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
 Two gentlemen of Verona
 Back Cover

Title: Tales from Shakespeare
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082948/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tales from Shakespeare
Physical Description: 3, 429, 4 p., 10 leaves of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
Lamb, Mary, 1764-1847 ( Author )
Henry Altemus Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Henry Altemus Company, c1895.
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Subject: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1895   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Statement of Responsibility: by Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb ; with one hundred and fifty-five illustrations.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082948
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002232720
notis - ALH3116
oclc - 227210063

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    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
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        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    King Lear
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
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        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    Timon of Athens
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
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        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
    The merchant of Venice
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
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        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
    The comedy of errors
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
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        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    Hamlet, prince of Denmark
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
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        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
    The tempest
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
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        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
    As you like it
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
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        Page 224
        Page 225
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    Much ado about nothing
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
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        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
    A midsummer night's dream
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
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        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    Measure for measure
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
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        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
    The taming of the shrew
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
    Twelfth night; or, what you will
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        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
    Pericles, prince of Tyre
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
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        Page 336
        Page 337
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        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
    The winter's tale
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
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        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
    All's well that ends well
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
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        Page 372
        Page 373
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    Two gentlemen of Verona
        Page 388
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

No. 119


beloes v.,

If illi., Jar b:i'r.:.ld by a I fr:ll.1
Raghr welc..i,,ie 1. ill i6 k C,
T:. rcad, rto .srd1. nor ro lend
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Rerniorl 1v h. lime nio'

F. EAD Si,.'L\' PA.'.UE FPE',
s.he -h-t..l,1*.l**+ kw-ows rf

The Baldmin Ljbrar
Wi e'









Copyrighted 1895


Romeo and Juliet ................ ... ..... ..............*................ 1
K ing Lear............... ......... .................. ...................... 30
Othello ............................. ..................... 56
Tim on of Athens.......................................................... 78
M acbeth......... ...... .................................... 99
The M erchant of Venice................. .. .....................................118
The Comedy of Errors................................... .... ......................1 8
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark......................... ...... ..............159
The Tempest......................... .................................. .......... 186
As You Like It......................................................... .. ............204
Much Ado About Nothing........................ ............................227
A Midsummer Night's Dream......................................................247
M measure for M easure.............................. ... ........................265
The Taming of the Shrew..................................................... 288
Twelfth Night; or, What You Will..........................................306
Pericles, Prince of Tyre....................... ............... .........324
The W inter's Tale....................................................................347
All's W ell That Ends W ell............................. ....................... 67
Two Gentlemen of Verona......................... ..........................388
Cymbeline................................................................................ 406



THE two chief families in Verona were the rich Capu-
lets and the Montagues. There had been an old
quarrel between these families, which was grown to such
a height, and so deadly was the enmity between them,
that it extended to the remotest kindred, to the follow-
ers and retainers of both sides, insomuch that a servant
of the house of Montague could not meet a servant of
the house of Capulet, nor a Capulet encounter with a
Montague 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 Montague. At this feast of Capulets, Rosaline, beloved
of Romeo, son to the old Lord Montague, was present;
and though it was dangerous for a Montague to be seen
in this assembly, yet Benvolio, a friend of Romeo, per-
suaded the young lord to go to this assembly in the dis-

Tales from Shakespeare.

guise of a mask, that he might see his Rosaline, and
seeing her, compare her with some choice beauties of Ve-
rona, who (he said) would made him think his swan a
crow. Romeo had small faith in Benvolio's words; nev-
ertheless, for the love of Rosaline, he was persuaded to
go. For Romeo was a sincere and passionate lover, and
one that lost his sleep for love, and fled society to be
alone, thinking on Rosaline, who disdained him, and never
requited his love with the least show of courtesy or affec-
tion; 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 ex-
ceeding 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 too rich for use, too dear for earth! like a snowy
dove trooping with crows (he said), so richly did her
beauty and perfections shine above the ladies her compan-
ions. 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 Montague
should come under cover of a mask, to fleer and scorn
(as he said) at their solemnities. And he stormed and
raged exceedingly, and would have struck young Romeo
dead. But his uncle, the old Lord Capulet, would not suf-
fer him to do any injury at thah 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


Tales from Shakespeare.

to be patient against his will, restrained himself, but swore
that this vile Montague should at another time dearly
pay for his intrusion.
The dancing being done, Romeo watched the place
where the lady stood; and under favor of his masking
habit, which might seem to excuse in part the liberty,
he presumed in the gentlest manner to take her by the
hand, calling it a shrine, which if he profaned by touching
it, he was a blushing pilgrim, and would kiss it for atone-
ment. "Good pilgrim," answered the lady, "your devo-
tion 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." Oh! then, my dear saint," said Romeo," hear
my prayer and grant it, lest I despair." In such like al-
lusions and loving conceits they were engaged, when the
lady was called away to her mother. And Romeo inquir-
ing who her mother was, discovered that the lady whose
peerless beauty he was so much struck with was young
Juliet, daughter and heir to the Lord Capulet, the great
enemy of the Montagues; and that he had unknowingly
engaged his heart to his foe. This troubled him, but it
could not.dissuade him from loving. As little rest had
Juliet, when she found that the gentleman that she had
been talking with was Romeo and a Montague, for she
had been suddenly smit with the same hasty and in-
considerate passion for Romeo which he had conceived
for her; and a prodigious birth of love it seemed to her,
that she must love her enemy, and that her affections
should settle there, where family considerations should
induce her chiefly to hate.
It being midnight, Romeo with his companions 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, rum].


f~"~~t~! P
t c

Tales from Shakespeare.

nating 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 passionately 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 ex-
claimed, Ah, me Romeo was enraptured to hear her
speak, and said softly, unheard by her, Oh speak again,
bright angel, for such you appear, being over my head,
like a winged messenger from heaven whom mortals fall
back to gaze upon." She, unconscious of being overheard,
and full of the new 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 thou Romeo ? Deny thy father, and refuse
thy name, for my sake; or if thou wilt not, be but my
sworn love, and I no longer will be a Capulet." Romeo,
having this encouragement, would fain have spoken, but
he was desirous of hearing more; and the lady continued
her passionate discourse with herself (as she thought),
still chiding Romeo for being Romeo and a Montague,
and wishing him some other name, or that he would put
away 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 per-
sonally,. and not merely in fancy, he bid her call him
Love, or by whatever other name she pleased, for he was
no longer Romeo, if that name was displeasing to her.
Juliet, alarmed to hear a man's voice in the garden, did
not at first know who it was, that by favor of the night
and darkness had thus stumbled upon the discovery of her
secret; but when he spoke, again, though her ears had
not yet drunk a hundred words of that tongue's uttering,

Romeo and Juliet.

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
Montague. Alack," said Romeo, "there is more peril


in your eye than in twenty of their swords. Do you but
look kind upon me, lady, and I am proof against their
enmity. Better my life should be ended by their hate,
than that hated life should be prolonged, to live without
your love." "How came you into this place," said Juliet,
"and by whose direction ?" "Love directed me," an-
swered Romeo: I am no pilot, yet wert thou as far apart

Tales from Shakespeare.

from me as that vast shore which is washed with the far-
thest sea, I should adventure for such merchandise."
A crimson blush came over the face of Juliet, yet unseen
by Romeo by reason of the night, when she reflected upon
the discovery which she had made, yet not meaning to
make it, of her love to Romeo. She would fain have re-
called her words, but that was impossible ; fain would she
have stood upon form, and have kept her lover at a dis-
tance, 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 anyqf the cus-
tomary 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 Montague
(love can sweeten a sour name), she begged him not to
impute her easy yielding to levity or an unworthy mind,
but that he must lay the fault of it (if it were a fault)
upon the accident of the mind which had so strangely dis-
covered her thoughts. And she added, that though her
behavior to him might not be sufficiently prudent, meas-
ured by the custom of her sex, yet that she would prove
more true than many whose prudence was dissembling,
and their modesty artificial.cunning.
Romeo was beginning to call the heavens to witness
that nothing was farther from his thoughts than to im-
pute a shadow of dishonor to such an honored 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 con-
tract; it was too rash, too unadvised, too sudden. But
he being urgent with her to exchange a vow of love with


Tales from Shakespeare.

her that night, she said that she already had given him
hers before he requested it; meaning, when he overheard
her confession; but she would retract what she then 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 daybreak; but hastily returning,
she said three or four words more to Romeo, the purport
of which was, that if his love was indeed honorable, 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 night.
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, instead of going
home, bent his course to a monastery hard by, to find
Friar Lawrence. The good friar was already up at his
devotions, but seeing young Romeo abroad so early, he
conjectured rightly that he had not been abed that night,
but that some distemper of youthful affection had kept
him waking. He was right in imputing the cause of
Romeo's 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

Romeo and Juliet.

