A line-by-line translation

The Tempest

The Tempest Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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PROSPERO and MIRANDA enter.

MIRANDA

If by your art, my dearest father, you have Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them. The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch, But that the sea, mounting to th' welkin’s cheek, Dashes the fire out. Oh, I have suffered With those that I saw suffer. A brave vessel Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her Dashed all to pieces. Oh, the cry did knock Against my very heart! Poor souls, they perished. Had I been any god of power, I would Have sunk the sea within the earth or ere It should the good ship so have swallowed and The fraughting souls within her.

MIRANDA

My dearest father, if you used your magic to incite the wild waters into this this awful storm, please calm them. The sky is so dark it seems like it would rain down hot tar, except that the sea is swelling up to the sky and would put out the fire boiling the tar. Oh, I've suffered along with all of those I saw suffering onboard the ship! A magnificent ship—which carried, without a doubt, some noble people—was smashed to pieces. Oh, their cries shook my heart! Those poor people—they died. If I were a god with even a bit of power I would have forced the sea to sink down into the earth before it could have swallowed up that ship and all the people it carried.

PROSPERO

Be collected.No more amazement. Tell your piteous heartThere’s no harm done.

PROSPERO

Be calm. Don't be scared. Tell your heart, which is full of pity, that no harm was done to anyone.

MIRANDA

Oh, woe the day!

MIRANDA

Oh, what a sad day!

PROSPERO

No harm. I have done nothing but in care of thee, Of thee, my dear one—thee my daughter, who Art ignorant of what thou art, naught knowing Of whence I am, nor that I am more better Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell And thy no greater father.

PROSPERO

No harm was done. All that I have done has been for you, for you, my dear daughter. You don’t know who you are. Nor do you know where I came from, or that I’m of higher rank than Prospero, your simple father who is master of some poor little shack.

MIRANDA

More to knowDid never meddle with my thoughts.

MIRANDA

I never even considered that there might be more to know.

PROSPERO

'Tis timeI should inform thee farther. Lend thy handAnd pluck my magic garment from me.

PROSPERO

It’s time that I told you everything. Give me a hand and take this magic cloak off of me.

MIRANDA helps PROSPERO remove his cloak.

PROSPERO

Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes. Have comfort. The direful spectacle of the wrack, which touched The very virtue of compassion in thee, I have with such provision in mine art So safely ordered that there is no soul— No, not so much perdition as an hair Betid to any creature in the vessel— Which thou heard’st cry, which thou sawst sink. Sit down. For thou must now know farther.

PROSPERO

[To the cloak on the ground] Lay there, my magic.

[To MIRANDA] Wipe your eyes. Take comfort. As for the awful shipwreck—which touched the goodness of your heart and moved you to such compassion—I controlled it so carefully with my magic that not one person was hurt. No, not a hair was lost from the head of any person on that ship which you heard break apart and saw sink. Sit down. There's more that you must know.

MIRANDA

You have often Begun to tell me what I am, but stopped And left me to a bootless inquisition, Concluding, “Stay. Not yet.”

MIRANDA

You’ve often started to tell me who I am. But then you would stop, leaving me asking questions that you wouldn't answer until you would finally say, “Wait. Not yet.”

PROSPERO

The hour’s now come. The very minute bids thee ope thine ear. Obey and be attentive. Canst thou remember A time before we came unto this cell? I do not think thou canst, for then thou wast not Out three years old.

PROSPERO

Now the time has come. At this very instant, you must listen. Pay close attention. Can you remember the time before we came to live in this shack? I don't think you can, because you weren't even three years old.

MIRANDA

Certainly, sir, I can.

MIRANDA

Of course I can, sir.

PROSPERO

By what? By any other house or person? Of anything the image tell me that Hath kept with thy remembrance.

PROSPERO

What do you remember? Some house or person? Tell me about anything you see in your memory.

MIRANDA

'Tis far off, And rather like a dream than an assurance That my remembrance warrants. Had I not Four or five women once that tended me?

MIRANDA

My memories seem distant and far away, more like a dream than something that I can be sure really happened. Didn’t I have four or five women who took care of me?

PROSPERO

Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else In the dark backward and abysm of time? If thou rememberest aught ere thou camest here, How thou camest here thou mayst.

PROSPERO

You did—and even more than that, Miranda. But how is it possible that you can remember all this? What else do you remember through the darkness and abyss of passing time? If you remember something about your life before you came here, you may also remember how you arrived here.

MIRANDA

But that I do not.

MIRANDA

But I don’t remember that.

PROSPERO

Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,Thy father was the Duke of Milan andA prince of power.

PROSPERO

Twelve years ago, Miranda, twelve years ago, your father was the Duke of Milan, a prince with great power.

MIRANDA

Sir, are not you my father?

MIRANDA

Sir, aren’t you my father?

PROSPERO

Thy mother was a piece of virtue and She said thou wast my daughter. And thy father Was Duke of Milan, and thou his only heir And princess no worse issued.

PROSPERO

Your mother was good and honest, and she said you were my daughter. And your father was Duke of Milan, and you were his heir, a princess of the same noble birth as her parents.

MIRANDA

Oh, the heavens! What foul play had we that we came from thence? Or blessèd was ’t we did?

MIRANDA

My God! What crimes were committed against us that we ended up here? Or was our coming here a blessing?

PROSPERO

Both, both, my girl. By foul play, as thou sayst, were we heaved thence, But blessedly holp hither.

PROSPERO

Both, both, my girl. We were forced from our old positions by crimes, as you call them. But we were blessed in the help we received that allowed us to end up here.

MIRANDA

Oh, my heart bleedsTo think o' th' teen that I have turned you to,Which is from my remembrance! Please you, farther.

MIRANDA

Oh, it breaks my heart to think about how sad it must make you to be reminded of these events that I don’t remember! Please, though, continue.

