A line-by-line translation

The Tempest

The Tempest Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, GONZALO, ADRIAN, FRANCISCO, and others enter.

GONZALO

[to ALONSO] Beseech you, sir, be merry. You have cause, So have we all, of joy, for our escape Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe Is common. Every day some sailor’s wife, The masters of some merchant, and the merchant Have just our theme of woe. But for the miracle— I mean our preservation—few in millions Can speak like us. Then wisely, good sir, weigh Our sorrow with our comfort.

GONZALO

[To ALONSO] I beg you sir, be happy. You, like all of us, have good reasons to be joyful. The fact that we escaped the shipwreck with our lives far outweighs what we lost. Many people have also experienced what we have to feel sad about. Every day some sailor’s wife, the owner of some merchant ship, and the merchant who owns the cargo on that ship all experience the same sort of loss. But the miracle—the fact that we survived—has only been experienced by a few people out of millions. So, good sir, be wise, and weigh our sorrow against what should bring us happiness.

ALONSO

Prithee, peace.

ALONSO

Please, be quiet.

SEBASTIAN

[to ANTONIO] He receives comfort like cold porridge.

SEBASTIAN

[To ANTONIO] Alonso enjoys these comforting words about as much as he enjoys cold soup.

ANTONIO

[to SEBASTIAN] The visitor will not give him o'er so.

ANTONIO

[To SEBASTIAN] But the visitor trying to bring comfort to the sick won’t give up on him.

SEBASTIAN

Look he’s winding up the watch of his wit. By and by itwill strike.

SEBASTIAN

[To ANTONIO] Look. He’s trying to come up with some new idea for how to help Alonso, winding his brain up like some kind of clock. Soon it will strike...

GONZALO

[to ALONSO] Sir—

GONZALO

[To ALONSO] Sir—

SEBASTIAN

[to ANTONIO] One. Tell.

SEBASTIAN

[To ANTONIO] The clock strikes one. Count it.

GONZALO

When every grief is entertained that’s offered,Comes to th' entertainer—

GONZALO

If we allowed ourselves to think about, or entertain, every sad thing that happens, then the entertainer will end up with—

SEBASTIAN

A dollar.

SEBASTIAN

A dollar.

GONZALO

Dolor comes to him, indeed. You have spoken truer than you purposed.

GONZALO

Yes, dolor comes to him. Though you did not mean to, you have said the truth.

SEBASTIAN

You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should.

SEBASTIAN

You took what I said more seriously than I meant it.

GONZALO

[to ALONSO] Therefore, my lord—

GONZALO

[To ALONSO] Therefore, my lord—

ANTONIO

[to SEBASTIAN] Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue!

ANTONIO

[To SEBASTIAN] Goodness, he just talks and talks and talks!

ALONSO

[to GONZALO] I prithee, spare.

ALONSO

[To GONZALO] Please, stop.

GONZALO

Well, I have done. But yet—

GONZALO

Well, I’m basically finished. But still—

SEBASTIAN

[to ANTONIO] He will be talking.

SEBASTIAN

[To ANTONIO] He insists on talking.

ANTONIO

Which, of he or Adrian, for a good wager, first begins to crow?

ANTONIO

Here’s a good bet. Which of the two, Gonzalo or Adrian, will speak first?

SEBASTIAN

The old cock.

SEBASTIAN

The old rooster, Gonzalo.

ANTONIO

The cockerel.

ANTONIO

I’ll take the young rooster, Adrian.

SEBASTIAN

Done. The wager?

SEBASTIAN

You’re on. What does the winner get?

ANTONIO

A laughter.

ANTONIO

A good laugh.

SEBASTIAN

A match!

SEBASTIAN

It’s a deal!

ADRIAN

Though this island seem to be desert—

ADRIAN

Though this island seems to deserted—

ANTONIO

[to SEBASTIAN] Ha, ha, ha!

ANTONIO

[To SEBASTIAN] Ha, ha, ha!

SEBASTIAN

So you’re paid.

SEBASTIAN

You got your prize.

ADRIAN

Uninhabitable and almost inaccessible—

ADRIAN

Uninhabited, and almost inaccessible—

SEBASTIAN

Yet—

SEBASTIAN

Next he’ll say “but”—

ADRIAN

Yet—

ADRIAN

But—

ANTONIO

He could not miss ’t.

ANTONIO

He couldn’t not say it.

