Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Romeo and Juliet
 King Lear
 Timon of Athens
 The merchant of Venice
 The comedy of errors
 Hamlet, prince of Denmark
 The tempest
 As you like it
 Much ado about nothing
 A midsummer night's dream
 Measure for measure
 The taming of the shrew
 Twelfth night; or, what you...
 Pericles, prince of Tyre
 The winter's tale
 All's well, that ends well
 The two gentlemen of Verona
 Life of Shakspeare
 Chronological order of Shakspeare's...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Tales from Shakspeare : designed for the use of young people
Title: Tales from Shakspeare
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00065496/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tales from Shakspeare designed for the use of young people
Alternate Title: Tales from Shakespeare
Lamb's tales from Shakspeare
Physical Description: xiii, 371, 6 p., 8 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
Lamb, Mary, 1764-1847 ( Author )
Gilbert, John, 1817-1897 ( Illustrator )
George Routledge and Sons ( Publisher )
Bradbury, Agnew and Co ( Printer )
Dalziel Brothers ( Engraver )
Bone & Son ( Binder )
Publisher: George Routledge and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
New York
Manufacturer: Bradbury, Agnew & Co.
Publication Date: [187-?]
Subject: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1875   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1875   ( rbgenr )
W. Bone & Son -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1875   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Binders' tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Charles Lamb ; with illustrations by John Gilbert.
General Note: By Charles and Mary Lamb.
General Note: Date of publication based on binding indicating publication in the 1870's.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Dalziel.
General Note: Bound by W. Bone & Son.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065496
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002227328
notis - ALG7625
oclc - 70919659

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Romeo and Juliet
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    King Lear
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Timon of Athens
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
    The merchant of Venice
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    The comedy of errors
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    Hamlet, prince of Denmark
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
    The tempest
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    As you like it
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
    Much ado about nothing
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    A midsummer night's dream
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
    Measure for measure
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
    The taming of the shrew
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
    Twelfth night; or, what you will
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
    Pericles, prince of Tyre
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
    The winter's tale
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
    All's well, that ends well
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
    The two gentlemen of Verona
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
    Life of Shakspeare
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
    Chronological order of Shakspeare's dramas
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
        Page 375
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text






for ibte se ff jnxa g glcap





Edited by CHARLES KNIGHT. With Illustrations
by SIR JOHN GILBERT, R.A. Price 3s. 6d. cloth
gilt edges.

Illustrated by SIR JOHN GILBERT, R.A. Cloth,
gilt edges, 3S. 6d.

MORGAN. With Illustrations by SIR JOHN GILBERT,
R.A. Cloth, gilt edges, 3s. 6d.

SHAKSPERE GEMS : A Collection of the
most admired extracts from the Works of Shakspere.
Cloth, gilt edges 3s. 6d

_II~~ I~ I


THF following Tales are meant to be stibmitted
to the young reader as an introduction to the study
of i,.i. zi.eare, 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 connected 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, as my young readers will perceive when
they come to see the source from which these stories
are derived, Shakspeare's own words, with little al-
teration, recur very frequently in the 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 : therefore I fear in
them I have made use of dialogue too frequently for

young people not used to the dramatic form of writing.
But this fault, if it be as I fear a fault, has been caused
by my earnest wish to give as much of Shakspeare's
own words as possible: and if the "He said," and
" She said," the question and the reply, should some-
times seem tedious to their young ears, they must
pardon it, because it was the only way I knew of, in
which I could give them a few hints and little fore-
tastes 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 imper-
fect stamps of Shakspeare'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 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.
I have wished to make these Tales easy reading for
very young children. To the utmost of my ability
I have constantly kept this in my mind; but the sub-
jects of most of them made this a very difficult task.
It was no easy matter to give the histories of men and
vom.en in terms familiar to the apprehension of a very



young mind. Foi young ladies too it has been my
intention chiefly to write, because boys are generally
permitted tl.e use of their fathers' libraries at a much
earlier age than girls are; they frequently have the
best scenes of Shakspeare by heart, before their sisters
are permitted to look into this manly book; and,
therefore, instead of recommending these Tales to the
perusal of young gentlemen who can read them so
much better in the originals, I must rather beg their
kind assistance 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
I trust they will find that the beautiful extracts, the
select passages, they may choose to give their sisters
in this way, will be much better relished and under-
stood from their having some notion of the general
story from one of these imperfect abridgments; which
if they be fortunately so done as to prove delightful to
any of you, my young readers, I hope will have no
worse effect upon you, than to make you wish your-
selves 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 judi.
cious friends shall put them into your hands, you will
discover in such of them as are here abridged (not to
mention almost as many more which are left un



vi Preface.

touched) 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 humour
of which I was fearful of losing if I attempted to
reduce the length of them.
What these tales have been to you in cil-;'ll. 1,.
that and much more it is my wish that the true plays
of Shakspeare may prove to you in older. years-
enrichers of the fancy, strengtheners of virtue, a with-
drawing from all selfish and mercenary thoughts, a
lesson of all sweet and honourable thoughts and
actions, to teach you courtesy, benignity, generosity,
humanity : for of examples, teaching these virtues, his
pages are .fiill.
















. 42

j 59

. 76

. 107


5 145

* 159




viii Contrts.













