Citation
Tales from Shakespeare

Material Information

Title:
Tales from Shakespeare
Creator:
Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834
Lamb, Mary, 1764-1847 ( Author )
Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912 ( Author )
Bell, Robert Anning, 1863-1933 ( Illustrator )
Freemantle, S. T ( Publisher )
Ballantyne, Hanson and Co ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
S.T. Freemantle
Manufacturer:
Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xxviii, 2-372 p., [15] leaves of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1899 ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1899 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
Children's stories
Children's literature ( fast )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Title page engraved and printed in green.
General Note:
Pictorial front cover and spine.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Charles & Mary Lamb ; introductory preface by Andrew Lang ; illustrations by Robert Anning Bell.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026839261 ( ALEPH )
ALH3114 ( NOTIS )
55799135 ( OCLC )

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Full Text








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Andi this ovr life,exempt from pyblic havnt
Finds tongves in trees, books inthe rvnning brooks
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.




Mary Kath
Wer Book.









The Baldwin Library

University
mB oc
Florida







TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE



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CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION . ; ‘ é : : vii
PREFACE . : : ; : : : : . XXV
ROMEO AND JULIET . 2 ; : c 5 5 1
KING LEAR : : 4 : : 5 5 25
OTHELLO . d : ; : 2 : : S46
TIMON OF ATHENS . : ‘ : : : . 64
MACBETH . 5 5 i : : : a 4 82
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE : : : : - 98
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS . y 2 : : . 116
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK . : : ; . 186
THE TEMPEST . : : a 2 : . 158
AS YOU LIKE IT ; ! : : : : . 174
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING : : : : . 196
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM . : : : . 218
MEASURE FOR MEASURE. : ‘ . ; . 229
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW é : é : - 249
TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT YOU WILL : : . 264
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE 5 : 5 ; - 282
|‘ THE WINTER’S TALE . S : : : : . 805
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL . Y 5 : . $820
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA. : ; . 837

CYMBELINE - 5 4 : , y ; » 855





LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Romeo AND JULIET . : : : : Frontispiece

Kine Lear RECOGNISING CORDELIA AFTER

His MaDNEss . : : : . To face page 42
OTHELLO LOOKING AT DESDEMONA ASLEEP a 62
MacsetTu IN THE Wircues’ Cave . i = 92
Portia GiviNc THE Rina To Bassanio_ . : 102
Deatu or THE Kinc—Hamuet’s FaTHer 3 142
OPHELIA . : : : : $ : . 154
ARIEL AND FERDINAND . ; a es a 164

RosaLtIND FINDING A PoEM WRITTEN BY

ORLANDO FIXED ON A TREE. 5 a 188
BENEDICK MEETING BEATRICE . : a 198
Meetinc oF Operon AND Tiranta . : ns 216
IsaBELLA IN THE CELL oF CLaunio . : 7 238
PerrucHio AND THE TaILor . : : es 256
Tue Finvine or Perpira : : : 2D 310

JULIA OFFERING SILVIA THE RING OF

Proteus . , : : , : 348



INTRODUCTION

‘TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE” were first printed
by Thomas Hodgkins, for Godwin, at the
Juvenile Library, Hanway Street, in the year
1807. They were ‘embellished with copper-
plates,” and, as the title-page assures us, were
‘designed for the use of young persons.”
Lamb more fully set forth the nature of his
aim and purpose in his own preface. The
Tales ‘‘are meant to be submitted to the
young reader as an introduction to the study
of Shakspeare, for which purpose his words
are used wherever it seemed possible to bring
them in.” Young readers were to find “a few
hints and little foretastes of the great pleasure
which awaits them in their elder years.” By
citing the blank verse unaltered, yet not print-
ing it as verse, Lamb hoped “to cheat the
young readers into the belief that they were
reading prose.” The young readers to whom
he appeals are ‘very young children,” chiefly



viti INTRODUCTION

“young ladies,” perhaps spinsters of from six
to twelve, for boys are more freely permitted
the run of their fathers’ libraries. Lamb, in a
very pleasing passage, suggests that boys who
have perused the actual plays shall explain to
their sisters “such parts as are hardest for
them to understand.” Fraternal affection, in
Lamb’s case, was as beautifully displayed and
as hardly tried as in that of Antigone. It was
beside, and in collaboration with that elder
sister, whose own tragedy was as terrible as
the A®schylean ‘‘Eumenides,” that he was
interpreting Shakspeare to little girls. Yet it
was to a hard task that he invited the ‘‘ young
gentlemen,” for who could make ‘“ Measure for
' Measure” intelligible to a little girl? Lamb
himself, though including ‘“ Pericles,” omits
“Titus Andronicus,” to which Robert and
Gilbert Burns, in early boyhood, declined to
listen. In the Comedies, as Lamb observes,
he, or rather his sister, passes by “a world of
sprightly and cheerful characters, both men
and women, the humour of which it was feared
would be lost if it were attempted to reduce
the length of them.”

Such were Lamb’s aims, such his method,



‘INTRODUCTION ix

“this casual and diffused method of enforcing
the many moral lessons that lie in Shakspeare’s
plays,” as Canon Ainger says. It soon became
evident that his and his sister’s work was
calculated ‘for an acceptable and improving
present to young ladies advancing to the state
of womanhood,” rather than for very young
children. Canon Ainger “knows of no first
introduction to that study ” (of Shakspeare) “at
once so winning and so helpful as that supplied
by these narrative versions.”

Here I would diffidently hint at a contrary
opinion—the rather that I suspect Lamb of
having ‘been much of my own mind on the
subject. I conceive that children at the age of
innocence (which was conventionally fixed at
seven) are best introduced to Shakspeare by
Shakspeare himself. Dickens, when describing
his own early reading, in ‘“‘ David Copperfield,”
talks of his Tom Jones, ‘‘a child’s Tom Jones
—a harmless creature.” Roderick Random,
Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, and the
rest, ‘came out, a glorious host, to keep me
company . . . and did me no harm; for what-
ever harm was in some of them was not there
for me; J knew nothing of it.” In the same



xX INTRODUCTION

way there is no harm in Shakspeare for a
young child. Of course there is a world of
mystery; the little student is in an enchanted
forest, and the sun falls only on a few glades
and clearings, the more delightful for the
surrounding shadows. It is, to be sure, very
difficult for the elders to understand a child’s
mind: is there not a modern science thereof
called “ Peedology,” or some such name? But
I may be permitted to recall my own childish
recollections of Shakspeare, to whom I had
no Introduction. There was Kenny Meadows’s
edition, with plenty of woodcuts, now obsolete
in taste, I dare say, but with abundant charm
for a boy of five or six. It was necessary to
know what the pictures were all about, so I
wandered on, picking up what was intelligible,
and careless of the rest. The Fat Knight was
my hero; and I have since known a little girl,
of great beauty, who got up “Henry IV.” in
the nursery, and chose for herself the part of
Falstaff. There is a text about the angels of
children, who ever behold the face of the
Father. It is my fancy that, in Paradise, the
zdola of children survive in all their beauty and
charm, though the children themselves grow



INTRODUCTION xi

up into aspects changed. Of ¢hzs child, at
least, the angel survives in the art of Millais,
a blue-eyed, fair-locked image. One looks at
the portrait, and thinks of the original, acting
Falstaff, and one sees how little the child needs
any Introduction to Shakspeare. Or one thinks
of Scott’s childish opinions about the terrors of
“Macbeth,” and how no man would dare read
‘‘Macbeth” alone at night. I can remember
being lost in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream,”
reading it by firelight, while two young people
were playing chess, and somebody touched the
piano, and the world was an enchanted place.
One entered the breach with Henry V., or
sorrowed with Cordelia, or lamented Desde-
mona, but the end came, and the end of the
Age of Innocence, with ‘The Merry Wives of
Windsor.” For here was Falstaff, that beloved
knight, but an unintelligible Falstaff, for it was
quite impossible that a child should understand
the story ; and “ Measure for Measure” left
only an impression of gloom, with an old Duke
of dark corners wandering in them, for no
obvious purpose. I shall never recapture the
Ophelia of childhood again, nor ever have such
a charmed though darkling sense of something



xii INTRODUCTION

supernal, as I won from the Shakspeare of my
infancy. The mystery of it was the delight,
as in “ Kubla Khan” or ‘“Christabel.” But
“The Merry Wives,” somehow, put me off
Shakspeare ; nor did I return to him till after
a long course of every kind of novel, good,
bad, or indifferent. Probably it is the same
with other children: they do best to begin with
the plays themselves, afterwards Lamb’s Tales
may bring them back to the originals. Canon
Ainger says: ‘More and more is a knowledge
of Shakspeare coming to be regarded as a
necessary part of an Englishman’s education.”
Alas, it is not Shakspeare, but the notes of
Editors that are now a necessary part, not of
an Englishman’s education, but of an English
boy’s “cram,” for the purposes of examiners.
Dr. Johnson was right: a boy or a girl, or a
man, should read straight on, and not trouble
himself with notes. We should read, as Fitz-
gerald advises, ‘‘ for human pleasure.”

It is a misery to turn classics into school-books
—‘ Horace, whom I hated so”—as Byron
wrote. Who knows how the “educational”
use of Shakspeare and Chaucer may make
boys detest those authors. Once, in examin-



INTRODUCTION xiii

ing for the Indian Civil Service, I set the
usual question as to contemporary evidence
for Shakspeare’s authorship. Most of the
boys answered as if they were giving the
rare fruits of independent research. But one
young man opened thus: ‘We have been
told, till we are perfectly sick of hearing it,”
and then he went on about Green and ‘“ Shake-
scene.” To be perfectly sick of Shakspeare,
or rather of pedantries about Shakspeare,
seems a natural result of modern education.

Lamb himself manifestly cherished no illu-
sions about Shakspeare and the Public.
Lamb knew caviare, and what it is ‘‘to the
general.” We do not think of this delightful
author as ‘‘a superior person,” but the su-
perior person’s attitude is his, in his essay
“On the Tragedies of Shakspeare.” Lamb
was offended, as a man of letters, by the
epitaph on Garrick:

‘‘ Shakspeare and Garrick like twin stars shall shine.”

We do not expect criticism from epitaphs,
nor truth. But Lamb argues that Garrick,
or any other successful actor, should not be
complimented ‘with the notion of possessing



xiv INTRODUCTION

a mind congenial with the poet's.” That is
as may be, and Porthos made a kind of un-
conscious prophecy, when he blundered into
calling Moliére “ M. Coquelin de Voliére.” The
mind of M. Coquelin is undoubtedly congenial
with that of Poquelin, called Moliére. But
Lamb (after admitting that he can no longer
appreciate Hamlet's soliloquy—“ hearing any-
thing spouted withers and blows upon a fine
passage”—), proceeds to aver that, to many
people, George Barnwell is just as good as
Shakspeare. ‘You shall hear the same
persons say that George Barnwell is very
natural, and that Othello is very natural ; that
they are both very deep; and to them they
are the same kind of thing.” The actor,
Lamb argues, cannot conceivably do justice
to Shakspeare, but the public thinks, in Mr.
Weller’s phrase, that “it is all wery capital.”
Lamb decides that, in comedy as in tragedy,
Shakspeare’s characters are ‘incompatible
with stage representation,” yet Lamb was a
fervent lover of the stage. A sparing and
infrequent playgoer myself, I own that to
see a play of Shakspeare’s acted spoils it
for me; but so does the acting of “ The Three



INTRODUCTION XV

Musketeers” spoil, for me, the characters of
Dumas. It is manifest that the world in
general does not suffer in this superfine way,
whence Lamb must argue that the world at
large has no real appreciation of Shakspeare.
In his ‘‘ Tales from Shakspeare,” then, he tries
to catch the unspoiled youth of England (of
Britain, I should say), and “introduce” them
to his “‘sweet Shakspeare.”

To what extent is Shakspeare really read
and enjoyed by our modern age? Everybody
possesses the works, but I doubt if many
read or know them. The stock quotations
are gleaned from newspapers and _ other
books. An unhackneyed quotation, say in a
newspaper article, is a puzzle to “the man on
the omnibus.” As far as I have observed,
two classes of mankind know Shakspeare :
intellects, of a confessedly high class, and quiet
persons, in all ranks, who make no display of
erudition, and are totally unfamiliar with the
new “masterpieces,” which are trumpeted
every week in critical columns. The ordinary
man of letters becomes like the dyer’s hand:
he is obliged to be coping with the weekly
“Output” of new books, and must confess



xvi1 INTRODUCTION

that he knows Shakspeare very slightly. Take
a quotation chosen at random :

“The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green.”

From what play come these lines? Who is
the speaker? The reader’s conscience may
smite or applaud him. We are swamped in
printed matter, and we neglect le Vueux
Williams, as Gautier calls him. Lamb’s
Tales are designed, then, to catch the early
reader, and convert him, or her, to no con-
ventional worship of our national glory. I
have already hinted that, while putting the
Tales “in the hands of the young,” parents
may safely and wisely leave the plays to the
perusal of children. The right child will
read the right things, and a child born with
a love of letters knows more already than a
wilderness of excellent fathers and mothers.
Your parent is not literary! Dickens him-
self, in the passage already cited, remarks,
about the “small collection of books in a
little room upstairs,” that “nobody else in
our house ever troubled it.” Nobody else in
a house ever does trouble it, except the little



INTRODUCTION xvii

born bookworm. Nobody else (as everybody
else frankly confesses) “has time to be read-
ing.” Mary Lamb “was tumbled early, by
accident or design, into a spacious closet of
good old English reading, without much
selection or prohibition, and browsed at will
upon that fair and wholesome pasturage.”
Charles Lamb shared these opportunities.
The majority of children, naturally, would not
make use of such a chance; but this is the
best education for the right children, while
they are of the age of innocence. Growing
boys, in the savage stage, are different crea-
tures, and not to be so fully trusted: not
that it makes much difference. Lamb was
well aware of this, was well aware that Shak-
speare is the best “Introduction to Shak-
speare,’ but he took the world and the
British parent as he found them.

Let us remember what children’s books
were, about 1807. Most were little moral or
pseudo-scientific treatises. Fairies were under
the ban of ‘common-sense,’ and so they
long remained in many worthy families. I
know middle-aged people who, in childhood,
were not allowed to read fairy-tales, cn the



Xvili INTRODUCTION

specious pretence that there are no fairies in
the nature of things; a negative which no-
body can prove. This was one objection,
rooted in nonsense about “ facts.” The other
was the optimistic objection. Little Thornton
Hunt was not allowed, by Leigh Hunt, “to
hear of goblins or apparitions, or scarcely to be
told of bad men, or to read or hear of any
distressing story,” so Lamb tells us. For
“little T. H.,” then, there could be no “ Tales
from Shakspeare.” Oberon and _ Titania
were banned; there was a taboo on the
ghost of Hamlet’s father, as on that of
Banquo. Macbeth must not be mentioned,
for (at least in Shakspeare) he was “bad”:
and Cordelia must be unheard of, for her
story is undeniably ‘‘distressing.” If parents
could keep these taboos in force, children,
like little T. H., would invent fairies by day,
and horrors by night, for themselves, as little
T. H. did, whence arose the controversy be-
tween Lamb and Southey. But the ordinary
careful parent knew not these things; and it
was to a generation of sadly-herded children
that Lamb and his sister introduced Oberon
and Prospero, Lear and Hamlet.



INTRODUCTION XIX

It is difficult to know how far the exquisite
English of Lamb and his sister will attract the
infants of to-day. Lately, 1 met a young lady
who, hearing of Miss Austen’s novels, said
that “she could not read Old English.” She
appeared to look on “ Pride and Prejudice” as
coeval with ‘“ Beowulf,” or, at least, with the
“Ayenbite of Inwit.” Now, the Lambs
“adopted the very sound principle of avoid-
ing as far as possible the use of words intro-
duced into the language since Shakspeare’s
time.” The completely grown up young lady
whom I have cited, would, therefore, be ‘“‘a
thing incapable” of reading the Tales. But
children are by no means so advanced ; indeed,
a trifle of mystery in the meaning offers an
attraction to a reading child. More than we
wot of, children are not “up-to-date.” Poetry,
in essence, is wholly derived from the early,
or, as we say, childlike estate of mankind, in
which estate many children exist. The quali-
ties which we call ‘ genius,” if exhibited by the
mature, are relatively common in childhood ;
they have pictorial imaginations and a sense
of the music and value of words. Possessing
these qualities, they are not injured by what so



XX INTRODUCTION

mightily offends many of their elders—“ the old-
fashioned.” A gallant officer once suggested
to me a partnership in literary enterprise. We
were to “cut down Shakspeare’s plays into
bright little modern pieces.” The reading child
does not feel this intense desire for bright little
modern pieces. He understands much more
than people who “write down to children”
give him credit for comprehending. Scott
“attempted this ‘writing down to children” in
the early chapters of ‘‘ Tales of a Grandfather,”
and found, as he says, that it was quite un-
necessary, and even prejudicial to the child's
interest. Lamb never tried “ writing down to
children.” As Canon Ainger observes, Lamb’s
short analysis of the character of Polonius, and
his remarks on ‘‘the connection between the
actual and assumed madness of Hamlet,” are
brief, simple, and practically exhaustive. Lamb
had already reached that level of critical faculty,
based on sympathy, in “a mind congenial with
that of the poet,” which found more copious, if
scarcely more mature expression, in his later
essays, and his remarks on the Elizabethan
Dramatists. Men who could appreciate Shak-
speare had, of course, in no age been entirely



INTRODUCTION xxi

wanting ; but taste must have fallen low indeed,
when Garrick, the friend of Dr. Johnson, could
mouth “the ribald trash of Tate and Cibber”
foisted into the acting editions, and when the
public, anxious, like Charles I]. and the
Athenians of Aristotle’s day, “to make tra-
gedies end happily,” could tolerate the new
conclusion of ‘King Lear.”

In the hack-work (for it was hack-work) of
writing the Tales, Lamb proved a great
innovator in style. |arlier, in his “ John
Woodvil,” Lamb had returned to the quaint,
rich, and coloured English of the Elizabethan-
Caroline ages. He appears thus to have set,
in 1803-1807, the fashion which Leigh Hunt
was to abuse, and Keats was finally to employ
in happier fashion. Lamb’s were the first
sprightly runnings in our century of that long-
sealed well of English wherein our poetry was
to renew her maidenhood, like Hera in the
fountain of Argos. To whatever extent chil-
dren of to-day, an incalculable generation, may
take pleasure in Lamb’s Tales, they remain a
classic for the elders. May I confess that, in
the Comedies, children will probably miss the
comic element, ‘‘ the cheerful characters,” whose



Xxll INTRODUCTION

humour Lamb “feared would be lost if it were
attempted to reduce the length of them.” The
attempt might have been hazarded, for children
are certainly capable of enjoying the mirth
of Trinculo, and Christopher Sly, and the
Athenian rural comedians. I cannot taste the
“Two Gentlemen of Verona” without Launce
and Crab. ‘I would have, as one should say,
one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed,
to be, as it were, a dog at all things.” The
young lady amateur (whose first appearance on
any stage was in the part of Falstaff) named
her own dog “Crab,” and he deserved the title.
Hence it is fair to conclude that a child is quite
capable of enjoying the humours of Launce.
The Comedies, in many cases, are based on
popular tales which have passed through a
literary air into Italian romance. Thus, merely
as tales, and merely for the story’s sake, Lamb’s
are not so interesting to a little boy or girl as
the M/archen of Grimm or Perrault. Even if
we look at tragedy, I can remember from
childhood how that exclamation of Desdemona,
“O falsely, falsely murther’d,” moved terror,
and pity, and hope, as one read the play, but
Lamb has not thought fit to include this



INTRODUCTION xxiii

passage in his tale. Probably he had good
critical reasons, and, physiologically, I doubt if
a lady who had breath enough left for Desde-
mona’s last words was really in a parlous case.
It may be impertinent thus to criticise one’s
author. But I am arguing, as before, in the
interests of children, that while they should
certainly have Lamb’s book placed in their
hands, they should also have free access to
Shakspeare himself. This I assert with the
more confidence, as | doubt not that Lamb
himself would have abounded in the same
opinion. We must consider, too, that children,
for the most part, are naturally actors, and
therefore apt to take much pleasure in what
they understand of the plays. Some of them
may be led by Lamb to the plays; others will
find in Lamb the sequence of plot and event
which, in the plays, they may have found
puzzling. Lamb did not touch the historical
plays, which, I think, children are apt to prefer,
as they already know the characters and events,
thanks to Mrs. Markham or to “ Little Arthur's
England.” Lamb’s book, as regards the
comedies and tragedies, supplies children with
the same aid as (in the case of the Chronicle



XXIV INTRODUCTION

plays) they get in their historical studies.
This, of course, is the least of the merits of
Lamb’s book, but even this merit is consider-
able.

Not inconsiderable, too, in an age of
examiners, is Lamb’s delightful abstinence
from “the learning of the subject.” Many a
man, nowadays, would think it needful to begin
with a biography of Shakspeare. The early
reader would be informed that Lady Macbeth
was a widow before she wedded Duncan's
general, and that (as Dumas somehow knew)
the child whom she had suckled was by her
first lord, and, indeed, was Lulach, the rightful
king, Duncan being an usurper, who came to
the throne by virtue of a murder done by his
grandfather, Malcolm II. But Lamb would
have been anxious “to feel the bumps” of
any Introducer of Shakspeare whose intro-
ductory ceremonies were of this superfluous
character. ‘‘ The play’s the thing,” not erudi-
tion about the play, and p. xvi, here, contains
a trap for the curious.

ANDREW LANG.
August 1899.



PREFACE

Tue following Tales are meant to be submitted to
the young reader as an introduction to the study of
Shakspeare, for which purpose his words are used
whenever it seemed possible to bring them in; and
in whatever has been added to give them the regular
form of a connected story, diligent care has been
taken to select such words as might least interrupt
the effect of the beautiful English tongue in which he
wrote: therefore words introduced into our language
since his time have been as far as possible avoided.

In those Tales which have been taken from the
Tragedies, as my young readers will perceive when
they come to see the source from which these stories
are derived, Shakspeare’s own words, with little altera-
tion, recur very frequently in the narrative as well as
in the dialogue; but in those made from the Comedies
I found myself scarcely ever able to turn his words
into the narrative form: therefore I fear in them I
have made use of dialogue too frequently for young
people not used to the dramatic form of writing.
But this fault, if it be as I fear a fault, has been
caused by my earnest wish to give as much of
Shakspeare’s own words as possible: and if the “ He



XXVi PREFACE

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

I have wished to make these Tales easy reading
for very young children. To the utmost of my ability
I have constantly kept this in my mind; but the sub-
jects of most of them made this a very difficult task.
It was no easy matter to give the histories of men
and women in terms familiar to the apprehension of a
very young mind. For young ladies, too, it has been
my intention chiefly to write, because boys are gener-
ally permitted the use of their fathers’ libraries at a
much earlier age than girls are; they frequently have



PREFACE XXVii

the best scenes of Shakspeare by heart before their
sisters are permitted to look into this manly book;
and therefore, instead of recommending these Tales
to the perusal of young gentlemen who can read them
so much better in the originals, I must rather beg
their kind assistance in explaining to their sisters such
parts as are hardest for them to understand; and
when they have helped them to get over the diffi-
culties, then perhaps they will read to them (carefully
selecting what is proper for a young sister’s ear) some
passage which has pleased them in one of these
stories, in the very words of the scene from which it
is taken; and I trust they will find that the beauti-
ful extracts, the select passages, they may choose to
give their sisters in this way, will be much better
relished and understood from their having some
notion of the general story from one of these im-
perfect abridgments; which, if they be fortunately
so done as to prove delightful to any of you, my
young readers, I hope will have no worse effect upon
you than to make you wish yourselves a little older,
that you may be allowed to read the plays at full
length (such a wish will be neither peevish nor
irrational). When time and leave of judicious friends
shall put them into your hands, you will discover in
such of them as are here abridged (not to mention
almost as many more which are left untouched) many
surprising events and turns of fortune, which, for their
infinite variety, could not be contained in this little
book, besides a world of sprightly and cheerful char-



XXviil PREFACE

acters, both men and women, the humour of which I
was fearful of losing if I attempted to reduce the
length of them.

What these Tales have been to you in childhood,
that and much more it is my wish that the true plays
of Shakspeare may prove to you in older years—
enrichers of the fancy, strengtheners of virtue, a with-
drawing from all selfish and mercenary thoughts, a
lesson of all sweet and honourable thoughts and
actions, to teach you courtesy, benignity, generosity,
humanity : for of examples teaching these virtues, his

pages are full.





TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ROMEO AND JULIET

Tue two chief families in Verona were the rich Capulets
and the Mountagues. There had been an old quarrel
between these families, which was grown to such a
height, and so deadly was the enmity between them,
that it extended to the remotest kindred, to the fol-
lowers and retainers of both sides, insomuch that a
servant of the house of Mountague could not meet
a servant of the house of Capulet, nor a Capulet en-
counter with a Mountague by chance, but fierce words
and sometimes bloodshed ensued; and frequent were
the brawls from such accidental meetings which dis-
turbed the happy quiet of Verona’s estate.

Old lord Capulet made a great supper, to which
many fair ladies and many noble guests were invited.
All the admired beauties of Verona were present, and
all comers were made welcome if they were not of
the house of Mountague. At this feast of Capulets,
Rosaline, beloved of Romeo, son to the old lord
Mountague, was present; and though it was dangerous
for a Mountague to be seen in this assembly, yet

Benvolio, a friend of Romeo, persuaded the young lord
A



2 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to go to this assembly in the disguise of a mask, that
he might see his Rosaline, and, seeing her, compare
her with some choice beauties of Verona, who (he said)
would make him think his swan a crow. Romeo had
small faith in Benvolio’s words; nevertheless, for the
love of Rosaline, he was persuaded to go. For Romeo
was a sincere and passionate lover, and one that lost
his sleep for love, and fled society to be alone, think-
ing on Rosaline, who disdained him, and never requited
his love with the least show of courtesy or affection ;
and Benvolio wished to cure his friend of this love by
_ showing him diversity of ladies and company. ‘To this
feast of Capulets then young Romeo and Benvolio and
their friend Mercutio went masked. Old Capulet bid
them welcome, and told them that ladies who had their
toes unplagued with corns would dance with them.
And the old man was light-hearted and merry, and
said that he had worn a mask when he was young, and
could have told a whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear.
And they fell to dancing, and Romeo was suddenly
struck with the exceeding beauty of a lady that danced
there, who seemed to him to teach the torches to burn
bright, and her beauty to show by night like a rich
jewel worn by a blackamoor: beauty too rich for use,
too dear for earth! like a snowy dove trooping with
crows (he said), so richly did her beauty and perfec-
tions shine above the ladies her companions. While
he uttered these praises, he was overheard by Tybalt,
a nephew of lord Capulet, who knew him by his voice
to be Romeo. And this Tybalt, being of a fiery and
passionate temper, could not endure that a Mountague



ROMEO AND JULIET 3

should come under cover of a mask, to fleer and scorn
(as he said) at their solemnities. And he stormed
and raged exceedingly, and would have struck young
Romeo dead. But his uncle, the old lord Capulet,
would not suffer him to do any injury at that time,
both out of respect to his guests, and because Romeo
had borne himself like a gentleman, and all tongues in
Verona bragged of him to be a virtuous and well-
governed youth. Tybalt, forced to be patient against
his will, restrained himself, but swore that this vile
Mountague should at another time dearly pay for his
intrusion.

The dancing being done, Romeo watched the place
where the lady stood; and under favour of his mask-
ing habit, which might seem to excuse in part the
liberty, he presumed in the gentlest manner to take
her by the hand, calling it a shrine, which if he pro-
faned by touching it, he was a blushing pilgrim,
and would kiss it for atonement. “Good pilgrim,”
answered the lady, “your devotion shows by far too
mannerly and too courtly: saints have hands, which
pilgrims may touch, but kiss not.” “ Have not saints
lips, and pilgrims too?” said Romeo. “ Ay,” said
the lady, “lips which they must use in prayer.” “Oh
then, my dear saint,” said Romeo, “hear my prayer
and grant it, lest I despair.” In such like allusions
and loving conceits they were engaged, when the lady
was called away to her mother. And Romeo, inquiring
who her mother was, discovered that the lady whose
peerless beauty he was so much struck with was
young Juliet, daughter and heir to the lord Capulet,



4 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the great enemy of the Mountagues; and that he
had unknowingly engaged his heart to his foe. This
troubled him, but it could not dissuade him from
loving. As little rest had Juliet, when she found that
the gentleman that she had been talking with was
Romeo and a Mountague, for she had been suddenly
smit with the same hasty and inconsiderate passion
for Romeo which he had conceived for her; and a
prodigious birth of love it seemed to her, that she
must love her enemy, and that her affections should
settle there, where family considerations should 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,
ruminating on his new love, when Juliet appeared
above at a window, through which her exceeding
beauty seemed to break like the light of the sun in
the east; and the moon, which shone in the orchard
with a faint light, appeared to Romeo as if sick and
pale with grief at the superior lustre of this new sun.
And she leaning her hand upon her cheek, he pas-
sionately wished himself a glove upon that hand, that
he might touch her cheek. She all this while thinking
herself alone, fetched a deep sigh, and exclaimed, “ Ah
me!” Romeo was enraptured to hear her speak, and
said softly, unheard by her, “Oh speak again, bright
angel, for such you appear, being over my head, like
a winged messenger from heaven whom mortals fall



ROMEO AND JULIET 5

back to gaze upon.” She, unconscious of being over-
heard, 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): “O Romeo,
Romeo!” said she, “wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name, for my sake;
or if thou wilt not, be but my sworn love, and I no
longer will be a Capulet.” Romeo, having this en-
couragement, 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 Mountague,
and wishing him some other name, or that he would
put away the hated name, and for that name, which
was no part of himself, he should take all herself. At
this loving word Romeo could no longer refrain, but
taking up the dialogue as if her words had been
addressed to him personally, and not merely in fancy,
he bade her call him Love, or by whatever other name
she pleased, for he was no longer Romeo, if that name
was displeasing to her. Juliet, alarmed to hear a
man’s voice in the garden, did not at first know who
it was, that by favour of the night and darkness had
thus stumbled upon the discovery of her secret; but
when he spoke again, though her ears had not yet
drunk a hundred words of that tongue’s uttering, yet
so nice is a lover’s hearing, that she immediately knew
him to be young Romeo, and she expostulated with
him on the danger to which he had exposed himself
by climbing the orchard walls, for if any of her kins-
men should find him there, it would be death to him,



6 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

being a Mountague. “ 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?”
“Tove directed me,” answered Romeo: “I am no
pilot, yet wert thou as far apart from me as that vast
shore which is washed with the farthest sea, I should
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 dis-
covery which she had made, yet not meaning to make
it, of her love to Romeo. She would fain have recalled
her words, but that was impossible: fain would she
have stood upon form, and have kept her lover at a
distance, as the custom of discreet ladies is, to frown
and be perverse, and give their suitors harsh denials
at first; to stand off, and affect a coyness or indiffer-
ence, where they most love, that their lovers may not
think them too lightly or too easily won: for the diffi-
culty of attainment increases the value of the object.
But there was no room in her case for denials or put-
tings off, or any of the customary arts of delay and
protractive courtship. Romeo had heard from her
own tongue, when she did not dream that he was near
her, a confession of her love. So with an honest frank-
ness, which the novelty of her situation excused, she
confirmed the truth of what he had before heard, and
addressing him by the name of fair Mountague (love



ROMEO AND JULIET 4

can sweeten a sour name), she begged him not to im-
pute her easy yielding to levity or an unworthy mind,
but that he must lay the fault of it (if it were a fault)
upon the accident of the night which had so strangely
discovered her thoughts. And she added, that though
her behaviour to him might not be sufficiently prudent,
measured by the custom of her sex, yet that she would
prove more true than many whose prudence was dis-
sembling, and their modesty artificial cunning.

Romeo was beginning to call the heavens to witness
that nothing was farther from his thoughts than to
impute a shadow of dishonour to such an honoured
lady, when she stopped him, begged him not to swear,
for although she joyed in him, yet she had no joy of
that night’s contract; it was too rash, too unadvised,
too sudden. But he being urgent with her to exchange
a vow of love with him that night, she said that she
already had given him hers before he requested it;
meaning, when he overheard her confession; but she
would retract what she then bestowed, for the pleasure
of giving it again, for her bounty was as infinite as the
sea, and her love as deep. From this loving conference
she was called away by her nurse, who slept with her,
and thought it time for her to be in bed, for it was near
to daybreak ; but hastily returning, she said three or
four words more to Romeo, the purport of which was,
that if his love was indeed honourable, and his purpose
marriage, she would send a messenger to him to-
morrow, to appoint a time for their marriage, when she
would lay all her fortunes at his feet, and follow him
as her lord through the world. While they were



8 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 his eyes
and hands in a sort of wonder at the sudden change
in Romeo’s affections, for he had been privy to all
Romeo’s love for Rosaline, and his many complaints
of her disdain ; and he said that young men’s love lay
not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes. But
Romeo replying that he himself had often chidden
him for doting on Rosaline, who could not love him



ROMEO AND JULIET 9

again, whereas Juliet both loved and was beloved by
him, the friar assented in some measure to his reasons ;
and thinking that a matrimonial alliance between
young Juliet and Romeo might happily be the means
of making up the long breach between the Capulets
and the Mountagues—which no one more lamented
than this good friar, who was a friend to both the
families, and had often interposed his 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 con-
sented to join their hands in marriage.

Now was Romeo blessed indeed, and Juliet, who knew
his intent from a messenger which she had despatched
according to promise, did not fail to be early at the
cell of friar Lawrence, where their hands were joined in
holy marriage; the good friar praying the heavens to
smile upon that act, and in the union of this young
Mountague and young Capulet to bury the old strife
and long dissensions of their families.

The ceremony being over, Juliet hastened home,
where she stayed impatient for the coming of night, at
which time Romeo promised to come and meet her in
the orchard, where they had met the night before; and
the time between seemed as tedious to her, as the
night before some great festival seems to an 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,
were met by a party of Capulets with the impetuous



10 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Tybalt at their head. This was the same angry Tybalt
who would have fought with Romeo at old lord
Capulet’s feast. He seeing Mercutio, accused him
bluntly of associating with Romeo, a Mountague.
Mercutio, who had as much fire and youthful blood
in him as Tybalt, replied to his accusation with some
sharpness; and in spite of all Benvolio could say to
moderate their wrath, a quarrel was beginning, when
Romeo himself passing that way, the fierce Tybalt
turned from Mercutio to Romeo, and gave him the
disgraceful appellation of villain. Romeo wished to
avoid a quarrel with Tybalt above all men, because
he was the kinsman of Juliet, and much beloved
by her; besides, this young Mountague had never
thoroughly entered into the family quarrel, being
by nature wise and gentle, and the name of a
Capulet, which was his dear lady’s name, was now
rather a charm to allay resentment than a watchword
to excite fury. So he tried to reason with Tybalt,
whom he saluted mildly by the name of good Capulet,
as if he, though a Mountague, had some secret pleasure
in uttering that name: but Tybalt, who hated all
Mountagues as he hated hell, would hear no reason,
but drew his weapon; and Mercutio, who knew not
of Romeo’s secret motive for desiring peace with
Tybalt, but looked upon his present forbearance as
a sort of calm dishonourable submission, with many
disdainful words provoked Tybalt to the prosecution
of his first quarrel with him; and Tybalt and Mercutio
fought, till Mercutio fell, receiving his death’s wound
while Romeo and Benvolio were vainly endeavouring



ROMEO AND JULIET 11

to part the combatants. Mercutio being dead, Romeo
kept his temper no longer, but returned the scornful
appellation of villain which Tybalt had given him; and
they fought till Tybalt was slain by Romeo. This
deadly broil falling out in the midst of Verona at
noonday, the news of it quickly brought a crowd of
citizens to the spot, and among them the old lords
Capulet and Mountague, with their wives; and soon
after arrived the prince himself, who being related to
Mercutio, whom Tybalt had slain, and having had the
peace of his government often disturbed by these
brawls of Mountagues and Capulets, came determined
to put the law in strictest force against those who
should be found to be offenders. Benvolio, who had
been eye-witness 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 Benvolio’s representation, who being
Romeo’s friend, and a Mountague, spoke partially.
Thus she pleaded against her new son-in-law; but
she knew not yet that he was her son-in-law, and
Juliet’s husband. On the other hand was to be seen
lady Mountague pleading for her child’s life, and
arguing with some justice that Romeo had done
nothing worthy of punishment in taking the life of
Tybalt, which was already forfeited to the law by his



12 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

having slain Mercutio. The prince, unmoved by the
passionate exclamations of these women, on a careful
examination of the facts pronounced his sentence, and
by that sentence Romeo was banished from Verona.

Heavy news to young Juliet, who had been but a
few hours a bride, and now by this decree seemed
everlastingly divorced! When the tidings reached
her, she at first gave way to rage against Romeo,
who had slain her dear cousin: she called him a
beautiful tyrant, a fiend angelical, a ravenous dove,
a lamb with a wolf’s nature, a serpent-heart hid with
‘a flowering face, and other like contradictory names,
which denoted the struggles in her mind between
her love and her resentment; but in the end love
got the mastery, and the tears which she shed for
grief that Romeo had slain her cousin, turned to
drops of joy that her husband lived, whom Tybalt
would have slain. Then came fresh tears, and they
were altogether of grief for Romeo’s banishment.
That word was more terrible to her than the death
of many Tybalts.

Romeo, after the fray, had taken refuge in friar
Lawrence’s cell, where he was first made acquainted
with the prince’s 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 applied
the consolation of philosophy to his griefs; but this
frantic young man would hear of none, but like a



ROMEO AND JULIET 13

madman he tore his hair, and threw himself all
along upon the ground, as he said, to take the
measure of his grave. From this unseemly state he
was roused by a message from his dear lady, which
a little revived him, and then the friar took the
advantage to expostulate with him on the unmanly
weakness which he had shown. He had slain Tybalt,
but 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 banish-
ment. He had slain Tybalt, but Tybalt would have
slain him: there was a sort of happiness in that.
Juliet was alive, and (beyond all hope) had become
his dear wife, wherein he was most happy. All these
blessings, as the friar made them out to be, did Romeo
put from him like a sullen, misbehaved wench. And
the friar bade him beware, for such as despaired (he
said) died miserable. Then when Romeo was a little
calmed, he counselled him that he should go that
night and secretly take his leave of Juliet, and thence
proceed straightways to Mantua, at which place he
should sojourn till the friar found a fit occasion to
publish his marriage, which might be a joyful means
of reconciling their families; and then he did not doubt
but the prince would be moved to pardon him, and he
would return with twenty times more joy than he went
forth with grief. Romeo was convinced by these wise
counsels of the friar, and took his leave to go and seek



14 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 him
letters from time to time, acquainting him with the
state of affairs at home.

That night Romeo passed with his dear wife, gain-
ing secret admission to her chamber from the orchard
in which he had heard her confession of love the
night before. That had been a night of unmixed
joy and rapture; but the pleasures of this night,
and the delight which these lovers took in each
' other’s society, were sadly allayed with the prospect
of parting, and the fatal adventures of the past day.
The unwelcome daybreak seemed to come too soon,
and when Juliet heard the morning song of the lark,
she would fain have persuaded herself that it was the
nightingale, which sings by night ; but it was too truly
the lark which sung, and a discordant and unpleasing
note it seemed to her; and the streaks of day in the
east too certainly pointed out that it was time for these
lovers to part. Romeo took his leave of his dear wife
with a heavy heart, promising to write to her from
Mantua every hour in the day; and when he had
descended from her chamber-window, as he stood
below her on the ground, in that sad foreboding
state of mind in which she was, he appeared to her
eyes as one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Romeo’s
mind misgave him in like manner; but now he was
forced hastily to depart, for it was death for him to
be found within the walls of Verona after day-
break,



ROMEO AND JULIET 15

This was but the beginning of the tragedy of this
pair of star-crossed lovers. Romeo had not been gone
many days, before the old lord Capulet proposed a
match for Juliet. (The husband he had chosen for
her, not dreaming that she was married already, was
count Paris, a gallant, young, and noble gentleman,
no unworthy suitor to the young Juliet, if she had
never seen Romeo.

The terrified Juliet was in a sad perplexity at her
father’s offer. She pleaded her youth unsuitable to
marriage, the recent death of Tybalt, which had left
her spirits too weak to meet a husband with any face
of joy, and how indecorous it would show for the
family of the Capulets to be celebrating a nuptial-
feast, when his funeral solemnities were hardly over ;
she pleaded every reason against the match, but the
true one, namely, that she was married already. But
lord Capulet was deaf to all her excuses, and in a per-
emptory manner ordered her to get ready, for by the
following Thursday she should be married to Paris;
and having found her a husband, rich, young, and
noble, such as the proudest maid in Verona might
joyfully accept, he could not bear that out of an
affected coyness, as he construed her denial, she should
oppose obstacles to her own good fortune.

In this extremity Juliet applied to the friendly friar,
always her counsellor in distress, and he asking her
if she had resolution to undertake a desperate remedy,
and she answering that she would go into the grave
alive, rather than marry Paris, her own dear husband
living; he directed her to go home, and appear merry,



16 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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-and-forty hours after drinking
it she should appear cold and lifeless; that when the
bridegroom came to fetch her in the morning, he
would find her to appearance dead; that then she
would be borne, as the manner in that country was,
uncovered, on a bier, to be buried in the family vault ;
that if she could put off womanish fear, and consent
to this terrible trial, in forty-two hours after swallow-
ing the liquid (such was its certain operation) she would
be sure to awake, as from a dream; and before she
should awake, he would let her husband know their
drift, and he should come in the night, and bear her
thence to Mantua. Love, and the dread of marrying
Paris, gave young Juliet strength to undertake this
horrible adventure; and she took the phial of the
friar, promising to observe his directions.

Going from the monastery, she met the young count
Paris, and modestly dissembling, promised to become
his bride. This was joyful news to the lord Capulet
and his wife. It seemed to put youth into the old
man ; and Juliet, who had displeased him exceedingly
by her refusal of the count, was his darling again, now
she promised to be obedient. All things in the house
were in a bustle against the approaching nuptials. No
cost was spared to prepare such festival rejoicings, as

_ Verona had never before witnessed.

On the Wednesday night Juliet drank off the



ROMEO AND JULIET 17

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 haunting the
places where their bodies were bestowed. But then
her love for Romeo, and her aversion for Paris, re-
turned, and she desperately swallowed the draught,
and became insensible.

When young Paris came early in the morning with
music, to awaken his bride, instead of a living Juliet,
her chamber presented the dreary spectacle of a lifeless
corse. What death to his hopes! What confusion
then reigned through the whole house! Poor Paris
lamenting his bride, whom most detestable death had
beguiled him of, had divorced from him even before
their hands were joined. But still more piteous it was
to hear the mournings of the old lord and lady
Capulet, who having but this one, one poor loving
child to rejoice and solace in, cruel death had snatched
her from their sight, just as these careful parents were
on the point of seeing her advanced (as they thought)
by a promising and 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
B



18 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

bridal hymns were changed to sullen dirges, the
sprightly instruments to melancholy bells, and the
flowers that should have been strewed in the bride’s
path, now served but to strew her corse. Now instead
of a priest to marry her, a priest was needed to bury
her; and she was borne to church indeed, not to
augment the cheerful hopes of the living, but to swell
the dreary numbers of the dead.

Bad news, which always travels faster than good,
now brought the dismal story of his J uliet’s death to
Romeo at Mantua, before the messenger could arrive,
who was sent from friar Lawrence to apprise him that
these were mock funerals only, and but the shadow and
representation of death, and that his dear lady lay in
the tomb but for a short while, expecting when Romeo
should come to release her from that dreary mansion.
Just before, Romeo had been unusually joyful and
light-hearted. He had dreamed in the night that he
was dead (a strange dream, that gave a dead man leave
to think), and that his lady came and found him dead,
and breathed such life with kisses in his lips, that he
revived, and was an emperor! And now that a
messenger came from Verona, he thought surely it was
to confirm some good news which his dreams had
presaged. But when the contrary to this flattering
vision appeared, and that it was his lady who was dead
in truth, whom he could not revive by any kisses, he
ordered horses to be got ready, for he determined that
night to visit Verona, and to see his lady in her tomb.
And as mischief is swift to enter into the thoughts of
desperate men, he called to mind a poor apothecary,



ROMEO AND JULIET 19

whose shop in Mantua he had lately passed, and from
the beggarly appearance of the man, who seemed fam-
ished, and the wretched show in his 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 conclusion so desperate), “If
a man were to need poison, which by the law of Mantua
it is death to sell, here lives a poor wretch who would
sell it him.” These words of his now came into his
mind, and he sought out the apothecary, who after |
some pretended scruples, Romeo offering him gold
which his poverty could not resist, sold him a poison,
which, if he swallowed, he told. him, if he had the
strength of twenty men, would quickly despatch him.
With this poison he set out for Verona, to have a
sight of his dear lady in her tomb, meaning, when he
had satisfied his sight, to swallow the poison, and be
buried by her side. He reached Verona at midnight,
and found the churchyard, in the midst of which was
situated the ancient tomb of the Capulets. He had
provided a light, and a spade, and wrenching iron, and
was proceeding to break open the monument, when he
was interrupted by a voice, which by the name of vile
Mountague, bade him desist from his unlawful business.
It was the young count Paris, who had come to the
tomb of Juliet at that unseasonable time of night, to
strew flowers, and to weep over the grave of her that
should have been his bride. He knew not what an
interest Romeo had in the dead, but knowing him to
be a Mountague, and (as he supposed) a sworn foe to



20 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

all the Capulets, he judged that he was come by
night to do some villainous shame to the dead bodies ;
therefore in angry tone he bade him desist; and as a
criminal, condemned by the laws of Verona to die if he
were found within the walls of the city, he would have
apprehended him. Romeo urged Paris to leave him,
and warned him by the fate of Tybalt, who lay buried
there, not to provoke his anger, or draw down another
sin upon his head, by forcing him to killhim. But the
count in scorn refused his warning, and laid hands on
_ him as a felon, which Romeo resisting they fought, and
Paris fell. When Romeo, by the help of a light, came
to see who it was that he had slain, that it was Paris,
who (he learned in his way from Mantua) should have
married Juliet, he took the dead youth by the hand, as
one whom misfortune had made a companion, and said
that he would bury him in a triumphal grave, meaning
in Juliet’s grave, which he now opened: and there lay
his lady, as one whom Death had no power upon to
change a feature or complexion in her matchless beauty,
or as if Death were amorous, and the lean abhorred
monster kept her there for his delight ; for she lay yet
fresh and blooming, as she had fallen to sleep when she
swallowed that benumbing potion: and near her lay
Tybalt in his bloody shroud, whom Romeo seeing,
begged pardon of his lifeless corse, and for Juliet’s
sake called him cousin, and said that he was about to
do him a favour by putting his enemy to death. Here
Romeo took his last leave of his lady’s lips, kissing
them ; and here he shook the burden of his cross stars
from his weary body, swallowing that poison which the



ROMEO AND JULIET Q1

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 ex-
piring, and she about to wake to complain that
Romeo had not kept his time, or that he had come too
soon.

For now the hour was arrived at which the friar
had promised that she should awake; and he, having
learned that his letters which he had sent to Mantua,
by some unlucky detention of the messenger, had never
reached Romeo, came himself, provided with a pickaxe
and lantern, to deliver the lady from her confinement ;
but he was surprised to find a light already burning
in the Capulets’ monument, and to see swords and
blood neay 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 a greater power
than they could contradict had thwarted their intents,
and being frighted by the noise of people coming he
fled; but when Juliet saw the cup closed in her true
lover’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,



22 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

she quickly unsheathed a dagger which she wore, and
stabbing herself, died by her true Romeo’s side.

The watch by this time had come up to the place.
A page belonging to count Paris, who had witnessed
the fight between his master and Romeo, had given
the alarm, which had spread among the citizens, who
went up and down the streets of Verona confusedly,
exclaiming, a Paris, a Romeo, a Juliet, as the rumour
had imperfectly reached them, till the uproar brought
lord Mountague and lord Capulet out of their beds,

‘with the prince, to inquire into the causes of the dis-
turbance. The friar had been apprehended by some
of the watch, coming from the churchyard, trembling,
sighing, and weeping, in a suspicious manner. A great
multitude being assembled at the Capulets’ monument,
the friar was demanded by the prince to deliver what
he knew of these strange and disastrous accidents.

And there, in the presence of the old lords Moun-
tague and Capulet, he faithfully related the story of
their children’s fatal love, the part he took in pro-
moting their marriage in the hope in that union to
end the long quarrels between their families: how
Romeo, there dead, was husband to Juliet; and Juliet,
there dead, was Romeo’s faithful wife : how, before he
could find a fit opportunity to divulge their marriage,
another match was projected for Juliet, who, to avoid
the crime of a second marriage, swallowed the sleeping
draught (as he advised), and all thought her dead:
how meantime he wrote to Romeo, to come and take
her thence when the force of the potion should cease,
and by what unfortunate miscarriage of the messenger



ROMEO AND JULIET 23

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 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 monument, to die, and lie with Juliet. All these
circumstances agreed together to clear the friar from
any hand he could be supposed to have had in these
complicated slaughters, further than as the unintended
consequences of his own well-meant, yet too artificial
and subtle contrivances.

And the prince, turning to these old lords, Moun-
tague and Capulet, rebuked them for their brutal and
irrational enmities, and showed them what a scourge
heaven had laid upon such offences, that it had found
means even through the love of their children to punish
their unnatural hate. And these old rivals, no longer
enemies, agreed to bury their long strife in their
children’s graves; and lord Capulet requested lord
Mountague to give him his hand, calling him by the
name of brother, as if in acknowledgment of the union
of their families by the marriage of the young Capulet
and Mountague; and saying that lord Mountague’s



24 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

hand (in token of reconcilement) was all he demanded
for his daughter’s jointure: but lord Mountague said
he would give him more, for he would raise her a statue
of pure gold, that while Verona kept its name, no figure
should be so esteemed for its richness and workman-
ship as that of the true and faithful Juliet. And lord
Capulet in return said that he would raise another
statue to Romeo. So did these poor old lords, when
it was too late, strive to outgo each other in mutual
courtesies: while so deadly had been their rage and
enmity in past times, that nothing but the fearful
overthrow of their children (poor sacrifices to their
quarrels and dissensions) could remove the rooted hates
and jealousies of the noble families.



KING LEAR

Lear, King of Britain, had three daughters: Gonerill,
wife to the Duke of Albany; Regan, wife to the Duke
of Cornwall; and Cordelia, a young maid, for whose
love the King of France and Duke of Burgundy were
joint suitors, and were at this time making stay for
that purpose in the court of Lear.

The old king, worn out with age and the fatigues
of government, he being more than fourscore years old,
determined to take no further part in state affairs, but
to leave the management to younger strengths, that he
might have time to prepare for death, which must at
no long period ensue. With this intent he called his
three daughters to him, to know from their own lips
which of them loved him best, that he might part
his kingdom among them in such proportions as their
affection for him should seem to deserve.

Gonerill, the eldest, declared that she loved her
father more than words could give out, that he was
dearer to her than the light of her own eyes, dearer
than life and liberty, with a deal of such professing
stuff, which is easy to counterfeit where there is no
real love, only a few fine words delivered with confi-
dence being wanted in that case. The king, delighted
to hear from her own mouth this assurance of her



26 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

love, and thinking truly that her heart went with it,
in a fit of fatherly fondness bestowed upon her and her
husband one-third of his ample kingdom.

Then calling to him his second daughter, he de-
manded 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 dead, in com-
parison 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 hand-
some assurances which Regan had made, than bestow
a third of his kingdom upon her and her husband,
equal in size to that which he had already given away
to Gonerill.

Then turning to his youngest daughter Cordelia,
whom he called his joy, he asked what she had to
say, thinking, no doubt, that she would glad his ears
with the same loving speeches which her sisters had
uttered, or rather that her expressions would be so
much stronger than theirs, as she had always been his
darling, and favoured by him above either of them.
But Cordelia, disgusted with the flattery of her sisters,
whose hearts she knew were far from their lips, and
seeing that all their coaxing speeches were only in-
tended to wheedle the old king out of his dominions,
that they and their husbands might reign in his life-
time, made no other reply but this, that she loved



KING LEAR Q7

his majesty according to her duty, neither more nor
less.

The king, shocked with this appearance of ingrati-
tude in his favourite child, desired her to consider
her words, and to mend her speech, lest it should
mar her fortune.

Cordelia then told her father, that he was her father,
that he had given her breeding, and loved her, that
she returned those duties back as was most fit, and
did obey him, love him, and most honour him; but
that she could not frame her mouth to such large
speeches as her sisters had done, or promise to love
nothing else in the world. Why had her sisters hus-
bands, if (as they said) they had no love for anything
but their father? If she should ever wed, she was sure
the lord to whom she gave her hand would want half
her love, half of her care and duty; she should never
marry, like her sisters, to love her father all.

Cordelia, who in earnest loved her old father even
almost as extravagantly as her sisters pretended to do,
would have plainly told him so at any other time,
in more daughter-like and loving terms, and without
these qualifications which did indeed sound a little
ungracious; but after the crafty, flattering speeches of
her sisters, which she had seen draw such extravagant
rewards, she thought the handsomest thing she could
do was to love and be silent. This put her affection
out of suspicion of mercenary ends, and showed that
she loved, but not for gain; and that her professions,
the less ostentatious they were, had so much the more
of truth and sincerity than her sisters’,



28 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 reserved for Cordelia, and
gave it away from her, sharing it equally between her
two sisters and their husbands, the dukes of Albany

-and Cornwall, whom he now called to him, and, in
presence of all his courtiers, bestowing a coronet
between them, invested them jointly with all the
power, revenue, and execution of government, only
retaining to himself the name of king; all the rest of
royalty he resigned, with this reservation, that himself,
with a hundred knights for his attendants, was to be
maintained by monthly course in each of his daughters’
palaces in turn.

So preposterous a disposal of his kingdom, so little
guided by reason, and so much by passion, filled all
his courtiers with astonishment and sorrow; but none
of them had the courage to interpose between this
incensed king and his wrath, except the Earl of Kent,
who was beginning to speak a good word for Cordelia,
when the passionate Lear, on pain of death, com-
manded him to desist; but the good Kent was not
so to be repelled. He had been ever loyal to Lear,
whom he had honoured as a king, loved as a father,
followed as a master, and had never esteemed his



KING LEAR 29

life further than as a pawn to wage against his royal
master’s enemies, nor feared to lose it when Leav’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 coun-
sellor, in times past, to the king, and he besought
him now that he would see with his eyes (as he had
done in many weighty matters), and go by his advice
still; and in his best consideration recall this hideous
rashness, for he would answer with his life his judg-
ment that Lear’s youngest daughter did not love him
least, nor were those empty-hearted whose low sound
gave no token of hollowness. When power bowed
to flattery, honour was bound to plainness. For
Lear’s threats, what could he do to him, whose life
was already at his service? ‘That should not hinder
duty from speaking.

The honest freedom of this good Earl of Kent only
stirred up the king’s wrath the more, and like a frantic
patient who kills his physician, and loves his mortal
disease, he banished this true servant, and allotted
him but five days to make his preparations for de-
parture; but if on the sixth his hated person was
found within the realm of Britain, that moment was
to be his death. And Kent bade farewell to the
king, and said, that since he chose to show himself
in such fashion, it was but banishment to stay there ;
and before he went, he recommended Cordelia to the
protection of the gods, the maid who had so rightly



30 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

thought, and so discreetly spoken; and only wished
that her sisters’ large speeches might be answered
with deeds of love: and then he went, as he said, to
shape his old course to a new country.

The King of France and Duke of Burgundy were
now called in to hear the determination of Lear about
his youngest daughter, and to know whether they
would persist in their courtship to Cordelia, now that
she was under her father’s displeasure, and had no
fortune but her own person to recommend her; and
the Duke of Burgundy declined the match, and would
not take her to wife upon such conditions; but the
King of France, understanding what the nature of the
fault had been which had lost her the love of her
father, that it was only a tardiness of speech, and
the not being able to frame her tongue to flattery
like her sisters, took this young maid by the hand,
and, saying that her virtues were a dowry aboye a
kingdom, bade Cordelia to take farewell of her sisters,
and of her father, though he had been unkind, and
she should go with him, and be queen of him and
of fair France, and reign over fairer possessions than
her sisters; and he called the Duke of Burgundy,
in contempt, a waterish duke, because his love for
this young maid had in a moment run all away like
water.

Then Cordelia with weeping eyes took leave of her
sisters, and besought them to love their father well,
and make good their professions; and they sullenly
told her not to prescribe to them, for they knew their
duty; but to strive to content her husband, who had



KING LEAR 31

taken her (as they tauntingly expressed it) as Fortune’s
alms. And Cordelia with a heavy heart departed, for
she knew the cunning of her sisters, and she wished
her father in better hands than she was about to leave
him in.

