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Prof. O, a cherubim
Thou waft, that did preferve me! Thou didst fmile Infufed with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have deck'd the fea (5) with drops full falt,
A Father's Tutorage.
Here in this ifland we arriv'd; and here
By my prefcience (6)
I find, my zenith doth depend upon
Ariel's Defcription of his managing the Storm. I boarded the king's fhip: now on the beak, (7) Now
(5) Deck'd the fea.] i. e. cover'd: fo to deck the table: the deck of a fhip, &c.
(6) By my prefcience.] This paffage furnishes a prudent and neceffary reflection to the mind of the reader, that man's fuccefs in life often depends upon fome lucky and critical occafion, which, fuffered to flip by, may never return again. S. expreffes himfelf more fully on this fubject in another place. Some other poet too prefents us with a poetical image to the fame purpofe, where he fays that opportunity is bald behind." Mrs. G.
(7) On the beak.] The beak was a ftrong pointed body, at the head of the ancient gallies: it is ufed here for the
Now in the wafte, the deck, in every cabin,
Not a foul
But felt a fever of the mind (8) and play'd
forecastle. The wafte is the part between the quarter-deck and the forecastle. 7.
(9) A fever of the mind.] A fever of the madde, the folio reads: and I apprehend properly: the editors in general read, a fever of the mind; which appears to me rather a too common expreffion; befides, the following words-and play'd fome tricks of defperation, feem to confirm the old reading. Perhaps this fever of the madde was fome particularly violent fever that rendered the perfons absolutely delirious; fomething like a calenture, a distemper peculiar to failors, wherein they imagine the fea to be a green field, and will throw themfelves into it, if not prevented. I have heard fome propose to read,
But felt the fever of the mad.
Ariel's Expreffion a little above, is very fine and picturefque.
-To ride (9)
On the curl'd clouds.
As is the following.
Thou doft: and think'ft it much to tread the ooze
To run upon the fharp wind of the north:
(9) So, in the fcripture, Thou caufeft me to ride upon the wind, Job. xxx, 22. The Lord rideth on the fwift cloud, If. xix. 1. Extol him that rideth upon the heavens, P. xlviii, 4. Satan, speaking of what was appointed them to do in hell, (Milton, B. 1. 150.) fays,
Whate'er his bufinefs be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
And in the 2d Book, v. 500, Milton has the fame expreffion with S.
To ride the air
That fine expreffion in the Pfalmift, He walketh upon the wings of the wind, is a good comment on To run upon the Sharp wind: as is the following from Ecclefiafticus, of bak'd with froft-chap. xliii, 20, 21. When the cold north-wind bloweth, it devoureth the mountains and burneth the wilderness, and confumeth the grafs as fire. So Milton, B. 2. 594.
The parching air
And Virgil, Georg. 1. 93.
Bored penetrabile frigus adurat.
Profpero's Threat to Ariel.
If thou more murmur'ft, I will rend an oak,
(10) Thou haft howl'd, &c.] Speaking of Ariel's former situation, he says that,
He did vent his groans
That the character and conduct of Profpero may be understood, fomething must be known of enchantment, which supplied all the marvellous found in the romances of the middle ages. This fyftem feems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen fpirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulfion; fome being confined in hell, fome (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expreffes it) dispersed in air, fome on earth, fome in water, others in caves, dens, or minerals under the earth. Of thefe, fome were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits feem to have been thought the moft depraved, and the aërial the least vitiated. Thus Profpero observes of Ariel:
Thou waft a fpirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands,
Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed, or charms learned. This power was called The black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James obferves in his Demonology) one who commands the devil, whereas the witch ferves him. Thofe who thought beft of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very feriously, held, that certain founds and characters had a physical power over fpirits, and compelled their agency; others, who condemned the practice, which in reality was furely never practifed, were of opinion, with more reafon, that the power of charms, arofe only from compact, and was no more than the fpirits voluntary allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not
As wicked dew, (11) as e'er my mother brush'd With raven's feather from unwholesome fen,
equally criminal, yet unlawful; and therefore Caufabon, fpeaking of one who had commerce with fpirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind, who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Profpero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always confidered as in fome measure enflaved to the enchanter, at leaft for a time, and as ferving with unwillingness; therefore Ariel fo often begs for liberty; and Caliban obferves, that the fpirits ferve Profpero with no good will, but hate bim rootedly.
(11) As wicked dew, &c.] S. hath very artificially given the air of the antique to the language of Caliban, in order to heighten the grotesque of his character. As here he uses wicked for unwholefome. So Sir John Maundevile, in his Travels, p. 334. edit. Lond. 1725.-at all tymes brennethe a veffelle of cristalle fulle of bawme for to zeven gode fmalle and odour to the emperour, and to voyden away alle WYKKEDE eyres and corruptions. [So Spencer fays, wicked weed; fo, in oppofition, we fay herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous bezoar, and
Dryden virtuous herbs.] It was a tradition, it feems, that lord Falkland, lord C. J. Vaughan, and Mr. Selden concurred in obferving, that S. had not only found out a new character in his Caliban, but had alfo devised and adapted a new manner of language for that character. What they meant by it, without doubt, was, gave his language a certain grotefque air of the favage and antique, which it certainly has.' See W.
"Whence thefe critics derived the notion of a new language, appropriated to Caliban, I cannot find, fays J. they certainly mistook brutality of fentiment for uncouthnefs of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Profpero and his daughter, he had no names for the fun and moon before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own without more understanding than S. has thought proper to bestow upon him: his diction is indeed fomewhat clouded by the gloominefs of his temper, and the