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 Rosa-


line, who could not love him again, whereas Juliet both
loved and was beloved by him, the friar assented in some
measure to his reasons; and thinking that a matrimonial
alliance between young Juliet and Romeo might happily
be the means of making up the long breach between the
Capulets and the Montagues, which no one more lamented
than this good friar, who was a friend to both the families,

Tales from Shakespeare.

and had often interposed his mediation to make up the
quarrel without effect, partly moved by policy, and partly
by his fondness for young Romeo, to whom he could deny
nothing, the old man consented to join their hands in
Now was Romeo blessed indeed, and Juliet, who knew
his intent from a messenger which she had despatched ac-
cording to promise, did not fail to be early at the cell of
Friar Lawrence, where their hands were joined in holy
marriage; the good friar praying the heavens to smile
upon that act, and in the union of this young Montague
and young Capulet to bury the old strife and long dissen-
sions of their families.
The ceremony being over, Juliet hastened home, where
she stayed impatient for the coming of night, at which
time Romeo promised to come and meet her in the orchard
where they had met the night before; and the time be-
tween 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, Benvolio
and Mercutio, walking through the streets of Verona,
w re met by a party of the Capulets with the impetuous
Tybalt at their head. This was the same angry Tybalt
who would have fought with Romeo at old Lord Capulet's
feast. He seeing Mercutio, accused him bluntly of asso-
ciating with Romeo, a Montague. Mercutio, who had as
much fire and youthful blood in him as Tybalt, replied to
this accusation with some sharpness; and in spite of all
Benvolio could say to moderate their wrath, a quarrel
was 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, be-
cause he was the kinsman of Juliet, and much beloved by
her; besides, this young Montague had never thoroughly
entered into the family quarrel, being by nature wise

Romeo and Juliet.

ana 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 to excite fury. So he tried to reason
with Tybalt, whom he saluted mildly by the name of
good Capulet, as if he, though a Montague, had some
secret pleasure in uttering that name; but Tybalt, who
hated all Montagues as he hated hell, would hear no
reason, but drew his weapon; and Mercutio, who knew
not of Romeo's secret motive for desiring peace with Ty-
balt, but looked upon his present forbearance as a sort
of calm dishonorable submission, with many disdainful
words provoked Tybalt to the prosecution of his first
quarrel with him; and Tybalt and Mercutio fought, till
Mercutio fell, receiving his death's wound while Romeo
and Benvolio were vainly endeavoring to part the com-
batants. 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
out a crowd of citizens to the spot, and among them the
old Lords Capulet and Montague, 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 disturbed by these brawls
of Montagues and Capulets, came determined to put the
law in strictest force against those who should be found to"
be offenders. Benvolio, who had been 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, exhorted the prince to do strict
justice upon his murderer, and to pay no attention to Ben-
volio's representation, who being Romeo's friend, and a
Montague, spoke partially. Thus she pleaded against her

Tales from Shakespeare.

new son-in-law, but she knew not yet that he was her son-
in-law and Juliet's husband. On the other hand was to
be seen Lady Montague pleading for her child's life, and
arguing with some justice that Romeo had done nothing
worthy of punishment in taking the life of Tybalt, which
was already forfeited to the law by his having slain
Mercutio. The prince, unmoved by the passionate ex-
clamations of these women, on a careful examination of
the facts, pronounced his sentence, 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 angeli-
cal, a ravenous dove, a lamb with a wolf's nature, a
serpent-heart hid with a flowering face, and other like
contradictory names, which denoted the struggles in her
mind between her love and her resentment: but in the end
love got the mastery, and the tears which she shed for
grief that Romeo had slain her cousin turned to drops of
joy that her husband lived whom Tybalt would have
slain. Then came fresh tears, and they were altogether
of grief for Romeo's banishment. That word was more
terrible to her than the death of many Tybalts.
Romeo, after the fray, had taken refuge in Friar Law-
rence's cell, where he was first made acquainted with the
prince's sentence, which seemed to him far more terrible
than death. To him it appeared there was no world out
of Verona's walls, no living out of the sight of Juliet.
Heaven was there where Juliet lived, and all beyond was
purgatory, torture, hell. The good friar would have ap-
plied the consolation of philosophy to his griefs; but this
frantic young man would hear of none, but like a mad-
man he tore his hair, and threw himself all along upon
the ground, as he said, to take the measure of his grave.
From this unseemly state h.e was roused by a message

Romeo and Juliet.

fim his dear lady, which a little revived him, and then
the friar took the advantage to expbstulate with him on
the unmanly weakness which he had shown. He had slain
Tybalt, but would he also slay himself, slay his dear lady
who lived but in his life? The noble form of man, he
said, was but a shape of wax, when it wanted the courage
which should keep it firm. The law had been lenient to
him, that instead of death, which he had incurred, had
pronounced by the prince's mouth only banishment. He
had slain Tybalt, but Tybalt would have slain him: there
was a sort of happiness in that. Juliet was alive, and (be-
yond 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 misbe-
haved wench. And the friar bid 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 daybreak pursue his
journey alone to Mantua; to which place the good friar
promised to send himletters from time to time, acquaint-
ing him with the state of affairs at home.
That night Romeo passed with his dear wife, gaining
secret admission to her chamber from the orchard in which
he had heard her confession of love the night before. That
had been a night of unmixed joy and rapture; but the
pleasures of this night, and the delight which these lovers
took in each other's society, were sadly allayed with the
prospect of parting, and the fatal adventures of the past

dales from Shakespeare.

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 night-
ingale, which sings by night; but it was too truly the
lark which sang, and a discordant and unpleasing note it
seemed to her; and the streaks of day in the east too
certainly pointed out that it was time for these lovers to
part. Romeo took his leave of his dear wife with a heavy
heart, promising to write to her from Mantua every hour
in the day, and when he had descended from her chamber-
window, as he stood below her on the ground, in that sad
foreboding state of mind in which she was, he appeared
to her eyes as one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Romeo's
mind misgave him in like manner; but now he was forced
hastily to depart, for it was death to him to be found
within the walls of Verona after daybreak.
This was but the beginning of the tragedy of this pair
of star-crossed lovers. Romeo had not been gone many
days, before the old Lord Capulet proposed a match for
Juliet. The husband he had chosen for her, not dream-
ing that she was married already, was Count 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 mar-
riage, 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 solem-
nities 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,


Tales from Shakespeare.

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 a phial which he
then gave her, the effect of which would be, that for
two-arid-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 should 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 mairrying Paris, gave
young Juliet strength to undertake this horrible advent-
ure; 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 nuptials. No cost was spared to prepare
such festival rejoicings as Verona had never before wit-


Tales from Shakespeare.

