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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


Books Illustrated By 


[Established 1817] 

Tales from Shakespeare 

Copyright, 1918, by Harper & Brothers 
Printed in the United States of America 




Artist's Preface xi 

Author's Preface xiii 

The Tempest I 

A Midsummer Night's Dream 19 

Winter's Tale 35 

Much Ado About Nothing . 50 

As You Like It 67 

Two Gentlemen of Verona 88 

Merchant of Venice 105 

Cymbeline 123 

King Lear 140 

Macbeth 160 

All's Well That Ends Well 176 

Taming of the Shrew 192 

Comedy of Errors 207 r 

- Measure for Measure 226 

Twelfth Night; or, What You Will 246 

Timon of Athens 264 l 

Romeo and Juliet 281 1* 

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark 304 

Othello 326 

Pericles, Prince of Tyre 345 


Prospero, Miranda, and Caliban Fac»»g £ 

Ariel: "Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies" " 

"On the Bat's Back I Do Fly" " 

Puck " 

Implored Him to Have Mercy on His Innocent Wife and 

Child . . . " 

"But Are You Sure that Benedick Loves Beatrice So 

Entirely?" " 

"I Pray You, Bear with Me; I Can Go No Further" ... " 

She Beheld Her Lover Serenading the Lady Silvia with 

Music " 

"Tarry a Little, Jew," Said Portia. "This Bond Here 

Gives You No Drop of Blood" " 

Imogen: "Good Masters, Do Not Harm Me" " 

"Howl, Howl, Howl, Howl! O, You Are Men of Stones" " 

"Macbeth, Beware of Macduff, the Thane of Fife!" . . " 

"I Dare Not Say, My Lord, I Take You" " 

Petruchio Entertains His Wife at Dinner " 

The Ship Split on a Mighty Rock " 

"Plead You to Me, Fair Dame?" " 

"Hear Me, Isabel!" Said the Agonized Claudio . . . . " 
"Perchance He Js Not Drown'd; What Think You, Cap- 

TAIN I m » • • • » • . • • • * » • * * • • ••- >os» - 










Timon Bestowed upon Their Captain the Gold to Pay His 

Soldiers Facing p. 274 

"Romeo Shall Thank Thee, Daughter, for Us Both" ... " 288 

"I Must Begone and Live, or Stay and Die" " 294 

"Still Am I Called. Unhand Me, Gentlemen! By Heaven, 

I'll Make a Ghost of Him that Lets Me!" " 306 

"Whose Skull Is This?" " 318 

Desdemona Loved to Hear Him Tell the Story of His 

Adventures . . . , " 326 

"She Loved Thee, Cruel Moor" " 340 

So They Cast the Queen Overboard . . . . . ... . ' " 350 

"Are You Resolved to Obey Me?" . ..„•...." 356 


INCE Lamb wrote these tales from the 

plays of Shakespeare, as he says — 

"especially for the young mind" — many 

efforts have been made by others, only 

to invariably produce a result inferior in 

every way, and so, quickly vanish from 

the reading world while these tales have 

grown in favor and esteem by thoughtful 

American parents. 

I know a dear lady who has for many years made it almost a 

duty at the holiday season to procure one or more copies of 

"Lamb's Tales" for presentation to some young reader among her 

numerous relatives and friends. 

After reading the tales the reason of its excellence is fully 
apparent. Charles Lamb was a diligent student of Shakespeare 
— appreciative of, and well fitted to write good English. We 
feel the truth of it when he says he took "particular pains to 
both amuse and instruct the youthful mind." He wisely re- 
frained from giving extracts of the well-known orations and 
speeches, such as spoken by Wolsey or Antony. He tells the 
tales with surprising directness and simplicity — as far as possible 
in Shakespeare's own words. Often he leaves out well-known 
characters who do not assist in developing the story, yet, there 
are several, like Touchstone, Jaques, etc., in "As You Like It," 
so revered generation after generation, that the illustrator has 
ventured to picture them although they were not described in 
the text. • 

Lamb's greatest accomplishment in this volume is to give the 
average reader of any age a plain, simple description of the story 



and plot which, after reading the plays, even the adult often does 
not get or rightly understand. We are carried away by the 
splendor of words and thought. That is the reason why, it 
seems to me, these tales can be read with great advantage by 
those adults or parents who take for granted this volume is 
especially for younger readers. The plays are far more edifying 
after these tales have been read, because the magnificence of 
Shakespeare can be enjoyed to the fullest extent. 

It is remarkable that the scenes of nearly all Shakespeare's 
plays are laid outside his native land, mostly in Italy and Greece; 
at the grandest period of the world's history, disclosing with 
remarkable fidelity intimate details in the lives of famous men 
and women that would be unknown to the average reader out- 
side of classic literature. 

Louis Rhead. 

HE following Tales are meant to be sub- 
mitted to the young reader as an intro- 
%i duction to the study of Shakespeare, for 
which purpose his words are used when- 
ever it seemed possible to bring them 
in; and in whatever has been added to 
give them the regular form of a con- 
nected story, diligent care has been 
taken to select such words as might 
least interrupt the effect of the beautiful English tongue in 
which he wrote: therefore, words introduced into our language 
since his time have been as far as possible avoided. 

In those Tales which have been taken from the Tragedies, the 
young readers will perceive, when they come to see the source 
from which these stories are derived, that Shakespeare's own 
words, with little alteration, recur very frequently in the nar- 
rative as well as in the dialogue; but in those made from the 
Comedies the writers found themselves scarcely ever able to 
turn his words into the narrative form: therefore it is feared 
that, in them, dialogue has been made use of too frequently for 
young people not accustomed to the dramatic form of writing. 
But this fault, if it be a fault, has been caused by an earnest wish 
to give as much of Shakespeare's own words as possible: and 

if the "He said" and "She said," the question and the reply, 

[ xiii ] 


should sometimes seem tedious to their young ears, they must 
pardon it, because it was the only way in which could be given 
to them a few hints and little foretastes of the great pleasure 
which awaits them in their elder years, when they come to the 
rich .treasures from which these small and valueless coins are 
extracted; pretending to no other merit than as faint and im- 
perfect stamps of Shakespeare's matchless image. Faint and 
imperfect images they must be called, because the beauty of his 
language is too frequently destroyed by the necessity of changing 
many of his excellent words into words far less expressive of his 
true sense, to make it read something like prose; and even in 
some few places, where his blank verse is given unaltered, as 
hoping from its simple plainness to cheat the young readers into 
the belief that they are reading prose, yet still his language being 
transplanted from its own natural soil and wild poetic garden, 
it must want much of its native beauty. 

It has been wished to make these Tales easy reading for very 
young children. To the utmost of their ability the writers 
have constantly kept this in mind; but the subjects of most of 
them made this a very difficult task. It was no easy matter to 
give the histories of men and women in terms familiar to the 
apprehension of a very young mind. For young ladies, too, it 
has been the intention chiefly to write; because boys being gen- 
erally permitted the use of their fathers' libraries at a much 
earlier age than girls are, they frequently have the best scenes 
of Shakespeare by heart, before their sisters are permitted to 
look into this manly book; and, therefore, instead of recommend- 
ing these Tales to the perusal of young gentlemen who can read 
them so much better in the originals, their kind assistance is 
rather requested in explaining to their sisters such parts as are 
hardest for them to understand: and when they have helped 
them to get over the difficulties, then perhaps they will read to 
them (carefully selecting what is proper for a young sister's ear) 
some passage which has pleased them in one of these stories, 
in the very words of the scene from which it is taken; and it is 



hoped they will find that the beautiful extracts, the select pas- 
sages, they may choose to give their sisters in this way will 
be much better relished and understood from their having some 
notion of the general story from one of these imperfect abridg- 
ments; — which if they be fortunately so done as to prove delight- 
ful to any of the young readers, it is hoped that no worse effect 
will result than to make them wish themselves a little older, 
that they may be allowed to read the Plays at full length (such 
a wish will be neither peevish nor irrational). When time and 
leave of judicious friends shall put them into their hands, they 
will discover in such of them as are here abridged (not to mention 
almost as many more, which are left untouched) many surprising 
events and turns of fortune, which for their infinite variety 
could not be contained in this little book, besides a world of 
sprightly and cheerful characters, both men and women, the 
humor of which it was feared would be lost if it were attempted 
to reduce the length of them. 

What these Tales shall have been to the young readers, that 
and much more it is the writers' wish that the true Plays of 
Shakespeare may prove to them in older years — enrichers of the 
fancy, strengtheners of virtue, a withdrawing from all selfish and 
mercenary thoughts, a lesson of all sweet and honorable thoughts 
and actions, to teach courtesy, benignity, generosity, humanity: 
for of examples, teaching these virtues, his pages are full. 



^HERE was a certain island in the sea, 
the only inhabitants of which were an 
old man, whose name was Prospero, and 
his daughter Miranda, a very beautiful 
young lady. She came to this island 
so young that she had no memory o£ 
having seen any other human face than 
her father's. 

They lived in a cave or cell, made 
out of a rock; it was divided into several apartments, one 
of which Prospero called his study; there he kept his books, 
which chiefly treated of magic, a study at that time much 
affected by all learned men: and the knowledge of this art 
he found very useful to him; for being thrown by a strange 
chance upon this island, which had been enchanted by a 
witch called Sycorax, who died there a short time before his 
arrival, Prospero, by virtue of his art, released many good 
spirits that Sycorax had imprisoned in the bodies of large trees, 
because they had refused to execute her wicked commands. 
These gentle spirits were ever after obedient to the will of Pros- 
pero. Of these Ariel was the chief. 

The lively little sprite Ariel had nothing mischievous in his 
nature, except that he took rather too much pleasure in tor- 
menting an ugly monster called Caliban, for he owed him a 
grudge because he was the son of his old enemy Sycorax. This 
Caliban, Prospero found in the woods, a strange misshapen 
thing, far less human in form than an ape: he took him home 
l [i] 


to his cell, and taught him to speak; and Prospero would have 
been very kind to him, but the bad nature which Caliban inherited 
from his mother, Sycorax, would not let him learn anything 
good or useful: therefore he was employed like a slave, to 
fetch wood and do the most laborious offices; and Ariel had the 
charge of compelling him to these services. 

When Caliban was lazy and neglected his work, Ariel (who 
was invisible to all eyes but Prospero's) would come slyly and 
pinch him, and sometimes tumble him down in the mire; and 
then Ariel, in the likeness of an ape, would make mouths at him. 
Then swiftly changing his shape, in the likeness of a hedgehog, he 
would lie tumbling in Caliban's way, who feared the hedgehog's 
sharp quills would prick his bare feet. With a variety of such-like 
vexatious tricks Ariel would often torment him, whenever Cali- 
ban neglected the work which Prospero commanded him to do. 

Having these powerful spirits obedient to his will, Prospero 
could by their means command the winds, and the waves of the 
sea. By his orders they raised a violent storm, in the midst 
of which, and struggling with the wild sea-waves that every 
moment threatened to swallow it up, he showed his daughter a 
fine large ship, which he told her was full of living beings like 
themselves. "O my dear father," said she, "if by your art 
you have raised this dreadful storm, have pity on their sad 
distress. See! the vessel will be dashed to pieces. Poor souls! 
they will all perish. If I had power I would sink the sea beneath 
the earth, rather than the good ship should be destroyed, with 
all the precious souls within her." 

"Be not amazed, daughter Miranda," said Prospero; "there 
is no harm done. I have so ordered it, that no person in the ship 
shall receive any hurt. What I have done has been in care of 
you, my dear child. You are ignorant who you are, or where 
you came from, and you know no more of me, but that I am 
your father and live in this poor cave. Can you remember a 
time before you came to this cell? I think you cannot, for you 
were not then three years of age." 



"Certainly I can, sir," replied Miranda. 

"By what?" asked Prospero; "by any other house or person? 
Tell me what you can remember, my child." 

Miranda said: "It seems to me like the recollection of a dream. 
But had I not once four or five women who attended upon me?" 

Prospero answered : "You had, and more. How is it that this 
still lives in your mind ? Do you remember how you came here ?" 

"No, sir," said Miranda, "I remember nothing more." 

"Twelve years ago, Miranda," continued Prospero, "I was 
Duke of Milan, and you were a princess, and my only heir. I 
had a younger brother, whose name was Antonio, to whom I 
trusted everything; and as I was fond of retirement and deep 
study I commonly left the management of my state affairs to 
your uncle, my false brother (for so indeed he proved). I, 
neglecting all worldly ends, buried among my books, did dedicate 
my whole time to the bettering of my mind. My brother An- 
tonio, being thus in possession of my power, began to think 
himself the duke indeed. The opportunity I gave him of making 
himself popular among my subjects awakened in his bad nature 
a proud ambition to deprive me of my dukedom; this he soon 
effected with the aid of the King of Naples, a powerful prince, 
who was my enemy." 

"Wherefore," said Miranda, "did they not that hour destroy 



"My child," answered her father, "they durst not, so dear 
was the love that my people bore me. Antonio carried us on 
board a ship, and when we were some leagues out at sea, he 
forced us into a small boat, without either tackle, sail, or mast; 
there he left us, as he thought, to perish. But a kind lord of my 
court, one Gonzalo, who loved me, had privately placed in the 
boat water, provisions, apparel, and some books which I prize 
above my dukedom." 

"O my father," said Miranda, "what a trouble must I have 
been to you then!" 

"No, my love," said Prospero, "you were a little cherub that 



did preserve me. Your innocent smiles made me bear up against 
my misfortunes. Our food lasted till we landed on this desert 
island, since when my chief delight has been in teaching you, 
Miranda, and well have you profited by my instructions." 

"Heaven thank you, my dear father,'* said Miranda. "Now 
pray tell me, sir, your reason for raising this sea-storm?" 

"Know then," said her father, "that by means of this storm, 
my enemies, the King of Naples and my cruel brother, are cast 
ashore upon this island." 

Having so said, Prospero gently touched his daughter with 
his magic wand, and she fell fast asleep; for the spirit Ariel just 
then presented himself before his master, to give an account 
of the tempest, and how he had disposed of the ship's company, 
and though the spirits were always invisible to Miranda, Prospero 
did not choose she should hear him holding converse (as would 
seem to her) with the empty air. 

"Well, my brave spirit," said Prospero to Ariel, "how have 
you performed your task?" 

Ariel gave a lively description of the storm, and of the terrors 
of the mariners, and how the king's son, Ferdinand, was the 
first who leaped into the sea; and his father thought he saw 
his dear son swallowed up by the waves and lost. "But he is 
safe," said Ariel, "in a corner of the isle, sitting with his arms 
folded, sadly lamenting the loss of the king, his father, whom 
he concludes drowned. Not a hair of his head is injured, and 
his princely garments, though drenched in the sea-waves, look 
fresher than before." 

"That's my delicate Ariel," said Prospero. "Bring him 
hither: my daughter must see this young prince. Where is the 
king, and my brother?" 

"I left them," answered Ariel, "searching for Ferdinand, 
whom they have little hopes of finding, thinking they saw him 
perish. Of the ship's crew not one is missing; though each one 
thinks himself the only one saved; and the ship, though invisible 
to them, is safe in the harbor." 




"Ariel," said Prospero, "thy charge is faithfully performed; 
but there is more work yet." 

"Is there more work?" said Ariel. "Let me remind you, 
master, you have promised me my liberty. I pray, remember, 
I have done you worthy service, told you no lies, made no mis- 
takes, served you without grudge or grumbling." 

"How now!" said Prospero. "You do not recollect what a 
torment I freed you from. Have you forgot the wicked witch 
Sycorax, who with age and envy was almost bent double? Where 
was she born? Speak; tell me." 

"Sir, in Algiers," said Ariel. 

"Oh, was she so?" said Prospero. "I must recount what 
you have been, which I find you do not remember. This bad 
witch, Sycorax, for her witchcrafts, too terrible to enter human 
hearing, was banished from Algiers, and here left by the sailors; 
and because you were a spirit too delicate to execute her wicked 
commands, she shut you up in a tree, where I found you howling. 
This torment, remember, I did free you from." 

"Pardon me, dear master," said Ariel, ashamed to seem 
ungrateful; "I will obey your commands." 

"Do so," said Prospero, "and I will set you free." He then 
gave orders what further he would have him do; and away 
went Ariel, first to where he had left Ferdinand, and found 
him still sitting on the grass in the same melancholy posture. 

"Oh, my young gentleman," said Ariel, when he saw him, 
"I will soon move you. You must be brought, I find, for the 
Lady Miranda to have a sight of your pretty person. Come, 
sir, follow me." He then began singing: 

"Full fathom five thy father lies; 
Of his bones are coral made; 
Those are pearls that were his eyes: 

Nothing of him that doth fade, 
But doth suffer a sea-change 
Into something rich and strange. 
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: 
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell." 


This strange news of his lost father soon roused the prince 
from the stupid fit into which he had fallen. He followed in 
amazement the sound of Ariel's voice, till it led him to Prospero 
and Miranda, who were sitting under the shade of a large tree. 
Now Miranda had never seen a man before, except her own 

"Miranda," said Prospero, "tell me what you are looking at 

"Oh, father," said Miranda, in a strange surprise, "surely 
that is a spirit. Lord! how it looks about! Believe me, sir, 
it is a beautiful creature. Is it not a spirit?" 

"No, girl," answered her father; "it eats, and sleeps, and 
has senses such as we have. This young man you see was in 
the ship. He is somewhat altered by grief, or you might call 
him a handsome person. He has lost his companions, and is 
wandering about to find them." 

Miranda, who thought all men had grave faces and gray 
beards like her father, was delighted with the appearance of 
this beautiful young prince; and Ferdinand, seeing such a lovely 
lady in this desert place, and from the strange sounds he had 
heard, expecting nothing but wonders, thought he was upon an 
enchanted island, and that Miranda was the goddess of the 
place, and as such he began to address her. 

She timidly answered, she was no goddess, but a simple maid, 
and was going to give him an account of herself, when Prospero 
interrupted her. He was well pleased to find they admired each 
other, for he plainly perceived they had (as we say) fallen in love 
at first sight: but to try Ferdinand's constancy, he resolved to 
throw some difficulties in their way: therefore, advancing for- 
ward, he addressed the prince with a stern air, telling him, he 
came to the island as a spy, to take it from him who was the 
lord of it. "Follow me," said he. "I will tie your neck and 
feet together. You shall drink sea-water; shell-fish, withered 
roots, and husks of acorns shall be your food." 

"No," said Ferdinand, "I will resist such entertainment till 



I see a more powerful enemy," and drew his sword; but Prospero, 
waving his magic wand, fixed him to the spot where he stood, 
so that he had no power to move. 

Miranda hung upon her father, saying: "Why are you so un- 
gentle ? Have pity, 

sir; I will be his WjmjJ^f^^g^M^ 
surety. This is the 
second man I ever 
saw, and to me he 
seems a true one." 

"Silence!" said 
the father. "One 
word more will 
make me chide you, 
girl! What! an 
advocate for an 
impostor! You 
think there are no 
more such fine men, 
having seen only ^& 
him and Caliban. 
I tell you, foolish 
girl, most men as 
far excel this as 
he does Caliban." 
This he said to 
prove his daughter's 
constancy; and she 
replied : 

"My affections are most humble, 
goodlier man." 

"Come on, young man," said Prospero to the prince; 
have no power to disobey me." 

"I have not indeed," answered Ferdinand; and not knowing 
that it was by magic he was deprived of all power of resistance, 


I have no wish to see a 



he was astonished to find himself so strangely compelled to 
follow Prospero; looking back on Miranda as long as he could 
see her, he said, as he went after Prospero into the cave, "My 
spirits are all bound up, as if I were in a dream; but this man's 
threats, and the weakness which I feel, would seem light to me if 
from my prison I might once a day behold this fair maid." 

Prospero kept Ferdinand not long confined within the cell: he 
soon brought out his prisoner, and set him a severe task to per- 
form, taking care to let his daughter know the hard labor he had 
imposed on him, and then pretending to go into his study, he 
secretly watched them both. 

Prospero had commanded Ferdinand to pile up some heavy 
logs of wood. Kings' sons not being much used to laborious 
work, Miranda soon after found her lover almost dying with 
fatigue. "Alas!" said she, "do not work so hard; my father is 
at his studies, he is safe for these three hours; pray rest yourself." 

"Oh, my dear lady," said Ferdinand, "I dare not. I must 
finish my task before I take my rest." 

"If you will sit down," said Miranda, "I will carry your logs 
the while." But this Ferdinand would by no means agree to. 
Instead of a help Miranda became a hindrance, for they began 
a long conversation, so that the business of log-carrying went 
on very slowly. 

Prospero, who had enjoined Ferdinand this task merely as a 
trial of his love, was not at his books, as his daughter supposed, 
but was standing by them invisible, to overhear what they said. 

Ferdinand inquired her name, which she told, saying it was 
against her father's express command she did so. 

Prospero only smiled at this first instance of his daughter's 
disobedience, for having by his magic art caused his daughter to 
fall in love so suddenly, he was not angry that she showed her 
love by forgetting to obey his commands. And he listened well 
pleased to a long speech of Ferdinand's, in which he professed to 
love her above all the ladies he ever saw. 

In answer to his praises of her beauty, which he said exceeded 



all the women in the world, she replied: "I do not remember the 
face of any woman, nor have I seen any more men than you, my 
good friend, and my dear father. How features are abroad, I 
know not; but, believe me, sir, I would not wish any companion 
in the world but you, nor can my imagination form any shape 
but yours that I could like. But, sir, I fear I talk to you too 
freely, and my father's precepts I forget." 

At this Prospero smiled, and nodded his head, as much as to say, 
"This goes on exactly as I could wish; my girl will be Queen of 

And then Ferdinand, in another fine long speech (for young 
princes speak in courtly phrases), told the innocent Miranda he 
was heir to the crown of Naples, and that she should be his queen. 

"Ah! sir," said she, "I am a fool to weep at what I am glad 
of. I will answer you in plain and holy innocence. I am your 
wife if you will marry me." 

Prospero prevented Ferdinand's thanks by appearing visible 
before them. 

"Fear nothing, my child," said he; "I have overheard, and 
approve of all you have said. And, Ferdinand, if I have too 
severely used you, I will make you rich amends by giving you 
my daughter. All your vexations were but trials of your love, and 
you have nobly stood the test. Then as my gift, which your 
true love has worthily purchased, take my daughter, and do not 
smile that I boast she is above all praise." He then, telling them 
that he had business which required his presence, desired they 
would sit down and talk together till he returned; and this com- 
mand Miranda seemed not at all disposed to disobey. 

When Prospero left them he called his spirit Ariel, who quickly 
appeared before him, eager to relate what he had done with 
Prospero's brother and the King of Naples. Ariel said he had 
left them almost out of their senses with fear, at the strange 
things he had caused them to see and hear. When fatigued 
with wandering about, and famished for want of food, he had 
suddenly set before them a delicious banquet, and then, just as 



they were going to eat, he appeared visible before them in the 
shape of a harpy, a voracious monster with wings, and the feast 
vanished away. Then, to their utter amazement, this seeming 
harpy spoke to them, reminding them of their cruelty in driving 
Prospero from his dukedom, and leaving him and his infant 
daughter to perish in the sea, saying, that for this cause these 
terrors were suffered to afflict them. 

The King of Naples, and Antonio the false brother, repented 
the injustice they had done to Prospero; and Ariel told his master 
he was certain their penitence was sincere, and that he, though 
a spirit, could not but pity them. 

"Then bring them hither, Ariel," said Prospero: "if you, 
who are but a spirit, feel for their distress, shall not I, who am 
a human being like themselves, have compassion on them? 
Bring them quickly, my dainty Ariel." 

Ariel soon returned with the king, Antonio, and old Gonzalo in 
their train, who had followed him, wondering at the wild music he 
played in the air to draw them on to his master's presence. This 
Gonzalo was the same who had so kindly provided Prospero 
formerly with books and provisions, when his wicked brother 
left him, as he thought, to perish in an open boat in the sea. 

Grief and terror had so stupefied their senses that they did 
not know Prospero. He first discovered himself to the good old 
Gonzalo, calling him the preserver of his life; and then his 
brother and the king knew that he was the injured Prospero. 

Antonio, with tears and sad words of sorrow and true re- 
pentance, implored his brother's forgiveness, and the king ex- 
pressed his sincere remorse for having assisted Antonio to depose 
his brother: and Prospero forgave them; and, upon their engag- 
ing to restore his dukedom, he said to the King of Naples, "I 
have a gift in store for you, too"; and, opening a door, showed 
him his son Ferdinand playing at chess with Miranda. 

Nothing could exceed the joy of the father and the son at 
this unexpected meeting, for they each thought the other drowned 
in the storm. 



"Oh wonder!" said Miranda, "what noble creatures these are! 
It must surely be a brave world that has such people in it." 

The King of Naples was almost as much astonished at the 
beauty and excellent graces of the young Miranda as his son 
had been. "Who is this maid?" said he; "she seems the goddess 
that has parted us, and brought us thus together." 

"No, sir," answered Ferdinand, smiling to find his father had 
fallen into the same mistake that he had done when he first saw 
Miranda, "she is a mortal, but by immortal Providence she is 
mine; I chose her when I could not ask you, my father, for 
your consent, not thinking you were alive. She is the daughter 
to this Prospero, who is the famous Duke of Milan, of whose 
renown I have heard so much, but never saw him till now: of 
him I have received a new life: he has made himself to me a 
second father, giving me this dear lady." 

"Then I must be her father," said the king; "but, oh, how 
oddly will it sound, that I must ask my child forgiveness." 

"No more of that," said Prospero: "let us not remember our 
troubles past, since they so happily have ended." And then 
Prospero embraced his brother, and again assured him of his 
forgiveness; and said that a wise overruling Providence had 
permitted that he should be driven from his poor dukedom of 
Milan, that his daughter might inherit the crown of Naples, for 
that by their meeting in this desert island it had happened that 
the king's son had loved Miranda. 

These kind words which Prospero spoke, meaning to comfort 
his brother, so filled Antonio with shame and remorse that he 
wept and was unable to speak; and the kind old Gonzalo wept 
to see this joyful reconciliation, and prayed for blessings on the 
young couple. 

Prospero now told them that their ship was safe in the harbor, 
and the sailors all on board her, and that he and his daughter 
would accompany them home the next morning. "In the mean 
time," says he, "partake of such refreshments as my poor cave 
affords; and for your evening's entertainment I will relate 



the history of my life from my first landing in this desert island." 
He then called for Caliban to prepare some food, and set the 
cave in order; and the company were astonished at the uncouth 
form and savage appearance of this ugly monster, who (Prospero 
said) was the only attendant he had to wait upon him. 

Before Prospero left the island he dismissed Ariel from his 
service, to the great joy of that lively little spirit, who, though 
he had been a faithful servant to his master, was always longing 
to enjoy his free liberty, to wander uncontrolled in the air, like a 
wild bird, under green trees, among pleasant fruits, and sweet- 
smelling flowers. 

"My quaint Ariel," said Prospero to the little sprite when he made 
him free, "I shall miss you; yet you shall have your freedom." 

"Thank you, my dear master," said Ariel; "but give me leave 
to attend your ship home with prosperous gales, before you bid 
farewell to the assistance of your faithful spirit; and then, 
master, when I am free, how merrily I shall live!" Here Ariel 
sang this pretty song: 

"Where the bee sucks, there suck I; 
In a cowslip's bell I lie: 
There I crouch when owls do cry. 
On the bat's back I do fly 
After summer merrily. 
Merrily, merrily shall I live now 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough." 

Prospero then buried deep in the earth his magical books and 
wand, for he was resolved never more to make use of the magic 
art. And having thus overcome his enemies, and being recon- 
ciled to his brother and the King of Naples, nothing now remained 
to complete his happiness but to revisit his native land, to take 
possession of his dukedom, and to witness the happy nuptials 
of his daughter and Prince Ferdinand, which the king said 
should be instantly celebrated with great splendor on their 
return to Naples. At which place, under the safe convoy of the 
spirit Ariel, they, after a pleasant voyage, soon arrived. 












*Qr*. .j^ygggg^HERE was a law in the city of Athens 

which gave to its citizens the power of 
compelling their daughters to marry 
whomsoever they pleased; for upon a 
daughter's refusing to marry the man 
her father had chosen to be her hus- 
band, the father was empowered by this 
law to cause her to be put to death; 
but as fathers do not often desire the 
death of their own daughters, even though they do happen to 
prove a little refractory, this law was seldom or never put 
in execution, though perhaps the young ladies of that city 
were not unfrequently threatened by their parents with the 
terrors of it. 

There was one instance, however, of an old man, whose name 
was Egeus, who actually did come before Theseus (at that time 
the reigning Duke of Athens), to complain that his daughter 
Hermia, whom he had commanded to marry Demetrius, a young 
man of a noble Athenian family, refused to obey him, because 
she loved another young Athenian, named Lysander. Egeus 
demanded justice of Theseus, and desired that this cruel law 
might be put in force against his daughter. 

Hermia pleaded in excuse for her disobedience that Demetrius 
had formerly professed love for her dear friend Helena, and that 
Helena loved Demetrius to distraction; but this honorable reason, 
which Hermia gave for not obeying her father's command, moved 
not the stern Egeus. 

Theseus, though a great and merciful prince, had no power to 
alter the laws of his country; therefore he could only give Hermia 



four days to consider of it: and at the end of that time, if she still 
refused to marry Demetrius, she was to be put to death. 

When Hermia was dismissed from the presence of the duke, 
she went to her lover Lysander and told him the peril she was in, 
and that she must either give him up and marry Demetrius or 
lose her life in four days. 

Lysander was in great affliction at hearing these evil tidings; 
but, recollecting that he had an aunt who lived at some distance 
from Athens, and that at the place where she lived the cruel law 
could not be put in force against Hermia (this law not extending 
beyond the boundaries of the city), he proposed to Hermia that 
she should steal out of her father's house that night, and go with 
him to his aunt's house, where he would marry her. "I will 
meet you," said Lysander, "in the wood a few miles without the 
city; in that delightful wood where we have so often walked 
with Helena in the pleasant month of May." 

To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she told no one 
of her intended flight but her friend Helena. Helena (as maidens 
will do foolish things for love) very ungenerously resolved to go 
and tell this to Demetrius, though she could hope no benefit 
from betraying her friend's secret but the poor pleasure of follow- 
ing her faithless lover to the wood; for she well knew that 
Demetrius would go thither in pursuit of Hermia. 

The wood in which Lysander and Hermia proposed to meet 
was the favorite haunt of those little beings known by the 
name of "fairies." 

Oberon the king, and Titania the queen of the fairies, with 
all their tiny train of followers, in this wood held their midnight 

Between this little king and queen of sprites there happened, 
at this time, a sad disagreement; they never met by moonlight 
in the shady walks of this pleasant wood but they were quarreling, 
till all their fairy elves would creep into acorn-cups and hide 
themselves for fear. 

The cause of this unhappy disagreement was Titania's refusing 




to give Oberon a little changeling boy, whose mother had been 
Titania's friend; and upon her death the fairy queen stole the 
child from its nurse and brought him up in the woods. 

The night on which the lovers were to meet in this wood, as 
Titania was walking with some of her maids of honor, she met 
Oberon attended by his train of fairy courtiers. 

"Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania," said the fairy king. 

The queen replied : "What, jealous Oberon, is it you? Fairies, 
skip hence; I have forsworn his company." 

"Tarry, rash fairy," said Oberon. "Am I not thy lord? Why 
does Titania cross her Oberon? Give me your little changeling 
boy to be my page." 

"Set your heart at rest," answered the queen; "your whole 
fairy kingdom buys not the boy of me." She then left her lord 
in great anger. 

"Well, go your way," said Oberon; "before the morning dawns 
I will torment you for this injury." 

Oberon then sent for Puck, his chief favorite and privy coun- 

Puck (or, as he was sometimes called, Robin Goodfellow) was 
a shrewd and knavish sprite, that used to play comical pranks 
in the neighboring villages; sometimes getting into the dairies and 
skimming the milk, sometimes plunging his light and airy form 
into the butter-churn, and while he was dancing his fantastic 
shape in the churn, in vain the dairymaid would labor to change 
her cream into butter. Nor had the village swains any better 
success; whenever Puck chose to play his freaks in the brewing 
copper, the ale was sure to be spoiled. When a few good neighbors 
were met to drink some comfortable ale together, Puck would 
jump into the bowl of ale in the likeness of a roasted crab, and 
when some old goody was going to drink he would bob against her 
lips, and spill the ale over her withered chin; and presently after, 
when the same old dame was gravely seating herself to tell her 
neighbors a sad and melancholy story, Puck would slip her 
three-legged stool from under her, and down toppled the poor old 



woman, and then the old gossips would hold their sides and 
laugh at her, and swear they never wasted a merrier hour. 

"Come hither, Puck," said Oberon to this little merry wanderer 
of the night; "fetch me the flower which maids call 'Love in 
Idleness'; the juice of that little purple flower laid on the eye- 
lids of those who sleep will make them, when they awake, dote 
on the first thing they see. Some of the juice of that flower I 
will drop on the eyelids of my Titania when she is asleep; and the 
first thing she looks upon when she opens her eyes she will fall 
in love with, even though it be a lion or a bear, a meddling 
monkey or a busy ape; and before I will take this charm from 
off her sight, which I can do with another charm I know of, 
I will make her give me that boy to be my page." 

Puck, who loved mischief to his heart, was highly diverted 
with this intended frolic of his master, and ran to seek the flower; 
and while Oberon was waiting the return of Puck he observed 
Demetrius and Helena enter the wood: he overheard Demetrius 
reproaching Helena for following him, and after many unkind 
words on his part, and gentle expostulations from Helena, re- 
minding him of his former love and professions of true faith to 
her, he left her (as he said) to the mercy of the wild beasts, and 
she ran after him as swiftly as she could. 

The fairy king, who was always friendly to true lovers, felt great 
compassion for Helena; and perhaps, as Lysander said they 
used to walk by moonlight in this pleasant wood, Oberon might 
have seen Helena in those happy times when she was beloved 
by Demetrius. However that might be, when Puck returned 
with the little purple flower, Oberon said to his favorite: "Take 
a part of this flower; there has been a sweet Athenian lady 
here, who is in love with a disdainful youth; if you find him 
sleeping, drop some of the love-juice in his eyes, but contrive 
to do it when she is near him, that the first thing he sees when 
he awakes may be this despised lady. You will know the man 
by the Athenian garments which he wears." 

Puck promised to manage this matter very dexterously: and 



then Oberon went, unperceived by Titania, to her bower, where 
she was preparing to goto rest. Her fairy bower was a bank, where 
grew wild thyme, cowslips, and sweet violets, under a canopy of 
woodbine, musk-roses, and eglantine. There Titania always slept 
some part of the night; her coverlet the enameled skin of a snake, 
which, though a small mantle, was wide enough to wrap a fairy in. 

He found Titania giving orders to her fairies, how they were 
to employ themselves while she slept. "Some of you/' said 
her Majesty, "must kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, and 
some wage war with the bats for their leathern wings, to make 
my small elves coats; and some of you keep watch that the 
clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, come not near me: but first 
sing me to sleep." Then they began to sing this song: 

"You spotted snakes, with double tongue, 
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; 
Newts and blind-worms do no wrong; 
Come not near our fairy queen: 


"Philomel, with melody, 
Sing in our sweet lullaby; 
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby; 
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm, 
Come our lovely lady nigh; 
So, good night, with lullaby." 

When the fairies had sung their queen asleep with this pretty 
lullaby, they left her to perform the important services she 
had enjoined them. Oberon then softly drew near his Titania 
and dropped some of the love-juice on her eyelids, saying: 

"What thou seest when thou dost wake, 
Do it for thy true-love take." 

But to return to Hermia, who made her escape out of her 
father's house that night, to avoid the death she was doomed to 
for refusing to marry Demetrius. When she entered the wood, 
she found her dear Lysander waiting for her, to conduct her to 
his aunt's house; but before they had passed half through the 
wood Hermia was so much fatigued that Lysander, who was 
very careful of this dear lady, who had proved her affection 
for him even by hazarding her life for his sake, persuaded her 
to rest till morning on a bank of soft moss, and, lying down him- 
self on the ground at some little distance, they soon fell fast 
asleep. Here they were found by Puck, who, seeing a handsome 
young man asleep, and perceiving that his clothes were made in 
the Athenian fashion, and that a pretty lady was sleeping near 
him, concluded that this must be the Athenian maid and her 
disdainful lover whom Oberon had sent him to seek; and he 
naturally enough conjectured that, as they were alone together, 
she must be the first thing he would see when he awoke; so, 
without more ado, he proceeded to pour some of the juice of 
the little purple flower into his eyes. But it so fejl out that 
Helena came that way, and, instead of Hermia, was the first 
object Lysander beheld when he opened his eyes; and strange 
to relate, so powerful was the love-charm, all his love for Hermia 
vanished away and Lysander fell in love with Helena. 



Had he first seen Hermia when he awoke, the blunder Puck 
committed would have been of no consequence, for he could 
not love that faithful lady too well; but for poor Lysander 
to be forced by a fairy love-charm to forget his own true 
Hermia, and to run after another lady, and leave Hermia 
asleep quite alone in a wood at midnight, was a sad chance 

Thus this misfortune happened. Helena, as has been before 
related, endeavored to keep pace with Demetrius when he ran 
away so rudely from her; but she could not continue this unequal 
race long, men being always better runners in a long race than 
ladies. Helena soon lost sight of Demetrius; and as she was 
wandering about, dejected and forlorn, she arrived at the place 
where Lysander was sleeping. "Ah!" said she, "this is Lysander 
lying on the ground. Is he dead or asleep?" Then, gently 
touching him, she said, "Good sir, if you are alive, awake." 
Upon this Lysander opened his eyes, and, the love-charm begin- 
ning to work, immediately addressed her in terms of extravagant 
love and admiration, telling her she as much excelled Hermia in 
beauty as a dove does a raven, and that he would run through 
fire for her sweet sake; and many more such lover-like speeches. 
Helena, knowing Lysander was her friend Hermia's lover, and 
that he was solemnly engaged to marry her, was in the utmost 
rage when she heard herself addressed in this manner; for she 
thought (as well she might) that Lysander was making a jest 
of her. "Oh!" said she, "why was I born to be mocked and 
scorned by every one? Is it not enough, is it not enough, young 
man, that I can never get a sweet look or a kind word from 
Demetrius; but you, sir, must pretend in this disdainful manner 
to court me? I thought, Lysander, you were a lord of more true 
gentleness." Saying these words in great anger, she ran away; 
and Lysander followed her, quite forgetful of his own Hermia, 
who was still asleep. 

When Hermia awoke she was in a sad fright at finding herself 
alone. She wandered about the wood, not knowing what was 



become of Lysander, or which way to go to seek for him. In 
the mean time Demetrius, not being able to find Hermia and his 
rival Lysander, and fatigued with his fruitless search, was ob- 
served by Oberon fast asleep. Oberon had learned by some 
questions he had asked of Puck that he had applied the love- 
charm to the wrong person's eyes; and now, having found the 
person first intended, he touched the eyelids of the sleeping 
Demetrius with the love-juice, and he instantly awoke; and 
the first thing he saw being Helena, he, as Lysander had done 
before, began to address love-speeches to her; and just at that 
moment Lysander, followed by Hermia (for through Puck's 
unlucky mistake it was now become Hermia's turn to run 
after her lover), made his appearance; and then Lysander and 
Demetrius, both speaking together, made love to Helena, 
they being each one under the influence of the same potent 

The astonished Helena thought that Demetrius, Lysander, and 
her once dear friend Hermia were all in a plot together to make 
a jest of her. 

Hermia was as much surprised as Helena; she knew not 
why Lysander and Demetrius, who both before loved her, were 
now become the lovers of Helena, and to Hermia the matter 
seemed to be no jest. 

The ladies, who before had always been the dearest of friends, 
now fell to high words together. 

"Unkind Hermia," said Helena, "it is you have set Lysander 
on to vex me with mock praises; and your other lover, De- 
metrius, who used almost to spurn me with his foot, have you 
not bid him call me goddess, nymph, rare, precious, and celestial? 
He would not speak thus to me, whom he hates, if you did not 
set him on to make a jest of me. Unkind Hermia, to join with 
men in scorning your poor friend. Have you forgot our school- 
day friendship? How often, Hermia, have we two, sitting on 
one cushion, both singing one song, with our needles working 

the same flower, both on the same sampler wrought; growing up 



together in fashion of a double cherry, scarcely seeming parted! 
Hermia, it is not friendly in you, it is not maidenly to join with 
men in scorning your poor friend." 

"I am amazed at your passionate words," said Hermia: "I 
scorn you not; it seems you scorn me." 

"Aye, do," returned Helena, "persevere, counterfeit serious 
looks, and make mouths at me when I turn my back; then wink 
at each other, and hold the sweet jest up. If you had any pity, 
grace, or manners, you would not use me thus." 

While Helena and Hermia were speaking these angry words 
to each other, Demetrius and Lysander left them, to fight to- 
gether in the wood for the love of Helena. 

When they found the gentlemen had left them, they departed, 
and once more wandered weary in the wood in search of their 

As soon as they were gone the fairy king, who with little Puck 
had been listening to their quarrels, said to him, "This is your 
negligence, Puck; or did you do this wilfully?" 

"Believe me, king of shadows," answered Puck, "it was a 
mistake. Did not you tell me I should know the man by his 
Athenian garments ? However, I am not sorry this has happened, 
for I think their jangling makes excellent sport." 

"You heard," said Oberon, "that Demetrius and Lysander 
are gone to seek a convenient place to fight in. I command you 
to overhang the night with a thick fog, and lead these quarrel- 
some lovers so astray in the dark that they shall not be able to 
find each other. Counterfeit each of their voices to the other, 
and with bitter taunts provoke them to follow you, while they 
think it is their rival's tongue they hear. See you do this, till 
they are so weary they can go no farther; and when you find 
they are asleep, drop the juice of this other flower into Lysander's 
eyes, and when he awakes he will forget his new love for Helena, 
and return to his old passion for Hermia; and then the two fair 
ladies may each one be happy with the man she loves and they 
will think all that has passed a vexatious dream. About this 



quickly, Puck, and I will go and see what sweet love my Titania 
has found." 

Titania was still sleeping, and Oberon, seeing a clown near 
her who had lost his way in the wood and was likewise asleep, 
"This fellow," said he, "shall be my Titania's true love"; and 
clapping an ass's head over the clown's, it seemed to fit him as 
well as if it had grown upon his own shoulders. Though Oberon 
fixed the ass's head on very gently, it awakened him, and, rising 
up, unconscious of what Oberon had done to him, he went 
toward the bower where the fairy queen slept. 

"Ah! what angel is that I see?" said Titania, opening her eyes, 
and the juice of the little purple flower beginning to take effect. 
"Are you as wise as you are beautiful?" 

"Why, mistress," said the foolish clown, "if I have wit enough 
to find the way out of this wood, I have enough to serve my turn." 

"Out of the wood do not desire to go," said the enamoured 
queen. "I am a spirit of no common rate. I love you. Go 
with me, and I will give you fairies to attend upon you." 

She then called four of her fairies. Their names were Peas- 
blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed. 

"Attend," said the queen, "upon this sweet gentleman. Hop 
in his walks and gambol in his sight; feed him with grapes and 
apricots, and steal for him the honey-bags from the bees. Come, 
sit with me," said she to the clown, "and let me play with your 
amiable hairy cheeks, my beautiful ass! and kiss your fair large 
ears, my gentle joy!" 

"Where is Peas-blossom?" said the ass-headed clown, not 
much regarding the fairy queen's courtship, but very proud of 
his new attendants. 

"Here, sir," said little Peas-blossom. 

"Scratch my head," said the clown. "Where is Cobweb?" 

"Here, sir," said Cobweb. 

"Good Mr. Cobweb," said the foolish clown, "kill me the red 
humblebee on the top of that thistle yonder; and, good Mr. 
Cobweb, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too 



much in the action, Mr. Cobweb, and take care the honey-bag 
break not; I should be sorry to have you overflown with a honey- 
bag. Where is Mustard-seed?" 

"Here, sir," said Mustard-seed. "What is your will?" 

"Nothing," said the clown, "good Mr. Mustard-seed, but to 
help Mr. Peas-blossom to scratch; I must go to a barber's, 
Mr. Mustard-seed, for methinks I am marvelous hairy about the 

"My sweet love," said the queen, "what will you have to 
eat? I have a venturous fairy shall seek the squirrel's hoard, 
and fetch you some new nuts." 

"I had rather have a handful of dried peas," said the clown, 
who with his ass's head had got an ass's appetite. "But, I pray, 
let none of your people disturb me, for I have a mind to sleep." 

"Sleep, then," said the queen, "and I will wind you in my 
arms. Oh, how I love you! how I dote upon you!" 

When the fairy king saw the clown sleeping in the arms of his 
queen, he advanced within her sight, and reproached her with 
having lavished her favors upon an ass. 

This she could not deny, as the clown was then sleeping within 
her arms, with his ass's head crowned by her with flowers. 

When Oberon had teased her for some time, he again demanded 
the changeling boy; which she, ashamed of being discovered by 
her lord with her new favorite, did not dare to refuse him. 

Oberon, having thus obtained the little boy he had so long 
wished for to be his page, took pity on the disgraceful situation 
into which, by his merry contrivance, he had brought his Titania, 
and threw some of the juice of the other flower into her eyes; 
and the fairy queen immediately recovered her senses, and 
wondered at her late dotage, saying how she now loathed the 
sight of the strange monster. 

Oberon likewise took the ass's head from off" the clown, and 
left him to finish his nap with his own fool's head upon his 

Oberon and his Titania being now perfectly reconciled, he 



related to her the history of the lovers and their midnight quar- 
rels, and she agreed to go with him and see the end of their 

The fairy king and queen found the lovers and their fair ladies, 
at no great distance from on a another, sleeping on a grass-plot; 



« 4 C*r^:> 

- »' 



for Puck, to make amends for his former mistake, had contrived 
with the utmost diligence to bring them all to the same spot, 
unknown to one another; and he had carefully removed the 
charm from off the eyes of Lysander with the antidote the fairy 
king gave to him. 

Hermia first awoke, and, finding her lost Lysander asleep so 



near her, was looking at him and wondering at his strange in- 
constancy. Lysander presently opening his eyes, and seeing 
his dear Hermia, recovered his reason which the fairy charm 
had before clouded, and with his reason his love for Hermia; 
and they began to talk over the adventures of the night, doubting 
if these things had really happened, or if they had both been 
dreaming the same bewildering dream. 

Helena and Demetrius were by this time awake; and a sweet 
sleep having quieted Helena's disturbed and angry spirits, she 
listened with delight to the professions of love which Demetrius 
still made to her, and which, to her surprise as well as pleasure, 
she began to perceive were sincere. 

These fair night-wandering ladies, now no longer rivals, 
became once more true friends; all the unkind words which had 
passed were forgiven, and they calmly consulted together what 
was best to be done in their present situation. It was soon 
agreed that, as Demetrius had given up his pretensions to Hermia, 
he should endeavor to prevail upon her father to revoke the cruel 
sentence of death which had been passed against her. Demetrius 
was preparing to return to Athens for this friendly purpose, 
when they were surprised with the sight of Egeus, Hermia's 
father, who came to the wood in pursuit of his runaway daughter. 

When Egeus understood that Demetrius would not now marry 
his daughter, he no longer opposed her marriage with Lysander, 
but gave his consent that they should be wedded on the fourth 
day from that time, being the same day on which Hermia 
had been condemned to lose her life; and on that same day 
Helena joyfully agreed to marry her beloved and now faithful 

The fairy king and queen, who were invisible spectators of this 
reconciliation, and now saw the happy ending of the lovers' 
history, brought about through the good offices of Oberon, 
received so much pleasure that these kind spirits resolved to 
celebrate the approaching nuptials with sports and revels through- 
out their fairy kingdom. 
3 [33 1 


And now, if any are offended with this story of fairies and their 
pranks, as judging it incredible and strange, they have only to 
think that they have been asleep and dreaming, and that all 
these adventures were visions which they saw in their sleep. 
And I hope none of my readers will be so unreasonable as to 
be offended with a pretty, harmless Midsummer Night's Dream. 



'EONTES, King of Sicily, and his queen, 
the beautiful and virtuous Hermione, 
once lived in the greatest harmony to- 
gether. So happy was Leontes in the 
love of this excellent lady that he had 
no wish ungratified, except that he some- 
times desired to see again and to present 
to his queen his old companion and 
schoolfellow, Polixenes, King of Bohemia. 
Leontes and Polixenes were brought up together from their 
infancy, but being, by the death of their fathers, called to reign 
over their respective kingdoms, they had not met for many 
years, though they frequently interchanged gifts, letters, and 
loving embassies. 

At length, after repeated invitations, Polixenes came from 
Bohemia to the Sicilian court, to make his friend Leontes a visit. 
At first this visit gave nothing but pleasure to Leontes. He 
recommended the friend of his youth to the queen's particular 
attention, and seemed in the presence of his dear friend and 
old companion to have his felicity quite completed. They talked 
over old times; their school-days and their youthful pranks were 
remembered, and recounted to Hermione, who always took a 
cheerful part in these conversations. 

When, after a long stay, Polixenes was preparing to depart, 
Hermione, at the desire of her husband, joined her entreaties 
to his that Polixenes would prolong his visit. 

And now began this good queen's sorrow; for Polixenes, refus- 
ing to stay at the request of Leontes, was won over by Hermione's 
gentle and persuasive words to put off his departure for some 



weeks longer. Upon this, although Leontes had so long known 
the integrity and honorable principles of his friend Polixenes, 
as well as the excellent disposition of his virtuous queen, he was 
seized with an ungovernable jealousy. Every attention Hermione 
showed to Polixenes, though by her husband's particular desire 
and merely to please him, increased the unfortunate king's 
jealousy; and from being a loving and a true friend, and the best 
and fondest of husbands, Leontes became suddenly a savage and 
inhuman monster. Sending for Camillo, one of the lords of his 
court, and telling him of the suspicion he entertained, he com- 
manded him to poison Polixenes. 

Camillo was a good man, and he, well knowing that the 
jealousy of Leontes had not the slightest foundation in truth, 
instead of poisoning Polixenes, acquainted him with the king his 
master's orders, and agreed to escape with him out of the Sicilian 
dominions; and Polixenes, with the assistance of Camillo, arrived 
safe in his own kingdom of Bohemia, where Camillo lived from 
that time in the king's court and became the chief friend and 
favorite of Polixenes. 

The flight of Polixenes enraged the jealous Leontes still more; 
he went to the queen's apartment, where the good lady was 
sitting with her little son Mamillius, who was just beginning to 
tell one of his best stories to amuse his mother, when the king 
entered and, taking the child away, sent Hermione to prison. 

Mamillius, though but a very young child, loved his mother 
tenderly; and when he saw her so dishonored, and found she was 
taken from him to be put into a prison, he took it deeply to 
heart and drooped and pined away by slow degrees, losing his 
appetite and his sleep, till it was thought his grief would kill him. 

The king, when he had sent his queen to prison, commanded 
Cleomenes and Dion, two Sicilian lords, to go to Delphos, 
there to inquire of the oracle at the temple of Apollo if his 
queen had been unfaithful to him. 

When Hermione had been a short time in prison she was brought 
to bed of a daughter; and the poor lady received much comfort 




from the sight of her pretty baby, and she said to it, "My poor 
little prisoner, I am as innocent as you are." 

Hermione had a kind friend in the noble-spirited Paulina, 
who was the wife of Antigonus, a Sicilian lord; and when the 
lady Paulina heard her royal mistress was brought to bed she 
went to the prison where Hermione was confined; and she said to 
Emilia, a lady who attended upon Hermione, "I pray you, 
Emilia, tell the good queen, if her Majesty dare trust me with 
her little babe, I will carry it to the king, its father: we do 
not know how he may soften at the sight of his innocent child." 

"Most worthy madam," replied Emilia, "I will acquaint the 
queen with your noble offer. She was wishing to-day that she 
had any friend who would venture to present the child to the 

"And tell her," said Paulina, "that I will speak boldly to 
Leontes in her defense." 

"May you be forever blessed," said Emilia, "for your kindness 
to our gracious queen!" 

Emilia then went to Hermione, who joyfully gave up her 
baby to the care of Paulina, for she had feared that no one 
would dare venture to present the child to its father. 

Paulina took the new-born infant and, forcing herself into the 
king's presence, notwithstanding her husband, fearing the king's 
anger, endeavored to prevent her, she laid the babe at its father's 
feet; and Paulina made a noble speech to the king in defense 
of Hermione, and she reproached him severely for his inhumanity 
and implored him to have mercy on his innocent wife and child. 
But Paulina's spirited remonstrances only aggravated Leontes's 
displeasure, and he ordered her husband Antigonus to take her 
from his presence. 

When Paulina went away she left the little baby at its father's 
feet, thinking when he was alone with it he would look upon it 
and have pity on its helpless innocence. 

The good Paulina was mistaken, for no sooner was she gone 
than the merciless father ordered Antigonus, Paulina's husband, 



to take the child and carry it out to sea and leave it upon some 
desert shore to perish. 

Antigonus, unlike the good Camillo, too well obeyed the 
orders of Leontes; for he immediately carried the child on ship- 
board, and put out to sea, intending to leave it on the first desert 
coast he could find. 

So firmly was the king persuaded of the guilt of Hermione 
that he would not wait for the return of Cleomenes and Dion; 
whom he had sent to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphos, 
but before the queen was recovered from her lying-in, and 
from the grief for the loss of her precious baby, he had her brought 
to a public trial before all the lords and nobles of his court. 
And when all the great lords, the judges, and all the nobility of 
the land were assembled together to try Hermione, and that 
unhappy queen was standing as a prisoner before her subjects 
to receive their judgment, Cleomenes and Dion entered the 
assembly and presented to the king the answer of the oracle, 
sealed up; and Leontes commanded the seal to be broken, and 
the words of the oracle to be read aloud, and these were the words: 

"Hermione is innocent, Polixenes blameless ; Camillo a true 
subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, and the king shall live without 
an heir if that which is lost be not found" 

The king would give no credit to the words of the oracle. He 
said it was a falsehood invented by the queen's friends, and he 
desired the judge to proceed in the trial of the queen; but while 
Leontes was speaking a man entered and told him that the Prince 
Mamillius, hearing his mother was to be tried for her life, struck 
with grief and shame, had suddenly died. 

Hermione, upon hearing of the death of this dear, affectionate 
child, who had lost his life in sorrowing for her misfortune, fainted; 
and Leontes, pierced to the heart by the news, began to feel pity 
for his unhappy queen, and he ordered Paulina, and the ladies who 
were her attendants, to take her away and use means for her 
recovery. Paulina^soon returned and told the king that Her- 
mione was dead. 



When Leontes heard that the queen was dead he repented of 
his cruelty to her; and now that he thought his ill-usage had 
broken Hermione's heart, he believed her innocent; and now 
he thought the words of the oracle were true, as he knew "if that 
which was lost 
was not found," 
which he con- 
cluded was his 
young daughter, 
he should be with- 
out an heir, the 
young Princ e 
Mamillius being 
dead; and he 
would give his 
kingdom now to 
recover his lost 
daughter. And 
Leontes gave him- 
self up to remorse 
and passed many 
years in mournful 
thoughts and re- 
pentant grief. 

The ship in 
which Antigonus 
carried the infant 
princess out to sea 
was driven by a 

storm upon the coast of Bohemia, the very kingdom of the good 
King Polixenes. Here Antigonus landed and here he left the 
little baby. 

Antigonus never returned to Sicily to tell Leontes where 
he had left his daughter, for, as he was going back to the 
ship, a bear came out of the woods and tore him to pieces; 



a just punishment on him for obeying the wicked order of 

The child was dressed in rich clothes and jewels; for Hermione 
had made it very fine when she sent it to Leontes, and Antigonus 
had pinned a paper to its mantle, and the name of "Perdita" 
written thereon, and words obscurely intimating its high birth 
and untoward fate. 

This poor, deserted baby was found by a shepherd. He was 
a humane man, and so he carried the little Perdita home to his 
wife, who nursed it tenderly. But poverty tempted the shepherd 
to conceal the rich prize he had found; therefore he left that 
part of the country, that no one might know where he got his 
riches, and with part of Perdita's jewels he bought herds of 
sheep and became a wealthy shepherd. He brought up Perdita 
as his own child, and she knew not she was any other than a 
shepherd's daughter. 

The little Perdita grew up a lovely maiden; and though she had 
no better education than that of a shepherd's daughter, yet so did 
the natural graces she inherited from her royal mother shine forth 
in her untutored mind that no one, from her behavior, would have 
known she had not been brought up in her father's court. 

Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, had an only son, whose name 
was Florizel. As this young prince was hunting near the shep- 
herd's dwelling he saw the old man's supposed daughter; and 
the beauty, modesty, and queenlike deportment of Perdita 
caused him instantly to fall in love with her. He soon, under the 
name of Doricles, and in the disguise of a private gentleman, 
became a constant visitor at the old shepherd's house. Florizel's 
frequent absences from court alarmed Polixenes; and setting 
people to watch his son, he discovered his love for the shepherd's 
fair daughter. 

Polixenes then called for Camillo, the faithful Camillo, who 
had preserved his life from the fury of Leontes, and desired that 
he would accompany him to the house of the shepherd, the sup- 
posed father of Perdita. 



Polixenes and Camillo, both in disguise, arrived at the old 
shepherd's dwelling while they were celebrating the feast of 
sheep-shearing; and though they were strangers, yet at the 
sheep-shearing, every guest 
being made welcome, they 
were invited to walk in and 
join in the general festivity. 

Nothing but mirth and 
jollity was going forward. 
Tables were spread and 
great preparations were 
making for the rustic feast. 
Some lads and lasses were 
dancing on the green before 
the house, while others of 
the young men were buying 
ribands, gloves, and such 
toys of a peddler at the door. 

While this busy scene 
was going forward Florizel 
and Perdita sat quietly in 
a retired corner, seemingly 
more pleased with the con- 
versation of each other than 
desirous of engaging in the 
sports and silly amusements 
of those around them. 

The king was so disguised 
that it was impossible his son could know him. He therefore 
advanced near enough to hear the conversation. The simple 
yet elegant manner in which Perdita conversed with his son 
did not a little surprise Polixenes. He said to Camillo: 

"This is the prettiest low-born lass I ever saw; nothing she 
does or says but looks like something greater than herself, too 
noble for this place." 



Camillo replied, "Indeed she is the very queen of curds and 

"Pray, my good friend," said the king to the old shepherd, 
"what fair swain is that talking with your daughter?" 

"They call him Doricles," replied the shepherd. "He says he 
loves my daughter; and, to speak truth, there is not a kiss to 
choose which loves the other best. If young Doricles can get 
her, she shall bring him that he little dreams of," meaning the 
remainder of Perdita's jewels; which, after he had bought herds 
of sheep with part of them, he had carefully hoarded up for her 
marriage portion. 

Polixenes then addressed his son. "How now, young man!" 
said he. "Your heart seems full of something that takes off 
your mind from feasting. When I was young I used to load 
my love with presents; but you have let the peddler go and have 
bought your lass no toy." 

The young prince, who little thought he was talking to the 
king his father, replied, "Old sir, she prizes not such trifles; 
the gifts which Perdita expects from me are locked up in my 
heart." Then turning to Perdita, he said to her, "Oh, hear me, 
Perdita, before this ancient gentleman, who it seems was once 
himself a lover; he shall hear what I profess." Florizel then 
called upon the old stranger to be a witness to a solemn promise 
of marriage which he made to Perdita, saying to Polixenes, 
"I pray you, mark our contract." 

"Mark your divorce, young sir," said the king, discovering 
himself. Polixenes then reproached his son for daring to con- 
tract himself to this low-born maiden, calling Perdita "shepherd's 
brat, sheep-hook," and other disrespectful names, and threatening 
if ever she suffered his son to see her again, he would put her, and 
the old shepherd her father, to a cruel death. 

The king then left them in great wrath, and ordered Camillo 
to follow him with Prince Florizel. 

When the king had departed, Perdita, whose royal nature 
was roused by Polixenes's reproaches, said, "Though we are 



all undone, I was not much afraid; and once or twice I 
was about to speak and tell him plainly that the selfsame 
sun which shines upon his palace hides not his face from 
our cottage, but looks on both alike." Then sorrowfully 
she said, "But now I am awakened from this dream, I will 
queen it no further. Leave me, sir. I will go milk my ewes 
and weep." 

The kind-hearted Camillo was charmed with the spirit and 
propriety of Perdita's behavior; and, perceiving that the young 
prince was too deeply in love to give up his mistress at the 
command of his royal father, he thought of a way to befriend 
the lovers and at the same time to execute a favorite scheme he 
had in his mind. 

Camillo had long known that Leontes, the King of Sicily, was 
become a true penitent; and though Camillo was now the 
favored friend of King Polixenes, he could not help wishing once 
more to see his late royal master and his native home. He 
therefore proposed to Florizel and Perdita that they should 
accompany him to the Sicilian court, where he would engage 
Leontes should protect them till, through his mediation, they 
could obtain pardon from Polixenes and his consent to their 

To this proposal they joyfully agreed; and Camillo, who con- 
ducted everything relative to their flight, allowed the old shepherd 
to go along with them. 