PROSPERO

My brother and thy uncle, called Antonio— I pray thee, mark me (that a brother should Be so perfidious!)— he whom next thyself Of all the world I loved and to him put The manage of my state, as at that time Through all the signories it was the first, And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed In dignity, and for the liberal arts Without a parallel. Those being all my study, The government I cast upon my brother And to my state grew stranger, being transported And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle— Dost thou attend me?

PROSPERO

My brother, your uncle, whose name is Antonio—I beg you, listen carefully (oh, how could a brother be so treacherous!)—was the person whom I loved more than anyone else in the world, other than you. I trusted him to manage Milan where I ruled, which at that time was the most powerful city-state in Italy. I, Prospero, was the most powerful duke, and was admired for my dignity and my unmatched knowledge of the liberal arts. Because I spent all my time absorbed in studying secret topics, I let my brother run the government and lost contact with my city. Your lying uncle—are you listening to me?

MIRANDA

Sir, most heedfully.

MIRANDA

Sir, very closely.

PROSPERO

Being once perfected how to grant suits, How to deny them, who t' advance and who To trash for overtopping, new created The creatures that were mine, I say —or changed 'em, Or else new formed 'em—having both the key Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state To what tune pleased his ear, that now he was The ivy which had hid my princely trunk, And sucked my verdure out on ’t. Thou attend’st not.

PROSPERO

As soon as Antonio got the hang of how to grant some requests while denying others, of figuring out which people to promote and which to hold back in order to stop them from getting too powerful, he was able to steal the people who used to be mine. He changed them, or, you might say, remade them completely. Having power over both the government and all the people in the government, he could make everyone say or do whatever he wanted them to. He was like ivy growing up a tree, and I was like the tree—he covered me entirely until I was hidden, and sucked my vitality out of me. You’re not listening.

MIRANDA

O, good sir, I do.

MIRANDA

Oh, good sir, I am.

PROSPERO

I pray thee, mark me. I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated To closeness and the bettering of my mind With that which, but by being so retired, O'erprized all popular rate, in my false brother Awaked an evil nature. And my trust, Like a good parent, did beget of him A falsehood in its contrary as great As my trust was, which had indeed no limit, A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded, Not only with what my revenue yielded But what my power might else exact, like one Who having into truth, by telling of it, Made such a sinner of his memory To credit his own lie— he did believe He was indeed the duke, out o' th' substitution And executing th' outward face of royalty, With all prerogative: Hence his ambition growing— Dost thou hear?

PROSPERO

Please, pay attention to me. I neglected all things related to ordinary life or politics, and dedicated myself entirely to seclusion in order to improve my knowledge of topics that have more value than is commonly believed. But by cutting myself off from the world, I unknowingly awoke evil in the heart of my brother. Like a good parent who raises a bad child, my trust in him produced the opposite effect, making him into a liar as big as my trust in him was—and my trust in him had no limit. My confidence in him was infinite. Now established in his position of power, and able to use all of my wealth (and whatever wealth he could use my power to take for himself), he became like a man who told a lie for so long that he began to believe it was true. He began to believe he was actually the duke. As a result of being my substitute, and acting as the royal duke in public with all the duke's rights and power, his ambition began to grow—are you listening?

MIRANDA

Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.

MIRANDA

Your story would cure deafness. It’s impossible not to hear it.

PROSPERO

To have no screen between this part he played And him he played it for, he needs will be Absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library Was dukedom large enough. Of temporal royalties He thinks me now incapable, confederates— So dry he was for sway—wi' th' King of Naples To give him annual tribute, do him homage, Subject his coronet to his crown and bend The dukedom yet unbowed— alas, poor Milan!— To most ignoble stooping.

PROSPERO

He was playing the role of being the duke. But to get rid of the last thing separating the role he was playing from who he was, he had to become the actual Duke of Milan. As for me—poor fool that I was—my library was as large a dukedom as I wanted. Having decided that I was unable to run or rule my city, he become so thirsty for power that he secretly allied with the King of Naples to get rid of me. In return, Antonio agreed to pay the King of Naples a certain amount of money every year; to swear to obey him; and to force his dukedom, which had always been independent—oh, poor Milan!—into the shameful position of being under Naples’ control.

MIRANDA

Oh, the heavens!

MIRANDA

Oh, my God!

PROSPERO

Mark his condition and the event. Then tell meIf this might be a brother.

PROSPERO

Think about this pact he made with King Alonso, and about what happened as a consequence of it. Then tell me if Antonio can really be thought of as a brother.

MIRANDA

I should sinTo think but nobly of my grandmother.Good wombs have borne bad sons.

MIRANDA

I would be wicked if I had anything other than good thoughts about my grandmother. But good women sometimes give birth to bad sons.

PROSPERO

Now the condition. The King of Naples, being an enemy To me inveterate, hearkens my brother’s suit, Which was that he, in lieu o' th' premises Of homage and I know not how much tribute, Should presently extirpate me and mine Out of the dukedom, and confer fair Milan With all the honors on my brother. Whereon, A treacherous army levied, one midnight Fated to th' purpose did Antonio open The gates of Milan, and, i' th' dead of darkness, The ministers for th' purpose hurried thence Me and thy crying self.

PROSPERO

Now listen to outcome of their secret alliance. The king of Naples, who had always been an enemy of mine, listened to my brother’s request. Antonio asked that the king, in return for his oath of loyalty and however much money he paid to the king each year, would immediately remove me and all of immediate family from Milan, and then give the dukedom to my brother. So then, they raised an army to pull off this treachery. At midnight on the date they’d chosen to act, Antonio opened the gates of Milan, and in the deep darkness had the agents he’d chosen for the job rush me and you, crying, out of there.

