The Baldwin Library
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FORTH USE OF YOUNG PERSONS.
BY CHARLES LAMB.
S THE FOURTH EDITION.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PRINTED FOR M. J. GODWIN AND CO.
AT TIE CITY FRENCH AMD ENGLISH JUVENILE AND SCHOOL
LIBRARY, NO. 41, sKImNER-STIRFET.
"Wit have compared these lit", volumes with the nu-
-erous systems which have been devised for riveting atten-
tion at an early age, and conquering the distaste for know-
ledge sad leayrting which F frequetly opposes itself to the
instructor of children; and we do not scruple to say, that
unless perhaps we except Robinson Crusoe, they claim the
very first place, and st"ad unique, without rival or com-
petiLor."-Critical eevewinfer My, 1807.
b. M'Millant, Printer,
flw Sireet, Coveat Gardaa.
THE following Tales are meant to
be submitted to the young reader as an
introduction to the study of Shakespear,
for which purpose, his words are used
whenever 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 in-
terrupt the effect of the beautiful En-
glish tongue in which he wrote: there-
fIbrc words introduced into our language
since his time have been as far as possible
In those Tales which have been taken
from the Tragedies, as my young readers
will perceive when they come to see the
source from which these stories are de-
rived, Shakespear's own words, with lit t le
alteration, recur very frequently in thie
narrative as well as in the dialogue ; but
in those made from the Comedies I
found myself scarcely ever able to turn
his words into the narrative form; there-
fore I fear in them I have made use of
dialogue, too frequently for young peo-
ple not used to the dramatic form of
writing. But this fault, if it he as I fear
a fajilt, has been caused by my earnest
wish to give as much of Shakespear's
own words as possible: and if the He
said," and She said," the question and
the reply, should sometimes seem tedious
to lheir Noung ears, they must par-
don it. because it was the only way I
knew of, in which I could give them a
lew hiiils and little foretastes of the
great plea-iire which awaits them in
tlieir elder %ears, when they come to the
lichli treasures from which these small
and valueless coins are extracted; pre-
telndini to no other merit than as faint
and imperfect stamps of Shakespear's
matchless image. Faint and imperfect
images they must be called, because the
beauty of hi, language is too frequently
destroyed by the necessity of changing
many of' his excellent words into words
fir less expressive of his true sense, to
make it read something like prose; and
t-een in -.ome tew 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 read-
ing prose, yet still his language being
transplanted from its own natural soil
and wild poetic garden, it must want
much of its native beauty.
I have wished to make these Tales
easy reading for very young children.
To the utmost of my ability I have con-
stantly kept this in my mind; but the
subjects of most of them made this a
very difficult task. It was no easy mat-
ter to give the histories of men and
women in terms familiar to the appre-
hension of a very young mind. For
young ladies too it has been my inten-
tion chiefly to write, because boys are
generally permitted the use of their fa-
thers' libraries at a much earlier age
than girls are, they frequently having
the best scenes of Shakes-pear by heart,
before their sisters are permitted to look
into this manly book ; and, therefore, in-
stead of recommending these Tales to
the perusal of young gentlemen who can
read them so much better in the ori-
ginals, I mum! rather bieg their kind
assistance in explaining to their sisters
such part.- as are hardest for them to
under.-tand : and when they have helped
them to get over the difficulties, then
perhal)ps they iill read to them (carefully
selecting what is proper Ibr a young
sister's ear) some pa,.ssage which' has
pleased them in one of these stories, in
the %ery \\oMds of the scene from which
it is taken ; antd I trust they will find
that the beautiful extracts, the select
passages, they may chuse to give their
sisters in this way, will be muic'i better
relished and understood from their hav-
ing some notion of thle general stoiv
from one of these imperfect abridz-
ments :-which if thex be ibrtunateli3 r,
done as to prove delighlfull to any of
you, my young readers, I hope will
have no worse effect upon oti, than to
make you wish yoursele.- a little older,
that you 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 fiiends shall
put them into your hand-. Nou will dis-
cover in such of them as are here abridged
(not to mention almost as maiivy mniore
which are left untouched) mniany surpri.s-
ing events and turns of fortune, which
bfor their infinite variety could not be
contained in (his little book, besides a
world of sprightly and cheerful charac-
ters, both men and women, the humour
of which I %as fearful of losing if I at-
tempted to reduce the length of them.