Cordelia was no sooner gone, than the devilish dis-
position of her sisters began to show themselves in
their true colours. Even before the expiration of the
first month, which Lear was to spend by agreement
with his eldest daughter Gonerill, the old king began
to find out the difference between promises and per-
formances. This wretch having got from her father
all that he had to bestow, even to the giving away of
the crown from off his head, began to grudge even
those small remnants of royalty which the old man
had reserved to himself, to please his fancy with the
idea of being still a king. She could not bear to see
him and his hundred knights. Every time she met
her father she put on a frowning countenance ; and
when the old man wanted to speak with her, she would
feign sickness, or anything to be rid of the sight of
him; for it was plain that she esteemed his old age
a useless burden, and his attendants an unnecessary
expense: not only she herself slackened in her expres-
sions of duty to the king, but by her example, and
(it is to be feared) not without her private instructions,
her very servants affected to treat him with neglect,
and would either refuse to obey his orders, or still
more contemptuously pretend not to hear them. Lear
could not but perceive this alteration in the behaviour
of his daughter, but he shut his eyes against it as long



32 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

as he could, as people commonly are unwilling to be-
lieve the unpleasant consequences which their own
mistakes and obstinacy have brought upon them.

True love and fidelity are no more to be estranged
by il, than falsehood and hollow-heartedness can be
conciliated by good usage. This eminently appears
in the instance of the good Earl of Kent, who, though
banished by Lear, and his life made forfeit if he were
found in Britain, chose to stay and abide all conse-
quences, as long as there was a chance of his being
. useful to the king his master. See to what mean
shifts and disguises 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 obliga-
tion! In the disguise of a serving-man, all his great-
ness 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 sus-
pecting him to be his once great favourite, the high
and mighty Earl of Kent.

This Caius quickly found means to show his fidelity
and love to his royal master; for Gonerill’s steward
that same day, behaving in a disrespectful manner to
Lear, and giving him saucy looks and language, as no
doubt he was secretly encouraged to do by his mis-



KING LEAR 33

tress, Caius not enduring to hear so open an affront
put upon majesty, made no more ado, but presently
tripped up his heels, and laid the unmannerly slave
in the kennel; for which friendly service Lear became
more and more attached to him.

Nor was Kent the only friend Lear had. In his
degree, and as far as so insignificant a personage could
show his love, the poor fool, or jester, that had been
of his palace while Lear had a palace, as it was the
custom of kings and great personages at that time
to keep a fool (as he was called) to make them sport
after serious business; this poor fool clung to Lear
after he had given away his crown, and by his witty
sayings would keep up his good humour, though he
could not refrain sometimes from jeering at his master,
for his imprudence, in uncrowning himself, and giving
all away to his daughters: at which time, as he rhym-
ingly expressed it, these daughters—

For sudden joy did weep,
And he for sorrow sung,

That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.

And in such wild sayings, and scraps of songs, of
which he had plenty, this pleasant, honest fool poured
out his heart, even in the presence of Gonerill 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

c



34 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to go behind, now ranked before their father); and
that Lear was no longer Lear, but the shadow of Lear:
for which free speeches he was once or twice threatened
to be whipped.

The coolness and falling off of respect which Lear
had begun to perceive, were not all which this foolish
fond father was to suffer from his unworthy daughter :
she now plainly told him that his staying in her palace
was inconvenient so long as he insisted upon keeping
up an establishment of a hundred knights: that this
establishment was useless and expensive, and only

‘served to fill her court with riot and feastings; and
she prayed him that he would lessen their number, and
keep none but old men about him, such as 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
behaviour and sobriety of manners, skilled in all
particulars of duty, and not 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.



KING LEAR 35

And he cursed his eldest daughter Gonerill so as was
terrible to hear: praying that she might never have a
child, or if she had, that it might live to return that
scorn and contempt upon her which she had shown to
him: that she might feel how sharper than a serpent’s
tooth it was to have a thankless child. And Gonerill’s
husband, the Duke of Albany, beginning to excuse
himself for any share which Lear might suppose he had
in the unkindness, Lear would not hear him out, but in
a rage ordered his horses to be saddled, and set out
with his followers for the abode of Regan, his other
daughter. And Lear thought to himself how small
the fault of Cordelia (if it was a fault) now appeared, in
comparison with her sister’s, and he wept; and then he
was ashamed that such a creature as Gonerill should
have so much power over his manhood as to make him
weep.

Regan and her husband were keeping their court
in great pomp and state at their palace: and Lear 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 Gonerill
had been beforehand with him, sending letters also to
Regan, accusing her father of waywardness and ill
humours, and advising her not to receive so great a
train as he was bringing with him. This messenger
arrived at the same time with Caius, and Caius and he
met; and who should it be but Caius’s old enemy the
steward, whom he had formerly tripped up by the
heels for his saucy behaviour to Lear. Caius not liking
the fellow’s look, and suspecting what he came for,



36 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

began to revile him, and challenged him to fight,
which the fellow refusing, Caius, in a fit of honest
passion, beat him soundly, as such a mischief-maker and
carrier of wicked messages deserved; which, coming
to the ears of Regan and her husband, they ordered
Caius to be put in the stocks, though he was a mes-
senger 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

. situation.

This was but a bad omen of the reception which
he was to expect; but a worse followed, when upon
inquiry for his daughter and her husband, he was told
they were weary with 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 Gonerill, who had come to tell her own story,
and set her sister against the king her father!

This sight much moved the old man, and still more
to see Regan take her by the hand: and he asked
Gonerill if she was not ashamed to look upon his old
white beard. And Regan advised him to go home
again with Gonerill and live with her peaceably, dis-
missing half of his attendants, and to ask her forgive-
ness; 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



KING LEAR 37

argued against such an unnatural dependence, declar-
ing his resolution never to return with her, but to stay
where he was with Regan, he and his hundred knights :
for he said that she had not forgot the half of the
kingdom which he had endowed her with, and that her
eyes were not fierce like Gonerill’s, but mild and kind.
And he said that rather than return to Gonerill with
half his train cut off, he would go over to France,
and beg a wretched pension of the king there,
who had married his youngest daughter without a
portion.

But he was mistaken in expecting kinder treatment
of Regan than he had experienced from her sister
Gonerill. As if willing to outdo her sister in unfilial
behaviour, she declared that she thought fifty knights
too many to wait upon him: that five-and-twenty were
enough. Then Lear, nigh heart-broken, turned to Gon-
erill, and said that he would go back with her, for her
fifty doubled five-and-twenty, and so her love was twice
as much as Regan’s. But Gonerill excused herself, and
said, what need of so many as five-and-twenty? or even
ten? or five? when he might be waited upon by her
servants, or her sisters’ servants? So these two wicked
daughters, as if they strove to exceed each other in
cruelty to their old father who had been so good to
them, by little and little would have abated him of all
his train, all respect (little enough for him that once
commanded a kingdom), which was left him to show
that he had once been a king! Not that a splendid
train is essential to happiness, but from a king to a
beggar is a hard change, from commanding millions to



38 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 vexation for having so foolishly given
away a kingdom, his wits began to be unsettled, and
while he said he knew not what, he vowed revenge
against those unnatural hags, and to make examples
of them that should be a terror to the earth !

While he was thus idly threatening what his weak
arm could never execute, night came on, and a loud
storm of thunder and lightning with rain; and his
daughters still persisting in their resolution not to
admit his followers, he called for his horses, and chose
rather to encounter the utmost fury of the storm abroad,
than stay under the same roof with these ungrateful
daughters; and they, saying that the injuries which
wilful men procure to themselves are their just punish-
ment, suffered him to go in that condition, and shut
their doors upon him.

The winds were high, and the rain and storm in-
creased, when the old man sallied forth to combat with
the elements, less sharp than his daughters’ unkindness.
For many miles about there was scarce a bush; and
there upon a heath, exposed to the fury of the storm
in a dark night, did King Lear wander out, and defy
the winds and the thunder: and he bid the winds to
blow the earth into the sea, or swell the waves of the
sea, till they drowned the earth, that no token might
remain of any such ungrateful animal as man. The old
king was now left with no other companion than the



KING LEAR 39

poor fool, who still abided with him, with his merry
conceits striving to outjest misfortune, saying, it was
but a naughty night to swim in, and truly the king
had better go in and ask his daughter’s blessing—

But he that hath a little tiny wit,

With heigh ho, the wind and the rain !

Must make content with his fortunes fit,

Though the rain it raineth every day:
and swearing it was a brave night to cool a lady’s
pride.

Thus poorly accompanied, this once great monarch
was found by his ever-faithful servant the good Earl of
Kent, now 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 nature cannot endure the aftlic-
tion or the fear.” And Lear rebuked him and said,
these lesser evils were not felt, where a greater malady
was fixed. When the mind is at ease, the body has
leisure to be delicate ; but the tempest in his mind did
take all feeling else from his senses, but of that which
beat at his heart. And he spoke of filial ingratitude,
and said it was all one as if the mouth should tear the
hand for lifting food to it; for parents were hands and
food and everything to children.

But the good Caius still persisting in his entreaties
that the king would not stay out in the open air, at
last persuaded him to enter a little wretched hovel
which stood upon the heath, where the fool first enter-



40 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ing, suddenly ran back terrified, saying that he had
seen a spirit. But upon examination this spirit proved
to be nothing more than a poor Bedlam beggar, who
had crept into this deserted hovel for shelter, and with
his talk about devils frighted the fool; one of those
poor lunatics who are either mad, or feign to be so, the
better to extort charity from the compassionate country-
people, who go about the country, calling themselves
poor Tom and poor Turlygood, saying “Who gives
anything to poor Tom ?” sticking pins, and nails, and
sprigs of rosemary into their arms to make them bleed ;
and with such horrible actions, partly by prayers, and
partly with lunatic curses, they move or terrify the
ignorant country-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 wretchedness but the having unkind
daughters.

And from this and many such wild speeches which
he uttered, the good Caius plainly perceived that he
was not in his perfect mind, but that his daughters’ ill-
usage had really made him go mad. And now the
loyalty of this worthy Earl of Kent showed itself in more
essential services than he had hitherto found opportu-
nity 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



KING LEAR 41

castle of Dover, where his own friends and influence, as
Earl of Kent, chiefly lay; and himself embarking for
France, hastened to the court of Cordelia, and did
there in such moving terms represent the pitiful condi-
tion of her royal father, and set out in such lively
colours 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 England with a sufficient power to subdue these
daughters and their husbands, and restore the king her
father to his throne; which being granted, she set
forth, and with a royal army landed at Dover.

Lear having by some chance escaped from the
guardians which the good Earl of Kent had put over
him to take care of him in his lunacy, was found by
some of Cordelia’s train, wandering about the fields
near Dover, in a pitiable condition, stark mad and
singing aloud to himself, with a crown upon his head
which he had made of straw, and nettles, and other
wild weeds that he had picked up in the corn-fields.
By the advice of the physicians, Cordelia, though
earnestly desirous of seeing her father, was prevailed
upon to put off the meeting, till, by sleep and the
operation of herbs which they gave him, he should be re-
stored to greater composure. By the aid of these skilful
physicians, to whom Cordelia promised all her gold and
jewels for the recovery of the old king, Lear was soon
in a condition to see his daughter.

A tender sight it was to see the meeting between
this father and daughter: to see the struggles between
the joy of this poor old king at beholding again his



42 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

once darling child, and the shame at receiving such
filial kindness from her whom he had cast off for so
small a fault in his displeasure; both these passions
struggling with the remains of his malady, which in his
half-crazed brain sometimes made him that he scarce
remembered where he was, or who it was that so kindly
kissed him and spoke to him: and then he would beg
the standers-by not to laugh at him, if he were mis-
taken 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 himself. And she told her
father how she had come from France with purpose to
bring him assistance ; and he said that she must forget
and forgive, for he was old and foolish, and did not know
what he did; but that to be sure she had great cause
not to love him, but her sisters had none. And Cor-
delia 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



SA : aL)

MESSI». : g ‘ OFS Hee Ny
BEN NYS". ( WV)
ea WO og 5} t (Sox SS if:

SS 5 G Bos ,



KING LEAR RECOGNISING CORDELIA AFTER HIS MADNESS.



KING LEAR 43

succeeded in winding up the untuned and jarring senses
which the cruelty of his other daughters had so violently
shaken. Let us return to say a word or two about
those cruel daughters.

These monsters of ingratitude, who had been so false
to their own father, could not be expected to prove
more faithful to their own husbands. ‘They soon grew
tired of paying even the appearance of duty and affec-
tion, and in an open way showed they had fixed their
loves upon another. It happened that the object of their
guilty loves was the same. It was Edmund, a natural
son of the late Earl of Gloucester, who by his treach-
eries had succeeded in disinheriting his brother Edgar,
the lawful heir, from his earldom, and by his wicked
practices was now earl himself: a wicked man, and a
fit object for the love of such wicked creatures as Gon-
erill and Regan. It falling out about this time that
the Duke of Cornwall, Regan’s husband, died, Regan
immediately declared her intention of wedding this
Earl of Gloucester, which rousing the jealousy of her
sister, to whom as well as to Regan this wicked earl had
at sundry times professed love, Gonerill found means
to make away with her sister by poison ; but being de-
tected in her practices, and imprisoned by her husband
the Duke of Albany for this deed, and for her guilty
passion for the earl, which had come to his ears, she in
a fit of disappointed love and rage, shortly put an end
to her own life. Thus the justice of Heaven at last
overtook these wicked daughters.

While the eyes of all men were upon this event,
admiring the justice displayed in their deserved deaths,



44 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the same eyes were suddenly taken off from this sight
to admire at the mysterious ways of the same power in
the melancholy fate of the young and virtuous daughter,
the lady Cordelia, whose good deeds did seem to de-
serve a more fortunate conclusion; but it is an awful
_ truth, that innocence and piety are not always success-
ful in this world. The forces which Gonerill and Regan
had sent out under the command of the bad Earl of
Gloucester were victorious, and Cordelia, by the prac-
tices 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 as 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 faithful servant to the king, between age
and grief for his old master’s vexations, soon followed
him to the grave.

How the judgment of Heaven overtook the bad Earl
of Gloucester, whose treasons were discovered, and him-
self slain in single combat with his brother, the lawful
earl; and how Gonerill’s husband, the Duke of Albany,



KING LEAR 45

who was innocent of the death of Cordelia, and had
never encouraged his lady in her wicked proceedings
against her father, ascended the throne of Britain after
the death of Lear, is needless here to narrate; Lear
and his three daughters being dead, whose adventures
alone concern our story.



OTHELLO

Brazantio, the rich senator of Venice, had a fair
daughter, the gentle Desdemona. She was sought by
divers suitors, both on account of her many virtuous
qualities and for her rich expectations. But among
the suitors of her own clime and complexion she saw
none whom she could affect ; for this noble lady, who
regarded the mind more than the features of men, with
a singularity rather to be admired than imitated, had
chosen for the object of her affections, a Moor, a black,
whom her father loved, and often invited to his house.

Neither is Desdemona to be altogether condemned
for the unsuitableness of the person whom she selected
for her lover. Bating that Othello was black, the
noble Moor wanted nothing which might recommend
him to the affections of the greatest lady. He was a
soldier, and a brave one; and by his conduct in bloody
wars against the Turks had risen to the rank of general
in the Venetian service, and was esteemed and trusted
by the State.

He had been a traveller, and Desdemona (as is the
manner of ladies) loved to hear him tell the story of
his adventures, which he would run through from his
earliest recollection ; the battles, sieges, and encounters

which he had passed through ; the perils he had been
46



OTHELLO 47

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 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 the attention of Desdemona, that if
she were called off at any time by household affairs, she
would despatch with all haste that business, and return,
and with a greedy ear devour Othello’s discourse. And
once he took 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 spoke of some
distressful stroke which his youth suffered.

His story being done, she gave him for his pains a
world of sighs: she swore a pretty oath, that it was
all passing strange, and pitiful, wondrous pitiful: she
wished (she said) she had not heard it, yet she wished
that Heaven had made her such a man: and then she
thanked him, and told him, if he had a friend who
loved her, he had only to teach him how to tell his
story, and that would woo her. Upon this hint, de-
livered not with more frankness than modesty, accom-



48 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

panied with a certain bewitching prettiness, and blushes,
which Othello could not but understand, he spoke more
openly of his love, and in this golden opportunity
gained the consent of the generous lady Desdemona
privately to marry him.

Neither Othello’s colour nor his fortune were such
that it could be hoped Brabantio would accept him for
a son-in-law. He had left his daughter free; but he
did expect that, as the manner of noble Venetian ladies
was, she would choose ere long a husband of senatorial
rank or expectations: but in this he was deceived ;
Desdemona loved the Moor, though he was black, and
devoted her heart and fortunes to his valiant parts and
qualities: so was her heart subdued to an implicit
devotion to the man she had selected for a husband,
that his very colour, which to all but this discerning
lady would have proved an insurmountable objection,
was by her esteemed above all the white skins and
clear complexions of the young Venetian nobility, her
suitors.

Their marriage, which, though privately carried out,
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 pre-



OTHELLO 49

paration 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 tuned its eyes upon
Othello, who alone was deemed adequate to conduct
the defence of Cyprus against the Turks. So that
Othello, now summoned before the senate, stood in
their presence at once as a candidate for a great state
employment, and as a culprit, charged with offences
which by the laws of Venice were made capital.

The age and senatorial character of old Brabantio
commanded a most patient hearing from that grave
assembly ; but the incensed father conducted his accu-
sation with so much intemperance, producing likeli-
hoods and allegations for proofs, that, when Othello
was called upon for his defence, he had only to relate a
plain tale of the course of his love; which he did with
such an artless eloquence, recounting the whole story of
his wooing, as we have related it above, and delivered
his speech with so noble a plainness (the evidence of
truth), that the duke, who sat as chief judge, could not
help confessing, that a tale so told would have won his
daughter too: and the spells and conjurations, which
Othello had used in his 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.

This statement of Othello was confirmed by the
testimony of the lady Desdemona herself, who ap-
peared in court, and professing a duty to her father for

life and education, challenged leave of him to profess a
D



50 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 behaviour of Desdemona
would have taught him to be a tyrant, and hang clogs
on them for her desertion.

This difficulty being got over, Othello, to whom
custom had rendered the hardships of a military life
as natural as food and rest are to other men, readily
undertook the management of the wars in Cyprus :
and Desdemona, preferring the honour of her lord
(though with danger) before the indulgence of those
idle delights in which new-married people usually
waste their time, cheerfully consented to his going.

No sooner were Othello and his lady landed in
Cyprus, than news arrived, that a desperate tempest
had dispersed the Turkish fleet, and thus the island
was secure from any immediate apprehension of an
attack. But the war, which Othello was to suffer, was
now beginning; and the enemies, which malice stirred
up against his innocent lady, proved in their nature
more deadly than strangers or infidels.

Among all the general’s friends no one possessed
the confidence of Othello more entirely than Cassio.
Michael Cassio was a young soldier, a Florentine, gay,



OTHELLO 51

amorous, and of pleasing address, favourite qualities
with women; he was handsome, and eloquent, and
exactly such a person as might alarm the jealousy of
a man advanced in years (as Othello in some measure
was), who had married a young and beautiful wife ;
but Othello was as free from jealousy as he was noble,
and as incapable of suspecting, as of doing, a base
action. He had employed this Cassio in his love-
affair with Desdemona, and Cassio had been a sort of
go-between in his suit: for Othello, fearing that
himself had not these 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
honour rather than a blemish to the character of the
valiant Moor. So that no wonder, if next to Othello
himself (but at far distance, as beseems a virtuous
wife), the gentle Desdemona loved and trusted Cassio.
Nor had the marriage of this couple made any dif-
ference in their behaviour to Michael Cassio. He
frequented their house, and his free and rattling talk
was no unpleasing variety to Othello, who was him-
self of a more serious temper: for such tempers are
observed. often to delight in their contraries, as a
relief from the oppressive excess of their own; and
Desdemona and Cassio would talk and laugh together,
as in the days when he went a-courting for his friend.
Othello had lately promoted Cassio to be the lieu-
tenant, a place of trust, and nearest to the general’s
person. This promotion gave great offence to Iago,
an older officer, who thought he had a better claim



52 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

than Cassio, and would often ridicule Cassio, as a
fellow fit only for the company of ladies, and one
that knew no more of the art of war, or how to set
an army in array for battle, than a girl. Iago hated
Cassio, and he hated Othello as well for favouring
Cassio, as for an unjust suspicion, which he had lightly
taken up against Othello, that the Moor was too fond
of Iago’s wife Emilia. From these imaginary provoca-
tions, the plotting mind of Iago conceived a horrid
‘scheme of revenge, which should involve both Cassio,
the Moor, and Desdemona in one common ruin.

Iago was artful, and had studied human nature
deeply, and he knew that of all the torments which
afflict the mind of man (and far beyond bodily torture),
the pains of jealousy were the most intolerable, and
had the sorest sting. If he could succeed in making
Othello jealous of Cassio, he thought it would be an
exquisite plot of revenge, and might end in the death
of Cassio or Othello, or both; he cared not.

The arrival of the general and his lady in Cyprus,
meeting with the news of the dispersion of the enemy’s
fleet, made a sort of holiday in the island. Everybody
gave themselves up to feasting and making merry.
Wine flowed in abundance, and cups went round to
the health of the black Othello, and his lady the fair
Desdemona.

Cassio had the direction of the guard that night,
with a charge from Othello to keep the soldiers from
excess in drinking, that no brawl might arise, to fright
the inhabitants, or disgust them with the new-landed
forces. That night Iago began his deep-laid plans



OTHELLO 53

of mischief; under cover of loyalty and love to the
general, he enticed Cassio to make rather too free
with the bottle (a great fault in an officer upon guard).
Cassio for a time resisted, but he could not long hold
out against the honest freedom which Iago knew how
to put on, but kept swallowing glass after glass (as
Iago still plied him with drink and encouraging songs),
and Cassio’s tongue ran over in praise of the lady
Desdemona, whom he again and again toasted, affirm-
ing that she was a most exquisite lady: until at last
the enemy which he put into his mouth stole away his
brains; and upon some provocation given him by a
fellow whom Iago had set on, swords were drawn, and
Montano, a worthy officer who interfered to appease
the dispute, was wounded in the scuffle. The riot
now began to be general, and Iago, who had set on
foot the mischief, was foremost in spreading the
alarm, causing the castle-bell to be rung (as if some
dangerous mutiny, instead of a slight drunken quarrel,
had arisen); the alarm-bell ringing awakened Othello,
who, dressing in a hurry, and coming to the scene of
action, questioned Cassio of the cause. Cassio was
now come to himself, the effect of the wine having a
little gone off, but was too much ashamed to reply;
and Iago, 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.



54 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 Iago, that he
should have been such a fool as to transform himself
into a beast. He was undone, for how could he ask
the general for his place again! he would tell him he
was a drunkard. He despised himself. Iago, affecting
to make light of it, said that he, or any man living,
might be drunk upon occasion; it remained now to
make the best of a bad bargain; 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 favour; and then this crack in their love
would be made stronger than ever. A good advice of
Iago, if it had not been given for wicked purposes,
which will after appear.

Cassio did as Iago advised him, and made applica-
tion 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 immedi-
ately set about in so earnest and pretty a manner, that



OTHELLO 55

Othello, who was mortally offended with Cassio, could
not put her off. When he pleaded delay, and that it
was too soon to pardon such an offender, she would
not be beat back, but insisted that it should be the
next night, or the morning after, or the next morning
to that at farthest. Then she showed how penitent
and humbled poor Cassio was, and that his offence did
not deserve so sharp a check. And when Othello still
hung back, “ What! my lord,” said she, “ that I should
have so much to do to plead for Cassio, Michael Cassio,
that came a-courting for you, and oftentimes when I
have spoken in dispraise of you, has taken your part ?
I count this but a little thing to ask of you. When
I mean to try your love indeed, I shall ask a weighty
matter.” Othello could deny nothing to such a pleader,
and only requesting that Desdemona would leave the
time to him, promised to receive Michael Cassio again
into favour.

It happened that Othello and Iago had entered into
the room where Desdemona was, just as Cassio, who
had been imploring her intercession, was departing at
the opposite door; and Iago, who was full of art, said
in a low voice, as if to himself, “I like not that.”
Othello took no great notice of what he said ; indeed,
the conference which immediately took place with his
lady put it out of his head; but he remembered it
afterwards. For when Desdemona was gone, Tago, as
if for mere satisfaction of his thought, questioned
Othello whether Michael Cassio, when Othello was
courting his lady, knew of his love. To this the
general answering in the affirmative, and adding, that



56 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

he had gone between them very often during the court-
ship, Iago knitted his brow, as if he had got fresh light
of some terrible matter, and cried, “Indeed!” This
brought into Othello’s mind the words which Iago had
let fall upon entering the room, and seeing Cassio with
Desdemona; and he began to think there was some
meaning in all this: for he deemed Iago to be a just
man, and full of love and honesty, and what in a false
knave would be tricks, in him seemed to be the natural
workings of an honest mind, big with something too
great for utterance: and Othello prayed Iago to speak
what he knew, and to give his worst thoughts words.
“And what,” said Iago, “if some thoughts very vile
should have intruded into my breast, as where is the
palace into which foul things do not enter?” 'Then
Iago went on to say, what a pity it were, if any trouble
should arise to Othello out of his imperfect observa-
tions ; that it would not be for Othello’s peace to know
his thoughts ; that people’s good names were not to be
taken away for slight suspicions; and when Othello’s
curiosity was raised almost to distraction with these
hints and scattered words, Iago, as if in earnest care for
Othello’s peace of mind, besought him to beware of
Jealousy ; with such art did this villain raise suspicions
in the unguarded Othello, by the very caution which
he pretended to give him against suspicion. “I know,”
said Othello, “that my wife is fair, loves company and
feasting, is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well ;
but where virtue is, these qualities are virtuous. I
must have proof before I think her dishonest.” Then —
Iago, as if glad that Othello was slow to believe ill of his



OTHELLO 57

lady, frankly declared that he had no proof, but begged
Othello to observe her behaviour well, when Cassio was
by: not to be jealous nor too secure neither, for that
he (Iago) knew the dispositions of the Italian ladies,
his countrywomen, better than Othello could do; and
that in Venice the wives let Heaven see many pranks
they dared not show their husbands. Then he artfully
insinuated that Desdemona deceived her father in
marrying with Othello, and carried it so closely, that
the poor old man thought ‘that witchcraft had been
used. Othello was much moved with this argument,
which brought the matter home to him, for if she had
deceived her father, why might she not deceive her
husband ?

Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but
Othello, assuming an indifference, while he was really
shaken with inward grief at Iago’s words, begged
him to go on, which Iago did with many apologies, as
if unwilling to produce anything against Cassio, whom
he called his friend: he then came strongly to the
point, and reminded Othello how Desdemona had re-
fused many suitable matches of her own clime and
complexion, and had married him, a Moor, which
showed unnatural in her, and proved her to have a
headstrong will: and when her better judgment re-
turned, how probable it was she should fall upon com-
paring 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 mean-
while to note with what earnestness Desdemona should



58 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

intercede in his behalf; for that much would be seen
in that. So mischievously did this artful villain lay
his plots to turn the gentle qualities of this innocent
lady into her destruction, and make a net for her out
of her own goodness to entrap her ; first setting Cassio
on to entreat her mediation, and then out of that very
mediation contriving stratagems for her ruin.

The conference ended with Iago’s begging Othello to
account his wife innocent until he had more decisive
‘ proof; and Othello promised to be patient; but from
that moment the deceived Othello never tasted content
of mind. Poppy, nor the juice of mandragora, nor all
the sleeping potions in the world could ever again re-
store to him that sweet rest which he had enjoyed but
yesterday. His occupation sickened upon him. He
no longer took delight in arms. His heart, that used
to be roused at the sight of troops, and banners, and
battle-array, and would stir and leap at the sound
of a drum, or a trumpet, or a neighing war-horse,
seemed to have lost all that pride and ambition, which
are a soldier’s virtue; and his military ardour and all
his old joys forsook him. Sometimes he thought his
wife honest, and at times he thought her not so; some-
times he thought Iago 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 dis-
tracting thoughts, he once laid hold on Iago’s throat,
and demanded proof of Desdemona’s guilt, or threat-
ened instant death for his having belied her. Iago,
feigning indignation that his honesty should be taken



OTHELLO 59

for a vice, asked Othello, if he had not sometimes seen
a handkerchief 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 hand-
kerchief,” said Iago, ‘did I see Michael Cassio this day
wipe his face with.” “If it be as you say,” said Othello,
“T will not rest till a wide revenge swallow them up:
and first, for a token of your fidelity, I expect that
Cassio shall be put to death within three days; and for
that fair devil (meaning his lady), I will withdraw and
devise some swift means of death for her.”

Trifles, light as air, are to the jealous proofs as
strong as holy writ. A handkerchief of his wife’s seen
in Cassio’s hand, was motive enough to the deluded
Othello to pass sentence of death upon them both,
without once inquiring how Cassio came by it. Des-
demona 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 inno-
cent 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 weak woman) steal
this handkerchief from Desdemona, under pretence of
getting the work copied, but in reality to drop it in
Cassio’s way, where he might find it, and give a handle
to Iago’s suggestion that it was Desdemona’s present.

Othello, soon after meeting his wife, pretended that
he had a headache (as he might indeed with truth),
and desired her to lend him her handkerchief to hold
his temples. She did so. “Not this,” said Othello,



60 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“but that handkerchief 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 to
me, and bade me, if I ever married, to give it to my
wife. Idid so; take heed of it. Make it a darling
as precious as your eye.” “Is it possible?” said the
frighted lady. “Tis true,” continued Othello; “it
is a magical handkerchief; a sibyl, that had lived in
the world two hundred years, in a fit of prophetic
fury worked it; the silkworms that furnished the silk
were hallowed, and it was dyed in 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 handker-
chief, which when she could not produce, she tried to
divert her husband from too serious thoughts, and
cheerfully told him, she saw all his talk about the
handkerchief was only to put her off from her suit
about Michael Cassio, whom she went on to praise
(as Iago had foretold), till Othello in perfect dis-
traction burst out of the room, and then Desdemona,



OTHELLO 61

though unwillingly, began to suspect her lord was
jealous.

What cause she could have ministered to him she
knew not; and then she accused herself for accusing
the noble Othello, and thought to be sure that some
untoward news from Venice, or some state troubles,
had puddled his spirits, and made his temper not so
sweet as formerly. And she said, “Men are not gods,
and we must not look for that observance from them
when they are married, which they show us on the
bridal day.” And she beshrewed herself for so un-
kindly judging of his unkindness.

Again Othello and Desdemona met, and he accused
her more plainly of being unfaithful, and of loving ©
another man, but he did not name whom: and Othello
wept, and Desdemona said, “Alas! the heavy day!
why do you weep?” And Othello told her, he could
have borne all sorts of evils with fortitude—poverty,
and disease, and disgrace ; but her infidelity had broken
his heart: and he called her a weed, that looked so
fair, and smelled so sweet, that the sense ached at it;
and wished she had never been born. And when he
had left her, this innocent lady was so stupefied with
wonder at her lord’s untrue suspicion of her, that a
weight-like sleep came over her, and she only desired
her attendant to make her bed, and to lay her wedding-
sheets upon it, saying, that when people teach their
babes, they do it by gentle means and easy tasks, and
Othello might have chid her so; for in good faith she
was but a child when she was chidden. And this was
all the complaint which this gentle lady made.



62 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 medi-
tated of putting his lady to death. But when he saw
her asleep, he thought he would not shed her blood,
nor scar that white skin of hers, more white than
alabaster. But he was resolved she should die, else (as
he said) she would live to betray more men, as she had
‘ done him. Then he kissed her for the last time (as he
said), and that kiss was so sweet, he must needs kiss
her again; and he wept, but he said they were cruel
tears.

Desdemona was awakened with his kisses, and she
looked upon Othello, and she saw him gnaw his under
lip, and roll his eyes, and she knew he was always
fatal when he looked so: and he bade her prepare for
death, and to say her prayers, for he would not kill
her soul. And this innocent wife, as she lay at his
mercy, begged for compassion, and to know her fault ;
and then he named Cassio, and the handkerchief which
(he said) she had given him; and as the 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 Iago had set one
of his creatures on to assassinate; but the fellow not
succeeding in his attempt to kill Cassio (whom he
wounded, but not mortally), and being himself killed
by Iago to prevent discovery, in his pockets were found





OTHELLO LOOKING AT DESDEMONA ASLEEP.



OTHELLO 63

certain letters, which made the guilt of Iago, and the
innocence of Cassio, clear beyond all doubt: and Cassio
now came to beg pardon of Othello, and to ask wherein
he had offended him, that he had employed Iago to
murder him.

This discovery was as a thunderstroke to Othello,
who now plainly saw that he was no better than a
murderer, and that his wife (poor innocent lady) had
been ever faithful to him; the extreme anguish of
which discovery making life insupportable, he fell upon
his sword, and, throwing himself upon the body of his
dear injured lady, expired.

These rash acts raised much passion of horror and
amazement in the bystanders, for Othello had borne
a fair reputation, and till he was wrought upon by the
arts of a villain, which his own noble nature never gave
him leave to suspect, he was a loving and a doting
husband. He had loved, not wisely, but too well;
and his manly eyes (when he learned his mistake),
though not used to weep on every small occasion,
dropped tears as fast as the Arabian trees their gum.
And when he was dead all his former merits and his
valiant acts were remembered. Nothing now remained
for his successor, but to put the utmost censure of the
law in force against Iago, who was executed with strict
tortures ; and to send word to the state of Venice of
the lamentable death of their renowned general.



TIMON OF ATHENS

Timon, a lord of Athens, in the enjoyment of a princely
fortune, affected a humour of liberality which knew no
limits. His almost infinite wealth could not flow in so
fast, but he poured it out faster upon all sorts and
degrees of people. Not the poor only tasted of his
bounty, but great lords did not disdain to rank 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 dispositions tendered their services to lord
Timon, from the glass-faced flatterer, whose face reflects
as in a mirror the present humour of his patron, to the
rough and 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 entertain-
ments, and return most rich in his own estimation if he
had received a nod or a salutation from Timon.

If a poet had composed a work which wanted a re-
commendatory introduction to the world, he had no
more to do but to domicate it to lord Timon, and the

1



TIMON OF ATHENS 65

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 had only to
take it to lord Timon, and pretend to consult his taste
as to the merits of it; nothing more was wanting to
persuade the liberal-hearted lord to buy it. If ajeweller
had a stone of price, or a mercer rich costly stuffs,
which, for their costliness, lay upon his hands, lord
Timon’s house was a ready mart always open, where
they might get off their wares or their jewellery at any
price; and the good-natured lord would thank them
into the bargain, as if they had done him a piece of
courtesy in letting him have the refusal of such pre-
cious 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 trades-
men, lords, ladies, needy courtiers, and expectants,
who continually 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 extra-
vagance) had been put in prison by creditors, and
redeemed thence by lord Timon; these young prodigals
thenceforward fastened upon his lordship, as if by com-

mon sympathy he were necessarily endeared to all such
E



66 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

spendthrifts and loose livers, who, not being able to
follow him in his wealth, found it easier to copy him
in prodigality and copious spending of what was 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 visi-
tors, none were more conspicuous than the makers of
presents and givers of gifts. It was fortunate for these
‘men if Timon took a fancy to a dog or a horse, or any
piece of cheap furniture which was theirs. The thing
so praised, whatever it was, was sure to be sent the
next morning with the compliments of the giver for
lord Timon’s acceptance, and apologies for the un-
worthiness of the gift ; and this dog or horse, or what-
ever it might be, did not fail to produce, from Timon’s
bounty, who would not be outdone in gifts, perhaps
twenty dogs or horses, certainly presents of far richer
worth, as these pretended donors knew well enough,
and that their false presents were but the putting out
of so much money at large and speedy interest. In
this way lord Lucius had lately sent to Timon a present
of four milk-white horses trapped in silver, which this
cunning lord had observed Timon 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 dis-
honest views of the presenters ; and the givers of course
were rewarded with some rich return, a diamond or



TIMON OF ATHENS 67

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 com-
mended, for no service in the world done for it but the
easy expense of a little cheap and obvious flattery. In
this way Timon but the other day had given to one of
these mean lords the bay courser which he himself rode
upon, because his lordship had been pleased to say that
it was a handsome beast and went well; and Timon
knew that no man ever justly praised what he did not
wish to possess. For lord Timon weighed his friends’
affection with his own, and so fond was he of bestowing
that he could have dealt kingdoms to these supposed
friends, and never have been weary.

Not that Timon’s wealth all went to enrich these
wicked 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 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 hus-
band. But for the most part, knaves and parasites
had the command of his fortune, false friends whom he



68 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

did not know to be such, but, because they flocked
around his person, he thought they must needs love
him; and because they smiled and flattered him, he
thought surely that his conduct was approved by all
the wise and good. And when he was feasting in the
midst of all these flatterers and mock friends, when
they were eating him up, and draining his fortunes
dry with large ‘draughts of richest wines drunk to
his health and prosperity, he could not perceive the
difference of a friend from a flatterer, but to his deluded
eyes (made proud with the sight), it seemed a precious
comfort to have so many, like brothers commanding
one another’s fortunes (though it was his own fortune
which paid all the costs), and with joy they would run
over at the spectacle of such, as it appeared to him,
truly festive and fraternal meeting.

But while he thus outwent the very heart of kind-
ness, and poured out his bounty as if Plutus, the god
of gold, had been but his steward; while thus he pro-
ceeded without care or stop, so senseless of expense
that he would neither inquire how he could maintain
it, nor cease his wild flow of riot; his riches, which
- were not infinite, must needs melt away before a prodi-
gality which knew no limits. But who should tell
him so? his flatterers? they had an interest in
shutting his eyes. In vain did his honest steward
Flavius try to represent to him his condition, laying
his accounts before him, begging of him, praying of
him, with an importunity that on any other occa-
sion would have been unmannerly in a servant, be-
seeching him with tears to look into the state of his



TIMON OF ATHENS 69

affairs. ‘Timon would still put him off, and turn the
discourse to something else; for nothing is so deaf to
remonstrance as riches turned to poverty, nothing so
unwilling to believe its situation, nothing is so incredu-
lous to its own true state, and hard to give credit to a
reverse. Often had this good steward, this honest
creature, when all the rooms of Timon’s great house
have been choked up with riotous feeders at his 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
steward. Money must be had: and when he ordered
Flavius to sell some of his land for that purpose,
Flavius informed him, what he had in vain endeavoured
at several times before to make him listen to, that most
of his land was already sold or forfeited, and that all
he possessed at present was not enough to pay the one
half of what he owed. Struck with wonder at this
representation, Timon hastily replied, “ My lands ex-
tended from Athens to Lacedemon.” “O my good
lord,” said Flavius, “the world is but a world, and has



Full Text
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CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION . ; ‘ é : : vii
PREFACE . : : ; : : : : . XXV
ROMEO AND JULIET . 2 ; : c 5 5 1
KING LEAR : : 4 : : 5 5 25
OTHELLO . d : ; : 2 : : S46
TIMON OF ATHENS . : ‘ : : : . 64
MACBETH . 5 5 i : : : a 4 82
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE : : : : - 98
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS . y 2 : : . 116
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK . : : ; . 186
THE TEMPEST . : : a 2 : . 158
AS YOU LIKE IT ; ! : : : : . 174
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING : : : : . 196
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM . : : : . 218
MEASURE FOR MEASURE. : ‘ . ; . 229
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW é : é : - 249
TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT YOU WILL : : . 264
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE 5 : 5 ; - 282
|‘ THE WINTER’S TALE . S : : : : . 805
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL . Y 5 : . $820
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA. : ; . 837

CYMBELINE - 5 4 : , y ; » 855


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Romeo AND JULIET . : : : : Frontispiece

Kine Lear RECOGNISING CORDELIA AFTER

His MaDNEss . : : : . To face page 42
OTHELLO LOOKING AT DESDEMONA ASLEEP a 62
MacsetTu IN THE Wircues’ Cave . i = 92
Portia GiviNc THE Rina To Bassanio_ . : 102
Deatu or THE Kinc—Hamuet’s FaTHer 3 142
OPHELIA . : : : : $ : . 154
ARIEL AND FERDINAND . ; a es a 164

RosaLtIND FINDING A PoEM WRITTEN BY

ORLANDO FIXED ON A TREE. 5 a 188
BENEDICK MEETING BEATRICE . : a 198
Meetinc oF Operon AND Tiranta . : ns 216
IsaBELLA IN THE CELL oF CLaunio . : 7 238
PerrucHio AND THE TaILor . : : es 256
Tue Finvine or Perpira : : : 2D 310

JULIA OFFERING SILVIA THE RING OF

Proteus . , : : , : 348
INTRODUCTION

‘TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE” were first printed
by Thomas Hodgkins, for Godwin, at the
Juvenile Library, Hanway Street, in the year
1807. They were ‘embellished with copper-
plates,” and, as the title-page assures us, were
‘designed for the use of young persons.”
Lamb more fully set forth the nature of his
aim and purpose in his own preface. The
Tales ‘‘are meant to be submitted to the
young reader as an introduction to the study
of Shakspeare, for which purpose his words
are used wherever it seemed possible to bring
them in.” Young readers were to find “a few
hints and little foretastes of the great pleasure
which awaits them in their elder years.” By
citing the blank verse unaltered, yet not print-
ing it as verse, Lamb hoped “to cheat the
young readers into the belief that they were
reading prose.” The young readers to whom
he appeals are ‘very young children,” chiefly
viti INTRODUCTION

“young ladies,” perhaps spinsters of from six
to twelve, for boys are more freely permitted
the run of their fathers’ libraries. Lamb, in a
very pleasing passage, suggests that boys who
have perused the actual plays shall explain to
their sisters “such parts as are hardest for
them to understand.” Fraternal affection, in
Lamb’s case, was as beautifully displayed and
as hardly tried as in that of Antigone. It was
beside, and in collaboration with that elder
sister, whose own tragedy was as terrible as
the A®schylean ‘‘Eumenides,” that he was
interpreting Shakspeare to little girls. Yet it
was to a hard task that he invited the ‘‘ young
gentlemen,” for who could make ‘“ Measure for
' Measure” intelligible to a little girl? Lamb
himself, though including ‘“ Pericles,” omits
“Titus Andronicus,” to which Robert and
Gilbert Burns, in early boyhood, declined to
listen. In the Comedies, as Lamb observes,
he, or rather his sister, passes by “a world of
sprightly and cheerful characters, both men
and women, the humour of which it was feared
would be lost if it were attempted to reduce
the length of them.”

Such were Lamb’s aims, such his method,
‘INTRODUCTION ix

“this casual and diffused method of enforcing
the many moral lessons that lie in Shakspeare’s
plays,” as Canon Ainger says. It soon became
evident that his and his sister’s work was
calculated ‘for an acceptable and improving
present to young ladies advancing to the state
of womanhood,” rather than for very young
children. Canon Ainger “knows of no first
introduction to that study ” (of Shakspeare) “at
once so winning and so helpful as that supplied
by these narrative versions.”

Here I would diffidently hint at a contrary
opinion—the rather that I suspect Lamb of
having ‘been much of my own mind on the
subject. I conceive that children at the age of
innocence (which was conventionally fixed at
seven) are best introduced to Shakspeare by
Shakspeare himself. Dickens, when describing
his own early reading, in ‘“‘ David Copperfield,”
talks of his Tom Jones, ‘‘a child’s Tom Jones
—a harmless creature.” Roderick Random,
Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, and the
rest, ‘came out, a glorious host, to keep me
company . . . and did me no harm; for what-
ever harm was in some of them was not there
for me; J knew nothing of it.” In the same
xX INTRODUCTION

way there is no harm in Shakspeare for a
young child. Of course there is a world of
mystery; the little student is in an enchanted
forest, and the sun falls only on a few glades
and clearings, the more delightful for the
surrounding shadows. It is, to be sure, very
difficult for the elders to understand a child’s
mind: is there not a modern science thereof
called “ Peedology,” or some such name? But
I may be permitted to recall my own childish
recollections of Shakspeare, to whom I had
no Introduction. There was Kenny Meadows’s
edition, with plenty of woodcuts, now obsolete
in taste, I dare say, but with abundant charm
for a boy of five or six. It was necessary to
know what the pictures were all about, so I
wandered on, picking up what was intelligible,
and careless of the rest. The Fat Knight was
my hero; and I have since known a little girl,
of great beauty, who got up “Henry IV.” in
the nursery, and chose for herself the part of
Falstaff. There is a text about the angels of
children, who ever behold the face of the
Father. It is my fancy that, in Paradise, the
zdola of children survive in all their beauty and
charm, though the children themselves grow
INTRODUCTION xi

up into aspects changed. Of ¢hzs child, at
least, the angel survives in the art of Millais,
a blue-eyed, fair-locked image. One looks at
the portrait, and thinks of the original, acting
Falstaff, and one sees how little the child needs
any Introduction to Shakspeare. Or one thinks
of Scott’s childish opinions about the terrors of
“Macbeth,” and how no man would dare read
‘‘Macbeth” alone at night. I can remember
being lost in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream,”
reading it by firelight, while two young people
were playing chess, and somebody touched the
piano, and the world was an enchanted place.
One entered the breach with Henry V., or
sorrowed with Cordelia, or lamented Desde-
mona, but the end came, and the end of the
Age of Innocence, with ‘The Merry Wives of
Windsor.” For here was Falstaff, that beloved
knight, but an unintelligible Falstaff, for it was
quite impossible that a child should understand
the story ; and “ Measure for Measure” left
only an impression of gloom, with an old Duke
of dark corners wandering in them, for no
obvious purpose. I shall never recapture the
Ophelia of childhood again, nor ever have such
a charmed though darkling sense of something
xii INTRODUCTION

supernal, as I won from the Shakspeare of my
infancy. The mystery of it was the delight,
as in “ Kubla Khan” or ‘“Christabel.” But
“The Merry Wives,” somehow, put me off
Shakspeare ; nor did I return to him till after
a long course of every kind of novel, good,
bad, or indifferent. Probably it is the same
with other children: they do best to begin with
the plays themselves, afterwards Lamb’s Tales
may bring them back to the originals. Canon
Ainger says: ‘More and more is a knowledge
of Shakspeare coming to be regarded as a
necessary part of an Englishman’s education.”
Alas, it is not Shakspeare, but the notes of
Editors that are now a necessary part, not of
an Englishman’s education, but of an English
boy’s “cram,” for the purposes of examiners.
Dr. Johnson was right: a boy or a girl, or a
man, should read straight on, and not trouble
himself with notes. We should read, as Fitz-
gerald advises, ‘‘ for human pleasure.”

It is a misery to turn classics into school-books
—‘ Horace, whom I hated so”—as Byron
wrote. Who knows how the “educational”
use of Shakspeare and Chaucer may make
boys detest those authors. Once, in examin-
INTRODUCTION xiii

ing for the Indian Civil Service, I set the
usual question as to contemporary evidence
for Shakspeare’s authorship. Most of the
boys answered as if they were giving the
rare fruits of independent research. But one
young man opened thus: ‘We have been
told, till we are perfectly sick of hearing it,”
and then he went on about Green and ‘“ Shake-
scene.” To be perfectly sick of Shakspeare,
or rather of pedantries about Shakspeare,
seems a natural result of modern education.

Lamb himself manifestly cherished no illu-
sions about Shakspeare and the Public.
Lamb knew caviare, and what it is ‘‘to the
general.” We do not think of this delightful
author as ‘‘a superior person,” but the su-
perior person’s attitude is his, in his essay
“On the Tragedies of Shakspeare.” Lamb
was offended, as a man of letters, by the
epitaph on Garrick:

‘‘ Shakspeare and Garrick like twin stars shall shine.”

We do not expect criticism from epitaphs,
nor truth. But Lamb argues that Garrick,
or any other successful actor, should not be
complimented ‘with the notion of possessing
xiv INTRODUCTION

a mind congenial with the poet's.” That is
as may be, and Porthos made a kind of un-
conscious prophecy, when he blundered into
calling Moliére “ M. Coquelin de Voliére.” The
mind of M. Coquelin is undoubtedly congenial
with that of Poquelin, called Moliére. But
Lamb (after admitting that he can no longer
appreciate Hamlet's soliloquy—“ hearing any-
thing spouted withers and blows upon a fine
passage”—), proceeds to aver that, to many
people, George Barnwell is just as good as
Shakspeare. ‘You shall hear the same
persons say that George Barnwell is very
natural, and that Othello is very natural ; that
they are both very deep; and to them they
are the same kind of thing.” The actor,
Lamb argues, cannot conceivably do justice
to Shakspeare, but the public thinks, in Mr.
Weller’s phrase, that “it is all wery capital.”
Lamb decides that, in comedy as in tragedy,
Shakspeare’s characters are ‘incompatible
with stage representation,” yet Lamb was a
fervent lover of the stage. A sparing and
infrequent playgoer myself, I own that to
see a play of Shakspeare’s acted spoils it
for me; but so does the acting of “ The Three
INTRODUCTION XV

Musketeers” spoil, for me, the characters of
Dumas. It is manifest that the world in
general does not suffer in this superfine way,
whence Lamb must argue that the world at
large has no real appreciation of Shakspeare.
In his ‘‘ Tales from Shakspeare,” then, he tries
to catch the unspoiled youth of England (of
Britain, I should say), and “introduce” them
to his “‘sweet Shakspeare.”

To what extent is Shakspeare really read
and enjoyed by our modern age? Everybody
possesses the works, but I doubt if many
read or know them. The stock quotations
are gleaned from newspapers and _ other
books. An unhackneyed quotation, say in a
newspaper article, is a puzzle to “the man on
the omnibus.” As far as I have observed,
two classes of mankind know Shakspeare :
intellects, of a confessedly high class, and quiet
persons, in all ranks, who make no display of
erudition, and are totally unfamiliar with the
new “masterpieces,” which are trumpeted
every week in critical columns. The ordinary
man of letters becomes like the dyer’s hand:
he is obliged to be coping with the weekly
“Output” of new books, and must confess
xvi1 INTRODUCTION

that he knows Shakspeare very slightly. Take
a quotation chosen at random :

“The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green.”

From what play come these lines? Who is
the speaker? The reader’s conscience may
smite or applaud him. We are swamped in
printed matter, and we neglect le Vueux
Williams, as Gautier calls him. Lamb’s
Tales are designed, then, to catch the early
reader, and convert him, or her, to no con-
ventional worship of our national glory. I
have already hinted that, while putting the
Tales “in the hands of the young,” parents
may safely and wisely leave the plays to the
perusal of children. The right child will
read the right things, and a child born with
a love of letters knows more already than a
wilderness of excellent fathers and mothers.
Your parent is not literary! Dickens him-
self, in the passage already cited, remarks,
about the “small collection of books in a
little room upstairs,” that “nobody else in
our house ever troubled it.” Nobody else in
a house ever does trouble it, except the little
INTRODUCTION xvii

born bookworm. Nobody else (as everybody
else frankly confesses) “has time to be read-
ing.” Mary Lamb “was tumbled early, by
accident or design, into a spacious closet of
good old English reading, without much
selection or prohibition, and browsed at will
upon that fair and wholesome pasturage.”
Charles Lamb shared these opportunities.
The majority of children, naturally, would not
make use of such a chance; but this is the
best education for the right children, while
they are of the age of innocence. Growing
boys, in the savage stage, are different crea-
tures, and not to be so fully trusted: not
that it makes much difference. Lamb was
well aware of this, was well aware that Shak-
speare is the best “Introduction to Shak-
speare,’ but he took the world and the
British parent as he found them.

Let us remember what children’s books
were, about 1807. Most were little moral or
pseudo-scientific treatises. Fairies were under
the ban of ‘common-sense,’ and so they
long remained in many worthy families. I
know middle-aged people who, in childhood,
were not allowed to read fairy-tales, cn the
Xvili INTRODUCTION

specious pretence that there are no fairies in
the nature of things; a negative which no-
body can prove. This was one objection,
rooted in nonsense about “ facts.” The other
was the optimistic objection. Little Thornton
Hunt was not allowed, by Leigh Hunt, “to
hear of goblins or apparitions, or scarcely to be
told of bad men, or to read or hear of any
distressing story,” so Lamb tells us. For
“little T. H.,” then, there could be no “ Tales
from Shakspeare.” Oberon and _ Titania
were banned; there was a taboo on the
ghost of Hamlet’s father, as on that of
Banquo. Macbeth must not be mentioned,
for (at least in Shakspeare) he was “bad”:
and Cordelia must be unheard of, for her
story is undeniably ‘‘distressing.” If parents
could keep these taboos in force, children,
like little T. H., would invent fairies by day,
and horrors by night, for themselves, as little
T. H. did, whence arose the controversy be-
tween Lamb and Southey. But the ordinary
careful parent knew not these things; and it
was to a generation of sadly-herded children
that Lamb and his sister introduced Oberon
and Prospero, Lear and Hamlet.
INTRODUCTION XIX

It is difficult to know how far the exquisite
English of Lamb and his sister will attract the
infants of to-day. Lately, 1 met a young lady
who, hearing of Miss Austen’s novels, said
that “she could not read Old English.” She
appeared to look on “ Pride and Prejudice” as
coeval with ‘“ Beowulf,” or, at least, with the
“Ayenbite of Inwit.” Now, the Lambs
“adopted the very sound principle of avoid-
ing as far as possible the use of words intro-
duced into the language since Shakspeare’s
time.” The completely grown up young lady
whom I have cited, would, therefore, be ‘“‘a
thing incapable” of reading the Tales. But
children are by no means so advanced ; indeed,
a trifle of mystery in the meaning offers an
attraction to a reading child. More than we
wot of, children are not “up-to-date.” Poetry,
in essence, is wholly derived from the early,
or, as we say, childlike estate of mankind, in
which estate many children exist. The quali-
ties which we call ‘ genius,” if exhibited by the
mature, are relatively common in childhood ;
they have pictorial imaginations and a sense
of the music and value of words. Possessing
these qualities, they are not injured by what so
XX INTRODUCTION

mightily offends many of their elders—“ the old-
fashioned.” A gallant officer once suggested
to me a partnership in literary enterprise. We
were to “cut down Shakspeare’s plays into
bright little modern pieces.” The reading child
does not feel this intense desire for bright little
modern pieces. He understands much more
than people who “write down to children”
give him credit for comprehending. Scott
“attempted this ‘writing down to children” in
the early chapters of ‘‘ Tales of a Grandfather,”
and found, as he says, that it was quite un-
necessary, and even prejudicial to the child's
interest. Lamb never tried “ writing down to
children.” As Canon Ainger observes, Lamb’s
short analysis of the character of Polonius, and
his remarks on ‘‘the connection between the
actual and assumed madness of Hamlet,” are
brief, simple, and practically exhaustive. Lamb
had already reached that level of critical faculty,
based on sympathy, in “a mind congenial with
that of the poet,” which found more copious, if
scarcely more mature expression, in his later
essays, and his remarks on the Elizabethan
Dramatists. Men who could appreciate Shak-
speare had, of course, in no age been entirely
INTRODUCTION xxi

wanting ; but taste must have fallen low indeed,
when Garrick, the friend of Dr. Johnson, could
mouth “the ribald trash of Tate and Cibber”
foisted into the acting editions, and when the
public, anxious, like Charles I]. and the
Athenians of Aristotle’s day, “to make tra-
gedies end happily,” could tolerate the new
conclusion of ‘King Lear.”

