The fault's your own.
ALONSO
So is the dear'st o' the loss.
GONZALO
My lord Sebastian,
The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness
And time to speak it in: you rub the sore,
When you should bring the plaster.
SEBASTIAN
Very well.
ANTONIO
And most chirurgeonly.
GONZALO
It is foul weather in us all, good sir,
When you are cloudy.
SEBASTIAN
Foul weather?
ANTONIO
Very foul.
GONZALO
Had I plantation of this isle, my lord,--
ANTONIO
He'ld sow't with nettle-seed.
SEBASTIAN
Or docks, or mallows.
GONZALO
And were the king on't, what would I do?
SEBASTIAN
'Scape being drunk for want of wine.
GONZALO
I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things; for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all men idle, all;
And women too, but innocent and pure;
No sovereignty;--
SEBASTIAN
Yet he would be king on't.
ANTONIO
The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the
beginning.
GONZALO
All things in common nature should produce
Without sweat or endeavour: treason, felony,
Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine,
Would I not have; but nature should bring forth,
Of its own kind, all foison, all abundance,
To feed my innocent people.
SEBASTIAN
No marrying 'mong his subjects?
ANTONIO
None, man; all idle: whores and knaves.
GONZALO
I would with such perfection govern, sir,
To excel the golden age.
SEBASTIAN
God save his majesty!
ANTONIO
Long live Gonzalo!
GONZALO
And,--do you mark me, sir?
ALONSO
Prithee, no more: thou dost talk nothing to me.
GONZALO
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.
ANTONIO
'Twas you we laughed at.
GONZALO
Who in this kind of merry fooling am nothing
to you: so you may continue and laugh at
nothing still.
ANTONIO
What a blow was there given!
SEBASTIAN
An it had not fallen flat-long.
GONZALO
You are gentlemen of brave metal; 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
SEBASTIAN
We would so, and then go a bat-fowling.
ANTONIO
Nay, good my lord, be not angry.
GONZALO
No, I warrant you; I will not adventure
my discretion so weakly. Will you laugh
me asleep, for I am very heavy?
ANTONIO
Go sleep, and hear us.
All sleep except ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, and ANTONIO
ALONSO
What, all so soon asleep! I wish mine eyes
Would, with themselves, shut up my thoughts: I find
They are inclined to do so.
SEBASTIAN
Please you, sir,
Do not omit the heavy offer of it:
It seldom visits sorrow; when it doth,
It is a comforter.
ANTONIO
We two, my lord,
Will guard your person while you take your rest,
And watch your safety.
ALONSO
Thank you. Wondrous heavy.
ALONSO sleeps. Exit ARIEL
SEBASTIAN
What a strange drowsiness possesses them!
ANTONIO
It is the quality o' the climate.
SEBASTIAN
Why
Doth it not then our eyelids sink? I find not
Myself disposed to sleep.
ANTONIO
Nor I; my spirits are nimble.
They fell together all, as by consent;
They dropp'd, as by a thunder-stroke. What might,
Worthy Sebastian? O, what might?--No more:--
And yet me thinks I see it in thy face,
What thou shouldst be: the occasion speaks thee, and
My strong imagination sees a crown
Dropping upon thy head.
SEBASTIAN
What, art thou waking?
ANTONIO
Do you not hear me speak?
SEBASTIAN
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
With eyes wide open; standing, speaking, moving,
And yet so fast asleep.
ANTONIO
Noble Sebastian,
Thou let'st thy fortune sleep--die, rather; wink'st
Whiles thou art waking.
SEBASTIAN
Thou dost snore distinctly;
There's meaning in thy snores.
ANTONIO
I am more serious than my custom: you
Must be so too, if heed me; which to do
Trebles thee o'er.
SEBASTIAN
Well, I am standing water.
ANTONIO
I'll teach you how to flow.
SEBASTIAN
Do so: to ebb
Hereditary sloth instructs me.
ANTONIO
O,
If you but knew how you the purpose cherish
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.
SEBASTIAN
Prithee, say on:
The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim
A matter from thee, and a birth indeed
Which throes thee much to yield.
ANTONIO
Thus, sir:
Although this lord of weak remembrance, this,
Who shall be of as little memory
When he is earth'd, hath here almost persuade,--
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
And he that sleeps here swims.
SEBASTIAN
I have no hope
That he's undrown'd.
ANTONIO
O, out of that 'no hope'
What great hope have you! no hope that way is
Another way so high a hope that even
Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond,
But doubt discovery there. Will you grant with me
That Ferdinand is drown'd?
SEBASTIAN
He's gone.
ANTONIO
Then, tell me,
Who's the next heir of Naples?
SEBASTIAN
Claribel.
ANTONIO
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
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
In yours and my discharge.
SEBASTIAN
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
There is some space.
ANTONIO
A space whose every cubit
Seems to cry out, 'How shall that Claribel
Measure us back to Naples? Keep in Tunis,
And let Sebastian wake.' Say, this were death
That now hath seized 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
As amply and unnecessarily
As this Gonzalo; I myself could make
A chough of as deep chat. O, that you bore
The mind that I do! what a sleep were this
For your advancement! Do you understand me?
SEBASTIAN
Methinks I do.
ANTONIO
And how does your content
Tender your own good fortune?
SEBASTIAN
I remember
You did supplant your brother Prospero.
ANTONIO
True:
And look how well my garments sit upon me;
Much feater than before: my brother's servants
Were then my fellows; now they are my men.
SEBASTIAN
But, for your conscience?
ANTONIO
Ay, sir; where lies that? if 'twere a kibe,
'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,
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,
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;
They'll tell the clock to any business that
We say befits the hour.
SEBASTIAN
Thy case, dear friend,
Shall be my precedent; as thou got'st Milan,
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.
ANTONIO
Draw together;
And when I rear my hand, do you the like,
To fall it on Gonzalo.
SEBASTIAN
O, but one word.
They talk apart
Re-enter ARIEL, invisible
ARIEL
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-eyed conspiracy
His time doth take.
If of life you keep a care,
Shake off slumber, and beware:
Awake, awake!
ANTONIO
Then let us both be sudden.
GONZALO
Now, good angels
Preserve the king.
They wake
ALONSO
Why, how now? ho, awake! Why are you drawn?
Wherefore this ghastly looking?
GONZALO
What's the matter?
SEBASTIAN
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.
ALONSO
I heard nothing.
ANTONIO
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.
ALONSO
Heard you this, Gonzalo?
GONZALO
Upon mine honour, sir, I heard a humming,
And that a strange one too, which did awake me:
I shaked you, sir, and cried: as mine eyes open'd,
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.
ALONSO
Lead off this ground; and let's make further search
For my poor son.
GONZALO
Heavens keep him from these beasts!
For he is, sure, i' the island.
ALONSO
Lead away.
ARIEL
Prospero my lord shall know what I have done:
So, king, go safely on to seek thy son.
Exeunt

