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T E M P E S T.
35 Pro. The fringed curtains s of thine eye advance, And say, what thou seest yond'.
Mira. What is't? a spirit ?
Mira. I might call him
prompts it :-Spirit, fine fpirit, I'll free
Fer. Most sure, the goddess
“ -ber eyelids
• Moft fure, &c.] It seems, that Shakespeare, in The Tempest, hath been suspected of translating fome expressions of Virgil ; witness the O Dea certe.
I presume we are here directed to the passage, where Ferdinand lays of Miranda, after hearing the fongs of Ariel :
Most fure, the goddess
On whom these airs attend!
very small Latin is sufficient for this formidable translation, that if it be thought any honour to our poet, I am loth to deprive him of it ; but his honour is not built on such a sandy foundation. Let us turn to a real tranfiuor, and examine whether the idea might not be fully comprehended by an English reader, fuppofing it necessarily borrowed from Virgil. Hexameters in our own language are almost forgotten; we will quote therefore this time from Stanyhurit :
" O to
May know, if you remain upon this island;
Mira. No wonder, fir;
" O to thee, fayre virgin, vyhai terme may rightly be fitted ? " Thy tongue, thy visage no mortal frayitie resembleth.
No doubt, a goddeffe !” Edit, 1583. FARMER. certainly, a maid.] Nothing could be more precrily imagined to illustrate the fingularity of her character, than this plealant mittake. She had been bred up in the rough and plaindealing documents of moral philosophy, which teaches us the knowledge of ourselves; and was an utter stranger to the lattery invented by vicious and designing men to corrupt the other fex. So that it could not enter into her imagination, that complaisance, and a desire of appearing amiable, qualities of humanity which she had been instructed, in her moral leflons, to cultivate, could ever degenerate into such excess, as that any one should be willing to have his fellow-creature believe that he thought her a goddess, or an immortal. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton has here found a beauty, which I think the author never intended. Ferdinand asks her not whether she was a created being, a question which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on pursuing his former question.
0, if a virgin,
rll make you queen of Naples. JOHNSON. A paffage in Lilly's Gallaibea seems to countenance the present text, The question among men is common, are you
maide}" -yet I cannot but think, that Dr. Warburton reads
rightly, “ If you be made, or no." When we meer with an harsh ex. pression in Shakespeare, we are usually to look for a play upon words. Fletcher closely imitates the Tempest in his Sea Voyage and he introduces Albert in the fame manner to the ladies of his Desert Island.
" Be not offended, goddesses, that I fall
“ Thus proítrate,” &c. Shake/peare himself had certainly read, and had probably now in his mind, a passage in the third book of the Fairy Qucen, between Timias and Belphabe,
Fer. My language ! heavens !
Pro. How ! the best?
Fer. A single thing, as I am now, that wonders
Mira. Alack, for mercy!
Pro. The duke of Milan,
[ Aside to Ariel.
Mira. Why speaks my father so ungently? This
“ Angel or goddess! do I call thee right?"
“ And daughter of a woody nymph," &c. FARMER.
controul thee.] Confute thee, unanswerably contradiet thee. JOHNSON,
· I frar you have done yourself fome wrong :-) i. e. I fear that, in afferting yourself to be king of Naples, you have uttered a falhood, which is below your character, and consequently injurious to your honour. So in the Merry Wives of Il'indfor-" This is not well, master Ford, this wrongs you.
Fer. O, if a virgin, And your affection not gone forth, I'll make you The queen of Naples.
Pro. Soft, sir; one word more. They are both in either's powers : but this swift bu
finess I must uneasy make, left too light winning [Alide. Make the prize light. One word more; I charge
Fer. No, as I am a man.
Pro. (To Ferd) Follow me.-
Mira. O dear father,
Pro. What, I say,
traitor; He's gentle, and not fearful.] Fearful fignifies both terrible and timorous. In this place it may mean timcrous. She tells her father, that as he is gentle, rough usage is unnecessary, and as he is brave, it may be dangerous. Fearful, however, may lignify formidable, as in K. Hen. IV.
“ A mighty and a fearful head they are ;" and then the meaning of the passage is obvious. STEEVENS.
Who mak'st a fhew, but dar'it not strike, thy con:
Mira. Beseech you, father!
Mira. Sir, have pity ;
Pro, Silence : one word more
Mira. My affections
Pro. Come on ; obey: [To Ferdinand.]
Fer. So they are :
Pro. It works :--Come on.
come from thy ward;] Defift from any hope of awing me by that posture of defence. JOHNSON.
* Thy nerves are in their infancy again, ] So Milton, in his Mafque at Ludlosu-Caftlc. " Thy nerves are all bound up in alabaster." STEEVENS. D4