Act III - Scene I

Before Prospero's Cell.

[Enter Ferdinand, bearing a log]

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(5)
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,(10)
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 busil'est, when I do it.(15)

[Enter Miranda. Prospero enters at a distance, unseen]

Alas now, pray you,
Work not so hard. I would the lightning had
Burnt up those logs that you are enjoined to pile!
Pray, set it down, and rest you. When this burns,
’Twill weep for having wearied you. My father(20)
Is hard at study. Pray now, rest yourself.
He's safe for these three hours.
O most dear mistress,
The sun will set before I shall discharge
What I must strive to do.(25)
If you'll sit down
I'll bear your logs the while. Pray, give me that;
I'll carry it to the pile.
No, precious creature.
I had rather crack my sinews, break my back,(30)
Than you should such dishonour undergo,
While I sit lazy by.
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,(35)
And yours it is against.
[aside] Poor worm, thou art infected!
This visitation shows it.
You look wearily.
No, noble mistress, ’tis fresh morning with me(40)
When you are by at night. I do beseech you—
Chiefly that I might set it in my prayers—
What is your name?
Miranda. O my father,
I have broke your hest to say so!(45)
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
Th’ harmony of their tongues hath into bondage(50)
Brought my too diligent ear. For several virtues
Have I liked several women; never any
With so full soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed
And put it to the foil. But you, O you,(55)
So perfect and so peerless, are created
Of every creature's best!
I do not know
One of my sex; no woman's face remember
Save from my glass, mine own; nor have I seen(60)
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;(65)
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.
I am in my condition
A prince, Miranda; I do think, a king—(70)
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(75)
To make me slave to it; and for your sake
Am I this patient log-man.
Do you love me?
O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound,
And crown what I profess with kind event(80)
If I speak true! If hollowly invert
What best is boded me to mischief! I,
Beyond all limit of what else i'th’ world,
Do love, prize, honour you.
[weeping] I am a fool(85)
To weep at what I am glad of.
[aside] Fair encounter
Of two most rare affections! Heavens rain grace
On that which breeds between ’em!
Wherefore weep you?(90)
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!(95)
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.(100)
My mistress, dearest;
And I thus humble ever.
My husband then?
Ay, with a heart as willing
As bondage e'er of freedom: here's my hand.(105)
And mine, with my heart in't, and now farewell
Till half an hour hence.
A thousand thousand!

[Exeunt Ferdinand and Miranda severally]

So glad of this as they I cannot be,
Who are surprised withal, but my rejoicing(110)
At nothing can be more. I'll to my book,
For yet ere supper-time must I perform
Much business appertaining.



  1. Prospero has played matchmaker, meticulously manipulating the entire exchange between Ferdinand and Miranda so that they will fall in love with one another and get married. As Prospero secretly watches his plan unfold, his portrayal as a playwright with the play is emphasized.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. “Baseness” here refers to lowly activities or work. Ferdinand has been imprisoned by Prospero, and the work that he is forced to do may not seem noble to others. For Ferdinand though, his love for Miranda makes the work enjoyable and worthwhile—Ferdinand will cheerfully labor so that he can win Miranda’s affection. Also note that Ferdinand’s position as Prospero’s servant is very different from Caliban’s; Caliban is enslaved by Prospero against his will, meaning he will not benefit from his service to Prospero, unlike Ferdinand. Both Caliban and Ferdinand have lost their freedom, but only Ferdinand feels his work is a means to an end.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Pleased with how Miranda and Ferdinand have taken to one another, Prospero states here that he must continue consulting his book in order to carry on his plans. His books have been established as magical already, but the way this scene has portrayed Prospero as a playwright further suggests another sign of the metadrama, or play within the play: Prospero is not only consulting his book for a spell, but he is looking at what will happen in the next scenes of the play, providing an enticing bit of tension as to what will happen next.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor