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For kissing of their feet: yet always bending
Towards their project: Then, I beat my tabor,
At which, like unback'd colts, they prick'd their ears,
Advanc'd their eye-lids,2 lifted up their noses,
As they smelt musick; so I charm'd their ears,
That, calf-like, they my lowing follow'd, through
Tooth'd briers, sharp furzes, pricking goss,3 and thorns,
Which enter'd their frail shins: at last, I left them
I' the filthy mantled pool, beyond your cell,

There dancing up to the chins, that the foul lake
O'erstunk their feet.


This was well done, my bird:

Thy shape invisible retain thou still:

The trumpery in my house, go, bring it hither,

2 Advanc'd their eye-lids, &c.] Thus Drayton, in his Nymphidia, or Court of Fairie:



"But once the circle got within,

"The charms to work do straight begin,
"And he was caught as in a gin:

"For as he thus was busy,

"A pain he in his head-piece feels,
"Against a stubbed tree he reels,
"And up went poor Hobgoblin's heels :
"Alas, his brain was dizzy.
"At length upon his feet he gets,
"Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets;
"And as again he forward sets,

"And through the bushes scrambles,

"A stump doth hit him in his pace,
"Down comes poor Hob upon his face,

"And lamentably tore his case


Among the briers and brambles." Johnson.

-pricking goss,] I know not how Shakspeare distinguishgoss from furze; for what he calls furze is called goss or gorse,

in the midland counties.

This word is used in the first chorus to Kyd's Cornelia, 1594:

"With worthless gorse that, yearly, fruitless dies."


By the latter, Shakspeare means the low sort of gorse, that only grows upon wet ground, and which is well described by the name of whins in Markham's Farewell to Husbandry. It has prickles like those of a rose-tree or a gooseberry. Furze and whins occur together in Dr. Farmer's quotation from Holinshed. Tollet.

4 I' the filthy mantled pool,-] Perhaps we should read-filthymantled. A similar idea occurs in K. Lear:

"Drinks the green mantle of the standing pool." Steevens.

For stale to catch these thieves."


I go, I go.
Pro. A devil, a born devil, on whose nature
Nurture can never stick; on whom my pains,
Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost;7
And as, with age, his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers: I will plague them all,


Re-enter ARIEL, loaden with glistering apparel, &c. Hansit on the line] SD. Even to roaring:-Come, hang them on this line. PROSPERO and ARIEL remain invisible. Enter CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, all wet.

Cal. Pray you, tread softly, that the blind mole may not Hear a foot fall:9 we now are near his cell.

Ste. Monster, your fairy, which, you say, is a harmless

5 For stale to catch these thieves.] Stale is a word in fowling, and is used to mean a bait, or decoy to catch birds. So, in A Looking glass for London and England, 1617:

"Hence tools of wrath, stales of temptation!" Again, in Green's Mamillia, 1595: "-that she might not strike at the stale, lest she were canvassed in the nets." Steevens.

6 Nurture can never stick;] Nurture is education. A little volume entitled The Boke of Nature, or Schoole of good Maners, &c. was published in the reign of King Edward VI. 4to. bl. 1.


7-all, all lost,] The first of these words was probably introduced by the carelessness of the transcriber or compositor. We might safely read-are all lost. Malone.

8 And as, with age, his body uglier grows,

So his mind cankers:] Shakspeare, when he wrote this description, perhaps recollected what his patron's most intimate friend, the great lord Essex, in an hour of discontent, said of queen Elizabeth;- "that she grew old and canker'd, and that her mind was become as crooked as her carcase:"- -a speech, which, according to Sir Walter Raleigh, cost him his head, and which, we may therefore suppose, was at that time much talked of. This play being written in the time of king James, these obnoxious words might be safely repeated. Malone.

9 the blind mole may not

Hear a foot fall:] This quality of hearing which the mole is supposed to possess in so high a degree, is mentioned in Euphues, 4to. 1581, p. 64, "Doth not the lion for strength, the turtle for love, the ant for labour, excel man? Doth not the eagle see clearer, the vulture smell better, the moale heare lightlyer ?" Reed.


fairy, has done little better, than played the Jack with us.1 Trin. Monster, I do smell all horse-piss; at which my nose is in great indignation.

Ste. So is mine. Do you hear, monster? If I should take a displeasure against you; look you,

Trin. Thou wert but a lost monster.

Cal. Good my lord, give me thy favour still: Be patient; for the prize I'll bring thee to

Shall hoodwink this mischance: therefore, speak softly; All's hush'd as midnight yet.

Trin. Ay, but to lose our bottles in the pool,

Ste. There is not only disgrace and dishonour in that, monster, but an infinite loss.

Trin. That's more to me, than my wetting: yet this is your harmless fairy, monster.

Ste. I will fetch off my bottle, though I be o'er ears for my labour.

Cal. Pr'ythee, my king, be quiet: Seest thou here, This is the mouth o' the cell: no noise, and enter: Do that good mischief, which may make this island Thine own for ever, and I, thy Caliban,

For aye thy foot-licker.

Ste. Give me thy hand: I do begin to have bloody thoughts.

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Trin. O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! look, what a wardrobe here is for thee !2 [Seeing the apparel] Cul. Let it alone, thou fool: it is but trash. Trin. O, ho, monster; we know what belongs to a frippery: 3-O king Stephano!

1 - has done little better than play'd the Jack with us.] i. e. He has played Jack with a lantern; has led us about like an ignis fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire. Johnson.

2 Trin. O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! look what a wardrobe is here for thee!] The humour of these lines consists in their being an allusion to an old celebrated ballad, which begins thus: King Stephen was a worthy peer-and celebrates that king's parsimony with regard to his wardrobe.-There are two stanzas of this ballad in Othello. Warburton.

The old ballad is printed at large, in The Reliques of Ancient Poetry, Vol. I. Percy.


we know what belongs to a frippery:] A frippery was a shop where old clothes were sold. Fripperie, Fr.

Ste. Put off that gown, Trinculo; by this hand I'll have that gown.

Trin. Thy grace shall have it.

Cal. The dropsy drown this fool! what do you mean,
To doat thus on such luggage? Let's along,*
And do the murder first: if he awake,

From toe to crown he'll fill our skins with pinches ;
Make us strange stuff.

Ste. Be you quiet, monster.-Mistress line, is not this my jerkin? Now is the jerkin under the line: now jerkin, you are like to lose your hair, and prove a bald jerkin.

Beaumont and Fletcher use the word in this sense, in Wit without Money, Act II:

"As if I were a running frippery."

So, in Monsieur d'Olive, a comedy, by Chapman, 1606: "Passing yesterday by the frippery, I spied two of them hanging out at a stall, with a gambrell thrust from shoulder to shoulder."

The person, who kept one of these shops, was called a fripper.
Strype, in the life of Stowe, says, that these frippers lived in

Birchin Lane and Cornhill.


4 Let's along,] First edit. Let's alone. Johnson.

I believe the poet wrote:

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Let it alone,

"And do the murder first."

Caliban had used the same expression before. Mr. Theobald reads-Let's along. Malone.

Let's alone, may mean-Let you and I only go to commit the murder, leaving Trinculo, who is so solicitous about the trash of dress, behind us. Steevens.


under the line:] An allusion to what often happens to people, who pass the line. The violent fevers, which they contract in that hot climate, make them lose their hair.

Edwards's MSS.

Perhaps the allusion is to a more indelicate disease, than any peculiar to the equinoxial.

So, in The Noble Soldier, 1632:

""Tis hot going under the line there."

Again, in Lady Alimony, 1659:

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Look to the clime

"Where you inhabit; that's the torrid zone:
"Yea, there goes the hair away."

Shakspeare seems to design an equivoque between the equinoxial, and the girdle of a woman.

It may be necessary, however, to observe, as a further elucidation of this miserable jest, that the lines, on which clothes are hung, are usually made of twisted horse-hair. Steevens.

Trin. Do, do: We steal by line and level, and 't like your grace.

Ste. I thank thee for that jest; here's a garment for 't: wit shall not go unrewarded, while I am king of this country: Steal by line and level, is an excellent pass of pate; there's another garment for 't.

Trin. Monster, come, put some lime upon your fingers, and away with the rest.

Cal. I will have none on 't: we shall lose our time, And all be turn'd to barnacles, or to apes?

With foreheads villainous low.8

Ste. Monster, lay-to your fingers; help to bear this away, where my hogshead of wine is, or I'll turn you out of my kingdom: go to, carry this.

- put some lime, &c.] That is, birdlime. Johnson. So, in Green's Disputation between a He and She Conycatcher, 1592: "-mine eyes are stauls, and my hands lime twigs."


7 to barnacles, or to apes-] Skinner says barnacle is Anser Scoticus. The barnacle is a kind of shell-fish growing, on the bottoms of ships, and which was anciently supposed, when broken off, to become one of these geese. Hall, in his Virgidemiarum, Lib. IV. sat. 2, seems to favour this supposition:

"The Scottish barnacle, if I might choose,

"That of a worme doth waxe a winged goose," &c.

So likewise Marston, in his Malecontent, 1604:

66 like your Scotch barnacle, now a block, "Instantly a worm, and presently a great goose." "There are" (says Gerard, in his Herbal, edit, 1597, page 1391) "in the north parts of Scotland, certaine trees, whereon do grow shell-fishes, &c. &c. which falling into the water, do become fowls, whom we call barnakles; in the north of England brant geese; and in Lancashire tree geese," &c.

This vulgar error deserves no serious confutation. Commend me, however, to Holinshed, (Vol. I. p. 38.) who declares himself to have seen the feathers of these barnacles "hang out of the shell at least two inches." And in the 27th song of Drayton's Polyolbion, the same account of their generation is given. Collins.

8 With foreheads villainous low.] Low foreheads were anciently reckoned among deformities. So, in the old bl. 1. ballad, entitled A Peerlesse Paragon:

"Her beetle brows all men admire,

"Her forehead wondrous low."

Again, (the quotation is Mr. Malone's) in Antony and Cleopatra: And her forehead

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"As low, as she would wish it." Steevens.

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