The shepherd took with him the remainder of Perdita's jewels, 
her baby clothes, and the paper which he had found pinned to 
her mantle. 

After a prosperous voyage, Florizel and Perdita, Camillo and 
the old shepherd, arrived in safety at the court of Leontes. 
Leontes, who still mourned his dead Hermione and his lost child, 
received Camillo with great kindness and gave a cordial welcome 
to Prince Florizel. But Perdita, whom Florizel introduced as 
his princess, seemed to engross all Leontes's attention . Per- 
ceiving a resemblance between her and his dead queen Hermione, 



his grief broke out afresh, and he said such a lovely creature 
might his own daughter have been if he had not so cruelly de- 
stroyed her. 

"And then, too," said he to Florizel, "I lost the society and 
friendship of your brave father, whom I now desire more than my 
life once again to look upon." 

When the old shepherd heard how much notice the king had 
taken of Perdita, and that he had lost a daughter who was ex- 
posed in infancy, he fell to comparing the time when he found 
the little Perdita with the manner of its exposure, the jewels 
and other tokens of its high birth; from all which it was im- 
possible for him not to conclude that Perdita and the king's lost 
daughter were the same. 

Florizel and Perdita, Camillo and the faithful Paulina, were 
present when the old shepherd related to the king the manner 
in which he had found the child, and also the circumstance of 
Antigonus's death, he having seen the bear seize upon him. He 
showed the rich mantle in which Paulina remembered Hermione 
had wrapped the child; and he produced a jewel which she 
remembered Hermione had tied about Perdita's neck; and he 
gave up the paper which Paulina knew to be the writing of her 
husband. It could not be doubted that Perdita was Leontes's 
own daughter. But, oh, the noble struggles of Paulina, between 
sorrow for her husband's death and joy that the oracle was 
fulfilled, in the king's heir, his long-lost daughter being found? 
When Leontes heard that Perdita was his daughter, the great 
sorrow that he felt that Hermione was not living to behold her 
child made him that he could say nothing for a long time but 
"Oh, thy mother, thy mother!" 

Paulina interrupted this joyful yet distressful scene with saying 
to Leontes that she had a statue newly finished by that rare 
Italian master, Julio Romano, which was such a perfect resem- 
blance of the queen that would his Majesty be pleased to go to 
her house and look upon it, he would be almost ready to think 
it was Hermione herself. Thither then they all went; the king 



anxious to see the semblance of his Hermione, and Perdita longing 
to behold what the mother she never saw did look like. 

When Paulina drew back the curtain which concealed this 
famous statue, so perfectly did it resemble Hermione that all 
the king's sorrow was renewed at 
the sight; for a long time he had 
no power to speak or move. 

"I like your silence, my liege," 
said Paulina; "it the more shows 
your wonder. Is not this statue 
very like your queen?" 

At length the king said: "Oh, 
thus she stood, even with such 
majesty, when I first wooed her. 
But yet, Paulina, Hermione was 
not so aged as this statue looks." 

Paulina replied: "So much the 
more the carver's excellence, who 
has made the statue as Hermione 
would have looked had she been 
living now. But let me draw the 
curtain, sire, lest presently you 
think it moves." 

The king then said: "Do not 
draw the curtain. Would I were 
dead! See, Camillo, would you 
not think it breathed? Her eye 
seems to have motion in it." 

"I must draw the curtain, my liege," said Paulina. "You are 
so transported, you will persuade yourself the statue lives." 

"Oh, sweet Paulina," said Leontes, "make me think so twenty 
years together! Still methinks there is an air comes from her. 
What fine chisel could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock 
me, for I will kiss her." 

"Good my lord, forbear!" said Paulina. "The ruddiness upon 



her lip is wet; you will stain your own with oily painting. Shall 
I draw the curtain?" 

"No, not these twenty years," said Leontes. 

Perdita, who all this time had been kneeling and beholding in 
silent admiration the statue of her matchless mother, said now, 
"And so long could I stay here, looking upon my dear mother." 

"Either forbear this transport," said Paulina to Leontes, "and 
let me draw the curtain or prepare yourself for more amazement. 
I can make the statue move indeed; aye, and descend from off 
the pedestal and take you by the hand. But then you will 
think, which I protest I am not, that I am assisted by some wicked 

"What you can make her do," said the astonished king, "I 
am content to look upon. What you can make her speak I am 
content to hear; for it is as easy to make her speak as move." 

Paulina then ordered some slow and solemn music, which 
she had prepared for the purpose, to strike up; and, to the 
amazement of all the beholders, the statue came down from off the 
pedestal and threw its arms around Leontes's neck. The statue 
then began to speak, praying for blessings on her husband and on 
her child, the newly found Perdita. 

No wonder that the statue hung upon Leontes's neck and 
blessed her husband and her child. No wonder; for the statue 
was indeed Hermione herself, the real, the living queen. 

Paulina had falsely reported to the king the death of Hermione, 
thinking that the only means to preserve her royal mistress's 
life; and with the good Paulina Hermione had lived ever since, 
never choosing Leontes should know she was living till she heard 
Perdita was found; for though she had long forgiven the injuries 
which Leontes had done to herself, she could not pardon his 
cruelty to his infant daughter. 

His dead queen thus restored to life, his lost daughter found, 
the long-sorrowing Leontes could scarcely support the excess 
of his own happiness. 

Nothing but congratulations and affectionate speeches were 



heard on all sides. Now the delighted parents thanked Prince 
Florizel for loving their lowly seeming daughter; and now they 
blessed the good old shepherd for preserving their child. Greatly 
did Camillo and Paulina rejoice that they had lived to see so good 
an end of all their faithful services. 

And as if nothing should be wanting to complete this strange 
and unlooked-for joy, King Polixenes himself now entered the 

When Polixenes first missed his son and Camillo, knowing that 
Camillo had long wished to return to Sicily, he conjectured he 
should find the fugitives here; and, following them with all 
speed, he happened to just arrive at this the happiest moment 
of Leontes's life. 

Polixenes took a part in the general joy; he forgave his friend 
Leontes the unjust jealousy he had conceived against him, and 
they once more loved each other with all the warmth of their 
first boyish friendship. And there was no fear that Polixenes 
would now oppose his son's marriage with Perdita. She was no 
"sheep-hook" now, but the heiress of the crown of Sicily. 

Thus have we seen the patient virtues of the long-sufFering 
Hermione rewarded. That excellent lady lived many years with 
her Leontes and her Perdita, the happiest of mothers and of 




J HERE lived in the palace at Messina 
two ladies, whose names were Hero and 
Beatrice. Hero was the daughter, and 
Beatrice the niece, of Leonato, the gov- 
ernor of Messina. 

Beatrice was of a lively temper and 
loved to divert her cousin Hero, who 
was of a more serious disposition, with 
her sprightly sallies. Whatever was 
going forward was sure to make matter of mirth for the light- 
hearted Beatrice. 

At the time the history of these ladies commences some young 
men of high rank in the army, as they were passing through 
Messina on their return from a war that was just ended, in which 
they had distinguished themselves by their great bravery, came 
to visit Leonato. Among these were Don Pedro, the Prince of 
Arragon, and his friend Claudio, who was a lord of Florence; 
and with them came the wild and witty Benedick, and he was 
a lord of Padua. 

These strangers had been at Messina before, and the hospitable 
governor introduced them to his daughter and his niece as their 
old friends and acquaintance. 

Benedick, the moment he entered the room, began a lively 
conversation with Leonato and the prince. Beatrice, who 
liked not to be left out of any discourse, interrupted Benedick 
with saying: 

"I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor Benedick. 
Nobody marks you." 

Benedick was just such another rattlebrain as Beatrice, yet 



he was not pleased at this free salutation; he thought it did not 
become a well-bred lady to be so flippant with her tongue; and he 
remembered, when he was last at Messina, that Beatrice used 
to select him to make her merry jests upon. And as there is no 
one who so little likes to be made a jest of as those who are apt 
to take the same liberty them- 
selves, so it was with Benedick 
and Beatrice; these two sharp wits 
never met in former times but a 
perfect war of raillery was kept up 
between them, and they always 
parted mutually displeased with 
each other. Therefore, when 
Beatrice stopped him in the middle 
of his discourse with telling him 
nobody marked what he was say- 
ing, Benedick, affecting not to 
have observed before that she was 
present, said: 

"What, my dear Lady Disdain, 
are you yet living?" And now 
war broke out afresh between 
them, and a long jangling argu- 
ment ensued, during which 
Beatrice, although she knew he 
had so well approved his valor in 
the late war, said that she would 
eat all he had killed there; and 
observing the prince take de- 
light in Benedick's conversation, she called him "the prince's 
jester." This sarcasm sank deeper into the mind of Benedick 
than all Beatrice had said before. The hint she gave him that 
he was a coward, by saying she would eat all he had killed, he did 
not regard, knowing himself to be a brave man; but there is 
nothing that great wits so much dread as the imputation of 



buffoonery, because the charge comes sometimes a little tool 
near the truth; therefore Benedick perfectly hated Beatrice; 
when she called him "the prince's jester." 

The modest lady Hero was silent before the noble guests; 
and while Claudio was attentively observing the improvement 
which time had made in her beauty, and was contemplating the 
exquisite graces of her fine figure (for she was an admirable 
young lady), the prince was highly amused with listening to the 
humorous dialogue between Benedick and Beatrice; and he said 
in a whisper to Leonato: 

"This is a pleasant-spirited young lady. She were an excel- 
lent wife for Benedick." 

Leonato replied to this suggestion, "O my lord, my lord, if 
they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad!" 

But though Leonato thought they would make a discordant 
pair, the prince did not give up the idea of matching these two 
keen wits together. 

When the prince returned with Claudio from the palace he 
found that the marriage he had devised between Benedick 
and Beatrice was not the only one projected in that good com- 
pany, for Claudio spoke in such terms of Hero as made the 
prince guess at what was passing in his heart; and he liked it 
well, and he said to Claudio: 

"Do you affect Hero?" 

To this question Claudio replied, "O my lord, when I was 
last at Messina I looked upon her with a soldier's eye, that liked, 
but had no leisure for loving; but now, in this happy time of 
peace, thoughts of war have left their places vacant in my mind, 
and in their room come thronging soft and delicate thoughts, all 
prompting me how fair young Hero is, reminding me that I 
liked her before I went to the wars." 

Claudio's confession of his love for Hero so wrought upon the 
prince that he lost no time in soliciting the consent of Leonato 
to accept of Claudio for a son-in-law. Leonato agreed to this 
proposal, and the prince found no great difficulty in persuading 



the gentle Hero herself to listen to the suit of the noble Claudio, 
who was a lord of rare endowments and highly accomplished, and 
Claudio, assisted by his kind prince, soon prevailed upon Leonato 
to fix an early day for the celebration of his marriage with Hero. 

Claudio was to wait but a few days before he was to be married 
to his fair lady; yet he complained of the interval being tedious, 
as indeed most young men are impatient when they are waiting 
for the accomplishment of any event they have set their hearts 
upon. The prince, therefore, to make the time seem short to 
him, proposed as a kind of merry pastime that they should 
invent some artful scheme to make Benedick and Beatrice fall 
in love with each other. Claudio entered with great satisfaction 
into this whim of the prince, and Leonato promised them his 
assistance, and even Hero said she would do any modest office 
to help her cousin to a good husband. 

The device the prince invented was that the gentlemen should 
make Benedick believe that Beatrice was in love with him, and 
that Hero should make Beatrice believe that Benedick was in 
love with her. 

The prince, Leonato, and Claudio began their operations first; 
and watching upon an opportunity when Benedick was quietly 
seated reading in an arbor, the prince and his assistants took 
their station among the trees behind the arbor, so near that 
Benedick could not choose but hear all they said; and after some 
careless talk the prince said: 

"Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me the other 
day — that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signor Benedick? 
I did never think that lady would have loved any man." 

"No, nor I neither, my lord," answered Leonato. "It is most 
wonderful that she should so dote on Benedick, whom she in all 
outward behavior seemed ever to dislike." 

Claudio confirmed all this with saying that Hero had told him 
Beatrice was so in love with Benedick that she would certainly 
die of grief if he could not be brought to love her; which Leonato 
and Claudio seemed to agree was impossible, he having always 



been such a railer against all fair ladies, and in particular against 

The prince affected to harken to all this with great compassion 
for Beatrice, and he said, "It were good that Benedick were told 
of this." 

"To what end?" said Claudio. "He would but make sport of 
it, and torment the poor lady worse." 

"And if he should," said the prince, "it were a good deed to 
hang him; for Beatrice is an excellent sweet lady, and exceeding 
wise in everything but in loving Benedick." 

Then the prince motioned to his companions that they should 
walk on and leave Benedick to meditate upon what he had 

Benedick had been listening with great eagerness to this con- 
versation; and he said to himself, when he heard Beatrice loved 
him: "Is it possible? Sits the wind in that corner?" And when 
they were gone, he began to reason in this manner with himself: 
"This can be no trick! They were very serious, and they have 
the truth from Hero, and seem to pity the lady. Love me! 
Why, it must be requited! I did never think to marry. But 
when I said I should die a bachelor, I did not think I should live 
to be married. They say the lady is virtuous and fair. She is 
so. And wise in everything but loving me. Why, that is no 
great argument of her folly! But here comes Beatrice. By this 
day, she is a fair lady. I do spy some marks of love in her." 

Beatrice now approached him and said, with her usual tart- 
ness, "Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner." 

Benedick, who never felt himself disposed to speak so politely 
to her before, replied, "Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your 
pains." And when Beatrice, after two or three more rude 
speeches, left him, Benedick thought he observed a concealed 
meaning of kindness under the uncivil words she uttered, and 
he said aloud: "If I do not take pity on her, I am a villain. If 
I do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture." 

The gentleman being thus caught in the net they had spread 


^ ■ . Illl I H II. 



for him, it was now Hero's turn to play her part with Beatrice; 
and for this purpose she sent for Ursula and Margaret, two 
gentlewomen who attended upon her, and she said to Margaret: 

"Good Margaret, run to the parlor; there you will find my 
cousin Beatrice talking with the prince and Claudio. Whisper 
in her ear that I and Ursula are walking in the orchard and that 
our discourse is all of her. Bid her steal into that pleasant 
arbor, where honeysuckles, ripened by the sun, like ungrateful 
minions, forbid the sun to enter." 

This arbor into which Hero desired Margaret to entice Beatrice 
was the very same pleasant arbor where Benedick had so lately 
been an attentive listener. 

"I will make her come, I warrant, presently," said Margaret. 

Hero, then taking Ursula with her into the orchard, said 
to her: "Now, Ursula, when Beatrice comes, we will walk 
up and down this alley, and our talk must be only of Bene- 
dick, and when I name him, let it be your part to praise 
him more than ever man did merit. My talk to you must 
be how Benedick is in love with Beatrice. Now begin; for 
look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs close by the ground, 
to hear our conference." 

They then began, Hero saying, as if in answer to something 
which Ursula had said: "No, truly, Ursula. She is too dis- 
dainful; her spirits are as coy as wild birds of the rock." 

"But are you sure," said Ursula, "that Benedick loves Beatrice 
so entirely?" 

Hero replied, "So says the prince and my lord Claudio, and they 
entreated me to acquaint her with it; but I persuaded them, 
if they loved Benedick, never to let Beatrice know of it." 

"Certainly," replied Ursula, "it were not good she knew his 
love, lest she made sport of it." 

"Why, to say truth," said Hero, "I never yet saw a man, 
how wise soever, or noble, young, or rarely featured, but she 
would dispraise him." 

"Sure sure, such carping is not commendable," said Ursula. 



"No," replied Hero, "but who dare tell her so? If I should 
speak, she would mock me into air." 

"Oh, you wrong your cousin!" said Ursula. "She cannot 
be so much without true judgment as to refuse so rare a gentle- 
man as Signor Benedick." 

"He hath an excellent good name," said Hero. "Indeed, he 
is the first man in Italy, always excepting my dear Claudio." 

And now, Hero giving her attendant a hint that it was time to 
change the discourse, Ursula said, "And when are you to be 
married, madam?" 

Hero then told her that she was to be married to Claudio 
the next day, and desired she would go in with her and look at 
some new attire, as she wished to consult with her on what she 
would wear on the morrow. 

Beatrice, who had been listening with breathless eagerness 
to this dialogue, when they went away exclaimed: "What fire 
is in mine ears? Can this be true? Farewell, contempt and 
scorn, and maiden pride, adieu! Benedick, love on! I will 
requite you, taming my wild heart to your loving hand." 

It must have been a pleasant sight to see these old enemies 
converted into new and loving friends, and to behold their 
first meeting after being cheated into mutual liking by the merry 
artifice of the good-humored prince. But a sad reverse in the 
fortunes of Hero must now be thought of. The morrow, which 
was to have been her wedding-day, brought sorrow on the heart 
of Hero and her good father, Leonato. 

The prince had a half-brother, who came from the wars along 
with him to Messina. This brother (his name was Don John) 
was a melancholy, discontented man, whose spirits seemed to 
labor in the contriving of villainies. He hated the prince his 
brother, and he hated Claudio because he was the prince's friend, 
and determined to prevent Claudio's marriage with Hero, only 
for the malicious pleasure of making Claudio and the prince 
unhappy, for he knew the prince had set his heart upon this 
marriage almost as much as Claudio himself; and to effect this 



wicked purpose he employed one Borachio, a man as bad as 
himself, whom he encouraged with the offer of a great reward. 
This Borachio paid his court to Margaret, Hero's attendant; and 
Don John, knowing this, prevailed upon him to make Margaret 
promise to talk with him from her lady's chamber window that 
night, after Hero was asleep, and also to dress herself in Hero's 
clothes, the better to deceive 
Claudio into the belief that it 
was Hero; for that was the end 
he meant to compass by this 
wicked plot. 

Don John then went to the 
prince and Claudio and told 
them that Hero was an impru- 
dent lady, and that she talked 
with men from her chamber 
window at midnight. Now this 
was the evening before the wed- 
ding, and he offered to take them 
that night where they should 
themselves hear Hero discoursing 
with a man from her window; 
and they consented to go along 
with him, and Claudio said: 

"If I see anything to-night 
why I should not marry her, to-morrow in the congregation, 
where I intended to wed her, there will I shame her." 

The prince also said, "And as I assisted you to obtain her, I 
will join with you to disgrace her." 

When Don John brought them near Hero's chamber that 
night, they saw Borachio standing under the window, and they 
saw Margaret looking out of Hero's window and heard her 
talking with Borachio; and Margaret being dressed in the same 
clothes they had seen Hero wear, the prince and Claudio believed 
it was the lady Hero herself. 



Nothing could equal the anger of Claudio when he had made 
(as he thought) this discovery. All his love for the innocent 
Hero was at once converted into hatred, and he resolved to 
expose her in the church, as he had said he would, the next day; 
and the prince agreed to this, thinking no punishment could be 
too severe for the naughty lady who talked with a man from her 
window the very night before she was going to be married to the 
noble Claudio. 

The next day, when they were all met to celebrate the marriage, 
and Claudio and Hero were standing before the priest, and the 
priest, or friar, as he was called, was proceeding to pronounce 
the marriage ceremony, Claudio, in the most passionate language, 
proclaimed the guilt of the blameless Hero, who, amazed at the 
strange words he uttered, said, meekly: 

"Is my lord well, that he does speak so wide?" 

Leonato, in the utmost horror, said to the prince, "My lord, 
why speak not you?" 

"What should I speak?" said the prince. "I stand dishonored 
that have gone about to link my dear friend to an unworthy 
woman. Leonato, upon my honor, myself, my brother, and this 
grieved Claudio did see and hear her last night at midnight 
talk with a man at her chamber window." 

Benedick, in astonishment at what he heard, said, "This looks 
not like a nuptial." 

"True, O God!" replied the heart-struck Hero; and then this 
hapless lady sank down in a fainting fit, to all appearance dead. 

The prince and Claudio left the church without staying to see 
if Hero would recover, or at all regarding the distress into which 
they had thrown Leonato. So hard-hearted had their anger 
made them. 

Benedick remained and assisted Beatrice to recover Hero from 
her swoon, saying, "How does the lady?" 

"Dead, I think," replied Beatrice, in great agony, for she 
loved her cousin; and, knowing her virtuous principles, she 
believed nothing of what she had heard spoken against her. 



Not so the poor old father. He believed the story of his child's 
shame, and it was piteous to hear him lamenting over her, as 
she lay like one dead before him, wishing she might never more 
open her eyes. 

But the ancient friar was a wise man and full of observation 
on human nature, and he had attentively marked the lady's 
countenance when she 
heard herself accused {Jfu 

and noted a thousand 
blushing shames to 
start into her face, and 
then he saw an angel- 
like whiteness bear 
away those blushes, 
and in her eye he saw 
a fire that did belie 
the error that the 
prince did speak 
against her maiden 
truth, and he said to 
the sorrowing father: 

"Call me a fool; 
trust not my reading 
nor my observation; 
trust not my age, my 
reverence, nor my call- 
ing, if this sweet lady 
lie not guiltless here 
under some biting 

When Hero had re- 
covered from the swoon into which she had fallen, the friar 
said to her, "Lady, what man is he you are accused of?" 

Hero replied, "They know that do accuse me; I know of none." 
Then turning to Leonato, she said, "O my father, if you can 



prove that any man has ever conversed with me at hours unmeet, 
or that I yesternight changed words with any creature, refuse me, 
hate me, torture me to death." 

"There is," said the friar, "some strange misunderstanding 
in the prince and Claudio." And then he counseled Leonato 
that he should report that Hero was dead; and he said that the 
deathlike swoon in which they had left Hero would make this 
easy of belief; and he also advised him that he should put on 
mourning, and erect a monument for her, and do all rites that 
appertain to a burial. 

"What shall become of this?" said Leonato. "What will this 

The friar replied: "This report of her death shall change slander 
into pity; that is some good. But that is not all the good I hope 
for. When Claudio shall hear she died upon hearing his words, 
the idea of her life shall sweetly creep into his imagination. 
Then shall he mourn, if ever love had interest in his heart, and 
wish that he had not so accused her; yea, though he thought his 
accusation true." 

Benedick now said, "Leonato, let the friar advise you; and 
though you know how well I love the prince and Claudio, yet 
on my honor I will not reveal this secret to them." 

Leonato, thus persuaded, yielded; and he said, sorrowfully, 
"I am so grieved that the smallest twine may lead me." 

The kind friar then led Leonato and Hero away to comfort 
and console them, and Beatrice and Benedick remained alone; 
and this was the meeting from which their friends, who contrived 
the merry plot against them, expected so much diversion; those 
friends who were now overwhelmed with affliction and from 
whose minds all thoughts of merriment seemed forever banished. 

Benedick was the first who spoke, and he said, "Lady Beatrice, 
have you wept all this while?" 

"Yea, and I will weep awhile longer," said Beatrice. 

"Surely," said Benedick, "I do believe your fair cousin is 



"Ah," said Beatrice, "how much might that man deserve of 
me who would right her!" 

Benedick then said: "Is there any way to show such friend- 
ship ? I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that 

"It were as possible," said Beatrice, "for me to say I loved 
nothing in the world so well as you; but believe me not, and 
yet I He not. I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry 
for my cousin." 

"By my sword," said Benedick, "you love me, and I protest 
I love you. Come, bid me do anything for you." 

"Kill Claudio," said Beatrice. 

"Ha! not for the world," said Benedick; for he loved his 
friend Claudio and he believed he had been imposed upon. 

"Is not Claudio a villain that has slandered, scorned, and 
dishonored my cousin?" said Beatrice. "Oh, that I were a 

"Hear me, Beatrice!" said Benedick. 

But Beatrice would hear nothing in Claudio's defense, and she 
continued to urge on Benedick to revenge her cousin's wrongs; 
and she said: "Talk with a man out of the window? a proper 
saying! Sweet Hero! she is wronged; she is slandered; she is 
undone. Oh, that I were a man for Claudio's sake! or that I 
had any friend who would be a man for my sake! But valor is 
melted into courtesies and compliments. I cannot be a man 
with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving." 

"Tarry, good Beatrice," said Benedick. "By this hand I 
love you." 

"Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it," said 

"Think you on your soul that Claudio has wronged Hero?" 
asked Benedick. 

"Yea," answered Beatrice; "as sure as I have a thought or a 

"Enough," said Benedick. "I am engaged; I will challenge 

[63 1 


him. I will kiss your hand, and so leave you. By this hand 
Claudio shall render me a dear account! As you hear from me, 
so think of me. Go, comfort your cousin." 

While Beatrice was thus powerfully pleading with Benedick, 
and working his gallant temper, by the spirit of her angry words, 
to engage in the cause of Hero and fight even with his dear 
friend Claudio, Leonato was challenging the prince and Claudio 
to answer with their swords the injury they had done his child, 
who, he affirmed, had died for grief. But they respected his 
age and his sorrow, and they said: 

"Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man." 

And now came Benedick, and he also challenged Claudio to 
answer with his sword the injury he had done to Hero; and 
Claudio and the prince said to each other: 

"Beatrice has set him on to do this." 

Claudio, nevertheless, must have accepted this challenge of 
Benedick had not the justice of Heaven at the moment brought 
to pass a better proof of the innocence of Hero than the uncertain 
fortune of a duel. 

While the prince and Claudio were yet talking of the challenge 
of Benedick a magistrate brought Borachio as a prisoner before 
the prince. Borachio had been overheard talking with one of his 
companions of the mischief he had been employed by Don John 
to do. 

Borachio made a full confession to the prince in Claudio's 
hearing that it was Margaret dressed in her lady's clothes that 
he had talked with from the window, whom they had mistaken 
for the lady Hero herself; and no doubt continued on the minds 
of Claudio and the prince of the innocence of Hero. If a sus- 
picion had remained it must have been removed by the flight of 
Don John, who, finding his villainies were detected, fled from 
Messina to avoid the just anger of his brother. 

The heart of Claudio was sorely grieved when he found he had 
falsely accused Hero, who, he thought, died upon hearing his 
cruel words; and the memory of his beloved Hero's image 



came over him in the rare semblance that he loved it first; and 
the prince, asking him if what he heard did not run like iron 
through his soul, he answered that he felt as if he had taken poison 
while Borachio was speaking. 

And the repentant Claudio implored forgiveness of the old 
man Leonato for the injury he had done his child; and promised 
that, whatever penance Leonato would lay upon him for his 
fault in believing the false accusation against his betrothed wife, 
for her dear sake he would endure it. 

The penance Leonato enjoined him was to marry the next 
morning a cousin of Hero's, who, he said, was now his heir, and 
in person very like Hero. Claudio, regarding the solemn promise 
he made to Leonato, said he would marry this unknown lady, 
even though she were an Ethiop. But his heart was very sor- 
rowful, and he passed that night in tears and in remorseful grief 
at the tomb which Leonato had erected for Hero. 

When the morning came the prince accompanied Claudio to 
the church, where the good friar and Leonato and his niece were 
already assembled, to celebrate a second nuptial; and Leonato 
presented to Claudio his promised bride. And she wore a mask, 
that Claudio might not discover her face. And Claudio said to 
the lady in the mask: 

"Give me your hand, before this holy friar. I am your hus- 
band, if you will marry me." 

"And when I lived I was your other wife," said this unknown 
lady; and, taking off her mask, she proved to be no niece (as 
was pretended), but Leonato's very daughter, the lady Hero 
herself. We may be sure that this proved a most agreeable sur- 
prise to Claudio, who thought her dead, so that he could scarcely 
for joy believe his eyes; and the prince, who was equally amazed 
at what he saw, exclaimed: 

"Is not this Hero, Hero that was dead?" 

Leonato replied, "She died, my lord, but while her slander 

The friar promised them an explanation of this seeming miracle, 

5 [65] 


after the ceremony was ended, and was proceeding to marry them 
when he was interrupted by Benedick, who desired to be married 
at the same time to Beatrice. Beatrice making some demur to 
this match, and Benedick challenging her with her love for him, 
which he had learned from Hero, a pleasant explanation took 
place; and they found they had both been tricked into a belief 
of love, which had never existed, and had become lovers in truth 
by the power of a false jest. But the affection which a merry 
invention had cheated them into was grown too powerful to be 
shaken by a serious explanation; and since Benedick proposed to 
marry, he was resolved to think nothing to the purpose that the 
world could say against it; and he merrily kept up the jest and 
swore to Beatrice that he took her but for pity, and because he 
heard she was dying of love for him; and Beatrice protested that 
she yielded but upon great persuasion, and partly to save his life, 
for she heard he was in a consumption. So these two mad wits 
were reconciled and made a match of it, after Claudio and Hero 
were married; and to complete the history, Don John, the con- 
triver of the villainy, was taken in his flight and brought back 
to Messina; and a brave punishment it was to this gloomy, dis- 
contented man to see the joy and feastings which, by the disap- 
pointment of his plots, took place in the palace in Messina. 



URING the time that France was divided 
into provinces (or dukedoms, as they 
were called) there reigned in one of these 
provinces a usurper who had deposed 
and banished his elder brother, the law- 
ful duke. 

The duke who was thus driven from 
his dominions retired with a few faithful 
followers to the forest of Arden; and 
here the good duke lived with his loving friends, who had put 
themselves into a voluntary exile for his sake, while their land and 
revenues enriched the false usurper; and custom soon made the life 
of careless ease they led here more sweet to them than the pomp 
and uneasy splendor of a courtier's life. Here they lived like 
the old Robin Hood of England, and to this forest many noble 
youths daily resorted from the court, and did fleet the time care- 
lessly, as they did who lived in the golden age. In the summer 
they lay along under the fine shade of the large forest trees, 
marking the playful sports of the wild deer; and so fond were 
they of these poor dappled fools, who seemed to be the native 
inhabitants of the forest, that it grieved them to be forced to kill 
them to supply themselves with venison for their food. When 
the cold winds of winter made the duke feel the change of his 
adverse fortune, he would endure it patiently, and say: 

"These chilling winds which blow upon my body are true 
counselors; they do not flatter, but represent truly to me my 
condition; and though they bite sharply, their tooth is nothing 
like so keen as that of unkindness and ingratitude. I find that 
howsoever men speak against adversity, yet some sweet uses are 



to be extracted from it; like the jewel, precious for medicine, 
which is taken from the head of the venomous and despised toad.'* 

In this manner did the patient duke draw a useful moral from 
everything that he saw; and by the help of this moralizing turn, 
in that life of his, remote from public haunts, he could find 
tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, 
and good in everything. 

The banished duke had an only daughter, named Rosalind, 
whom the usurper, Duke Frederick, when he banished her father, 
still retained in his court as a companion for his own daughter, 
Celia. A strict friendship subsisted between these ladies, which 
the disagreement between their fathers did not in the least in- 
terrupt, Celia striving by every kindness in her power to make 
amends to Rosalind for the injustice of her own father in deposing 
the father of Rosalind; and whenever the thoughts of her father's 
banishment, and her own dependence on the false usurper, made 
Rosalind melancholy, Celia's whole care was to comfort and 
console her. 

One day, when Celia was talking in her usual kind manner to 
Rosalind, saying, "I pray you, Rosalind, my sweet cousin, be 
merry," a messenger entered from the duke, to tell them that 
if they wished to see a wrestling-match, which was just going to 
begin, they must come instantly to the court before the palace; 
and Celia, thinking it would amuse Rosalind, agreed to go and 
see it. 

In those times wrestling, which is only practised now by 
country clowns, was a favorite sport even in the courts of princes, 
and before fair ladies and princesses. To this wrestling-match, 
therefore, Celia and Rosalind went. They found that it was 
likely to prove a very tragical sight; for a large and powerful 
man, who had been long practised in the art of wrestling and had 
slain many men in contests of this kind, was just going to wrestle 
with a very young man, who, from his extreme youth and in- 
experience in the art, the beholders all thought would certainly 

be killed. 



When the duke saw Celia and Rosalind he said: "How now, 
daughter and niece, are you crept hither to see the wrestling? 
You will take little delight in it, there is such odds in the men. 
In pity to this young man, I would wish to persuade him from 
wrestling. Speak to him, ladies, and see if you can move him." 

The ladies were well pleased to perform this humane office, 
and first Celia entreated the young stranger that he would desist 
from the attempt; and then Rosalind spoke so kindly to him, 
and with such feeling consideration for the danger he was about 
to undergo, that, instead of being persuaded by her gentle words 
to forego his purpose, all his thoughts were bent to distinguish 
himself by his courage in this lovely lady's eyes. He refused the 
request of Celia and Rosalind in such graceful and modest words 
that they felt still more concern for him; he concluded his refusal 
with saying: 

"I am sorry to deny such fair and excellent ladies anything. 
But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my trial, 
wherein if I be conquered there is one shamed that was never 
gracious; if I am killed, there is one dead that is willing to die. I 
shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me; 
the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; for I only fill up a 
place in the world which may be better supplied when I have 
made it empty." 

And now the wrestling-match began. Celia wished the young 
stranger might not be hurt; but Rosalind felt most for him. 
The friendless state which he said he was in, and that he wished 
to die, made Rosalind think that he was, like herself, unfortunate; 
and she pitied him so much, and so deep an interest she took in 
his danger while he was wrestling, that she might almost be said 
at that moment to have fallen in love with him. 

The kindness shown this unknown youth by these fair and 
noble ladies gave him courage and strength, so that he performed 
wonders; and in the end completely conquered his antagonist, 
who was so much hurt that for a while he was unable to speak or 



The Duke Frederick was much pleased with the courage and 
skill shown by this young stranger; and desired to know his 
name and parentage, meaning to take him under his protection. 

The stranger said his name was Orlando, and that he was the 
youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys. 

Sir Rowland de Boys, the father of Orlando, had been dead 
some years; but when he was living he had been a true subject 
and dear friend of the banished duke; therefore, when Frederick 
heard Orlando was the son of his banished brother's friend, all 
his liking for this brave young man was changed into displeasure 
and he left the place in very ill humor. Hating to hear the very 
name of any of his brother's friends, and yet still admiring the 
valor of the youth, he said, as he went out, that he wished Orlando 
had been the son of any other man. 

Rosalind was delighted to hear that her new favorite was the 
son of her father's old friend; and she said to Celia, "My father 
loved Sir Rowland de Boys, and if I had known this young man 
was his son I would have added tears to my entreaties before he 
should have ventured." 

The ladies then went up to him and, seeing him abashed by 
the sudden displeasure shown by the duke, they spoke kind and 
encouraging words to him; and Rosalind, when they were going 
away, turned back to speak some more civil things to the brave 
young son of her father's old friend, and taking a chain from off 
her neck, she said: 

"Gentleman, wear this for me. I am out of suits with fortune, 
or I would give you a more valuable present." 

When the ladies were alone, Rosalind's talk being still of 
Orlando, Celia began to perceive her cousin had fallen in love 
with the handsome young wrestler, and she said to Rosalind: 

"Is it possible you should fall in love so suddenly?" 

Rosalind replied, "The duke, my father, loved his father dearly." 

"But," said Celia, "does it therefore follow that you should 
love his son dearly? For then I ought to hate him, for my 
father hated his father; yet I do not hate Orlando." 



Frederick, being enraged at the sight of Sir Rowland de Boys's 
son, which reminded him of the many friends the banished duke 
had among the nobility, and having been for some time displeased 
with his niece because the people praised her for her virtues 
and pitied her for her good a 

father's sake, his malice sud- .^'^v^rtSi; 

denly broke out against her; 
and while Celia and Rosalind 
were talking of Orlando, 
Frederick entered the room 
and with looks full of anger 
ordered Rosalind instantly to 
leave the palace and follow 
her father into banishment, 
telling Celia, who in vain 
pleaded for her, that he had 
only suffered Rosalind to stay 
upon her account. 

"I did not then," said Celia, 
"entreat you to let her stay, 
for I was too young at that 
time to value her; but now 
that I know her worth, and 
that we so long have slept to- 
gether, rose at the same in- 
stant, learned, played, and eat 
together, I cannot live out of 
her company." 

Frederick replied : "She is too subtle for you; her smoothness, 
her very silence, and her patience speak to the people, and they 
pity her. You are a fool to plead for her, for you will seem more 
bright and virtuous when she is gone; therefore open not your 
lips in her favor, for the doom which I have passed upon her is 

When Celia found she could not prevail upon her father to let 




Rosalind remain with her, she generously resolved t< ccompany 
her; and, leaving her father's palace that night, she went along 
with her friend to seek Rosalind's father, the banished duke, in the 
forest of Arden. 

Before they set out Celia considered that it would be unsafe 
for two young ladies to travel in the rich clothes they then wore; 
she therefore proposed that they should disguise their rank by 
dressing themselves like country maids. Rosalind said it would 
be a still greater protection if one of them was to be dressed like 
a man. And so it was quickly agreed on between them that, as 
Rosalind was the tallest, she should wear the dress of a young 
countryman, and Celia should be habited like a country lass, and 
that they should say they were brother and sister; and Rosalind 
said she would be called Ganymede, and Celia chose the name 
of Aliena. 

In this disguise, and taking their money and jewels to defray 
their expenses, these fair princesses set out on their long travel; 
for the forest of Arden was a long way off, beyond the boundaries 
of the duke's dominions. 

The lady Rosalind (or Ganymede, as she must now be called) 
with her manly garb seemed to have put on a manly courage. 
The faithful friendship Celia had shown in accompanying Rosa- 
lind so many weary miles made the new brother, in recompense 
for this true love, exert a cheerful spirit, as if he were indeed 
Ganymede, the rustic and stout-hearted brother of the gentle 
village maiden, Aliena. 

When at last they came to the forest of Arden they no longer 
found the convenient inns and good accommodations they had 
met with on the road, and, being in want of food and rest, Gany- 
mede, who had so merrily cheered his sister with pleasant speeches 
and happy remarks all the way, now owned to Aliena that he 
was so weary he could find in his heart to disgrace his man's 
apparel and cry like a woman; and Aliena declared she could 
go no farther; and then again Ganymede tried to recollect 
that it was a man's duty to comfort and console a woman, 




as the weaker vessel; and to seem courageous to his new sister, 
he said: 

"Come, have a good heart, my sister Aliena; we are now at 
the end of our travel, in the forest of Arden." 

But feigned manliness and forced courage would no longer sup- 
port them; for, though they were in the forest of Arden, they 
knew not where to find the duke. And here the travel of these 
weary ladies might have come to a sad conclusion, for they 
might have lost themselves and perished for want of food, but, 
providentially, as they were sitting on the grass, almost dying 
with fatigue and hopeless of any relief, a countryman chanced to 
pass that way, and Ganymede once more tried to speak with a 
manly boldness, saying: 

"Shepherd, if love or gold can in this desert place procure us 
entertainment, I pray you bring us where we may rest ourselves; 
for this young maid, my sister, is much fatigued with traveling, 
and faints for want of food.'* 

The man replied that he was only a servant to a shepherd, and 
that his master's house was just going to be sold, and therefore 
they would find but poor entertainment; but that if they would 
go with him they should be welcome to what there was. They 
followed the man, the near prospect of relief giving them fresh 
strength, and bought the house and sheep of the shepherd, and 
took the man who conducted them to the shepherd's house to 
wait on them; and being by this means so fortunately provided 
with a neat cottage, and well supplied with provisions, they agreed 
to stay here till they could learn in what part of the forest the 
duke dwelt. 

When they were rested after the fatigue of their journey, they 
began to like their new way of life, and almost fancied themselves 
the shepherd and shepherdess they feigned to be. Yet some- 
times Ganymede remembered he had once been the same Lady 
Rosalind who had so dearly loved the brave Orlando because 
he was the son of old Sir Rowland, her father's friend; and 
though Ganymede thought that Orlando was many miles distant, 



even so many weary miles as they nad traveled, yet it soon ap- 
peared that Orlando was also in the forest of Arden. And in this 
manner this strange event came to pass. 

Orlando was the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, who, 
when he died, left him (Orlando being then very young) to the 
care of his eldest brother, Oliver, charging Oliver on his blessing 
to give his brother a good education and provide for him as 
became the dignity of their ancient house. Oliver proved an 
unworthy brother, and, disregarding the commands of his dying 
father, he never put his brother to school, but kept him at home 
untaught and entirely neglected. But in his nature and in the 
noble qualities of his mind Orlando so much resembled his 
excellent father that, without any advantages of education, he 
seemed like a youth who had been bred with the utmost care; 
and Oliver so envied the fine person and dignified manners of his 
untutored brother that at last he wished to destroy him, and to 
effect this he set on people to persuade him to wrestle with the 
famous wrestler who, as has been before related, had killed so 
many men. Now it was this cruel brother's neglect of him which 
made Orlando say he wished to die, being so friendless. 

When, contrary to the wicked hopes he had formed, his brother 
proved victorious, his envy and malice knew no bounds, and he 
swore he would burn the chamber where Orlando slept. He was 
overheard making his vow by one that had been an old and faith- 
ful servant to their father, and that loved Orlando because he 
resembled Sir Rowland. This old man went out to meet him 
when he returned from the duke's palace, and when he saw Or- 
lando the peril his dear young master was in made him break 
out into these passionate exclamations: 

"O my gentle master, my sweet master! O you memory of 
old Sir Rowland ! Why are you virtuous ? Why are you gentle, 
strong, and valiant? And why would you be so fond to over- 
come the famous wrestler? Your praise is come too swiftly home 
before you." 

Orlando, wondering what all this meant, asked him what was 



the matter. And then the old man told him how his wicked 
brother, envying the love all people bore him, and now hearing 
the fame he had gained by his victory in the duke's palace, in- 
tended to destroy him by setting fire to his chamber that night, 
and in conclusion advised him 
to escape the danger he was in 
by instant flight; and knowing 
Orlando had no money, Adam 
(for that was the good old man's 
name) had brought out with him 
his own little hoard, and he said: 

"I have five hundred crowns, 
the thrifty hire I saved under | 
your father and laid by to be 
provision for me when my old 
limbs should become unfit for 
service. Take that, and He that 
doth the ravens feed be comfort 
to my age! Here is the gold. 
All this I give to you. Let me 
be your servant; though I look 
old I will do the service of a 
younger man in all your business 
and necessities." 

"O good old man!" said 
Orlando, "how well appears in 
you the constant service of the 
old world! You are not for the 

fashion of these times. We will go along together, and before 
your youthful wages are spent I shall light upon some means 
for both our maintenance." 

Together, then, this faithful servant and his loved master set 
out; and Orlando and Adam traveled on, uncertain what course 
to pursue, till they came to the forest of Arden, and there they 
found themselves in the same distress for want of food that 




Ganymede and Aliena had been. They wandered on, seeking 
some human habitation, till they were almost spent with hunger 
and fatigue. 

Adam at last said: "O my dear master, I die for want of food. 
I can go no farther!" He then laid himself down, thinking to 
make that place his grave, and bade his dear master farewell. 

Orlando, seeing him in this weak state, took his old servant up 
in his arms and carried him under the shelter of some pleasant 
trees; and he said to him: "Cheerly, old Adam. Rest your 
weary limbs here awhile, and do not talk of dying!" 

Orlando then searched about to find some food, and he hap- 
pened to arrive at that part of the forest where the duke was; 
and he and his friends were just going to eat their dinner, this 
royal duke being seated on the grass, under no other canopy than 
the shady covert of some large trees. 

Orlando, whom hunger had made desperate, drew his sword, 
intending to take their meat by force, and said: "Forbear and 
eat no more. I must have your food!" 

The duke asked him if distress had made him so bold or if 
he were a rude despiser of good manners. On this Orlando said 
he was dying with hunger; and then the duke told him he was 
welcome to sit down and eat with them. Orlando, hearing him 
speak so gently, put up his sword and blushed with shame at the 
j:ude manner in which he had demanded their food. 

"Pardon me, I pray you," said he. "I thought that all 
things had been savage here, and therefore I put on the coun- 
tenance of stern command; but whatever men you are that in this 
desert, under the shade of melancholy boughs, lose and neglect 
the creeping hours of time, if ever you have looked on better 
days, if ever you have been where bells have knolled to church, 
if you have ever sat at any good man's feast, if ever from your eye- 
lids you have wiped a tear and know what it is to pity or be pitied, 
may gentle speeches now move you to do me human courtesy!" 

The duke replied: "True it is that we are men (as you say) 
who have seen better days, and though we have now our habita- 



tion in this wild forest, we have lived in towns and cities and 
have with holy bell been knolled to church, have sat at good men's 
feasts, and from our eyes have wiped the drops which sacred 
pity has engendered; therefore sit vou down and take of our 
refreshment as much as will 
minister to your wants." ^^^ — & ^ 

"There is an old poor man," 
answered Orlando, "who has 
limped after me many a weary 
step in pure love, oppressed at 
once with two sad infirmities, 
age and hunger; till he be satis- 
fied I must not touch a bit." 

"Go, find him out and bring 
him hither," said the duke. 
"We will forbear to eat till 
you return." 

Then Orlando went like a 
doe to find its fawn and give it 
food; and presently returned, 
bringing Adam in his arms. 
And the duke said, "Set down 
your venerable burthen; you 
are both welcome." 

And they fed the old man 
and cheered his heart, and 
he revived and recovered his 
health and strength again. 

The duke inquired who Orlando was; and when he found that 
he was the son of his old friend, Sir Rowland de Boys, he took 
him under his protection, and Orlando and his old servant lived 
with the duke in the forest. 

Orlando arrived in the forest not many days after Ganymede 
and Aliena came there and (as has been before related) bought 
the shepherd's cottage. 

. [79] 


Ganymede and Aliena were strangely surprised to find the 
name of Rosalind carved on the trees, and love-sonnets fastened 
to them, all addressed to Rosalind; and while they were wonder- 
ing how this could be they met Orlando and they perceived the 
chain which Rosalind had given him about his neck. 

Orlando little thought that Ganymede was the fair Princess 
Rosalind who, by her noble condescension and favor, had so 
won his heart that he passed his whole time in carving 
her name upon the trees and writing sonnets in praise of her 
beauty; but being much pleased with the graceful air of this 
pretty shepherd-youth, he entered into conversation with him, 
and he thought he saw a likeness in Ganymede to his beloved 
Rosalind, but that he had none of the dignified deportment of 
that noble lady; for Ganymede assumed the forward manners 
often seen in youths when they are between boys and men, and 
with much archness and humor talked to Orlando of a certain 
lover, "who," said she, "haunts our forest, and spoils our young 
trees with carving Rosalind upon their barks; and he hangs odes 
upon hawthorns, and elegies on brambles, all praising this same 
Rosalind. If I could find this lover, I would give him some 
good counsel that would soon cure him of his love." 

Orlando confessed that he was the fond lover of whom he spoke, 
and asked Ganymede to give him the good counsel he talked of. 
The remedy Ganymede proposed, and the counsel he gave him, 
was that Orlando should come every day to the cottage where 
he and his sister Aliena dwelt. 

"And then," said Ganymede, "I will feign myself to be Rosa- 
lind, and you shall feign to court me in the same manner as you 
would do if I was Rosalind, and then I will imitate the fantastic 
ways of whimsical ladies to their lovers, till I make you ashamed 
of your love; and this is the way I propose to cure you." 

Orlando had no great faith in the remedy, yet he agreed to 
come every day to Ganymede's cottage and feign a playful 
courtship; and every day Orlando visited Ganymede and Aliena, 

and Orlando called the shepherd Ganymede his Rosalind, and 



every day talked over all the fine words and flattering compli- 
ments which young men delight to use when they court their 
mistresses. It does not appear, however, that Ganymede made 
any progress in curing Orlando of his love for Rosalind. 

Though Orlando thought all this was but a sportive play (not 
dreaming that Ganymede was his very Rosalind), yet the oppor- 
tunity it gave him of saying all the fond things he had in his 
heart pleased his fancy almost as well as it did Ganymede's, 
who enjoyed the secret jest in knowing these fine love-speeches 
were all addressed to the right person. 

In this manner many days passed pleasantly on with these 
young people; and the good-natured Aliena, seeing it made 
Ganymede happy, let him have his own way and was diverted 
at the mock-courtship, and did not care to remind Ganymede 
that the Lady Rosalind had not yet made herself known to the 
duke her father, whose place of resort in the forest they had 
learned from Orlando. Ganymede met the duke one day, and 
had some talk with him, and the duke asked of what parentage 
he came. Ganymede answered that he came of as good parentage 
as he did, which made the duke smile, for he did not suspect 
the pretty shepherd-boy came of royal lineage. Then seeing 
the duke look well and happy, Ganymede was content to put 
off all further explanation for a few days longer. 

One morning, as Orlando was going to visit Ganymede, he 
saw a man lying asleep on the ground, and a large green snake had 
twisted itself about his neck. The snake, seeing Orlando ap- 
proach, glided away among the bushes. Orlando went nearer, 
and then he discovered a lioness lie crouching, with her head 
on the ground, with a catlike watch, waiting until the sleeping 
man awaked (for it is said that lions will prey on nothing that 
is dead or sleeping). It seemed as if Orlando was sent by Provi- 
dence to free the man from the danger of the snake and lioness; 
but when Orlando looked in the man's face he perceived that the 
sleeper who was exposed to this double peril was his own brother 
Oliver, who had so cruelly used him and had threatened to 
6 [81] 


destroy him by fire, and he was almost tempted to leave him a 
prey to the hungry lioness; but brotherly affection and the 
gentleness of his nature soon overcame his first anger against his 
brother; and he drew his sword and attacked the lioness and 
slew her, and thus preserved his brother's life both from the 
venomous snake and from the furious lioness; but before Orlando 
could conquer the lioness she had torn one of his arms with her 
sharp claws. 

While Orlando was engaged with the lioness, Oliver awaked, 
and, perceiving that his brother Orlando, whom he had so 
cruelly treated, was saving him from the fury of a wild beast 
at the risk of his own life, shame and remorse at once seized him, 
and he repented of his unworthy conduct and besought with 
many tears his brother's pardon for the injuries he had done him. 
Orlando rejoiced to see him so penitent, and readily forgave him. 
They embraced each other and from that hour Oliver loved 
Orlando with a true brotherly affection, though he had come to 
the forest bent on his destruction. 

The wound in Orlando's arm having bled very much, he found 
himself too weak to go to visit Ganymede, and therefore he 
desired his brother to go and tell Ganymede, "whom," said 
Orlando, "I in sport do call my Rosalind," the accident which 
had befallen him. 

Thither then Oliver went, and told to Ganymede and Aliena 
how Orlando had saved his life; and when he had finished the 
story of Orlando's bravery and his own providential escape he 
owned to them that he was Orlando's brother who had so cruelly 
used him; and then he told them of their reconciliation. 

The sincere sorrow that Oliver expressed for his offenses made 
such a lively impression on the kind heart of Aliena that she 
instantly fell in love with him; and Oliver observing how much 
she pitied the distress he told her he felt for his fault, he as 
suddenly fell in love with her. But while love was thus stealing 
into the hearts of Aliena and Oliver, he was no less busy with 
Ganymede, who, hearing of the danger Orlando had been in, 



and that he was wounded by the lioness, fainted; and when he 
recovered he pretended that he had counterfeited the swoon in 
the imaginary character of Rosalind, and Ganymede said to 

"Tell your brother Orlando how well I counterfeited a swoon." 

But Oliver saw by the pale- 
ness of his complexion that he 
did really faint, and, much won- 
dering at the weakness of the 
young man, he said, "Well, if 
you did counterfeit, take a good 
heart and counterfeit to be a 

"So I do," replied Ganymede, 
truly, "but I should have been a 
woman by right." 

Oliver made this visit a very 
long one, and when at last he 
returned back to his brother he 
had much news to tell him; for, 
besides the account of Gany- 
mede's fainting at the hearing 
that Orlando was wounded, 
Oliver told him how he had 
fallen in love with the fair 
shepherdess Aliena, and that she 
had lent a favorable ear to his 
suit, even in this their first in- 
terview; and he talked to his 
brother, as of a thing almost settled, that he should marry 
Aliena, saying that he so well loved her that he would live here 
as a shepherd and settle his estate and house at home upon 

"You have my consent," said Orlando. "Let your wedding 
be to-morrow, and I will invite the duke and his friends. Go 



and persuade your shepherdess to agree to this. She is now 
alone, for, look, here comes her brother." 

Oliver went to Aliena, and Ganymede, whom Orlando had 
perceived approaching, came to inquire after the health of his 
wounded friend. 

When Orlando and Ganymede began to talk over the sudden 
love which had taken place between Oliver and Aliena, Orlando 
said he had advised his brother to persuade his fair shepherdess 
to be married on the morrow, and then he added how much he 
could wish to be married on the same day to his Rosalind. 

Ganymede, who well approved of this arrangement, said that 
if Orlando really loved Rosalind as well as he professed to do, 
he should have his wish; for on the morrow he would engage 
to make Rosalind appear in her own person, and also that Rosalind 
should be willing to marry Orlando. 

This seemingly wonderful event, which, as Ganymede was the 
Lady Rosalind, he could so easily perform, he pretended he would 
bring to pass by the aid of magic, which he said he had learned 
of an uncle who was a famous magician. 

The fond lover Orlando, half believing and half doubting what 
he heard, asked Ganymede if he spoke in sober meaning. 

"By my life I do," said Ganymede. "Therefore put on your 
best clothes, and bid the duke and your friends to your wedding, 
for if you desire to be married to-morrow to Rosalind, she shall 
be here." 

The next morning, Oliver having obtained the consent of 
Aliena, they came into the presence of the duke, and with them 
also came Orlando. 

They being all assembled to celebrate this double marriage, 
and as yet only one of the brides appearing, there was much of 
wondering and conjecture, but they mostly thought that Gany- 
mede was making a jest of Orlando. 

The duke, hearing that it was his own daughter that was to 
be brought in this strange way, asked Orlando if he believed the 
shepherd-boy could really do what he had promised; and while 



Orlando was answering that he knew not what to think, Gany- 
mede entered and asked the duke, if he brought his daughter, 
whether he would consent to her marriage with Orlando. 

"That I would," said the 
duke, "if I had kingdoms to 
give with her." 

Ganymede then said to 
Orlando, "And you say you will 
marry her if I bring her here." 

"That I would," said Orlando, 
"if I were king of many king- 

Ganymede and Aliena then 
went out together, and, Gany- 
mede throwing off his male 
attire, and being once more 
dressed in woman's apparel, 
quickly became Rosalind with- 
out the power of magic; and 
Aliena, changing her country 
garb for her own rich clothes, 
was with as little trouble trans- 
formed into the lady Celia. 

While they were gone, the 
duke said to Orlando that he 
thought the shepherd Gany- 
mede very like his daughter 

Rosalind; and Orlando said he also had observed the re- 

They had no time to wonder how all this would end, for 
Rosalind and Celia, in their own clothes, entered, and, no longer 
pretending that it was by the power of magic that she came 
there, Rosalind threw herself on her knees before her father and 
begged his blessing. It seemed so wonderful to all present that 
she should so suddenly appear, that it might well have passed 



for magic; but Rosalind would no longer trifle with her father, 
and told him the story of her banishment, and of her dwelling 
in the forest as a shepherd-boy, her cousin Celia passing as her 

The duke ratified the consent he had already given to the 
marriage; and Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, were 
married at the same time. And though their wedding could not 
be celebrated in this wild forest with any of the parade of splendor 
usual on such occasions, yet a happier wedding-day was never 
passed. And while they were eating their venison under the 
cool shade of the pleasant trees, as if nothing should be wanting 
to complete the felicity of this good duke and the true lovers, an 
unexpected messenger arrived to tell the duke the joyful news 
that his dukedom was restored to him. 

The usurper, enraged at the flight of his daughter Celia, and 
hearing that every day men of great worth resorted to the forest 
of Arden to join the lawful duke in his exile, much envying that 
his brother should be so highly respected in his adversity, put 
himself at the head of a large force and advanced toward the forest, 
intending to seize his brother and put him with all his faithful 
followers to the sword; but by a wonderful interposition of 
Providence this bad brother was converted from his evil intention, 
for just as he entered the skirts of the wild forest he was met by 
an old religious man, a hermit, with whom he had much talk 
and who in the end completely turned his heart from his wicked 
design. Thenceforward he became a true penitent, and resolved, 
relinquishing his unjust dominion, to spend the remainder of 
his days in a religious house. The first act of his newly conceived 
penitence was to send a messenger to his brother (as has been 
related) to offer to restore to him his dukedom, which he had 
usurped so long, and with it the lands and revenues of his friends, 
the faithful followers of his adversity. 

This joyful news, as unexpected as it was welcome, came op- 
portunely to heighten the festivity and rejoicings at the wedding 
of the princesses. Celia complimented her cousin on this good 



fortune which had happened to the duke, Rosalind's father, and 
wished her joy very sincerely, though she herself was no longer 
heir to the dukedom, but by this restoration which her father 
had made, Rosalind was now the heir, so completely was the love 
of these two cousins unmixed with anything of jealousy or of envy. 
The duke had now an opportunity of rewarding those true 
friends who had stayed with him in his banishment; and these 
worthy followers, though they had patiently shared his adverse 
fortune, were very well pleased to return in peace and prosperity 
to the palace of their lawful duke. 



'HERE lived in the city of Verona two 
young gentlemen, whose names were 
Valentine and Proteus, between whom 
a firm and uninterrupted friendship had 
long subsisted. They pursued their 
studies together, and their hours of 
leisure were always passed in each other's 
company, except when Proteus visited a 
lady he was in love with. And these 
visits to his mistress, and this passion of Proteus for the fair 
Julia, were the only topics on which these two friends disagreed; 
for Valentine, not being himself a lover, was sometimes a little 
weary of hearing his friend forever talking of his Julia, and then 
he would laugh at Proteus, and in pleasant terms ridicule the 
passion of love, and declare that no such idle fancies should 
ever enter his head, greatly preferring (as he said) the free and 
happy life he led to the anxious hopes and fears of the lover 

One morning Valentine came to Proteus to tell him that they 
must for a time be separated, for that he was going to Milan. 
Proteus, unwilling to part with his friend, used many arguments 
to prevail upon Valentine not to leave him. But Valentine said : 
"Cease to persuade me, my loving Proteus. I will not, like a 
sluggard, wear out my youth in idleness at home. Home-keeping 
youths have ever homely wits. If your affection were not 
chained to the sweet glances of your honored Julia, I would en- 
treat you to accompany me, to see the wonders of the world 
abroad; but since you are a lover, love on still, and may your 
love be prosperous!" 


They parted with mutual expressions of unalterable friendship. 

"Sweet Valentine, adieu!" said Proteus. "Think on me when 
you see some rare object worthy of notice in your travels, and 
wish me partaker 
of your happi- 

Valentine be- 
gan his journey 
that same day 
toward Milan; 
and when his 
friend had left 
him, Proteus sat 
down to write a 
letter to Julia, 
which he gave to 
her maid Lucetta 
to deliver to her 

Julia loved 
Proteus as well 
as he did her, but 
she was a lady of 
a noble spirit, and she thought it did not become her maiden 
dignity too easily to be won; therefore she affected to be in- 
sensible of his passion and gave him much uneasiness in the 
prosecution of his suit. 

And when Lucetta offered the letter to Julia she would not 
receive it, and chid her maid for taking letters from Proteus, 
and ordered her to leave the room. But she so much wished 
to see what was written in the letter that she soon called in 
her maid again; and when Lucetta returned she said, "What 
o'clock is it?" 

Lucetta, who knew her mistress more desired to see the letter 
than to know the time of day, without answering her question 



again offered the rejected letter. Julia, angry that her maid 
should thus take the liberty of seeming to know what she really 
wanted, tore the letter in pieces and threw it on the floor, ordering 
her maid once more out of the room. As Lucetta was retiring, 
she stopped to pick up the fragments of the torn letter; but 
Julia, who meant not so to part with them, said, in pretended 
anger, "Go, get you gone, and let the papers lie; you would be 
fingering them to anger me." 

Julia then began to piece together as well as she could the torn 
fragments. She first made out these words, "Love-wounded 
Proteus"; and lamenting over these and such like loving words, 
which she made out though they were all torn asunder, or, she 
said wounded (the expression "Love-wounded Proteus" giving 
her that idea), she talked to these kind words, telling them she 
would lodge them in her bosom as in a bed, till their wounds were 
healed, and that she would kiss each several piece to make amends. 

In this manner she went on talking with a pretty, ladylike 
childishness, till, finding herself unable to make out the whole, 
and vexed at her own ingratitude in destroying such sweet and 
loving words, as she called them, she wrote a much kinder letter 
to Proteus than she had ever done before. 

Proteus was greatly delighted at receiving this favorable 
answer to his letter. And while he was reading it he exclaimed, 
"Sweet love! sweet lines! sweet life!" 

In the midst of his raptures he was interrupted by his father. 
"How now?" said the old gentleman. "What letter are you 
reading there?" 

"My lord," replied Proteus, "it is a letter from my friend 
Valentine, at Milan." 

"Lend me the letter," said his father. "Let me see what 

"There is no news, my lord," said Proteus, greatly alarmed, 
"but that he writes how well beloved he is of the Duke of Milan, 
who daily graces him with favors, and how he wishes me with 
him, the partner of his fortune." 



"And how stand you affected to his wish?" asked the father. 

"As one relying on your lordship's will and not depending 
on his friendly wish," said Proteus. 

