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and rude earth-born gnomes, are compelled to serve him. The whole island is full of wonders, but only such as the fancy willingly receives, of sounds and songs, of merry helpers and comical tormentors; and Prospero shows his great human wisdom particularly in the manner with which he, as the spiritual centre, knows how to conduct his intercourse with friends and foes.

In Caliban there is a curious mixture of devil, man, and beast. He desires evil, not for the sake of evil or from mere wickedness, but because it is piquant, and because he feels himself oppressed. He is convinced that gross injustice has been done him, and thus he does not rightly feel that what he desires may be wicked. He knows perfectly well how powerful Prospero is, whose art may perhaps even subdue his maternal god Setebos, and that he himself is unfortunately nothing but a slave. Nevertheless, he cannot cease to curse, and certainly with the gusto of a virtuoso in this more than liberal art. Whatever he can find most base and disgusting he surrounds almost artistically with the most inharmonious murmuring and hissing words, and then wishes them to fall upon Prospero and his lovely daughter. He knows very well that all this will help him nothing, but that at night he will have "cramps," and "side-stitches," and be "pinched by urchins," but still he continues to pour out new curses. He has acquired one fixed idea-that the island belonged to his mother, and, consequently, now to himself, the crown prince. The greatest horrors are pleasant to him, for he feels them only as jests which break the monotony of his slavery. He laments that he had been prevented from completing a frightful sin, "Would it had been done," etc.; and the thought of a murder gives him a real enjoyment, perhaps chiefly on account of the noise and confusion that it would produce.

Recognizing all this, yet our feelings towards him never rise to a thorough hatred. We find him only laughably horrible, and as a marvellous, though at bottom a feeble monster,


highly interesting, for we foresee from the first that none of his threats will be fulfilled. Caliban could scarcely at any time have been made out more in detail, but we are well enabled to seize upon the idea of his inner physiognomy from the naked sketch of his external form. He is, with all his foolish rage and wickedness, not entirely vulgar; and though he allows himself to be imposed upon, even by his miserable comrades (perhaps only because they are men, and, if ugly, yet handsomer than himself), he everywhere shows more prudence, which is only checked because he considers himself more powerful than he really is. Indeed, he stands far higher than Trinculo and Stephano.

Opposed to him stands Ariel, by no means an ethereal, featureless angel, but as a real airy and frolicsome spirit, agreeable and open, but also capricious, roguish, and, with his other qualities, somewhat mischievous. He is thankful to Prospero for his release from the most confined of all confined situations, but his gratitude is not a natural virtue (we might almost add, not an airy virtue); therefore he must (like man) be sometimes reminded of his debt, and held in check. Only the promise of his freedom in two days restores him again to his amiability, and he then finds pleasure in executing the plans of his master with a delightful activity.

We noticed in passing "the featureless angel,” and it requires no further indication where to find such beings; for no one will deny that these immortal winged children (so charming in many old German pictures), with their somewhat dull immortal harps, and, if possible, their still more dull and immortal anthems cause a not less immortal tediousness in the works of many poets. Shakespeare did not fall into this error, and it is in the highest degree attractive to observe the various and safe modes in which he manages the marvellous. In the storm he achieves his object by the simplest means, while, as has been already indicated, he represents Nature herself, and certainly justly, as the greatest miracle. When

he has once in his own gentle way led us to believe that Prospero, through his high art, is able to overrule Natureand how willingly do we believe in these higher powers of man!-how completely natural, and, to a certain degree, what merely pleasant trifles, are all the wonders which we see playing around us! These higher powers, also, are not confined to Prospero alone; Ferdinand and Miranda have, without any enchanted wand or any prolix instruction, full superiority over the wonders of nature, and they allow them to pass around them merely as a delightful drama; for the highest wonder is in their own breasts-love, the pure human, and even on that account holy, love.

