Imágenes de páginas

aforesaid ; I conjure thee Sibylia by all their vertues to appeare in that circle before me visible, in the forme and shape of a beautifull woman in a bright and white vesture, adorned and garnished most faire, and to appeare to me quicklie without deceipt or tarrieng, and that thou faile not to fulfill my will and desire effectuallie.”

The spirit in the christall stone having produced Sibylia within the circle, she is bound to appear " at all times visiblie, as the conjuration of words leadeth, written in the booke," and the ceremony

is wound up in the subsequent terms :—“I conjure thee Sibylia, O blessed virgine of fairies, by the king and queene of fairies, and by their vertues, - to give me good counsell at all times, and to come by treasures hidden in the earth, and all other things that is to doo me pleasure, and to fulfill my will, without any deceipt or tarrieng ; nor yet that thou shalt have anie power of my bodie or soule, earthlie or ghostlie, nor yet to perish so much of my bodie as one haire of

head. I conjure thee Sibylia by all the riall words aforesaid, and by their vertues and powers, I charge and bind thee by the vertue thereof, to be obedient unto me, and to all the words aforesaid, and this bond to stand betweene thee and me, upon paine of everlasting condemnation, Fiat, fiat, fiat. Amen. *

The Sibylia of this incantation was, therefore, in origin, form, manners, and potency, very much assimilated to the Ariel of our author's Tempest, being gentle, beautiful, yet possessing great influence, and exerting high authority over numerous inferior essences and powers. Thus the spirits employed by Prospero were subservient to Ariel, and under his immediate direction, partly by his own rank in the hierarchy of elemental existences, and partly by the aid of Prospero. †

my head.

* Discoverie of Witchcraft, pp. 401, 402.404-407. + “ Go," says Prospero, addressing Ariel,”

“ Go, bring the rabble, O'er whom I give thee power, here, to this place.”

Act iv. sc. 1.

The orders of spirits constituting the miraculous machinery of The Tempest are in Hamlet ranged under four heads,

[blocks in formation]


a distribution which, though seeming naturally to spring from the. usual nomenclature of the elements, was not the division generally adopted; for Scot, detailing the opinion of Psellus “De Operationé Demonum," classes the elementary spirits under six heads, by the addition of subterranean spirits, and spirits of darkness, subterranei et lucifugi ;” and the Talmudists and Platonists add to these, solar, lunar, and stellar spirits; but our poet was probably influenced in his enumeration, by the perusal of Batman uppon Bartholome, who tells us, in a manner calculated to make an impression on the mind, that

spirites are divided one from another, that some are called firie, some earthly, some airie, some watrie. Heereupon those foure rivers in Hell, are sayd to be of divers natures, to wit, PHLEGETHON firie, Cocytus airie, Styx watrye, Acheron earthly.* We are the more inclined to believe this to have been the case, notwithstanding the obvious facility of such a classification, because it appears to us, that in a prior part of this book, the germ of Caliban's generation may be detected. 66 Incubus,observes this commentator on Bartholome, “ doth infest and trouble women, and Succubus doth infest men, by the which wordes (taken from Augustine “ De Civitate Dei”) it is manifest, that the godly, chast, and honest minded, are not free from this gross subjection, although more commonly the dishonest are molested therewith. Some hold opinion, that Marline in the time of Vortiger king of great Britaine 470 yeres before Christ, was borne after this manner. Hieronimus Cardanus in his tretise De rebus contra naturam, seemes to be of opinion that spirits or divells may beget and conceive

* " Batman uppon Bartholome, His Booke, De Proprietatibus Rerum,” &c. folio, 1582, p. 168. col. 4. — He tells us, however, in another place, that “ in the region of the sunne, the spirits of the sunne are of more force than the rest. In the region of the moone, those spirites of the moone, and so of the residue." P. 170. col. 1.