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 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 haunt-
ing the places where their bodies were bestowed. But then
her love for Romeo, and her aversion for Paris, returned,
and she desperately swallowed the draught, and became
When young Paris came early in the morning with
music, to awaken his bride, instead of a living Juliet,
her chamber presented the dreary spectacle of a lifeless
corse. What death to his hopes! What confusion then
reigned through the whole house Poor Paris lamenting
his bride, whom most detestable death had beguiled him
of, had divorced from him even before their hands were
joined. But still more piteous it was to hear the mourn-
ings 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.

Romeo and Juliet.

Bad news, which always travels faster than good, now
brought the dismal story of his Juliet's death to Romeo
at Mantua, before the messenger could arrive who was
sent from Friar Lawrence to apprise him that these were
mock funerals only, and but the shadow and representa-
tion 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 light-hearted. He
had dreamed in the night that he was dead (a strange
dream, that gave a dead man leave to think), and that
his lady came and found him dead, and breathed such life
with kisses in his lips, that he revived, and was an emper-
or And now that a messenger came from Verona, he
thought surely it was to confirm some good news which
his dreams had presaged. But when the contrary to this
flattering vision appeared, and that it was his lady who
was dead in truth, whom he could not revive by any kisses,
he ordered horses to be got ready, for he determined that
night to visit Verona, and to see his lady in her tomb. And
as mischief is swift to enter into the thoughts of desperate
men, he called to mind a poor apothecary, whose shop
in Mantua he had lately passed, and from the beggarly
appearance of the man who seemed 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 misgivings
that his own disastrous life might haply meet with a con-
clusion 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 apothe-
cary, who, after some pretended scruples, Romeo offer-
ing 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

Tales from Shakespeare.

of his dear lady in her tomb, meaning when he had satis
fled 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 Montague, bade him desist from
his unlawful business. It was the young Count Paris,
who had come to the tomb of Juliet at that unseasonable
time of night, to strew powers, and to weep over the
grave of her that should have been his bride. He knew
not what an intercms Romeoo had in the dead, but knowing
him to be a Montague, and (as he supposed) a sworn foe
to all the 'anulets, he judged that he was come by night
to do somr 7-lainous shams uC the dead bodies; therefore
in angry tone h.e bade him desist; and as a criminal,
condemned by the laws of Verona to die if he were found
within the walls of the city, he would have apprehended
him. Romeo urged Paris to leave him, and warned him
by the fate of TyVbalt, 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 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, n meaning in Juliet's grave, which he now
opened: and haere iay his lady, as one whom death had no
ro-, Upon. to change a feature or complexion in her
' 3tchi asi' beaeaty, or as if Death were amorous, and the
%an abhorred monster kept her there for his delight; for
she ay yec fresh and blooming, as she had fallen to sleep
a-er: she swallowed that benumbing potion: and near


Tales from Shakespeare.

her lay Tybalt in his bloody shroud, whom Romeo seeing,
begged pardon of his lifeless corse, and for Juliet's sake
called him cousin, and said that he was about to do him a
favor by putting his enemy to death. Here Romeo took
his last leave of his lady's lips, kissing them; and here
he shook the burden of his cross stars from his weary
body, 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 nis letters which he had sent to Mantua, by some
unlucky detention of the messenger, had never reached
Romeo, came himself, provided with a pickaxe and lantern,
to deliver the lady from her confinement; but he was sur-
prised to find a light already burning in the Capulets'
monument, and to see swords and blood near it, and
Romeo and Paris lying breathless by the monument.
Before he could entertain a 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 occasion of her being
there, and asked for Romeo; but the friar, hearing a
noise, bade her come out of that place of death, and of
unnatural sleep, for greater power than they could con-
tradict 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 stab-
bing herself, died by her true Romeols side.

*,.1 /


Tales from Shakespeare.

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 rumor had imperfectly
reached them, till the uproar brought Lord Montague
and Lord Capulet out of their beds, with the prince, to
inquire into the cause of the disturbance. The friar had
been apprehended by some of the watch, coming from the
churchyard, trembling, sighing, and weeping, in a suspi-
cious manner. A great multitude being assembled at
the Capulets' monument, the friar was demanded by the
prince to deliver what he knew of these strange and dis-
astrous accidents.
And there, in the presence of the old Lords Montague
and Capulet, he faithfully related the story of their chil-
dren's fatal love, the part he took in promoting their
marriage, in the hope in that union to end the long
quarrels between their families : how Romeo, there dead,
was husband to Juliet; and Juliet, there dead, was
Romeo's faithful wife : how before he could find a fit op-
portunity 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 delivered to his father in the event of his


Tales from Shakespeare.

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 circumstances
agreed together to clear the friar from any hand he


,i1d be supposed to have had in these complicated
- i ,nhters, further than as the unintended consequences
of his own well-meant, yet too artificial and subtle con-
And the prince, turning to these old lords, Montague
and Ca.pulet, rebuked them for their brutal and irrational
enmities, and showed them what a scourge Heaven had

Bomeo and Juliet.

laid upon such offences, that it had found means even
through the love of their children to punish their unnat-
ural hate. And these old rivals, no longer enemies,
agreed to bury their long strife in their children's graves;
and Lord Capulet requested Lord Montague to give him
his hand, calling him by the name of brother, as if in
acknowledgment of the union of their families by the mar-
riage of the young Capulet and Montague; and saying
that Lord Montague's hand (in token of reconcilement)
was all he demanded for his daughter's jointure: but Lord
Montague said he would give him more, for he would
raise her a statue of pure gold, that while Verona kept its
name, no figure should be so esteemed for its richness and
workmanship as that of the true and faithful Juliet. And
Lord Capulet in return said that he would raise another
statue to Romeo. So did these poor old lords, when it
was too late, strive to outdo each other in mutual courte-
sies : 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


SEAR, king of Britain, had three daughters: Gon-
eril, 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 the duke of Burgundy
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, de-
termined to take no further part in state affairs, but to
leave the management to younger strengths, that he
might have time to prepare for death, which must at no
long period ensue. With this intent he called his three
daughters to him, to know from their own lips which of
them loved him best, that he might part his kingdom
among them in such proportions as their affection for him
should seem to deserve.
Goneril, the eldest, declared that she loved her father
more than words could give out, that he was dearer to her
than the light of her own eyes, dearer than life and liberty,
with a deal of such professing stuff, which is easy to
counterfeit where there is no real love, only a few fine
words delivered with confidence being wanted in that
case. The king, delighted to hear from .her own moutL
this assurance of her love, and thinking that truly her
heart went with it, in a fit of fatherly fondness bestowed
upon her and her husband one-third of his ample kingdom.
Then calling to him his second daughter, he demanded
what she had to say. Regan, who was made of the same
hollow metal as her sister, was not a whit behind in her
professions, but rather declared that what her sister had
spoken came short of the love which she professed to bear
for his highness: insomuch that she found all other joys

King Lear.

dead, in comparison with the pleasure which she took in
the love of her dear king and father.
Lear blessed himself in having such loving children, as
he thought: and could do no less, after the handsome
assurances which Regan had made, than bestow a third


of his kingdom upon her and her husband, equal in size to
that which he had already given away to Goneril.
Then turning to his youngest daughter, Cordelia,
whom he called his joy, he asked what she had to say:
thinking, no doubt, that she would glad his ears with the
same loving speeches which her sisters had uttered, or
rather that her expressions would be so much stronger

Tales from Shakespeare.

than theirs, as she had always been his darling, and
favored by him above either of them. But Cordelia, dis-
gusted with the flattery of her sisters, whose hearts she
knew were far from their lips, and seeing that all their
coaxing speeches were only intended to wheedle the old
king out of his dominions, that they and their husbands
might reign in his lifetime, made no other reply but this,
that she loved his majesty according to her duty, neither
more nor less.
The king, shocked with this appearance of ingratitude
in his favorite child, desired her to consider her words,
and to mend her speech, lest it should mar her fortunes.
Cordelia then told her father that he was her father,
that he had given her breeding, and love, that she re-
turned those duties back as was for her most fit, and did
obey him, love him, and most honor him. But that she
could not frame her mouth to such large speeches as her
sisters had done, or promise to love nothing else in the
world. Why had her sisters husbands, if (as they said)
they had no love for anything but their father ? If she
should ever wed, she was sure the lord to whom she gave
her hand would want half her love, half of her care and
duty; she should never marry like her sisters, to love her
father all.
Cordelia, who in earnest loved her old father even
almost as extravagantly as her sisters pretended to do,
would have plainly told him so at any other time, in more
daughter-like and loving terms, and without these quali-
fications, 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 mer-
cenary 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


'ales from Shakespeare.