MIRANDA

Alack, for pity! I, not remembering how I cried out then, Will cry it o'er again. It is a hint That wrings mine eyes to ’t.

MIRANDA

Alas, how sad! I can’t remember crying then, but now I’ll cry about it all over again. This story wrings tears from my eyes.

PROSPERO

Hear a little further And then I’ll bring thee to the present business Which now ’s upon ’s, without the which this story Were most impertinent.

PROSPERO

Listen to a little more, and I’ll tell you everything up to our current situation, which is the entire reason why it’s necessary for me to tell you this story at all.

MIRANDA

Wherefore did they notThat hour destroy us?

MIRANDA

Why didn’t they just kill us when they took us from Milan?

PROSPERO

Well demanded, wench. My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not, So dear the love my people bore me, nor set A mark so bloody on the business, but With colors fairer painted their foul ends. In few, they hurried us aboard a bark, Bore us some leagues to sea, where they prepared A rotten carcass of a butt, not rigged, Nor tackle, sail, nor mast. The very rats Instinctively had quit it. There they hoist us To cry to th' sea that roared to us, to sigh To th' winds whose pity, sighing back again, Did us but loving wrong.

PROSPERO

Good question, my dear girl. My story does indeed bring up that question. My dear, they didn’t dare. Because I was so loved by the people of Milan, Antonio and Alonso had to keep any blood from staining their actions, and hide their evil goals behind a prettier picture. In short, they hurried us onto a ship and carried us a few miles out to sea. There, they had prepared a rotten shell of a boat that had no ropes, equipment, sails, or a mast. Even the rats had abandoned it when they sensed its likelihood to sink.They lowered us down into the water. We were left to cry out to the sea, which just roared back at us. We sighed in sadness to the wind, which sighed back in pity. And in doing so it buffeted us with winds that—no matter how loving—only made us more uncomfortable.

MIRANDA

Alack, what troubleWas I then to you!

MIRANDA

My God! What trouble I must have been to you then!

PROSPERO

Oh, a cherubim Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile Infusèd with a fortitude from heaven, When I have decked the sea with drops full salt, Under my burthen groaned; which raised in me An undergoing stomach to bear up Against what should ensue.

PROSPERO

Oh no, you were a little angel who kept me alive. While I cried salty tears into the ocean and groaned under my burden, you smiled with a strength and courage that came from heaven. That gave me the courage to face whatever was going to come.

MIRANDA

How came we ashore?

MIRANDA

How did we land here?

PROSPERO

By providence divine. Some food we had and some fresh water that A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo, Out of his charity, who being then appointed Master of this design, did give us, with Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries, Which since have steaded much. So, of his gentleness, Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me From mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom.

PROSPERO

With the help of God. A nobleman from Naples, Gonzalo, had been put in charge of the task of abandoning us at sea. Out of charity, he gave us some food and fresh water, as well as clothes, linens, supplies, and other necessities that have over the years been so useful. Also, he was so noble and kind, that, knowing how much I loved my books, he gave me some books from my library that I value more than my dukedom.

MIRANDA

Would I mightBut ever see that man!

MIRANDA

If only I could meet that man someday.

PROSPERO

Now I arise. [stands and puts on his mantle] Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow. Here in this island we arrived, and here Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit Than other princesses can that have more time For vainer hours and tutors not so careful.

PROSPERO

Now I will stand up. [He stands up and puts on his magic cloak] Sit still, and listen to the rest of the story of our sad times at sea. We arrived here on this island. I, as your teacher here, have given you a better education than other princesses get, because they have so many opportunities to spend their time more foolishly and do not pay as close attention to their teachers.

MIRANDA

Heavens thank you for ’t! And now, I pray you, sir— For still ’tis beating in my mind—your reason For raising this sea storm?

MIRANDA

May God thank you for it! But now, please, sir: a question keeps popping up in my mind. Why did you create this storm at sea?

PROSPERO

Know thus far forth: By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune (Now my dear lady) hath mine enemies Brought to this shore. And by my prescience I find my zenith doth depend upon A most auspicious star, whose influence If now I court not but omit, my fortunes Will ever after droop. Here cease more questions. Thou art inclined to sleep. 'Tis a good dullness, And give it way. I know thou canst not choose.

PROSPERO

You should know this much: by a strange chance, the goddess of luck (whom I now love) has brought my old enemies to this island. And by my magic senses, I can tell that my opportunity for good fortune depends on this lucky circumstance. And if I do not act but instead do nothing, then I will never again have such an opportunity. No more questions now. You are sleepy. It’s a good time for sleepiness, so give in to it. I know you have no choice.

MIRANDA falls asleep.

PROSPERO

Come away, servant, come. I am ready now.Approach, my Ariel, come.

PROSPERO

Come here, servant, come. I’m ready now. Approach, my Ariel, come.

ARIEL enters.

ARIEL

All hail, great master! Grave sir, hail! I come To answer thy best pleasure, be ’t to fly, To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride On the curled clouds. To thy strong bidding, task Ariel and all his quality.

ARIEL

Greetings, great master! Noble sir, greetings! I’ve come to do whatever you would like, whether it’s to fly, swim, jump into fire, or ride upon the clouds. Whatever you want done, ask Ariel and all his many skills, to do it.

PROSPERO

Hast thou, spirit,Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee?

PROSPERO

Spirit, have you created and controlled the storm exactly as I told you to?

ARIEL

To every article. I boarded the king’s ship. Now on the beak, Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin, I flamed amazement. Sometime I’d divide, And burn in many places. On the topmast, The yards, and bowsprit would I flame distinctly, Then meet and join. Jove’s lightning, the precursors O' th' dreadful thunderclaps, more momentary And sight-outrunning were not. The fire and cracks Of sulfurous roaring the most mighty Neptune Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble, Yea, his dread trident shake.

