Read Shakespeare’s ‘All The Infections That The Sun Sucks Up’ soliloquy from The Tempest below with modern English translation and analysis.
‘All The Infections That The Sun Sucks Up’ Spoken by Caliban, Act 2 Scene 2
All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prospero fall and make him
By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me
And yet I needs must curse. But they’ll nor pinch,
Fright me with urchin—shows, pitch me i’ the mire,
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid ’em; but
For every trifle are they set upon me;
Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me
And after bite me, then like hedgehogs which
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount
Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I
All wound with adders who with cloven tongues
Do hiss me into madness.
‘All The Infections That The Sun Sucks Up’ Soliloquy Translation
He wished that all the infections that the sun sucked up from bogs, marshes and swamps would fall on Prospero and infect him inch by inch with disease. He knew that even though he wasn’t cursing out loud his master’s spirits could hear him, but he couldn’t help it – he just had to curse. He knew they wouldn’t pinch him or frighten him with goblins or throw him in the mud or lead him astray in the shape of a will-o’-the-wisp unless Prospero told them to. But he had to be careful because his master would set them on him for every little thing. Sometimes they looked like apes, and made faces and chattered at him, and then bit him. At other times they looked like hedgehogs that lay tumbled up in his path as he walked barefoot, and raised their spines when he trod on them. Sometimes snakes were twined around him, hissing at him with their forked tongues, until he was driven mad.