Poems appear throughout the Prospero’s Daughter series. Some appear in the original form. Others have been altered to fit the purposes of the story…or, if you believe Miranda’s version, these are the originals, unadulterated by the Orbis Suleimani.


My favoriate portrait of Miranda from The Tempest


Mephisto’s Song


The song Miranda as she’s walking down the streets of Chicago is straight from The Tempest.

The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I,

The gunner and his mate

Lov’d Mall, Meg and Marian and Margery,

But none of us car’d for Kate;

For she has a tongue with a tang,

Would cry to a sailor, Go hang!

She lov’d not the savor of tar nor of pitch,

Yet a tailor might scratch her where’er she did itch:

Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang!

Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,

Youth’s a stuff will not endure.


Orpheus’s Poems



I had not realized until I started research the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries, while researching Prospero Lost, that the Greek hero Orpheus was thought to bea real historical figure. Poetry still survives that is attributed to him.

Ode To Mnenosene by Orpheus – as edited by the Orbis Suleimani (the “real” historical version) Translated by Thomas Taylor in 1792

The consort I invoke of Jove divine,

Source of the holy, sweetly-speaking Nine;

Free from th’ oblivion of the fallen mind,

By whom the soul with intellect is join’d:

Reason’s increase, and thought to thee belong,

All-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong:

‘Tis thine, to waken from lethargic rest

All thoughts deposited within the breast;

And nought neglecting, vigorous to excite

The mental eye from dark oblivion’s night.

Come, blessed power, thy mystic’s mem’ry wake

To holy rites, and Lethe’s fetters break.


Ode To Mnenosene by Orpheus – as translated by the Dread Magician Prospero

I invoke the consort of Divine Zeus,

Mother of the nine sweet-speaking Muses;

Free from the oblivion of the fallen mind,

By whom the soul is joined and reason increased.

All thought belongs to thee,

All-powerful, pleasant, vigilant goddess,

‘Tis thine to waken from lethargic rest

All thoughts residing within us, neglecting none.

From the dark oblivion of night, you enlighten the inner eye.

Come, Blessed Power, wake thy mystic’s memory of the holy rites.

And break the chains of the River Lethe

Lullaby Lucciola, Lucciola (Firefly, Firefly)


Lady Emma Hamilton as Miranda

painted by George Romney


The Italian lullaby sung by Miranda over the body of Caucus remains unchanged.

Original Italian

Lucciola lucciola, gialla gialla

metti la briglia alla cavalla

che la vuole il figlio del re

lucciola lucciola vieni con me.


English translation by Ernestine Shargool. It can be found at Mama Lisa’s World

Firefly, firefly, yellow and bright

Bridle the filly under your light,

The son of the king is ready to ride,

Firefly, firefly, fly by my side.


Dante’s Inferno



Dante’s version of the words above the door to Hell, or at least what the Orbis Suleimani allowed to be published. (as translated by Revern H. F. Cary in 1814)

Through me you pass into the city of woe:

Through me you pass into eternal pain:

Through me among the people lost for aye.

Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:

To rear me was the task of power divine,

Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

Before me things create were none, save things

Eternal, and eternal I endure.

All hope abandon ye who enter here.


What the Prosperos saw:

Through me the entrance unto Doom

Through me the gateway to the Lost

Through me the entrance to Everlasting Pain.

Beyond me, Divine power stops, Wisdom fails, and Love ceases.

Justice has weighed: the doom is clear:

All hope renounce, ye lost, who enter here.


Onward Christian Soldiers



A shortened version of the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers, written by Sa­bine Bar­ing-Gould, in 1865

Onward, Christian soldiers,

marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus

going on before.

Christ, the royal Master,

leads against the foe;

Forward into battle see

His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers,

marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus

going on before.

At the sign of triumph

Satan’s host doth flee;


On then, Christian soldiers,

on to victory!

Hell’s foundations quiver

at the shout of praise;

Brothers lift your voices,

loud your anthems raise.

Like a mighty army

moves the church of God;

Brothers, we are treading

where the saints have trod.

We are not divided,

all one body we,

One in hope and

doctrine, one in charity.

Crowns and thrones may perish,

kingdoms rise and wane,

But the church of Jesus

constant will remain.

Gates of hell can never

gainst that church prevail;

We have Christ’s own promise,

and that cannot fail.

Mephisto’s Version, not all of which appears in the novel.

Onward Christian Soldiers

Marching as to war

With a slice of pizza

Going on before.”

“Like a mighty army

Moves the Church of God

Brothers we are treading

On some gooey sod.

We are not divided

All one body, we

This does cause some problems

When we need to pee.

Crowns and thrones may perish,

kingdoms rise and wane,

but the Family Prospero

constant will remain.

Gates of Hell can never

Against Prosperos prevail;

we have Theophrastus,

and that cannot fail.


Lament for the Makers



Throughout the book, Miranda’s brother Erasmus quotes from the poem Lament for the Makers, by William Dunbar. Here is the poem in its entirely.


I that in health was and gladness

Am troubled now with great sickness

And feebled with infirmity;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Our pleasance here is all vain glory

This false world is but transitory

The flesh is brittle, the Feind is sly;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

The state of man does change and vary

Now sound, now sick, now blithe, now sorry,

Now dansand merry, now like to die;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

No state in earth here standes sicker

As with the wind waves they wicker

Waves this world’s vanity;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Unto the death go all Estates

Princes, Prelates, and Potestates

Both rich and poor of all degree;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He takes the knights in to field

Enarmed under helm and shield

Victor he is at all melee;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

That strange unmerciful tyrant

Takes on the mother’s breast suckand

The babe full of benignity;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He takes the champion in the stour

The captain closed in the tower

The lady in bower full of beauty;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He spares no lord for his puissance

No clerk for his intelligence

His awful stroke may no man flee;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Art-magicians and astrologes,

Rhetors, logicians, and theologes,

Them helpes no conclusions sly;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

In medicine the most practicions,

Leeches, surgeons, and physicians

Themselves from death may not supply;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

I see that makers among the live

Play here their pageant then go to grave

Spared is not their faculty;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has done pitously devour

The noble Chaucer, of makers flower,

The monk of Bury, and Gower, all three;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

(there follow 10 stanzas naming many forgotten poets)


In Dumfermline he has done roune

With Master Robert Henryson

Sir John the Ross embraced has he;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Since he has all my brethren ta’en

He will not long me leave alone

On force I must his next pray be;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Since for the dead remede is none

Best is that we for death dispone

After our death that live may we;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.