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.
– William Shakespeare
The Tempest, Epilogue. Prospero’s fascinating and moving soliloquy before he exits the stage in what is thought to be William Shakespeare’s last play, is often taken as Shakespeare’s own farewell to the stage. Speaking to the audience, after the rest of the characters leave the stage, Prospero says that he has given up his magic powers to become an ordinary human being, reclaimed his dukedom and "pardoned the deceiver." He is about to return to the real world in Milan after living on his magical island. He asks his audience to set him free with their applause – "release me from my bands With the help of your good hands." In the final lines two he asks for the audience’s forgiveness for what he has done, to pardon him for his actions on the island which he is now restoring to its natural state, without his magic.