ARIEL

Down to the last detail. I boarded the king’s ship. And from the prow, to the middle of the ship, to the stern, and in every cabin, I took the form of a fire and sent everyone into a terror. Sometimes I would divide myself, and burn at many places at once. I burned on the main mast, the yards extending from the mast—and, at the same time, split to burn the bowsprit extending from the prow. Then I joined back together to form a single flame. Not even Jove's lightning—which precedes and then causes thunder—could move as fast as I did. The fire and deafening cracks of my burning seemed to terrify even mighty Neptune, the god of the sea, and made his waves tremble and his weapon—the trident—shake.

PROSPERO

My brave spirit!Who was so firm, so constant, that this coilWould not infect his reason?

PROSPERO

My splendid spirit! Was anyone on the ship so strong and steady that the uproar of this storm did not make him crazy?

ARIEL

Not a soul But felt a fever of the mad and played Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners Plunged 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 leaped, cried, “Hell is empty And all the devils are here.”

ARIEL

Every person on the ship was like a madman and did desperate things. Everyone except the sailors jumped into the rough sea to escape the ship that I had set on fire. The king’s son, Ferdinand, with his hair standing straight up—looking like reeds instead of hair—was the first one who jumped, shouting, “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!”

PROSPERO

Why, that’s my spirit!But was not this nigh shore?

PROSPERO

Hey, well done, my spirit! But did this happen near the shore?

ARIEL

Close by, my master.

ARIEL

Close by the shore, my master.

PROSPERO

But are they, Ariel, safe?

PROSPERO

But are they all safe, Ariel?

ARIEL

Not a hair perished. On their sustaining garments not a blemish, But fresher than before. And, as thou badest me, In troops I have dispersed 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.

ARIEL

Not even a hair was harmed on anyone’s head. The clothes that helped keep them afloat in the water not only didn’t get stained, but are in fact cleaner than they were before the storm. And, as you told me to do, I’ve scattered everyone from the ship in a few different groups around the island. I brought the king’s son all by himself to the land, on a far corner of the island. He’s sitting there with his arms crossed like this in sadness [ARIEL crosses his arms], and cooling the air with his sighs.

PROSPERO

Of the king’s ship,The mariners, say how thou hast disposed,And all the rest o' th' fleet.

PROSPERO

Tell me what you did with the king’s ship, the sailors, and all of the other ships in the king’s fleet.

ARIEL

Safely in harbor Is the king’s ship. In the deep nook where once Thou called’st me up at midnight to fetch dew From the still-vexed Bermoothes, there she’s hid. The mariners all under hatches stowed, Who, with a charm joined to their suffered labor, I have left asleep. And for the rest o' th' fleet, Which I dispersed, they all have met again And are upon the Mediterranean float, Bound sadly home for Naples, Supposing that they saw the king’s ship wracked And his great person perish.

ARIEL

The king’s ship is safely harbored and hidden in that deep inlet where you once summoned me at midnight to go get dew from the stormy Bermuda Islands. The sailors are all below deck, sleeping both because of a spell I put them under, and also because of how tired they are from all their effort during the storm. As for the rest of the fleet, I scattered them. They've all met up in the Mediterranean Sea, and are now sailing sadly home to Naples, believing that they saw the shipwreck of the king’s ship—and therefore the death of their great king.

PROSPERO

Ariel, thy chargeExactly is performed. But there’s more work.What is the time o' th' day?

PROSPERO

Ariel, you performed your task exactly as I asked. But there’s more work required. What time of day is it?

ARIEL

Past the mid season.

ARIEL

Past noon.

PROSPERO

At least two glasses. The time ’twixt six and nowMust by us both be spent most preciously.

PROSPERO

At least two hours past. We must treat the time between now and six o'clock as precious, and waste none of it.

ARIEL

Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains, Let me remember thee what thou hast promised, Which is not yet performed me.

ARIEL

Is there more work to do? Since you’re giving me new chores, let me remind you what you promised to me but haven’t yet actually done for me.

PROSPERO

How now? Moody?What is ’t thou canst demand?

PROSPERO

What? You’re feeling moody? What is it that you would demand from me?

ARIEL

My liberty.

ARIEL

My freedom.

PROSPERO

Before the time be out? No more!

PROSPERO

Before the time of our deal is up? Stop right there!

ARIEL

I prithee, Remember I have done thee worthy service, Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, served Without or grudge or grumblings. Thou didst promise To bate me a full year.

ARIEL

I beg you: remember that I’ve done good work for you. I’ve never lied to you. I've made no mistakes. And I've served you without bitterness or grumbling. You promised to shorten my time to serve you by a full year.

PROSPERO

Dost thou forgetFrom what a torment I did free thee?

PROSPERO

Have you forgotten the torture from which I freed you?

ARIEL

No.

ARIEL

No.

PROSPERO

Thou dost, and think’st it much to tread the ooze Of the salt deep, To run upon the sharp wind of the north, To do me business in the veins o' th' earth When it is baked with frost.

PROSPERO

You have forgotten. And so now you think it’s too much effort to walk along the bottom of the ocean, or run on the cold north wind, or do work for me under the surface of the Earth when the ground is frozen solid.

ARIEL

I do not, sir.

ARIEL

I don’t, sir.

PROSPERO

Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot The foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy Was grown into a hoop? Hast thou forgot her?

PROSPERO

You lie, you evil thing! Have you forgotten the awful witch Sycorax, who was so old and filled with anger that she was so stooped over? Have you forgotten her?

ARIEL

No, sir.

ARIEL

No, sir.

PROSPERO

Thou hast. Where was she born? Speak. Tell me.

PROSPERO

You have. Where was she born? Speak. Tell me.

ARIEL

Sir, in Argier.

ARIEL

In Algiers, sir.

