The Tempest By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 1

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 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:
But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours,
Most busy, least when I do it.

[Enter MIRANDA: and PROSPERO behind.]

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.
[Aside] 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.
Admir'd Miranda!
Indeed, the top of admiration; worth
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
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.

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 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
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.
[Aside] Fair encounter
Of two most rare affections! Heavens rain grace
On that which breeds between them!

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, 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.

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 surpris'd 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]

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