This plainness of speech, which Lear called pride, so
enraged the old monarch-who in his best of times always
showed much of spleen and 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 re-
served for Cordelia, and gave it away from her, sharing
it equally between her two sisters and their husbands, the
dukes of Albany and Cornwall: whom he now called to
him, and in presence of all his courtiers, bestowing a 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 re-
signed: with this reservation, that himself, with a hun-
dred knights for his attendants, was to be maintained by
monthly course in each of his daughters' palaces in turn.
So preposterous a disposal of his kingdom, so little
guided by reason, and so much by passion, filled all his
courtiers with 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 begin-
ning to speak a good word for Cordelia, when the pas-
sionate 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 honored 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


Tales from Shakespeare.

by his advice still; and in his best consideration rt all
this hideous rashness: for he would answer with his life,
his judgment that Lear's youngest daughter did not love
him least, nor were those empty-hearted whose low sound
gave no token of hollowness. When power bowed to
flattery, honor was bound to plainness. For Lear's
threats, what could he do to him, whose life was already
at his service? That should not hinder duty from
The honest freedom of this good earl of Kent only
stirred up the king's wrath the more, and like a frantic
patient who kills his physician, and loves his mortal
disease, he banished this true servant, and allotted him
but five days to make his preparations for departure; but
if on the sixth his hated person was found within the
realm of Britain, that moment was to be his death. And
Kent bade farewell to the king, and said, that since he
chose to show himself in such fashion, it was but banish-
ment to stay there; and before he went, he recommended
Cordelia to the protection of the gods, the maid who had
so rightly thought, and so discreetly spoken; and only
wished that her sisters' large speeches might be answered
with deeds of love; and then he went, as he said, to shape
his old course to a new country.
The king of France and duke of Burgundy were now
called in to hear the determination of Lear about his
youngest daughter, and to know whether they would per-
sist 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 de-
clined the match, and would not take her to wife upon
such conditions; but the king of France, understanding
what the nature of the fault had been which had lost her
the love of her father, that it was only a tardiness of
speech, and the not being able to frame her tongue to
flattery like her sisters, took this young maid by the
hand, and saying that her virtues were a dowry above a

King Lear. 37

kingdom, bade Cordelia to take farewell of her sisters, and
of her father, though he had been unkind; and she should
go with him, and be queen of him and of fair France, and
reign over fairer possessions than her sisters: and he
called the duke of Burgundy in contempt a waterish duke,
because his love for this young maid had in a moment run
all away like water.
Then Cordelia with weeping eyes took leave of her sis-
ters, 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 disposi-
tions of her sisters began to show themselves in their true
colors. Even before the expiration of the first month,
which Lear was to spend by agreement with his eldest
daughter Goneril, the old king began to find out the dif-
ference between promises and performances. 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 unnecessary expense; not only she herself
slackened in her expressions of duty to the king, but by
her example, and (it is to be feared) not without her pri-
vate instructions, her very servants affected to treat him
with neglect, and would either refuse to obey his order~

38 Tales from Shakespeare.

or still more contemptuously pretend not to hear them.
Lear could not but perceive this alteration in the behavior
of his daughter, but he shut his eyes against it as long as
he could, as people commonly are unwilling to believe the
unpleasant consequences which their own mistakes and
obstinacy have brought upon them.


True love and fidelity are no more to be estranged by
ill. than falseness and hollow-heartedness can be con-
ciliated by good usage. This eminently appears in 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

King Lear.

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 of, having found the effects not answerable in his
daughter), a bargain was quickly struck, and Lear took
Kent into his service by the name of Caius, as he called
himself, never suspecting him to be his once great favorite,
the high and mighty earl of Kent.
This Caius quickly found means to show his fidelity and
love to his royal master; for Goneril's steward that same
day behaving in a disrespectful manner to Lear, and giv-
ing him saucy looks and language, as no doubt he was
secretly encouraged to do by his mistress, Caius not en-
during 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 so 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 business: this poor
fool clung to Lear after he had given away his crown, and
by his witty sayings would keep up his good humor,
though he could not refrain sometimes from jeering at his
master, for his imprudence in uncrowning himself, and
giving all away to his daughters: at which time, as he
rhymingly expressed it, these daughters

Tales from Shakespeare.

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 Goneril herself, in many
a bitter taunt and jest which cut to the quick: such as
comparing the king to the hedge sparrow, who feeds the
young of the cuckoo till they grow old enough, and then
has its head bit off for its pains: and saying, that an ass
may know when the cart draws the horse (meaning that
Lear's daughters, that ought to go behind, now ranked
before their father); and that Lear was no longer Lear,
but the shadow of Lear; for which free speeches he was
once or twice threatened to be whipped.
The coolness and falling off of respect which Lear had
begun to perceive were not all which this foolish, fond
father was to 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 establish-
ment 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 himself, and fitting his age.
Lear at first could not believe his eyes or ears, nor
that it was his daughter who spoke so unkindly. He
could not believe that she who had received a crown from
him could seek to cut off his train, and grudge him the
respect due to his old age. But she persisting in her
undutiful demand, the old man's rage was so excited, that
he called her a detested kite, and said that she had spoke
an untruth; and so indeed she did, for the hundred
knights were all men of choice behavior and sobriety of
manners, men skilled in all particulars of duty, and not


Tales from Shakespeare,

given to rioting and feasting as she said. And he bid his
horses to be prepared, for he would go to his other
daughter, Regan, he and his hundred knights: and he
spoke of ingratitude, and said it was a marble-hearted
devil, and showed more hideous in a child than the sea-
monster. And he cursed his eldest daughter Goneril so
as was terrible to hear; praying that she might never
have a child, or if she had, that it might live to return
that scorn and contempt upon her which she had shown
to him : that she might feel how sharper than a serpent's
tooth it was to have a thankless child. And Goneril's
husband, the duke of Albany, beginning to excuse himself
for any share which Lear might suppose he had in the
unkindness, Lear would not hear him out, but in a rage
ordered his horses to be saddled, and set out with his
followers for the abode of Regan, his other daughter.
And Lear thought to himself how small the fault of Cor-
delia (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 Goneril should have so much
power over his manhood as to make him weep.
Regan and her husband were keeping their court in
great pomp and state at their palace: and Lear de-
spatched his servant Caius with letters to his daughter,
that she might be prepared for his reception, while he and
his train followed after. But it seems that Goneril had
been beforehand with him, sending letters also to Regan,
accusing her father of waywardness and ill humors, and
advising her not to receive so great a train as he was
bringing with him. This messenger arrived at the same
time with Caius, and Caius and he met: and who should
it be but Caius' old enemy the steward, whom he had
formerly tripped up by the heels for his saucy behavior to
Lear. Caius not liking the fellow's look, and suspecting
what he came for, began to revile him, and challenged him
to fight, which the fellow refusing, Caius, in a fit of

... P me,



Tales from Shakespeare.

