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Scene Study (Male-Male)


What a strange drowsiness possesses them!


It is the quality o’ th’ climate.



Doth it not then our eyelids sink? I find not

Myself dispos’d to sleep.


Nor I, my spirits are nimble.

They fell together all, as by consent;

They dropp’d, as by a thunder-stroke. What might,

Worthy Sebastian, O, what might—? No more—

And yet methinks I see it in thy face,

What thou shouldst be. Th’ occasion speaks thee, and

My strong imagination sees a crown

Dropping upon thy head.


What? art thou waking?


Do you not hear me speak?


I do, and surely

It is a sleepy language, and thou speak’st

Out of thy sleep. What is it thou didst say?

This is a strange repose, to be asleep

With eyes wide open—standing, speaking, moving—

And yet so fast asleep.


Noble Sebastian,

Thou let’st thy fortune sleep—die, rather; wink’st

Whiles thou art waking.


Thou dost snore distinctly,

There’s meaning in thy snores.


I am more serious than my custom; you

Must be so too, if heed me; which to do,

Trebles thee o’er.


Well; I am standing water.


I’ll teach you how to flow.


Do so. To ebb

Hereditary sloth instructs me.



If you but knew how you the purpose cherish

Whiles thus you mock it! how, in stripping it,

You more invest it! Ebbing men, indeed,

Most often, do so near the bottom run

By their own fear or sloth.


Prithee say on.

The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim

A matter from thee; and a birth, indeed,

Which throes thee much to yield.


Thus, sir:

Although this lord of weak remembrance, this

Who shall be of as little memory

When he is earth’d, hath here almost persuaded

(For he’s a spirit of persuasion, only

Professes to persuade) the King his son’s alive,

’Tis as impossible that he’s undrown’d,

As he that sleeps here swims.


I have no hope

That he’s undrown’d.


O, out of that no hope

What great hope have you! No hope, that way, is

Another way so high a hope that even

Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond,

But doubt discovery there. Will you grant with me

That Ferdinand is drown’d?


He’s gone.


Then tell me,

Who’s the next heir of Naples?




She that is Queen of Tunis; she that dwells

Ten leagues beyond man’s life; she that from Naples

Can have no note, unless the sun were post—

The Man i’ th’ Moon’s too slow—till new-born chins

Be rough and razorable; she that from whom

We all were sea-swallow’d, though some cast again

(And by that destiny) to perform an act

Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come

In yours and my discharge.


What stuff is this? How say you?

’Tis true, my brother’s daughter’s Queen of Tunis,

So is she heir of Naples; ’twixt which regions

There is some space.


A space whose ev’ry cubit

Seems to cry out, “How shall that Claribel

Measure us back to Naples? Keep in Tunis,

And let Sebastian wake.” Say this were death

That now hath seiz’d them, why, they were no worse

Than now they are. There be that can rule Naples

As well as he that sleeps; lords that can prate

As amply and unnecessarily

As this Gonzalo; I myself could make

A chough of as deep chat. O that you bore

The mind that I do! what a sleep were this

For your advancement! Do you understand me?


Methinks I do.


And how does your content

Tender your own good fortune?


I remember

You did supplant your brother Prospero.



And look how well my garments sit upon me,

Much feater than before. My brother’s servants

Were then my fellows, now they are my men.


But, for your conscience?


Ay, sir; where lies that? If ’twere a kibe,

’Twould put me to my slipper; but I feel not

This deity in my bosom. Twenty consciences,

That stand ’twixt me and Milan, candied be they,

And melt ere they molest! Here lies your brother,

No better than the earth he lies upon,

If he were that which now he’s like—that’s dead,

Whom I with this obedient steel, three inches of it,

Can lay to bed for ever; whiles you, doing thus,

To the perpetual wink for aye might put

This ancient morsel, this Sir Prudence, who

Should not upbraid our course. For all the rest,

They’ll take suggestion as a cat laps milk;

They’ll tell the clock to any business that

We say befits the hour.


Thy case, dear friend,

Shall be my president: as thou got’st Milan,

I’ll come by Naples. Draw thy sword. One stroke

Shall free thee from the tribute which thou payest,

And I the King shall love thee.


Draw together;

And when I rear my hand, do you the like,

To fall it on Gonzalo.


O, but one word.


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