Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

The Tempest: Act 3, Scene 3


  1   By'r lakin, I can go no further, sir;
1. By'r lakin: This is a familiar form of "by Our Lady." "Our Lady" is the Virgin Mary.

  2   My old bones ache: here's a maze trod indeed
  3   Through forth-rights and meanders! By your patience,
3. forth-right and meanders: paths straight and crooked.

  4   I needs must rest me.

  4                                   Old lord, I cannot blame thee,
  5   Who am myself attach'd with weariness,
5. attach'd with: seized by.

  6   To the dulling of my spirits: sit down, and rest.
  7   Even here I will put off my hope and keep it
  8   No longer for my flatterer: he is drown'd
  9   Whom thus we stray to find, and the sea mocks
 10   Our frustrate search on land. Well, let him go.

      ANTONIO [Aside to Sebastian.]
 11   I am right glad that he's so out of hope.
 12   Do not, for one repulse, forego the purpose
12. for one repulse: i.e., just because of one failure.

 13   That you resolved to effect.
12-13. forego . . . effect: give up on the plan (to murder Alonso) that you resolved to carry out.

      SEBASTIAN [Aside to Antonio.]
 13                                                 The next advantage
13. advantage: opportunity.

 14   Will we take thoroughly.

      ANTONIO [Aside to Sebastian.]
 14                                         Let it be tonight;
 15   For, now they are oppress'd with travel, they
 16   Will not, nor cannot, use such vigilance
 17   As when they are fresh.

      SEBASTIAN [Aside to Antonio.]
 17                                       I say, tonight: no more.
17. I say, tonight: no more: i.e., OK, agreed, it will be tonight; stop talking.

           Solemn and strange music; and PROSPERO
           on the top, invisible.
top: The gallery above the stage?

The strange shapes bringing in the banquet.

 18   What harmony is this? My good friends, hark!

 19   Marvellous sweet music!

           Enter several strange SHAPES, bringing in a
           banquet; and dance about it with gentle actions
           of salutations; and inviting the King, etc., to eat,
           they depart.

 20   Give us kind keepers, heavens! What were these?
20. kind keepers: guardian angels.

 21   A living drollery. Now I will believe
21. living drollery: puppet show with live actors.

 22   That there are unicorns, that in Arabia
 23   There is one tree, the phoenix' throne, one phoenix
 24   At this hour reigning there.

 24                                                 I'll believe both;
 25   And what does else want credit, come to me,
25. want credit: lack credibility.

 26   And I'll be sworn 'tis true: travellers ne'er did lie,
 27   Though fools at home condemn 'em.

 27                                                     If in Naples
 28   I should report this now, would they believe me?
 29   If I should say, I saw such islanders—
 30   For, certes, these are people of the island—
30. certes: certainly.

 31   Who, though they are of monstrous shape, yet, note,
31. monstrous: abnormal, unnatural.

 32   Their manners are more gentle-kind than of
 33   Our human generation you shall find
 34   Many, nay, almost any.

      PROSPERO [Aside.]
 34                                   Honest lord,
 35   Thou hast said well; for some of you there present
 36   Are worse than devils.

 36                                       I cannot too much muse
36. muse: wonder at.

 37   Such shapes, such gesture and such sound, expressing,
 38   Although they want the use of tongue, a kind
 39   Of excellent dumb discourse.

      PROSPERO [Aside.]
 39                                                   Praise in departing.
39. Praise in departing: i.e., save your praise until you see how everything turns out. This is a common saying.

 40   They vanish'd strangely.

 40                                           No matter, since
 41   They have left their viands behind; for we have stomachs.
41. viands: food. stomachs: appetites.

 42   Will't please you taste of what is here?

 42                                                                 Not I.

 43   Faith, sir, you need not fear. When we were boys,
 44   Who would believe that there were mountaineers
 45   Dew-lapp'd like bulls, whose throats had hanging at 'em
 46   Wallets of flesh? or that there were such men
 47   Whose heads stood in their breasts? which now we find
43-47. When we were boys . . . their breasts?: i.e., When we were boys who would have believed these things which we now know are almost certainly true? >>>
48. Each putter-out of five for one: i.e., savvy bettors.

 48   Each putter-out of five for one will bring us
 49   Good warrant of.

 49                             I will stand to and feed,
49. stand to: take the risk.

 50   Although my last: no matter, since I feel
 51   The best is past. Brother, my lord the duke,
51. best: i.e., best part of my life.