What these Tales have been to you in
childhood, that and much more it is my
wish that the true Plays of Shakespear
may prove to you in older years-en-
richers of the Iancy, strengtheners of vir-
tuie, a withdrawing from all selfish and
mercenary thoughts, a lesson of all sweet
and honourable thoughts and actions, to
teach you courtesy, benignity, genero-
sity, humanity: for of examples, teaching
these virtues, his pages are full.
THE FIRST VOLUME.
I. THE Tempest .................. 1
It. A Midsummer Night's Dream ...... 22
wI. The Winter's Tale ................ 43
1V. Much Ado about Nothing ........ 63
V. As You Like It .................. 86
V'I. The Two Gentlemen of Verona .... 116
VII. The Merchant of Venice .......... 140
VIII. Cymbeline ...................... 164
IX. KingLear ..................... 188
X. Macbeth ...................... 215
TALE THE FIRST.
THERE 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
toi this island so young, that she had no me-
mory of having seen any other human face than
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
lie 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 inchanted by a witch called Sycorax, who
VOL. I. B
2 THE TEMPEST.
died there a short time before his arrival, Pros-
pero, 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
Prospero. 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 tormenting 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 mis-shapen thing, far less
human in form than an ape: he took him home
to his cell, and taught him to speak; and Pros-
pero would have been very kind to him, but the
bad nature which Caliban inherited from his
mother Sycorax, would not let him learn any
thing 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 slily 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 an hedgehog he
would lie tumbling in Caliban's way, who feared
thle hedgehog's sharp quills would prick his bare
feel. \\ith a variety of such-like vexatious
tricks Ariel would often torment him, whenever
Caliban 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 shewed his daughter a fine large ship
which he told her was full of living beings like
themselves. 0 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
4 THE TEMPEST.
Be not so 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 igno-
rant 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 re-
member 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 remem-
her, my child."
Miranda said, "It seems to me like the re-
collection 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 no-
Twelve years ago, Miranda," continued
Prospero, I was duke of Milan, and you were
a princess and my only heir. I had a younger
THE TEMPEST. 5
brother, whose name was Antonio, to whom
I trusted every thing; and as I was fond of
retirement and deep study, I commonly left the
inan3gement 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 bet-
tering of my mind. My brother Antonio being
thus in possession of my power, began to think
himself the duke indeed. The opportunity I
gave him of making himself popular amoig my
subjects,. awakened in his bad nature a proud
ambition to deprive me of my dukedom: this
hlie soon effected with the aid of the king
of Naples, a powerful prince, who was my
Wherefore," said Miranda, did they not
that hour destroy us?"
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,
aind 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 pri-
6 THE TEMPEST.
lately placed in the boat, water, provisions,
apparel, and some books which I prize above
"0 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 to 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
THE TEMPEST. 7
did not choose she should hear him holding
con'erse (as would seem to her) with the
'1 \1e'l, my brave spirit," said Prospero to
Ariel, how have ou performed your task?"
Ariel gave a lively description of the storm,
and of thle 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 this 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 tlhe 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
"That's my delicate Ariel," said Prospero.
"Bring him hither: my daughter must see this
young prince. Where is the king, and my
S"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
8 THE TEMPEST.
ship, though invisible to them, is safe in the
"Ariel," said Prospero, "thy charge is faith-
fully 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 mistakes, served you without grudge or
"How now!" said Prospero. "You do not
recollect what a torment I freed you from.
Have you forgofthe wicked witch Sycorax, who
with age and envy was almost bent double?
Where was she born ? Speak: tell me."
"Sir, in Algiers," said Ariel.
"0 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 witchcraft, 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 corn-
mands, she shut you up in a tree, where I found
you howling. This torment, remember, I did
free you from."
THE TEMPEST. 9
Pardon me, dear master," said Ariel,
ashamed to seem ungrateful; I will obey your
"Do so," said Prospero, and I will set
you free." He then gave orders what farther
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
"0 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 both 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
10 THE TEMPEST.
and Miranda, who were sitting under the shade
of a large tree. Now Miranda had never seen
a man before, except her own father.
