William Shakespeare: The Tempest, Act III

Act III

Scene I

Before Prospero's Cell

Enter Ferdinand, bearing a log

Ferdinand

There be some sports are painful, and their labour Delight in them sets off: some kinds of baseness Are nobly undergone and most poor matters Point to rich ends. This my mean task Would be as heavy to me as odious, but The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead And makes my labours pleasures: O, she is Ten times more gentle than her father's crabbed, And he's composed of harshness. I must remove Some thousands of these logs and pile them up, Upon a sore injunction: my sweet mistress Weeps when she sees me work, and says, such baseness Had never like executor. I forget: But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours, Most busy lest, when I do it.

Enter Miranda; and Prospero at a distance, unseen

Miranda

Alas, now, pray you, Work not so hard: I would the lightning had Burnt up those logs that you are enjoin'd to pile! Pray, set it down and rest you: when this burns, 'Twill weep for having wearied you. My father Is hard at study; pray now, rest yourself; He's safe for these three hours.

Ferdinand

O most dear mistress, The sun will set before I shall discharge What I must strive to do.

Miranda

If you'll sit down, I'll bear your logs the while: pray, give me that; I'll carry it to the pile.

Ferdinand

No, precious creature; I had rather crack my sinews, break my back, Than you should such dishonour undergo, While I sit lazy by.

Miranda

It would become me As well as it does you: and I should do it With much more ease; for my good will is to it, And yours it is against.

Prospero

Poor worm, thou art infected! This visitation shows it.

Miranda

You look wearily.

Ferdinand

No, noble mistress;'tis fresh morning with me When you are by at night. I do beseech you— Chiefly that I might set it in my prayers— What is your name?

Miranda

Miranda.—O my father, I have broke your hest to say so!

Ferdinand

Admired Miranda! Indeed the top of admiration! worth What's dearest to the world! Full many a lady I have eyed with best regard and many a time The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues Have I liked several women; never any With so fun soul, but some defect in her Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed And put it to the foil: but you, O you, So perfect and so peerless, are created Of every creature's best!

Miranda

I do not know One of my sex; no woman's face remember, Save, from my glass, mine own; nor have I seen More that I may call men than you, good friend, And my dear father: how features are abroad, I am skilless of; but, by my modesty, The jewel in my dower, I would not wish Any companion in the world but you, Nor can imagination form a shape, Besides yourself, to like of. But I prattle Something too wildly and my father's precepts I therein do forget.

Ferdinand

I am in my condition A prince, Miranda; I do think, a king; I would, not so!—and would no more endure This wooden slavery than to suffer The flesh-fly blow my mouth. Hear my soul speak: The very instant that I saw you, did My heart fly to your service; there resides, To make me slave to it; and for your sake Am I this patient log—man.

Miranda

Do you love me?

Ferdinand

O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound And crown what I profess with kind event If I speak true! if hollowly, invert What best is boded me to mischief! I Beyond all limit of what else i' the world Do love, prize, honour you.

Miranda

I am a fool To weep at what I am glad of.

Prospero

Fair encounter Of two most rare affections! Heavens rain grace On that which breeds between 'em!

Ferdinand

Wherefore weep you?

Miranda

At mine unworthiness that dare not offer What I desire to give, and much less take What I shall die to want. But this is trifling; And all the more it seeks to hide itself, The bigger bulk it shows. Hence, bashful cunning! And prompt me, plain and holy innocence! I am your wife, it you will marry me; If not, I'll die your maid: to be your fellow You may deny me; but I'll be your servant, Whether you will or no.

Ferdinand

My mistress, dearest; And I thus humble ever.

Miranda

My husband, then?

Ferdinand

Ay, with a heart as willing As bondage e'er of freedom: here's my hand.

Miranda

And mine, with my heart in't; and now farewell Till half an hour hence.

Ferdinand

A thousand thousand!

Exeunt Ferdinand and Miranda severally

Prospero

So glad of this as they I cannot be, Who are surprised withal; but my rejoicing At nothing can be more. I'll to my book, For yet ere supper-time must I perform Much business appertaining.

Exit