Now it had happened that Proteus's father had just been 
talking with a friend on this very subject. His friend had said 
he wondered his lordship suffered his son to spend his youth 
at home while most men were sending their sons to seek prefer- 
ment abroad. 

"Some," said he, "to the wars, to try their fortunes there, and 
some to discover islands far away, and some to study in foreign 
universities. And there is his companion Valentine; he is gone 
to the Duke of Milan's court. Your son is fit for any of these 
things, and it will be a great disadvantage to him in his riper age 
not to have traveled in his youth." 

Proteus's father thought the advice of his friend was very good, 
and upon Proteus telling him that Valentine "wished him with 
him, the partner of his fortune," he at once determined to send 
his son to Milan; and without giving Proteus any reason for this 
sudden resolution, it being the usual habit of this positive old 
gentleman to command his son, not reason with him, he said: 

"My will is the same as Valentine's wish." And seeing his 
son look astonished, he added: "Look not amazed, that I so 
suddenly resolve you shall spend some time in the Duke of 
Milan's court; for what I will I will, and there is an end. To- 
morrow be in readiness to go. Make no excuses, for I am 

Proteus knew it was of no use to make objections to his father, 
who never suffered him to dispute his will; and he blamed himself 
for telling his father an untruth about Julia's letter, which had 
brought upon him the sad necessity of leaving her. 

Now that Julia found she was going to lose Proteus for so 
long a time she no longer pretended indifference; and they bade 
each other a mournful farewell, with many vows of love and 
constancy. Proteus and Julia exchanged rings, which they both 
promised to keep forever in remembrance of each other; and 

I 9i] 


thus, taking a sorrowful leave, Proteus set out on his journey 
to Milan, the abode of his friend Valentine. 

Valentine was in reality, what Proteus had feigned to his 
father, in high favor with the Duke of Milan; and another 
event had happened to him of which Proteus did not even 
dream, for Valentine had given up the freedom of which he 
used so much to boast, and was become as passionate a lover 
as Proteus. 

She who had wrought this wondrous change in Valentine was 
the Lady Silvia, daughter of the Duke of Milan, and she also 
loved him; but they concealed their love from the duke, because, 
although he showed much kindness for Valentine and invited 
him every day to his palace, yet he designed to marry his daughter 
to a young courtier whose name was Thurio. Silvia despised 
this Thurio, for he had none of the fine sense and excellent qual- 
ities of Valentine. 

These two rivals, Thurio and Valentine, were one day on a 
visit to Silvia, and Valentine was entertaining Silvia with turning 
everything Thurio said into ridicule, when the duke himself 
entered the room and told Valentine the welcome news of his 
friend Proteus's arrival. 

Valentine said, "If I had wished a thing, it would have been to 
have seen him here!" And then he highly praised Proteus to the 
duke, saying, "My lord, though I have been a truant of my time, 
yet hath my friend made use and fair advantage of his days, and 
is complete in person and in mind, in all good grace to grace a 

"Welcome him, then, according to his worth," said the duke. 
"Silvia, I speak to you, and you, Sir Thurio; for Valentine, I 
need not bid him do so." 

They were here interrupted by the entrance of Proteus, and 
Valentine introduced him to Silvia, saying, "Sweet lady, enter- 
tain him to be my fellow-servant to your ladyship." 

When Valentine and Proteus had ended their visit, and were 
alone together, Valentine said: 



"Now tell me how all does from whence you came? How does 
your lady, and how thrives your love ?" 

Proteus replied: "My tales of love used to weary you. I 
know you joy not in a love discourse." 

"Aye, Proteus," returned Valentine, "but that life is altered 
now. I have done penance for condemning love. For in revenge 
of my contempt of love, love has chased sleep from my enthralled 
eyes. O gentle Proteus, Love is a mighty lord, and hath so 
humbled me that I confess there is no woe like his correction 
nor no such joy on earth as in his service. I now like no discourse 
except it be of love. Now I can break my fast, dine, sup, and 
sleep upon the very name of love." 

This acknowledgment of the change which love had made in 
the disposition of Valentine was a great triumph to his friend 
Proteus. But "friend" Proteus must be called no longer, for 
the same all-powerful deity Love, of whom they were speaking 
(yea, even while they were talking of the change he had made 
in Valentine), was working in the heart of Proteus; and he, who had 
till this time been a pattern of true love and perfect friendship, 
was now, in one short interview with Silvia, become a false friend 
and a faithless lover; for at the first sight of Silvia all his love 
for Julia vanished away like a dream, nor did his long friendship 
for Valentine deter him from endeavoring to supplant him in her 
affections; and although, as it will always be, when people of dis- 
positions naturally good become unjust, he had many scruples 
before he determined to forsake Julia and become the rival of 
Valentine, yet he at length overcame his sense of duty and 
yielded himself up, almost without remorse, to his new unhappy 

Valentine imparted to him in confidence the whole history of 
his love, and how carefully they had concealed it from the duke 
her father, and told him that, despairing of ever being able to 
obtain his consent, he had prevailed upon Silvia to leave her 
father's palace that night and go with him to Mantua; then he 
showed Proteus a ladder of ropes by help of which he meant to 

[93] " 


assist Silvia to get out of one of the windows of the palace after it 
was dark. 

Upon hearing this faithful recital of his friend's dearest secrets, 
it is hardly possible to be believed, but so it was that Proteus 
resolved to go to the duke and disclose the whole to him. 

This false friend began his tale with many artful speeches to 
the duke, such as that by the laws of friendship he ought to 
conceal what he was going to reveal, but that the gracious favor 
the duke had shown him, and the duty he owed his grace, urged 
him to tell that which else no worldly good should draw from 
him. He then told all he had heard from Valentine, not omitting 
the ladder of ropes and the manner in which Valentine meant to 
conceal them under a long cloak. 

The duke thought Proteus quite a miracle of integrity, in that 
he preferred telling his friend's intention rather than he would 
conceal an unjust action; highly commended him, and promised 
him not to let Valentine know from whom he had learned this 
intelligence, but by some artifice to make Valentine betray the 
secret himself. For this purpose the duke awaited the coming 
of Valentine in the evening, whom he soon saw hurrying toward 
the palace, and he perceived somewhat was wrapped within his 
cloak, which he concluded was the rope ladder. 

The duke, upon this, stopped him, saying, "Whither away so 
fast, Valentine?" 

"May it please your grace," said Valentine, "there is a mes- 
senger that stays to bear my letters to my friends, and I am 
going to deliver them." 

Now this falsehood of Valentine's had no better success in the 
event than the untruth Proteus told his father. 

"Be they of much import?" said the duke. 

"No more, my lord," said Valentine, "than to tell my father 
I am well and happy at your grace's court." 

"Nay then," said the duke, "no matter; stay with me awhile. 
I wish your counsel about some affairs that concern me nearly." 

He then told Valentine an artful story, as a prelude to draw his 



secret from him, saying that Valentine knew he wished to match 
his daughter with Thurio, but that she was stubborn and dis- 
obedient to his commands. 

"Neither regarding," said he, "that she is my child nor fearing 
me as if I were her father. And I may say to thee this pride 
of hers has drawn my love from her. I had thought my age 
should have been cherished by her childlike duty. I now am 
resolved to take a wife, and turn her out to whosoever will 
take her in. Let her beauty be her wedding dower, for me and 
my possessions she esteems not." 

Valentine, wondering where all this would end, made answer, 
"And what would your grace have me to do in all this?" 

"Why," said the duke, "the lady I would wish to marry is nice 
and coy and does not much esteem my aged eloquence. Besides, 
the fashion of courtship is much changed since I was young. 
Now I would willingly have you to be my tutor to instruct me how 
I am to woo." 

Valentine gave him a general idea of the modes of courtship 
then practised by young men when they wished to win a fair 
lady's love, such as presents, frequent visits, and the like. 

The duke replied to this that the lady did refuse a present 
which he sent her, and that she was so strictly kept by her 
father that no man might have access to her by day. 

"Why, then," said Valentine, "you must visit her by night." 

"But at night," said the artful duke, who was now coming to 
the drift of his discourse, "her doors are fast locked." 

Valentine then unfortunately proposed that the duke should 
get into the lady's chamber at night by means of a ladder of 
ropes, saying he would procure him one fitting for that purpose; 
and in conclusion advised him to conceal this ladder of ropes 
under such a cloak as that which he now wore. 

"Lend me your cloak," said the duke, who had feigned this 
long story on purpose to have a pretense to get off the cloak; 
so upon saying these words he caught hold of Valentine's cloak 
and, throwing it back, he discovered not only the ladder of ropes, 



but also a letter of Silvia's, which he instantly opened and read; 
and this letter contained a full account of their intended elope- 
ment. The duke, after upbraiding Valentine for his ingratitude 
in thus returning the favor he had shown him, by endeavoring to 
steal away his daughter, banished him from the court and city 
of Milan forever, and Valentine was forced to depart that night 
without even seeing Silvia. 

While Proteus at Milan was thus injuring Valentine, Julia 
at Verona was regretting the absence of Proteus; and her regard 
for him at last so far overcame her sense of propriety that she 
resolved to leave Verona and seek her lover at Milan; and to 
secure herself from danger on the road she dressed her maiden 
Lucetta and herself in men's clothes, and they set out in this 
disguise, and arrived at Milan soon after Valentine was banished 
from that city through the treachery of Proteus. 

Julia entered Milan about noon, and she took up her abode 
at an inn; and, her thoughts being all on her dear Proteus, she 
entered into conversation with the innkeeper — or host, as he was 
called — thinking by that means to learn some news of Proteus. 

The host was greatly pleased that this handsome young gentle- 
man (as he took her to be), who from his appearance he con- 
cluded was of high rank, spoke so familiarly to him, and, being a 
good-natured man, he was sorry to see him look so melancholy; 
and to amuse his young guest he offered to take him to hear some 
fine music, with which, he said, a gentleman that evening was 
going to serenade his mistress. 

The reason Julia looked so very melancholy was, that she did 
not well know what Proteus would think of the imprudent step 
she had taken, for she knew he had loved her for her noble maiden 
pride and dignity of character, and she feared she should lower 
herself in his esteem; and this it was that made her wear a sad 
and thoughtful countenance. 

She gladly accepted the offer of the host to go with him and 
hear the music; for she secretly hoped she might meet Proteus 
by the way. 




But when she came to the palace whither the host conducted 
her a very different effect was produced to what the kind host 
intended; for there, to her heart's sorrow, she beheld her lover, 
the inconstant Proteus, serenading the Lady Silvia with music, 
and addressing discourse of love and admiration to her. And 
Julia overheard Silvia from a window talk with Proteus, and re- 
proach him for forsaking his own true lady, and for his ingratitude 
to his friend Valentine; and then Silvia left the window, not 
choosing to listen to his music and his fine speeches; for she 
was a faithful lady to her banished Valentine, and abhorred 
the ungenerous conduct of his false friend, Proteus. 

Though Julia was in despair at what she had just witnessed, 
yet did she still love the truant Proteus; and hearing that he had 
lately parted with a servant, she contrived, with the assistance 
of her host, the friendly innkeeper, to hire herself to Proteus as a 
page; and Proteus knew not she was Julia, and he sent her with 
letters and presents to her rival, Silvia, and he even sent by her 
the very ring she gave him as a parting gift at Verona. 

When she went to that lady with the ring she was most glad 
to find that Silvia utterly rejected the suit of Proteus; and 
Julia — or the page Sebastian, as she was called — entered into 
conversation with Silvia about Proteus's first love, the forsaken 
Lady Julia. She putting in (as one may say) a good word for 
herself, said she knew Julia; as well she might, being herself the 
Julia of whom she spoke; telling how fondly Julia loved her mas- 
ter, Proteus, and how his unkind neglect would grieve her. And 
then she with a pretty equivocation went on: "Julia is about my 
height, and of my complexion, the color of her eyes and hair the 
same as mine." And indeed Julia looked a most beautiful youth 
in her boy's attire. 

Silvia was moved to pity this lovely lady who was so sadly 
forsaken by the man she loved; and when Julia offered the ring 
which Proteus had sent, refused it, saying: 

"The more shame for him that he sends me that ring. I will 
not take it, for I have often heard him say his Julia gave it to 



him. I love thee, gentle youth, for pitying her, poor lady! Here 
is a purse; I give it you for Julia's sake." 

These comfortable words coming from her kind rival's tongue 
cheered the drooping heart of the disguised lady. 

But to return to the banished Valentine, who scarce knew 
which way to bend his course, being unwilling to return home to 
his father a disgraced and banished man. As he was wandering 
over a lonely forest, not far distant from Milan, where he had 
left his heart's dear treasure, the Lady Silvia, he was set upon by 
robbers, who demanded his money. 

Valentine told them that he was a man crossed by adversity, 
that he was going into banishment, and that he had no money, 
the clothes he had on being all his riches. 

The robbers, hearing that he was a distressed man, and being 
struck with his noble air and manly behavior, told him if he would 
live with them and be their chief, or captain, they would put 
themselves under his command; but that if he refused to accept 
their offer they would kill him. 

Valentine, who cared little what became of himself, said he 
would consent to live with them and be their captain, provided 
they did no outrage on women or poor passengers. 

Thus the noble Valentine became, like Robin Hood, of whom we 
read in ballads, a captain of robbers and outlawed banditti; and in 
this situation he was found by Silvia, and in this manner it came 
to pass. 

Silvia, to avoid a marriage with Thurio, whom her father 
insisted upon her no longer refusing, came at last to the resolution 
of following Valentine to Mantua, at which place she had heard 
her lover had taken refuge; but in this account she was misin- 
formed, for he still lived in the forest among the robbers, bearing 
the name of their captain, but taking no part in their depredations, 
and using the authority which they had imposed upon him in no 
other way than to compel them to show compassion to the 
travelers they robbed. 

Silvia contrived to effect her escape from her father's palace 



in company with a worthy old gentleman whose name was 
Eglamour, whom she took along with her for protection on the 
road. She had to pass through the forest where Valentine and 
the banditti dwelt; and one of these robbers seized on Silvia, 
and would also have taken Eglamour, but he escaped. 

The robber who had taken Silvia, seeing the terror she was in, 
bade her not be alarmed, for that he was only going to carry her 
to a cave where his captain lived, and that she need not be afraid, 
for their captain had an honorable mind and always showed 
humanity to women. Silvia found little comfort in hearing 
she was going to be carried as a prisoner before the captain of a 
lawless banditti. 

"O Valentine," she cried, "this I endure for thee!" 
But as the robber was conveying her to the cave of his captain 
he was stopped by Proteus, who, still attended by Julia in the dis- 
guise of a page, having heard of the flight of Silvia, had traced 
her steps to this forest. Proteus now rescued her from the hands 
of the robber; but scarce had she time to thank him for the 



service he had done her before he began to distress her afresh 
with his love suit; and while he was rudely pressing her to con- 
sent to marry him, and his page (the forlorn Julia) was standing 
beside him in great anxiety of mind, fearing lest the great service 
which Proteus had just done to Silvia should win her to show him 
some favor, they were all strangely surprised with the sudden 
appearance of Valentine, who, having heard his robbers had taken 
a iady prisoner, came to console and relieve her. 

Proteus was courting Silvia, and he was so much ashamed of 
being caught by his friend that he was all at once seized with 
penitence and remorse; and he expressed such a lively sorrow for 
the injuries he had done to Valentine that Valentine, whose 
nature was noble and generous, even to a romantic degree, not 
only forgave and restored him to his former place in his friendship, 
but in a sudden flight of heroism he said: 

"I freely do forgive you; and all the interest I have in Silvia I 
give it up to you.'* 

Julia, who was standing beside her master as a page, hearing 
this strange offer, and fearing Proteus would not be able with 
this new-found virtue to refuse Silvia, fainted; and they were all 
employed in recovering her, else would Silvia have been offended 
at being thus made over to Proteus, though she could scarcely 
think that Valentine would long persevere in this overstrained 
and too generous act of friendship. When Julia recovered from 
the fainting fit, she said: 

"I had forgot, my master ordered me to deliver this ring to 

Proteus, looking upon the ring, saw that it was the one he gave 
to Julia in return for that which he received from her and 
which he had sent by the supposed page to Silvia. 

"How is this?" said he. "This is Julia's ring. How came 
you by it, boy?" 

Julia answered, "Julia herself did give it me, and Julia herself 
hath brought it hither." 

Proteus, now looking earnestly upon her, plainly perceived 



that the page Sebastian was no other than the Lady Julia herself; 
and the proof she had given of her constancy and true love so 
wrought in him that his love for her returned into his heart, and 
he took again his own dear lady and joyfully resigned all pre- 
tensions to the Lady Silvia to Valentine, who had so well de- 
served her. 

Proteus and Valentine were expressing their happiness in 
their reconciliation, and in the love of their faithful ladies, when 
they were surprised with the sight of the Duke of Milan and 
Thurio, who came there in pursuit of Silvia. 

Thurio first approached, and attempted to seize Silvia, saying, 
"Silvia is mine." 

Upon this Valentine said to him in a very spirited manner: 
"Thurio, keep back. If once again you say that Silvia is yours, 
you shall embrace your death. Here she stands, take but posses- 
sion of her with a touch ! I dare you but to breathe upon my 

Hearing this threat, Thurio, who was a great coward, drew 
back, and said he cared not for her and that none but a fool 
would fight for a girl who loved him not. 

The duke, who was a very brave man himself, said now, in 
great anger, "The more base and degenerate in you to take 
such means for her as you have done and leave her on such slight 

Then turning to Valentine he said: "I do applaud your spirit, 
Valentine, and think you worthy of an empress's love. You 
shall have Silvia, for you have well deserved her." 

Valentine then with great humility kissed the duke's hand and 
accepted the noble present which he had made him of his daughter 
with becoming thankfulness, taking occasion of this joyful minute 
to entreat the good-humored duke to pardon the thieves with 
whom he had associated in the forest, assuring him that when 
reformed and restored to society there would be found among 
them many good, and fit for great employment; for the most of 
them had been banished, like Valentine, for state offenses, rather 



than for any black crimes they had been guilty of. To this the 
ready duke consented. And now nothing remained but that 
Proteus, the false friend, was ordained, by way of penance for 
his love-prompted faults, to be present at the recital of the whole 
story of his loves and falsehoods before the duke. And the 
shame of the recital to his awakened conscience was judged suf- 
ficient punishment; which being done, the lovers, all four, re- 
turned back to Milan, and their nuptials were solemnized in the 
presence of the duke, with high triumphs and feasting. 



HYLOCK, the Jew, lived at Venice. He 
was a usurer who had amassed an im- 
mense fortune by lending money at 
great interest to Christian merchants. 
Shylock, being a hard-hearted man, 
exacted the payment of the money he 
lent with such severity that he was 
much disliked by all good men, and 
particularly by Antonio, a young mer- 
chant of Venice; and Shylock as much hated Antonio, because 
he used to lend money to people in distress, and would never 
take any interest for the money he lent; therefore there was 
great enmity between this covetous Jew and the generous mer- 
chant Antonio. Whenever Antonio met Shylock on the Rialto 
(or Exchange) he used to reproach him with his usuries and 
hard dealings, which the Jew would bear with seeming patience, 
while he secretly meditated revenge. 

Antonio was the kindest man that lived, the best conditioned, 
and had the most unwearied spirit in doing courtesies; indeed, 
he was one in whom the ancient Roman honor more appeared 
than in any that drew breath in Italy. He was greatly beloved 
by all his fellow-citizens; but the friend who was nearest and 
dearest to his heart was Bassanio, a noble Venetian, who, having 
but a small patrimony, had nearly exhausted his little fortune 
by living in too expensive a manner for his slender means, as 
young men of high rank with small fortunes are too apt to do. 
Whenever Bassanio wanted money Antonio assisted him; and 
it seemed as if they had but one heart and one purse between them. 
One day Bassanio came to Antonio and told him that he wished 

[ <°5 1 


to repair his fortune by a wealthy marriage with a lady whom he 
dearly loved, whose father, that was lately dead, had left her sole 
heiress to a large estate; and that in her father's lifetime he 
used to visit at her house, when he thought he had observed this 
lady had sometimes from her eyes sent speechless messages that 
seemed to say he would be no unwelcome suitor; but not having 
money to furnish himself with an appearance befitting the lover 
of so rich an heiress, he besought Antonio to add to the many 
favors he had shown him by lending him three thousand ducats. 

Antonio had no money by him at that time to lend his friend; 
but expecting soon to have some ships come home laden with 
merchandise, he said he would go to Shylock, the rich money- 
lender, and borrow the money upon the credit of those ships. 

Antonio and Bassanio went together to Shylock, and Antonio 
asked the Jew to lend him three thousand ducats upon any 
interest he should require, to be paid out of the merchandise 
contained in his ships at sea. 

On this, Shylock thought within himself: "If I can once 
catch him on the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear 
him. He hates our Jewish nation; he lends out money gratis; 
and among the merchants he rails at me and my well-earned 
bargains, which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe if I for- 
give him!" 

Antonio, finding he was musing within himself and did not 
answer, and being impatient for the money, said: 

"Shylock, do you hear? Will you lend the money?'* 

To this question the Jew replied: "Signor Antonio, on the 
Rialto many a time and often you have railed at me about my 
moneys and my usuries, and I have borne it with a patient shrug, 
for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe; and then you have 
called me unbeliever, cutthroat dog, and spit upon my Jewish 
garments, and spurned at me with your foot, as if I was a cur. 
Well, then, it now appears you need my help, and you come to 
me and say, 'Shylock, lend me moneys.' Has a dog money? 
Is it possible a cur should lend three thousand ducats? Shall 

f 106} 


I bend low and say, 'Fair sir, you spit upon me on Wednesday 
last; another time you called me dog, and for these courtesies 
I am to lend you moneys.' " 

Antonio replied: "I am as like to call you so again, to spit on 
you again, and spurn you, too. If you will lend me this money, 

lend it not to me as to a friend, but rather lend it to me as to an 
enemy, that, if I break, you may with better face exact the 

"Why, look you," said Shylock, "how you storm! I would 
be friends with you and have your love. I will forget the shames 
you have put upon me. I will supply your wants and take no 
interest for my money." 

This seemingly kind offer greatly surprised Antonio; and then 
Shylock, still pretending kindness and that all he did was to gain 
Antonio's love, again said he would lend him the three thousand 
ducats, and take no interest for his money; only Antonio should 
go with him to a lawyer and there sign in merry sport a bond 
that, if he did not repay the money by a certain day, he would 
forfeit a pound of flesh, to be cut off from any part of his body 
that Shylock pleased. 

"Content," said Antonio. "I will sign to this bond, and say 
there is much kindness in the Jew." 



Bassanio said Antonio should not sign to such a bond for him; 
but still Antonio insisted that he would sign it, for that before 
the day of payment came his ships would return laden with 
many times the value of the money. 

Shylock, hearing this debate, exclaimed: "0 Father Abraham, 
what suspicious people these Christians are! Their own hard 
dealings teach them to suspect the thoughts of others. I pray 
you tell me this, Bassanio: if he should break his day, what should 
I gain by the exaction of the forfeiture? A pound of man's flesh, 
taken from a man, is not so estimable, profitable, neither, as the 
flesh of mutton or beef. I say, to buy his favor I offer this 
friendship: if he will take it, so; if not, adieu." 

At last, against the advice of Bassanio, who, notwithstanding 
all the Jew had said of his kind intentions, did not like his friend 
should run the hazard of this shocking penalty for his sake, 
Antonio signed the bond, thinking it really was (as the Jew 
said) merely in sport. 

The rich heiress that Bassanio wished to marry lived near 
Venice, at a place called Belmont. Her name was Portia, and 
in the graces of her person and her mind she was nothing inferior 
to that Portia, of whom we read, who was Cato's daughter and 
the wife of Brutus. 

Bassanio being so kindly supplied with money by his friend 
Antonio, at the hazard of his life, set out for Belmont with a 
splendid train and attended by a gentleman of the name of 

Bassanio proving successful in his suit, Portia in a short time 
consented to accept of him for a husband. 

Bassanio confessed to Portia that he had no fortune and that 

his high birth and noble ancestry were all that he could boast of; 

she, who loved him for his worthy qualities and had riches 

enough not to regard wealth in a husband, answered, with a 

graceful modesty, that she would wish herself a thousand times 

more fair, and ten thousand times more rich, to be more worthy 

of him; and then the accomplished Portia prettily dispraised 

[ 108] 


herself and said she was an unlessoned girl, unschooled, un- 
practised, yet not so old but that she could learn, and that she 
would commit her gentle spirit to be directed and governed by 
him in all things; and she said: "Myself and what is mine to 

you and yours is now converted. But yesterday, Bassanio, I 
was the lady of this fair mansion, queen of myself, and mistress 
over these servants; and now this house, these servants, and 
myself are yours, my lord; I give them with this ring," presenting 
a ring to Bassanio. 

Bassanio was so overpowered with gratitude and wonder at the 
gracious manner in which the rich and noble Portia accepted of 
a man of his humble fortunes that he could not express his joy 



and reverence to the dear lady who so honored him, by anything 
but broken words of love and thankfulness; and, taking the ring, 
he vowed never to part with it. 

Gratiano and Nerissa, Portia's waiting-maid, were in attendance 
upon their lord and lady when Portia so gracefully promised to 
become the obedient wife of Bassanio; and Gratiano, wishing 
Bassanio and the generous lady joy, desired permission to be 
married at the same time. 

"With all my heart, Gratiano," said Bassanio, "if you can get 
a wife." 

Gratiano then said that he loved the Lady Portia's fair waiting- 
gentlewoman, Nerissa, and that she had promised to be his wife 
if her lady married Bassanio. Portia asked Nerissa if this was 
true. Nerissa replied: 

"Madam, it is so, if you approve of it." 

Portia willingly consenting, Bassanio pleasantly said: 

"Then our wedding-feast shall be much honored by your mar- 
riage, Gratiano." 

The happiness of these lovers was sadly crossed at this moment 
by the entrance of a messenger, who brought a letter from Antonio 
containing fearful tidings. When Bassanio read Antonio's letter, 
Portia feared it was to tell him of the death of some dear friend, 
he looked so pale; and, inquiring what was the news which had 
so distressed him, he said: 

"Oh, sweet Portia, here are a few of the unpleasantest words 
that ever blotted paper! Gentle lady, when I first imparted 
my love to you, I freely told you all the wealth I had ran in my 
veins; but I should have told you that I had less than nothing, 
being in debt." 

Bassanio then told Portia what has been here related, of his 
borrowing the money of Antonio, and of Antonio's procuring it 
of Shylock the Jew, and of the bond by which Antonio had 
engaged to forfeit a pound of flesh if it was not repaid by a certain 
day: and then Bassanio read Antonio's letter, the words of which 



Sweet Bassanio, my ships are all lost, my bond to the Jew is forfeited, and 
since in paying it is impossible I should live, I could wish to see you at my 
death; notwithstanding, use your pleasure. If your love for me do not persuade 
you to come, let not my letter. 

"Oh, my dear love," said Portia, "despatch all business and 
begone; you shall have gold to pay the money twenty times 
over, before this kind friend shall lose a hair by my Bassanio's 
fault; and as you are so dearly bought, I will dearly love you." 

Portia then said she would be married to Bassanio before he set 
out, to give him a legal right to her money; and that same day 
they were married, and Gratiano was also married to Nerissa; 
and Bassanio and Gratiano, the instant they were married, set 
out in great haste for Venice, where Bassanio found Antonio in 

The day of payment being past, the cruel Jew would not 
accept of the money which Bassanio offered him, but insisted 
upon having a pound of Antonio's flesh. A day was appointed 
to try this shocking cause before the Duke of Venice, and Bassanio 
awaited in dreadful suspense the event of the trial. 

When Portia parted with her husband she spoke cheeringly 
to him and bade him bring his dear friend along with him when 
he returned; yet she feared it would go hard with Antonio, and 
when she was left alone she began to think and consider within 
herself if she could by any means be instrumental in saving the 
life of her dear Bassanio's friend. And notwithstanding when 
she wished to honor her Bassanio she had said to him, with 
such a meek and wifelike grace, that she would submit in all 
things to be governed by his superior wisdom, yet being now 
called forth into action by the peril of her honored husband's 
friend, she did nothing doubt her own powers, and by the sole 
guidance of her own true and perfect judgment at once resolved 
to go herself to Venice and speak in Antonio's defense. 

Portia had a relation who was a counselor in the law; to this 
gentleman, whose name was Bellario, she wrote, and, stating 
the case to him, desired his opinion, and that with his advice 



he would also send her the dress worn by a counselor. When the 
messenger returned he brought letters from Bellario of advice 
how to proceed, and also everything necessary for her equipment. 

Portia dressed herself and her maid Nerissa in men's apparel, 
and, putting on the robes of a counselor, she took Nerissa along 
with her as her clerk; setting out immediately, they arrived at 
Venice on the very day of the trial. The cause was just going 
to be heard before the Duke and Senators of Venice in the Senate 
House when Portia entered this high court of justice and presented 
a letter from Bellario, in which that learned counselor wrote to 
the duke, saying he would have come himself to plead for 
Antonio but that he was prevented by sickness, and he requested 
that the learned young Doctor Balthasar (so he called Portia) 
might be permitted to plead in his stead. This the duke 
granted, much wondering at the youthful appearance of the 
stranger, who was prettily disguised by her counselor's robes 
and her large wig. 

And now began this important trial. Portia looked around her 
and she saw the merciless Jew; and she saw Bassanio, but he 
knew her not in her disguise. He was standing beside Antonio, 
in an agony of distress and fear for his friend. 

The importance of the arduous task Portia had engaged in gave 
this tender lady courage, and she boldly proceeded in the duty 
she had undertaken to perform. And first of all she addressed 
herself to Shylock; and allowing that he had a right by the 
Venetian law to have the forfeit expressed in the bond, she spoke 
so sweetly of the noble quality of mercy as would have softened 
any heart but the unfeeling Shylock's, saying that it dropped as 
the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; and how 
mercy was a double blessing, it blessed him that gave and him 
that received it; and how it became monarchs better than their 
crowns, being an attribute of God Himself; and that earthly 
power came nearest to God's in proportion as mercy tempered 
justice; and she bade Shylock remember that as we all pray for 
mercy, that same prayer should teach us to show mercy. Shy- 


lock only answered her by desiring to have the penalty forfeited 
in the bond. 

"Is he not able to pay the money?" asked Portia. 

Bassanio then offered the Jew the payment of the three thou- 
sand ducats as many times over 
as he should desire; which Shy- 
lock refusing, and still insisting 
upon having a pound of Antonio's 
flesh, Bassanio begged the learned 
young counselor would endeavor 
to wrest the law a little, to save 
Antonio's life. But Portia gravely 
answered that laws once established 
must never be altered. Shylock 
hearing Portia say that the law 
might not be altered, it seemed to 
him that she was pleading in his 
favor, and he said: 

"A Daniel is come to judgment! 
O wise young judge, how I do honor 
you! How much elder are you 
than your looks!" 

Portia now desired Shylock to let 
her look at the bond; and when she 
had read it she said: "This bond is 
forfeited, and by this the Jew may 
lawfully claim a pound of flesh, to 
be by him cut off nearest Antonio's 
heart." Then she said to Shylock, 
money and bid me tear the bond." 

But no mercy would the cruel Shylock show; and he said, 
"By my soul, I swear there is no power in the tongue of man to 
alter me." 

"Why, then, Antonio," said Portia, "you must prepare your 
bosom for the knife." And while Shylock was sharpening a 
S [113] 

Be merciful; take the 


long knife with great eagerness to cut off the pound of flesh, 
Portia said to Antonio, "Have you anything to say?" 

Antonio with a calm resignation replied that he had but little 
to say, for that he had prepared his mind for death. Then he 
said to Bassanio: 

"Give me your hand, Bassanio! Fare you well! Grieve not 
that I am fallen into this misfortune for you. Commend me to 
your honorable wife and tell her how I have loved you!" 

Bassanio in the deepest affliction replied: "Antonio, I am mar- 
ried to a wife who is as dear to me as life itself; but life itself, 
my wife, and all the world are not esteemed with me above your 
life. I would lose all, I would sacrifice all to this devil here, to 
deliver you." 

Portia hearing this, though the kind-hearted lady was not at 
all offended with her husband for expressing the love he owed 
to so true a friend as Antonio in these strong terms, yet could 
not help answering: 

"Your wife would give you little thanks, if she were present, to 
hear you make this offer." 

And then Gratiano, who loved to copy what his lord did, 
thought he must make a speech like Bassanio's, and he said, in 
Nerissa's hearing, who was writing in her clerk's dress by the side 
of Portia: 

"I have a wife whom I protest I love. I wish she were in 
heaven if she could but entreat some power there to change the 
cruel temper of this currish Jew." 

"It is well you wish this behind her back, else you would have 
but an unquiet house," said Nerissa. 

Shylock now cried out, impatiently: "We trifle time. I pray 
pronounce the sentence." 

And now all was awful expectation in the court, and every 
heart was full of grief for Antonio. 

Portia asked if the scales were ready to weigh the flesh; and 
she said to the Jew, "Shylock, you must have some surgeon by, 
lest he bleed to death." 




Shylock, whose whole intent was that Antonio should bleed to 
death, said, "It is not so named in the bond." 

Portia replied: "It is not so named in the bond, but what of 
that? It were good you did so much for charity." 

To this all the answer Shylock would make was, "I cannot find 
it; it is not in the bond." 

"Then," said Portia, "a pound of Antonio's flesh is thine. 
The law allows it and the court awards it. And you may cut 
this flesh from off his breast. The law allows it and the court 
awards it." 

Again Shylock exclaimed: "O wise and upright judge! A 
Daniel is come to judgment!" And then he sharpened his long 
knife again, and looking eagerly on Antonio, he said, "Come, 

"Tarry a little, Jew," said Portia. "There is something else. 
This bond here gives you no drop of blood; the words expressly 
are, 'a pound of flesh/ If in the cutting off the pound of flesh 
you shed one drop of Christian blood, your lands and goods are 
by the law to be confiscated to the state of Venice." 

Now as it was utterly impossible for Shylock to cut off the 
pound of flesh without shedding some of Antonio's blood, this 
wise discovery of Portia's, that it was flesh and not blood that 
was named in the bond, saved the life of Antonio; and all admir- 
ing the wonderful sagacity of the young counselor who had so 
happily thought of this expedient, plaudits resounded from every 
part of the Senate House; and Gratiano exclaimed, in the words 
which Shylock had used: 

"O wise and upright judge! Mark, Jew, a Daniel is come to 

Shylock, finding himself defeated in his cruel intent, said, with 
a disappointed look, that he would take the money. And 
Bassanio, rejoiced beyond measure at Antonio's unexpected de- 
liverance, cried out: 

"Here is the money!" 

But Portia stopped him, saying: "Softly; "there is no haste. 



The Jew shall have nothing but the penalty. Therefore prepare, 
Shylock, to cut off the flesh; but mind you shed no blood; nor 
do not cut off more nor less than just a pound; be it more or less 
by one poor scruple, nay, if the scale turn but by the weight of a 
single hair, you are condemned by the laws of Venice to die, and 
all your wealth is forfeited to the state." 

"Give me my money and let me go," said Shylock. 

"I have it ready," said Bassanio. "Here it is." 

Shylock was going to take the money, when Portia again 
stopped him, saying: "Tarry, Jew. I have yet another hold 
upon you. By the laws of Venice your wealth is forfeited to the 
state for having conspired against the life of one of its citizens, 
and your life lies at the mercy of the duke; therefore, down on 
your knees and ask him to pardon you." 

The duke then said to Shylock: "That you may see the dif- 
ference of our Christian spirit, I pardon you your life before you 
ask it. Half your wealth belongs to Antonio, the other half 
comes to the state." 

The generous Antonio then said that he would give up his share 
of Shylock's wealth if Shylock would sign a deed to make it over 
at his death to his daughter and her husband; for Antonio knew 
that the Jew had an only daughter who had lately married against 
his consent a young Christian named Lorenzo, a friend of An- 
tonio's, which had so offended Shylock that he had disinherited 

The Jew agreed to this; and being thus disappointed in his 
revenge and despoiled of his riches, he said: "I am ill. Let me 
go home. Send the deed after me, and I will sign over half my 
riches to my daughter." 

"Get thee gone, then," said the duke, "and sign it; and if you 
repent your cruelty and turn Christian, the state will forgive 
you the fine of the other half of your riches." 

The duke now released Antonio and dismissed the court. He 
then highly praised the wisdom and ingenuity of the young 
counselor and invited him home to dinner. 



Portia, who meant to return to Belmont before her husband, 
replied, "I humbly thank your Grace, but I must away directly." 

The duke said he was sorry he had not leisure to stay and dine 
with him, and, turning to Antonio, he added, "Reward this 
gentleman; for in my mind you are much indebted to him." 

The duke and his senators left the court; and then Bassanio 
said to Portia: "Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend 
Antonio have by your wisdom been this day acquitted of grievous 
penalties, and I beg you will accept of the three thousand ducats 
due unto the Jew." 

"And we shall stand indebted to you over and above," said 
Antonio, "in love and service evermore." 

Portia could not be prevailed upon to accept the money. But 
upon Bassanio still pressing her to accept of some reward, she 

"Give me your gloves. I will wear them for your sake." And 
then Bassanio taking off his gloves, she espied the ring which 
she had given him upon his finger. Now it was the ring the 
wily lady wanted to get from him to make a merry jest when she 
saw her Bassanio again, that made her ask him for his gloves; 
and she said, when she saw the ring, "And for your love I will 
take this ring from you." 

Bassanio was sadly distressed that the counselor should ask 
him for the only thing he could not part with, and he replied, in 
great confusion, that he could not give him that ring, because 
it was his wife's gift and he had vowed never to part with it; 
but that he would give him the most valuable ring in Venice, 
and find it out by proclamation. 

On this Portia affected to be affronted, and left the court, 
saying, "You teach me, sir, how a beggar should be answered." 

"Dear Bassanio," said Antonio, "let him have the ring. Let 
my love and the great service he has done for me be valued 
against your wife's displeasure." 

Bassanio, ashamed to appear so ungrateful, yielded, and sent 
Gratiano after Portia with the ring; and then the "clerk," 



Nerissa, who had also given Gratiano a ring, begged his ring, 
and Gratiano (not choosing to be outdone in generosity by his 
lord) gave it to her. And there was laughing among these ladies 
to think, when they got home, how they would tax their husbands 
with giving away their rings and swear that they had given 
them as a present to some woman. 

Portia, when she returned, was in that happy temper of mind 
which never fails to attend the consciousness of having performed 
a good action. Her cheerful spirits enjoyed everything she saw: 
the moon never seemed to shine so bright before; and when that 
pleasant moon was hid behind a cloud, then a light which she 
saw from her house at Belmont as well pleased her charmed 
^ fancy, and she said to Nerissa: 

"That light we see is burning in my hall. How far that 
little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a 
naughty world." And hearing the sound of music from her 
house, she said, "Methinks that music sounds much sweeter 
than by day." 

And now Portia and Nerissa entered the house, and, dressing 
themselves in their own apparel, they awaited the arrival of their 
husbands, who soon followed them with Antonio; and Bassanio 
presenting his dear friend to the Lady Portia, the congratulations 
and welcomings of that lady were hardly over when they per- 
ceived Nerissa and her husband quarreling in a corner of the 

"A quarrel already?" said Portia. "What is the matter?" 

Gratiano replied, "Lady, it is about a paltry gilt ring that 
Nerissa gave me, with words upon it like the poetry on a cutler's 
knife: 'Love me, and leave me not.'" 

"What does the poetry or the value of the ring signify?" said 
Nerissa. "You swore to me, when I gave it to you, that you 
would keep it till the hour of death; and now you say you gave it 
to the lawyer's clerk. I know you gave it to a woman." 

"By this hand," replied Gratiano, "I gave it to a youth, a kind 
of boy, a little scrubbed boy, no higher than yourself; he was 



clerk to the young counselor that by his wise pleading saved 
Antonio's life. This prating boy begged it for a fee, and I could 
not for my life deny him." 

Portia said: "You were to blame, Gratiano, to part with your 
wife's first gift. I gave my Lord Bassanio a ring, and I am sure 
he would not part with it for all the world." 

Gratiano, in excuse for his fault, now said, "My Lord Bassanio 
gave his ring away to the counselor, and then the boy, his clerk, 
that took some pains in writing, he begged my ring." 

Portia, hearing this, seemed very angry and reproached 
Bassanio for giving away her ring; and she said Nerissa had 
taught her what to believe, and that she knew some woman had 
the ring. Bassanio was very unhappy to have so offended his 
dear lady, and he said with great earnestness: 

"No, by my honor, no woman had it, but a civil doctor who 
refused three thousand ducats of me and begged the ring, which 
when I denied him he went displeased away. What could I do, 
sweet Portia? I was so beset with shame for my seeming in- 
gratitude that I was forced to send the ring after him. Pardon 
me, good lady. Had you been there, I think you would have 
begged the ring of me to give the worthy doctor." 

"Ah!" said Antonio, "I am the unhappy cause of these 

Portia bid Antonio not to grieve at that, for that he was wel- 
come notwithstanding; and then Antonio said: 

"I once did lend my body for Bassanio's sake; and but for 
him to whom your husband gave the ring I should have now been 
dead. I dare be bound again, my soul upon the forfeit, your 
lord will never more break his faith with you." 

"Then you shall be his surety," said Portia. "Give him this 
ring and bid him keep it better than the other." 

When Bassanio looked at this ring he was strangely surprised 
to find it was the same he gave away; and then Portia told him 
how she was the young counselor, and Nerissa was her clerk; 
and Bassanio found, to his unspeakable wonder and delight, that 

[121 J 


it was by the noble courage and wisdom of his wife that An- 
tonio's life was saved. 

And Portia again welcomed Antonio, and gave him letters 
which by some chance had fallen into her hands, which contained 
an account of Antonio's ships, that were supposed lost, being 
safely arrived in the harbor. So these tragical beginnings of this 
rich merchant's story were all forgotten in the unexpected good 
fortune which ensued; and there was leisure to laugh at the 
comical adventure of the rings and the husbands that did not 
know their own wives, Gratiano merrily swearing, in a sort of 
rhyming speech, that — 

While he lived, he'd fear no other thing 
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. 



RING the time of Augustus Caesar, 
Emperor of Rome, there reigned in Eng- 
land (which was then called Britain) a 
king whose name was Cymbeline. 

Cymbeline's first wife died when his 
three children (two sons and a daughter) 
were very young. Imogen, the eldest of 
these children, was brought up in her 
father's court; but by a strange chance 
the two sons of Cymbeline were stolen out of their nursery when 
the eldest was but three years of age and the youngest quite an 
infant; and Cymbeline could never discover what was become of 
them or by whom they were conveyed away. 

Cymbeline was twice married. His second wife was a wicked, 
plotting woman, and a cruel stepmother to Imogen, Cymbeline's 
daughter by his first wife. 

The queen, though she hated Imogen, yet wished her to marry a 
son of her own by a former husband (she also having been twice 
married), for by this means she hoped upon the death of Cymbe- 
line to place the crown of Britain upon the head of her son Cloten; 
for she knew that, if the king's sons were not found, the Princess 
Imogen must be the king's heir. But this design was prevented 
by Imogen herself, who married without the consent or even 
knowledge of her father or the queen. 

Posthumus (for that was the name of Imogen's husband) was 

the best scholar and most accomplished gentleman of that age. 

His father died fighting in the wars for Cymbeline, and soon after 

his birth his mother died also for grief at the loss of her husband. 

Cymbeline, pitying the helpless state of this orphan, took 



Posthumus (Cymbeline having given him that name because he 
was born after his father's death), and educated him in his own 

Imogen and Posthumus were both taught by the same masters, 
and were playfellows from their infancy; they loved each other 
tenderly when they were children, and, their affection continuing 
to increase with their years, when they grew up they privately 

The disappointed queen soon learned this secret, for she kept 
spies constantly in watch upon the actions of her stepdaughter, 
and she immediately told the king of the marriage of Imogen with 

Nothing could exceed the wrath of Cymbeline when he heard 
that his daughter had been so forgetful of her high dignity as to 
marry a subject. He commanded Posthumus to leave Britain 
and banished him from his native country forever. 

The queen, who pretended to pity Imogen for the grief she 
suffered at losing her husband, offered to procure them a private 
meeting before Posthumus set out on his journey to Rome, which 
place he had chosen for his residence in his banishment. This 
seeming kindness she showed the better to succeed in her future 
designs in regard to her son Cloten, for she meant to persuade 
Imogen, when her husband was gone, that her marriage was not 
lawful, being contracted without the consent of the king. 

Imogen and Posthumus took a most affectionate leave of each 
other. Imogen gave her husband a diamond ring which had 
been her mother's, and Posthumus promised never to part with 
the ring; and he fastened a bracelet on the arm of his wife, 
which he begged she would preserve with great care, as a token 
of his love; they then bade each other farewell, with many vows 
of everlasting love and fidelity. 

Imogen remained a solitary and dejected lady in her father's 
court, and Posthumus arrived at Rome, the place he had chosen 
for his banishment. 

Posthumus fell into company at Rome with some gay young 



men of different nations, who were talking freely of ladies, each 
one praising the ladies of his own country and his own mistress. 
Posthumus, who had ever his own dear lady in his mind, af- 

firmed that his wife, the fair Imogen, was the most virtuous, wise, 
and constant lady in the world. 

One of those gentlemen, whose name was Iachimo, being 
offended that a lady of Britain should be so praised above the 
Roman ladies, his country-women, provoked Posthumus by seem- 
ing to doubt the constancy of his so highly praised wife; and at 
length, after much altercation, Posthumus consented to a proposal 
of Iachimo's that he (Iachimo) should go to Britain and endeavor 
to gain the love of the married Imogen. They then laid a wager 
that if Iachimo did not succeed in this wicked design he was 
to forfeit a large sum of money; but if he could win Imogen's 



favor, and prevail upon her to give him the bracelet which 
Posthumus had so earnestly desired she would keep as a token 
of his love, then the wager was to terminate with Posthumus 
giving to Iachimo the ring which was Imogen's love present when 
she parted with her husband. Such firm faith had Posthumus in 
the fidelity of Imogen that he thought he ran no hazard in this 
trial of her honor. 

Iachimo, on his arrival in Britain, gained admittance and a 
courteous welcome from Imogen, as a friend of her husband; 
but when he began to make professions of love to her she repulsed 
him with disdain, and he soon found that he could have no hope 
of succeeding in his dishonorable design. 

The desire Iachimo had to win the wager made him now have 
recourse to a stratagem to impose upon Posthumus, and for this 
purpose he bribed some of Imogen's attendants and was by them 
conveyed into her bedchamber, concealed in a large trunk, where 
he remained shut up till Imogen was retired to rest and had 
fallen asleep; and then, getting out of the trunk, he examined the 
chamber with great attention, and wrote down everything he 
saw there, and particularly noticed a mole which he observed 
upon Imogen's neck, and then softly unloosing the bracelet 
from her arm, which Posthumus had given to her, he retired 
into the chest again; and the next day he set off for Rome 
with great expedition, and boasted to Posthumus that Imogen 
had given him the bracelet, and likewise permitted him to 
pass a night in her chamber. And in this manner Iachimo 
told his false tale: "Her bedchamber," said he, "was hung 
with tapestry of silk and silver, the story was the proud 
Cleopatra when she met her Anthony, a piece of work most 
bravely wrought." 

"This is true," said Posthumus; "but this you might have 
heard spoken of without seeing." 

"Then the chimney," said Iachimo, "is south of the chamber, 
and the chimneypiece is Diana bathing; never saw I figures 
livelier expressed." 



''This is a thing you might have likewise heard," said Posthu- 
mus; "for it is much talked of." 

Iachimo as accurately described the roof of the chamber; 
and added, "I had almost forgot her andirons; they were tw^ 
winking Cupids made of silver, each on one foot standing." 
He then took out the bracelet, and said: "Know you this jewel, 
sir? She gave me this. She took it from her arm. I see her yet; 
her pretty action did outsell her gift, and yet enriched it, too. 
She gave it me, and said, she prized it once." He last of all 
described the mole he had observed upon her neck. 

Posthumus, who had heard the whole of this artful recital in 
an agony of doubt, now broke out into the most passionate ex- 
clamations against Imogen. He delivered up the diamond ring 
to Iachimo which he had agreed to forfeit to him if he obtained 
the bracelet from Imogen. 

Posthumus then in a jealous rage wrote to Pisanio, a gentleman 
of Britain, who was one of Imogen's attendants, and had long 
been a faithful friend to Posthumus; and after telling him what 
proof he had of his wife's disloyalty, he desired Pisanio would take 
Imogen to Milford Haven, a seaport of Wales, and there kill her. 
And at the same time he wrote a deceitful letter to Imogen, 
desiring her to go with Pisanio, for that, finding he could live no 
longer without seeing her, though he was forbidden upon pain of 
death to return to Britain, he would come to Milford Haven, 
at which place he begged she would meet him. She, good, 
unsuspecting lady, who loved her husband above all things, and 
desired more than her life to see him, hastened her departure 
with Pisanio, and the same night she received the letter she set 

When their journey was nearly at an end, Pisanio, who, 
though faithful to Posthumus, was not faithful to serve him in 
an evil deed, disclosed to Imogen the cruel order he had received. 

Imogen, who, instead of meeting a loving and beloved husband, 
found herself doomed by that husband to suffer death, was 
afflicted beyond measure. 



Pisanio persuaded her to take comfort and wait with patient 
fortitude for the time when Posthumus should see and repent 
his injustice. In the mean time, as she refused in her distress 
to return to her father's court, he advised her to dress herself in 
boy's clothes for more security in traveling; to which advice she 
agreed, and thought in that disguise she would go over to Rome 
and see her husband, whom, though he had used her so bar- 
barously, she could not forget to love. 

When Pisanio had provided her with her new apparel he left 
her to her uncertain fortune, being obliged to return to court; 
but before he departed he gave her a vial of cordial, which he said 
the queen had given him as a sovereign remedy in all disorders. 

The queen, who hated Pisanio because he was a friend to Imo- 
gen and Posthumus, gave him this vial, which she supposed 
contained poison, she having ordered her physician to give her 
some poison, to try its effects (as she said) upon animals; but the 
physician, knowing her malicious disposition, would not trust 
her with real poison, but gave her a drug which would do no 
other mischief than causing a person to sleep with every appear- 
ance of death for a few hours. This mixture, which Pisanio 
thought a choice cordial, he gave to Imogen, desiring her, if she 
found herself ill upon the road, to take it; and so, with blessings 
and prayers for her safety and happy deliverance from her un- 
deserved troubles, he left her. 

Providence strangely directed Imogen's steps to the dwelling 
of her two brothers who had been stolen away in their infancy. 
Bellarius, who stole them away, was a lord in the court of Cym- 
beline, and, having been falsely accused to the king of treason 
and banished from the court, in revenge he stole away the two 
sons of Cymbeline and brought them up in a forest, where he 
lived concealed in a cave. He stole them through revenge, but 
he soon loved them as tenderly as if they had been his own chil- 
dren, educated them carefully, and they grew up fine youths, 
their princely spirits leading them to bold and daring actions; 
and as they subsisted by hunting, they were active and hardy, 



and were always pressing their supposed father to let them seek 
their fortune in the wars. 

At the cave where these youths dwelt it was Imogen's fortune 
to arrive. She had lost her way in a large forest through which 
her road lay to 
Milford Haven 
(from which she 
meant to embark 
for Rome) ; and 
being unable to 
find any place 
where she could 
purchase food, she 
was, with weari- 
ness and hunger, 
almost dying; for 
it is not merely 
putting on a man's 
apparel that will 
enable a young 
lady, tenderly 
brought up, to 
bear the fatigue of 
wandering about 
lonely forests like 
a man. Seeing 
this cave, she en- 
tered, hoping to 
find some one 
within of whom 
she could procure food. She found the cave empty, but, look- 
ing about, she discovered some cold meat, and her hunger was so 
pressing that she could not wait for an invitation, but sat down 
and began to eat. 

"Ah," said she, talking to herself, "I see a man's life is a 
9 l I2 9l 


tedious one. How tired am I! For two nights together I have 
made the ground my bed. My resolution helps me, or I should 
be sick. When Pisanio showed me Milford Haven from the 
mountain-top, how near it seemed!" Then the thoughts of her 
husband and his cruel mandate came across her, and she said, 
"My dear Posthumus, thou art a false one!" 

The two brothers of Imogen, who had been hunting with their 
reputed father, Bellarius, were by this time returned home. 
Bellarius had given them the names of Polydore and Cadwal, 
and they knew no better, but supposed that Bellarius was their 
father; but the real names of these princes were Guiderius and 

Bellarius entered the cave first, and, seeing Imogen, stopped 
them, saying: "Come not in yet. It eats our victuals, or I should 
think it was a fairy." 

"What is the matter, sir?" said the young men. 

"By Jupiter!" said Bellarius, again, "there is an angel in the 
cave, or if not, an earthly paragon." So beautiful did Imogen 
look in her boy's apparel. 

She, hearing the sound of voices, came forth from the cave 
and addressed them in these words: "Good masters, do not 
harm me. Before I entered your cave I had thought to have 
begged or bought what I have eaten. Indeed, I have stolen 
nothing, nor would I, though I had found gold strewed on the 
floor. Here is money for my meat, which I would have left on 
the board when I had made my meal, and parted with prayers 
for the provider." 

They refused her money with great earnestness. 

"I see you are angry with me," said the timid Imogen; "but, 
sirs, if you kill me for my fault, know that I should have died if I 
had not made it." 

"Whither are you bound," asked Bellarius, "and what is your 

"Fidele is my name," answered Imogen. "I have a kinsman 
who is bound for Italy; he embarked at Milford Haven, to 




whom being going, almost spent with hunger, I am fallen into this 

"Prithee, fair youth," said old Bellarius, "do not think us 
churls, nor measure our good minds by this rude place we live in. 
You are well encountered; it is almost night. You shall have 
better cheer before you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it. 
Boys, bid him welcome." 

The gentle youths, her brothers, then welcomed Imogen to their 
cave with many kind expressions, saying they would love her 
(or, as they said, him) as a brother; and they entered the cave, 
where (they having killed venison when they were hunting) 
Imogen delighted them with her neat housewifery, assisting them 
in preparing their supper; for, though it is not the custom now 
for young women of high birth to understand cookery, it was 
then, and Imogen excelled in this useful art; and, as her brothers 
prettily expressed it, Fidele cut their roots in characters, and 
sauced their broth, as if Juno had been sick and Fidele were her 

"And then," said Polydore to his brother, "how angel-like he 
sings ! 

They also remarked to each other that though Fidele smiled 
so sweetly, yet so sad a melancholy did overcloud his lovely 
face, as if grief and patience had together taken possession 
of him. 

For these her gentle qualities (or perhaps it was their near re- 
lationship, though they knew it not) Imogen (or, as the boys 
called her, Fidele) became the doting-piece of her brothers, and 
she scarcely less loved them, thinking that but for the memory 
of her dear Posthumus she could live and die in the cave with 
these wild forest youths; and she gladly consented to stay with 
them till she was enough rested from the fatigue of traveling to 
pursue her way to Milford Haven. 

When the venison they had taken was all eaten and they were 
going out to hunt for more, Fidele could not accompany them 
because she was unwell. Sorrow, no doubt, for her husband's 



cruel usage, as well as the fatigue of wandering in the forest, 
was the cause of her illness. 

They then bid her farewell, and went to their hunt, praising 
all the way the noble parts and graceful demeanor of the youth 

Imogen was no sooner left alone than she recollected the cordial 
Pisanio had given her, and drank it off, and presently fell into a 
sound and deathlike sleep. 

When Bellarius and her brothers returned from hunting, 
Polydore went first into the cave, and, supposing her asleep, 
pulled off his heavy shoes, that he might tread softly and not 
awake her (so did true gentleness spring up in the minds of these 
princely foresters); but he soon discovered that she could not 
be awakened by any noise, and concluded her to be dead, and 
Polydore lamented over her with dear and brotherly regret, as 
if they had never from their infancy been parted. 

Bellarius also proposed to carry her out into the forest, and 
there celebrate her funeral with songs and solemn dirges, as was 
then the custom. 

Imogen's two brothers then carried her to a shady covert, and 
there, laying her gently on the grass, they sang repose to her 
departed spirit, and, covering her over with leaves and flowers, 
Polydore said: 

"While summer lasts and I live here, Fidele, I will daily strew 
thy grave. The pale primrose, that flower most like thy face; 
the bluebell, like thy clear veins; and the leaf of eglantine, 
which is not sweeter than was thy breath — all these will I strew 
over thee. Yea, and the furred moss in winter, when there are 
no flowers to cover thy sweet corse." 

When they had finished her funeral obsequies they departed, 
very sorrowful. 

Imogen had not been long left alone when, the effect of the 
sleepy drug going off, she awaked, and easily shaking off the 
slight covering of leaves and flowers they had thrown over her, 
she arose, and, imagining she had been dreaming, she said: 



"I thought I was a cave-keeper and cook to honest creatures. 
How came I here covered with flowers ?" 

Not being able to find her way back to the cave, and seeing 
nothing of her new companions, she concluded it was certainly 
all a dream; and once more Imogen set out on her weary pil- 
grimage, hoping at last she should find her way to Milford Haven, 
and thence get a passage in some ship bound for Italy; for all 
her thoughts were still with her husband, Posthumus, whom she 
intended to seek in the disguise of a page. 

But great events were happening at this time, of which Imogen 
knew nothing; for a war had suddenly broken out between the 
Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar and Cymbeline, the King of 
Britain; and a Roman army had landed to invade Britain, and 
was advanced into the very forest over which Imogen was jour- 
neying. With this army came Posthumus. 

Though Posthumus came over to Britain with the Roman 
army, he did not mean to fight on their side against his own 
countrymen, but intended to join the army of Britain and fight 
in the cause of his king who had banished him. 

He still believed Imogen false to him; yet the death of her 
he had so fondly loved, and by his own orders, too (Pisanio 
having written him a letter to say he had obeyed his command, 
and that Imogen was dead), sat heavy on his heart, and there- 
fore he returned to Britain, desiring either to be slain in battle 
or to be put to death by Cymbeline for returning home from 

Imogen, before she reached Milford Haven, fell into the 
hands of the Roman army, and, her presence and deportment 
recommending her, she was made a page to Lucius, the Roman 

Cymbeline's army now advanced to meet the enemy, and when 
they entered this forest Polydore and Cadwal joined the king's 
army. The young men were eager to engage in acts of valor, 
though they little thought they were going to fight for their 
own royal father; and old Bellarius went with them to the battle. 



He had long since repented of the injury he had done to Cym- 
beline in carrying away his sons; and, having been a warrior in his 
youth, he gladly joined the army to fight for the king he had so 

And now a great battle commenced between the two armies, 
and the Britons would have been defeated, and Cymbeline him- 
self killed, but for the extraordinary valor of Posthumus and 
Bellarius and the two sons of Cymbeline. They rescued the king 
and saved his life, and so entirely turned the fortune of the day 
that the Britons gained the victory. 

When the battle was over, Posthumus, who had not found the 
death he sought for, surrendered himself up to one of the officers 
of Cymbeline, willing to suffer the death which was to be his 
punishment if he returned from banishment. 

Imogen and the master she served were taken prisoners and 
brought before Cymbeline, as was also her old enemy, Iachimo, 
who was an officer in the Roman army. And when these prisoners 
were before the king, Posthumus was brought in to receive his 
sentence of death; and at this strange juncture of time Bellarius 
with Polydore and Cadwal were also brought before Cymbeline, 
to receive the rewards due to the great services they had by their 
valor done for the king. Pisanio, being one of the king's at- 
tendants, was likewise present. 

Therefore there were now standing in the king's presence (but 
with very different hopes and fears) Posthumus and Imogen, 
with her new master the Roman general; the faithful servant 
Pisanio and the false friend Iachimo; and likewise the two lost 
sons of Cymbeline, with Bellarius, who had stolen them away. 

The Roman general was the first who spoke; the rest stood 
silent before the king, though there was many a beating heart 
among them. 

Imogen saw Posthumus, and knew him, though he was in the 
disguise of a peasant; but he did not know her in her male attire. 
And she knew Iachimo, and she saw a ring on his finger which she 

perceived to be her own, but she did not know him as yet to 



have been the author of all her troubles; and she stood before her 
own father a prisoner of war. 

Pisanio knew Imogen, for it was he who had dressed her in the 
garb of a boy. "It is my mistress," thought he. "Since she is 
living, let the time run on to good or bad." Bellarius knew her, 
too, and softly said to Cadwal, "Is not this boy revivecl from 

"One sand," replied Cadwal, "does not more resemble another 
than that sweet, rosy lad is like the dead Fidele." 

"The same dead thing alive," said Polydore. 

"Peace, peace," said Bellarius. "If it were he, I am sure he 
would have spoken to us." 

"But we saw him dead," again whispered Polydore. 

"Be silent," replied Bellarius. 

Posthumus waited in silence to hear the welcome sentence of 
his own death; and he resolved not to disclose to the king that 
he had saved his life in the battle, lest that should move Cym- 
beline to pardon him. 