ADRIAN

It must needs be of subtle, tender, and delicate temperance.

ADRIAN

It seems to be mild and gentle, and to have a temperate climate.

ANTONIO

Temperance was a delicate wench.

ANTONIO

Ah, Temperance—she was quite an alluring girl.

SEBASTIAN

Ay, and a subtle, as he most learnedly delivered.

SEBASTIAN

Yes, and, as Adrian described so smartly, she was a subtle one in bed, too.

ADRIAN

The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.

ADRIAN

The air here is like a fresh, sweet breath.

SEBASTIAN

As if it had lungs, and rotten ones.

SEBASTIAN

As if the island had lungs—rotten lungs.

ANTONIO

Or as ’twere perfumed by a fen.

ANTONIO

As if the air was perfumed by a swamp.

GONZALO

Here is everything advantageous to life.

GONZALO

This island contains everything that is good for life.

ANTONIO

True. Save means to live.

ANTONIO

True. Except anything you could actually use to live.

SEBASTIAN

Of that there’s none, or little.

SEBASTIAN

There’s none of that, or just a little.

GONZALO

How lush and lusty the grass looks! How green!

GONZALO

The grass looks so rich and healthy! It is so green!

ANTONIO

The ground indeed is tawny.

ANTONIO

The ground is actually brown.

SEBASTIAN

With an eye of green in ’t.

SEBASTIAN

With a tinge of green in it.

ANTONIO

He misses not much.

ANTONIO

He doesn’t miss a thing.

SEBASTIAN

No, he doth but mistake the truth totally.

SEBASTIAN

No, he just misses the actual truth entirely.

GONZALO

But the rarity of it is—which is indeed almost beyond credit—

GONZALO

But the unbelievable thing is—and this is really almost hard to imagine—

SEBASTIAN

As many vouched rarities are.

SEBASTIAN

As by definition most unbelievable things are.

GONZALO

That our garments, being, as they were, drenched in thesea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with salt water.

GONZALO

That our clothes—which were drenched in sea water—continue to be fresh and clean, and in fact seem almost new rather than stained by the salt water.

ANTONIO

If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not sayhe lies?

ANTONIO

If just one of the pockets on his clothes could speak, wouldn’t it say that he’s a liar?

SEBASTIAN

Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report.

SEBASTIAN

Yes, or just try to hide and suppress the lie.

GONZALO

Methinks our garments are now as fresh as when we put them on first in Afric, at the marriage of the king’s fair daughter Claribel to the King of Tunis.

GONZALO

I think our clothes are as fresh now as they were when we put them on in Africa to attend the marriage of the king’s beautiful daughter Claribel to the King of Tunis.

SEBASTIAN

'Twas a sweet marriage, and we prosper well in our return.

SEBASTIAN

The wedding was wonderful, and we’re doing just great on our journey back home.

ADRIAN

Tunis was never graced before with such a paragon to their queen.

ADRIAN

Tunis has never before had such a perfect beauty for a queen.

GONZALO

Not since widow Dido’s time.

GONZALO

Not since the time of the widow Dido.

ANTONIO

Widow! A pox o' that! How came that “widow” in? Widow Dido!

ANTONIO

Widow! To hell with that! Why is he calling her a widow? Widow Dido—ha!

SEBASTIAN

What if he had said “widower Aeneas” too? Good Lord, how you take it!

SEBASTIAN

Next thing you know, he’ll be saying “widower Aeneas.” Good Lord, how can he interpret the story in that way?

ADRIAN

“Widow Dido” said you? You make me study of that. She was of Carthage, not of Tunis.

ADRIAN

“Widow Dido,” did you say? I'd have to look into that. Dido was from Carthage, not Tunis.

GONZALO

This Tunis, sir, was Carthage.

GONZALO

Tunis used to be Carthage, sir.

ADRIAN

Carthage?

ADRIAN

Carthage?

GONZALO

I assure you, Carthage.

GONZALO

I promise you, it was Carthage.

SEBASTIAN

His word is more than the miraculous harp. He hath raised the wall and houses too.

SEBASTIAN

Gonzalo's word is like the legendary harp of Amphion, which, when played, caused the walls of Thebes to rise. Now Gonzalo—just by saying so—has created a whole new city.

ANTONIO

What impossible matter will he make easy next?

ANTONIO

What incredible thing will he do next as if it was nothing?

