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suffer;" and that her first sigh should be offered to a love at once fearless and submissive, delicate and fond. She has no taught scruples of honour like Juliet; no coy concealments like Viola; no assumed dignity standing in its own defence. Her bashfulness is less a quality than an instinct; it is like the self-folding of a flower, spontaneous and unconscious. I suppose there is nothing of the kind in poetry equal to the scene between Ferdinand and Miranda. In Ferdinand, who is a noble creature, we have all the chivalrous magnanimity with which man, in a high state of civilization, disguises his real superiority, and does humble homage to the being of whose destiny he disposes; while Miranda, the mere child of nature, is struck with wonder at her own new emotions. Only conscious of her own weakness as a woman, and ignorant of those usages of society which teach us to dissemble the real passion, and assume (and sometimes abuse) an unreal and transient power, she is equally ready to place her life, her love, her service beneath his feet.

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As Miranda, being what she is, could only have had a Ferdinand for a lover, and an Ariel for her attendant, so she could have had with propriety no other father than the majestic and gifted being who fondly claims her as "a thread. of his own life—nay, that for which he lives." Prospero, with his magical powers, his superhuman wisdom, his moral worth and grandeur, and his kingly dignity, is one of the most sublime visions that ever swept with ample robes, pale brow, and sceptred hand, before the eye of fancy. He controls the invisible world, and works through the agency of spirits; not by any evil and forbidden compact, but solely by superior might of intellect―by potent spells gathered from the lore of ages, and abjured when he mingles again as a man with his fellow-men. He is as distinct a being from the necromancers and astrologers celebrated in Shakespeare's age as can well be imagined:* and all the wizards of poetry and fiction, even

* Such as Cornelius Agrippa, Michael Scott, Dr. Dee. The last was the contemporary of Shakespeare.

Faust and St. Leon, sink into commonplaces before the princely, the philosophic, the benevolent Prospero.

[From Hazlitt's "Characters of Shakespeare's Plays."*]

The Tempest is one of the most original and perfect of Shakespeare's productions, and he has shown in it all the variety of his powers. It is full of grace and grandeur. The human and imaginary characters, the dramatic and the grotesque, are blended together with the greatest art, and without any appearance of it. Though he has here given "to airy nothing a local habitation and a name," yet that part which is only the fantastic creation of his mind has the same palpable texture, and coheres "semblably" with the rest. As the preternatural part has the air of reality, and almost haunts the imagination with a sense of truth, the real characters and events partake of the wildness of a dream. The stately magician Prospero, driven from his dukedom, but around whom (so potent is his art) airy spirits throng numberless to do his bidding; his daughter Miranda ("worthy of that name"), to whom all the power of his art points, and who seems the goddess of the isle; the princely Ferdinand, cast by fate upon the haven of his happiness in this idol of his love; the delicate Ariel; the savage Caliban, half brute, half demon; the drunken ship's crew-are all connected parts of the story, and can hardly be spared from the place they fill. Even the local scenery is of a piece and character with the subject. Prospero's enchanted island seems to have risen up out of the sea; the airy music, the tempest-tossed vessel, the turbulent waves, all have the effect of the landscape background of some fine picture. Shakespeare's pencil is (to use an allusion of his own) "like the dyer's hand, subdued to what it works in." Everything in him, though it partakes of “ the liberty of wit," is also subjected to "the law" of the understanding. For instance, even the drunken sailors, who are made * Edited by Wm. Carew Hazlitt, London, 1869, p. 82 foll.

reeling ripe, share, in the disorder of their minds and bodies, in the tumult of the elements, and seem on shore to be as much at the mercy of chance as they were before at the mercy of the wind and waves. These fellows with their sea-wit are the least to our taste of any part of the play; but they are as like drunken sailors as they can be, and are an indirect foil to Caliban, whose figure acquires a classical dignity in the comparison.