honest passion, beat him soundly, as such a mischief-
maker and carrier of wicked messages deserved : which
coming to the ears of Regan and her husband, they
ordered Caius to be put in the stocks, though he was a
messenger from the king her father, and in that char-
acter 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 situa,
This was but a bad omen of the reception which hewas
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 insisting in a positive and angry
manner to see them, they came to greet him, whom
should he see in their company but the hated Goneril,
who had come to tell her own story, and set her sister
against the king her father.
This sight much moved the old man, and still more to
see Regan take her by the hand,; and he asked Goneril if
she was not ashamed to look upon his old white beard.
And Regan advised him to go home again with Goneril
ana live with her peaceably, dismissing half of his attend-
ants, and to ask her forgiveness; for he was old and
wanted discretion, and must be ruled and led by persons
that had more discretion than himself. And Lear showed
how preposterous that would sound, if he were to down
on his knees and beg of his own daughter for food and
raiment, and he argued against such an unnatural depend-
ence, declaring his resolution never to return with her,
but to stay where he was with Regan, he and his hundred
knights : for he said that she had not forgot the half of the
kingdom which he had endowed her with, and that her
eyes were not fierce like Goneril's, but mild and kind.
And he said that rather than return to Gonehi, with half
his train cut off, he would go over to France, and get a

King Lear.

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 Goneril.
As if willing to outdo her sister in unfilial behavior, she
declared that she thought fifty knights too many to wait


upon him: that five-and-twenty were enough. Then Lear,
nigh heart-broken, turned to Goneril, and said, that he
would go back with her, for her fifty doubled five-and-
twenty, and so her love was twice as much as Regan's.
But Goneril excused herself, and said, what need of so
many as five-and-twenty ? or even ten ? or five ? when he

Tales from Shakespeare.

might be waited upon by her servants or her sister's ser-
vants ? 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 happiness, but from a king to
a beggar is a hard change, from commanding millions to
be without one attendant; and it was the ingratitude in
his daughters denying it, more than what he would suffer
by the want of it, which pierced this poor old king to the
heart: insomuch, that with this double ill usage, and vex-
ation for having so foolishly given away a kingdom, his
wits began to be unsettled, and while he said he knew not
what, he vowed revenge against those unnatural hags,
and to make examples of them that should be a terror to
the earth!
While he was thus idly threatening what his weak arm
could never execute, night came on, and a loud storm of
thunder and lightning with rain; and his daughters still
persisting in their resolution not to admit his followers, he
called for his horses,"and chose rather to encounter the ut-
most fury of the storm abroad, than stay under the same
roof with these ungrateful daughters; and they, saying
that the injuries which wilful men procure to themselves
are their just punishment, suffered him to go in that con-
dition, and shut their doors upon him.
The winds were high, and the rain and storm increased,
when the old man sallied forth to combat with the ele-
ments, less sharp than his daughters' unkindness. For
many miles about there was scarce a bush; and there upon
a heath, exposed to the fury of the storm in a dark night,
did King Lear wander out, and defy the winds and the
thunder: and he bid the winds to blow the earth into the
sea, or swell the waves of the sea, till they drowned the


Tales from Shakespeare.

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 misfortune,
saying, it was but a naughty night to swim in, and truly
the king had better go in and ask his daughters' blessing:

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 followed close at his
side, though the king did not know him to be the earl; and
he said, "Alas! sir, are you here? creatures that love
night, love not such nights as these. This dreadful storm
has driven the beasts to their hiding-places. Man's na-
ture 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 in-
gratitude, and said it was all one as if the mouth should
tear the hand for lifting food to it; for parents were hands
and food and everything to children.
But the good Caius still persisting in his entreaties that
the king would not stay out in the open air, at last per-
suaded 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

King Lear.

tiovel 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 com-
passionate country people, who go about the country call-
ing themselves poor Tom and poor Turlygood, saying
" Who gives anything to poor Tom ?"' sticking pins and
nails and sprigs of rosemary into their arms to make them
bleed; and with such horrible actions, partly by prayers
and partly with lunatic curses, they move or terrify the
ignorantcountry 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; for
nothing he thought could bring a man to such wretch-
edness 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 ser-
vices 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 arid influence, as earl of Kent, chiefly lay; and him-
self embarking for France, hastened to the court of Cor-
delia, and did there in such moving terms represent the
pitiful condition of her royal father, and set out in such
lively colors the inhumanity 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 Eng-
land 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.

Tales from Shakespeare.

Lear, having by chance escaped from the guardians
which the good earl of Kent had put over him to take care
of him in his lunacy, was found by some of Cordelia's
train, wandering about the fields near Dover, in a pitiable
condition, stark mad and singing aloud to himself, with a
crown upon his head which he had made of straw and


nettles and other wild weeds that he had picked up in the
corn-fields. By the advice of the physicians, Cordelia,
though earnestly desirous of seeing her father, was pre-
vailed upon to put off the meeting, till, by sleep and the
operation of herbs which they gave him, he should be re-
stored to greater composure. By the aid of these skilful


Tales from Shakespeare.

physicians, to whom Cordelia promised all her g .j 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 dis-
pleasure; 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
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 him-
self. 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 fool-
ish, 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


Tales from Shakespeare.

cruelty of his other daughters had so violently shaken.
Let us return to say a word or two about those cruel
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 an-
other. It happened 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, and by his wicked practices was now earl him-
self: a wicked man and a fit object for the love of such
wicked creatures as Goneril and Regan. It falling out
about this time that the duke of Cornwall, Regan's hus-
band, died, Regan immediately declared her intention of
wedding this earl of Gloucester, which rousing the jeal-
ousy of her sister, to whom as well as to Regan this
wicked earl had at sundry times professed love, Goneril
found means to make away with her sister by poison:
but being detected in her practices, and imprisoned by her
husband the duke of Albany for this deed, and for her
guilty passion for the earl which had come to his ears,
she, in a fit of disappointed love and rage, shortly put an
end to her own life. Thus the justice of Heaven at last
overtook these wicked daughters.
While the eyes of all men were upon this event, admir-
ing the justice displayed in their deserved deaths, the
same eyes were suddenly taken off from this sight to ad-
mire at the mysterious ways of the same power in the
melancholy fate of the young and virtuous daughter, the
Lady Cordelia, whose good deeds did seem to deserve a
more fortunate conclusion: but it is an awful truth, that
innocence and piety are not always successful in this
world. The forces which Goneril and Regan had sent out

King Lear.

under the command of the bad earl of Gloucester were
victorious, and Cordelia, by the practices of this wicked
earl, who did not like that any should stand between him
and the throne, ended her life in prison. Thus Heaven
took this innocent lady to itself in her young years, after
showing her to the world an illustrious example of filial
duty. Lear did not long survive this kind child.
Before he died, the good earl of Kent, who had still
attended his old master's steps from the first of his
daughters' ill usage to this sad period of his decay, tried
to make him understand that it was he who had followed
him under the name of Caius; but Lear's care-crazed
brain at that time could not comprehend how that could
be, or how Kent and Caius could be the same person: so
Kent thought it needless to trouble him with explanations
at such a time; and Lear soon after expiring, this faith-
ful servant to the king, between age and grief for his old
master's vexations, soon followed.him to the grave.
How the judgment of Heaven overtook the bad earl of
Gloucester, whose reasons were discovered, and himself
slain in single combat with his brother the lawful earl;
and how Goneril's husband, the duke of Albany, who was
innocent of the death of Cordelia, and had never encour-
aged 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.


