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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; but the

* 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. 1. 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 Shakspeare, 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

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.” *

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 deaw 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: "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.

of 1611, and that it was brought on the stage early in the succeeding year.

The Tempest is, next to Macbeth, the noblest product of our author's genius. Never were the wild and the wonderful, the pathetic and the sublime, more artfully and gracefully combined with the sportive sallies of a playful imagination, than in this enchantingly attractive drama. Nor is it less remarkable, that all these excellencies of the highest order are connected with a plot which, in its mechanism, and in the preservation of the unities, is perfectly classical and correct.

The action, which turns upon the restoration of Prospero to his former dignities, involving in its successful issue, the union of Ferdinand and Miranda, the temporary punishment of the guilty, and the reconciliation of all parties, is simple, integral, and complete. The place is confined to a small island, and, for the most part, to the cave of Prospero, or its immediate vicinity, and the poet has taken care to inform us twice in the last act, that the time occupied in the representation, has not exceeded three hours. *

Yet within this short space are brought together, and without any violation of dramatic probability or consistency, the most extraordinary incidents and the most singular assemblage of characters, that fancy, in her wildest mood, has ever generated. A magician possessed of the most awful and stupendous powers; a spirit of the air beautiful and benign; a goblin hideous and malignant, a compound of the savage, the demon, and the brute; and a young and lovely female who has never seen a human being, save her father, are the inha

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Act v. sc. 1. Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. pp. 160, 161. "Alon. What is this maid, with whom thou wast at play? Your eld'st acquaintance cannot be three hours."


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Act v. p. 163.

bitants of an island, no otherwise frequented than by the fantastic creations of Prospero's necromantic art.

A solemn and mysterious grandeur envelopes the character of Prospero, from his first entrance to his final exit, the vulgar magie of the day being in him blended with such a portion of moral dignity and philosophic wisdom, as to receive thence an elevation, and an impression of sublimity, of which it could not previously have been thought susceptible.

The exquisite simplicity, ingenuous affection, and unsuspicious confidence of Miranda, united as they are with the utmost sweetness and tenderness of disposition, render the scenes which pass between her and Ferdinand beyond measure delightful and refreshing; they are, indeed, as far as relates to her share of the dialogue, perfectly paradisaical. Nor is the conception of this singularly situated character less striking, than the consistency with which, to the very last, it is supported, throughout all its parts.

On the wildly-graceful picture of Ariel, that " delicate spirit," whose occupation it was,

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what language can express an adequate encomium! All his thoughts and actions, his pastimes and employments, are such as could only belong to a being of a higher sphere, of a more sublimated and ætherial existence than the race of man. Even the very words which he chants, seem to refer to "no mortal business," and to form "no sound that the earth owes."

Of a nature directly opposed to this elegant and sylph-like essence, is the hag-born monster Caliban, one of the most astonishing pro

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