"Miranda," said Prospero, "tell me what you
are looking at yonder ?"
0 father," said Miranda, in a strange sur-
prize, "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 some-
what 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 grey beards like her father, was de-
lighted 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 inchanted
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
THE TEMPEST. II
an account of herself, when Prospero inter-
rupted 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 re-
solved to throw some difficulties in their way:
therefore advancing forward, 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 you, 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, tilt
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
hlie had no power to move.
Miranda hung upon her father, saying, "Why
are you so ungentle ? Have pity, sir; I will be
his surety. This is the second man I ever saw,
and to me he seems a true one."
"Silence," said her father, "one word more
will make me chide you, girl! What! an ad-
vocate for an impostor! You think there are,
no more such fine men, having seen only him'
12 THE TEMPEST.
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. I
have no wish to see a goodlier man."
"Come on, young man," said Prospero to
the prince, "you have no power to disobey
"I have not indeed," answered Ferdinand;
and not knowing that it was by magic he was
deprived of all power of resistance, 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 iffrom 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 pri-
soner, and set him a severe task to perform,
taking care to let his daughter know the hard
labour he had imposed on him, and then pre-
tending to go into his study, he secretly watched
Prospero had commanded Ferdinand to pile
up some heavy logs of wood. King's 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, )ie is safe for
these three hours : pray rest yourself."
0 my dear lady," said Ferdinand, "I dare
not. I must finish my task before I take my
"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
Ferdinand inquired her name, which she told
S him, 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 Fer-
dinand's, in which he professed to love her above
all the ladiesioe 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, "Ihis goes on ex-
actly 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
"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."
Prosper prevented Ferdinand's thanks by
appearing visible before them.
Fear nothing, my child," saidhe; "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 my
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 command Miranda seemed not at all
disposed to diso&y.
When Prospero left them, he called his spirit
Ariel, who quickly appeared before him, eager
to relate what he had done with Prospero's bro-
ther 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
16 THE' TEMPEST.
to see and hear. When fatigued with wander-
ing about, and famished for want of food, he
had suddenly set before them a delicious b.an- i
quet, 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 uticr
amazement, this seeming harpy spoke to them,
reminding them of their cruelty in driving Pros-
pero 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
The king of Naples, and Antonio the false
brother, repented the injustice they had done to
Prospero : and Ariel told his master he was cer-
tain their penitence was sincere, and that lie,
though a spirit, could not but pity them.
"Then bring them hither, Ariel," said Pros-
pero: "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 fol-
lowed him, wondering at the wild. music lihe
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
Grief and terror had so stupified 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
Antonio with tears, and sad words of sorrow
and true repentance, implored his brother's for-
giveness; and the king expressed his sincere
remorse for having assisted Antonio to depose
his brother: and Prospero forgave them; and,
upon their engaging to restore his dukedom,
he said to the king of Naples, "I have a gift
in store for you ;oo;" and opening a door,
shewed him his son Ferdinand, playing'at chess
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.
0 wonder !" said Miranda, "what noble
18 THE TEMPEST.
creatures these are! It must surely be a br-ive
world that has such people in it."
The king of Naples was almost ais 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 toge-
ther." "No, sir," answered Ferdinand, smiling
to find his father had fallen into the same mis-
take that he had done when he first saw Miran-
da, "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, hut 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 %o
happily have ended." And then Prospero em-
braced his brother, and again assured him of his
forgiveness; and said that a wise, over-ruling
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 Anto-
nio 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 harbour, and the sailors all on board
her, and that he and his daughter would accom-
pany them home the next morning. In the
mean time," said he, "partake of such refresh-
ments 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.
20 THE TEMPEST.
Before Prospero left the island, he dismiss
Ariel from his service, to the great joy of thli
lively little spirit; who, though he had been
faithful servant to his master, was always longing
to enjoy his free liberty, to wander uncontrolle
in the air, like a wild bird, under green trees, ,
among pleasant fruits, and sweet-smelling flow-
ers. My quaint Ariel," said Prospero to thbi
little sprite when he made him free, 1 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! ; amd then, mas-
ter, when I am free, how merrily I shall live!"