B RABANTIO, the rich senator of Venice, had a fair
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 singu-
larity 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 theperson whom she selected for her
lover. Bating that Othello was black the noble Moor
wanted nothing which might recommend him to the affec-
tions 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 hairbreadth 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

-.: ,.-:






58 Tales from Shakespeare.

clouds; of the savage nations; the cannibals who are man-
eaters, and a race of people in Africa whose heads do
grow beneath their shoulders: these travellers' stories
would so enchain her attention, that if she were called off
at any time by household affairs, she would despatch with
all haste that business, and return, and with a greedy ear
devour Othello's discourse. And once he took 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 of many a tear, when he spuke
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 pretti-
ness and blushes which Othello could not but understand,
he spoke more openly of his love, and in this golden oppor-
tunity gained the consent of the generous Lady Desde-
mona privately to marry him.
Neither Othello's color nor his fortune was such that
it could be hoped Brabantio would accept him for a son-
in-law. He had left his daughter.free; but he did expect
that, as the manner of noble Venetian ladies was, she
would choose erelong a husband of senatorial rank or ex-
pectations: but in this he was deceived; Desdemona loved
the Moor, though he was black, and devoted her heart
and fortunes to his valiant parts and qualities : so was
her heart subdued to an implicit devotion to the man she
had selected for a husband, that his very color, which to all
but this 'discerning lady would have proved an insur-
mountable objection, was by her esteemed above all the

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Tales from Shakespeare.

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
state employment, and as a culprit charged with offences
which by the laws of Venice were made capital.
The age and senatorial character of old Brabantio com-
manded a most patient hearing from that grave assem-
bly; 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 elo-
quence, recounting the whole story of his wooing, as we
have related it above, and delivered his speech with so
noble a plainness (the evidence of truth), that the duke,
who sat as chief judge, could not help confessing that a tale
so told would have won his daughter too: and the spells
and conjurations which Othello had used in his courtship
plainly appeared to have been no more than the honest
arts of men in love; and the only witchcraft which he had
used, the faculty of telling a soft tale to win a lady's ear,


Tales from Shakespeare.

This statement of Othello was confirmed by the testi-
mony of the Lady Desdemona herself, who appeared in
court, and professing a duty to her father for life and edu-
cation, 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 (he told him) he would
with all his heart have kept from him; adding, that he was
glad at soul that he had no other child, for this behavior
of Desdemona would have taught him to be a tyrant, and
hang clogs on them for her desertion.
This difficulty being got over, Othello, to whom custom
had rendered the hardships of a military life as natural
as food and rest are to other men, readily undertook the
management of the wars in Cyprus: and Desdemona, pre-
ferring the honor of her lord (though with danger) before
the indulgence of those idle delights in which new-married
people usually waste their time, cheerfully consented to
his going.
No sooner were Othello and his lady landed in Cyprus,
than news arrived that a desperate tempest had dispersed
the Turkish fleet, and thus the island was secure from any
immediateapprehension of an attack. But the war which
Othello was to suffer was now beginning; and the enemies
which malice stirred up against this innocent lady proved
in their nature more deadly than strangers or infidels.
Among all the general's friends no one possessed the
confidence of Othello more entirely than Cassio. Michael
Cassio was a young soldier, a Florentine, gay, amorous
and of pleasing address, favorite qualities with women; he
was handsome and eloquent, and exactly such a person as
might alarm the jealousy of a man advanced in years (as
Othello in some measure was), who had married a young
and beautiful wife; but Othello was as free from jealousy


as he was noble, and as incapable of suspecting, as of do-
ing a base action. He had employed this Cassio in his
love affair with Desdemona, and Cassio had been a sort of
go-between in his suit; for Othello, fearing that himself
had not those soft parts of conversation which please
ladies, and finding these qualities in his friend, would often
depute Cassio to go (as he phrased it) a-courting for him;
such innocent simplicity being an honor 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
beseems a virtuous wife) the gentle Desdemona loved and
trusted Cassio. Nor had the marriage of this couple
made any difference in their behavior 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 op-
pressive 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 lieutenant,
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
favoring 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 prov-
ocations 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 deeply,
and he knew that of all the torments which afflict the
mind of man (and far beyond bodily torture), the pains of

Tales from Shakespeare.

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 re-
venge, 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, meet-
ing with the news of the dispersion of the enemy's fleet,
made a sort of holiday in the island. Everybody 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 inha.bi-
tants, or disgust them with the new landed fo.rces. That
night lago began his deep-laid plans of mischief; under
color of loyalty and love to the general, lie 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, affirming
that she was a most exquisite lady : until at last the
enemy which he put into his mouth stole away his brains;
and upon some provocation given him by a fellow whom
lago 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 lago, who had set on foot the mischief, was foremost
in spreading the alarm, causing the castle-bell to be rung
(as if some dangerous mutiny, instead of a slight drunken
quarrel, had arisen): the alarm-bell ringing awakened
Othello, who, dressing in a hurry, and coming to the
scene of action, questioned Cassio of the cause. Cassio
was now come to himself, the effect of the wine having a


little gone off, but was too much ashamed to reply; and
Iago, pretending 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 Iago'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 bar-
gain; the general's wife was now the general, and could do
anything with Othello; that he were best to apply to the
Lady Desdemona to mediate for him with her lord; that
she was of a frank, obliging disposition, and would readily
undertake a good office of this sort, and set Cassio right
again in the general's favor; and then this crack in their
love would be made stronger than ever. A good advice of
lago, if it had not been given for wicked purposes, which
will after appear.
Cassio did as lago advised him, and made application
to the Lady Desdemona, who was easy to be won over in
any honest suit; and she promised Cassio that she would
be his solicitor with her lord, and rather die than give up
his cause. This she immediately set about in so earnest
and pretty a manner, that Othello, who was mortally of-

Tales from Shakespeare.

fended with Cassio, could not put her off. When he pleaded
delay, and that it was too soon to pardon such an of-
fender, 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 pen-
itent 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, had taken your part ? I count
this but a little thing to ask of you. When I mean to try
your love indeed, I shall ask a weighty 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 favor.
It happened that Othello and lago had entered into
the room where Desdemona was, just as Cassio, who had
been imploring her intercession, was departing 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 confer-
ence which immediately took place with his lady put it
out of his head: but he remembered it afterwards. For
when Desdemona was gone, Iago, as if for mere satisfac-
tion of his thought, questioned 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 pal-
ace into which foul things do not enter?" Then lago


went on to say, what a pity it were if a.ny 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, be-


68 Tales from Shakespeare.

sought him to beware of jealousy; with such art did this
villain raise suspicions in the unguarded Othello, by the
very caution which he pretended to give him against sus-
picion. "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 behavior 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
countrywomen, better than Othello could do; and that in
Venice the wives let Heaven see many pranks they dared
not show their husbands. Then he artfully insinuated
that Desdemona deceived her father in marrying with
Othello, and carried it so closely, that the poor old man
thought that witchcraft had been used. Othello was
much moved with this argument, which brought the mat-
ter home to him, for if she had deceived her father, why
might she not deceive her husband ?
Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but Othel-
lo, 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 unwill-
ing to produce anything against Cassio, whom he called
his friend: he then came strongly to the point, and re-
minded Othello how Desdemona had refused many suita-
ble matches of her own clime and complexity, and had
married him, a Moor, which showed unnatural in her, and
proved her to have a headstrong will: and when her bet-
ter judgment returned, how probable it was she should
fall upon comparing Othello with the fine forms and clear
white complexions of the young Italians her countrymen.
He concluded with advising Othello to put off his recon-
cilement with Cassio a little longer, and in the meanwhile
to note with what earnestness Desdemona should inter-


Tales from Shakespeare.