SEBASTIAN

I think he will carry this island home in his pocket and give it his son for an apple.

SEBASTIAN

I think he’ll carry this island home in his pocket and give it to his son as an apple.

ANTONIO

And sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring forth more islands.

ANTONIO

And throw its seeds in the sea to make more islands grow.

GONZALO

Ay.

GONZALO

Yes, that's exactly what I would do.

ANTONIO

Why, in good time.

ANTONIO

Well, sure it is.

GONZALO

[to ALONSO] Sir, we were talking that our garments seemnow as fresh as when we were at Tunis at the marriage of your daughter, who is now queen.

GONZALO

[To ALONSO] Sir, we were discussing that our clothes seem just as clean as they did when we were in Tunis at the wedding of your daughter, who’s now queen.

ANTONIO

And the rarest that e'er came there.

ANTONIO

The most remarkable queen that's ever been there.

SEBASTIAN

Bate, I beseech you, widow Dido.

SEBASTIAN

Except for the widow Dido, if I may say so.

ANTONIO

Oh, widow Dido? Ay, widow Dido.

ANTONIO

Oh, the widow Dido? Of course, the widow Dido.

GONZALO

Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as the first day I wore it? I mean, in a sort.

GONZALO

Sir, isn’t my jacket as clean as the first time I wore it? I mean, in a way.

ANTONIO

That “sort” was well fished for.

ANTONIO

He did a good job of sticking that "in a way" in there.

GONZALO

When I wore it at your daughter’s marriage?

GONZALO

When I wore it at your daughter’s wedding.

ALONSO

You cram these words into mine ears against The stomach of my sense. Would I had never Married my daughter there! For, coming thence, My son is lost and, in my rate, she too, Who is so far from Italy removed I ne'er again shall see her. O thou mine heir Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish Hath made his meal on thee?

ALONSO

You keep pushing these words into my ears that I don’t have any desire to hear. If only I had never sent my daughter to Tunis to be married! I lost my son because of it. And, as far as I'm concerned, I lost my daughter too, since she is now living so far from Italy that I'll never see her again. Oh, my dear son and heir of Naples and Milan, what strange fish has eaten your dead body?

FRANCISCO

Sir, he may live. I saw him beat the surges under him, And ride upon their backs. He trod the water, Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted The surge most swoll'n that met him. His bold head 'Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oared Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke To th' shore, that o'er his wave-worn basis bowed, As stooping to relieve him. I not doubt He came alive to land.

FRANCISCO

Sir, he may still live. I saw him swim over the waves and ride upon their backs. He treaded water, withstanding all their rage, and fought through even the biggest waves that came at him. He bravely kept his head above the rough waves. And with his powerful arms and strong strokes he swam toward the shore, which seemed almost to lean forward to help him from the water. I have no doubt that he got to the shore alive.

ALONSO

No, no, he’s gone.

ALONSO

No, no, he’s dead.

SEBASTIAN

Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss, That would not bless our Europe with your daughter, But rather loose her to an African, Where she at least is banished from your eye, Who hath cause to wet the grief on ’t.

SEBASTIAN

Sir, you can thank yourself for this great loss, because rather than give your daughter to a husband in Europe you instead threw her to some African. It's a good thing you'll never see her again, since then she won't be around to remind you of this awful thing you've done to her.

ALONSO

Prithee, peace.

ALONSO

Please, be quiet.

SEBASTIAN

You were kneeled to and importuned otherwise By all of us, and the fair soul herself Weighed between loathness and obedience, at Which end o' th' beam should bow. We have lost your son, I fear, forever. Milan and Naples have More widows in them of this business' making Than we bring men to comfort them. The fault’s your own.

SEBASTIAN

All of us kneeled down in front of you and begged you not to do this, and the beautiful girl herself was forced to choose whether to follow her own disgust at the marriage or her duty to obey you. Now we’ve lost your son forever too, I fear. This marriage and subsequent shipwreck has created more widows in Milan and Naples than we have survivors to bring home to comfort them. All of this is your fault.

ALONSO

So is the dearest o' th' loss.

ALONSO

The heaviest loss is mine as well.

GONZALO

My lord Sebastian, The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness And time to speak it in. You rub the sore When you should bring the plaster.

GONZALO

My lord Sebastian, despite the truth in your words, what you're saying is unkind and inappropriate at this time. You’re rubbing salt in his wounds when you should be bringing him bandages.