Here Ariel sung this pretty song:
"Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie:
There I couch wheii, 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
THE TEMPEST. 21
having thus overcome his enemies, and being
reconciled to his brother and the king of Na-
pies, 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 Miranda and
prince Ferdinand, which the king said should be
instantly celebrated with great splendour on their
return to Naples. At which place, under the
safe convoy of the spirit Ariel, they after a plea-
sant voyage soon arrived.
r TALE THE SECOND.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAMS
THERE was a law in the city of Athe
wiich gave to its citizens the power of comp
ling their daughters to marry whomsoever tl1
pleased : for upon a daughter's refusing to mar
the mnin her father had chose to be her ha
band, the father was empowered by this law t
cause her to be put to death ; but as fathers d
not often desire the death of their own daugh
ters, even though they do happen to prove
little refractory, this law was seldom or iev
put in execution, though perhaps the you
ladies of that city were not unfrequently threat
ened by their parents with the terrors of it.
There was one instance however of an ol'
man, whose name was Egeus, who actually di
come before Theseus (at that time the reigningi
duke of Athens), to complain that his daughter,
Hermia, whom he had commanded to marry
Demetrius, a young man of a noble Athenian-
m C/ia$t.rn '/t& /a,,m'
r ^ y^ ^& s f*rf^
- III IM
U" ~ -
A -MIDSUiMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 23
finmily, refused to obey himn, because she loved
nrotliher young Athenian, named Lysander.
E-.'u, demanded justice of Theseus, and desired'
thliat this cruel law might be put in force against
Hermia pleaded in excuse for her disobedience,
that Demetrjus had formerly professed love for
her dear friend Helena, and that Helena loved
Demetrius to distraction ; but this honourable
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 ;
Itherefore he could only give Hermia four days
to consider of it: and at the end of that time,
if slhe still refused to marry Demetrius, she was
to be put to death.
When Hermia was dismissed from the pre-
sence of the duke, she went to her lover Ly-
sander, and told him the peril she was in, and
that she must either give up him 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
24 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
law could not be put in force against Hermia
(this law not extending beyond the boundaries
of the city), hlie proposed to Hermia, that she
should steal out of her father's house lhat night,
and go with him to his aunt's house, where he
would marry her. 1 will meet you," said Ly-
sander, 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
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 re-
solved to go and tell this to Demetrius, though
she could hope no benefit from betraying her
friend's secret, but the poor pleasure of following
her faithless lover to the wood ; for she well
knew that Demetrius would go thither in pursuit
The wood, in which Lysander and Hermia
proposed to meet, was the favourite 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 revels.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 25
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 quarrelling,
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 change-
ling 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 night on which the lovers were to meet
in this wood, as Titania was walking with some
of her maids of honour, 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 not I 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 r.
"your whole fairy kingdom buys not the boy of
me." She then left her lord in great anger.
VOL. 1. C
26 A MISUMMER NIGHT'S DR9EAM.
Well, go your way," said Oberon: "before
the morning dawns I will torment you for this
Oberon then sent forlPuck, his chief favourite
and privy counsellor.
Puck (or, as he was sometimes called, Robin
Goodfellow) was a shrewd and knavish sprite,
that used to play comical pranks in the neigh-
bouring villages; sometimes getting into the
dairies and skimming the milk, sometimes plung-
ing his light and airy form into the butter-churn,
and while he was dancing his fantastic shape in
the churn, in vain the dairy-maid would labour
-to change her cream into butter: nor had the
village swains any better success; wheneverPuck
chose to play his freaks in the brewing copper,
the ale was sure to be spoiled. When a few
good neighbours were met to drink some com-
fortable 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 bobagainst 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 neighbours a sad and melancholy story,
Puck would slip her three-legged stool from
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 27
under her, and down toppled the poor old
woman, and then thle old gossips would hold
their sides and laugh at hlier, and swear they
never wasted a merrier hour.
Come hither, Puck," said Oberon to this
little merry wanderer of the night; fetch me
thle 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, doat on the first thing they see.
