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him; his thoughts and aims being so at one with Nature's inward harmonies, that we cannot tell whether he shapes her movements or merely falls in with them; that is, whether his art stands in submission or command. His sorcery indeed is the sorcery of knowledge, his magic the magic of virtue. For what so marvellous as the inward, vital necromancy of good which transmutes the wrongs that are done him into motives of beneficence, and is so far from being hurt by the powers of Evil, that it turns their assaults into new sources of strength against them ? And with what a smooth tranquillity of spirit he everywhere speaks and acts! as if the discipline of adversity had but served
“ to elevate the will, And lead him on to that transcendent rest Where every passion doth the sway attest
Of Reason seated on her sovereign hill." Shakespeare and Bacon, the Prince of poets and the Prince of philosophers, wrought out their mighty works side by side, and nearly at the same time, though without any express recognition of each other. And why may we not regard Prospero as prognosticating in a poetical form those vast triumphs of man's rational spirit which the philosopher foresaw and prepared ? For it is observable that, before Prospero's coming to the island, the powers which cleave to his thoughts and obey his " so potent art” were at perpetual war, the better being in subjection to the worse, and all being turned from their rightful ends into a mad, brawling dissonance: but he teaches them to know their places; and, “weak masters though they be,” without such guidance, yet under his ordering they become powerful, and work together as if endowed with a rational soul and a social purpose; their insane gabble turning to speech, their savage howling to music; so that
“ the isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not." Wherein is boldly figured the educating of Nature up, 80 to speak, into intelligent ministries, she lending man
hands because he lends her eyes, and weaving her forces into vital union with him.
“ You by whose aid –
In this bold imagery we seem to have a kind of prophecy of what human science and skill have since achieved in taming the great forces of Nature to man's hand, and harnessing them up into his service. Is not all this as if the infernal powers should be appeased and soothed by the melody and sweetness of the Orphean harp and voice? And do we not see how the very elements themselves grow happy and merry in serving man, when he by his wisdom and eloquence has once charmed them into order and concert ? Man has but to learn Nature's language and obey her voice, and she clothes him with plenipotence. The mad warring of her forces turns to rational speech and music when he holds the torch of reason before them and makes it shine full in their faces. Let him but set himself steadfastly to understand and observe her laws, and her mighty energies hasten to wait upon him, as docile to his hand as the lion to the eye and voice of Lady Una. So that we may not unfairly apply to Prospero what Bacon so finely interprets of Orpheus, as "a wonderful and divine person skilled in all kinds of harmony, subduing and drawing all things after him by sweet and gentle methods and modulations.”
All this, to be sure, is making the work rather an allegory than a drama, and therein of course misrepresents its quality. For the connecting links in this strange intercourse of man and Nature are“ beings individually determined,” and affect us as persons, not as propositions.
good vibrated down to his soul, and stopped there, being unable to kindle any answering tones within : so that in his waking hours they are to him but as the memory of a dream.
“Sometime a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
I cried to dream again.” Thus Caliban is part man, part demon, part brute, each being drawn somewhat out of itself by combination with the others, and the union of all preventing him from being either; for which cause language has no generic term that fits him. Yet this strange, uncouth, but life-like confusion of natures Prospero has educated into a sort of poet. This, however, has nowise tamed, it has rather increased, his innate malignity and crookedness of disposition ; education having of course but educed what was in him. Even his poetry is, for the most part, made up of the fascinations of ugliness; a sort of inverted beauty; the poetry of dissonance and deformity; the proper music of his nature being to curse, its proper laughter to snarl. Schlegel finely compares his mind to a dark cave, into which the light of knowledge falling neither illuminates nor warms it, but only serves to put in motion the poisonous vapours generated there.
Now it is by exhausting the resources of instruction on such a being that his innate and essential deficiency is best shown. For, had he the germs of a human soul, they must needs have been drawn forth by the process that has made him a poet. The magical presence of spirits has indeed cast into the caverns of his brain some faint reflection of a better world, but without calling up any answering emotions or aspirations; he having no susceptibilities to catch and take in the epiphanies that throng his whereabout.
So that, paradoxical as it may seem, he exemplifies the twofold triumph of art over nature, and of nature over art; that is, art has triumphed in making him a poet, and nature, in still keeping him from being a man; though he has enough of the human in him to evince in a high degree the swelling of intellectual pride.
But what is most remarkable of all in Caliban is the perfect originality of his thoughts and manners. Though framed of grossness and malignity, there is nothing vulgar or commonplace about him. His whole character indeed is developed from within, not impressed from without; the effect of Prospero's instructions having been to make him all the more himself; and there being perhaps no soil in his nature for conventional vices and knaveries to take root and grow in. Hence the almost classic dignity of his behaviour compared with that of the drunken sailors, who are little else than a sort of low, vulgar conventionalities organized, and as such not less true to the life than consistent with themselves. In his simplicity, indeed, he at first mistakes them for gods who “ bear celestial liquor,” and they wax merry enough at the “credulous monster"; but, in his vigour of thought and purpose, he soon conceives such a scorn of their childish interest in whatever trinkets and gewgaws meet their eye, as fairly drives off his fit of intoxication, and the savage of the woods, half-human though he be, seems nobility itself beside the savages of the city.
In fine, if Caliban is, so to speak, the organized sediment and dregs of the place, from which all the finer spirit has been drawn off to fashion the delicate Ariel, yet having some parts of a human mind strangely interwoven with his structure; every thing about him, all that he does and says, is suitable and correspondent to such a constitution of nature. So that all the elements and attributes of his being stand and work together in living coherence, thus rendering him no less substantive and personal to our apprehension than he is original and peculiar in himself.
Such are the objects and influences amidst which the clear, placid nature of Miranda has been developed. Of the world whence her father was driven, its crimes and follies and sufferings, she knows nothing; he having studiously kept all such notices from her, to the end, apparently, that nothing might thwart or hinder the plastic efficacies that surrounded her. And here all the simple and original elements of her being, love, light, grace, honour, innocence, all pure feelings and tender sympathies, whatever is sweet and gentle and holy in womanhood, seem to have sprung up in her nature as from celestial seed: "the contagion of the world's slow stain " has not visited her; the chills and cankers of artificial wisdom have not touched nor come nigh her if there were any fog or breath of evil in the place that might else dim or spot her soul, it has been sponged up by Caliban, as being more congenial with his nature; while he is simply a villain she does not love to look on." Nor is this all. The aerial music beneath which her soul has expanded with answering sweetness seems to rest visibly upon her, linking her as it were with some superior order of beings: the spirit and genius of the place, its magic and mystery, have breathed their power into her face; and out of them she has unconsciously woven herself a robe of supernatural grace, in which even her mortal nature seems half hidden, so that we are in doubt whether she belongs more to Heaven or to Earth. Thus both her native virtues and the efficacies of the place seem to have crept and stolen into her unperceived, by mutual attraction and assimilation twining together in one growth, and each diffusing its life and beauty over and through the others. It would seem indeed as if Wordsworth must have had Miranda in his eye, (or was he but working in the spirit of that Nature which she so rarely exemplifies?) when he wrote,
"The floating clouds their state shall lend
Nor shall she fail to see