PROSPERO

Oh, was she so? I must Once in a month recount what thou hast been, Which thou forget’st. This damned witch Sycorax, For mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible To enter human hearing, from Argier, Thou know’st, was banished. For one thing she did They would not take her life. Is not this true?

PROSPERO

Oh, was she really? I’ll have to tell the story again every month, since you seem to forget it. This damned witch Sycorax was thrown out of Algiers for committing so many crimes and performing magic too terrible to even describe. There was just one reason why they didn’t kill her. Isn’t that true?

ARIEL

Ay, sir.

ARIEL

Yes, sir.

PROSPERO

This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child And here was left by th' sailors. Thou, my slave, As thou report’st thyself, wast then her servant. And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate To act her earthy and abhorred commands, Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee, By help of her more potent ministers And in her most unmitigable rage, Into a cloven pine, within which rift Imprisoned thou didst painfully remain A dozen years; within which space she died And left thee there, where thou didst vent thy groans As fast as mill wheels strike. Then was this island— Save for the son that she did litter here, A freckled whelp hag-born—not honored with A human shape.

PROSPERO

This hag—with bags under her eyes—was brought to this island while pregnant, and was left here by the sailors. You, my slave, as you yourself have said, were her servant then. And, because you were too kind and sensitive to carry out her dirty and disgusting commands, you refused her orders. In a rage that could not be calmed, and with the help of her most powerful spirits, she locked you into a hole in the middle of a pine tree that had been split in two. You were painfully imprisoned there for twelve years. During that time she died and you were stuck there, groaning in pain at the same rate that the blades of a mill wheel hit the water. At that time the island had no people on it, other than the son that Sycorax gave birth to on the island—that freckled son of a hag.

ARIEL

Yes, Caliban, her son.

ARIEL

Yes, Caliban, her son.

PROSPERO

Dull thing, I say so. He, that Caliban Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know’st What torment I did find thee in. Thy groans Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts Of ever angry bears. It was a torment To lay upon the damned, which Sycorax Could not again undo. It was mine art, When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape The pine and let thee out.

PROSPERO

I already said that, you stupid thing. Caliban, who I now keep as a servant. You know better than anyone the pain you were in when I found you. Your groans made wolves howl, and made perpetually angry bears feel pity for you. The spell that Sycorax put on you—and which she could not undo—was something fit only for souls damned to hell. When I arrived on the island and heard you, it was my magic that made the pine tree open and let you out.

ARIEL

I thank thee, master.

ARIEL

I thank you for that, master.

PROSPERO

If thou more murmur’st, I will rend an oak And peg thee in his knotty entrails till Thou hast howled away twelve winters.

PROSPERO

If you continue to complain, I’ll split an oak tree and lock you inside its wooden trunk until you’ve howled for twelve years.

ARIEL

Pardon, master.I will be correspondent to commandAnd do my spiriting gently.

ARIEL

Forgive me, master. I’ll obey your commands and perform all my work as a sprite both pleasantly and ungrudgingly.

PROSPERO

Do so, and after two daysI will discharge thee.

PROSPERO

Do that, and in two days I will give you your freedom.

ARIEL

That’s my noble master!What shall I do? Say, what? What shall I do?

ARIEL

My noble master! What should I do for you? Tell me. What? What should I do?

PROSPERO

Go make thyself like a nymph o' th' sea. Be subject To no sight but thine and mine, invisible To every eyeball else. Go take this shape And hither come in ’t. Go hence with diligence.

PROSPERO

Go and make yourself look like a sea nymph. Be invisible to everyone other than to me and yourself. Go take this shape, and then return in that form. Go and do it, carefully.

ARIEL exits.

PROSPERO

[to MIRANDA] Awake, dear heart, awake! Thou hast slept well.Awake!

PROSPERO

[To MIRANDA] Wake up, my dear, wake up! You have slept well. Wake up.

MIRANDA

[waking] The strangeness of your story putHeaviness in me.

MIRANDA

[Waking up] The strangeness of your story made me drowsy.

PROSPERO

Shake it off. Come on. We’ll visit Caliban, my slave who never Yields us kind answer.

PROSPERO

Shake off your drowsiness. Come on. We’ll go and visit Caliban, my slave who never has anything nice to say to us.

MIRANDA

'Tis a villain, sir,I do not love to look on.

MIRANDA

He’s a bad person, father. I don’t like to see him.

PROSPERO

But as ’tis, We cannot miss him. He does make our fire, Fetch in our wood, and serves in offices That profit us. What, ho! Slave! Caliban! Thou earth, thou! Speak.

PROSPERO

But as it is, we can’t manage without him. He builds our fires, gathers our firewood, and performs useful work. Hey there! Caliban! You pile of dirt, you! Answer me.

CALIBAN

[within] There’s wood enough within.

CALIBAN

[Offstage] You have enough wood in your shack.

PROSPERO

Come forth, I say! There’s other business for thee.Come, thou tortoise! When?

PROSPERO

Come here, I tell you! There’s other work for you to do. Come here, you slow turtle! Come on!

ARIEL enters, in the form of a water nymph.

PROSPERO

Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel,Hark in thine ear. [whispers to ARIEL]

PROSPERO

A pretty spirit! My clever Ariel, listen closely. [He whispers to ARIEL]

ARIEL

My lord it shall be done.

ARIEL

My lord, consider it done.

ARIEL exits.

PROSPERO

[to CALIBAN] Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himselfUpon thy wicked dam, come forth!

PROSPERO

[To CALIBAN] You vicious slave, fathered by the devil himself with your wicked mother, come here!

CALIBAN enters.

CALIBAN

As wicked dew as e'er my mother brushed With raven’s feather from unwholesome fen Drop on you both! A southwest blow on ye And blister you all o'er!

CALIBAN

I hope that a dew as evil as the one my mother used to gather from poison swamps and apply with a raven’s feather will fall on top of you! May a hot wind from the southwest blow on you and cover you with blisters!

