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Before PROSPERO'S cell.



If I have too austerely punish'd you,
Your compensation makes amends, for I
Have given you here a third of mine own life,
Or that for which I live; who once again
I tender to thy hand: all thy vexations
Were but my trials of thy love and thou
Hast strangely stood the test here, afore Heaven,
I ratify this my rich gift. O Ferdinand,
Do not smile at me that I boast her off,
For thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise
And make it halt behind her.


I do believe it
Against an oracle.


Then, as my gift and thine own acquisition
Worthily purchased take my daughter: but
If thou dost break her virgin-knot before
All sanctimonious ceremonies may
With full and holy rite be minister'd,
No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall
To make this contract grow: but barren hate,
Sour-eyed disdain and discord shall bestrew
The union of your bed with weeds so loathly
That you shall hate it both: therefore take heed,
As Hymen's lamps shall light you.


As I hope
For quiet days, fair issue and long life,
With such love as 'tis now, the murkiest den,
The most opportune place, the strong'st suggestion.
Our worser genius can, shall never melt
Mine honour into lust, to take away
The edge of that day's celebration
When I shall think: or Phoebus' steeds are founder'd,
Or Night kept chain'd below.


Fairly spoke.
Sit then and talk with her; she is thine own.
What, Ariel! my industrious servant, Ariel!



What would my potent master? here I am.


Thou and thy meaner fellows your last service
Did worthily perform; and I must use you
In such another trick. Go bring the rabble,
O'er whom I give thee power, here to this place:
Incite them to quick motion; for I must
Bestow upon the eyes of this young couple
Some vanity of mine art: it is my promise,
And they expect it from me.




Ay, with a twink.


Before you can say 'come' and 'go,'
And breathe twice and cry 'so, so,'
Each one, tripping on his toe,
Will be here with mop and mow.
Do you love me, master? no?


Dearly my delicate Ariel. Do not approach
Till thou dost hear me call.


Well, I conceive.



Look thou be true; do not give dalliance
Too much the rein: the strongest oaths are straw
To the fire i' the blood: be more abstemious,
Or else, good night your vow!


I warrant you sir;
The white cold virgin snow upon my heart
Abates the ardour of my liver.


Now come, my Ariel! bring a corollary,
Rather than want a spirit: appear and pertly!
No tongue! all eyes! be silent.

Soft music

Enter IRIS


Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas
Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats and pease;
Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep,
And flat meads thatch'd with stover, them to keep;
Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims,
Which spongy April at thy hest betrims,
To make cold nymphs chaste crowns; and thy broom -groves,
Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves,
Being lass-lorn: thy pole-clipt vineyard;
And thy sea-marge, sterile and rocky-hard,
Where thou thyself dost air;--the queen o' the sky,
Whose watery arch and messenger am I,
Bids thee leave these, and with her sovereign grace,
Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,
To come and sport: her peacocks fly amain:
Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain.



Hail, many-colour'd messenger, that ne'er
Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter;
Who with thy saffron wings upon my flowers
Diffusest honey-drops, refreshing showers,
And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown
My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down,
Rich scarf to my proud earth; why hath thy queen
Summon'd me hither, to this short-grass'd green?


A contract of true love to celebrate;
And some donation freely to estate
On the blest lovers.


Tell me, heavenly bow,
If Venus or her son, as thou dost know,
Do now attend the queen? Since they did plot
The means that dusky Dis my daughter got,
Her and her blind boy's scandal'd company
I have forsworn.


Of her society
Be not afraid: I met her deity
Cutting the clouds towards Paphos and her son
Dove-drawn with her. Here thought they to have done
Some wanton charm upon this man and maid,
Whose vows are, that no bed-right shall be paid
Till Hymen's torch be lighted: but vain;
Mars's hot minion is returned again;
Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows,
Swears he will shoot no more but play with sparrows
And be a boy right out.


High'st queen of state,
Great Juno, comes; I know her by her gait.

