Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > The Tempest
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Tempest
 
Act III. Scene I.
 
Before PROSPERO’S Cell.
 
Enter FERDINAND, bearing a log.
  Fer.  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        5
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,        10
And he’s compos’d 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:        15
But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours,
Most busiest when I do it.
 
Enter MIRANDA; and PROSPERO behind.
  Mira.        Alas! now, pray you,
Work not so hard: I would the lightning had        20
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.        25
  Fer.        O most dear mistress,
The sun will set, before I shall discharge
What I must strive to do.
  Mira.        If you’ll sit down,
I’ll bear your logs the while. Pray, give me that;        30
I’ll carry it to the pile.
  Fer.        No, precious creature:
I had rather crack my sinews, break my back,
Than you should such dishonour undergo,
While I sit lazy by.        35
  Mira.        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.
  Pro.  [Aside.]  Poor worm! thou art infected:         40
This visitation shows it.
  Mira.        You look wearily.
  Fer.  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—        45
What is your name?
  Mira.  Miranda.—O my father!
I have broke your hest to say so.
  Fer.        Admir’d Miranda!
Indeed, the top of admiration; worth        50
What’s dearest to the world! Full many a lady
I have ey’d 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 lik’d several women; never any        55
With so full soul but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow’d,
And put it to the foil: but you, O you!
So perfect and so peerless, are created
Of every creature’s best.        60
  Mira.  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,        65
I am skill-less 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        70
Something too wildly and my father’s precepts
I therein do forget.
  Fer.  I am in my condition
A prince, Miranda; I do think, a king;—
I would not so!—and would no more endure        75
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        80
Am I this patient log-man.
  Mira.        Do you love me?
  Fer.  O heaven! O earth! bear witness to this sound,
And crown what I profess with kind event
If I speak true: if hollowly, invert        85
What best is boded me to mischief! I,
Beyond all limit of what else i’ the world,
Do love, prize, honour you.
  Mira.        I am a fool
To weep at what I am glad of.        90
  Pro.        [Aside.]  Fair encounter
Of two most rare affections! Heavens rain grace
On that which breeds between them!
  Fer.        Wherefore weep you?
  Mira.  At mine unworthiness, that dare not offer        95
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!        100
I am your wife, if 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.
  Fer.        My mistress, dearest;        105
And I thus humble ever.
  Mira.        My husband then?
  Fer.  Ay, with a heart as willing
As bondage e’er of freedom: here’s my hand.
  Mira.  And mine, with my heart in ’t: and now farewell        110
Till half an hour hence.
  Fer.        A thousand thousand!  [Exeunt FER. and MIR. severally.
  Pro.  So glad of this as they, I cannot be,
Who are surpris’d withal; but my rejoicing
At nothing can be more. I’ll to my book;        115
For yet, ere supper time, must I perform
Much business appertaining.  [Exit.
 
 
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