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Even here undone?
I was not much afeard: for once, or twice,
I was about to speak; and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun, that shines upon his court,
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike. -Will't please you, sir, be gone?
I told you, what would come of this: 'Beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,
Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch further,
But milk my ewes, and weep.”

(to Florizel.

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The comic characters of this play, which are nearly confined to the last two acts, form a striking contrast and relief to the native delicacy and elegance of manners which distinguish every sentiment and action of the modest and unaffected Perdita ; her reputed father and brother and the witty rogue Autolycus being drawn with those strong but natural strokes of broad humour which Shakspeare delighted to display in his characterisation of the lower orders of society. That

snapper up of unconsidered trifles,” his frolic pedlar, is one of the most entertaining specimens of wicked ingenuity that want and opportunity ever generated.

33. THE TEMPEST : 1611. The dates assigned by the two chronologers, for the composition of this drama, seem to be inferred from premises highly inconclusive and improbable. Mr. Malone conceives it to have been written in 1612, because its title

appears to him to have been derived from the circumstance of a dreadful tempest occurring in the October, November, and December of the

year 1612; and Mr. Chalmers has exchanged this epoch for 1613, because there happened “ a great tempest of thunder and lightning, on Christmas day, 1612." + “ This intimation,” he subjoins,“ sarily carries the writing of The Tempest into the subsequent year, since there is little probability, that our poet would write this enchanting drama, in the midst of the tempest, which overthrew so many mansions, and wrecked so many ships.” I

neces

* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ix. pp. 366, 367. Act iv. sc. 3. + Winwood's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 422. Supplemental Apology, pp. 438, 439. * Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 363. .

1

It is very extraordinary that, when all the circumstances which could lead to the suggestion of the title of The Tempest, are to be found in books, to which, from his allusions, we know our author must have had recourse, and in events which took place, during the two years immediately preceding the period that we have fixed upon, and at the very spot referred to in the play, these critics should have imagined that a series of stormy weather occurring at home, or a single storm on Christmas day, could have operated with the poet in his choice of a name.

It is scarcely possible to avoid smiling at the objection which Mr. Chalmers so seriously brings forward against the conjecture of his predecessor, founded on the improbability of the poet's writing his Tempest in the midst of a tempest; a mode of refutation which could only have been adopted one would think under the supposition, that Shakspeare, during these three stormy months, had wanted the protection of a roof. The inference, however, which he draws from his own storm, on Christmas day, namely, that The Tempest must necessarily have been written in 1613, is still less tenable than the position of Mr. Malone ; for we are told, on the authority of Mr. Vertue's Manuscripts, “ that the Tempest was acted by John Heminge and the rest of the King's company, before Prince Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine elector, in the beginning of the year 1613." * Now we learn from Wilson the historian, that the Prince Palatine was married to the Lady Elizabeth in February, 1613, her brother Prince Charles leading her to church ; and on this occasion, no doubt, it was, that The Tempest, having been received the preceding season with great favour and popularity, was reperformed; for Wilson tells us, that in consequence of these nuptials, " the feastings, maskings, and other Royall formalities, were as troublesome ('tis presum’d) to the Lovers, as the relation of them here may be to the reader;" and he adds, in the next page, that they were “ tired with feasting and jollity.*

But how can this relation be reconciled with the chronology of Mr. Chalmers ? for, if The Tempest, as he supposes, was written in 1613, it must have been commenced and finished in the course of one month! a rapidity of composition which, considering the unrivalled excellence of this drama, is scarcely within the bounds of probability. Beside, were The Tempest the production of January, 1613, it must have been written on the spur of the occasion, and for the nuptials in question ; and is it to be supposed that no reference to such an event would be found throughout a play composed expressly to adorn, if not to compliment, the ceremony ?

If we can, therefore, ascertain, that all the circumstances necessary for the suggestion, not only of the title of The Tempest, but of a considerable part of its fable, may have occurred to Shakspeare's mind anterior to the close of 1611, and would particularly press upon it, during the two years preceding this date, it may, without vanity, be expected, that the epoch which we have chosen, will be preferred to those which we have just had reason to pronounce either trivial or improbable.

So far back as to 1577, have Mr. Steevens and Dr. Farmer referred for some particulars to which Shakspeare was indebted for his conception of the “ foul witch Sycorax," and her god Setebos t; but the circumstances which led to the name of the play, to the storm with which it opens, and to some of the wondrous incidents on the enchanted island, commence with the publication of Raleigh's “ Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of Guiana,” a book that was printed at London in 1596, and in which this great man, after mentioning the Channel of Bahama, adds, " The rest of the Indies for calms, and diseases, are very troublesome; and the Bermudas, a hellish sea, for thunder, lightning, and storms.*

* Wilson's Historie of Great Britain, pp. 64, 65.

