List iconThe Tempest:
Act 2, scene 1
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The Tempest
Act 2, scene 1


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Scene 1
Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian,
Francisco, and others.

GONZALO, to Alonso 
 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,
5 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.
ALONSO 10 Prithee, peace.
SEBASTIAN, aside to Antonio He receives comfort like
 cold porridge.
ANTONIO The visitor will not give him o’er so.
SEBASTIAN Look, he’s winding up the watch of his wit.
15 By and by it will strike.
GONZALO, to Alonso Sir—
GONZALO When every grief is entertained that’s offered,
 comes to th’ entertainer—
SEBASTIAN 20A dollar.
GONZALO Dolor comes to him indeed. You have spoken
 truer than you purposed.

The Tempest
ACT 2. SC. 1

SEBASTIAN You have taken it wiselier than I meant you
GONZALO, to Alonso 25Therefore, my lord—
ANTONIO Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue.
ALONSO, to Gonzalo I prithee, spare.
GONZALO Well, I have done. But yet—
SEBASTIAN, aside to Antonio He will be talking.
ANTONIO, aside to Sebastian 30Which, of he or Adrian,
 for a good wager, first begins to crow?
SEBASTIAN The old cock.
ANTONIO The cockerel.
SEBASTIAN Done. The wager?
ANTONIO 35A laughter.
ADRIAN Though this island seem to be desert—
ANTONIO Ha, ha, ha.
SEBASTIAN So. You’re paid.
ADRIAN 40Uninhabitable and almost inaccessible—
ANTONIO He could not miss ’t.
ADRIAN It must needs be of subtle, tender, and delicate
45 temperance.
ANTONIO Temperance was a delicate wench.
SEBASTIAN Ay, and a subtle, as he most learnedly
ADRIAN The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.
SEBASTIAN 50As if it had lungs, and rotten ones.
ANTONIO Or as ’twere perfumed by a fen.
GONZALO Here is everything advantageous to life.
ANTONIO True, save means to live.
SEBASTIAN Of that there’s none, or little.
GONZALO 55How lush and lusty the grass looks! How
ANTONIO The ground indeed is tawny.
SEBASTIAN With an eye of green in ’t.

The Tempest
ACT 2. SC. 1

ANTONIO He misses not much.
SEBASTIAN 60No, he doth but mistake the truth totally.
GONZALO But the rarity of it is, which is indeed almost
 beyond credit—
SEBASTIAN As many vouched rarities are.
GONZALO That our garments, being, as they were,
65 drenched in the sea, hold notwithstanding their
 freshness and gloss, being rather new-dyed than
 stained with salt water.
ANTONIO If but one of his pockets could speak, would
 it not say he lies?
SEBASTIAN 70Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report.
GONZALO 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
SEBASTIAN 75’Twas a sweet marriage, and we prosper
 well in our return.
ADRIAN Tunis was never graced before with such a
 paragon to their queen.
GONZALO Not since widow Dido’s time.
ANTONIO 80Widow? A pox o’ that! How came that “widow”
 in? Widow Dido!
SEBASTIAN What if he had said “widower Aeneas” too?
 Good Lord, how you take it!
ADRIAN, to Gonzalo “Widow Dido,” said you? You
85 make me study of that. She was of Carthage, not of
GONZALO This Tunis, sir, was Carthage.
ADRIAN Carthage?
GONZALO I assure you, Carthage.
ANTONIO 90His word is more than the miraculous harp.
SEBASTIAN He hath raised the wall, and houses too.
ANTONIO What impossible matter will he make easy

The Tempest
ACT 2. SC. 1

SEBASTIAN I think he will carry this island home in his
95 pocket and give it his son for an apple.
ANTONIO And sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring
 forth more islands.
ANTONIO Why, in good time.
GONZALO, to Alonso 100Sir, 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
ANTONIO And the rarest that e’er came there.
SEBASTIAN 105Bate, I beseech you, widow Dido.
ANTONIO O, widow Dido? Ay, widow Dido.
GONZALO, to Alonso Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as
 the first day I wore it? I mean, in a sort.
ANTONIO That “sort” was well fished for.
GONZALO, to Alonso 110When I wore it at your daughter’s
 You cram these words into mine ears against
 The stomach of my sense. Would I had never
 Married my daughter there, for coming thence
115 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?
FRANCISCO 120 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 swoll’n that met him. His bold head
125 ’Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oared
 Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke
 To th’ shore, that o’er his wave-worn basis bowed,

