C. Hints from Another Source
An interesting find from the Bishops’ Bible (f.p. 1568) involves its liturgical calendar which lists daily not only lessons but also the names of saints.(fn. 11) For the 15th day of February, ‘Faustin bishop’ is listed as its saint.
Considering ‘Faustus’ means ‘Prosperous: fortunate: luckie’ and ‘Próspero’ means (per Livy) ‘To giue prosperitie: to make prosperous: to giue successe to’, certainly the two names are synonymous.(fn. 12) Could Shakespeare have wanted us to make such a connection?
Also, consider the courtship of Ferdinand and Miranda. Surely such action could occur on Valentine’s day. We should note that in the Bishops’ Bible ‘Ualentine bish.’ is listed for the 14th day of February.
Would it be possible then to date The Tempest using these two markers?
The scripture lessons from the BCP include Mark 14 for the 14th of February and Mark 15 for the 15th. Can anything be found in these two scriptures which matches The Tempest?
(a) Mark 14:1-2 (topical summary: ‘The Priests conspire against Christ’): ‘And two dayes after followed the feast of the Passeouer, and of vnleauened bread: and the hie Priests, and Scribes soght how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2. But they said, Not in the feast day, lest there by any tumult among the people.’
Miranda. Wherefore did they not
xxxxxThat hour destroy us?
Prospero. Well demanded, wench;
xxxxxMy tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,
xxxxxSo dear the love my people bore me; nor set
xxxxxA mark so bloody on the business; but
xxxxxWith colors fairer painted their foul ends.
(I.ii.138-43: emphasis added)
(b) Mark 14:15: ‘And he wil shewe you an vpper chamber which is large, trimmed and prepared: there make it readie for vs.’
Prospero. He is as disproportion’d in his manners
xxxxxAs in his shape. Go, sirrah, to my cell;
xxxxxTake with you your companions. As you look
xxxxxTo have my pardon, trim it handsomely.
(V.i.291-4: emphasis added)
(c) Mark 14:41: ‘And he came the thirde time, and said vnto them, (n) Slepe hence forthe, and take your rest: it is ynough: the houre is come: beholde, the Sonne of man is deliuered into the hands of sinners.’ Marginal note (n): ‘He meaneth that the houre wil come when they shalbe kept from sleping.’
Prospero. The hour’s now come,
xxxxxThe very minute bids thee ope thine ear.
xxxxxObey and be attentive.
(I.ii.36-8: emphasis added)
(d) Mark 14:58: ‘That we heard him say, I wil dissolue this temple made with hand, and in three daies wil I build an other not made with hand.’(fn. 13)
xxxxxThe solemn temples, the great globe itself,
xxxxxYea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
(IV.i.153-4: emphasis added)
(e) Mark 14:72: ‘Then the seconde time the cocke crewe, and Peter remembred the worde that Iesus had said vnto him, Before the cocke crowe twise, thou shalt denie my thrise, & waying that with him self, he wept.’
Prospero questions Miranda’s attentiveness three times: ‘Dost thou attend me?’; ‘Thou attend’st not!’; ‘Dost thou hear?’ (I.ii.78, 87, 105):
Miranda. Alack, for pity!
xxxxxxI, not rememb’ring how I cried out then,
xxxxxxWill cry it o’er again. It is a hint
xxxxxxThat wrings mine eyes to’t.
(I.ii.132-5: emphasis added)
Indeed, the cock crows twice after Miranda is thrice chided by her father:
xxxxxHark, hark, I hear
xxxxxThe strain of strutting chanticleer:
xxxxxCry [within], Cock-a-diddle-dow.
(I.ii.385-7: emphasis added)
Antonio. Which, of he or Adrian, for a good wager,
xxxxxfirst begins to crow?
Sebastian. The old cock.
Antonio. The cock’rel.
(II.i.28-31: emphasis added)
(f) Mark 15:33: ‘Now when the sixt houre was come, darkenes arose ouer (l) all the land vntil the ninth houre.’ Note (l): ‘Because this darkenes was onely ouer the land of Chanaan, when the rest of the worlde was light, the miracle is the greater.’
Ariel. On the sixt hour, at which time, my lord,
xxxxxYou said our work should cease.
(V.i.4-5: emphasis added)
Clearly, we find allusions to both Mark 14 and 15 in The Tempest. Considering Prospero’s ‘Do so; and after two days / I will discharge thee.’ (I.ii.298-9) and his statement the next day (fn. 14) ‘I’ll free thee / Within two days for this.’ (I.ii.421-2), we should add a third day to our February 14th and 15th.
D. Adding a Third Day
The scripture lessons from the BCP include Mark 13 for the 13th of February and Mark 16 for the 16th. Again, can anything be found in these two scriptures which matches The Tempest?
(a) Mark 13:28: ‘Now learne a parable of the figge tre. When her bough is yet tender, & it bringeth forthe leaues, ye knowe that sommer is nere.’
Ariel sings …
xxxxxOn the bat’s back I do fly
xxxxxAfter summer merrily.
xxxxxMerrily, merrily shall I live now,
xxxxxUnder the blossom that hangs on the bough.
(V.i.91-4: emphasis added)
(b) Mark 16 reports the resurrection of Christ. The scripture doesn’t appear to relate to The Tempest.
Based on the foregoing, we could assume the play is dated February 13th to 15th. Considering such, could we reconcile such dates to any particular year?
=== GO TO A New Source, A New Date for The Tempest, Part 3 ===
(11) Per ‘An admonition to the Reader’ found at the bottom of the page for January:
‘Where in this kalender be appoynted almost to all the dayes of euery moneth names of saintes (as they call them) this we haue done (gentle Reader) not for that we [-?-] them all for saintes, of whom we repute some not for good: or yet for that eyther (howe holy [-?-] they be) we iudge any deuine worship or honour to be referred to them: but rather that they shoulde be as notes and markes of some certayne matters, whose appoynted tymes to knowe, as it may do much good: so to be ignoraunt of the same, may do to men much hurt. And this is the reason for this [-?-] and purpose. Farewell.’
(12) Thomas Cooper, Thesaurus linguæ Romanæ & Britannicæ (London, 1578). URL: http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A19275.0001.001; accessed 18 January 2016.
(13) Rheims New Testament (f.p. 1582). Both the Geneva (1560 ed.) and the Bishops’ (f.p. 1568) have ‘destroy this Temple’.
(14) Ariel has already sung ‘I hear / The strain of strutting chanticleer: / Cry [within], Cock-a-diddle-dow.’ (I.ii.386-7)
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