Lucius, the Roman general, who had taken Imogen under his 
protection as his page, was the first (as has been before said) 
who spoke to the king. He was a man of high courage and noble 
dignity, and this was his speech to the king: 

"I hear you take no ransom for your prisoners, but doom them 
all to death. I am a Roman, and with a Roman heart will suffer 
death. But there is one thing for which I would entreat." 
Then bringing Imogen before the king, he said: "This boy is a 
Briton born. Let him be ransomed. He is my page. Never 
master had a page so kind, so duteous, so diligent on all occa- 
sions, so true, so nurselike. He hath done no Briton wrong, 
though he hath served a Roman. Save him, if you spare no one 

Cymbeline looked earnestly on his daughter Imogen. He 
knew her not in that disguise; but it seemed that all-powerful 
Nature spake in his heart, for he said: "I have surely seen him; 
his face appears familiar to me. I know not why or wherefore I 



say, live, boy, but I give you your life; and ask of me what boon 
you will and I will grant it you. Yea, even though it be the life 
of the noblest prisoner I have." 

"I humbly thank your Highness," said Imogen. 

What was then called granting a boon was the same as a 
promise to give any one thing, whatever it might be, that the 
person on whom that favor was conferred chose to ask for. 
They all were attentive to hear what thing the page would ask 
for; and Lucius, her master, said to her: 

"I do not beg my life, good lad, but I know that is what 
you will ask for." 

"No, no, alas!" said Imogen. "I have other work in hand, 
good master. Your life I cannot ask for." 

This seeming want of gratitude in the boy astonished the 
Roman general. 

Imogen then, fixing her eye on Iachimo, demanded no other 
boon than this: that Iachimo should be made to confess whence 
he had the ring he wore on his finger. 

Cymbeline granted her this boon, and threatened Iachimo with 
the torture if he did not confess how he came by the diamond 
ring on his finger. 

Iachimo then made a full acknowledgment of all his villainy, 
telling, as has been before related, the whole story of his wager 
with Posthumus and how he had succeeded in imposing upon his 

What Posthumus felt at hearing this proof of the innocence 
of his lady cannot be expressed. He instantly came forward and 
confessed to Cymbeline the cruel sentence which he had enjoined 
Pisanio to execute upon the princess, exclaiming, wildly: 

"O Imogen, my queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen, Imogen, 

Imogen could not see her beloved husband in this distress 
without discovering herself, to the unutterable joy of Posthumus, 
who was thus relieved from a weight of guilt and woe, and restored 
to the good graces of the dear lady he had so cruelly treated. 



Cymbeline, almost as much overwhelmed as he with joy, 
at finding his lost daughter so strangely recovered, received her 
to her former place in his fatherly affection, and not only gave 
her husband Posthumus his life, but consented to acknowledge 
him for his son-in-law. 

Bellarius chose this time of joy and reconciliation to make his 
confession. He presented Polydore and Cadwal to the king, 
telling him they were his two lost sons, Guiderius and Arviragus. 

Cymbeline forgave old Bellarius; for who could think of 
punishments at a season of such universal happiness? To find 
his daughter living, and his lost sons in the persons of his young 
deliverers, that he had seen so bravely fight in his defense, was 
unlooked-for joy indeed! 

Imogen was now at leisure to perform good services for her 
late master, the Roman general, Lucius, whose life the king, her 
father, readily granted at her request; and by the mediation of 
the same Lucius a peace was concluded between the Romans 
and the Britons which was kept inviolate many years. 

How Cymbeline's wicked queen, through despair of bringing 
her projects to pass, and touched with remorse of conscience, 
sickened and died, having first lived to see her foolish son Cloten 
slain in a quarrel which he had provoked, are events too tragical 
to interrupt this happy conclusion by more than merely touching 
upon. It is sufficient that all were made happy who were deserv- 
ing; and even the treacherous Iachimo, in consideration of his 
villainy having missed its final aim, was dismissed without 



H^EAR, King of Britain, had three daughters : 
Goneril, wife to the Duke of Albany; 
Regan, wife to the Duke of Cornwall; 
and Cordelia, a young maid, for whose 
love the King of France and Duke of 
Burgundy were joint suitors, and were 
at this time making stay for that pur- 
pose in the court of Lear. 
The old king, worn out with age and 
the fatigues of government, he being more than fourscore years 
old, determined to take no further part in state affairs, but to 
leave the management to younger strengths, that he might have 
time to prepare for death, which must at no long period ensue. 
With this intent he called his three daughters to him, to know 
from their own lips which of them loved him best, that he 
might part his kingdom among them in such proportions as 
their affection for him should seem to deserve. 

Goneril, the eldest, declared that she loved her father more than 
words could give out, that he was dearer to her than the light 
of her own eyes, dearer than life and liberty, with a deal of such 
professing stuff, which is easy to counterfeit where there is no 
real love, only a few fine words delivered with confidence being 
wanted in that case. The king, delighted to hear from her own 
mouth this assurance of her love, and thinking truly that her 
heart went with it, in a fit of fatherly fondness bestowed upon her 
and her husband one-third of his ample kingdom. 

Then calling to him his second daughter he demanded what 
she had to say. Regan, who was made of the same hollow metal 
as her sister, was not a whit behind in her professions, but rather 



declared that what her sister had spoken came short of the love 
which she professed to bear for his Highness; in so much that 
she found all other joys dead in comparison with the pleasure 
which she took in the love of her dear king and father. 

Lear blessed himself in having such loving children, as he 
thought; and could do no less, after the handsome assurances 
which Regan had made, than bestow a third of his kingdom upon 
her and her husband, equal in size to that which he had already 
given away to Goneril. 

Then turning to his youngest daughter, Cordelia, whom he 
called his joy, he asked what she had to say, thinking no doubt 
that she would glad his ears with the same loving speeches 
which her sisters had jittered, or rather that her expressions 
would be so much stronger than theirs, as she had always been 
his darling, and favored by him above either of them. But 
Cordelia, disgusted with the flattery of her sisters, whose hearts 
she knew were far from their lips, and seeing that all their coaxing 
speeches were only intended to wheedle the old king out of his 
dominions, that they and their husbands might reign in his 
lifetime, made no other reply but this — that she loved his Majesty 
according to her duty, neither more nor less. 

The king, shocked with this appearance of ingratitude in his 
favorite child, desired her to consider her words and to mend 
her speech, lest it should mar her fortunes. 

Cordelia then told her father that he was her father, that he 
had given her breeding, and loved her; that she returned those 
duties back as was most fit, and did obey him, love him, and 
most honor him. But that she could not frame her mouth to 
such large speeches as her sisters had done, or promise to love 
nothing else in the world. Why had her sisters husbands if 
(as they said) they had no love for anything but their father? 
If she should ever wed, she was sure the lord to whom she gave 
her hand would want half her love, half of her care and duty; 
she should never marry like her sisters, to love her father all. 

Cordelia, who in earnest loved her old father even almost as 



extravagantly as her sisters pretended to do, would have plainly 
told him so at any other time, in more daughter-like and loving 
terms, and without these qualifications, which did indeed sound 
a little ungracious; but after the crafty, flattering speeches of 

her sisters, which she had seen 
draw such extravagant rewards, 
she thought the handsomest 
thing she could do was to love 
and be silent. This put her 
affection out of suspicion of 
mercenary ends, and showed 
that she loved, but not for gain; 
and that her professions, the less 
ostentatious they were, had so 
much the more of truth and sin- 
cerity than her sisters'. 

This plainness of speech, which 
Lear called pride, so enraged the 
old monarch — who in his best of 
times always showed much of 
spleen, and r ashn ess, and in 
whom the dotage incident to old 
age had so clouded over his 
reason that he could not discern 
truth from flattery, nor a gay- 
painted speech from words that 
came from the heart — that in a fury of resentment he retracted 
the third part of his kingdom which yet remained, and which he 
had reserved for Cordelia, and gave it away from her, sharing it 
equally between her two sisters and their husbands, the Dukes 
of Albany and Cornwall, whom he now called to him and in 
presence of all his courtiers, bestowing a coronet between them, 
invested them jointly with all the power, revenue, and execution 
of government, only retaining to himself the name of king; 
all the rest of royalty he resigned, with this reservation, that 



himself, with a hundred knights for his attendants, was to be 
maintained by monthly course in each of his daughters' palaces 
in turn. 

So preposterous a disposal of his kingdom, so little guided by 
reason, and so much by passion, filled all his courtiers with as- 
tonishment and sorrow; but none of them 
had the courage to interpose between 
this incensed king and his wrath, except 
the Earl of Kent, who was beginning to 
speak a good word for Cordelia, when 
the passionate Lear on pain of death com- 
manded him to desist; but the good Kent 
was not so to be repelled. He had been 
ever loyal to Lear, whom he had honored 
as a king, loved as a father, followed as 
a master; and he had never esteemed his 
life further than as a pawn to wage 
against his royal master's enemies, nor 
feared to lose it when Lear's safety was — 
the motive; nor, now that Lear was most 
his own enemy, did this faithful servant 
of the king forget his old principles, but 
manfully opposed Lear, to do Lear good; 
and was unmannerly only because Lear 
was mad. He had been a most faithful 
counselor in times past to the king, and he besought him now 
that he would see with his eyes (as he had done in many weighty 
matters) and go by his advice still, and in his best consideration 
recall this hideous rashness; for he would answer with his life 
his judgment that Lear's youngest daughter did not love him 
least, nor were those empty-hearted whose low sound gave no 
token of hollowness. When power bowed to flattery, honor 
was bound to plainness. For Lear's threats, what could he do 
to him whose life was already at his service? That should not 
hinder duty from speaking. 



The honest freedom of this good Earl of Kent only stirred up 
the king's wrath the more, and, like a frantic patient who kills 
his physician and loves his mortal disease, he banished this true 
servant, and allotted him but five days to make his preparations 
for departure; but if on the sixth his hated person was found 
within the realm of Britain, that moment was to be his death. 
And Kent bade farewell to the king, and said that, since he 
chose to show himself in such fashion, it was but banishment to 
stay there; and before he went he recommended Cordelia to the 
protection of the gods, the maid who had so rightly thought 
and so discreetly spoken; and only wished that her sisters' large 
speeches might be answered with deeds of love; and then he 
went, as he said, to shape his old course to a new country. 

The King of France and Duke of Burgundy were now called in 
to hear the determination of Lear about his youngest daughter, 
and to know whether they would persist in their courtship to 
Cordelia, now that she was under her father's displeasure and 
had no fortune but her own person to recommend her. And 
the Duke of Burgundy declined the match, and would not take 
her to wife upon such conditions. But the King of France, 
understanding what the nature of the fault had been which had 
lost her the love of her father — that it was only a tardiness of 
speech and the not being able to frame her tongue to flattery 
like her sisters — took this young maid by the hand and, saying 
that her virtues were a dowry above a kingdom, bade Cordelia 
to take farewell of her sisters and of her father, though he had 
been unkind, and she should go with him and be Queen of him 
and of fair France, and reign over fairer possessions than her 
sisters. And he called the Duke of Burgundy, in contempt, a 
waterish duke, because his love for this young maid had in a 
moment run all away like water. 

Then Cordelia with weeping eyes took leave of her sisters, and 
besought them to love their father well and make good their 
professions; and they sullenly told her not to prescribe to them, 
for they knew their duty, but to strive to content her husband, 



who had taken her (as they tauntingly expressed it) as Fortune's 
alms. And Cordelia with a heavy heart departed, for she knew 
the cunning of her sisters and she wished her father in better 
hands than she 
was about to leave 
him in. 

Cordelia was no 
sooner gone than 
the devilish dis- 
positions of her 
sisters began to 
show themselves 
in their true colors. 
Even before the 
expiration of the 
first month, which 
Lear was to spend 
by agreement 
with his eldest 
daughter, Goneril, 
the old king began 
to find out the dif- 
ference between 
promises and per- 
formances. This 
wretch, having got 
from her father all 
that he had to be- 
stow, even to the 

giving away of the crown from off* his head, began to grudge 
even those small remnants of royalty which the old man 
had reserved to himself, to please his fancy with the idea 
of being still a king. She could not bear to see him and his 
hundred knights. Every time she met her father she put on a 
frowning countenance; and when the old man wanted to speak 
10 [ 145 ] 



with her she would feign sickness or anything to get rid of the 
sight of him, for it was plain that she esteemed his old age a useless 
burden and his attendants an unnecessary expense; not only she 
herself slackened in her expressions of duty to the king, but by her 
example, and (it is to be feared) not without her private instruc- 
tions, her very servants affected to treat him with neglect, and 
would either refuse to obey his orders or still more contemptuously 
pretend not to hear them. Lear could not but perceive this 
alteration in the behavior of his daughter, but he shut his eyes 
against it as long as he could, as people commonly are unwilling 
to believe the unpleasant consequences which their own mistakes 
and obstinacy have brought upon them. 

True love and fidelity are no more to be estranged by ill, than 
falsehood and hollow-heartedness can be conciliated by good, 
usage. This eminently appears in the instance of the good Earl 
of Kent, who, though banished by Lear, and his life made forfeit 
if he were found in Britain, chose to stay and abide all conse- 
quences as long as there was a chance of his being useful to the 
king his master. See to what mean shifts and disguises pooi 
loyalty is forced to submit sometimes; yet it counts nothing 
base or unworthy so as it can but do service where it owes an 
obligation! In the disguise of a serving-man, all his greatness 
and pomp laid aside, this good earl proffered his services to the 
king, who, not knowing him to be Kent in that disguise, but 
pleased with a certain plainness, or rather bluntness, in his 
answers, which the earl put on (so different from that smooth, 
oily flattery which he had so much reason to be sick of, having 
found the effects not answerable in his daughter), a bargain was 
quickly struck, and Lear took Kent into his service by the name of 
Caius, as he called himself, never suspecting him to be his once 
great favorite, the high and mighty Earl of Kent. 

This Caius quickly found means to show his fidelity and love 
to his royal master, for, Goneril's steward that same day behaving 
in a disrespectful manner to Lear, and giving him saucy looks and 
language, as no doubt he was secretly encouraged to do by his 



mistress, Caius, not enduring to hear so open an affront put upon 
his Majesty, made no more ado, but presently tripped up his 
heels and laid the unmannerly slave in the kennel; for which 
friendly service Lear became more and more attached to him. 

Nor was Kent the only friend Lear had. In his degree, and 
as far as so insignificant a personage could show his love, the 
poor fool, or jester, that had been of his palace while Lear had a 
palace, as it was the custom of kings and great personages at that 
time to keep a fool (as he was called) to make them sport after 
serious business — this poor fool clung to Lear after he had given 
away his crown, and by his witty sayings would keep up his good- 
humor, though he could not refrain sometimes from jeering at 
his master for his imprudence in uncrowning himself and giving 
all away to his daughters; at which time, as he rhymingly ex- 
pressed it, these daughters — 

"For sudden joy did weep, 
And I for sorrow sung, 
That such a king should play bo-peep 
And go the fools among." 

And in such wild sayings, and scraps of songs, of which he had 
plenty, this pleasant, honest fool poured out his heart even in the 
presence of Goneril herself, in many a bitter taunt and jest 
which cut to the quick, such as comparing the king to the hedge- 
sparrow, who feeds the young of the cuckoo till they grow old 
enough, and then has its head bit off for its pains; and saying 
that an ass may know when the cart draws the horse (meaning 
that Lear's daughters, that ought to go behind, now ranked before 
their father); and that Lear was no longer Lear, but the shadow 
of Lear. For which free speeches he was once or twice threatened 
to be whipped. 

The coolness and falling off of respect which Lear had begun 
to perceive were not all which this foolish fond father was to suf- 
fer from his unworthy daughter. She now plainly told him that 
his staying in her palace was inconvenient so long as he insisted 



upon keeping up an establishment of a hundred knights; that this 
establishment was useless and expensive and only served to fill 
her court with riot and feasting; and she prayed him that he 
would lessen their number and keep none but old men about him, 
such as himself, and fitting his age. 

Lear at first could not believe his eyes or ears, nor that it 
was his daughter who spoke so unkindly. He could not believe 
that she who had received a crown from him could seek to cut 
off* his train and grudge him the respect due to his old age. But 
she persisting in her undutiful demand, the old man's rage 
was so excited that he called her a detested kite and said that she 
spoke an untruth; and so indeed she did, for the hundred knights 
were all men of choice behavior and sobriety of manners, skilled 
in all particulars of duty, and not given to rioting or feasting, as 
she said. And he bid his horses to be prepared, for he would go 
to his other daughter, Regan, he and his hundred knights; and 
he spoke of ingratitude, and said it was a marble-hearted devil, 
and showed more hideous in a child than the sea-monster. And 
he cursed his eldest daughter, Goneril, so as was terrible to hear, 
praying that she might never have a child, or, if she had, that 
it might live to return that scorn and contempt upon her which 
she had shown to him; that she might feel how sharper than a 
serpent's tooth it was to have a thankless child. And Goneril's 
husband, the Duke of Albany, beginning to excuse himself for 
any share which Lear might suppose he had in the unkindness, 
Lear would not hear him out, but in a rage ordered his horses to 
be saddled and set out with his followers for the abode of Regan, 
his other daughter. And Lear thought to himself how small 
the fault of Cordelia (if it was a fault) now appeared in compar- 
ison with her sister's, and he wept; and then he was ashamed 
that such a creature as Goneril should have so much power 
over his manhood as to make him weep. 

Regan and her husband were keeping their court in great pomp 
and state at their palace; and Lear despatched his servant 
Caius with letters to his daughter, that she might be prepared for 



his reception, while he and his train followed after. But it seems 
that Goneril had been beforehand with him, sending letters also 
to Regan, accusing her father of waywardness and ill-humors, and 
advising her not to receive so great a train as he was bringing 
with him. This messenger arrived at the same time with Caius, 
and Caius and he met, and who should it be but Caius's old 
enemy the steward, whom he had formerly tripped up by the 
heels for his saucy behavior to Lear. Caius not liking the fellow's 
look, and suspecting what he came for, began to revile him and 
challenged him to fight, which the fellow refusing, Caius, in a fit 
of honest passion, beat him soundly, as such a mischief-maker 
and carrier of wicked messages deserved; which coming to the 
ears of Regan and her husband, they ordered Caius to be put in the 
stocks, though he was a messenger from the king her father and 
in that character demanded the highest respect. So that the 
first thing the king saw when he entered the castle was his 
faithful servant Caius sitting in that disgraceful situation. 

This was but a bad omen of the reception which he was to 
expect; but a worse followed when, upon inquiry for his daughter 
and her husband, he was told they were weary with traveling all 
night and could not see him; and when, lastly, upon his insisting 
in a positive and angry manner to see them, they came to greet 
him, whom should he see in their company but the hated Goneril, 
who had come to tell her own story and set her sister against the 
king her father! 

This sight much moved the old man, and still more to see 
Regan take her by the hand; and he asked Goneril if she was not 
ashamed to look upon his old white beard. And Regan advised 
him to go home again with Goneril, and live with her peaceably, 
dismissing half of his attendants, and to ask her forgiveness; 
for he was old and wanted discretion, and must be ruled and led 
by persons that had more discretion than himself. And Lear 
showed how preposterous that would sound, if he were to go down 
on his knees and beg of his own daughter for food and raiment; 
and he argued against such an unnatural dependence, declaring 



his resolution never to return with her, but to stay where he was 
with Regan, he and his hundred knights; for he said that she had 
not forgot the half of the kingdom which he had endowed her with, 
and that her eyes were not fierce like Goneril's, but mild and 

kind. And he said 
that rather than 
return to Goneril, 
with half his train 
cut off, he would 
go over to France 
and beg a wretched 
pension of the king 
there, who had mar- 
ried his youngest 
daughter without a 

But he was mis- 
taken in expecting 
kinder treatment of 
Regan than he had 
experienced from 
her sister Goneril. 
As if willing to 
outdo her sister in 
unfilial behavior, 
she declared that 
she thought fifty 
knights too many 
to wait upon him; that five-and-twenty were enough. Then 
Lear, nigh heartbroken, turned to Goneril and said that he 
would go back with her, for her fifty doubled five-and-twenty, 
and so her love was twice as much as Regan's. But Goneril 
excused herself, and said, what need of so many as five-and- 
twenty? or even ten? or five? when he might be waited 
upon by her servants or her sister's servants? So these two 



wicked daughters, as if they strove to exceed each other in 
cruelty to their old father, who had been so good to them, by 
little and little would have abated him of all his train, all respect 
(little enough for him that once commanded a kingdom) which 
was left him to show 

that he had once been 
a king! Not that a 
splendid train is es- 
sential to happiness, 
but from a king to a 
beggar is a h ard 
change, from com- 
manding millions to 
be without one at- 
tendant; and it was 
the ingratitude in his 
daughters' denying it, 
more than what he 
would suffer by the 
want of it, which 
pierced this poor king 
to the heart; in so 
much that, with this 
double ill-usage, and 
vexation for having so 
foolishly given away 
a kingdom, his wits 
began to be unsettled, 

and while he said he knew not what, he vowed revenge against 
those unnatural hags and to make examples of them that should 
be a terror to the earth! 

While he was thus idly threatening what his weak arm could 
never execute, night came on, and a loud storm of thunder and 
lightning with rain; and his daughters still persisting in their 
resolution not to admit his followers, he called for his horses, 



and chose rather to encounter the utmost fury of the storm 
abroad than stay under the same roof with these ungrateful 
daughters; and they, saying that the injuries which wilful men 
procure to themselves are their just punishment, suffered him 
to go in that condition and shut their doors upon him. 

The winds were high, and the rain and storm increased, when 
the old man sallied forth to combat with the elements, less sharp 
than his daughters' unkindness. For many miles about there 
was scarce a bush; and there upon a heath, exposed to the fury 
of the storm in a dark night, did King Lear wander out, and 
defy the winds and the thunder; and he bid the winds to blow 
the earth into the sea, or swell the waves of the sea till they 
drowned the earth, that no token might remain of any such un- 
grateful animal as man. The old king was now left with no other 
companion than the poor fool, who still abided with him, with 
his merry conceits striving to outjest misfortune, saying it was 
but a naughty night to swim in, and truly the king had better 
go in and ask his daughter's blessing: 

But he that has a little tiny wit — 
With heigh ho, the wind and the rain — 

Must make content with his fortunes fit, 
Though the rain it raineth every day, 

and swearing it was a brave night to cool a lady's pride. 

Thus poorly accompanied, this once great monarch was found 
by his ever-faithful servant the good Earl of Kent, now trans- 
formed to Caius, who ever followed close at his side, though the 
king did not know him to be the earl; and he said: 

"Alas, sir, are you here? Creatures that love night love not 
such nights as these. This- dreadful storm has driven the beasts 
to their hiding-places. Man's nature cannot endure the affliction 
or the fear." 

And Lear rebuked him and said these lesser evils were not felt 
where a greater malady was fixed. When the mind is at ease the 
body has leisure to be delicate, but the tempest in his mind did 



take all feeling else from his senses but of that which beat at his 
heart. And he spoke of filial ingratitude, and said it was all one 
as if the mouth should tear the hand for lifting food to it; for 
parents were hands and food and everything to children. 

But the good 
Caius still persist- 
ing in his entrea- 
ties that the king 
would not stay out 
in the open air, at 
last persuaded him 
to enter a little 
wretched hovel 
which stood upon 
the heath, where 
the fool first enter- 
ing, suddenly ran 
back terrified, say- 
ing that he had 
seen a spirit. But 
upon examination 
this spirit proved 
to be nothing 
more than a poor 
Bedlam beggar 
who had crept into 
this deserted hovel 
for shelter, and 
with his talk about 
devils frighted the fool, one of those poor lunatics who are 
either mad, or feign to be so, the better to extort charity from 
the compassionate country people, who go about the country 
calling themselves poor Tom and poor Turlygood, saying, "Who 
gives anything to poor Tom?" sticking pins and nails and sprigs 
of rosemary into their arms to make them bleed; and with such 



horrible actions, partly by prayers, and partly with lunatic 
curses, they move or terrify the ignorant country folk into giving 
them alms. This poor fellow was such a one; and the king, see- 
ing him in so wretched a plight, with nothing but a blanket about 
his loins to cover his nakedness, could not be persuaded but that 
the fellow was some father who had given all away to his daugh- 
ters and brought himself to that pass; for nothing, he thought, 
could bring a man to such wretchedness but the having unkind 

And from this and many such wild speeches which he uttered 
the good Caius plainly perceived that he was not in his perfect 
mind, but that his daughters' ill-usage had really made him go 
mad. And now the loyalty of this worthy Earl of Kent showed 
itself in more essential services than he had hitherto found 
opportunity to perform. For with the assistance of some of the 
king's attendants who remained loyal he had the person of his 
royal master removed at daybreak to the castle of Dover, where 
his own friends and influence, as Earl of Kent, chiefly lay; and 
himself, embarking for France, hastened to the court of Cordelia, 
and did there in such moving terms represent the pitiful condition 
of her royal father, and set out in such lively colors the inhu- 
manity of her sisters, that this good and loving child with many 
tears besought the king, her husband, that he would give her 
leave to embark for England, with a sufficient power to subdue 
these cruel daughters and their husbands and restore the old 
king, her father, to his throne; which being granted, she set 
forth, and with a royal army landed at Dover. 

Lear, having by some chance escaped from the guardians which 
the good Earl of Kent had put over him to take care of him in his 
lunacy, was found by some of Cordelia's train, wandering about 
the fields near Dover, in a pitiable condition, stark mad, and 
singing aloud to himself, with a crown upon his head which he 
had made of straw and nettles and other wild weeds that he had 
picked up in the corn-fields. By the advice of the physicians, 
Cordelia, though earnestly desirous of seeing her father, was pre- 



vailed upon to put off the meeting till, by sleep and the operation 
of herbs which they gave him, he should be restored to greater 
composure. By the aid of these skilful physicians, to whom 
Cordelia promised all her gold and jewels for the recovery of the 
old king, Lear was soon in a condition to see his daughter. 

A tender sight it was to see 
the meeting between this father 
and daughter; to see the 
struggles between the joy of this 
poor old king at beholding again 
his once darling child, and the 
shame at receiving such filial 
kindness from her whom he had 
cast off for so small a fault in 
his displeasure; both these pas- 
sions struggling with the remains 
of his malady, which in his half- 
crazed brain sometimes made 
him that he scarce remembered 
where he was or who it was that 
so kindly kissed him and spoke 
to him. And then he would beg 
the standers-by not to laugh at 
him if he were mistaken in think- 
ing this lady to be his daughter 
Cordelia! And then to see him 
fall on his knees to beg pardon 
of his child; and she, good lady, 
kneeling all the while to ask a 
blessing of him, and telling him that it did not become him to 
kneel, but it was her duty, for she was his child, his true and 
very child Cordelia! And she kissed him (as she said) to kiss 
away all her sisters' unkindness, and said that they might be 
ashamed of themselves, to turn their old kind father with his 
white beard out into the cold air, when her enemy's dog, 

[155 J 


though it had bit her (as she prettily expressed it), should 
have stayed by her fire such a night as that, and warmed 
himself. And she told her father how she had come from 
France with purpose to bring him assistance; and he said that 
she must forget and forgive, for he was old and foolish and did 
not know what he did; but that to be sure she had great cause 
not to love him, but her sisters had none. And Cordelia said 
that she had no cause, no more than they had. 

So we will leave this old king in the protection of his dutiful 
and loving child, where, by the help of sleep and medicine, she 
and her physicians at length succeeded in winding up the untuned 
and jarring senses which the cruelty of his other daughters had 
so violently shaken. Let us return to say a word or two about 
those cruel daughters. 

These monsters of ingratitude, who had been so false to their 
old father, could not be expected to prove more faithful to their 
own husbands. They soon grew tired of paying even the appear- 
ance of duty and affection, and in an open way showed they had 
fixed their loves upon another. It happened that the object of 
their guilty loves was the same. It was Edmund, a natural son 
of the late Earl of Gloucester, who by bis treacheries had suc- 
ceeded in disinheriting his brother Edgar, the lawful heir, from 
his earldom, and by his wicked practices was now earl himself; 
a wicked man, and a fit object for the love of such wicked creatures 
as Goneril and Regan. It falling out about this time that the 
Duke of Cornwall, Regan's husband, died, Regan immediately 
declared her intention of wedding this Earl of Gloucester, which 
rousing the jealousy of her sister, to whom as well as to Regan 
this wicked earl had at sundry times professed love, Goneril 
found means to make away with her sister by poison; but being 
detected in her practices, and imprisoned by her husband, the 
Duke of Albany, for this deed, and for her guilty passion for the 
earl which had come to his ears, she, in a fit of disappointed love 
and rage, shortly put an end to her own life. Thus the justice 
of Heaven at last overtook these wicked daughters. 





While the eyes of all men were upon this event, admiring the 
justice displayed in their deserved deaths, the same eyes were 
suddenly taken off from this sight to admire at the mysterious 
ways of the same power in the melancholy fate of the young and 
virtuous daughter, the Lady Cordelia, whose good deeds did 
seem to deserve a more fortunate conclusion. But it is an awful 
truth that innocence and piety are not always successful in this 
world. The forces which Goneril and Regan had sent out under 
the command of the bad Earl of Gloucester were victorious, and 
Cordelia, by the practices of this wicked earl, who did not like 
that any should stand between him and the throne, ended her life 
in prison. Thus heaven took this innocent lady to itself in her 
young years, after showing her to the world an illustrious example 
of filial duty. Lear did not long survive this kind child. 

Before he died, the good Earl of Kent, who had still attended 
his old master's steps from the first of his daughters' ill-usage to 
this sad period of his decay, tried to make him understand that 
it was he who had followed him under the name of Caius; but 
Lear's care-crazed brain at that time could not comprehend 
how that could be, or how Kent and Caius could be the same 
person, so Kent thought it needless to trouble him with ex- 
planations at such a time; and, Lear soon after expiring, this 
faithful servant to the king, between age and grief for his old 
master's vexations, soon followed him to the grave. 

How the judgment of Heaven overtook the bad Earl of Glouces- 
ter, whose treasons were discovered, and himself slain in single 
combat with his brother, the lawful earl, and how Gondii's 
husband, the Duke of Albany, who was innocent of the death 
of Cordelia, and had never encouraged his lady in her wicked 
proceedings against her father, ascended the throne of Britain 
after the death of Lear, it is needless here to narrate, Lear and 
his three daughters being dead, whose adventures alone concern 
our story. 



,HEN Duncan the Meek reigned King of 
Scotland there lived a great thane, or 
lord, called Macbeth. This Macbeth 
was a near kinsman to the king, and in 
great esteem at court for his valor and 
conduct in the wars, an example of 
which he had lately given in defeating 
a rebel army assisted by the troops of 
Norway in terrible numbers. 
The two Scottish generals, Macbeth and Banquo, returning 
victorious from this great battle, their way lay over a blasted 
heath, where they were stopped by the strange appearance of 
three figures like women, except that they had beards, and their 
withered skins and wild attire made them look not like any 
earthly creatures. Macbeth first addressed them, when they, 
seemingly offended, laid each one her choppy finger upon her 
skinny lips, in token of silence; and the first of them saluted 
Macbeth with the title of Thane of Glamis. The general was not 
a little startled to find himself known by such creatures; but 
how much more, when the second of them followed up that 
salute by giving him the title of Thane of Cawdor, to which 
honor he had no pretensions; and again the third bid him, "All 
hail! that shalt be king hereafter!" Such a prophetic greeting 
might well amaze him, who knew that while the king's sons lived 
he could not hope to succeed to the throne. Then turning to 
Banquo, they pronounced him, in a sort of riddling terms, to be 
lesser than Macbeth, and greater! not so happy, but much happier! 
and prophesied that though he should never reign, yet his sons 
after him should be kings in Scotland. They then turned into 

[ *6o] 


air and vanished; by which the generals knew them to be the 
weird sisters, or witches. 

While they stood pondering on the strangeness of this ad- 
venture there arrived certain messengers from the king, who 
were empowered by him to 
confer upon Macbeth the 
dignity of Thane of Cawdor. 
An event so miraculously 
corresponding with the pre- 
diction of the witches as- 
tonished Macbeth, and he 
stood wrapped in amaze- 
ment, unable to make reply 
to the messengers; and in 
that point of time swelling 
hopes arose in his mind that 
the prediction of the third 
witch might in like manner 
have its accomplishment, 
and that he should one day 
reign king in Scotland. 

Turning to Banquo, he 
said, "Do you not hope 
that your children shall be 
kings, when wh at th e witches 
promised to me has so won- 
derfully come to pass?" 

"That hope," answered the general, "might enkindle you to 
aim at the throne; but oftentimes these ministers of darkness 
tell us truths in little things, to betray us into deeds of greatest 

But the wicked suggestions of the witches had sunk too deep 
into the mind of Macbeth to allow him to attend to the warnings 
of the good Banquo. From that time he bent all his thoughts 
how to compass the throne of Scotland. 
11 fi6i] 


Macbeth had a wife, to whom he communicated the strange 
prediction of the weird sisters and its partial accomplishment. 
She was a bad, ambitious woman, and so as her husband and 

herself could arrive at great- 
ness she cared not much by 
what means. She spurred on 
the reluctant purpose of Mac- 
beth, who felt compunction at 
the thoughts of blood, and did 
not cease to represent the mur- 
der of the king as a step abso- 
lutely necessary to the fulfil- 
ment of the flattering prophecy. 
It happened at this time that 
the king, who out of his royal 
condescension would oftentimes 
visit his principal nobility upon 
gracious terms, came to Mac- 
beth 's house, attended by his 
two sons, Malcolm and Donal- 
bain, and a numerous train of 
thanes and attendants, the 
more to honor Macbeth for the 
triumphal success of his wars. 

The castle of Macbeth was 
pleasantly situated and the air 
about it was sweet and whole- 
some, which appeared by the 
nests which the martlet, or swallow, had built under all [the 
jutting friezes and buttresses of the building, wherever it found 
a place of advantage; for where those birds most breed and 
haunt the air is observed to be delicate. The king entered, 
well pleased with the place, and not less so with the atten- 
tions and respect of his honored hostess, Lady Macbeth, who 
had the art of covering treacherous purposes with smiles, 



and could look like the innocent flower while she was indeed 
the serpent under it. 

The king, being tired with his journey, went early to bed, and 
in his state-room two grooms of his chamber (as was the custom) 
slept beside him. He had been unusually 
pleased with his reception, and had made 
presents before he retired to his principal 
officers; and among the rest had sent a 
rich diamond to Lady Macbeth, greeting 
her by the name of his most kind hostess. 

Now was the middle of night, when over 
half the world nature seems dead, and 
wicked dreams abuse men's minds asleep, 
and none but the wolf and the murderer 
are abroad. This was the time when Lady 
Macbeth waked to plot the murder of the 
king. She would not have undertaken a 
deed so abhorrent to her sex but that she 
feared her husband's nature, that it was 
too full of the milk of human kindness to 
do a contrived murder. She knew him to 
be ambitious, but w'thal to be scrupulous, 
and not yet prepared for that height of 
crime which commonly in the end accom- 
panies inordinate ambition. She had won 
him to consent to the murder, but she 
doubted his resolution; and she feared 
that the natural tenderness of his disposi- 
tion (more humane than her own) would come between and 
defeat the purpose. So with her own hands armed with a 
dagger she approached the king's bed, having taken care to 
ply the grooms of his chamber so with wine that they slept 
intoxicated and careless of their charge. There lay Duncan in 
a sound sleep after the fatigues of his journey, and as she 
viewed him earnestly there was something in his face, as he 



slept, which resembled her own father, and she had not the 

courage to proceed. 

She returned to confer with her husband. His resolution had 
begun to stagger. He considered that there were strong reasons 
against the deed. In the first place, he was not only a subject, 
but a near kinsman to the king; and he had been his host and 
entertainer that day, whose duty, by the laws of hospitality, 
it was to shut the door against his murderers, not bear the knife 
himself. Then he considered how just and merciful a king this 
Duncan had been, how clear of offense to his subjects, how loving 
to his nobility, and in particular to him; that such kings are the 
peculiar care of Heaven, and their subjects doubly bound to 
revenge their deaths. Besides, by the favors of the king, Mac- 
beth stood high in the opinion of all sorts of men, and how 
would those honors be stained by the reputation of so foul a 

In these conflicts of the mind Lady Macbeth found her husband 
inclining to the better part and resolving to proceed no further. 
But she, being a woman not easily shaken from her evil purpose, 
began to pour in at his ears words which infused a portion of her 
own spirit into his mind, assigning reason upon reason why he 
should not shrink from what he had undertaken; how easy the 
deed was; how soon it would be over; and how the action of 
one short night would give to all their nights and days to come 
sovereign sway and royalty! Then she threw contempt on his 
change of purpose, and accused him of fickleness and cowardice; 
and declared that she had given suck, and knew how tender it 
was to love the babe that milked her, but she would, while it was 
smiling in her face, have plucked it from her breast and dashed 
its brains out if she had so sworn to do it as he had sworn to 
perform that murder. Then she added, how practicable it was 
to lay the guilt of the deed upon the drunken, sleepy grooms. 
And with the valor of her tongue she so chastised his sluggish 
resolutions that he once more summoned up courage to the 
bloody business. 



So, taking the dagger in his hand, he softly stole in the dark to 
the room where Duncan lay; and as he went he thought he saw 
another dagger in the air, with the handle toward him, and on 
the blade and at 
the point of it 
drops of blood ; 
but when he tried 
to grasp at it it 
was nothing but 
air, a mere 
phantasm pro- 
ceeding from his 
own hot and op- 
pressed brain and 
the business he 
had in hand. 

Getting rid of 
this fear, he en- 
tered the king's 
room, whom he 
despatched with 
one stroke of his 
dagger. Just as 
he had done the 
murder one of 
the grooms who 
slept in the cham- 
ber laughed in 
his sleep, and 
the other cried, 
"Murder," which 
woke them both. 
But they said a short prayer; one of them said, "God 
bless us!" and the other answered, "Amen"; and addressed 
themselves to sleep again. Macbeth, who stood listening to 

1 165] 


them, tried to say "Amen" when the fellow said "God bless 
us!" but, though he had most need of a blessing, the word stuck 
in his throat and he could not pronounce it. 

Again he thought he heard a voice which cried: "Sleep no 
more! Macbeth doth murder sleep, the innocent sleep, that 
nourishes life." Still it cried, "Sleep no more!" to all the house. 
"Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep 
no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more." 

With such horrible imaginations Macbeth returned to his 
listening wife, who began to think he had failed of his purpose 
and that the deed was somehow frustrated. He came in so dis- 
tracted a state that she reproached him with his want of firmness 
and sent him to wash his hands of the blood which stained them, 
while she took his dagger, with purpose to stain the cheeks of the 
grooms with blood, to make it seem their guilt. 

Morning came, and with it the discovery of the murder, which 
could not be concealed; and though Macbeth and his lady 
made great show of grief, and the proofs against the grooms 
(the dagger being produced against them and their faces smeared 
with blood) were sufficiently strong, yet the entire suspicion fell 
upon Macbeth, whose inducements to such a deed were so 
much more forcible than such poor silly grooms could be sup- 
posed to have; and Duncan's two sons fled. Malcolm, the 
eldest, sought for refuge in the English court; and the youngest, 
Donalbain, made his escape to Ireland. 

The king's sons, who should have succeeded him, having thus 
vacated the throne, Macbeth as next heir was crowned king, 
and thus the prediction of the weird sisters was literally ac- 

Though placed so high, Macbeth and his queen could not forget 
the prophecy of the weird sisters that, though Macbeth should 
be king, yet not his children, but the children of Banquo, should 
be kings after him. The thought of this, and that they had 
defiled their hands with blood, and done so great crimes, only 
to place the posterity of Banquo upon the throne, so rankled 



within them that they determined to put to death both Banquo 
and his son, to make void the predictions of the weird sisters, 
which in their own case had been so remarkably brought to pass. 

For this purpose they made a great supper, to which they 
invited all the chief thanes; and among the rest, with marks 
of particular respect, Banquo and his son Fleance were invited. 
The way by which Banquo was to pass to the palace at night was 
beset by murderers appointed by Macbeth, who stabbed Banquo; 
but in the scuffle Fleance escaped. From that Fleance descended 
a race of monarchs who afterward filled the Scottish throne, 
ending with James the Sixth of Scotland and the First of England, 
under whom the two crowns of England and Scotland were united. 

At supper, the queen, whose manners were in the highest degree 
affable and royal, played the hostess with a gracefulness and 
attention which conciliated every one present, and Macbeth 
discoursed freely with his thanes and nobles, saying that all that 
was honorable in the country was under his roof, if he had but his 
good friend Banquo present, whom yet he hoped he should 
rather have to chide for neglect than to lament for any mischance. 
Just at these words the ghost of Banquo, whom he had caused to 
be murdered, entered the room and placed himself on the chair 
which Macbeth was about to occupy. Though Macbeth was a 
bold man, and one that could have faced the devil without trem- 
bling, at this horrible sight his cheeks turned white with fear 
and he stood quite unmanned, with his eyes fixed upon the ghost. 
His queen and all the nobles, who saw nothing, but perceived 
him gazing (as they thought) upon an empty chair, took it for 
a fit of distraction; and she reproached him, whispering that it 
was but the same fancy which made him see the dagger in the air 
when he was about to kill Duncan. But Macbeth continued to 
see the ghost, and gave no heed to all they could say, while he 
addressed it with distracted words, yet so significant that his 
queen, fearing the dreadful secret would be disclosed, in great 
haste dismissed the guests, excusing the infirmity of Macbeth as 
a disorder he was often troubled with. 

[167 J 


To such dreadful fancies Macbeth was subject. His queen 
and he had their sleeps afflicted with terrible dreams, and the 
blood of Banquo troubled them not more than the escape of 
Fleance, whom now they looked upon as father to a line of kings 
who should keep their posterity out of the throne. With these 
miserable thoughts they found no peace, and Macbeth deter- 
mined once more to seek out the weird sisters and know from 
them the worst. 

Fie sought them in a cave upon the heath, where they, who 
knew by foresight of his coming, were engaged in preparing their 
dreadful charms by which they conjured up infernal spirits to 
reveal to them futurity. Their horrid ingredients were toads, 
bats, and serpents, the eye of a newt and the tongue of a dog, 
the leg of a lizard and the wing of the night-owl, the scale of a 
dragon, the tooth of a wolf, the maw of the ravenous salt-sea 
shark, the mummy of a witch, the root of the poisonous hemlock 
(this to have effect must be digged in the dark), the gall of a 
goat, and the liver of a Jew, with slips of the yew-tree that roots 
itself in graves, and the finger of a dead child. All these were 
set on to boil in a great kettle, or caldron, which, as fast as it 
grew too hot, was cooled with a baboon's blood. To these they 
poured in the blood of a sow that had eaten her young, and they 
threw into the flame the grease that had sweaten from a mur- 
derer's gibbet. By these charms they bound the infernal spirits 
to answer their questions. 

It was demanded of Macbeth whether he would have his 
doubts resolved by them or by their masters, the spirits. 

He, nothing daunted by the dreadful ceremonies which he saw, 
boldly answered: "Where are they? Let me see them." 

And they called the spirits, which were three. And the first 
arose in the likeness of an armed head, and he called Macbeth 
by name and bid him beware of the Thane of Fife; for which 
caution Macbeth thanked him; for Macbeth had entertained a 
jealousy of Macduff, the Thane of Fife. 

And the second spirit arose in the likeness of a bloody child, 





and he called Macbeth by name and bid him have no fear, but 
laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born 
should have power to hurt him; and he advised him to be bloody, 
bold, and resolute. 

"Then live, Macduff!" cried the king. "What need I fear 
of thee? But yet I will make assurance doubly sure. Thou 
shalt not live, that I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, and sleep 
in spite of thunder." 

That spirit being dismissed, a third arose in the form of a child 
crowned, with a tree in his hand. He called Macbeth by name 
and comforted him against conspiracies, saying that he should 
never be vanquished until the wood of Birnam to Dunsinane hill 
should come against him. 

"Sweet bodements! good!" cried Macbeth; "who can unfix 
the forest, and move it from its earth-bound roots? I see I shall 
live the usual period of man's life, and not be cut off by a violent 
death. But my heart throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if 
your art can tell so much, if Banquo's issue shall ever reign in this 

Here the caldron sank into the ground, and a noise of music 
was heard, and eight shadows, like kings, passed by Macbeth, 
and Banquo last, who bore a glass which showed the figures of 
many more, and Banquo, all bloody, smiled upon Macbeth, and 
pointed to them; by which Macbeth knew that these were the 
posterity of Banquo, who should reign after him in Scotland; 
and the witches, with a sound of soft music, and with dancing, 
making a show of duty and welcome to Macbeth, vanished. 
And from this time the thoughts of Macbeth were all bloody and 

The first thing he heard when he got out of the witches' cave 
was that Macduff, Thane of Fife, had fled to England to join 
the army which was forming against him under Malcolm, the 
eldest son of the late king, with intent to displace Macbeth and 
set Malcolm, the right heir, upon the throne. Macbeth, stung 
with rage, set upon the castle of Macduff and put his wife and 



children, whom the thane had left behind, to the sword, and 
extended the slaughter to all who claimed the least relationship 
to Macduff. 

These and such-like deeds alienated the minds of all his chief 
nobility from him. Such as could fled to join with Malcolm and 
Macduff, who were now approaching with a powerful army which 
they had raised in England; and the rest secretly wished success 
to their arms, though, for fear of Macbeth, they could take no 
active part. His recruits went on slowly. Everybody hated the 
tyrant; nobody loved or honored him; but all suspected him; 
and he began to envy the condition of Duncan, whom he had 
murdered, who slept soundly in his grave, against whom treason 
had done its worst. Steel nor poison, domestic malice nor foreign 
levies, could hurt him any longer. 

While these things were acting, the queen, who had been the 
sole partner in his wickedness, in whose bosom he could some- 
times seek a momentary repose from those terrible dreams 
which afflicted them both nightly, died, it is supposed, by 
her own hands, unable to bear the remorse of guilt and public 
hate; by which event he was left alone, without a soul to 
love or care for him, or a friend to whom he could confide 
his wicked purposes. 

He grew careless of life and wished for death; but the near 
approach of Malcolm's army roused in him what remained of his 
ancient courage, and he determined to die (as he expressed it) 
"with armor on his back." Besides this, the hollow promises of 
the witches had filled him with a false confidence, and he re- 
membered the sayings of the spirits, that none of woman born was 
to hurt him, and that he was never to be vanquished till Birnam 
wood should come to Dunsinane, which he thought could never 
be. So he shut himself up in his castle, whose impregnable 
strength was such as defied a siege. Here he sullenly waited 
the approach of Malcolm. When, upon a day, there came a 
messenger to him, pale and shaking with fear, almost unable 
to report that which he had seen; for he averred that as he stood 



upon his watch on the hill he looked toward Birnam, and to his 
thinking the wood began to move! 

"Liar and slave!" cried Macbeth. "If thou speakest false, thou 
shalt hang alive upon the next tree, till famine end thee. If 
thy tale be true, I care not if thou dost as much by me"; for 
Macbeth now began to faint in resolution, and to doubt the 
equivocal speeches of the spirits. He was not to fear till Birnam 
wood should come to Dunsinane; and now a wood did move! 
"However," said he, "if this which he avouches be true, let us 
arm and out. There is no flying hence, nor staying here. I 
begin to be weary of the sun, and wish my life at an end." 
With these desperate speeches he sallied forth upon the besiegers, 
who had now come up to the castle. 

The strange appearance which had given the messenger an idea 
of a wood moving is easily solved. When the besieging army 
marched through the wood of Birnam, Malcolm, like a skilful 
general, instructed his soldiers to hew down every one a bough 
and bear it before him, by way of concealing the true numbers 
of his host. This marching of the soldiers with boughs had at a dis- 
tance the appearance which had frightened the messenger. Thus 
were the words of the spirit brought to pass, in a sense different 
from that in which Macbeth had understood them, and one great 
hold of his confidence was gone. 

And now a severe skirmishing took place, in which Macbeth, 
though feebly supported by those who called themselves his 
friends, but in reality hated the tyrant and inclined to the party 
of Malcolm and Macduff, yet fought with the extreme of rage and 
valor, cutting to pieces all who were opposed to him, till he came 
to where Macduff was fighting. Seeing Macduff, and remember- 
ing the caution of the spirit who had counseled him to avoid 
Macduff, above all men, he would have turned, but Macduff, 
who had been seeking him through the whole fight, opposed his 
turning, and a fierce contest ensued, Macduff giving him many 
foul reproaches for the murder of his wife and children. Mac- 
beth, whose soul was charged enough with blood of that family 

[i73 J 


already, would still have declined the combat; but Macduff 
still urged him to it, calling him tyrant, murderer, hell-hound, 
and villain. 
Then Macbeth remembered the words of the spirit, how none 

of woman born should 
hurt him; and, smiling 
confidently, he said to 

"Thou losest thy labor, 
Macduff. As easily thou 
mayest impress the air 
with thy sword as make 
me vulnerable. I bear a 
charmed life, which must 
not yield to one of woman 

"Despair thy charm/' 
said Macduff, "and let 
that lying spirit whom 
thou hast served tell thee 
that Macduff was never 
born of woman, never as 
the ordinary manner of 
men is to be born, but 
was untimely taken from 
his mother." 

"Accursed be the 
tongue which tells me so," said the trembling Macbeth, who 
felt his last hold of confidence give way; "and let never 
man in future believe the lying equivocations of witches 
and juggling spirits who deceive us in words which have 
double senses, and, while they keep their promise literally, 
disappoint our hopes with a different meaning. I will not 
fight with thee." 

"Then live!" said the scornful Macduff. "We will have a show 



of thee, as men show monsters, and a painted board, on which 
shall be written, 'Here men may see the tyrant!" 5 

"Never," said Macbeth, whose courage returned with despair. 
"I will not live to kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet 
and to be baited with the curses of the rabble. Though Birnam 
wood be come to Dunsinane, and thou opposed to me, who wast 
never born of woman, yet will I try the last." 

With these frantic words he threw himself upon Macduff, who, 
after a severe struggle, in the end overcame him, and, cutting 
off his head, made a present of it to the young and lawful king, 
Malcolm, who took upon him the government which, by the 
machinations of the usurper, he had so long been deprived of, 
and ascended the throne of Duncan the Meek amid the acclama- 
tions of the nobles and the people. 



ERTRAM, Count of Rousillon, had newly 
come to his title and estate by the death 
of his father. The King of France loved 
the father of Bertram, and when he heard 
of his death he sent for his son to come 
immediately to his royal court in Paris, 
intending, for the friendship he bore the 
late count, to grace young Bertram with 
his especial favor and protection. 
Bertram was living with his mother, the widowed countess, 
when Lafeu, an old lord of the French court, came to conduct 
him to the king. The King of France was an absolute monarch 
and the invitation to court was in the form of a royal mandate, 
or positive command, which no subject, of what high dignity so- 
ever, might disobey; therefore, though the countess, in parting 
with this dear son, seemed a second time to bury her husband, 
whose loss she had so lately mourned, yet she dared not to keep 
him a single day, but gave instant orders for his departure. 
Lafeu, who came to fetch him, tried to comfort the countess for 
the loss of her late lord and her son's sudden absence; and he 
said, in a courtier's flattering manner, that the king was so 
kind a prince, she would find in his Majesty a husband, and 
that he would be a father to her son; meaning only that the 
good king would befriend the fortunes of Bertram. Lafeu told 
the countess that the king had fallen into a sad malady, which 
was pronounced by his physicians to be incurable. The lady 
expressed great sorrow on hearing this account of the king's ill 
health, and said she wished the father of Helena (a young gentle- 
woman who was present in attendance upon her) were living, 



for that she doubted not he could have cured his Majesty of his 
disease. And she told Lafeu something of the history of Helena, 
saying she was the only daughter of the famous physician, Gerard 
de Narbon, and that he had recommended his daughter to her 
care when he was dying, so that since his death she had taken 
Helena under her protection; then the countess praised the 
virtuous disposition and excellent qualities of Helena, saying she 
inherited these virtues from her worthy father. While she was 
speaking, Helena wept in sad and mournful silence, which made 
the countess gently reprove her for too much grieving for her 
father's death. 

Bertram now bade his mother farewell. The countess parted 
with this dear son with tears and many blessings, and commended 
him to the care of Lafeu, saying: 

"Good my lord, advise him, for he is an unseasoned courtier." 

Bertram's last words were spoken to Helena, but they were 
words of mere civility, wishing her happiness; and he concluded 
his short farewell to her with saying: 

"Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress, and make much 
of her." 

Helena had long loved Bertram, and when she wept in sad and 
mournful silence the tears she shed were not for Gerard de Narbon. 
Helena loved her father, but in the present feeling of a deeper 
love, the object of which she was about to lose, she had forgotten 
the very form and features of her dead father, her imagination 
presenting no image to her mind but Bertram's. 

Helena had long loved Bertram, yet she always remembered 
that he was the Count of Rousillon, descended from the most 
ancient family in France. She of humble birth. Her parents of 
no note at all. His ancestors all noble. And therefore she looked 
up to the high-born Bertram as to her master and to her dear 
lord, and dared not form any wish but to live his servant, and, 
so living, to die his vassal. So great the distance seemed to her 
between his height of dignity and her lowly fortunes that she 
would say: 
12 [177] 


"It were all one that I should love a bright particular star, and 
think to wed it, Bertram is so far above me." 

Bertram's absence filled her eyes with tears and her heart with 
sorrow; for though she loved without hope, yet it was a pretty 
comfort to her to see him every hour, and Helena would sit 
and look upon his dark eye, his arched brow, and the curls of his 
fine hair till she seemed to draw his portrait on the tablet of her 
heart, that heart too capable of retaining the memory of every 
line in the features of that loved face. 

Gerard de Narbon, when he died, left her no other portion 
than some prescriptions of rare and well-proved virtue, which, 
by deep study and long experience in medicine, he had collected 
as sovereign and almost infallible remedies. Among the rest 
there was one set down as an approved medicine for the disease 
under which Lafeu said the king at that time languished; and 
when Helena heard of the king's complaint, she, who till now 
had been so humble and so hopeless, formed an ambitious project 
in her mind to go herself to Paris and undertake the cure of the 
king. But though Helena was the possessor of this choice pre- 
scription, it was unlikely, as the king as well as his physicians 
was of opinion that his disease was incurable, that they would 
give credit to a poor unlearned virgin if she should offer to per- 
form a cure. The firm hopes that Helena had of succeeding, if 
she might be permitted to make the trial, seemed more than even 
her father's skill warranted, though he was the most famous 
physician of his time; for she felt a strong faith that this good 
medicine was sanctified by all the luckiest stars in heaven to be 
the legacy that should advance her fortune, even to the high 
dignity of being Count Rousillon's wife. 

Bertram had not been long gone when the countess was in- 
formed by her steward that he had overheard Helena talking to 
herself, and that he understood, from some words she uttered, 
she was in love with Bertram and thought of following him 
to Paris. The countess dismissed the steward with thanks, and 
desired him to tell Helena she wished to speak with her. What 



she had just heard of Helena brought the remembrance of days 
long past into the mind of the countess; those days, probably, 
when her love for Bertram's father first began; and she said to 

"Even so it was with me when I was young. Love is a thorn 
that belongs to the rose of youth; for in the season of youth, 
if ever we are Nature's children, these faults are ours, though 
then we think not they are faults." 

While the countess was thus meditating on the loving errors of 
her own youth, Helena entered, and she said to her, "Helena, 
you know I am a mother to you." 

Helena replied, "You are my honorable mistress." 

"You are my daughter," said the countess again. "I say I 
am your mother. Why do you start and look pale at my 
words ?" 

With looks of alarm and confused thoughts, fearing the countess 
suspected her love, Helena still replied, "Pardon me, madam, 
you are not my mother; the Count Rousillon cannot be my 
brother, nor I your daughter." 

"Yet, Helena," said the countess, "you might be my daughter- 
in-law; and I am afraid that is what you mean to be, the words 
mother and daughter so disturb you. Helena, do you love my 

"Good madam, pardon me," said the affrighted Helena. 

Again the countess repeated her question. "Do you love my 

"Do not you love him, madam?" said Helena. 

The countess replied: "Give me not this evasive answer, 
Helena. Come, come, disclose the state of your affections, for 
your love has to the full appeared." 

Helena, on her knees now, owned her love, and with shame and 
terror implored the pardon of her noble mistress; and with words 
expressive of the sense she had of the inequality between their 
fortunes she protested Bertram did not know she loved him, 
comparing her humble, unaspiring love to a poor Indian who 

1 179 ] 


adores the sun that looks upon his worshiper but knows of him no 
more. The countess asked Helena if she had not lately an intent 
to go to Paris. Helena owned the design she had formed in her 
mind when she heard Lafeu speak of the king's illness. 

"This was your motive for wishing to go to Paris," said the 
countess, "was it? Speak truly." 

Helena honestly answered, "My lord your son made me to 
think of this; else Paris and the medicine and the king had from 
the conversation of my thoughts been absent then." 

The countess heard the whole of this confession without saying 
a word either of approval or of blame, but she strictly questioned 
Helena as to the probability of the medicine being useful to the 
king. She found that it was the most prized by Gerard de 
Narbon of all he possessed, and that he had given it to his daughter 
on his death-bed; and remembering the solemn promise she had 
made at that awful hour in regard to this young maid, whose 
destiny, and the life of the king himself, seemed to depend on the 
execution of a project (which, though conceived by the fond 
suggestions of a loving maiden's thoughts, the countess knew 
not but it might be the unseen workings of Providence to bring 
to pass the recovery of the king and to lay the foundation of the 
future fortunes of Gerard de Narbon's daughter), free leave she 
gave to Helena to pursue her own way, and generously furnished 
her with ample means and suitable attendants; and Helena set 
out for Paris with the blessings of the countess and her kindest 
wishes for her success. 

Helena arrived at Paris, and by the assistance of her friend, the 
old Lord Lafeu, she obtained an audience of the king. She had 
still many difficulties to encounter, for the king was not easily 
prevailed on to try the medicine offered him by this fair young 
doctor. But she told him she was Gerard de Narbon's daughter 
(with whose fame the king was well acquainted), and she offered 
the precious medicine as the darling treasure which contained the 
essence of all her father's long experience and skill, and she 
boldly engaged to forfeit her life if it failed to restore his Majesty 




to perfect health in the space of two days. The king at length 
consented to try it, and in two days' time Helena was to lose her 
life if the king did not recover; but if she succeeded, he promised 
to give her the choice of any man throughout all France (the 
princes only excepted) whom she could like for a husband; the 
choice of a husband being the fee Helena demanded if she cured 
the king of his disease. 

Helena did not deceive herself in the hope she conceived of 
the efficacy of her father's medicine. Before two days were at 
an end the king was restored to perfect health, and he assembled 
all the young noblemen of his court together, in order to confer 
the promised reward of a husband upon his fair physician; and 
he desired Helena to look round on this youthful parcel of noble 
bachelors and choose her husband. Helena was not slow to make 
her choice, for among these young lords she saw the Count 
Rousillon, and, turning to Bertram, she said: 

"This is the man. I dare not say, my lord, I take you, but I 
give me and my service ever whilst I live into your guiding 

"Why, then," said the king, "young Bertram, take her; she 
is your wife." 

Bertram did not hesitate to declare his dislike to this present 
of the king's of the self-offered Helena, who, he said, was a poor 
physician's daughter, bred at his father's charge, and now living 
a dependent on his mother's bounty. 

Helena heard him speak these words of rejection and of scorn, 
and she said to the king: "That you are well, my lord, I am glad. 
Let the rest go." 

But the king would not suffer his royal command to be so 
slighted, for the power of bestowing their nobles in marriage 
was one of the many privileges of the kings of France, and that 
same day Bertram was married to Helena, a forced and uneasy 
marriage to Bertram, and of no promising hope to the poor lady, 
who, though she gained the noble husband she had hazarded 
her life to obtain, seemed to have won but a splendid blank, her 

[ 183 ] 


husband's love not being a gift in the power of the King of France 
to bestow. 

Helena was no sooner married than she was desired by Bertram 
to apply to the king for him for leave of absence from court; 
and when she brought him the king's permission for his departure, 
Bertram told her that he was not prepared for this sudden mar- 
riage, it had much unsettled him, and therefore she must not 
wonder at the course he should pursue. If Helena wondered not, 
she grieved when she found it was his intention to leave her. 
He ordered her to go home to his mother. When Helena heard 
this unkind command, she replied: 

"Sir, I can nothing say to this but that I am your most obedient 
servant, and shall ever with true observance seek to eke out that 
desert wherein my homely stars have failed to equal my great 

But this humble speech of Helena's did not at all move the 
haughty Bertram to pity his gentle wife, and he parted from her 
without even the common civility of a kind farewell. 

Back to the countess then Helena returned. She had ac- 
complished the purport of her journey, she had preserved the life 
of the king, and she had wedded her heart's dear lord, the Count 
Rousillon; but she returned back a dejected lady to her noble 
mother-in-law, and as soon as she entered the house she received 
a letter from Bertram which almost broke her heart. 

The good countess received her with a cordial welcome, as if 
she had been her son's own choice and a lady of a high degree, 
and she spoke kind words to comfort her for the unkind neglect 
of Bertram in sending his wife home on her bridal day alone. 
But this gracious reception failed to cheer the sad mind of Helena, 
and she said: 

"Madam, my lord is gone, forever gone." She then read these 
words out of Bertram's letter: 

"When you can get the ring from my finger, which never shall come off, 
then call me husband, but in such a Then I write a Never." 