THE two chief families in Verona were the rich
Capulets and the Mountagues. 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 kin-
dred, to the followers and retainers of both sides,
insomuch that a servant of the house of Mountague
could not meet a servant of the house of Capulet, nor
a Capulet encounter with a Mountague by chance,
but fierce words and sometimes bloodshed ensued;
and frequent were the brawls from such accidental
meetings, which disturbed the happy quiet of
Verona's estate.
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 welcome if they were
not of the house of Mountague. At this feast of
Capulets, Rosaline, beloved of Romeo, son to the old
lord Mountague, was present; and though it was
dangerous for a Mountague to be seen in this assem-

2 Tales from Shaksfeare.
bly, 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 ; never-
theless, 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 dis-
dained him, and never requited 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 and 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 that 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
oo rich for use, too dear for earth! like a snowy
love 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 passionate temper, could
not endure that a Mountague should come under

Romeo and Juliet.

cover of a mask, to fleer and scorn (as he said) at
their solemnities. And he stormed and raged exceed
ingly, 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 Mountague should at
another time dearly pay for his intrusion.
The dancing being done, Romeo watched the place
where the lady stood; and under favour of his mask-
ing 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 pro-
faned by touching it, he was a blushing pilgrim, and
would kiss it for atonement. Good pilgrim," an-
swered the lady, "your devotion shows by 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. "Ay," said
the lady, lips which they must use in prayer." 0
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 Ca.pulet,
the great enemy of the Mountagues; 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
B 2


Tales from Siakspeare.

the gentleman that she had been talking with was
Romeo and a Mountague, for she had been suddenly
smit with the same hasty and inconsiderate 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 in-
duce her chiefly to hate.
It being midnight, Romeo with his companions de
parted; 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 remained long,
ruminating on his new love, when Juliet appeared
above at a window, 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 lustre of this new sun.
And she leaning her hand upon her cheek, he pas-
sionately wished himself 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 was enraptured to hear her speak,
and said softly, unheard by her, 0 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 passion which
that night's adventure had given birth to, called upon
her lover by name (whom she supposed absent): "0
Romeo, Romeo !" said she, wherefore art thot
Romeo 7 Deny thy father, and refuse thy name, for
my sake; or if thou wilt not, be but my sworn love,


Ronmet and Juliet. 5
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 con-
tinued her passionate discourse with herself (as she
thought), still chiding Romeo for being Romeo and
a Mountague, and wishing him some other name, or
that he would put away the 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 favour 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
hearing, 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 Mount-
ague. Alack," said Romeo, "there is more peril m
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

6 Tales from Shaksfeare.
shore which is washed with the farthest sea, I should
adventure for such merchandise." A crimson blush
came over the face of Juliet, yet unseen by F.omeo
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: fair,
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 putting off, or any of the customary arts of delay
and protractive 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 Mountague
(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 tiI 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 behaviour to him might not be suffi-
ciently 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
Romeo was beginning to call the heavens to wit-
ness, that nothing was farther from his thoughts than

Romeo and Juliet.

to impute a shadow of dishonour to such an honoured
lady, when she stopped him, begged 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 her that night, she
said that she already had given him hers before he
requested it; meaning, when he overheard her con-
fession; but she would retract what she then be-
stowed, 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- day-
break; but hastily returning, she said three or four
words more to Romeo, the purport of which was, that
if his love was indeed honourable, and his purpose
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
returned 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
The day was breaking when they parted, and
Romeo, who was too full of thoughts of his mistress
and that blessed meeting to allow him to sleep, in.


Tales from Shakspeare.

stead 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 wakefulness
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 Mountagues; which no one more
lamented than this good friar, who was a friend to
both the families, and had often interposed his medi-
ation 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
dispatched according to promise, did not fail to be


Romeo ana Juliet.

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 Mountague and young Capulet to bury
the old strife and long dissensions of their families.
The ceremony being over, Juliet hastened home,
where she staid 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 impatient
child, that has got new finery which it may not put on
till the morning.
That same day about noon, Romeo's friends, Ben-
volio 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, ac-
cused him bluntly of associating with Romeo, a
Mountague. 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 beginning, 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 Mountague
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 watchword


Tales from Shakspeare.

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 Mountague, had some secret plea-
sure in uttering that name : but Tybalt, who hated all
Mountagues 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 dishonourable submission, with many
disdainful words provoked Tybalt to the prosecution
of his first quarrel with him and Tybalt and Mer-
cutio fought, till Mercutio fell, receiving his death's
wound while Romeo and Benvolio were vainly en-
deavouring to part the combatants. Mercutio being
dead, Romeo kept his temper no longer, but returned
the scornful appellation of villain which Tybalt had
given him; and they fought till Tybalt was slain by
Romeo. This deadly broil falling out in the midst of
Verona at noonday, the news of it quickly brought
a crowd of citizens to the spot, and among them the
old lords Capulet and Mountague, with their wives;
and soon after arrived the prince himself, who being
related to Mercutio, whom Tybalt had slain, and
having had the peace of his government often dis-
turbed by these brawls of Mountagues and Capulets,
came determined to put the law in strictest force
against those who should be found to be offenders.
Benvolio, who had been eyewitness to the fray, was
commanded by the prince to relate the origin of it,
which he did, keeping as near to 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,


