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and so Cornwallis might have written about | and hopeless of any succour, most of them were "divers parts" of Florio's 'Montaigne' before gone to sleep, yielding themselves to the mercy 1596; and Shakspere might have read this of the sea, being all very desirous to die upon identical part of Florio's 'Montaigne' before any shore wheresoever. Sir George Sommers, 1596; and thus the dates both of Cornwallis's sitting at the stern, seeing the ship desperate of and Florio's books go for nothing in this relief, looking every minute when the ship would sink, he espied land, which, according to inquiry. Is this evidence? his and Captain Newport's opinion, they judged it should be that dreadful coast of the Bermudas, which islands were, of all nations, said and sup
witches and devils, which grew by reason of accustomed monstrous thunder-storm and tem
The date of Shakspere's 'Tempest' has been a fertile subject for the exercise of critical conjecture. Malone writes a pam-posed to be enchanted, and inhabited with phlet of sixty pages upon it; Chalmers another pamphlet somewhat longer. The first has been reprinted in Boswell's edition; the other costs as much as a manuscript in the days before printing. It is worth the money, however, for a quiet laugh. The two critics differ very slightly in their opinions as to the date of the comedy; but their proofs are essentially different. Malone contends for 1611, holding that "the storm by which Sir George Sommers was shipwrecked on the island of Bermuda, in 1609, unquestionably gave rise to Shakspeare's 'Tempest,' and suggested to him the title, as well as some incidents." The whole relation is contained in the additions to Stow's 'Annals' by Howes:
"In the year 1609 the Adventurers and Company of Virginia sent from London a fleet of eight ships, with people to supply and make strong the colony in Virginia; Sir Thomas Gates being general, in a ship of 300 tons: in this ship was also Sir George Sommers, who was admiral, and Captain Newport, vice-admiral, and with them about 160 persons. This ship was 'Admiral,' and kept company with the rest of the fleet to the height of 30 degrees; and, being then assembled to consult touching divers matters, they were surprised with a most extreme violent storm, which scattered the whole fleet, yet all the rest of the fleet bent their course for Virginia, where, by God's special favour, they arrived safely; but this great ship, though new, and far stronger than any of the rest, fell into a great leak, so as mariners and passengers were forced, for three days' space, to do their utmost to save themselves from sudden sinking: but notwithstanding their incessant pumping, and casting out of water by buckets and all other means, yet the water covered all the goods within the hold, and all men were utterly tired, and spent in strength, and overcome with labour;
pest near unto those islands; also for that the whole coast is so wonderous dangerous of rocks that few can approach them but with unspeakable hazard of shipwreck. Sir George Sommers, Sir Thomas Gates, Captain Newport, and the rest, suddenly agreed of two evils to choose the least, and so, in a kind of desperate resolution, directed the ship mainly for these islands, which, by God's divine providence, at a high water ran right between two strong rocks, where it stuck fast without breaking, which gave leisure and good opportunity for them to hoist out their boat, and to land all their people, as well sailors as soldiers and others, in good safety; and being come ashore they were soon refreshed and cheered, the soil and air being most sweet and delicate."
Here we have a storm, a wreck, the Bermudas, and an enchanted island; and, in other descriptions of the same event, we have mention of a sea-monster. "Nothing can be more conclusive, then," says Malone, "that the date of the play is fixed, with uncommon precision, between the end of the year 1610 and the autumn of 1611." No, says Chalmers, the shipwreck of Sir George Sommers did suggest the incidents; but Malone himself had admitted that there was a great tempest at home in 1612;" the author availed himself of a circumstance then fresh in the minds of his audience, by affixing a title to it which was more likely to excite curiosity than any other that he could have chosen, while, at the same time, it was sufficiently justified by the subject of the drama.” "Now this tempest," says Chalmers, "happened at Christmas 1612; and so the play could not have been written in the summer of 1612." Surely all this is admirable fooling,
which is scarcely necessary to say is put an end to by the certainty that the play existed in 1611. In such minute inquiries, all assuming that poetry is to be dealt with by the same laws as chronology, or geography, or any other exact branch of knowledge, there can be nothing but perpetual mistake, and contradiction, and false inference. Chalmers, in some respects acute enough, has, through the indulgence of these propensities for making poetry literal, fallen into the mistake of imagining that Bermuda was the scene of 'The Tempest.' Mr. Hunter says, "No editor of Shakspeare has ever gone so far as to represent the island of Bermuda as actually the scene of this play;" but he adds, “Chal- | mers has given some encouragement to this very prevalent mistake." Encouragement? He says, in his 'Apology,' and repeats the passage in his rare tract*, "Our maker showed great judgment in causing, by enchantment, the king's ship to be wrecked on the still-vex'd Bermoothes." Again, "Stephano became king of the still-vex'd Bermoothes." Lastly, in the 'Another Account," If it be asked what circumstance it was which induced our dramatist to think of Bermudas, in 1613, as the scene of his comedy, the answer must be that the Bermudas, which had been considered, ever since the publication, in 1596, of Sir Walter Raleigh's description of Guiana, as a 'hellish sea for thunder, lightning, and storms,' was first planted, in 1612, by a ship called the Plough, from the Thames, which carried out a colony of a hundred and sixty persons." The nonsense of this notion is self-evident. If the Bermudas were the scene, Ariel must have outdone himself to convey "the rest of the fleet" over the Atlantic, to place them "upon the Mediterranean flote ;" and, on the contrary, he would have been a mere human carrier if he had been called up from one deep nook" of the island "to fetch dew" from some other part. This will not quite fit. And so we must resort to another geographical system. Mr. Hunter has discovered "another island," which he thus introduces:"I must do the old critics the justice to say that, till this discovery (such I
*Another Account of the Incidents,' &c., 1815.