Enter JUNO


How does my bounteous sister? Go with me
To bless this twain, that they may prosperous be
And honour'd in their issue.

They sing:


Honour, riches, marriage-blessing,
Long continuance, and increasing,
Hourly joys be still upon you!
Juno sings her blessings upon you.


Earth's increase, foison plenty,
Barns and garners never empty,
Vines and clustering bunches growing,
Plants with goodly burthen bowing;
Spring come to you at the farthest
In the very end of harvest!
Scarcity and want shall shun you;
Ceres' blessing so is on you.


This is a most majestic vision, and
Harmoniously charmingly. May I be bold
To think these spirits?


Spirits, which by mine art
I have from their confines call'd to enact
My present fancies.


Let me live here ever;
So rare a wonder'd father and a wife
Makes this place Paradise.

Juno and Ceres whisper, and send Iris on employment


Sweet, now, silence!
Juno and Ceres whisper seriously;
There's something else to do: hush, and be mute,
Or else our spell is marr'd.


You nymphs, call'd Naiads, of the windring brooks,
With your sedged crowns and ever-harmless looks,
Leave your crisp channels and on this green land
Answer your summons; Juno does command:
Come, temperate nymphs, and help to celebrate
A contract of true love; be not too late.

Enter certain Nymphs

You sunburnt sicklemen, of August weary,
Come hither from the furrow and be merry:
Make holiday; your rye-straw hats put on
And these fresh nymphs encounter every one
In country footing.

Enter certain Reapers, properly habited: they join with the Nymphs in a graceful dance; towards the end whereof PROSPERO starts suddenly, and speaks; after which, to a strange, hollow, and confused noise, they heavily vanish


[Aside] I had forgot that foul conspiracy
Of the beast Caliban and his confederates
Against my life: the minute of their plot
Is almost come.

To the Spirits

Well done! avoid; no more!


This is strange: your father's in some passion
That works him strongly.


Never till this day
Saw I him touch'd with anger so distemper'd.


You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismay'd: be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vex'd;
Bear with my weakness; my, brain is troubled:
Be not disturb'd with my infirmity:
If you be pleased, retire into my cell
And there repose: a turn or two I'll walk,
To still my beating mind.


We wish your peace.



Come with a thought I thank thee, Ariel: come.



Thy thoughts I cleave to. What's thy pleasure?


We must prepare to meet with Caliban.


Ay, my commander: when I presented Ceres,
I thought to have told thee of it, but I fear'd
Lest I might anger thee.


Say again, where didst thou leave these varlets?


I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking;
So fun of valour that they smote the air
For breathing in their faces; beat the ground
For kissing of their feet; yet always bending
Towards their project. Then I beat my tabour;
At which, like unback'd colts, they prick'd
their ears,
Advanced their eyelids, lifted up their noses
As they smelt music: so I charm'd their ears
That calf-like they my lowing follow'd through
Tooth'd briers, sharp furzes, pricking goss and thorns,
Which entered their frail shins: at last I left them
I' the filthy-mantled pool beyond your cell,
There dancing up to the chins, that the foul lake
O'erstunk their feet.


This was well done, my bird.
Thy shape invisible retain thou still:
The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither,
For stale to catch these thieves.


I go, I go.



A devil, a born devil, on whose nature
Nurture can never stick; on whom my pains,
Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost;
And as with age his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers. I will plague them all,
Even to roaring.

Re-enter ARIEL, loaden with glistering apparel, & c

Come, hang them on this line.

PROSPERO and ARIEL remain invisible. Enter CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, all wet


Pray you, tread softly, that the blind mole may not
Hear a foot fall: we now are near his cell.


Monster, your fairy, which you say is
a harmless fairy, has done little better than
played the Jack with us.


Monster, I do smell all horse-piss; at
which my nose is in great indignation.


So is mine. Do you hear, monster? If I should take
a displeasure against you, look you,--


Thou wert but a lost monster.