Some of the juice of that flower I will drop on
tlie 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 mon-
key, 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
mniaster, and ran to seek the flower; and while
Oberon was waiting the return of Puck, lihe
observed Demetrius and Helena enter the wood :
he overheard Demetrius reproaching Helena for
following him, and after many unkind words on
28 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM,
his part, and gentle expostulations from Helena,
reminding 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 favourite,
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 pro-
mised to manage this matter very dextrously;
and then Oberon went, unperceived by Titania,
to her bower, where she was preparing to go to
rest. Her fairy bower was a bank, where grew
wild thyme, cowslips, and sweet violets, under a
A MIDSUMMER NIGhT'S DREAM. 29
canopy of woodbine, musk-roses, and eglantine.
Thliere Titania always slept some part of the
night; her coverlet the enamelled 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 leather 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;
Nents and blind-worms do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.
Philomel, will melody,
Sing in your sweet lullaby,
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So good night wiLh lullaby.
When the fairies had'sung their queen asleep
80 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
with this pretty lullaby, they left her, to perform
the important services she had enjoined them.
Oberon then softly drew near his Titania, and
dropt some of the love-juice on her eye-lids,
What dithou 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 himself 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
I "1 hmt'tr 1i / i ... , ,
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 31-
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,
hlie proceeded to pour some of the juice of the
little purple flower into his eyes. But it so fell
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
Had he first seen Hermnia when lie awoke,
the blunder Puck commiLted would have been
of no consequence, for he could not love that
rithful 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 indeed.
Thus this misfortune happened. Helena, as
has been before related, endeavoured to keep
pace with Demetrius when he ran away so rudely
from her; butshecould not continue I his unequal
race long, men being always better runners in a
32 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
long race than ladies. Helena soon lost sight
of Demetrins; and as she was wandering about,
dejected and forlorn, she arrived at the place
where Lysander was sleeping. Ah I" 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 beginning to work) immediately ad-
dressed 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 Her-
mia'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 pre-
tend in this disdainful manner to court me ? I
thought, Lysander, you were a lord of more true
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 33
gentleness." Saying these words in great anger,
she ran away; and Lysander followed her, quite
forgetful of his own Hermia, who was still
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 observed by Oberon
fast asleep. Oberon had learnt 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 )emetrius, both speaking together, made
love to Helena, they being each one under the-
influence of the same potent charm.
34 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT I DREAM.
The astonished Helena thought that Deme-
trius, 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 to-
"Unkind Hermia," said Helena, "it is you
have set Lysander on, to vex me with mock
praises; and your other lover Demetrius, who
used almosL to spurn me with his foot, have you
not bid him call me Goddess, Nymph, rare, pre-
cioutts, and celestial ? He would ndt 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 sam-
pier wrought; growing up together in fashion of
a double cherry, scarcely seeming parted? Her-
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S D-MgAM. -35
mia, 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 Hermnia were speaking these
angry words to each other, Demetrius and Ly-
sander left them, to fight together 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 lovers.
As soon as they were gone, the fairy king, who
with little Puck had been listening to their quar-
rels, said to him, "This is your negligence, Puck;
or did you do this wilfully?" "Believe me,
king of shadows," answered PRck, it was a mis-
take: did not you tell me I should know the man
by his Athenian garments? IHowever, 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
36 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
to seek a convenient place to fight in. I com-
mand you to overhang the night with a thick
fog, and lead these quarrelsome 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
Titania was still sleeping, and Oberon seeing a
clown near her, who bad 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
bead on very gently, it awakened him, and rising,
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 37
up, unconscious of what Oberon had done to him,
he went towards the bower where the fairy queen
"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, Pease-blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mus-
S" Attend'" said the queen, "upon this sweet
gentleman; hop in his walks, and gambol in his
S 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 I and kiss your fair large ears, my
gentle joy !"
'PWhere isPease-blossom?" said the ass.headed
38 MIDSUMMER NI4w F's DREAM.
clown; not much regarding the feiry queen's
courtship, but very proud of his new attendants.
