The Tempest

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 12

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ANTONIO

185I am more serious than my custom. You
Must be so too if heed me, which to do
Trebles thee o'er.

ANTONIO

I’m not kidding when I say this, I’m not joking around like usual. You should be serious too when you listen to what I’m saying. You can become a great man if you listen to me.

SEBASTIAN

    Well, I am standing water.

SEBASTIAN

I’m hanging on every word you say.

ANTONIO

I’ll teach you how to flow.

ANTONIO

You need to do more than hang around—you have to act. I’ll show you how.

SEBASTIAN

    Do so. To ebb
Hereditary sloth instructs me.

SEBASTIAN

You need to. I’m lazy by nature.

ANTONIO

      Oh,
190If you but knew how you the purpose cherish
Whiles thus you mock it! How, in stripping it,
You more invest it! Ebbing men indeed
Most often do so near the bottom run
By their own fear or sloth.

ANTONIO

Oh, if you only knew how close to success you are, even while you make fun of what I’m telling you! The more you joke about it, the more clearly I feel how serious it is! Lazy people end up at the bottom, and you deserve to be at the top.

SEBASTIAN

    Prithee, say on.
195The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim
A matter from thee, and a birth indeed
Which throes thee much to yield.

SEBASTIAN

Please, tell me more. There’s something in your expression that tells me you have something serious to say, and you’re having a lot of difficulty saying it.

ANTONIO

      Thus, sir:
Although this lord of weak remembrance—this,
Who shall be of as little memory
200When he is earthed—hath here almost persuade
(For he’s a spirit of persuasion only,
Professes to persuade) the king his son’s alive,
'Tis as impossible that he’s undrowned
And he that sleeps here swims.

ANTONIO

This is what I’m saying. (points at GONZALO) Although this lord who has such a bad memory—and who will be forgotten by the world when he’s dead and buried—almost succeeded in convincing the king that his son’s alive, it’s impossible that he survived. It’s as far from the truth as saying this sleeping man is swimming.