+ The idea of the witch, says Mr. Steevens, might have been caught from Dionyse Settle's Reporte of the Last Voyage of Captaine Frobisher, 12mo. bl. l. 1577. He is speaking of a woman found on one of the islands described : -“ The old wretch, whome divers of our Saylers supposed to be a Divell, or a Witche, plucked off her buskins, to see if she were clouen footed, and for her ougly hewe and deformitie, we let her goe.”— Reed's Sbakspeare, vol. iv. p. 33. STEEVENS.

Eden tells us in his History of Travayle, 1577, that “the giantes, when they found themselves fettered, roared like bulls, and cried upon Setebos to help them.”—Ibid. vol. iv. p. 43. note by Farmer.

Mr. Douce thinks that the name of Caliban's mother, Sycorax, was probably taken by Shakspeare from the following passage in Batman uppon Bartholome, 1582;-" The raven

From this publication, therefore, our author acquired his first intimation of the “ still vexed Bermoothes,” which was repeated by the appearance of Hackluyt's Voyages, in 1600, in which, as Dr. Farmer observes, he might have seen a description of Bermuda, by Henry May, who was shipwrecked there in 1593.". But the event which immediately gave rise to the composition of The Tempest, was the Voyage of Sir George Sommers, who was shipwrecked on Bermudas in 1609, and whose adventures were given to the public by Silvester Jourdan, one of his crew, with the following title :- A Discovery of the Bermudas, otherwise called the Isle of Divels: By Sir Thomas Gates, Sir Geo. Sommers, and Captayne Newport, and divers others. In this publication, Jourdan informs us, that “ the Islands of the Bermudas, as every man knoweth, that hath heard, or read of them, were never inhabited by any Christian, or heathen, people, but ever esteemed, and reputed, a most prodigious, and inchanted, place, affording nothing but gusts, stormes and foul weather ; which made every navigator and mariner to avoid them, as Scylla and Charybdis, or as they would shun the Devil himselfe.

Now these particulars in Jourdan's book, taken in conjunction with preceding intimations, appear to us to have been fully adequate to the purpose of suggesting to the creative mind of Shakspeare,

is called corvus of Corax

it is said that ravens birdes be fed with deuw of heaven all the time that they have no black feathers, by benefite of age.” Lib. xii. c. 10. — Illustrations, vol. i. p.

8. * Vide Chalmers's Apology, p. 578.

+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 3.

without

any reference to succeeding pamphlets on the subject, or to storms at home, the name, the opening incidents, and the magical portion of his drama ; for, when Mr. Chalmers refers us to A Plaine Description of the Bermudas now called Sommer islands, it should be recollected, that, even on his own chronology, this work, which was printed in 1613, must, unless it had appeared on the first days of the new year, have come too late to have furnished the poet with any additional information. *

That The Tempest had been produced anterior to the stormy autumn of 1612 seems to have been the opinion of Mr. Douce; for, alluding to the use which the commentators have made of the mere date of Sommers's voyage,

he adds, —“ but the important particulars of his shipwreck, from which it is exceedingly probable that the outline of a considerable part of this play was borrowed, has been unaccountably overlooked ;” and then, after quoting the title, and noticing some of the particulars of Jourdan's book, and introducing a passage from Stowe's Annals descriptive of Sommers's shipwreck on the “ dreadful coast of the Bermodes, which island were of all nations said and supposed to bee inchanted and inhabited with witches and devills,” he proceeds thus :—“

6 Now if some of these circumstances in the shipwreck of Sir George Sommers be considered, it may possibly turn out that they are • the particular and recent event which determined Shakspeare to call his play The Tempest,' instead of the great tempest of 1612,' which has already been supposed to have suggested its name, and which might have happened after its composition.+

From these circumstances, and this chain of reasoning, we are induced to conclude, that The Tempest was written towards the close

* As the passage which we have just quoted from Jourdan's pamphlet is, as Mr. Chalmers confesses, in the first edition of 1610, what necessity was there for referring us, for Shakspeare's obligation, to little more than a second edition of it, under the title of “ A Plaine Description,” &c.? —-Vide Chalmers's Apology, p. 580,

+ Illustrations of Shakspeare, vol. i. pp. 5–7.

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