Across the lush tropical hills in a cove washed by the turquoise sea, the survivors muttered about their fate. They were Alonso, the King of Naples; Sebastian, the King's brother; Antonio, Prospero's scheming brother and current Duke of Milan; Gonzalo, the counsellor of the court who aided Prospero the night he was banished; and Adrian and Francisco, two Neapolitan lords.

 

"I beseech you, my lord," Gonzalo said to the King. "Be merry! We all have cause to rejoice! Our loss is great but our escape is greater. Our woe is commonplace! Every day a sailor's wife, a ship-owner and a trader somewhere grieve the way we do. The miracle of our survival is something that few in millions can speak about. Sir, wisely weigh our sorrows against our luck."

 

Alonso turned his tear stained face to Gonzalo and said, "Please sir, enough."

 

"To him comfort is just like cold porridge," Sebastian whispered to Antonio.

 

"Dr Gonzalo will persist," Antonio sarcastically said to Sebastian.

 

"Yes, look at him thinking of another line to take. Get ready for round two!" Sebastian sneered.

 

Gonzalo breathed deeply: "Sir...."

 

Sebastian and Alonso smugly looked at each other and launched into the bitter whispers.

 

"One!" Sebastian said to Antonio, "Keep counting!"

 

"When a man takes the opportunity to entertain every grief that comes his way, the entertaining host is given -" Gonzalo continued.

