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The Tempest

The Tempest Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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FERDINAND enters, carrying a log.

FERDINAND

There be some sports are painful, and their labor Delight in them sets off. Some kinds of baseness Are nobly undergone. And most poor matters Point to rich ends. This my mean task Would be as heavy to me as odious, but The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead And makes my labors pleasures. Oh, she is Ten times more gentle than her father’s crabbed, And he’s composed of harshness. I must remove Some thousands of these logs and pile them up, Upon a sore injunction. My sweet mistress Weeps when she sees me work, and says such baseness Had never like executor. I forget, But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labors, Most busiest when I do it.

FERDINAND

Some games are difficult, but the effort they require contributes to the pleasure they give. Some kinds of dishonorable manual labor are undertaken for noble reasons. And many things that bring no money can lead to great wealth in the end. This hard and undignified work would be dull and disgusting to me, but the woman for whom I am doing this makes what is awful seem wonderful. She makes my hard work seem like a pleasure. Oh, she’s ten times more kind than her father is nasty, and he’s completely nasty. He’s issued a severe command that I have to move thousands of these logs and put them in a stack. My sweet lady cries when she sees me work, and tells me that such lowly work has never been done by such a noble person. These sweet thoughts refresh me and make me forget that I am working, especially when I am working the hardest.

MIRANDA enters, followed by PROSPERO who remains unseen by the others.

MIRANDA

Alas now, pray you, Work not so hard. I would the lightning had Burnt up those logs that you are enjoined to pile! Pray, set it down and rest you. When this burns, 'Twill weep for having wearied you. My father Is hard at study. Pray now, rest yourself. He’s safe for these three hours.

MIRANDA

Oh, please, I beg you, don’t work so hard. I wish the lightning had burned up these logs that you’ve been commanded to stack in a pile! Please, put the log down and rest. When this wood burns, it will cry because it made you tired. My father is hard at work studying. So please, rest. We’re safe from my father for the next three hours.

FERDINAND

O most dear mistress,The sun will set before I shall dischargeWhat I must strive to do.

FERDINAND

Oh, my dear lady, the sun will set before I've finished the work I've been told to do.

MIRANDA

If you’ll sit down,I’ll bear your logs the while. Pray, give me that.I’ll carry it to the pile.

MIRANDA

If you'll sit down, I’ll carry your logs for a while. Please, give them to me. I’ll carry it to the pile.

FERDINAND

No, precious creature. I had rather crack my sinews, break my back, Than you should such dishonor undergo While I sit lazy by.

FERDINAND

No, my precious darling, I’d rather tear my muscles and break my back than let you do such dishonorable work while I sit lazily nearby.

MIRANDA

It would become me As well as it does you, and I should do it With much more ease, for my good will is to it And yours it is against.

MIRANDA

The work would suit me as much as it suits you, and it would be easier for me because I want to do it, whereas you do not.

PROSPERO

[aside] Poor worm, thou art infected!This visitation shows it.

PROSPERO

[To himself] Poor little thing, you’re overwhelmed by love! These lovesick words prove it.

MIRANDA

You look wearily.

MIRANDA

You look tired.

FERDINAND

No, noble mistress. 'Tis fresh morning with me When you are by at night. I do beseech you— Chiefly that I might set it in my prayers— What is your name?

FERDINAND

No, noble lady. When you’re nearby, I’m as fresh and strong as I am in the morning—even at night. I beg you—so that I can mention it in my prayers—what is your name?

MIRANDA

Miranda. O my father,I have broke your hest to say so!

MIRANDA

Miranda. Oh, Father, I’ve broken your command to me by telling him that!

FERDINAND

Admired Miranda! Indeed the top of admiration, worth What’s dearest to th' world! Full many a lady I have eyed with best regard and many a time Th' harmony of their tongues hath into bondage Brought my too diligent ear. For several virtues Have I liked several women. Never any With so full soul but some defect in her Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed And put it to the foil. But you, O you, So perfect and so peerless, are created Of every creature’s best.

FERDINAND

Admired Miranda! You do indeed deserve the utmost admiration, as much as the most treasured thing in the world! I’ve looked at many women with great enjoyment. And I've been entranced by the sweet sounds of their voices in my ear, which too eagerly heard their words. There have been several women whom I liked for the multiple good qualities they had. But every one of them had some bad trait that contrasted with and outweighed even their best qualities. But you, oh you, are perfect, beyond compare, and are made out of the best qualities possible in a woman.