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ACT 2. SC. 1

 As stooping to relieve him. I not doubt
 He came alive to land.
ALONSO 130 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 banished from your eye,
135 Who hath cause to wet the grief on ’t.
ALONSO  Prithee, peace.
 You were kneeled to and importuned otherwise
 By all of us; and the fair soul herself
 Weighed between loathness and obedience at
140 Which end o’ th’ beam should bow. We have lost
 your son,
 I fear, forever. Milan and Naples have
 More widows in them of this business’ making
 Than we bring men to comfort them.
145 The fault’s your own.
ALONSO  So is the dear’st o’ th’ loss.
GONZALO My lord Sebastian,
 The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness
 And time to speak it in. You rub the sore
150 When you should bring the plaster.
SEBASTIAN  Very well.
ANTONIO And most chirurgeonly.
GONZALO, to Alonso 
 It is foul weather in us all, good sir,
 When you are cloudy.
SEBASTIAN 155 Foul weather?
ANTONIO  Very foul.
 Had I plantation of this isle, my lord—
 He’d sow ’t with nettle seed.

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ACT 2. SC. 1

SEBASTIAN  Or docks, or mallows.
160 And were the king on ’t, what would I do?
SEBASTIAN Scape being drunk, for want of wine.
 I’ th’ commonwealth I would by contraries
 Execute all things, for no kind of traffic
 Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
165 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,
170 And women too, but innocent and pure;
 No sovereignty—
SEBASTIAN  Yet he would be king on ’t.
ANTONIO The latter end of his commonwealth forgets
 the beginning.
175 All things in common nature should produce
 Without sweat or endeavor; 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,
180 To feed my innocent people.
SEBASTIAN No marrying ’mong his subjects?
ANTONIO None, man, all idle: whores and knaves.
 I would with such perfection govern, sir,
 T’ excel the Golden Age.
SEBASTIAN 185 ’Save his Majesty!
 Long live Gonzalo!
GONZALO  And do you mark me, sir?
 Prithee, no more. Thou dost talk nothing to me.

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ACT 2. SC. 1

GONZALO I do well believe your Highness, and did it to
190 minister occasion to these gentlemen, who are of
 such sensible and nimble lungs that they always use
 to laugh at nothing.
ANTONIO ’Twas you we laughed at.
GONZALO Who in this kind of merry fooling am
195 nothing to you. So you may continue, and laugh at
 nothing still.
ANTONIO What a blow was there given!
SEBASTIAN An it had not fallen flatlong.
GONZALO You are gentlemen of brave mettle. You
200 would lift the moon out of her sphere if she would
 continue in it five weeks without changing.

Enter Ariel invisible, playing solemn music.

SEBASTIAN We would so, and then go a-batfowling.
ANTONIO, to Gonzalo Nay, good my lord, be not angry.
GONZALO No, I warrant you, I will not adventure my
205 discretion so weakly. Will you laugh me asleep?
 For I am very heavy.
ANTONIO Go sleep, and hear us.
All sink down asleep except Alonso,
Antonio, and Sebastian.

 What, all so soon asleep? I wish mine eyes
 Would, with themselves, shut up my thoughts. I find
210 They are inclined to do so.
SEBASTIAN  Please you, sir,
 Do not omit the heavy offer of it.
 It seldom visits sorrow; when it doth,
 It is a comforter.
ANTONIO 215 We two, my lord,
 Will guard your person while you take your rest,
 And watch your safety.
ALONSO  Thank you. Wondrous heavy.
Alonso sleeps. Ariel exits.

The Tempest
ACT 2. SC. 1

 What a strange drowsiness possesses them!
220 It is the quality o’ th’ climate.
 Doth it not then our eyelids sink? I find
 Not myself disposed to sleep.
ANTONIO Nor I. My spirits are nimble.
225 They fell together all, as by consent.
 They dropped as by a thunderstroke. What might,
 Worthy Sebastian, O, what might—? No more.
 And yet methinks I see it in thy face
 What thou shouldst be. Th’ occasion speaks thee, and
230 My strong imagination sees a crown
 Dropping upon thy head.
SEBASTIAN  What, art thou waking?
 Do you not hear me speak?
SEBASTIAN  I do, and surely
235 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.
ANTONIO 240 Noble Sebastian,
 Thou let’st thy fortune sleep, die rather, wink’st
 Whiles thou art waking.
SEBASTIAN  Thou dost snore distinctly.
 There’s meaning in thy snores.
245 I am more serious than my custom. You
 Must be so too, if heed me; which to do
 Trebles thee o’er.
SEBASTIAN  Well, I am standing water.
 I’ll teach you how to flow.