PROSPERO

For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins Shall, forth at vast of night that they may work, All exercise on thee. Thou shalt be pinched As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging Than bees that made 'em.

PROSPERO

For saying that, rest assured, I’ll give you cramps, pains in your sides that will make it hard to breathe. Goblins shaped like hedgehogs will come out at night when they are free to act, and do their worst to you. Every inch of you will be stung, and each sting will hurt more than beestings.

CALIBAN

I must eat my dinner. This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother, Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first, Thou strok’st me and made much of me, wouldst give me Water with berries in ’t, and teach me how To name the bigger light, and how the less, That burn by day and night. And then I loved thee And showed thee all the qualities o' th' isle, The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place and fertile. Cursed be I that did so! All the charms Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you! For I am all the subjects that you have, Which first was mine own king. And here you sty me In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me The rest o' th' island.

CALIBAN

It’s time for my dinner. This island is mine, given to me by my mother Sycorax. You took it from me. When you first came here, you petted me and treated me well. You would give me water with berries in it, and you taught me the names for the sun burning in the daytime sky and the moon which lights the night. I loved you then, and I showed you all the features of the island—the freshwater springs, the saltwater pits, the places that were good for growing things and those that were not. A curse on me for doing all that! May all the evil spells of Sycorax torment you with toads, beetles, and bats! I’m the only subject you have on this island, where once I was my own king. And now you keep me confined in this cave and don’t let me go anywhere else on the island.

PROSPERO

Thou most lying slave, Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee, Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee In mine own cell till thou didst seek to violate The honor of my child.

PROSPERO

You lying slave, who responds only to whipping and not to kindness! Though you are a piece of dirt, I treated you kindly and humanely. I even let you live in my own shack, until you tried to rape my daughter.

CALIBAN

Oh ho, oh ho! Would ’t had been done!Thou didst prevent me. I had peopled elseThis isle with Calibans.

CALIBAN

Oh ha, oh ha! I wish I’d done it! You stopped me. If you hadn’t, I would have filled this island with a horde of little Calibans.

MIRANDA

Abhorrèd slave, Which any print of goodness wilt not take, Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other. When thou didst not, savage, Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like A thing most brutish, I endowed thy purposes With words that made them known. But thy vile race, Though thou didst learn, had that in ’t which good natures Could not abide to be with. Therefore wast thou Deservedly confined into this rock, Who hadst deserved more than a prison.

MIRANDA

You repulsive slave! You who are completely resistant to any effort to make you good, and are instead capable of every evil thing! I pitied you. I made the effort to teach you to speak, and taught you some new thing nearly every hour. When you, savage, didn’t know the meaning of the words you were speaking, and would babble like some beast, I gave you words that would let you make your desires understood. But even though you learned, your evil nature made it so that people who were good could not stand to be with you. And so, just as you deserved, you were sent to live in this cave, which is a more suitable place for you to live than a prison would be.

CALIBAN

You taught me language, and my profit on ’t Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you For learning me your language!

CALIBAN

You taught me language, and all I gained from it is that I now know how to curse. May you die of the plague for teaching me your language!

PROSPERO

Hag-seed, hence! Fetch us in fuel. And be quick, thou 'rt best, To answer other business. Shrug’st thou, malice? If thou neglect’st or dost unwillingly What I command, I’ll rack thee with old cramps, Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar That beasts shall tremble at thy din.

PROSPERO

You son of a hag, get going! Bring us firewood. And you’d better be quick, because I have other work for you. Are you shrugging as if refusing my orders, you evil thing? If you neglect my commands, or perform them grudgingly, I’ll overwhelm your body with painful cramps. I'll fill your bones with aches, and make you scream so that the wild animals will tremble at the noise you make.

CALIBAN

No, pray thee. [aside] I must obey. His art is of such power, It would control my dam’s god, Setebos, And make a vassal of him.

CALIBAN

No, I beg you. 

[To himself] I must obey. His magic is so powerful that he could even defeat Setebos—the god that my mother used to worship—and make him into his servant.

PROSPERO

So, slave, hence!

PROSPERO

Well then, slave, go!

CALIBAN exits.

FERDINAND enters with ARIEL, who is invisible and is playing music and singing.

ARIEL

[sings] Come unto these yellow sands, And then take hands. Curtsied when you have, and kissed The wild waves whist. Foot it featly here and there, And, sweet sprites, bear The burden. Hark, hark!

ARIEL

[Singing]
Come onto these yellow sands,
And then take my hands.
When you’ve curtsied, and kissed
The wild waves into quietness.
Step lightly here and there,
And, sweet spirits, carry
The burden. Listen, listen!

SPIRITS

[dispersedly, within] Bow-wow.

SPIRITS

[From multiple places offstage, at different times] Bow-wow.

ARIEL

The watchdogs bark.

ARIEL

The watchdogs bark. 

SPIRITS

(within) Bow-wow.

SPIRITS

Woof, woof! [The sound of dogs barking offstage]

ARIEL

Hark, hark! I hearThe strain of strutting chanticleerCry “Cock-a-diddle-dow.”

ARIEL

Listen, listen! I hear, the song of the strutting rooster who cries “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

FERDINAND

Where should this music be? I' th' air or th' earth? It sounds no more, and sure, it waits upon Some god o' th' island. Sitting on a bank, Weeping again the king my father’s wrack, This music crept by me upon the waters, Allaying both their fury and my passion With its sweet air. Thence I have followed it, Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone. No, it begins again.

FERDINAND

Where is that music coming from? From the air or the ground? It’s no longer playing—probably it plays for some god of this island. As I sat on a sandbank on the beach crying again about my father’s shipwreck, I heard the music over the roaring of the waves, and it calmed the fury of the water and soothed my intense sadness with its sweet sound. I’ve followed it here, or maybe I should say it led me here. But now it’s gone. No, it’s started up again.