Romeo and Juliet. II
exhorted the prince to do strict justice upon his mur-
derer, and to pay no attention to Benvolio's repre
sentation, who being Romeo's friend, and a Mountague,
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 Mountague 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 Mercutio. The prince, unmoved by
the passionate exclamations of these women, on a
careful examination of the facts, pronounced his sen-
tence, and by that sentence Romeo was banished
from Verona.
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 de-
noted 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 hus-
band lived whom Tybalt would have slain. Then
came fresh tears, and they were altogether of grief
for Romeo's banishment. That word was more ter-
rible 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 sentence, which seemed to h;n fa.

t2 Tales frnm Shakspeare.
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 con-
solation of philosophy to his griefs; but this frantic
young man would hear of none, but like a madman
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 expostulate with
him on the unmanly weakness which he had shown.
He had slain Tybalt, but vould 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 him 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 counselled
him that he should go that night and secretly take his
leave of Juliet, and thence proceed straightways to
Mantua, at which place he should sojourn, till the
friar found a fit occasion to publish his marriage,
which might be a joyful means of reconciling 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 convinced by these wise counsels
of the friar, and took his leave to go and seek his lady,
purposing to stay with her that night, and by day.
break 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, gain-
ing 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 part-
ing, and the fatal adventures of the past day. The
unwelcome daybreak seemed to come too soon, and
when Juliet heard the morning song of the lark, she
would fain have persuaded herself that it was the
nightingale, which sings by night; but it was too
truly the lark which sung, and a discordant and un-
pleasing 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 tho walls of Verona after daybreak.

Romeo and Juliet.


'1ies fiom Shakspeare.

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
:ount Paris, a gallant, young, and noble gentleman,
no unworthy 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 following 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 counsellor 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


Romeo and Juliet. 15
a phial 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 ; that 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 phial 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 nup-
tials. No cost was spared to prepare such festival
rejoicings, as Verona had never before witnessed.
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 for her; whether the terror of the place, a

16 Tales from Shaksfeare.
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, re-
turned, 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 life.
less corse. What death to his hopes i What confu-
sion 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 mourning 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 advantageous 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 to 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,

Romeo and Juliet.

now brought the dismal story of his Juliet's death to
Romeo at Mantua, before the messenger could arrive,
who was sent from friar Lawrence 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 should come to release her from that dreary
mansion. Just before, Romeo had been unusually
joyful and lighthearted. 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
Sany 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 famished, and the wretched
show in his shop of empty boxes ranged on dirty
shelves, and other tokens of extreme wretchedness,
he had said at the time (perhaps having some mis-
givings 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


18 i.ales from Shaksfeare.
pretended scruples, Romeo offering 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 proceeding to break open the monument.
when he was interrupted by a voice, which by the
name of vile _1.'. .-.'..'.., bade him desist from his un-
lawful 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 Mountague, and (as
he supposed) a sworn foe to all the Capulets, he
judged that he was come by night to do some villa-
nous shame to the dead bodies; therefore in angry
tone he bade him desist; and as a criminal, coh-
demned 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 another
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

Romeo and Jfuet.

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 favour 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, swallowing that
poison which the apothecary had sold him, whose
operation 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 friar
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, haa
never reached Romeo, came himself, provided with a
pickaxe and lantern, to deliver the lady from her con-
finement; but he was surprised to find a light already
burning in the Capulet's monument, and to see swords



Tales from Shakspeare.

and blood near it, and Romeo and Paris lying breath-
less by the monument.
Before he could entertain a conjecture, to imagine
how these fatal accidents had fallen out, Juliet awoke
out of her trance, and seeing the friar near her, she
remembered the place where she was, and the occa-
sion 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 unnatural sleep, for a greater
power than they could contradict had thwarted their
intents; and being frighted 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 confusedly,
exclaiming, a Paris, a Romeo, a Juliet, as the rumour
had imperfectly reached them, till the uproar brought
lord Mountague and lord Capulet out of their beds,
with the prince, to inquire into the causes of the dis-
turbance. 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 Capulet's
monument, the friar was demanded by the prince to


Romeo and Juliet.

deliver what he knew of these strange and disastrous
And there, in the presence of the old lords Moun-
tague and Capulet, he :bjtlit!!y related the story of
their children's fatal love, the part he took in pro-
moting 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 opportunity 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 mis-
carriage 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 remainder 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 de-
livered to his father in the event of his death, which
made good the friar's words, confessing his marriage
with Juliet, imploring the forgiveness of his parents,
acknowledging the buying of the poison of the poor
apothecary, and his intent in coming to the monu-
ment, to die, and lie with Juliet. All these circum-
stances agreed together to clear the friar from any
hand he could be supposed to have had in these
complicated slaughters, further than as the unintended


as Tales from Skakspeare.
consequences of his own well-meant, yet too artificial
and subtle contrivances.
And the prince, turning to these old lords, Moun-
tague and Cupulet, rebuked them for their brutal and
irrational enmities, and showed them what a scourge
neaven had laid upon such offences, 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 children's graves; and lord Capulet requested
lord Mountague 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 Mountague; and saying that lord
Mountague's hand (in token of reconcilement) was
all he demanded for his daughter's jointure: but lord
Mountague said he would give him more, for he
would raise her 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 quarrels and dissensions)
could remove the rooted hates and jealousies of the
noble families.

Tiny Lear.