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ACT 2. SC. 1

SEBASTIAN 250 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
255 You more invest it. Ebbing men indeed
 Most often do so near the bottom run
 By their own fear or sloth.
SEBASTIAN  Prithee, say on.
 The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim
260 A matter from thee, and a birth indeed
 Which throes thee much to yield.
ANTONIO  Thus, sir:
 Although this lord of weak remembrance—this,
 Who shall be of as little memory
265 When he is earthed—hath here almost persuaded—
 For he’s a spirit of persuasion, only
 Professes to persuade—the King his son’s alive,
 ’Tis as impossible that he’s undrowned
 As he that sleeps here swims.
SEBASTIAN 270 I have no hope
 That he’s undrowned.
ANTONIO  O, out of that no hope
 What great hope have you! No hope that way is
 Another way so high a hope that even
275 Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond,
 But doubt discovery there. Will you grant with me
 That Ferdinand is drowned?
SEBASTIAN  He’s gone.
ANTONIO  Then tell me,
280 Who’s the next heir of Naples?
SEBASTIAN  Claribel.
 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—

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ACT 2. SC. 1

285 The man i’ th’ moon’s too slow—till newborn chins
 Be rough and razorable; she that from whom
 We all were sea-swallowed, though some cast again,
 And by that destiny to perform an act
 Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come
290 In yours and my discharge.
SEBASTIAN 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.
ANTONIO 295 A space whose ev’ry 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
300 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
305 The mind that I do, what a sleep were this
 For your advancement! Do you understand me?
 Methinks I do.
ANTONIO  And how does your content
 Tender your own good fortune?
SEBASTIAN 310 I remember
 You did supplant your brother Prospero.
 And look how well my garments sit upon me,
 Much feater than before. My brother’s servants
315 Were then my fellows; now they are my men.
SEBASTIAN But, for your conscience?
 Ay, sir, where lies that? If ’twere a kibe,
 ’Twould put me to my slipper, but I feel not

The Tempest
ACT 2. SC. 1

 This deity in my bosom. Twenty consciences
320 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,
325 Can lay to bed forever; 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.
330 They’ll tell the clock to any business that
 We say befits the hour.
SEBASTIAN  Thy case, dear friend,
 Shall be my precedent: as thou got’st Milan,
 I’ll come by Naples. Draw thy sword. One stroke
335 Shall free thee from the tribute which thou payest,
 And I the King shall love thee.
ANTONIO  Draw together,
 And when I rear my hand, do you the like
 To fall it on Gonzalo.They draw their swords.
SEBASTIAN 340 O, but one word.
They talk apart.

Enter Ariel, invisible, with music and song.

ARIEL, to the sleeping Gonzalo 
 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,
345 Open-eyed conspiracy
  His time doth take.
 If of life you keep a care,
 Shake off slumber and beware.
  Awake, awake!

The Tempest
ACT 2. SC. 1

ANTONIO, to Sebastian 350Then let us both be sudden.
GONZALO, waking Now, good angels preserve the
 King!He wakes Alonso.
ALONSO, to Sebastian 
 Why, how now, ho! Awake? Why are you drawn?
 Wherefore this ghastly looking?
GONZALO, to Sebastian 355 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.
ALONSO 360 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.
ALONSO Heard you this, Gonzalo?
365 Upon mine honor, sir, I heard a humming,
 And that a strange one too, which did awake me.
 I shaked you, sir, and cried. As mine eyes opened,
 I saw their weapons drawn. There was a noise,
 That’s verily. ’Tis best we stand upon our guard,
370 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.
GONZALO  Heavens keep him from these beasts,
 For he is, sure, i’ th’ island.
ALONSO 375 Lead away.
ARIEL, aside 
 Prospero my lord shall know what I have done.
 So, king, go safely on to seek thy son.
They exit.