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as every man knoweth, that hath heard or read of them, were never inhabited by any Christian or Heather people, but ever esteemed and reputed a most prodigious and inchanted place, affording nothing but gusts, storms, and soul weather, which made every navigator and mariner to avoid them as Scylla and Charybdis, or as they would shon the Devil himself: and no man was ever heard to make for this place; but as, against their wills, they have, by storms and dangerousness of the rocks lying seven leagues into the sea, suffered shipwreck. Yet did we find there the air so temperate, and the country so abundantly fruitful of all fit necessaries for the sustentation and preservation of man's life, that not withstanding we were there for the space of nine months, we were not only well refreshed, comforted, and with good satiety contented, but out of the abovdance thereof provided us some reasonable quantity of provision to carry us for Virginia, and to maintain ourselves and that company we found there." Somewhat later the Council of Virginia put forth a narrative of “ the disasters which had befallen tbe fleet, and of their miraculous escape," wherein they say: “ These Islands of the Bermudas have ever been accounted an inchanted pile of rocks, and a desert inhabitation for derils; but all the fairies of the rocks were but flocks of birds, and all the devils that haunted the woods were but berds of swine."
The words in Italic may suggest a probable explanation of some points in the play. It is hardly necdful to add, that the Poet's " still-vex'd Bermoothes" seems to link his work in some way with Jourdan's parrative. So that it is not easy to sce how an earlier date can be assigned for The Tempest than 1610. The sapernatural in the play was undoubtedly the Poet's own work ; but it had been in strict keeping with his osual method to avail himself of whatsoever interest may have sprung from the popular notions Touching the Bermudas. In his marvellous crcations the people of course would see nothing but the distant marvels with which their fancies were prepossessed.
Concurrent with this external evidence is the internal evidence of the play itself. The style, language, and general tone of thought, the union of richness and severity, the grave, austere beauty of character that pervades it, and the organic compact. ness of its whole structure, all go to mark it as an issue of the Poet's ripest years. Mr. Collier says that Coleridge, in his lectures, “ spoke of The Tempest as certainly one of Shakespeare's latest works, judging from the language only;" and Schlegel, probably for similar reasons, was of the same opinion. Campbell, the poet, supposes it to have been his very latest work : “ The Tempest has a sort of sacredness, as the last work of a mighty workman. Shakespeare, as if conscious that it would be his last and as if inspired to typify himself, bas made his hero a natural a digoified, and benevolent magician, who could conjure up spirits from thử vasty deep,' and command supernatural agency by the most seemingly natural and simple meaus. Shakespeare himself is Prospero, or rather the superior genius who commands both Prospero and Ariel. But the time was approaching when the potent sorcerer was to break his staff, and bury it fathoms in the ocean, —
• Deeper than did ever plummet sound.' That staff has never been and will never be recovered." But there is more of poetry than of truth in this statement; at least we have no warrant for it: whereas, besides the improbability that Shakespeare would pass the last six years of his life entirely aloof from the wonted play of his faculties, - besides this, there is good ground for believing that at least Coriolanus, Cymbeline, and perhaps Winter's Tale, were written after The Tempest. Mr. Verplanck, a critic of rare taste and judgment, rather than give up the notion so well put by Campbell, conjectures that the Poet may have revised The Tempest after all his other plays were wrillen, and inserted the passage where Prospero ahjures his " rough magic," and buries his staff, and drowns his book. But we cannot believe that Shakespeare had any reference to himself in that passage; for, besides that he evidently did not use to put his own feelings and purposes into the mouth of his characters, his doing so in this case would fairly infer such a degree of selfexultation as, it seems to us, his native and babitual modesty would hardly permit.
No play or novel has been discovered, to which Shakespeare could have been indebted for the plot or matter of The Tempest. Thomas Warton indeed tells a curious story, how Collins during his mental aberration said he had seen an Italian Romance, called Aurelio and Isabella, which contained the story of The Tempest. But Collins was afterwards found to be mistaken, there being no such matter in that Romance; and though the poor crazed poet may have put one name for another, it seems more likely that in the disorder of his mind his recollections of The Tempest itself got mixed up with other matter. Mr. Collier says: “ We have turned over the pages of, we believe, every Italian novelist ante. rior to the age of Shakespeare, in hopes of finding some story contaicing traces of the incidents of The Tempest, but without success." So that the notion started by Collins probably may ge well be given up.
What may be the issue of another notion started since, is not so clear. Mr. Thoms informs us through the New Monthly Magazine of Jan. 1841, that Jacob Ayrer, a notary of Nuremberg, was the author or translator of thirty plays, published in 1618 He is quite confident that Shakespeare derived his idea of The Tempest from a play of Ayrer's, called The Beautiful Sidea But besides that the resemblances, even as stated by Mr. Thoms
are so šlight or of such a kind as hardly to infer any connection between them, there appears nothing to hinder that Ayrer's play may have been indebted to The Tempest, it being quite certain that soine English dramas were known in Germany at that early period. The whole matter indeed is much too loose for us to build any conclusion upon.
There is an old ballad called The Inchanted Island, which was once thought to have contributed something towards The Tempest. But it is now generally allowed to be more modern than the play, and probably founded upon it; the names and some points of the story being varied, as if on purpose to hide its connection with a work that was popular on the stage. In the ballad no locality is given to the Island : on the contrary we are told :
“ From that daie forth the isle has beene
Some say, 'tis buryed deepe
Nor e'er is known to sleepe."
Wherefore, we shall probably have to rest, for the present, in the belief that in the case of The Tempest Shakespeare drew from no external source but the one already mentioned.