Good my lord, give me thy favour still.
Be patient, for the prize I'll bring thee to
Shall hoodwink this mischance: therefore speak softly.
All's hush'd as midnight yet.


Ay, but to lose our bottles in the pool,--


There is not only disgrace and dishonour in that,
monster, but an infinite loss.


That's more to me than my wetting: yet this is your
harmless fairy, monster.


I will fetch off my bottle, though I be o'er ears
for my labour.


Prithee, my king, be quiet. Seest thou here,
This is the mouth o' the cell: no noise, and enter.
Do that good mischief which may make this island
Thine own for ever, and I, thy Caliban,
For aye thy foot-licker.


Give me thy hand. I do begin to have bloody thoughts.


O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! look
what a wardrobe here is for thee!


Let it alone, thou fool; it is but trash.


O, ho, monster! we know what belongs to a frippery.
O king Stephano!


Put off that gown, Trinculo; by this hand, I'll have
that gown.


Thy grace shall have it.


The dropsy drown this fool I what do you mean
To dote thus on such luggage? Let's alone
And do the murder first: if he awake,
From toe to crown he'll fill our skins with pinches,
Make us strange stuff.


Be you quiet, monster. Mistress line,
is not this my jerkin? Now is the jerkin under
the line: now, jerkin, you are like to lose your
hair and prove a bald jerkin.


Do, do: we steal by line and level, an't like your grace.


I thank thee for that jest; here's a garment for't:
wit shall not go unrewarded while I am king of this
country. 'Steal by line and level' is an excellent
pass of pate; there's another garment for't.


Monster, come, put some lime upon your fingers, and
away with the rest.


I will have none on't: we shall lose our time,
And all be turn'd to barnacles, or to apes
With foreheads villanous low.


Monster, lay-to your fingers: help to bear this
away where my hogshead of wine is, or I'll turn you
out of my kingdom: go to, carry this.


And this.


Ay, and this.

A noise of hunters heard. Enter divers Spirits, in shape of dogs and hounds, and hunt them about, PROSPERO and ARIEL setting them on


Hey, Mountain, hey!


Silver I there it goes, Silver!


Fury, Fury! there, Tyrant, there! hark! hark!

CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, are driven out

Go charge my goblins that they grind their joints
With dry convulsions, shorten up their sinews
With aged cramps, and more pinch-spotted make them
Than pard or cat o' mountain.


Hark, they roar!


Let them be hunted soundly. At this hour
Lie at my mercy all mine enemies:
Shortly shall all my labours end, and thou
Shalt have the air at freedom: for a little
Follow, and do me service.



When Prospero returned to his cave he took satisfaction from the speed with which his scheme was successfully coming together.


"Ferdinand, I have punished you too harshly, but your compensation makes amends," Prospero said, indicating Miranda. "Here you have a third of my life, that what I live for. I give her to you. All your vexations were simply tests of your love, and you have passed with flying colours. Here before Heaven I ratify my priceless gift. Oh, Ferdinand, don't smile when I praise her. You will find that she exceeds all compliments, praise can't keep up with her."


"I'd believe that even if it was contradicted by an oracle!" Ferdinand said.


"Then, as my gift and your acquisition, worthily won, take my daughter. But if you partake of marital pleasure prior to the sacrament of matrimony you will be denied the favour of Heaven. Childless hate, aggrieved looks and discord will be all that flourishes in your union, so that both of you shall hate it. Therefore, take heed, between now and the ceremony."


"As I hope for harmony, heirs and long life, with love as vibrant as it is now, neither the murkiest and most opportune place, nor the strongest impulse could ever melt my honour into lust or in any way detract from the glory of our nuptial celebrations."


"Well said, Ferdinand. Sit and chat- she is your bride-to-be."


Prospero smiled at the young lovers and now turned his attention to the final stages of his plan.


"Ariel! My industrious servant, Ariel!" he called loudly.


Ariel glided and swirled through the air and arrived at Prospero's cave.


"Here I am! What does my omnipotent master wish me to do next?"