In the hack-work (for it was hack-work) of
writing the Tales, Lamb proved a great
innovator in style. |arlier, in his “ John
Woodvil,” Lamb had returned to the quaint,
rich, and coloured English of the Elizabethan-
Caroline ages. He appears thus to have set,
in 1803-1807, the fashion which Leigh Hunt
was to abuse, and Keats was finally to employ
in happier fashion. Lamb’s were the first
sprightly runnings in our century of that long-
sealed well of English wherein our poetry was
to renew her maidenhood, like Hera in the
fountain of Argos. To whatever extent chil-
dren of to-day, an incalculable generation, may
take pleasure in Lamb’s Tales, they remain a
classic for the elders. May I confess that, in
the Comedies, children will probably miss the
comic element, ‘‘ the cheerful characters,” whose
Xxll INTRODUCTION

humour Lamb “feared would be lost if it were
attempted to reduce the length of them.” The
attempt might have been hazarded, for children
are certainly capable of enjoying the mirth
of Trinculo, and Christopher Sly, and the
Athenian rural comedians. I cannot taste the
“Two Gentlemen of Verona” without Launce
and Crab. ‘I would have, as one should say,
one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed,
to be, as it were, a dog at all things.” The
young lady amateur (whose first appearance on
any stage was in the part of Falstaff) named
her own dog “Crab,” and he deserved the title.
Hence it is fair to conclude that a child is quite
capable of enjoying the humours of Launce.
The Comedies, in many cases, are based on
popular tales which have passed through a
literary air into Italian romance. Thus, merely
as tales, and merely for the story’s sake, Lamb’s
are not so interesting to a little boy or girl as
the M/archen of Grimm or Perrault. Even if
we look at tragedy, I can remember from
childhood how that exclamation of Desdemona,
“O falsely, falsely murther’d,” moved terror,
and pity, and hope, as one read the play, but
Lamb has not thought fit to include this
INTRODUCTION xxiii

passage in his tale. Probably he had good
critical reasons, and, physiologically, I doubt if
a lady who had breath enough left for Desde-
mona’s last words was really in a parlous case.
It may be impertinent thus to criticise one’s
author. But I am arguing, as before, in the
interests of children, that while they should
certainly have Lamb’s book placed in their
hands, they should also have free access to
Shakspeare himself. This I assert with the
more confidence, as | doubt not that Lamb
himself would have abounded in the same
opinion. We must consider, too, that children,
for the most part, are naturally actors, and
therefore apt to take much pleasure in what
they understand of the plays. Some of them
may be led by Lamb to the plays; others will
find in Lamb the sequence of plot and event
which, in the plays, they may have found
puzzling. Lamb did not touch the historical
plays, which, I think, children are apt to prefer,
as they already know the characters and events,
thanks to Mrs. Markham or to “ Little Arthur's
England.” Lamb’s book, as regards the
comedies and tragedies, supplies children with
the same aid as (in the case of the Chronicle
XXIV INTRODUCTION

plays) they get in their historical studies.
This, of course, is the least of the merits of
Lamb’s book, but even this merit is consider-
able.

Not inconsiderable, too, in an age of
examiners, is Lamb’s delightful abstinence
from “the learning of the subject.” Many a
man, nowadays, would think it needful to begin
with a biography of Shakspeare. The early
reader would be informed that Lady Macbeth
was a widow before she wedded Duncan's
general, and that (as Dumas somehow knew)
the child whom she had suckled was by her
first lord, and, indeed, was Lulach, the rightful
king, Duncan being an usurper, who came to
the throne by virtue of a murder done by his
grandfather, Malcolm II. But Lamb would
have been anxious “to feel the bumps” of
any Introducer of Shakspeare whose intro-
ductory ceremonies were of this superfluous
character. ‘‘ The play’s the thing,” not erudi-
tion about the play, and p. xvi, here, contains
a trap for the curious.

ANDREW LANG.
August 1899.
PREFACE

Tue following Tales are meant to be submitted to
the young reader as an introduction to the study of
Shakspeare, for which purpose his words are used
whenever it seemed possible to bring them in; and
in whatever has been added to give them the regular
form of a connected story, diligent care has been
taken to select such words as might least interrupt
the effect of the beautiful English tongue in which he
wrote: therefore words introduced into our language
since his time have been as far as possible avoided.

In those Tales which have been taken from the
Tragedies, as my young readers will perceive when
they come to see the source from which these stories
are derived, Shakspeare’s own words, with little altera-
tion, recur very frequently in the narrative as well as
in the dialogue; but in those made from the Comedies
I found myself scarcely ever able to turn his words
into the narrative form: therefore I fear in them I
have made use of dialogue too frequently for young
people not used to the dramatic form of writing.
But this fault, if it be as I fear a fault, has been
caused by my earnest wish to give as much of
Shakspeare’s own words as possible: and if the “ He
XXVi PREFACE

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

I have wished to make these Tales easy reading
for very young children. To the utmost of my ability
I have constantly kept this in my mind; but the sub-
jects of most of them made this a very difficult task.
It was no easy matter to give the histories of men
and women in terms familiar to the apprehension of a
very young mind. For young ladies, too, it has been
my intention chiefly to write, because boys are gener-
ally permitted the use of their fathers’ libraries at a
much earlier age than girls are; they frequently have
PREFACE XXVii

the best scenes of Shakspeare by heart before their
sisters are permitted to look into this manly book;
and therefore, instead of recommending these Tales
to the perusal of young gentlemen who can read them
so much better in the originals, I must rather beg
their kind assistance in explaining to their sisters such
parts as are hardest for them to understand; and
when they have helped them to get over the diffi-
culties, then perhaps they will read to them (carefully
selecting what is proper for a young sister’s ear) some
passage which has pleased them in one of these
stories, in the very words of the scene from which it
is taken; and I trust they will find that the beauti-
ful extracts, the select passages, they may choose to
give their sisters in this way, will be much better
relished and understood from their having some
notion of the general story from one of these im-
perfect abridgments; which, if they be fortunately
so done as to prove delightful to any of you, my
young readers, I hope will have no worse effect upon
you than to make you wish yourselves a little older,
that you may be allowed to read the plays at full
length (such a wish will be neither peevish nor
irrational). When time and leave of judicious friends
shall put them into your hands, you will discover in
such of them as are here abridged (not to mention
almost as many more which are left untouched) many
surprising events and turns of fortune, which, for their
infinite variety, could not be contained in this little
book, besides a world of sprightly and cheerful char-
XXviil PREFACE

acters, both men and women, the humour of which I
was fearful of losing if I attempted to reduce the
length of them.

What these Tales have been to you in childhood,
that and much more it is my wish that the true plays
of Shakspeare may prove to you in older years—
enrichers of the fancy, strengtheners of virtue, a with-
drawing from all selfish and mercenary thoughts, a
lesson of all sweet and honourable thoughts and
actions, to teach you courtesy, benignity, generosity,
humanity : for of examples teaching these virtues, his

pages are full.


TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ROMEO AND JULIET

Tue two chief families in Verona were the rich Capulets
and the Mountagues. There had been an old quarrel
between these families, which was grown to such a
height, and so deadly was the enmity between them,
that it extended to the remotest kindred, to the fol-
lowers and retainers of both sides, insomuch that a
servant of the house of Mountague could not meet
a servant of the house of Capulet, nor a Capulet en-
counter with a Mountague by chance, but fierce words
and sometimes bloodshed ensued; and frequent were
the brawls from such accidental meetings which dis-
turbed the happy quiet of Verona’s estate.

Old lord Capulet made a great supper, to which
many fair ladies and many noble guests were invited.
All the admired beauties of Verona were present, and
all comers were made welcome if they were not of
the house of Mountague. At this feast of Capulets,
Rosaline, beloved of Romeo, son to the old lord
Mountague, was present; and though it was dangerous
for a Mountague to be seen in this assembly, yet

Benvolio, a friend of Romeo, persuaded the young lord
A
2 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to go to this assembly in the disguise of a mask, that
he might see his Rosaline, and, seeing her, compare
her with some choice beauties of Verona, who (he said)
would make him think his swan a crow. Romeo had
small faith in Benvolio’s words; nevertheless, for the
love of Rosaline, he was persuaded to go. For Romeo
was a sincere and passionate lover, and one that lost
his sleep for love, and fled society to be alone, think-
ing on Rosaline, who disdained him, and never requited
his love with the least show of courtesy or affection ;
and Benvolio wished to cure his friend of this love by
_ showing him diversity of ladies and company. ‘To this
feast of Capulets then young Romeo and Benvolio and
their friend Mercutio went masked. Old Capulet bid
them welcome, and told them that ladies who had their
toes unplagued with corns would dance with them.
And the old man was light-hearted and merry, and
said that he had worn a mask when he was young, and
could have told a whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear.
And they fell to dancing, and Romeo was suddenly
struck with the exceeding beauty of a lady that danced
there, who seemed to him to teach the torches to burn
bright, and her beauty to show by night like a rich
jewel worn by a blackamoor: beauty too rich for use,
too dear for earth! like a snowy dove trooping with
crows (he said), so richly did her beauty and perfec-
tions shine above the ladies her companions. While
he uttered these praises, he was overheard by Tybalt,
a nephew of lord Capulet, who knew him by his voice
to be Romeo. And this Tybalt, being of a fiery and
passionate temper, could not endure that a Mountague
ROMEO AND JULIET 3

should come under cover of a mask, to fleer and scorn
(as he said) at their solemnities. And he stormed
and raged exceedingly, and would have struck young
Romeo dead. But his uncle, the old lord Capulet,
would not suffer him to do any injury at that time,
both out of respect to his guests, and because Romeo
had borne himself like a gentleman, and all tongues in
Verona bragged of him to be a virtuous and well-
governed youth. Tybalt, forced to be patient against
his will, restrained himself, but swore that this vile
Mountague should at another time dearly pay for his
intrusion.

The dancing being done, Romeo watched the place
where the lady stood; and under favour of his mask-
ing habit, which might seem to excuse in part the
liberty, he presumed in the gentlest manner to take
her by the hand, calling it a shrine, which if he pro-
faned by touching it, he was a blushing pilgrim,
and would kiss it for atonement. “Good pilgrim,”
answered the lady, “your devotion shows by far too
mannerly and too courtly: saints have hands, which
pilgrims may touch, but kiss not.” “ Have not saints
lips, and pilgrims too?” said Romeo. “ Ay,” said
the lady, “lips which they must use in prayer.” “Oh
then, my dear saint,” said Romeo, “hear my prayer
and grant it, lest I despair.” In such like allusions
and loving conceits they were engaged, when the lady
was called away to her mother. And Romeo, inquiring
who her mother was, discovered that the lady whose
peerless beauty he was so much struck with was
young Juliet, daughter and heir to the lord Capulet,
4 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the great enemy of the Mountagues; and that he
had unknowingly engaged his heart to his foe. This
troubled him, but it could not dissuade him from
loving. As little rest had Juliet, when she found that
the gentleman that she had been talking with was
Romeo and a Mountague, for she had been suddenly
smit with the same hasty and inconsiderate passion
for Romeo which he had conceived for her; and a
prodigious birth of love it seemed to her, that she
must love her enemy, and that her affections should
settle there, where family considerations should 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,
ruminating on his new love, when Juliet appeared
above at a window, through which her exceeding
beauty seemed to break like the light of the sun in
the east; and the moon, which shone in the orchard
with a faint light, appeared to Romeo as if sick and
pale with grief at the superior lustre of this new sun.
And she leaning her hand upon her cheek, he pas-
sionately wished himself a glove upon that hand, that
he might touch her cheek. She all this while thinking
herself alone, fetched a deep sigh, and exclaimed, “ Ah
me!” Romeo was enraptured to hear her speak, and
said softly, unheard by her, “Oh speak again, bright
angel, for such you appear, being over my head, like
a winged messenger from heaven whom mortals fall
ROMEO AND JULIET 5

back to gaze upon.” She, unconscious of being over-
heard, 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): “O Romeo,
Romeo!” said she, “wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name, for my sake;
or if thou wilt not, be but my sworn love, and I no
longer will be a Capulet.” Romeo, having this en-
couragement, 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 Mountague,
and wishing him some other name, or that he would
put away the hated name, and for that name, which
was no part of himself, he should take all herself. At
this loving word Romeo could no longer refrain, but
taking up the dialogue as if her words had been
addressed to him personally, and not merely in fancy,
he bade her call him Love, or by whatever other name
she pleased, for he was no longer Romeo, if that name
was displeasing to her. Juliet, alarmed to hear a
man’s voice in the garden, did not at first know who
it was, that by favour of the night and darkness had
thus stumbled upon the discovery of her secret; but
when he spoke again, though her ears had not yet
drunk a hundred words of that tongue’s uttering, yet
so nice is a lover’s hearing, that she immediately knew
him to be young Romeo, and she expostulated with
him on the danger to which he had exposed himself
by climbing the orchard walls, for if any of her kins-
men should find him there, it would be death to him,
6 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

being a Mountague. “ 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?”
“Tove directed me,” answered Romeo: “I am no
pilot, yet wert thou as far apart from me as that vast
shore which is washed with the farthest sea, I should
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 dis-
covery which she had made, yet not meaning to make
it, of her love to Romeo. She would fain have recalled
her words, but that was impossible: fain would she
have stood upon form, and have kept her lover at a
distance, as the custom of discreet ladies is, to frown
and be perverse, and give their suitors harsh denials
at first; to stand off, and affect a coyness or indiffer-
ence, where they most love, that their lovers may not
think them too lightly or too easily won: for the diffi-
culty of attainment increases the value of the object.
But there was no room in her case for denials or put-
tings off, or any of the customary arts of delay and
protractive courtship. Romeo had heard from her
own tongue, when she did not dream that he was near
her, a confession of her love. So with an honest frank-
ness, which the novelty of her situation excused, she
confirmed the truth of what he had before heard, and
addressing him by the name of fair Mountague (love
ROMEO AND JULIET 4

can sweeten a sour name), she begged him not to im-
pute her easy yielding to levity or an unworthy mind,
but that he must lay the fault of it (if it were a fault)
upon the accident of the night which had so strangely
discovered her thoughts. And she added, that though
her behaviour to him might not be sufficiently prudent,
measured by the custom of her sex, yet that she would
prove more true than many whose prudence was dis-
sembling, and their modesty artificial cunning.

Romeo was beginning to call the heavens to witness
that nothing was farther from his thoughts than to
impute a shadow of dishonour to such an honoured
lady, when she stopped him, begged him not to swear,
for although she joyed in him, yet she had no joy of
that night’s contract; it was too rash, too unadvised,
too sudden. But he being urgent with her to exchange
a vow of love with him that night, she said that she
already had given him hers before he requested it;
meaning, when he overheard her confession; but she
would retract what she then bestowed, for the pleasure
of giving it again, for her bounty was as infinite as the
sea, and her love as deep. From this loving conference
she was called away by her nurse, who slept with her,
and thought it time for her to be in bed, for it was near
to daybreak ; but hastily returning, she said three or
four words more to Romeo, the purport of which was,
that if his love was indeed honourable, and his purpose
marriage, she would send a messenger to him to-
morrow, to appoint a time for their marriage, when she
would lay all her fortunes at his feet, and follow him
as her lord through the world. While they were
8 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 his eyes
and hands in a sort of wonder at the sudden change
in Romeo’s affections, for he had been privy to all
Romeo’s love for Rosaline, and his many complaints
of her disdain ; and he said that young men’s love lay
not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes. But
Romeo replying that he himself had often chidden
him for doting on Rosaline, who could not love him
ROMEO AND JULIET 9

again, whereas Juliet both loved and was beloved by
him, the friar assented in some measure to his reasons ;
and thinking that a matrimonial alliance between
young Juliet and Romeo might happily be the means
of making up the long breach between the Capulets
and the Mountagues—which no one more lamented
than this good friar, who was a friend to both the
families, and had often interposed his 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 con-
sented to join their hands in marriage.

Now was Romeo blessed indeed, and Juliet, who knew
his intent from a messenger which she had despatched
according to promise, did not fail to be early at the
cell of friar Lawrence, where their hands were joined in
holy marriage; the good friar praying the heavens to
smile upon that act, and in the union of this young
Mountague and young Capulet to bury the old strife
and long dissensions of their families.

The ceremony being over, Juliet hastened home,
where she stayed impatient for the coming of night, at
which time Romeo promised to come and meet her in
the orchard, where they had met the night before; and
the time between seemed as tedious to her, as the
night before some great festival seems to an 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,
were met by a party of Capulets with the impetuous
10 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Tybalt at their head. This was the same angry Tybalt
who would have fought with Romeo at old lord
Capulet’s feast. He seeing Mercutio, accused him
bluntly of associating with Romeo, a Mountague.
Mercutio, who had as much fire and youthful blood
in him as Tybalt, replied to his accusation with some
sharpness; and in spite of all Benvolio could say to
moderate their wrath, a quarrel was beginning, when
Romeo himself passing that way, the fierce Tybalt
turned from Mercutio to Romeo, and gave him the
disgraceful appellation of villain. Romeo wished to
avoid a quarrel with Tybalt above all men, because
he was the kinsman of Juliet, and much beloved
by her; besides, this young Mountague had never
thoroughly entered into the family quarrel, being
by nature wise and gentle, and the name of a
Capulet, which was his dear lady’s name, was now
rather a charm to allay resentment than a watchword
to excite fury. So he tried to reason with Tybalt,
whom he saluted mildly by the name of good Capulet,
as if he, though a Mountague, had some secret pleasure
in uttering that name: but Tybalt, who hated all
Mountagues as he hated hell, would hear no reason,
but drew his weapon; and Mercutio, who knew not
of Romeo’s secret motive for desiring peace with
Tybalt, but looked upon his present forbearance as
a sort of calm dishonourable submission, with many
disdainful words provoked Tybalt to the prosecution
of his first quarrel with him; and Tybalt and Mercutio
fought, till Mercutio fell, receiving his death’s wound
while Romeo and Benvolio were vainly endeavouring
ROMEO AND JULIET 11

to part the combatants. Mercutio being dead, Romeo
kept his temper no longer, but returned the scornful
appellation of villain which Tybalt had given him; and
they fought till Tybalt was slain by Romeo. This
deadly broil falling out in the midst of Verona at
noonday, the news of it quickly brought a crowd of
citizens to the spot, and among them the old lords
Capulet and Mountague, with their wives; and soon
after arrived the prince himself, who being related to
Mercutio, whom Tybalt had slain, and having had the
peace of his government often disturbed by these
brawls of Mountagues and Capulets, came determined
to put the law in strictest force against those who
should be found to be offenders. Benvolio, who had
been eye-witness 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 Benvolio’s representation, who being
Romeo’s friend, and a Mountague, spoke partially.
Thus she pleaded against her new son-in-law; but
she knew not yet that he was her son-in-law, and
Juliet’s husband. On the other hand was to be seen
lady Mountague pleading for her child’s life, and
arguing with some justice that Romeo had done
nothing worthy of punishment in taking the life of
Tybalt, which was already forfeited to the law by his
12 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

having slain Mercutio. The prince, unmoved by the
passionate exclamations of these women, on a careful
examination of the facts pronounced his sentence, and
by that sentence Romeo was banished from Verona.

Heavy news to young Juliet, who had been but a
few hours a bride, and now by this decree seemed
everlastingly divorced! When the tidings reached
her, she at first gave way to rage against Romeo,
who had slain her dear cousin: she called him a
beautiful tyrant, a fiend angelical, a ravenous dove,
a lamb with a wolf’s nature, a serpent-heart hid with
‘a flowering face, and other like contradictory names,
which denoted the struggles in her mind between
her love and her resentment; but in the end love
got the mastery, and the tears which she shed for
grief that Romeo had slain her cousin, turned to
drops of joy that her husband lived, whom Tybalt
would have slain. Then came fresh tears, and they
were altogether of grief for Romeo’s banishment.
That word was more terrible to her than the death
of many Tybalts.

Romeo, after the fray, had taken refuge in friar
Lawrence’s cell, where he was first made acquainted
with the prince’s 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 applied
the consolation of philosophy to his griefs; but this
frantic young man would hear of none, but like a
ROMEO AND JULIET 13

madman he tore his hair, and threw himself all
along upon the ground, as he said, to take the
measure of his grave. From this unseemly state he
was roused by a message from his dear lady, which
a little revived him, and then the friar took the
advantage to expostulate with him on the unmanly
weakness which he had shown. He had slain Tybalt,
but 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 banish-
ment. He had slain Tybalt, but Tybalt would have
slain him: there was a sort of happiness in that.
Juliet was alive, and (beyond all hope) had become
his dear wife, wherein he was most happy. All these
blessings, as the friar made them out to be, did Romeo
put from him like a sullen, misbehaved wench. And
the friar bade him beware, for such as despaired (he
said) died miserable. Then when Romeo was a little
calmed, he counselled him that he should go that
night and secretly take his leave of Juliet, and thence
proceed straightways to Mantua, at which place he
should sojourn till the friar found a fit occasion to
publish his marriage, which might be a joyful means
of reconciling their families; and then he did not doubt
but the prince would be moved to pardon him, and he
would return with twenty times more joy than he went
forth with grief. Romeo was convinced by these wise
counsels of the friar, and took his leave to go and seek
14 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 him
letters from time to time, acquainting him with the
state of affairs at home.

That night Romeo passed with his dear wife, gain-
ing secret admission to her chamber from the orchard
in which he had heard her confession of love the
night before. That had been a night of unmixed
joy and rapture; but the pleasures of this night,
and the delight which these lovers took in each
' other’s society, were sadly allayed with the prospect
of parting, and the fatal adventures of the past day.
The unwelcome daybreak seemed to come too soon,
and when Juliet heard the morning song of the lark,
she would fain have persuaded herself that it was the
nightingale, which sings by night ; but it was too truly
the lark which sung, and a discordant and unpleasing
note it seemed to her; and the streaks of day in the
east too certainly pointed out that it was time for these
lovers to part. Romeo took his leave of his dear wife
with a heavy heart, promising to write to her from
Mantua every hour in the day; and when he had
descended from her chamber-window, as he stood
below her on the ground, in that sad foreboding
state of mind in which she was, he appeared to her
eyes as one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Romeo’s
mind misgave him in like manner; but now he was
forced hastily to depart, for it was death for him to
be found within the walls of Verona after day-
break,
ROMEO AND JULIET 15

This was but the beginning of the tragedy of this
pair of star-crossed lovers. Romeo had not been gone
many days, before the old lord Capulet proposed a
match for Juliet. (The husband he had chosen for
her, not dreaming that she was married already, was
count Paris, a gallant, young, and noble gentleman,
no unworthy suitor to the young Juliet, if she had
never seen Romeo.

The terrified Juliet was in a sad perplexity at her
father’s offer. She pleaded her youth unsuitable to
marriage, the recent death of Tybalt, which had left
her spirits too weak to meet a husband with any face
of joy, and how indecorous it would show for the
family of the Capulets to be celebrating a nuptial-
feast, when his funeral solemnities were hardly over ;
she pleaded every reason against the match, but the
true one, namely, that she was married already. But
lord Capulet was deaf to all her excuses, and in a per-
emptory manner ordered her to get ready, for by the
following Thursday she should be married to Paris;
and having found her a husband, rich, young, and
noble, such as the proudest maid in Verona might
joyfully accept, he could not bear that out of an
affected coyness, as he construed her denial, she should
oppose obstacles to her own good fortune.

In this extremity Juliet applied to the friendly friar,
always her counsellor in distress, and he asking her
if she had resolution to undertake a desperate remedy,
and she answering that she would go into the grave
alive, rather than marry Paris, her own dear husband
living; he directed her to go home, and appear merry,
16 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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-and-forty hours after drinking
it she should appear cold and lifeless; that when the
bridegroom came to fetch her in the morning, he
would find her to appearance dead; that then she
would be borne, as the manner in that country was,
uncovered, on a bier, to be buried in the family vault ;
that if she could put off womanish fear, and consent
to this terrible trial, in forty-two hours after swallow-
ing the liquid (such was its certain operation) she would
be sure to awake, as from a dream; and before she
should awake, he would let her husband know their
drift, and he should come in the night, and bear her
thence to Mantua. Love, and the dread of marrying
Paris, gave young Juliet strength to undertake this
horrible adventure; and she took the phial of the
friar, promising to observe his directions.

Going from the monastery, she met the young count
Paris, and modestly dissembling, promised to become
his bride. This was joyful news to the lord Capulet
and his wife. It seemed to put youth into the old
man ; and Juliet, who had displeased him exceedingly
by her refusal of the count, was his darling again, now
she promised to be obedient. All things in the house
were in a bustle against the approaching nuptials. No
cost was spared to prepare such festival rejoicings, as

_ Verona had never before witnessed.

On the Wednesday night Juliet drank off the
ROMEO AND JULIET 17

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 haunting the
places where their bodies were bestowed. But then
her love for Romeo, and her aversion for Paris, re-
turned, and she desperately swallowed the draught,
and became insensible.

When young Paris came early in the morning with
music, to awaken his bride, instead of a living Juliet,
her chamber presented the dreary spectacle of a lifeless
corse. What death to his hopes! What confusion
then reigned through the whole house! Poor Paris
lamenting his bride, whom most detestable death had
beguiled him of, had divorced from him even before
their hands were joined. But still more piteous it was
to hear the mournings of the old lord and lady
Capulet, who having but this one, one poor loving
child to rejoice and solace in, cruel death had snatched
her from their sight, just as these careful parents were
on the point of seeing her advanced (as they thought)
by a promising and 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
B
18 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

bridal hymns were changed to sullen dirges, the
sprightly instruments to melancholy bells, and the
flowers that should have been strewed in the bride’s
path, now served but to strew her corse. Now instead
of a priest to marry her, a priest was needed to bury
her; and she was borne to church indeed, not to
augment the cheerful hopes of the living, but to swell
the dreary numbers of the dead.

Bad news, which always travels faster than good,
now brought the dismal story of his J uliet’s death to
Romeo at Mantua, before the messenger could arrive,
who was sent from friar Lawrence to apprise him that
these were mock funerals only, and but the shadow and
representation of death, and that his dear lady lay in
the tomb but for a short while, expecting when Romeo
should come to release her from that dreary mansion.
Just before, Romeo had been unusually joyful and
light-hearted. He had dreamed in the night that he
was dead (a strange dream, that gave a dead man leave
to think), and that his lady came and found him dead,
and breathed such life with kisses in his lips, that he
revived, and was an emperor! And now that a
messenger came from Verona, he thought surely it was
to confirm some good news which his dreams had
presaged. But when the contrary to this flattering
vision appeared, and that it was his lady who was dead
in truth, whom he could not revive by any kisses, he
ordered horses to be got ready, for he determined that
night to visit Verona, and to see his lady in her tomb.
And as mischief is swift to enter into the thoughts of
desperate men, he called to mind a poor apothecary,
ROMEO AND JULIET 19

whose shop in Mantua he had lately passed, and from
the beggarly appearance of the man, who seemed fam-
ished, and the wretched show in his 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 conclusion so desperate), “If
a man were to need poison, which by the law of Mantua
it is death to sell, here lives a poor wretch who would
sell it him.” These words of his now came into his
mind, and he sought out the apothecary, who after |
some pretended scruples, Romeo offering him gold
which his poverty could not resist, sold him a poison,
which, if he swallowed, he told. him, if he had the
strength of twenty men, would quickly despatch him.
With this poison he set out for Verona, to have a
sight of his dear lady in her tomb, meaning, when he
had satisfied his sight, to swallow the poison, and be
buried by her side. He reached Verona at midnight,
and found the churchyard, in the midst of which was
situated the ancient tomb of the Capulets. He had
provided a light, and a spade, and wrenching iron, and
was proceeding to break open the monument, when he
was interrupted by a voice, which by the name of vile
Mountague, bade him desist from his unlawful business.
It was the young count Paris, who had come to the
tomb of Juliet at that unseasonable time of night, to
strew flowers, and to weep over the grave of her that
should have been his bride. He knew not what an
interest Romeo had in the dead, but knowing him to
be a Mountague, and (as he supposed) a sworn foe to
20 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

all the Capulets, he judged that he was come by
night to do some villainous shame to the dead bodies ;
therefore in angry tone he bade him desist; and as a
criminal, condemned by the laws of Verona to die if he
were found within the walls of the city, he would have
apprehended him. Romeo urged Paris to leave him,
and warned him by the fate of Tybalt, who lay buried
there, not to provoke his anger, or draw down another
sin upon his head, by forcing him to killhim. But the
count in scorn refused his warning, and laid hands on
_ him as a felon, which Romeo resisting they fought, and
Paris fell. When Romeo, by the help of a light, came
to see who it was that he had slain, that it was Paris,
who (he learned in his way from Mantua) should have
married Juliet, he took the dead youth by the hand, as
one whom misfortune had made a companion, and said
that he would bury him in a triumphal grave, meaning
in Juliet’s grave, which he now opened: and there lay
his lady, as one whom Death had no power upon to
change a feature or complexion in her matchless beauty,
or as if Death were amorous, and the lean abhorred
monster kept her there for his delight ; for she lay yet
fresh and blooming, as she had fallen to sleep when she
swallowed that benumbing potion: and near her lay
Tybalt in his bloody shroud, whom Romeo seeing,
begged pardon of his lifeless corse, and for Juliet’s
sake called him cousin, and said that he was about to
do him a favour by putting his enemy to death. Here
Romeo took his last leave of his lady’s lips, kissing
them ; and here he shook the burden of his cross stars
from his weary body, swallowing that poison which the
ROMEO AND JULIET Q1

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 ex-
piring, and she about to wake to complain that
Romeo had not kept his time, or that he had come too
soon.

For now the hour was arrived at which the friar
had promised that she should awake; and he, having
learned that his letters which he had sent to Mantua,
by some unlucky detention of the messenger, had never
reached Romeo, came himself, provided with a pickaxe
and lantern, to deliver the lady from her confinement ;
but he was surprised to find a light already burning
in the Capulets’ monument, and to see swords and
blood neay 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 a greater power
than they could contradict had thwarted their intents,
and being frighted by the noise of people coming he
fled; but when Juliet saw the cup closed in her true
lover’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,
22 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

she quickly unsheathed a dagger which she wore, and
stabbing herself, died by her true Romeo’s side.

The watch by this time had come up to the place.
A page belonging to count Paris, who had witnessed
the fight between his master and Romeo, had given
the alarm, which had spread among the citizens, who
went up and down the streets of Verona confusedly,
exclaiming, a Paris, a Romeo, a Juliet, as the rumour
had imperfectly reached them, till the uproar brought
lord Mountague and lord Capulet out of their beds,

‘with the prince, to inquire into the causes of the dis-
turbance. The friar had been apprehended by some
of the watch, coming from the churchyard, trembling,
sighing, and weeping, in a suspicious manner. A great
multitude being assembled at the Capulets’ monument,
the friar was demanded by the prince to deliver what
he knew of these strange and disastrous accidents.

And there, in the presence of the old lords Moun-
tague and Capulet, he faithfully related the story of
their children’s fatal love, the part he took in pro-
moting their marriage in the hope in that union to
end the long quarrels between their families: how
Romeo, there dead, was husband to Juliet; and Juliet,
there dead, was Romeo’s faithful wife : how, before he
could find a fit opportunity to divulge their marriage,
another match was projected for Juliet, who, to avoid
the crime of a second marriage, swallowed the sleeping
draught (as he advised), and all thought her dead:
how meantime he wrote to Romeo, to come and take
her thence when the force of the potion should cease,
and by what unfortunate miscarriage of the messenger
ROMEO AND JULIET 23

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 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 monument, to die, and lie with Juliet. All these
circumstances agreed together to clear the friar from
any hand he could be supposed to have had in these
complicated slaughters, further than as the unintended
consequences of his own well-meant, yet too artificial
and subtle contrivances.

And the prince, turning to these old lords, Moun-
tague and Capulet, rebuked them for their brutal and
irrational enmities, and showed them what a scourge
heaven had laid upon such offences, that it had found
means even through the love of their children to punish
their unnatural hate. And these old rivals, no longer
enemies, agreed to bury their long strife in their
children’s graves; and lord Capulet requested lord
Mountague to give him his hand, calling him by the
name of brother, as if in acknowledgment of the union
of their families by the marriage of the young Capulet
and Mountague; and saying that lord Mountague’s
24 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

hand (in token of reconcilement) was all he demanded
for his daughter’s jointure: but lord Mountague said
he would give him more, for he would raise her a statue
of pure gold, that while Verona kept its name, no figure
should be so esteemed for its richness and workman-
ship as that of the true and faithful Juliet. And lord
Capulet in return said that he would raise another
statue to Romeo. So did these poor old lords, when
it was too late, strive to outgo each other in mutual
courtesies: while so deadly had been their rage and
enmity in past times, that nothing but the fearful
overthrow of their children (poor sacrifices to their
quarrels and dissensions) could remove the rooted hates
and jealousies of the noble families.
KING LEAR

Lear, King of Britain, had three daughters: Gonerill,
wife to the Duke of Albany; Regan, wife to the Duke
of Cornwall; and Cordelia, a young maid, for whose
love the King of France and Duke of Burgundy were
joint suitors, and were at this time making stay for
that purpose in the court of Lear.

The old king, worn out with age and the fatigues
of government, he being more than fourscore years old,
determined to take no further part in state affairs, but
to leave the management to younger strengths, that he
might have time to prepare for death, which must at
no long period ensue. With this intent he called his
three daughters to him, to know from their own lips
which of them loved him best, that he might part
his kingdom among them in such proportions as their
affection for him should seem to deserve.

Gonerill, the eldest, declared that she loved her
father more than words could give out, that he was
dearer to her than the light of her own eyes, dearer
than life and liberty, with a deal of such professing
stuff, which is easy to counterfeit where there is no
real love, only a few fine words delivered with confi-
dence being wanted in that case. The king, delighted
to hear from her own mouth this assurance of her
26 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

love, and thinking truly that her heart went with it,
in a fit of fatherly fondness bestowed upon her and her
husband one-third of his ample kingdom.

Then calling to him his second daughter, he de-
manded 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 dead, in com-
parison 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 hand-
some assurances which Regan had made, than bestow
a third of his kingdom upon her and her husband,
equal in size to that which he had already given away
to Gonerill.

Then turning to his youngest daughter Cordelia,
whom he called his joy, he asked what she had to
say, thinking, no doubt, that she would glad his ears
with the same loving speeches which her sisters had
uttered, or rather that her expressions would be so
much stronger than theirs, as she had always been his
darling, and favoured by him above either of them.
But Cordelia, disgusted with the flattery of her sisters,
whose hearts she knew were far from their lips, and
seeing that all their coaxing speeches were only in-
tended to wheedle the old king out of his dominions,
that they and their husbands might reign in his life-
time, made no other reply but this, that she loved
KING LEAR Q7

his majesty according to her duty, neither more nor
less.

The king, shocked with this appearance of ingrati-
tude in his favourite child, desired her to consider
her words, and to mend her speech, lest it should
mar her fortune.

Cordelia then told her father, that he was her father,
that he had given her breeding, and loved her, that
she returned those duties back as was most fit, and
did obey him, love him, and most honour him; but
that she could not frame her mouth to such large
speeches as her sisters had done, or promise to love
nothing else in the world. Why had her sisters hus-
bands, if (as they said) they had no love for anything
but their father? If she should ever wed, she was sure
the lord to whom she gave her hand would want half
her love, half of her care and duty; she should never
marry, like her sisters, to love her father all.

Cordelia, who in earnest loved her old father even
almost as extravagantly as her sisters pretended to do,
would have plainly told him so at any other time,
in more daughter-like and loving terms, and without
these qualifications which did indeed sound a little
ungracious; but after the crafty, flattering speeches of
her sisters, which she had seen draw such extravagant
rewards, she thought the handsomest thing she could
do was to love and be silent. This put her affection
out of suspicion of mercenary ends, and showed that
she loved, but not for gain; and that her professions,
the less ostentatious they were, had so much the more
of truth and sincerity than her sisters’,
28 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 reserved for Cordelia, and
gave it away from her, sharing it equally between her
two sisters and their husbands, the dukes of Albany

-and Cornwall, whom he now called to him, and, in
presence of all his courtiers, bestowing a coronet
between them, invested them jointly with all the
power, revenue, and execution of government, only
retaining to himself the name of king; all the rest of
royalty he resigned, with this reservation, that himself,
with a hundred knights for his attendants, was to be
maintained by monthly course in each of his daughters’
palaces in turn.

So preposterous a disposal of his kingdom, so little
guided by reason, and so much by passion, filled all
his courtiers with astonishment and sorrow; but none
of them had the courage to interpose between this
incensed king and his wrath, except the Earl of Kent,
who was beginning to speak a good word for Cordelia,
when the passionate Lear, on pain of death, com-
manded him to desist; but the good Kent was not
so to be repelled. He had been ever loyal to Lear,
whom he had honoured as a king, loved as a father,
followed as a master, and had never esteemed his
KING LEAR 29

life further than as a pawn to wage against his royal
master’s enemies, nor feared to lose it when Leav’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 coun-
sellor, in times past, to the king, and he besought
him now that he would see with his eyes (as he had
done in many weighty matters), and go by his advice
still; and in his best consideration recall this hideous
rashness, for he would answer with his life his judg-
ment that Lear’s youngest daughter did not love him
least, nor were those empty-hearted whose low sound
gave no token of hollowness. When power bowed
to flattery, honour was bound to plainness. For
Lear’s threats, what could he do to him, whose life
was already at his service? ‘That should not hinder
duty from speaking.

The honest freedom of this good Earl of Kent only
stirred up the king’s wrath the more, and like a frantic
patient who kills his physician, and loves his mortal
disease, he banished this true servant, and allotted
him but five days to make his preparations for de-
parture; but if on the sixth his hated person was
found within the realm of Britain, that moment was
to be his death. And Kent bade farewell to the
king, and said, that since he chose to show himself
in such fashion, it was but banishment to stay there ;
and before he went, he recommended Cordelia to the
protection of the gods, the maid who had so rightly
30 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

thought, and so discreetly spoken; and only wished
that her sisters’ large speeches might be answered
with deeds of love: and then he went, as he said, to
shape his old course to a new country.

The King of France and Duke of Burgundy were
now called in to hear the determination of Lear about
his youngest daughter, and to know whether they
would persist in their courtship to Cordelia, now that
she was under her father’s displeasure, and had no
fortune but her own person to recommend her; and
the Duke of Burgundy declined the match, and would
not take her to wife upon such conditions; but the
King of France, understanding what the nature of the
fault had been which had lost her the love of her
father, that it was only a tardiness of speech, and
the not being able to frame her tongue to flattery
like her sisters, took this young maid by the hand,
and, saying that her virtues were a dowry aboye a
kingdom, bade Cordelia to take farewell of her sisters,
and of her father, though he had been unkind, and
she should go with him, and be queen of him and
of fair France, and reign over fairer possessions than
her sisters; and he called the Duke of Burgundy,
in contempt, a waterish duke, because his love for
this young maid had in a moment run all away like
water.

Then Cordelia with weeping eyes took leave of her
sisters, and besought them to love their father well,
and make good their professions; and they sullenly
told her not to prescribe to them, for they knew their
duty; but to strive to content her husband, who had
KING LEAR 31

taken her (as they tauntingly expressed it) as Fortune’s
alms. And Cordelia with a heavy heart departed, for
she knew the cunning of her sisters, and she wished
her father in better hands than she was about to leave
him in.

Cordelia was no sooner gone, than the devilish dis-
position of her sisters began to show themselves in
their true colours. Even before the expiration of the
first month, which Lear was to spend by agreement
with his eldest daughter Gonerill, the old king began
to find out the difference between promises and per-
formances. This wretch having got from her father
all that he had to bestow, even to the giving away of
the crown from off his head, began to grudge even
those small remnants of royalty which the old man
had reserved to himself, to please his fancy with the
idea of being still a king. She could not bear to see
him and his hundred knights. Every time she met
her father she put on a frowning countenance ; and
when the old man wanted to speak with her, she would
feign sickness, or anything to be rid of the sight of
him; for it was plain that she esteemed his old age
a useless burden, and his attendants an unnecessary
expense: not only she herself slackened in her expres-
sions of duty to the king, but by her example, and
(it is to be feared) not without her private instructions,
her very servants affected to treat him with neglect,
and would either refuse to obey his orders, or still
more contemptuously pretend not to hear them. Lear
could not but perceive this alteration in the behaviour
of his daughter, but he shut his eyes against it as long
32 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

as he could, as people commonly are unwilling to be-
lieve the unpleasant consequences which their own
mistakes and obstinacy have brought upon them.

True love and fidelity are no more to be estranged
by il, than falsehood and hollow-heartedness can be
conciliated by good usage. This eminently appears
in the instance of the good Earl of Kent, who, though
banished by Lear, and his life made forfeit if he were
found in Britain, chose to stay and abide all conse-
quences, as long as there was a chance of his being
. useful to the king his master. See to what mean
shifts and disguises 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 obliga-
tion! In the disguise of a serving-man, all his great-
ness 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 sus-
pecting him to be his once great favourite, the high
and mighty Earl of Kent.

This Caius quickly found means to show his fidelity
and love to his royal master; for Gonerill’s steward
that same day, behaving in a disrespectful manner to
Lear, and giving him saucy looks and language, as no
doubt he was secretly encouraged to do by his mis-
KING LEAR 33

tress, Caius not enduring to hear so open an affront
put upon majesty, made no more ado, but presently
tripped up his heels, and laid the unmannerly slave
in the kennel; for which friendly service Lear became
more and more attached to him.

Nor was Kent the only friend Lear had. In his
degree, and as far as so insignificant a personage could
show his love, the poor fool, or jester, that had been
of his palace while Lear had a palace, as it was the
custom of kings and great personages at that time
to keep a fool (as he was called) to make them sport
after serious business; this poor fool clung to Lear
after he had given away his crown, and by his witty
sayings would keep up his good humour, though he
could not refrain sometimes from jeering at his master,
for his imprudence, in uncrowning himself, and giving
all away to his daughters: at which time, as he rhym-
ingly expressed it, these daughters—

For sudden joy did weep,
And he for sorrow sung,

That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.

And in such wild sayings, and scraps of songs, of
which he had plenty, this pleasant, honest fool poured
out his heart, even in the presence of Gonerill 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

c
34 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to go behind, now ranked before their father); and
that Lear was no longer Lear, but the shadow of Lear:
for which free speeches he was once or twice threatened
to be whipped.

The coolness and falling off of respect which Lear
had begun to perceive, were not all which this foolish
fond father was to suffer from his unworthy daughter :
she now plainly told him that his staying in her palace
was inconvenient so long as he insisted upon keeping
up an establishment of a hundred knights: that this
establishment was useless and expensive, and only

‘served to fill her court with riot and feastings; and
she prayed him that he would lessen their number, and
keep none but old men about him, such as 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
behaviour and sobriety of manners, skilled in all
particulars of duty, and not 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.
KING LEAR 35

And he cursed his eldest daughter Gonerill so as was
terrible to hear: praying that she might never have a
child, or if she had, that it might live to return that
scorn and contempt upon her which she had shown to
him: that she might feel how sharper than a serpent’s
tooth it was to have a thankless child. And Gonerill’s
husband, the Duke of Albany, beginning to excuse
himself for any share which Lear might suppose he had
in the unkindness, Lear would not hear him out, but in
a rage ordered his horses to be saddled, and set out
with his followers for the abode of Regan, his other
daughter. And Lear thought to himself how small
the fault of Cordelia (if it was a fault) now appeared, in
comparison with her sister’s, and he wept; and then he
was ashamed that such a creature as Gonerill should
have so much power over his manhood as to make him
weep.

Regan and her husband were keeping their court
in great pomp and state at their palace: and Lear 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 Gonerill
had been beforehand with him, sending letters also to
Regan, accusing her father of waywardness and ill
humours, and advising her not to receive so great a
train as he was bringing with him. This messenger
arrived at the same time with Caius, and Caius and he
met; and who should it be but Caius’s old enemy the
steward, whom he had formerly tripped up by the
heels for his saucy behaviour to Lear. Caius not liking
the fellow’s look, and suspecting what he came for,
36 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

began to revile him, and challenged him to fight,
which the fellow refusing, Caius, in a fit of honest
passion, beat him soundly, as such a mischief-maker and
carrier of wicked messages deserved; which, coming
to the ears of Regan and her husband, they ordered
Caius to be put in the stocks, though he was a mes-
senger 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

. situation.

This was but a bad omen of the reception which
he was to expect; but a worse followed, when upon
inquiry for his daughter and her husband, he was told
they were weary with 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 Gonerill, who had come to tell her own story,
and set her sister against the king her father!

This sight much moved the old man, and still more
to see Regan take her by the hand: and he asked
Gonerill if she was not ashamed to look upon his old
white beard. And Regan advised him to go home
again with Gonerill and live with her peaceably, dis-
missing half of his attendants, and to ask her forgive-
ness; 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
KING LEAR 37

argued against such an unnatural dependence, declar-
ing his resolution never to return with her, but to stay
where he was with Regan, he and his hundred knights :
for he said that she had not forgot the half of the
kingdom which he had endowed her with, and that her
eyes were not fierce like Gonerill’s, but mild and kind.
And he said that rather than return to Gonerill with
half his train cut off, he would go over to France,
and beg a wretched pension of the king there,
who had married his youngest daughter without a
portion.

But he was mistaken in expecting kinder treatment
of Regan than he had experienced from her sister
Gonerill. As if willing to outdo her sister in unfilial
behaviour, she declared that she thought fifty knights
too many to wait upon him: that five-and-twenty were
enough. Then Lear, nigh heart-broken, turned to Gon-
erill, and said that he would go back with her, for her
fifty doubled five-and-twenty, and so her love was twice
as much as Regan’s. But Gonerill excused herself, and
said, what need of so many as five-and-twenty? or even
ten? or five? when he might be waited upon by her
servants, or her sisters’ servants? So these two wicked
daughters, as if they strove to exceed each other in
cruelty to their old father who had been so good to
them, by little and little would have abated him of all
his train, all respect (little enough for him that once
commanded a kingdom), which was left him to show
that he had once been a king! Not that a splendid
train is essential to happiness, but from a king to a
beggar is a hard change, from commanding millions to
38 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 vexation for having so foolishly given
away a kingdom, his wits began to be unsettled, and
while he said he knew not what, he vowed revenge
against those unnatural hags, and to make examples
of them that should be a terror to the earth !

While he was thus idly threatening what his weak
arm could never execute, night came on, and a loud
storm of thunder and lightning with rain; and his
daughters still persisting in their resolution not to
admit his followers, he called for his horses, and chose
rather to encounter the utmost fury of the storm abroad,
than stay under the same roof with these ungrateful
daughters; and they, saying that the injuries which
wilful men procure to themselves are their just punish-
ment, suffered him to go in that condition, and shut
their doors upon him.

The winds were high, and the rain and storm in-
creased, when the old man sallied forth to combat with
the elements, less sharp than his daughters’ unkindness.
For many miles about there was scarce a bush; and
there upon a heath, exposed to the fury of the storm
in a dark night, did King Lear wander out, and defy
the winds and the thunder: and he bid the winds to
blow the earth into the sea, or swell the waves of the
sea, till they drowned the earth, that no token might
remain of any such ungrateful animal as man. The old
king was now left with no other companion than the
KING LEAR 39

poor fool, who still abided with him, with his merry
conceits striving to outjest misfortune, saying, it was
but a naughty night to swim in, and truly the king
had better go in and ask his daughter’s blessing—

But he that hath a little tiny wit,

With heigh ho, the wind and the rain !

Must make content with his fortunes fit,

Though the rain it raineth every day:
and swearing it was a brave night to cool a lady’s
pride.

Thus poorly accompanied, this once great monarch
was found by his ever-faithful servant the good Earl of
Kent, now 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 nature cannot endure the aftlic-
tion or the fear.” And Lear rebuked him and said,
these lesser evils were not felt, where a greater malady
was fixed. When the mind is at ease, the body has
leisure to be delicate ; but the tempest in his mind did
take all feeling else from his senses, but of that which
beat at his heart. And he spoke of filial ingratitude,
and said it was all one as if the mouth should tear the
hand for lifting food to it; for parents were hands and
food and everything to children.

But the good Caius still persisting in his entreaties
that the king would not stay out in the open air, at
last persuaded him to enter a little wretched hovel
which stood upon the heath, where the fool first enter-
40 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ing, suddenly ran back terrified, saying that he had
seen a spirit. But upon examination this spirit proved
to be nothing more than a poor Bedlam beggar, who
had crept into this deserted hovel for shelter, and with
his talk about devils frighted the fool; one of those
poor lunatics who are either mad, or feign to be so, the
better to extort charity from the compassionate country-
people, who go about the country, calling themselves
poor Tom and poor Turlygood, saying “Who gives
anything to poor Tom ?” sticking pins, and nails, and
sprigs of rosemary into their arms to make them bleed ;
and with such horrible actions, partly by prayers, and
partly with lunatic curses, they move or terrify the
ignorant country-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 wretchedness but the having unkind
daughters.

And from this and many such wild speeches which
he uttered, the good Caius plainly perceived that he
was not in his perfect mind, but that his daughters’ ill-
usage had really made him go mad. And now the
loyalty of this worthy Earl of Kent showed itself in more
essential services than he had hitherto found opportu-
nity 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
KING LEAR 41

castle of Dover, where his own friends and influence, as
Earl of Kent, chiefly lay; and himself embarking for
France, hastened to the court of Cordelia, and did
there in such moving terms represent the pitiful condi-
tion of her royal father, and set out in such lively
colours 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 England with a sufficient power to subdue these
daughters and their husbands, and restore the king her
father to his throne; which being granted, she set
forth, and with a royal army landed at Dover.

Lear having by some chance escaped from the
guardians which the good Earl of Kent had put over
him to take care of him in his lunacy, was found by
some of Cordelia’s train, wandering about the fields
near Dover, in a pitiable condition, stark mad and
singing aloud to himself, with a crown upon his head
which he had made of straw, and nettles, and other
wild weeds that he had picked up in the corn-fields.
By the advice of the physicians, Cordelia, though
earnestly desirous of seeing her father, was prevailed
upon to put off the meeting, till, by sleep and the
operation of herbs which they gave him, he should be re-
stored to greater composure. By the aid of these skilful
physicians, to whom Cordelia promised all her gold and
jewels for the recovery of the old king, Lear was soon
in a condition to see his daughter.

A tender sight it was to see the meeting between
this father and daughter: to see the struggles between
the joy of this poor old king at beholding again his
42 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

once darling child, and the shame at receiving such
filial kindness from her whom he had cast off for so
small a fault in his displeasure; both these passions
struggling with the remains of his malady, which in his
half-crazed brain sometimes made him that he scarce
remembered where he was, or who it was that so kindly
kissed him and spoke to him: and then he would beg
the standers-by not to laugh at him, if he were mis-
taken 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 himself. And she told her
father how she had come from France with purpose to
bring him assistance ; and he said that she must forget
and forgive, for he was old and foolish, and did not know
what he did; but that to be sure she had great cause
not to love him, but her sisters had none. And Cor-
delia 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
SA : aL)

MESSI». : g ‘ OFS Hee Ny
BEN NYS". ( WV)
ea WO og 5} t (Sox SS if:

SS 5 G Bos ,



KING LEAR RECOGNISING CORDELIA AFTER HIS MADNESS.
KING LEAR 43

succeeded in winding up the untuned and jarring senses
which the cruelty of his other daughters had so violently
shaken. Let us return to say a word or two about
those cruel daughters.

These monsters of ingratitude, who had been so false
to their own father, could not be expected to prove
more faithful to their own husbands. ‘They soon grew
tired of paying even the appearance of duty and affec-
tion, and in an open way showed they had fixed their
loves upon another. It happened that the object of their
guilty loves was the same. It was Edmund, a natural
son of the late Earl of Gloucester, who by his treach-
eries had succeeded in disinheriting his brother Edgar,
the lawful heir, from his earldom, and by his wicked
practices was now earl himself: a wicked man, and a
fit object for the love of such wicked creatures as Gon-
erill and Regan. It falling out about this time that
the Duke of Cornwall, Regan’s husband, died, Regan
immediately declared her intention of wedding this
Earl of Gloucester, which rousing the jealousy of her
sister, to whom as well as to Regan this wicked earl had
at sundry times professed love, Gonerill found means
to make away with her sister by poison ; but being de-
tected in her practices, and imprisoned by her husband
the Duke of Albany for this deed, and for her guilty
passion for the earl, which had come to his ears, she in
a fit of disappointed love and rage, shortly put an end
to her own life. Thus the justice of Heaven at last
overtook these wicked daughters.

While the eyes of all men were upon this event,
admiring the justice displayed in their deserved deaths,
44 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the same eyes were suddenly taken off from this sight
to admire at the mysterious ways of the same power in
the melancholy fate of the young and virtuous daughter,
the lady Cordelia, whose good deeds did seem to de-
serve a more fortunate conclusion; but it is an awful
_ truth, that innocence and piety are not always success-
ful in this world. The forces which Gonerill and Regan
had sent out under the command of the bad Earl of
Gloucester were victorious, and Cordelia, by the prac-
tices 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 as 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 faithful servant to the king, between age
and grief for his old master’s vexations, soon followed
him to the grave.

How the judgment of Heaven overtook the bad Earl
of Gloucester, whose treasons were discovered, and him-
self slain in single combat with his brother, the lawful
earl; and how Gonerill’s husband, the Duke of Albany,
KING LEAR 45

who was innocent of the death of Cordelia, and had
never encouraged his lady in her wicked proceedings
against her father, ascended the throne of Britain after
the death of Lear, is needless here to narrate; Lear
and his three daughters being dead, whose adventures
alone concern our story.
OTHELLO

Brazantio, the rich senator of Venice, had a fair
daughter, the gentle Desdemona. She was sought by
divers suitors, both on account of her many virtuous
qualities and for her rich expectations. But among
the suitors of her own clime and complexion she saw
none whom she could affect ; for this noble lady, who
regarded the mind more than the features of men, with
a singularity rather to be admired than imitated, had
chosen for the object of her affections, a Moor, a black,
whom her father loved, and often invited to his house.

Neither is Desdemona to be altogether condemned
for the unsuitableness of the person whom she selected
for her lover. Bating that Othello was black, the
noble Moor wanted nothing which might recommend
him to the affections of the greatest lady. He was a
soldier, and a brave one; and by his conduct in bloody
wars against the Turks had risen to the rank of general
in the Venetian service, and was esteemed and trusted
by the State.

He had been a traveller, and Desdemona (as is the
manner of ladies) loved to hear him tell the story of
his adventures, which he would run through from his
earliest recollection ; the battles, sieges, and encounters

which he had passed through ; the perils he had been
46
OTHELLO 47

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 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 the attention of Desdemona, that if
she were called off at any time by household affairs, she
would despatch with all haste that business, and return,
and with a greedy ear devour Othello’s discourse. And
once he took 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 spoke of some
distressful stroke which his youth suffered.

His story being done, she gave him for his pains a
world of sighs: she swore a pretty oath, that it was
all passing strange, and pitiful, wondrous pitiful: she
wished (she said) she had not heard it, yet she wished
that Heaven had made her such a man: and then she
thanked him, and told him, if he had a friend who
loved her, he had only to teach him how to tell his
story, and that would woo her. Upon this hint, de-
livered not with more frankness than modesty, accom-
48 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

panied with a certain bewitching prettiness, and blushes,
which Othello could not but understand, he spoke more
openly of his love, and in this golden opportunity
gained the consent of the generous lady Desdemona
privately to marry him.

Neither Othello’s colour nor his fortune were such
that it could be hoped Brabantio would accept him for
a son-in-law. He had left his daughter free; but he
did expect that, as the manner of noble Venetian ladies
was, she would choose ere long a husband of senatorial
rank or expectations: but in this he was deceived ;
Desdemona loved the Moor, though he was black, and
devoted her heart and fortunes to his valiant parts and
qualities: so was her heart subdued to an implicit
devotion to the man she had selected for a husband,
that his very colour, which to all but this discerning
lady would have proved an insurmountable objection,
was by her esteemed above all the white skins and
clear complexions of the young Venetian nobility, her
suitors.

Their marriage, which, though privately carried out,
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 pre-
OTHELLO 49

paration 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 tuned its eyes upon
Othello, who alone was deemed adequate to conduct
the defence of Cyprus against the Turks. So that
Othello, now summoned before the senate, stood in
their presence at once as a candidate for a great state
employment, and as a culprit, charged with offences
which by the laws of Venice were made capital.

The age and senatorial character of old Brabantio
commanded a most patient hearing from that grave
assembly ; but the incensed father conducted his accu-
sation with so much intemperance, producing likeli-
hoods and allegations for proofs, that, when Othello
was called upon for his defence, he had only to relate a
plain tale of the course of his love; which he did with
such an artless eloquence, recounting the whole story of
his wooing, as we have related it above, and delivered
his speech with so noble a plainness (the evidence of
truth), that the duke, who sat as chief judge, could not
help confessing, that a tale so told would have won his
daughter too: and the spells and conjurations, which
Othello had used in his 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.

This statement of Othello was confirmed by the
testimony of the lady Desdemona herself, who ap-
peared in court, and professing a duty to her father for

life and education, challenged leave of him to profess a
D
50 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 behaviour of Desdemona
would have taught him to be a tyrant, and hang clogs
on them for her desertion.

This difficulty being got over, Othello, to whom
custom had rendered the hardships of a military life
as natural as food and rest are to other men, readily
undertook the management of the wars in Cyprus :
and Desdemona, preferring the honour of her lord
(though with danger) before the indulgence of those
idle delights in which new-married people usually
waste their time, cheerfully consented to his going.

No sooner were Othello and his lady landed in
Cyprus, than news arrived, that a desperate tempest
had dispersed the Turkish fleet, and thus the island
was secure from any immediate apprehension of an
attack. But the war, which Othello was to suffer, was
now beginning; and the enemies, which malice stirred
up against his innocent lady, proved in their nature
more deadly than strangers or infidels.

