A line-by-line translation

The Tempest

The Tempest Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Loud sounds of a storm with thunder and lightning. A ship’s MASTER and BOATSWAIN enter.

MASTER

Boatswain!

MASTER

Boatswain! 

BOATSWAIN

Here, master. What cheer?

BOATSWAIN

Here I am, sir. What do you need?

MASTER

Good, speak to th' mariners. Fall to ’t yarely, or we run ourselves aground. Bestir, bestir.

MASTER

Good man, speak to the sailors to get them working harder. Do it quickly, or we’re going to be shipwrecked. Move, move!

The MASTER exits.

SAILORS enter.

BOATSWAIN

Heigh, my hearts! Cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! Yare! Yare!Take in the topsail. Tend to th' master’s whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!

BOATSWAIN

Come on, my boys! Cheer up, cheer up, my boys! Quickly! Quickly! Pull down the topmost sail. Follow the master’s whistled commands. Blow, you wind, until you have nothing left to blast! We’ll survive as long as we have enough room to maneuver without running aground.

ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others enter.

ALONSO

Good Boatswain, have care. Where’s the Master?Play the men.

ALONSO

Good Boatswain, be careful! Where’s the Master? Urge these men to work harder.

BOATSWAIN

I pray now, keep below.

BOATSWAIN

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ANTONIO

Where is the Master, Boatswain?

ANTONIO

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BOATSWAIN

Do you not hear him? You mar our labor. Keep your cabins.You do assist the storm.

BOATSWAIN

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GONZALO

Nay, good, be patient.

GONZALO

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BOATSWAIN

When the sea is. Hence! What cares these roarers for the name of king? To cabin, silence! Trouble us not.

BOATSWAIN

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GONZALO

Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

GONZALO

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BOATSWAIN

None that I more love than myself. You are a councilor.If you can command these elements to silence and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more. Use your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.— Cheerly, good hearts!— Out of our way, I say.

BOATSWAIN

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The BOATSWAIN exits.

GONZALO

I have great comfort from this fellow. Methinks he hathno drowning mark upon him. His complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, good Fate, to his hanging. Make therope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage. If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miserable.

GONZALO

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GONZALO exits with the other men of the royal court.

The BOATSWAIN enters.

BOATSWAIN

Down with the topmast! Yare, lower, lower! Bring her totry wi' th' main course.

BOATSWAIN

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A shout offstage.

BOATSWAIN

A plague upon this howling! They are louder than the weather or our office.

BOATSWAIN

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SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and GONZALO enter.

BOATSWAIN

Yet again? What do you here? Shall we give o'er and drown?Have you a mind to sink?

BOATSWAIN

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SEBASTIAN

A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!

SEBASTIAN

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BOATSWAIN

Work you, then.

BOATSWAIN

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ANTONIO

Hang, cur! Hang, you whoreson insolent noisemaker! We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.

ANTONIO

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GONZALO

I’ll warrant him for drowning though the ship were no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as an unstanched wench.

GONZALO

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BOATSWAIN

Lay her a-hold, a-hold! Set her two courses off to sea again.Lay her off!

BOATSWAIN

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Wet SAILORS enter

MARINERS

All lost! To prayers, to prayers, all lost!

MARINERS

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The SAILORS exit.

BOATSWAIN

What, must our mouths be cold?

BOATSWAIN

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GONZALO

The king and prince at prayers. Let’s assist them, for our case is as theirs.

GONZALO

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SEBASTIAN

I’m out of patience.

SEBASTIAN

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ANTONIO

We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards. This wide-chopped rascal—would thou mightst lie drowning the washing of ten tides!

ANTONIO

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GONZALO

He’ll be hanged yet, though every drop of water swear against it and gape at widest to glut him.

GONZALO

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A chaotic noise sounds offstage.

VOICES

[within] Mercy on us! We split, we split! Farewell, my wife and children! Farewell, brother! We split, we split, we split!

VOICES

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ANTONIO

Let’s all sink wi' th' king.

ANTONIO

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SEBASTIAN

Let’s take leave of him.

SEBASTIAN

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ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN exit.

GONZALO

Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acreof barren ground: long heath, brown furze, anything. The wills above be done, but I would fain die a dry death.

GONZALO

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They exit.

The tempest
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.