Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.
Shakespeare – The Tempest, Act III
This is my favourite quote from Shakespeare. So many people have written about it and built on it, including Robert Browning, with his rather exhausting poem “Caliban upon Setebos” which is a long-winded dig at Victorian religiosity and pride. But in my view Caliban’s situation should not be used to as a platform for satire. It should always be permitted to be itself and to stand for itself and for its own implications. In my view there is something quite sacred and magical in this poem, so that I feel afraid to touch it in any way that is not delicate and loving. The way the tenses twine around themselves serves to show me how disorienting beauty can be. One should I think simply feel its magic, and I would just like to leave it at that.