This page contains the original text of Act 2, Scene 1 of The Tempest . Shakespeare’s original The Tempest text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts and Scenes are listed on the The Tempest text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 2. SCENE 1. Another part of the island.
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, GONZALO, ADRIAN, FRANCISCO, and others
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.
He receives comfort like cold porridge.
The visitor will not give him o’er so.
Look he’s winding up the watch of his wit;
by and by it will strike.
When every grief is entertain’d that’s offer’d,
Comes to the entertainer–
Dolour comes to him, indeed: you
have spoken truer than you purposed.
You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should.
Therefore, my lord,–
Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue!
I prithee, spare.
Well, I have done: but yet,–
He will be talking.
Which, of he or Adrian, for a good
wager, first begins to crow?
The old cock.
Done. The wager?
Though this island seem to be desert,–
Ha, ha, ha! So, you’re paid.
Uninhabitable and almost inaccessible,–
He could not miss’t.
It must needs be of subtle, tender and delicate
Temperance was a delicate wench.
Ay, and a subtle; as he most learnedly delivered.
The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.
As if it had lungs and rotten ones.
Or as ’twere perfumed by a fen.
Here is everything advantageous to life.
True; save means to live.
Of that there’s none, or little.
How lush and lusty the grass looks! how green!
The ground indeed is tawny.
With an eye of green in’t.
He misses not much.
No; he doth but mistake the truth totally.
But the rarity of it is,–which is indeed almost
As many vouched rarities are.
That our garments, being, as they were, drenched in
the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and
glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with
If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not
say he lies?
Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report
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.
‘Twas a sweet marriage, and we prosper well in our return.
Tunis was never graced before with such a paragon to
Not since widow Dido’s time.
Widow! a pox o’ that! How came that widow in?
What if he had said ‘widower AEneas’ too? Good Lord,
how you take it!
‘Widow Dido’ said you? you make me study of that:
she was of Carthage, not of Tunis.
This Tunis, sir, was Carthage.
I assure you, Carthage.
His word is more than the miraculous harp; he hath
raised the wall and houses too.
What impossible matter will he make easy next?
I think he will carry this island home in his pocket
and give it his son for an apple.
And, sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring
forth more islands.
Why, in good time.
Sir, we were talking that our garments seem now
as fresh as when we were at Tunis at the marriage
of your daughter, who is now queen.
And the rarest that e’er came there.
Bate, I beseech you, widow Dido.
O, widow Dido! ay, widow Dido.
Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as the first day I
wore it? I mean, in a sort.
That sort was well fished for.
When I wore it at your daughter’s marriage?
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?
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 swoln that met him; his bold head
‘Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oar’d
Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke
To the shore, that o’er his wave-worn basis bow’d,
As stooping to relieve him: I not doubt
He came alive to land.
No, no, he’s gone.
Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss,
That would not bless our Europe with your daughter,
But rather lose her to an African;
Where she at least is banish’d from your eye,
Who hath cause to wet the grief on’t.
You were kneel’d to and importuned otherwise
By all of us, and the fair soul herself
Weigh’d between loathness and obedience, at
Which end o’ the beam should bow. We have lost your
I fear, for ever: Milan and Naples have
More widows in them of this business’ making
Than we bring men to comfort them:
The fault’s your own.
So is the dear’st o’ the loss.
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.
And most chirurgeonly.
It is foul weather in us all, good sir,
When you are cloudy.
Had I plantation of this isle, my lord,–
He’ld sow’t with nettle-seed.
Or docks, or mallows.
And were the king on’t, what would I do?
‘Scape being drunk for want of wine.
I’ the 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;
Yet he would be king on’t.
The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the
All things in common nature should produce
Without sweat or endeavour: 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.
No marrying ‘mong his subjects?
None, man; all idle: whores and knaves.
I would with such perfection govern, sir,
To excel the golden age.
God save his majesty!
Long live Gonzalo!