 52   Stand to and do as we.
  Illustration by Robert Anning Bell

           Thunder and lightning. Enter ARIEL,
           like a harpy, claps his wings upon the
           table, and with a quaint device the
with a quaint device: by means of an ingenious mechanism.

           banquet vanishes.
Ariel as a Harpy, played by Ben Whishaw

 53   You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,
 54   That hath to instrument this lower world
 55   And what is in't, the never-surfeited sea
53-55. Destiny . . . in't: Destiny, which has everything of this world as its instrument.

 56   Hath caused to belch up you; and on this island
 57   Where man doth not inhabit; you 'mongst men
 58   Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad;
 59   And even with such-like valor men hang and drown
59. such-like valor: i.e., the reckless valor of madness.

 60   Their proper selves.
60. proper: own.

           [Alonso, Sebastian, etc. draw their swords.]

 60                                     You fools! I and my fellows
 61   Are ministers of Fate: the elements,
 62   Of whom your swords are temper'd, may as well
62. whom: which. temper'd: composed.

 63   Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs
 64   Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
64. still-closing: always closing again as soon as parted.

 65   One dowle that's in my plume: my fellow-ministers
65. dowle: tiny downy feather. plume: plumage.

 66   Are like invulnerable. If you could hurt,
66. like: likewise, similarly. If: even if.

 67   Your swords are now too massy for your strengths
 68   And will not be uplifted. But remember—
 69   For that's my business to you—that you three
 70   From Milan did supplant good Prospero;
 71   Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it,
71. requit it: repaid the act (by casting you up here).

 72   Him and his innocent child: for which foul deed
 73   The powers, delaying, not forgetting, have
 74   Incensed the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures,
 75   Against your peace. Thee of thy son, Alonso,
 76   They have bereft; and do pronounce by me:
 77   Lingering perdition, worse than any death
77. perdition: ruin.

 78   Can be at once, shall step by step attend
 79   You and your ways; whose wraths to guard you from—
79. whose wraths: i.e., the wrath of the "pow'rs" of line 73.

 80   Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls
 81   Upon your heads—is nothing but heart-sorrow
81-82. is nothing . . . ensuing: i.e., there is no means except repentance, followed by virtuous living ever after.

 82   And a clear life ensuing.

           He vanishes in thunder; then, to soft music,
           enter the SHAPES again, and dance, with
           mocks and mows, and carrying out the table.
mocks and mows: mocking gestures and grimaces.

 83   Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou
 84   Perform'd, my Ariel; a grace it had, devouring:
84. devouring: Perhaps the "quaint device" to make the banquet disappear was to have the harpy devour it.

 85   Of my instruction hast thou nothing bated
85. bated: abated, diminished, omitted.

 86   In what thou hadst to say: so, with good life
 87   And observation strange, my meaner ministers
 88   Their several kinds have done. My high charms work
86-88. so . . . done: likewise, with lively realism and amazing attention to my instructions, my lesser spirits have performed their various parts.

 89   And these mine enemies are all knit up
 90   In their distractions; they now are in my power;
89-90. knit up / In their distractions: entangled in their madness.

 91   And in these fits I leave them, while I visit
 92   Young Ferdinand, whom they suppose is drown'd,
 93   And his and mine loved darling.


 94   I' the name of something holy, sir, why stand you
 95   In this strange stare?
94-95. why stand you / In this strange stare?: Gonzalo has not heard Ariel's speech to the "three men of sin."

 95                                       O, it is monstrous, monstrous:
 96   Methought the billows spoke and told me of it;
96. it: i.e., my sin (helping Antonio steal the dukedom of Milan from Prospero).

 97   The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,
 98   That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounced
 99   The name of Prosper: it did bass my trespass.
99. bass my trespass: proclaim my sin like a bass note in music.

100   Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded, and
101   I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded
102   And with him there lie mudded.


102                                                   But one fiend at a time,
103   I'll fight their legions o'er.
102-103. But . . . o'er: If I can fight them one at a time, I'll fight them all, one after another.

103                                                 I'll be thy second.

           Exeunt [Sebastian and Antonio].

104   All three of them are desperate: their great guilt,
105   Like poison given to work a great time after,
106   Now 'gins to bite the spirits. I do beseech you
106. 'gins to bite the spirits: begins to gnaw on their minds.

107   That are of suppler joints, follow them swiftly
108   And hinder them from what this ecstasy
108. ecstasy: fit of madness.

109   May now provoke them to.

109                                         Follow, I pray you.

           Exeunt omnes.