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Another part of the island.



By'r lakin, I can go no further, sir;
My old bones ache: here's a maze trod indeed
Through forth-rights and meanders! By your patience,
I needs must rest me.


Old lord, I cannot blame thee,
Who am myself attach'd with weariness,
To the dulling of my spirits: sit down, and rest.
Even here I will put off my hope and keep it
No longer for my flatterer: he is drown'd
Whom thus we stray to find, and the sea mocks
Our frustrate search on land. Well, let him go.


[Aside to SEBASTIAN] I am right glad that he's so
out of hope.
Do not, for one repulse, forego the purpose
That you resolved to effect.


[Aside to ANTONIO] The next advantage
Will we take throughly.


[Aside to SEBASTIAN] Let it be to-night;
For, now they are oppress'd with travel, they
Will not, nor cannot, use such vigilance
As when they are fresh.


[Aside to ANTONIO] I say, to-night: no more.

Solemn and strange music


What harmony is this? My good friends, hark!


Marvellous sweet music!

Enter PROSPERO above, invisible. Enter several strange Shapes, bringing in a banquet; they dance about it with gentle actions of salutation; and, inviting the King, & c. to eat, they depart


Give us kind keepers, heavens! What were these?


A living drollery. Now I will believe
That there are unicorns, that in Arabia
There is one tree, the phoenix' throne, one phoenix
At this hour reigning there.


I'll believe both;
And what does else want credit, come to me,
And I'll be sworn 'tis true: travellers ne'er did
Though fools at home condemn 'em.


If in Naples
I should report this now, would they believe me?
If I should say, I saw such islanders--
For, certes, these are people of the island--
Who, though they are of monstrous shape, yet, note,
Their manners are more gentle-kind than of
Our human generation you shall find
Many, nay, almost any.


[Aside] Honest lord,
Thou hast said well; for some of you there present
Are worse than devils.


I cannot too much muse
Such shapes, such gesture and such sound, expressing,
Although they want the use of tongue, a kind
Of excellent dumb discourse.


[Aside] Praise in departing.


They vanish'd strangely.


No matter, since
They have left their viands behind; for we have stomachs.
Will't please you taste of what is here?


Not I.


Faith, sir, you need not fear. When we were boys,
Who would believe that there were mountaineers
Dew-lapp'd like bulls, whose throats had hanging at 'em
Wallets of flesh? or that there were such men
Whose heads stood in their breasts? which now we find
Each putter-out of five for one will bring us
Good warrant of.


I will stand to and feed,
Although my last: no matter, since I feel
The best is past. Brother, my lord the duke,
Stand to and do as we.

Thunder and lightning. Enter ARIEL, like a harpy; claps his wings upon the table; and, with a quaint device, the banquet vanishes


You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,
That hath to instrument this lower world
And what is in't, the never-surfeited sea
Hath caused to belch up you; and on this island
Where man doth not inhabit; you 'mongst men
Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad;
And even with such-like valour men hang and drown
Their proper selves.

ALONSO, SEBASTIAN & c. draw their swords

You fools! I and my fellows
Are ministers of Fate: the elements,
Of whom your swords are temper'd, may as well
Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs
Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
One dowle that's in my plume: my fellow-ministers
Are like invulnerable. If you could hurt,
Your swords are now too massy for your strengths
And will not be uplifted. But remember--
For that's my business to you--that you three
From Milan did supplant good Prospero;
Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it,
Him and his innocent child: for which foul deed
The powers, delaying, not forgetting, have
Incensed the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures,
Against your peace. Thee of thy son, Alonso,
They have bereft; and do pronounce by me:
Lingering perdition, worse than any death
Can be at once, shall step by step attend
You and your ways; whose wraths to guard you from--
Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls
Upon your heads--is nothing but heart-sorrow
And a clear life ensuing.

He vanishes in thunder; then, to soft music enter the Shapes again, and dance, with mocks and mows, and carrying out the table


Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou
Perform'd, my Ariel; a grace it had, devouring:
Of my instruction hast thou nothing bated
In what thou hadst to say: so, with good life
And observation strange, my meaner ministers
Their several kinds have done. My high charms work
And these mine enemies are all knit up
In their distractions; they now are in my power;
And in these fits I leave them, while I visit
Young Ferdinand, whom they suppose is drown'd,
And his and mine loved darling.

Exit above


I' the name of something holy, sir, why stand you
In this strange stare?


O, it is monstrous, monstrous:
Methought the billows spoke and told me of it;
The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,
That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounced
The name of Prosper: it did bass my trespass.
Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded, and
I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded
And with him there lie mudded.



But one fiend at a time,
I'll fight their legions o'er.


I'll be thy second.



All three of them are desperate: their great guilt,
Like poison given to work a great time after,
Now 'gins to bite the spirits. I do beseech you
That are of suppler joints, follow them swiftly
And hinder them from what this ecstasy
May now provoke them to.


Follow, I pray you.



Some time had passed but King Alonso and the other survivors were as morose and irritable as before.


"Your Majesty, I can go no further," Gonzalo said to the King. "My old bones ache. What a maze this island is. Straight paths and meandering tracks! With your permission, sir, I must rest."


"Old lord, I can't blame you," King Alonso replied. "I am exhausted physically and emotionally. Sit down and rest. Hope is useless, and I can't keep clinging to it. Ferdinand is dead. The sea mocks us as we feebly search on land. Well, I’ll let him go."


