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Monologues for Men


I boarded the King’s ship; now on the beak,

Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,

I flam’d amazement. Sometime I’ld divide,

And burn in many places; on the topmast,

The yards and boresprit, would I flame distinctly,

Then meet and join. Jove’s lightning, the precursors

O’ th’ dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary

And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks

Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune

Seem to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble,

Yea, his dread trident shake. Not a soul

But felt a fever of the mad, and play’d

Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners

Plung’d in the foaming brine, and quit the vessel;

Then all afire with me, the King’s son, Ferdinand,

With hair up-staring (then like reeds, not hair),

Was the first man that leapt; cried, “Hell is empty,

And all the devils are here.” Not a hair perish’d;

On their sustaining garments not a blemish,

But fresher than before; and as thou badst me,

In troops I have dispers’d them ’bout the isle.

The King’s son have I landed by himself,

Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs,

In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting,

His arms in this sad knot. Safely in harbor

Is the King’s ship, in the deep nook, where once

Thou call’dst me up at midnight to fetch dew

From the still-vex’d Bermoothes, there she’s hid;

The mariners all under hatches stowed,

Who, with a charm join’d to their suff’red labor,

I have left asleep; and for the rest o’ th’ fleet

(Which I dispers’d), they all have met again,

And are upon the Mediterranean float

Bound sadly home for Naples,

Supposing that they saw the King’s ship wrack’d,

And his great person perish.

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