"This is a dreadful sentence!" said Helena. 

The countess begged her to have patience, and said, now Ber- 
tram was gone, she should be her child and that she deserved a 
lord that twenty such rude boys as Bertram might tend upon, 
and hourly call her mistress. But in vain by respectful conde- 
scension and kind flattery this matchless mother tried to soothe 
the sorrows of her daughter-in-law. 

Helena still kept her eyes fixed upon the letter, and cried out 
in an agony of grief, " Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France." 

The countess asked her if she found those words in the letter. 

"Yes, madam," was all poor Helena could answer. 

The next morning Helena was missing. She left a letter to be 
delivered to the countess after she was gone, to acquaint her 
with the reason of her sudden absence. In this letter she in- 
formed her that she was so much grieved at having driven 
Bertram from his native country and his home, that to atone 
for her offense, she had undertaken a pilgrimage to the shrine 
of St. Jaques le Grand, and concluded with requesting the countess 
to inform her son that the wife he so hated had left his house 

Bertram, when he left Paris, went to Florence, and there be- 
came an officer in the Duke of Florence's army, and after a suc- 
cessful war, in which he distinguished himself by many brave 
actions, Bertram received letters from his mother containing the 
acceptable tidings that Helena would no more disturb him; 
and he was preparing to return home, when Helena herself, clad 
in her pilgrim's weeds, arrived at the city of Florence. 

Florence was a city through which the pilgrims used to pass 
on their way to St. Jaques le Grand; and when Helena arrived 
at this city she heard that a hospitable widow dwelt there who 
used to receive into her house the female pilgrims that were going 
to visit the shrine of that saint, giving them lodging and kind 
entertainment. To this good lady, therefore, Helena went, and 
the widow gave her a courteous welcome and invited her to see 
whatever was curious in that famous city, and told her that if 



she would like to see the duke's army she would take her where 
she might have a full view of it. 

"And you will see a countryman of yours," said the widow. 
"His name is Count Rousillon, who has done worthy service in 
the duke's wars." Helena wanted no second invitation, when 
she found Bertram was to make part of the show. She accom- 
panied her hostess; and a sad and mournful pleasure it was to 
her to look once more upon her dear husband's face. 

"Is he not a handsome man?" said the widow. 

"I like him well," replied Helena, with great truth. 

All the way they walked the talkative widow's discourse was all 
of Bertram. She told Helena the story of Bertram's marriage, 
and how he had deserted the poor lady his wife and entered into 
the duke's army to avoid living with her. To this account of 
her own misfortunes Helena patiently listened, and when it was 
ended the history of Bertram was not yet done, for then the widow 
began another tale, every word of which sank deep into the mind 
of Helena; for the story she now told was of Bertram's love for 
her daughter. 

Though Bertram did not like the marriage forced on him by the 
king, it seems he was not insensible to love, for since he had been 
stationed with the army at Florence he had fallen in love with 
Diana, a fair young gentlewoman, the daughter of this widow who 
was Helena's hostess; and every night, with music of all sorts, 
and songs composed in praise of Diana's beauty, he would 
come under her window and solicit her love; and all his suit 
to her was that she would permit him to visit her by stealth 
after the family were retired to rest. But Diana would by 
no means be persuaded to grant this improper request, nor 
give any encouragement to his suit, knowing him to be a mar- 
ried man; for Diana had been brought up under the counsels 
of a prudent mother, who, though she was now in reduced cir- 
cumstances, was well born and descended from the noble family 
of the Capulets. 

All this the good lady related to Helena, highly praising the 



virtuous principles of her discreet daughter, which she said were 
entirely owing to the excellent education and good advice she 
had given her; and she further said that Bertram had been par- 
ticularly importunate with Diana to admit him to the visit he 
so much desired that night, because he was going to leave Florence 
early the next morning. 

Though it grieved Helena to hear of Bertram's love for the 
widow's daughter, yet from this story the ardent mind of Helena 
conceived a project (nothing discouraged at the ill success of her 
former one) to recover her truant lord. She disclosed to the 
widow that she was Helena, the deserted wife of Bertram, and 
requested that her kind hostess and her daughter would suffer 
this visit from Bertram to take place, and allow her to pass herself 
upon Bertram for Diana, telling them her chief motive for desiring 
to have this secret meeting with her husband was to get a ring 
from him, which, he had said, if ever she was in possession of he 
would acknowledge her as his wife. 

The widow and her daughter promised to assist her in this 
affair, partly moved by pity for this unhappy, forsaken wife and 
partly won over to her interest by the promises of reward which 
Helena made them, giving them a purse of money in earnest of 
her future favor. In the course of that day Helena caused in- 
formation to be sent to Bertram that she was dead, hoping that, 
when he thought himself free to make a second choice by the 
news of her death, he would offer marriage to her in her feigned 
character of Diana. And if she could obtain the ring and this 
promise, too, she doubted not she should make some future good 
come of it. 

In the evening, after it was dark, Bertram was admitted into 
Diana's chamber, and Helena was there ready to receive him. 
The flattering compliments and love discourse he addressed to 
Helena were precious sounds to her, though she knew they were 
meant for Diana; and Bertram was so well pleased with her 
that he made her a solemn promise to be her husband, and to 
love her forever; which she hoped would be prophetic of a real 

(i87 J 


affection, when he should know it was his own wife, the despised 
Helena, whose conversation had so delighted him. 

Bertram never knew how sensible a lady Helena was, else per- 
haps he would 
not have been so 
regardless of her; 
and seeing her 
every day, he had 
entirely over- 
looked her beau- 
ty; a face we are 
accustomed to 
see constantly 
losing the effect 
which is caused 
by the first sight 
either of beauty 
or of plainness; 
and of her under- 
standing it was 
impossible he 
should judge, be- 
cause she felt 
such reverence, 
mixed with her 
love for him, that 
she was always 
silent in his pres- 
ence. But now 
that her future fate, and the happy ending of all her love- 
projects, seemed to depend on her leaving a favorable impres- 
sion on the mind of Bertram from this night's interview, she 
exerted all her wit to please him; and the simple graces of 
her lively conversation and the endearing sweetness of her 

manners so charmed Bertram that he vowed she should be his 



wife. Helena begged the ring from off his finger as a token of his 
regard, and he gave it to her; and in return for this ring, which 
it was of such importance to her to possess, she gave him another 
ring, which was one the king had made her a present of. Before 
it was light in the morning she sent Bertram away; and he im- 
mediately set out on his journey toward his mother's house. 

Helena prevailed on the widow and Diana to accompany her to 
Paris, their further assistance being necessary to the full accom- 
plishment of the plan she had formed. When they arrived there, 
they found the king was gone upon a visit to the Countess ot 
Rousillon, and Helena followed the king with all the speed she 
could make. 

The king was still in perfect health, and his gratitude to her 
who had been the means of his recovery was so lively in his mind 
that the moment he saw the Countess of Rousillon he began to 
talk of Helena, calling her a precious jewel that was lost by the 
folly of her son; but seeing the subject distressed the countess, 
who sincerely lamented the death of Helena, he said: 

"My good lady, I have forgiven and forgotten all." 

But the good-natured old Lafeu, who was present, and could 
not bear that the memory of his favorite Helena should be so 
lightly passed over, said, "This I must say, the young lord 
did great offense to his Majesty, his mother, and his lady; but 
to himself he did the greatest wrong of all, for he has lost 
a wife whose beauty astonished all eyes, whose words took 
all ears captive, whose deep perfection made all hearts wish 
to serve her." 

The king said: "Praising what is lost makes the remembrance 
dear. Well — call him hither"; meaning Bertram, who now 
presented himself before the king, and on his expressing deep 
sorrow for the injuries he had done to Helena the king, for his 
dead father's and his admirable mother's sake, pardoned him and 
restored him once more to his favor. But the gracious counte- 
nance of the king was soon changed toward him, for he perceived 
that Bertram wore the very ring upon his finger which he had 



given to Helena; and he well remembered that Helena had 
called all the saints in heaven to witness she would never part 
with that ring unless she sent it to the king himself upon some 
great disaster befalling her; and Bertram, on the king's ques- 
tioning him how he came by the ring, told an improbable story 
of a lady throwing it to him out of a window, and denied ever 
having seen Helena since the day of their marriage. The king, 
knowing Bertram's dislike to his wife, feared he had destroyed 
her, and he ordered his guards to seize Bertram, saying: 

"I am wrapt in dismal thinking, for I fear the life of Helena was 
foully snatched." 

At this moment Diana and her mother entered and presented a 
petition to the king, wherein they begged his Majesty to exert 
his royal power to compel Bertram to marry Diana, he having 
made her a solemn promise of marriage. Bertram, fearing the 
king's anger, denied he had made any such promise; and then 
Diana produced the ring (which Helena had put into her hands) 
to confirm the truth of her words; and she said that she had 
given Bertram the ring he then wore, in exchange for that, at 
the time he vowed to marry her. On hearing this the king ordered 
the guards to seize her also; and, her account of the ring dif- 
fering from Bertram's, the king's suspicions were confirmed, and 
he said if they did not confess how they came by this ring of 
Helena's they should be both put to death. Diana requested her 
mother might be permitted to fetch the jeweler of whom she 
bought the ring, which, being granted, the widow went out, 
and presently returned, leading in Helena herself. 

The good countess, who in silent grief had beheld her son's 
danger, and had even dreaded that the suspicion of his having 
destroyed his wife might possibly be true, finding her dear 
Helena, whom she loved with even a maternal affection, was still 
living, felt a delight she was hardly able to support; and the king, 
scarce believing for joy that it was Helena, said: 

"Is this indeed the wife of Bertram that I see?" 

Helena, feeling herself yet an unacknowledged wife, replied, 



"No, my good lord, it is but the shadow of a wife you see; the 
name and not the thing." 

Bertram cried out: "Both, both! Oh pardon!" 

"O my lord," said Helena, "when I personated this fair maid 
I found you wondrous kind; and look, here is your letter!" read- 
ing to him in a joyful tone those words which she had once re- 
peated so sorrowfully, "When from my finger you can get this 
ring — This is done; it was to me you gave the ring. Will you 
be mine, now you are doubly won?" 

Bertram replied, "If you can make it plain that you were the 
lady I talked with that night I will love you dearly, ever, ever 

This was no difficult task, for the widow and Diana came with 
Helena to prove this fact; and the king was so well pleased with 
Diana for the friendly assistance she had rendered the dear lady 
he so truly valued for the service she had done him that he 
promised her also a noble husband, Helena's history giving him a 
hint that it was a suitable reward for kings to bestow upon fair 
ladies when they perform notable services. 

Thus Helena at last found that her father's legacy was indeed 
sanctified by the luckiest stars in heaven; for she was now the 
beloved wife of her dear Bertram, the daughter-in-law of her 
noble mistress, and herself the Countess of Rousilion. 



]PPATHARINE, the Shrew, was the eldest 
y|j daughter of Baptista, a rich gentleman 
I Mb of Padua. She was a lady of such an 
ungovernable spirit and fiery temper, 
such a loud-tongued scold, that she was 
known in Padua by no other name than 
Katharine the Shrew. It seemed very 
unlikely, indeed impossible, that any 
gentleman would ever be found who 
would venture to marry this lady, and therefore Baptista was 
much blamed for deferring his consent to many excellent offers 
that were made to her gentle sister Bianca, putting ofF all Bianca's 
suitors with this excuse, that when the eldest sister was. fairly 
off his hands they should have free leave to address young 

It happened, however, that a gentleman, named Petruchio, 
came to Padua purposely to look out for a wife, who, nothing 
discouraged by these reports of Katharine's temper, and hearing 
she was rich and handsome, resolved upon marrying this famous 
termagant, and taming her into a meek and manageable wife. 
And truly none was so fit to set about this herculean labor as 
Petruchio, whose spirit was as high as Katharine's, and he was a 
witty and most happy-tempered humorist, and withal so wise, and 
of such a true judgment, that he well knew how to feign a pas- 
sionate and furious deportment when his spirits were so calm that 
himself could have laughed merrily at his own angry feigning, 
for his natural temper was careless and easy; the boisterous airs 
he assumed when he became the husband of Katharine being 
but in sport, or, more properly speaking, affected by his excellent 




discernment, as the only means to overcome, in her own way, the 
passionate ways of the furious Katharine. 

A-courting, then, Petruchio went to Katharine the Shrew; 
and first of all he applied to Baptista, her father, for leave to woo 
his gentle daughter Katharine, as Petruchio called her, saying, 
archly, that, having heard of her bashful modesty and mild 
behavior, he had come from 
Verona to solicit her love. Her 
father, though he wished her 
married, was forced to confess 
Katharine would ill answer 
this character, it being soon 
apparent of what manner of 
gentleness she was composed, 
for her music-master rushed 
into the room to complain 
that the gentle Katharine, his 
pupil, had broken his head 
with her lute for presuming to 
find fault with her performance; which, when Petruchio heard, 
he said: 

"It is a brave wench. I love her more than ever, and long to 
have some chat with her." And hurrying the old gentleman for 
a positive answer, he said: "My business is in haste, Signor 
Baptista. I cannot come every day to woo. You knew my 
father. He is dead, and has left me heir to all his lands and 
goods. Then tell me, if I get your daughter's love, what dowry 
you will give with her." 

Baptista thought his manner was somewhat blunt for a lover; 
but, being glad to get Katharine married, he answered that he 
would give her twenty thousand crowns for her dowry, and half 
his estate at his death. So this odd match was quickly agreed on 
and Baptista went to apprise his shrewish daughter of her lover's 
addresses, and sent her in to Petruchio to listen to his suit. 

In the mean time Petruchio was settling with himself the mode 
13 [ J93 1 


of courtship he should pursue; and he said: "I will woo her 
with some spirit when she comes. If she rails at me, why, then 
I will tell her she sings as sweetly as a nightingale; and if she 
frowns, I will say she looks as clear as roses newly washed with 
dew. If she will not speak a word, I will praise the eloquence of 
her language; and if she bids me leave her, I will give her thanks 
as if she bid me stay with her a week." 

Now the stately Katharine entered, and Petruchio first ad- 
dressed her with : 

"Good morrow, Kate, for that is your name, I hear." 

Katharine, not liking this plain salutation, said, disdainfully, 
"They call me Katharine who do speak to me." 

"You lie," replied the lover; "for you are called plain Kate, 
and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the Shrew; but, Kate, 
you are the prettiest Kate in Christendom, and therefore, Kate, 
hearing your mildness praised in every town, I am come to woo 
you for my wife." 

A strange courtship they made of it. She in loud and angry 
terms showing him how justly she had gained the name of Shrew, 
while he still praised her sweet and courteous words, till at length, 
hearing her father coming, he said (intending to make as quick 
a wooing as possible) : 

"Sweet Katharine, let us set this idle chat aside, for your 
father has consented that you shall be my wife, your dowry is 
agreed on, and whether you will or no I will marry you." 

And now Baptista entering, Petruchio told him his daughter 
had received him kindly and that she had promised to be married 
the next Sunday. This Katharine denied, saying she would rather 
see him hanged on Sunday, and reproached her father for wishing 
to wed her to such a madcap ruffian as Petruchio. Petruchio 
desired her father not to regard her angry words, for they had 
agreed she should seem reluctant before him, but that when 
they were alone he had found her very fond and loving; and he 
said to her*. 

"Give me your hand, Kate. I will go to Venice to buy you 



fine apparel against our wedding-day. Provide the feast, father, 
and bid the wedding guests. I will be sure to bring rings, fine 
array, and rich clothes, that my Katharine may be fine. And 
kiss me, Kate, for we will be married on Sunday." 

On the Sunday all the wedding guests were assembled, but 
they waited long before Petruchio came, and Katharine wept for 
vexation to think that Petruchio had only been making a jest of 
her. At last, however, he appeared; but he brought none of the 
bridal finery he had promised Katharine, nor was he dressed 
himself like a bridegroom, but in strange, disordered attire, as if 
he meant to make a sport of the serious business he came about; 
and his servant and the very horses on which they rode were in 
like manner in mean and fantastic fashion habited. 

Petruchio could not be persuaded to change his dress. He 



said Katharine was to be married to him, and not to his clothes. 
And, finding it was in vain to argue with him, to the church they 
went, he still behaving in the same mad way, for when the priest 
asked Petruchio if Katharine should be his wife, he swore so 
loud that she should, that, all amazed, the priest let fall his 
book, and as he stooped to take it up this mad-brained bride- 
groom gave him such a cuff that down fell the priest and his book 
again. And all the while they were being married he stamped 
and swore so that the high-spirited Katharine trembled and 
shook with fear. After the ceremony was over, while they were 
yet in the church, he called for wine, and drank a loud health 
to the company, and threw a sop which was at the bottom of the 
glass full in the sexton's face, giving no other reason for this 
strange act than that the sexton's beard grew thin and hun- 
gerly, and seemed to ask the sop as he was drinking. Never 
sure was there such a mad marriage; but Petruchio did but put 
this wildness on the better to succeed in the plot he had formed 
to tame his shrewish wife. 

Baptista had provided a sumptuous marriage feast, but when 
they returned from church, Petruchio, taking hold of Katharine, 
declared his intention of carrying his wife home instantly, and 
no remonstrance of his father-in-law, or angry words of the en- 
raged Katharine, could make him change his purpose. He 
claimed a husband's right to dispose of his wife as he pleased, 
and away he hurried Katharine off; he seeming so daring and 
resolute that no one dared attempt to stop him. 

Petruchio mounted his wife upon a miserable horse, lean and 
lank, which he had picked out for the purpose, and, himself and 
his servant no better mounted, they journeyed on through 
rough and miry ways, and ever when this horse of Katharine's 
stumbled he would storm and swear at the poor jaded beast, 
who could scarce crawl under his burthen, as if he had been the 
most passionate man alive. 

At length, after a weary journey, during which Katharine 
had heard nothing but the wild ravings of Petruchio at the 




servant and the horses, they arrived at his house. Petruchio 
welcomed her kindly to her home, but he resolved she should 
have neither rest nor food that night. The tables were spread, 
and supper soon served; but Petruchio, pretending to find fault 
with every dish, 

threw the meat s w^ cr* 

about the floor, and 
ordered the ser- 
vants to remove it 
away; and all this 
he did, as he said, 
in love for his 
Katharine, that she 
might not eat meat 
that was not well 
dressed. And when 
Katharine, weary 
and supperless, re- 
tired to rest, he 
found the same 
fault with the bed, 
throwing the pil- 
lows and bedclothes 
about the room, so 
that she was forced 
to sit down in a 
chair, where, if she 
chanced to drop 
asleep, she was * 
presently awakened 
by the loud voice of her husband storming at the servants for 
the ill-making of his wife's bridal-bed. 

The next day Petruchio pursued the same course, still speaking 
kind words to Katharine, but, when she attempted to eat, finding 
fault with everything that was set before her, throwing the 



breakfast on the floor as he had done the supper; and Katharine, 
the haughty Katharine, was fain to beg the servants would 
bring her secretly a morsel of food; but they, being instructed by 
Petruchio, replied they dared not give her anything unknown to 
their master. 

"Ah," said she, "did he marry me to famish me? Beggars 
that come to my father's door have food given them. But I, 
who never knew what it was to entreat for anything, am starved 
for want of food, giddy for want of sleep, with oaths kept waking, 
and with brawling fed; and that which vexes me more than all, 
he does it under the name of perfect love, pretending that if I 
sleep or eat, it were present death to me." 

Here the soliloquy was interrupted by the entrance of Petruchio. 
He, not meaning she should be quite starved, had brought her a 
small portion of meat, and he said to her: 

"How fares my sweet Kate? Here, love, you see how diligent 
I am. I have dressed your meat myself. I am sure this kindness 
merits thanks. What, not a word? Nay, then you love not the 
meat, and all the pains I have taken is to no purpose." He then 
ordered the servant to take the dish away. 

Extreme hunger, which had abated the pride of Katharine, 
made her say, though angered to the heart, "I pray you let it 

But this was not all Petruchio intended to bring her to, and he 
replied, "The poorest service is repaid with thanks, and so shall 
mine before you touch the meat." 

On this Katharine brought out a reluctant "I thank you, sir." 

And now he suffered her to make a slender meal, saying: 
"Much good may it do your gentle heart, Kate. Eat apace! 
And now, my honey love, we will return to your father's house 
and revel it as bravely as the best, with silken coats and caps and 
golden rings, with rufTs and scarfs and fans and double change of 
finery." And to make her believe he really intended to give her 
these gay things, he called in a tailor and a haberdasher, who 
brought some new clothes he had ordered for her, and then, giving 



her plate to the servant to take away, before she had half satisfied 
her hunger, he said: 

"What, have you dined?" 

The haberdasher presented a cap, saying, "Here is the cap 
your worship bespoke." On which Petruchio began to storm 
afresh, saying the cap was molded in a porringer and that it 
was no bigger than a cockle or walnut shell, desiring the haber- 
dasher to take it away and make it bigger. 

Katharine said, "I will have this; all gentlewomen wear such 
caps as these." 

"When you are gentle," replied Petruchio, "you shall have one, 
too, and not till then." 

The meat Katharine had eaten had a little revived her fallen 
spirits, and she said: "Why, sir, I trust I may have leave to 
speak, and speak I will. I am no child, no babe. Your betters 
have endured to hear me say my mind; and if you cannot, you 
had better stop your ears." 

Petruchio would not hear these angry words, for he had happily 
discovered a better way of managing his wife than keeping up a 
jangling argument with her; therefore his answer was: 

"Why, you say true; it is a paltry cap, and I love you for not 
liking it." 

"Love me, or love me not," said Katharine, "I like the cap, 
and I will have this cap or none." 

"You say you wish to see the gown," said Petruchio, still 
affecting to misunderstand her. 

The tailor then came forward and showed her a fine gown he 
had made for her. Petruchio, whose intent was that she should 
have neither cap nor gown, found as much fault with that. 

"Oh, mercy, Heaven!" said he, "what stuff" is here! What, do 
you call this a sleeve? it is like a demi-cannon, carved up and 
down like an apple tart." 

The tailor said, "You bid me make it according to the fashion 
of the times"; and Katharine said she never saw a better- 
fashioned gown. This was enough for Petruchio, and privately 

[201 J 


desiring these people might be paid for their goods, and excuses 
made to them for the seemingly strange treatment he bestowed 
upon them, he with fierce words and furious gestures drove the 
tailor and the haberdasher out of the room; and then, turning 
to Katharine, he said: 

"Well, come, my Kate, we will go to your father's even in 
these mean garments we now wear." 

And then he ordered his horses, affirming they should reach 
Baptista's house by dinner-time, for that it was but seven o'clock. 
Now it was not early morning, but the very middle of the day, 
when he spoke this; therefore Katharine ventured to say, though 
modestly, being almost overcome by the vehemence of his 

"I dare assure you, sir, it is two o'clock, and will be supper- 
time before we get there." 

But Petruchio meant that she should be so completely subdued 
that she should assent to everything he said before he carried her 
to her father; and therefore, as if he were lord even of the sun 
and could command the hours, he said it. should be what time he 
pleased to have it, before he set forward. "For," he said, "what- 
ever I say or do, you still are crossing it. I will not go to-day, and 
when I go, it shall be what o'clock I say it is." 

Another day Katharine was forced to practise her newly found 
obedience, and not till he had brought her proud spirit to such a 
perfect subjection that she dared not remember there was such a 
word as contradiction would Petruchio allow her to go to her 
father's house; and even while they were upon their journey 
thither she was in danger of being turned back again, only 
because she happened to hint it was the sun when he affirmed 
the moon shone brightly at noonday. 

"Now, by my mother's son," said he, "and that is myself, 
it shall be the moon, or stars, or what I list, before I journey 
to your father's house." He then made as if he were going back 
again. But Katharine, no longer Katharine the Shrew, but the 
obedient wife, said, "Let us go forward, I pray, now we have 



come so far, and it shall be the sun, or moon, or what you please; 
and if you please to call it a rush candle henceforth, I vow it 
shall be so for me." 

This he was resolved to prove, therefore he said again, "I say 
it is the moon." 

"I know it is the moon," replied Katharine. 

"You lie. It is the blessed sun," said Petruchio. 

"Then it is the blessed sun," replied Katharine; "but sun it is 
not when you say it is not. What you will have it named, even 
so it is, and so it ever shall be for Katharine." 

Now then he suffered her to proceed on her journey; but 
further to try if this yielding humor would last, he addressed an 
old gentleman they met on the road as if he had been a young 
woman, saying to him, "Good morrow, gentle mistress"; and 
asked Katharine if she had ever beheld a fairer gentlewoman, 
praising the red and white of the old man's cheeks, and comparing 
his eyes to two bright stars; and again he addressed him, saying, 
"Fair, lovely maid, once more good day to you!" and said to his 
wife, "Sweet Kate, embrace her for her beauty's sake." 

The now completely vanquished Katharine quickly adopted 
her husband's opinion, and made her speech in like sort to the 
old gentleman, saying to him: "Young budding virgin, you are 
fair and fresh and sweet. Whither are you going, and where is 
your dwelling? Happy are the parents of so fair a child." 

"Why, how now, Kate," said Petruchio. "I hope you are 
not mad. This is a man, old and wrinkled, faded and withered, 
and not a maiden, as you say he is." 

On this Katharine said, "Pardon me, old gentleman; the sun 
has so dazzled my eyes that everything I look on seemeth green. 
Now I perceive you are a reverend father. I hope you will pardon 
me for my sad mistake." 

"Do, good old grandsire," said Petruchio, "and tell us which 

way you are traveling. We shall be glad of your good company, 

if you are going our way." 

The old gentleman replied : " Fair sir, andTyou, my merry mis- 

( 203 ] 


tress, your strange encounter has much amazed me. My name is 
Vincentio, and I am going to visit a son of mine who lives at 

Then Petruchio knew the old gentleman to be the father of 
Lucentio, a young gentleman who was to be married to Baptista's 
younger daughter, Bianca, and he made Vincentio very happy 
by telling him the rich marriage his son was about to make; and 
they all journeyed on pleasantly together till they came to 
Baptista's house, where there was a large company assembled 
to celebrate the wedding of Bianca and Lucentio, Baptista having 
willingly consented to the marriage of Bianca when he had got 
Katharine off his hands. 

When they entered, Baptista welcomed them to the wedding 
feast, and there was present also another newly married pair. 

Lucentio, Bianca's husband, and Hortensio, the other new- 
married man, could not forbear sly jests, which seemed to hint at 
the shrewish disposition of Petruchio's wife, and these fond bride- 
grooms seemed highly pleased with the mild tempers of the ladies 
they had chosen, laughing at Petruchio for his less fortunate 
choice. Petruchio took little notice of their jokes till the ladies 
were retired after dinner, and then he perceived Baptista himself 
joined in the laugh against him, for when Petruchio affirmed that 
his wife would prove more obedient than theirs, the father of 
Katharine said, "Now, in good sadness, son Petruchio, I fear 
you have got the veriest shrew of all." 

"Well," said Petruchio, "I say no, and therefore, for assurance 
that I speak the truth, let us each one send for his wife, and he 
whose wife is most obedient to come at first when she is sent for 
shall win a wager which we will propose." 

To this the other two husbands willingly consented, for they 
were confident that their gentle wives would prove more obedient 
than the headstrong Katharine, and they proposed a wager of 
twenty crowns. But Petruchio merrily said he would lay as 
much as that upon his hawk or hound, but twenty times as much 
upon his wife. Lucentio and Hortensio raised the wager to a 



hundred crowns, and Lucentio first sent his servant to desire 
Bianca would come to him. But the servant returned, and said: 

"Sir, my mistress sends you word she is busy and cannot come." 

"How," said Petruchio, "does she say she is busy and cannot 
come? Is that an answer for a wife?" 

Then they laughed at him, and said it would be well if Katharine 
did not send him a worse answer. And now it was Hortensio's 
turn to send for his wife; and he said to his servant, "Go, and 
entreat my wife to come to me." 

"Oh ho! entreat her!" said Petruchio. 

"Nay, then, she needs must come." 

"I am afraid, sir," said Hortensio, "your wife will not be 
entreated." But presently this civil husband looked a little 
blank when the servant returned without his mistress; and he said 
to him: 

"How now? Where is my wife?" 

"Sir," said the servant, "my mistress says you have some 
goodly jest in hand, and therefore she will not come. She bids 
you come to her." 

"Worse and worse!" said Petruchio. And then he sent his 
servant, saying, "Sirrah, go to your mistress and tell her I 
command her to come to me." 

The company had scarcely time to think she would not obey 
this summons when Baptista, all in amaze, exclaimed: 

"Now, by my holidame, here comes Katharine!" 

And she entered, saying meekly to Petruchio, "What is your 
will, sir, that you send for me?" 

"Where is your sister and Hortensio's wife?" said he. 

Katharine replied, "They sit conferring by the parlor fire." 

"Go, fetch them hither!" said Petruchio. 

Away went Katharine without reply to perform her husband's 

"Here is a wonder," said Lucentio, "if you talk of a wonder." 

"And so it is," said Hortensio. "I marvel what it bodes." 

"Marry, peace it bodes," said Petruchio, "and love, and quiet 



life, and right supremacy; and, to be short, everything that is 
sweet and happy." 

Katharine's father, overjoyed to see this reformation in his 
daughter, said: "Now, fair befall thee, son Petruchio! You have 
won the wager, and I will add another twenty thousand crowns 
to her dowry, as if she were another daughter, for she is changed 
as if she had never been." 

"Nay," said Petruchio, "I will win the wager better yet, and 
show more signs of her new-built virtue and obedience." Kath- 
arine now entering with the two ladies, he continued: "See 
where she comes, and brings your froward wives as prisoners to 
her womanly persuasion. Katharine, that cap of yours does not 
become you; off with that bauble, and throw it underfoot." 

Katharine instantly took off her cap and threw it down. 

"Lord!" said Hortensio's wife, "may I never have a cause to 
sigh till I am brought to such a silly pass!" 

And Bianca, she, too, said, "Fie! what foolish duty call you 

On this Bianca's husband said to her, "I wish your duty were 
as foolish, too! The wisdom of your duty, fair Bianca, has cost 
me a hundred crowns since dinner-time." 

"The more fool you," said Bianca, "for laying on my duty." 

"Katharine," said Petruchio, "I charge you tell these head- 
strong women what duty they owe their lords and husbands." 

And to the wonder of all present, the reformed shrewish lady 
spoke as eloquently in praise of the wifelike duty of obedience 
as she had practised it implicitly in a ready submission to Pe- 
truchio's will. And Katharine once more became famous in 
Padua, not as heretofore as Katharine the Shrew, but as Kath- 
arine the most obedient and duteous wife in Padua. 



^•-^HE states of Syracuse and Ephesus being 
at variance, there was a cruel law made 
at Ephesus, ordaining that if any mer- 
chant of Syracuse was seen in the city 
of Ephesus he was to be put to death, 
unless he could pay a thousand marks 
for the ransom of his life. 

iEgeon, an old merchant of Syracuse, 
was discovered in the streets of Ephesus, 
and brought before the duke, either to pay this heavy fine or 
to receive sentence of death. 

iEgeon had no money to pay the fine, and the duke, before he 
pronounced the sentence of death upon him, desired him to relate 
the history of his life, and to tell for what cause he had ventured 
to come to the city of Ephesus, which it was death for any 
Syracusan merchant to enter. 

iEgeon said that he did not fear to die, for sorrow had made 
him weary of his life, but that a heavier task could not have 
been imposed upon him than to relate the events of his unfortu- 
nate life. He then began his own history, in the following words: 
"I was born at Syracuse, and brought up to the profession 
of a merchant. I married a lady, with whom I lived very 
happily, but, being obliged to go to Epidamnum, I was detained 
there by my business six months, and then, finding I should be 
obliged to stay some time longer, I sent for my wife, who, as soon 
as she arrived, was brought to bed of two sons, and what was very 
strange, they were both so exactly alike that it was impossible 
to distinguish the one from the other. At the same time that my 
wife was brought to bed of these twin boys a poor woman in the 



inn where my wife lodged was brought to bed of two sons, and 
these twins were as much like each other as my two sons were. 
The parents of these children being exceeding poor, I bought the 
two boys and brought them up to attend upon my sons. 

"My sons were very fine children, and my wife was not a little 
proud of two such boys; and she daily wishing to return home, 
I unwillingly agreed, and in an evil hour we got on shipboard, for 
we had not sailed above a league from Epidamnum before a 
dreadful storm arose, which continued with such violence that 
the sailors, seeing no chance of saving the ship, crowded into the 
boat to save their own lives, leaving us alone in the ship, which 
we every moment expected would be destroyed by the fury of 
the storm. 

"The incessant weeping of my wife and the piteous complaints 
of the pretty babes, who, not knowing what to fear, wept for 
fashion, because they saw their mother weep, filled me with 
terror for them, though I did not for myself fear death; and 
all my thoughts were bent to contrive means for their safety. 
I tied my youngest son to the end of a small spare mast, such as 
seafaring men provide against storms; at the other end I bound 
the youngest of the twin slaves, and at the same time I directed 
my wife how to fasten the other children in like manner to 
another mast. She thus having the care of the eldest two 
children, and I of the younger two, we bound ourselves separately 
to these masts with the children; and but for this contrivance we 
had all been lost, for the ship split on a mighty rock and was 
dashed in pieces; and we, clinging to these slender masts, were 
supported above the water, where I, having the care of two 
children, was unable to assist my wife, who, with the other 
children, was soon separated from me; but while they were yet in 
my sight they were taken up by a boat of fishermen, from Corinth 
(as I supposed), and, seeing them in safety, I had no care but to 
struggle with the wild sea-waves, to preserve my dear son and 
the youngest slave. At length we, in our turn, were taken up by 
a ship, and the sailors, knowing me, gave us kind welcome and 





assistance and landed us in safety at Syracuse; but from that 
sad hour I have never known what became of my wife and 
eldest child. 

"My youngest son, and now my only care, when he was 
eighteen years of age, began to be inquisitive after his mother 
and his brother, and often importuned me that he might take his 
attendant, the young slave, who had also lost his brother, and 
go in search of them. At length I unwillingly gave consent, for, 
though I anxiously desired to hear tidings of my wife and eldest 
son, yet in sending my younger one to find them I hazarded the 
loss of him also. It is now seven years since my son left me; 
five years have I passed in traveling through the world in search 
of him. I have been in farthest Greece, and through the bounds 
of Asia, and, coasting homeward, I landed here in Ephesus, being 
unwilling to leave any place unsought that harbors men; but this 
day must end the story of my life, and happy should I think my- 
self in my death if I were assured my wife and sons were living." 

Here the hapless iEgeon ended the account of his misfortunes; 
and the duke, pitying this unfortunate father who had brought 
upon himself this great peril by his love for his lost son, said 
if it were not against the laws, which his oath and dignity did not 
permit him to alter, he would freely pardon him; yet, instead 
of dooming him to instant death, as the strict letter of the law 
required, he would give him that day to try if he could beg or 
borrow the money to pay the fine. 

This day of grace did seem no great favor to .ZEgeon, for, 
not knowing any man in Ephesus, there seemed to him but little 
chance that any stranger would lend or give him a thousand 
marks to pay the fine; and, helpless and hopeless of any relief, 
he retired from the oresence of the duke in the custody of a 

iEgeon supposed he knew no person in Ephesus; but at the 
very time he was in danger of losing his life through the careful 
search he was making after his youngest son that son, and his 
eldest son also, were in the city of Ephesus- 

(.211 1 


iEgeon's sons, besides being exactly alike in face and person, 
were both named alike, being both called Antipholus, and the 
two twin slaves were also both named Dromio. iEgeon's 
youngest son, Antipholus of Syracuse, he whom the old man had 
come to Ephesus to seek, happened to arrive at Ephesus with his 
slave Dromio that very same day that JEgeon did; and he being 
also a merchant of Syracuse, he would have been in the same 
danger that his father was, but by good fortune he met a friend 
who told him the peril an old merchant of Syracuse was in, 
and advised him to pass for a merchant of Epidamnum. This 
Antipholus agreed to do, and he was sorry to hear one of his own 
countrymen was in this danger, but he little thought this old 
merchant was his own father. 

The eldest son of iEgeon (who must be called Antipholus 
of Ephesus, to distinguish him from his brother Antipholus of 
Syracuse) had lived at Ephesus twenty years, and, being a rich 
man, was well able to have paid the money for the ransom of his 
father's life; but Antipholus knew nothing of his father, being so 
young when he was taken out of the sea with his mother by the 
fishermen that he only remembered he had been so preserved; 
but he had no recollection of either his father or his mother, the 
fishermen who took up this Antipholus and his mother and the 
young slave Dromio having carried the two children away from her 
(to the great grief of that unhappy lady), intending to sell them. 

Antipholus and Dromio were sold by them to Duke Menaphon, 
a famous warrior, who was uncle to the Duke of Ephesus, and he 
carried the boys to Ephesus when he went to visit the duke, his 

The Duke of Ephesus, taking a liking to young Antipholus, 
when he grew up made him an officer in his army, in which he 
distinguished himself by his great bravery in the wars, where 
he saved the life of his patron, the duke, who rewarded his merit 
by marrying him to Adriana, a rich lady of Ephesus, with whom 
he was living (his slave Dromio still attending him) at the time 
his father came there. 



Antipholus of Syracuse, when he parted with his friend, who 
advised him to say he came from Epidamnum, gave his slave 
Dromio some money to carry to the inn where he intended to dine, 
and in the mean time he said he would walk about and view 
the city and ob- 
serve the manners 
of the people. 

Dromio was a 
pleasant fellow, 
and when An- 
tipholus was dull 
and melancholy 
he used to divert 
himself with the 
odd humors and 
merry jests of his 
slave, so that the 
freedoms of 
speech he allowed 
in Dromio were 
greater than is 
usual between 
masters and their 

When Antiph- 
olus of Syracuse 
had sent Dromio 
away, he stood 
awhile thinking 
over his solitary 
wanderings in search of his mother and his brother, of whom in no 
place where he landed could he hear the least tidings; and he said 
sorrowfully to himself, "I am like a drop of water in the ocean, 
which, seeking to find its fellow drop, loses itself in the wide sea, 
So I, unhappily, to find a mother and a brother, do lose myself/* 



While he was thus meditating on his weary travels, which had 
hitherto been so useless, Dromio (as he thought) returned. 
Antipholus, wondering that he came back so soon, asked him 
where he had left the money. Now it was not his own Dromio, 
but the twin-brother that lived with Antipholus of Ephesus, 
that he spoke to. The two Dromios and the two Antipholuses 
were still as much alike as iEgeon had said they were in their 
infancy; therefore no wonder Antipholus thought it was his 
own slave returned, and asked him why he came back so soon. 

Dromio replied: "My mistress sent me to bid you come to 
dinner. The capon burns, and the pig falls from the spit, and the 
meat will be all cold if you do not come home." 

"These jests are out of season," said Antipholus. "Where did 
you leave the money?" 

Dromio still answering that his mistress had sent him to fetch 
Antipholus to dinner, "What mistress?" said Antipholus. 

"Why, your worship's wife, sir!" replied Dromio. 

Antipholus having no wife, he was very angry with Dromio, 
and said: "Because I familiarly sometimes chat with you, you 
presume to jest with me in this free manner. I am not in a 
sportive humor now. Where is the money? We being stran- 
gers here, how dare you trust so great a charge from your own 

Dromio, hearing his master, as he thought him, talk of their 
being strangers, supposing Antipholus was jesting, replied, 
merrily: "I pray you, sir, jest as you sit at dinner. I had no 
charge but to fetch you home to dine with my mistress and her 

Now Antipholus lost all patience, and beat Dromio, who ran 
home and told his mistress that his master had refused to come 
to dinner and said that he had no wife. 

Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, was very angry 
when she heard that her husband said he had no wife; for she 
was of a jealous temper, and she said her husband meant that he 
loved another lady better than herself; and she began to fret, 



i? v-«/' 'S-cv- 




and say unkind words of jealousy and reproach of her husband; 
and her sister Luciana, who lived with her, tried in vain to 
persuade her out of her groundless suspicions. 

Antipholus of Syracuse went to the inn, and found Dromio 
with the money in safety there, and, seeing his own Dromio, 
he was going again to chide him for his free jests, when Adriana 
came up to him, and, not doubting but it was her husband she 
saw, she began to reproach him for looking strange upon her 
(as well he might, never having seen this angry lady before); 
and then she told him how well he loved her before they were 
married, and that now he loved some other lady instead of her. 

"How comes it now, my husband," said she, "oh, how comes 
it that I have lost your love?" 

"Plead you to me, fair dame?" said the astonished Antipholus. 

It was in vain he told her he was not her husband and that he 
had been in Ephesus but two hours. She insisted on his going 
home with her, and Antipholus at last, being unable to get away, 
went with her to his brother's house, and dined with Adriana 
and her sister, the one calling him husband and the other brother, 
he, all amazed, thinking he must have been married to her in 
his sleep, or that he was sleeping now. And Dromio, who fol- 
lowed them, was no less surprised, for the cook-maid, who was 
his brother's wife, also claimed him for her husband. 

While Antipholus of Syracuse was dining with his brother's 
wife, his brother, the real husband, returned home to dinner 
with his slave Dromio; but the servants would not open the door, 
because their mistress had ordered them not to admit any com- 
pany; and when they repeatedly knocked, and said they were 
Antipholus and Dromio, the maids laughed at them, and said 
that Antipholus was at dinner with their mistress, and Dromio 
was in the kitchen; and though they almost knocked the door 
down, they could not gain admittance, and at last Antipholus 
went away very angry, and strangely surprised at hearing a 
gentleman was dining with his wife. 

When Antipholus of Syracuse had finished his dinner, he was 



so perplexed at the lady's still persisting in calling him husband, 
and at hearing that Dromio had also been claimed by the cook- 
maid, that he left the house as soon as he could find any pretense 
to get away; for though he was very much pleased with Luciana, 
the sister, yet the jealous-tempered Adriana he disliked very 
much, nor was Dromio at all better satisfied with his fair wife 
in the kitchen; therefore both master and man were glad to 
get away from their new wives as fast as they could. 

The moment Antipholus of Syracuse had left the house he was 
met by a goldsmith, who, mistaking him, as Adriana had done, 
for Antipholus of Ephesus, gave him a gold chain, calling him 
by his name; and when Antipholus would have refused the chain, 
saying it did not belong to him, the goldsmith replied he made it 
by his own orders, and went away, leaving the chain in the hands 
of Antipholus, who ordered his man Dromio to get his things on 
board a ship, not choosing to stay in a place any longer where he 
met with such strange adventures that he surely thought himself 

The goldsmith who had given the chain to the wrong Antipholus 
was arrested immediately after for a sum of money he owed; 
and Antipholus, the married brother, to whom the goldsmith 
thought he had given the chain, happened to come to the place 
where the officer was arresting the goldsmith, who, when he 
saw Antipholus, asked him to pay for the gold chain he had 
just delivered to him, the price amounting to nearly the same 
sum as that for which he had been arrested. Antipholus denying 
the having received the chain, and the goldsmith persisting to 
declare that he had but a few minutes before given it to him, 
they disputed this matter a long time, both thinking they were 
right; for Antipholus knew the goldsmith never gave him the 
chain, and so like were the two brothers, the goldsmith was as 
certain he had delivered the chain into his hands, till at last the 
officer took the goldsmith away to prison for the debt he owed, 
and at the same time the goldsmith made the officer arrest 
Antipholus for the price of the chain; so that at the conclusion 



of their dispute Antipholus and the merchant were both taken 
away to prison together. 

As Antipholus was going to prison, he met Dromio of Syracuse, 
his brother's slave, and, mistaking him for his own, he ordered him 
to go to Adriana his wife, and tell her to send the money for which 
he was arrested. Dromio, wondering that his master should send 
him back to the strange house where he dined, and from which 
he had just before been in such haste to depart, did not dare 
to reply, though he came to tell his master the ship was ready to 
sail, for he saw Antipholus was in no humor to be jested with. 
Therefore he went away, grumbling within himself that he must 
return to Adriana's house, "Where," said he, "Dowsabel claims 
me for a husband. But I must go, for servants must obey their 
masters' commands." 

Adriana gave him the money, and as Dromio was returning 
he met Antipholus of Syracuse, who was still in amaze at the 
surprising adventures he met with, for, his brother being well 
known in Ephesus, there was hardly a man he met in the streets 
but saluted him as an old acquaintance. Some offered him 
money which they said was owing to him, some invited him to 
come and see them, and some gave him thanks for kindnesses 
they said he had done them, all mistaking him for his brother. 
A tailor showed him some silks he had bought for him, and 
insisted upon taking measure of him for some clothes. 

Antipholus began to think he was among a nation of sorcerers 
and witches, and Dromio did not at all relieve his master from 
his bewildered thoughts by asking him how he got free from the 
officer who was carrying him to prison, and giving him the purse 
of gold which Adriana had sent to pay the debt with. This 
talk of Dromio's of the arrest and of a prison, and of the money 
he had brought from Adriana, perfectly confounded Antipholus, 
and he said, "This fellow Dromio is certainly distracted, and we 
wander here in illusions," and, quite terrified at his own confused 
thoughts, he cried out, "Some blessed power deliver us from this 
Strange place!" 



And now another stranger came up to him, and she was a lady, 
and she, too, called him Antipholus, and told him he had dined 
with her that day, and asked him for a gold chain which she said 
he had promised to give her. Antipholus now lost all patience, 
and, calling her a sorceress, he denied that he had ever promised 
her a chain, or dined with her, or had even seen her face Lefore 
that moment. The lady persisted in affirming he had dined 
with her and had promised her a chain, which Antipholus still 
denying, she further said that she had given him a valuable ring, 
and if he would not give her the gold chain, she insisted upon 
having her own ring again. On this Antipholus became quite 
frantic, and again calling her sorceress and witch, and denying 
all knowledge of her or her ring, ran away from her, leaving her 
astonished at his words and his wild looks, for nothing to her 
appeared more certain than that he had dined with her, and that 
she had given him a ring in consequence of his promising to 
make her a present of a gold chain. But this lady had fallen 
into the same mistake the others had done, for she had taken 
him for his brother; the married Antipholus had done all the 
things she taxed this Antipholus with. 

When the married Antipholus was denied entrance into his 
house (those within supposing him to be already there) he had 
gone away very angry, believing it to be one of his wife's jealous 
freaks, to which she was very subject, and, remembering that 
she had often falsely accused him of visiting other ladies, he, to 
be revenged on her for shutting him out of his own house, de- 
termined to go and dine with this lady, and she receiving him 
with great civility, and his wife having so highly offended him, 
Antipholus promised to give her a gold chain which he had in- 
tended as a present for his wife; it was the same chain which the 
goldsmith by mistake had given to his brother. The lady liked 
so well the thoughts of having a fine gold chain that she gave 
the married Antipholus a ring; which when, as she supposed 
(taking his brother for him), he denied, and said he did not 
know her, and left her in such a wild passion, she began to 



think he was certainly out of his senses; and presently she resolved 
to go and tell Adriana that her husband was mad. And while she 
was telling it to Adriana he came, attended by the jailer (who 
allowed him to come home to get the money to pay the debt), 
for the purse of money which Adriana had sent by Dromio and 
he had delivered to the other Antipholus. 

Adriana believed the story the lady told her of her husband's 
madness must be true when he reproached her for shutting him 
out of his own house; and remembering how he had protested 
all dinner-time that he was not her husband and had never 
been in Ephesus till that day, she had no doubt that he was 
mad; she therefore paid the jailer the money, and, having 
discharged him, she ordered her servants to bind her husband 
with ropes, and had him conveyed into a dark room, and 
sent for a doctor to come and cure him of his madness, 
Antipholus all the while hotly exclaiming against this false 
accusation, which the exact likeness he bore to his brother 
had brought upon him. But his rage only the more con- 
firmed them in the belief that he was mad; and Dromio per- 
sisting in the same story, they bound him also and took him 
away along with his master. 

Soon after Adriana had put her husband into confinement a 
servant came to tell her that Antipholus and Dromio must have 
broken loose from their keepers, for that they were both walking 
at liberty in the next street. On hearing this Adriana ran out to 
fetch him home, taking some people with her to secure her husband 
again; and her sister went along with her. When they came to 
the gates of a convent in their neighborhood, there they saw 
Antipholus and Dromio, as they thought, being again deceived 
by the likeness of the twin brothers. 

Antipholus of Syracuse was still beset with the perplexities 
this likeness had brought upon him. The chain which the gold- 
smith had given him was about his neck, and the goldsmith was 
reproaching him for denying that he had it and refusing to pay 

for it, and Antipholus was protesting that the goldsmith freely 



gave him the chain in the morning, and that from that hour he 
had never seen the goldsmith again. 

And now Adriana came up to him and claimed him as her 
lunatic husband who had escaped from his keepers, and the men 
she brought with her were going to lay violent hands on Antipholus 
and Dromio; but they ran into the convent, and Antipholus 
begged the abbess to give him shelter in her house. 

And now came out the lady abbess herself to inquire into the 
cause of this disturbance. She was a grave and venerable lady, 
and wise to judge of what she saw, and she would not too hastily 
give up the man who had sought protection in her house; so 
she strictly questioned the wife about the story she told of her 
husband's madness, and she said: 

"What is the cause of this sudden distemper of your husband's? 
Has he lost his wealth at sea ? Or is it the death of some dear 
friend that has disturbed his mind?" 

Adriana replied that no such things as these had been the cause. 

"Perhaps," said the abbess, "he has fixed his affections on some 
other lady than you, his wife, and that has driven him to this 

Adriana said she had long thought the love of some other lady 
was the cause of his frequent absences from home. 

Now it was not his love for another, but the teasing jealousy of 
his wife's temper, that often obliged Antipholus to leave his 
home; and the abbess (suspecting this from the vehemence of 
Adriana's manner), to learn the truth, said: 

"You should have reprehended him for this." 

"Why, so I did," replied Adriana. 

"Aye," said the abbess, "but perhaps not enough." 

Adriana, willing to convince the abbess that she had said 
enough to Antipholus on this subject, replied: "It was the 
constant subject of our conversation; in bed I would not let 
him sleep for speaking of it. At table I would not let him 
eat for speaking of it. When I was alone with him I talked 

of nothing else; and in company I gave him frequent hints 



of it. Still all my talk was how vile and bad it was in him 
to love any lady better than me." 

The lady abbess, having drawn this full confession from the 
jealous Adriana, now said: "And therefore comes it that your 
husband is mad. The venomous clamor of a jealous woman is 
a more deadly poison than a mad dog's tooth. It seems his 
sleep was hindered by your railing; no wonder that his head is 
light; and his meat was sauced with your upbraidings; unquiet 
meals make ill digestions, and that has thrown him into this 
fever. You say his sports were disturbed by your brawls; being 
debarred from the enjoyment of society and recreation, what 
could ensue but dull melancholy and comfortless despair? The 
consequence is, then, that your jealous fits have made your 
husband mad." 

Luciana would have excused her sister, saying she always repre- 
hended her husband mildly; and she said to her sister, "Why 
do you hear these rebukes without answering them?" 

But the abbess had made her so plainly perceive her fault 
that she could only answer, "She has betrayed me to my own 

Adriana, though ashamed of her own conduct, still insisted 
on having her husband delivered up to her; but the abbess 
would suffer no person to enter her house, nor would she deliver 
up this unhappy man to the care of the jealous wife, determining 
herself to use gentle means for his recovery, and she retired into 
her house again, and ordered her gates to be shut against them. 

During the course of this eventful day, in which so many errors 
had happened from the likeness the twin brothers bore to each 
other, old iEgeon's day of grace was passing away, it being now 
near sunset; and at sunset he was doomed to die if he could not 
pay the money. 

The place of his execution was near this convent, and here he 
arrived just as the abbess retired into the convent; the duke 
attending in person, that, if any offered to pay the money, he 
might be present to pardon him. 

[ 223 ] 


Adriana stopped this melancholy procession, and cried out to 
the duke for justice, telling him that the abbess had refused to 
deliver up her lunatic husband to her care. While she was 
speaking, her real husband and his servant, Dromio, who had got 
loose, came before the duke to demand justice, complaining that 
his wife had confined him on a false charge of lunacy, and telling 
in what manner he had broken his bands and eluded the vigilance 
of his keepers. Adriana was strangely surprised to see her 
husband when she thought he had been within the convent. 

iEgeon, seeing his son, concluded this was the son who had 
left him to go in search of his mother and his brother, and he 
felt secure that this dear son would readily pay the money 
demanded for his ransom. He therefore spoke to Antipholus in 
words of fatherly affection, with joyful hope that he should now 
be released. But, to the utter astonishment of iEgeon, his son 
denied all knowledge of him, as well he might, for this Antipholus 
had never seen his father since they were separated in the storm 
in his infancy. But while the poor old iEgeon was in vain 
endeavoring to make his son acknowledge him, thinking surely 
that either his griefs and the anxieties he had suffered had so 
strangely altered him that his son did not know him or else 
that he was ashamed to acknowledge his father in his misery — 
in the midst of this perplexity the lady abbess and the other 
Antipholus and Dromio came out, and the wondering Adriana 
saw two husbands and two Dromios standing before her. 

And now these riddling errors, which had so perplexed them 
all, were clearly made out. When the duke saw the two An- 
tipholuses and the two Dromios both so exactly alike, he at once 
conjectured aright of these seeming mysteries, for he remembered 
the story iEgeon had told him in the morning; and he said 
these men must be the two sons of iEgeon and their twin slaves. 

But now an unlooked-for joy indeed completed the history 
of iEgeon; and the tale he had in the morning told in sorrow, 
and under sentence of death, before the setting sun went down 
was brought to a happy conclusion, for the venerable lady abbess 

[ 224 ] 


made herself known to be the long-lost wife of ^geon and the 
fond mother of the two Antipholuses. 

When the fishermen took the eldest Antipholus and Dromio 
away from her, she entered a nunnery, and by her wise and virtu- 
ous conduct she was at length made lady abbess of this convent 
and in discharging the rites of hospitality to an unhappy stranger 
she had unknowingly protected her own son. 

Joyful congratulations and affectionate greetings between 
these long-separated parents and their children made them for a 
while forget that iEgeon was yet under sentence of death. When 
they were become a little calm, Antipholus of Ephesus offered 
the duke the ransom money for his father's life; but the duke 
freely pardoned iEgeon, and would not take the money. And 
the duke went with the abbess and her newly found husband 
and children into the convent, to hear this happy family discourse 
at leisure of the blessed ending of their adverse fortunes. And 
the two Dromios' humble joy must not be forgotten; they had 
their congratulations and greetings, too, and each Dromio 
pleasantly complimented his brother on his good looks, being 
well pleased to see his own person (as in a glass) show so handsome 
in his brother. 

Adriana had so well profited by the good counsel of her mother- 
in-law that she never after cherished unjust suspicions nor was 
jealous of her husband. 

Antipholus of Syracuse married the fair Luciana, the sister 
of his brother's wife; and the good old iEgeon, with his wife and 
sons, lived at Ephesus many years. Nor did the unraveling 
of these perplexities so entirely remove every ground of mistake 
for the future but that sometimes, to remind them of adventures 
past, comical blunders would happen, and the one Antipholus, 
and the one Dromio, be mistaken for the other, making altogether 
a pleasant and diverting Comedy of Errors. 



]N the city of Vienna there once reigned 
a duke of such a mild and gentle temper 
that he suffered his subjects to neglect 
the laws with impunity; and there was 
in particular one law the existence of 
which was almost forgotten, the duke 
never having put it in force during his 
whole reign. This was a law dooming 
any man to the punishment of death 
who should live with a woman that was not his wife; and this 
law, through the lenity of the duke, being utterly disregarded, 
the holy institution of marriage became neglected, and complaints 
were every day made to the duke by the parents of the young 
ladies in Vienna that their daughters had been seduced from 
their protection and were living as the companions of single men. 
The good duke perceived with sorrow this growing evil among 
his subjects; but he thought that a sudden change in himself 
from the indulgence he had hitherto shown, to the strict severity 
requisite to check this abuse, would make his people (who had 
hitherto loved him) consider him as a tyrant; therefore he de- 
termined to absent himself awhile from his dukedom and depute 
another to the full exercise of his power, that the law against 
these dishonorable lovers might be put in effect, without giving 
offense by an unusual severity in his own person. 

Angelo, a man who bore the reputation of a saint in Vienna 
for his strict and rigid life, was chosen by the duke as a fit person 
to undertake this important charge; and when the duke in> 
parted his design to Lord Escalus, his chief counselor, Escalus 




"If any man in Vienna be of worth to undergo such ample 
grace and honor, it is Lord Angelo." 

And now the duke departed from Vienna under pretense of 
making a journey into Poland, leaving Angelo to act as the lord 
deputy in his absence; but the duke's absence was only a feigned 
one, for he privately returned to Vienna, 
habited like a friar, with the intent to 
watch unseen the conduct of the saintly 
seeming Angelo. 

It happened just about the time that 
Angelo was invested with his new dignity 
that a gentleman, whose name was 
Claudio, had seduced a young lady from 
her parents; and for this offense, by 
command of the new lord deputy, 
Claudio was taken up and committed to 
prison, and by virtue of the old law 
which had been so long neglected An- 
gelo sentenced Claudio to be beheaded. 
Great interest was made for the pardon 
of young Claudio, and the good old 
Lord Escalus himself interceded for him. 

"Alas!" said he, "this gentleman 
whom I would save had an honorable father, for whose sake I 
pray you pardon the young man's transgression." 

But Angelo replied: "We must not make a scarecrow of the 
law, setting it up to frighten birds of prey, till custom, finding it 
harmless, makes it their perch and not their terror. Sir, he must 

Lucio, the friend of Claudio, visited him in the prison, and 
Claudio said to him: "I pray you, Lucio, do me this kind service. 
Go to my sister Isabel, who this day proposes to enter the convent 
of Saint Clare; acquaint her with the danger of my state; implore 
her that she make friends with the strict deputy; bid her go 
herself to Angelo. I have great hopes in that; for she can dis- 



course with prosperous art, and well she can persuade; besides, 
there is a speechless dialect in youthful sorrow such as moves men." 

Isabel, the sister of Claudio, had, as he said, that day entered 
upon her novitiate in the convent, and it was her intent, after 
passing through her probation as a novice, to take the veil, and 
she was inquiring of a nun concerning the rules of the convent 
when they heard the voice of Lucio, who, as he entered that 
religious house, said, "Peace be in this place!" 

"Who is it that speaks?" said Isabel. 

"It is a man's voice," replied the nun. "Gentle Isabel, go 
to him, and learn his business; you may, I may not. When 
you have taken the veil, you must not speak with men but in the 
presence of the prioress; then if you speak you must not show 
your face, or if you show your face you must not speak." 

"And have you nuns no further privileges?" said Isabel. 

"Are not these large enough ?" replied the nun. 

"Yes, truly," said Isabel. "I speak not as desiring more, but 
rather wishing a more strict restraint upon the sisterhood, the 
votarists of Saint Clare." 

Again they heard the voice of Lucio, and the nun said: "He 
calls again. I pray you answer him." 

Isabel then went out to Lucio, and in answer to his salutation, 
said: "Peace and Prosperity! Who is it that calls?" 

Then Lucio, approaching her with reverence, said: "Hail, 
virgin, if such you be, as the roses on your cheeks proclaim you 
are no less! Can you bring me to the sight of Isabel, a novice of 
this place, and the fair sister to her unhappy brother Claudio?" 

"Why her unhappy brother?" said Isabel, "let me ask! for 
I am that Isabel and his sister." 

"Fair and gentle lady," he replied, "your brother kindly greets 
you by me; he is in prison." 

"Woe is me! for what?" said Isabel. 

Lucio then told her Claudio was imprisoned for seducing a 
young maiden. "Ah," said she, "I fear it is my cousin Juliet." 

Juliet and Isabel were not related, but they called each other 

I 228 J 


cousin in remembrance of their school-days' friendship; and as 
Isabel knew that Juliet loved Claudio, she feared she had been 
led by her affection for him into this transgression. 

"She it is," replied Lucio. 

"Why, then, let my brother marry Juliet," said Isabel. 

Lucio replied that Claudio would gladly marry Juliet, but that 
the lord deputy had sentenced him 
to die for his offense. "Unless," 
said he, "you have the grace by 
your fair prayer to soften Angelo, 
and that is my business between you 
and your poor brother." 

"Alas!" said Isabel, "what poor 
ability is there in me to do him good? 
I doubt I have no power to move 

"Our doubts are traitors," said 
Lucio, "and make us lose the good 
we might often win, by fearing to 
attempt it. Go to Lord Angelo! 
When maidens sue and kneel and 
weep men give like gods." 

"I will see what I can do," said 
Isabel. "I will but stay to give the 
prioress notice of the affair, and then I will go to Angelo. 
Commend me to my brother. Soon at night I will send him 
word of my success." 

Isabel hastened to the palace and threw herself on her knees 
before Angelo, saying, "I am a woeful suitor to your Honor, if it 
will please your Honor to hear me." 

"Well, what is your suit?" said Angelo. 

She then made her petition in the most moving terms for her 
brother's life. 

But Angelo said, "Maiden, there is no remedy; your brother 
is sentenced, and he must die." 