"Sebastian, I'm glad that he is facing facts," Antonio whispered. "Don't let that earlier incident affect your resolve."


"The next opportunity will be seized," Sebastian replied.


"Sebastian, let it be tonight," Antonio persisted. "They are exhausted from all this searching so they will not and cannot be as vigilant as when they are fresh."


"Tonight, then. Be silent, now," Sebastian said.


As Sebastian and Antonio completed their plotting strange music emanated from the dense trees and bushes. Prospero stood before them, but was invisible. His spirits, though, were visible to all and brought to the King's party a lavishly laden banquet table. The spirits danced around and glided between the royal party beckoning them to the unexpected feast.


"What is this harmony? Good friends, listen!" King Alonso said, quite baffled.


"Marvellous, sweet music!" said Gonzalo.


"May Heaven protect us! What were they?" King Alonso said, amazed at Prospero's spirits.


"An apparition," Sebastian said. "Now I believe in unicorns, and that in Arabia they have a tree just for the phoenix, which is perched on a branch as we speak!"


"I'll believe that, too," Antonio said, "and whatever else seems implausible. Travellers don't lie, in spite of the fools at home who laugh at them."


"If I reported this now in Naples, would they believe me?" Gonzalo asked. "If I said I saw such islanders, I'm certain these are the natives, and peculiar though they appeared their disposition was gentler than that of many, no, most human beings."


"Honest lord, eloquently put," Prospero said to himself, "some of you here are worse than devils."


"I am astounded by the way these spirits with gesture and sound can communicate with each other so readily- they have sign language of their own!" King Alonso said.


"Keep your praise for the finale," Prospero thought.


"Oh, they are disappearing!" Francisco said.


"No matter, "Sebastian said, "for they have left us the banquet- and we are hungry. Your Majesty, would you like to taste what they have left for us?"


"Not I," King Alonso said.


"Faith, sir, don't worry,” Gonzalo said, adding: “When we were children would we have believed that there were mountain tribes with fleshy chins and throats? Or that there were such men who had no heads but eyes and mouths in their chests? But now we hear such commonplace tales from travellers."


"I will eat," King Alonso said. "It might be my last meal but it doesn't matter, the best part of my life is past. Brother, and my lord the Duke, do as we do and eat."


As they were about to enjoy the food thunder clapped and lightening struck from a clear blue sky. Ariel appeared in the form of the Harpy, the monster of legend who has face and body of a woman but the wings and claws of a bird. Ariel flapped his wings over the banquet table and the bounty disappeared. The royal party looked on in dismay and terror.


"You three are men of sin!" Ariel said to King Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian. "Destiny, which orchestrates this world and those contained in it, has made the hungry sea disgorge you on this island, you amongst men being the most unfit to live. I have made you mad, and your misplaced valour is the kind that makes men hang and drown themselves."


The survivors drew their swords to combat the Harpy, but Ariel continued: "You fools! We are the ministers of Fate. We are the matter with which your swords are made, you might as well duel with the howling winds or stab the mountainous seas, as try to wound one of my feathers. My fellow ministers are similarly invulnerable. Even if you could hurt us, your swords now have a mass too much for you to lift. But remember- for this is my business with you- that you three did supplant good Prospero and exposed him and his infant daughter to the mercy of the sea. For this foul deed, the gods, delaying not forgetting, have incensed the seas, the shores, and every creature against you. Alonso, they have robbed you of your son and pronounce through me that you will linger in suffering, worse than any quick death, for the rest of your life. To protect yourself from their wrath, which will fall on your head on this desolate island, your only option is a life of sincere penitence."


A thunderclap accompanied the departure of Ariel as a Harpy. The soft music of before began again, a sensual lullaby. The spirits returned and glided regally as they removed the empty table.


Meanwhile Prospero, still invisible, congratulated Ariel on the completion of his assignment.


"Ariel, you superbly played the part of the Harpy. It was a joy to watch. You followed my intentions to the letter. Even my lesser servants in their lesser tasks fulfilled their instructions to perfection. My ambitious spells have worked and my enemies are in despair. Now they are in my power. I will leave them in their confusion, while I visit the-supposedly-drowned young Ferdinand and his, and my, darling."


Prospero left for his magic cave while the survivors were dazed and bewildered.


"In the name of something holy, Your Majesty, why are you standing there staring?" Gonzalo asked King Alonso.


"Oh, it is monstrous, monstrous! I thought the waves spoke and accused me. The winds sang my sins to me. Thunder, like the deep tone of the organ, said Prospero. My sin sounded as deep as the bass voice. My sins have led to my son being in the ooze of the seabed. I'll seek him in the mud and join him!"


King Alonso ran off, sobbing and wailing.


"One fiend at a time, I'll fight the whole army of them!" Sebastian bawled.


"I'll be your second," Antonio said and they ran off behind the King.


Gonzalo stood puzzled and vexed. The repercussions of events long forgotten were about to overwhelm them.


"All three of them are desperate, and their guilt is great," Gonzalo said. "The poison of guilt has taken a long time to work but now it bites. Adrian, I beg you and the younger and fitter men to follow them and stop them from doing something that will only aggravate their plight."


"Follow them!" Adrian said.