Among all the general’s friends no one possessed
the confidence of Othello more entirely than Cassio.
Michael Cassio was a young soldier, a Florentine, gay,
OTHELLO 51

amorous, and of pleasing address, favourite qualities
with women; he was handsome, and eloquent, and
exactly such a person as might alarm the jealousy of
a man advanced in years (as Othello in some measure
was), who had married a young and beautiful wife ;
but Othello was as free from jealousy as he was noble,
and as incapable of suspecting, as of doing, a base
action. He had employed this Cassio in his love-
affair with Desdemona, and Cassio had been a sort of
go-between in his suit: for Othello, fearing that
himself had not these 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
honour rather than a blemish to the character of the
valiant Moor. So that no wonder, if next to Othello
himself (but at far distance, as beseems a virtuous
wife), the gentle Desdemona loved and trusted Cassio.
Nor had the marriage of this couple made any dif-
ference in their behaviour to Michael Cassio. He
frequented their house, and his free and rattling talk
was no unpleasing variety to Othello, who was him-
self of a more serious temper: for such tempers are
observed. often to delight in their contraries, as a
relief from the oppressive excess of their own; and
Desdemona and Cassio would talk and laugh together,
as in the days when he went a-courting for his friend.
Othello had lately promoted Cassio to be the lieu-
tenant, a place of trust, and nearest to the general’s
person. This promotion gave great offence to Iago,
an older officer, who thought he had a better claim
52 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

than Cassio, and would often ridicule Cassio, as a
fellow fit only for the company of ladies, and one
that knew no more of the art of war, or how to set
an army in array for battle, than a girl. Iago hated
Cassio, and he hated Othello as well for favouring
Cassio, as for an unjust suspicion, which he had lightly
taken up against Othello, that the Moor was too fond
of Iago’s wife Emilia. From these imaginary provoca-
tions, the plotting mind of Iago conceived a horrid
‘scheme of revenge, which should involve both Cassio,
the Moor, and Desdemona in one common ruin.

Iago was artful, and had studied human nature
deeply, and he knew that of all the torments which
afflict the mind of man (and far beyond bodily torture),
the pains of jealousy were the most intolerable, and
had the sorest sting. If he could succeed in making
Othello jealous of Cassio, he thought it would be an
exquisite plot of revenge, and might end in the death
of Cassio or Othello, or both; he cared not.

The arrival of the general and his lady in Cyprus,
meeting with the news of the dispersion of the enemy’s
fleet, made a sort of holiday in the island. Everybody
gave themselves up to feasting and making merry.
Wine flowed in abundance, and cups went round to
the health of the black Othello, and his lady the fair
Desdemona.

Cassio had the direction of the guard that night,
with a charge from Othello to keep the soldiers from
excess in drinking, that no brawl might arise, to fright
the inhabitants, or disgust them with the new-landed
forces. That night Iago began his deep-laid plans
OTHELLO 53

of mischief; under cover of loyalty and love to the
general, he enticed Cassio to make rather too free
with the bottle (a great fault in an officer upon guard).
Cassio for a time resisted, but he could not long hold
out against the honest freedom which Iago knew how
to put on, but kept swallowing glass after glass (as
Iago still plied him with drink and encouraging songs),
and Cassio’s tongue ran over in praise of the lady
Desdemona, whom he again and again toasted, affirm-
ing that she was a most exquisite lady: until at last
the enemy which he put into his mouth stole away his
brains; and upon some provocation given him by a
fellow whom Iago had set on, swords were drawn, and
Montano, a worthy officer who interfered to appease
the dispute, was wounded in the scuffle. The riot
now began to be general, and Iago, who had set on
foot the mischief, was foremost in spreading the
alarm, causing the castle-bell to be rung (as if some
dangerous mutiny, instead of a slight drunken quarrel,
had arisen); the alarm-bell ringing awakened Othello,
who, dressing in a hurry, and coming to the scene of
action, questioned Cassio of the cause. Cassio was
now come to himself, the effect of the wine having a
little gone off, but was too much ashamed to reply;
and Iago, 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.
54 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 Iago, that he
should have been such a fool as to transform himself
into a beast. He was undone, for how could he ask
the general for his place again! he would tell him he
was a drunkard. He despised himself. Iago, affecting
to make light of it, said that he, or any man living,
might be drunk upon occasion; it remained now to
make the best of a bad bargain; 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 favour; and then this crack in their love
would be made stronger than ever. A good advice of
Iago, if it had not been given for wicked purposes,
which will after appear.

Cassio did as Iago advised him, and made applica-
tion 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 immedi-
ately set about in so earnest and pretty a manner, that
OTHELLO 55

Othello, who was mortally offended with Cassio, could
not put her off. When he pleaded delay, and that it
was too soon to pardon such an offender, she would
not be beat back, but insisted that it should be the
next night, or the morning after, or the next morning
to that at farthest. Then she showed how penitent
and humbled poor Cassio was, and that his offence did
not deserve so sharp a check. And when Othello still
hung back, “ What! my lord,” said she, “ that I should
have so much to do to plead for Cassio, Michael Cassio,
that came a-courting for you, and oftentimes when I
have spoken in dispraise of you, has taken your part ?
I count this but a little thing to ask of you. When
I mean to try your love indeed, I shall ask a weighty
matter.” Othello could deny nothing to such a pleader,
and only requesting that Desdemona would leave the
time to him, promised to receive Michael Cassio again
into favour.

It happened that Othello and Iago had entered into
the room where Desdemona was, just as Cassio, who
had been imploring her intercession, was departing at
the opposite door; and Iago, who was full of art, said
in a low voice, as if to himself, “I like not that.”
Othello took no great notice of what he said ; indeed,
the conference which immediately took place with his
lady put it out of his head; but he remembered it
afterwards. For when Desdemona was gone, Tago, as
if for mere satisfaction of his thought, questioned
Othello whether Michael Cassio, when Othello was
courting his lady, knew of his love. To this the
general answering in the affirmative, and adding, that
56 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

he had gone between them very often during the court-
ship, Iago knitted his brow, as if he had got fresh light
of some terrible matter, and cried, “Indeed!” This
brought into Othello’s mind the words which Iago had
let fall upon entering the room, and seeing Cassio with
Desdemona; and he began to think there was some
meaning in all this: for he deemed Iago to be a just
man, and full of love and honesty, and what in a false
knave would be tricks, in him seemed to be the natural
workings of an honest mind, big with something too
great for utterance: and Othello prayed Iago to speak
what he knew, and to give his worst thoughts words.
“And what,” said Iago, “if some thoughts very vile
should have intruded into my breast, as where is the
palace into which foul things do not enter?” 'Then
Iago went on to say, what a pity it were, if any trouble
should arise to Othello out of his imperfect observa-
tions ; that it would not be for Othello’s peace to know
his thoughts ; that people’s good names were not to be
taken away for slight suspicions; and when Othello’s
curiosity was raised almost to distraction with these
hints and scattered words, Iago, as if in earnest care for
Othello’s peace of mind, besought him to beware of
Jealousy ; with such art did this villain raise suspicions
in the unguarded Othello, by the very caution which
he pretended to give him against suspicion. “I know,”
said Othello, “that my wife is fair, loves company and
feasting, is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well ;
but where virtue is, these qualities are virtuous. I
must have proof before I think her dishonest.” Then —
Iago, as if glad that Othello was slow to believe ill of his
OTHELLO 57

lady, frankly declared that he had no proof, but begged
Othello to observe her behaviour well, when Cassio was
by: not to be jealous nor too secure neither, for that
he (Iago) knew the dispositions of the Italian ladies,
his countrywomen, better than Othello could do; and
that in Venice the wives let Heaven see many pranks
they dared not show their husbands. Then he artfully
insinuated that Desdemona deceived her father in
marrying with Othello, and carried it so closely, that
the poor old man thought ‘that witchcraft had been
used. Othello was much moved with this argument,
which brought the matter home to him, for if she had
deceived her father, why might she not deceive her
husband ?

Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but
Othello, assuming an indifference, while he was really
shaken with inward grief at Iago’s words, begged
him to go on, which Iago did with many apologies, as
if unwilling to produce anything against Cassio, whom
he called his friend: he then came strongly to the
point, and reminded Othello how Desdemona had re-
fused many suitable matches of her own clime and
complexion, and had married him, a Moor, which
showed unnatural in her, and proved her to have a
headstrong will: and when her better judgment re-
turned, how probable it was she should fall upon com-
paring 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 mean-
while to note with what earnestness Desdemona should
58 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

intercede in his behalf; for that much would be seen
in that. So mischievously did this artful villain lay
his plots to turn the gentle qualities of this innocent
lady into her destruction, and make a net for her out
of her own goodness to entrap her ; first setting Cassio
on to entreat her mediation, and then out of that very
mediation contriving stratagems for her ruin.

The conference ended with Iago’s begging Othello to
account his wife innocent until he had more decisive
‘ proof; and Othello promised to be patient; but from
that moment the deceived Othello never tasted content
of mind. Poppy, nor the juice of mandragora, nor all
the sleeping potions in the world could ever again re-
store to him that sweet rest which he had enjoyed but
yesterday. His occupation sickened upon him. He
no longer took delight in arms. His heart, that used
to be roused at the sight of troops, and banners, and
battle-array, and would stir and leap at the sound
of a drum, or a trumpet, or a neighing war-horse,
seemed to have lost all that pride and ambition, which
are a soldier’s virtue; and his military ardour and all
his old joys forsook him. Sometimes he thought his
wife honest, and at times he thought her not so; some-
times he thought Iago 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 dis-
tracting thoughts, he once laid hold on Iago’s throat,
and demanded proof of Desdemona’s guilt, or threat-
ened instant death for his having belied her. Iago,
feigning indignation that his honesty should be taken
OTHELLO 59

for a vice, asked Othello, if he had not sometimes seen
a handkerchief 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 hand-
kerchief,” said Iago, ‘did I see Michael Cassio this day
wipe his face with.” “If it be as you say,” said Othello,
“T will not rest till a wide revenge swallow them up:
and first, for a token of your fidelity, I expect that
Cassio shall be put to death within three days; and for
that fair devil (meaning his lady), I will withdraw and
devise some swift means of death for her.”

Trifles, light as air, are to the jealous proofs as
strong as holy writ. A handkerchief of his wife’s seen
in Cassio’s hand, was motive enough to the deluded
Othello to pass sentence of death upon them both,
without once inquiring how Cassio came by it. Des-
demona 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 inno-
cent 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 weak woman) steal
this handkerchief from Desdemona, under pretence of
getting the work copied, but in reality to drop it in
Cassio’s way, where he might find it, and give a handle
to Iago’s suggestion that it was Desdemona’s present.

Othello, soon after meeting his wife, pretended that
he had a headache (as he might indeed with truth),
and desired her to lend him her handkerchief to hold
his temples. She did so. “Not this,” said Othello,
60 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“but that handkerchief 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 to
me, and bade me, if I ever married, to give it to my
wife. Idid so; take heed of it. Make it a darling
as precious as your eye.” “Is it possible?” said the
frighted lady. “Tis true,” continued Othello; “it
is a magical handkerchief; a sibyl, that had lived in
the world two hundred years, in a fit of prophetic
fury worked it; the silkworms that furnished the silk
were hallowed, and it was dyed in 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 handker-
chief, which when she could not produce, she tried to
divert her husband from too serious thoughts, and
cheerfully told him, she saw all his talk about the
handkerchief was only to put her off from her suit
about Michael Cassio, whom she went on to praise
(as Iago had foretold), till Othello in perfect dis-
traction burst out of the room, and then Desdemona,
OTHELLO 61

though unwillingly, began to suspect her lord was
jealous.

What cause she could have ministered to him she
knew not; and then she accused herself for accusing
the noble Othello, and thought to be sure that some
untoward news from Venice, or some state troubles,
had puddled his spirits, and made his temper not so
sweet as formerly. And she said, “Men are not gods,
and we must not look for that observance from them
when they are married, which they show us on the
bridal day.” And she beshrewed herself for so un-
kindly judging of his unkindness.

Again Othello and Desdemona met, and he accused
her more plainly of being unfaithful, and of loving ©
another man, but he did not name whom: and Othello
wept, and Desdemona said, “Alas! the heavy day!
why do you weep?” And Othello told her, he could
have borne all sorts of evils with fortitude—poverty,
and disease, and disgrace ; but her infidelity had broken
his heart: and he called her a weed, that looked so
fair, and smelled so sweet, that the sense ached at it;
and wished she had never been born. And when he
had left her, this innocent lady was so stupefied with
wonder at her lord’s untrue suspicion of her, that a
weight-like sleep came over her, and she only desired
her attendant to make her bed, and to lay her wedding-
sheets upon it, saying, that when people teach their
babes, they do it by gentle means and easy tasks, and
Othello might have chid her so; for in good faith she
was but a child when she was chidden. And this was
all the complaint which this gentle lady made.
62 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 medi-
tated of putting his lady to death. But when he saw
her asleep, he thought he would not shed her blood,
nor scar that white skin of hers, more white than
alabaster. But he was resolved she should die, else (as
he said) she would live to betray more men, as she had
‘ done him. Then he kissed her for the last time (as he
said), and that kiss was so sweet, he must needs kiss
her again; and he wept, but he said they were cruel
tears.

Desdemona was awakened with his kisses, and she
looked upon Othello, and she saw him gnaw his under
lip, and roll his eyes, and she knew he was always
fatal when he looked so: and he bade her prepare for
death, and to say her prayers, for he would not kill
her soul. And this innocent wife, as she lay at his
mercy, begged for compassion, and to know her fault ;
and then he named Cassio, and the handkerchief which
(he said) she had given him; and as the 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 Iago had set one
of his creatures on to assassinate; but the fellow not
succeeding in his attempt to kill Cassio (whom he
wounded, but not mortally), and being himself killed
by Iago to prevent discovery, in his pockets were found


OTHELLO LOOKING AT DESDEMONA ASLEEP.
OTHELLO 63

certain letters, which made the guilt of Iago, and the
innocence of Cassio, clear beyond all doubt: and Cassio
now came to beg pardon of Othello, and to ask wherein
he had offended him, that he had employed Iago to
murder him.

This discovery was as a thunderstroke to Othello,
who now plainly saw that he was no better than a
murderer, and that his wife (poor innocent lady) had
been ever faithful to him; the extreme anguish of
which discovery making life insupportable, he fell upon
his sword, and, throwing himself upon the body of his
dear injured lady, expired.

These rash acts raised much passion of horror and
amazement in the bystanders, for Othello had borne
a fair reputation, and till he was wrought upon by the
arts of a villain, which his own noble nature never gave
him leave to suspect, he was a loving and a doting
husband. He had loved, not wisely, but too well;
and his manly eyes (when he learned his mistake),
though not used to weep on every small occasion,
dropped tears as fast as the Arabian trees their gum.
And when he was dead all his former merits and his
valiant acts were remembered. Nothing now remained
for his successor, but to put the utmost censure of the
law in force against Iago, who was executed with strict
tortures ; and to send word to the state of Venice of
the lamentable death of their renowned general.
TIMON OF ATHENS

Timon, a lord of Athens, in the enjoyment of a princely
fortune, affected a humour of liberality which knew no
limits. His almost infinite wealth could not flow in so
fast, but he poured it out faster upon all sorts and
degrees of people. Not the poor only tasted of his
bounty, but great lords did not disdain to rank 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 dispositions tendered their services to lord
Timon, from the glass-faced flatterer, whose face reflects
as in a mirror the present humour of his patron, to the
rough and 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 entertain-
ments, and return most rich in his own estimation if he
had received a nod or a salutation from Timon.

If a poet had composed a work which wanted a re-
commendatory introduction to the world, he had no
more to do but to domicate it to lord Timon, and the

1
TIMON OF ATHENS 65

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 had only to
take it to lord Timon, and pretend to consult his taste
as to the merits of it; nothing more was wanting to
persuade the liberal-hearted lord to buy it. If ajeweller
had a stone of price, or a mercer rich costly stuffs,
which, for their costliness, lay upon his hands, lord
Timon’s house was a ready mart always open, where
they might get off their wares or their jewellery at any
price; and the good-natured lord would thank them
into the bargain, as if they had done him a piece of
courtesy in letting him have the refusal of such pre-
cious 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 trades-
men, lords, ladies, needy courtiers, and expectants,
who continually 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 extra-
vagance) had been put in prison by creditors, and
redeemed thence by lord Timon; these young prodigals
thenceforward fastened upon his lordship, as if by com-

mon sympathy he were necessarily endeared to all such
E
66 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

spendthrifts and loose livers, who, not being able to
follow him in his wealth, found it easier to copy him
in prodigality and copious spending of what was 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 visi-
tors, none were more conspicuous than the makers of
presents and givers of gifts. It was fortunate for these
‘men if Timon took a fancy to a dog or a horse, or any
piece of cheap furniture which was theirs. The thing
so praised, whatever it was, was sure to be sent the
next morning with the compliments of the giver for
lord Timon’s acceptance, and apologies for the un-
worthiness of the gift ; and this dog or horse, or what-
ever it might be, did not fail to produce, from Timon’s
bounty, who would not be outdone in gifts, perhaps
twenty dogs or horses, certainly presents of far richer
worth, as these pretended donors knew well enough,
and that their false presents were but the putting out
of so much money at large and speedy interest. In
this way lord Lucius had lately sent to Timon a present
of four milk-white horses trapped in silver, which this
cunning lord had observed Timon 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 dis-
honest views of the presenters ; and the givers of course
were rewarded with some rich return, a diamond or
TIMON OF ATHENS 67

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 com-
mended, for no service in the world done for it but the
easy expense of a little cheap and obvious flattery. In
this way Timon but the other day had given to one of
these mean lords the bay courser which he himself rode
upon, because his lordship had been pleased to say that
it was a handsome beast and went well; and Timon
knew that no man ever justly praised what he did not
wish to possess. For lord Timon weighed his friends’
affection with his own, and so fond was he of bestowing
that he could have dealt kingdoms to these supposed
friends, and never have been weary.

Not that Timon’s wealth all went to enrich these
wicked 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 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 hus-
band. But for the most part, knaves and parasites
had the command of his fortune, false friends whom he
68 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

did not know to be such, but, because they flocked
around his person, he thought they must needs love
him; and because they smiled and flattered him, he
thought surely that his conduct was approved by all
the wise and good. And when he was feasting in the
midst of all these flatterers and mock friends, when
they were eating him up, and draining his fortunes
dry with large ‘draughts of richest wines drunk to
his health and prosperity, he could not perceive the
difference of a friend from a flatterer, but to his deluded
eyes (made proud with the sight), it seemed a precious
comfort to have so many, like brothers commanding
one another’s fortunes (though it was his own fortune
which paid all the costs), and with joy they would run
over at the spectacle of such, as it appeared to him,
truly festive and fraternal meeting.

But while he thus outwent the very heart of kind-
ness, and poured out his bounty as if Plutus, the god
of gold, had been but his steward; while thus he pro-
ceeded without care or stop, so senseless of expense
that he would neither inquire how he could maintain
it, nor cease his wild flow of riot; his riches, which
- were not infinite, must needs melt away before a prodi-
gality which knew no limits. But who should tell
him so? his flatterers? they had an interest in
shutting his eyes. In vain did his honest steward
Flavius try to represent to him his condition, laying
his accounts before him, begging of him, praying of
him, with an importunity that on any other occa-
sion would have been unmannerly in a servant, be-
seeching him with tears to look into the state of his
TIMON OF ATHENS 69

affairs. ‘Timon would still put him off, and turn the
discourse to something else; for nothing is so deaf to
remonstrance as riches turned to poverty, nothing so
unwilling to believe its situation, nothing is so incredu-
lous to its own true state, and hard to give credit to a
reverse. Often had this good steward, this honest
creature, when all the rooms of Timon’s great house
have been choked up with riotous feeders at his 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
steward. Money must be had: and when he ordered
Flavius to sell some of his land for that purpose,
Flavius informed him, what he had in vain endeavoured
at several times before to make him listen to, that most
of his land was already sold or forfeited, and that all
he possessed at present was not enough to pay the one
half of what he owed. Struck with wonder at this
representation, Timon hastily replied, “ My lands ex-
tended from Athens to Lacedemon.” “O my good
lord,” said Flavius, “the world is but a world, and has
70 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

bounds; were it all yours to give it in a breath, how
quickly were it gone!”

Timon consoled himself that no villainous bounty
had yet come from him, that if he had given his
wealth away unwisely, it had not been bestowed to
feed his vices, but to cherish his friends; and he bade
the kind-hearted steward (who was weeping) to take
comfort in the assurance that his master could never
lack means, while he had so many noble friends; and
this infatuated lord persuaded himself that he had
nothing to do but to send and borrow, to use every
man’s fortune (that had ever tasted his bounty) in this
extremity as freely as his own. Then with a cheerful
look, as if confident of the trial, he severally despatched
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: nothing doubting that
their gratitude would supply his wants (if he needed it)
to the amount of five hundred times fifty talents.

Lucullus was the first applied to. This mean lord
had been dreaming overnight of a silver bason and
cup, and when Timon’s servant was announced, his
sordid mind suggested to him that this was surely a
making out of his dream, and that Timon had sent him
TIMON OF ATHENS 71

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 fountain of so much bounty suddenly stopped, at
first could hardly believe it; but on its being con-
firmed, he affected great regret that he should not have
it in his power to serve lord Timon, for unfortunately
(which was a base falsehood) he had made a great pur-
chase 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 afflic-
tions that his ability should fail him to pleasure such
an honourable gentleman.
72 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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 labourers who had
sweat to build the fine houses which Lucius’s pride
had made necessary to him: yet, oh! the monster
which man makes himself when he proves 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 redeemed and now rich Ventidius, refused to assist
him with the loan of those five talents which Timon
had not lent but generously given him in his distress,

Now was Timon as much avoided in his poverty as
he had been courted and resorted to in his riches.
Now the same tongues which had been loudest in his
praises, extolling him as bountiful, liberal, and open-
handed, were not ashamed to censure that very bounty
as folly, that liberality as profuseness, though it had
shown itself folly in nothing so truly as in the selection
of such unworthy creatures as themselves for its objects.
Now was Timon’s princely mansion forsaken, and be-
come 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
TIMON OF ATHENS 73

guests, it was beset with impatient and clamorous
creditors, usurers, extortioners, fierce and intolerable in
their demands, pleading bonds, interest, mortgages, iron-
hearted men that would take no denial nor putting off,
that Timon’s house was now his jail, which he could
not pass, nor go in nor out for them; one demanding
his due of fifty talents, another bringing in a bill of
five thousand crowns, which if he would tell out his
blood by drops, and pay them so, he had not enough
in his body to discharge, drop by drop.

In this desperate and irremediable state (as it seemed)
of his affairs, the eyes of all men were suddenly sur-
prised 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.
Lords Lucius and Lucullus came, Ventidius, Sempro-
nius, 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 dissembling,
protesting, expressing deepest sorrow and shame, that
when his lordship sent to them, they should have been
so unfortunate as to want the present means to oblige
so honourable a friend. But Timon begged them not
to give such trifles a thought, for he had altogether
74 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

forgotten it. And these base fawning lords, though
they had denied him money in his adversity, yet could
not refuse their presence at this new blaze of his return-
ing prosperity. For the swallow follows not summer
more willingly than men of these dispositions follow
the good fortunes of the great, nor more willingly
leaves winter than these shrink from the first appear-
ance of a reverse: such summer birds are men. But
now with music and state the banquet of smoking
' dishes was served up; and when the guests had a little
done admiring whence the bankrupt Timon could find
means to ‘furnish so costly a feast, some doubting
whether the scene which they saw was real, as scarce
trusting their own eyes; at a signal given, the dishes
were uncovered, and 'Timon’s drift appeared : instead of
those varieties and far-fetched dainties which they ex-
pected, that Timon’s epicurean table in past times had
so liberally presented, now appeared under the covers
of these dishes a preparation more suitable to Timon’s
poverty, nothing but a little smoke and lukewarm
water, fit feast for this knot of mouth-friends, whose
professions were indeed smoke, and their hearts luke-
warm and slippery as the water with which Timon
welcomed his astonished guests, bidding them, “Un-
cover, dogs, and lap;” and before they could recover
their surprise, sprinkling it in their faces, that they
might have enough, and throwing dishes and all after
them, who now ran huddling out, lords, ladies, with
their caps snatched up in haste, a splendid confusion,
Timon pursuing them, still calling them what they
were, “Smooth smiling parasites, destroyers under the
TIMON OF ATHENS 75

mask of courtesy, affable wolves, meek bears, fools of
fortune, feast-friends, time-flies.” They, crowding out
to avoid him, left the house more willingly than they
had entered it: some losing their gowns and caps, and
some their jewels in the hurry, all glad to escape out of
the presence of such a mad lord, and the ridicule of his
mock banquet.

This was the last feast which ever Timon made, and
in it he took farewell of Athens and the society of
men, for after that he betook himself to the woods,
turning his back upon the hated city and upon all
mankind, wishing the walls of that detestable city
might sink, and 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 mankind. He stripped himself
naked, that he might retain no fashion of a man, and
dug a cave to live in, and lived solitary in the manner
of a beast, eating the wild roots and drinking water,
flying from the face of his kind, and choosing rather to
herd with wild beasts, as more harmless and friendly
than man.

What a change from lord Timon the rich, lord
Timon the delight of mankind, to Timon the naked,
Timon the man-hater! Where were his flatterers
now? Where were his attendants and retinue? Would
the bleak air, that boisterous servitor, be his chamber-
lain, to put his shirt on warm? Would those stiff
76 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

trees, that had outlived the eagle, turn young and airy
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 caudles
when sick of an overnight’s surfeit? Or would the
creatures that lived in those wild woods come and lick
his hand and flatter him ?

Here on a day, when he was digging for roots, his
poor sustenance, his spade struck against something
' heavy, which proved to be gold, a great heap which
some miser had probably buried in a time of alarm,
thinking to have come again and taken it from its
prison, but died before the opportunity had arrived,
without making any man privy to the concealment ;
so it lay, doing neither good nor harm, in the bowels
of the earth, its mother, as if it had never come from
thence, till the accidental striking of Timon’s spade
against it once more brought it to light.

Here was a mass of treasure which, if Timon had
retained his old mind, was enough to have purchased
him friends and flatterers again; but Timon was sick
of the false world, and the sight of gold was poisonous
to his eyes; and he would have restored it to the earth,
but that, thinking of the infinite calamities which by
means of gold happen to mankind, how the lucre of it
causes robberies, oppression, injustice, briberies, vio-
lence, 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 man-
kind. And some soldiers passing through the woods
TIMON OF ATHENS 77

near to his cave at that instant, which proved to be
a part of the troops of the Athenian captain Alcibiades,
who, upon some disgust taken against the senators
at Athens (the Athenians were ever noted to be a
thankless and ungrateful people, giving disgust to
their generals and best friends), was marching at the
head of the same triumphant army which he had
formerly headed in their defence, to war against them.
Timon, who liked their business well, bestowed upon
their captain the gold to pay his soldiers, requiring no
other service from him than that he should with his
conquering army lay Athens level with the ground,
and burn, slay, kill all her inhabitants, not sparing the
old men for their white beards, for (he said) they were
usurers, nor the young children for their seeming inno-
cent 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 mankind.
While he lived in this forlorn state, leading a life
more brutal than human, he was suddenly surprised
one day with the appearance of a man standing in
an admiring posture at the door of his cave. It was
Flavius, the honest steward, whom love and zealous
affection to his master had led to seek him out at his
wretched dwelling, and to offer his services; and the
78 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

first sight of his master, the once noble Timon, in that
abject condition, naked as he was born, living in the
manner of a beast among beasts, looking like his own
sad ruins and a monument of decay, so affected this
good servant, that he stood speechless, wrapped up in
horror and confounded. And when he found utter-
ance at last to his words, they were so choked with
tears, that Timon had much ado to know him again,
or to make out who it was that had come (so contrary
- to the experience he had had of mankind) to offer
him service in extremity. And being in the form and
shape of a man, he suspected him for a traitor, and his
tears for false; but the good servant by so many
tokens confirmed the truth of his fidelity, and made it
clear that nothing but love and zealous duty to his
once dear master had brought him there, that Timon
was forced to confess that the world contained one
honest man; yet, being in the shape and form of a
man, he could not look upon his man’s face without
abhorrence, or hear words uttered from his man’s lips
without loathing; and this singly honest man was
forced to depart, because he was a man, and because,
with a heart more gentle and compassionate than is
usual to man, he bore man’s detested form and outward
feature.

But greater visitants than a poor steward were about
to interrupt the savage quiet of Timon’s solitude. For
now the day was come when the ungrateful lords of
Athens sorely repented the injustice which they had
done to the noble Timon. For Alcibiades, like an in-
censed wild boar, was raging at the walls of their city,


TIMON OF ATHENS 79

and with his hot siege threatened to lay fair Athens in
the dust. And now the memory of lord Timon’s former
prowess and military conduct came fresh into their
forgetful minds, for Timon had been their general in
past times, and was a valiant and expert soldier, who
alone of all the Athenians was deemed able to cope
with a besieging army such as then threatened them, or
to drive back the furious approaches of Alcibiades.

A deputation of the senators were chosen in this
emergency to wait upon Timon. To him they come
in their extremity, to whom, when he was in extremity,
they had shown but small regard ; as if they presumed
upon his gratitude whom they had disobliged, and had
derived a claim to his courtesy from their own most
discourteous and unpiteous treatment.

Now they earnestly beseech him, implore him with
tears, to return and save that city, from which their
ingratitude had so lately driven him; now they offer
him riches, power, dignities, satisfaction for past in-
juries, and public honours and the public love; their
persons, lives, and fortunes to be at his disposal, if he
will but come back and save them. But Timon the
naked, ‘Timon the man- hater, was no longer lord
Timon, the lord of bounty, the flower of valour, their
defence in war, their ornament in peace. If Alcibiades
killed his countrymen, Timon cared not. If he sacked
fair Athens, and slew her old men and her infants,
Timon would rejoice. So he told them ; and that there
was not a knife in the unruly camp which he did not
prize above the reverendest throat in Athens.

This was all the answer he vouchsafed to the weep-
80 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ing, disappointed senators; only at parting, he bade
them commend him to his countrymen, and tell them,
that to ease them of their griefs and anxieties, and to
prevent the consequences of fierce Alcibiades’ wrath,
there was yet a way left, which he would teach them,
for he had yet so much affection left for his dear
countrymen as to be willing to do them a kindness
before his death. These words a little revived the
senators, who hoped that his kindness for their city
was returning. Then Timon told them that he had a
tree, which grew near his cave, which he should shortly
have occasion to cut down, and he invited all his
friends in Athens, high or low, of what degree soever,
who wished to shun affliction, to come and take a taste
of his tree before he cut it down; meaning that they
might come and hang themselves on it, and escape
affliction that way.

And this was the last courtesy, of all his noble
bounties, which Timon showed to mankind, and this
the last sight of him which his countrymen had: for
not many days after, a poor soldier, passing by the
sea-beach, which was at a little distance from the woods
which Timon frequented, found a tomb on the verge
of the sea, with an inscription upon it, purporting that
it was the grave of Timon the man-hater, who, “ while
he lived, did hate all living men, and dying, wished a
plague might consume all caitiffs left !”

Whether he finished his life by violence, or whether
mere distaste of life and the loathing he had for man-
kind brought Timon to his conclusion, was not clear,
yet all men admired the fitness of his epitaph, and the
TIMON OF ATHENS 81

consistency of his end; dying as he had lived, a hater
of mankind: and some there were who fancied a con-
ceit in the very choice which he made of the sea-beach
for his place of burial, where the vast sea might weep
for ever upon his grave, as in contempt for the tran-
sient and shallow tears of hypocritical and deceitful
mankind.
MACBETH

Wuen Duncan the Meek reigned king of Scotland,
there lived a great thane, or lord, called Macbeth.
This Macbeth was a near kinsman to the king, and in
great esteem at court for his valour and conduct in the
wars; an example of which he had lately given, in de-
feating a rebel army assisted by the troops of Norway
in terrible numbers.

The two Scottish generals, Macbeth and Banquo, re-
turning victorious from this great battle, their way
lay over a blasted heath, where they were stopped by
the strange appearance of three figures like women,
except that they had beards, and their withered skins
and wild attire made them look not like any earthly
creatures. Macbeth first addressed them, when they,
seemingly offended, laid each one her choppy finger
upon her skinny lips, in token of silence; and the first
of them saluted Macbeth with the title of thane of
Glamis. The general was not a little startled to find
himself known by such creatures; but how much more,
when the second of them followed up that salute by
giving him the title of thane of Cawdor, to which
honour he had no pretensions ; and again the third bid
him, “ All hail! king that shall be hereafter!” Such
a prophetic greeting might well amaze him, who knew
MACBETH 83

that while the king’s sons lived he could not hope to
succeed to the throne. Then turning to Banquo, they
pronounced him, in a sort of riddling terms, to be
lesser than Macbeth and greater! not so happy, but
much happier! and prophesied that though he should
never reign, yet his sons after him should be kings
in Scotland. They then turned into air, and vanished :
by which the generals knew them to be the weird sisters,
or witches.

While they stood pondering on the strangeness of
this adventure, there arrived certain messengers from
the king who were empowered by him to confer upon
Macbeth the dignity of thane of Cawdor. An event
so miraculously corresponding with the prediction of
the witches astonished Macbeth, and he stood wrapped
in amazement, unable to make reply to the messengers;
and in that point of time swelling hopes arose in his
mind, that the prediction of the third witch might in
like manner have its accomplishment, and that he
should one day reign king in Scotland.

Turning to Banquo, he said, “Do you not hope
that your children shall be kings, when what the
witches promised to me has so wonderfully come
to pass?” “'That hope,” answered the general, “might
enkindle you to aim at the throne; but oftentimes
these ministers of darkness tell us truths in little
things, to betray us into deeds of greatest conse-
quence.”

But the wicked suggestions of the witches had sunk
too deep into the mind of Macbeth to allow him to
attend to the warnings of the good Banquo. From
84 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

that time he bent all his thoughts how to compass the
throne of Scotland.

Macbeth had a wife, to whom he communicated
the strange prediction of the weird sisters, and its
partial accomplishment. She was a bad, ambitious
woman, and so as her husband and herself could
arrive at greatness, she cared not much by what
means. She spurred on the reluctant purpose of
Macbeth, who felt compunction at the thoughts of
blood, and did not cease to represent the murder of
the king as a step absolutely necessary to the fulfilment
of the flattering prophecy.

It happened at this time that the king, who out
of his royal condescension would oftentimes visit
his principal nobility upon gracious terms, came to
Macbeth’s house, attended by his two sons, Malcolm
and Donalbain, and a numerous train of thanes and
attendants, the more to honour Macbeth for the
triumphal success of his wars.

The castle of Macbeth was pleasantly situated,
and the air about it was sweet and wholesome, which
appeared by the nests which the martlet, or swallow,
had built under all the jutting friezes and buttresses
of the building, wherever it found a place of advan-
tage: for where those birds most breed and haunt,
the air is observed to be delicate. The king entered
well pleased with the place, and not less so with the
attentions and respect of his honoured hostess, lady
Macbeth, who had the art of covering treacherous
purposes with smiles: and could look like the innocent
flower, while she was indeed the serpent under it.
MACBETH 85

The king, being tired with his journey, went early
to bed, and in his state-room two grooms of his
chamber (as was the custom) slept beside him. He
had been unusually pleased with his reception, and
had made presents before he retired to his principal
officers, and, among the rest, had sent a rich diamond
to lady Macbeth, greeting her by the name of his most
kind hostess.

Now was the middle of night, when over half the
world nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
men’s minds asleep, and none but the wolf and the
murderer is abroad. ‘This was the time when lady
Macbeth waked to plot the murder of the king.
She would not have undertaken a deed so abhorrent
to her sex, but that she feared her husband’s nature,
that it was too full of the milk of human kindness to
do a contrived murder. She knew him to be ambi-
tious, but withal to be scrupulous, and not yet pre-
pared for that height of crime which commonly in the
end accompanies inordinate ambition. She had won
him to consent to the murder, but she doubted his
resolution: and she feared that the natural tenderness
of his disposition (more humane than her own) would
come between, and defeat the purpose. So with her
own hands armed with a dagger, she approached
the king’s bed; having taken care to ply the grooms
of his chamber so with wine, that they slept in-
toxicated, and careless of their charge. There lay
Duncan, in a sound sleep after the fatigues of his
journey, and as she viewed him earnestly, there was
something in his face, as he slept, which resembled
86 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

her own father, and she had not the courage to
proceed.

She returned to confer with her husband. His
resolution had begun to stagger. He considered that
there were strong reasons against the deed. In the
first place, he was not only a subject, but a near
kinsman to the king; and he had been his host and
entertainer that day, whose duty, by the laws of
hospitality, it was to shut the door against his mur-
derers, not bear the knife himself. Then he con-
sidered how just and merciful a king this Duncan
had been, how clear of offence to his subjects, how
loving to his nobility, and in particular to him;
that such kings are the peculiar care of Heaven, and
their subjects doubly bound to revenge their deaths.
Besides, by the favours of the king, Macbeth stood
high in the opinion of all sorts of men, and how
would those honours be stained by the reputation of
so foul a murder !

In these conflicts of the mind lady Macbeth found
her husband inclining to the better part, and resolv-
ing to proceed no further. But she, being a woman
not easily shaken from her evil purpose, began to
pour in at his ears words which infused a portion of
her own spirit into his mind, assigning reason upon
reason why he should not shrink from what he had
undertaken; how easy the deed was; how soon it
would be over; and how the action of one short
night would give to all their nights and days to
come a sovereign sway and royalty! ‘Then she threw
contempt on his change of purpose, and accused him
MACBETH 87

of fickleness and cowardice; and declared that she had
given suck, and knew how tender it was to love the
babe that milked her, but she would, while it was
smiling in her face, have plucked it from her breast,
and dashed its brains out, if she had so sworn to do
it, as he had sworn to perform that murder. Then
she added, how practicable it was to lay the guilt of
the deed upon the drunken, sleepy grooms. And with
the valour of her tongue she so chastised his sluggish
resolutions, that he once more summoned up courage
to the bloody business.

So, taking the dagger in his hand, he softly stole in
the dark to the room where Duncan lay; and as he
went, he thought he saw another dagger in the air,
with the handle towards him, and on the blade and at
the point of it, drops of blood; but when he tried to
grasp at it, it was nothing but air, a mere phantasm
proceeding from his own hot and oppressed brain and
the business he had in hand.

Getting rid of this fear, he entered the king’s room,
whom he despatched with one stroke of his dagger.
Just as he had done the murder, one of the grooms,
who slept in the chamber, laughed in his sleep, and
the other cried, “Murder,” which woke them both;
but they said a short prayer; one of them said, “God
bless us!” and the other answered “Amen;” and
addressed themselves to sleep again. Macbeth, who
stood listening to them, tried to say, “Amen,” when
the fellow said, “God bless us!” but, though he had
most need of a blessing, the word stuck in his throat,
and he could not pronounce it.
88 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Again he thought he heard a voice which cried,
“Sleep no more: Macbeth doth murder sleep, the
innocent sleep, that nourishes life.” Still it cried,
“Sleep no more,” to all the house. “Glamis hath
murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no
more, Macbeth shall sleep no more.”

With such horrible imaginations Macbeth returned
to his listening wife, who began to think he had failed
of his purpose, and that the deed was somehow frus-
trated. He came in so distracted a state, that she
reproached him with his want of firmness, and sent him
to wash his hands of the blood which stained them,
while she took his dagger, with purpose to stain the
cheeks of the grooms with blood, to make it seem their
guilt.

Morning came, and with it the discovery of the
murder, which could not be concealed; and though
Macbeth and his lady made great show of grief, and
the proofs against the grooms (the dagger being pro-
duced against them and their faces smeared with blood)
were sufficiently strong, yet the entire suspicion fell
upon Macbeth, whose inducements to such a deed were
so much more forcible than such poor silly grooms
could be supposed to have; and Duncan’s two sons
fled. Malcolm, the eldest, sought for refuge in the
English court ; and the youngest, Donalbain, made his
escape to Ireland.

The king’s sons, who should have succeeded him,
having thus vacated the throne, Macbeth as next heir
was crowned king, and thus the prediction of the weird
sisters was literally accomplished,
MACBETH 89

Though placed so high, Macbeth and his queen
could not forget the prophecy of the weird sisters,
that, though Macbeth should be king, yet not his
children, but the children of Banquo, should be kings
after him. The thought of this, and that they had
defiled their hands with blood, and done so great
crimes, only to place the posterity of Banquo upon
the throne, so rankled within them, that they deter-
mined to put to death both Banquo and his son, to
make void the predictions of the weird sisters, which
in their own case had been so remarkably brought
to pass.

For this purpose they made a great supper, to
which they invited all the chief thanes; and, among
the rest, with marks of particular respect, Banquo
and his son Fleance were invited. The way by which
Banquo was to pass to the palace at night was beset
by murderers appointed by Macbeth, who stabbed
Banquo; but in the scuffle Fleance escaped. From
that Fleance descended a race of monarchs who after-
wards filled the Scottish throne, ending with James
the Sixth of Scotland and the First of England, under
whom the two crowns of England and Scotland were
united.

At supper the queen, whose manners were in the
highest degree affable and royal, played the hostess
with a gracefulness and attention which conciliated
every one present, and Macbeth discoursed freely with
his thanes and nobles, saying, that all that was honour-
able in the country was under his roof, if he had but
his good friend Banquo present, whom yet he hoped he
90 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

should rather have to chide for neglect, than to lament
for any mischance. Just at these words the ghost
of Banquo, whom he had caused to be murdered,
entered the room, and placed himself on the chair
which Macbeth was about to occupy. Though Mac-
beth was a bold man, and one that could have faced
the devil without trembling, at this horrible sight his
cheeks tured white with fear, and he stood quite
unmanned, with his eyes fixed upon the ghost. His
queen and all the nobles, who saw nothing, but
perceived him gazing (as they thought) upon an
empty chair, took it for a fit of distraction ; and
she reproached him, whispering that it was but the
same fancy which had made him see the dagger in
the air, when he was about to kill Duncan. But
Macbeth continued to see the ghost, and gave no heed
to all they could say, while he addressed it with dis-
tracted words, yet so significant, that his queen, fearing
the dreadful secret would be disclosed, in great haste
dismissed the guests, excusing the infirmity of Macbeth
as a disorder he was often troubled with.

To such dreadful fancies Macbeth was subject. His
queen and he had their sleeps afflicted with terrible
dreams, and the blood of Banquo troubled them not
more than the escape of Fleance, whom now they
looked upon as father to a line of kings, who should
keep their posterity out of the throne. With these
miserable thoughts they found no peace, and Macbeth
determined once more to seek out the weird sisters,
and know from them the worst.

He sought them in a cave upon the heath, where
MACBETH 91

they, who knew by foresight of his coming, were
engaged in preparing their dreadful charms, by which
they conjured up infernal spirits to reveal to them
futurity. Their horrid ingredients were toads, bats,
and serpents, the eye of a newt, and the tongue of a
dog, the leg of a lizard, and the wing of the night-ow],
the scale of a dragon, the tooth of a wolf, the maw of
the ravenous salt sea shark, the mummy of a witch, the
root of the poisonous hemlock (this, to have effect,
must be digged in the dark), the gall of a goat, and the
liver of a Jew, with slips of the yew-tree that roots
itself in graves, and the finger of a dead child: all these
were set on to boil in a great kettle or caldron, which,
as fast as it grew too hot, was cooled with a baboon’s
blood: to these they poured in the blood of a sow that
had eaten her young, and they threw into the flame
the grease that had sweaten from a murderer’s gibbet.
By these charms they bound the infernal spirits to
answer their questions.

It was demanded of Macbeth, whether he would
have his doubts resolved by them, or by their masters,
the spirits. He, nothing daunted by the dreadful
ceremonies which he saw, boldly answered, “ Where are
they? let me see them.” And they called the spirits,
which were three. And the first arose in the likeness
of an armed head, and he called Macbeth by name, and
bid him beware of the thane of Fife; for which caution
Macbeth thanked him: for Macbeth had entertained a
jealousy of Macduff, the thane of Fife.

And the second spirit arose in the likeness of a
bloody child, and he called Macbeth by name, and bid
92 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

him have no fear, but laugh to scorn the power of man,
for none of woman born should have power to hurt
him; and he advised him to be bloody, bold, and
resolute. “Then live, Macduff!” cried the king;
“what need I fear of thee? but yet I will make
assurance doubly sure. Thou shalt not live; that I
may tell pale-hearted Fear it lies, and sleep in spite of
thunder.”

That spirit being dismissed, a third arose in the
form of a child crowned, with a tree in his hand. He
called Macbeth by name, and comforted him against
conspiracies, saying, that he should never be van-
quished, until the wood of Birnam to Dunsinane Hill
should come against him. “Sweet bodements! good !”
cried Macbeth; “who can unfix the forest, and move
it from its earth-bound roots? I see I shall live the ~
usual period of man’s life, and not be cut off by a
violent death. But my heart throbs to know one
thing. Tell me, if your art can tell so much, if
Banquo’s issue shall ever reign in this kingdom ?”
Here the caldron sunk into the ground, and a noise
of music was heard, and eight shadows, like kings,
passed by Macbeth, and Banquo last, who bore a
glass which showed the figures of many more, and
Banquo, all bloody, smiled upon Macbeth, and pointed
to them; by which Macbeth knew that these were the
posterity of Banquo, who should reign after him in
Scotland ; and the witches, with a sound of soft music,
and with dancing, making a show of duty and welcome
to Macbeth, vanished. And from this time the thoughts
of Macbeth were all bloody and dreadful.
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MACBETH IN THE WITCHES

The vision of a crowned child appearing to Macbeth in the witches’ cave.
MACBETH 93

The first thing he heard when he got out of the
witches’ cave was, that Macduff, thane of Fife, had fled
to England, to join the army which was forming against
him under Malcolm, the eldest son of the late king,
with intent to displace Macbeth, and set Malcolm, the
right heir, upon the throne. Macbeth, stung with
rage, set upon the castle of Macduff, and put his wife
and children, whom the thane had left behind, to the
sword, and extended the slaughter to all who claimed
the least relationship to Macduff.

These and such-like deeds alienated the minds of all
his chief nobility from him. Such as could, fled to join
with Malcolm and Macduff, who were now approaching
with a powerful army which they had raised in Eng-
land; and the rest secretly wished success to their
arms, though for fear of Macbeth they could take no
active part. His recruits went on slowly. Everybody
hated the tyrant, nobody loved or honoured him, but
all suspected him, and he began to envy the condition
of Duncan, whom he had murdered, who slept soundly
in his grave, against whom treason had done its worst :
steel nor poison, domestic malice—nor foreign levies,
could hurt him any longer, __

While these things were acting, the queen, who had
been the sole partner in his wickedness, in whose bosom
he could sometimes seek a momentary repose from those
terrible dreams which afflicted them both nightly, died,
it is supposed by her own hands, unable to bear the
remorse of guilt, and public hate; by which event he
was left alone, without a soul to love or care for him, or
a friend to whom he could confide his wicked purpose.
94: TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

He grew careless of life, and wished for death; but
the near approach of Malcolm’s army roused in him
what remained of his ancient courage, and he deter-
mined to die (as he expressed it) “with armour on
his back.” Besides this, the hollow promises of the
witches had filled him with false confidence, and he
remembered the sayings of the spirits, that none of
woman born was to hurt him, and that he was never
to be vanquished till Birnam wood should come to
‘Dunsinane, which he thought could never be. So
he shut himself up in his castle, whose impregnable
strength was such as defied a siege: here he sullenly
waited the approach of Malcolm. When, upon a day,
there came a messenger to him, pale and shaking with
fear, almost unable to report that which he had seen;
for he averred, that as he stood upon his watch on the
hill, he looked towards Birnam, and to his thinking
the wood began to move! “Liar and slave,” cried
Macbeth, “if thou speakest false, thou shalt hang
alive upon the next tree, till famine end thee. If
thy tale be true, I care not if thou dost as much by
me;” for Macbeth.now began to faint in resolution,
and to doubt the equivocal speeches of the spirits.
He was not to fear till Birnam wood should come to
Dunsinane; and now a wood did move! “However,”
said he, “if this which he avouches be true, let us
arm and out. There is no flying hence, nor staying
here. I begin to be weary of the sun, and wish my
life at an end.” With these desperate speeches he
sallied forth upon the besiegers, who had now come
up to the castle.
MACBETH 95

The strange appearance, which had given the mes-
senger an idea of a wood moving, is easily solved.
When the besieging army marched through the wood
of Birnam, Malcolm, like a skilful general, instructed
his soldiers to hew down every one a bough and bear
it before him, by way of concealing the true numbers
of his host. This marching of the soldiers with
boughs had at a distance the appearance which had
frightened the messenger. Thus were the words of
the spirit brought to pass, in a sense different from
that in which Macbeth had understood them, and one
great hold of his confidence was gone.

And now a severe skirmishing took place, in which

Macbeth, though feebly supported by those who called
themselves his friends, but in reality hated the tyrant
and inclined to the party of Malcolm and Macduff,
_yet fought with the extreme of rage and valour,
cutting to pieces all who were opposed to him, till
he came to where Macduff was fighting. Seeing
Macduff, and remembering the caution of the spirit,
who had counselled him to avoid Macduff above
all men, he would have turned, but Macduff, who
had been seeking him through the whole fight,
opposed his turning, and a fierce contest ensued ;
Macduff giving him many foul reproaches for the
murder of his wife and children. Macbeth, whose
soul was charged enough with blood of that family
already, would still have declined the combat ; but
Macduff still urged him to it, calling him tyrant,
murderer, hell-hound, and villain.

Then Macbeth remembered the words of the spirit,
96 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

how none of woman born should hurt him; and
smiling confidently, he said to Macduff, “'Thou losest
thy labour, Macduff. As easily thou mayest impress
the air with thy sword, as make me vulnerable. I
bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of
woman born.”

“Despair thy charm,” said Macduff, “and let that
lying spirit, whom thou hast served, tell thee that
Macduff was never born of woman, never as the
ordinary manner of men is to be born, but was un-
timely taken from his mother.”

“ Accursed be the tongue which tells me so,” said
the trembling Macbeth, who felt his last hold of
confidence give way; “and let never a man in future
believe the lying equivocations of witches and juggling
spirits, who deceive us in words which have double
senses, and while they keep their promise literally,
disappoint our hopes with a different meaning. I
will not fight with thee.”

“Then live!” said the scornful Macduff; “we will
have a show of thee, as men show monsters, and a
painted board, on which shall be written, ‘Here men
may see the tyrant !””

“Never,” said Macbeth, whose courage returned
with despair; “I will not live to kiss the ground
before young Malcolm’s feet, and to be baited with
the curses of the rabble. Though Birnam wood be
come to Dunsinane, and thou opposed to me who
wast never born of woman, yet will I try the last.”
With these frantic words he threw himself upon
Macduff, who, after a severe struggle, in the end
MACBETH 97

overcame him, and cutting off his head, made a
present of it to the young lawful king, Malcolm;
who took upon him the government which, by the
machinations of the usurper, he had so long been
deprived of, and ascended the throne of Duncan
the Meek amid the acclamations of the nobles and
the people.

G
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

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

Anthonio was the kindest man that lived, the best
conditioned, and had the most unwearied spirit in
doing courtesies; indeed, he was one in whom the
ancient Roman honour more appeared than in any
that drew breath in Italy. He was greatly beloved by
all his fellow-citizens ; but the friend who was nearest
and dearest to his heart was Bassanio, a noble Vene-
tain, who, having but a Saal patrimony, had nearly
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 99

exhausted his little fortune by living in too expensive
a manner for his slender means, as young men of
high rank with small fortunes are too apt to do.
Whenever Bassanio wanted money, Anthonio assisted
him; and it seemed as if they had but one heart and
one purse between them.

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

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

Anthonio and Bassanio went together to Shylock,
and Anthonio asked the Jew to lend him three thou-
sand ducats upon an interest he should require, to be
paid out of the merchandise contained in his ships
at sea. On this, Shylock thought within himself, “ If
I can once catch him on the hip, I will feed fat
the ancient grudge I bear him: he hates our Jewish
100 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

nation; he lends out money gratis; and among the
merchants he rails at me and my well-earned bargains,
which he calls interest. Cursed be my tribe if I for-
give him!” Anthonio finding he was musing within
himself and did not answer, and being impatient for
the money, said, “Shylock, do you hear? will you
lend the money?” To this question the Jew replied,
“Sionior Anthonio, on the Rialto many a time and
often you have railed at me about my monies and my
usuries, and I have borne it with a patient shrug, for
sufferance is the badge of all our tribe; and then you
have called me unbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit
upon my Jewish garments, and spurned at me with
your foot, as if I was a cur. Well then, it now ap-
pears you need my help; and you come to me, and
say, Shylock, lend me monies. Has a dog money? Is
it possible a cur should lend three thousand ducats?
Shall I bend low and say, Fair Sir, you spit upon me
on Wednesday last, another time you called me dog,
and for these courtesies I am to lend you monies?”
Anthonio replied, “I am as like to call you so again,
to spit on you again, and spurn you too. If you will
lend me this money, lend it not to me as to a friend,
but rather lend it to me as to an enemy, that, if I
break, you may with better face exact the penalty.”
“Why, look you,” said Shylock, “how you storm!
I would be friends with you, and have your love. I
will forget the shames you have put upon me. I will
supply your wants, and take no interest for my money.”
This seemingly kind offer greatly surprised Anthonio,
and then Shylock, still pretending kindness, and that
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 101

all he did was to gain Anthonio’s love, again said he
would lend him the three thousand ducats, and take
no interest for his money; only Anthonio should go
with him to a lawyer, and there sign in merry sport
a bond, that if he did not repay the money by a cer-
tain day, he would forfeit a pound of flesh, to be cut
off from any part of his body that Shylock pleased.

“Content,” said Anthonio: “I will sign to this bond,
and say there is much kindness in the Jew.”

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

Shylock, hearing this debate, exclaimed, “O father
Abraham, what suspicious people these Christians are!
Their own hard dealings teach them to suspect the
thoughts of others. I pray you tell me this, Bassanio :
if he should break this day, what should I gain by the
execution of the forfeiture? A pound of man’s flesh,
taken from a man, is not so estimable, nor profitable
neither, as the flesh of mutton or of beef. I say, to
buy his favour I offer this friendship: if he will take it,
so; if not, adieu.”

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

The rich heiress that Bassanio wished to marry
102 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

lived near Venice, at a place called Belmont: her
name was Portia, and in the graces of her person and
her mind she was nothing inferior to that Portia, of
whom we read, who was Cato’s daughter, and the wife
of Brutus.

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

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

Bassanio confessed to Portia that he had no fortune,
and that his high birth and noble ancestry was all
that he could boast of; she, who loved him for his
worthy qualities, and had riches enough not to regard
wealth in a husband, answered with a graceful modesty,
that she would wish herself a thousand times more
fair, and ten thousand times more rich, to be more
worthy of him; and then the accomplished Portia
prettily dispraised herself, and said she was an un-
lessoned girl, unschooled, unpractised, yet not so old
but that she could learn, and that she would commit
her gentle spirit to be directed and governed by him
in all things; and she said, “ Myself and what is mine,
to you and yours is now converted. But yesterday,
Bassanio, I was the lady of this fair mansion, queen of
myself, and mistress over these servants; and now this
house, these servants, and myself, are yours, my lord ;
I give them with this ring:” presenting a ring to
Bassanio.

Bassanio was so overpowered with gratitude and


PORTIA GIVING THE RING TO BASSANIO,
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 103

wonder at the gracious manner in which the rich and
noble Portia accepted of a man of his humble fortunes,
that he could not express his joy and reverence to
the dear lady who so honoured him, by anything but
broken words of love and thankfulness; and taking
the ring, he vowed never to part with it.

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

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

Gratiano then said that he loved the lady Portia’s
fair waiting gentlewoman, Nerissa, and that she had
promised to be his wife, if her lady married Bassanio.
Portia asked Nerissa if this was true. Nerissa replied,
“Madam, it is so, if you approve of it.” Portia
willingly consenting, Bassanio pleasantly said, “Then
our wedding-feast shall be much honoured by your
marriage, Gratiano.”

