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Scene 1

Before Prospero’s cell.

(Prospero; Ferdinand; Miranda; Ariel; Iris; Juno; Ceres; Nymphs; Reapers; Caliban; Stephano; Trinculo)

Prospero hands Miranda over to Ferdinand, telling the young man that he was only testing him, though he warns him to wait until they are married before getting up to anything. To celebrate, he gives them a show: spirits in the shape of Iris, Ceres and Juno appear and bless the betrothed couple. Halfway through, Prospero suddenly remembers that Caliban and co. are on their way to murder him, and the show breaks off. Commenting on the insubstantiality of the world, Prospero sends the two youngsters off for a nap while he prepares to deal with his other problems. Ariel has led the three drunkards through a terrible path, leaving them scratched, bruised and muddy. Prospero has the spirit hang up his prettiest clothes on a laundry line. The three arrive, and Trinculo and Stephano are distracted by the clothes. Despite Caliban’s urging that they get on with the killing people part of things, the other two spend the time dressing up until Prospero and Ariel set a pack of spirits looking like dogs on them, and they are chased out to be tormented further. Now Prospero has all of his enemies at his mercy; he promises Ariel that the spirit shall soon be free. (268 lines)

Enter Prospero, Ferdinand, and Miranda.


If I have too austerely punish’d you,

Your compensation makes amends, for I

Have given you here a third of mine own life,

Or that for which I live; who once again

I tender to thy hand. All thy vexations

Were but my trials of thy love, and thou

Hast strangely stood the test. Here, afore heaven,

I ratify this my rich gift. O Ferdinand,

Do not smile at me that I boast her off,

For thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise

And make it halt behind her.


I do believe it

Against an oracle.


Then, as my gift, and thine own acquisition

Worthily purchas’d, take my daughter. But

If thou dost break her virgin-knot before

All sanctimonious ceremonies may

With full and holy rite be minist’red,

No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall

To make this contract grow; but barren hate,

Sour-ey’d disdain, and discord shall bestrew

The union of your bed with weeds so loathly

That you shall hate it both. Therefore take heed,

As Hymen’s lamps shall light you.


As I hope

For quiet days, fair issue, and long life,

With such love as ’tis now, the murkiest den,

The most opportune place, the strong’st suggestion

Our worser genius can, shall never melt

Mine honor into lust, to take away

The edge of that day’s celebration,

When I shall think or Phoebus’ steeds are founder’d

Or Night kept chain’d below.


Fairly spoke.

Sit then and talk with her, she is thine own.

What, Ariel! My industrious servant, Ariel!

Enter Ariel.


What would my potent master? Here I am.


Thou and thy meaner fellows your last service

Did worthily perform; and I must use you

In such another trick. Go bring the rabble

( o’er whom I give thee pow’r) here to this place.

Incite them to quick motion, for I must

Bestow upon the eyes of this young couple

Some vanity of mine art. It is my promise,

And they expect it from me.




Ay, with a twink.


Before you can say “come” and “go,”

And breathe twice, and cry “so, so,”

Each one, tripping on his toe,

Will be here with mop and mow.

Do you love me, master? No?


Dearly, my delicate Ariel. Do not approach

Till thou dost hear me call.


Well; I conceive.



Look thou be true; do not give dalliance

Too much the rein. The strongest oaths are straw

To th’ fire i’ th’ blood. Be more abstenious,

Or else good night your vow!


I warrant you, sir,

The white cold virgin snow upon my heart

Abates the ardor of my liver.



Now come, my Ariel, bring a corollary,

Rather than want a spirit. Appear, and pertly!

No tongue! All eyes! Be silent.

Soft music.

Enter Iris.


Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas

Of wheat, rye, barley, fetches, oats, and pease;

Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep,

And flat meads thatch’d with stover, them to keep;

Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims,

Which spungy April at thy hest betrims,

To make cold nymphs chaste crowns; and thy broom-groves,

Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves,

Being lass-lorn; thy pole-clipt vineyard,

And thy sea-marge, sterile and rocky-hard,

Where thou thyself dost air—the Queen o’ th’ sky,

Whose wat’ry arch and messenger am I,

Bids thee leave these, and with her sovereign Grace,

Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,

To come and sport. Her peacocks fly amain.