And,–do you mark me, sir?
Prithee, no more: thou dost talk nothing to me.
I do well believe your highness; and
did it to minister occasion to these gentlemen,
who are of such sensible and nimble lungs that
they always use to laugh at nothing.
‘Twas you we laughed at.
Who in this kind of merry fooling am nothing
to you: so you may continue and laugh at
What a blow was there given!
An it had not fallen flat-long.
You are gentlemen of brave metal; you would lift
the moon out of her sphere, if she would continue
in it five weeks without changing.
Enter ARIEL, invisible, playing solemn music
We would so, and then go a bat-fowling.
Nay, good my lord, be not angry.
No, I warrant you; I will not adventure
my discretion so weakly. Will you laugh
me asleep, for I am very heavy?
Go sleep, and hear us.
All sleep except ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, and ANTONIO
What, all so soon asleep! I wish mine eyes
Would, with themselves, shut up my thoughts: I find
They are inclined to do so.
Please you, sir,
Do not omit the heavy offer of it:
It seldom visits sorrow; when it doth,
It is a comforter.
We two, my lord,
Will guard your person while you take your rest,
And watch your safety.
Thank you. Wondrous heavy.
ALONSO sleeps. Exit ARIEL
What a strange drowsiness possesses them!
It is the quality o’ the climate.
Doth it not then our eyelids sink? I find not
Myself disposed to sleep.
Nor I; my spirits are nimble.
They fell together all, as by consent;
They dropp’d, as by a thunder-stroke. What might,
Worthy Sebastian? O, what might?–No more:–
And yet me thinks I see it in thy face,
What thou shouldst be: the occasion speaks thee, and
My strong imagination sees a crown
Dropping upon thy head.
What, art thou waking?
Do you not hear me speak?
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.
Thou let’st thy fortune sleep–die, rather; wink’st
Whiles thou art waking.
Thou dost snore distinctly;
There’s meaning in thy snores.
I am more serious than my custom: you
Must be so too, if heed me; which to do
Trebles thee o’er.
Well, I am standing water.
I’ll teach you how to flow.
Do so: to ebb
Hereditary sloth instructs me.
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.
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.
Although this lord of weak remembrance, this,
Who shall be of as little memory
When he is earth’d, 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 undrown’d
And he that sleeps here swims.
I have no hope
That he’s undrown’d.
O, 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 drown’d?
Then, tell me,
Who’s the next heir of Naples?
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’ the moon’s too slow–till new-born chins
Be rough and razorable; she that–from whom?
We all were sea-swallow’d, 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.
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.
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. O, that you bore
The mind that I do! what a sleep were this
For your advancement! Do you understand me?
Methinks I do.
And how does your content
Tender your own good fortune?
You did supplant your brother Prospero.
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.
But, for your conscience?
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.
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.
And when I rear my hand, do you the like,
To fall it on Gonzalo.
O, but one word.
They talk apart
Re-enter ARIEL, invisible
My master through his art foresees the danger
That you, his friend, are in; and sends me forth–
For else his project dies–to keep them living.
Sings in GONZALO’s ear
While you here do snoring lie,
His time doth take.
If of life you keep a care,
Shake off slumber, and beware:
Then let us both be sudden.
Now, good angels
Preserve the king.
Why, how now? ho, awake! Why are you drawn?
Wherefore this ghastly looking?
What’s the matter?
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.
I heard nothing.
O, ’twas a din to fright a monster’s ear,
To make an earthquake! sure, it was the roar
Of a whole herd of lions.
Heard you this, Gonzalo?
Upon mine honour, sir, I heard a humming,
And that a strange one too, which did awake me:
I shaked you, sir, and cried: as mine eyes open’d,
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.
Lead off this ground; and let’s make further search
For my poor son.
Heavens keep him from these beasts!
For he is, sure, i’ the island.
Prospero my lord shall know what I have done:
So, king, go safely on to seek thy son.
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