LEAR, king of Britain, had three daughters; Go-
nerill, 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 Bur-
gundy were joint suitors, and were at this time making
stay for that purpose 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.
Gonerill, 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 confi-
dence 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 de-


Tales from Shaksfeare.

manded what she had to say. Regan, who was made
of the same hollow metal as her sister, was not a wit
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 : inso-
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 chil-
dren, 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 Gonerill.
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
uttered, or rather that her expressions would be so
much stronger than theirs, as she had always been
his darling, and favoured 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 ingrati-
tude in his favourite child, desired her to consider
her words, and to mend her speech, lest it should mai
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 honour 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 hus-
bands, 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 sincerity than her
This plainness of speech, which Lear called pride,
so enraged the old monarch-who in his best of times
always shewed much of spleen and rashness, 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

King Lear.


o0 Tales from Shakspeare.
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 coro-
net 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 daughter's 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 astonishment 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 Cor-
delia, when the passionate Lear on pain of death
commanded him to desist: but the good Kent was
not so to be repelled. He had been ever loyal to
Lear, whom he had honoured as a king, loved as a
father, followed as a master : and 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
counsellor, 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 judg-
ment 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, honour 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 al-
lotted 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 sister's 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

King Lear.


Tales from Slakspeare.

her sist rs, took this young maid by the hand, and
saying that her virtues were a dowry above a king-
dom, 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
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
disposition of her sisters began to show themselves in
their true colours. Even before the expiration of the
first month, which Lear was to spend by agreement
with his eldest daughter Gonerill, the old king began
to find out the difference between promises and per-
formances. This wretch having got from her father
all that he had to bestow, 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 with her, she
would feign sickness, or anything to be rid of the
sight of him; for it was plain that she esteemed his
old age a useless burden, and his attendants an un-
necessary 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 instructions, 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 altera-
tion in the behaviour of his daughter, but he shut his
eyes against it as long as he could, as people com-
monly are unwilling to believe the unpleasant conse-
quences 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 ap-
pears 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 consequences, as long as there was a chance of his
being useful to the king his master. See to what
mean shifts and disguises poor 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

King Lear.


Tales from Shakspeare.

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 favourite, the high and mighty earl ot
This Caius quickly found means to shew his fidelity
and love to his royal master; for Gonerill'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 mis-
tress, Caius not enduring to hear so open an affront
put upon 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 humour, 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 expressed it, these daughters
For sudden joy did weep,
And he 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 Gonerill her-
self, 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 suffer 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 feastings; and
she prayed him that he would lessen their number,
and keep none but old men about him, such as him-
self, 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 had spoke an untruth: and so
indeed she did, for the hundred knights were all men
of choice behaviour and sobriety of manners, skilled
in all particulars of duty, and not given to rioting and

King Lear.


Tales from Shakspeare.

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 Gonerill
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 Gonerill's husband, the duke of Albany,
beginning to excuse himself for any share which Lear
might suppose he had in the unkindness, Lear woula
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 comparison with her
sister's, and he wept; and then he was ashamed that
such a creature as Gonerill 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 dis-
patched 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
Gonerill had been beforehand with him, sending
letters also to Regan, accusing her father of way-
wardness and ill humours, 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 for.


fnerly tripped up by the heels for his saucy behaviour
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 mes-
sages 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
ne was to expect; but a worse followed, when upon
inquiry for his daughter and her husband, he was
told they were weary with travelling all night, and
could not see him: and when lastly, upon his insist-
ing in a positive and angry manner to see them, they
came to greet him, whom should he see in their com-
pany but the hated Gonerill, 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 Gonerill if she was not ashamed to look upon
his old white beard. And Regan advised him to go
home again with Gonerill and live with her peaceably,
dismissing half of his attendants, and to ask her for-
giveness; 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 pre-
posterous that would sound, if he were to down on
his knees, and beg of his own daughter for food and

King Lea,.


34 Tales from Shakspeare.
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 Gonerill's, but mild and kind. And he said that
rather than return to Gonerill with half his train cut
off, he would go over to France, and beg a wretched
pension of the king there, who had married his
youngest daughter without a portion.
But he was mistaken in expecting kinder treatment
of Regan than he had experienced from her sister
Gonerill. As if willing to outdo her sister in unfilial
behaviour, 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 Gonerill, 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 Gonerill 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 essential to hap-
piness, but from a king to a beggar is a hard change,
from commanding 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

King Lear. 35
want of it, wnicn pierced this poor old king to the
neart: insomuch, 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 un-
natural 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 in-
juries 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 in-
creased, when the old man sallied forth to combat
with the elements, less sharp than his daughters' un-
kindness. 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 ungrateful 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 mis-
fortune, saying, it was but a naughty night to swim
in, and truly the king had better go in and ask his
daughter's blessing:

36 Tales from Sdkspeare.
But he that has a little tiny wit,
With high ho, the wind and the rain I
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
Thus poorly accompanied, this once great monarch
was found by his ever-faithful servant the good earl
of Kent, now transformed to Caius, who ever fol-
lowed 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 chil-
But the good Caius still persisting in his entreaties
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
entering, suddenly ran back terrified, saying 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 any thing to poor Tom 1" 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-folks into giving
them alms. This poor fellow was such a one; and
the king seeing 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
daughters, and brought himself to that pass; fo
nothing he thought could bring a man to such
wretchedness but the having unkind daughters.
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 colours the in-
humanity 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

King LeWar.


with a sufficient power to subdue these daughters and
their husbands, and restore the 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 prevailed
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 passions
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 thinking 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

Tales from Shakspeare.