may call it), no island, as far as I know, a better claim to be regarded as the island of Prospero than Bermuda." That island is Lampedusa. "Did we not know," he continues, "how much still remains to be done in the criticism of these plays, it would be scarcely credible that no one seems to have thought of tracing the line of Alonso's track, or of speculating, with the map before him, on the island on which Prospero and Miranda may be supposed to have been cast." Lampedusa is the island: "It lies midway between Malta and the African coast;' "in its dimensions Lampedusa is what we may imagine Prospero's island to have been; in circuit thirteen miles and a half ;”—it is "situated in a stormy sea;"—it is " a deserted island;" it has the reputation of "being enchanted." Can anything be more decisive? "What I contend for is the absolute claim of Lampedusa to have been the island in the poet's mind when he drew the scenes of this drama." The matter, according to Mr. Hunter, is beyond all doubt. "In the rocks of Lampedusa there are hollows;"Caliban is stied in the "hard rock:" in Lampedusa there was a hermit's cell-❝ this cell is surely the origin of the cell of Prospero:" Caliban's employment was collecting firewood;—" Malta is supplied with firewood from Lampedusa." Mr. Hunter asks his friend "whether you would think me presumptuous in requiring that in future editions of these plays there should be, in the accustomed place, at the foot of the dramatis personæ, the words
'SCENE, LAMPEDUSA.' We have not so determined the scene. We believe that the poet had no locality whatever in his mind, just as he had no notion of any particular storm. Tempests and enchanted islands are of the oldest materials of poetry. Mr. Hunter says Shakspere had Ariosto's description of a storm in his mind. Who, we may ask, suggested to Ariosto his description? Has any one fixed the date of Ariosto's storm? Has not the poet described the poet's office ?
"The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.'
dramas, in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Some are clearly derived from English models; and Mr. Thoms thinks that an old play, on which Shakspere founded 'The Tempest,' is translated in Ayrer's
Franz Horn asks whether Prospero left Cali- works, published in 1618. ban to govern the island?
We believe the island sunk into the sea, and was no more seen, after Prospero broke his staff and drowned his book.
There is a very curious story told by Warton, of poor Collins informing him, during his mental aberration, that he had seen a romance which contained the story of 'The Tempest.'
"I was informed by the late Mr. Collins, of Chichester, that Shakspeare's 'Tempest,' for which no origin is yet assigned, was founded on a romance called 'Amelia and Isabella,' printed in Italian, Spanish, French, and English, in 1588. But, though this information has not proved true on examination, a useful conclusion may be drawn from it, that Shakspeare's story is somewhere to be found in an Italian novel; at least, that the story preceded Shakspeare. Mr. Collins had searched this subject with no less fidelity than judgment and industry; but, his memory failing in his last calamitous indisposition, he probably gave me the name of one novel for another. I remember he added a circumstance which may lead to a discovery, that the principal character of the romance answering to Shakspere's 'Prospero' was a chemical necromancer, who had bound a spirit like Ariel to obey his call and perform his services."
Mr. Thoms, in a very interesting paper on the Early English and German Dramas," has given, from Tieck, an account of certain early productions of English dramatists which were translated into German about the year 1600. We cannot here enter into the very curious question whether an English company performed English plays in Germany at that period; but it is quite certain that
some of our earliest dramas were either translated or adapted for the German stage at this early period. Jacob Ayrer, a notary of Nürnburg, was the author of thirty
*New Monthly Magazine,' January 1, 1841.