There has been considerable discussion of late years as to the scene of The Tempest. A wide range of critics, from dull Mr. Chalmers to eloquent Mrs. Jameson, have taken for granted that the Poet fixed the scene of his drama in the Bermudas. For this they seem not to have had nor desired any authority but his mention of u the still-vex'd Bernoothes." Ariel's trip from the deep nook to fetch dew from the still-vex'd Bermoothes" does indeed show that the Bermudas were in the Poet's mind: but then it also shows that his scene was not there; for it had been no feat at all worth mentioning for Ariel to fetch dew from one part of the island to another. On the other hand, Mr. Hunter is very positive that if we read the play with a map before us, (only Think of it! reading The Tempest with a map! we shall bring up at the island of Lampedusa, which lies midway between Malta and the African coast.” He will hardly tolerate any other notion : « What I contend for is the absolute claim of Lampedusa to have been the island in the Poet's mind when he drew the scenes of this drama." Mr. Hunter makes out a pretty strong case, nevertheless we must be excused; not so much that we positively reject his theory, as that we simply do not care whether it be right or not. But if we must have any supposal about it the most reasonable as well as most poetical one seems to be that the Poet, writing without a map, placed his scene upon an island of the mind, that his readers might not have to go away front home to learn the truth of his representation; and that it suited his purpose to transfer to his ideal whereabout some of the wonders and marvels of trans-Atlantic discovery. We should as soon think of going to history for the characters of Ariel and Caliban, as of going to geography for the size, locality, or whatever else, of their dwelling-place.
" The Tempest,” says Coleridge, " is a specimen of the purely romantic drama, in which the interest is not historical, or dependent upon fidelity of portraiture, or the natural connection of events, but a birth of the imagination, and rests only on the coaptation and union of the elements granted to, or assumed by, the Poet. It is a species of drama which owes no allegiance to time or space, and in which, therefore, errors of geography and chronology, - no mortal sins in any species, are venial faults, and count for nothing."
In these remarks of the great critic there is but one point from which we should at all dissent. We cannot quite agree that the drama is purely romantic. Highly romantic it certainly is, in its wide, free, bold variety of character and incident, in its many. shaded, richly-diversified perspective, in all the qualities indeed that enter into the picturesque ; yet not romantic in such a sort, we think, but that it is at the same time equally classic ; classic, not only in that the unities of time and place are strictly observed, but as having the other qualities which naturally follow and cleave to these laws of the classic form; in its solemn thought, its severe beauty, and majestic simplicity, its matchless interfusion of the lyrical and the ethical, and in the mellow atmosphere of serenity and composure which hovers over and envelops it: as if on pur. pose to show the Poet's mastery, not only of both the classic and the romantic drama, but of the common nature out of which both of them grew, and in which both are reconciled. This union of both kinds in one without any hindrance to the distinctive qualities of either, - this it is, we think, that chiefly distinguishes The Tempest from the Poet's other dramas. Some have thought that in this play Shakespeare studiously undertook to silence the pedantic cavillers of his time, by showing that he could keep to the rules of the Greek stage, if he chose to do so, without being any the less himself. But it seems more likely that he was here drawn into such a course by the workings of his wise spirit than by the cavils of contemporary critics; the form appearing too cognate and congenial with the matter to have been dictated by any thing accidental or external to the work itself.
There are some points that naturally suggest a comparison between The Tempest and A Midsummer-Night's Dream. In both the Poet has with equal or nearly equal success carried nature, as it were, beyond her established limits, and peopled a purely ideal region with the power and life of reality, so that the characters seem like substantive, personal beings, which he has but described
not created ; hnt beyond this the resemblance ceases : indeed no iwo of his plays are more widely different in all other respects.
The Tempest presents a combination of elements apparently so incongruous that we cannot but marvel how they were brought and kept together; yet they blend so sweetly and work together so naturally that we at once feel at home with them, and see nothing to hinder their union in the world of which we are a part For it seems hardly more than a truism to say, that in the mingling of the natural and the supernatural there is here no gap, no break; nothing disjointed or abrupt; the two being drawn into each other 80 smoothly, and so knit together by mutual participations, that each seems but a continuation of the other, and the place where they meet and join is marked by no distinguishable line.
Prospero, standing in the centre of the whole, acts as a kind of subordinate Providence, reconciling the diverse elements to himself, and in himself to one another. Though armed with supernatural might, so that the winds and waves obey him, his magical and mysterious powers are tied to truth and right; his " high charms work" only to just and beneficent ends; and whatsoever might be repulsive in the magician is softened and made attractive by the virtues of the man and the feelings of the father : Ariel links bim with the world above us, Caliban with the world beneath us, and Miranda (thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter!)" with the world around and within us. And the mind acquiesces in the miracles attributed to him, his thoughts and aims being so at one with nature's preestablished harmonies as to leave it doubtful whether he controls her movements or falls in with them. His sorcery indeed is the sorcery of knowledge, his magic the magie of virtue; for what so marvellous as the inward, vital necromancy of good, which transmutes the wrongs that are done him into motives of beneficence, and is so far from being hurt by the powers of Evil that it turns their assaults into new sources of strength against them! And with what a smooth tranquillity of spirit he every where speaks and acts! as if the rough discipline of adversity had but served
“ to elevate the will,
It is observable that the powers, which cleave to his thoughts and obey his “ so potent art," before his coming were at perpetual war, the better being in subjection to the worse, and all tumea from their several ends into a mad, brawling dissonance : but he teaches them to know their places, and, “weak masters though they be,” under his ordering they become powerful, and work