King Lear. 39
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, 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
this 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 own father, could not be expected to
prove more faithful to their own husbands. They
soon grew tired of paying even the appearance 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 his treacheries had succeeded in disinheriting
his brother Edgar, the lawful heir, from his earldom,

4: Tal' ; pnom Shaksfcare.
and by his wicked practices was now earl himself: a
wicked man, and a fit object for the love of such
wicked creatures as Gonerill and Regan. It falling
out about this time that the duke of Cornwall, Regan's
husband, died, Regan immediately declared her in-
tention 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 pro-
fessed love, Gonerill found means to make away with
her sister by poison : but being detected in her prac-
tices, 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 conclu
sion : but it is an awful truth, that innocence and
piety are not always successful in this world. The
forces which Gonerill 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 illus-
trious example of filial duty. Lear did not long sur-
vive 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 explanations at such a time; and
Lear soon after expiring, this faithful servant to the
king, between age and grief for his old master's vexa-
tions, soon followed him to the grave.
How the judgment of Heaven overtook the bad
earl of Gloucester, whose reasons were discovered,
and himself slain in single combat with his brother
the lawful earl; and how Gonerill'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, is needless
here to narrate; Lear and his Three Daughters being
dead, whose adventures alone concern our story.

King Zear.


Tales from Shaksfcare.


BRABANTIO, the rich senator of Venice, had a faiz
daughter, the gentle Desdemona. She was sought
to by divers suitors, both on account of her many
virtuous qualities and for her rich expectations. 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 admired 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 state.
He had been a traveller, 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


0 T f L L


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 state, and
how he escaped: all these accounts, added to the
narration of the strange things he had seen in foreign
countries, the vast wildernesses and romantic caverns,
the quarries, the rocks and mountains, whose heads
are in the clouds; of the savage nations, the can-
nibals who are man-eaters, and a race of people in
Africa whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders :
these travellers' stories would so enchain the atten-
tion of Desdemona, that if she were called off at
any time by household affairs, she would dispatch
with all haste that business, and return, and with a
greedy ear devour Othello's discourse. And once he
took advantage 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 bf many a tear, when he spoke of some
distressful stroke which his youth 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 a certain bewitching prettiness, and
blushes, which Othello could not but understand, he
spoke more openly of his love, and in this golden



Tales from Shaksfearc.

opportunity gained the consent of the generous lady
Desdemona privately to marry him.
Neither Othello's colour nor his fortune were 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 ere long 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 colour, which to all but
this discerning lady would have proved an insur-
mountable objection, was by her esteemed above all
the white skins and clear complexions 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 hospitality.
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 defence 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 offences which by the laws of Venice were made
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
likelihood and allegations for proofs, that, when
Othello was called upon for his defence, 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 court-
ship, 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 ear.
This statement of Othello was confirmed by the
testimony of the lady Desdemona herself, who ap-
peared in court, and professing 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 (Brabantio) 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 necessity, bestowed upon him his
daughter, whom, if he had been free to withhold her



Tales from Shaksfeare.

(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 behaviour 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 honour 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, favourite
qualities with women; he was handsome, and elo-
quent, 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
beei a sort of go-between in his suit: for Othello,


fearing that himself had not those soft parts of con-
versation which please ladies, and finding these quali-
ties in his friend, would often depute Cassio to go (as
he phrased it) a courting for him : such innocent sim-
plicity being an honour rather than a blemish to the
character of the valiant Moor. So that no wonder,
if next to Othello himself (but at far distance, as be-
seems a virtuous wife) the gentle Desdemona loved
and trusted Cassio. Nor had the marriage of this
couple made any difference in their behaviour to
Michael Cassio. He frequented their house, and his
free and rattling talk was no unpleasing 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 Desdemona 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 lieu-
tenant, a place of trust, and nearest to .the general's
person. This promotion gave great offence to lago,
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 girl. Iago hated
Cassio, and he hated Othello, as well for favouring
Cassio, as for an unjust suspicion, which he had lightly
taken up against Othello, that the Moor was too fond
of lago's wife Emilia. From these imaginary provo-
cations, the plotting mind of lago conceived a horrid
scheme of revenge, which should involve both Cassio,
the Moor, and Desdemona in one common ruin.
lago was artful, and had studied human nature



Tales from Shakspeare.

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. Every
body gave themselves 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 Desdemona.
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 lago began his deep-laid plans
of mischief; under colour 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 lago knew how
to put on, but kept swallowing glass after glass (as
lago still plied him with drink and encouraging songs),
and Cassio's tongue ran over in praise of the lady
Desdemona, whom he again and again toasted, affirm-
ing that she was a most exquisite lady : until at last
the enemy which he put into his mouth, stole away
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 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,
causingg 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, ques-
tioned 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 lago, pretend-
ing a great reluctance to accuse Cassio, but as it were
forced into it by Othello, who insisted to know the
truth, gave an account of the whole matter (leaving
out his own share in it, which Cassio was too far gone
to remember) in such a manner, as while he seemed
to make Cassio's offence 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 lago's first artifice succeed completely:
he had now undermined 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 lago, 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 bargain; the general's wife
was now the general, and could do anything with
Othello; that he were best to apply to the lady Des-



Tales from Shakspeare.

