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ridiculous. Shakespeare never puts habitual scorn into the mouths of other than bad men, as here in the instances of Antonio and Sebastian. The scene of the intended assassination of Alouzo and Gonzalo is an exact counterpart of the scene between Macbeth and his lady, only pitched in a lower key throughout, as desigued to be frustrated and concealed, and exhibiting the same profound management in the manner of familiarizing a mind, not immediately recipient, to the suggestion of guilt, by associating the proposed crime with something ludicrous or out of place, something not habitually matter of reverence."
Nor is there less of sagacity in the means whereby Prospero seeks to make them better, provoking in them the purpose and taking away the performance of crime, that so he may bring thein to a knowledge of themselves, and awe or shame down their evil by his demonstrations of good. For such is the proper effect of bad designs thus thwarted, showing the authors at once the wick. edness of their hearts and the weakness of their hands; whereas, if successful in their plans, pride of power would forestall and prevent the natural shame and remorse of guilt. And we little kuow what evil it lieth and lurketh in our hearts to will or to do, unul occasion permits or invites; and Prospero's art here stands in presenting the occasion until the wicked purpose is formed, and then removing it as soon as the hand is raised. It is notice. able that in the case of Antonio and Sebastian the workings of magic are so mixed up with those of nature that we cannot distinguish them : or rather, Prospero here causes the supernatural to pursue the methods of nature; thus, like the Poet himself, so concealing his art while using it that the result seems to spring from their own minds.
And the same deep skill is shown in case of the good old man, Gonzalo, whose sense of his own pains and perils seems lost in his care to minister comfort and diversion to others. Thus his virtue spontaneously opens the springs of wit and humour within him amid the terrors of the storm and shipwreck; and he is merry while others are suffering, even from sympathy with them : and afterwards his thoughtful spirit plays with Utopian fancies; and if “ the latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning," it is all the same to him, his purpose being on.y lo beguile the anguish of supposed bereavement. It hath been well sud, that “Gonzalo is so occupied with duty, in which alone he finds pleasure, that he scarce notices the gnat-stings of wit with which his opponents pursue him ; or, if he observes, firmly and easily repels them.”
In Ferdinand is portrayed one of those happy natures, such as we sometimes meet with, who are built up all the more strongly in virtue and honour by contact with the vices and meannesses of the world. The meeting of him and Miranda is replete with
magic indced ; a magic higher and more potent even than Pros. pero's: all the riches that nestle in their bosoms at once leaping forth and running together into a stream of poetry which no words of ours can describe. So much of beauty in so few words, and those few so plain and homely,-“0, wondrous skill and sweet wit of the man!” Here, again, Prospero does but fur. nish occasions : his art has the effect of unsealing the choice founts of nature, but the waters gush from depths which even he cannot reach ; so that his mighty magic bows before a still more wondrous potency. After seeing himself thus outdone by the nature he has been wont to control, and having witnessed such a « fair encour ter of two most rare affections,” no wonder that he longs to be a man again, like other men, and, with a heart “ true to the kindred points of heaven and home,” gladly returns to
“ The homely sympathy that heeds
The common life; our nature breeds ;
Of hearts at leisure."
Some appear to have thought the presence of Trinculo and Stephano a blemish in the play. We cannot think so. Their follies give a zest and relish to the high poetries amidst which they grow. Such things go to make up the mysterious whole of human life; and they often help on our pleasure while seeming to hinder it: we may think they had better be away; yet, were they away, we should feel that something were wanting. Besides, if this part of the work do not directly yield a grateful fragrance, it is vitally related to the parts that do. .
Such are the strangely-assorted characters that make up this charming play. And yet how they all concur in unity of effect! This harmonious working together of diverse and opposite elements, - this smooth concurrence of heterogeneous materials in one varied yet coherent impression, - by what subtle process this is brought about, must be left to keener and deeper wits. But how variously soever men may account for this, no one, surely, who has a proper sense of art, or of nature as addressed to the imaginative faculty, can well question, that all the parts are so vitally interwoven, that if any one be cut away the whole drama will be in danger of bleeding to death.
We cannot leave the subject without remarking what an at. mosphere of wonder and mystery overhangs and pervades this singular structure, and how the whole seems steeped in glorics invisible to the natural eye, yet made visible by the Poet's art; thus leading the thoughts insensibly upwards to other worlds and other forms of being. It were difficult indeed to name any thing else of human workmanship so thoroughly transbgured with
“ the gleam, The light that never was on sea or land, The consecration and the poet's dream :"
ilie celestial and the earthly being so commingled, --- com. mingled, but not confounded, -that we see not where the one begins and the other ends so that in reading it we seem trans. ported to a region where we are strangers, yet old acquaintances ; where all things are at once ucw and familiar : the anearthly visions of the spot hardly touching us with surprise ; because, though wonderful indeed, there is nothing about them but that somewhat within us owns and assimilates with more readily than is compatible with such an impression. That our thoughts and feelings are thus at home with such things and take pleasure in them, - is not this because of some innate aptitudes and affiniLes of our nature for a supernatural and celestial life?
“ Point not these mysteries to an Art
Lodged above the starry pole ?”
Alonzo, King of Naples.
MIRANDA, Daughter to Prospero.
ARIEL, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
BCENE, the Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an unin
Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain.
Mast. Good, speak to the inariners: fall to't yarely, or we run ourselves aground : bestir, bestir.
[Erit. Enter Mariners.
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 Alonzo, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND,
GONZALO, and others. Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master ? Play the men.
Upon this scene Coleridge finely remarks: “ The romance opens with a busy scene admirably appropriate to the kind of drama, and giving, as it were, the key-note to the whole harmony. It is the bustle of a tempest, from which the real horrors are abstracted ; - therefore it is poetical, though not in strictness nal. ural -(the distinction to which I have so often alluded) - and is purposely restrained from concentering the interest on itself, but is used merely as an induction or tuuing for wbat is to follow," .
? That is, readily, nimbly. * That is, act with spirit, behave like men. Thus Baret in uis