 

"A dollar?" Sebastian said, clearly enjoying his own wit.

 

"Dolour, indeed," Gonzalo continued, unfazed by the sniping. "Sebastian, you have spoken more truthfully than you intended."

 

"You've only taken it more truthfully than I meant you should," Sebastian countered, aggrieved at being outmanoeuvred.

 

"Therefore, my lord-" Gonzalo began again, only to be interrupted this time by Antonio: "Oh, doesn't he like to exercise his tongue!"

 

The King was becoming irritable with the sparring; "Please, Gonzalo, enough."

 

"Not another word, your majesty. However-"

 

"He can't stop talking!" Sebastian squealed.

 

But then even he recognised his wit and indulgence was far from appropriate and the party of survivors slipped into a long difficult silence. The King got up and wandered about the beach and stared idly at the horizon, the meeting of a sea and sky so brilliantly blue. As he was coming back towards the others Antonio whispered to Sebastian: "Fair bet who will talk first, Gonzalo or Adrian?"

 

"The old cock!" Sebastian laughed.

 

"I say the cockerel," Antonio said, meaning Adrian.

 

"Done!" said Sebastian. "What's the wager?"

 

"Just the joke."

 

"A deal!"

 

Sebastian and Antonio sat straight faced as the silence grew long and poignant. The birds, the rustle of the leaves and the lapping of the waves were the only sounds.

 

"Though this island seems to be deserted-" Adrian suddenly said.

 

"Ha, ha!" Antonio beamed.

 

"So, you've won!" Sebastian conceded.

 

"- Uninhabitable and apparently inaccessible-" Adrian continued.

 

"Yet-"Sebastian giggled, mockingly waiting for something profound from Adrian.

 

"-Yet-" Adrian continued pensively and unaware of the mocking of his colleagues.

 

"He had to say that!" Antonio whispered to Sebastian.

 

"-The climate here must be fair, agreeable and healthy."

 

"Sebastian, I knew a tart like the weather!" Antonio smirked

 

"Yes, very agreeable, as he so learnedly put it!" Sebastian said.

 

"The air here has a distinctive smell -" Adrian continued.

 

"Since it's from your rotten lungs!" Sebastian laughed to Antonio.

 

"Perfumed by a swamp," Antonio contributed.

 

"Everything advantageous to life can be found here," Gonzalo said.

 

"True, except the means to live!" Antonio said.

 

"Of that there's is little or none at all!" Sebastian said.

 

"How lush and lavish the grass looks! So green!" Gonzalo continued.

 

"Actually," Antonio said, 'the grass is toasted rather tawny!"

 

"Oh, there's a bit of green, here and there!" Sebastian said.

 

"Gonzalo doesn't miss much," Antonio said.

 

"Oh no, merely the whole truth!" Sebastian said.

 

"But the remarkable thing is- and it's almost beyond belief-" Gonzalo said.

 

"As remarkable things tend to be!" smirked Sebastian.

 

"-that our clothes, notwithstanding the soaking from the sea, are still looking fresh and new, indeed newly dyed rather than stained with salt water."

 

"If only one of his pockets could speak, wouldn't it tell us he was lying?" Antonio said.

 

"Yes, or it would pocket the evidence!" Sebastian replied.

 

"I would say our garments are as fresh as when we donned them for the wedding of the King's beautiful daughter Claribel to the King of Tunis," Gonzalo elaborated.

 

"It was a lovely wedding and as fair as the journey home!" Sebastian said.

 

"Tunis has never had such a beautiful queen," Adrian said.

 

"Not since widow Dido's time," said Gonzalo.

 

"Widow! He's talking rubbish! What's he talking about? Widow Dido?" Antonio ranted.

 

"What if he also said 'widower Aeneas'? Good lord, what do you make of it?" said Sebastian.

 

"Gonzalo, did you say 'Widow Dido'?" Adrian asked. "Thinking about it wasn't she from Carthage, not Tunis?"

 

"Tunis was once Carthage," Gonzalo said.

 

"Carthage?" Adrian said in disbelief.

 

"I assure you, Carthage," Gonzalo said.