"Here, sir," said little Pease-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 humble-bee 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 tike care the
honey-bag break not; I should be sorry to have
you overflown with a honey-bag. Where is
"Here, sir," said Mustard-seed; what is your
"Nothing," said the clown, "good Mr. Mus-
tard-seed, but to helpMr.Pease-blossom toscratch:
I must go to a barber's, Mr. Mustard-seed, for
methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face."
"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
"I had rather have a handful of dried pease,"
said the clown, who with his ass's head had got
A MDHSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 39
an ass's appetite. "Bat, 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. 0 how I love you I How
I doat upon you i!"
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 favours 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 favourite, did not dare to refuse
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 Tita-
nia, and threw some of the juice of the other
flower into her eyes; and the fairy queen imme-
diately recovered her senses, and wondered at her
late dotage, saying how she now loathed the sight
of the strange monster.
40 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
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 shoulders. 1
Oberon and his Titania being now perfectly 1
reconciled, he related to her the history of the
lovers, and their midnight quarrels; 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 each
other, sleepingon a grass-plot; 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 each other; 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 Ly-
sander asleep so near her, was looking at him
and wondering at his strange inconstancy. Ly-
sander 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 i they
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. 41
had both been dreaming the same bewildering
Helena and Demetrius were by this time
awake; and a sweet sleep having quieted Helena's
disturbed and angry spirits, she listened with de-
light 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 past were for-
given, 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 en-
deavour 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
When Egeus understood thatDemetrius 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
42 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
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 Demetrius.
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, re-
ceived so much pleasure, that these kind spirits
resolved to celebrate, the approaching nuptials
with sports and revels throughout their fairy
And now, if any are offended with this story
of fairies and their pranks, as judging it incre-
dible and strange, I 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.
^d s,,^ ,,'- i .- ---s--- --^ ^ ---.- - |
;1 t._:. ... A l ' ", '--\.--.- j
-~ I I
TALE THE THIRD.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
LEONTES, king of Sicily, and his queen,
the beautiful and virtuous Hermione, once lived
in the greatest harmony together. So happy
was Leontes in the love of this excellent lady,
that he had no wish ungratified, except that he
sometimes desired tosee again, and to present
to his queen, his old companion and school-
fellow, Polizenes, king of Bohemia. Leonites
and Polixenes were brought up together from
their infancy, but being by the death of their
fathers called to reign over their respective king-
doms, they had not met for many years, though
they frequently interchanged gifts, letters, and
At length, after repeated invitations, Polix-
enes came from Bohemia to the Sicilian court,
to make his friend Leontes a visit.
44 THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 corn-
pleted. They talked over old times; their
school-days and their youthful pranks were re-
membered, and recounted to Hermione, who
always took a cheerful part in these conversa-
When, after a long stay, Polixenes was pre-
paring to depart, Hermione, at the desire of her
husband, joined her intreaties to his that Polix-
enes would prolong his visit. '
And now began this good queen's sorrow; for
Polixenes refusing 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 Le-
ontes had so long known the integrity and
honourable 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 shewed to
Polixenes, though by her husband's particular
desire, and merely to please him, increased the
THE WINTER'S TALE. 45
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 commanded
him to poison Polixenes.
Camillo was a good man; and he, well know-
ing that the jealousy of Leontes had not the
slightest foundation in truth, instead of poison-
ing 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 favourite of Polixenes.
The flight of Polixenes enraged the jealous
Leontes still more; he went to the queen's apart-
ment, where-the good lady was sitting with her
little son Mamillus, 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.
Mamillus, though but a very young child,
loved his mother tenderly; and when he saw her
46 THE WINTER'S TALE.
so dishonoured, 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 enquire
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
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
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 king."
"And tell her," said Paulina, that I will speak
boldly to Leontes in her defence." "May you
be for ever 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, not withstanding
her husband, fearing the king's anger, endea-
voured to prevent her, she laid the babe at its
father's feet, and Paulina made a noble speech to
the king in defence of Hermione, and she re-
proached 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
When Paulina went away, she left the little
48 THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 ofLeontes; 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 Deiphos;
but before the queen was recovered from her
lying-inn, and from her 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 toge-
ther to try Hermione, and that unhappy queen
was standing as a prisoner before her subjects to
receive their judgment, Cleomenes and Dion
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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:-"c Hermioneisinnocent, Polixenes blame-
less, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous ty-
rant, 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 Mamil-
lus, hearing his mother was to be tried for her
life, struck with grief and shame, had suddenly
Hermione, upon hearing of the death of this
dear affectionate child, who had lost his life in
sorrowing for her misfortune, fainted; and Leon-
tes, 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
Hermione was dead.