cede in his behalf; for that much would be seen in that.
So mischievously did this artful villain lay his plots to
turn the gentle quahties of this innocent lady into her
destruction, and make a net for her out of her own good-
ness 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 decisive proof;
and Othello promised to be patient; but from that mo-
ment the deceived Othello never tasted content of mind.
Poppy, nor the juice of mandragora, nor all the sleeping-
potions in the world, could ever again restore to him that
sweet rest which he had enjoyed but yesterday. His oc-
cupation sickened upon him. He no longer took delight
in arms. His 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 neigh-
ing war-horse, seemed to have lost all that pride and am-
bition which are a soldier's virtue; and his military
ardor and all his old joys forsook him. Sometimes he
thought his wife honest, and at times he thought her not
so; sometimes he thought lago just, and at times he
thought him not so; then he would wish that he had
never known of it; he was not the worse for her loving
Cassio, so long as he knew it 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. lago,
feigning indignation 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 handkerchief,"
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
pat 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 Iago, whose spirits never slept in contrivance of
villany, had made his wife (a good, but a meek 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 de-
sired her to lend him her handkerchief to hold his temples.
She did so. "Not this," said Othello, but that handker-
chief I gave you." Desdemona 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 twA hundred years, in a

72 Tales from Shakespeare.

fit of prophetic fury worked it; the silkworms that fur-
nished the silk were hallowed, and it was dyed in mummy
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 demanded the handkerchief, which
when she could not produce, she tried to divert her hus-
band 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 Des-
demona, 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 be-
shrewed herself for so unkindly judging of his unkiadness.
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? 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 stupe-
fied with wonder at her lord's untrue suspicion of her, that
a weight-like sleep came over her, and she only desired


) I .- -.----.----~---Y.----s---~-i~R-l i~I. Pl*

Tales from Shakespeare.

her attendant to make her bed, and to lay her wedding
sheets upon it, saying, that when people teach their babes,
they do it by gentle means and easy tasks, and Othello
might have chid her so; for in good faith she was but a
child when she was chidden. And this was all the com-
plaint which this gentle lady made.
Desdemona being retired to bed, expecting her lord
would follow her, soon fell into a slumber, the effect of her
troubled spirits, when Othello entered the chamber, full of
the black purpose which he had meditated of putting his
lady to death. But when he saw her asleep, he thought
he would not shed her blood, nor scar that white skin of
hers, more white than alabaster. But he was resolved she
should die, else (as he said) she would live to betray more
men, as she had done him. Then he kissed her for the last
time (as he said), and that kiss was so sweet, 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 com-
passion, and to know her lault; and then he named Cassio
and the handkerchief which (he said) she had given him;
and as the guiltless lady was proceeding to clear herself
he suddenly would hear no more, but covering her up in
the bedclothes stifled her till she died.
In this instant of time was brought into the house
Cassio, wounded and bleeding, whom lago had set one of
his creatures on to assassinate; but the fellow not suc-
ceeding 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 let-
ters, which made the guilt of Iago and the innocence of
Cassio clear beyond all doubt; and Cassio now came to

-.-.-- + ,, t;,


DET OF "D' 1 '


Tales from Shakespeare.

beg pardon of Othello, and to ask wherein he had offended
him, that he had employed lago to murder him.
This discovery was as a thunderstroke to Othello, who
now plainly saw that he was no better than a murderer,
and that his wife (poor innocent lady) had been ever faith-
ful to him; the extreme anguish of which discovery mak-
ing life insupportable, he fell upon his sword, and throw-
ing himself upon the body of his dear injured lady, expired.
These rash acts raised much passion of horror and
amazement in the bystanders, for Othello had borne a fair
reputation, and till he was wrought upon by the arts of a
villain, which his own noble nature never gave him leave
to suspect, he was a. loving and a doting husband. He
had loved, not wisely, but too well; and his manly eyes
(when he learned his mistake), though not used to weep
on every small occnsion-, 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 renowned

ph 41.1

!i 'II


-.-.i~ .1=~



T IMON, a lord of Athens, in the enjoyment of a prince-
ly fortune, affected a humor of liberality which
knew no limits. His almost infinite wealth could not
flow in so fast, but he poured it out faster upon all sorts
and degrees of people. Not the poor only tasted of his
bounty, but great lords did not disdain to rank them-
selves among his dependants and followers. His table
was resorted to by all the luxurious feasters, and his
house was open to all comers and goers, at Athens. His
large wealth combined with his free and prodigal nature
to subdue all hearts to his love; men of all minds and dis-
positions tendered their services to Lord Timon, from the
glass-faced flatterer, whose face reflects as in a mirror the
present humor of his patron, to the rough and unbending
cynic, who, affecting a contempt of men's persons, and an
indifference to worldly things, yet could not stand out
against the gracious manners and munificent soul of Lord
Timon, but would come (against his nature) to partake of
his royal entertainments, and return most rich in his own
estimation if he had received a nod or a salutation from
If a poet had composed a work which wanted a recorr-
mendatory 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 from the patron,
and daily access to his house and table. If a painter had
a picture to dispose of he only had 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


Tales from Shakespeare.

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 ostentatious pomp; and his person
was still more inconveniently beset with a crowd of these
idle visitors, lying poets, painters, sharking tradesmen,
lords, ladies, needy courtiers and expectants, who con-
tinually filled his lobbies, raining their fulsome flatteries
in whispers in his ears, sacrificing to him with adulation
as to a god, making sacred the very stirrup by which he
mounted his horse, and seeming as though they drank the
free air but through his permission and bounty.
Some of these daily dependants were young men of
birth, who (their means not answering to their extrava-
gance) had been put in prison by creditors, and redeemed
thence by Lord Timon; these young prodigals thencefor-
ward fastened upon his lordship, as if by common sym-
pathy he were necessarily endeared to all such spend-
thrifts and loose livers, who, not being able to follow him
in his wealth, found it easier to copy him in prodigality
and copious spending of what was 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 talents.
But among this confluence, this great flood of visitors,
none were more conspicuous than the makers of presents
and givers of gifts. It was fortunate for these men, if
Timon took a fancy to a dog or a horse, or any piece of
cheap furniture which was theirs. The thing so praised,
whatever it was, was sure to be sent the next morning
with the compliments of the giver for Lord Timon's ac-
ceptance, and apologies for the unworthiness of the gift;
and this dog or horse, or whatever it might be, did not


- ~--sr-~apla _I _r ~I~U

Tales from Shakespeare.

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 in-
terest. In this way Lord Lucius had lately sent to Timon
a present of four milk-white horses trapped in silver,
which this cunning lord had observed Timon upon some
occasion to commend; and another lord, Lucullus, had
bestowed upon him in the same pretended way of free gift
a brace of 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 donation.
Sometimes these creatures would go to work in a more
direct way, and with gross and palpable artifice, which
yet the credulous Timon was too blind to see, would affect
to admire and praise something that Timon possessed, a
bargain that he had bought, or some late purchase, which
was sure to draw from this yielding and soft-hearted lord
a gift of the thing commended, for no service in the world
done for it but the easy expense of a little cheap and ob-
vious 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 ever justly praised what he did
not wish to possess. For Lord Timon weighed his friends'
affection with his own, and so fond was he of bestowing
that he could have dealt kingdoms to those supposed
friends, and never have been weary.
Not that Timon's wealth all went to enrich these wicked
flatterers; he could do noble and praiseworthy actions
and when a servant of his once loved the daughter of a
rich Athenian, but could not hope to obtain her by reason

__ __ __ ~:

Timon of Athens.

that in wealth and rank the maid was so far above him,
Lord Timon freely bestowed upon his servant three
Athenian talents to make his fortune equal with the dowry
which the father of the young maid demanded 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 ap-
peared to him, truly festive and fraternal meeting.
But while he thus outwent the very heart of kindness,
and poured out his bounty, as if Plutus, the god of gold,
had been but his steward; while thus he proceeded with-
out care to 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 condi-
tion, laying his accountsbefore him, begging of him,
praying of him, with an importunity that on any other
occasion would have been unmannerly in a servant, be-
seeching him with tears, to look into the state of his
affairs. Timon would still put him off, and turn the dis-
course to something else; for nothing is so deaf to remon-