"You and the junior spirits performed your last task very well. I must use you again in a similar trick. Go and bring to me the spirits I have placed in your command. I must let the lovebirds see a trick of mine. This I promised them and they expect it."


"Presently?" Ariel asked.


"Yes, in the twinkling of an eye."


"Before you can say come and go, and breathe twice, and cry so, so, they will be here on tiptoe, full of funny faces. Do you love me master? Yes?"


"Dearly, my delicate Ariel. Do not return until you hear me call."


"I understand."


Ariel soared ecstatically into the air.


"Now, Ferdinand, be sure to keep your promise. Keep your passion on a tight leash. The strongest oaths are just straw to the fire in the blood. Curtail your thoughts or your vow will be in peril!"


"I warrant you, sir, that the cold white virgin snow upon my heart cools my reason," Ferdinand replied.




Prospero gestured for Ferdinand and Miranda to be seated, to enjoy the spectacle Ariel had organised.


"Now come, my Ariel! Bring a troupe rather than a mere nest of spirits! Be prompt! Everyone look! Silence!"


Seductive percussive music began again to emanate from the forest. A traditional mask play was unfolding, interpreted by Prospero's spirits. Iris, the goddess of the rainbow swirled in a blaze of colour and then spoke to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture:

"Ceres, bounteous lady, whose meadows

Are full of the of the crops we sow;

Whose turfy mountains feed the nibbling sheep,

Whose fields are filled with the fodder for them to eat,

Your rivers are lined by peonies and lilies,

Which April showers, on your side,

Bloom into crowns for the chaste bride;

And in your darkened groves

The rejected man seeks solace.

Your vineyards, tended with care,

And your coastal cliffs, rocky and bare,

Where you are known to wander.

Juno, Queen of the Sky,

Whose rainbow messenger am I,

Says leave all of this, and with her sovereign grace,

Come and join us here in our endeavours.

Juno's peacocks carry her through the sky.

To entertain her, Ceres, participate!"


When Prospero's spirit servant had finished playing Iris, Ariel spoke the role of Ceres:

"Hail, Iris, obedient rainbow messenger

Of Juno, wife of Jupiter:

Whose saffron wings caress my flowers

Diffusing refreshing honey-drop showers.

Each end of your blue bow crowns

My lush acres and my bare downs.

Bright scarf of earth, why has your queen

Summoned me here to this lawn of green?"


Iris danced in a trail of colour and replied:


"A contract of true love to celebrate,

And some donation from your estate

On the blessed lovers."


When Iris completed her recital Ceres replied:

"Tell me, heavenly bow,

Is Venus or her son,

Cupid, do you know,

Still waiting on Juno?

 Since they plotted

With Pluto to spirit my daughter away,

I've sworn to avoid their company."


Iris replied to Ceres' concerns.

"Don't be afraid of her society;

I met her in the sky,

Speeding to Paphos with her son,

Drawn by doves.

This is what they thought they had done:

A spell on a man and a maid,

Who had vowed until their wedding night

No love would be made.

But it was in vain.

Venus fled; Petulant Cupid broke his arrows,

Swore he will shoot no more.

Play with sparrows,

And be a boy."


Ceres listened attentively and then replied:

"Highest queen of state,

Great Juno comes;

I know her by her gait."


Juno entered.

"How is my bounteous sister? Come with me

To bless this couple, that they may be prosperous

And honoured in their children."


Juno then began to sing:

"Honour, riches, marriage blessing,

Long continuance, and increasing,

Hourly joys be always with you!

Juno sings her blessings on you."


Ceres too began to sing in praise of Ferdinand and Miranda.

"Earth's bounty and harvests plenty,

Barns and granaries never empty;

Vines with juicy bunches growing;

Plants with lavish burdens bowing;

Spring comes to you at the farthest

At the very end of the harvest!

Scarcity and want shall shun you;

Ceres' blessing so is on you."


"This is an amazing display of natural harmony!" Ferdinand said. "Would I be right in saying these are spirits?"