The happiness of these lovers was sadly crossed at
this moment by the entrance of a messenger, who
brought a letter from Anthonio containing fearful
tidings. When Bassanio read Anthonio’s letter, Portia
feared it was to tell him of the death of some dear
friend, he looked so pale; and inquiring what was the
news which had so distressed him, he said, “O sweet
Portia, here are a few of the unpleasantest words that
ever blotted paper: gentle lady, when I first imparted
104 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

my love to you, I freely told you all the wealth I had
ran in my veins; but I should have told you that I
had less than nothing, being in debt.” Bassanio then
told Portia what has been here related, of his borrowing
the money of Anthonio, and of Anthonio’s procuring
it of Shylock the Jew, and of the bond by which
Anthonio had engaged to forfeit a pound of flesh, if it
was not repaid by a certain day; and then Bassanio
read Anthonio’s letter; the words of which were,
“ Sweet Bassanio, my ships are all lost, my bond to the
Jew is forfeited, and since in paying it is impossible I
should live, I could wish to see you at my death; not-
withstanding, use your pleasure ; if your love for me do
not persuade you to come, let not my letter” “O my
dear love,” said Portia, “ despatch the business and be
gone; you shall have gold to pay the money twenty
times over, before this kind friend shall lose a hair
by my Bassanio’s fault; and as you are so dearly
bought, I will dearly love you.” Portia then said she
would be married to Bassanio before he set out, to give
him a legal right to her money; and that same day
they were married, and Gratiano was also married to
Nerissa; and Bassanio and Gratiano, the instant they
were married, set out in great haste for Venice, where
Bassanio found Anthonio in prison.

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

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 105

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

Portia had a relation who was a counsellor in the
law; to this gentleman, whose name was Bellario,
she wrote, and stating the case to him, desired his
opinion, and that with his advice he would also
send her the dress worn by a counsellor. When the
messenger returned, he brought letters from Bellario
of advice how to proceed, and also everything necessary
for her equipment.

Portia dressed herself and her maid Nerissa in men’s
apparel, and putting on the robes of a counsellor, she
took Nerissa along with her as her clerk; and setting
out immediately, they arrived at Venice on the very
day of the trial. The cause was just going to be heard
before the duke and senators of Venice in the senate-
house, when Portia entered this high court of justice,
106 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

and presented a letter from Bellario, in which that
learned counsellor wrote to the duke, saying, he would
have come himself to plead for Anthonio, but that he
was prevented by sickness, and he requested that the
learned young doctor Balthasar (so he called Portia)
might be permitted to plead in his stead. This the
duke granted, much wondering at the youthful appear-
ance of the stranger, who was prettily disguised by her
counsellor’s robes and her large wig.

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

The importance of the arduous task Portia had
engaged in gave this tender lady courage, and she
boldly proceeded in the duty she had undertaken to
perform: and first of all she addressed herself to
Shylock; and allowing that he had a right by the
Venetian law to have the forfeit expressed in the bond,
she spoke so sweetly of the noble quality of mercy,
as would have softened any heart but the unfeeling
Shylock’s; saying, that it dropped as the gentle rain
from heaven upon the place beneath, and how mercy
was a double blessing, it blessed him that gave, and
him that received it; and how it became monarchs
better than their crowns, being an attribute of God
Himself; and that earthly power came nearest to
God’s, in proportion as mercy tempered justice; and
she bid Shylock remember that as we all pray for
mercy, that same prayer should teach us to show
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 107

mercy. Shylock only answered her by desiring to have
the penalty forfeited in the bond. “Is he not able to
pay the money?” asked Portia. Bassanio then offered
the Jew the payment of the three thousand ducats as
many times over as he should desire; which Shylock
refusing, and still insisting upon having a pound of
Anthonio’s flesh, Bassanio begged the learned young
counsellor would endeavour to wrest the law a little,
to save Anthonio’s life. But Portia gravely answered,
that laws once established must never be altered.
Shylock hearing Portia say that the law might not be
altered, it seemed to him that she was pleading in his
favour, and he said, ““ A Daniel is come to judgment !
O wise young judge, how I do honour you! How
much elder are you than your looks!”

Portia now desired Shylock to let her look at the
bond; and when she had read it, she said, “This
bond is forfeited, and by this the Jew may lawfully
claim a pound of flesh, to be by him cut off nearest
Anthonio’s heart.” Then she said to Shylock, “Be
merciful; take the money, and bid me tear the bond.”
But no mercy would the cruel Shylock show: and he
said, “By my soul I swear there is no power in the
tongue of man to alter me.” ‘ Why then, Anthonio,”
said Portia, “you must prepare your bosom for the
knife;” and while Shylock was sharpening a long
knife with great eagerness to cut off the pound of

flesh, Portia said to Anthonio, “ Have you anything to
' say?” Anthonio with a calm resignation replied, that
he had but little to say, for that he had prepared his
mind for death. Then he said to Bassanio, “ Give me
108 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

your hand, Bassanio! Fare you well! Grieve not
that I have fallen into this misfortune for you. Com-
mend me to your honourable wife, and tell her how I
have loved you!” Bassanio in the deepest affliction
replied, “ Anthonio, I am married to a wife, who is as
dear to me as life itself; but life itself, my wife, and
all the world, are not esteemed with me above your
life: I would lose all, I would sacrifice all to this devil
here, to deliver you.”

-Portia hearing this, though the kind-hearted lady
was not at all offended with her husband for express-
ing the love he owed to so true a friend as Anthonio
in these strong terms, yet could not help answering,
“Your wife would give you little thanks if she were
present, to hear you make this offer.” And then
Gratiano, who loved to copy what his lord did, thought
he must make a speech like Bassanio’s, and he said,
in Nerissa’s hearing, who was writing in her clerk’s
dress by the side of Portia, “I have a wife whom I
protest I love ; I wish she were in heaven, if she could
but entreat some power there to change the cruel
temper of this currish Jew.” “It is well you wish this
behind her back, else you would have but an unquiet
house,” said Nerissa.

Shylock now cried out impatiently, “ We trifle time ;
I pray pronounce the sentence.” And now all was
awful expectation in the court, and every heart was full
of grief for Anthonio.

Portia asked if the scales were ready to weigh the
flesh ; and she said to the Jew, “Shylock, you must have
some surgeon by, lest he bleed to death.” Shylock,
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 109

whose whole intent was that Anthonio should bleed
to death, said, “It is not so named in the bond.”
Portia replied, “It is not so named in the bond,
but what of that? It were good you did so much for
charity.” To this all the answer Shylock would make
was, “I cannot find it; it isnot in the bond.” “Then,”
said Portia, “a pound of Anthonio’s flesh is thine.
The law allows it, and the court awards it. And
you may cut this flesh from off his breast. The law
allows it, and the court awards it.” Again Shylock
exclaimed, “‘O wise and upright judge! A Daniel
is come to judgment!” And then he sharpened his
long knife again, and looking eagerly on Anthonio, he
said, “Come, prepare! ”

“'Tarry a little, Jew,” said Portia; “ Gon is some-
thing else. This bond here gives you no drop of
blood ; the words expressly are, ‘a pound of flesh. If
in the cutting off the pound of flesh you shed one drop
of Christian blood, your lands and goods are by the
law to be confiscated to the state of Venice.” Now, as
it was utterly impossible for Shylock to cut off the
pound of flesh without shedding some of Anthonio’s
blood, this wise discovery of Portia’s, that it was flesh
and not blood that was named in the bond, saved the
life of Anthonio; and all admiring the wonderful
sagacity of the young counsellor who had so happily
thought of this expedient, plaudits resounded from
every part of the senate-house; and Gratiano ex-
claimed, in the words which Shylock had used, “O
wise and upright judge! mark, Jew, a Daniel has
come to judgment !”
110 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Shylock, finding himself defeated in his cruel intent,
said with a disappointed look that he would take the
money; and Bassanio, rejoiced beyond measure at
Anthonio’s unexpected deliverance, cried out, “ Here
is the money!” But Portia stopped him, saying,
“ Softly ; there is no haste ; the Jew shall have nothing
but the penalty: therefore prepare, Shylock, to cut off
the flesh ; but mind you shed no blood ; nor do not cut
off more nor less than just a pound ; be it more or less
by one poor scruple, nay, if the scale tun but by
the weight of a single hair, you are condemned by
the laws of Venice to die, and all your wealth is
forfeited to the senate.” “Give me my money, and
let me go,” said Shylock. “I have it ready,” said
Bassanio: “here it is.”

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

The duke then said to Shylock, “'That you may see
the difference of our Christian spirit, I pardon you
your life before you ask it ; half your wealth belongs to
Anthonio, the other half comes to the state.”

The generous Anthonio then said, that he would give
up his share of Shylock’s wealth, if Shylock would
sign a deed to make it over at his death to his
daughter and her husband ; for Anthonio knew that
the Jew had an only daughter, who had lately married
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 111

against his consent to a young Christian, named Lor-
enzo, a friend of Anthonio’s, which had so offended
Shylock that he had disinherited her.

The Jew agreed to this : and being thus disappointed
in his revenge, and despoiled of his riches, he said,
“Tam ill. Let me go home: send the deed after me,
and I will sign over half of my riches to my daughter.”
“Get thee gone, then,” said the duke, “and sign it ;
aud if you repent your cruelty and turn Christian, the
state will forgive you the fine of the other half of your
riches.”

The duke now released Anthonio, and dismissed the
court. He then highly praised the wisdom and inge-
nuity of the young counsellor, and invited him home to
dinner. Portia, who meant to return to Belmont be-
fore her husband, replied, “I humbly thank your grace,
but I must away directly.” The duke said he was sorry
he had not leisure to stay and dine with him; and turn-
ing to Anthonio, he added, “Reward this gentleman ;
for in my mind you are much indebted to him.”

The duke and his senators left the court; and then
Bassanio said to Portia, “Most worthy gentleman, I
and my friend Anthonio have by your wisdom been
this day acquitted of grievous penalties, and I beg you
will accept of three thousand ducats due unto the Jew.”
“ And we shall stand indebted to you over and above,”
said Anthonio, “in love and service evermore.”

Portia could not be prevailed upon to accept the
money ; but upon Bassanio still pressing her to accept
of some reward, she said, “Give me your gloves; I
will wear them for your sake;” and then Bassanio
112 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

taking off his gloves, she espied the ring which she had
given him upon his finger: now it was the ring the
wily lady wanted to get from him to make a merry jest
when she saw Bassanio again, that made her ask him
for his gloves; and she said, when she saw the ring,
“ And for your love I will take this ring from you.”
Bassanio was sadly distressed, that the counsellor
should ask him for the only thing he could not part
with, and he replied in great confusion, that he could
not give him that ring, because it was his wife’s gift,
and he had vowed never to part with it; but that
he would give him the most valuable ring in Venice, and
find it out by proclamation. On this Portia affected
to be affronted, and left the court, saying, “ You teach
me, sir, how a beggar should be answered.”

“ Dear Bassanio,” said Anthonio, “let him have the
ring ; let my love and the great service he has done for
me be valued against your wife’s displeasure.” Bas-
sanio, ashamed to appear so ungrateful, yielded, and
sent Gratiano after Portia with the ring; and then the
clerk Nerissa, who had also given Gratiano a ring, she
begged his ring, and Gratiano (not choosing to be out-
done in generosity by his lord) gave it to her. And
there was laughing among these ladies, to think, when
they got home, how they would tax their husbands with
giving away their rings, and swear that they had given
them as a present to some woman.

Portia, when she returned, was in that happy temper
of mind which never fails to attend the consciousness of
having performed a good action; her cheerful spirits
enjoyed everything she saw : the moon never seemed to
‘THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 113

shine so bright before; and when that pleasant moon
was hid behind a cloud, then a light which she saw
from her house at Belmont as well pleased her charmed
fancy, and she said to Nerissa, “'That light we see is
burning in my hall: how far that little candle throws
its beams, so shines a good deed in a naughty world :”
and hearing the sound of music from her house, she
said, “ Methinks that music sounds much sweeter than
by day.”

And now Portia and Nerissa entered the house, and
dressing themselves in their own apparel, they awaited
the arrival of their husbands, who soon followed them
with Anthonio; and Bassanio presenting his dear
friend to the lady Portia, the congratulations and wel-
comings of that lady were hardly over, when they
perceived Nerissa and her husband quarrelling in a
corner of the room. “A quarrel already?” said
Portia. “What is the matter?” Gratiano replied,
“Lady, it is about a paltry gilt ring that Nerissa
gave me, with words upon it like the poetry on a
cutler’s knife: Love me, and leave me not.”

“What does the poetry or the value of the ring
signify ?” said Nerissa. “You swore to me, when I
gave it to you, that you would keep it till the hour
of death ; and now you say you gave it to the lawyer's
clerk. I know you gave it to a woman.” “By this
hand,” replied Gratiano, “I gave it to a youth, a kind
of boy, a little scrubbed boy no higher than yourself ;
he was clerk to the young counsellor that by his wise
pleading saved Anthonio’s life: this prating boy

begged it for a fee, and I could not for my life
H
114 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

deny him.” Portia said, “You were to blame,
Gratiano, to part with your wife’s first gift. I gave
my lord Bassanio a ring, and I am sure he would
not part with it for all the world.” Gratiano in excuse
for his fault, now said, “My lord Bassanio gave his
ring away to the counsellor, and then the boy, his
clerk, that took some pains in writing, he begged my
ring.”

Portia, hearing this, seemed very angry, and re-
proached Bassanio for giving away her ring; and she
said, Nerissa had taught her what to believe, and that
she knew some woman had the ring. Bassanio was
very unhappy to have so offended his dear lady, and
he said with great earnestness, “No, by my honour,
no woman had it, but a civil doctor, who refused three
thousand ducats of me, and begged the ring, which
when I denied him, he went displeased away. What
could I do, sweet Portia? I was so beset with shame
for my seeming ingratitude, that I was forced to send
the ring after him. Pardon me, good lady; had you
been there, I think you would have begged the ring
of me to give the worthy doctor.”

“ Ah!” said Anthonio, “Iam the unhappy cause of
these quarrels.”

Portia bid Anthonio not to grieve at that, for that
he was welcome notwithstanding; and then Anthonio
said, “I once did lend my body for Bassanio’s sake ;
and but for him to whom your husband gave the ring,
I should have now been dead. I dare be bound again,
my soul upon the forfeit, your lord will never more
break his faith with you.” “Then you shall be his
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 115

surety,” said Portia; “give him this ring, and bid
him keep it better than the other.”

When Bassanio looked at this ring, he was strangely
surprised to find it was the same he gave away; and
then Portia told him, how she was the young coun-
sellor, and Nerissa was her clerk ; and Bassanio found,
to his unspeakable wonder and delight, that it was
by the noble courage and wisdom of his wife that
Anthonio’s life was saved.

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



while he lived, he’d fear no other thing,
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa’s ring.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

Tue states of Syracuse and Ephesus being at variance,
there was a cruel law made at Ephesus, ordaining that
if any merchant of Syracuse was seen in the city of
Ephesus, he was to be put to death, unless he could pay
a thousand marks for the ransom of his life.

A&geon, an old merchant of Syracuse, was discovered
in the streets of Ephesus, and brought before the duke,
either to pay this heavy fine, or to receive sentence of
death.

/&geon had no money to pay the fine, and the duke,
before he pronounced the sentence of death upon him,
desired him to relate the history of his life, and to tell
for what cause he had ventured to come to the city
of Ephesus, which it was death for any Syracusan
merchant to enter.

ffgeon said, that he did not fear to die, for sorrow
had made him weary of his life, but that a heavier
task could not have been imposed upon him than to
relate the events of his unfortunate life. He then began
his own history in the following words :—

“JT was born at Syracuse, and brought up to the
profession of a merchant. I married a lady with
whom I lived very happily, but being obliged to go
to Epidamnium, I was coined there by my business
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 117

six months, and then, finding I should be obliged to
stay some time longer, I sent for my wife, who, as
soon as she arrived, was brought to bed of two sons,
and what was very strange, they were both so exactly
alike, that it was impossible to distinguish the one
from the other. At the same time that my wife was
brought to bed of these twin boys, a poor woman in
the inn where my wife lodged was brought to bed of
two sons, and these twins were as much like each
other as my two sons were. ‘The parents of these
children being exceedingly poor, I bought the two
boys, and brought them up to attend upon my sons.

“My sons were very fine children, and my wife was
not a little proud of two such boys: and she daily
wishing to return home, I unwillingly agreed, and in
an evil hour we got on shipboard; for we had not
sailed above a league from Epidamnium before a
dreadful storm arose, which continued with such
violence, that the sailors seeing no chance of saving
the ship, crowded into the boat to save their own
lives, leaving us alone in the ship, which we every
moment expected would be destroyed by the fury of
the storm.

“The incessant weeping of my wife, and the piteous
complaints of the pretty babes, who not knowing what
to fear, wept for fashion, because they saw their
mother weep, filled me with terror for them, though
I did not for myself fear death ; and all my thoughts
were bent to contrive means for their safety: I tied
my youngest son to the end of a small spare mast,
such as seafaring men provide against storms; at the
118 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

other end I bound the youngest of the twin slaves, and
at the same time I directed my wife how to fasten
the other children in like manner to another mast.
She thus having the care of the two eldest children, and _
I of the two younger, we bound ourselves separately
to these masts with the children; and but for this
contrivance we had all been lost, for the ship split
on a mighty rock and was dashed in pieces, and we,
clinging to these slender masts, were supported above
the water, where I, having the care of two children,
was unable to assist my wife, who with the other
children was soon separated from me; but while they
were yet in my sight, they were taken up by a boat
of fishermen, from Corinth (as I supposed), and seeing
them in safety, I had no care but to struggle with
the wild sea-waves, to preserve my dear son and the
youngest slave. At length we in our turn were taken
up by a ship, and the sailors, knowing me, gave us kind
welcome and assistance, and landed us in safety at
Syracuse; but from that sad hour J have never known
what became of my wife and eldest child.

“My youngest son, and now my only care, when he
was eighteen years of age, began to be inquisitive
after his mother and his brother, and often impor-
tuned me that he might take his attendant, the young
slave, who had also lost his brother, and go in search
of them. At length I unwillingly gave consent, for
though I anxiously desired to hear tidings of my wife
and eldest son, yet in sending my younger one to find
them, I hazarded the loss of him also, It is now
seven years since my son left me; five years have I
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 119

passed in travelling through the world in search of
him: I have been in farthest Greece, and through the
bounds of Asia, and coasting homewards I landed
here in Ephesus, being unwilling to leave any place
unsought that harbours men; but this day must end
the story of my life, and happy should I think myself
in my death, if I were assured my wife and sons were
living.”

Here the hapless A®geon ended the account of his
misfortunes; and the duke, pitying this unfortunate
father, who had brought upon himself this great peril
by his love for his lost son, said, if it were not against
the laws, which his oath and dignity did not permit
him to alter, he would freely pardon him; yet, in-
stead of dooming him to instant death, as the strict
letter of the law required, he would give him that
day, to try if he could beg or borrow the money to
pay the fine.

This day of grace did seem no great favour to
Ageon, for not knowing any man in Ephesus, there
seemed to him but little chance that any stranger
would lend or give him a thousand marks to pay
the fine; and helpless and hopeless of any relief, he
retired from the presence of the duke in the custody
of a jailer.

Aigeon supposed he knew no person in Ephesus;
but at the very time he was in danger of losing his
life through the careful search he was making after
his youngest son, that son and his eldest son also were
both in the city of Ephesus.

Afigeon’s sons, besides being exactly alike in face and
120 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

person, were both named alike, being both called
Antipholis, and the two twin slaves were also both
named Dromio. Algeon’s youngest son, Antipholis of
Syracuse, he whom the old man had come to Ephesus
to seek, happened to arrive at Ephesus with his slave
Dromio that very same day that Aigeon did ; and he
being also a merchant of Syracuse, he would have been
in the same danger that his father was, but by good
fortune he met a friend, who told him the peril an
old merchant of Syracuse was in, and advised him to
pass for a merchant of Epidamnium. This Antipholis
agreed to do, and he was sorry to hear one of his own
countrymen was in this danger, but he little thought
this old merchant was his own father.

The oldest son of AXgeon (who must be called Anti-
pholis of Ephesus, to distinguish him from his brother
Antipholis of Syracuse) had lived at Ephesus twenty
years, and, being a rich man, was well able to have paid
the money for the ransom of his father’s life; but
Antipholis knew nothing of his father, being so young
when he was taken out of the sea with his mother
by the fishermen that he only remembered he had
been so preserved, but he had no recollection of either
his father or his mother; the fishermen, who took
up this Antipholis and his mother and the young slave
Dromio, having carried the two children away from
her (to the great grief of that unhappy lady), intend-
ing to sell them.

Antipholis and Dromio were sold by them to
Duke Menaphon, a famous warrior, who was uncle
to the Duke of Ephesus, and he carried the boys
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 121

to Ephesus, when he went to visit the duke his
nephew.

The Duke of Ephesus taking a fancy to young Anti-
pholis, when he grew up, made him an officer in his
army, in which he distinguished himself by his great
bravery in the wars, where he saved the life of his
patron the duke, who rewarded his merit by marry-
ing him to Adriana, a rich lady of Ephesus; with
whom he was living (his slave Dromio still attending
him) at the time his father came there.

Antipholis of Syracuse, when he parted with his
friend, who advised him to say he came from Epi-
damnium, gave his slave Dromio some money to carry
to the inn where he intended to dine, and in the mean-
time he said he would walk about and view the city,
and observe the manners of the people.

Dromio was a pleasant fellow, and when Antipholis
was dull and melancholy, he used to divert himself
with the odd humours and merry jests of his slave,
so that the freedoms of speech he allowed in Dromio
were greater than is usual between masters and their
servants.

When Antipholis of Syracuse had sent Dromio away,
he stood a while thinking over his solitary wanderings
in search of his mother and_ his brother, of whom
in no place where he landed could he hear the least
tidings; and he said sorrowfully to himself, “I am
like a drop of water in the ocean, which, seeking to
find its fellow drop, loses itself in the wide sea. So
I unhappily, to find a mother and a brother, do lose
myself.”
122 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

While he was thus meditating on his weary travels,
which had hitherto been so useless, Dromio (as he
thought) returned. Antipholis, wondering that he
came back so soon, asked him where he had left the
money. Now it was not his own Dromio, but the
twin-brother that lived with Antipholis of Ephesus,
that he spoke to. The two Dromios and the two
Antipholises were still as much alike as AXgeon had
said they were in their infancy; therefore, no wonder
Antipholis thought it was his own slave returned,
and asked him why he came back so soon. Dromio
replied, “My mistress sent me to bid you come to
dinner. ‘The capon burns, and the pig falls from the
spit, and the meat will be all cold if you do not come
home.” “These jests are out of season,” said Anti-
pholis; “where did you leave the money?” Dromio
still answering, that his mistress had sent him to
fetch Antipholis to dinner: “What mistress?” said
Antipholis. “Why, your worship’s wife, sir,” replied
Dromio. Antipholis having no wife, he was very
angry with Dromio, and said, “Because I familiarly
sometimes chat with you, you presume to jest with
me in this free manner. I am not in a sportive
humour now: where is the money? We being strangers
here, how dare you trust so great a charge from your
own custody?” Dromio hearing his master, as he
thought him, talk of their being strangers, supposing
Antipholis was jesting, replied merrily, “I pray you,
sir, jest as you sit at dinner: I had no charge but
to fetch you home, to dine with my mistress and her
sister.” Now Antipholis lost all patience, and beat


THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 123

Dromio, who ran home, and told his mistress that his
master had refused to come to dinner, and said that
he had no wife.

Adriana, the wife of Antipholis of Ephesus, was
very angry when she heard that her husband said he
had no wife; for she was of a jealous temper, and she
said her husband meant that he loved another lady
better than herself; and she began to fret, and say
unkind words of jealousy and reproach of her hus-
band; and her sister Luciana, who lived with her,
tried in vain to persuade her out of her groundless
suspicions.

Antipholis of Syracuse went to the inn, and found
Dromio with the money in safety there, and seeing
his own Dromio, he was going again to chide him for
his free jests, when Adriana came up to him, and not
doubting but it was her husband she saw, she began
to reproach him for looking strange upon her (as well
he might, never having seen this angry lady before);
and then she told him how well he loved her before
they were married, and that now he loved some other
lady instead of her. “How comes it now, my hus-
band,” said she, “O how comes it that I have lost
your love?” “Plead you to me, fair dame?” said
the astonished Antipholis. It was in vain he told
her he was not her husband, and that he had been in
Ephesus but two hours; she insisted on his going
home with her, and Antipholis at last, being unable
to get away, went with her to his brother’s house,
and dined with Adriana and her sister, the one
calling him husband, and the other brother, he, all
124 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

amazed, thinking he must have been married to her
in his sleep, or that he was sleeping now. And
Dromio, who followed them, was no less surprised,
for the cook-maid, who was his brother’s wife, also
claimed him for her husband.

While Antipholis of Syracuse was dining with his
brother’s wife, his brother, the real husband, returned
home to dinner with his slave Dromio; but the ser-
vants would not open the door, because their mistress
had ordered them not to admit any company; and
when they repeatedly knocked, and said they were
Antipholis and Dromio, the maids laughed at them,
and said that Antipholis was at dinner with their mis-
tress, and Dromio was in the kitchen; and though
they almost knocked the door down, they could not
gain admittance, and at last Antipholis went away
very angry, and strangely surprised at hearing a gen-
tleman was dining with his wife.

When Antipholis of Syracuse had finished his
dinner, he was so perplexed at the lady’s still persist-
ing in calling him husband, and at hearing that Dromio
had also been claimed by the cook-maid, that he left
the house as soon as he could find any pretence to
get away; for though he was very much pleased with
Luciana, the sister, yet the jealous-tempered Adriana
he disliked very much, nor was Dromio at all better
satisfied with his fair wife in the kitchen; therefore
both master and man were glad to get away from their
new wives as fast as they could.

The moment Antipholis of Syracuse had left the
house, he was met by a goldsmith, who mistaking
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 125

him, as Adriana had done, for Antipholis of Ephesus,
gave him a gold chain, calling him by his name; and
when Aavne eat would have refused the chain, saying
it did not belong to him, the goldsmith replied he
made it by his own orders; and went away, leaving
the chain in the hand of Antipholis, who ordered his
man Dromio to get the things on board a ship, not
choosing to stay in a place any longer where he met
with such strange adventures that he surely thought
himself bewitched.

The goldsmith who had given the chain to the
wrong Antipholis, was arrested immediately after for
a sum of money he owed; and Antipholis, the mar-
ried brother, to whom the goldsmith thought he had
given the chain, happened to come to the place
ie the officer was arresting the goldsmith, who,
when he saw Antipholis, asked him to pay for the
gold chain he had just delivered to him, the price
amounting to nearly the same sum as that for which
he had been arrested. Antipholis denying the having
received the chain, and the goldsmith persisting to
declare that he had but a few minutes before given
it to him, they disputed the matter a long time, both
thinking they were right, for Antipholis knew the
goldsmith never gave him the chain, and, so like
were the two brothers, the goldsmith was as certain
he had delivered the chain into his hands, till at last
the officer took the goldsmith away to prison for the
debt he owed, and at the same time the goldsmith
made the officer arrest Antipholis for the price of the
chain; so that at the conclusion of their dispute,
126 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Antipholis and the merchant were both taken away
to prison together.

As Antipholis was going to prison, he met Dromio
of Syracuse, his brother’s slave, and mistaking him
for his own, he ordered him to go to Adriana, his
wife, and tell her to send the money for which he
was arrested. Dromio wondering that his master
should send him back to the strange house where he
dined, and from which he had just before been in
such haste to depart, did not dare to reply, though
he came to tell his master the ship was ready to
sail; for he saw Antipholis was in no humour to be
jested with. Therefore he went away, grumbling
within himself that he must return to Adriana’s
house, “ Where,” said he, “ Dowsabel claims me for
a husband: but I must go, for servants must obey
their masters’ commands.”

Adriana gave him the money, and as Dromio was
returning, he met Antipholis of Syracuse, who was
still in a maze at the surprising adventures he met
with; for his brother being well known in Ephesus,
there was hardly a man he met in the streets but
saluted him as an old acquaintance: some offered
him money which they said was owing to him, some
invited him to come and see them, and some gave
him thanks for kindnesses they said he had done
them, all mistaking him for his brother. A tailor
showed him some silks he had bought for him, and
insisted upon taking measure of him for some clothes.

Antipholis began to think he was among a nation
of sorcerers and witches, and Dromio did not at all
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 127

relieve his master from his bewildered thoughts, by
asking him how he got free from the officer who was
carrying him to prison, and giving him the purse of
gold which Adriana had sent to pay the debt with.
This talk of Dromio’s of the arrest and of a prison,
and of the money he had brought from Adriana,
perfectly confounded Antipholis, and he said, “'This
fellow Dromio is certainly distracted, and we wander
here in illusions;” and quite terrified at his own
confused thoughts, he cried out, “Some blessed power
deliver us from this strange place ! ”

And now another stranger came up to him, and
she was a lady, and she too called him Antipholis,
and told him he had dined with her that day, and
asked him for a gold chain which she said he had
promised to give her. Antipholis now lost all
patience, and calling her a sorceress, he denied that
he had ever promised her a chain, or dined with
her, or had ever seen her face before that moment.
The lady persisted in affirming he had dined with
her, and had promised her a chain, which Antipholis
still denying, she farther said, that she had given
him a valuable ring, and if he would not give her
the gold chain, she insisted upon having her own
ring again. On this Antipholis became quite frantic,
and again calling her sorceress and witch, and denying
all knowledge of her and her ring, ran away from
her, leaving her astonished at his words and_ his
wild looks, for nothing to her appeared more certain
than that he had dined with her, and that she had
given him a ring, in consequence of his promising
128 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to make her a present of a gold chain. But this lady
had fallen into the same mistake the others had done,
for she had taken him for his brother: the married
Antipholis had done all the things she taxed this
Antipholis with.

When the married Antipholis was denied entrance
into his own house (those within supposing him to
be already there), he had gone away very angry,
believing it to be one of his wife’s jealous freaks, to
which she was very subject; and remembering that
she had often falsely accused him of visiting other
ladies, he to be revenged on her for shutting him
out of his own house, determined to go and dine
with this lady; and she receiving him with great
civility, and his wife having so highly offended him,
Antipholis promised to give her a gold chain, which
he had intended as a present for his wife; it was the
same chain which the goldsmith by mistake had given
to his brother. The lady liked so well the thoughts
of having a fine gold chain, that she gave the married
Antipholis a ring; which when, as she supposed
(taking his brother for him), he denied, and said he
did not know her, and left her in such a wild passion,
she began to think he was certainly out of his senses ;
and presently she resolved to go and tell Adriana
that her husband was mad. And while she was telling
it to Adriana, he came, attended by the jailer (who
allowed him to come home to get the money to pay
the debt), for the purse of money which Adriana
had sent by Dromio, and he had delivered to the
other Antipholis.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 129

Adriana believed the story the lady told her of her
husband’s madness must be true, when he reproached
her for shutting him out of his own house; and
remembering how he had protested all dinner-time
that he was not her husband, and had never been in
Ephesus till that day, she had no doubt that he
was mad; she therefore paid the jailer the money,
and having discharged him, she ordered her servants to
bind her husband with ropes, and had him conveyed
into a dark room, and sent for a doctor to come and
cure him of his madness: Antipholis all the while
hotly exclaiming against this false accusation, which
the exact likeness he bore to his brother had brought
upon him. But his rage only the more confirmed.
them in the belief that he was mad; and Dromio
persisting in the same story, they bound him also,
and took him away along with his master.

Soon after Adriana had put her husband into con-
finement; a servant came to tell her that Antipholis
and Dromio must have broken loose from their
keepers, for that they were both walking at liberty
in the next street. On hearing this, Adriana ran out
to fetch him home, taking some people with her to
secure her husband again; and her sister went along
with her. When they came to the gates of a convent
in their neighbourhood, there they saw Antipholis and
Dromio, as they thought, being again deceived by
the likeness of the twin-brothers.

Antipholis of Syracuse was still beset with the
perplexities this likeness had brought upon him.

The chain which the goldsmith had given him was
I
130 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

about his neck, and the goldsmith was reproaching
him for denying that he had it, and refusing to pay
for it, and Antipholis was protesting that the gold-
smith freely gave him the chain in the morning, and
that from that hour he had never seen the goldsmith
again.

And now Adriana came up to him, and claimed
him as her lunatic husband, who had escaped from
his keepers; and the men she brought with her were
going to lay violent hands on Antipholis and Dromio ;
but they ran into the convent, and Antipholis begged
the abbess to give him shelter in her house.

And now came out the lady abbess herself to inquire
into the cause of this disturbance. She was a grave
and venerable lady, and wise to judge of what she saw,
and she would not too hastily give up the men who
had sought protection in her house; so she strictly
questioned the wife about the story she told of her
husband’s madness, and she said, “ What is the cause
of this sudden distemper of your husband’s? Has
he lost his wealth at sea? Or is it the death of some
dear friend that has disturbed his mind?” Adriana .
replied, that no such things as these had been the
cause. Perhaps,” said the abbess, “he has fixed
his affections on some other lady than you his wife,
and that has driven him into this state.” Adriana
said she had long thought the love of some other lady
was the cause of his frequent absences from home.
Now it was not his love for another, but the teasing
jealousy of his wife’s temper, that often obliged Anti-
pholis to leave his home; and (the abbess suspecting
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 131

this from the vehemence of Adriana’s manner) to
learn the truth, she said, “You should have re-
prehended him for this.” “Why, so I did,” replied
Adriana. “ Ay,” said the abbess, “but perhaps not
enough.” Adriana, willing to convince the abbess
that she had said enough to Antipholis on this subject,
replied, “It was the constant subject of our conversa-
tion: in bed I would not let him sleep for speaking
of it. At table I would not let him eat for speaking
of it. When I was alone with him, I talked of nothing
else; and in company I gave him frequent hints of it.
Still all my talk was how vile and bad it was in him
to love any lady better than me.”

The lady abbess, having drawn this full confession
from the jealous Adriana, now said, “And therefore
comes it that your husband is mad. The venomous
clamour of a jealous woman is a more deadly poison
than a mad, dog’s tooth. It seems his sleep was
hindered by your railing; no wonder that his head
is light: and his meat was sauced with your upbraid-
ings; unquiet meals make ill digestions, and that has
thrown him into this fever. You say his sports were
disturbed by your brawls; being debarred from the
enjoyment of society and recreation, what could ensue
but dull melancholy and comfortless despair? The
consequence is, then, that your jealous fits have made
your husband mad.”

Luciana would have excused ‘her sister, saying, she
always reprehended her husband mildly; and she said
to her sister, ‘“‘ Why do you hear these rebukes without
answering them?” But the abbess had made her so
182 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

plainly perceive her fault, that she could only answer,
“She has betrayed me to my own reproof.”

Adriana, though ashamed of her own conduct, still
insisted on having her husband delivered up to her;
but the abbess would suffer no person to enter her
house, nor would she deliver up this unhappy man
to the care of the jealous wife, determining herself to
use gentle means for his recovery, and she retired into
her house again, and ordered her gates to be shut
against them.

During the course of this eventful day, in which so
many errors had happened from the likeness the twin-
brothers bore to each other, old Augeon’s day of grace
was passing away, it being now near sunset; and
at sunset he was doomed to die if he could not pay
the money.

The place of his execution was near this convent, and
here he arrived just as the abbess retired into the convent;
the duke attending in person, that if any offered to pay
the money, he might be present to pardon him.

Adriana stopped this melancholy procession, and
cried out to the duke for justice, telling him that the
abbess had refused to deliver up her lunatic husband
to her care. While she was speaking, her real husband
and his servant Dromio, who had got loose, came be-
fore the duke to demand justice, complaining that his
wife had confined him on a false charge of lunacy; and
telling in what manner he had broken his bands, and
eluded the vigilance of his keepers. Adriana was
strangely surprised to see her husband, when she
thought he had been within the convent.


THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 133

/®geon, seeing his son, concluded this was the son
who had left him to go in search of his mother and
his brother; and he felt secure that this dear son
would readily pay the money demanded for his ransom.
He therefore spoke to Antipholis in words of fatherly
affection, with joyful hope that he should now be
released. But to the utter astonishment of Aigeon,
his son denied all knowledge of him; as well he might,
for this Antipholis had never seen his father since
they were separated in the storm in his infancy; but
while the poor old Aigeon was in vain endeavouring
to make his son acknowledge him, thinking surely
that either his griefs and the anxieties he had suffered
had so strangely altered him that his son did not
know him, or else that he was ashamed to acknowledge
his father in his misery; in the midst of this per-
plexity, the lady abbess and the other Antipholis and
Dromio came out, and the wondering Adriana saw two
husbands and two Dromios standing before her.

And now these riddling errors, which had so per-
plexed them all, were clearly made out. When the
’ duke saw the two Antipholises and the two Dromios
both so exactly alike, he at once conjectured aright of
these seeming mysteries, for he remembered the story
®geon had told him in the morning; and he said,
these men must be the two sons of Aigeon and their
twin-slaves.

But now an unlooked-for joy indeed completed
the history of AZgeon; and the tale he had in the
morning told in sorrow, and under sentence of death,
before the setting sun went down was brought to a
134 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

happy conclusion, for the venerable lady abbess made
herself known to be the long-lost wife of A®geon, and
the fond mother of the two Antipholises.

When the fishermen took the eldest Antipholis and
Dromio away from her, she entered a nunnery, and
by her wise and virtuous conduct she was at length
made lady abbess of this convent, and in discharging
the rights of hospitality to an unhappy stranger she
had unknowingly protected her own son.

Joyful congratulations and affectionate greetings
between these long-separated parents and_ their
children, made them for a while forget that A%geon
was yet under sentence of death; but when they
were become a little calm, Antipholis of Ephesus
offered the duke the ransom money for his father’s
life; but the duke freely pardoned A%geon, and would
not take the money. And the duke went with the
abbess and her newly-found husband and children
into the convent, to hear this happy family discourse
at leisure of the blessed ending of their adverse
fortunes. And the two Dromios’ humble joy must
not be forgotten; they had their congratulations and
greetings too, and each Dromio pleasantly compli-
mented his brother on his good looks, being well
pleased to see his own person (as in a glass) show so
handsome in his brother.

Adriana had so well profited by the good counsel
of her mother-in-law, that she never after cherished
unjust suspicions, or was jealous of her husband.

Antipholis of Syracuse married the fair Luciana,
the sister of his brother’s wife; and the good old
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 135

A®geon, with his wife and sons, lived at Ephesus many
years. Nor did the unravelling of these perplexities
so entirely remove every ground of mistake for the
future, but that sometimes, to remind them of adven-
tures past, comical blunders would happen, and the
one Antipholis, and the one Dromio, be mistaken for
the other, making altogether a pleasant and diverting
Comedy of Errors.
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK

GertrupDE, queen of Denmark, becoming a widow by
the sudden death of king Hamlet, in less than two
months after his death married his brother Claudius,
which was noted by all people at the time for a
strange act of indiscretion, or unfeelingness, or worse ;
for this Claudius did noways resemble her late hus-
band in the qualities of his person or his mind, but
was as contemptible in outward appearance as he
was base and unworthy in disposition ; and suspicions
did not fail to arise in the minds of some that he had
privately made away with his brother, the late king,
with the view of marrying his widow, and ascending
the throne of Denmark, to the exclusion of young
Hamlet, the son of the buried king, and lawful suc-
cessor to the throne.

But upon no one did this unadvised action of the
queen make such impression as upon this young
prince, who loved and venerated the memory of his
dead father almost to idolatry, and being of a nice
sense of honour, and a most exquisite practiser of
propriety himself, did sorely take to heart this un-
worthy conduct of his mother Gertrude: insomuch
that, between grief for his father’s death and shame
for his mother’s marriage, this young prince was over-
HAMLET 137

clouded with a deep melancholy, and lost all his mirth
and all his good looks; all his customary pleasure in
books forsook him; his princely exercises and sports,
proper to his youth, were no longer acceptable ; he
grew weary of the world, which seemed to him an
unweeded garden, where all the wholesome flowers
were choked up, and nothing but weeds could thrive.
Not that the prospect of exclusion from the throne,
his lawful inheritance, weighed so much upon his
spirits, though that to a young and high-minded
prince was a bitter wound and a sore indignity; but
what so galled him, and took away all his cheerful
spirits was, that his mother had shown herself so
forgetful to his father’s memory ; and such a father !
who had been to her so loving and gentle a husband!
and then she always appeared as loving and obedient
a wife to him, and would hang upon him as if her
affection grew to him; and now within two months,
or, as it seemed to young Hamlet, less than two
months, she had married again, married his uncle, her
dead husband’s brother, in itself a highly improper
and unlawful marriage, from the nearness of relation-
ship, but made much more so by the indecent haste
with which it was concluded, and the unkingly
character of the man whom she had chosen to be
the partner of her throne and bed. This it was
which, more than the loss of ten kingdoms, dashed
the spirits, and brought a cloud over the mind of
this honourable young prince.

In vain was all that his mother Gertrude or the king
could do or contrive to divert him; he still appeared
138 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

in court in a suit of deep black, as mourning for
the king his father’s death, which mode of dress he
had never laid aside, not even in compliment to his
mother upon the day she was married, nor could he
be brought to join in any of the festivities or rejoicings
of that (as appeared to him) disgraceful day.

What mostly troubled him was an uncertainty about
the manner of his father’s death. It was given out
by Claudius that a serpent had stung him, but young
Hamlet had shrewd suspicions that Claudius himself was
the serpent; in plain English, that he had murdered
him for his crown, and that the serpent who stung his
father did now sit on his throne.

How far he was right in this conjecture, and what
he ought to think of his mother,—how far she was
privy to this murder, and whether by her consent
or knowledge, or without, it came to pass,—were
the doubts which continually harassed and distracted
him.

A rumour had reached the ear of young Hamlet
that an apparition exactly resembling the dead king
his father had been seen by the soldiers upon watch,
on the platform before the palace at midnight, for two
or three nights successively. ‘The figure came con-
stantly clad in the same suit of armour, from head to
foot, which the dead king was known to have worn;
and they who saw it (Hamlet’s bosom friend Horatio
was one) agreed in their testimony as to the manner
and time of its appearance: that it came just as the
clock struck twelve; that it looked pale, with a face
more of sorrow than of anger; that its beard was
HAMLET 139

grisly, and the colour a sable silvered, as they had
seen it in his lifetime; that it made no answer when
they spoke to it, yet once they thought it lifted up
its head, and addressed itself to motion as if it were
about to speak ; but in that moment the morning cock
crew, and it shrunk in haste away, and vanished out of
their sight.

The young prince, strangely amazed at their relation,
which was too consistent and agreeing with itself tq
disbelieve, concluded that it was his father’s ghost
which they had seen, and determined to take his watch
with the soldiers that night, that he might have a
chance of seeing it; for he reasoned with himself,
that such an appearance did not come for nothing,
but that the ghost had something to impart, and
though it had been silent hitherto, yet it would speak
tohim. And he waited with impatience for the coming
of night.

When night came he took his stand with Horatio
and Marcellus, one of the guard, upon the platform
where this apparition was accustomed to walk; and,
it being a cold night, and the air unusually raw and
nipping, Hamlet and Horatio and their companion
fell into some talk about the coldness of the night,
which was suddenly broken off by Horatio announcing
that the ghost was coming.

At the sight of his father’s spirit Hamlet was struck
with a sudden surprise and fear. He at first called
upon the angels and heavenly ministers to defend
them, for he knew not whether it were a good spirit
or bad, whether it came for good or for evil; but he
140 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

gradually assumed more courage, and his father (as
it seemed to him) looked upon him so piteously, and
as it were desiring to have conversation with him, and
did in all respects appear so like himself as he was
when he lived, that Hamlet could not help addressing
him. He called him by his name Hamlet, King,
Father! and conjured him that he would tell the
reason why he had left his grave, where they had seen
him quietly bestowed, to come again and visit the
earth and the moonlight, and besought him that he
would let them know if there was anything which they
could do to give peace to his spirit. And the ghost
beckoned to Hamlet, that he should go with him to
some more removed place, where they might be
alone; and Horatio and Marcellus would have dis-
suaded the young prince from following it, for they
feared lest it should be some evil spirit, who would
tempt him to the neighbouring sea, or to the top of
some dreadful cliff, and there put on some horrible
shape which might deprive the prince of his reason.
But their counsels and entreaties could not alter
Hamlet’s determination, who cared too little about
life to fear the losing of it; and as to his soul, he
said, what could the spirit do to that, being a thing
immortal as itself? And he felt as hardy as a lion;
and bursting from them, who did all they could to
hold him, he followed whithersoever the spirit led
him.

And when they were alone together, the spirit
broke silence, and told him that he was the ghost of
Hamlet, his father, who had been cruelly murdered,
HAMLET 141

and he told the manner of it; that it was done by
his own brother Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, as Hamlet
had already but too much suspected, for the hope of
succeeding to his bed and crown. That as he was
sleeping in his garden, his custom always in the
afternoon, this treasonous brother stole upon him in
his sleep, and poured the juice of poisonous henbane
into his ears, which has such an antipathy to the life
of man, that swift as quicksilver it courses through
all the veins of the body, baking up the blood, and
spreading a crust-like leprosy all over the skin: thus
sleeping, by a brother's hand he was cut off at once,
from his crown, his queen, and his life; and he adjured
Hamlet, if he did ever his dear father love, that he
would revenge his foul murder. And the ghost
lamented to his son, that his mother should so fall
off from virtue, as to prove false to the wedded love
of her first husband, and to marry his murderer: but
he cautioned Hamlet, howsoever he proceeded in his
revenge against his wicked uncle, by no means to act
any violence against the person of his mother, but to
leave her to Heaven, and to the stings and thorns of
conscience. And Hamlet promised to observe the
ghost’s direction in all things, and the ghost vanished.

And when Hamlet was left alone, he took up a
solemn resolution, that all he had in his memory, all
that he had ever learned by books or observation,
should be instantly forgotten by him, and nothing
live in his brain but the memory of what the ghost
had told him, and enjoined him todo. And Hamlet
related the particulars of the conversation which had
142 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

passed to none but his dear friend Horatio; and he
enjoined both to him and Marcellus the strictest secrecy
as to what they had seen that night.

The terror which the sight of the ghost had left
upon the senses of Hamlet, he being weak and dis-
pirited before, almost unhinged his mind, and drove
him beside his reason. And he, fearing that it would
continue to have this effect, which might subject him
to observation, and set his uncle upon his guard, if
he suspected that he was meditating anything against
him, or that Hamlet really knew more of his father’s
death than he professed, took up a strange resolution,
from that time to counterfeit as if he were really
and truly mad ; thinking that he would be less an
object of suspicion when his uncle should believe
him incapable of any serious project, and that his
real perturbation of mind would be best covered
and pass concealed under a disguise of pretended
lunacy.

From this time Hamlet affected a certain wildness
and strangeness in his apparel, his speech, and be-
haviour, and did so excellently counterfeit the madman,
that the king and queen were both deceived, and not
thinking his grief for his father’s death a sufficient
cause to produce such a distemper, for they knew
not of the appearance of the ghost, they concluded
that his malady was love, and they thought they
had found out the object.

Before Hamlet fell into the melancholy way which
has been related, he had dearly loved a fair maid
called Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius, the king’s
KX eet AS
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DEATH OF THE KING—HAMLET’S FATHER.
HAMLET 143

chief councillor in affairs of state. He had sent her
letters and rings, and made many tenders of his
affection to her, and importuned her with love in
honourable fashion: and she had given belief to his
vows and importunities. But the melancholy which
he fell into latterly had made him neglect her, and
from the time he conceived the project of counterfeiting
madness, he affected to treat her with unkindness, and
a sort of rudeness; but she, good lady, rather than
reproach him with being false to her, persuaded herself
that it was nothing but the disease in his mind,
and no settled unkindness, which had made him less
observant of her than formerly; and she compared
the faculties of his once noble mind and excellent
understanding, impaired as they were with the deep
melancholy that oppressed him, to sweet bells which
in themselves are capable of most excellent music,
but when jangled out of tune, or rudely handled,
produce only a harsh and unpleasing sound.

Though the rough business which Hamlet had in
hand, the revenging of his father’s death upon his
murderer, did not suit with the playful state of court-
ship, or admit of the society of so idle a passion as
love now seemed to him, yet it could not hinder but
that soft thoughts of his Ophelia would come between ;
and in one of these moments, when he thought that
his treatment of this gentle lady had been unreason-
ably harsh, he wrote her a letter full of wild starts
of passion, and extravagant terms, such as agreed with
his supposed madness, but mixed with some gentle
touches of affection, which could not but show to this
144 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

honoured lady, that a deep love for her yet lay at
the bottom of his heart. He bade her to doubt the
stars were fire, and to doubt that the sun did move,
to doubt truth to be a liar, but never to doubt
that he loved; with more of such extravagant phrases,
This letter Ophelia dutifully showed to her father, and
the old man thought himself bound to communicate
it to the king and queen, who from that time supposed
that the true cause of Hamlet’s madness was love.
And the queen wished that the good beauties of
Ophelia might be the happy cause of his wildness,
for so she hoped that her virtues might happily
restore him to his accustomed way again, to both
their honours.

But Hamlet’s malady lay deeper than she supposed,
or than could be so cured. His father’s ghost, which
he had seen, still haunted his imagination, and the
sacred injunction to revenge his murder gave him
no rest till it was accomplished. Every hour of delay
seemed to him a sin, and a violation of his father’s
commands. Yet how to compass the death of the
king, surrounded as he constantly was with his guards,
was no easy matter. Or if it had been, the presence
of the queen, Hamlet’s mother, who was generally
with the king, was a restraint upon his purpose,
which he could not break through. Besides, the very
circumstance that the usurper was his mother’s hus-
band, filled him with some remorse, and still blunted
the edge of his purpose. The mere act of putting a
fellow-creature to death was in itself odious and
terrible to a disposition naturally so gentle as Hamlet’s
HAMLET 145

was. His very melancholy, and the dejection of spirits
he had so long been in, produced an irresoluteness and
wavering of purpose, which kept him from proceeding
to extremities. Moreover, he could not help having
some scruples upon his mind, whether the spirit which
he had seen was indeed his father, or whether it might
not be the devil, who he had heard has power to
take any form he pleases, and who might have
assumed his father’s shape only to take advantage
of his weakness and his melancholy, to drive him to
the doing of so desperate an act as murder. And
he determined that he would have more certain
grounds to go upon than a vision, or apparition,
which might be a delusion.

While he was in this irresolute mind, there came
to the court certain players, in whom Hamlet formerly
used to take delight, and particularly to hear one
of them speak a tragical speech, describing the death
of old Priam, king of Troy, with the grief of Hecuba,
his queen. Hamlet welcomed his old friends, the
players, and remembering how that speech had for-
merly given him pleasure, requested the player to
repeat it; which he did in so lively a manner, setting
forth the cruel murder of the feeble old king, with
the destruction of his people and city by fire, and
the mad grief of the old queen, running barefoot up
and down the palace, with a poor clout upon that head
where a crown had been, and with nothing but a
blanket upon her loins, snatched up in haste, where
she had worn a royal robe; that not only it drew tears
from all that stood by, who thought they saw the real

K
146 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

scene, so lively was it represented, but even the player
himself delivered it with a broken voice and real tears.
This put Hamlet upon thinking, if that player could
so work himself up to a passion by a mere fictitious
speech, to weep for one that he had never seen, for
Hecuba, that had been dead so many hundred years,
how dull was he, who having a real motive and cue
for passion, a real king and a dear father murdered,
was yet so little moved, that his revenge all this
while had seemed to have slept in dull and muddy
forgetfulness! And while he meditated on actors
and acting, and the powerful effects which a good
play, represented to the life, has upon the spectator,
he remembered the instance of some murderer who,
seeing a murder on the stage, was by the mere force
of the scene and resemblance of circumstances so
affected, that on the spot he confessed the crime
which he had committed. And he determined that
these players should play something like the murder
of his father before his uncle, and he would watch
narrowly what effect it might have upon him, and
from his looks he would be able to gather with
more certainty if he were the murderer or not. To
this effect he ordered a play to be prepared, to the re-
presentation of which he invited the king and queen.

The story of the play was of a murder done in
Vienna upon a duke. The duke’s name was Gonzago,
his wife Baptista. The play showed how one Lucianus,
a near relation to the duke, poisoned him in his garden
for his estate, and how the murderer in a short time
after got the love of Gonzago’s wife.
HAMLET 147

At the representation of this play, the king, who did
not know the trap which was laid for him, was present,
with his queen and the whole court; Hamlet sitting
attentively near him to observe his looks. The play
began with a conversation between Gonzago and his
wife, in which the lady made many protestations
of love, and of never marrying a second husband,
if she should outlive Gonzago; wishing she might be
accursed if ever she took a second husband, and adding
that no woman ever did so but those wicked women
who kill their first husbands. Hamlet observed the
king, his uncle, change colour at this expression, and
that it was as bad as wormwood both to him and
to the queen. But when Lucianus, according to the
story, came to poison Gonzago sleeping in the garden,
the strong resemblance which it bore to his own wicked
act upon the late king, his brother, whom he had
poisoned in his garden, so struck upon the conscience
of this usurper, that he was unable to sit out the rest
of the play, but on a sudden calling for lights to his
chamber, and affecting or partly feeling a sudden sick-
ness, he abruptly left the theatre. The king being
departed, the play was given over. Now, Hamlet had
seen enough to feel satisfied that the words of the
ghost were true, and no illusion; and in a fit of gaiety,
like that which comes over a man who suddenly has
some great doubt or scruple resolved, he swore to
Horatio that he would take the ghost’s word for a
thousand pounds. But before he could make up his
resolution as to what measures of revenge he should
take, now he was certainly informed that his uncle
148 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

was his father’s murderer, he was sent for by the queen,
his mother, to a private conference in her closet.

It was by desire of the king that the queen sent
for Hamlet, that she might signify to her son how
much his late behaviour had displeased them both;
and the king, wishing to know all that passed at
that conference, and thinking that the too partial
report of a mother might let slip some part of
Hamlet’s words, which it might much import the
king to know, Polonius, the old councillor of state,
was ordered to plant himself behind the hangings in
the queen’s closet, where he might unseen hear all
that passed. This artifice was particularly adapted
to the disposition of Polonius, who was a man grown
old in crooked maxims and policies of state, and
delighted to get at the knowledge of matters in an
indirect and cunning way.

Hamlet being come to his mother, she began to
tax him in the roundest way with his actions and
behaviour, and she told him that he had given great
offence to his father, meaning the king, his uncle,
whom, because he had married her, she called
Hamlet’s father. Hamlet, sorely indignant that she
should give so dear and honoured a name as father
seemed to him, to a wretch who was indeed no
better than the murderer of his true father, with
some sharpness replied, “Mother, you have much
offended my father.” The queen said that was but
an idle answer. “As good as the question deserved,”
said Hamlet. The queen asked him if he had for-
gotten who it was he was speaking to? “ Alas!”
HAMLET 149

replied Hamlet, “I wish I could forget. You are
the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife; and you
are my mother; I wish you were not what you are.”
“Nay, then,” said the queen, “if you show me so
little respect, I will send those to you that can
speak,” and was going to send the king or Polonius
to him. But Hamlet would not let her go, now
he had her alone, till he had tried if his words
could not bring her to some sense of her wicked
life; and, taking her by the wrist, he held her fast,
and made her sit down. She, affrighted at his earnest
manner, and fearful lest in his lunacy he should do
her a mischief, cried out: and a voice was heard from
behind the hangings, “Help, help the queen!” which
Hamlet hearing, and verily thinking it was the
king himself there concealed, he drew his sword, and
stabbed at the place where the voice came from,
as he would have stabbed a rat that run there, till
the voice ceasing, he concluded the person to be dead.
But when he dragged forth the body, it was not the
king, but Polonius, the old officious councillor, that
had planted himself as a spy behind the hangings.
“QO me!” exclaimed the queen, “what a rash and
bloody deed you have done!” ‘A bloody deed,
mother,” replied Hamlet, “but not so bad as yours,
who killed a king, and married his brother.” Hamlet
had gone too far to leave off here. He was now in
the humour to speak plainly to his mother, and he
pursued it. And though the faults of parents are to
be tenderly treated by their children, yet in the case
of great crimes the son may have leave to speak even
150 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to his own mother with some harshness, so as that
harshness is meant for her good, and to turn her
from her wicked ways, and not done for the purpose
of upbraiding. And now this virtuous prince did in
moving terms represent to the queen the heinousness
of her offence, in being so forgetful of the dead king,
his father, as in so short a space of time to marry
with his brother and reputed murderer: such an act
as, after the vows which she had sworn to her first
husband, was enough to make all vows of women
suspected, and all virtue to be accounted hypocrisy,
wedding contracts to be less than gamesters’ oaths,
and religion to be a mockery and a mere form of
words. He said she had done such a deed, that the
heavens blushed at it, and the earth was sick of her
because of it. And he showed her two pictures, the
one of the late king, her first husband, and the other
of the present king, her second husband, and he bade
her mark the difference: what a grace was on the
brow of his father, how like a god he looked! the
curls of Apollo, the forehead of Jupiter, the eye of
Mars, and a posture like to Mercury newly alighted
on some heaven-kissing hill! this man had been her
husband. And then he showed her whom she had
got in his stead; how like a blight or a mildew he
looked, for so he had blasted his wholesome brother.
And the queen was sore ashamed that he should so
turn her eyes inward upon her soul, which she now
saw so black and deformed. And he asked her how
she could continue to live with this man, and be a wife
to him who had murdered her first husband, and got
HAMLET 151

the crown by as false means as a thief: And just
as he spoke, the ghost of his father, such as he was in
his lifetime, and such as he had lately seen it, entered
the room, and Hamlet, in great terror, asked what it
would have; and the ghost said that it came to remind
him of the revenge he had promised, which Hamlet
seemed to have forgot; and the ghost bade him speak
to his mother, for the grief and terror she was in would
else kill her. It then vanished, and was seen by none
but Hamlet, neither could he by pointing to where it
stood, or by any description, make his mother perceive
it, who was terribly frightened all this while to hear
him conversing, as it seemed to her, with nothing ;
and she imputed it to the disorder of his mind. But
Hamlet begged her not to flatter her wicked soul in
such a manner as to think that it was his madness,
and not her own offences, which had brought his
father’s spirit again on the earth. And he bade her
feel his pulse, how temperately it beat, not like a
madman’s. And he begged of her with tears, to
confess herself to Heaven for what was past, and
for the future to avoid the company of the king,
and be no more as a wife to him; and when she
should show herself a mother to him, by respecting
his father’s memory, he would ask a blessing of her
asason. And she promising to observe his directions,
the conference ended.