Tales from Shakespeare.

strance as riches turned to poverty, nothing so unwilling
to believe its situation, nothing so incredulous to its own
true state, and hard to give credit to a reverse. Often
had this good steward, this honest creature, when all the
rooms of Timon's great house have been choked up with
riotous feeders at his master's cost, when the floors have
wept with drunken spilling of wine, and every apartment
has blazed with lights and resounded with music and
feasting, often had he retired by 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 disappear.
But now the time was come that Timon could shut his
ears no longer to the representations of this faithful stew-
ard. Money must be had; and when he ordered Flavius
to sell some of his land for that purpose, Flavius informed
him, what he had in vain endeavored at several times be-
fore to make him listen to, that most of his land was al-
ready sold or forfeited, and that all he possessed at pres-
ent 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 nothing to do but to send and borrow, to use

Timon of Athens.

every man's fortune (that had ever tasted his bounty) in
this extremity as freely as his own. Then with a cheerful
look, as if confident of the trial, he severally despatched
messengers to Lord Lucius, to Lords Lucullus and Sem-
pronius, 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
into the possession of an ample fortune, and well enabled
to requite Timon's courtesy; to request of Ventidius the
return of those five talents which he had paid for him, and
of each of these noble lords the loan of fifty talents; noth-

Tales from Shakespeare.

ing doubting that their gratitude would supply his wants
(if he needed it) to the amount of five hundred times fifty
Lucullus was the first applied to. This mean lord had
been dreaming overnight of a silver basin and cup, and
when Timon's servant was announced, his sordid mind
- i- -.,1 to him that this was surely a making out of his
dream, and that Timon had sent him such a present; but
when he understood'the truth of the matter, and that
Timon wanted money, the quality of his faint and watery
friendship showed itself, for with many protestations he
vowed to the servant that he had long foreseen the ruin
of his master's affairs, and many a time had he come to
dinner to tell him of it, and had come again to supper to
try to persuade him to spend less, but he would take no
counsel nor warning by his coming ; and true it was that
he had been a constant attender (as he said) at Timon's
feasts, as he had in greater things tasted his bounty, but
that he ever came with that intent, or gave good counsel
or reproof to Timon, was a base unworthy lie, which he
suitably followed up with meanly offering the servant a
bribe, to go home to his master and tell him that he had
not found Lucullus at home.
As little success had the messenger who was sent to
Lord Lucius. This lying lord, who was full of Timon's
meat, and enriched almost to bursting with Timon's costly
presents, when he found the wind changed, and the foun-
tain of so much bounty suddenly stopped, 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 unfortunately (which wa's a base
falsehood) he had made a great purchase the day before,
which had quite disfurnished him of the means at present,
the more beast he, he called himself, to put it out of his
power to serve so good a friend; and he counted it one of
his greatest afflictions that his ability should fail him to
pleasure such an honorable gentleman.


Tales from Shakespeare.

Who can call any man friend that dips in the same dish
with him? just of this metal is every flatterer. In the
recollection of everybody Timon had been a father to this
Lucius, had kept up his credit with his purse; Timon's
money had gone to pay the wages of his servants, to pay
the hire of the laborers who had sweat to build the fine
houses which Lucius' pride had made necessary to him;
yet-oh! the monster which man makes himself when he
proves ungrateful !-this Lucius now denied to Timon a
sum which, in respect of what Timon had bestowed on
him, was less than charitable men afford to beggars.
Sempronius and every one of those mercenary lords to
whom Timon applied in their turn, returned the same
evasive answer or direct denial; even Ventidius, the re-
deemed and now rich Ventidius, refused to assist him with
the loan of those five talents which Timon had not lent,
blt generously given him in his distress.
Now was Timon as much avoided in his poverty as he
had been courted and resorted to in his riches. Now the
same tongues which had been loudest in his praises, ex-
tolling him as bountiful, liberal and open-handed, were not
ashamed to censure that very bounty as folly, that liber-
ality as profuseness, though it had shown itself folly in
nothing so truly as in the selection of such unworthy
creatures as themselves for its objects. Now was Timon's
princely mansion forsaken, and become a shunned and
hated place, a place for men to pass by, not a place as
formerly where every passenger must stop and taste of
his wine and good cheer; now, instead of being thronged
with feasting and tumultuous guests, it was beset with
impatient and clamorous creditors, usurers, extortioners,
fierce and intolerable in their demands, pleading bonds,
interest, mortgages, iron-hearted men that would take no
denial nor putting off, that Timon's house was now his
jail, which he could not pass nor go in nor out for them;
one demanding his due of fifty talents, another bringing
in a bill of five thousand crowns, which if he would sell

TIimon of Athens.

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 suddenly 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 guests, lords, ladies, all
that was great or fashionable in Athens. Lord Lucius
and, Lucullus came, Ventidius, Sempronius and the rest.
Who more sorry now than these fawning wretches when
they found (as they thought) that Lord Timon's poverty
was all pretence, 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 ? yet who more glad to find
the fountain of that noble bounty, which they had thought
dried up, still fresh and running ? They came dissem-
bling, protesting, expressing deepest sorrow and shame,
that when his lordship sent to them they should have
been so unfortunate as to want the present means to
oblige so honorable a friend. But Timon begged them
not to give such trifles a thought, for he had altogether
forgotten it. And these base fawning lords, though they
had denied him money in his adversity, yet could not re-
fuse their presence at this new blaze of his returning pros-
parity. For the swallow follows not summer more willing-
ly 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 they saw was real, as scarce
trusting their own eyes; at a signal given the dishes were
uncovered, and Timon's drift appeared: instead of those
varieties and far-fetched dainties which they expected,

Tales from Shakespeare.

that Timon's epicurean table in past times had so liber.
ally 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 in-
deed smoke, and their hearts lukewarm and slippery as
the water with which Timon welcomed his astonished
guests, bidding them, Uncover, dogs, and lap;" and be-
fore they could recover their surprise, sprinkling it in their
faces, that they might have enough, and throwing dishes
and all after them, who now ran huddling out, lords,
ladies, with their caps snatched up in haste, a splendid
confusion, Timon pursuing them, still calling them what
they were, Smooth, smiling parasites, destroyers under
the mask of courtesy, affable wolves, meek bears, fools of
fortune, feast-friends, time-flies." They, crowding out to
avoid him, left the house more willingly than they had en-
tered it; some losing their gowns and caps and some their
jewels in the hurry,, all glad to escape out of the presence
of such a mad lord, and the ridicule of his mock banquet.
This was the last feast that 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, outrage, 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 man-
kind. He stripped himself naked, that he might retain
no fashion of a man, and dug a cave to live in, and lived
solitary in the manner of a beast, eating the wild roots
and drinking water, flying from the face of his kind and
choosing rather to herd with wild beasts, as more harm-
less and friendly than man.


92 Tales from Shakespeare.

What a change from Lord Timnon therich, 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 fairy pages to him, to skip on
his errands when he bade them? Would the cold brook,
when it was iced with winter, administer to him his warm
broths and candles 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 re-
tained 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 earth, but that,
thinking of the infinite calamities which by means of gold
happen to mankind, how the lucre of it causes robber-
ies, 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

Timon of Athens.

Athenian 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

F L_

Tales from Shakespeare.

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 confound him also, the conqueror:
so thoroughly did Timon hate Athens, Athenians, and all
While he lived :n this forlorn state, leading a life iore
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 mon-
ument of decay, so affected this good servant, that he
stood speechless, wrapped up in horror and confounded.
And when he found utterance at last to his words, they
were so choked with tears, that Timon had much ado to
know him again, or to make out who it was that had
come (so contrary to the experience he had had of man-
kind) 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

II a


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