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ACT I. SCENE I.
On a Ship at Sea.
A Storm with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter a Ship-mafter and a Boatswain.
BOATS. Here, mafter: What cheer?
MAST. Good: Speak to the mariners: fall to't yarely, or we run ourselves aground: beftir, heftir.
1 Boatswain,] In this naval dialogue, perhaps the first example of failor's language exhibited on the ftage, there are, as I have been told by a tkilful navigator, fome inaccuracies and contradictory orders. JOHNSON.
The foregoing obfervation is founded on a mistake. These orders fhould be confidered as given, not at once, but fucceffively, as the emergency required. One attempt to fave the fhip failing, another is tried.
fall to't yarely,] i. e. Readily, nimbly. Our author is frequent in his ufe of this word. So, in Decker's Satiromaftix: “They'll make his mufe as yare as a tumbler." STEEVENS. Here it is applied as a fea-term, and in other parts of the scene. So he uses the adjective, Act V. fc. v: "Our fhip is tight and yare." And in one of the Henries: yare are our fhips." To this day the failors fay, "fit yare to the helm." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. fc. iii: "The tackles yarely frame the office." T. WARTON.
BOATS. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts; yare, yare: Take in the top-fail; Tend to the mafter's whifile.-Blow, till thou burst thy wind,3 if room enough!
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others.
ALON. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the mafter? Play the men.4
3 Blow, till thou burst thy wind, &c.] Perhaps it might be read: Blow, till thou burst, wind, if room enough. JOHNSON. Ferhaps rather-Blow, till thou burfi thee, wind! if room enough. Beaumont and Fletcher have copied this pattage in The Pilgrim:
Blow, blow weft wind,
"Blow till thou rive!'
Again, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609;
Again, in K. Lear:
"Blow, winds, and burft your cheeks!"
Again, in Chapman's verfion of the fifth book of Homer's Odyffey:
Such as might fhield them from the winter's worst,
Again, in Fletcher's Doulle Marriage:
"Blow till you burft the air.”
The allution in thefe patlages, as Mr. M. Mafon obferves, is to the manner in which the winds were represented in ancient prints and pictures. STEEVENS.
4 Play the men.] i. e. act with spirit, behave like men. So, in Chapman's tranflation of the fecond Iliad:
"Which doing, thou shalt know what fouldiers play the
"And what the cowards."
Again, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, p.
Viceroys and peers of Turkey, play the men." "S pinor, årigas èsi, Iliad, V. v. 529. STEEVENS.
BOATS. I pray now, keep below.
ANT. Where is the mafter, Boatswain?
BOATS. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour; Keep your cabins: you do affift the ftorm.5 GON. Nay, good, be patient.
BOATS. When the fea is.
thefe roarers for the name of king? To cabin: fience: trouble us not.
GON. Good; yet remember whom thou haft aboard.
BOATS. None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor; if you can command thefe elements to filence, and work the peace of the prefent, we will not hand a rope more; ufe your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you have lived fo long, and make yourfelf ready in your cabin for the mifchance of the hour, if it fo hap.Cheerly, good hearts.-Out of our way, I fay.
GON." I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks, he hath no drowning mark upon him ; his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand faft, good fate, to his hanging! make the rope of his destiny
Again, in fcripture, 2 Sam. x. 12: "Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people." MALOne.
S affift the ftorm.] So, in Pericles:
Patience, good fir; do not affift the form." STEEVENS.
— of the prefent,] i. e. of the prefent inftant. So, in the 15th chapter of the 1ft Epiftle to the Corinthians: whom the greater part remain unto this prefent." STEEVENS.
7 Gonzalo.] It may be obferved of Gonzalo, that, being the only good man that appears with the king, he is the only man that preferves his cheerfulness in the wreck, and his hope on the ifland.
our cable, for our own doth little advantage! If he be not born to be hanged, our cafe is miferable. [Exeunt.
BOATS. Down with the top-maft; yare; lower, lower; bring her to try with main-courfe.8 [A cry within.] A plague upon this howling! they are louder than the weather, or our office.
Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and GONZALO.
Yet again? what do you here? Shall we give o'er, and drown? Have you a mind to fink?
SEB. A pox o' your throat! you bawling, blafphemous, incharitable dog!
BOATS. Work you, then.
ANT. Hang, cur, hang! you whorefon, infolent noife-maker, we are lefs afraid to be drowned than thou art.
GON. I'll warrant him from drowning; though the fhip were no ftronger than a nut-fhell, and as leaky as an unftanched wench.9
Sbring her to try with main-courfe.] Probably from Hackluyt's Voyages, 1598: "And when the barke had way, we cut the haufer, and fo gate the fea to our friend, and tried out all that day with our maine course." MALONE.
This phrafe occurs alfo in Smith's Sea Grammar, 1627, 4to. under the article How to handle a fhip in a Storme: Let us lie at Trie with our maine courfe; that is, to hale the tacke aboord, the fheat close aft, the boling fet up, and the helme tied close aboord." P. 40. STEEVENS.
9an unftanched wench.] Unftanched, I am willing to believe, means incontinent. STEEVENS.
BOATS. Lay her a-hold, a-hold;' fet her two courfes; off to fea again, lay her off.
Enter Mariners wet.
MAR. All loft! to prayers, to prayers! all loft!
[Exeunt. BOATS. What, must our mouths be cold?
GON. The king and prince at prayers! let us affift
For our cafe is as theirs.
SEB. I am out of patience.
ANT. We are merely 3 cheated of our lives by drunkards.
This wide-chapped rafcal;-'Would, thou might'ft
The washing of ten tides!
He'll be hanged yet;
Lay her a-hold, a-hold;] To lay a fhip a-hold, is to bring her to lie as near the wind as the can, in order to keep clear of the land, and get her out to fea. STEEVENS.
-fet her two courfes; off to fea again,] The courses are the main fail and fore fail. This term is ufed by Raleigh, in his Difcourfe on Shipping. JOHNSON.
The paffage, as Mr. Holt has obferved, fhould be pointed, Set her two courfes; off, &c.
Such another expreflion occurs in Decker's If this be not a good Play, the Devil is in it, 1612: off with your Drablers
and your Banners; out with your courfes." STEEVENS.
merely-] In this place, fignifies abfolutely; in which
fenfe it is ufed in Hamlet, A&t I. fc. iii :
-Things rank and gross in nature
"Poffefs it merely.”
Again, in Ben Jonfon's Poetafter:
"Of fome mere friends, fome honourable Romans.”