 

"Amphion's harp built the walls of Tunis but Gonzalo's words build cities!" Antonio sneered.

 

"Oh, Gonzalo's talking could build houses as well as walls!" Sebastian snorted.

 

"What impossibilities will he tackle next?" Antonio asked Sebastian.

 

"I think he will carry this island home in that famous pocket of his and present it to his son instead of an apple!" Sebastian said.

 

"And by sowing the seeds in the sea he'll have an orchard of islands!" Antonio said.

 

"Yes, yes, Tunis was once Carthage, Adrian," Gonzalo continued what he was saying still oblivious to the merciless ribbing of Antonio and Sebastian.

 

"The man's a genius!" Antonio whispered.

 

Gonzalo attempted again to involve the King in discussion.

 

"Your Majesty, we were just saying that our clothes are as clean as they were at you daughter's wedding in Tunis, where she is now queen."

 

"The most beautiful woman ever in Tunis," Antonio said, sounding quite sincere.

 

"Oh but don't overlook widow Dido!" Sebastian snorted.

 

"Oh, yes, widow Dido! Who could forget widow Dido of Tunis!" Antonio said, sounding slightly tired of his own mischief.

 

"My trousers, sir, are as fresh as the day I donned them, if you follow my meaning," Gonzalo said, alluding to his earlier observations.

 

"Follow his meaning?" Antonio sneered.

 

"I mean as fresh as at Claribel's wedding!"

 

This was all too much for the king.

 

"You fill my ears with memories I simply don't have the stomach to bear. I wish I never allowed my daughter to marry there!  Returning to Naples has resulted in the loss of my son! And she is lost too, far from Naples! I'll never see Claribel again. My son, heir of Naples and Milan, what strange fish have feasted on your body?" King Alonso shouted.

 

"Sir, he may be alive!" Francisco said. "I saw him struggle to stay above the waves. He rode the foam of the waves. He kept his head above the surges of the sea and used his arms like oars to get to the shore, which was very close. I have no doubt he reached the beach."

 

"No, no!" the King said. "He's lost."

 

Despite the King's distress Sebastian was still in no mood to be charitable.

 

"Sir, you can thank yourself for this great loss. You could have blessed Europe with your daughter's marriage but instead you squandered her to Africa. She is certainly banished from your eye. That alone is reason to weep!"

 

Sebastian tone betrayed a shimmer of jealousy.

 

"I know! I know!" King Alonso screamed in distress.

 

"We begged and implored you to arrange another marriage. She herself was torn between her fear and obedience, wondering what course to take. Now, I fear, we have lost your son too. In Milan and Naples this whole episode has created more widows than there are menfolk to comfort them. The fault is yours."

 

"And so is the greatest loss."

 

"Lord Sebastian, your home truths are harsh and untimely," said Gonzalo. "You aggravate the sore when you should be giving you attention."

 

"Very well," said Sebastian.

 

"Typical surgeon!" Antonio whispered.

 

"It's a stormy time for everyone when you are under the weather, good sir," Gonzalo said to King Alonso.

 

"Stormy?"

 

"Very stormy," piped in Antonio.

 

Gonzalo ignored the remarks of Sebastian and Antonio.

 

"If I had a plantation on this island, my lord-" Gonzalo began.

 

"He'd grow nettles!" Antonio sniped.

 

"Or weeds!" Sebastian said.

 

"- and were the king, what would I do?"

 

"Escape being drunk because of the lack of wine!" Sebastian said.

 

"In my commonwealth I would do the contrary of custom! There would be no trade. Magistrates and learning, none at all! Riches, poverty and slavery, none of that, too. No legal agreements, no inheritance, no boundaries and markings, no farming or viticulture. No use of metal, corn, wine or oil. There would be no employment. All men would be idle, all men, and all women too. Everyone innocent and pure. There would be no sovereign-"

 

"Yet he planned to be king!" Sebastian said.

 

"The small print in the details of his utopia contradict the founding principals!" Antonio said.

 

"Nature," Gonzalo continued, "would produce its bounty without human intervention. I would not have treason, crime, swords, spears, knives, guns or cannons. Nature, by its own cycle, would provide all the food needed by my innocent people."

