Imatges de pÓgina

tachment in the bosoms of Ferdinand and Mi. randa :


It goes on, I see
soul prompts

Spirit, fine spirit! I'll free
Within two days for this.

At first sight They have chang'd eyes:- Delicate Ariel, I'll set thee free for this !" * But mark the purposes of Prospero in producing these effects: it is by the union of Ferdinand and Miranda, that he ensures his own restoration to his dukedom, the devolution of hereditary rights to his child, and the restoration of his country to freedom, absolving Milan from disgraceful vassalage, the payment of tribute and homage to the court of Naples.

There is scarcely any history of a magician that might not be quoted as more or less illustrative of the Tempest, but none can with more propriety be referred to than « The Honorable Historie of Frier Bacon and Frier Bongay,” the work of Robert Green, mentioned already as a contem, porary of Shakspeare. Bacon, like Prospero, is represented as a master of his art, compelling the devil to pay him homage, and not receiving his services by virtue of any iniquitous contract.

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Bacon, therefore, has recourse continually to his
books, boasting that by their aid he can
" Make storming Boreas thunder from his cave

And dim fair Luna by a dark eclipse ;
The great arch-ruler, potentate of hell,
Trembles, when Bacon bids him, or his friends,
Bow to the force of his Pentageron.
What art can work the frolic friar knows,
And therefore will I turn my magic books,

And strain out necromancy to the deep.”

" dived into hell,
And sought the darkest palaces of fiends,
That with his magic spells great Belcephon

Hath left his lodge and kneeled at his cell :" that is, having subdued the world of spirits to implicit obedience to his commands, the friar exhibits many of those wonders of his art which so much astonish and delight in Prospero. In the presence of the King and Queen, Bacon waves his wand, and immediately appear a troop of dancers, and a masque of apes and antics; and, on another occasion, he introduces a procession of Russians, Polanders, Indians, and Armenians; and at the wedding of a poor gentleman raises a sumptuous banquet of delicacies. As Ferdinand in the presence of Prospero*, and Antonio and Sebastian when enraged against Arielt, Act I. sc. 2.

+ Act III. sc. 3.


charmed into helplessness, so Prince Edward, Warren, and Ermsbie, in Friar Bacon, are rendered incapable of drawing their swords; and as Ariel deluded Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo through

“ Tooth'd briars, sharp furzes, pricking goss and thorns,

Which enter'd their frail shins : at last I left them
I'the filthy mantled pool beyond your cell ;
There dancing up to the chins, that the foul lake
O'erstunk their feet," *

so Bacon leads an honest gentleman very far out of his way, and entangles a gang of thieves in an erroneous path, where they are covered with dirt and mire. Finally, disgusted with his art, which makes, he says, a man a devil, the Friar burns his books of magic, resolving to devote the remainder of his days to the study of divinity; sorely repenting

" That ever Bacon meddled in this art

For using devils to countervaile his God.”

The perfect purity of Prospero's conduct, and the excellence of his intentions, throw a lustre over his dealings with the powers of darkness, and it is never suspected that he has been engaged in the practice of an unlawful art till he

* Act IV. sc. 1.

abjures rough magic,” expresses his determiation to

“ break his staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,

And deeper than did ever plummet sound,” to “ drown his book” and then retire to Milan, where « Every third thought shall be his


From Eden's History of Travaile, published in 1577, and the chapter in Philemon Holland'stranslation of Pliny, 1601, which treats “ of strange and wondrous shapes of sundrie nations,” Shakspeare gathered many general ideas of a monster in human shape, like Caliban. But the hints contained in both these works, are neither sufficiently numerous nor important to shake his claim to the praise of originality in the production of what has not been improperly called a new character on the stage. Imagination cannot conceive brutality more absolute than in Caliban, this loathsome offspring of a wicked witch, born and reared on the inhospitable shore of a desert island, without even the knowledge of the existence of a third human being. His repulsive features are displayed with an energy almost frightful, and Caliban's ignorance is exemplified in numerous instances, with the closest

* Act V. sc. 1.

attention to nature. Yet it admits of question, whether the portrait be a perfect and harmonious whole. Whence, it may be asked, did Caliban obtain such skill in the accurate and even familiar use of words not necessary to the expression of common ideas ? Whence his clear notions of the relative situations of the governor and the governed ? Gabbling, like a thing most brutish, not knowing his own meaning,” Caliban might, certainly, in less than “ twelve years,” be taught “ to speak,” “ how to name the bigger light, and how the less that burn by day and night;" but could all the skill and diligence of Prospero have imbued his mind with the knowledge he evinces ? Of explaining to the “poisonous slave” his indisputable right to the dominion of the island, under the double claim of inheritance and possession *, his able master will not even be suspected.

The name of Caliban, says Dr. Farmer, is a mere metathesis of Canibal. From the following passage, it appears how Caliban comes to call his dam's god Setebos. The adventurous discoverer Magellan, secured two giant savages, whom he called Patagonians, and they no sooner

sawe how they were deceived, than they roared

lyha bulls

* Act I. sc. 2.

Act III. sc. 2.

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