SEBASTIAN

Very well.

SEBASTIAN

All right.

ANTONIO

And most chirurgeonly.

ANTONIO

That Gonzalo is quite the doctor, isn't he?

GONZALO

[to ALONSO] It is foul weather in us all, good sir,When you are cloudy.

GONZALO

[To ALONSO] Noble sir, we all feel under the weather when you’re feeling gloomy.

SEBASTIAN

Foul weather?

SEBASTIAN

Under the weather?

ANTONIO

Very foul.

ANTONIO

Far under.

GONZALO

Had I plantation of this isle, my lord—

GONZALO

If I colonized this island, my lord—

ANTONIO

He’d sow ’t with nettle seed.

ANTONIO

He’d grow useless, stinging nettle plants all over it.

SEBASTIAN

Or docks, or mallows.

SEBASTIAN

Or weeds.

GONZALO

And were the king on ’t, what would I do?

GONZALO

And if I were the king of the colony, would you like to know what I’d do?

SEBASTIAN

'Scape being drunk for want of wine.

SEBASTIAN

He wouldn’t get drunk because there isn't any wine.

GONZALO

I' th' commonwealth I would by contraries Execute all things. For no kind of traffic Would I admit. No name of magistrate. Letters should not be known. Riches, poverty, And use of service—none. Contract, succession, Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard—none. No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil. No occupation. All men idle, all. And women too, but innocent and pure. No sovereignty—

GONZALO

In my commonwealth I’d do everything in the opposite way from what's normal. I wouldn’t allow any business. There would be no judges. There would be no school or learning. No riches, poverty, or servants. None of that. No contracts, inheritance, privately owned land, farming, or vineyards. None of that. There’d be no metal-work, no grinding of corn, no wine-making, or making of olive oil. There'd be no work. Men would do nothing at all. Women too, except those things that are innocent and pure. There’d be no kingship—

SEBASTIAN

Yet he would be king on ’t.

SEBASTIAN

Though he'd be the king of this land with no kingship.

ANTONIO

The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning.

ANTONIO

His colony is ending up a long way from where it began.

GONZALO

All things in common nature should produce Without sweat or endeavor. Treason, felony, Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine, Would I not have. But nature should bring forth Of its own kind all foison, all abundance, To feed my innocent people.

GONZALO

Nature would produce everything people needed, and all of it would be shared equally by all. There’d be no treason, crimes, swords, spears, knives, guns, or need for any other weapon. Without any human help, nature would grow bountiful harvests to feed my innocent people.

SEBASTIAN

No marrying ’mong his subjects?

SEBASTIAN

Would there be no marriage among those he ruled?

ANTONIO

None, man. All idle. Whores and knaves.

ANTONIO

None, my man. They'd do nothing. They’d all be whores and scoundrels.

GONZALO

I would with such perfection govern, sir,T' excel the Golden Age.

GONZALO

My leadership would be so perfect that my colony would be even better than the mythical ancient Golden Age.

SEBASTIAN

'Save his majesty!

SEBASTIAN

May God protect his Majesty!

ANTONIO

Long live Gonzalo!

ANTONIO

Long live Gonzalo!

GONZALO

[to ALONSO] And—do you mark me, sir?

GONZALO

[To ALONSO] And—are you listening to me, sir?

ALONSO

Prithee, no more. Thou dost talk nothing to me.

ALONSO

Please, no more. What you're saying to me is meaningless.

GONZALO

I do well believe your highness, and did it to ministeroccasion to these gentlemen, who are of such sensible and nimble lungs that they always use to laugh at nothing.

GONZALO

I agree with you completely, your Highness. I said those things to give these gentlemen a good time, since they have such strong lungs that they so often use to laugh at meaningless trivialities.

ANTONIO

'Twas you we laughed at.

ANTONIO

We were laughing at you.

GONZALO

Who in this kind of merry fooling am nothing to you. Soyou may continue and laugh at nothing still.

GONZALO

But in all of your silly little jokes, you see me as nothing. So go on, laugh at nothing.

ANTONIO

What a blow was there given!

ANTONIO

What an insult he just made!

SEBASTIAN

An it had not fallen flat-long.

SEBASTIAN

Too bad it fell so flat.

GONZALO

You are gentlemen of brave mettle. You would lift the moon out of her sphere if she would continue in it five weeks without changing.