 

"Will there be any marrying between his subjects?" Sebastian asked.

 

"None, man. All are to be idle: prostitutes and crooks!" Antonio said.

 

"Sir, I would rule so justly that I would surpass the golden age," Gonzalo said.

 

"God save his Majesty!" Sebastian yelled.

 

"Long live King Gonzalo!" Antonio joined in.

 

"And -are you paying attention, sir?" Gonzalo asked his tormentors.

 

King Alonso interrupted the petty squabbling.

 

"Please, no more. Gonzalo what you are saying doesn't make sense."

 

"I agree, your majesty. I did so to simply give occasion to these gentlemen. Their lungs are so awash with hot air they laugh at nothing to relieve them."

 

"It was you we were laughing at," Antonio said.

 

"In endeavours like this I could never compete with you. You may continue to laugh at nothing."

 

"That blow knocked me to the ground!" Antonio said.

 

"But it didn't do any damage!" Sebastian said.

 

"You are gentleman of brave mettle! You would lift the moon out of the sky if it missed a cycle!" Gonzalo retorted sarcastically.

 

The sniping would have carried on indefinitely but now Ariel had arrived at the cove to undertake Prospero's instructions. Ariel invisibly swirled among the survivors, quietly playing a soothing lullaby which put everyone but Sebastian and Antonio to sleep

 

"We would indeed sort out the moon!" Sebastian said in response to Gonzalo. "And with the light of the moon we do some illicit hunting!"

 

"Oh, dear Gonzalo, don't be angry," Antonio said.

 

"I'm not, believe me. I wouldn't allow myself to be perturbed by some feeble banter. I feel very tired, how about laughing me to sleep?"

 

"You go to sleep, and we'll laugh!" Antonio said, and he gestured to Sebastian to begin cackling.

 

As if on cue, Gonzalo and Adrian did fall asleep. King Alonso noticed this first and drew it the attention of the self-absorbed pranksters.

 

"What, everyone sleeping so soon? I wish my eyes could shut out my thoughts! I do feel sleepy," the King said.

 

"Well, sir, sleep. It seldom visits those in mourning. When it does it's a comfort," Sebastian said with uncharacteristic tenderness.

 

"Thank you," said the King. "I feel astoundingly drowsy," King Alonso added and nodded away.

 

Ariel having accomplished this assignment then flew gracefully away.

 

"What a peculiar sleepiness has possessed them!" Sebastian said to Antonio, the only other survivor still awake.

 

"It's the salty air."

 

"Then why aren't our eyelids drooping? I am not in the least tired."

 

"Nor am I! I'm full of life. They all feel asleep together, as if by arrangement. They drooped off as if struck by a thunderbolt. What if, worthy Sebastian, oh, what if... No, I won't mention it... And yet, I think your face tells me... This occasion addresses itself to you. My vivid imagination sees a crown resting on your head..."

 

"What, are you still awake?"

 

"Did you not hear me talking?"

 

"I do. And surely it was just the gibberish of someone talking in his or her sleep? What is it you said? This is a strange repose, sleeping while your eyes are wide open, you stand, you walk, you talk- and yet so fast asleep!"

 

"Noble Sebastian, it's your fortune that you are allowing to sleep- or to die! You are seeing nothing while you are awake!"

 

"Your snoring is clear. There is logic in your snoring!"

 

"I am more serious than usual. You must be so too, if you take my advice. If you do you'll be three times greater than you are now."

 

"Well I am a man of still waters."

 

"I'll teach you how to flow."

 

"Do so. To ebb is something I know from my inherited sloth."

 

"You mock your own desire. Your perception is an investment. Ebbing men are often at the bottom of the sea, from fear or sloth."

 

"Spell it out. From your sparkling eyes and grin there's something you're desperate to tell me."

 

"This! Although forgetful Gonzalo, who will be totally forgotten about when he dies, has almost persuaded the King his son is still alive, since that's his job, but it's as improbable that he's as survived as it is Gonzalo is swimming rather than sleeping."

 

"I have no hope that he's survived."

 

"From that 'no hope' you have great hope! No hope in another direction is so high a hope that even your ambition can barely catch a glimpse of its peaks! Will you agree with me that Ferdinand is drowned?"