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 favour; 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 purposes, which will after appear.
Cassio did as lago advised him, and made appli-
cation to the lady Desdemona, who was easy to be
won over in any honest suit; and she promised Cassio
that she would 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
morning to that at farthest. Then she showed how
penitent and humbled poor Cassio was, and that his
offence 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 1 I count this but a little thing to
ask of you. When I mean to try your love indeed,
I shall ask a weighty matter." Othello could deny
nothing to such a pleader, and only requesting that
Desdemona would leave the time to him, promised to
receive Michael Cassio again into favour.
It happened that Othello and lago had entered
into the room where Desdemona was, just as Cassio,
who had been imploring her intercession, was depart.


Othello. 51
ing at the opposite door; and lago, 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 remem-
bered it afterwards. For when Desdemona was gone,
Iago, as if for mere satisfaction of his thought, ques-
tioned Othello whether Michael Cassio, when Othello
was courting his lady, knew of his love. To this the
general answering in the affirmative, and adding, that
he had gone between them very often during the
courtship, lago knitted his brow, as if he had got
fresh light of some terrible matter, and cried, In-
deed This brought into Othello's mind, the words
which lago 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 lago 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 lago 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 lago went on to say,
what a pity it were, if any trouble should arise to
Othello out of his imperfect 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, lago, as if in earnest care
for Othello's peace of mind, besought him to beware

Tales from ShaksFeare.

of jealousy; with such art did this villain raise sus-
picions 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 lago, 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
behaviour well, when Cassio was by; not to be
jealous nor too secure neither, for that he (lago)
knew the dispositions of the Italian ladies, his coun-
trywomen, 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 in-
sinuated, that Desdemona deceived her father in mar-
rying with Othello, and carried it so closely, that the
poor old man thought that witchcraft had been used.
Othello was much moved with this argument, which
brought the matter home to him, for if she had
deceived her father, why might she not deceive her
husband 1
Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but
Othello, assuming an indifference, while he was really
shaken with inward grief at lago's words, begged him
to go on, which lago 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 re-


Othello. 53
turned, how probable it was she should fall upon
comparing Othello with the fine forms and clear
white complexions of the young Italians her country-
men. He concluded with advising Othello to put off
his reconcilement with Cassio a little longer, and in
the meanwhile to note with what earnestness Desde-
mona 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 lago's begging Othello
to account his wife innocent until he had more deci-
sive proof; and Othello promised to be patient; but
from that moment the deceived Othello never tasted
content of mind. Poppy, nor the juice of mandra-
gora, 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. fs
heart, that used to be roused at the sight of troops,
and banners, 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 mili-
tary ardour and all his old joys forsook him. Some-
times he thought his wife honest, and at times he
thought her not so; sometimes he thought lago just.
and at times he P-ought him not so; then he would
wish that he had never known of it; he was not the
worse for her loving Cassio, so long as he knew it

Tales from Shakspeare.

not: torn in pieces with these distracting thoughts,
he once laid hold on lago's throat, and demanded
proof of Desdemona's guilt, or threatened instant
death for his having belied her. Iago, feigning in-
dignation that his honesty should be taken for a vice,
asked Othello, if he had not sometimes seen a hand-
kerchief spotted with strawberries in his wife's hand.
Othello answered, that he had given her such a one,
and that it was his first gift. That same handker-
chief," said lago, "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 offence against Othello : but the
wicked lago, whose spirits never slept in contrivance
of villany, had made his wife (a good, but a weak
woman) steal this handkerchief from Desdemona,
under pretence 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 lago'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 his temples. She did so. "Not this," said
Othello, but that handkerchief I gave you." Desde-
mona had it not about her (for indeed it was stolen
as we have related). "How!" said Othello, "this is
a fault indeed. That handkerchief 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 me, and bade me, if I ever married, 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 fur-
nished the silk were hallowed, and it was dyed in
ni.uiir, of maidens' hearts conserved." 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 de(
manded the handkerchief, which when she could noti
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 lago had foretold), till Othello
in perfect distraction burst out of the room, and then



56 Tales from Shakspeare.
Desdemona, though unwillingly, began to suspect 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 beshrewed herself for so un-
kindly 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 1" 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
stupified 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 complaint which this
gentle lady made.
Desdemona being retired to bed, expecting her lord
would follow her, soon fell into a slumber, the effect

Othello. 57
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, 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 guilt-
less lady was proceeding to clear herself, he suddenly
would hear no more, but covering her up in the bed-
clothes, stifled her till she died.
In this instant of time was brought into the house
Cassio, wounded and bleeding, whom lago 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 himself killed
by lago to prevent discovery, in his pockets were
found certain letters, which made the guilt of lago,
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.

Tales from Shamjpeare.

This discovery was as a thunderstroke to Othetlo,
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 mis-
take), though not used to weep on every small occa-
sion, 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 lago, who was
executed with strict tortures ; and to send word to the
state of Venice of the lamentable death of their re-
nowned general.


Timon of Athens.