"Yes," said Prospero. "Spirits which my magic skills allow me to summon from their domain to perform my tasks."


"Let me live here forever!" Ferdinand said. "Such a unique father-in-law makes this place a paradise."


They turned back to the performance. Juno and Ceres whispered and sent Iris away on a chore.


"Keep quiet now, Ferdinand, watch! Juno and Ceres are whispering seriously- something's afoot. Hush and be rapt otherwise the spell will be broken," Prospero said.


Iris swirled and began a speech summoning more spirits:

"You nymphs, called Naiads, of wandering brooks,

With your reed crowns and ever-harmless looks,

Leave your cold streams and on this green land

Answer your summons: Juno does command.

Come, benevolent nymphs, and help to celebrate

A contract of true love, do not be late."


At this a school of water nymphs materialised, and Iris continued her speech:

"You sunburnt fieldworkers, of August weary,

Come in from your fields and be merry:

Celebrate; your rye-straw hats put on,

And these fresh nymphs do you encounter,

In a dance of nature's bounty."


A group of harvesters appeared immaculately dressed in their land workers attire. They each take a nymph as a partner and begin to dance in a rural style.


Without warning Prospero suddenly leapt to his feet and spoke:


"Well done! No more! Go back to your domain!"


Ferdinand and Miranda were disconcerted by Prospero’s unexpected interruption and he himself was mournful and morose. The spirits, fearing they had displeased their master, dispersed into the air accompanied by sad, strange tones.


"I had forgotten that foul conspiracy of Caliban and his cronies. They will be here shortly," Prospero said to himself.


"This is strange," Ferdinand said to Miranda. "Your father's upset about something."


"Never before have I seen him so angry, so out of character."


"You look perplexed, Ferdinand, and uncomfortable,” Prospero said. “Be cheerful, young man, the revelry is over. Our actors, as you perceived, were all spirits and have melted into air, thin air. And, like the baseless fabric of that vision, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the sanctified temples, the earth itself, and indeed all her inhabitants, will dissolve. Just as this insubstantial pageant faded without trace, so will we. We are of such stuff that dreams are made. And our short life is concluded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed. Tolerate my weakness. My old brain is troubled. Don't be disturbed by my infirmity! If you will retire to my cave and rest awhile, I will take a stroll to calm my mind."


"We wish you peace," Ferdinand and Miranda said together.


The young couple left Prospero to his own devices. He waited until they were out of sight before attempting to tackle the imminent threat of Caliban.


"Appear with a thought! Thank you, Ariel. Appear!


On cue, Ariel materialised.


"I cling to your thoughts. What is your order?"


"Spirit, we must prepare to tackle Caliban."


"Yes, commander. When I was playing Ceres I thought I should have reminded you but I was afraid an interruption would have angered you."


"Say again, where did you leave those scoundrels?"


"As I said, they were drunk and so full of Dutch courage that they were taking the air to task for breathing in their faces and they stamped on the ground for kissing their feet- but never losing sight of their goal. When I beat my drum, at which, like unbroken colts, they pricked up their ears, raised their eyelids and snorted as they tried to work out where the music was coming from. So I put a spell on their ears and then they, like calves, followed my sounds through spiky briars, bracken, gorse bush and thorns, all of which pierced and stuck in their frail legs. And lastly I dumped them in that scum covered pool beyond your cave. They're up to their chins in it, making the pool stink as much as their feet."


"You've done well, my bird! Retain your invisible form for a while yet. Bring some trinkets from my cave as bait to entrap these thieves."


"I go! I go!" Ariel said, excited by the impending climax.


"Caliban is a devil, a born devil," Prospero thought, "in whose nature nurturing and love can never triumph. All my humane efforts have been wasted, totally wasted. As his body gets uglier with age so too does his mind. I'll punish them all until they howl."


Ariel returned from the cave with exquisite apparel and glistening objects.


"Come," Prospero said, "hang them on this line."