GONZALO

You are courageous gentlemen. You’d give the moon a helpful push if it got stuck in the same spot of its orbit for five weeks.

ARIEL enters, invisible, playing solemn music.

SEBASTIAN

We would so, and then go a-batfowling.

SEBASTIAN

We certainly would, then we’d go hunting birds at night by luring them to us with a lantern and smacking them out of the sky with a stick.

ANTONIO

[to GONZALO] Nay, good my lord, be not angry.

ANTONIO

[To GONZALO] My good lord, please don’t be angry.

GONZALO

No, I warrant you. I will not adventure my discretion so weakly. Will you laugh me asleep, for I am very heavy?

GONZALO

I promise you, I’m not. I wouldn't risk my reputation for self-control for such a tiny thing. Will you laugh me to sleep? For I’m feeling very tired.

ANTONIO

Go sleep, and hear us.

ANTONIO

Go to sleep, and we'll laugh.

Everyone sleeps except ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, and ANTONIO.

ALONSO

What, all so soon asleep? I wish mine eyesWould with themselves shut up my thoughts. I findThey are inclined to do so.

ALONSO

What, is everyone asleep so quickly? I wish my eyes would close and I could sleep, so that I could stop thinking. In fact, my eyes are starting to close.

SEBASTIAN

Please you, sir, Do not omit the heavy offer of it. It seldom visits sorrow. When it doth, It is a comforter.

SEBASTIAN

Please, sir, don't refuse the opportunity to sleep. Sleep rarely comes to people who are grieving. When it does come, it gives comfort.

ANTONIO

We two, my lord,Will guard your person while you take your restAnd watch your safety.

ANTONIO

The two of us, my lord, will guard you while you rest and make sure that you're safe.

ALONSO

Thank you. Wondrous heavy. [falls asleep]

ALONSO

Thank you. I’m extremely tired. [He falls asleep]

ARIEL exits.

SEBASTIAN

What a strange drowsiness possesses them!

SEBASTIAN

It's so strange how all of them suddenly got so tired!

ANTONIO

It is the quality o' th' climate.

ANTONIO

There's something in the climate here.

SEBASTIAN

WhyDoth it not then our eyelids sink? I find notMyself disposed to sleep.

SEBASTIAN

Then why aren’t our eyelids closing? I’m not feeling tired at all.

ANTONIO

Nor I. My spirits are nimble. They fell together all, as by consent. They dropped, as by a thunderstroke. 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.

ANTONIO

Me neither. I’m full of energy. They all fell asleep together, as if they’d all agreed on it earlier. They fell asleep as if they’d all been struck by lightning. What might happen, noble Sebastian, what might happen if—? No, I shouldn't say any more. And yet, I think I can see in your face what you have the potential to be. Opportunity is knocking on your door, and my imagination sees a crown coming to rest on your head.

SEBASTIAN

What, art thou waking?

SEBASTIAN

What, are you awake or asleep?

ANTONIO

Do you not hear me speak?

ANTONIO

Don’t you hear me speaking?

SEBASTIAN

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.

SEBASTIAN

I do, and it certainly sounds like the language of dreams, like you're talking in your sleep. What is it that you said? This is a very strange sleep. How can you be standing, speaking, and moving, with your eyes wide open, and yet be fast asleep?

ANTONIO

Noble Sebastian,Thou let’st thy fortune sleep—die, rather—wink’stWhiles thou art waking.

ANTONIO

Noble Sebastian, by not seizing this opportunity you’re letting this chance sleep—no, die—even while you are wide awake.

SEBASTIAN

Thou dost snore distinctly.There’s meaning in thy snores.

SEBASTIAN

You have a strange way of snoring. It sounds like you're speaking actual words.

ANTONIO

I am more serious than my custom. You Must be so too if heed me, which to do Trebles thee o'er.

ANTONIO

I'm more serious right now than I usually am. You should be too, if you listen to me. If you follow my advice you will become three times as powerful as you are now.

SEBASTIAN

Well, I am standing water.

SEBASTIAN

Like standing water, I'm not moving at all.

ANTONIO

I’ll teach you how to flow.

ANTONIO

I'll teach you how to move, to act.

SEBASTIAN

Do so. To ebbHereditary sloth instructs me.

SEBASTIAN

Do that. As a younger brother who cannot inherit the throne, I’m naturally lazy.