TIMON, a lord of Athens, in the enjoyment of a
princely fortune, affected a humour 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 dependants and fol-
lowers. His table was resorted to by all the luxu-
rious 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 ten-
dered their services to lord Timon, from the glass
faced flatterer, whose face reflects as in a mirror the
present humour of his patron, to the rough and un-
bending cynic, who affecting a contempt of mens
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 entertain-
ments, and return most rich in his own estimation if
he had received a nod or a salutation from Timon.
If a poet had composed a work which wanted a
recommendatory introduction to the world, he had
no more to do but to dedicate it to lord Timon, and
the poem was sure of a sale, besides a present purse


60 2Tales from Shaksfeare.
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 jeweller 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
jewellery 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 ostenta-
tious pomp; and his person was still more incon-
veniently beset with a crowd of these idle visitors,
lying poets, painters, sharking tradesmen, lords, ladies,
needy courtiers, and expectants, who continually
filled his lobbies, raining their fulsome flatteries in
whispers in his ears, sacrificing to him with adula-
tion 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 dependants were young men of
birth, who (their means not answering to their ex-
travagance) had been put in prison by creditors, and
redeemed thence by lord Timon; these young prodi-
gals thenceforward fastened upon his lordship, as 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 ot

Timon of Athens.

what .ws not their own. One of these flesh-flies
was Ventidius, for whose debts unjustly contracted
Timon but lately had paid down the sum of five
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,
perhaps twenty dogs or horses, certainly presents of
far richer worth, 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
npon some occasion to commend; and another lord,
Lucullus, had bestowed upon him in the same pre-
tended way of free gift a brace of greyhounds,
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 mercenary
Sometimes these creatures would go to work in a
more direct way, and with gross and palpable artifice,


Tales from Skakspeare.

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 service 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 had
given to one of these mean lords the bay courser
which he himself 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 event
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 flatterers; he could do noble and praise-
worthy 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 be-
stowed upon his servant three Athenian talents, to
make his fortune equal with the dowry which the
father of the young maid demanded 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 commanding 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 kind-
ness, 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 unmannerly 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 so un-
willing to believe its situation, nothing is so incredu-
lous 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
have been choked up with riotous feeders at his

Timon of Athens.


Tales from Shaksfeare.

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 himself 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 dis-
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 en-
deavoured 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 representation, Timon hastily replied,
"My lands extended from Athens to Lacedemon."
"0 my good lord," said Flavius, "the world is but a
world, and has bounds; were it all yours to give it in
a breath, how quickly were it gone !"
Timon consoled himself that no villanous 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 persuaded himself that he had


Tirmon of Athens. 65
nothing to do but to send and borrow, to use every
man's fortune (that had ever tasted hi: bounty) in
this extremity, as freely as his own. Then with a
cheerful look, as if confident of the trial, he seve-
rally dispatched messengers to lord Lucius, to lords
Lucullus and Sempronius, men upon whom he had
lavished his gifts in past times without measure or
moderation; and to Ventidius, whom he had lately
released out of prison by paying his debts, and who
by the death of his father was now come in to 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 these 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 overnight of a silver bason and
cup, and when Timon's servant 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 sup-
per, 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,

Tales fr2om Shakspeare.

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 almost to bursting with Timon's
costly presents, when he found the wind changed,
and the fountain of so much bounty suddenly stop-
ped, at first could hardly believe it; but on its being
confirmed, he affected great regret that he should not
have it in his power to serve lord Timon, for unfor-
tunately (which was a base falsehood) he had made a
great purchase the day before, which had quite dis-
furnished 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 honourable 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 every body 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 labourers who had
sweat to build the fine houses which Lucius's pride
had made necessary to him: yet, oh! the monster
which man makes himself when he proves ungrate-
ful 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 those mercenary
lords to whom Timon applied in their turn, returned


Timon of Athens. 67
the same evasive answer or direct denial; even Ven-
tidius, 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
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
openhanded, 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 thb
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 tumultuous guests, it was beset with
impatient and clamorous creditors, usurers, extor-
tioners, fierce and intolerable in their demands, plea-
ding 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
discharge, drop by drop.
In this desperate and irremediable state (as it
seemed) of his affairs, the eyes of all men were sud-
denly surprised at a new and incredible lustre, which
this setting sun put forth. Once more lord Timon
proclaimed a feast, to which he invited his accustomed
F 2

Tales from Shaksfeare.

guests, lords, ladies, all that was great or fashionable
in Athens. Lords Lucius and Lucullus came, Ven-
tidius, 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 pre-
tence, 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 lordship I yet who more glad to find
the fountain of that noble bounty, which they had
thought dried up, still fresh and running 1 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 pre-
sent means to oblige so honourable 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
furnish 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 unco.
vered, 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 luke-
warm and slippery as the water with which Timon
welcomed his astonished guests, bidding them, Un
cover 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
fortiye, feast-friends, time-flies." They, crowding our
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 escaps
but of the presence of such a mad lord, and the
ridicule of hit 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 their houses fall upon their owners,
wishing all plagues which infest humanity, war, out-
rage, poverty, and diseases, 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

Timon of Athens.


Tales from Shakspeare.

retain no fashion of a man, and dug a cave to live m,
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 I Would the cold 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 sustenance, 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 from
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 old mind, was enough to have purchased
him friends and flatterers 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


Tz-on of Athens.

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 them, 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 Athe-
nian captain Alcibiades, who upon some disgust taken
against the senators at 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 defence, 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
children 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 con-
found him also, the conqueror: so thoroughly did
Timon hate Athens, Athenians, and all mankind.
While he lived in this forlorn state, leading a life


72 Tales from Shakspiare.
more brutal than human, he was suddenly surprised
one day with the appearance 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 speechless, wrapped up in
horror and confounded. And when he found utter
ance at last to his words, they were so choked witn
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 contained 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 interrupt the savage quiet of Timon's soli-
tude. For now the day was come when the ungratc.