And now Hamlet was at leisure to consider who it
was that in his unfortunate rashness he had killed: and
when he came to see that it was Polonius, the father
of the lady Ophelia, whom he so dearly loved, he drew


152 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

apart the dead body, and, his spirits being a little
quieter, he wept for what he had done.

This unfortunate death of Polonius gave the king a
pretence for sending Hamlet out of the kingdom. He
would willingly have put him to death, fearing him
as dangerous; but he dreaded the people, who loved
Hamlet ; and the queen, who, with all her faults, doted
upon the prince, her son. So this subtle king, under
pretence of providing for Hamlet’s safety, that he
might not be called to account for Polonius’s death,
caused him to be conveyed on board a ship bound for
England, under the care of two courtiers, by whom he
despatched letters to the English court, which at that
time was in subjection and paid tribute to Denmark,
requiring, for special reasons there pretended, that
Hamlet should be put to death as soon as he landed on
English ground. Hamlet, suspecting some treachery,
in the night-time secretly got at the letters, and skil-
fully erasing his own name, he in the stead of it put in
the names of those two courtiers, who had the charge
of him, to be put to death: then sealing up the letters,
he put them into their place again. Soon after the
ship was attacked by pirates, and a sea-fight com-
menced ; in the course of which Hamlet, desirous to
show his valour, with sword in hand singly boarded
the enemy’s vessel; while his own ship, in a cowardly
manner, bore away, and leaving him to his fate, the
two courtiers made the best of their way to England,
charged with those letters the sense of which Hamlet
had altered to their own deserved destruction.

The pirates, who had the prince in their power,
HAMLET 153

showed themselves gentle enemies; and knowing
whom they had got prisoner, in the hope that the
prince might do them a good turn at court in recom-
pense for any favour they might show him, they set
Hamlet on shore at the nearest port in Denmark.
From that place Hamlet wrote to the king, acquaint-
ing him with the strange chance which had brought
him back to his own country, and saying that on the
next day he should present himself before his majesty.
When he got home a sad spectacle offered itself the
first thing to his eyes.

This was the funeral of the young and beautiful
Ophelia, his once dear mistress. The wits of this
young lady had begun to turn ever since her poor
father’s death. That he should die a violent death,
and by the hands of the prince whom she loved, so
affected this tender young maid, that in a little time
she grew perfectly distracted, and would go about
giving flowers away to the ladies of the court, and
saying that they were for her father’s burial, singing
songs about love and about death, and sometimes
such as had no meaning at all, as if she had no
memory of what happened to her. There was a
willow which grew slanting over a brook, and reflected
its leaves in the stream. ‘To this brook she came one
day when she was unwatched, with garlands she had
been making, mixed up of daisies and nettles, flowers
and weeds together, and clambering up to hang her
garland upon the boughs of the willow, a-bough broke,
and precipitated this fair young maid, garland, and
all that she had gathered, into the water, where her
154 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

clothes bore her up for a while, during which she
chanted scraps of old tunes, like one insensible to her
own distress, or as if she were a creature natural to
that element: but long it was not before her gar-
ments, heavy with the wet, pulled her in from her
melodious singing to a muddy and miserable death.
It was the funeral of this fair maid which her brother
Laertes was celebrating, the king and queen and whole
court being present, when Hamlet arrived. He knew
not what all this show imported, but stood on one
side, not inclining to interrupt the ceremony. He saw
the flowers strewed upon her grave, as the custom was
in maiden burials, which the queen herself threw in;
and as she threw them, she said, “Sweets to the sweet !
I thought to have decked thy bride-bed, sweet maid,
not to have strewed thy grave. Thou shouldst have
been my Hamlet’s wife.” And he heard her brother
wish that violets might spring from her grave: and he
saw him leap into the grave all frantic with grief, and
bid the attendants pile mountains of earth upon him,
that he might be buried with her. And Hamlet’s love
for this fair maid came back to him, and he could not
bear that a brother should show so much transport of
grief, for he thought that he loved Ophelia better than
forty thousand brothers. Then discovering himself,.
he leaped into the grave where Laertes was, all as
frantic or more frantic than he, and Laertes knowing
him to be Hamlet, who had been the cause of his
father’s and his sister’s death, grappled him by the
throat as an enemy, till the attendants parted them:
and Hamlet, after the funeral, excused his hasty act
ee eG

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OPHELIA.
HAMLET 155

in throwing himself into the grave as if to brave
Laertes; but he said he could not bear that any one
should seem to outgo him in grief for the death of
the fair Ophelia. And for the time these two noble
youths seemed reconciled.

But out of the grief and anger of Laertes for the
death of his father and Ophelia, the king, Hamlet’s
wicked uncle, contrived destruction for Hamlet. He
set on Laertes, under cover of peace and reconcilia-
tion, to challenge Hamlet to a friendly trial of skill at
fencing, which Hamlet accepting, a day was appointed
to try the match. At this match all the court was
present, and Laertes, by direction of the king, pre-
pared ‘a poisoned weapon. Upon this match great
wagers were laid by the courtiers, as both Hamlet
and Laertes were known to excel at this sword-play ;
and Hamlet taking up the foils chose one, not at all
suspecting the treachery of Laertes, or being careful
to examine Laertes’ weapon, who, instead of a foil
or blunted sword, which the laws of fencing require,
made use of one with a point, and poisoned. At first
Laertes did but play with Hamlet, and suffered him
to gain some advantages, which the dissembling king
magnified and extolled beyond measure, drinking to
Hamlet’s success, and wagering rich bets upon the
issue: but after a few passes, Laertes, growing warm,
made a deadly thrust at Hamlet with his poisoned
weapon, and gave him.a mortal blow. Hamlet, in-
censed, but not knowing the whole of the treachery,
in the scuffle exchanged his own innocent weapon
for Laertes’ deadly one, and with a thrust of Laertes’
156 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

own sword repaid Laertes home, who was thus justly
caught in his own treachery. In this instant the
queen shrieked out that she was poisoned. She had
inadvertently drunk out of a bowl which the king
had prepared for Hamlet, in case that being warm in
fencing he should call for drink : into this the treacher-
ous king had infused a deadly poison, to make sure
of Hamlet, if Laertes had failed. He had forgotten
to warn the queen of the bowl, which she drank of,
and immediately died, exclaiming with her last breath
that she was poisoned. Hamlet, suspecting some
treachery, ordered the doors to be shut, while he
sought it out. Laertes told him to seek no further,
for he was the traitor; and feeling his life go away
with the wound which Hamlet had given him, he
made confession of the treachery he had used, and
how he had fallen a victim to it: and he told Hamlet
of the envenomed point, and said that Hamlet had
not half an hour to live, for no medicine could cure
him; and begging forgiveness of Hamlet, he died,
with his last words accusing the king of being the
contriver of the mischief. When Hamlet saw his end
draw near, there being yet some venom left upon the
sword, he suddenly turned upon his false uncle, and
thrust the point of it to his heart, fulfilling the pro-
mise which he had made to his father’s spirit, whose
injunction was now accomplished, and his foul murder
revenged upon the murderer. Then Hamlet, feeling
his breath fail and life departing, turned to his dear
friend Horatio, who had been spectator of this fatal
tragedy; and with his dying breath requested him
HAMLET 157

that he would live to tell his story to the world (for
Horatio had made a motion as if he would slay him-
self to accompany the prince in death); and Horatio
promised that he would make a true report, as one
that was privy to all the circumstances. And thus
satisfied, the noble heart of Hamlet cracked: and
Horatio and the bystanders with many tears com-
mended the spirit of their sweet prince to the guardian-
ship of angels. For Hamlet was a loving and a gentle
prince, and greatly beloved for his many noble and
princelike qualities; and if he had lived, would no
doubt have proved a most royal and complete king
to Denmark.
THE TEMPEST

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

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

The lively little sprite Ariel had nothing mis-
chievous in his nature, except that he took rather
too much pleasure in tormenting an ugly monster
THE TEMPEST 159

called Caliban, for he owed him a grudge because
he was the son of his old enemy Sycorax. This
Caliban Prospero found in the woods, a strange mis-
shapen thing, far less human in form than an ape:
he took him home to his cell, and taught him to
speak; and Prospero would have been very kind to
him, but the bad nature which Caliban inherited from
his mother, Sycorax, would not let him learn any-
thing good or useful ; therefore he was employed like a
slave, to fetch wood, and do the most laborious offices ;
and Ariel had the charge of compelling him to these
services.

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

Having these powerful spirits obedient to his will,
Prospero could by their means command the winds,
and the waves of the sea. By his orders they raised a
violent storm, in the midst of which, and struggling
with the wild sea-waves that every moment threatened
to swallow it up, he showed his daughter a fine large
ship, which he told her was full of living beings like
themselves. “O my dear father,” said she, “if by
160 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

your art you have raised this dreadful storm, have
pity on their sad distress. See! the vessel will be
dashed to pieces. Poor souls! they will all perish.
If I had power, I would sink the sea beneath the
earth, rather than the good ship should be destroyed,
with all the precious souls within her.”

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

“ Certainly I can, sir,” replied Miranda.

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

Miranda said, “It seems to me like the recollection
of adream. But had I not once four or five women
who attended upon me?”

Prospero answered, “ You had, and more. How is
it that this still lives in your mind? Do you remem-
ber how you came here?”

“No, sir,” said Miranda, “I remember nothing
more.”

“Twelve years ago, Miranda,” continued Prospero,
“I was duke of Milan, and you were a princess and
my only heir. I had a younger brother, whose name
was Antonio, to whom I trusted everything ; and as I
THE TEMPEST 161

was fond of retirement and deep study, I commonly
left the management of my state affairs to your uncle,
my false brother (for so indeed he proved). I, neglect-
ing all worldly ends, buried among my books, did
dedicate my whole time to the bettering of my mind.
My brother Antonio being thus in possession of my
power, began to think himself the duke indeed. The
opportunity I gave him of making himself popular
among my subjects awakened in his bad nature a
proud ambition to deprive me of my dukedom: this
he soon effected with the aid of the king of Naples, a
powerful prince, who was my enemy.”

“ Wherefore,” said Miranda, “did they not that
hour destroy us ?”

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

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

“No, my love,” said Prospero, “you were a little
cherub that did preserve me. Your innocent smiles
made me to bear up against my misfortunes. Our food
lasted till we landed on this desert island, since when
my chief delight has been in teaching you, Miranda,

and well have you profited by my instructions.”
L
162 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“ Heaven thank you, my dear father,” said Miranda.
“Now pray tell me, sir, your reason for raising this
sea-storm.”

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

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

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

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

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

“T left them,” answered Ariel, “searching for
Ferdinand, whom they have little hopes of finding,
THE TEMPEST 163

thinking they saw him perish. Of the ship’s crew not
one is missing; though each one thinks himself the
only one saved: and the ship, though invisible to them,
is safe in the harbour.”

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

“Ts there more work?” said Ariel. “Let me re-
mind you, master, you have promised me my liberty.
I pray, remember, I have done you worthy service,
told you no lies, made no mistakes, served you with-
out grudge or grumbling.”

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

“ Sir, in Algiers,” said Ariel.

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

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

“Do so,” said Prospero, “and I will set you free.”
He then gave orders what further he would have him
do, and away went Ariel, first to where he had left
164 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Ferdinand, and found him still sitting on the grass in
the same melancholy posture.

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

«¢ Full fathom five thy father lies :

Of his bones are coral made ;

Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,

But doth suffer a sea-change

Into something rich and strange.

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell :

Hark, now I hear them, ding-dong-bell.” ,

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

“ Miranda,” said Prospero, “tell me what you are
looking at yonder.”

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

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


ARIEL AND FERDINAND,
THE TEMPEST 165

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

She timidly answered, she was no goddess, but a
simple maid, and was going to give an account of
herself, when Prospero interrupted her. He was well
pleased to find they admired each other, for he plainly
perceived they had (as we say) fallen in love at first
sight: but to try Ferdinand’s constancy, he resolved
to throw some difficulties in their way: therefore,
advancing forward, he addressed the prince with a
stern air, telling him, he came to the island as a spy,
to take it from him who was the lord of it. “Follow
me,” said he, “TI will tie you neck and feet together.
You shall drink sea-water; shell-fish, withered roots,
and husks of acorns shall be your food.” “No,” said
Ferdinand, “TI will resist such entertainment, till I see
a more powerful enemy,” and drew his sword; but
Prospero, waving his magic wand, fixed him to the
spot where he stood, so that he had no power to
move.

Miranda hung upon her father, saying, “ Why are
you so ungentle? Have pity, sir; I will be his surety.
This is the second man I ever saw, and to me he
seems a true one.”

“Silence,” said her father, “one word more will
166 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

make me chide you, girl! What! an advocate for
an impostor! You think there are no more such
fine men, having seen only him and Caliban. I
tell you, foolish girl, most men as far excel this,
as he does Caliban.” This he said to prove his
daughter’s constancy; and she replied, “ My affections
are most humble. I have no wish to see a goodlier
man.”

“Come on, young man,” said Prospero to the prince,
“you have no power to disobey me.”

“J have not indeed,” answered Ferdinand; and
not knowing it was by magic he was deprived of all
power of resistance, he was astonished to find he was
so strangely compelled to follow Prospero ; looking
back on Miranda as long as he could see her, he
said, as he went after Prospero into the cave, “ My
spirits are all bound up, as if I were in a dream; but
this man’s threats, and the weakness which I feel,
would seem light to me if from my prison I might
once a day behold this fair maid.”

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

Prospero had commanded Terdinand to pile up
some heavy logs of wood. Kings’ sons not being
much used to laborious work, Miranda soon after
found her lover almost dying with fatigue. “ Alas!”
said she, “do not work so hard. My father is at his
THE TEMPEST 167

studies; he is safe for these three hours. Pray rest
yourself,”

“O, my dear lady,” said Ferdinand, “I dare not.
I must finish my task before I take my rest.”

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

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

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

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

In answer to his praises of her beauty, which he
said exceeded all the women in the world, she replied,
“I do not remember the face of any woman, nor have
I seen any more men than you, my good friend, and
my dear father. How features are abroad, I know
not; but believe me, sir, I would not wish any com-
168 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

panion in the world but you, nor can my imagination
form any shape but yours that I could like. But, sir,
I fear I talk to you too freely, and my father’s precepts
I forget.”

At this Prospero smiled and nodded his head, as
much as to say, “This goes on exactly as I could wish ;
my girl will be queen of Naples.”

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

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

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

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

When Prospero left them, he called his spirit Ariel,
who quickly appeared before him, eager to relate what
<=

THE TEMPEST 169

he had done with Prospero’s brother and the king of
Naples. Ariel said he had left them almost out of
their senses with fear at the strange things he had
caused them to see and hear. When fatigued with
wandering about, and famished for want of food, he
had suddenly set before them a delicious banquet, and
then, just as they were going to eat, he appeared
visible before them in the shape of a harpy, a vora-
cious monster with wings, and the feast vanished
away. Then, to their utter amazement, this seeming
harpy spoke to them, reminding them of their cruelty
in driving Prospero from his dukedom, and leaving
him and his infant daughter to perish in the sea;
saying, that for this cause these terrors were suffered
to afflict them.

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

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

Ariel soon returned with the king, Antonio, and old
Gonzalo in their train, who had followed him wonder-
ing at the wild music he played in the air to draw
them on to his master’s presence. This Gonzalo was
the same who had so kindly provided Prospero formerly
with books and provisions, when his wicked brother
170 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

left him, as he thought, to perish in an open boat in
the sea.

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

Antonio with tears, and sad words of sorrow and
true repentance, implored his brother’s forgiveness ;
and the king expressed his sincere remorse for having
assisted Antonio to depose his brother: and Prospero
forgave them; and, upon their engaging to restore his
dukedom, he said to the king of Naples, “I have a gift
in store for you too;” and opening a door, showed him
his son Ferdinand, playing at chess with Miranda.

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

“© wonder!” said Miranda, “ what noble creatures
these are! it must surely be a brave world that has
such people in it.”

The king of Naples was almost as much astonished
at the beauty and excellent graces of the young
Miranda as his son had been. “Who is this maid?”
said he; “she seems the goddess that has parted us,
and brought us thus together.” “No, sir,” answered
Ferdinand, smiling to find his father had fallen into
the same mistake that he had done when he first saw
Miranda, “she is a mortal, but by immortal Provi-
dence she is mine: I chose her when I could not ask
you, my father, for your consent, not thinking you
THE 'TEMPEST 171

were alive. She is the daughter to this Prospero, who
is the famous duke of Milan, of whose renown I have
heard so much, but never saw him till now: of him I
have received a new life: he has made himself to me a
second father, giving me this dear lady.”

“Then I must be her father,” said the king; “but
O! how oddly will it sound, that I must ask my child
forgiveness.”

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

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

Prospero now told them that their ship was safe in
the harbour, and the sailors all on board her, and that
he and his daughter would accompany them home
the next morning. “In the meantime,” said he,
“partake of such refreshments as my poor cave
affords, and for your evening’s entertainment I will
relate the history of my life from my first landing
in this desert island.” He then called for Caliban
172 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to prepare some food, and set the cave in order; and
the company were astonished at the uncouth form and
savage appearance of this ugly monster, who (Prospero
said) was the only attendant he had to wait upon him.

Before Prospero left the island, he dismissed Ariel
from his service, to the great joy of that lively little
spirit, who, though he had been a faithful servant
to his master, was always longing to enjoy his free
liberty, to wander uncontrolled in the air, like a wild
bird, under green trees, among pleasant fruits, and
sweet-smelling flowers. “My quaint Ariel,” said
Prospero to the little sprite when he made him
free, “TI shall miss you; yet you shall have your
freedom.” “'Thank you, my dear master,” said Ariel ;
“but give me leave to attend your ship home with
prosperous gales, before you bid farewell to the assist-
ance of your faithful spirit; and then, master, when I
am free, how merrily I shall live!” Here Ariel sang
this pretty song—

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

Prospero then buried deep in tho earth his magical
books and wand, for he was resolved never more to
make use of the magic art. And having thus over-
come his enemies, and being reconciled to his brother
and the king of Naples, nothing now remained to
THE TEMPEST 173

complete his happiness, but to revisit his native land,
to take possession of his dukedom, and to witness the
happy nuptials of his daughter Miranda and_ prince
Ferdinand, which the king said should be instantly
celebrated with great “splendour on their return to
Naples. At which place, under the safe convoy of
the spirit Ariel, they, after a pleasant voyage, soon
arrived.
AS YOU LIKE IT

_ Durine the time that France was divided into
provinces (or dukedoms as they were called) there
reigned in one of these provinces an usurper, who
had deposed and banished his elder brother, the
lawful duke.

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

4
AS YOU LIKE IT 175

of his adverse fortune, he would endure it patiently
and say, “'These chilling winds which blow upon my
body, are true counsellors: they do not flatter, but
represent truly to me my condition; and though they
bite sharply, their tooth is nothing like so keen as that
of unkindness and ingratitude. I find that, howsoever
men speak against adversity, yet some sweet uses are to
be extracted from it; like the jewel, precious for medi-
cine, which is taken from the head of the venomous
and despised toad.” In this manner did the patient
duke draw a useful moral from everything that he saw ;
and by the help of this moralising turn, in that life
of his remote from public haunts, he could find tongues
in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in
stones, and good in everything.

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

One day, when Celia was talking in her usual kind
manner to Rosalind, saying, “I pray you, Rosalind,
my sweet cousin, be merry,” a messenger entered from
176 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the duke, to tell them that if they wished to see a
wrestling match, which was just going to begin, they
must come instantly to the court before the palace;
and Celia, thinking it would amuse Rosalind, agreed
to go and see it.

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

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

The ladies were well pleased to perform this humane
office, and first Celia entreated the young stranger
that he would desist from the attempt; and then
Rosalind spoke so kindly to him, and with such
feeling consideration for the danger he was about to
undergo, that instead of being persuaded by her gentle
words to forego his purpose, all his thoughts were
AS YOU LIKE IT 177

bent to distinguish himself by his courage in this
lovely lady’s eyes. He refused the request of Celia
and Rosalind in such graceful and modest words, that
they felt still more concern for him; he concluded his
refusal with saying, “I am sorry to deny such fair and
excellent ladies anything. But let your fair eyes and
gentle wishes go with me to my trial, wherein if I
be conquered, there is one shamed that was never
gracious; if I am killed, there is one dead that is
willing to die. I shall do my friends no wrong, for I
have none to lament me; the world no injury, for in
it I have nothing; for I only fill up a place in the
world which may be better supplied when I have made
it empty.”

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

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

The duke Frederick was much pleased with the
courage and skill shown by this young stranger; and

M
178 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

desired to know his name and parentage, meaning to
take him under his protection.

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

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

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

The ladies then went up to him; and seeing him
abashed by the sudden displeasure shown by the duke,
they spoke kind and encouraging words to him; and
Rosalind, when they were going away, turned back to
speak some more civil things to the brave young son
of her father’s old friend; and taking a chain from off
her neck, she said, “ Gentleman, wear this for me. I
am out of suits with fortune, or I would give you a
more valuable present.”

When the ladies were alone, Rosalind’s talk being
AS YOU LIKE IT 179

still of Orlando, Celia began to perceive her cousin
had fallen in love with the handsome young wrestler,
and she said to Rosalind, “Is it possible you should
fall in love so suddenly?” Rosalind replied, “'The
duke, my father, loved his father dearly.” “ But,”
said Celia, “does it therefore follow that you should
love his son dearly? for then I ought to hate him,
for my father hated his father; yet I do not hate
Orlando.”

Frederick being enraged at the sight of Sir Rowland
de Boys’ son, which reminded him of the many friends
the banished duke had among the nobility, and having
been for some time displeased with his niece, because
the people praised her for her virtues, and pitied her
for her good father’s sake, his malice suddenly broke
out against her; and while Celia and Rosalind were
talking of Orlando, Frederick entered the room, and
with looks full of anger ordered Rosalind instantly to
‘ leave the palace, and follow her father into banish-
ment ; telling Celia, who in vain pleaded for her, that
he had only suffered Rosalind to stay upon her
account. “I did not then,” said Celia, “ entreat you to
let her stay ; for I was too young at that time to value
her ; but now that I know her worth, and that we so
long have slept together, rose at the same instant,
learned, played, and eat together, I cannot live out of
her company.” Frederick replied, “She is too subtle
for you; her smoothness, her very silence, and her
patience speak to the people, and they pity her. You
are a fool to plead for her, for you will seem more
bright and virtuous when she is gone; therefore open
180 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

not your lips in her favour, for the doom which I have
passed upon her is irrevocable.”

When Celia found she could not prevail upon her
father to let Rosalind remain with her, she generously
resolved to accompany her; and, leaving her father’s
palace that night, she went along with her friend to
seek Rosalind’s father, the banished duke, in the forest
of Arden.

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

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

The lady Rosalind (or Ganimed as she must now be
called) with her manly garb seemed to have put on
a manly courage. The faithful friendship Celia had
shown in accompanying Rosalind so many weary
miles, made the new brother, in recompense for this
true love, exert a cheerful spirit, as if he were indeed
AS YOU LIKE IT 181

Ganimed, the rustic and stout-hearted brother of the
gentle village maiden, Aliena.

When at last they came to the forest of Arden, they
no longer found the’ convenient inns and good accom-
modations they had met with on the road; and being
in want of food and rest, Ganimed, who had so merrily
cheered his sister with pleasant speeches and happy
remarks all the way, now owned to Aliena that he
was so weary, he could find in his heart to disgrace
his man’s apparel, and cry like a woman; and Aliena
declared she could go no farther; and then again
Ganimed tried to recollect that it was a man’s duty to
comfort and console a woman, as the weaker vessel:
and to seem courageous to his new sister, he said,
“Come, have a good heart, my sister Aliena; we are
now at the end of our travel, in the forest of Arden.”
But feigned manliness and forced courage would no
longer support them; for though they were in the
forest of Arden, they knew not where to find the
duke: and here the travel of these weary ladies might
have come to a sad conclusion, for they might have
lost themselves, and have perished for want of food;
but, providentially, as they were sitting on the grass,
almost dying with fatigue and hopeless of any relief,
a countryman chanced to pass that way, and Ganimed
once more tried to speak with a manly boldness,
saying, “Shepherd, if love or gold can in this desert
place procure us entertainment, I pray you bring us
where we may rest ourselves; for this young maid, my
sister, is much fatigued with travelling, and faints for
want of food.”
182 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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

When they were rested after the fatigue of their
journey, they began to like their new way of life, and
almost fancied themselves the shepherd and shep-
herdess they feigned to be: yet sometimes Ganimed
remembered he had once been the same lady Rosalind
who had so dearly loved the brave Orlando, because
he was the son of old Sir Rowland, her father’s friend ;
and though Ganimed thought that Orlando was many
miles distant, even so many weary miles as they had
travelled, yet it soon appeared that Orlando was also
in the forest of Arden: and in this manner this strange
event came to pass.

Orlando was the youngest son of Sir Rowland de
Boys, who, when he died, left him (Orlando being then
very young) to the care of his eldest brother Oliver,
charging Oliver, on his blessing, to give his brother a
good education, and provide for him as became the
dignity of their ancient house. Oliver proved an
AS YOU LIKE IT 183

unworthy brother; and disregarding the commands of
his dying father, he never put his brother to school,
but kept him at home untaught and entirely neglected.
But in his nature and in the noble qualities of his
mind Orlando so much resembled his excellent father,
that without any advantages of education he seemed
like a youth who had been bred with the utmost care;
and Oliver so envied the fine person and dignified
manners of his untutored brother, that at last he
wished to destroy him; and to effect this he set on
people to persuade him to wrestle with the famous
wrestler, who, as has been before related, had killed so
many men. Now it was this cruel brother’s neglect of
him which made Orlando say he wished to die, being
so friendless.

When, contrary to the wicked hopes he had formed,
his brother proved victorious, his envy and malice
knew no bounds, and he swore he would burn the
chamber where Orlando slept. He was overheard
making this vow by one that had been an old and
faithful servant to their father, and that loved Orlando
because he resembled Sir Rowland. This old man
went out to meet him when he returned from the
duke’s palace, and when he saw Orlando, the peril his
dear young master was in made him break out into
these passionate exclamations: “O my gentle master,
my sweet master, O you memory of old Sir Rowland!
why are you virtuous? why are you gentle, strong, and
valiant ? and why would you be so fond to overcome
the famous wrestler? Your praise is come too swiftly
home before you.” Orlando, wondering what all this
184 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

meant, asked him what was the matter. And then
the old man told him how his wicked brother, envying
the love all people bore him, and now hearing the fame
he had gained by his victory in the duke’s palace, in-
tended to destroy him, by setting fire to his chamber
that night; and in conclusion, advised him to escape
the danger he was in by instant flight: and knowing
Orlando had no money, Adam (for that was the good
old man’s name) had brought out with him his own
little hoard, and he said, “I have five hundred crowns,
the thrifty hire I saved under your father, and laid by
to be provision for me when my old limbs should
become unfit for service: take that, and He that doth
the ravens feed be comfort to my age! Here is the
gold; all this I give to you: let me be your servant;
though I look old, I will do the service of a younger
man in all your business and necessities.” “O good
old man!” said Orlando, “how well appears in you
the constant service of the old world! You are not
for the fashion of these times. We will go along
together, and before your youthful wages are spent,
I shall light upon some means for both our main-
tenance.”

Together then this faithful servant and his loved
master set out; and Orlando and Adam travelled on
uncertain what course to pursue, till they came to the
forest of Arden, and there they found themselves in the
same distress for want of food that Ganimed and
Aliena had been. They wandered on, seeking some
human habitation, till they were almost spent with
hunger and fatigue. Adam at last said, “O my dear
AS YOU LIKE IT 185

master, I die for want of food, I can go no farther !”
He then laid himself down, thinking to make that
place his grave, and bade his dear master farewell.
Orlando, seeing him in this weak state, took his old
servant up in his arms, and carried him under the
shelter of some pleasant trees; and he said to hin,
“Cheerly, old Adam, rest your weary limbs here a
while, and do not talk of dying!”

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

Orlando, whom hunger had made desperate, drew
his sword, intending to take their meat by force, and
said, “Forbear, and eat no more; I must have your
food!” The duke asked him, if distress had made
him so bold, or if he were a rude despiser of good
manners? On this Orlando said he was dying with
hunger; and then the duke told him he was welcome
to sit down and eat with them. Orlando, hearing him
speak so gently, put up his sword, and blushed with
shame at the rude manner in which he had demanded
their food. “Pardon me, I pray you,” said he: “J
thought that all things had been savage here, and
therefore I put on the countenance of stern command ;
but whatever men you are, that in this desert, under
the shade of melancholy boughs, lose and neglect the
creeping hours of time; if ever you have looked on
better days; if ever you have been where bells have
186 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

knolled to church; if you have ever sat at any good
man’s feast ; if ever from your eyelids you have wiped
a tear, and know what it is to pity or be pitied, may
gentle speeches now move you to do me human cour-
tesy!” The duke replied, “True it is that we are men
(as you say) who have seen better days, and though we
have now our habitation in this wild forest, we have
lived in towns and cities, and have with holy bell been
knolled to church, have sat at good men’s feasts, and
from our eyes have wiped the drops which sacred pity
has engendered: therefore sit you down, and take of
our refreshment as much as will minister to your
wants.” “There is an old poor man,” answered
Orlando, “who has limped after me many a weary
step in pure love, oppressed at once with two sad
infirmities, age and hunger ; till he be satisfied, I must
not touch a bit.” “Go, find him out, and bring him
hither,” said the duke; “we will forbear to eat till you
return.” Then Orlando went like a doe to find its
fawn and give it food; and presently returned, bring-
ing Adam in his arms; and the duke said, “Set down
your venerable burthen; you are both welcome:” and
they fed the old man, and cheered his heart, and
he revived, and recovered his health and strength
again.

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

Orlando arrived in the forest not many days after
AS YOU LIKE IT 187

Ganimed and Aliena came there, and (as has been
before related) bought the shepherd’s cottage.

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

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

Orlando confessed that he was the fond lover of
whom he spoke, and asked Ganimed to give him the
good counsel he talked of. The remedy Ganimed
proposed, and the counsel he gave him, was that
188 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Orlando should come every day to the cottage where
he and his sister Aliena dwelt: “And then,” said
Ganimed, “I will feign myself to be Rosalind, and
you shall feign to court me in the same manner as
you would do if I was Rosalind, and then I will
imitate the fantastic ways of whimsical ladies to their
lovers, till I make you ashamed of your love; and
this is the way I propose to cure you.” Orlando had
no great faith in the remedy, yet he agreed to come
every day to Ganimed’s cottage, and feign a playful
courtship; and every day Orlando visited Ganimed
and Aliena, and Orlando called the shepherd Ganimed
his Rosalind, and every day talked over all the fine
words and flattering compliments which young men
delight to use when they court their mistresses. It
does not appear, however, that Ganimed made any
progress in curing Orlando of his love for Rosalind.

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

In this manner many days passed pleasantly on with
these young people; and the good-natured Aliena,
seeing it made Ganimed happy, let him have his own
way, and was diverted at the mock courtship, and did
not care to remind Ganimed that the lady Rosalind
had not yet made herself known to the duke her
father, whose place of resort in the forest they had


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ROSALIND FINDING A POEM WRITTEN BY ORLANDO FIXED

ON A TREE,
AS YOU LIKE IT 189

learnt from Orlando. Ganimed met the duke one
day, and had some talk with him, and the duke asked
of what parentage he came. Ganimed answered, that
he came of as good a parentage as he did; which
made the duke smile, for he did not suspect the
pretty shepherd-boy came of royal lineage. Then
seeing the duke look well and happy, Ganimed was
content to put off all further explanation for a few
days longer.

One morning, as Orlando was going to visit Gani-
med, he saw a man lying asleep on the ground, and a
large green snake had twisted itself about his neck.
The snake, seeing Orlando approach, glided away
among the bushes. Orlando went nearer, and then
he discovered a lioness lie couching, with her head
on the ground, with a cat-like watch, waiting till the
sleeping man awaked (for it is said that lions will
prey on nothing that is dead or sleeping). It seemed
as if Orlando was sent by Providence to free the man
from the danger of the snake and lioness: but when
Orlando looked in the man’s face, he perceived that
the sleeper, who was exposed to this double peril,
was his own brother Oliver, who had so cruelly used
him, and had threatened to destroy him by fire; and
he was almost tempted to leave him a prey to the
hungry lioness: but brotherly affection and the gentle-
ness of his nature soon overcame his first anger against
his brother; and he drew his sword, and attacked the
lioness, and slew her, and thus preserved his brother’s
life both from the venomous snake and from the
furious lioness: but before Orlando could conquer
190 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the lioness, she had torn one of his arms with her
sharp claws.

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

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

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

The sincere sorrow that Oliver expressed for his
offences made such a lively impression on the kind
heart of Aliena, that she instantly fell in love with
him; and Oliver observing how much she pitied the
distress he told her he felt for his fault, he as sud-
AS YOU LIKE IT 191

denly fell in love with her. But while love was
thus stealing into the hearts of Aliena and Oliver,
he was no less busy with Ganimed, who hearing of
the danger Orlando had been in, and that he was
wounded by the lioness, fainted; and when he re-
covered, he pretended that he had counterfeited the
swoon in the imaginary character of Rosalind, and
Ganimed said to Oliver, “Tell your brother Orlando
how well I counterfeited a swoon.” But Oliver saw
by the paleness of his complexion that he did really
faint, and much wondering at the weakness of the
young man, he said, “ Well, if you did counterfeit,
take a good heart, and counterfeit to be a man.”
“So I do,” replied Ganimed truly, “but I should
have been a woman by right.”

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

“You have my consent,” said Orlando. “Let your
wedding be to-morrow, and I will invite the duke and
his friends. Go and persuade your shepherdess to
agree to this: she is now alone; for look, here comes
192 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

her brother.” Oliver went to Aliena; and Ganimed,
whom Orlando had perceived approaching, came to
inquire after the health of his wounded friend.

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

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

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

The fond lover Orlando, half believing and half
doubting what he heard, asked Ganimed if he spoke
in sober meaning. “By my life I do,” said Ganimed ;
“therefore put on your best clothes, and bid the duke
and your friends to your wedding ; for if you desire to
be married to-morrow to Rosalind, she shall be here.”

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

They being all assembled to celebrate this double
marriage, and as yet only one of the brides appearing,
AS YOU LIKE IT 193

there was much of wondering and conjecture, but
they mostly thought that Ganimed was making a jest
of Orlando.

The duke, hearing that it was his own daughter
that was to be brought in this strange way, asked
Orlando if he believed the shepherd-boy could really
do what he had promised; and while Orlando was
answering that he knew not what to think, Ganimed
entered, and asked the duke, if he brought his
daughter, whether he would consent to her marriage
with Orlando. “That I would,” said the duke, “if
I had kingdoms to give with her.” Ganimed then
said to Orlando, “ And you say you will marry her if
I bring her here?” “That I would,” said Orlando,
“if I were king of many kingdoms.”

Ganimed and Aliena then went out together, and
Ganimed throwing off his male attire, and being once
more dressed in woman’s apparel, quickly became
Rosalind without the power of magic; arid Aliena,
changing her country garb for her own rich clothes,
was with as little trouble transformed into the lady
Celia.

While they were gone, the duke said to Orlando,
that he thought the shepherd Ganimed very like his
daughter Rosalind; and Orlando said he also had
observed the resemblance.

They had no time to wonder how all this would
end, for Rosalind and Celia in their own clothes
entered; and no longer pretending that it was by the
power of magic that she came there, Rosalind threw
herself on her knees before her father, and begged his

N
194 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

blessing. It seemed so wonderful to all present that
she should so suddenly appear, that it might well
have passed for magic; but Rosalind would no longer
trifle with her father, and told him the story of her
banishment, and of her dwelling in the forest as a
shepherd-boy, her cousin Celia passing as her sister.

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

The usurper, enraged at the flight of his daughter
Celia, and hearing that every day men of great worth
resorted to the forest of Arden to join the lawful duke
in his exile, much envying that his brother should be
so highly respected in his adversity, put himself at
the head of a large force, and advanced to the forest,
intending to seize his brother, and put him, with all
his faithful followers, to the sword; but, by a wonder-
ful interposition of Providence, this bad brother was
converted from his evil intention; for just as he
entered the skirts of the wild forest, he was met by an
old religious man, a hermit, with whom he had much
talk, and who in the end completely turned his heart
AS YOU LIKE IT 195

from his wicked design. Thenceforward he became
a true penitent, and resolved, relinquishing his unjust
dominion, to spend the remainder of his days in a
religious house. The first act of his newly-conceived
penitence was to send a messenger to his brother (as
has been related), to offer to restore to him his duke-
dom, which he had usurped so long, and with it the
lands and revenues of his friends, the faithful followers
of his adversity.

This joyful news, as unexpected as it was welcome,
came opportunely to heighten the festivity and re-
Joicings at the wedding of the princesses. Celia
complimented her cousin on this good fortune which
had happened to the duke, Rosalind’s father, and
wished her joy very sincerely, though she herself was
no longer heir to the dukedom, but by this restoration
which her father had made, Rosalind was now the
heir: so completely was the love of these two cousins
unmixed with anything of jealousy or envy.

The duke had now an opportunity of rewarding
those true friends who had stayed with him in his
banishment; and these worthy followers, though they
had patiently shared his adverse fortune, were very
well pleased to return in peace and prosperity to the
palace of their lawful duke.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Turre lived in the palace at Messina two ladies,
whose names were Hero and Beatrice. Hero was
the daughter, and Beatrice the niece, of Leonato, the
governor of Messina.

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

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

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

Benedick, the moment he entered the room, began
a lively conversation with | Leonato and the prince.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 197

Beatrice, who liked not to be left out of any dis-
course, interrupted Benedick with saying, “I wonder
that you will still be talking, signior Benedick ; nobody
marks you.” Benedick was just such another rattle-
brain as Beatrice, yet he was not pleased at this free
salutation: he thought it did not become a well-
bred lady to be so flippant with her tongue; and
he remembered, when he was last at Messina, that
Beatrice used to select him to make her merry jests
upon. And as there is no one who so little likes to
be made a jest of as those who are apt to take the
same liberty themselves, so it was with Benedick and
Beatrice; these two sharp wits never met in former
times but a perfect war of raillery was kept up
between them, and they always parted mutually dis-
pleased with each other. Therefore when Beatrice
stopped him in the middle of his discourse with
telling him nobody marked what he was saying,
Benedick, affecting not to have observed before that
she was present, said, “ What, my dear lady Disdain,
are you yet living?” And now war broke out
afresh between them, and a long jangling argument
ensued, during which Beatrice, although she knew he
had so well approved his valour in the late war,
said that she would eat all he had killed there; and
observing the prince take delight in Benedick’s con-
versation, she called him “the prince’s jester.” This
sarcasm sunk deeper into the mind of Benedick than
all Beatrice had said before. The hint she gave him
that he was a coward, by saying she would eat all

he had killed, he did not regard, knowing himself
198 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to be a brave man: but there is nothing that great
wits so much dread as the imputation of buffoonery,
because the charge comes sometimes a little too near
the truth; therefore Benedick perfectly hated Beatrice
when she called him “ the prince’s jester.”

The modest lady Hero was silent before the noble
guests; and while Claudio was attentively observing
the improvement which time had made in her beauty,
and was contemplating the exquisite graces of her
fine figure (for she was an admirable young lady),
the prince was highly amused with listening to the
humorous dialogue between Benedick and Beatrice ;
and he said in a whisper to Leonato, “This is a
pleasant-spirited young lady. She were an excellent
wife for Benedick.” Leonato replied to this suggestion,
“O my lord, my lord, if they were but a week
married, they would talk themselves mad.” But
though Leonato thought they would make a dis-
cordant pair, the prince did not give up the idea of
matching these two keen wits together.

When the prince returned with Claudio from the
palace, he found that the marriage he had devised
between Benedick and Beatrice was not the only one
projected in that good company, for Claudio spoke in
such terms of Hero as made the prince guess at what
was passing in his heart; and he liked it well, and
he said to Claudio, “Do you affect Hero?” To this
question Claudio replied, “O my lord, when I was
last at Messina, I looked upon her with a soldier’s
eye, that liked, but had no leisure for loving; but
now, in this happy time of peace, thoughts of war
Pe aan ae ho em COO]
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BENEDICY MEETING BEATRICE.

“What, my dear Lady Disdain, are you still living?"
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 199

have left their places vacant in my mind, and in their
room come thronging soft and delicate thoughts, all
prompting me how fair young Hero is, reminding
me that I liked her before I went to the wars.”
Claudio’s confession of his love for Hero so wrought
upon the prince that he lost no time in soliciting the
consent of Leonato to accept of Claudio for a son-in-
law. Leonato agreed to this proposal, and the prince
found no great difficulty in persuading the gentle
Hero herself to listen to the suit of the noble Claudio,
who was a lord of rare endowments, and highly
accomplished ; and Claudio, assisted by his kind
prince, soon prevailed upon Leonato to fix an early
day for the celebration of his marriage with Hero.

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

The device the prince invented was that the gentle-
men should make Benedick believe that Beatrice was
in love with him, and that Hero should make Beatrice
believe that Benedick was in love with her.
200 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

The prince, Leonato, and Claudio began their
operations first; and, watching an opportunity when
Benedick was quietly seated reading in an arbour,
the prince and his assistants took their station among
the trees behind the arbour, so near that Benedick
could not choose but hear all they said; and after
some careless talk, the prince said, ‘Come hither,
Leonato. What was it you told me the other day—
that your niece Beatrice was in love with signior
Benedick? I did never think that lady would have
loved any man.” “No, nor I neither, my lord,”
answered Leonato. “It is most wonderful that she
should so dote on Benedick, whom she in all outward
behaviour seemed ever to dislike.” Claudio confirmed
all this, with saying that Hero had told him Beatrice
was so in love with Benedick that she would certainly
die of grief if he could not be brought to love her;
which Leonato and Claudio seemed to agree was im-
possible, he having always been such a railer against
all fair ladies, and in particular against Beatrice.

The prince affected to hearken to all this with
great compassion for Beatrice, and he said, “It were
good that Benedick were told of this.” “To what
end?” said Claudio; “he would but make sport of
it, and torment the poor lady worse.” “And if he
should,” said the prince, “it were a good deed to hang
him, for Beatrice is an excellent sweet lady, and
exceeding wise in everything but in loving Benedick.”
Then the prince motioned to his companions that
they should walk on, and leave Benedick to meditate
upon what he had overheard.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 201

Benedick had been listening with great eagerness
to this conversation; and he said to himself when he
heard Beatrice loved him, “Is it possible? Sits the
wind in that corner?” And when they were gone,
he began to reason in this manner with himself:
“This can be no trick! they were very serious, and
they have the truth from Hero, and seem to pity the
lady. Love me! Why, it must be requited! I did
never think to marry. But when I said I should die
a bachelor, I did not think I should live to be married.
They say the lady is virtuous and fair. She is so.
And wise in everything but in loving me. Why, that
is no great argument of her folly. But here comes
Beatrice. By this day, she is a fair lady. I do spy
some marks of love in her.” Beatrice now approached
him, and said with her usual tartness, “ Against my
will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.” Bene-
dick, who never felt himself disposed to speak so
politely to her before, replied, “Fair Beatrice, I thank
you for your pains:” and when Beatrice, after two or
three more rude speeches, left him, Benedick thought
he observed a concealed meaning of kindness under
the uncivil words she uttered, and he said aloud,
“Tf I do not take pity on her, I am a villain. If
I do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her
picture.”

The gentleman being thus caught in the net they
had spread for him, it was now Hero’s turn to play her
part with Beatrice; and for this purpose she sent for
Ursula and Margaret, two gentlewomen who attended
upon her, and she said to Margaret, “Good Margaret,
202 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

run to the parlour; there you will find my cousin
Beatrice talking with the prince and Claudio.
Whisper in her ear, that I and Ursula are walking
in the orchard, and that our discourse is all of her.
Bid her steal into that pleasant arbour, where honey-
suckles, ripened by the sun, like ungrateful minions,
forbid the sun to enter.” This arbour, into which
Hero desired Margaret to entice Beatrice, was the
very same pleasant arbour where Benedick had so
lately been an attentive listener. “TJ will make her
come, I warrant, presently,” said Margaret.
Hero then taking Ursula with her into the orchard,
said to her, “Now, Ursula, when Beatrice comes, we
will walk up and down this alley, and our talk must
be only of Benedick ; and when I name him, let it
be your part to praise him more than ever man
did merit. My talk to you must be how Benedick
is in love with Beatrice. Now begin; for look where
Beatrice like a lapwing runs close by the ground,
to hear our conference.” They then began; Hero
saying, as if in answer to something which Ursula
had said, “No, truly, Ursula. She is too disdainful ;
her spirits are as coy as wild birds of the rock.”
“But are you sure,” said Ursula, “that Benedick
loves Beatrice so entirely?” Hero replied, “So says
the prince and my lord Claudio, and they entreated
me to acquaint her with it; but I persuaded them, if
they loved Benedick, never to let Beatrice know of
it.” “Certainly,” replied Ursula, “it were not good
she knew his love, lest she made sport of it.” “Why,
to say truth,” said Hero, “T never yet saw a man,
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 203

how wise soever, or noble, young or rarely featured,
but she would dispraise him.” “Sure, sure, such
carping is not commendable,” said Ursula. “No,”
replied Hero, “but who dare tell her so? if I should
speak, she would mock me into air.” “O you wrong
your cousin,” said Ursula: “she cannot be so much
without true judgment, as to refuse so rare a gentle-
man as signior Benedick.” “He hath an excellent
good name,” said Hero: “indeed he is the first man in
Italy, always excepting my dear Claudio.” And now,
Hero giving her attendant a hint that it was time
to change the discourse, Ursula said, “ And when are
you to be married, madam?” Hero then told her,
that she was to be married to Claudio the next day,
and desired she would go in with her, and look at some
new attire, as she wished to consult with her on what
she would wear on the morrow. Beatrice, who had
been listening with breathless eagerness to this
dialogue, when they went away, exclaimed, “What
fire is in my ears? Can this be true? Farewell,
contempt, and scorn and maiden pride, adieu! Bene-
dick, love on; I will requite you, taming my wild
heart to your loving hand.”

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

The prince had a half-brother, who came from the
wars along with him to Messina. This brother (his
name was Don John) was a melancholy, discontented
man, whose spirits seemed to labour in the contriving
of villanies. He hated the prince his brother, and he
hated Claudio, because he was the prince’s friend,
and determined to prevent Claudio’s marriage with
Hero, only for the malicious pleasure of making
Claudio and the prince unhappy; for he knew the
prince had set his heart upon this marriage, almost
as much as Claudio himself: and to effect this wicked
purpose, he employed one Borachio, a man as bad
as himself, whom he encouraged with the offer of
a great reward. Thus Borachio paid his court to
Margaret, Hero’s attendant ; and Don John, knowing
this, prevailed upon him to make Margaret promise
to talk with him from her lady’s chamber window,
that night, after Hero was asleep, and also to dress
herself in Hero’s clothes, the better to deceive Claudio
into the belief that it was Hero, for that was the
end he meant to compass by this wicked plot.

Don John then went to the prince and Claudio,
and told them that Hero was an imprudent lady, and
that she talked with men from her chamber window
at midnight. Now this was the evening before the
wedding, and he offered to take them that night,
where they should themselves hear Hero discoursing
with a man from her window; and they consented to
go along with him, and Claudio said, “If I see any-
thing to-night why I should not marry her, to-morrow
in the congregation, where I intended to wed her,
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 205

there will I shame her.” The prince also said, “ And
as I assisted you to obtain her, I will join with you
to disgrace her.”

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

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

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

“Ts my lord well, that he does speak so wide ?”

Leonato, in the utmost horror, said to the prince—

“My lord, why speak not you?” “ What should I
speak ?” said the prince; “I stand dishonoured, that
have gone about to link my dear friend to an un-
206 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

worthy woman. Leonato, upon my honour, myself,
my brother, and this grieved Claudio did see and
hear her last night at midnight talk with a man at
her chamber window.”

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

“True, O God!” replied the heart-struck Hero ;
and then this hapless lady sunk down in a fainting fit,
to all appearance dead. The prince and Claudio left
the church, without staying to see if Hero would re-
cover, or at all regarding the distress into which they
had thrown Leonato. So hard-hearted had their
anger made them.

Benedick remained, and assisted Beatrice to recover
Hero from her swoon, saying, ‘‘ How does the lady?”
“ Dead, I think,” replied Beatrice in great agony, for
she loved her cousin ; and knowing her virtuous prin-
ciples, she believed nothing of what she had heard
spoken against her. Not so the poor old father ; he
believed the story of his child’s shame, and it was
piteous to hear him lamenting over her, as she lay
like one dead before him, wishing she might never
more open her eyes.

But the ancient friar was a wise man, and full of
observation on human nature, and he had attentively
marked the lady’s countenance when she heard her-
self accused, and noted a thousand blushing shames
to start into her face, and then he saw an angel-like
whiteness bear away those blushes, and in her eye he
saw a fire that did belie the error that the prince did
speak against her maiden truth, and he said to the
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 207

sorrowing father, “Call me a fool; trust not my
reading, nor my observation; trust not my age, my
reverence, nor my calling; if this sweet lady lie not
guiltless here under some biting error.”

When Hero recovered from the swoon into which
she had fallen, the friar said to her, “ Lady, what man
is he you are accused of?” Hero replied, “'lhey
know that do accuse me; I know of none:” then
turning to Leonato, she said, “ O my father, if you can
prove that any man has ever conversed with me at
hours unmeet, or that I yesternight changed words
with any creature, refuse me, hate me, torture me to
death.”

“There is,” said the friar, “some strange misunder-
standing in the prince and Claudio;” and then he
counselled Leonato, that he should report that Hero
was dead; and he said, that the death-like swoon in
which they had left Hero, would make this easy of
belief; and he also advised him, that he should put
on mourning, and erect a monument for her, and do
all rites that appertain to a burial. ‘“ What will this
do?” ‘The friar replied, “'This report of her death
shall change slander into pity: that is some good,
but that is not all the good I hope for. When Claudio
shall hear she died upon hearing his words, the idea of
her life shall sweetly creep into his imagination. Then
shall he mourn, if ever love had interest in his heart,
and wish he had not so accused her; yea, though he
thought his accusation truer.”

Benedick now said, “ Leonato, let the friar advise
you; and though you know how well I love the prince
208 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

and Claudio, yet on my honour I will not reveal this
secret to them.”

Leonato, thus persuaded, yielded; and he said
sorrowfully, “I am so grieved, that the smallest twine
may lead me.” ‘The kind friar then led Leonato and
Hero away to comfort and console them, and Beatrice
and Benedick remained alone; and this was the meet-
ing from which their friends, who contrived the merry
plot against them, expected so much diversion ; those
friends who were now overwhelmed with affliction, and
from whose minds all thoughts of merriment seemed
for ever banished.

Benedick was the first who spoke, and he said,
“Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?”
“ Yea, and I will weep a while longer,” said Beatrice.
“Surely,” said Benedick, “I do believe your fair
cousin is wronged.” “Ah!” said Beatrice, “how
much might that man deserve of me who would
right her!” Benedick then said, ‘Is there any way
to show’ such friendship? I do love nothing in the
world so well as you: is not that strange?” “It were
as possible,” said Beatrice, “for me to say I loved
nothing in the world so well as you; but believe me
not, and yet I lie not. I confess nothing, nor I deny
nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.” “By my sword,”
said Benedick, “you love me, and I protest I love you.
Come, bid me do anything for you.” “ Kill Claudio,”
said Beatrice. “Ha! not for the wide world,” said
Benedick; for he loved his friend Claudio, and he
believed he had been imposed upon. “Is not Claudio
a villain, that has slandered, scorned, and dishonoured
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 209

my cousin?” said Beatrice: “O that I were a man!”
“Hear me, Beatrice!” said Benedick. But Beatrice
would hear nothing in Claudio’s defence, and she con-
tinued to urge on Benedick to revenge her cousin’s
wrongs: and she said, “Talk with a man out of
the window; a proper saying! Sweet Hero! she is
wronged; she is slandered; she is undone. O that
I were a man for Claudio’s sake! or that I had any
friend, who would be a man for my sake! but valour
is melted into courtesies and compliments. I cannot
be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman
with grieving.” “'Tarry, good Beatrice,” said Bene-
dick; “by this hand, I love you.” “Use it for my
love some other way than by’ swearing by it,” said
Beatrice. “Think you, on your soul, that Claudio has
wronged Hero?” asked Benedick. “Yea,” answered
Beatrice; “as sure as I have a thought, or a soul.”
“Enough,” said Benedick; “I am engaged; I will
challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so leave
you. By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear
account! As you hear from me, so think of me.
Go, comfort your cousin.”

While Beatrice was thus powerfully pleading with
Benedick, and working his gallant temper by the spirit
of her angry words, to engage in the cause of Hero,
and fight even with his dear friend Claudio, Leonato
was challenging the prince and Claudio to answer with
their swords the injury they had done his child, who,
he affirmed, had died for grief. But they respected
his age and his sorrow, and they said, “Nay, do not

quarrel with us, good old man.” And now came
0
210 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Benedick, and he also challenged Claudio to answer
with his sword the injury he had done to Hero; and
Claudio and the prince said to each other, “Beatrice
has set him on to do this.” Claudio nevertheless
must have accepted this challenge of Benedick, had
not the justice of Heaven at the moment brought to
pass a better proof of the innocence of Hero than the
uncertain fortune of a duel.

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

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

The heart of Claudio was sorely grieved when he
found he had falsely accused Hero, who, he thought,
died upon hearing his cruel words; and the memory
of his beloved Hero’s image came over him, in the
rare semblance that he loved it first; and the prince
asking him if what he heard did not run like iron
through his soul, he answered, that he felt as if he
had taken poison while Borachio was speaking.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 211

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

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

When the morning came, the prince accompanied
Claudio to the church, where the good friar, and
Leonato and his niece, were already assembled, to
celebrate a second nuptial; and Leonato presented
to Claudio his promised bride: and she wore a mask,
that Claudio might not discover her face. And Claudio
said to the lady in the mask, “Give me your hand,
before this holy friar; I am your husband, if you will
marry me.” “And when I lived I was your ,other
wife,” said this unknown lady; and, taking off her
mask, she proved to be no niece (as was pretended),
but Leonato’s very daughter, the lady Hero herself.
We may be sure that this proved a most agreeable
surprise to Claudio, who thought her dead, so that he
could scarcely for joy believe his eyes: and the prince,
who was equally amazed at what he saw, exclaimed,
212 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“Ts not this Hero, Hero that was dead?” Leonato
replied, “She died, my lord, but while her slander
lived.” The friar promised them an explanation of
this seeming miracle after the ceremony was ended;
and was proceeding to marry them, when he was
interrupted by Benedick, who desired to be married
at the same time to Beatrice. Beatrice making some
demur to this match, and Benedick challenging her
with her love for him, which he had learned from
Hero, a pleasant explanation took place; and they
found they had both been tricked into a belief of love,
which had never existed, and had become lovers in
truth by the power of a false jest: but the affection
which a merry invention had cheated them into, was
grown too powerful to be shaken by a serious explana-
tion; and since Benedick proposed to marry, he was
resolved to think nothing to the purpose that the
world could say against it; and he merrily kept up
the jest, and swore to Beatrice that he took her but
for pity, and because he heard she was dying of love
for him; and Beatrice protested, that she yielded but
upon great persuasion, and partly to save his life, for
she heard he was in a consumption. So these two
mad wits were reconciled, and made a match of it,
after Claudio and Hero were married; and to com-
plete the history, Don John, the contriver of the
villany, was taken in his flight and brought back to
Messina; and a brave punishment it was to this
gloomy and discontented man, to see the joy and
feastings which, by the disappointment of his plots,
took place at the palace in Messina.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

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

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

Hermia pleaded in excuse for her disobedience, that
Demetrius had formerly uate love for her dear
214 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

friend Helena, and that Helena loved Demetrius to
distraction ; but this honourable reason which Hermia
gave for not obeying her father’s command moved not
the stern Egeus.

