Miranda is a unique and exquisite creation of the poet's magic. She is his ideal maiden, brought up from babyhood in an ideal way — the child of nature, with no other training than she received from a wise and loving father — an ideal father we may say. She reminds me of Wordsworth's lovely picture of the child whom nature has adopted as her own:—
"Three years she grew in sun and shower,
Then Nature said, 'A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
This child I to myself will take;
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.
"'Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse; and with me
The girl, in rock and plain.
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.
"'The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
Even in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden's form
By silent sympathy.
"'The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round.
And beauty bom of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face'" —
into her face, and into her soul no less, the spiritual effect of nature's influences being as marked as the physical.
And nature on this enchanted island is more than nature anywhere else on earth, for the supernatural — that which is beyond and above nature — is added, through the potent and benign art of Prospero. He has been her teacher too — a loving teacher with ample leisure for the training of this single pupil, the sole companion, comfort, and hope of his exile life. He says:—
"Here in this island we arriv'd; and here
Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit
Than other princess can, that have more time
For vainer hours, and tutors not so careful."
An excellent education, the worldly-wise may say, for the maiden on the lonely isle, if she is to live there all her days with her...