The character of Caliban is generally thought (and justly so) to be one of the author's masterpieces. It is not indeed pleasant to see this character on the stage, any more than it is to see the god Pan personated there. But in itself it is one of the wildest and most abstracted of all Shakespeare's characters, whose deformity, whether of body or mind, is redeemed by the power and truth of the imagination displayed in it. It is the essence of grossness, but there is not a particle of vulgarity in it. Shakespeare has described the brutal mind of Caliban in contact with the pure and original forms of nature; the character grows out of the soil where it is rooted, uncontrolled, uncouth, and wild, uncramped by any of the meannesses of custom. It is "of the earth, earthy." It seems almost to have been dug out of the ground, with a soul instinctively superadded to it answering to its wants and origin. Vulgarity is not natural coarseness, but conventional coarseness, learned from others, contrary to, or without an entire con formity of natural power and disposition; as fashion is the commonplace affectation of what is elegant and refined without any feeling of the essence of it. Schlegel, the admirable German critic of Shakespeare, observes that Caliban is a poetical character, and "always speaks in blank verse.” . . .

In conducting Stephano and Trinculo to Prospero's cell, Caliban shows the superiority of natural capacity over greater knowedge and greater folly; and in a former scene, when Ariel frightens them with his music, Caliban, to encourage them, accounts for it in the eloquent poetry of the senses:

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds, methought, would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that when I wak'd

I cried to dream again.

This is not more beautiful than it is true.

The poet here

shows us the savage with the simplicity of a child. Shake speare had to paint the human animal rude and without choice in its pleasures, but rot without the sense of pleasure or some germ of the affections. Master Barnardine, in Measure for Measure, the savage of civilized life, is an admirable philosophical counterpart to Caliban.

Shakespeare has, as it were by design, drawn off from Caliban the elements of whatever is ethereal and refined, to compound them in the unearthly mould of Ariel. Nothing was ever more finely conceived than this contrast between the material and the spiritual, the gross and delicate. Ariel is imaginary power, the swiftness of thought personified. When told to make good speed by Prospero, he says, "I drink the air before me." This is something like Puck's boast on a similar occasion, "I'll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes." But Ariel differs from Puck in having a fellow-feeling in the interests of those he is employed about. How requisite is the following dialogue between him and Prospero !


Your charm so strongly works them,

That if you now beheld them, your affections
Would become tender.


Dost thou think so, spirit?

And mine shall.

Ariel. Mine would, sir, were I human.

Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,

One of their kind, that relish all as sharply

Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?

It has been observed that there is a peculiar charm in the songs introduced in Shakespeare, which, without conveying any distinct images, seem to recall all the feelings connected with them, like snatches of half-forgotten music heard indistinctly and at intervals. There is this effect produced by Ariel's songs, which (as we are told) seem to sound in the air, and as if the person playing them were invisible.

[From Franz Horn's “Shakespeare's Schauspiele Erlautert."*] In Prospero we have a delineation of peculiar profundity. He was once not altogether a just prince, not thoroughly a just man; but he had the disposition to be both. His soul thirsted after knowledge; his mind, sincere in itself, after love; and his fancy, after the secrets of nature; but he forgot, what a prince should least of all forget, that, upon this moving earth, superior acquirements, in order to stand firmly, must be exercised carefully; that the world is full of enemies who can only be subdued by a watchful power and prudence, and that in certain situations the armour ought never to be put off. Thus it became easy for his nearest relation, his brother, with the help of a powerful neighbouring king who could not resist the offered but unjustifiable advantage, to depose him from his dukedom. But as the pure morals of the prince, although they were perhaps but lazily exercised in. behalf of his subjects, had nevertheless gained him their love, and the usurper did not dare to make an attack on the lives of the fallen, Prospero saved himself, his daughter, and a part of his magical books, upon a desert island. Here he becomes, what, in its highest sense, he had not yet been, a father and prince. His knowledge extends. Nature listens to him, perhaps because he learned to know and love her more inwardly. Zephyr-like spirits, full of a tender frolicsome humour, * Knight's translation, with a few verbal changes.

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