When Leontes heard that the queen was dead,
VOL. 1. D
.54) THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 he now
thought the words of the oracle were true, as he
knew if that which was lost was not found,"
which he concluded was his young daughter, he
- should be without an heir, the young prince Ma-
millus being dead; and he would give his king-
dom now to recover his lost daughter: and Leon-
tes gave himself up to remorse, and passed many
years in mournful thoughts and repentant 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 Le-
ontes 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; just punish-
ment 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, with the name of Perdita
THE WINTER'S TALE.
written thereon, and words obscurely intimating
its high birth and untoward fate.
This poor deserted baby was found by a shep-
herd. 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 na-
tural graces she inherited from her royal mother
shine forth in her untutored mind, that no one
from her behaviour 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 shepherd's dwelling,
he saw the old man's supposed daughter; and the
beauty, modesty, and queen-like deportment of
Perdita caused him instantly to fall in love with
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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
Polixenes then called for Camillo, the faithful
Camillo, who had preserved his life from the fury
of Leontes; and desired that he would accom-
pany him to'the house of the shepherd, the sup-
posed father of Perdita.
Polixenes and Camillo, both in disguise, ar-
rived 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
Nothing but mirth and jollity was going for-
ward. Tables were spread, and great prepara-
tions 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 ribbands, gloves, and such toys, of a
pedlar at the door.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
While this busy scene was going forward, Flo-
rizel and Perdita sat quietly in a retired corner,
seemingly more pleased with the conversation of
each other, than desirous of engaging in the
sports and silly amusements of those around
The king was so disguised that it was impos-
sible his son could know him; he therefore ad-
vanced 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 pret-
tiest 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, "1 Indeed she is the very queen
of curds and cream."
"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
THE WINTER'S TALE.
Perdita's jewels; which, after he had bought
herds of sheep with part of them, he had care-
fully 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 pedlar 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 Per-
dita expects from me are locked up in my heart."
Then turning to Perdita, he said to her, "0 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 re-
proached his son for daring to contract himself to
this low-born maiden, calling Perdita "shep-
herd's-brat, sheep-hook," and other disrespectful
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 Flo-
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 self-same 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 farther.
Leave me, sir; I will go milk iny ewes, and weep."
The kind-hearted Camillo was charmed with
the spirit and propriety of Perdita's beha-
viour; 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 favourite scheme he had in his
Camillo had long known that Leontes, the
king of Sicily, was become a true penitent; and
56 THE WINTER'S TALE.
though Camillo was now the favoured 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 marriage.
To this proposal they joyfully agreed; and
Camillo, who conducted every thing relative to
their flight, allowed the old shepherd to go along
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 Per-
dita, 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' attention: per-
ceiving a resemblance between her and his dead
queen Hermione, his grief broke out afresh, and
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 Flori-
zel, 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 no-
tice the king had taken of Perdita, and that he
had lost a daughter, who was exposed 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 impossible for him not to con-
clude, 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 re-
lated 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 shewed the rich mantle in Which
Paulina remembered Hermione had wrapped the
child; and he produced ajewel which she remem-
bered 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
58 TS, WLNTER'g TALEL.
doubted that Perdita was Leontes' own daughter:
but oh the noble struggles of Paulina, between
sorrow for her husband's death, and joy that i
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, "0 thy mother, thy
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 almost be ready to think it was Hermione
herself. Thither then they all went ; the king
anxious to see thesemblanceof 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 hi
had no power to speak or move.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
"I like your silence, my liege," said Paulina;
"it the more shews your wonder. Is not this
statue very like your queen?"
At length the king said, "0, thus she stood,
even with such majesty, when I first wooed her.