ANTONIO

Oh, 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.

ANTONIO

Oh, if you only knew how ambitious you truly are, even while you mock ambition! The more you make fun of it, the more obvious it is how much you care! Men who do nothing usually wind up at the bottom, controlled by their own fear and laziness.

SEBASTIAN

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.

SEBASTIAN

Please, continue. There’s something in your face and eyes that indicates you're talking about something serious, and that—like giving birth—you're finding it hard to actually get it out.

ANTONIO

Thus, sir: Although this lord of weak remembrance—this, Who shall be of as little memory When he is earthed— hath here almost persuade (For he’s a spirit of persuasion only, Professes to persuade) the king his son’s alive, 'Tis as impossible that he’s undrowned And he that sleeps here swims.

ANTONIO

Here it is, sir: [Points at GONZALO] Although this lord with the bad memory—and who won't be remembered by anyone when he’s dead and buried—almost persuaded the king (because his entire mind is focused only on persuading people) that the king's son is alive, it’s impossible that he didn't drown. Saying he survived is like saying that this man sleeping over here is actually swimming.

SEBASTIAN

I have no hopeThat he’s undrowned.

SEBASTIAN

I also hold no hope that he survived.

ANTONIO

Oh, 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 drowned?

ANTONIO

Oh, but from that “no hope” arise amazing hopes for you! No hope for Ferdinand's survival is, for you, so high a hope that not even ambition for greatness could imagine anything higher—or even entirely believe that this possibility exists. Do you agree with me that Ferdinand has drowned?

SEBASTIAN

He’s gone.

SEBASTIAN

He’s dead.

ANTONIO

Then, tell me,Who’s the next heir of Naples?

ANTONIO

Then, tell me, who is now the heir to the throne of Naples?

SEBASTIAN

Claribel.

SEBASTIAN

Claribel, Alonso's daughter.

ANTONIO

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 newborn chins Be rough and razorable; she that from whom We all were sea-swallowed, 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.

ANTONIO

Claribel, who is now Queen of Tunis, and who lives thirty miles farther than a lifetime's journey from Italy. She wouldn't even receive a letter from Italy (unless it could somehow be delivered by the light of the sun; the man in the moon's too slow to deliver it) in less than the time it takes a baby to grow old enough to shave. Claribel was the cause of our ship getting swallowed by the sea, though some of us survived—and our survival suggests that it is our destiny to perform an act that, in fact, reenacts the past.

SEBASTIAN

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.

SEBASTIAN

What is this? What are you talking about? It's true that my brother's daughter is the Queen of Tunis as well as the heir to the throne of Naples, and that a great distance separates those two places.

ANTONIO

A space whose every 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 seized 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. Oh, that you bore The mind that I do, what a sleep were this For your advancement! Do you understand me?

ANTONIO

A distance whose every inch seems to scream, “How can Claribel ever follow us back to Naples? Stay in Tunis, and let Sebastian get his good fortune." Imagine that instead of these men sleeping here, they were dead. Well, they'd be just as badly off as they are now. There are many who can rule Naples just as well as this man who's sleeping. And there are lots of lords who can babble as much as Gonzalo. I could teach a crow to blabber such nonsense. Oh, I wish your thoughts were the same as mine—then you'd see how these sleeping men are an unparalleled opportunity for you. Do you understand what I'm saying?

SEBASTIAN

Methinks I do.

SEBASTIAN

I think I do.

ANTONIO

And how does your contentTender your own good fortune?

ANTONIO

And how do your feelings about what I've just said affect your chances at good fortune?

SEBASTIAN

I rememberYou did supplant your brother Prospero.

SEBASTIAN

I remember that you overthrew and replaced your brother Prospero.

ANTONIO

True. 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.

ANTONIO

True. And look how well that position suits me—far better than the one I had before. Back then, my brother’s servants were my equals. Now they work for me.

SEBASTIAN

But, for your conscience?

SEBASTIAN

But what about your guilty conscience?

ANTONIO

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.

ANTONIO

Ah, yes. Where is my conscience? If a conscience were a blister on my heel, I'd put my slippers on. But I don't feel this "conscience" in my chest. Even if there were twenty guilty consciences standing between me and the dukedom of Milan, I'd combine them like candies and melt them away before they'd bother me. Here lies your sleeping brother, who'd be of no more value than the ground he's lying on if he were in fact what he now looks like—dead, that is. And I, with just three inches of this sword, could put him to rest forever; while you, doing the same, could give ancient Gonzalo a permanent sleep to ensure that he wouldn't stand against us. As for everyone else, they'll accept whatever we say just as easily as a cat accepts milk. They'll chime in agreement when we instruct them to, just like a clock telling time.