"The origin of the plot of "The Tempest" is for the present a Shakspearean mystery,' are the words of our friend Mr. Hunter, in his learned and interesting dissertation upon that play. That mystery, however, I consider as solved,-Tieck appears to entertain no doubt upon the subject, and I hope to bring the matter before you in such a manner as will satisfy you of the correctness of Tieck's views in this respect. But to the point. Shakspeare unquestionably derived his idea of "The Tempest' from an earlier drama, now not known to exist, but of which a German version is preserved in Ayrer's play, entitled 'Die Schöne Sidea' (The Beautiful Sidea); and the proof of this fact is to be found in the points of resemblance between the two plays, which are far too striking and peculiar to be the result of accident.
"It is true that the scene in which Ayrer's play is laid, and the names of the personages, differ from those of The Tempest;' but the main incidents of the two plays are all but identically the same. For instance, in the German drama, Prince Ludolph and Prince Leudegast supply the places of Prospero and Alonso. Ludolph, like Prospero, is a magician, and like him has an only daughter, Sidea-the Miranda of 'The Tempest'—and an attendant spirit, Runcifal, who, though not strictly resembling either Ariel or Caliban, may well be considered as the primary type which suggested to the nimble fancy of our great dramatist those strongly yet admirably contrasted beings. Shortly after the commencement of the play, Ludolph, having been vanquished by his rival, and with his daughter Sidea driven into a forest, rebukes her for complaining of their change of fortune, and then summons his spirit Runcifal to learn from him their future destiny, and prospects of revenge. Runcifal, who is, like Ariel, somewhat moody,' announces to Ludolph that the son of his enemy will shortly become his prisoner. After a comic episode, most probably introduced by the German, we see Prince Leudegast, with his son Engelbrecht—the Ferdinand of 'The Tempest'-and the councillors, hunting in the same forest; when Engelbrecht
so successful both in tragedy and comedy, that he could move an Heraclitus to laughter, and a Democritus to tears.'"*
and his companion Famulus, having separated | ingenious and witty mind, full of fun, and was
'I can here disarm thee with this stick,
so Ludolph, with his wand, keeps their swords in their scabbards, paralyses Engelbrecht, and makes him confess his
'Nerves are in their infancy again, And have no vigour in them,'
So much has been written on 'The Tempest,' and so unnecessary is it for us to analyse the plot or dwell on the charms of the poetry, that we shall here content ourselves with presenting our readers with some brief extracts, having reference to the principal characters, translated from the 'Shaksperes Schauspiele erläutert' of Franz Horn. "In 'Prospero we have a delineation of
and, when he has done so, gives him over as a peculiar profundity. He was, once, not altoslave to Sidea, to carry logs for her.
"The resemblance between this scene and the parallel scene in 'The Tempest' is rendered still more striking in a late part of the play, when Sidea, moved by pity for the labours of Engelbrecht, in carrying logs, declares to him,
'I am your wife, if you will marry me,' an event which, in the end, is happily brought about, and leads to the reconciliation of their parents, the rival princes."
It appears not the least extraordinary circumstance in this extraordinary question of literary history, that Ayrer did not translate some of Shakspere's own works, particularly those which existed in printed copies. Shakspere, according to Eschenburg, was not known in Germany, as far as can be collected from any mention in books, till nearly the close of the 17th century.—
'The first German author who has given a thought to Shakspere is perhaps Morhof, whose 'Instructions in the German Language' was first printed in 1682. Towards the end of the fourth chapter, On the Poetry of the English,' he is merely named, and Morhof acknowledges that he had himself seen nothing of his, or of Beau
mont and Fletcher's. Not very long afterwards, Benthem, our poet, mentions him in his 'State
of the English Schools and Churches,' in chap. xix., among the leading literary characters of England. But all he says of him, and that perhaps only for the first time in the second edition, is the following, which is droll enough: 'William Shakspeare was born at Stratford in Warwickshire; his learning was very little, and therefore it is the more a matter of wonder that he should be a very excellent poet. He had an
gether a just prince, not thoroughly a just man; but he had the disposition to be both. His soul thirsted after knowledge; his mind, sincere in itself, after love; and his fancy, after the secrets of nature: but he forgot, what a prince should least of all forget, that, upon this moving earth, superior acquirements, in order to stand firmly, must be exercised carefully; that the world is full of enemies who can only be subdued by a watchful power and prudence, and that in certain situations the armour ought never to be put off. Thus it became easy for his nearest relation, his brother, with the help of a powerful neighbouring king who could not resist the offered but unjustifiable advantage, to depose him from his dukedom. But as the pure morals of the prince, although they were perhaps but lazily exercised in behalf of his subjects, had nevertheless acquired their love, and the usurper not daring to make an attack on the lives of the fallen, Prospero saved himself, his daughter, and a part of his magical books, upon a desert island. Here he becomes, what, in its highest sense, he had not yet been, a father and prince. His knowledge extends. Nature listens to him, perhaps because he learned to like spirits, full of a tender frolicsome know and love her more inwardly. Zephyrhumour, and rude earth-born gnomes, are compelled to serve him. The whole island is full of wonders, but only such as the fancy willingly receives, of sounds and songs, of merry helpers and comical tormentors; and
*Johan Joachim Eschenburg, über W. Shakspeare,' new edit., Zürich, 1806, p. 497.