Theseus, though a great and merciful prince, had no
power to alter the laws of his country; therefore he
could only give Hermia four days to consider of it;
and at the end of that time, if she still refused to
marry Demetrius, she was to be put to death.

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

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

To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she
told no one of her intended flight but her friend
Helena. Helena (as maidens will do foolish things
for love) very ungenerously resolved to go and tell
this to Demetrius, though she could hope no benefit
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM 215

from betraying her friend’s secret, but the poor pleasure
of following her faithless lover to the wood; for she
well knew that Demetrius would go thither in pursuit
of Hermia.

The wood, in which Lysander and Hermia proposed
to meet, was the favourite haunt of those little beings
known by the name of Fairies.

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

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

The cause of this unhappy disagreement was Titania’s
refusing to give Oberon a little changeling boy, whose
mother had been Titania’s friend; and upon her death
the fairy queen stole the child from its nurse, and
brought him up in the woods,

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

“Tl met by moonlight, proud Titania,” said the fairy
king. The queen replied, “ What, jealous Oberon, is
it you? Fairies, skip hence; I have forsworn his com-
pany.” “Tarry, rash fairy,” said Oberon; “am not I
thy lord? Why does Titania cross her Oberon? Give
me your little changeling boy to be my page.”
216 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“Set your heart at rest,” answered the queen;
“your whole fairy kingdom buys not the boy of me.”
She then left her lord in great anger. “ Well, go your
way,” said Oberon; “before the morning dawns I will
torment you for this injury.”

Oberon then sent for Puck, his chief favourite and
privy councillor.

Puck (or, as he was sometimes called, Robin Good-
fellow) was a shrewd and knavish sprite, and used
to play comical pranks in the neighbouring villages ;
sometimes getting into the dairies and skimming the
milk, sometimes plunging his light and airy form into
the butter-churn, and while he was dancing his fan-
tastic shape in the churn, in vain the dairymaid
would labour to change her cream into butter: nor
had the village swains any better success; whenever
Puck chose to play his freaks in the brewing copper,
the ale was sure to be spoiled. When a few good
neighbours were met to drink some comfortable ale
together, Puck would jump into the bowl of ale in
the likeness of a roasted crab, and when some old
goody was going to drink, he would bob against her
lips, and spill the ale over her withered chin; and
presently after, when the same old dame was gravely
seating herself to tell her neighbours a sad and melan-
choly story, Puck would slip her three-legged stool
from under her, and down toppled the poor old
woman, and then the old gossips would hold their
sides and laugh at her, and swear they never wasted
a merrier hour.

* Come hither, Puck,” said Oberon to this little
Cr

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MEETING OF OBERON AND TITANIA.

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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 217

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

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

The fairy king, who was always friendly to true
lovers, felt great compassion for Helena; and perhaps,
as Lysander said they used to walk by moonlight in
this pleasant wood, Oberon might have seen Helena
in those happy times when she was beloved by Deme-
trius. However that might be, when Puck returned
with the little purple flower, Oberon said to his
favourite, “Take a part of this flower: there has
218 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

been a sweet Athenian lady here, who is in love with
a disdainful youth: if you find him sleeping, drop
some of the love-juice in his eyes, but contrive to do
it when she is near him, that the first thing he sees
when he awakes may be this despised lady. You will
know the man by the Athenian garments which he
wears.” Puck promised to manage this matter very
dextrously ; and then Oberon went, unperceived by
Titania, to her bower, where she was preparing to go
to rest. Her fairy bower was a bank, where grew wild
thyme, cowslips, and sweet violets, under a canopy ot
woodbine, musk-roses, and eglantine. There Titania
always slept some part of the night; her coverlet the
enamelled skin of a snake, which, though a small
mantle, was wide enough to wrap a fairy in.

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

** You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen ;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.
Philomel, with melody,
Sing in your sweet lullaby,
Lulla, lulla, lullaby ; lulla, lolla, lullaby :
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,

Come our lovely lady nigh ;
So good night with lullaby.”
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 219

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

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

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

object Lysander beheld when he opened his eyes: and
strange to relate, so powerful was the love-charm, all
his love for Hermia vanished away, and Lysander fell
in love with Helena.

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

Thus this misfortune happened. Helena, as has
been before related, endeavoured to keep pace with
Demetrius when he ran away so rudely from her;
but she could not continue this unequal race long,
men being always better runners in a long race than
ladies. Helena soon lost sight of Demetrius; and as
she was wandering about, dejected and forlorn, she
arrived at the place where Lysander was sleeping.
“Ah!” said she, “this is Lysander lying on the
ground: is he dead or asleep?” Then gently touch-
ing him, she said, “ Good sir, if you are alive, awake.”
Upon this Lysander opened his eyes, and (the love-
charm beginning to work) immediately addressed her
in terms of extravagant love and admiration; telling
her she as much excelled Hermia in beauty as a dove
does a raven, and that he would run through fire for
her sweet sake; and many more such _ lover- like
speeches. Helena knowing Lysander was her friend
Hermia’s lover, and that he was solemnly engaged to
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 221

marry her, was in the utmost rage when she heard
herself addressed in this manner; for she thought (as
well she might) that Lysander was making a jest of
her. “O!” said she, “why was I born to be mocked
and scorned by every one? Is it not enough, is it not
enough, young man, that I can never get a sweet look
or a kind word from Demetrius; but you, sir, must
pretend in this disdainful manner to court me? I
thought, Lysander, you were a lord of more true
gentleness.” Saying these words in great anger, she
ran away: and Lysander followed her, quite forgetful
of his own Hermia, who was still asleep.

When Hermia awoke, she was in a sad fright at
finding herself alone. She wandered about the wood,
not knowing what was become of Lysander, or which
way to go to seek for him. In the meantime Deme-
trius, not being able to find Hermia and his rival
Lysander, and fatigued with his fruitless search, was
observed by Oberon fast asleep. Oberon had learnt
by some questions he had asked of Puck, that he had
applied the love-charm to the wrong person’s eyes;
and now, having found the person first intended, he
touched the eyelids of the sleeping Demetrius with
the love-juice, and he instantly awoke; and the first
thing he saw being Helena, he, as Lysander had done
before, began to address love-speeches to her: and
just at that moment Lysander followed by Hermia
(for through Puck’s unlucky mistake it was now
become Hermia’s turn to run after her lover), made
his appearance; and then Lysander and Demetrius,
both speaking together, made love to Helena, they
222 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

being each one under the influence of the same potent
charm.

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

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

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

“Unkind Hermia,” said Helena, “it is you have
set Lysander on, to vex me with mock praises; and
your other lover Demetrius, who used almost to spurn
me with his foot, have you not bid him call me God-
dess, Nymph, rare, precious, and celestial? He would
not speak thus to me, whom he hates, if you did not
set him on to make a jest of me. Unkind Hermia! to
join with men in scorning your poor friend! Have
you forgot our school-day friendship? How often,
Hermia, have we two, sitting on one cushion, both
singing one song, with our needles working the same
flower, both on the same sampler wrought; growing
up together in fashion of a double cherry, scarcely
seeming parted? Hermia, it is not friendly in you,
it is not maidenly, to join with men in scorning your
poor friend.”

“TI am amazed at your passionate words,” said
Hermia: “TI scorn you not; it seems you scorn me.”
“Ay, do,” returned Helena, “persevere, counterfeit
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 223

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

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

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

As soon as they were gone, the fairy king, who
with little Puck had been listening to their quarrels,
said to him, “This is your negligence, Puck; or did
you do this wilfully?” “Believe me, king of shadows,”
answered Puck, “it’ was a mistake: did not you tell
me I should know the man by his Athenian garments?
However, I am not sorry this has happened, for I
think their jangling makes me excellent sport.” “You
heard,” said Oberon, “that Demetrius and Lysander
are gone to seek a convenient place to fight in. I
command you to overhang the night with a thick fog,
and lead these quarrelsome lovers so astray in the
dark, that they shall not be able to find each other.
Counterfeit each of their voices to the other, and with
bitter taunts provoke them to follow you, while they
think it is their rival’s tongue they hear. See you do
this, till they are so weary that they can go no farther ;
and when you find they are asleep, drop the juice of
this other flower into Lysander’s eyes, and when he
awakes he will forget his new love for Helena, and
224 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

return to his old passion for Hermia; and then the
two fair ladies may each one be happy with the
man she loves; and they will think all that has
passed a vexatious dream. About this quickly, Puck ;
and I will go and see what sweet love my Titania
has found.”

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

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

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

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

She then called four of her fairies: their names
were Pease-blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed.

“ Attend,” said the queen, “ upon this sweet gentle-
man: hop in his walks, and gambol in his sight ; feed
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 225

him with grapes and apricots, and steal for him the
honey-bags frém the bees. Come, sit with me,” said
she to the clown, “and let me play with your amiable
hairy cheeks, my beautiful ass! and kiss your fair
large ears, my gentle joy!”

“Where is Pease-blossom?” said the ass-headed
clown ; not much regarding the fairy queen’s courtship,
but very proud of his new attendants.

“* Here, sir,” said little Pease-blossom.

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

“ Here, sir,” said Cobweb.

“Good Mr. Cobweb,” said the foolish clown, “ kill
me the red humble-bee on the top of that thistle
yonder ; and, good Mr. Cobweb, bring me the honey-
bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action,
Mr. Cobweb, and take care the honey-bag break not;
I should be sorry to have you overflown with a
honey-bag. Where is Mustard-seed ?”

“ Here, sir,” said Mustard-seed ; “ what is your will?”

“Nothing,” said the clown, “good Mr. Mustard-
seed, but to help Mr. Pease-blossom to scratch: I
must go to a barber’s, Mr. Mustard-seed, for methinks
IT am marvellous hairy about the face.”

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

“J had rather have a handful of dried pease,” said
the clown, who with his ass’s head had got an ass’s
appetite. “ But, I pray, let none of your people disturb

me, for I have a mind to sleep.”
P
226 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“Sleep, then,” said the queen, “and I will wind
you in my arms. O how I love you! How I dote
upon you!”

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

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

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

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

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

Oberon and his Titania being now perfectly recon-
ciled, he related to her the history of the lovers, and
their midnight quarrels; and she agreed to go with
him, and see the end of their adventures.

The fairy king and queen found the lovers and their
fair ladies, at no great distance from each other, sleep-
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 227

ing on a grass-plot; for Puck, to make amends for
his former mistake, had contrived with the utmost
diligence to bring them all to the same spot, unknown
to each other; and he had carefully removed the
charm from off the eyes of Lysander with the antidote
the fairy king gave to him.

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

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

These fair night-wandering ladies, now no longer
rivals, became once more true friends; all the unkind
words which had passed were forgiven, and they
calmly consulted together what was best to be done
in their present situation. It was soon agreed that,
as Demetrius had given up his pretensions to Hermia,
he should endeavour to prevail upon her father to
revoke the cruel sentence of death which had been
passed against her. Demetrius was preparing to re-
turn to Athens for this friendly purpose, when they
228 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

were surprised with the sight of Egeus, Hermia’s
father, who came to the wood in pursuit of his run-
away daughter.

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

The fairy king and queen, who were invisible spec-
tators of this reconciliation, and now saw the happy
ending of the lovers’ history brought about through
the good offices of Oberon, received so much pleasure,
that these kind spirits resolved to celebrate the ap-
proaching nuptials with sports and revels throughout
their fairy kingdom.

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

In the city of Vienna there once reigned a duke of
such amild and gentle temper, that he suffered his
subjects to neglect the laws with impunity; and there
was in particular one law, the existence of which was
almost forgotten, the duke never having put it in force
during his whole reign. This was a law dooming any
man to the punishment of death, who should live with
a woman that was not his wife; and this law through
the lenity of the duke being utterly disregarded, the
holy institution of marriage became neglected, and
complaints were every day made to the duke by the
parents of the young ladies in Vienna, that their
daughters had been seduced from their protection, and
were living as the companions of single men.

The good duke perceived with sorrow this growing
evil among his subjects; but he thought that a sudden
change in himself from the indulgence he had hitherto
shown, to the strict severity requisite to check this
abuse, would make his people (who had _ hitherto
loved him) consider him as a tyrant: therefore he de-
termined to absent himself a while from his dukedom
and depute another to the full exercise of his power,
that the law against these dishonourable lovers might
be put in effect, without giving offence by an unusual

severity in his own person.
229

2
230 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Angelo, a man who bore the reputation of a saint
in Vienna for his strict and rigid life, was chosen by
the duke as a fit person to undertake this important
charge; and when the duke imparted his design to
lord Escalus, his chief councillor, Escalus said, “ If
any man in Vienna be of worth to undergo such
ample grace and honour, it is lord Angelo.” And
now the duke departed from Vienna under pretence
of making a journey into Poland, leaving Angelo to
act as the lord deputy in his absence; but the duke’s
absence was only a feigned one, for he privately re-
turned to Vienna, habited like a friar, with the intent
to watch unseen the conduct of the saintly-seeming
Angelo.

It happened just about the time that Angelo was
invested with his new dignity, that a gentleman, whose
name was Claudio, had seduced a young lady from
her parents; and for this offence, by command of the
new lord deputy, Claudio was taken up and committed
to prison, and by virtue of the old law which had so
long been neglected, Angelo sentenced Claudio to be
beheaded. Great interest was made for the pardon
of young Claudio, and the good old lord Escalus
himself interceded for him. “ Alas,” said he, “this
gentleman whom I would save had an honourable
father, for whose sake I pray you pardon the young
man’s transgression.” But Angelo replied, “ We must
not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to
frighten birds of prey, till custom, finding it harmless,
makes it their perch, and not their terror. Sir, he
must die.”
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 231

Lucio, the friend of Claudio, visited him in the
prison, and Claudio said to him, “I pray you, Lucio,
do me this kind service. Go to my sister Isabel, who
this day proposes to enter the convent of Saint Clare;
acquaint her with the danger of my state: implore
her that she make friends with the strict deputy; bid
her go herself to Angelo. I have great hopes in that ;
for she can discourse with prosperous art, and well she
can persuade; besides, there is a speechless dialect in
youthful sorrow, such as moves men.”

Isabel, the sister of Claudio, had, as he said, that
day entered upon her novitiate in the convent, and it
was her intent, after passing through her probation
as a novice, to take the veil, and she was inquiring of
a nun concerning the rules of the convent, when they
heard the voice of Lucio, who, as he entered that
religious house, said, “‘ Peace be in this place!” ‘“ Who
is it that speaks?” said Isabel. “It is a man’s voice,”
replied the nun: “Gentle Isabel, go to him, and learn
his business; you may, I may not. When you have
taken the veil, you must not speak with men but in
the presence of the prioress; then if you speak, you
must not show your face, or if you show your face,
you must not speak.” “And have you nuns no
further privileges?” said Isabel. ‘“ Are not these large
enough?” replied the nun. “ Yes, truly,” said Isabel ;
“T speak not as desiring more, but rather wishing a
more strict restraint upon the sisterhood, the votarists
of Saint Clare.” Again they heard the voice of Lucio,
and the nun said, “He calls again. I pray you
answer him.” Isabel then went out to Lucio, and in
232 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

answer to his salutation, said, “Peace and prosperity !
Who is it that calls?” Then Lucio, approaching her
with reverence, said, “ Hail, virgin, if such you be, as
the roses in your cheeks proclaim you are no less!
Can you bring me to the sight of Isabel, a novice of
this place, and the fair sister to her unhappy brother
Claudio?” “Why her unhappy brother?” said Isabel,
“let me ask: for I am that Isabel, and his sister.”
“Fair and gentle lady,” he replied, “your brother
kindly greets you by me; he is in prison.” “Woe
is me! for what?” said Isabel. Lucio then told her,
Claudio was imprisoned for seducing a young maiden.
“ Ah,” said she, “I fear it is my cousin Juliet.” Juliet
and Isabel were not related, but they called each other
cousin in remembrance of their school - days’ friend-
ship; and as Isabel knew that Juliet loved Claudio,
she feared she had been led by her affection for him
into this transgression. “She it is,” replied Lucio.
“Why then, let my brother marry Juliet,” said Isabel.
Lucio replied, that Claudio would gladly marry Juliet,
but that the lord deputy had sentenced him to die for
his offence; “Unless,” said he, “you have the grace
by your fair prayer to soften Angelo, and that is my
business between you and your poor brother.” “ Alas,”
said Isabel, “what poor ability is there in me to do
him good? I doubt I have no power to move Angelo.”
“Our doubts are traitors,” said Lucio, “and make
us lose the good we might often win, by fearing
to attempt it. Go to lord Angelo! When maidens
sue, and kneel, and weep, men give like gods.” “I
will see what I can do,” said Isabel: “I will but stay
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 233

to give the prioress notice of the affair, and then I will
go to Angelo. Commend me to my brother: soon at
night I will send him word of my success.”

Isabel hastened to the palace, and threw herself on
her knees before Angelo, saying, “I am a woful suitor
to your honour, if it will please your honour to hear
me.” “Well, what is your suit?” said Angelo. She
then made her petition in the most moving terms for
her brother’s life. But Angelo said, “Maiden, there is
no remedy: your brother is sentenced, and he must
die.” “O just, but severe law!” said Isabel; “I had
a brother then—Heaven keep your honour!” and she
was about to depart. But Lucio, who had accom-
panied her, said, “Give it not over so; return to him
again, entreat him, kneel down before him, hang upon
his gown. You are too cold; if you should need a
pin, you could not with a more tame tongue desire
it.” Then again Isabel on her knees implored for
mercy. “He is sentenced,” said Angelo: “it is too
late.” “Too late!” said Isabel : “ W. hy, no; I that do
speak a word, may call it back again. Believe this,
my lord, no ceremony that to great ones belongs, not
the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, the marshal’s
truncheon, nor the judge’s robe, becomes them with
one half so good a grace as mercy does.” “ Pray you
begone,” said Angelo. But still Isabel entreated; and
she said, “If my brother had been as you, and you as
he, you might have slipped like him, but he like you
would not have been so stern. I would to Heaven I
had your power, and you were Isabel. Should it then
be thus? No, I would tell you what it were to be a
234 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

judge, and what a prisoner.” “Be content, fair maid! a
said Angelo: “it is the law, not I, condemns your
brother. Were he my kinsman, my brother, or my
son, it should be thus with him. He must die to-
morrow.” To-morrow?” said Isabel; “O, that is
sudden: spare him, spare him; he is not prepared for
death. Even for our kitchens we kill the fowl in
season ; shall we serve Heaven with less respect than
we minister to our gross selves? Good, good my
lord, bethink you, none have died for my brother’s
offence, though many have committed it. So you
would be the first that gives this sentence, and he
the first that suffers it. Go to your own bosom, my
lord; knock there, and ask your heart what it does
know that is like my brother’s fault; if it confess a
natural guiltiness such as his is, let it not sound a
thought against my brother’s life!” Her last words
more moved Angelo than all she had before said,
for the beauty of Isabel had raised a guilty passion
in his heart, and he began to form thoughts of dis-
honourable love, such as Claudio’s crime had been;
and the conflict in his mind made him turn away from
Isabel; but she called him back, saying, “Gentle my
lord, turn back; hark, how I will bribe you. Good
my lord, turn back!” “How, bribe me !” said Angelo,
astonished that she should think of offering him a
bribe. “ Ay,” said Isabel, “ with such gifts that Heaven
itself shall share with you; not with golden treasures,
or those glittering stones, whose price is either rich
or poor as fancy values them, but with true prayers
that shall be up to Heaven before sunrise—prayers
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 235

from preserved souls, from fasting maids whose minds
are dedicated to nothing temporal.” “Well, come
to me to-morrow,” said Angelo. And for this short
respite of her brother’s life, and for this permission
that she might be heard again, she left him with the
joyful hope that she should at last prevail over his
stern nature; and as she went away, she said, “ Heaven
keep your honour safe! Heaven save your honour!”
Which when Angelo heard, he said within his heart,
“Amen, I would be saved from thee and from thy
virtues ;” and then, affrighted at his own evil thoughts,
he said, ‘What is this? What is this? Do I love
her, that I desire to hear her speak again, and feast
upon her eyes? What is it I dream on? The cunning
enemy of mankind, to catch a saint, with saints does
bait the hook. Never could an immodest woman once
stir my temper, but this virtuous woman subdues me
quite. Even till now, when men were fond, I smiled
and wondered at them.”

In the guilty conflict in his mind Angelo suffered
more that night than the prisoner he had so severely
sentenced; for in the prison Claudio was visited by
the good duke, who in his friar’s habit taught the
young man the way to Heaven, preaching to him the
words of penitence and peace. But Angelo felt-all
the pangs of irresolute guilt: now wishing to seduce
Isabel from the paths of innocence and honour, and
now suffering remorse and horror for a crime as yet
but intentional, But in the end his evil thoughts
prevailed; and he who had so lately started at the
offer of a bribe, resolved to tempt this maiden with
236 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

so high a bribe as she might not be able to resist,
even with the precious gift of her dear brother’s
life.

When Isabel came in the morning, Angelo desired
she might be admitted alone to his presence; and
being there, he said to her, if she would yield to
him her virgin honour, and transgress even as Juliet
had done with Claudio, he would give her her
brother’s life: “For,” said he, “I love you, Isabel.”
“My brother,” said Isabel, “did so love Juliet, and
yet you tell me he shall die for it.” “ But,” said
Angelo, “Claudio shall not die, if you will consent
to visit me by stealth at night, even as Juliet left
cher father’s house at night to come to Claudio.”
Isabel, in amazement at his words, that he should
tempt her to the same fault for which he passed
sentence of death upon her brother, said, ‘I would
do as much for my poor brother as for myself;
that is, were I under sentence of death, the impres-
sion of keen whips I would wear as rubies, and go
to my death as to a bed that longing I had been
sick for, ere I would yield myself up to this shame.”
And then she told him, she hoped he only spoke
these words to try her virtue. But he said, “ Believe
me on my honour, my words express my purpose.”
Isabel, angered to the heart to hear him use the
word Honour to express such dishonourable pur-
poses, said, “ Ha! little honour, to be much believed ;
and most pernicious purpose. I will proclaim thee,
Angelo; look for it! Sign me a present pardon for
my brother, or I will tell the world aloud what man
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 237

thou art!” “Who will believe you, Isabel?” said
Angelo; “my unsoiled name, the austereness of my
life. my word vouched against yours, will outweigh
your accusation. Redeem your brother by yielding
to my will, or he shall die to-morrow. As for you,
say what you can, my false will overweigh your true
story. Answer me to-morrow.”

“'To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,
who would believe me?” said Isabel, as she went
towards the dreary prison where her brother was
confined. When she arrived there, her brother was
in pious conversation with the duke, who in his
friar’s habit had also visited Juliet, and brought both
these guilty lovers to a proper sense of their fault;
and unhappy Juliet with tears and a true remorse
confessed, that she was more to blame than Claudio,
in that she willingly consented to his dishonourable
solicitations.

As Isabel entered the room where Claudio was con-
fined, she said, “ Peace be here, grace, and good com-
pany!” “Who is there?” said the disguised duke:
“come in; the wish deserves a welcome.” “ My busi-
ness is a word or two with Claudio,” said Isabel.
Then the duke left them together, and desired the
provost, who had the charge of the prisoners, to
place him where he might overhear their conversa-
tion.

“Now, sister, what is the comfort?” said Claudio.
Isabel told him he must prepare for death on the
morrow. “Js there no remedy?” said Claudio.
“Yes, brother,” replied Isabel, “there is; but such
238 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

a one, as if you consented to it would strip your
honour from you, and leave you naked.” ‘Let me
know the point,” said Claudio. “0,1 do fear you,
Claudio,” replied his sister; “and I quake lest you
should wish to live, and more respect the trifling
term of six or seven winters added to your life, than
your perpetual honour! Do you dare to die? The
sense of death is most in apprehension, and the poor
beetle that we tread upon, feels a pang as great as
when a giant dies.” “Why do you give me this
shame?” said Claudio. “Think you I can fetch a
resolution from flowery tenderness? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride, and hug it in
my arms.” “'There spoke my brother,” said Isabel ;
“there my father’s grave did utter forth a voice.
Yes, you must die; yet, would you think it, Claudio !
this outward sainted deputy, if I would yield to him
my virgin honour, would grant your life. O, were
it but my life, I would lay it down for your deliver-
ance as frankly as a pin!” “Thanks, dear Isabel,”
said Claudio. “Be ready to die to-morrow,” said
Isabel. “Death is a fearful thing,” said Claudio.
“ And shamed life a hateful,” replied his sister. But
the thoughts of death overcame the constancy of
Claudio’s temper, and terrors, such as the guilty
only at their deaths do know, assailing him, he cried
out, “Sweet sister, let me live! The sin you do to
save a brother’s life, nature dispenses with the deed
so far, that it becomes a virtue.” “O faithless coward !
O dishonest wretch!” said Isabel: “would you pre-
serve your life by your sister’s shame? O fie, fie, fie !


ISABELLA IN THE CELL OF CLAUDIO.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 239

I thought, my brother, you had in you such a mind of
honour, that had you twenty heads to render up on
twenty blocks, you would have yielded them up all,
before your sister should stoop to such dishonour.”
“Nay, hear me, Isabel!” said Claudio. But what he
would have said in defence of his weakness, in desiring
to live by the dishonour of his virtuous sister, was
interrupted by the entrance of the duke, who said,
“Claudio, I have overheard what has passed between
you and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose
to corrupt her; what he said, has only been to make
trial of her virtue. She having the truth of honour
in her, has given him that gracious denial which he
is most glad to receive. There is no hope that he
will pardon you; therefore pass your hours in prayer,
and make ready for death.” Then Claudio repented
of his weakness, and said, “Let me ask my sister’s
pardon! . I am so out of love with life, that I will
sue to be rid of it.” And Claudio retired, over-
whelmed with shame and sorrow for his fault.

The duke being now alone with Isabel, commended
her virtuous resolution, saying, “The hand that made
you fair, has made you good.” “O,” said Isabel,
“how much is the good duke deceived in Angelo!
If, ever he return, and I can speak to him, I will
discover his government.” Isabel knew not that she
was even now making the discovery she threatened.
The duke replied, “That shall not be much amiss;
yet, as the matter now stands, Angelo will repel your
accusation ; therefore lend an attentive ear to my
advisings. I believe that you may most righteously
240 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

do a poor wronged lady a merited benefit, redeem
your brother from the angry law, do no stain to your
own most gracious person, and much please the absent
duke, if peradventure he shall ever return to have
notice of this business.” Isabel said, she had a spirit
to do anything he desired, provided it was nothing
wrong. “Virtue is bold, and never fearful,” said the
duke; and then he asked her, if she had ever heard
of Mariana, the sister of Frederick, the great soldier
who was drowned at sea. “I have heard of the lady,”
said Isabel, “and good words went with her name.”
“This lady,” said the duke, “is the wife of Angelo;
but her marriage dowry was on board the vessel in
which her brother perished, and mark how heavily this
befell to the poor gentlewoman! for, besides the loss
of a most noble and renowned brother, who in his
love towards her was the most kind and natural, in
the wreck of her fortune she lost the affections of her
husband, the well-seeming Angelo; who, pretending
to discover some dishonour in this honourable lady
(though the true cause was the loss of her dowry), left
her in her tears, and dried not one of them with his
comfort. His unjust unkindness, that in all reason
should have quenched her love, has, like an impedi-
ment in the current, made it more unruly, and Mariana
loves her cruel husband with the full of continuance
of her first affection.” The duke then more plainly
unfolded his plan. It was, that Isabel should go to
lord Angelo, and seemingly consent to come to him
as he desired, at midnight; that by this means she
would obtain the promised pardon; and that Mariana
MEASURE FOR MEASURE Q44

should go in her stead to the appointment, and pass
herself upon Angelo in the dark for Isabel. “ Nor,
gentle daughter,” said the feigned friar, “fear you to
do this thing: Angelo is her husband; and to bring
them thus together is no sin.” Isabel being pleased
with this project, departed to do as he directed her;
and he went to apprise Mariana of their intention.
He had before this time visited this unhappy lady
in his assumed character, giving her religious instruc-
tion and friendly consolation, at which times he had
learned her sad story from her own lips; and now
she, looking upon him as a holy man, readily con-
sented to be directed by him in his undertaking.

When Isabel returned from her interview with
Angelo, to the house of Mariana, where the duke had
appointed her to meet him, he said, “ Well met, and in
good time; what is the news from this good deputy?”
Isabel related the manner in which she had settled the
affair. “ Angelo,” said she, “ has a garden surrounded
with a brick wall, on the western side of which is a
vineyard, and to that vineyard is a gate.” And then
she showed to the duke and Mariana two keys that
Angelo had given her; and she said, “'This bigger
key opens the vineyard gate; this other a little door
which leads from the vineyard to the garden. There
I have made my promise at the dead of the night to
call upon him, and have got from him his word of
assurance for my brother’s life. I have taken a due
and wary note of the place; and with whispering and
most guilty diligence he showed me the way twice

over.” “Are there no other tokens agreed upon
Q
Q42 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

between you, that Mariana must observe?” said the
duke. “No, none,” said Isabel, “only to go when it
is dark. I have told him my time can be but short ;
for I have made him think a servant comes along
with me, and that this servant is persuaded I come
about my brother.” ‘The duke commended her dis-
creet management, and she, turning to Mariana, said,
“Little have you to say to Angelo, when you de-
part from him, but, soft and low, Remember now my
brother !” :

Mariana was that night conducted to the appointed
place by Isabel, who rejoiced that she had, as she
supposed, by this device preserved both her brother's
life and her own honour. But that her brother’s life
was safe the duke was not well satisfied, and therefore
at midnight he again repaired to the prison ; and it was
well for Claudio that he did so, else would Claudio
have that night been beheaded; for, soon after the
duke entered the prison, an order came from the cruel
deputy, commanding that Claudio should be beheaded,
and his head sent to him by five o’clock in the morn-
ing. But the duke persuaded the provost to put off
the execution of Claudio, and to deceive Angelo,
by sending him the head of a man who died that
morning in the prison. And to prevail upon the
provost to agree to this, the duke, whom still the
provost suspected not to be anything more or greater
than he seemed, showed the provost a letter written
with the duke’s hand, and sealed with his seal, which
when the provost saw, he concluded this friar must
have some secret order from the absent duke, and
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 243

therefore he consented to spare Claudio; and he cut
off the dead man’s head, and carried it to Angelo.

Then the duke, in his own name, wrote to Angelo
a letter, saying that certain accidents had put a stop
to his journey, and that he should be in Vienna by
the following morning, requiring Angelo to meet him
at the entrance of the city, there to deliver up his
authority; and the duke also commanded it to be
proclaimed, that if any of his subjects craved redress
for injustice, they should exhibit their petitions in the
street on his first entrance into the city.

Early in the morning Isabel came to the prison,
and the duke, who there awaited her coming, for
secret reasons thought it good to tell her that Claudio
was beheaded ; therefore when Isabel inquired if Angelo
had sent the pardon for her brother, he said, “ Angelo
has released Claudio from this world. His head is
off, and sent to the deputy.” The much-grieved sister
cried out, “O unhappy Claudio, wretched Isabel,
injurious world, most wicked Angelo!” 'The seem-
ing friar bid her take comfort, and when she was
become a little calm, he acquainted her with the
near prospect of the duke’s return, and told her in
what manner she should proceed in preferring her
complaint against Angelo; and he bade her not to
fear if’ the cause should seem to go against her for a
while. Leaving Isabel sufficiently instructed, he next
went to Mariana, and gave her counsel in what manner
she also should act.

Then the duke laid aside his friar’s habit, and in
his own royal robes, amidst a joyful crowd of his
244 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

faithful subjects assembled to greet his arrival, entered
the city of Vienna, where he was met by Angelo, who
delivered up his authority in the proper form. And
there came Isabel, in the manner of a petitioner for
redress, and said, “Justice, most royal duke! I am
the sister of one Claudio, who for the seducing a
young maid was condemned to lose his head. I
made my suit to lord Angelo for my brother’s pardon.
It were needless to tell your grace how I prayed
and kneeled, how he repelled me, and how I replied ;
for this was of much length. The vile conclusion I
now begin with grief and shame to utter. Angelo
would not but by my yielding to his dishonourable
love release my brother; and after much debate
within myself, my sisterly remorse overcame my
virtue, and I did yield to him. But the next morn-
ing betimes, Angelo, forfeiting his promise, sent a
warrant for my poor brother’s head!” ‘The duke
affected to disbelieve her story; and Angelo said
that grief for her brother’s death, who had suffered
by the due course of the law, had disordered her senses.
And now another suitor approached, which was
Mariana; and Mariana said, “Noble prince, as there
comes light from heaven, and truth from breath,
as there is sense in truth, and truth in virtue, I am
this man’s wife, and, my good lord, the words of
Isabel are false, for the night she says she was with
Angelo, I passed that night with him in the garden-
house. As this is true, let me in safety rise, or
else for ever be fixed here a marble monument.”

Then did Isabel appeal for the truth of what she
MEASURE FOR MEASURE 245

had said to friar Lodowick, that being the name
the duke had assumed in his disguise. Isabel and
Mariana had both obeyed his instructions in what
they said, the duke intending that the innocence of
Isabel should be plainly proved in that public manner
before the whole city of Vienna: but Angelo little
thought that it was from such a cause that they
thus differed in their story, and he hoped from their
contradictory evidence to be able to clear himself from
the accusation of Isabel; and he said, assuming the
look of offended innocence, “I did but smile till now;
but, good my lord, my patience here is touched, and
I perceive these poor distracted women are but the
instruments of some greater one, who set them on.
Let me have way, my lord, to find this practice out.”
“Ay, with all my heart,” said the duke, “and punish
them to the height of your pleasure. You, lord
Escalus, sit with lord Angelo, lend him your pains
to discover this abuse; the friar is sent for that set
them on, and when he comes, do with your injuries
as may seem best in any chastisement. I for a while
will leave you, but stir not you, lord Angelo, till
you have well determined upon this slander.” The
duke then went away, leaving Angelo well pleased
to be deputed judge and umpire in his own cause.
But the duke was absent only while he threw off his
royal robes and put on his friar’s habit; and in that
disguise again he presented himself before Angelo
and Escalus: and the good old Escalus, who thought
Angelo had been falsely accused, said to the supposed
friar, “Come, sir, did you set these women on to
246 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

slander lord Angelo?” He replied, “Where is the
duke? It is he should hear me speak.” Escalus
said, “The duke is in us, and we will hear you. Speak
justly.” “Boldly, at least,” retorted the friar: and
then he blamed the duke for leaving the cause of Isabel
in the hands of him she had accused, and spoke so
freely of many corrupt practices he had observed,
while, as he. said, he had been a looker-on in Vienna,
that Escalus threatened him with the torture for
speaking words against the state, and for censuring
the conduct of the duke, and ordered him to be taken
away to prison. Then, to the amazement of all
present, and to the utter confusion of Angelo, the
supposed friar threw off his disguise, and they saw
it was the duke himself.

The duke first addressed Isabel. He said to her,
“Come hither, Isabel. Your friar is now your prince,
but with my habit I have not changed my heart. I
am still devoted to your service.” “O give me
pardon,” said Isabel, “that I, your vassal, have em-
ployed and troubled your unknown sovereignty.” He
answered that he had most need of forgiveness from
her, for not having prevented the death of her brother
—for not yet would he tell her that Claudio was
living, meaning first to make a further trial of her
goodness. Angelo now knew the duke had been a
secret witness of his bad deeds, and he said, “O my
dread lord, I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,
to think I can be undiscernible, when I perceive your
grace, like power divine, has looked upon my actions.
Then, good prince, no longer prolong my shame,


MEASURE FOR MEASURE Q47

but let my trial be my own confession. Immediate
sentence and death is all the grace I beg.” The
duke replied, “ Angelo, thy faults are manifest. We
do condemn thee to the very block where Claudio
stooped to death; and with like haste away with him ;
and for his possessions, Mariana, we do instate and
widow you withal, to buy you a better husband.” “O
my dear lord,” said Mariana, “JI crave no other, nor no
better man:” and then on her knees, even as Isabel
had begged the life of Claudio, did this kind wife
of an ungrateful husband beg the life of Angelo; and
she said, “ Gentle my liege, O good my lord! Sweet
Isabel, take my part! Lend me your knees, and, all
my life to come, I will lend you all my life to do you
service!” The duke said, “Against all sense you
importune her. Should Isabel kneel down to beg
for mercy, her brother’s ghost would break his paved
bed, and take her hence in horror.” Still Mariana
said, “ Isabel, sweet Isabel, do but kneel by me, hold
up your hand, say nothing! I will speak all. They
say, best men are moulded out of faults, and for the
most part become much the better for being a little
bad. So may my husband. O, Isabel, will you not
lend a knee?” The duke then said, “He dies for
Claudio.” But much pleased was the good duke,
when his own Isabel, from whom he expected all
gracious and honourable acts, kneeled down before
him, and said, “ Most bounteous sir, look, if it please
you, on this man condemned, as if my brother lived.
I partly think a due sincerity governed his deeds,
till he did look on me. Since it is so, let him not die!
248 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

My brother had but justice, in that he did the thing
for which he died.”

The duke, as the best reply he could make to this
noble petitioner for her enemy’s life, sending for
Claudio from his prison-house, where he lay doubtful of
his destiny, presented to her this lamented brother living;
and he said to Isabel, “ Give me your hand, Isabel ; for
your lovely sake I pardon Claudio. Say you will be
mine, and he shall be my brother too.” By this time
lord Angelo perceived he was safe ; and the duke, observ-
ing his eye to brighten up a little, said, “ Well, Angelo,
look that you love your wife; her worth has obtained
your pardon : joy to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo!
I have confessed her, and know her virtue.” Angelo re-
membered, when dressed in a little brief authority, how
hard his heart had been, and felt how sweet is mercy.

The duke commanded Claudio to marry Juliet, and
offered himself again to the acceptance of Isabel,
whose virtuous and noble conduct had won her
prince’s heart. Isabel, not having taken the veil, was
free to marry; and the friendly offices, while hid
under the disguise of a humble friar, which the noble
duke had done for her, made her with grateful joy
accept the honour he offered her; and when she be-
came duchess of Vienna, the excellent example of the
virtuous Isabel worked such a complete reformation
among the young ladies of that city, that from that
time none ever fell into the transgression of Juliet,
the repentant wife of the reformed Claudio. And
the mercy-loving duke long reigned with his beloved
Isabel, the happiest of husbands and of princes,
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

Karuerine, the Shrew, was the eldest daughter of
Baptista, a rich gentleman of Padua. She was a lady
of such an ungovernable spirit and fiery temper, such
a loud-tongued scold, that she was known in Padua
by no other name than Katherine the Shrew. It
seemed very unlikely, indeed impossible, that any
gentleman would ever be found who would venture
to marry this lady, and therefore Baptista was much
blamed for deferring his consent to many excellent
offers that were made to her gentle sister Bianca,
putting off all Bianca’s suitors with this excuse, that
when the eldest sister was fairly off his hands, they
should have free leave to address young Bianca.

It happened, however, that a gentleman named
Petruchio came to Padua, purposely to look out for
a wife, who, nothing discouraged by these reports of
Katherine’s temper, and hearing she was rich and
handsome, resolved upon marrying this famous ter-
magant, and taming her into a meek and manageable
wife. And truly none was so fit to set about this
herculean labour as Petruchio, whose spirit was as
high as Katherine’s, and he was a witty and most
happy-tempered humourist, and withal so wise, and of
such a true judgment, oe che well knew how to feign
250 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

a passionate and furious deportment, when his spirits
were so calm that himself could have laughed merrily
at his own angry feigning, for his natural temper was
careless and easy; the boisterous airs he assumed
when he became the husband of Katherine being but
in sport, or more properly speaking, affected by his
excellent discernment, as the only means to overcome
in her own way the passionate ways of the furious
Katherine.

A-courting then Petruchio went to Katherine the
Shrew, and first of all he applied to Baptista, her
father, for leave to woo his gentle daughter Katherine,
as Petruchio called her, saying archly, that having
heard of her bashful modesty and mild behaviour,
he had come from Verona to solicit her love. Her
father, though he wished her married, was forced to
confess Katherine would ill answer this character, it
being soon apparent of what manner of gentleness
she was composed, for her music-master rushed into
the room to complain that the gentle Katherine, his
pupil, had broken his head with her lute, for pre-
suming to find fault with her performance; which,
when Petruchio heard, he said, “It is a brave wench ;
I love her more than ever, and long to have some
chat with her;” and hurrying the old gentleman for
a positive answer, he said, “ My business is in haste,
signior Baptista, I cannot come every day to woo.
You knew my father. He is dead, and has left me
heir to all his lands and goods. ‘Then tell me, if I
get your daughter’s love, what dowry you will give
with her.” Baptista thought his manner was some-
TAMING OF THE SHREW 251

what blunt for a lover; but being glad to get Kathe-
rine married, he answered that he would give her
twenty thousand crowns for her dowry, and half his
estate at his death: so this odd match was quickly
agreed on, and Baptista went to apprise his shrewish
daughter of her lover’s addresses, and sent her in to
Petruchio to listen to his suit.

In the meantime, Petruchio was settling with him-
self the mode of courtship he should pursue: and
he said, “I will woo her with some spirit when she
comes. If she rails at me, why then I will tell her
she sings as sweetly as a nightingale; and if she
frowns, I will say she looks as clear as roses newly
washed with dew. If she will not speak a word, I will
praise the eloquence of her language; and if she bids
me leave her, I will give her thanks as if she bid me
stay with her a week.” Now the stately Katherine
entered, and Petruchio first addressed her with
“ Good-morrow, Kate, for that is your name, I hear.”
Katherine, not liking this plain salutation, said dis-
dainfully, “They call me Katherine who do speak to
me.” “You lie,” replied the lover; “for you are
called plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes
Kate the Shrew; but, Kate, you are the prettiest Kate
in Christendom, and therefore, Kate, hearing your
mildness praised in every town, I am come to woo
you for my wife.”

A strange courtship they made of it. She in loud
and angry terms showing him how justly she had
gained the name of Shrew, while he still praised her
sweet and courteous words, till at length, hearing her
252 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

father coming, he said (intending to make as quick a
wooing as possible), “Sweet Katherine, let us set this
idle chat aside, for your father has consented that
you shall be my wife, your dowry is agreed on, and
whether you will or no, I will marry you.”

And now Baptista entering, Petruchio told him his
daughter had received him kindly, and that she had
promised to be married the next Sunday. This
Katherine denied, saying she would rather see him
hanged on Sunday, and reproached her father for
wishing to wed her to such a madcap ruffian as
Petruchio. Petruchio desired her father not to
regard her angry words, for they had agreed she
should seem reluctant before him, but that when
they were alone he had found her very fond and
loving; and he said to her, “Give me your hand,
Kate; I will go to Venice to buy you fine apparel
against our wedding-day. Provide the feast, father,
and bid the wedding guests. I will be sure to bring
rings, fine array, and rich clothes, that my Katherine
may be fine; and kiss me, Kate, for we will be
married on Sunday.”

On the Sunday all the wedding guests were assem-
bled, but they waited long before Petruchio came,
and Katherine wept for vexation to think that
Petruchio had only been making a jest of her. At
last, however, he appeared, but he brought none of
the bridal finery he had promised Katherine, nor
was he dressed himself like a bridegroom, but in
strange disordered attire, as if he meant to make
a sport of the serious business he came about; and
TAMING OF THE SHREW 253

his servant and the very horses on which they rode
were in like manner in mean and fantastic fashion
habited.

Petruchio could not be persuaded to change his
dress; he said, Katherine was to be married to him,
and not to his clothes; and finding it was in vain
to argue with him, to the church they went, he still
behaving in the same mad way, for when the priest
asked Petruchio if Katherine should be his wife, he
swore so loud that she should, that, all-amazed, the
priest let fall his book, and as he stooped to take it
up, this mad-brained bridegroom gave him such a cuff,
that down fell the priest and his book again. And
all the while they were being married he stamped and
swore so, that the high-spirited Katherine trembled
and shook with fear. After the ceremony was over,
while they were yet in the church, he called for
wine, and drank a loud health to the company, and
threw a sop which was at the bottom of the glass
full in the sexton’s face, giving no other reason for
this strange act, than that the sexton’s beard grew
thin and hungerly, and seemed to ask the sop as he
was drinking. Never, sure, was there such a mad
marriage; but Petruchio did but put this wildness
on, the better to succeed in the plot he had formed
to tame his shrewish wife.

Baptista had provided a sumptuous matriage feast,
but when they returned from church, Petruchio, taking
hold of Katherine, declared his intention of carrying
his wife home instantly; and no remonstrance of
his father-in-law, or angry words of the enraged
254 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Katherine, could make him change his purpose: he
claimed a husband’s right to dispose of his wife as
he pleased, and away he hurried Katherine off; he
seeming so daring and resolute that no one dared
attempt to stop him.

Petruchio mounted his wife upon a miserable horse,
lean and lank, which he had picked out for the pur-
pose, and himself and his servant no better mounted ;
they journeyed on through rough and miry ways, and
ever when this horse of Katherine’s stumbled, he would
storm and swear at the poor jaded beast, who could
scarce crawl under his burthen, as if he had been the
most passionate man alive.

At length, after a weary journey, during which
Katherine had heard nothing but the wild ravings of
Petruchio at the servant and the horses, they arrived
at his house. Petruchio welcomed her kindly to her
home, but he resolved she should have neither rest nor
food that night. The tables were spread, and supper
soon served; but Petruchio, pretending to find fault
with every dish, threw the meat about the floor, and
ordered the servants to remove it away, and all this
he did, as he said, in love for his Katherine, that
she might not eat meat that was not well dressed.
And when Katherine, weary and supperless, retired to
rest, he found the same fault with the bed, throwing
the pillows and bed-clothes about the room, so that
she was forced to sit down in a chair, where, if she
chanced to drop asleep, she was presently awakened
by the loud voice of her husband, storming at the
servants for the ill-making of his wife’s bridal-bed.
TAMING OF THE SHREW 255

The next day Petruchio pursued the same course,
still speaking kind words to Katherine; but when she
attempted to eat, finding fault with everything that
was set before her, throwing the breakfast on the
floor as he had done the supper; and Katherine, the
haughty Katherine, was fain to beg the servants would
bring her secretly a morsel of food; but they, being
instructed by Petruchio, replied, they dared not give
her anything unknown to their master. ‘“ Ah,” said
she, “did he marry me to famish me? Beggars that
come to my father’s door have food given them. But
I, who never knew what it was to entreat for anything,
am starved for want of food, giddy for want of sleep,
with oaths kept waking, and with brawling fed, and
that which vexes me more than. all, he does it under
the name of perfect love, pretending that if I sleep or
eat, it were present death to me.” Here her soliloquy
was interrupted by the entrance of Petruchio: he, not
meaning she should be quite starved, had brought her
a small portion of meat, and he said to her, “How
fares my sweet Kate? Here, love, you see how dili-
gent I am, I have dressed your meat myself. I am
sure this kindness merits thanks. What, not a word!
Nay, then you love not the meat, and all the pains I
have taken is to no purpose.” He then ordered the
servant to take the dish away. Extreme hunger,
which had abated the pride of Katherine, made her
say, though angered to the heart, “I pray you let it
stand.” But this was not all Petruchio intended to
bring her to, and he replied, “'The poorest service is
repaid with thanks, and so shall mine before you
256 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

touch the meat.” On this, Katherine brought out a
reluctant “I thank you, sir.” And now he suffered
her to make a slender meal, saying, “Much good may
it do your gentle heart, Kate; eat apace! And now,
my honey love, we will return to your father’s house,
and revel it as bravely as the best, with silken coats
and caps and golden rings, with ruffs and scarfs and
fans and double change of finery;” and to make
her believe he really intended to give her these gay
things, he called in a tailor and a haberdasher, who
brought some new clothes he had ordered for her,
and then giving her plate to the servant to take away,
before she had half satisfied her hunger, he said,
“What, have you dined?” The haberdasher pre-
sented a cap, saying, “ Here is the cap your worship
bespoke ;” on which Petruchio began to storm afresh,
saying, the cap was moulded in a porringer, and that
it was no bigger than a cockle or walnut shell, desiring
the haberdasher to take it away and make a bigger.
Katherine said, “I will have this; all gentlewomen
wear such caps as these.” ‘When you are gentle,”
replied Petruchio, “ you shall have one too, and not
till then.” The meat Katherine had eaten had a little
revived her fallen spirits, and she said, “ Why, sir, I
trust I may have leave to speak, and speak I will: I
am no child, no babe; your betters have endured to
hear me say my mind; and if you cannot, you had
better stop your ears.” Petruchio would not hear
these angry words, for he had happily discovered a
better way of managing his wife than keeping up a
jangling argument with her ; therefore his answer was,


PETRUCHIO AND THE TAILOR,
TAMING OF THE SHREW 257

“Why, you say true, it is a paltry cap, and I love you
for not liking it.” “ Love me, or love me not,” said
Katherine, “I like the cap, and I will have this cap,
or none.” ‘ You say you wish to see the gown,” said
Petruchio, still affecting to misunderstand her. The
tailor then came forward, and showed her a fine gown
he had made for her. Petruchio, whose intent was
that she should have neither cap nor gown, found as
much fault with that. ‘“O mercy, Heaven !” said he,
“what stuff is here! What, do you call this a sleeve ?
it is like a demi-cannon, carved up and down like an
apple-tart.”. The tailor said, “ You bid me make it
according to the fashion of the times; ” and Katherine
said she never saw a better-fashioned gown. This
was enough for Petruchio, and privately desiring these
people might be paid for their goods, and excuses
made to them for the seemingly strange treatment he
bestowed upon them, he with fierce words and furious
gestures drove the tailor and the haberdasher out of
the room; and then, turning to Katherine, he said,
“Well, come, my Kate, we will go to your father’s even
in these mean garments we now wear.” And then he
ordered his horses, affirming they should reach Bap-
tista’s house by dinner-time, for that it was but seven
o'clock. Now it was not early morning, but the very
middle of the day, when he spoke this; therefore
Katherine ventured to say, though modestly, being
almost overcome by the vehemence of his manner,
“J dare assure you, sir, it is two o’clock, and will be
supper-time before we get there.” But Petruchio

meant that she should be so completely subdued,
R
258 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

that she should assent to everything he said, before
he carried her to her father; and therefore, as if he
were lord even of the sun, and could command the
hours, he said it should be what time he pleased to
have it, before he set forward ; “ for,” said he, “ what-
ever I say or do, you still are crossing it. I will not
go to-day, and when I go, it shall be what o’clock I
say it is.” Another day Katherine was forced to prac-
tise her newly-found obedience, and not till he had
brought her proud spirit to such a perfect subjection
that she dared not remember there was such a word
as contradiction, would Petruchio allow her to go to
her father’s house; and even while they were upon
their journey thither, she was in danger of being
turned back again, only because she happened to hint
it was the sun, when he affirmed the moon shone
brightly at noonday. “Now, by my mother’s son,”
said he, “and that is myself, it shall be the moon, or
stars, or what I list before I journey to your father’s
house.” He then made as if he were going back
again ; but Katherine, no longer Katherine the Shrew,
but the obedient wife, said, “Let us go forward, I
pray, now we have come so far, and it shall be the
sun, or moon, or what you please; and if you please
to call it a rush candle henceforth, I vow it shall be so
for me.” This he was resolved to prove, therefore
he said again, “I say it is the moon.” “TI know it is
the moon,” replied Katherine. “You lie, it is the
blessed sun,” said Petruchio. “Then it is the blessed
sun,” replied Katherine ; “but sun it is not, when you
say itis not. What you will have it named, even so
TAMING OF THE SHREW 259

it is, and so it ever shall be for Katherine.” Now then
he suffered her to proceed on her journey; but further
to try if this yielding humour would last, he addressed
an old gentleman they met on the road as if he had
been a young woman, saying to him, “ Good-morrow,
gentle mistress:” and asked Katherine if she had
ever beheld a fairer gentlewoman, praising the red
and white of the old man’s cheeks, and comparing
his eyes to two bright stars; and again he addressed
him, saying, “Fair lovely maid, once more good day
to you!” and said to his wife, “Sweet Kate, embrace
her for her beauty’s sake.” The now completely
vanquished Katherine quickly adopted her husband’s
opinion, and made her speech in like sort to the old
gentleman, saying to him, “ Young budding virgin,
you are fair, and fresh, and sweet: whither are you
going, and where is your dwelling? Happy are the
parents of so fair a child.” “Why, how now, Kate,”
said Petruchio ; “I hope you are not mad. This is a
man, old and wrinkled, faded and withered, and not
a maiden, as you say he is.” On this Katherine said,
“Pardon me, old gentleman; the sun has so dazzled
my eyes, that everything I look on seemeth green.
Now I perceive you are a reverend father: I hope
you will pardon me for my sad mistake.” “ Do, good
old grandsire,” said Petruchio, “and tell us which way
you are travelling. We shall be glad of your good
company, if you are going our way.” The old gentle-
man replied, “Fair sir, and you my merry mistress,
your strange encounter has much amazed me. My
name is Vincentio, and I am going to visit a son of
260 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

mine, who lives at Padua.” Then Petruchio knew the
old gentleman to be the father of Lucentio, a young
gentleman who was to be married to Baptista’s younger
daughter, Bianca, and he made Vincentio very happy
by telling him the rich marriage his son was about
to make; and they all journeyed on pleasantly to-
gether till they came to Baptista’s house, where there
was a large company assembled to celebrate the wed-
ding of Bianca and Lucentio, Baptista having willingly
consented to the marriage of Bianca when he had got
Katherine off his hands.

When they entered, Baptista welcomed them to the
wedding feast, and there was present also another
newly married pair.

