Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project
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Prospero's Speech

Mask and Mirror
Loreena McKennitt - the mask and mirror

Loreena McKennitt

From The Mask and Mirror, 1994

Loreena McKennitt has a long musical association with Shakespeare. In 1981, she moved to Stratford to perform in the chorus of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. In 1982 McKennitt sang the part of Ceres in The Tempest and understudied Portia in Julius Caesar, and in 1984, composed and performed in Two Gentlemen of Verona. She has also worked at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the Young People's Theatre in Toronto. In 2001, she returned to Stratford to write the music for The Merchant of Venice (please see Judy Van Rhijn's article, "Loreena McKennitt, Merchant of Song").

In addition to "Prospero's Speech", McKennitt has also recorded "Cymbeline" ("Fear no more the heat o' the sun" Cymbeline 4.2) on her 1991 album, The Visit.

Audio Clip: "Prospero's Speech"
Loreena McKennitt sings Prospero's last speech of The Tempest (Epilogue 1-20).

Prospero's Speech

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,

And what strength I have's mine own,

Which is most faint. Now 'tis true

I must be here confined by you

Or sent to Naples. Let me not,

Since I have my dukedom got,

And pardoned the deceiver, dwell

In this bare island by your spell;

But release me from my bands

With the help of your good hands.

Gentle breath of yours my sails

Must fill, or else my project fails,

Which was to please. Now I want

Spirits to enforce, art to enchant;

And my ending is despair

Unless I be relieved by prayer,

Which pierces so, that it assaults

Mercy itself, and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardoned be,

Let your indulgence set me free (Epilogue 1-20).

Loreena McKennitt: Quinlan Road Online.

CASP gratefully acknowledges Loreena McKennitt's permission to use "Prospero's Speech" on our website.

Van Rhijn, Judy. "Loreena McKennitt, Merchant of Song." Canadian Theatre Review 111 (Summer 2002): 60-62.


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