Prospero shows his great human wisdom particularly in the manner with which he, as the spiritual centre, knows how to conduct his intercourse with friends and foes. First, with his daughter. Miranda is his highest, his one, his all; nevertheless there is visible a certain elevation, a solemnity, in his behaviour towards her, peculiarities which, even with the deepest love, the severely tried and aged man easily assumes. Indeed, much as the pure sense of his daughter must have long, cheered him, he deems it good to relate to her now for the first time the history of his earlier sufferings, when he has mastery over, and the power to punish, his adversaries. That his narration should have the effect of sending Miranda to sleep (at least his repeated inquiries as to whether she attends show that he fears it) has given occasion to many explanations, into the worth or worthlessness of which we shall not here inquire. Perhaps the following idea may give some light :-The wonderful acts occasionally like the music upon Jessica in the fifth act of The Merchant of Venice:' the external miracles of Nature scarcely affect Miranda upon an island where Nature herself has become a wonder, and the wonders become Nature. But for her, even on that account, there are only so many greater wonders in the heart and life of man. She has certainly seen untamed wildness and perverseness in Caliban; but he appears to her not as a man, but only as a foolish swearing monster, whom she does not fear, because he is the bond-slave of her powerful father, in whose quiet wisdom she continually confides. But the checkered course of the world, its wild passions, are to her wholly strange; and the relation of such wonders might well affect her in the manner her father fears."
66 Caliban, who, in spite of his imperfect, brutish, and half-human nature, as the son of a witch, is something marvellously exciting, and as pretender to the sovereignty of the island something ridiculously sublime, has been considered by every one as an inimitable character of the most powerful poetic fancy; and, the more the character is investigated, the more is our attention re
warded. He is the son of a witch, Sycorax, who, though long since dead, continues to work even from the grave. **** In Caliban there is a curious mixture of devil, man, and beast, descending even to the fish species. He desires evil, not for the sake of evil or from mere wickedness, but because it is piquant, and because he feels himself oppressed. He is convinced that gross injustice has been done him, and thus he does not rightly feel that what he desires may be wicked. He knows perfectly well how powerful Prospero is, whose art may perhaps even subdue his maternal god Setebos, and that he himself is unfortunately nothing but a slave. Nevertheless, he cannot cease to curse, and certainly with the gusto of a virtuoso in this more than liberal art. Whatever he can find most base and disgusting he surrounds almost artistically with the most inharmonious murmuring and hissing words, and then wishes them to fall upon Prospero and his lovely daughter. He knows very well that all this will help him nothing, but that at night he will have 'cramps,' and 'side-stitches,' and be 'pinched by urchins,' but still he continues to pour out new curses. He has acquired one fixed idea-that the island belonged to his mother, and, consequently, now to himself, the crown prince. The greatest horrors are pleasant to him, for he feels them only as jests which break the monotony of his slavery. He laments that he had been prevented from completing a frightful sin,—' would it had been done,' &c.; and the thought of a murder gives him a real enjoyment, perhaps chiefly on account of the noise and confusion that it would produce.
"Recognising all this, yet our feelings towards him never rise to a thorough hatred. We find him only laughably horrible, and as a marvellous though at bottom a feeble monster highly interesting, for we foresee from the first that none of his threats will be fulfilled. Caliban could scarcely at any time have been made out more in detail, but we are well enabled to seize upon the idea of his inner physiognomy from the naked sketch of his external form. He is, with all his foolish rage and wickedness, not entirely