Juno descends slowly in her car.

Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain.

Enter Ceres.


Hail, many-colored messenger, that ne’er

Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter;

Who with thy saffron wings upon my flow’rs

Diffusest honey-drops, refreshing show’rs,

And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown

My bosky acres and my unshrubb’d down,

Rich scarf to my proud earth—why hath thy Queen

Summon’d me hither, to this short-grass’d green?


A contract of true love to celebrate,

And some donation freely to estate

On the bless’d lovers.


Tell me, heavenly bow,

If Venus or her son, as thou dost know,

Do now attend the Queen? Since they did plot

The means that dusky Dis my daughter got,

Her and her blind boy’s scandall’d company

I have forsworn.


Of her society

Be not afraid. I met her Deity

Cutting the clouds towards Paphos; and her son

Dove-drawn with her. Here thought they to have done

Some wanton charm upon this man and maid,

Whose vows are, that no bed-right shall be paid

Till Hymen’s torch be lighted; but in vain,

Mars’s hot minion is return’d again;

Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows,

Swears he will shoot no more, but play with sparrows,

And be a boy right out.

Juno alights.


Highest Queen of state,

Great Juno, comes, I know her by her gait.


How does my bounteous sister? Go with me

To bless this twain, that they may prosperous be,

And honor’d in their issue.

They sing.


Honor, riches, marriage-blessing,

Long continuance, and increasing,

Hourly joys be still upon you!

Juno sings her blessings on you.


Earth’s increase, foison plenty,

Barns and garners never empty;

Vines with clust’ring bunches growing,

Plants with goodly burden bowing;

Spring come to you at the farthest

In the very end of harvest!

Scarcity and want shall shun you,

Ceres’ blessing so is on you.


This is a most majestic vision, and

Harmonious charmingly. May I be bold

To think these spirits?


Spirits, which by mine art

I have from their confines call’d to enact

My present fancies.


Let me live here ever;

So rare a wond’red father and a wise

Makes this place Paradise.

Juno and Ceres whisper, and send Iris on employment.


Sweet now, silence!

Juno and Ceres whisper seriously;

There’s something else to do. Hush and be mute,

Or else our spell is marr’d.


You nymphs, call’d Naiades, of the windring brooks,

With your sedg’d crowns and ever-harmless looks,

Leave your crisp channels, and on this green land

Answer your summons; Juno does command.

Come, temperate nymphs, and help to celebrate

A contract of true love; be not too late.

Enter certain Nymphs.

You sunburn’d sicklemen, of August weary,

Come hither from the furrow and be merry.

Make holiday; your rye-straw hats put on,

And these fresh nymphs encounter every one

In country footing.

Enter certain Reapers, properly habited: they join with the Nymphs in a graceful dance, towards the end whereof Prospero starts suddenly, and speaks; after which, to a strange, hollow, and confused noise, they heavily vanish.



I had forgot that foul conspiracy

Of the beast Caliban and his confederates

Against my life. The minute of their plot

Is almost come.

To the Spirits.

Well done, avoid; no more.


This is strange. Your father’s in some passion

That works him strongly.


Never till this day

Saw I him touch’d with anger, so distemper’d.


You do look, my son, in a mov’d sort,

As if you were dismay’d; be cheerful, sir.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors

(As I foretold you) were all spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air,

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And like this insubstantial pageant faded

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vex’d;

Bear with my weakness, my old brain is troubled.

Be not disturb’d with my infirmity.

If you be pleas’d, retire into my cell,

And there repose. A turn or two I’ll walk

To still my beating mind.


We wish your peace.


To Ariel.

Come with a thought.

To Ferdinand and Miranda.

I thank thee.

Exeunt Ferdinand and Miranda.

Ariel! Come.

Enter Ariel.


Thy thoughts I cleave to. What’s thy pleasure?



We must prepare to meet with Caliban.


Ay, my commander. When I presented Ceres,

I thought to have told thee of it, but I fear’d

Lest I might anger thee.