ARIEL

[sings] Full fathom five thy father lies. Of his bones are coral made. Those are pearls that were his eyes. Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell.

ARIEL

[Singing]
Your father lies thirty feet below the sea,
His bones are made of coral now.
His eyes have turned to pearls.
Every part of him that is impermanent,
Has changed completely in the sea
To become something rich and strange.
Sea nymphs ring his death bell hourly.

SPIRITS

[within] Ding-dong.

SPIRITS

[Offstage] Ding-dong.

ARIEL

Hark, now I hear them.

ARIEL

Listen, I hear them ringing the bell.

SPIRITS

[within] Ding-dong, bell.

SPIRITS

[Offstage] Ding-dong, bell.

FERDINAND

The ditty does remember my drowned father. This is no mortal business, nor no sound That the earth owes. I hear it now above me.

FERDINAND

This little song is in honor of my drowned father. This is not something done by mortals. Nor is it a sound that could come from the normal world. I hear it now coming from above me.

PROSPERO

[to MIRANDA] The fringèd curtains of thine eye advanceAnd say what thou seest yond.

PROSPERO

[To MIRANDA] Lift the tasseled curtains of your eyelids, and tell me what you see over there.

MIRANDA

What is ’t? A spirit? Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir, It carries a brave form. But ’tis a spirit.

MIRANDA

What is it? A spirit? Lord, it’s looking all around! Believe me, sir, it is very good-looking. But it must be a spirit.

PROSPERO

No, wench! It eats and sleeps and hath such senses As we have, such. This gallant which thou seest Was in the wrack. And, but he’s something stained With grief that’s beauty’s canker, thou mightst call him A goodly person. He hath lost his fellows And strays about to find 'em.

PROSPERO

No, my girl! It eats and sleeps and has the same senses as we do. The gentleman you see was in the shipwreck. And, even though he’s marked by grief—which always spoils beauty—you could describe him as handsome. He’s lost his friends and is wandering around trying to find them.

MIRANDA

I might call himA thing divine, for nothing naturalI ever saw so noble.

MIRANDA

I might describe him as a god, because I’ve never seen anything on earth that looked so noble.

PROSPERO

[aside] It goes on, I see,As my soul prompts it. Spirit, fine spirit! I’ll free theeWithin two days for this.

PROSPERO

[To himself] Everything is happening, I see, just as my soul hoped it would. 

[To ARIEL] Spirit, you wonderful spirit, I’ll set you free in two days for doing your work so well.

FERDINAND

[seeing MIRANDA] Most sure, the goddess On whom these airs attend! Vouchsafe my prayer May know if you remain upon this island, And that you will some good instruction give How I may bear me here. My prime request, Which I do last pronounce, is, O you wonder! If you be maid or no.

FERDINAND

[Seeing MIRANDA] Obviously, this must be the goddess for whom the music is playing! Please answer my prayer, and let me know if you live on this island, and explain to me how I should behave here. But my most important question, which I’ve saved for last, is—oh, you wondrous being—are you a girl or something else?

MIRANDA

No wonder, sir,But certainly a maid.

MIRANDA

I’m not some wondrous being, sir. I’m definitely a girl.

FERDINAND

My language! Heavens,I am the best of them that speak this speech,Were I but where ’tis spoken.

FERDINAND

She speaks my language! God, I’m the highest-ranking person of all the people who speak this language. If only we were back where it’s spoken.

PROSPERO

How? The best?What wert thou if the King of Naples heard thee?

PROSPERO

What? The highest-ranking? What would happen to you if the King of Naples heard you say that?

FERDINAND

A single thing, as I am now, that wonders To hear thee speak of Naples. He does hear me, And that he does I weep. Myself am Naples, Who with mine eyes, never since at ebb, beheld The king my father wracked.

FERDINAND

The same thing I am doing now as I stand here amazed to hear you mention Naples. He does hear me, and it makes me cry that he hears me. I myself am the King of Naples—I saw with my own eyes, which haven’t been dry since—my father killed by a shipwreck.

MIRANDA

Alack, for mercy!

MIRANDA

Oh, that’s awful!

FERDINAND

Yes, faith, and all his lords, the Duke of MilanAnd his brave son being twain.

FERDINAND

Yes, it’s true. And the King’s lords were killed, as well as the Duke of Milan and his brave son, too.

PROSPERO

[aside] The Duke of Milan And his more braver daughter could control thee If now ’twere fit to do ’t! At the first sight They have changed eyes. Delicate Ariel, I’ll set thee free for this. [to FERDINAND] A word, good sir. I fear you have done yourself some wrong. A word.

PROSPERO

[To himself] The real Duke of Milan and his even finer daughter could control you right now, if now were the right time to do it. They’ve fallen in love at first sight! 

[To ARIEL] Beautiful Ariel, I’ll set you free for making this happen.

[To FERDINAND] May I speak with you, sir? I’m afraid you’ve may have said something untrue. It won’t take more than a moment.

MIRANDA

[ aside] Why speaks my father so ungently? This Is the third man that e'er I saw, the first That e'er I sighed for. Pity move my father To be inclined my way!

MIRANDA

[To herself] Why is my father speaking to him so rudely? This is the third man that I’ve ever seen in my life, and the first one for whom I’ve ever felt such feelings that made me sigh. I hope my father is compassionate enough to me that he wants for me what I want for myself!

FERDINAND

[to MIRANDA] Oh, if a virgin, And your affection not gone forth, I’ll make you The queen of Naples.

FERDINAND

[To MIRANDA] Oh, if you’re a virgin, and you haven’t given your love to someone else, then I’ll make you the queen of Naples.