1 229 J 


"Oh, just but severe law!" said Isabel. "I had a brother then. 
Heaven keep your Honor!" and she was about to depart. 

But Lucio, who had accompanied her, said: "Give it not over 
so; return to him again, entreat him, kneel down before him, 
hang upon his gown. You are too cold; if you should need a 
pin, you could not with a more tame tongue desire it." 

Then again Isabel on her knees implored for mercy. 

"He is sentenced," said Angelo. "It is too late." 

"Too late!" said Isabel. "Why, no! I that do speak a word 
may call it back again. Believe this, my lord, no ceremony 
that to great ones belongs, not the king's crown, nor the deputed 
sword, the marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, becomes 
them with one half so good a grace as mercy does." 

"Pray you begone," said Angelo. 

But still Isabel entreated; and she said: "If my brother had 
been as you, and you as he, you might have slipped like him, but he, 
like you, would not have been so stern. I would to Heaven I had 
your power and you were Isabel. Should it then be thus? No, I 
would tell you what it were to be a judge, and what a prisoner." 

"Be content, fair maid!" said Angelo: "it is the law, not I, 
condemns your brother. Were he my kinsman, my brother, or 
my son, it should be thus with him. He must die to-morrow." 

"To-morrow?" said Isabel. "Oh, that is sudden! Spare him, 
spare him. He is not prepared for death. Even for our kitchens 
we kill the fowl in season; shall we serve Heaven with less respect 
than we minister to our gross selves? Good, good, my lord, be- 
think you, none have died for my brother's offense, though many 
have committed it. So you would be the first that gives this sen- 
tence and he the first that suffers it. Go to your own bosom, my 
lord; knock there, and ask your heart what it does know that is 
like my brother's fault; if it confess a natural guiltiness such as 
his is, let it not sound a thought against my brother's life!" 

Her last words more moved Angelo than all she had before 
said, for the beauty of Isabel had raised a guilty passion in 
his heart and he began to form thoughts of dishonorable love, 



such as Claudio's crime had been, and the conflict in his 
mind made him to turn away from Isabel; but she called 
him back, saying: "Gentle my lord, turn back. Hark, how 
I will bribe you. Good my lord, turn back!" 

"How! bribe 
me?" said Angelo, 
astonished that 
she should think 
of offering him a 

"Aye," said 
Isabel, "with such 
gifts that Heaven 
itself shall share 
with you ; not with 
golden treasures, 
or those glittering 
stones whose price 
is either rich or 
poor as fancy 
values them, but 
with true prayers 
that shall be up 
to Heaven before 
sunrise — prayers 
from preserved 
souls, from fasting 
maids whose 
minds are dedi- 
cated to nothing 

"Well, come to me to-morrow," said Angelo. 

And for this short respite of her brother's life, and for this 
permission that she might be heard again, she left him with 
the joyful hope that she should at last prevail over his stern 



nature. And as she went away she said: "Heaven keep your 
Honor safe! Heaven save your Honor!" Which, when Angelo 
heard, he said within his heart, "Amen, I would be saved from 
thee and from thy virtues." And then, affrighted at his own 
evil thoughts, he said: "What is this? What is this? Do I 
love her, that I desire to hear her speak again and feast upon 
her eyes? What is it I dream on? The cunning enemy of man- 
kind, to catch a saint, with saints does bait the hook. Never 
could an immodest woman once stir my temper, but this virtuous 
woman subdues me quite. Even till now, when men were fond, 
I smiled and wondered at them." 

In the guilty conflict in his mind Angelo suffered more that 
night than the prisoner he had so severely sentenced; for in the 
prison Claudio was visited by the good duke, who, in his friar's 
habit, taught the young man the way to heaven, preaching to 
him the words of penitence and peace. But Angelo felt all the 
pangs of irresolute guilt, now wishing to seduce Isabel from the 
paths of innocence and honor, and now suffering remorse and 
horror for a crime as yet but intentional. But in the end his evil 
thoughts prevailed; and he who had so lately started at the 
offer of a bribe resolved to tempt this maiden with so high a 
bribe as she might not be able to resist, even with the precious 
gift of her dear brother's life. 

When Isabel came in the morning Angelo desired she might 
be admitted alone to his presence; and being there, he said to her, 
if she would yield to him her virgin honor and transgress even as 
Juliet had done with Claudio, he would give her her brother's 

"For," said he, "I love you, Isabel." 

"My brother," said Isabel, "did so love Juliet, and yet you 
tell me he shall die for it." 

"But," said Angelo, "Claudio shall not die if you will consent 
to visit me by stealth at night, even as Juliet left her father's 
house at night to come to Claudio." 

Isabel, in amazement at his words, that he should tempt her 

[23 2 1 


to the same fault for which he passed sentence upon her brother, 
said, "I would do as much for my poor brother as for myself; 
that is, were I under sentence of death, the impression of keen 
whips I would wear as rubies, and go to my death as to a bed 
that longing I had been sick for, ere I would yield myself up to 
this shame." And then she told him she hoped he only spoke 
these words to try her virtue. 

But he said, "Believe me, on my honor, my words express my 

Isabel, angered to the heart to hear him use the word honor 
to express such dishonorable purposes, said: "Ha! little honor 
to be much believed; and most pernicious purpose. I will 
proclaim thee, Angelo, look for it! Sign me a present pardon 
for my brother, or I will tell the world aloud what man thou 

"Who will believe you, Isabel?" said Angelo; "my unsoiled 
name, the austereness of my life, my word vouched against yours, 
will outweigh your accusation. Redeem your brother by yielding 
to my will, or he shall die to-morrow. As for you, say what you 
can, my false will overweigh your true story. Answer me 

"To whom should I complain? Did I tell this, who would 
believe me?" said Isabel, as she went toward the dreary prison 
where her brother was confined. When she arrived there her 
brother was in pious conversation with the duke, who in his 
friar's habit had also visited Juliet and brought both these guilty 
lovers to a proper sense of their fault; and unhappy Juliet with 
tears and a true remorse confessed that she was more to blame 
than Claudio, in that she willingly consented to his dishonorable 

As Isabel entered the room where Claudio was confined, she 
said, "Peace be here, grace, and good company!" 

"Who is there?" said the disguised duke. "Come in; the wish 
deserves a welcome." 

" My business is a word or two with Claudio," said Isabel. 



Then the duke left them together, and desired the provost who 
had the charge of the prisoners to place him where he might over- 
hear their conversation. 

"Now, sister, what is the comfort?" said Claudio. 

Isabel told him he must prepare for death on the morrow. 

"Is there no remedy?" said Claudio. 

"Yes, brother," replied Isabel, "there is; but such a one as 
if you consented to it would strip your honor from you and 
leave you naked." 

"Let me know the point," said Claudio. 

"Oh, I do fear you, Claudio!" replied his sister; "and I quake, 
lest you should wish to live, and more respect the trifling term 
of six or seven winters added to your life than your perpetual 
honor! Do you dare to die? The sense of death is most in appre- 
hension, and the poor beetle that we tread upon feels a pang as 
great as when a giant dies." 

"Why do you give me this shame?" said Claudio. "Think you 
I can fetch a resolution from flowery tenderness? If I must 
die, I will encounter darkness as a bride and hug it in my arms." 

"There spoke my brother," said Isabel; "there my father's 
grave did utter forth a voice! Yes, you must die; yet would 
you think it, Claudio, this outward sainted deputy, if I would 
yield to him my virgin honor, would grant your life? Oh, were 
it but my life, I would lay it down for your deliverance as frankly 
as a pin!" 

"Thanks, dear Isabel," said Claudio. 

"Be ready to die to-morrow," said Isabel. 

"Death is a fearful thing," said Claudio. 

"And shamed life a hateful," replied his sister. 

But the thoughts of death now overcame the constancy of 
Claudio's temper, and terrors, such as the guilty only at their 
deaths do know, assailing him, he cried out: "Sweet sister, let 
me live! The sin you do to save a brother's life, nature dispenses 
with the deed so far that it becomes a virtue." 

"O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!" said Isabel. ' 'Would 




you preserve your life by your sister's shame? Oh, fie, fie, fie! 
I thought, my brother, you had in you such a mind of honor that, 
had you twenty heads to render up on twenty blocks, you would 
have yielded them up all before your sister should stoop to such 

"Nay, hear me, Isabel!" said Claudio. 

But what he would have said in defense of his weakness in 
desiring to live by the dishonor of 
his virtuous sister was interrupted 
by the entrance of the duke; who 

"Claudio, I have overheard what 
has passed between you and your 
sister. Angelo had never the pur- 
pose to corrupt her; what he said, 
has only been to make trial of her 
virtue. She, having the truth of 
honor in her, has given him that 
gracious denial which he is most 
glad to receive. There is no hope 
that he will pardon you; therefore 
pass your hours in prayer, and make 
ready for death." 

Then Claudio repented of his 
weakness, and said: "Let me ask 
my sister's pardon! I am so out of love with life that I will 
sue to be rid of it." And Claudio retired, overwhelmed with 
shame and sorrow for his fault. 

The duke, being now alone with Isabel, commended her virtuous 
resolution, saying, "The hand that made you fair has made you 

"Oh," said Isabel, "how much is the good duke deceived in 
Angelo! if ever he return, and I can speak to him, I will discover 
his government." Isabel knew not that she was even now making 
the discovery she threatened. 

I 237 1 


The duke replied: "That shall not be much amiss; yet as the 
matter now stands, Angelo will repel your accusation; there- 
fore lend an attentive ear to my advisings. I believe that you 
may most righteously do a poor wronged lady a merited 
benefit, redeem your brother from the angry law, do no stain 
to your own most gracious person, and much please the 
absent duke, if peradventure he shall ever return to have 
notice of this business." 

Isabel said she had a spirit to do anything he desired, provided 
it was nothing wrong. 

"Virtue is bold and never fearful," said the duke: and then 
he asked her, if she had ever heard of Mariana, the sister of 
Frederick, the great soldier who was drowned at sea. 

"I have heard of the lady," said Isabel, "and good words went 
with her name." 

"This lady," said the duke, "is the wife of Angelo; but her 
marriage dowry was on board the vessel in which her brother 
perished, and mark how heavily this befell to the poor gentle- 
woman! for, besides the loss of a most noble and renowned brother, 
who in his love toward her was ever most kind and natural, in 
the wreck of her fortune she lost the affections of her husband, 
the well-seeming Angelo, who, pretending to discover some 
dishonor in this honorable lady (though the true cause was the 
loss of her dowry), left her in her tears and dried not one of them 
with his comfort. His unjust unkindness, that in all reason should 
have quenched her love, has, like an impediment in the current, 
made it more unruly, and Mariana loves her cruel husband with 
the full continuance of her first affection." 

The duke then more plainly unfolded his plan. It was that 
Isabel should go to Lord Angelo and seemingly consent to come 
to him as he desired at midnight; that by this means she would 
obtain the promised pardon; and that Mariana should go in her 
stead to the appointment, and pass herself upon Angelo in the 
dark for Isabel. 

"Nor, gentle daughter," said the feigned friar, "fear you to 


do this thing. Angelo is her husband, and to bring them thus 
together is no sin." 

Isabel, being pleased with this project, departed to do as he 
directed her; and he went to apprise Mariana of their intention. 
He had before this time visited this unhappy lady in his assumed 
character, giving her religious instruction and friendly consola- 
tion, at which times he had learned her sad story from her own 
lips; and now she, looking upon him as a holy man, readily con- 
sented to be directed by him in this undertaking. 

When Isabel returned from her interview with Angelo, to the 
house of Mariana, where the duke had appointed her to meet 
him, he said: "Well met, and in good time. What is the news 
from this good deputy?" 

Isabel related the manner in which she had settled the affair. 
'"Angelo," said she, "has a garden surrounded with a brick wall, 
on the western side of which is a vineyard, and to that vineyard 
is a gate." And then she showed to the duke and Mariana two 
keys that Angelo had given her; and she said: "This bigger key 
opens the vineyard gate; this other a little door which leads from 
the vineyard to the garden. There I have made my promise at 
the dead of the night to call upon him, and have got from him his 
word of assurance for my brother's life. I have taken a due and 
wary note of the place; and with whispering and most guilty dili- 
gence he showed me the way twice over." 

"Are there no other tokens agreed upon between you, that 
Mariana must observe?" said the duke. 

"No, none," said Isabel, "only to go when it is dark. I have 
told him my time can be but short; for I have made him think 
a servant comes along with me, and that this servant is persuaded 
I come about my brother." 

The duke commended her discreet management, and she, 
turning to Mariana, said, "Little have you to say to Angelo, 
when you depart from him, but soft and low, Remember now my 

Mariana was that night conducted to the appointed place by 



Isabel, who rejoiced that she had, as she supposed, by this device 
preserved both her brother's life and her own honor. But that 
her brother's life was safe the duke was not well satisfied, and 
therefore at midnight he again repaired to the prison, and it was 
well for Claudio that he did so, else would Claudio have that 
night been beheaded; for soon after the duke entered the prison 
an order came from the cruel deputy commanding that Claudio 
should be beheaded and his head sent to him by five o'clock in 
the morning. But the duke persuaded the provost to put off" 
the execution of Claudio, and to deceive Angelo by sending him 
the head of a man who died that morning in the prison. And to 
prevail upon the provost to agree to this, the duke, whom still 
the provost suspected not to be anything more or greater than he 
seemed, showed the provost a letter written with the duke's 
hand, and sealed with his seal, which when the provost saw, he 
concluded this friar must have some secret order from the absent 
duke, and therefore he consented to spare Claudio; and he cut 
off the dead man's head and carried it to Angelo. 

Then the duke in his own name wrote to Angelo a letter saying 
that certain accidents had put a stop to his journey and that he 
should be in Vienna by the following morning, requiring Angelo 
to meet him at the entrance of the city, there to deliver up his 
authority; and the duke also commanded it to be proclaimed 
that if any of his subjects craved redress for injustice they should 
exhibit their petitions in the street on his first entrance into the 

Early in the morning Isabel came to the prison, and the duke, 
who there awaited her coming, for secret reasons thought it good 
to tell her that Claudio was beheaded; therefore when Isabel 
inquired if Angelo had sent the pardon for her brother, he said: 

"Angelo has released Claudio from this world. His head is 
off and sent to the deputy." 

The much-grieved sister cried out, "O unhappy Claudio, 
wretched Isabel, injurious world, most wicked Angelo!" 

The seeming friar bid her take comfort, and when she was be- 



come a little calm he acquainted her with the near prospect of 
the duke's return and told her in what manner she should proceed 
in preferring her complaint against Angelo; and he bade her not 
fear if the cause should seem to go against her for a while. Leav- 
ing Isabel sufficiently instructed, he next went to Mariana and 
gave her counsel in what manner she also should act. 

Then the duke laid aside his friar's habit, and in his own royal 
robes, amid a joyful crowd of his faithful subjects assembled to 
greet his arrival, entered the city of Vienna, where he was met 
by Angelo, who delivered up his authority in the proper form. 
And there came Isabel, in the manner of a petitioner for redress, 
and said: 

"Justice, most royal duke! I am the sister of one Claudio, 
who, for the seducing a young maid, was condemned to lose his 
head. I made my suit to lord Angelo for my brother's pardon. 
It were needless to tell your Grace how I prayed and kneeled, 
how he repelled me, and how I replied; for this was of much 
length. The vile conclusion I now begin with grief and pain to 
utter. Angelo would not, but by my yielding to his dishonorable 
love, release my brother; and after much debate within myself 
my sisterly remorse overcame my virtue, and I did yield to him. 
But the next morning betimes, Angelo, forfeiting his promise, 
sent a warrant for my poor brother's head!" 

The duke affected to disbelieve her story; and Angelo said that 
grief for her brother's death, who had suffered by the due course 
of the law, had disordered her senses. 

And now another suitor approached, which was Mariana; and 
Mariana said: "Noble prince, as there comes light from heaven 
and truth from breath, as there is sense in truth and truth in 
virtue, I am this man's wife, and, my good lord, the words of 
Isabel are false, for the night she says she was with Angelo I 
passed that night with him in the garden-house. As this is true 
let me in safety rise, or else forever be fixed here a marble monu- 

Then did Isabel appeal for the truth of what she had said to 
16 [ 2 4i 1 


Friar Lodowick, that being the name the duke had assumed in 
his disguise. Isabel and Mariana had both obeyed his instruc- 
tions in what they said, the duke intending that the innocence of 
Isabel should be plainly proved in that public manner before 
the whole city of Vienna; but Angelo little thought that it was 
from such a cause that they thus differed in their story, and he 
hoped from their contradictory evidence to be able to clear him- 
self from the accusation of Isabel; and he said, assuming the look 
of offended innocence: 

"I did but smile till now; but, good my lord, my patience 
here is touched, and I perceive these poor, distracted women are 
but the instruments of some greater one who sets them on. Let 
me have way, my lord, to find this practice out." 

"Aye, with all my heart," said the duke, "and punish them to 
the height of your pleasure. You, Lord Escalus, sit with Lord 
Angelo, lend him your pains to discover this abuse; the friar is 
sent for that set them on, and when he comes do with your in- 
juries as may seem best in any chastisement. I for a while will 
leave you, but stir not you, Lord Angelo, till you have well de- 
termined upon this slander." The duke then went away, leaving 
Angelo well pleased to be deputed judge and umpire in his own 
cause. But the duke was absent only while he threw off his 
royal robes and put on his friar's habit; and in that disguise again 
he presented himself before Angelo and Escalus. And the good 
old Escalus, who thought Angelo had been falsely accused, said 
to the supposed friar, "Come, sir, did you set these women on to 
slander Lord Angelo?" 

He replied: "Where is the duke? It is he who should hear me 

Escalus said: "The duke is in us, and we will hear you. Speak 

"Boldly, at least," retorted the friar; and then he blamed the 
duke for leaving the cause of Isabel in the hands of him she had 
accused, and spoke so freely of many corrupt practices he had 
observed while, as he said, he had been a looker-on in Vienna, that 



Escalus threatened him with the torture for speaking words 
against the state and for censuring the conduct of the duke, and 
ordered him to be taken away to prison. Then, to the amaze- 
ment of all present, and to the utter confusion of Angelo, the sup- 
posed friar threw off his disguise, and they saw it was the duke 

The duke first addressed Isabel. He said to her: "Come 
hither, Isabel. Your friar is now your prince, but with my 
habit I have not changed my heart. I am still devoted to 
your service." 

"Oh, give me pardon," said Isabel, "that I, your vassal, have 
employed and troubled your unknown sovereignty." 

He answered that he had most need of forgiveness from her 
for not having prevented the death of her brother — for not yet 
would he tell her that Claudio was living; meaning first to make 
a further trial of her goodness. 

Angelo now knew the duke had been a secret witness of his 
bad deeds, and he said: "0 my dread lord, I should be guiltier 
than my guiltiness, to think I can be undiscernible, when I per- 
ceive your Grace, like power divine, has looked upon my actions. 
Then, good prince, no longer prolong my shame, but let my trial 
be my own confession. Immediate sentence and death is all the 
grace I beg." 

The duke replied: "Angelo, thy faults are manifest. We do 
condemn thee to the very block where Claudio stooped to death, 
and with like haste away with him; and for his possessions, Mari- 
ana, we do instate and widow you withal, to buy you a better 

"0 my dear lord," said Mariana, "I crave no other, nor no 
better man!" And then on her knees, even as Isabel had begged 
the life of Claudio, did this kind wife of an ungrateful husband 
beg the life of Angelo; and she said: "Gentle my liege, 
good my lord! Sweet Isabel, take my part! Lend me your 
knees and all my life to come I will lend you all my life, 
to do you service!" 

1 243] 


The duke said: "Against all sense you importune her. Should 
Isabel kneel down to beg for mercy, her brother's ghost would 
break his paved bed and take her hence in horror." 

Still Mariana said: "Isabel, sweet Isabel, do but kneel by me, 
hold up your hand, say nothing! I will speak all. They say besti 
men are molded out of faults, and for the most part become much 
the better for being a little bad. So may my husband. Isabel! 
will you not lend a knee?" 

The duke then said, "He dies for Claudio." But much pleased 
was the good duke when his own Isabel, from whom he expected 
all gracious and honorable acts, kneeled down before him, and 
said: "Most bounteous sir, look, if it please you, on this man 
condemned, as if my brother lived. I partly think a due sincerity 
governed his deeds till he did look on me. Since it is so, let him 
not die! My brother had but justice in that he did the thing for 
which he died." 

The duke, as the best reply he could make to this noble peti- 
tioner for her enemy's life, sending for Claudio from his prison- 
house, where he lay doubtful of his destiny, presented to her this 
lamented brother living; and he said to Isabel: "Give me your 
hand, Isabel. For your lovely sake I pardon Claudio. Say you 
will be mine, and he shall be my brother, too." 

By this time Lord Angelo perceived he was safe; and the 
duke, observing his eye to brighten up a little, said: 

"Well, Angelo, look that you love your wife; her worth has 
obtained your pardon. Joy to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo! 
I have confessed her and know her virtue." 

Angelo remembered, when dressed in a little brief authority, 
how hard his heart had been, and felt how sweet is mercy. 

The duke commanded Claudio to marry Juliet, and offered 
himself again to the acceptance of Isabel, whose virtuous and 
noble conduct had won her prince's heart. Isabel, not having 
taken the veil, was free to marry; and the friendly offices, while 
hid under the disguise of a humble friar, which the noble duke 
had done for her, made her with grateful joy accept the honor he 



offered her; and when she became Duchess of Vienna the excellent 
example of the virtuous Isabel worked such a complete reforma- 
tion among the young ladies of that city, that from that time 
none ever fell into the transgression of Juliet, the repentant wife 
of the reformed Claudio. And the mercy-loving duke long 
reigned with his beloved Isabel, the happiest of husbands and of 



SEBASTIAN and his sister Viola, a young 
gentleman and lady of Messaline, were 
twins, and (which was accounted a great 
wonder) from their birth they so much 
resembled each other that, but for the 
difference in their dress, they could not 
be known apart. They were both born 
in one hour, and in one hour they were 
both in danger of perishing, for they were 
shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria, as they were making a sea- 
voyage together. The ship on board of which they were split 
on a rock in a violent storm, and a very small number of the 
ship's company escaped with their lives. The captain of the vessel, 
with a few of the sailors that were saved, got to land in a small 
boat, and with them they brought Viola safe on shore, where 
she, poor lady, instead of rejoicing at her own deliverance, began 
to lament her brother's loss; but the captain comforted her with 
the assurance that he had seen her brother, when the ship split, 
fasten himself to a strong mast, on which, as long as he could 
see anything of him for the distance, he perceived him borne up 
above the waves. Viola was much consoled by the hope this 
account gave her, and now considered how she was to dispose of 
herself in a strange country, so far from home; and she asked the 
captain if he knew anything of Illyria. 

"Aye, very well, madam," replied the captain, "for I was 
born not three hours' travel from this place." 

"Who governs here?" said Viola. The captain told her Illyria 
was governed by Orsino, a duke noble in nature as well as dignity. 

[246 J 



Viola said, she had heard her father speak of Orsino, and that 
he was unmarried then. 

"And he is so now," said the captain; "or was so very lately, 
for, but a month ago, I went from here, and then it was the 
general talk (as you know what great ones do, the people will 
prattle of) that Orsino sought the love of fair Olivia, a virtuous 
maid, the daughter of a count who died twelve months ago, leav- 
ing Olivia to the protection of her brother, who shortly after 
died also; and for the love of this dear brother, they say, she has 
abjured the sight and company of men." 

Viola, who was herself in such a sad affliction for her brother's 
loss, wished she could live with this lady who so tenderly mourned 
a brother's death. She asked the captain if he could introduce 
her to Olivia, saying she would willingly serve this lady. But he 
replied this would be a hard thing to accomplish, because the 
Lady Olivia would admit no person into her house since her 
brother's death, not even the duke himself. Then Viola formed 
another project in her mind, which was, in a man's habit, to serve 
the Duke Orsino as a page. It was a strange fancy in a young 
lady to put on male attire and pass for a boy; but the forlorn and 
unprotected state of Viola, who was young and of uncommon 
beauty, alone, and in a foreign land, must plead her excuse. 

She having observed a fair behavior in the captain, and that 
he showed a friendly concern for her welfare, intrusted him with 
her design, and he readily engaged to assist her. Viola gave him 
money and directed him to furnish her with suitable apparel, 
ordering her clothes to be made of the same color and in the same 
fashion her brother Sebastian used to wear, and when she was 
dressed in her manly garb she looked so exactly like her brother 
that some strange errors happened by means of their being mis- 
taken for each other; for, as will afterward appear, Sebastian 
was also saved. 

Viola's good friend, the captain, when he had transformed this 
pretty lady into a gentleman, having some interest at court, got 
her presented to Orsino under the feigned name of Cesario . The 



duke was wonderfully pleased with the address and graceful de- 
portment of this handsome youth, and made Cesario one of his 
pages, that being the office Viola wished to obtain; and she so 
well fulfilled the duties of her new station, and showed such a 
ready observance and faithful attachment to her lord, that she 
soon became his most favored attendant. To Cesario Orsino 
confided the whole history of his love for the lady Olivia. To 
Cesario he told the long and unsuccessful suit he had made to 
one who, rejecting his long services and despising his person, 
refused to admit him to her presence; and for the love of this 
lady who had so unkindly treated him the noble Orsino, forsaking 
the sports of the field and all manly exercises in which he used 
to delight, passed his hours in ignoble sloth, listening to the 
effeminate sounds of soft music, gentle airs, and passionate love- 
songs; and neglecting the company of the wise and learned lords 
with whom he used to associate, he was now all day long convers- 
ing with young Cesario. Unmeet companion no doubt his grave 
courtiers thought Cesario was for their once noble master, the 
great Duke Orsino. 

It is a dangerous matter for young maidens to be the confi- 
dantes of handsome young dukes; which Viola too soon found, to 
her sorrow, for all that Orsino told her he endured for Olivia 
she presently perceived she suffered for the love of him, and much 
it moved her wonder that Olivia could be so regardless of this 
her peerless lord and master, whom she thought no one could 
behold without the deepest admiration, and she ventured gently 
to hint to Orsino, that it was a pity he should affect a lady who 
was so blind to his worthy qualities; and she said: 

"If a lady were to love you, my lord, as you love Olivia (and 
perhaps there may be one who does), if you could not love her 
in return, would you not tell her that you could not love, and 
must she not be content with this answer?" 

But Orsino would not admit of this reasoning, for he denied 
that it was possible for any woman to love as he did. He said no 
woman's heart was big enough to hold so much love, and there- 



fore it was unfair to compare the love of any lady for him to his 
love for Olivia. Now, though Viola had the utmost deference 
for the duke's opinions, she could not help thinking this was not 
quite true, for she thought her heart had full as much love in 
it as Orsino's had; and she 

"Ah, but I know, my lord." 

"What do you know, 
Cesario?" said Orsino. 

"Too well I know," replied 
Viola, "what love women may 
owe to men. They are as true 
of heart as we are. My father 
had a daughter loved a man, 
as I perhaps, were I a woman, 
should love your lordship." 

"And what is her history?" 
said Orsino. 

"A blank, my lord," replied 
Viola. "She never told her 
love, but let concealment, like 
a worm in the bud, feed on her 
damask cheek. She pined in 
thought, and with a green and 
yellow melancholy she sat like 
Patience on a monument, smil- 
ing at Grief." 

The duke inquired if this lady died of her love, but to this 
question Viola returned an evasive answer; as probably she had 
feigned the story, to speak words expressive of the secret love 
and silent grief she suffered for Orsino. 

While they were talking, a gentleman entered whom the duke 
had sent to Olivia, and he said, "So please you, my lord, I might 
not be admitted to the lady, but by her handmaid she returned 
you this answer: Until seven years hence the element itself shall 



not behold her face; but like a cloistress she will walk veiled, 
watering her chamber with her tears for the sad remembrance of , 
her dead brother." * 

On hearing this the duke exclaimed, "Oh, she that has a heart 
of this fine frame, to pay this debt of love to a dead brother, how 
will she love when the rich golden shaft has touched her heart!" 

And then he said to Viola: "You know, Cesario, I have told 
you all the secrets of my heart; therefore, good youth, go to 
Olivia's house. Be not denied access; stand at her doors and tell 
her there your fixed foot shall grow till you have audience." 

"And if I do speak to her, my lord, what then?" said Viola. 

"Oh, then," replied Orsino, "unfold to her the passion of my 
love. Make a long discourse to her of my dear faith. It will 
well become you to act my woes, for she will attend more to you 
than to one of graver aspect." 

Away then went Viola; but not willingly did she undertake 
this courtship, for she was to woo a lady to become a wife to 
him she wished to marry; but, having undertaken the affair, she 
performed it with fidelity, and Olivia soon heard that a youth 
was at her door who insisted upon being admitted to her presence. 

"I told him," said the servant, "that you were sick. He said 
he knew you were, and therefore he came to speak with you. I 
told him that you were asleep. He seemed to have a foreknowl- 
edge of that, too, and said that therefore he must speak with 
you. What is to be said to him, lady? for he seems fortified 
against all denial, and will speak with you, whether you will 
or no." 

Olivia, curious to see who this peremptory messenger might 
be, desired he might be admitted, and, throwing her veil over 
her face, she said she would once more hear Orsino's embassy, 
not doubting but that he came from the duke, by his importunity. 
Viola, entering, put on the most manly air she could assume, 
and, affecting the fine courtier language of great men's pages, 
she said to the veiled lady: 

"Most radiant, exquisite, and matchless beauty, I pray you 



tell me if you are the lady of the house; for I should be sorry to 
cast away my speech upon another; for besides that it is excel- 
lently well penned, I have taken great pains to learn it." 

"Whence come you, sir?" said Olivia. 

"I can say lit- 
tle more than I 
have studied," 
replied Viola, 
"and that ques- 
tion is out of my 

"Are you a 
comedian?" said 

"No," replied 
Viola; "and yet 
I am not that 
which I play," 
meaning that 
she, being a 
woman, feigned 
herself to be a 
man. And again 
she asked Olivia 
if she were the 
lady of the house. 

Olivia said she 
was; and then 
Viola, having 
more curiosity to 
see her rival's features than haste to deliver her master's mes- 
sage, said, "Good madam, let me see your face." With this bold 
request Olivia was not averse to comply; for this haughty beauty, 
whom the Duke Orsino had loved so long in vain, at first sight 
conceived a passion for the supposed page, the humble Cesario. 



When Viola asked to see her face, Olivia said, "Have you 
any commission from your lord and master to negotiate 
with my face?" And then, forgetting her determination to 
go veiled for seven long years, she drew aside her veil, saying: 
"But I will draw the curtain and show the picture. Is it not 
well done?" 

Viola replied: "It is beauty truly mixed; the red and white 
upon your cheeks is by Nature's own cunning hand laid on. 
You are the most cruel lady living if you lead these graces to the 
grave and leave the world no copy." 

"Oh, sir," replied Olivia, "I will not be so cruel. The world 
may have an inventory of my beauty. As, item, two lips, indif- 
ferent red; item, two gray eyes with lids to them; one neck; one 
chin; and so forth. Were you sent here to praise me?" 

Viola replied, "I see what you are: you are too proud, but you 
are fair. My lord and master loves you. Oh, such a love could 
but be recompensed though you were crowned the queen of 
beauty; for Orsino loves you with adoration and with tears, 
with groans that thunder love, and sighs of fire." 

"Your lord," said Olivia, "knows well my mind. I cannot love 
him; yet I doubt not he is virtuous; I know him to be noble 
and of high estate, of fresh and spotless youth. All voices pro- 
claim him learned, courteous, and valiant; yet I cannot love 
him. He might have taken his answer long ago." 

"If I did love you as my master does," said Viola, "I would 
make me a willow cabin at your gates, and call upon your name. 
I would write complaining sonnets on Olivia, and sing them in the 
dead of the night. Your name should sound among the hills, and 
I would make Echo, the babbling gossip of the air, cry out 
Olivia. Oh, you should not rest between the elements of earth 
and air, but you should pity me." 

"You might do much," said Olivia. "What is your parentage?" 

Viola replied: "Above my fortunes, yet my state is well. I 
am a gentleman." 

Olivia now reluctantly dismissed Viola, saying: "Go to your 



master and tell him I cannot love him. Let him send no more, 
unless perchance you come again to tell me how he takes it." 

And Viola departed, bidding the lady farewell by the name of 
Fair Cruelty. When she was gone Olivia repeated the words, 
Above my fortunes, yet my state is well. I am a gentleman. And 
she said aloud, "I will be sworn he is; his tongue, his face, his 
limbs, action, and spirit plainly show he is a gentleman." And 
then she wished Cesario was the duke; and, perceiving the fast 
hold he had taken on her affections, she blamed herself for her 
sudden love; but the gentle blame which people lay upon their 
own faults has no deep root, and presently the noble lady Olivia so 
far forgot the inequality between her fortunes and those of this 
seeming page, as well as the maidenly reserve which is the chief 
ornament of a lady's character, that she resolved to court the 
love of young Cesario, and sent a servant after him with a dia- 
mond ring, under the pretense that he had left it with her as a 
present from Orsino. She hoped by thus artfully making Cesario 
a present of the ring she should give him some intimation of her 
design; and truly it did make Viola suspect; for, knowing that 
Orsino had sent no ring by her, she began to recollect that Olivia's 
looks and manner were expressive of admiration, and she presently . 
guessed her master's mistress had fallen in love with her. 

"Alas!" said she, "the poor lady might as well love a dream.^y> 
Disguise I see is wicked, for it has caused Olivia to breathe as 
fruitless sighs for me as I do for Orsino." 

Viola returned to Orsino's palace, and related to her lord the 
ill success of the negotiation, repeating the command of Olivia 
that the duke should trouble her no more. Yet still the duke 
persisted in hoping that the gentle Cesario would in time be able 
to persuade her to show some pity, and therefore he bade him 
he should go to her again the next day. In the mean time, to pass 
away the tedious interval, he commanded a song which he loved 
to be sung; and he said: 

"My good Cesario, when I heard that song last night, me- 
thought it did relieve my passion much. Mark it, Cesario, it is 



old and plain. The spinsters and the knitters when they sit in 
the sun, and the young maids that weave their thread with bone, 
chant this song. It is silly, yet I love it, for it tells of the inno- 
cence of love in the old times." 


Come away, come away, Death, 

And in sad cypress let me be laid; 
Fly away, fly away, breath, 

I am slain by a fair cruel maid. 
My shroud of white stuck all with yew, prepare it! 
My part of death no one so true did share it. 
Not a flower, not a flower sweet, 

On my black coffin let there be strewn: 
Not a friend, not a friend greet 

My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown. 
A thousand thousand sighs to save, lay me O where 
Sad true lover never find my grave, to weep there! 

Viola did not fail to mark the words of the old song, which 
in such true simplicity described the pangs of unrequited love, and 
she bore testimony in her countenance of feeling what the song 
expressed. Her sad looks were observed by Orsino, who said to 

"My life upon it, Cesario, though you are so young, your eye 
has looked upon some face that it loves. Has it not, boy?" 

"A little, with your leave," replied Viola. 

"And what kind of woman, and of what age is she?" said 

"Of your age and of your complexion, my lord," said Viola; 
which made the duke smile to hear this fair young boy loved a 
woman so much older than himself and of a man's dark com- 
plexion; but Viola secretly meant Orsino, and not a woman like 

When Viola made her second visit to Olivia she found no diffi- 
culty in gaining access to her. Servants soon discover when 
their ladies delight to converse with handsome young messengers; 
and the instant Viola arrived the gates were thrown wide open, 



and the duke's page was shown into Olivia's apartment with great 
respect. And when Viola told Olivia that she was come once 
more to plead in her lord's behalf, this lady said: 

"I desired you never to speak of him again; but if you would 
undertake another suit, I had rather hear you solicit, than music 
from the spheres." 

This was pretty plain speaking, but Olivia soon explained 
17 [257] 


herself still more plainly, and openly confessed her love; and 
when she saw displeasure with perplexity expressed in Viola's 
face, she said: "Oh, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful in the 
contempt and anger of his lip ! Cesario, by the roses of the spring, 
by maidhood, honor, and by truth, I love you so that, in spite 
of your pride, I have neither wit nor reason to conceal my passion." 

But in vain the lady wooed. Viola hastened from her pres- 
ence, threatening never more to come to plead Orsino's love; 
and all the reply she made to Olivia's fond solicitation was, a 
declaration of a resolution Never to love any woman. 

No sooner had Viola left the lady than a claim was made upon 
her valor. A gentleman, a rejected suitor of Olivia, who had 
learned how that lady had favored the duke's messenger, chal- 
lenged him to fight a duel. What should poor Viola do, who, 
though she carried a man-like outside, had a true woman's heart 
and feared to look on her own sword? 

When she saw her formidable rival advancing toward her with 
his sword drawn she began to think of confessing that she was a 
woman; but she was relieved at once from her terror, and the 
shame of such a discovery, by a stranger that was passing by, 
who made up to them, and as if he had been long known to her 
and were her dearest friend said to her opponent: 

"If this young gentleman has done offense, I will take the fault 
on me; and if you offend him, I will for his sake defy you." 

Before Viola had time to thank him for his protection, or to 
inquire the reason of his kind interference, her new friend met with 
an enemy where his bravery was of no use to him; for the officers 
of justice coming up in that instant, apprehended the stranger 
in the duke's name, to answer for an offense he had committed 
some years before; and he said to Viola: 

"This comes with seeking you." And then he asked her for a 
purse, saying: "Now my necessity makes me ask for my purse, 
and it grieves me much more for what I cannot do for you than 
Cor what befalls myself. You stand amazed, but be of comfort." 

His words did indeed amaze Viola, and she protested she knew 



him not, nor had ever received a purse from him; but for the 
kindness he had just shown her she offered him a small sum of 
money, being nearly the whole she possessed. And now the 
stranger spoke severe things, charging her with ingratitude and 
unkindness. He said: 

"This youth whom you see here I snatched from the jaws of 
death, and for his sake alone I came to Illyria and have fallen 
into this danger." 

But the officers cared little for harkening to the complaints of 
their prisoner, and they hurried him off, saying, "What is that 
to us?" And as he was carried away, he called Viola by the 
name of Sebastian, reproaching the supposed Sebastian for dis- 
owning his friend, as long as he was within hearing. When 
Viola heard herself called Sebastian, though the stranger was 
taken away too hastily for her to ask an explanation, she con- 
jectured that this seeming mystery might arise from her being 
mistaken for her brother, and she began to cherish hopes that it 
was her brother whose life this man said he had preserved. And 
so indeed it was. The stranger, whose name was Antonio, was a 
sea-captain. He had taken Sebastian up into his ship when, 
almost exhausted with fatigue, he was floating on the mast to 
which he had fastened himself in the storm. Antonio conceived 
such a friendship for Sebastian that he resolved to accompany 
him whithersoever he went; and when the youth expressed a 
curiosity to visit Orsino's court, Antonio, rather than part from 
him, came to Illyria, though he knew, if his person should be 
known there, his life would be in danger, because in a sea-fight 
he had once dangerously wounded the Duke Orsino's nephew. 
This was the offense for which he was now made a prisoner. 

Antonio and Sebastian had landed together but a few hours 
before Antonio met Viola. He had given his purse to Sebastian, 
desiring him to use it freely if he saw anything he wished to pur- 
chase, telling him he would wait at the inn while Sebastian went 
to view the town; but, Sebastian not returning at the time 
appointed, Antonio had ventured out to look for him, and, 



Viola being dressed the same, and in face so exactly resembling 
her brother, Antonio drew his sword (as he thought) in defense 
of the youth he had saved, and when Sebastian (as he supposed) 
disowned him and denied him his own purse, no wonder he ac- 
cused him of ingratitude. 

Viola, when Antonio was gone, fearing a second invitation to 
fight, slunk home as fast as she could. She had not been long gone 
when her adversary thought he saw her return; but it was her 
brother Sebastian who happened to arrive at this place, and he 

"Now, sir, have I met with you again. There's for you," and 
struck him a blow. 

Sebastian was no coward; he returned the blow with interest, 
and drew his sword. 

A lady now put a stop to this duel, for Olivia came out of the 
house, and, she too mistaking Sebastian for Cesario, invited him 
to come into her house, expressing much sorrow at the rude attack 
he had met with. Though Sebastian was as much surprised at 
the courtesy of this lady as at the rudeness of his unknown foe, 
yet he went very willingly into the house, and Olivia was de- 
lighted to find Cesario (as she thought him) become more sensible 
of her attentions; for, though their features were exactly the same, 
there was none of the contempt and anger to be seen in his face 
which she had complained of when she told her love to Cesario. 

Sebastian did not at all object to the fondness the lady lavished 
on him. He seemed to take it in very good part, yet he wondered 
how it had come to pass, and he was rather inclined to think Olivia 
was not in her right senses; but, perceiving that she was mistress 
of a fine house and that she ordered her affairs and seemed to 
govern her family discreetly, and that in all but her sudden love 
for him she appeared in the full possession of her reason, he well 
approved of the courtship; and Olivia, finding Cesario in this good 
humor, and fearing he might change his mind, proposed that, 
as she had a priest in the house, they should be instantly married. 
Sebastian assented to this proposal; and when the marriage 



ceremony was over he left his lady for a short time, intending 
to go and tell his friend Antonio the good fortune that he had 
met with. In the mean time Orsino came to visit Olivia, and at 
the moment he arrived before Olivia's house the officers of justice 
brought their prisoner, Antonio, before the duke. Viola was with 
Orsino, her master; and when Antonio saw Viola, whom he still 
imagined to be Sebastian, he told the duke in what manner he had 
rescued this youth from the perils of the sea; and after fully 
relating all the kindness he had really shown to Sebastian, he 
ended his complaint with saying that for three months, both day 
and night, this ungrateful youth had been with him. But now, 
the Lady Olivia coming forth from her house, the duke could 
no longer attend to Antonio's story; and he said: 

"Here comes the countess. Now Heaven walks on earth! 
but for thee, fellow, thy words are madness. Three months has 
this youth attended on me." And then he ordered Antonio to 
be taken aside. But Orsino's heavenly countess soon gave the 
duke cause to accuse Cesario as much of ingratitude as Antonio 
had done, for all the words he could hear Olivia speak were words 
of kindness to Cesario; and when he found his page had obtained 
this high place in Olivia's favor he threatened him with all the 
terrors of his just revenge; and as he was going to depart he 
called Viola to follow him, saying: "Come, boy, with me. My 
thoughts are ripe for mischief." Though it seemed in his jealous 
rage he was going to doom Viola to instant death, yet her love 
made her no longer a coward, and she said she would most joy- 
fully suffer death to give her master ease. 

But Olivia would not so lose her husband, and she cried, 
"Where goes my Cesario?" 

Viola replied, "After him I love more than my life." 

Olivia, however, prevented their departure by loudly pro- 
claiming that Cesario was her husband, and sent for the priest, 
who declared that not two hours had passed since he had married 
the Lady Olivia to this young man. In vain Viola protested she 
was not married to Olivia. The evidence of that lady and the 

r 261 1 


priest made Orsino believe that his page had robbed him of 
the treasure he prized above his life. But thinking that it was 
past recall, he was bidding farewell to his faithless mistress, and 
the young dissembler, her husband, as he called Viola, warning 
her never to come in his sight again, when (as it seemed to them) 
a miracle appeared! for another Cesario entered, and addressed 
Olivia as his wife. This new Cesario was Sebastian, the real 
husband of Olivia; and when their wonder had a little ceased at 
seeing two persons with the same face, the same voice, and the 
same habit, the brother and sister began to question each other; 
for Viola could scarce be persuaded that her brother was living, 
and Sebastian knew not how to account for the sister he supposed 
drowned being found in the habit of a young man. But Viola 
presently acknowledged that she was indeed Viola, and his 
sister, under that disguise. 

When all the errors were cleared up which the extreme likeness 
between this brother and sister had occasioned, they laughed at 
the Lady Olivia for the pleasant mistake she had made in falling 
in love with a woman; and Olivia showed no dislike to her ex- 
change, when she found she had wedded the brother instead of 
the sister. 

The hopes of Orsino were forever at an end by this marriage 
of Olivia, and with his hopes, all his fruitless love seemed to vanish 
away, and all his thoughts were fixed on the event of his favorite, 
young Cesario, being changed into a fair lady. He viewed Viola 
with great attention, and he remembered how very handsome he 
had always thought Cesario was, and he concluded she would 
look very beautiful in a woman's attire; and then he remembered 
how often she had said she loved him, which at the time seemed 
only the dutiful expressions of a faithful page; but now he 
guessed that something more was meant, for many of her pretty 
sayings, which were like riddles to him, came now into his mind, 
and he no sooner remembered all these things than he resolved 
to make Viola his wife; and he said to her (he still could not help 
calling her Cesario and boy) : 



"Boy, you have said to me a thousand times that you should 
never love a woman like to me, and for the faithful service you 
have done for me so much beneath your soft and tender breeding, 
and since you have called me master so long, you shall now be 
your master's mistress, and Orsino's true duchess." 

Olivia, perceiving Orsino was making over that heart, which 
she had so ungraciously rejected, to Viola, invited them to enter 
her house and offered the assistance of the good priest who had 
married her to Sebastian in the morning to perform the same 
ceremony in the remaining part of the day for Orsino and Viola. 
Thus the twin brother and sister were both wedded on the same 
day, the storm and shipwreck which had separated them being 
the means of bringing to pass their high and mighty fortunes. 
Viola was the wife of Orsino, the Duke of Illyria, and Sebastian 
the husband of the rich and noble countess, the Lady Olivia. 



[IMON, a lord of Athens, in the enjoy- 
ment of a princely fortune, affected a 
humor of liberality which knew no limits. 
His almost infinite wealth could not flow 
in so fast but he poured it out faster 
upon all sorts and degrees of people. 
Not the poor only tasted of his bounty, 
but great lords did not disdain to rank 
themselves among his dependents and 
followers. His table was resorted to by all the luxurious feasters, 
and his house was open to all comers and goers at Athens. His 
large wealth combined with his free and prodigal nature to subdue 
all hearts to his love; men of all minds and dispositions tendered 
their services to Lord Timon, from the glass-faced flatterer whose 
face reflects as in a mirror the present humor of his patron, to 
the rough and unbending cynic who, affecting a contempt of 
men's persons and an indifference to worldly things, yet could 
not stand out against the gracious manners and munificent soul 
of Lord Timon, but would come (against his nature) to partake of 
his royal entertainments and return most rich in his own estima- 
tion if he had received a nod or a salutation from Timon. 

If a poet had composed a work which wanted a recommenda- 
tory introduction to the world, he had no more to do but to 
dedicate it to Lord Timon, and the poem was sure of sale, besides 
a present purse from the patron, and daily access to his house and 
table. If a painter had a picture to dispose of he had only to 
take it to Lord Timon and pretend to consult his taste as to the 
merits of it; nothing more was wanting to persuade the liberal- 
hearted lord to buy it. If a jeweler had a stone of price, or a 



mercer rich, costly stuffs, which for their costliness lay upon his 
hands, Lord Timon's house was a ready mart always open, where 
they might get off their wares or their jewelry at any price, and 
the good-natured lord would thank them into the bargain, as if 
they had done him a piece of courtesy in letting him have the 
refusal of such precious commodities. So that by this means his 
house was thronged with superfluous purchases, of no use but to 
swell uneasy and ostentatious pomp; and his person was still 
more inconveniently beset with a crowd of these idle visitors, 
lying poets, painters, sharking tradesmen, lords, ladies, needy 
courtiers, and expectants, who continually filled his lobbies, rain- 
ing their fulsome flatteries in whispers in his ears, sacrificing to 
him with adulation as to a God, making sacred the very stirrup 
by which he mounted his horse, and seeming as though they 
drank the free air but through his permission and bounty. 

Some of these daily dependents were young men of birth who 
(their means not answering to their extravagance) had been put 
in prison by creditors and redeemed thence by Lord Timon; 
tjhese young prodigals thenceforward fastened upon his lordship, 
sejs if by common sympathy he were necessarily endeared to all 
such spendthrifts and loose livers, who, not being able to follow 
him in his wealth, found it easier to copy him in prodigality and 
copious spending of what was their own. One of these flesh-flies 
was Ventidius, for whose debts, unjustly contracted, Timon but 
lately had paid down the sum of five talents. 

But among this confluence, this great flood of visitors, none 
were more conspicuous than the makers of presents and givers of 
gifts. It was fortunate for these men if Timon took a fancy to a 
dog or a horse, or any piece of cheap furniture which was theirs. 
The thing so praised, whatever it was, was sure to be sent the 
next morning with the compliments of the giver for Lord Timon's 
acceptance, and apologies for the unworthiness of the gift; and 
this dog or horse, or whatever it might be, did not fail to produce 
from Timon's bounty, who would not be outdone in gifts, per- 
haps twenty dogs or horses, certainly presents of far richer worth, 

I 265] 


as these pretended donors knew well enough, and that their 
false presents were but the putting out of so much money at 
large and speedy interest. In this way Lord Lucius had lately 
sent to Timon a present of four milk-white horses, trapped in 
silver, which this cunning lord had observed Timon upon some 
occasion to commend; and another lord, Lucullus, had bestowed 
upon him in the same pretended way of free gift a brace of grey- 
hounds whose make and fleetness Timon had been heard to 
admire; these presents the easy-hearted lord accepted without 
suspicion of the dishonest views of the presenters; and the 
givers of course were rewarded with some rich return, a diamond 
or some jewel of twenty times the value of their false and mer- 
cenary donation. 

Sometimes these creatures would go to work in a more direct 
way, and with gross and palpable artifice, which yet the credulous 
Timon was too blind to see, would affect to admire and praise 
something that Timon possessed, a bargain that he had bought, 
or some late purchase, which was sure to draw from this yielding 
and soft-hearted lord a gift of the thing commended, for no ser- 
vice in the world done for it but the easy expense of a little cheap 
and obvious flattery. In this way Timon but the other day ha^ 
given to one of these mean lords the bay courser which he I im- 
self rode upon, because his lordship had been pleased to say that 
it was a handsome beast and went well; and Timon knew that 
no man ever justly praised what he did not wish to possess. For 
Lord Timon weighed his friends' affection with his own, and so 
fond was he of bestowing, that he could have dealt kingdoms to 
these supposed friends and never have been weary. 

Not that Timon's wealth all went to enrich these wicked flat- 
terers; he could do noble and praiseworthy actions; and when a 
servant of his once loved the daughter of a rich Athenian, but 
could not hope to obtain her by reason that in wealth and rank 
the maid was so far above him, Lord Timon freely bestowed upon 
his servant three Athenian talents, to make his fortune equal 
with the dowry which the father of the young maid demanded 

J 266] 


of him who should be her husband. But for the most part, 
knaves and parasites had the command of his fortune, false 
friends whom he did not know to be such, but, because they 
flocked around his person, he thought they must needs love him; 
and because they smiled and flattered him, he thought surely 
that his conduct was approved by all the wise and good. And 
when he was feasting in the midst of all these flatterers and mock 
friends, when they were eating him up and draining his fortunes 
dry with large draughts of richest wines drunk to his health and 
prosperity, he could not perceive the difference of a friend from 
a flatterer, but to his deluded eyes (made proud with the sight) 
it seemed a precious comfort to have so many like brothers com- 
manding one another's fortunes (though it was his own fortune 
which paid all the costs), and with joy they would run over at the 
spectacle of such, as it appeared to him, truly festive and fraternal 

But while he thus outwent the very heart of kindness, and 
poured out his bounty, as if Plutus, the god of gold, had been 
but his steward; while thus he proceeded without care or stop, so 
senseless of expense that he would neither inquire how he could 
maintain it nor cease his wild flow of riot — his riches, which were 
not infinite, must needs melt away before a prodigality which 
knew no limits. But who should tell him so? His flatterers? 
They had an interest in shutting his eyes. In vain did his honest 
steward Flavius try to represent to him his condition, laying his 
accounts before him, begging of him, praying of him, with an 
importunity that on any other occasion would have been un- 
mannerly in a servant, beseeching him with tears to look into 
the state of his affairs. Timon would still put him off, and turn 
the discourse to something else; for nothing is so deaf to remon- 
strance as riches turned to poverty, nothing is so unwilling to 
believe its situation, nothing so incredulous to its own true 
state, and hard to give credit to a reverse. Often had this 
good steward, this honest creature, when all the rooms of 
Timon's great house had been choked up with riotous feeders 



at his master's cost, when the floors have wept with drunken 
spilling of wine, and every apartment has blazed with lights and 
resounded with music and feasting, often had he retired by him- 
self to some solitary spot, and wept faster than the wine ran 
from the wasteful casks within, to see the mad bounty of his 
lord, and to think, when the means were gone which brought him 
praises from all sorts of people, how quickly the breath would 
be gone of which the praise was made; praises won in feasting 
would be lost in fasting, and at one cloud of winter-showers these 
flies would disappear. 

But now the time was come that Timon could shut his ears 
no longer to the representations of this faithful steward. Money 
must be had; and when he ordered Flavius to sell some of his 
land for that purpose, Flavius informed him, what he had in vain 
endeavored at several times before to make him listen to, that 
most of his land was already sold or forfeited, and that all he 
possessed at present was not enough to pay the one-half of what 
he owed. Struck with wonder at this presentation, Timon hastily 
replied : 

"My lands extend from Athens to Lacedaemon." 

"O my good lord," said Flavius, "the world is but a world, and 
has bounds. Were it all yours to give in a breath, how quickly 
were it gone!" 

Timon consoled himself that no villainous bounty had yet 
come from him, that if he had given his wealth away unwisely, it 
had not been bestowed to feed his vices, but to cherish his friends; 
and he bade the kind-hearted steward (who was weeping) to take 
comfort in the assurance that his master could never lack means 
while he had so many noble friends; and this infatuated lord per- 
suaded himself that he had nothing to do but to send and borrow, 
to use every man's fortune (that had ever tasted his bounty) 
in this extremity, as freely as his own. Then with a cheerful 
look, as if confident of the trial, he severally despatched messen- 
gers to Lord Lucius, to Lords Lucullus and Sempronius, men 
upon whom he had lavished his gifts in past times without meas- 



ure or moderation; and to Ventidius, whom he had lately re- 
leased out of prison by paying his debts, and who, by the death 
of his father, was now come into the possession of an ample 
fortune and well enabled to requite Timon's courtesy; to request 
of Ventidius the 
return of those five 
talents which he 
had paid for him, 
and of each of those 
noble lords the loan 
of fifty talents; 
nothing doubting 
that their gratitude 
would supply his 
wants (if he needed 
it) to the amount of 
five hundred times 
fifty talents. 

Lucullus was the 
first applied to. 
This mean lord had 
been dreaming over- 
night of a silver 
bason and cup, and 
when Timon's ser- 
vant was announced 
his sordid mind suggested to him that this was surely a 
making out of his dream, and that Timon had sent him such 
a present. But when he understood the truth of the matter, 
and that Timon wanted money, the quality of his faint and 
watery friendship showed itself, for with many protestations he 
vowed to the servant that he had long foreseen the ruin of his 
master's affairs, and many a time had he come to dinner to tell 
him of it, and had come again to supper to try to persuade 
him to spend less, but he would take no counsel nor warning by 



his coming. And true it was that he had been a constant attender 
(as he said) at Timon's feasts, as he had in greater things tasted 
his bounty; but that he ever came with that intent, or gave good 
counsel or reproof to Timon, was a base, unworthy lie, which 
he suitably followed up with meanly offering the servant a bribe 
to go home to his master and tell him that he had not found 
Lucullus at home. 

As little success had the messenger who was sent to Lord Lucius. 
This lying lord, who was full of Timon's meat and enriched al- 
most to bursting with Timon's costly presents, when he found 
the wind changed, and the fountain of so much bounty suddenly 
stopped, at first could hardly believe it; but on its being con- 
firmed he affected great regret that he should not have it in his 
power to serve Lord Timon, for, unfortunately (which was a 
base falsehood), he had made a great purchase the day before, 
which had quite disfurnished him of the means at present, the 
more beast he, he called himself, to put it out of his power to 
serve so good a friend; and he counted it one of his greatest 
afflictions that his ability should fail him to pleasure such an hon- 
orable gentleman. 

Who can call any man friend that dips in the same dish with 
him ? Just of this metal is every flatterer. In the recollection of 
everybody Timon had been a father to this Lucius, had kept 
up his credit with his purse; Timon's money had gone to pay the 
wages of his servants, to pay the hire of the laborers who had 
sweat to build the fine houses which Lucius's pride had made 
necessary to him. Yet — oh, the monster which man makes him- 
self when he proves ungrateful! — this Lucius now denied to Timon 
a sum which, in respect of what Timon had bestowed on him, was 
less than charitable men afford to beggars. 

Sempronius, and every one of these mercenary lords to whom 
Timon applied in their turn, returned the same evasive answer 
or direct denial; even Ventidius, the redeemed and now rich 
Ventidius, refused to assist him with the loan of those five talents 
which Timon had not lent but generously given him in his distress. 



Now was Timon as much avoided in his poverty as he had 
been courted and resorted to in his riches. Now the same tongues 
which had been loudest in his praises, extolling him as bountiful, 
liberal, and open-handed, were not ashamed to censure that 
very bounty as folly, that liberality as profuseness, though it 
had shown itself folly in nothing so truly as in the selection of 
such unworthy creatures as themselves for its objects. Now was 
Timon's princely mansion forsaken and become a shunned and 
hated place, a place for men to pass by, not a place, as formerly, 
where every passenger must stop and taste of his wine and good 
cheer; now, instead of being thronged with feasting and tumultu- 
ous guests, it was beset with impatient and clamorous creditors, 
usurers, extortioners, fierce and intolerable in their demands, 
pleading bonds, interest, mortgages; iron-hearted men that would 
take no denial nor putting off, that Timon's house was now his 
jail, which he could not pass, nor go in nor out for them; one 
demanding his due of fifty talents, another bringing in a bill of 
five thousand crowns, which, if he would tell out his blood by 
drops and pay them so, he had not enough in his body to dis- 
charge, drop by drop. 

In this desperate and irremediable state (as it seemed) of his 
affairs, the eyes of all men were suddenly surprised at a new and 
incredible luster which this setting sun put forth. Once more 
Lord Timon proclaimed a feast, to which he invited his accus- 
tomed guests — lords, ladies, all that was great or fashionable in 
Athens. Lord Lucius and Lucullus came, Ventidius, Sempronius, 
and the rest. Who more sorry now than these fawning wretches, 
when they found (as they thought) that Lord Timon's poverty 
was all pretense and had been only put on to make trial of their 
loves, to think that they should not have seen through the artifice 
at the time and have had the cheap credit of obliging his lord- 
ship? Yet who more glad to find the fountain of that noble bounty 
which they had thought dried up, still fresh and running? They 
came dissembling, protesting, expressing deepest sorrow and 
shame, that when his lordship sent to them they should have 



been so unfortunate as to want the present means to oblige so 
honorable a friend. But Timon begged them not to give such 
trifles a thought, for he had altogether forgotten it. And these 
base, fawning lords, though they had denied him money in his 
adversity, yet could not refuse their presence at this new blaze 
of his returning prosperity. For the swallow follows not summer 
more willingly than men of these dispositions follow the good 
fortunes of the great, nor more willingly leaves winter than these 
shrink from the first appearance of a reverse. Such summer birds 
are men. But now with music and state the banquet of smoking 
dishes was served up; and when the guests had a little done 
admiring whence the bankrupt Timon could find means to fur- 
nish so costly a feast, some doubting whether the scene which 
they saw was real, as scarce trusting their own eyes, at a signal 
given the dishes were uncovered and Timon's drift appeared. 
Instead of those varieties and far-fetched dainties which they 
expected, that Timon's epicurean table in past times had so 
liberally presented, now appeared under the covers of these 
dishes a preparation more suitable to Timon's poverty — nothing 
but a little smoke and lukewarm water, fit feast for this knot of 
mouth-friends, whose professions were indeed smoke, and their 
hearts lukewarm and slippery as the water with which Timon 
welcomed his astonished guests, bidding them, "Uncover, dogs, 
and lap;" and, before they could recover their surprise, sprinkling 
it in their faces, that they might have enough, and throwing 
dishes and all after them, who now ran huddling out, lords, 
ladies, with their caps snatched up in haste, a splendid confusion, 
Timon pursuing them, still calling them what they were, "smooth 
smiling parasites, destroyers under the mask of courtesy, affable 
wolves, meek bears, fools of fortune, feast-friends, time-flies." 
They, crowding out to avoid him, left the house more willingly 
than they had entered it; some losing their gowns and caps, and 
some their jewels in the hurry, all glad to escape out of the pres- 
ence of such a mad lord, and from the ridicule of his mock banquet. 
This was the last feast which ever Timon made, and in it he 



took farewell of Athens and the society of men; for, after that, he 
betook himself to the woods, turning his back upon the hated 
city and upon all mankind, wishing the walls of that detestable 
city might sink, and the houses fall upon their owners, wishing 
all plagues which infest humanity — war, outrage, poverty, dis- 
eases — might fasten upon its inhabitants, praying the just gods 
to confound all Athenians, both young and old, high and low; 
so wishing, he went to the woods, where he said he should find 
the unkindest beast much kinder than mankind. He stripped 
himself naked, that he might retain no fashion of a man, and 
dug a cave to live in, and lived solitary in the manner of a beast, 
eating the wild roots and drinking water, flying from the face of 
his kind, and choosing rather to herd with wild beasts, as more 
harmless and friendly than man. 