MIRANDA

I do not know One of my sex, no woman’s face remember— Save, from my glass, mine own. Nor have I seen More that I may call men than you, good friend, And my dear father. How features are abroad I am skill-less of, but, by my modesty, The jewel in my dower, I would not wish Any companion in the world but you, Nor can imagination form a shape Besides yourself to like of. But I prattle Something too wildly, and my father’s precepts I therein do forget.

MIRANDA

I don't know a single woman, or even seen a woman’s face—except my own in the mirror. I’ve also never met any other men than you, my friend, and my dear father. I have no knowledge of what people look like in other places. But I swear by my virginity—the most precious thing that I can give—that I’d never want to be with anyone in the world but you. I can’t even imagine that I might like any other shape besides your own. But listen to me babbling on and on, forgetting that my father told me not to.

FERDINAND

I am in my condition A prince, Miranda—I do think, a king; I would, not so!—and would no more endure This wooden slavery than to suffer The flesh-fly blow my mouth. Hear my soul speak. The very instant that I saw you did My heart fly to your service, there resides To make me slave to it, and for your sake Am I this patient log-man.

FERDINAND

I am a prince, Miranda—I think I'm probably now a king, though I wish that were not true—and normally I wouldn't tolerate being forced to carry logs any more than I’d let insects fly into my mouth. But listen to this, from the bottom of my soul. The moment that I saw you, my heart rushed to serve you, and it remains there as your servant. So, for your sake, I patiently carry these logs.

MIRANDA

Do you love me?

MIRANDA

Do you love me?

FERDINAND

O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound And crown what I profess with kind event If I speak true! If hollowly, invert What best is boded me to mischief! I Beyond all limit of what else i' th' world Do love, prize, honor you.

FERDINAND

Oh, heaven; oh, earth—witness the words I'm going to speak. And if I speak the truth, bless them with the outcome I hope for. If I’m insincere, then take all the good fortune that's in store for me and turn it bad. More than anything else in the world, I love, cherish, and honor you.

MIRANDA

I am a foolTo weep at what I am glad of.

MIRANDA

I'm such a fool to cry at the thing that makes me happy.

PROSPERO

[aside] Fair encounterOf two most rare affections! Heavens rain graceOn that which breeds between 'em!

PROSPERO

[To himself] What a beautiful encounter between two people so utterly in love! May heaven shower blessings on the love growing between them!

FERDINAND

Wherefore weep you?

FERDINAND

Why are you crying?

MIRANDA

At mine unworthiness, that dare not offer What I desire to give, and much less take What I shall die to want. But this is trifling, And all the more it seeks to hide itself The bigger bulk it shows. Hence, bashful cunning, And prompt me, plain and holy innocence! I am your wife if you will marry me. If not, I’ll die your maid. To be your fellow You may deny me, but I’ll be your servant Whether you will or no.

MIRANDA

I’m crying at my cowardice for not daring to give you what I want to give you, much less take what I’m dying to have. But that's nothing. And the more I try to hide my feelings, the larger they get. So stop being so shy and indirect, Miranda, and let your innocent directness guide you! I’ll be your wife if you will marry me. If you won't, I’ll die a virgin, having never loved another man. You can refuse to make me your wife, but I’ll be your servant whether you want me to or not.

FERDINAND

My mistress, dearest, and I thus humble ever.

FERDINAND

You’ll be the one I adore, my dearest. And I’ll serve you as I do now, forever.

MIRANDA

My husband, then?

MIRANDA

You'll be my husband, then?

FERDINAND

Ay, with a heart as willingAs bondage e'er of freedom. Here’s my hand.

FERDINAND

Yes, with a heart as eager to become a husband as any slave has ever wanted freedom. Here's my hand.

MIRANDA

And mine, with my heart in ’t. And now farewellTill half an hour hence.

MIRANDA

[She takes FERDINAND's hand] And here's mine, with my heart in it. And now goodbye until half an hour from now.

FERDINAND

A thousand thousand!

FERDINAND

A million goodbyes.

MIRANDA and FERDINAND exit, in opposite directions.

PROSPERO

So glad of this as they I cannot be, Who are surprised withal. But my rejoicing At nothing can be more. I’ll to my book, For yet ere supper-time must I perform Much business appertaining.

PROSPERO

I can’t be as happy as they are at what's happening, because they are surprised by it—whereas I planned it all along. But nothing could make me happier. Now I'll return to my book of magic, because there's a lot of work that pertains to the love growing between Miranda and Ferdinand that I must do before dinner.

He exits.

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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.