Once they had hung the attractions the way they thought they would tempt Caliban and his cohorts, Prospero and Ariel became invisible to wait for the crooks. It didn't take long. Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo appeared soaking and smelly.


"Please now," Caliban whispered, "walk so quietly that even a blind mole can't hear you. We are near Prospero's cave."


"Monster," Stephano said, "your fairy, which you said was harmless, has done little better than play the smart Alec."


"Monster," Trinculo added, "I smell horse piddle, and my nose doesn't like it!"


"Neither does mine!" Stephano nodded. "Do you hear, monster? If I should take a dislike to you, you will be-"


"You'd be a former monster!" Trinculo said, complementing Stephano's sentiments.


"My lord, maintain me in your favour. Be patient, for the prize I'll bring to you will make you forget this mischance. So speak softly- be as silent as the night."


"That's fine to say, but to lose our wine in that pool!" Trinculo added, aggrieved.


"There is not only disgrace and dishonour in that, but the wine is irreplaceable!" Stephano said as Trinculo nodded in agreement.


"That's more important than the soaking. All this from, monster, a harmless fairy!" Trinculo said.


"I'll get my bottle back even if I'm drowned doing it!" Stephano said.


"Please, my King, be quiet. See, here is the mouth of the cave. Keep quiet and go in. Do the piece of mischief that will make this island your own and make Caliban your eternal boot-licker," Caliban boldly said.


"Give me your hand. I begin to have bloody thoughts," Stephano said.


"Oh, King Stephano!" Trinculo squealed when he noticed Prospero's decoy of clothes. "Oh, peer! Oh, worthy Stephano! Look what a wardrobe is waiting for you!"


"Leave it alone, you fool!" Caliban snapped at Trinculo. "It's only rubbish."


But Trinculo was not to be deterred. Trinculo seized a garment and was examining the cloth and trying it on for fit.


"Oh ho, monster! We know what belongs on the market stall! Oh, King Stephano!"


"Take off that garment, Trinculo!" Stephano bawled. "I'll have that, by god!"


"Your Grace shall have it," Trinculo said.


"Oh strike this fool down!" Caliban said in exasperation. "What's the point of doting on a few fancy rags? Leave them and do the killing first. If he wakes up he’ll pierce us from head to toe and makes us sorry cases."


"Be quiet, man-monster!" Stephano said sharply. "Madam Clothesline, isn't this jacket becoming? I hope it's quality, otherwise it will look cheap!"


"Yes, yes. If we're going to steal let's go for quality, Your Grace!" Trinculo said.


"Thank you for that, Trinculo. Have a jacket as a reward. Wit will not go unrewarded in my kingdom!"


"Monster, come on get your hands on the booty and steal the rest," Trinculo said.


"I'm having none of it! We will lose our opportunity and Prospero will turn us into chickens or apes!"


"Monster, put your hands to good use," Stephano ordered. "Help to carry all this away or I'll expel you from my kingdom. Go on, carry these garments."


"And this..." Trinculo said, throwing another cloak at Caliban.


"Yes, and this too..." Stephano said.


They stopped. A pack of barking hounds was running through the forest. The noise seemed to indicate the dogs were coming for them. Prospero had disguised his spirits as vicious dogs. Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban fled as fast as their feet could carry them.


"Hey, Mountain, hey!" Prospero yelled, as if calling a dog.


"Silver, go! Silver!" Ariel added in similar fashion.


The crooks ran through the foliage in mad tizzy, once again ripping themselves on branches and thorns.


"Fury, Fury! There, Tyrant, there! Listen, listen!" Prospero shouted, seemingly behind them. "Ariel, order my spirits to grind their joints with pains, give their muscles cramps and pinch their flesh until they have more spots than the leopard!"


"Listen to them scream!" Ariel said.


"Let them be truly hunted. Now, all my enemies are at my mercy. Shortly all my labours will reach their conclusion, and you shall be as free as air. For a little longer, follow my instruction and be at my service."