7inon of Athens. 73
ful lords of Athens sorely repented the injustice which
they had done to the noble Timon. For Alcibiades,
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 was 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 pre-
sumed upon his gratitude whom they had dis-
obliged, and had derived a claim to his courtesy from
their own most discourteous and unpiteous treat-
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, satisfaction for past
injuries, and public honours and the public love;
their persons, lives, and fortunes, to be at his dis-
posal, 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 valour,
their defence 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

Tales from Shaksfeare.

which he did not prize above the reverendest throat
in Athens.
This was all the answer he vouchsafed to the weep-
ing disappointed 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'
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 willing to do them a kind-
ness 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 ; mean-
ing 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, passing by the
seabeach, 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, purport-
ing 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
left !"
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


Tijn, of Athens. 75
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 whc
fancied a conceit in the-very choice which he made
of the seabeach for his place of burial, where the vast
sea might weep for ever upon his grave, as in contempt
for the transient and shallow tears of hypocritical and
deceitful mankind.

Tales from Shaksyeare.


WHEN 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 valour 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 honour he had no pre-
tensions; and again the third bid him, "All hail!
king that shall be 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 pro-
nounced him, in a sort of riddling terms, to be lesser
!han 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 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 adventure, 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 prediction of
the witches astonished Macbeth, and he stood wrapped
in amazement, unable to make reply to the mes-
sengers; 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 what the
witches promised to me has so wonderfully come to
pass q" "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 conse-
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.
Macbeth had a wife, to whom he communicated
the strange prediction of the weird sisters, and its



Tales from Shakspcare.

partial accomplishment. She was a bad ambitious
woman, and so as her husband and herself could
a.rive at greatness, she cared not much by what means.
She spurred on the reluctant purpose of Macbeth, who
felt compunction at the thoughts of blood, and did
not cease to represent the murder of the king as a
step absolutely necessary to the fulfilment of the flat-
tering 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
Donalbain and a numerous train of thanes and atten-
dants, the more to honour Macbeth for the triumphal
success of his wars.
The castle of Macbeth was pleasantly situated, and
the air about it was sweet and wholesome, 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 advan-
tage: 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
attentions and respect of his honoured hostess, lady
Macbeth, who had the art of covering treacherous
purposes with smiles : and could look like the iii-
nocent flower, while she was indeed the serpent under
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 is 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 ambi-
tious, but withal to be scrupulous, and not yet pre-
pared for that height of crime which commonly in the
end accompanies 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 disposition (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 kins-
man 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 mur-
derers, not bear the knife himself. Then he con-



iTales from Shakspeare.

sidered how just and merciful a king this Duncan
had been, how clear of offence 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. Be-
sides, by the favours of the king, Macbeth stood high
in the opinion of all sorts of men, and how would
those honours be stained by the reputation of so foul
a murder !
In these conflicts of the mind lady Macbeth found
her husband, inclining to the better part, and resolve
ing 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
a sovereign sway and royalty Then she threw con-
tempt 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 valour 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, tQ the room where Duncan lay; and as he


went, he thought he saw another dagger in the air,
with the handle towards 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
proceeding from his own hot and oppressed brain
and the business he had in hand.
Getting rid of this fear, he entered the king's room,
whom he dispatched with one stroke of his dagger.
Just as he had done the murder, one of the grooms,
who slept in the chamber, 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 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 frus-
trated. He came in so distracted 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



2hles from Shaksiearre.

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 pro-
duced against them and their faces smeared with
blood) were :ri,.r.,li strong, yet the entire suspi-
cion fell upon Macbeth, whose inducements to such
a deed were so much more forcible than such poor
silly grooms could be supposed 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 lii : !!.' accomplished.
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 deter-
mined 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 r:. 1i.'ll il brought to
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, Brnaquo
and his son Fleance were invited. 1 I:- y by which
Banquo was to pass to the palace atnight, -. i.. :-
by murderers appointed by Macbeth, v.lh.) -ili::.1
Li,ujuo ; bIt in 'the LO ffle Fleaice L:jli..Jd. Fro


_f". ~83
that Fleance descended a race of monarchs who
afterwards 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
honourable 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 trembling, 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, tbok it for a fit of distraction; and she
reproached him, whispering that it was but the same
fancy which had 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
d.: i 1 ii secret would be disclosed, in,great haste dis-
missed the guests, excusing the infirmity of Macbeth"
+Sa J 1d..ikr lie 'v >' fi. troubled with.
.-To, such dric.idlil fancies Macbeth was ;ubjcLt.

84 Tales from Shaksfeare.
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 determined once more to seek out the
weird sisters, and know from them the worst.
' He 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 hzard, 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
Settle, 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 murderer's gibbet. By these
charms they bound the infernal spirits to answer their
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 I let me see them." And they called the

Aaiteth. 85
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
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
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 van-
quished, 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 oft
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 kingdom?"
Here the caldron sunk into the ground, and a noise
of music was heard, and eight shadows, lke 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

8 6 Tales from Shaksfeare.
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 Mal-
colm, 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 suc-
cess 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 honoured 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 sometimes 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 deter-
mined to die (as he expressed it) with armour on
his back." Besides this, the hollow promises of the
witches had filled him with false confidence, and he
remembered the sayings of the spirits, that none cf
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 towards 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 resolu-
tion, 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 I
:'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

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