SEBASTIAN

Thy case, dear friend, Shall be my precedent. 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.

SEBASTIAN

I'll use your experience as a model, my friend. Just as you got Milan, I’ll get Naples. Take out your sword. With one thrust of your sword, you will be free from having to pay tribute money to Naples ever again. And I, as King of Naples, will be your great friend.

ANTONIO

Draw together.And when I rear my hand, do you the like,To fall it on Gonzalo.

ANTONIO

We'll both draw our swords. When I raise my sword, you do the same, and bring it down to kill Gonzalo.

ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN take out their swords.

SEBASTIAN

O, but one word. [speaks quietly to ANTONIO]

SEBASTIAN

Oh, just one more thing. [He speaks quietly to ANTONIO]

ARIEL enters, invisible, playing music and singing.

ARIEL

[to GONZALO] My master through his art foresees the danger That you, his friend, are, and sends me forth— For else his project dies—to keep them living. [sings in GONZALO’s ear] While you here do snoring lie, Open-eyed conspiracy His time doth take. If of life you keep a care, Shake off slumber and beware. Awake! Awake!

ARIEL

[To GONZALO] With his magic, my master could see the danger that you, his friend, are in. He sent me to keep you all alive—or else his plans would die along with you. 

[Singing in GONZALO’s ear] 
While you lie here snoring, 
Cold-blooded conspirators 
Are about to seize their chance. 
If you want to live, 
Wake up and beware! 
Wake up! Wake up!

ANTONIO

Then let us both be sudden.

ANTONIO

Now let’s do this quickly.

GONZALO

[waking and seeing them] Now, good angels preserve the king!

GONZALO

[Waking up and seeing them] Angels above protect the king!

ALONSO

[waking] Why, how now? Ho, awake!

ALONSO

[Waking up] Why, what’s happening? Hey, wake up!

Everyone wakes up.

Why are you drawn?Wherefore this ghastly looking?

Why have you taken out your swords? Why do you look so frightened?

GONZALO

What’s the matter?

GONZALO

What’s going on here?

SEBASTIAN

Whiles we stood here securing your repose, Even now, we heard a hollow burst of bellowing Like bulls, or rather lions. Did ’t not wake you? It struck mine ear most terribly.

SEBASTIAN

While we stood here on guard while you were asleep, we just now heard a tremendous thundering that sounded like bulls, or lions. Isn't that what woke you? It sounded awful to me.

ALONSO

I heard nothing.

ALONSO

I didn’t hear anything.

ANTONIO

Oh, ’twas a din to fright a monster’s ear, To make an earthquake! Sure, it was the roar Of a whole herd of lions.

ANTONIO

Oh, it was loud enough to frighten a monster, or to cause an earthquake! Surely, it must have been the roar of an entire herd of lions.

ALONSO

Heard you this, Gonzalo?

ALONSO

Did you hear it, Gonzalo?

GONZALO

Upon mine honor, sir, I heard a humming, And that a strange one too, which did awake me. I shaked you, sir, and cried. As mine eyes opened, I saw their weapons drawn. There was a noise, That’s verily. 'Tis best we stand upon our guard, Or that we quit this place. Let’s draw our weapons.

GONZALO

Sir, I swear that I did hear a strange humming sound, which woke me up. I shook you, sir, and cried out. When I opened my eyes, I saw their raised swords. There was a noise, that’s true. It would be best if we either set a constant guard here, or left this place entirely. Let’s take out our own swords too.

ALONSO

Lead off this ground, and let’s make further searchFor my poor son.

ALONSO

Lead us away from this place, and let's go search some more for my poor son.

GONZALO

Heavens keep him from these beasts!For he is, sure, i' th' island.

GONZALO

May God protect Ferdinand from those lions. Because I’m sure he’s on the island.

ALONSO

Lead away.

ALONSO

Lead on.

ARIEL

[aside] Prospero my lord shall know what I have done.So, King, go safely on to seek thy son.

ARIEL

[To himself] My lord Prospero will know what I’ve done. So, King, continue on in safety and search for your son.

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.