PROSPERO

Soft, sir! One word more. [ aside] They are both in either’s powers, but this swift business I must uneasy make lest too light winning Make the prize light. [To FERDINAND] One word more. I charge thee That thou attend me. Thou dost here usurp The name thou owest not, and hast put thyself Upon this island as a spy to win it From me, the lord on ’t.

PROSPERO

[To FERDINAND] Wait, sir! I have one more thing to say.

[To himself] They’re in love with each other. But I have to put some obstacles in the way of this quick love, so that they don’t undervalue their love because it came so easily.

[To FERDINAND] Just one more thing to say. I demand that you listen to me. You are stealing a name for yourself that does not belong to you. You’ve come to this island as a spy to try to take this island from me, its lord.

FERDINAND

No, as I am a man!

FERDINAND

No, I swear on my honor as a man!

MIRANDA

There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple.If the ill spirit have so fair a house,Good things will strive to dwell with ’t.

MIRANDA

Nothing evil could ever exist in a body this attractive. If the devil had a house as beautiful as his body, then good things would fight to live in it.

PROSPERO

[to FERDINAND] Follow me. [to MIRANDA] Speak not you for him. He’s a traitor. [to FERDINAND] Come, I’ll manacle thy neck and feet together. Seawater shalt thou drink. Thy food shall be The fresh-brook muscles, withered roots, and husks Wherein the acorn cradled. Follow.

PROSPERO

[To FERDINAND] Follow me.

[To MIRANDA] Don’t speak in his defense. He’s a traitor.

[To FERDINAND] Come, I’ll chain your neck and feet together. You’ll have only sea water to drink. Your food will be fresh-water mussels, old roots, and empty acorn shells. Follow me.

FERDINAND

No.I will resist such entertainment tillMine enemy has more power.

FERDINAND

No, I’ll resist such treatment until my enemy overpowers me.

FERDINAND draws his sword, but PROSPERO puts a spell on him that stops him from moving.

MIRANDA

O dear father,Make not too rash a trial of him, forHe’s gentle and not fearful.

MIRANDA

Oh, dear father, don’t be too harsh with him. He’s a gentleman, and not a coward.

PROSPERO

What, I say? My foot my tutor?— Put thy sword up, traitor, Who makest a show but darest not strike, thy conscience Is so possessed with guilt. Come from thy ward, For I can here disarm thee with this stick And make thy weapon drop.

PROSPERO

[To MIRANDA] What? Do you, my daughter—who owes me obedience—dare to tell me what to do? 

[To FERDINAND] Sheathe your sword, traitor. You put on a nice show there, but you wouldn’t dare to actually strike me because you feel too guilty. Step out of your defensive position. For, if I wanted to, I could use this magic wand to disarm you and make your sword drop.

MIRANDA

Beseech you, father.

MIRANDA

I beg you, Father.

PROSPERO

Hence! Hang not on my garments.

PROSPERO

Go away! Don’t grab my clothes.

MIRANDA

Sir, have pity,I’ll be his surety.

MIRANDA

Father, have pity on him. I’ll be the guarantee of his goodness.

PROSPERO

Silence! One word more Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What, An advocate for an imposter? Hush, Thou think’st there is no more such shapes as he, Having seen but him and Caliban. Foolish wench, To th' most of men this is a Caliban And they to him are angels.

PROSPERO

Silence! If you say another word, I’ll scold you, maybe even hate you. What, you’re taking the side of an impostor? Be quiet. You think no one else is as beautiful as him, because you’ve seen only him and Caliban. Foolish girl, to most people this man looks like a Caliban, and compared to him, most people look like angels.

MIRANDA

My affectionsAre then most humble. I have no ambitionTo see a goodlier man.

MIRANDA

Then my love is humble. I have no desire to see a more handsome man than this one.

PROSPERO

[to FERDINAND] Come on. Obey.Thy nerves are in their infancy againAnd have no vigor in them.

PROSPERO

[To FERDINAND] Come on. Obey me. Your muscles are like those of a baby, without strength or energy.

FERDINAND

So they are. My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up. My father’s loss, the weakness which I feel, The wrack of all my friends, nor this man’s threats, To whom I am subdued, are but light to me, Might I but through my prison once a day Behold this maid. All corners else o' th' earth Let liberty make use of. Space enough Have I in such a prison.

FERDINAND

They are. My strength is all tied up, as if in a bad dream. The loss of my father, the physical weakness I feel, the destruction of all my friends, the threats of this man who’s captured me would be like nothing to me, if I could just look through my prison windows once a day and see this girl. I would not need to have the freedom to go anywhere else in the world. A prison like that would give me all the space I needed.

PROSPERO

[aside] It works! [to FERDINAND] Come on. [aside] Thou hast done well, fine Ariel! [to FERDINAND] Follow me. [to ARIEL] Hark what thou else shalt do me.

PROSPERO

[To himself] It’s working!

[To FERDINAND] Come on.

[To himself] You’ve done well, Ariel.

[To FERDINAND] Follow me.

[To ARIEL] Listen to what else you should do for me.

MIRANDA

[to FERDINAND] Be of comfort. My father’s of a better nature, sir, Than he appears by speech. This is unwonted Which now came from him.

MIRANDA

[To FERDINAND] Take comfort, sir. My father is more kind and gentle than his words make him seem. The way he just acted is unusual for him.

PROSPERO

[to ARIEL] Thou shalt be freeAs mountain winds. But then exactly doAll points of my command.

PROSPERO

[To ARIEL] You’ll be free as the mountain winds. But first you must do everything I command.

ARIEL

To th' syllable.

ARIEL

Every little thing.

PROSPERO

[to FERDINAND] Come, follow. [to MIRANDA] Speak not for him.

PROSPERO

[To FERDINAND] Come, follow me.

[To MIRANDA] Don’t defend him.

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.