 

"He's dead."

 

"Then tell me who is next in line for the throne of Naples?"

 

"Claribel."

 

"She who is now Queen of Tunis. Who lives a culture away. She can't get news from Naples for as long as a baby begins to shave- fifteen years. From whose wedding we were returning when we were shipwrecked. Some of us survived and it our destiny to participate in a drama in which the past is a prologue and what is to come is our roles."

 

"What are you talking about? What do you mean? It is true my brother's daughter is Queen of Tunis and she is also heir to the Neapolitan throne, even if there is a distance between both kingdoms."

 

"And every league of that journey seems to say, How shall Claribel make the trip to Naples? Stay in Tunis and let Sebastian wake up! If death had just seized them they would be no worse than they are just now. There is one who can rule Naples as well as the King who sleeps. There are lords who can talk babble as well as and as long as Gonzalo. I could teach a jackdaw his repertoire. If only you have the mind that I do! What a step this would be for you advancement. Do you understand me?"

 

"I think I do."

 

"And how does this opportunity look to you?"

 

"I remember you ousted your brother, Prospero."

 

"True. And look at my garments now. Better? My brother's servants were my equals; now I pay their wages."

 

"Your conscience?"

 

"Yes, sir. Where is it? If it was a bunion, I'd have to adjust my footwear. But the deity of the conscience is not to be found in my heart. Twenty consciences couldn't keep me from my destiny. Here lies you brother if he were as dead as he looks, he'd be no better than the earth he lies on."

 

Sebastian looked at Alonso, the temptation was overwhelming and yet debilitating. Antonio pulled out his dagger.

 

"With three inches of this obedient steel I can put him to bed forever. And you, doing the same, could put that ancient morsel, Lord Bureaucracy there to sleep too before he gets the chance to chastise us for our actions. The rest of them will lap up our version of events as the cat takes milk. They'll be game for any old story."

 

"Your behaviour, dear friend, will be my precedent. As you got Milan, I'll come by Naples. Draw you sword. One stroke will free you from your tax burden. I, the King of Naples shall be your friend."

 

"Let us draw together. When I raise my hand on Alonso you do like wise and strike Gonzalo."

 

"First, a word..."

 

Antonio was irritated by Sebastian's delays. As they were chatting Ariel invisibly flew into the camp and lay down beside Gonzalo and began whispering in his ear.

 

"My master through his magic art foresees the danger you, his friend, are in. He has sent me here to keep you and his plan alive."

 

Ariel got closer to Gonzalo and began to sing in his ear:

"While you lie snoring here,

Blatant conspiracy

Its chance does take.

If of life you have a care,

Shake off your slumber and beware.

Awake, awake!"

 

Antonio and Sebastian stopped talking just as Ariel stopped singing.

 

"Let's get on with it!" Antonio said to Sebastian.

 

Just at that Gonzalo suddenly started.

 

"Good angels preserve the King!"

 

Gonzalo's yells woke the others. Alonso saw Antonio with his sword the moment he awoke.

 

"What's happening? Everyone up? Antonio, why is your sword drawn? Why this gruesome expression?"

 

"What's the matter?" Gonzalo asked sharply.

 

Sebastian, with a survivor's instincts thought of an explanation.

 

"While we stood guard we heard a burst of bellowing like bulls, or lions. Didn't it wake you? It sent shivers down my spine."

 

"I heard nothing," King Alonso said.

 

"Oh, the din would have frightened a monster," said Antonio. “It could have caused an earthquake! It was surely the roar of a whole pride of lions!"

 

"Did you hear this, Gonzalo?" the King asked.

 

"Upon my honour, sir, I heard this: a rather strange humming. I shook you, sir, and shouted out. As I opened my eyes, I saw their drawn weapons. There was a noise, that's true. We better be on our guard, or leave this place. Let's draw our swords."

 

"Lead the way, Gonzalo, and let's continue the search for my poor son."

 

"Heaven keep him from these beasts, for he is surely on this island," Gonzalo said.

 

"Lead the way," the King repeated.

Observing this from a tree Ariel was justly proud: "Prospero shall know what I have done so, King, go safely and seek your son."