3 x

but not after ye common manner, yet he reciteth a storie of a young damoisell of Scotland which was got with child of an inchaunted divell, thinking that he had bene a fayre young man which had layen with hir, whereupon she brought foorth so deformed a monster, that he feared the beholders.He then proceeds to observe, that the spirits thus procreating are not of a “ subtill Materia,” “ but a more grose and earthie cause, as Nymphe, Dryades, Hobgoblins, and Fairies," adding, that two instances of such connection, “it is no straunge secret to disclose,” had taken place “ in fewe yeares heere in Englande.*

We find Prospero, in fact, employing these four classes of spirits in succession, but in every instance, through the immediate or remote agency of Ariel.

of Ariel. Those of fire are thus described :

6 Now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flam'd amazement: Sometimes, I'd divide,
And burn in many places; on the top-mast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet, and join: Jove's lightnings, the precursors
O'the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary
And sight-out-running were not: –

" All, but mariners,
Plung’d in the foaming brine, and quit the vessel,
Then all a-fire with me: the king's son, Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring (then like reeds, not hair,)
Was the first man that leap'd; cried, Hell is empty,
And all the devils are here." +

The spirits of the water are divided into sea-nymphs, or elves of brooks and standing lakes. Under the first of these characters they are most exquisitely introduced as solacing Ferdinand, after the terrors of his shipwreck :

• Come unto these yellow sands,

And then take hands

* Batman uppon Bartholome, p. 84. col. 3, 4. + Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 28. Act i. sc. 2.

Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,

(The wild waves whist,)
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear."

Nothing, indeed, can be more appropriately wild than the imagery of the ensuing song, which arrests the ear of Ferdinand whilst he is uttering his astonishment at the previous melody:

But 'tis gone.

66 Where should this musick be? i' the air, or the earth?

It sounds no more: Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the king my father's wreck,
This musick crept by me upon the waters;
Allaying both their fury, and my passion,
With it's sweet air: thence I have follow'd it,
Or it hath drawn me rather :
No, it begins again.”
66 Full fathom five thy father lies;

Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes :

Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell :
Hark ! now I hear them, -ding-dong, bell.” *

Well may Ferdinand exclaim, “ This is no mortal business!"

The spirits of earth, or goblins, were usually employed by Prospero as instruments of punishment. Thus Caliban, apprehensive of chastisement for bringing in his wood too slowly, gives us a fearful detail of their inflictions :

For every

“ His spirits hear me
trifle are they set upon me:
Sometime like

that moe

and chatter at me,
And after bite me; then like hedg-hogs, which

* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. pp. 43–46. Act i. sc. 2.—This song has been admirably imitated by Kirke White in the opening of his fine fragment, entitled " The Dance of the Consumptives.” – Vol. i. p. 295. Ist edit.

Lie tumbling in my bare-foot way, and mount
Their pricks at my foot-fall: sometime am I
All wound with adders, who, with cloven tongues,
Do hiss me into madness.” *

They are afterwards commissioned, in the shape of hounds, to hunt this hag-born monster, and his friends Trinculo and Stephano, Prospero telling Ariel,

“ Go, charge my goblins that they grind their joints

With dry convulsions; shorten up their sinews
With aged cramps; and more pinch-spotted make them,
Than pard, or cat o’mountain.” +

Lastly, the spirits of air, as beings of a more delicate and refined nature, are appointed by our magician to personate, under the direction of Ariel, a “ most majestic vision;" “ spirits,” says their great task-master,

“ which by mine art
I have from their confines call’d to enact
My present fancies;” I

and which, on the fading of this “ insubstantial pageant,” melt “ into air, into thin air."

It appears, also, that these etherial forms were occupied night and day in chanting the most delicious melodies, or in suggesting the most delightful dreams. The isle, says Caliban,

" is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds, methought, would open, and shew riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cry'd to dream again."S

Reed's Shakspeare, 'vol. iv. p. 81. Act ii. sc. 2. | Ibid. p. 134. Act iv. sc. l.

+ Ibid. p. 147. Act iv. sc. 1. ♡ Ibid. p. 109. Act iii. sc. 2.

« AnteriorContinuar »