But yet, Paulina, Hermione wA 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 cur-
tain, 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." must draw the curtain, my
liege," said Paulina. You are so transported,
you will persuade yourself the statue lives."
" 0, 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, for-
bear!" 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 yeam)," said Leontes.
60 THE WINTER'S TALE.
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; ay, and descend
from off the pedestal, and take you by the hand.
But then you will think, which I protest I am
not, that 1 am assisted by some wicked powers."
"What you can make her do," said the asto-
nished 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
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'
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 Leoites!
neck, and blessed her husband and her child,
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 par-
don 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
Nothing but congratulations and affectionate
speeches were heard on all sides. Now the de-
lighted 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 com-
plete this strange and unlooked-for joy, king
Polixenes himself now entered the palace.
62 TVA WINTER'S TAL1E.
Whea Polixenes first missed his son and Ca-
millo, 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 arrive just at this, the
happiest moment of Leontes' 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 ex-
cellent lady lived many years with her Leontes
and her Perdita, the happiest of mothers and of
t .- .
TALE THE FOURTH.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
TufEia lived in the palace at Messina two
ladies, whose names were Hero and Beatrice.
Hero was the daughter, and Beatrice the niece,
of Leonato, thegovernor of Messina.
Beatrice was of a lively temper, and loved to
divert her cousin -ero, 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 Beatrioe.
At the time the history of these ladies com-
mences, 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 distioguisheOtiemselves by their
great bravery, came to visit Leonato. Among
these were Dan Pedro, the prince of Arragon,
and his friend Claudio, who was a lord of Floo.
64 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
rence; 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
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,
signior Benedick; nobody marks you." Bene-
dick was just such another rattle-brain as Bea-
trice, yet he was not pleased at this free saluta-
tion: 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 themselves, 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
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
the middle of his discourse with telling him
nobody marked what he was saying, Benedick,
affecting not to have observed before that she
was present, said, What, my dear lady Dis-
dain, are you yet living ?" And now war broke
out afresh between them, and a long jangling
argument ensued, daring which Beatrice, al-
though she knew he had so well approved his
valour in the late war, said that she would eat all
he had killed there: and observing the prince
take delight in Benedick's conversation, she
called him the prince's jester." This sarcasm
sunk 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 some-
times a little too near the truth: therefore Bene-
dick 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
66 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
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 excellent wife for
Benedick." Leonato replied to this suggestion,
0 my lord, my lord, if they were but a week
married, they would talk themselves mad." But
though Leonato thought they would make a dis-
cordant 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 company,
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 ques-
tion Claudio replied, "0 my lord, when I was
last at Messina, I looked upon her with a sol-
dier'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
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
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. Leonate agreed to this proposal,
and the prince found no great difficulty in per-
suading 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 kied prince, soon pre-
vailed 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 com-
plained 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 hlim, proposed as
a kind of merry pastime, that they should invent
some artful scheme to make Benedick and Bea-
trice fall in love with each other. Claudio en-
tered with great satisfaction into this whim of the
prince, and Leonato promised them his assist-
68 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
ance, and even Hero said she would do any
modest office to help her cousin to a good
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 an opportunity
when Benedick was quietly seated reading in an
arbour; the prince and his assistants took their
station among the trees behind the arbour, 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 signior Bene-
dick? I did never think that lady would have
loved any man." "No, nor I neither, my
lord," answered Leonato. "It is most wonder-
ful that she should so doat on Benedick, whom
she in all outward behaviour seemed ever to
dislike." Claudio confirmed all this, with say-
ing that Hero had told him Beatrice was so in
love with Benedick, that she would certainly die
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. 69
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 hearken 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 every thing 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 overheard.
Benedick had been listening with great eager-
ness to this conversation ; and he said to himself
when he heard Beatrice loved him, Is it pos-
sible? 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
70 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
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 every thing but
in 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 tartness, "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 con-
cealed 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
The gentleman being thus caught in the net
they had spread for him, it was now Hero's turn
to play her part with Beatrice; and for this pur-
pose she sent for Ursula and Margaret, two
gentlewomen who attended upon her, and she
said to Margaret, "Good Margaret, run to the