Even the pure mind and the firm heart, as they are shown in old Gonzalo, are armed with an almost similar power. With our poet, a truly moral man is always amiable, powerful, agreeable, and quietly wards off the snares laid for him. This old Gonzalo is so entirely occupied with his duty, in which alone he finds his pleasure, that he scarcely notices the gnatstings of wit with which his opponents persecute him; or, if he observes, easily and firmly repels them. What wit indeed has he to fear, who, in a sinking ship, has power remaining to sustain himself and others with genuine humour? Shakespeare seems scarcely to recognize a powerless virtue, and he depicts it only in cases of need; so everything closes satisfactorily. The pure poetry of nature and genius inspires us; and when we hear Prospero recite his far too modest epilogue, after laying down his enchanted wand, we have no wish to turn our minds to any frivolous thoughts, for the magic we have experienced was too charming and too mighty not to be enduring.

[From Verplanck's Introduction to the Play.]

The Tempest is one of those works for which no other production of the author's prolific fancy could have prepared his readers. It is wholly of a different cast of temper, and mood

of disposition, from those so conspicuous in his gayer comedies; while even the ethical dignity and poetic splendour of The Merchant of Venice could not well lead the critic to anticipate the solemn grandeur, the unrivalled harmony and grace, the bold originality, and the grave beauty of The Tempest...

There are several respects in which the play thus stands alone as distinguishable in character from any other of its author's varied creations. Without being his work of greatest power, not equalling several other of the dramas in depth. of passion, or in the exhibition of the working of the affections; surpassed by others in brilliancy of poetic fancy or exquisite delicacies of expression, it is nevertheless among the most perfect (perhaps, in fact, the most perfect) of all, as a work of art, of the most unbroken unity of effect and sustained majesty of intellect. It is, too—if we can speak of degrees of originality in the productions of this most creative of all poets-the most purely original of his conceptions, deriving nothing of any consequence from any other source for the plot, and without any prototype in literature of the more important personages, or any model for the thoughts and language, beyond the materials presented by actual and living human nature, to be raised and idealized into the "wild and wondrous" forms of Ariel and Caliban, of the majestic Prospero, and, above all, of his peerless daughter. Miranda is a character blending the truth of nature with the most exquisite refinement of poetic fancy, unrivalled even in Shakespeare's own long and beautiful series of portraitures of feminine excellence, and paralleled only by the Eve of Milton, who, I cannot but think, was indirectly indebted for some of her most fascinating attributes to the solitary daughter of Prospero.

Caliban, a being without example or parallel in poetic invention, degraded in mind, as well as in moral affections, below the level of humanity, and yet essentially and purely poetical in all his conceptions and language, is a creation to whose originality and poetic truth every critic, from Dryden

downward, has paid homage. Nor is it a less striking peculiarity that the only buffoon characters and dialogue in the drama are those of the sailors, who seem to be introduced for the single purpose of contrasting the grossness and lowness of civilized vice with the nobler forms of savage and untutored depravity.

It is partly on account of this perfect novelty of invention, and probably still more from the fairy and magical machinery of the plot, that the later critics have designated The Tempest as specially belonging to the Romantic Drama. Yet to me it appears, not only in its structure, but in its taste and feeling, to bear a more classical character, and to be more assimilated to the higher Grecian drama, in its spirit, than any other of its author's works, or indeed any other poem of his age. The rules of the Greek stage, as to the unities of time and place, are fully complied with. This cannot well be the result of accident, for in an age of classical translation, and learned (even pedantic) imitation, it needed no classical learning to make the unities known to any dramatic author; and as Shakespeare had, in his other plays, totally rejected them, he would seem here to have expressly designed to conform his plot to their laws. But there also appears to me to be something in the poetic character and tone of the drama, approaching to the spirit and manner of the Greek dramatic poetry, which can certainly not be ascribed to intentional imitation, any more than to the unconscious resemblance often produced by habitual familiarity with favourite models. It has nothing of the air of learned and elaborate imitation which, in the works of Tasso, and Milton, and Gray, make the scholar everywhere as perceptible as the poet. But it is the resemblance of solemn thought, of calm dignity, of moral wisdom, of the dramatic dialogue in its most majestic form, passing now into the lyrical and now into the didactic or ethical. This resemblance of taste and feeling is rendered more striking by a similar bold and free invention and combination of

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