What a change from Lord Timon the rich, Lord Timon the 
delight of mankind, to Timon the naked, Timon the man-hater! 
Where were his flatterers now? Where were his attendants and 
retinue? Would the bleak air, that boisterous servitor, be his 
chamberlain, to put his shirt on warm? Would those stiff trees 
that had outlived the eagle turn young and airy pages to him, 
to skip on his errands when he bade them? Would the cool brook, 
when it was iced with winter, administer to him his warm broths 
and caudles when sick of an overnight's surfeit? Or would the 
creatures that lived in those wild woods come and lick his hand 
and flatter him? 

Here on a day, when he was digging for roots, his poor sus- 
tenance, his spade struck against something heavy, which proved 
to be gold, a great heap which some miser had probably buried 
in a time of alarm, thinking to have come again and taken it 
from its prison, but died before the opportunity had arrived, 
without making any man privy to the concealment; so it lay, 
doing neither good nor harm, in the bowels of the earth, its mother, 
as if it had never come thence, till the accidental striking of 
Timon's spade against it once more brought it to light. 

Here was a mass of treasure which, if Timon had retained his 
18 [ 273 ] 


old mind, was enough to have purchased him friends and flat- 
terers again; but Timon was sick of the false world and the sight 
of gold was poisonous to his eyes; and he would have restored 
it to the earth, but that, thinking of the infinite calamities which 
by means of gold happen to mankind, how the lucre of it causes 
robberies, oppression, injustice, briberies, violence, and murder, 
among men, he had a pleasure in imagining (such a rooted hatred 
did he bear to his species) that out of this heap, which in digging 
he had discovered, might arise some mischief to plague mankind. 
And some soldiers passing through the woods near to his cave 
at that instant, which proved to be a part of the troops of the 
Athenian captain Alcibiades, who, upon some disgust taken 
against the senators of Athens (the Athenians were ever noted 
to be a thankless and ungrateful people, giving disgust to their 
generals and best friends), was marching at the head of the 
same triumphant army which he had formerly headed in their 
defense, to war against them. Timon, who liked their business 
well, bestowed upon their captain the gold to pay his soldiers, 
requiring no other service from him than that he should with his 
conquering army lay Athens level with the ground, and burn, 
slay, kill all her inhabitants; not sparing the old men for their 
white beards, for (he said) they were usurers, nor the young chil- 
dren for their seeming innocent smiles, for those (he said) would 
live, if they grew up, to be traitors; but to steel his eyes and ears 
against any sights or sounds that might awaken compassion; 
and not to let the cries of virgins, babes, or mothers hinder him 
from making one universal massacre of the city, but to confound 
them all in his conquest; and when he had conquered, he prayed 
that the gods would confound him also, the conqueror. So thor- 
oughly did Timon hate Athens, Athenians, and all mankind. 

While he lived in this forlorn state, leading a life more brutal 
than human, he was suddenly surprised one day with the appear- 
ance of a man standing in an admiring posture at the door of his 
cave. It was Flavius, the honest steward, whom love and zealous 
affection to his master had led to seek him out at his wretched 


- »%" * — 



dwelling and to offer his services; and the first sight of his master, 
the once noble Timon, in that abject condition, naked as he was 
born, living in the manner of a beast among beasts, looking like 
his own sad ruins and a monument of decay, so affected this 
good servant that he stood speech- 
less, wrapped up in horror and 
confounded. And when he found 
utterance at last to his words, 
they were so choked with tears 
that Timon had much ado to 
know him again, or to make out 
who it was that had come (so 
contrary to the experience he had 
had of mankind) to offer him 
service in extremity. And being 
in the form and shape of a man, 
he suspected him for a traitor, 
and his tears for false; but the 
good servant by so many tokens 
confirmed the truth of his fidelity, 
and made it clear that nothing 
but love and zealous duty to his 
once dear master had brought 
him there, that Timon was forced 
to confess that the world con- 
tained one honest man; yet, being 
in the shape and form of a man, 
he could not look upon his man's 

face without abhorrence, or hear words uttered from his man's 
lips without loathing; and this singly honest man was forced to 
depart, because he was a man, and because, with a heart more 
gentle and compassionate than is usual to man, he bore man's 
detested form and outward feature. 

But greater visitants than a poor steward were about to inter- 
rupt the savage quiet of Timon's solitude. For now the day was 



come when the ungrateful lords of Athens sorely repented the 
injustice which they had done to the noble Timon. For Alci- 
biades, like an incensed wild boar, was raging at the walls of their 
city, and with his hot siege threatened to lay fair Athens in the 
dust. And now the memory of Lord Timon's former prowess 
and military conduct came fresh into their forgetful minds, for 
Timon had been their general in past times, and a valiant and 
expert soldier, who alone of all the Athenians was deemed able to 
cope with a besieging army such as then threatened them, or to 
drive back the furious approaches of Alcibiades. 

A deputation of the senators was chosen in this emergency to 
wait upon Timon. To him they come in their extremity, to whom, 
when he was in extremity, they had shown but small regard; as 
if they presumed upon his gratitude whom they had disobliged, 
and had derived a claim to his courtesy from their own most 
discourteous and unpiteous treatment. 

Now they earnestly beseech him, implore him with tears, to 
return and save that city from which their ingratitude had so 
lately driven him; now they offer him riches, power, dignities s , 
satisfaction for past injuries, and public honors, and the public 
love; their persons, lives, and fortunes to be at his disposal, if he 
will but come back and save them. But Timon the naked, Timon 
the man-hater, was no longer Lord Timon, the lord of bounty, 
the flower of valor, their defense in war, their ornament in peace. 
If Alcibiades killed his countrymen, Timon cared not. If he 
sacked fair Athens, and slew her old men and her infants, Timon 
would rejoice. So he told them; and that there was not a knife in 
the unruly camp which he did not prize above the reverendest 
throat in Athens. 

This was all the answer he vouchsafed to the weeping, disap- 
pointed senators; only at parting he bade them commend him to 
his countrymen, and tell them that to ease them of their griefs and 
anxieties, and to prevent the consequences of fierce Alcibiades's 
wrath, there was yet a way left, which he would teach them, for he 
had yet so much affection left for his dear countrymen as to be will- 



ing to do them a kindness before his death. These words a little 
revived the senators, who hoped that his kindness for their city 
was returning. Then Timon told them that he had a tree, which 
grew near his cave, which he should shortly have occasion to cut 
down, and he invited all his friends in Athens, high or low, of what 

degree soever, who wished to shun affliction, to come and take a 
taste of his tree before he cut it down; meaning that they might 
come and hang themselves on it and escape affliction that way. 

And this was the last courtesy, of all his noble bounties, which 
Timon showed to mankind, and this the last sight of him which 
his countrymen had, for not many days after, a poor soldier, pass- 
ing by the sea-beach which was at a little distance from the 
woods which Timon frequented, found a tomb on the verge of 
'the sea, with an inscription upon it purporting that it was the 



grave of Timon the man-hater, who "While he lived, did hate all 
living men, and, dying, wished a plague might consume all caitiffs 

Whether he finished his life by violence, or whether mere 
distaste of life and the loathing he had for mankind brought Timon 
to his conclusion, was not clear, yet all men admired the fitness of 
his epitaph and the consistency of his end, dying, as he had lived, 
a hater of mankind. And some there were who fancied a con- 
ceit in the very choice which he had made of the sea-beach for 
his place of burial, where the vast sea might weep forever upon 
his grave, as in contempt of the transient and shallow tears of 
hypocritical and deceitful mankind. 





HE two chief families in Verona were 
the rich Capulets and the Montagues. 
There had been an old quarrel between 
these families, which was grown to such 
a height, and so deadly was the enmity 
between them, that it extended to the 
remotest kindred, to the followers and 
retainers of both sides, in so much that 
a servant of the house of Montague could 
not meet a servant of the house of Capulet, nor a Capulet en- 
counter with a Montague by chance, but fierce words and some- 
times bloodshed ensued; and frequent were the brawls from such 
accidental meetings, which disturbed the happy quiet of Verona's 

Old Lord Capulet made a great supper, to which many fair 
ladies and many noble guests were invited. All the admired 
beauties of Verona were present, and all comers were made wel- 
come if they were not of the house of Montague. At this feast 
of Capulets, Rosaline, beloved of Romeo, son to the old Lord 
Montague, was present; and though it was dangerous for a 
Montague to be seen in this assembly, yet Benvolio, a friend of 
Romeo, persuaded the young lord to go to this assembly in the 
disguise of a mask, that he might see his Rosaline, and, seeing her, 
compare her with some choice beauties of Verona, who (he said) 
would make him think his swan a crow. Romeo had small faith 
in Benvolio's words; nevertheless, for the love of Rosaline, he 
was persuaded to go. For Romeo was a sincere and passionate 
lover, and one that lost his sleep for love and fled society to be 
alone, thinking on Rosaline, who disdained him and never re- 



quited his love with the least show of courtesy or affection; and 
Benvolio wished to cure his friend of this love by showing him 
diversity "of ladies and company. To this feast of Capulets, then, 
young Romeo, with Benvolio artd their friend Mercutio, went 
masked. Old Capulet bid them welcome and told them that 
ladies who had their toes unplagued with corns would dance 
with them. And the old man was light-hearted and merry, and 
said that he had worn a mask when he was young and could 
have told a whispering tale in a fair lady's ear. And they fell 
to dancing, and Romeo was suddenly struck with the exceeding 
beauty of a lady who danced there, who seemed to him to teach 
the torches to burn bright, and her beauty to show by night like 
a rich jewel worn by a blackamoor; beauty too rich for use, too 
dear for earth ! like a snowy dove trooping with crows (he said), 
so richly did her beauty and perfections shine above the ladies 
her companions. While he uttered these praises he was overheard 
by Tybalt, a nephew of Lord Capulet, who knew him by his 
voice to be Romeo. And this Tybalt, being of a fiery and pas- 
sionate temper, could not endure that a Montague should come 
under cover of a mask, to fleer and scorn (as he said) at their 
solemnities. And he stormed and raged exceedingly, and would 
have struck young Romeo dead. But his uncle, the old Lord 
Capulet, would not suffer him to do any injury at that time, both 
out of respect to his guests and because Romeo had borne himself 
like a gentleman and all tongues in Verona bragged of him to be a 
virtuous and well-governed youth. Tybalt, forced to be patient 
against his will, restrained himself, but swore that this vile Mon- 
tague should at another time dearly pay for his intrusion. 

The dancing being done, Romeo watched the place where the 
lady stood; and under favor of his masking habit, which might 
seem to excuse in part the liberty, he presumed in the gentlest 
manner to take her by the hand, calling it a shrine, which if he 
profaned by touching it, he was a blushing pilgrim and would 
kiss it for atonement. 

"Good pilgrim," answered the lady, "your devotion shows by 

J 282] 


far too mannerly and too courtly. Saints have hands which 
pilgrims may touch but kiss not." 

"Have not saints lips, and pilgrims, too?" said Romeo. 

"Aye," said the lady, "lips which they must use in prayer." 

"Oh, then, my dear saint," said Romeo, "hear my prayer, and 
grant it, lest I despair." 

In such like allusions and loving conceits they were engaged 
when the lady was called away to her mother. And Romeo, 
inquiring who her mother was, discovered that the lady whose 
peerless beauty he was so much struck with was young Juliet, 
daughter and heir to the Lord Capulet, the great enemy of the 
Montagues; and that he had unknowingly engaged his heart to 
his foe. This troubled him, but it could not dissuade him from 
loving. As little rest had Juliet when she found that the gentle- 
man that she had been talking with was Romeo and a Montague, 
for she had been suddenly smit with the same hasty and incon- 
siderate passion for Romeo which he had conceived for her; and 
a prodigious birth of love it seemed to her, that she must love her 
enemy and that her affections should settle there, where family 
considerations should induce her chiefly to hate. 

It being midnight, Romeo with his companions departed; but 
they soon missed him, for, unable to stay away from the house 
where he had left his heart, he leaped the wall of an orchard which 
was at the back of Juliet's house. Here he had not been long, 
ruminating on his new love, when Juliet appeared above at a win- 
dow, through which her exceeding beauty seemed to break like 
the light of the sun in the east; and the moon, which shone in 
the orchard with a faint light, appeared to Romeo as if sick and 
pale with grief at the superior luster of this new sun. And she 
leaning her cheek upon her hand, he passionately wished him- 
self a glove upon that hand, that he might touch her cheek. She 
all this while thinking herself alone, fetched a deep sigh, and 
exclaimed : 

"Ah me!" 

Romeo, enraptured to hear her speak, said, softly and unheard 

[ 283 ] 


by her, "Oh, speak again, bright angel, for such you appear, 
being over my head, like a winged messenger from heaven whom 
mortals fall back to gaze upon." 

She, unconscious of being overheard, and full of the new pas- 
sion which that night's adventure had given birth to, called upon 
her lover by name (whom she supposed absent). "O Romeo, 
Romeo!" said she, "wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy 
father and refuse thy name, for my sake; or if thou wilt not, be 
but my sworn love, and I no longer will be a Capulet." 

Romeo, having this encouragement, would fain have spoken, 
but he was desirous of hearing more; and the lady continued her 
passionate discourse with herself (as she thought), still chiding 
Romeo for being Romeo and a Montague, and wishing him some 
other name, or that he would put away that hated name, and 
for that name which was no part of himself he should take all 
herself. At this loving word Romeo could no longer refrain, but, 
taking up the dialogue as if her words had been addressed to him 
personally, and not merely in fancy, he bade her call him Love, 
or by whatever other name she pleased, for he was no longer 
Romeo, if that name was displeasing to her. Juliet, alarmed to 
hear a man's voice in the garden, did not at first know who 
it was that by favor of the night and darkness had thus 
stumbled upon the discovery of her secret; but when he 
spoke again, though her ears had not yet drunk a hundred 
words of that tongue's uttering, yet so nice is a lover's hear- 
ing that she immediately knew him to be young Romeo, and 
she expostulated with him on the danger to which he had 
exposed himself by climbing the orchard walls, for if any of 
her kinsmen should find him there it would be death to him, 
being a Montague. 

"Alack!" said Romeo, "there is more peril in your eye than in 
twenty of their swords. Do you but look kind upon me, lady, 
and I am proof against their enmity. Better my life should be 
ended by their hate than that hated life should be prolonged to 
live without your love." 



"How came you into this place," said Juliet, "and by whose 
direction ?" 

"Love directed me," answered Romeo. "I am no pilot, yet 
wert thou as far apart from me as that vast shore which is washed 
with the farthest sea, I should venture for such merchandise." 

A crimson blush came over Juliet's face, yet unseen by Romeo 
by reason of the night, when she reflected upon the discovery 
which she had made, yet not meaning to make it, of her love to 
Romeo. She would fain have recalled her words, but that was 
impossible; fain would she have stood upon form, and have kept 
her lover at a distance, as the custom of discreet ladies is, to frown 
and be perverse and give their suitors harsh denials at first; to 
stand off", and affect a coyness or indifference where they most 
love, that their lovers may not think them too lightly or too 
easily won; for the difficulty of attainment increases the value of 
the object. But there was no room in her case for denials, or 
puttings off, or any of the customary arts of delay and protracted 
courtship. Romeo had heard from her own tongue, when she 
did not dream that he was near her, a confession of her love. 
So with an honest frankness which the novelty of her situation 
excused she confirmed the truth of what he had before heard, 
and, addressing him by the name of fair Montague (love can 
sweeten a sour name), she begged him not to impute her easy 
yielding to levity or an unworthy mind, but that he must lay the 
fault of it (if it were a fault) upon the accident of the night which 
had so strangely discovered her thoughts. And she added, that 
though her behavior to him might not be sufficiently prudent, 
measured by the custom of her sex, yet that she would prove 
more true than many whose prudence was dissembling, and their 
modesty artificial cunning. 

Romeo was beginning to call the heavens to witness that noth- 
ing was farther from his thoughts than to impute a shadow of 
dishonor to such an honored lady, when she stopped him, begging 
him not to swear; for although she joyed in him, yet she had 
no joy of that night's contract — it was too rash, too unadvised, 



too sudden. But he being urgent with her to exchange a vow of 
love with him that night, she said that she already had given 
him hers before he requested it, meaning, when he overheard 
her confession; but she would retract what she then bestowed, 

for the pleasure of 
giving it again, for 
her bounty was as 
infinite as the sea, 
and her love as 
deep. From this 
loving conference 
she was called 
away by her nurse, 
who slept with her 
and thought it 
time for her to be 
in bed, for it was 
near to daybreak; 
but, hastily re- 
turning, she said 
three or four 
words more to 
Romeo, the pur- 
port of which was, 
that if his love 
was indeed honor- 
able, and his pur- 
pose marriage, she 
would send a messenger to him to-morrow to appoint a time 
for their marriage, when she would lay all her fortunes at his 
feet and follow him as her lord through the world. While 
they were settling this point Juliet was repeatedly called for 
by her nurse, and went in and returned, and went and re- 
turned again, for she seemed as jealous of Romeo going from 
her as a young girl of her bird, which she will let hop a little 



from her hand and pluck it back with a silken thread; and Romeo 
was as loath to part as she, for the sweetest music to lovers is 
the sound of each other's tongues at night. But at last they 
parted, wishing mutually sweet sleep and rest for that night. 

The daywas ; breaking when they parted, and Romeo, who was 
too full of thoughts of his mistress and that blessed meeting to 
allow him to sleep, instead of going home, bent his course to a 
monastery hard by, to find Friar Lawrence. The good friar was 
already up at his devotions, but, seeing young Romeo abroad so 
early, he conjectured rightly that he had not been abed that night, 
but that some distemper of youthful affection had kept him 
waking. He was right in imputing the cause of Romeo's wakeful- 
ness to love, but he made a wrong guess at the object, for he 
thought that his love for Rosaline had kept him waking. But 
when Romeo revealed his new passion for Juliet, and requested 
the assistance of the friar to marry them that day, the holy man 
lifted up his eyes and hands in a sort of wonder at the sudden 
change in Romeo's affections, for he had been privy to all Romeo's 
love for Rosaline and his many complaints of her disdain; and 
he said that young men's love lay not truly in their hearts, but in 
their eyes. But Romeo replying that he himself had often chidden 
him for doting on Rosaline, who could not love him again, whereas 
Juliet both loved and was beloved by him, the friar assented in 
some measure to his reasons; and thinking that a matrimonial 
alliance between young Juliet and Romeo might happily be the 
means of making up the long breach between the Capulets and 
the Montagues, which no one more lamented than this good friar 
who was a friend to both the families and had often interposed 
his mediation to make up the quarrel without effect; partly 
moved by policy, and partly by his fondness for young Romeo, to 
whom he could deny nothing, the old man consented to join their 
hands in marriage. 

Now was Romeo blessed indeed, and Juliet, who knew his 
intent from a messenger which she had despatched according to 
promise, did not fail to be early at the cell of Friar Lawrence, 



where their hands were joined in holy marriage, the good friar 
praying the heavens to smile upon that act, and in the union of 
this young Montague and young Capulet to bury the old strife 
and long dissensions of their families. 

The ceremony being over, Juliet hastened home, where she 
stayed, impatient for the coming of night, at which time Romeo 
promised to come and meet her in the orchard, where they had 
met the night before; and the time between seemed as tedious 
to her as the night before some great festival seems to an impa- 
tient child that has got new finery which it may not put on till 
the morning. 

That same day, about noon, Romeo's friends, Benvolio and 
Mercutio, walking through the streets of Verona, were met by 
a party of the Capulets with the impetuous Tybalt at their head. 
This was the same angry Tybalt who would have fought with 
Romeo at old Lord Capulet's feast. He, seeing Mercutio, accused 
him bluntly of associating with Romeo, a Montague. Mercutio, 
who had as much fire and youthful blood in him as Tybalt, 
replied to this accusation with some sharpness; and in spite of 
all Benvolio could say to moderate their wrath a quarrel was be- 
ginning when, Romeo himself passing that way, the fierce Tybalt 
turned from Mercutio to Romeo, and gave him the disgraceful 
appellation of villain. Romeo wished to avoid a quarrel with 
Tybalt above all men, because he was the kinsman of Juliet and 
much beloved by her; besides, this young Montague had never 
thoroughly entered into the family quarrel, being by nature wise 
and gentle, and the name of a Capulet, which was his dear lady's 
name, was now rather a charm to allay resentment than a watch- 
word to excite fury. So he tried to reason with Tybalt, whom he 
saluted mildly by the name of good Capulet, as if he, though a 
Montague, had some secret pleasure in uttering that name; but 
Tybalt, who hated all Montagues as he hated hell, would hear 
no reason, but drew his weapon; and Mercutio, who knew not 
of Romeo's secret motive for desiring peace with Tybalt, but 
looked upon his present forbearance as a sort of calm dishonor- 






able submission, with many disdainful words provoked Tybalt 
to the prosecution of his first quarrel with him; and Tybalt and 
Mercutio fought, till Mercutio fell, receiving his death's wound 
while Romeo and Benvolio were vainly endeavoring to part the 
combatants. Mercutio being dead, Romeo kept his temper no 
longer, but re- 
turned the scorn- 
ful appellation of 
villain which Ty- 
balt had given him, 
and they fought till 
Tybalt was slain 
by Romeo. This 
deadly broil falling 
out in the midst of 
Verona at noon- 
day, the news of 
it quickly brought 
a crowd of citizens 
to the spot, and 
among them the 
old Lords Capulet 
and Montague, 
with their wives; 
and soon after ar- 


rived the prince himself, who, being related to Mercutio, whom 
Tybalt had slain, and having had the peace of his govern- 
ment often disturbed by these brawls of Montagues and 
Capulets, came determined to put the law in strictest force 
against those who should be found to be offenders. Benvolio, 
who had been eye-witness to the fray, was commanded by the 
prince to relate the origin of it; which he did, keeping as near 
the truth as he could without injury to Romeo, softening and 
excusing the part which his friends took in it. Lady Capulet, 
whose extreme grief for the loss of her kinsman Tybalt made her 



keep no bounds in her revenge, exhorted the prince to do strict 
justice upon his murderer, and to pay no attention to Benvolio's 
representation, who, being Romeo's friend and a Montague, spoke 
partially. Thus she pleaded against her new son-in-law, but she 
knew not yet that he was her son-in-law and Juliet's husband. 
On the other hand was to be seen Lady Montague pleading for 
her child's life, and arguing with some justice that Romeo had 
done nothing worthy of punishment in taking the life of Tybalt, 
which was already forfeited to the law by his having slain Mer- 
cutio. The prince, unmoved by the passionate exclamations of 
these women, on a careful examination of the facts pronounced 
his sentence, and by that sentence Romeo was banished from 

Heavy news to young Juliet, who had been but a few hours a 
bride and now by this decree seemed everlastingly divorced! 
When the tidings reached her, she at first gave way to rage against 
Romeo, who had slain her dear cousin. She called him a beautiful 
tyrant, a fiend angelical, a ravenous dove, a lamb with a wolf's 
nature, a serpent-heart hid with a flowering face, and other^like 
contradictory names, which denoted the struggles in her mind 
between her love and her resentment. But in the end love got 
the mastery, and the tears which she shed for grief that Romeo 
had slain her cousin turned to drops of joy that her husband lived 
whom Tybalt would have slain. Then came fresh tears, and they 
were altogether of grief for Romeo's banishment. That word 
was more terrible to her than the death of many Tybalts. 

Romeo, after the fray, had taken refuge in Friar Lawrence's 
cell, where he was first made acquainted with the prince's sen- 
tence, which seemed to him far more terrible than death. To 
him it appeared there was no world out of Verona's walls, no living 
out of the sight of Juliet. Heaven was there where Juliet lived, 
and all beyond was purgatory, torture, hell. The good friar 
would have applied the consolation of philosophy to his griefs; 
but this frantic young man would hear of none, but like a mad- 
man he tore his hair and threw himself all along upon the ground, 



as he said, to take the measure of his grave. From this unseemly 
state he was roused by a message from his dear lady, which a little 
revived him; and then the friar took the advantage to expostu- 
late with him on the unmanly weakness which he had shown. 
He had slain Tybalt, but would he also slay himself, slay his dear 
lady, who lived but in his life? The noble form of man, he said, 
was but a shape of wax when it wanted the courage which should 
keep it firm. The law had been lenient to him that instead of 
death, which he had incurred, had pronounced by the prince's 
mouth only banishment. He had slain Tybalt, but Tybalt would 
have slain him — there was a sort of happiness in that. Juliet 
was alive and (beyond all hope) had become his dear wife; therein 
he was most happy. All these blessings, as the friar made them 
out to be, did Romeo put from htm like a sullen misbehaved 
wench. And the friar bade him beware, for such as despaired (he 
said) died miserable. Then when Romeo was a little calmed he 
counseled him that he should go that night and secretly take 
his leave of Juliet, and thence proceed straightway to Mantua, 
at which place he should sojourn till the friar found fit occasion 
to publish his marriage, which might be a joyful means of recon- 
ciling their families; and then he did not doubt but the prince 
would be moved to pardon him, and he would return with twenty 
times more joy than he went forth with grief. Romeo was con- 
vinced by these wise counsels of the friar, and took his leave to 
go and seek his lady, proposing to stay with her that night, and 
by daybreak pursue his journey alone to Mantua; to which place 
the good friar promised to send him letters from time to time, 
acquainting him with the state of affairs at home. 

That night Romeo passed with his dear wife, gaining secret 
admission to her chamber from the orchard in which he had 
heard her confession of love the night before. That had been a 
night of unmixed joy and rapture; but the pleasures of this night 
and the delight which these lovers took in each other's society 
were sadly allayed with the prospect of parting and the fatal ad- 
ventures of the past day. The unwelcome daybreak seemed to 



come too soon, and when Juliet heard the morning song of the 
lark she would have persuaded herself that it was the nightingale, 
which sings by night; but it was too truly the lark which sang, 
and a discordant and unpleasing note it seemed to her; and the 
streaks of day in the east too certainly pointed out that it was 
time for these lovers to part. Romeo took his leave of his dear 
wife with a heavy heart, promising to write to her from Mantua 
every hour in the day; and when he had descended from her 
chamber window, as he stood below her on the ground, in that 
sad foreboding state of mind in which she was, he appeared to 
her eyes as one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Romeo's mind 
misgave him in like manner. But now he was forced hastily to 
depart, for it was death for him to be found within the walls of 
Verona after daybreak. 

This was but the beginning of the tragedy of this pair of star- 
crossed lovers. Romeo had not been gone many days before the 
old Lord Capulet proposed a match for Juliet. The husband 
he had chosen for her, not dreaming that she was married already, 
was Count Paris, a gallant, young, and noble gentleman, no un- 
worthy suitor to the young Juliet if she had never seen Romeo. 

The terrified Juliet was in a sad perplexity at her father's offer. 
She pleaded her youth unsuitable to marriage, the recent death 
of Tybalt, which had left her spirits too weak to meet a husband 
with any face of joy, and how indecorous it would show for the 
family of the Capulets to be celebrating a nuptial feast when his 
funeral solemnities were hardly over. She pleaded every reason 
against the match but the true one, namely, that she was married 
already. But Lord Capulet was deaf to all her excuses, and in 
a peremptory manner ordered her to get ready, for by the fol- 
lowing Thursday she should be married to Paris. And having 
found her a husband, rich, young, and noble, such as the proudest 
maid in Verona might joyfully accept, he could not bear that out 
of an affected coyness, as he construed her denial, she should 
oppose obstacles to her own good fortune. 

In this extremity Juliet applied to the friendly friar, always 




her counselor in distress, and he asking her if she had resolution 
to undertake a desperate remedy, and she answering that she 
would go into the grave alive rather than marry Paris, her own 
dear husband living, he directed her to go home, and appear 
merry, and give her consent to marry Paris, according to her 
father's desire, and on the next night, which was the night before 
the marriage, to drink off the contents of a vial which he then gave 
her, the effect of which would be that for two-and-forty hours 
after drinking it she should appear cold and lifeless, and when 
the bridegroom came to fetch her in the morning he would find 
her to appearance dead; that then she would be borne, as the 
manner in that country was, uncovered on a bier, to be buried 
in the family vault; that if she could put off womanish fear, and 
consent to this terrible trial, in forty-two hours after swallowing 
the liquid (such was its certain operation) she would be sure to 
awake, as from a dream; and before she should awake he would 
let. her husband know their drift, and he should come in the 
night and bear her thence to Mantua. Love, and the dread of 
marrying Paris, gave young Juliet strength to undertake this 
horrible adventure; and she took the vial of the friar, promising 
to observe his directions. 

Going from the monastery, she met the young Count Paris, 
and, modestly dissembling, promised to become his bride. This 
was joyful news to the Lord Capulet and his wife. It seemed to 
put youth into the old man; and Juliet, who had displeased him 
exceedingly by her refusal of the count, was his darling again, 
now she promised to be obedient. All things in the house were in 
a bustle against the approaching nuptials. No cost was spared 
to prepare such festival rejoicings as Verona had never before 

On the Wednesday night Juliet drank off the potion. She had 
many misgivings lest the friar, to avoid the blame which might 
be imputed to him for marrying her to Romeo, had given her 
poison; but then he was always known for a holy man. Then 
lest she should awake before the time that Romeo was to come 

[297 J 


for her; whether the terror of the place, a vault full of dead 
Capulets' bones, and where Tybalt, all bloody, lay festering in 
his shroud, would not be enough to drive her distracted. Again 
she thought of all the stories she had heard of spirits haunting 
the places where their bodies were bestowed. But then her 
love for Romeo and her aversion for Paris returned, and she 
desperately swallowed the draught and became insensible. 

When young Paris came early in the morning with music to 
awaken his bride, instead of a living Juliet her chamber presented 
the dreary spectacle of a lifeless corse. What death to his hopes! 
What confusion then reigned through the whole house! Poor Paris 
lamenting his bride, whom most detestable death had beguiled 
him of, had divorced from him even before their hands were 
joined. But still more piteous it was to hear the mournings of 
the old Lord and Lady Capulet, who having but this one, one poor 
loving child to rejoice and solace in, cruel death had snatched her 
from their sight, just as these careful parents were on the point of 
seeing her advanced (as they thought) by a promising and ad- 
vantageous match. Now all things that were ordained for the 
festival were turned from their properties to do the office of a 
black funeral. The wedding cheer served for a sad burial feast, 
the bridal hymns were changed for sullen dirges, the sprightly 
instruments to melancholy bells, and the flowers that should have 
been strewed in the bride's path now served but to strew her corse. 
Now, instead of a priest to marry her, a priest was needed to bury 
her, and she was borne to church indeed, not to augment the 
cheerful hopes of the living, but to swell the dreary numbers of 
the dead. 

Bad news, which always travels faster than good, now brought 
the dismal story of his Juliet's death to Romeo, at Mantua, 
before the messenger could arrive who was sent from Friar Law- 
rence to apprise him that these were mock funerals only, and but 
the shadow and representation of death, and that his dear lady 
lay in the tomb but for a short while, expecting when Romeo 
would come to release her from that dreary mansion. Just be- 

[ 298 ] 


fore, Romeo had been unusually joyful and light-hearted. He 
had dreamed in the night that he was dead (a strange dream, that 
gave a dead man leave to think) and that his lady came and found 
him dead, and breathed such life with kisses in his lips that he 
revived and was an emperor! And now that a messenger came 
from Verona, he thought surely it was to confirm some good news 
which his dreams had presaged. But when the contrary to this 
flattering vision appeared, and that it was his lady who was dead 
in truth, whom he could not revive by any kisses, he ordered 
horses to be got ready, for he determined that night to visit 
Verona and to see his lady in her tomb. And as mischief is swift 
to enter into the thoughts of desperate men, he called to mind a 
poor apothecary, whose shop in Mantua he had lately passed, 
and from the beggarly appearance of the man, who seemed fam- 
ished, and the wretched show in his show of empty boxes ranged 
on dirty shelves, and other tokens of extreme wretchedness, 
he had said at the time (perhaps having some misgivings that 
his own disastrous life might haply meet with a conclusion so 
desperate) : 

"If a man were to need poison, which by the law of Mantua 
it is death to sell, here lives a poor wretch who would sell it him." 

These words of his now came into his mind and he sought out 
the apothecary, who after some pretended scruples, Romeo of- 
fering him gold, which his poverty could not resist, sold him a 
poison which, if he swallowed, he told him, if he had the strength 
of twenty men, would quickly despatch him. 

With this poison he set out for Verona, to have a sight of his 
dear lady in her tomb, meaning, when he had satisfied his sight, 
to swallow the poison and be buried by her side. He reached 
Verona at midnight, and found the churchyard in the midst of 
which was situated the ancient tomb of the Capulets. He had 
provided a light, and a spade, and wrenching-iron, and was pro- 
ceeding to break open the monument when he was interrupted 
by a voice, which by the name of vile Montague bade him desist 
from his unlawful business. It was the young Count Paris, who 



had come to the tomb of Juliet at that unseasonable time of night 
to strew flowers and to weep over the grave of her that should 
have been his bride. He knew not what an interest Romeo had 
in the dead, but, knowing him to be a Montague and (as he sup- 
posed) a sworn foe to all the Capulets, he judged that he was come 
by night to do some villainous shame to the dead bodies; there- 
fore in an angry tone he bade him desist; and as a criminal, 
condemned by the laws of Verona to die if he were found within 
the walls of the city, he would have apprehended him. Romeo 
urged Paris to leave him, and warned him by the fate of Tybalt, 
who lay buried there, not to provoke his anger or draw down an- 
other sin upon his head by forcing him to kill him. But the count 
in scorn refused his warning, and laid hands on him as a felon, 
which, Romeo resisting, they fought, and Paris fell. When 
Romeo, by the help of a light, came to see who it was that he had 
slain, that it was Paris, who (he learned in his way from Mantua) 
should have married Juliet, he took the dead youth by the hand, 
as one whom misfortune had made a companion, and said that he 
would bury him in a triumphal grave, meaning in Juliet's grave, 
which he now opened. And there lay his lady, as one whom 
death had no power upon to change a feature or complexion, in her 
matchless beauty; or as if death were amorous, and the lean, 
abhorred monster kept her there for his delight; for she lay yet 
fresh and blooming, as she had fallen to sleep when she swallowed 
that benumbing potion; and near her lay Tybalt in his bloody 
shroud, whom Romeo seeing, begged pardon of his lifeless corse, 
and for Juliet's sake called him cousin, and said that he was about 
to do him a favor by putting his enemy to death. Here Romeo 
took his last leave of his lady's lips, kissing them; and here he 
shook the burden of his cross stars from his weary body, swallow- 
ing that poison which the apothecary had sold him, whose opera- 
tion was fatal and real, not like that dissembling potion which 
Juliet had swallowed, the effect of which was now nearly expiring, 
and she about to awake to complain that Romeo had not kept 
his time, or that he had come too soon. 



For now the hour was arrived at which the fjdar.had promised 
that she should awake; and he, having learned that his letters 
which he had sent to Mantua, by some unlucky detention of the 
messenger, had never reached Romeo, came himself, provided 
with a pickax and lantern, to deliver the lady from her confine- 
ment; but he was 
surprised to find a 
light already burn- 
ing in the Capulets' 
monument, and to 
see swords and 
blood near it, and 
Romeo and Paris 
lying breathless by 
the monument. 

Before he could 
entertain a conjec- 
ture, to imagine 
how these fatal ac- 
cidents had fallen 
out, Juliet awoke 
out of her trance, 
and, seeing the friar 
near her, she re- 
membered the place 
where she was, and 
the occasion of her 

being there, and asked for Romeo, but the friar, hearing a 
noise, bade her come out of that place of death and of un- 
natural sleep, for a greater power than they could contradict 
had thwarted their intents; and, being frightened by the noise 
of people coming, he fled. But when Juliet saw the cup closed 
in her true love's hands, she guessed that poison had been 
the cause of his end, and she would have swallowed the dregs 
if any had been left, and she kissed his still warm lips to try if 



any poison yet did hang upon them; then hearing a nearer noise 
of people coming, she quickly unsheathed a dagger which she wore, 
and, stabbing herself, died by her true Romeo's side. 

The watch by this time had come up to the place. A page 
belonging to Count Paris, who had witnessed the fight between his 
master and Romeo, had given the alarm, which had spread among 
the citizens, who went up and down the streets of Verona con- 
fusedly exclaiming, "A Paris! a Romeo! a Juliet!" as the rumor 
had imperfectly reached them, till the uproar brought Lord 
Montague and Lord Capulet out of their beds, with the prince, 
to inquire into the causes of the disturbance. The friar had been 
apprehended by some of the watch, coming from the churchyard, 
trembling, sighing, and weeping in a suspicious manner. A great 
multitude being assembled at the Capulets* monument, the friar 
was demanded by the prince to deliver what he knew of these 
strange and disastrous accidents. 

And there, in the presence of the old Lords Montague and 
Capulet, he faithfully related the story of their children's fatal 
love, the part he took in promoting their marriage, in the hope in 
that union to end the long quarrels between their families; how 
Romeo, there dead, was husband to Juliet, and Juliet, there dead, 
was Romeo's faithful wife; how, before he could find a fit oppor- 
tunity to divulge their marriage, another match was projected for 
Juliet, who, to avoid the crime of a second marriage, swallowed 
the sleeping-draught (as he advised), and all thought her dead; how 
meantime he wrote to Romeo to come and take her thence when 
the force of the potion should cease, and by what unfortunate 
miscarriage of the messenger the letters never reached Romeo. 
Further than this the friar could not follow the story, nor knew 
more than that, coming himself to deliver Juliet from that place 
of death, he found the Count Paris and Romeo slain. The remain- 
der of the transactions was supplied by the narration of the page 
who had seen Paris and Romeo fight, and by the servant who 
came with Romeo from Verona, to whom this faithful lover had* 
given letters to be delivered to his father in the event of his 

[ 302 ] 


death, which made good the friar's words, confessing his marriage 
with Juliet, imploring the forgiveness of his parents, acknowledg- 
ing the buying of the poison of the poor apothecary and his intent 
in coming to the monument to die and lie with Juliet. All these 
circumstances agreed together to clear the friar from any hand 
he could be supposed to have in these complicated slaughters, 
further than as the unintended consequences of his own well- 
meant, yet too artificial and subtle contrivances. 

And the prince, turning to these old lords, Montague and 
Capulet, rebuked them for their brutal and irrational enmities, 
and showed them what a scourge Heaven had laid upon such 
offenses, that it had found means even through the love of their 
children to punish their unnatural hate. And these old rivals, 
no longer enemies, agreed to bury their long strife in their chil- 
dren's graves; and Lord Capulet requested Lord Montague to 
give him his hand, calling him by the name of brother, as if in 
acknowledgment of the union of their families by the marriage of 
the young Capulet and Montague; and saying that Lord Monta- 
gue's hand (in token of reconcilement) was all he demanded for 
his daughter's jointure. But Lord Montague said he would give 
him more, for he would raise her a statue of pure gold that, while 
Verona kept its name, no figure should be so esteemed for its 
richness and workmanship as that of the true and faithful Juliet. 
And Lord Capulet in return said that he would raise another statue 
to Romeo. So did these poor old lords, when it was too late, strive 
to outgo each other in mutual courtesies; while so deadly had 
been their rage and enmity in past times that nothing but the 
fearful overthrow of their children (poor sacrifices to their quar- 
rels and dissensions) could remove the rooted hates and jealousies 
of the noble families. 



jERTRUDE, Queen of Denmark, becom- 
ing a widow by the sudden death of 
King Hamlet, in less than two months 
after his death married his brother 
Claudius, which was noted by all people 
at the time for a strange act of indiscre- 
tion, or unfeelingness, or worse; for this 
Claudius did no way resemble her late 
husband in the qualities of his person or 
his mind, but was as contemptible in outward appearance as he was 
base and unworthy in disposition; and suspicions did not fail to 
arise in the minds of some that he had privately made away with 
his brother, the late king, with the view of marrying his widow 
and ascending the throne of Denmark, to the exclusion of young 
Hamlet, the son of the buried king and lawful successor to the 

But upon no one did this unadvised action of the queen make 
such impression as upon this young prince, who loved and ven- 
erated the memory of his dead father almost to idolatry, and, 
being of a nice sense of honor and a most exquisite practiser of 
propriety himself, did sorely take to heart this unworthy conduct 
of his mother Gertrude; in so much that, between grief for his 
father's death and shame for his mother's marriage, this young 
prince was overclouded with a deep melancholy, and lost all his 
mirth and all his good looks; all his customary pleasure in books 
forsook him, his princely exercises and sports, proper to his 
youth, were no longer acceptable; he grew weary of the world, 
which seemed to him an unweeded garden, where all the whole- 
some flowers were choked up and nothing but weeds could thrive. 




Not that the prospect of exclusion from the throne, his lawful 
inheritance, weighed so much upon his spirits, though that to a 
young and high-minded prince was a bitter wound and a sore 
indignity; but what so galled him and took away all his cheerful 
spirits was that his mother had shown herself so forgetful to his 
father's memory, and such a father! who had been to her so loving 
and so gentle a husband ! and then she always appeared as loving 
and obedient a wife to him, and would hang upon him as if her 
affection grew to him. And now within two months, or, as it 
seemed to young Hamlet, less than two months, she had married 
again, married his uncle, her dear husband's brother, in itself a 
highly improper and unlawful marriage, from the nearness of 
relationship, but made much more so by the indecent haste with 
which it was concluded and the unkingly character of the man 
whom she had chosen to be the partner of her throne and bed. 
This it was which more than the loss of ten kingdoms dashed the 
spirits and brought a cloud over the mind of this honorable young 

In vain was all that his mother Gertrude or the king could do 
to contrive to divert him; he still appeared in court in a suit of 
deep black, as mourning for the king his father's death, which 
mode of dress he had never laid aside, not even in compliment to 
his mother upon the day she was married, nor could he be brought 
to join in any of the festivities or rejoicings of that (as appeared 
to him) disgraceful day. 

What mostly troubled him was an uncertainty about the man- 
ner of his father's death. It was given out by Claudius that a 
serpent had stung him; but young Hamlet had shrewd suspi- 
cions that Claudius himself was the serpent; in plain English, 
that he had murdered him for his crown, and that the serpent 
who stung his father did now sit on the throne. 

How far he was right in this conjecture and what he ought to 
think of his mother, how far she was privy to this murder and 
whether by her consent or knowledge, or without, it came to pass, 
were the doubts which continually harassed and distracted him. 

20 [ 30S ] 


A rumor had reached the ear of young Hamlet that an appari-' 
tion, exactly resembling the dead king his father, had been seen 
by the soldiers upon watch, on the platform before the palace 
at midnight, for two or three nights successively. The figure came 
constantly clad in the same suit of armor, from head to foot, which 
the dead king was known to have worn. And they who saw it 
(Hamlet's bosom friend Horatio was one) agreed in their testi- 
mony as to the time and manner of its appearance — that it came 
just as the clock struck twelve; that it looked pale, with a face 
more of sorrow than of anger; that its beard was grisly, and the 
color a sable silvered, as they had seen it in his lifetime; that it 
made no answer when they spoke to it; yet once they thought 
it lifted up its head and addressed itself to motion, as if it were 
about to speak; but in that moment the morning cock crew and 
it shrank in haste away, and vanished out of their sight. 

The young prince, strangely amazed at their relation, which 
was too consistent and agreeing with itself to disbelieve, con- 
cluded that it was his father's ghost which they had seen, and de- 
termined to take his watch with the soldiers that night, that he 
might have a chance of seeing it; for he reasoned with himself 
that such an appearance did not come for nothing, but that the 
ghost had something to impart, and though it had been silent 
hitherto, yet it would speak to him. And he waited with impa- 
tience for the coming of night. 

When night came he took his stand with Horatio, and Marcel- 
lus, one of the guard, upon the platform, where this apparition 
Was accustomed to walk; and it being a cold night, and the air 
unusually raw and nipping, Hamlet and Horatio and their com- 
panion fell into some talk about the coldness of the night, which 
was suddenly broken off" by Horatio announcing that the ghost 
was coming. 

At the sight of his father's spirit Hamlet was struck with a 
sudden surprise and fear. He at first called upon the angels and 
heavenly ministers to defend them, for he knew not whether it 

were a good spirit or bad, whether it came for good or evil; but 




he gradually assumed more courage; and his father (as it seemed 
to him) looked upon him so piteously, and as it were desiring to 
have conversation with him, and did in all respects appear so 
like himself as he was when he lived, that Hamlet could not help 
addressing him. He called him by his name, "Hamlet, King, 
Father!" and conjured him that he would tell the reason why he 
had left his grave, where they had seen him quietly bestowed, 
to come again and visit the earth and the moonlight; and be- 
sought him that he would let them know if there was anything 
which they could do to give peace to his spirit. And the ghost 
beckoned to Hamlet, that he should go with him to some more 
removed place where they might be alone; and Horatio and Mar- 
cellus would have dissuaded the young prince from following it, 
for they feared lest it should be some evil spirit who would tempt 
him to the neighboring sea or to the top of some dreadful cliff, 
and there put on some horrible shape which might deprive the 
prince of his reason. But their counsels and entreaties could not 
alter Hamlet's determination, who cared too little about life to 
fear the losing of it; and as to his soul, he said, what could the 
spirit do to that, being a thing immortal as itself? And he felt 
as hardy as a lion, and, bursting from them, who did all they 
could to hold him, he followed whithersoever the spirit led him. 

And when they were alone together, the spirit broke silence 
and told him that he was the ghost of Hamlet, his father, who had 
been cruelly murdered, and he told the manner of it; that it 
was done by his own brother Claudius, Hamlet's uncle, as Hamlet 
had already but too much suspected, for the hope of succeeding 
to his bed and crown. That as he was sleeping in his garden, his 
custom always in the afternoon, his treasonous brother stole upon 
him in his sleep and poured the juice of poisonous henbane into 
his ears, which has such an antipathy to the life of man that, 
swift as quicksilver, it courses through all the veins of the body, 
baking up the blood and spreading a crust-like leprosy all over 
the skin. Thus sleeping, by a brother's hand he was cut off at 
once from his crown, his queen, and his life; and he adjured 



Hamlet, if he did ever his dear father love, that he would revenge 
his foul murder. And the ghost lamented to his son that his 
mother should so fall off from virtue as to prove false to the 
wedded love of her first husband and to marry his murderer; 
but he cautioned Hamlet, howsoever he proceeded in his revenge 
against his wicked uncle, by no means to act any violence against 
the person of his mother, but to leave her to Heaven, and to the 
stings and thorns of conscience. And Hamlet promised to ob- 
serve the ghost's direction in all things, and the ghost vanished. 

And when Hamlet was left alone he took up a solemn resolution 
that all he had in his memory, all that he had ever learned by 
books or observation, should be instantly forgotten by him, and 
nothing live in his brain but the memory of what the ghost had 
told him and enjoined him to do. And Hamlet related the 
particulars of the conversation which had passed to none but 
his dear friend Horatio; and he enjoined both to him and 
Marcellus the strictest secrecy as to what they had seen that 

The terror which the sight of the ghost had left upon the senses 
of Hamlet, he being weak and dispirited before, almost unhinged 
his mind and drove him beside his reason. And he, fearing that 
it would continue to have this effect, which might subject him to 
observation and set his uncle upon his guard, if he suspected that 
he was meditating anything against him, or that Hamlet really 
knew more of his father's death than he professed, took up a 
strange resolution, from that time to counterfeit as if he were 
really and truly mad; thinking that he would be less an object of 
suspicion when his uncle should believe him incapable of any 
serious project, and that his real perturbation of mind would be 
best covered and pass concealed under a disguise of pretended 

From this time Hamlet affected a certain wildness and strange- 
ness in his apparel, his speech, and behavior, and did so excel- 
lently counterfeit the madman that the king and queen were both 
deceived, and not thinking his grief for his father's death a sufE- 



cient cause to produce such a distemper, for they knew not of 
the appearance of the ghost, they concluded that his malady 
was love and they thought they had found out the object. 

Before Hamlet fell into the melancholy way which has been 
relatedTie had dearly loved a fair maid called Ophelia, the daugh- 

ter of Polonius, the king's chief counselor in affairs of state. He 
had sent her letters and rings, and made many tenders of his 
affection to her, and importuned her with love in honorable 
fashion; and she had given belief to his vows and importunities. 
But the melancholy which he fell into latterly had made him 
neglect her, and from the time he conceived the project of counter- 
feiting madness he affected to treat her with unkindness and a 
sort of rudeness; but she, good lady, rather than reproach him 



with being false to her, persuaded herself that it was nothing but 
the disease in his mind, and no settled unkindness, which had 
made him less observant of her than formerly; and she compared 
the faculties of his once noble mind and excellent understanding, 
impaired as they were with the deep melancholy that oppressed 
him, to sweet bells which in themselves are capable of most ex- 
quisite music, but when jangled out of tune, or rudely handled, 
produce only a harsh and unpleasing sound. ^ 

Though the rough business which Hamlet had in hand, the 
revenging of his father's death upon his murderer, did not suit 
with the playful state of courtship, or admit of the society of so 
idle a passion as love now seemed to him, yet it could not hinder 
but that soft thoughts of his Ophelia would come between, and 
in one of these moments, when he thought that his treatment of 
this gentle lady had been unreasonably harsh, he wrote her a 
letter full of wild starts of passion, and in extravagant terms; such 
as agreed with his supposed madness, but mixed with some gentle 
touches of affection, which could not but show to this honored 
lady that a deep love for her yet lay at the bottom of his heart. 
He bade her to doubt the stars were fire, and to doubt that the sun 
did move, to doubt truth to be a liar, but never to doubt that he 
loved; with more of such extravagant phrases. This letter 
Ophelia dutifully showed to her father, and the old man thought 
himself bound to communicate it to the king and queen, who from 
that time supposed that the true cause of Hamlet's madness was 
love. And the queen wished that the good beauties of Ophelia 
might be the happy cause of his wildness, for so she hoped that 
her virtues might happily restore him to his accustomed way 
again, to both their honors. 

| But Hamlet's malady lay deeper than she supposed, or than 
could be so cured. His father's ghost, which he had seen, still 
haunted his imagination, and the sacred injunction to revenge 
his murder gave him no rest till it was accomplished. Every hour 
of delay seemed to him a sin and a violation of his father's com- 
mands. Yet how to compass the death of the king, surrounded 



as he constantly was with his guards, was no easy matter. Or if 
it had been, the presence of the queen, Hamlet's mother, who was 
generally with the king, was a restraint upon his purpose, which . 
he could not break through. Besides, the very circumstance 
that the usurper was his mother's husband filled him with some 
remOrse and still blunted the edge of his purpose. The mere act 
of putting a fellow-creature to death was in itself odious and ter- 
rible to a disposition naturally so gentle as Hamlet's was. His 
very melancholy, and the dejection of spirits he had so long been 
in, produced an irresoluteness and wavering of purpose which 
kept him from proceeding to extremities. Moreover, he could 
not help having some scruples upon his mind, whether the spirit 
which he had seen was indeed his father, or whether it might not 
be the devil, who he had heard has power to take any form he 
pleases, and who might have assumed his father's shape only to 
take advantage of his weakness and his melancholy, to drive him 
to the doing of so desperate an act as murder. And he determined 
that he would have more certain grounds to go upon than a 
vision, or apparition, which might be a delusion. 

While he was in this irresolute mind there came to the court 
certain players, in whom Hamlet formerly used to take delight, 
and particularly to hear one of them speak a tragical speech, 
describing the death of old Priam, King of Troy, with the grief 
of Hecuba his queen. Hamlet welcomed his old friends, the 
players, and remembering how that speech had formerly given 
him pleasure, requested the player to repeat it; which he did in 
so lively a manner, setting forth the cruel murder of the feeble 
old king, with the destruction of his people and city by fire, and the 
mad grief of the old queen, running barefoot up and down the 
palace, with a poor clout upon that head where a crown had 
been, and with nothing but a blanket upon her loins, snatched 
up in haste, where she had worn a royal robe; that not only it 
drew tears from all that stood by, who thought they saw the real 
scene, so lively was it represented, but even the player himself 
delivered it with a broken voice and real tears. This put Ham- 



let upon thinking, if that player could so work himself up to pas- 
sion by a mere fictitious speech, to weep for one that he had never 
seen, for Hecuba, that had been dead so many hundred years, 
how dull was he, who having a real motive and cue for passion, a 
real king and a dear father murdered, was yet so little moved 
that his revenge all this while had seemed to have slept in dull 
and muddy forgetfulness ! and while he meditated on actors and 
acting, and the powerful effects which a good play, represented 
to the life, has upon the spectator, he remembered the instance of 
some murderer, who, seeing a murder on the stage, was by the 
mere force of the scene and resemblance of circumstances so 
affected that on the spot he confessed the crime which he had 
committed. And he determined that these players should play 
something like the murder of his father before his uncle, and he 
would watch narrowly what effect it might have upon him, and 
from his looks he would be able to gather with more certainty if 
he were the murderer or not. To this effect he ordered a play to 
be prepared, to the representation of which he invited the king 
and queen. 

The story of the play was of a murder done in Vienna upon a 
duke. The duke's name was Gonzago, his wife's Baptista. The 
play showed how one Lucianus, a near relation to the duke, 
poisoned him in his garden for his estate, and how the murderer 
in a short time after got the love of Gonzago's wife. 

At the representation of this play, the king, who did not know 
the trap which was laid for him, was present, with his queen and 
the whole court; Hamlet sitting attentively near him to observe 
his looks. The play began with a conversation between Gonzago 
and his wife, in which the lady made many protestations of love, 
and of never marrying a second husband if she should outlive 
Gonzago, wishing she might be accursed if she ever took a second 
husband, and adding that no woman did so but those wicked 
women who kill their first husbands. Hamlet observed the king 
his uncle change color at this expression, and that it was as bad 
as wormwood both to him and to the queen. But when Lucianus, 



according to the story, came to poison Gonzago sleeping in the 
garden, the strong resemblance which it bore to his own wicked 
act upon the late king, his brother, whom he had poisoned in his 
garden, so struck upon the conscience of this usurper that he was 
unable to sit out the rest of the play, but on a sudden calling for 
lights to his chamber, and afFecting or partly feeling a sudden 
sickness, he abruptly left the theater. The king being departed, 
the play was given over. Now Hamlet had seen enough to be 
satisfied that the words of the ghost were true and no illusion; 
and in a fit of gaiety, like that which comes over a man who 
suddenly has some great doubt or scruple resolved, he swore to 
Horatio that he would take the ghost's word for a thousand 
pounds. But before he could make up his resolution as to 
what measures of revenge he should take, now he was cer- 
tainly informed that his uncle was his father's murderer, he 
was sent for by the queen his mother, to a private conference 
in her closet. 

It was by desire of the king that the queen sent for Hamlet, 
that she might signify to her son how much his late behavior 
had displeased them both, and the king, wishing to know all that 
passed at that conference, and thinking that the too partial 
report of a mother might let slip some part of Hamlet's words, 
which it might much import the king to know, Polonius, the old 
counselor of state, was ordered to plant himself behind the hang- 
ings in the queen's closet, where he might, unseen, hear all that 
passed. This artifice was particularly adapted to the disposition 
of Polonius, who was a man grown old in crooked maxims and 
policies of state, and delighted to get at the knowledge of matters 
in an indirect and cunning way. 

Hamlet being come to his mother, she began to tax him in the 
roundest way with his actions and behavior, and she told him that 
he had given great offense to his father, meaning the king, his 
uncle, whom, because he had married her, she called Hamlet's 
father. Hamlet, sorely indignant that she should give so dear 
and honored a name as father seemed to him to a wretch who was 



indeed no better than the murderer of his true father, with some 
sharpness replied: 

"Mother, you have much offended my father ." 

The queen said that was but an idle answer. 

"As good as the question deserved," said Hamlet. 

The queen asked him if he had forgotten who it was he was 
speaking to. 

"Alas!" replied Hamlet, "I wish I could forget. You are the 
queen, your husband's brother's wife; and you are my mother. 
I wish you were not what you are." 

"Nay, then," said the queen, "if you show me so little respect, 
I will set those to you that can speak," and was going to send 
the king or Polonius to him. 

But Hamlet would not let her go, now he had her alone, till 
he had tried if his words could not bring her to some sense of her 
wicked life; and, taking her by the wrist, he held her fast, and 
made her sit down. She, affrighted at his earnest manner, and 
fearful lest in his lunacy he should do her a mischief, cried out; 
and a voice was heard from behind the hangings, "Help, help, 
the queen!" which Hamlet hearing, and verily thinking that it 
was the king himself there concealed, he drew his sword and 
stabbed at the place where the voice came from, as he would have 
stabbed a rat that ran there, till, the voice ceasing, he concluded 
the person to be dead. But when he dragged forth the body it 
was not the king, but Polonius, the old, officious counselor, that 
had planted himself as a spy behind the hangings. 

"Oh, me!" exclaimed the queen, "what a rash and bloody deed 
have you done!" 

"A bloody deed, mother," replied Hamlet, "but not so bad 
as yours, who killed a king, and married his brother." 

Hamlet had gone too far to leave off here. He was now in the 
humor to speak plainly to his mother, and he pursued it. And 
though the faults of parents are to be tenderly treated by their 
children, yet in the case of great crimes the son may have leave 
to speak even to his own mother with some harshness, so as that 



harshness is meant for her good and to turn her from her wicked 
ways, and not done for the purpose of upbraiding. And now this 
virtuous prince did in moving terms represent to the queen the 
heinousness of her offense in being so forgetful of the dead king, 
his father, as in so short a space of time to marry with his brother 

and reputed murderer. Such an act as, after the vows which she 
had sworn to her first husband, was enough to make all vows of 
women suspected and all virtue to be accounted hypocrisy, wed- 
ding contracts to be less than gamesters' oaths, and religion to be 
a mockery and a mere form of words. He said she had done such 
a deed that the heavens blushed at it, and the earth was sick of 
her because of it. And he showed her two pictures, the one of 
the late king, her first husband, and the other of the present 
king, her second husband, and he bade her mark the difference; 



what a grace was on the brow of his father, how like a god he 
looked ! the curls of Apollo, the forehead of Jupiter, the eye of 
Mars, and a posture like to Mercury newly alighted on some 
heaven-kissing hill! this man, he said, had been her husband. 
And then he showed her whom she had got in his stead; how like 
a blight or a mildew he looked, for so he had blasted his whole- 
some brother. And the queen was sore ashamed that he should 
so turn her eyes inward upon her soul, which she now saw so 
black and deformed. And he asked her how she could continue 
to live with this man, and be a wife to him, who had murdered 
her first husband and got the crown by as false means as a thief — 
and just as he spoke the ghost of his father, such as he was in 
his lifetime and such as he had lately seen it, entered the room, 
and Hamlet, in great terror, asked what it would have; and the 
ghost said that it came to remind him of the revenge he had 
promised, which Hamlet seemed to have forgot; and the ghost 
bade him speak to his mother, for the grief and terror she was' 
in would else kill her. It then vanished, and was seen by none 
but Hamlet, neither could he by pointing to where it stood, or 
by any description, make his mother perceive it, who was ter- 
ribly frightened all this while to hear him conversing, as it seemed 
to her, with nothing; and she imputed it to the disorder of his 
mind. But Hamlet begged her not to flatter her wicked soul in 
such a manner as to think that it was his madness, and not her 
own offenses, which had brought his father's spirit again on the 
earth. And he bade her feel his pulse, how temperately it beat, 
not like a madman's. And he begged of her, with tears, to con- 
fess herself to Heaven for what was past, and for the future to 
avoid the company of the king and be no more as a wife to him; 
and when she should show herself a mother to him, by respecting 
his father's memory, he would ask a blessing of her as a son. 
And she promising to observe his directions, the conference ended. 
And now Hamlet was at leisure to consider who it was that in 
his unfortunate rashness he had killed; and when he came to see 
that it was Polonius, the father of the Lady Ophelia whom he so 




dearly loved, he drew apart the dead body, and, his spirits being 
now a little quieter^he wept for what he had done. 

The unfortunate death of Polonius gave the king a pretense for 
sending Hamlet out of the kingdom. He would willingly have put 
him to death, fearing him as dangerous; but he dreaded the peo- 
ple, who loved Hamlet, and the queen, who, with all her faults, 
doted upon the prince, her son. So this subtle king, under pre- 
tense of providing for Hamlet's safety, that he might not be called 
to account for Polonius's death, caused him to be conveyed on 
board a ship bound for England, under the care of two courtiers, 
by whom he despatched letters to the English court, which in 
that time was in subjection and paid tribute to Denmark, requir- 
ing, for special reasons there pretended, that Hamlet should be 
put to death as soon as he landed on English ground. Hamlet, 
suspecting some treachery, in the nighttime secretly got at the 
letters, and, skilfully erasing his own name, he in the stead of it 
put in the names of those two courtiers, who had the charge of 
him, to be put to death; then sealing up the letters, he put them 
into their place again. Soon after the ship was attacked by pirates, 
and a sea-fight commenced, in the course of which Hamlet, de- 
sirous to show his valor, with sword in hand singly boarded the 
enemy's vessel; while his own ship, in a cowardly manner, bore 
away; and leaving him to his fate, the two courtiers made the 
best of their way to England, charged with those letters the sense 
of which Hamlet had altered to their own deserved, destruction. 