Say again, where didst thou leave these varlots?


I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking,

So full of valor that they smote the air

For breathing in their faces; beat the ground

For kissing of their feet; yet always bending

Towards their project. Then I beat my tabor,

At which like unback’d colts they prick’d their ears,

Advanc’d their eyelids, lifted up their noses

As they smelt music. So I charm’d their ears

That calf-like they my lowing follow’d through

Tooth’d briers, sharp furzes, pricking goss, and thorns,

Which ent’red their frail shins. At last I left them

I’ th’ filthy-mantled pool beyond your cell,

There dancing up to th’ chins, that the foul lake

O’erstunk their feet.


This was well done, my bird.

Thy shape invisible retain thou still.

The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither,

For stale to catch these thieves.


I go, I go.



A devil, a born devil, on whose nature

Nurture can never stick; on whom my pains,

Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost;

And as with age his body uglier grows,

So his mind cankers. I will plague them all,

Even to roaring.

Enter Ariel, loaden with glistering apparel, etc.

Come, hang them on this line.

Prospero and Ariel remain, invisible.

Enter Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo, all wet.


Pray you tread softly, that the blind mole may not

Hear a foot fall; we now are near his cell.


Monster, your fairy, which you say is a harmless fairy, has done little better than play’d the Jack with us.


Monster, I do smell all horse-piss, at which my nose is in great indignation.


So is mine. Do you hear, monster? If I should take a displeasure against you, look you—


Thou wert but a lost monster.


Good my lord, give me thy favor still.

Be patient, for the prize I’ll bring thee to

Shall hoodwink this mischance; therefore speak softly,

All’s hush’d as midnight yet.


Ay, but to lose our bottles in the pool—


There is not only disgrace and dishonor in that, monster, but an infinite loss.


That’s more to me than my wetting; yet this is your harmless fairy, monster!


I will fetch off my bottle, though I be o’er ears for my labor.


Prithee, my king, be quiet. Seest thou here,

This is the mouth o’ th’ cell. No noise, and enter.

Do that good mischief which may make this island

Thine own forever, and I, thy Caliban,

For aye thy foot-licker.


Give me thy hand. I do begin to have bloody thoughts.


O King Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! Look what a wardrobe here is for thee!


Let it alone, thou fool, it is but trash.


O, ho, monster! We know what belongs to a frippery. O King Stephano!


Put off that gown, Trinculo. By this hand, I’ll have that gown.


Thy Grace shall have it.


The dropsy drown this fool! What do you mean

To dote thus on such luggage? Let’t alone

And do the murder first. If he awake,

From toe to crown he’ll fill our skins with pinches,

Make us strange stuff.


Be you quiet, monster. Mistress line, is not this my jerkin? Now is the jerkin under the line. Now, jerkin, you are like to lose your hair, and prove a bald jerkin.


Do, do; we steal by line and level, and’t like your Grace.


I thank thee for that jest; here’s a garment for’t. Wit shall not go unrewarded while I am king of this country. ’Steal by line and level’ is an excellent pass of pate; there’s another garment for’t.


Monster, come put some lime upon your fingers, and away with the rest.


I will have none on’t. We shall lose our time,

And all be turn’d to barnacles, or to apes

With foreheads villainous low.


Monster, lay-to your fingers. Help to bear this away where my hogshead of wine is, or I’ll turn you out of my kingdom. Go to, carry this.


And this.


Ay, and this.

A noise of hunters heard. Enter divers Spirits in shape of dogs and hounds, hunting them about; Prospero and Ariel setting them on.


Hey, Mountain, hey!


Silver! There it goes, Silver!


Fury, Fury! There, Tyrant, there! Hark, hark!

Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo are driven out.

Go, charge my goblins that they grind their joints

With dry convulsions, shorten up their sinews

With aged cramps, and more pinch-spotted make them

Than pard or cat o’ mountain.


Hark, they roar!


Let them be hunted soundly. At this hour

Lies at my mercy all mine enemies.

Shortly shall all my labors end, and thou

Shalt have the air at freedom. For a little

Follow, and do me service.



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