The pirates who had the prince in their power showed them- 
selves gentle enemies, and, knowing whom they had got prisoner, 
in the hope that the prince might do them a good turn at court 
in recompense for any favor they might show him, they set 
Hamlet on shore at the nearest port in Denmark. From that 
place Hamlet wrote to the king, acquainting him with the strange 
chance which had brought him back to his own country and 
saying that on the next day he should present himself before his 
Majesty. When he got home a sad spectacle offered itself the first 
thing to his eyes. 
21 [321] 



This was the funeral of 
the young and beautiful 
Ophelia, his once dear mis- 
tress. The wits of this 
young lady had begun to 
turn ever since her poor 
father's death. That he 
should die a violent death, 
and by the hands of the 
prince whom she loved, so 
affected this tender young 
maid that in a little time 
she grew perfectly dis- 
tracted, and would go about 
giving flowers away to the 
ladies of the court, and say- 
ing that they were for her 
fathers burial, singing 
songs about love and about 
death, and sometimes such 
as had no meaning at all, 
as if she had no memory of 
what happened to her. 
There was a willow which 
grew slanting over a brook, 
and reflected its leaves on 
the stream. To this brook 
she came one day when she 
was unwatched, with gar- 
lands she had been making, 
mixed up of daisies and 
nettles, flowers and weeds 
together, and clambering 
up to hang her garland upon . 
the boughs of the willow, 


a bough broke and precipitated this fair young maid, garland, 
and all that she had gathered, into the water, where her 
clothes bore her up for a while, during which she chanted 
scraps of old tunes, like one insensible to her own distress, 
or as if she were a creature natural to that element; but long 
it was not before her garments, heavy with the wet, pulled 
her in from her melodious singing to a muddy and miserable 
death. It was the funeral of this fair maid which her brother 
Laertes was celebrating, the king and queen and whole court being 
present, when Hamlet arrived. He knew not what all this show 
imported, but stood on one side, not inclining to interrupt the 
ceremony. He saw the flowers strewed upon her grave, as the 
custom was in maiden burials, which the queen herself threw in; 
and as she threw them she said: 

"Sweets to the sweet! I thought to have decked thy bride- 
bed, sweet maid, not to have strewed thy grave. Thou shouldst 
have been my Hamlet's wife." 

And he heard her brother wish that violets might spring from 
her grave; and he saw him leap into the grave all frantic with 
grief, and bid the attendants pile mountains of earth upon him, 
that he might be buried with her. And Hamlet's love for this 
fair maid came back to him, and he could not bear that a brother 
should show so much transport of grief, for he thought that he 
loved Ophelia better than forty thousand brothers. Then dis- 
covering himself, he leaped into the grave where Laertes was, 
all as frantic or more frantic than he, and Laertes, knowing him 
to be Hamlet, who had been the cause of his father's and his sis- 
ter's death, grappled him by the throat as an enemy, till the 
attendants parted them; and Hamlet, after the funeral, excused 
his hasty act in throwing himself into the grave as if to brave 
Laertes; but he said he could not bear that any one should seem 
to outgo him in grief for the death of the fair Ophelia. And for 
the time these two noble youths seemed reconciled. 

But out of the grief and anger of Laertes for the death of his 
father and Ophelia the king, Hamlet's wicked uncle, contrived 

[3 2 3] 


destruction for Hamlet. He set on Laertes, under cover of peace 
and reconciliation, to challenge Hamlet to a friendly trial of skill 
at fencing, which Hamlet accepting, a day was appointed to try 
the match. At this match all the court was present, and Laertes, 
by direction of the king, prepared a poisoned weapon. Upon 
this match great wagers were laid by the courtiers, as both 
Hamlet and Laertes were known to excel at this sword play; 
and Hamlet, taking up the foils, chose one, not at all suspecting 
the treachery of Laertes, or being careful to examine Laertes's 
weapon, who, instead of a foil or blunted sword, which the laws 
of fencing require, made use of one with a point, and poisoned. 
At first Laertes did but play with Hamlet, and suffered him to 
gain some advantages, which the dissembling king magnified and 
extolled beyond measure, drinking to Hamlet's success and wager- 
ing rich bets upon the issue. But after a few pauses Laertes, 
growing warm, made a deadly thrust at Hamlet with his poisoned 
weapon, and gave him a mortal blow. Hamlet, incensed, but 
not knowing the whole of the treachery, in the scuffle exchanged 
his own innocent weapon for Laertes's deadly one, and with a 
thrust of Laertes's own sword repaid Laertes home, who was 
thus justly caught in his own treachery. In this instant the queen 
shrieked out that she was poisoned. She had inadvertently 
drunk out of a bowl which the king had prepared for Hamlet, 
in case that, being warm in fencing, he should call for drink; into 
this the treacherous king had infused a deadly poison, to make 
sure of Hamlet, if Laertes had failed. He had forgotten to warn 
the queen of the bowl, which she drank of, and immediately 
died, exclaiming with her last breath that she was poisoned. 
Hamlet, suspecting some treachery, ordered the doors to be shut 
while he sought it out. Laertes told him to seek no farther, for 
he was the traitor; and feeling his life go away with the wound 
which Hamlet had given him, he made confession of the treachery 
he had used and how he had fallen a victim to it: and he told 
Hamlet of the envenomed point, and said that Hamlet had not 
half an hour to live, for no medicine could cure him; and begging 



forgiveness of Hamlet, he died, with his last words accusing the 
""king of being the contriver of the mischief. When Hamlet saw 
his end draw near, there being yet some venom left upon the 
sword, he suddenly turned upon his false uncle and thrust the 
point of it to his heart, fulfilling the promise which he had made 
to his father's spirit, whose injunction was now accomplished 
and his foul murder revenged upon the murderer. Then Hamlet, 
feeling his breath fail and life departing, turned to his dear 
friend Horatio, who had been spectator of this fatal tragedy; 
and with his dying breath requested him that he would live to 
tell his story to the world (for Horatio had made a motion as if 
he would slay himself to accompany the prince in death), and 
Horatio promised that he would make a true report as one that 
was privy to all the circumstances. And, thus satisfied, the 
noble heart of Hamlet cracked; and Horatio and the bystanders 
with many tears commended the spirit of this sweet prince to 
the guardianship of angels. For Hamlet was a loving and a 
gentle prince and greatly beloved for his many noble and prince- 
like qualities; and if he had lived, would no doubt have proved 
a most royal and complete king to Denmark. 



RABANTIO, the rich senator of Venice, 
had a fair daughter, the gentle Des- 
demona. She was sought to by divers 
suitors, both on account of her many 
virtuous qualities and for her rich ex- 
pectations. But among the suitors of 
her own clime and complexion she saw 
none whom she could affect, for this 
noble lady, who regarded the mind more 
than the features of men, with a singularity rather to be ad- 
mired than imitated had chosen for the object of her affections 
a Moor, a black, whom her father loved and often invited to 
his house. 

Neither is Desdemona to be altogether condemned for the 
unsuitableness of the person whom she selected for her lover. 
Bating that Othello was black, the noble Moor wanted nothing 
which might recommend him to the affections of the greatest 
lady. He was a soldier, and a brave one; and by his conduct in 
bloody wars against the Turks had risen to the rank of general 
in the Venetian service, and was esteemed and trusted by the 

He had been a traveler, and Desdemona (as is the manner of 
ladies) loved to hear him tell the story of his adventures, which 
he would run through from his earliest recollection; the battles, 
sieges, and encounters which he had passed through; the perils 
he had been exposed to by land and by water; his hair-breadth 
escapes, when he had entered a breach or marched up to the mouth 
of a cannon; and how he had been taken prisoner by the insolent 
enemy, and sold to slavery; how he demeaned himself in that 







t- 1 






















state, and how he escaped : all these accounts, added to the narra- 
tion of the strange things he had seen in foreign countries, the 
vast wilderness and romantic caverns, the quarries, the rocks 
and mountains whose heads are in the clouds; of the savage 
nations, the cannibals who are man-eaters, and a race of people 
in Africa whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders. These 
travelers' stories would so enchain the attention of Desdemona 
that if she were called off at any time by household affairs she 
would despatch with all haste that business, and return, and with 
a greedy ear devour Othello's discourse. And once he took ad- 
vantage of a pliant hour and drew from her a prayer that he would 
tell her the whole story of his life at large, of which she had heard 
so much, but only by parts. To which he consented, and beguiled 
her of many a tear when he spoke of some distressful stroke which 
his youth had suffered. 

His story being done, she gave him for his pains a world of 
sighs. She swore a pretty oath that it was all passing strange, 
and pitiful, wondrous pitiful. She wished (she said) she had not 
heard it, yet she wished that Heaven had made her such a man; 
and then she thanked him, and told him, if he had a friend who 
loved her, he had only to teach him how to tell his story and that 
would woo her. Upon this hint, delivered not with more frankness 
than modesty, accompanied with certain bewitching prettiness 
and blushes, which Othello could not but understand, he spoke 
more openly of his love, and in this golden opportunity gained 
the consent of the generous Lady Desdemona privately to marry 

Neither Othello's color nor his fortune was such that it could be 
hoped Brabantio would accept him for a son-in-law. He had left 
his daughter free; but he did expect that, as the manner of noble 
Venetian ladies was, she would choose erelong a husband of 
senatorial rank or expectations; but in this he was deceived. 
Desdemona loved the Moor, though he was black, and devoted 
her heart and fortunes to his valiant parts and qualities. So was 
her heart subdued to an implicit devotion to the man she had 



selected for a husband that his very color, which to all but this 
discerning lady would have proved an insurmountable objection, 
was by her esteemed above all the white skins and clear complex- 
ions of the young Venetian nobility, her suitors. 

Their marriage, which, though privately carried, could not 
long be kept a secret, came to the ears of the old man, Brabantio, 
who appeared in a solemn council of the senate as an accuser of 
the Moor Othello, who by spells and witchcraft (he maintained) 
had seduced the affections of the fair Desdemona to marry him, 
without the consent of her father, and against the obligations of 

At this juncture of time it happened that the state of Venice 
had immediate need of the services of Othello, news having 
arrived that the Turks with mighty preparation had fitted out a 
fleet, which was bending its course to the island of Cyprus, with 
intent to regain that strong post from the Venetians, who then 
held it; in this emergency the state turned its eyes upon Othello, 
who alone was deemed adequate to conduct the defense of Cyprus 
against the Turks. So that Othello, now summoned before the 
senate, stood in their presence at once as a candidate for a great 
state employment and as a culprit charged with offenses which 
by the laws of Venice were made capital. 

The age and senatorial character of old Brabantio commanded 
a most patient hearing from that grave assembly; but the incensed 
father conducted his accusation with so much intemperance, 
producing likelihoods and allegations for proofs, that, when 
Othello was called upon for his defense, he had only to relate a 
plain tale of the course of his love; which he did with such an 
artless eloquence, recounting the whole story of his wooing as 
we have related it above, and delivered his speech with so noble 
a plainness (the evidence of truth) that the duke, who sat as 
chief judge, could not help confessing that a tale so told would 
have won his daughter, too, and the spells and conjurations which 
Othello had used in his courtship plainly appeared to have been no 
more than the honest arts of men in love, and the only witchcraft 



which he had used the faculty of telling a soft tale to win a lady's 

This statement of Othello was confirmed by the testimony of 
the Lady Desdemona herself, who appeared in court and, pro- 
fessing a duty to her father for life and education, challenged 
leave of him to profess a yet higher duty to her lord and husband, 
even so much as her mother had shown in preferring him (Bra- 
bantio) above her father. 

The old senator, unable to maintain his plea, called the Moor 
to him with many expressions of sorrow, and, as an act of neces- 
sity, bestowed upon him his daughter, whom, if he had been free 
to withhold her (he told him), he would with all his heart have 
kept from him; adding that he was glad at soul that he had no 
other child, for this behavior of Desdemona would have taught 
him to be a tyrant and hang clogs on them for her desertion. 

This difficulty being got over, Othello, to whom custom had 
rendered the hardships of a military life as natural as food and 
rest are to other men, readily undertook the management of the 
wars in Cyprus; and Desdemona, preferring the honor of her lord 
(though with danger) before the indulgence of those idle delights 
in which new-married people usually waste their time, cheerfully 
consented to his going. 

No sooner were Othello and his lady landed in Cyprus than news 
arrived that a desperate tempest had dispersed the Turkish fleet, 
and thus the island was secure from any immediate apprehension 
of an attack. But the war which Othello was to suffer was now 
beginning; and the enemies which malice stirred up against his 
innocent lady proved in their nature more deadly than strangers 
or infidels. 

Among all the general's friends no one possessed the confidence 
of Othello more entirely than Cassio. Michael Cassio was a young 
soldier, a Florentine, gay, amorous, and of pleasing address, 
favorite qualities with women; he was handsome and eloquent, 
and exactly such a person as might alarm the jealousy of a man 
advanced in years (as Othello in some measure was) who had 



married a young and beautiful wife; but Othello was as free from 
jealousy as he was noble, and as incapable of suspecting as of 
doing a base action. He had employed this Cassio in his love 
affair with Desdemona, and Cassio had been a sort of go-between 
in his suit; for Othello, fearing that himself had not those soft 
parts of conversation which please ladies, and finding these 
qualities in his friend, would often depute Cassio to go (as he 

phrased it) a-courting for 
him, such innocent sim- 
plicity being rather an 
honor than a blemish to 
the character of the 
valiant Moor. So that 
no wonder if, next to 
Othello himself (but at 
far distance, as beseems a 
virtuous wife), the gentle 
Desdemona loved and 
trusted Cassio. Nor had 
the marriage of this 
couple made any differ- 
ence in their behavior to 
Michael Cassio. He fre- 
quented their house, and his free and rattling talk was no unpleas- 
ing variety to Othello, who was himself of a more serious temper; 
for such tempers are observed often to delight in their contraries, 
as a relief from the oppressive excess of their own; and Desde- 
mona and Cassio would talk and laugh together, as in the days 
when he went a-courting for his friend. 

Othello had lately promoted Cassio to be the lieutenant, a place 
of trust, and nearest to the general's person. This promotion gave 
great offense to Iago, an older officer who thought he had a better 
claim than Cassio, and would often ridicule Cassio as a fellow 
fit only for the company of ladies and one that knew no more of 
the art of war or how to set an army in array for battle than a 

[332 J 


girl. Iago hated Cassio, and he hated Othello, as well for favoring 
Cassio as for an unjust suspicion, which he had lightly taken up 
against Othello, that the Moor was too fond of Iago's wife Emilia. 
From these imaginary provocations the plotting mind of Iago 
conceived a horrid scheme of revenge, which should involve 
Cassio, the Moor, and Desdemona in one common ruin. 

Iago was artful, and had studied human nature deeply, and he 
knew that of all the torments which afflict the mind of man (and 
far beyond bodily torture) the pains of jealousy were the most 
intolerable and had the sorest sting. If he could succeed in making 
Othello jealous of Cassio he thought it would be an exquisite plot 
of revenge and might end in the death of Cassio or Othello, or 
both; he cared not. 

The arrival of the general and his lady in Cyprus, meeting with 
the news of the dispersion of the enemy's fleet, made a sort of 
holiday in the island. Everybody gave himself up to feasting 
and making merry. Wine flowed in abundance, and cups went 
round to the health of the black Othello and his lady the fair 

Cassio had the direction of the guard that night, with a charge 
from Othello to keep the soldiers from excess in drinking, that 
no brawl might arise to fright the inhabitants or disgust them with 
the new-landed forces. That night Iago began his deep-laid 
plans of mischief. Under color of loyalty and love to the general, 
he enticed Cassio to make rather too free with the bottle (a great 
fault in an officer upon guard). Cassio for a time resisted, but he 
could not long hold out against the honest freedom which Iago 
knew how to put on, but kept swallowing glass after glass (as 
Iago still plied him with drink and encouraging songs), and Cas- 
sio's tongue ran over in praise of the Lady Desdemona, whom he 
again and again toasted, affirming that she was a most exquisite 
lady. Until at last the enemy which he put into his mouth stole 
away his brains; and upon some provocation given him by a 
fellow whom Iago had set on, swords were drawn, and Montano, 
a worthy officer, who interfered to appease the dispute, was 

I 333] 


wounded in the scuffle. The riot now began to be general, and 
Iago, who had set on foot the mischief, was foremost in spreading 
the alarm, causing the castle bell to be rung (as if some dangerous 
mutiny instead of a slight drunken quarrel had arisen). The 
alarm-bell ringing awakened Othello, who, dressing in a hurry 

and coming to the scene of action, 
questioned Cassio of the cause. 
Cassio was now come to himself, 
the effect of the wine having a 
little gone off, but was too much 
ashamed to reply; and Iago, pre- 
tending a great reluctance to 
accuse Cassio, but, as it were, 
forced into it by Othello, who in- 
sisted to know the truth, gave an 
account of the whole matter (leav- 
ing out his own share in it, which 
Cassio was too far gone to re- 
member) in such a manner as, 
while he seemed to make Cassio's 
offense less, did indeed make it 
appear greater than it was. The 
result was that Othello, who was 
a strict observer of discipline, was 
compelled to take away Cassio's 
place of lieutenant from him. 

Thus did Iago's first artifice suc- 
ceed completely; he had now un- 
dermined his hated rival and thrust him out of his place; but 
a further use was hereafter to be made of the adventure of this 
disastrous night. 

Cassio, whom this misfortune had entirely sobered, now 
lamented to his seeming friend Iago that he should have been such 
a fool as to transform himself into a beast. He was undone, for 
how could he ask the general for his place again ? He would tell 



him he was a drunkard. He despised himself. Iago, affecting 
to make light of it, said that he, or any man living, might be drunk 
upon occasion; it remained now to make the best of a bad bar- 
gain. The general's wife was now the general, and could do any- 
thing with Othello; that he were best to apply to the Lady Des- 
demona to mediate for him with her lord; that she was of a frank, 
obliging disposition and would readily undertake a good office of 
this sort and set Cassio right again in the general's favor; and 
then this crack in their love would be made stronger than ever. 
A good advice of Iago, if it had not been given for wicked pur- 
poses, which will after appear. 

Cassio did as Iago advised him, and made application to the 
Lady Desdemona, who was easy to be won over in any honest 
suit; and she promised Cassio that she should be his solicitor with 
her lord, and rather die than give up his cause. This she imme- 
diately set about in so earnest and pretty a manner that Othello, 
who was mortally offended with Cassio, could not put her off. 
When he pleaded delay, and that it was too soon to pardon such 
an offender, she would not be beat back, but insisted that it 
should be the next night, or the morning after, or the next morn- 
ing to that at farthest. Then she showed how penitent and 
humbled poor Cassio was, and that his offense did not deserve so 
sharp a check. And when Othello still hung back: 

"What! my lord," said she, "that I should have so much to 
do to plead for Cassio, Michael Cassio, that came a-courting for 
you, and oftentimes, when I have spoken in dispraise of you has 
taken your part! I count this but a little thing to ask of you. 
When I mean to try your love indeed I shall ask a weighty 

Othello could deny nothing to such a pleader, and only request- 
ing that Desdemona would leave the time to him, promised to 
receive Michael Cassio again in favor. 

It happened that Othello and Iago had entered into the room 
where Desdemona was, just as Cassio, who had been imploring 
her intercession, was departing at the opposite door; and Iago, 



who was full of art, said in a low voice, as if to himself, "I like 
not that." Othello took no great notice of what he said; indeed, 
the conference which immediately took place with his lady put 
it out of his head; but he remembered it afterward. For when 
Desdemona was gone, Iago, as if for mere satisfaction of his 
thought, questioned Othello whether Michael Cassio, when 
Othello was courting his lady, knew of his love. To this the gen- 
eral answering in the affirmative, and adding, that he had gone 
between them very often during the courtship, Iago knitted his 
brow, as if he had got fresh light on some terrible matter, and 
cried, "Indeed!" This brought into Othello's mind the words 
which Iago had let fall upon entering the room and seeing Cassio 
with Desdemona; and he began to think there was some meaning 
in all this, for he deemed Iago to be a just man, and full of love 
and honesty, and what in a false knave would be tricks in him 
seemed to be the natural workings of an honest mind, big with 
something too great for utterance. And Othello prayed Iago to 
speak what he knew and to give his worst thoughts words. 

"And what," said Iago, "if some thoughts very vile should 
have intruded into my breast, as where is the palace into which 
foul things do not enter?" Then Iago went on to say, what a 
pity it were if any trouble should arise to Othello out of his im- 
perfect observations; that it would not be for Othello's peace 
to know his thoughts; that people's good names were not to be 
taken away for slight suspicions; and when Othello's curiosity 
was raised almost to distraction with these hints and scattered 
words, Iago, as if in earnest care for Othello's peace of mind, be- 
sought him to beware of jealousy. With such art did this villain 
raise suspicions in the unguarded Othello, by the very caution 
which he pretended to give him against suspicion. 

"I know," said Othello, "that my wife is fair, loves company 
and feasting, is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well; but 
where virtue is, these qualities are virtuous. I must have proof 
before I think her dishonest." 

Then Iago, as if glad that Othello was slow to believe ill of his 



lady, frankly declared that he had no proof, but begged Othello 
to^observe her behavior well, when Cassio was by; not to be jeal- 
ous nor too secure neither, for that he (Iago) knew the dispositions 
of the Italian ladies, his countrywomen, better than Othello could 
do; and that in Venice the wives let Heaven see many pranks 
they dared not show their husbands. Then he artfully insinuated 
that Desdemona deceived her father in marrying with Othello, 
and carried it so closely that the poor old man thought that witch- 
craft had been used. Othello was much moved with this argu- 
ment, which brought the matter home to him, for if she had 
deceived her father why might she not deceive her husband? 

Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but Othello, 
assuming an indifference, while he was really shaken with inward 
grief at Iago's words, begged him to go on, which Iago did with 
many apologies, as if unwilling to produce anything against 
Cassio, whom he called his friend. He then came strongly to 
the* 'point and reminded Othello how Desdemona had refused 
many suitable matches of her own clime and complexion, and had 
married him, a Moor, which showed unnatural in her and proved 
her to have a headstrong will; and when her better judgment 
returned, how probable it was she should fall upon comparing 
Othello with the fine forms and clear white complexions of the 
young Italians her countrymen. He concluded with advising 
Othello to put off his reconcilement with Cassio a little longer, 
and in the mean while to note with what earnestness Desdemona 
should intercede in his behalf; for that much would be seen in 
that. So mischievously did this artful villain lay his plots to turn 
the gentle qualities of this innocent lady into her destruction, and 
make a net for her out of her own goodness to entrap her, first 
setting Cassio on to entreat her mediation, and then out of that 
very mediation contriving stratagems for her ruin. 

The conference ended with Iago's begging Othello to account 

his wife innocent until he had more decisive proof; and Othello 

promised to be patient; but from that moment the deceived 

Othello never tasted content of mind. Poppy, nor the juice of 

22 [337] 


mandragora, nor all the sleeping potions in the world, could ever 
again restore to him that sweet rest which he had enjoyed but 
yesterday. His occupation sickened upon him. He no longer 
.took delight in arms. His heart, that used to be roused at the 

sight of troops and ban- 
ners and battle array, and 
would stir and leap at the 
sound of a drum or a 
trumpet or a neighing 
war - horse, seemed to 
have lost all that pride 
and ambition which are 
a soldier's virtue; and his 
military ardor and all his 
old joys forsook him. 
Sometimes he thought 
his wife honest, and at 
times he thought her not 
so; sometimes he thought 
I ago just, and at times he 
thought him not so; then 
he would wish that he had 
never known of it; he was 
not the worse for her lov- 
ing Cassio, so long as he 
knew it not. Torn to 
pieces with these distract- 
ing thoughts, he once laid 
hold on Iago's throat and demanded proof of Desdemona's 
guilt, or threatened instant death for his having belied her. 
Iago, feigning indignation that his honesty should be taken for 
a vice, asked Othello if he had not sometimes seen a handker- 
chief spotted with strawberries in his wife's hand. Othello an- 
swered that he had given her such a one, and that it was his 
first gift. 



"That same handkerchief," said Iago, "did I see Michael 
Cassio this day wipe his face with." 

"If it be as you say," said Othello, "I will not rest till a wide 
revenge swallow them up; and first, for a token of your fidelity, 
I expect that Cassio shall be put to death within three days; and 
for that fair devil [meaning his lady] I will withdraw and devise 
some swift means of death for her." 

Trifles light as air are to the jealous proofs as strong as holy 
writ. A handkerchief of his wife's seen in Cassio's hand was 
motive enough to the deluded Othello to pass sentence of death 
upon them both, without once inquiring how Cassio came by it. 
Desdemona had never given such a present to Cassio, nor would 
this constant lady have wronged her lord with doing so naughty 
a thing as giving his presents to another man; both Cassio and 
Desdemona were innocent of any offense against Othello; but 
the wicked Iago, whose spirits never slept in contrivance of vil- 
lainy, had made his wife (a good, but a weak woman) steal this 
handkerchief from Desdemona, under pretense of getting the 
work copied, but in reality to drop it in Cassio's way, where he 
might find it, and give a handle to Iago's suggestion that it was 
Desdemona's present. 

Othello, soon after meeting his wife, pretended that he had a 
headache (as he might indeed with truth), and desired her to lend 
him her handkerchief to hold to his temples. She did so. 

"Not this," said Othello, "but that handkerchief I gave 

Desdemona had it not about her (for indeed it was stolen, as we 
have related). 

"How?" said Othello, "this is a fault indeed. That handker- 
chief an Egyptian woman gave to my mother; the woman was 
a witch and could read people's thoughts. She told my mother 
while she kept it it would make her amiable and my father would 
love her; but if she lost it or gave it away, my father's fancy 
would turn and he would loathe her as much as he had loved 
her. She, dying, gave it to me, and bade me, if I ever married, 

[ 339] 


to give it to my wife. I did so. Take heed of it. Make it a 

darling as precious as your eye." 

"Is it possible?" said the frighted lady. 

"'Tis true," continued Othello; "it is a magical handkerchief; 
a sibyl that had lived in the world two hundred years, in a fit of 
prophetic fury worked it; the silkworms that furnished the silk 
were hallowed, and it was dyed in a mummy of maidens' hearts 

Desdemona, hearing the wondrous virtues of the handkerchief, 
was ready to die with fear, for she plainly perceived she had lost 
it, and with it, she feared, the affections of her husband. Then 
Othello started and looked as if he were going to do some rash 
thing, and still he demanded the handkerchief, which when she 
could not produce, she tried to divert her husband from too 
serious thoughts, and cheerfully told him she saw all his talk 
about the handkerchief was only to put her off from her suit 
about Michael Cassio, whom she went on to praise (as Iago had 
foretold), till Othello in perfect distraction burst out of the room, 
and then Desdemona, though unwillingly, began to suspect that 
her lord was jealous. 

What cause she could have ministered to him she knew not, 
and then she accused herself for accusing the noble Othello, and 
thought, to be sure, that some untoward news from Venice or 
some state troubles had puddled his spirits and made his temper 
not so sweet as formerly. And she said, "Men are not gods, and 
we must not look for that observance from them when they are 
married which they show us on the bridal day." And she be- 
shrewed herself for so unkindly judging of his unkindness. 

Again Othello and Desdemona met, and he accused her more 
plainly of being unfaithful and of loving another man, but he did 
not name whom. And Othello wept, and Desdemona said, 
"Alas! the heavy day! why do you weep?" And Othello told 
her he could have borne all sorts of evils with fortitude — poverty, 
and disease, and disgrace — but her infidelity had broken his heart. 
And he called her a weed that looked so fair and smelled so sweet 




that the sense ached at it; and wished she had never been born. 
And when he had left her this innocent lady was so stupefied 
with wonder at her lord's untrue suspicion of her that a weight- 
like sleep came over her, and she only desired her attendant to 
make her bed and to lay her wedding-sheets upon it, saying that 
when people teach their babes they do it by gentle means and easy 
tasks, and Othello might have chid her so; for in good faith she 
was but a child when she was chidden. And this was all the com- 
plaint which this gentle lady made. 

Desdemona being retired to bed, expecting her lord would fol- 
low her, soon fell into a slumber, the effect of her troubled spirits, 
when Othello entered the chamber, full of the black purpose which 
he had meditated, of putting his lady to death. But when he 
saw her asleep he thought he would not shed her blood, nor scar 
that white skin of hers, more white than alabaster. But he was 
resolved she should die, else (as he said) she would live to betray 
more men as she had done him. Then he kissed her for the last 
time (as he said), and that kiss was so sweet that he must needs 
kiss her again; and he wept, but he said they were cruel tears. 

Desdemona was awakened with his kisses, and she looked upon 
Othello, and she saw him gnaw his under lip and roll his eyes, and 
she knew he was always fatal when he looked so; and he bade 
her prepare for death and to say her prayers, for he would not 
kill her soul. And this innocent wife, as she lay at his mercy, 
begged for compassion and to know her fault, and then he named 
Cassio, and the handkerchief which (he said) she had given him; 
and as the guiltless lady was proceeding to clear herself he sud- 
denly would hear no more, but, covering her up in the bedclothes, 
stifled her till she died. 

In this instant of time was brought into the house Cassio, 
wounded and bleeding, whom Iago had set one of his creatures on 
to assassinate; but the fellow not succeeding in his attempt to 
kill Cassio (whom he wounded, but not mortally), and being him- 
self killed by Iago to prevent discovery, in his pockets were found 
certain letters, which made the guilt of Iago, and the innocence 



of Cassio, clear beyond all doubt; and Cassio now came to beg 
pardon of Othello, and to ask wherein he had offended him, that 
he had employed Iago to murder him. 

This discovery was as a thunderstroke to Othello, who now 
plainly saw that he was no better than a murderer, and that his 
wife (poor innocent lady) had been ever faithful to him; the 
extreme anguish of which discovery making life insupportable, 
he fell upon his sword, and throwing himself upon the body of his 
dear injured lady, expired. 

These rash acts raised much passion of horror and amazement 
in the bystanders, for Othello had borne a fair reputation, and 
till he was wrought upon by the arts of a villain, which his own 
noble nature never gave him leave to suspect, he was a loving and 
a doting husband. He had loved not wisely, but too well; and 
his manly eyes (when he learned his mistake), though not used 
to weep on every small occasion, dropped tears as fast as the 
Arabian trees their gum. And when he was dead all his former 
merits and his valiant acts were remembered. Nothing now 
remained for his successor but to put the utmost censure of the 
law in force against Iago, who was executed with strict tortures; 
and to send word to the state of Venice of the lamentable death 
of their renowned general. 



ERICLES, Prince of Tyre, became a 
voluntary exile from his dominions, to 
avert the dreadful calamities which 
Antiochus, the wicked emperor of Greece, 
threatened to bring upon his subjects 
and city of Tyre, in revenge for a dis- 
covery which the prince had made of a 
shocking deed which the emperor had 
done in secret; as commonly it proves 
dangerous to pry into the hidden crimes of great ones. Leaving 
the government of his people in the hands of his able and 
honest minister, Helicanus, Pericles set sail from Tyre, thinking 
to absent himself till the wrath of Antiochus, who was mighty, 
should be appeased. 

The first place which the prince directed his course to was 
Tarsus, and hearing that the city of Tarsus was at that time 
suffering under a severe famine, he took with him store of pro- 
visions for its relief. On his arrival he found the city reduced to 
the utmost distress; and, he coming like a messenger from 
heaven with his unhoped-for succor, Cleon, the governor of Tarsus, 
welcomed him with boundless thanks. Pericles had not been 
here many days before letters came from his faithful minister, 
warning him that it was not safe for him to stay at Tarsus, for 
Antiochus knew of his abode, and by secret emissaries despatched 
for that purpose sought his life. Upon receipt of these letters 
Pericles put out to sea again, amid the blessings and prayers of 
a whole people who had been fed by his bounty. 

He had not sailed far when his ship was overtaken by a dreadful 
storm, and every man on board perished except Pericles, who was 



cast by the sea waves naked on an unknown shore, where he had 
not wandered long before he met with some poor fishermen, who 
invited him to their homes, giving him clothes and provisions. 
The fishermen told Pericles the name of their country was Pen- 
tapolis, and that their king was Simonides, commonly called the 
good Simonides, because of his peaceable reign and good govern- 
ment. From them he also learned that King Simonides had a 
fair young daughter, and that the following day was her birthday, 
when a grand tournament was to be held at court, many princes 
and knights being come from all parts to try their skill in arms 
for the love of Thaisa, this fair princess. While the prince was 
listening to this account, and secretly lamenting the loss of his 
good armor, which disabled him from making one among these 
valiant knights, another fisherman brought in a complete suit of 
armor that he had taken out of the sea with his fishing-net, which 
proved to be the very armor he had lost. When Pericles beheld 
his own armor he said: "Thanks, Fortune; after all my crosses 
you give me somewhat to repair myself. This armor was be- 
queathed to me by my dead father, for whose dear sake I have 
so loved it that whithersoever I went I still have kept it by me, 
and the rough sea that parted it from me, having now be- 
come calm, hath given it back again, for which I thank it, for, 
since I have my father's gift again, I think my shipwreck no 

The next day Pericles, clad in his brave father's armor, repaired 
to the royal court of Simonides, where he performed wonders at 
the tournament, vanquishing with ease all the brave knights and 
valiant princes who contended with him in arms for the honor 
of Thaisa's love. When brave warriors contended at court tourna- 
ments for the love of kings' daughters, if one proved sole victor 
over all the rest, it was usual for the great lady for whose sake 
these deeds of valor were undertaken to bestow all her respect 
upon the conqueror, and Thaisa did not depart from this custom, 
for she presently dismissed all the princes and knights whom Peri- 
cles had vanquished, and distinguished him by her especial favor 

[346 J 


and regard, crowning him with the wreath of victory, as king of 
that day's happiness; and Pericles became a most passionate 
lover of this beauteous princess from the first moment he beheld 

The good Simonides so well approved of the valor and noble 
qualities of Pericles, who was indeed a most accomplished gentle- 
man and well learned in all excellent arts, that though he knew 
not the rank of this royal stranger (for Pericles for fear of Anti- 
ochus gave out that he was a private gentleman of Tyre), yet did 
not Simonides disdain to accept of the valiant unknown for a 
son-in-law, when he perceived his daughter's affections were 
firmly fixed upon him. 

Pericles had not been many months married to Thaisa before 
he received intelligence that his enemy Antiochus was dead, and 
that his subjects of Tyre, impatient of his long absence, threatened 
to revolt and talked of placing Helicanus upon his vacant throne. 
This news came from Helicanus himself, who, being a loyal sub- 
ject to his royal master, would not accept of the high dignity 
offered him, but sent to let Pericles know their intentions, that 
he might return home and resume his lawful right. It was matter 
of great surprise and joy to Simonides to find that his son-in-law 
(the obscure knight) was the renowned Prince of Tyre; yet again 
he regretted that he was not the private gentleman he supposed 
him to be, seeing that he must now part both with his admired 
son-in-law and his beloved daughter, whom he feared to trust to 
the perils of the sea, because Thaisa was with child; and Pericles 
himself wished her to remain with her father till after her confine- 
ment; but the poor lady so earnestly desired to go with her hus- 
band that at last they consented, hoping she would reach Tyre 
before she was brought to bed. 

The sea was no friendly element to unhappy Pericles, for long 
before they reached Tyre another dreadful tempest arose, which 
so terrified Thaisa that she was taken ill, and in a short space of 
time her nurse, Lychorida, came to Pericles with a little child in 
her arms, to tell the prince the sad tidings that his wife died the 



moment her little babe was born. She held the babe toward its 
father, saying: 

"Here is a thing too young for such a place. This is the child 
of your dead queen.'* 

No tongue can tell the dreadful sufferings of Pericles when he 
heard his wife was dead. As soon as he could speak he said : 

"O you gods, why do 
you make us love your 
goodly gifts and then 
snatch those gifts 


"Patience, good sir," 
said Lychorida, "here is 
all that is left alive of 
our dead queen, a little 
daughter, and for your 
child's sake be more 
manly. Patience, good 
sir, even for the sake of 
this precious charge." 

Pericles took the new- 
born infant in his arms, 
and he said to the little 
babe: "Now may your 
life be mild, for a more 
blusterous birth had 
never babe! May your 
condition be mild and 
gentle, for you have had 
the rudest welcome that 
ever prince's child did meet with! May that which follows 
be happy, for you have had as chiding a nativity as fire, air, 
water, earth, and heaven could make to herald you from the 
womb! Even at the first, your loss," meaning in the death of 
her mother, "is more than all the joys, which you shall find 



upon this earth to which you are come a new visitor, shall be 
able to recompense." 

The storm still continuing to rage furiously, and the sailors 
having a superstition that while a dead body remained in the ship 
the storm would never cease, they came to Pericles to demand 
that his queen should be thrown overboard; and they said: 

"What courage, sir? God save you!" 

"Courage enough," said the sorrowing prince. "I do not fear 
the storm; it has done to me its worst; yet for the love of this 
poor infant, this fresh new seafarer, I wish the storm was over." 

"Sir," said the sailors, "your queen must overboard. The sea 
works high, the wind is loud, and the storm will not abate till 
the ship be cleared of the dead." 

Though Pericles knew how weak and unfounded this super- 
stition was, yet he patiently submitted, saying: "As you think 
meet. Then she must overboard, most wretched queen!" 

And now this unhappy prince went to take a last view of his 
dear wife, and as he looked on his Thaisa he said: "A terrible 
childbed hast thou had, my dear; no light, no fire; the unfriendly 
elements forget thee utterly, nor have I time to bring thee hal- 
lowed to thy grave, but must cast thee scarcely coffined into the 
sea, where for a monument upon thy bones the humming waters 
must overwhelm thy corpse, lying with simple shells. Ly- 
chorida, bid Nestor bring me spices, ink, and paper, my casket 
and my jewels, and bid Nicandor bring me the satin coffin. Lay 
the babe upon the pillow, and go about this suddenly, Lychorida, 
while I say a priestly farewell to my Thaisa." 

They brought Pericles a large chest, in which (wrapped in a 
satin shroud) he placed his queen, and sweet-smelling spices he 
strewed over her, and beside her he placed rich jewels, and a 
written paper telling who she was and praying if haply any one 
should find the chest which contained the body of his wife they 
Would give her burial; and then with his own hands he cast the 
chest into the sea. When the storm was over, Pericles ordered 
the sailors to make for Tarsus. "For " said Pericles, "the babe 

f 3491 


cannot hold out till we come to Tyre. At Tarsus I will leave it 
at careful nursing." 

After that tempestuous night when Thaisa was thrown into the 
sea, and while it was yet early morning, as Cerimon, a worthy 
gentleman of Ephesus and a most skilful physician, was standing 
by the seaside, his servants brought to him a chest, which they 
said the sea waves had thrown on the land. 

"I never saw," said one of them, "so huge a billow as cast it 
on our shore." 

Cerimon ordered the chest to be conveyed to his own house, and 
when it was opened he beheld with wonder the body of a young 
and lovely lady; and the sweet-smelling spices and rich casket of 
jewels made him conclude it was some great person who was thus 
strangely entombed. Searching farther, he discovered a paper, 
from which he learned that the corpse which lay as dead before 
him had been a queen, and wife to Pericles, Prince of Tyre; and 
much admiring at the strangeness of that accident, and more 
pitying the husband who had lost this sweet lady, he said: 

"If you are living, Pericles, you have a heart that even cracks 
with woe." Then, observing attentively Thaisa's face, he saw 
how fresh and unlike death her looks were, and he said, "They 
were too hasty that threw you into the sea"; for he did not be- 
lieve her to be dead. He ordered a fire to be made, and proper 
cordials to be brought, and soft music to be played, which might 
help to calm her amazed spirits if she should revive; and he said 
to those who crowded round her, wondering at what they saw, 
"I pray you, gentlemen, give her air; this queen will live; she 
has not been entranced above five hours; [and see, she begins to 
blow into life again; she is alive; behold, her eyelids move; this 
fair creature will live to make us weep to hear her fate." 

Thaisa had never died, but after the birth of her little baby 
had fallen into a deep swoon which made all that saw her con- 
clude her to be dead; and now by the care of this kind gentleman 
she once more revived to light and life; and, opening her eyes, 
she said: 




"Where am I? Where is my lord? What world is this?" 
By gentle degrees Cerimon let her understand what had be- 
fallen her; and when he thought she was enough recovered to bear 
the sight he showed her the paper written by her husband, and 
the jewels; and she looked on the paper and said: 

"It is my lord's writing. That I was shipped at sea I well 
remember, but whether there delivered of my babe, by the holy 
gods I cannot rightly say; but since my wedded lord I never 
shall see again, I will put on a vestal livery and never more have 


"Madam," said Cerimon, "if you purpose as you speak, the 
temple of Diana is not far distant from hence; there you may 
abide as a vestal. Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine shall 
there attend you." This proposal was accepted with thanks 
by Thaisa; and when she was perfectly recovered, Cerimon 
placed her in the temple of Diana, where she became a vestal or 
priestess of that goddess, and passed her days in sorrowing for 
her husband's supposed loss, and in the most devout exercises of 
those times. 

Pericles carried his young daughter (whom he named Marina, 
because she was born at sea) to Tarsus, intending to leave her 
with Cleon, the governor of that city, and his wife Dionysia, 
thinking, for the good he had done to them at the time of their 
famine, they would be kind to his little motherless daughter. 
When Cleon saw Prince Pericles and heard of the great loss which 
had befallen him he said, "Oh, your sweet queen, that it had 
pleased Heaven you could have brought her hither to have blessed 
my eyes with the sight of her!" 

Pericles replied: "We must obey the powers above us. Should 
I rage and roar as the sea does in which my Thaisa lies, yet the 
end must be as it is. My gentle babe, Marina here, I must charge 
your charity with her. I leave her the infant of your care, beseech- 
ing you to give her princely training." And then turning to Cleon's 
wife, Dionysia, he said, "Good madam, make me blessed in your 
care in bringing up my child." 
23 1 353] 


And she answered, "I have a child myself who shall not be 
more dear to my respect than yours, my lord." 

And Cleon made the like promise, saying: "Your noble ser- 
vices, Prince Pericles, in feeding my whole people with your corn 
(for which in their prayers they daily remember you) must in 
your child be thought on. If I should neglect your child, my whole 
people that were by you relieved would force me to my duty; 
but if to that I need a spur, the gods revenge it on me and mine 
to the end of generation." 

Pericles, being thus assured that his child would be carefully 
attended to, left her to the protection of Cleon and his wife 
Dionysia, and with her he left the nurse, Lychorida. When he 
went away the little Marina knew not her loss, but Lychorida 
wept sadly at parting with her royal master. 

"Oh, no tears, Lychorida," said Pericles; "no tears; look to 
your little mistress, on whose grace you may depend here- 

Pericles arrived in safety at Tyre, and was once more settled 
in the quiet possession of his throne, while his woeful queen, 
whom he thought dead, remained at Ephesus. Her little babe 
Marina, whom this hapless mother had never seen, was brought 
up by Cleon in a manner suitable to her high birth. He gave her 
the most careful education, so that by the time Marina attained 
the age of fourteen years the most deeply learned men were not 
more studied in the learning of those times than was Marina. 
She sang like one immortal, and danced as goddess-like, and with 
her needle she was so skilful that she seemed to compose nature's 
own shapes in birds, fruits, or flowers, the natural roses being 
scarcely more like to each other than they were to Marina's 
silken flowers. But when she had gained from education all these 
graces which made her the general wonder, Dionysia, the wife of 
Cleon, became her mortal enemy from jealousy, by reason that 
her own daughter, from the slowness of her mind, was not able to 
attain to that perfection wherein Marina excelled; and finding 
that all praise was bestowed on Marina, while her daughter, who 



was of the same age and had been educated with the same care as 
Marina, though not with the same success, was in comparison 
disregarded, she formed a project to remove Marina out of the 
way, vainly imagining that her untoward daughter would be more 
respected when Marina was no more seen. To encompass this 
she employed a man to murder Marina, and she well timed her 
wicked design, when Lychorida, the faithful nurse, had just died. 
Dionysia was discoursing with the man she had commanded to 
commit this murder when the young Marina was weeping over 
the dead Lychorida. Leonine, the man she employed to do this 
bad deed, though he was a very wicked man, could hardly be 
persuaded to undertake it, so had Marina won all hearts to love 
her. He said: 

"She is a goodly creature!" 

"The fitter then the gods should have her," replied her merci- 
less enemy. "Here she comes weeping for the death of her nurse 
Lychorida. Are you resolved to obey me?" 

Leonine, fearing to disobey her, replied, "I am resolved." 
And so, in that one short sentence, was the matchless Marina 
doomed to an untimely death. She now approached, with a 
basket of flowers in her hand, which she said she would daily 
strew over the grave of good Lychorida. The purple violet and 
the marigold should as a carpet hang upon her grave, while sum- 
mer days did last. 

"Alas for me!" she said, "poor unhappy maid, born in a tem- 
pest, when my mother died. This world to me is like a lasting 
storm, hurrying me from my friends." 

"How now, Marina," said the dissembling Dionysia, "do you 
weep alone? How does it chance my daughter is not with you? 
Do not sorrow for Lychorida; you have a nurse in me. Your 
beauty is quite changed with this unprofitable woe. Come, give 
me your flowers — the sea air will spoil them — and walk with 
Leonine; the air is fine, and will enliven you. Come, Leonine, 
take her by the arm and walk with her." 

"No, madam," said Marina, "I pray you let me not de- 



prive you of your servant"; for Leonine was one of Dionysia's 

"Come, come," said this artful woman, who wished for a pre- 
tense to leave her alone with Leonine, "I love the prince, your 
father, and I love you. We every day expect your father here; 
and when he comes and finds you so changed by grief from the 
paragon of beauty we reported you, he will think we have taken 
no care of you. Go, I pray you, walk, and be cheerful once again. 
Be careful of that excellent complexion which stole the hearts of 
old and young." 

Marina, being thus importuned, said, "Well, I will go, but yet 
I have no desire to it." 

As Dionysia walked away she said to Leonine, "Remember what 
I have said!" shocking words, for their meaning was that he should 
remember to kill Marina. 

Marina looked toward the sea, her birthplace, and said, "Is 
the wind westerly that blows?" 

"Southwest," replied Leonine. 

"When I was born the wind was north," said she; and then 
the storm and tempest and all her father's sorrows, and her 
mother's death, came full into her mind, and she said, "My 
father, as Lychorida told me, did never fear, but cried, Courage, 
good seamen, to the sailors, galling his princely hands with the 
ropes, and, clasping to the masts, he endured a sea that almos 
split the deck." 

"When was this?" said Leonine. 

"When I was born," replied Marina. "Never were wind and 
waves more violent." And then she described the storm, the 
action of the sailors, the boatswain's whistle, and the loud call of 
the master, "which," said she, "trebled the confusion of the ship." 

Lychorida had so often recounted to Marina the story of her 
hapless birth that these things seemed ever present to her imagina- 
tion. But here Leonine interrupted her with desiring her to say 
her prayers. "What mean you ?" said Marina, who began to fear, 
she knew not why. 




"If you require a little space for prayer, I grant it," said 
Leonine; "but be not tedious; the gods are quick of ear and I 
am sworn to do my work in haste." 

"Will you kill me?" said Marina. "Alas! why?" 

"To satisfy my lady," replied Leonine. 

"Why would she have me killed?" said Marina. "Now, as I 
can remember, I never hurt her in all my life. I never spake bad 
word nor did any ill turn to any living creature. Believe me now, 
I never killed a mouse nor hurt a fly. I trod upon a worm once 
against my will, but I wept for it. How have I offended ?" 

The murderer replied, "My commission is not to reason on 
the deed, but to do it." And he was just going to kill her when 
certain pirates happened to land at that very moment, who, see- 
ing Marina, bore her off as a prize to their ship. 

The pirate who had made Marina his prize carried her to Mity- 
lene and sold her for a slave, where, though in that humble condi- 
tion, Marina soon became known throughout the whole city of 
Mitylene for her beauty and her virtues, and the person to whom 
she was sold became rich by the money she earned for him. She 
taught music, dancing, and fine needleworks, and the money she 
got by her scholars she gave to her master and mistress; and the 
fame of her learning and her great industry came to the knowledge 
of Lysimachus, a young nobleman who was governor of Mitylene, 
and Lysimachus went himself to the house where Marina dwelt, 
to see this paragon of excellence whom all the city praised so 
highly. Her conversation delighted Lysimachus beyond measure, 
for, though he had heard much of this admired maiden, he did not 
expect to find her so sensible a lady, so virtuous, and so good, as 
he perceived Marina to be; and he left her, saying he hoped she 
would persevere in her industrious and virtuous course, and that 
if ever she heard from him again it should be for her good. Ly- 
simachus thought Marina such a miracle for sense, fine breeding, 
and excellent qualities, as well as for beauty and all outward 
graces, that he wished to marry her, and, notwithstanding her 
humble situation, he hoped to find that her birth was noble; but 

1 3591 


ever when they asked her parentage she would sit still and 

Meantime, at Tarsus, Leonine, fearing the anger of Dionysia, 
told her he had killed Marina; and that wicked woman gave out 
that she was dead, and made a pretended funeral for her, and 
erected a stately monument; and shortly after Pericles, accom- 
panied by his loyal minister Helicanus, made a voyage from Tyre 
to Tarsus, on purpose to see his daughter, intending to take her 
home with him. And he never having beheld her since he left 
her an infant in the care of Cleon and his wife, how did this good 
prince rejoice at the thought of seeing this dear child of his buried 
queen! But when they told him Marina was dead, and showed 
the monument they had erected for her, great was the misery 
this most wretched father endured, and, not being able to bear 
the sight of that country where his last hope and only memory of 
his dear Thaisa was entombed, he took ship and hastily departed 
from Tarsus. From the day he entered the ship a dull and heavy 
melancholy seized him. He never spoke, and seemed totally in- 
sensible to everything around him.< 

Sailing from Tarsus to Tyre, the ship in its course passed by 
Mitylene, where Marina dwelt; the governor of which place, 
Lysimachus, observing this royal vessel from the shore, and de- 
sirous of knowing who was on board, went in a barge to the side 
of the ship, to satisfy his curiosity. Helicanus received him very 
courteously and told him that the ship came from Tyre, and that 
they were conducting thither Pericles, their prince. "A man, 
sir," said Helicanus, "who has not spoken to any one these three 
months, nor taken any sustenance, but just to prolong his grief; 
it would be tedious to repeat the whole ground of his distemper, 
but the main springs from the loss of a beloved daughter and a 

Lysimachus begged to see this afflicted prince, and when he 
beheld Pericles he saw he had been once a goodly person, and he 
said to him: "Sir king, all hail! The gods* preserve you! Hail, 
royal sir!" 



But in vain Lysimachus spoke to him. Pericles made no 
answer, nor did he appear to perceive any stranger approached. 
And then Lysimachus bethought him of the peerless maid Marina, 
that haply with her sweet tongue she might win some answer from 
the silent prince; and with the consent of Helicanus he sent for 
Marina, and when she entered the ship in which her own father 
sat motionless with grief, they welcomed her on board as if they 
had known she was their princess; and they cried: 

"She is a gallant lady." 

Lysimachus was well pleased to hear their commendations, and 
he said : 

"She is such a one that, were I well assured she came of noble 
birth, I would wish no better choice and think me rarely blessed 
in a wife." And then he addressed her in courtly terms, as if 
the lowly seeming maid had been the high-born lady he wished to 
find her, calling her Fair and beautiful Marina, telling her a great 
prince on board that ship had fallen into a sad and mournful 
silence; and, as if Marina had the power of conferring health 
and felicity, he begged she would undertake to cure the royal 
stranger of his melancholy. 

"Sir," said Marina, "I will use my utmost skill in his recovery, 
provided none but I and my maid be suffered to come near him." 

She, who at Mitylene had so carefully concealed her birth, 
ashamed to tell that one of royal ancestry was now a slave, first 
began to speak to Pericles of the wayward changes in her own 
fate, telling him from what a high estate herself had fallen. As 
if she had known it was her royal father she stood before, all the 
words she spoke were of her own sorrows; but her reason for so 
doing was that she knew nothing more wins the attention of the 
unfortunate than the recital of some sad calamity to match their 
own. The sound of her sweet voice aroused the drooping prince; 
he lifted up his eyes, which had been so long fixed and motionless; 
and Marina, who was the perfect image of her mother, presented 
to his amazed sight the features of his dead queen. The long silent 
prince was once more heard to speak. 



"My dearest wife," said the awakened Pericles, "was like this 
maid, and such a one might my daughter have been. My queen's 
square brows, her stature to an inch, as wand-like straight, as 
silver-voiced, her eyes as jewel-like. Where do you live, young 
maid? Report your parentage. I think you said you had been 
tossed from wrong to injury, and that you thought your griefs 
would equal mine, if both were opened." 

"Some such thing I said," replied Marina, "and said no more 
than what my thoughts did warrant me as likely." 

"Tell me your story," answered Pericles. "If I find you have 
known the thousandth part of my endurance you have borne 
your sorrows like a man and I have suffered like a girl; yet you 
do look like Patience gazing on kings' graves and smiling extremity 
out of act. How lost you your name, my most kind virgin? 
Recount your story, I beseech you. Come, sit by me." 

How was Pericles surprised when she said her name was 
Marina, for he knew it was no usual name, but had been invented 
by himself for his own child to signify sea-born. 

"Oh, I am mocked," said he, "and you are sent hither by some 
incensed god to make the world laugh at me." 

"Patience, good sir," said Marina, "or I must cease here." 

"Nay," said Pericles, "I will be patient. You little know how 
you do startle me, to call yourself Marina." 

"The name," she replied, "was given me by one that had some 
power, my father and a king." 

"How, a king's daughter!" said Pericles, "and called Marina! 
But are you flesh and blood? Are you no fairy? Speak on. 
Where were you born, and wherefore called Marina?" 

She replied: "I was called Marina because I was born at sea. 

My mother was the daughter of a king; she died the minute I 

was born, as my good nurse Lychorida has often told me, weeping. 

The king, my father, left me at Tarsus till the cruel wife of Cleon 

sought to murder me. A crew of pirates came and rescued me 

and brought me here to Mitylene. But, good sir, why do you 

weep? It may be you think me an impostor. But indeed, 



sir, I am the daughter to King Pericles, if goocTKing Pericles be 

Then Pericles, terrified as he seemed at his own sudden joy, and 
doubtful if this could be real, loudly called for his attendants, who 

rejoiced at the sound of their beloved king's voice; and he said 
to Helicanus: 

"O Helicanus, strike me, give me a gash, put me to present 
pain, lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me overbear the 
shores of my mortality. Oh, come hither, thou that wast born at 
sea, buried at Tarsus, and found at sea again. O Helicanus, down 
on your knees, thank the holy gods! This is Marina. Now 
blessings on thee, my child! Give me fresh garments, mine own 
Helicanus! She is not dead at Tarsus as she should have been by 
the savage Dionysia. She shall tell you all, when you shall kneel 



to her and call her your very princess. Who is this?" (observing 
Lysimachus for the first time). 

"Sir," said Helicanus, "it is the governor of Mitylene, who, 
hearing of your melancholy, came to see you." 

"I embrace you, sir," said Pericles. "Give me my robes! I 
am well with beholding. O Heaven bless my girl! But hark, 
what music is that?" — for now, either sent by some kind god or 
by his own delighted fancy deceived, he seemed to hear soft music. 

"My lord, I hear none," replied Helicanus. 

"None?" said Pericles. "Why, it is the music of the spheres." 

As there was no music to be heard, Lysimachus concluded that 
the sudden joy had unsettled the prince's understanding, and he 
said, "It is not good to cross him; let him have his way." And 
then they told him they heard the music; and he now complain- 
ing of a drowsy slumber coming over him, Lysimachus persuaded 
him to rest on a couch, and, placing a pillow under his head, he, 
quite overpowered with excess of joy, sank into a sound sleep, 
and Marina watched in silence by the couch of her sleeping parent. 

While he slept, Pericles dreamed a dream which made him 
resolve to go to Ephesus. His dream was that Diana, the goddess 
of the Ephesians, appeared to him and commanded him to go to 
her temple at Ephesus, and there before her altar to declare the 
story of his life and misfortunes; and by her silver bow she swore 
that if he performed her injunction he should meet with some rare 
felicity. When he awoke, being miraculously refreshed, he told 
his dream, and that his resolution was to obey the bidding of the 

Then Lysimachus invited Pericles to come on shore and refresh 
himself with such entertainment as he should find at Mitylene, 
which courteous offer Pericles accepting, agreed to tarry with him 
for the space of a day or two. During which time we may well 
suppose what feastings, what rejoicings, what costly shows andenter- 
tainments the governor made in Mitylene to greet the royal father 
of his dear Marina, whom in her obscure fortunes he had so re- 
spected. Nor did Pericles frown upon Lysimachus's suit, when 



he understood how he had honored his child in the days of her 
low estate, and that Marina showed herself not averse to his pro- 
posals; only he made it a condition, before he gave his consent, 
that they should visit with him the shrine of the Ephesian Diana; 
to whose temple they shortly after all three undertook a voyage; 
and, the goddess herself filling their sails with prosperous winds, 
after a few weeks they arrived in safety at Ephesus. 

There was standing near the altar of the goddess, when Pericles 
with his train entered the temple, the good Cerimon (now grown 
very aged), who had restored Thaisa, the wife of Pericles, to life; 
and Thaisa, now a priestess of the temple, was standing before 
the altar; and though the many years he had passed in sorrow 
for her loss had much altered Pericles, Thaisa thought she knew 
her husband's features, and when he approached the altar and 
began to speak, she remembered his voice, and listened to his 
words with wonder and a joyful amazement. And these were the 
words that Pericles spoke before the altar: 

"Hail, Diana! to perform thy just commands I here confess 
myself the Prince of Tyre, who, frighted from my country, at 
Pentapolis wedded the fair Thaisa. She died at sea in childbed, 
but brought forth a maid-child called Marina. She at Tarsus 
was nursed with Dionysia, who at fourteen years thought to kill 
her, but her better stars brought her to Mitylene, by whose shores 
as I sailed her good fortunes brought this maid on board, where 
by her most clear remembrance she made herself known to be my 

Thaisa, unable to bear the transports which his words had 
raised in her, cried out, "You are, you are, O royal Pericles" — 
and fainted. 

"What means this woman?" said Pericles. "She dies! Gen- 
tlemen, help." 

"Sir," said Cerimon, "if you have told Diana's altar true, this 
is your wife." 

"Reverend gentleman, no," said Pericles. "I threw her over- 
board with these very arms." 



Cerimon then recounted how, early one tempestuous morning, 
this lady was thrown upon the Ephesian shore; how, opening the 
coffin, he found therein rich jewels and a paper; how, happily, 
he recovered her and placed her here in Diana's temple. 

And now Thaisa, being restored from her swoon, said: "O 
my lord, are you not Pericles ? Like him you speak, like him you 
are. Did you not name a tempest, a birth, and death?" 

He, astonished, said, "The voice of dead Thaisa!" 

"That Thaisa am I," she replied, "supposed dead and 

"O true Diana!" exclaimed Pericles, in a passion of devout 

"And now," said Thaisa, "I know you better. Such a ring 
as I see on your finger did the king my father give you when we 
with tears parted from him at Pentapolis." 

"Enough, you gods!" cried Pericles. "Your present kindness 
makes my past miseries sport. Oh, come, Thaisa, be buried a 
second time within these arms." 

And Marina said, "My heart leaps to be gone into my mother's 

Then did Pericles show his daughter to her mother, saying, 
"Look who kneels here, flesh of thy flesh, thy burthen at sea, and 
called Marina because she was yielded there." 

"Blessed and my own!" said Thaisa. And while she hung in 
rapturous joy over her child Pericles knelt before the altar, saying: 

"Pure Diana, bless thee for thy vision. For this I will offer 
oblations nightly to thee." 

And then and there did Pericles, with the consent of Thaisa, 
solemnly affiance their daughter, the virtuous Marina, to the well- 
deserving Lysimachus in marriage. 

Thus have we seen in Pericles, his queen, and daughter, a 
famous example of virtue assailed by calamity (through the suf- 
ferance of Heaven, to teach patience and constancy to men), 
under the same guidance becoming finally successful and triumph- 
ing over chance and change. In Helicanus we have beheld a nota- 



ble pattern of truth, of faith, and loyalty, who, when he might 
have succeeded to a throne, chose rather to recall the rightful 
owner to his possession than to become great by another's wrong. 
In the worthy Cerimon, who restored Thaisa to life, we are in- 
structed how goodness, directed by knowledge, in bestowing bene- 
fits upon mankind approaches to the nature of the gods. It only 
remains to be told that Dionysia, the wicked wife of Cleon, met 
with an end proportionable to her deserts. The inhabitants of 
Tarsus, when her cruel attempt upon Marina was known, rising 
in a body to revenge the daughter of their benefactor, and setting 
fire to the palace of Cleon, burned both him and her and their 
whole household, the gods seeming well pleased that so foul a 
murder, though but intentional and never carried into act, should 
be punished in a way befitting its enormity.