Lucentio, Bianca’s husband, and Hortensio, the
other new-married man, could not forbear sly jests,
which seemed to hint at the shrewish disposition of
Petruchio’s wife, and these fond bridegrooms seemed
highly pleased with the mild tempers of the ladies
they had chosen, laughing at Petruchio for his less
fortunate choice. Petruchio took little notice of their
jokes till the ladies were retired after dinner, and then
he perceived Baptista himself joined in the laugh
against him: for when Petruchio affirmed that his wife
would prove more obedient than theirs, the father of
Katherine said, “ Now, in good sadness, son Petruchio,
I fear you have got the veriest shrew of all.” “ Well,”
said Petruchio, “I say no, and therefore for assurance
that I speak the truth, let us each one send for his
wife, and he whose wife is most obedient to come at
first when she is sent for, shall win a wager which
TAMING OF THE SHREW 261

we will propose.” To this the other two husbands
willingly consented, for they were quite confident that
their gentle wives would prove more obedient than
the headstrong Katherine; and they proposed a wager
of twenty crowns, but Petruchio merrily said, he would
lay as much as that upon his hawk or hounds, but
twenty times as much upon his wife. Lucentio and
Hortensio raised the wager to a hundred crowns, and
Lucentio first sent his servant to desire Bianca would
come to him. But the servant returned, and said,
“Sir, my mistress sends you word she is busy, and
cannot come.” “ How,” said Petruchio, “does she
say she is busy, and cannot come? Is that an answer
for a wife?” Then they laughed at him, and said it
would be well if Katherine did not send him a worse
answer. And now it was Hortensio’s turn to send
for his wife; and he said to his servant, “Go, and
entreat my wife to come to me.” “O ho! entreat
her!” said Petruchio. ‘Nay, then, she needs must
come.” “I am afraid, sir,” said Hortensio, “ your
wife will not be entreated.” But presently this civil
husband looked a little blank when the servant re-
turned without his mistress; and he said to him, “ How
now! Where is my wife?” “Sir,” said the servant,
“my mistress says you have some goodly jest in hand,
and therefore she will not come. She bids you come to
her.” “ Worse and worse!” said Petruchio; and then
he sent his servant, saying, “Sirrah, go to your mis-
tress, and tell her I command her to come to me.”
The company had scarcely time to think she would not
obey this summons, when Baptista, all in amaze, ex-
262 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

claimed, “ Now, by my hollidam, here comes Kather-
ine!” and she entered, saying meekly to Petruchio,
“What is your will, sir, that you send for me?”
“Where is your sister and Hortensio’s wife?” said
he. Katherine replied, “They sit conferring by the
parlour fire.” “ Go, fetch them hither,” said Petruchio.
Away went Katherine without reply to perform her
husband’s command. ‘Here is a wonder,” said
Lucentio, “if you talk of a wonder.” “ And so it
is,” said Hortensio; “I marvel what it bodes.”
“Marry, peace it bodes,” said Petruchio, “and love,
and quiet life, and right supremacy ; and, to be short,
everything that is sweet and happy.” Katherine's
father, overjoyed to see this reformation in his
daughter, said, “ Now, fair befall thee, son Petruchio ;
you have won the wager, and I will add another twenty
thousand crowns to her dowry, as if she were another
daughter, for she is changed as if she had never been.”
“Nay,” said Petruchio, “I will win the wager better
yet, and show more signs of her new-built virtue
and obedience.” Katherine now entering with the
-two ladies, he continued, “See where she comes, and
brings your froward wives as prisoners to her womanly
persuasion. Katherine, that cap of yours does not
become you; off with that bauble, and throw it under
foot.” Katherine instantly took off her cap, and threw
it down. “Lord,” said Hortensio’s wife, “may I
never have a cause to sigh till I am brought to such
a silly pass!” And Bianca, she too said, “ Fie, what
foolish duty call you this?” On this Bianca’s husband
said to her, “I wish your duty were as foolish too!
TAMING OF THE SHREW 263

The wisdom of your duty, fair Bianca, has cost me
a hundred crowns since dinner-time.” “The more
fool you,” said Bianca, “for laying on my duty.”
“Katherine,” said Petruchio, “I charge you tell these
headstrong women what duty they owe their lords and
husbands.” And, to the wonder of all present, the
reformed shrewish lady spoke as eloquently in praise of
the wife-like duty of obedience, as she had practised
it implicitly in a ready submission to Petruchio’s will.
And Katherine once more became famous in Padua,
not as heretofore, as Katherine the Shrew, but as
Katherine the most obedient and duteous wife in
Padua.
TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT
YOU WILL

Sesast1an and his sister Viola, a young gentleman
and lady of Messaline, were twins, and (which was
accounted a great wonder) from their birth they so
much resembled each other, that, but for the difference
in their dress, they could not be known apart. They
were both born in one hour, and in one hour they
were both in danger of perishing, for they were ship-
wrecked on the coast of Illyria as they were making a
sea voyage together. The ship, on board of which
they were, split on a rock in a violent storm, and a
very small number of the ship’s company escaped with
their lives. The captain of the vessel, with a few of
the sailors that were saved, got to land in a small boat,
and with them they brought Viola safe on shore, where
she, poor lady, instead of rejoicing at her own deliver-
ance, began to lament her brother’s loss; but the
captain comforted her with the assurance that he had
seen her brother, when the ship split, fasten himself to
a strong mast, on which, as long as he could see any-
thing of him for the distance, he perceived him borne
up above the waves. Viola was much consoled by the
hope this account gave her, and now considered how
she was to dispose of noe in a strange country, so
TWELFTH NIGHT 265

far from home; and she asked the captain if he knew
anything of Illyria. “ Ay, very well, madam,” replied
the captain, “for I was born not three hours’ travel
from this place.” “Who governs here?” said Viola.
The captain told her, Illyria was governed by Orsino,
a duke noble in nature as well as dignity. Viola said,
she had heard her father speak of Orsino, and that he
was unmarried then. “And he is so now,” said the
captain; “or was so very lately, for but a month ago
I went from here, and then it was the general talk (as
you know what great ones do, the people will prattle
of) that Orsino sought the love of fair Olivia, a virtuous
maid, the daughter of a count who died twelve months
ago, leaving Olivia to the protection of her brother,
who shortly after died also; and for the love of this
dear brother, they say, she has abjured the sight and
company of men.” Viola, who was herself in such a
sad affliction for her brother’s loss, wished she could
live with this lady, who so tenderly mourned a brother’s
death. She asked the captain if he could introduce
her to Olivia, saying she would willingly serve this
lady. But he replied, this would be a hard thing to
accomplish, because the lady Olivia would admit no
person into her house since her brother's death, not
even the duke himself. Then Viola formed another
project in her mind, which was, in a man’s habit to
serve the duke Orsino as a page. It was a strange
fancy in a young lady to put on male attire, and pass
for a boy; but the forlorn and unprotected state of
Viola, who was young and of uncommon beauty, alone,
and in a foreign land, must plead her excuse.
266 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

She having observed a fair behaviour in the captain,
and that he showed a friendly concern for her welfare,
entrusted him with her design, and he readily engaged
to assist her. Viola gave him money, and directed
him to furnish her with suitable apparel, ordering her
clothes to be made of the same colour and in the same
fashion her brother Sebastian used to wear; and when
she was dressed in her manly garb, she looked so
exactly like her brother, that some strange errors
happened by means of their being mistaken for each
other; for, as will afterwards appear, Sebastian was
also saved.

Viola’s good friend, the captain, when he had trans-
formed this pretty lady into a gentleman, having some
interest at court, got her presented to Orsino under
the feigned name of Cesario. The duke was wonder-
fully pleased with the address and graceful deportment
of this handsome youth, and made Cesario one of his
pages, that being the office Viola wished to obtain:
and she so well fulfilled the duties of her new station,
and showed such a ready observance and faithful
attachment to her lord, that she soon became his most
favoured attendant. To Cesario Orsino confided the
whole history of his love for the lady Olivia. To
Cesario he told the long and unsuccessful suit he had
made to one who, rejecting his long services, and
despising his person, refused to admit him to her
presence; and for the love of this lady who had so
unkindly treated him, the noble Orsino, forsaking the
sports of the field, and all manly exercises in which
he used to delight, passed his hours in ignoble sloth,
TWELFTH NIGHT 267

listening to the effeminate sounds of soft music, gentle
airs, and passionate love-songs; and neglecting the
company of the wise and learned lords with whom he
used to associate, he was now all day long conversing
with young Cesario. Unmeet companion, no doubt,
his grave courtiers thought Cesario was for their once
noble master, the great duke Orsino.

It is a dangerous matter for young maidens to be
the confidants of handsome young dukes: which Viola
too soon found to her sorrow, for all that Orsino told
her he endured for Olivia, she presently perceived she
suffered for the love of him: and much it moved her
wonder, that Olivia could be so regardless of this her
peerless lord and master, whom she thought no one
should behold without the deepest admiration, and she
ventured gently to hint to Orsino, that it was pity he
should affect a lady who was so blind to his worthy
qualities; and she said, “If a lady were to love you,
my lord, as you love Olivia (and perhaps there may be
one who does), if you could not love her in return,
would you not tell her that you could not love, and
must not she be content with this answer?” But
Orsino would not admit of this reasoning, for he
denied that it was possible for any woman to love as
he did. He said, no woman’s heart was big enough to
hold so much love, and therefore it was unfair to com-
pare the love of any lady for him to his love for Olivia.
Now, though Viola had the utmost deference for the
duke’s opinions, she could not help thinking this was
not quite true, for she thought her heart had full as
much love in it as Orsino’s had; and she said, “ Ah,
268 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

but I know, my lord » «What do you know,
Cesario?” said Orsino. “Too well I know,” replied
Viola, “what love women may owe to men. They are
as true of heart as we are. My father had a daughter
loved a man, as I perhaps, were I a woman, should
love your lordship.” “ And what is her history ?” said
Orsino. “A blank, my lord,” replied Viola: “she
never told her love, but let concealment, like a worm
in the bud, prey on her damask cheek. She pined in
thought, and with a green and yellow melancholy, she
sat like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief.”
The duke inquired if this lady died of her love, but
to this question Viola returned an evasive answer ; as
probably she had feigned the story, to speak words
expressive of the secret love and silent grief she
suffered for Orsino.

While they were talking, a gentleman entered whom
the duke had sent to Olivia, and he said, “ So please
you, my lord, I might not be admitted to the lady, but
by her handmaid she returned you this answer: Until
seven years hence the element itself shall not behold
her face; but like a cloistress she will walk veiled,
watering her chamber with her tears for the sad re-
membrance of her dead brother.” On hearing this,
the duke exclaimed, “ O, she that has a heart of this
fine frame, to pay this debt of love to a dead brother,
how will she love when the rich golden shaft has
touched her heart!” And then he said to Viola,
“You know, Cesario, I have told you all the secrets
of my heart, therefore, good youth, go to Olivia’s
house. Be not denied access; stand at the doors,


TWELFTH NIGHT 269

and tell her there your fixed foot shall grow till you
have audience.” ‘And if I do speak to her, my lord,
what then?” said Viola. “O then,” replied Orsino,
“unfold to her the passion of my love. Make a long
discourse to her of my dear faith. It will well become
you to act my woes, for she will attend more to you
than to one of graver aspect.”

Away then went Viola; but not willingly did she
undertake this courtship, for she was to woo a lady
to become a wife to him she wished to marry: but
having undertaken the affair, she performed it with
fidelity ; and Olivia soon heard that a youth was at
her door who insisted upon being admitted to her
presence. “TI told him,” said the servant, “that you
were sick: he said he knew you were, and therefore
he came to speak with you. I told him that you
were asleep: he seemed to have a foreknowledge of
that too, and said, that therefore he must speak with
you. What is to be said to him, lady? for he seems
fortified against all denial, and will speak with you,
whether you will or no.” Olivia, curious to see who
this peremptory messenger might be, desired he might
be admitted ; and throwing her veil over her face, she
said she would once more hear Orsino’s embassy, not
doubting but that he came from the duke, by his im-
portunity. Viola entering, put on the most manly air
she could assume, and affecting the fine courtier’s
language of great men’s pages, she said to the veiled
lady, “ Most radiant, exquisite and matchless beauty,
I pray you tell me if you are the lady of the house :
for I should be sorry to cast away my speech upon
270 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

another ; for besides that it is excellently well penned,
I have taken great pains to learn it.” “ Whence come
you, sir?” said Olivia. “I can say little more than
I have studied,” replied Viola; “and that question
is out of my part.” “Are you a comedian?” said
Olivia. “No,” replied Viola; “and yet I am not
that which I play;” meaning, that she being a
woman, feigned herself to be a man. And again she
asked Olivia if she were the lady of the house. Olivia
said she was; and then Viola, having more curiosity
to see her rival’s features than haste to deliver her
master’s message, said, “Good madam, let me see
your face.” With this bold request Olivia was not
averse to comply : for this haughty beauty, whom the
duke Orsino had loved so long in vain, at first sight
conceived a passion for the supposed page, the humble
Cesario.

When Viola asked to see her face, Olivia said,
“Have you any commission from your lord and
master to negotiate with my face?” And then, for-
getting her determination to go veiled for seven long
years, she drew aside her veil, saying, “ But T will
draw the curtain and show the picture. Is it not well
done?” Viola replied, “It is beauty truly mixed ;
the red and white upon your cheeks is by Nature’s
own cunning hand laid on. You are the most cruel
lady living, if you will lead these graces to the grave,
and leave the world no copy.” “0, sir,” replied
Olivia, “I will not be so cruel. The world may have
an inventory of my beauty. As, item, two lips, in-
different red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them ;
TWELFTH NIGHT Q71

one neck; one chin, and so forth. Were you sent
here to praise me?” Viola replied, “I see what
you are: you are too proud, but you are fair. My
lord and master loves you. O such a love could but
be recompensed, though you were crowned the queen
of beauty: for Orsino loves you with adoration and
with tears, with groans that thunder love, and sighs
of fire.” “ Your lord,” said Olivia, “knows well my
mind. I cannot love him; yet I doubt not he is
virtuous; I know him to be noble and of high estate,
of fresh and spotless youth. All voices proclaim him
learned, courteous and valiant ; yet I cannot love him :
he might have taken his answer long ago.” “Tf I did
love you as my master does,” said Viola, “I would
make me a willow cabin at your gates, and call upon
your name. I would write complaining sonnets on
Olivia, and sing them in the dead of the night: your
name should sound among the hills, and I would make
Echo, the babbling gossip of the air, cry out Olivia.
O, you should not rest between the elements of earth
and air, but you should pity me.” “You might do
much,” said Olivia; “what is your parentage?”
Viola replied, “‘ Above my fortunes, yet my state is
well. I am a gentleman.” Olivia now reluctantly
dismissed Viola, saying, “ Go to your master, and tell
him, I cannot love him. Let him send no more,
unless perchance you come again to tell me how he
takes it.” And Viola departed, bidding the lady fare-
well by the name of Fair Cruelty. When she was
gone, Olivia repeated the words, Above my fortunes,
yet my state is well. I ama gentleman. And she said
272 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

aloud, “I will be sworn he is; his tongue, his face,
his limbs, action, and spirit, plainly show he is a
gentleman.” And then she wished Cesario was the
duke; and perceiving the fast hold he had taken on
her affections, she blamed herself for her sudden love;
but the gentle blame which people lay upon their own
faults has no deep root: and presently the noble lady
Olivia so far forgot the inequality between her fortunes
and those of this seeming page, as well as the maidenly
reserve which is the chief ornament of a lady’s char-
acter, that she resolved to court the love of young
Cesario, and sent a servant after him with a diamond
ring, under the pretence that he had left it with her
as a present from Orsino. She hoped, by thus artfully
making Cesario a present of the ring, she should give
him some intimation of her design; and truly it did
make Viola suspect; for knowing that Orsino had sent
no ring by her, she began to recollect that Olivia’s
looks and manner were expressive of admiration, and
she presently guessed her master’s mistress had fallen
in love with her. “ Alas,” said she, “the poor lady
might as well love adream. Disguise I see is wicked,
for it has caused Olivia to breathe as fruitless sighs for
me, as I do for Orsino.”

Viola returned to Orsino’s palace, and related to
her lord the ill success of the negotiation, repeating
the command of Olivia, that the duke should trouble
her no more. Yet still the duke persisted in hoping
that the gentle Cesario would in time be able to per-
suade her to show some pity, and therefore he bade
him he should go to her again the next day. In the
TWELFTH NIGHT 273

meantime, to pass away the tedious intervals, he com-
manded a song which he loved to be sung; and he
said, “ My good Cesario, when I heard that song last
night, methought it did relieve my passion much.
Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain. The spinsters
and the knitters when they sit in the sun, and the
young maids that weave their thread with bone, chant
this song. It is silly, yet I love it, for it tells of the
innocence of love in the old times.”

SONG.

Come away, come away, Death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid ;
Fly away, fly away, breath,
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white stuck all with yew, O prepare it,
My part of death no one so true did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown :
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown :
A thousand thousand sighs to save, lay me O where
Sad true lover never find my grave, to weep there.

Viola did not fail to mark the words of the old
song, which in such true simplicity described the pangs
of unrequited love, and she bore testimony in her
countenance of feeling what the song expressed. Her
sad looks were observed by Orsino, who said to her,
“My life upon it, Cesario, though you are so young,
your eye has looked upon some face that it loves; has
it not, boy?” “A little, with your leave,” replied
Viola, ‘“ And what kind of woman, and of what age

8
Q74 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

is she?” said Orsino. “Of your age, and of your
complexion, my lord,” said Viola; which made the
duke smile to hear this fair young boy loved a woman
so much older than himself, and of a man’s dark com-
plexion; but Viola secretly meant Orsino, and not a
woman like him.

When Viola made her second visit to Olivia, she
found no difficulty in gaining access to her. Servants
soon discover when their ladies delight to converse
with handsome young messengers; and the instant
Viola arrived, the gates were thrown wide open, and
the duke’s page was shown into Olivia’s apartment
with great respect; and when Viola told Olivia that
she was come once more to plead in her lord’s behalf,
this lady said, “I desire you never to speak of him
again; but, if you would undertake another suit, I had
rather hear you solicit than music from the spheres.”
This was pretty plain speaking, but Olivia soon ex-
plained herself still more plainly, and openly con-
fessed her love; and when she saw displeasure with
perplexity expressed in Viola’s face, she said, “ O what
a deal of scorn looks beautiful in the contempt and
anger of his lip! Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
by maidhood honour, and by truth, I love you so,
that, in spite of your pride, I have neither wit nor
reason to conceal my passion.” But in vain the
lady wooed; Viola hastened from her presence,
threatening never more to come to plead Orsino’s
love; and all the reply she made to Olivia’s fond
solicitations was a declaration of a resolution Never
to love any woman.
TWELFTH NIGHT Q75

No sooner had Viola left the lady than a claim was
made upon her valour. of Olivia, who had learned how that lady had favoured
the duke’s messenger, challenged him to fight a duel.
What should poor Viola do, who, though she carried a
manlike outside, had a true woman’s heart, and feared
to look on her own sword !

When she saw her formidable rival advancing
towards her with his sword drawn, she began to
think of confessing that she was a woman; but she
was relieved at once from her terror, and the shame
of such a discovery, by a stranger that was passing
by, who made up to them, and as if he had been
long known to her, and were her dearest friend, said
to her opponent, “If this young gentleman has done
offence, I will take the fault on me; and if you
offend him, I will for his sake defy you.” Before
Viola had time to thank him for his protection, or to
inquire the reason of his kind interference, her new
friend met with an enemy where his bravery was of
no use to him, for the officers of justice coming up
in that instant, apprehended the stranger in the duke’s
name to answer for an offence he had committed
some years before; and he said to Viola, “This
comes with seeking you;” and then he asked her
for a purse, saying, “Now my necessity makes me
ask for my purse, and it grieves me much more for
what I cannot do for you, than for what befalls my-
self, You stand amazed, but be of comfort.” His
words did indeed amaze Viola, and she protested
she knew him not, nor had ever received a purse
276 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

from him; but for the kindness he had just shown
her, she offered him a small sum of money, being
nearly the whole she possessed. And now the stranger
spoke severe things, charging her with ingratitude
and unkindness. He said, “This youth whom you
see here I snatched from the jaws of death, and for
his sake alone I came to Illyria, and have fallen
into this danger.” But the officers cared little for
hearkening to the complaints of their prisoner, and
they hurried him off, saying, “What is that to us?”
And as he was carried away, he called Viola by the
name of Sebastian, reproaching the supposed Sebastian
for disowning his friend, as long as he was within
hearing. When Viola heard herself called Sebastian,
though the stranger was taken away too hastily for
her to ask an explanation, she conjectured that this
seeming mystery might arise from her being mistaken
for her brother; and she began to cherish hopes that
it was her brother whose life this man said he had
preserved. And so indeed it was. The stranger,
whose name was Anthonio, was a sea-captain. He
had taken Sebastian up into his ship, when, almost
exhausted with fatigue, he was floating on the mast
to which he had fastened himself in the storm.
Anthonio conceived such a friendship for Sebastian
that he resolved to accompany him whithersoever he
went; and when the youth expressed a curiosity to
visit Orsino’s court, Anthonio, rather than part from
him, came to Illyria, though he knew, if his person
should be known there, his life would be in danger,
because in a sea-fight he had once dangerously
TWELFTH NIGHT Q77

wounded the duke Orsino’s nephew. This was the
offence for which he was now made a prisoner.

Anthonio and Sebastian had landed together but a
few hours before Anthonio met Viola. He had given
his purse to Sebastian, desiring him to use it freely
if he saw anything he wished to purchase, telling
him he would wait at the inn, while Sebastian went
to view the town; but Sebastian not returning at
the time appointed, Anthonio had ventured out to
look for him, and Viola being dressed the same, and
in face so exactly resembling her brother, Anthonio
drew his sword (as he thought) in defence of the
youth he had saved; and when Sebastian (as he
supposed) disowned him, and denied him his own
purse, no wonder he accused him of ingratitude.

Viola, when Anthonio was gone, fearing a second
invitation to fight, slunk home as fast as she could.
She had not long gone, when her adversary thought
he saw her return; but it was her brother Sebastian
who happened to arrive at this place, and he said,
“Now, sir, have I met with you again? ‘There’s for
you;” and struck him a blow. Sebastian was no
coward; he returned the blow with interest, and drew
his sword.

A lady now put a stop to this duel, for Olivia came
out of the house, and she too mistaking Sebastian for
Cesario, invited him to come into her house, express-
ing much sorrow at the rude attack he had met with.
Though Sebastian was as much surprised at the cour-
tesy of this lady as at the rudeness of his unknown
foe, yet he went very willingly into the house, and
278 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Olivia was delighted to find Cesario (as she thought
him) become more sensible of her attentions; for
though their features were exactly the same, there
was none of the contempt and anger to be seen in
his face, which she had complained of when she told
her love to Cesario.

Sebastian did not at all object to the fondness the
lady lavished on him. He seemed to take it in very
good part, yet he wondered how it had come to pass,
and he was rather inclined to think Olivia was not in
her right senses; but perceiving that she was mistress
of a fine house, and that she ordered her affairs and
seemed to govern her family discreetly, and that in
all but her sudden love for him she appeared in the
full possession of her reason, he well approved of the
courtship; and Olivia finding Cesario in this good
humour, and fearing he might change his mind, pro-
posed that, as she had a priest in the house, they
should be instantly married. Sebastian assented to
this proposal; and when the marriage ceremony was
over, he left his lady for a short time, intending to go
and tell his friend Anthonio the good fortune that he
had met with. In the meantime Orsino came to visit
Olivia, and at the moment he arrived before Olivia’s
house, the officers of justice brought their prisoner,
Anthonio, before the duke. Viola was with Orsino,
her master; and when Anthonio saw Viola, whom he
still imagined to be Sebastian, he told the duke in
what manner he had rescued this youth from the
perils of the sea; and after fully relating all the
kindness he had really shown to Sebastian, he ended
TWELFTH NIGHT 279

his complaint with saying, that for three months, both
day and night, this ungrateful youth had been with
him. But now the lady Olivia coming forth from her
house, the duke could no longer attend to Anthonio’s
story; and he said, “Here comes the countess: now
Heaven walks on earth! but for thee, fellow, thy
words are madness. Three months has this youth
attended on me:” and then he ordered Anthonio to
be taken aside. But Orsino’s heavenly countess soon
gave the duke cause to accuse Cesario as much of
ingratitude as Anthonio had done, for all the words
he could hear Olivia speak were words of kindness to
Cesario; and when he found his page had obtained
this high place in Olivia’s favour he threatened him
with all the terrors of his just revenge; and as he was
going to depart, he called Viola to follow him, saying,
“Come, boy, with me. My thoughts are ripe for mis-
chief.” Though it seemed in his jealous rage he was
going to doom Viola to instant death, yet her love
made her no longer a coward, and she said she would
most joyfully suffer death to give her master ease.
But Olivia would not so lose her husband, and she
cried, “Where goes my Cesario?” Viola replied,
“ After him I love more than my life.” Olivia, how-
ever, prevented their departure by loudly proclaiming
that Cesario was her husband, and sent for the priest,
who declared that not two hours had passed since he
had married the lady Olivia to this young man. In
vain Viola protested she was not married to Olivia;
the evidence of that lady and the priest made Orsino
believe that his page had robbed him of the treasure
280 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

he prized above his life. But thinking that it was past
recall, he was bidding farewell to his faithless mistress,
and the young dissembler, her husband, as he called
Viola, warning her never to come in his sight again,
when (as it seemed to them) a miracle appeared! for
another Cesario entered, and addressed Olivia as his
wife. This new Cesario was Sebastian, the real hus-
band of Olivia; and when their wonder had a little
ceased at seeing two persons with the same face, the
same voice, and the same habit, the brother and sister
began to question each other, for Viola could scarce
be persuaded that her brother was living, and Sebas-
tian knew not how to account for the sister he sup-
posed drowned being found in the habit of a young
man. But Viola presently acknowledged that she was
indeed Viola and his sister under that disguise.

When all the errors were cleared up which the
extreme likeness between this twin brother and sister
had occasioned, they laughed at the lady Olivia for the
pleasant mistake she had made in falling in love with
a woman; and Olivia showed no dislike to her ex-
change, when she found she had wedded the brother
instead of the sister.

The hopes of Orsino were for ever at an end by this
marriage of Olivia, and with his hopes all his fruitless
love seemed to vanish away, and all his thoughts were
fixed on the event of his favourite, young Cesario,
being changed into a fair lady. He viewed Viola with
great attention, and he remembered how very hand-
some he had always thought Cesario was, and he con-
cluded she would look very beautiful in a woman’s
TWELFTH NIGHT 281

attire; and then he remembered how often she had
said she loved him, which at the time seemed only
the dutiful expressions of a faithful page; but now
he guessed that something more was meant, for many
of her pretty sayings, which were like riddles to him,
came now into his mind, and he no sooner remem-
bered. all these things than he resolved to make Viola
his wife; and he said to her (he still could not help
calling her Cesario and boy), “Boy, you have said
to me a thousand times that you should never love a
woman like to me, and for the faithful service you have
done for me so much beneath your soft and tender
breeding, and since you have called me master so
long, you shall now be your master’s mistress, and
Orsino’s true duchess.”

Olivia, perceiving Orsino was making over that
heart, which she had so ungraciously rejected, to
Viola, invited them to enter her house, and offered
the assistance of the good priest, who had married
her to Sebastian in the morning, to perform the
same ceremony in the remaining part of the day for
Orsino and Viola. Thus the twin brother and sister
were both wedded on the same day; the storm and
shipwreck, which had separated them, being the
means of bringing to pass their high and mighty
fortunes. Viola was the wife of Orsino, the duke of
Illyria, and Sebastian the husband of the rich and
noble countess, the lady Olivia.
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE

Penricres, prince of Tyre, became a voluntary exile
from his dominions, to avert the dreadful calamities
which Antiochus, the wicked emperor of Greece,
threatened to bring upon his subjects and city of
Tyre, in revenge for a discovery which the prince had
made of a shocking deed which the emperor had done
in secret; as commonly it proves dangerous to pry
into the hidden crimes of great ones. Leaving the
government of his people in the hands of his able
and honest minister, Hellicanus, Pericles set sail from
Tyre, thinking to absent himself till the wrath of
Antiochus, who was mighty, should be appeased.
The first place which the prince directed his course
to was Tharsus, and hearing that the city of Tharsus
was at that time suffering under a severe famine, he
took with him store of provisions for its relief. On
his arrival he found the city reduced to the utmost
distress; and he, coming like a messenger from heaven
with this unhoped-for succour, Cleon, the governor of
Tharsus, welcomed him with boundless thanks. Pericles
had not been here many days before letters came from
his faithful minister, warning him that it was not safe
for him to stay at Tharsus, for Antiochus knew of
his abode, and by reece despatched for
PERICLES 283

that purpose, sought his life. Upon receipt of these
letters Pericles put out to sea again, amidst the bless-
ings and prayers of a whole people who had been fed
by his bounty.

He had not sailed far, when his ship was overtaken
by a dreadful storm, and every man on board perished
except Pericles, who was cast by the sea waves naked
on an unknown shore, where he had not wandered
long before he met with some poor fishermen, who
invited him to their homes, giving him clothes and
provisions. The fishermen told Pericles the name of
their country was Pentapolis, and that their king was
Symonides, commonly called the good Symonides,
because of his peaceable reign and good government.
From them he also learned that king Symonides had
a fair young daughter, and that the following day was
her birthday, when a grand tournament was to be
held at court, many princes and knights being come
from all parts to try their skill in arms for the love
of Thaisa, this fair princess. While the prince was
listening to this account, and secretly lamenting the
loss of his good armour, which disabled him from
making one among these valiant knights, another
fisherman brought in a complete suit of armour that
he had taken out of the sea with his fishing net, which
proved to be the very armour he had lost. When
Pericles beheld his own armour, he said, “Thanks,
Fortune; after all my crosses, you give me somewhat
to repair myself. This armour was bequeathed to me
by my dead father, for whose dear sake I have so loved
it, that whithersoever I went, I still have kept it by
284 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

me, and the rough sea that parted it from me, having
now become calm, hath given it back again, for which
I thank it, for, since I have my father’s gift again,
I think my shipwreck no misfortune.”

The next day Pericles, clad in his brave father’s
armour, repaired to the royal court of Symonides,
where he performed wonders at the tournament, van-
quishing with ease all the brave knights and valiant
princes who contended with him in arms for the
honour of Thaisa’s love. When brave warriors con-
tended at court-tournaments for the love of kings’
daughters, if one proved sole victor over all the rest,
it was usual for the great lady for whose sake these
deeds of valour were undertaken to bestow all her
respect upon the conqueror; and Thaisa did not
depart from this custom, for she presently dismissed
all the princes and knights whom Pericles had van-
quished, and distinguished him by her especial favour
and regard, crowning him with the wreath of victory,
as king of that day’s happiness; and Pericles became
a most passionate lover of this beauteous princess
from the first moment he beheld her. |

The good Symonides so well approved of the valour
and noble qualities of Pericles, who was indeed a most
accomplished gentleman, and well learned in all
excellent arts, that though he knew not the rank of
this royal stranger (for Pericles for fear of Antiochus
gave out that he was a private gentleman of Tyre),
yet did not Symonides disdain to accept of the valiant
unknown for a son-in-law, when he perceived his
daughter’s affections were firmly fixed upon him.
PERICLES 285

Pericles had not been many months married to
Thaisa before he received intelligence that his enemy
Antiochus was dead; ard that his subjects of Tyre,
impatient of his long absence, threatened to revolt,
and talked of placing Hellicanus upon his vacant
throne. This news came from Hellicanus himself,
who being a loyal subject to his royal master, would
not accept of the high dignity offered him, but sent to
let Pericles know their intentions, that he might re-
turn home and resume his lawful right. It was matter
of great surprise and joy to Symonides to find that his
son-in-law (the obscure knight) was the renowned
prince of Tyre; yet again he regretted that he was
not the private gentleman he supposed him to be,
seeing that he must now part both with his admired
son-in-law and his beloved daughter, whom he feared
to trust to the perils of the sea, because Thaisa was
with child; and Pericles himself wished her to remain
with her father till after her confinement, but the poor
lady so earnestly desired to go with her husband, that
at last they consented, hoping she would reach Tyre
before she was brought to bed.

The sea was no friendly element to unhappy
Pericles, for long before they reached Tyre another
dreadful tempest arose, which so terrified Thaisa that
she was taken ill, and in a short space of time her
nurse Lychorida came to Pericles with a little child in
her arms, to tell the prince the sad tidings that his
wife died the moment her little babe was born. She
held the babe towards its father, saying, “ Here is a
thing too young for such a place. This is the child
286 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

of your dead queen.” No tongue can tell the dreadful
sufferings of Pericles when he heard his wife was dead.
As soon as he could speak, he said, “O you gods,
why do you make us love your goodly gifts, and then
snatch those gifts away?” “Patience, good sir,” said
Lychorida, “here is all that is left alive of our dead
queen, a little daughter, and for your child’s sake be
more manly. Patience, good sir, even for the sake
of this precious charge.” Pericles took the new-born
infant in his arms, and he said to the little babe, “ Now
may your life be mild, for a more blusterous birth had
never babe! May your condition be mild and gentle,
for you have had the rudest welcome that ever prince’s
child did meet with! May that which follows be
happy, for you have had as chiding a nativity as fire,
air, water, earth, and heaven could make, to herald
you from the womb! Even at the first, your loss,”
meaning in the death of her mother, “is more than
all the joys which you shall find upon this earth, to
which you are come a new visitor, shall be able to
recompense.”

The storm still continuing to rage furiously, and
the sailors having a superstition that while a dead
body remained in the ship the storm would never
cease, they came to Pericles to demand that his queen
should be thrown overboard; and they said, “ What
courage, sir? God save you!” “Courage enough,”
said the sorrowing prince. “I do not fear the storm ;
it has done to me its worst; yet for the love of this
poor infant, this fresh new seafarer, I wish the storm
was over.” “Sir,” said the sailors, “your queen
PERICLES 287

must overboard. The sea works high, the wind is
loud, and the storm will not abate till the ship be
cleared of the dead.” Though Pericles knew how
weak and unfounded this superstition was, yet he
patiently submitted, saying, “As you think meet.
Then she must overboard, most wretched queen!”
And now this unhappy prince went to take a last view
of his dear wife, and as he looked upon his Thaisa, he
said, “A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear;
no light, no fire, the unfriendly elements forgot thee
utterly, nor have I time to bring thee hallowed to thy
grave, but must cast thee scarcely coffined into the
sea, where for a monument upon thy bones the hum-
ming waters must overwhelm thy corpse, lying with
simple shells. O Lychorida, bid Nestor bring me
spices, ink, and paper, my casket and my jewels, and
bid Nicander bring me the satin coffin. Lay the babe
upon the pillow, and go about this suddenly, Lychorida,
while I say a priestly farewell to my Thaisa.”

They brought Pericles a large chest, in which
(wrapped in a satin shroud) he placed his queen, and
sweet-smelling spices he strewed over her, and beside
her he placed rich jewels, and a written paper, telling
who she was, and praying if haply any one should find
the chest which contained the body of his wife, they
would give her burial: and then with his own hands
he cast the chest into the sea. When the storm was
over, Pericles ordered the sailors to make for Tharsus.
“Foy,” said Pericles, “the babe cannot hold out till
we come to Tyre. At Tharsus I will leave it at
careful nursing.”
288 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

After that tempestuous night when Thaisa was
thrown into the sea, and while it was yet early morn-
ing, as Cerimon, a worthy gentleman of Ephesus, and
a most skilful physician, was standing by the seaside,
his servants brought to him a chest, which they said
the sea waves had thrown on the land. “I never
saw,” said one of them, “so huge a billow as cast it
on our shore.” Cerimon ordered the chest to be
conveyed to his own house, and when it was opened
he beheld with wonder the body of a young and
lovely lady; and the sweet-smelling spices, and rich
casket of jewels, made him conclude it was some great
person who was thus strangely entombed: searching
further, he discovered a paper, from which he learned
that the corpse which lay as dead before him had
been a queen, and wife to Pericles, prince of Tyre;
and much admiring at the strangeness of that accident,
and more pitying the husband who had lost this sweet
lady, he said, “If you are living, Pericles, you have
a heart that even cracks with woe.” Then observing
attentively Thaisa’s face, he saw how fresh and unlike
death her looks were; and he said, “'They were too
hasty that threw you into the sea:” for he did not
believe her to be dead. He ordered a fire to be
made, and proper cordials to be brought, and_ soft
music to be played, which might help to calm her
amazed spirits if she should revive; and he said to
those who crowded round her, wondering at what they
saw, “I pray you, gentlemen, give her air: this queen
will live; she has not been entranced above five hours;
and see, she begins to blow into life again; she is
PERICLES 289

alive; behold, her eyelids move; this fair creature
will live to make us weep to hear her fate.” Thaisa
had never died, but after the birth of her little baby
had fallen into a deep swoon, which made all that saw
her conclude her to be dead; and now by the care of
this kind gentleman she once more revived to light
and life; and opening her eyes she said, “ Where am
I? Where is my lord? What world is this?” By
gentle degrees Cerimon let her understand what had
befallen her; and when he thought she was enough
recovered to bear the sight, he showed her the paper
written by her husband, and the jewels; and she
looked on the paper, and said, “It is my lord’s writing.
That I was shipped at sea, I well remember, but
whether there delivered of my babe, by the holy gods I
cannot rightly say; but since my wedded lord I never
shall see again, I will put on a vestal livery; and never
more have joy.” “Madam,” said Cerimon, “if you_
purpose as you speak, the temple of Diana is not far
distant from hence, there you may abide as a vestal.
Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine. shall there
attend you.” This proposal was accepted with thanks
by Thaisa; and when she was perfectly recovered,
Cerimon placed her in the temple of Diana, where
she became a vestal or priestess of that goddess,
and passed her days in sorrowing for her husband’s
supposed loss, and in the most devout exercises of
those times.

Pericles carried his young daughter (whom he
named Marina, because she was born at sea) to

Tharsus, intending to leave her with Cleon, the
T
290 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

governor of that city, and his wife Dionysia, thinking,
for the good he had done to them at the time of their
famine, they would be kind to his little motherless
daughter. When Cleon saw prince Pericles, and heard
of the great loss which had befallen him, he said, “O
your sweet queen, that it had pleased Heaven you
could have brought her hither to have blessed my eyes
with the sight of her!” Pericles replied, “ We must
obey the powers above us. Should I rage and roar
as the sea does in which my Thaisa lies, yet the end
must be as it is. My gentle babe, Marina here, I
must charge your charity with her. I leave her the
infant of your care, beseeching you to give her princely
training.” And then turning to Cleon’s wife, Dio-
nysia, he said, “Good madam, make me blessed in
your care in bringing up my child:” and she answered,
“JT have a child myself who shall not be more dear
to my respect than yours, my lord;” and Cleon
made the like promise, saying, “‘ Your noble services,
prince Pericles, in feeding my whole people with your
corn (for which in their prayers they daily remember
you) must in your child be thought on. IfI should
neglect your child, my whole people that were by
you relieved would force me to my duty; but if to
that I need a spur, the gods revenge it on me and
mine to the end of generation.” Pericles being thus
assured that his child would be carefully attended
to, left her to the protection of Cleon and his wife
Dionysia, and with her he left the nurse Lychorida.
When he went away, the little Marina knew not her
loss, but Lychorida wept sadly at parting with her
PERICLES 291

royal master. ““O, no tears, Lychorida,” said Pericles ;
“no tears; look to your little mistress, on whose grace
you may depend hereafter.”

Pericles arrived in safety at Tyre, and was once
more settled in the quiet possession of his throne,
while his woful queen, whom he thought dead, re-
mained at Ephesus. Her little babe Marina, whom
this hapless mother had never seen, was brought up
by Cleon in a manner suitable to her high birth. He
gave her the most careful education, so that by the
time Marina attained the age of fourteen years, the
most deeply-learned men were not more studied in
the learning of those times than was Marina. She
sung like one immortal, and danced as goddess-like,
and with her needle she was so skilful that she seemed
to compose nature’s own shapes, in birds, fruits, or
flowers, the natural roses being scarcely more like to
each other than they were to Marina’s silken flowers.
But when she had gained from education all these
graces, which made her the general wonder, Dionysia,
the wife of Cleon, became her mortal enemy from
jealousy, by reason that her own daughter, from the
slowness of her mind, was not able to attain to that
perfection wherein Marina excelled: and finding that
all praise was bestowed on Marina, whilst her daughter,
who was of the same age, and had been educated with
the same care as Marina, though not with the same
success, was in comparison disregarded, she formed
a project to remove Marina out of the way, vainly
imagining that her untoward daughter would be more
respected when Marina was no more seen. ‘To encom-
292 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

pass this, she employed a man to murder Marina, and
she well timed her wicked design, when Lychorida,
the faithful nurse, had just died. Dionysia was
discoursing with the man she had commanded to
commit this murder, when the young Marina was
weeping over the dead Lychorida. Leoline, the man
she employed to do this bad deed, though he was a
very wicked man, could hardly be persuaded to under-
take it, so had Marina won all hearts. to love’ her.
He said, “She is a goodly creature!” “’The’ fitter
then the gods should have her,” replied -her merciless
enemy: “here she comes weeping for the death of
her nurse Lychorida: are you resolved to obey me?”
Leoline, fearing to disobey her, replied, “I am _ re-
solved.” And so, in that one short sentence, was the
matchless Marina doomed to an untimely death. She
now approached, with a basket of flowers in her hand,
which, she said, she would daily strew over the grave
of good Lychorida. ‘The purple violet and the mari-
gold should as a carpet hang upon her grave, while
summer days did last. “Alas for me!” she said,
“poor unhappy maid, born in a tempest, when my
mother died. This world to me is like a lasting storm,
hurrying me from-my friends.” ‘ How now, Marina!”
said the dissembling Dionysia, “do you weep alone?
How does it chance my daughter is not with you? Do
not sorrow for Lychorida, you have a nurse in me.
Your beauty is quite changed with this unprofitable
woe. Come, give me your flowers, the sea-air will
spoil them; and walk with Leoline: the air is fine,
and will enliven you. Come, Leoline, take her by
PERICLES 293

the arm, and walk with her.” “No, madam,” said
Marina, “I pray you let me not deprive you of your
servant ;” for Leoline was one of Dionysia’s attend-
ants. ‘Come, come,” said this artful woman, who
wished for a pretence to leave her alone with Leoline,
“J love the prince, your father, and I love you. We
every day expect your father here; and when he
comes, and finds you so changed by grief from the
paragon of beauty we reported you, he will think we
have taken no care of you. Go, I pray you, walk, and
be cheerful once again. Be careful of that excellent
complexion, which stole the hearts of old and young.”
Marina, being thus importuned, said, “ Well, I will go,
but yet I have no desire to it.” As Dionysia walked
away, she said to Leoline, “Remember what I have
said!”—shocking words, for their meaning was that
he should remember to kill Marina.

Marina looked towards the sea, her birthplace, and
said, “Is the wind westerly that blows?” “South-
west,” replied Leoline. “When I was born the wind
was north,” said she: and then the storm and tem-
pest, and all her father’s sorrows, and her mother’s
death, came full into her mind, and she said, “My
father, as Lychorida told me, did never fear, but
cried, Courage, good seamen, to the sailors, galling
his princely hands with the ropes, and, clasping to
the mast, he endured a sea that almost split the
deck.” “When was this?” said Leoline. “When I
was born,” replied Marina: “never were waves nor
wind more violent.” And then she described the
storm, the action of the sailors, the boatswain’s whistle,
294 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

and the loud call of the master, “ Which,” said she,
“trebled the confusion of the ship.” Lychorida had
so often recounted to Marina the story of her hapless
birth, that these things seemed ever present to her
imagination. But here Leoline interrupted her with
desiring her to say her prayers. “What mean you?”
said Marina, who began to fear, she knew not why.
“If you require a little space for prayer, I grant it,”
said Leoline; “but be not tedious; the gods are
quick of ear, and I am sworn to do my work in
haste.” “Will you kill me?” said Marina: “alas!
why?” “To satisfy my lady,” replied Leoline. ‘“ Why
would she have me killed?” said Marina: “now, as I
can remember, I never hurt her in all my life. I never
spake bad word, nor did any ill turn to any living
creature. Believe me now, I never killed a mouse,
nor hurt a fly. I trod upon a worm once against my
will, but I wept for it. How have I offended?” 'The
murderer replied, “My commission is not to reason
on the deed, but to do it.” And he was just going
to kill her when certain pirates happened to land at
that very moment, who seeing Marina, bore her off
as a prize to their ship.

The pirate who had made Marina his prize, carried
her to Metaline, and sold her for a slave, where,
though in that humble condition, Marina soon be-
came known throughout the whole city of Metaline
for her beauty and her virtues; and the person to
whom she was sold became rich by the money she
earned for him. She taught music, dancing, and fine
needleworks, and the money she got by her scholars
PERICLES 295

she gave to her master and mistress; and the fame of
her learning and her great industry came to the know-
ledge of Lysimachus, a young nobleman who was the
governor of Metaline, and Lysimachus went himself
to the house where Marina dwelt, to see this paragon
of excellence, whom all the city praised so highly. Her
conversation delighted Lysimachus beyond measure,
for though he had heard much of this admired
maiden, he did not expect to find her so sensible a
lady, so virtuous, and so good, as he perceived Marina
to be; and he left her, saying, he hoped she would
persevere in her industrious and virtuous course, and
that if ever she heard from him again it should be
for her good. Lysimachus thought Marina such a
miracle for sense, fine breeding, and excellent qualities,
as well as for beauty and all outward graces, that he
wished to marry her, and notwithstanding her humble
situation, he hoped to find that her birth was noble;
but ever when they asked her parentage, she would
sit still and weep.

Meantime, at Tharsus, Leoline, fearing the anger
of Dionysia, told her he had killed Marina; and that
wicked woman gave out that she was dead, and made
a pretended funeral for her, and erected a stately
monument; and shortly after Pericles, accompanied
by his loyal minister Hellicanus, made a voyage from
Tyre to Tharsus, on purpose to see his daughter, in-
tending to take her home with him; and, he never
having beheld her since he left her an infant in the
care of Cleon and his wife, how did this good prince
rejoice at the thoughts of seeing this dear child of his
296 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

buried queen! but when they told him Marina was
dead, and showed the monument they had erected for
her, great was the misery this most wretched father
endured, and not being able to bear the sight of that
country where his last hope and only memory of his
dear Thaisa was entombed, he took ship and hastily
departed from Tharsus. From the day he entered the
ship a dull and heavy melancholy seized him. He
never spoke, and seemed totally insensible to every-
thing around him.

Sailing from Tharsus to caer the ship in i course
passed ie Metaline, where Marina dwelt; the governor
of which place, Lysimachus, observing this royal vessel
from the shore, and desirous of knowing who was on
board, went in a barge to the side of the ship, to satisfy
his curiosity. Hellicanus received him very cour-
teously, and told him that the ship came from Tyre,
and that they were conducting thither Pericles, their
prince; “A man, sir,” said Hellicanus, “who has
not spoken to any one these three months, nor taken
any sustenance, but just to prolong his grief; it would
be tedious to repeat the whole ground of his distemper,
but the main springs from the loss of a beloved
daughter and a wife.” Lysimachus begged to see this
afflicted prince, and when he beheld Pericles, he saw he
had been once a goodly person, and he said to him,
“Sir king, all hail! the gods preserve you! hail, royal
sir!” But in vain Lysimachus spoke to him. Pericles
made no answer, nor did he appear to perceive any
stranger approached. And then Lysimachus bethought
him of the peerless maid Marina, that haply with her
PERICLES 297

sweet tongue she might win some answer from the
silent prince; and with the consent of Hellicanus he
sent for Marina, and when she entered the ship in
which her own father sat motionless with grief, they
welcomed her on board as if they had known she was
their princess, and they cried, “She is a gallant lady.”
Lysimachus was well pleased to hear their commenda-
tions, and he said, “She is such a one, that were I
well assured she came of noble birth, I would wish
no better choice, and think me rarely blessed in a
wife.” And then he addressed her in courtly terms, as
if the lowly-seeming maid had been the high-born lady
he wished to find her, calling her Fair and beautiful
Marina, telling her a great prince on board that ship
had fallen into a sad and mournful silence; and as
if Marina had the power of conferring health and
felicity, he begged she would undertake to cure the
royal stranger of his melancholy. “Sir,” said Marina,
“J will use my utmost skill in his recovery, provided
none but I and my maid be suffered to come near
him.”

She, who at Metaline had so carefully concealed
her birth, ashamed to tell that one of royal
ancestry was now a slave, first began to speak to
Pericles of the wayward changes in her own fate,
telling him from what a high estate herself had
fallen. As if she had known it was her royal father
she stood before, all the words she spoke were of her
own sorrows; but her reason for so doing was, that
she knew nothing more wins the attention of the un-
fortunate than the recital of some sad calamity to
298 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

match their own. The sound of her sweet voice
aroused the drooping prince; he lifted up his eyes,
which had been so long fixed and motionless; and
Marina, who was the perfect image of her mother, pre-
sented to his amazed sight the features of his beloved
queen. The long-silent prince was once more heard to
speak. “My dearest wife,” said the awakened Pericles,
“was like this maid, and such a one might my daughter
have been. My queen’s square brows, her stature to an
inch, as wand-like straight, as silver-voiced, her eyes as
jewel-like. Where do you live, young maid? Report
your parentage. I think you said you had been tossed
from wrong to injury, and that you thought your
griefs would equal mine, if both were opened.” “Some
such thing I said,” replied Marina, “and said no more
than what my thoughts did warrant me as likely.”
“Tell me your story,” answered Pericles; “if I find
you have known the thousandth part of my endurance,
you have borne your sorrows like a man, and I have
suffered like a girl; yet you do look like Patience
gazing on kings’ graves, and smiling Extremity out
of act. How lost you your name, my most kind
virgin? Recount your story, I beseech you. Come
sit by me.” How was Pericles surprised when she
said her name was Marina, for he knew it was no
usual name, but had been invented by himself for
his own child, to signify seaborn. “O, I am
mocked,” said he, “and you are sent hither by some
incensed god to make -the world laugh at me.”
“Patience, good sir,” said Marina, “or I must cease
here.” “Nay,” said Pericles, “I will be patient; you
PERICLES 299

little know how you do startle me, to call yourself
Marina.” ‘The name,” she replied, “was given me
by one that had some power, my father, and a king.”
“How, a king’s daughter!” said Pericles, “and called
Marina! But are you flesh and blood? Are you no
fairy? Speak on; where were you born? and where-
fore called Marina?” She replied, “I was called
Marina, because I was born at sea. My mother was
the daughter of a king; she died the minute I was
born, as my good nurse Lychorida has often told me
weeping. ‘The king my father left me at Tharsus,
till the cruel wife of Cleon sought to murder me.
A crew of pirates came and rescued me, and brought
me here to Metaline. But, good sir, why do you
weep? It may be, you think me an impostor. But
indeed, sir, I am the daughter to king Pericles, if good
king Pericles be living.” Then Pericles, terrified as it
seemed at his own sudden joy, and doubtful if this
could be real, loudly called for his attendants, who
rejoiced at the sound of their beloved king’s voice;
and he said to Hellicanus, “O Hellicanus, strike me,
give me a gash, put me to present pain, lest this great
sea of joys rushing upon me, overbear the shores of my
mortality. O, come hither, thou that wast born at sea,
buried at Tharsus, and found at sea again. O Helli-
canus, down on your knees, thank the holy gods!
This is Marina. Now blessings on thee, my child!
Give me fresh garments, mine own Hellicanus! She
is not dead at Tharsus, as she should have been by
the savage Dionysia. She shall tell you all, when
you shall kneel to her, and call her your very princess.
300 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Who is this?” (observing Lysimachus for the first
time). “Sir,” said Hellicanus, “it is the governor of
Metaline, who, hearing of your melancholy, came to
see you.” “I embrace you, sir,” said Pericles. “‘ Give me
my robes! I am well with beholding O Heaven
bless my girl! But hark! what music is that ?—”
for now, either sent by some kind god, or by his own
delighted fancy deceived, he seemed to hear soft
music. “My lord, I hear none,” replied Hellicanus.
‘“‘None,” said Pericles; “why, it is the music of the
spheres.” As there was no music to be heard, Lysi-
machus concluded that the sudden joy had unsettled
the prince’s understanding; and he said, “It is not
good to cross him; let him have his way;” and then
they told him they heard the music; and he now
complaining of a drowsy slumber coming over him,
Lysimachus persuaded him to rest on a couch, and plac-
ing a pillow under his head, he, quite overpowered with
excess of joy, sunk into a sound sleep, and Marina
watched in silence by the couch of her sleeping parent.

While he slept, Pericles dreamed a dream which
made him resolve to go to Ephesus. His dream was,
that Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians, appeared
to him, and commanded him to go to her temple at
Ephesus, and there before her altar to declare the
story of his life and misfortunes; and by her silver
bow she swore, that if he performed her injunction,
he should meet with some rare felicity. When he
awoke, being miraculously refreshed, he told his
dream, and that his resolution was to obey the bid-
ding of the goddess.


PERICLES 301

Then Lysimachus invited Pericles to come on
shore, and refresh himself with such entertainment
as he should find at Metaline, which courteous offer
Pericles accepting, agreed to tarry with him for the
space of a day or two. During which time we may
well suppose what feastings, what rejoicings, what
costly shows and entertainments the governor made
in Metaline, to greet the royal father of his dear
Marina, whom in her obscure fortunes he had so
respected. Nor did Pericles frown upon Lysimachus’s
suit, when he understood how he had honoured his
child in the days of her low estate, and that Marina
showed herself not averse to his proposals; only he
made it a condition, before he gave his consent, that
they should visit with him the shrine of the Ephesian
Diana: to whose temple they shortly after all three
undertook a voyage; and, the goddess herself filling
their sails with prosperous winds, after a few weeks
they arrived in safety at Ephesus.

There were standing near the altar of the goddess,
when Pericles with his train entered the temple, the
good Cerimon (now grown very aged) who had re-
stored Thaisa, the wife of Pericles, to life; and 'Thaisa,
now a priestess of the temple, was standing before
the altar; and though the many years he had passed
in sorrow for her loss had much altered Pericles,
Thaisa thought she knew her husband’s features, and
when he approached the altar and began to speak,
she remembered his voice, and listened to his words
with wonder and a joyful amazement. And _ these
were the words that Pericles spoke before the altar:
302 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“Hail, Diana! to perform thy just commands, I here
confess myself the prince of Tyre, who, frightened
from my country, at Pentapolis wedded the fair
Thaisa: she died at sea in childbed, but brought
forth a maid-child called Marina. She at Tharsus
was nursed with Dionysia, who at fourteen years
thought to kill her, but her better stars brought her
to Metaline, by whose shores as I sailed, her good
fortunes brought this maid on board, where by her
most clear remembrance she made herself known to
be my daughter.”

Thaisa, unable to bear the transports which his
words had raised in her, cried out, “You are, you
are, O royal Pericles ~_and fainted. ‘“ What means
this woman?” said Pericles: “she dies! gentlemen,
help!” “Sir,” said Cerimon, “if you have told Diana’s
altar true, this is your wife.” “ Reverend gentleman,
no;” said Pericles: “I threw her overboard with
these very arms.” Cerimon then recounted how,
early one tempestuous morning, this lady was thrown
upon the Ephesian shore; how, opening the coffin,
he found therein rich jewels, and a paper; how
happily he recovered her, and placed her here in
Diana’s temple. And now, Thaisa being restored
from her swoon, said, “O my lord, are you not
Pericles? Like him you speak, like him you are.
Did you not name a tempest, a birth, and a death?”
He, astonished, said, “The voice of dead Thaisa!”
“That Thaisa am I,” she replied, “supposed dead
and drowned.” “O true Diana!” exclaimed Pericles,
in a passion of devout astonishment. “And now,”
PERICLES 303

said Thaisa, “I know you better. Such a ring as I
see on your finger did the king my father give you,
when we with tears parted from him at Pentapolis.”
“Enough, you gods!” cried Pericles, “your present
kindness makes my past miseries sport. O come,
Thaisa, be buried a second time within these arms.”

And Marina said, “My heart leaps to be gone into
my mother’s bosom.” Then did Pericles show his
daughter to her mother, saying, “Look who kneels
here, flesh of thy flesh, thy burthen at sea, and called
Marina, because she was yielded there.” “Blessed
and my own!” said Thaisa: and while she hung in
rapturous joy over her child, Pericles knelt before the
altar, saying, “Pure Diana, bless thee for thy vision.
For this I will offer oblations nightly to thee.” And
then and there did Pericles, with the consent of Thaisa,
solemnly affiance their daughter, the virtuous Marina,
to the well deserving Lysimachus in marriage.

Thus have we seen in Pericles, his queen, and
daughter, a famous example of virtue assailed by
calamity (through the sufferance of Heaven, to teach
patience and constancy to men), under the same
guidance becoming finally successful, and triumphing
over chance and change. In Hellicanus we have be-
held a notable pattern of truth, of faith, and loyalty,
who, when he might have succeeded to a throne, chose
rather to recall the rightful owner to his posses-
sion than to become great by another’s wrong. In
the worthy Cerimon, who restored Thaisa to life, we
are instructed how goodness directed by knowledge,
in bestowing benefits upon mankind, approaches to
304 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

the nature of the gods. It only remains to be told
that Dionysia, the wicked wife of Cleon, met with an
end proportionable to her deserts; the inhabitants
of Tharsus, when her cruel attempt upon Marina
was known, rising in a body to revenge the daughter
of their benefactor, and setting fire to the palace
of Cleon, burnt both him and her, and their whole
household; the gods seeming well pleased, that so
foul a murder, though but intentional, and never
carried into act, should be punished in a way befit-
ting its enormity.
THE WINTER'S TALE

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

At length, after repeated invitations, Polixenes came
from Bohemia to the Sicilian court, to make his friend
Leontes a visit.

At first this visit gave nothing but pleasure to
Leontes. He recommended the friend of his youth
to the queen’s particular attention, and seemed in the
presence of his dear friend and old companion to have
his felicity quite completed. ‘They talked over old
times: their school-days and their youthful pranks
were remembered, and recounted to Hermione, who
always took a cheerful part in these conversations.

When, after a long stay, Polixenes was preparing
308
306 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

to depart, Hermione, at the desire of her husband,
joined her entreaties to his that Polixenes would
prolong his visit.

And now began this good queen’s sorrow; for
Polixenes refusing to stay at the request of Leontes,
was won over by Hermione’s gentle and persuasive
words to put off his departure for some weeks longer.
Upon this, although Leontes had so long known the
integrity and honourable principles of his friend
Polixenes, as well as the excellent disposition of his
virtuous queen, he was seized with an ungovernable
jealousy. Every attention Hermione showed to
Polixenes, though by her husband’s particular desire,
and merely to please him, increased the unfortunate
king’s jealousy; and from being a loving and true
friend, and the best and fondest of husbands, Leontes
became suddenly a savage and inhuman monster.
Sending for Camillo, one of the lords of his court,
and telling him of the suspicion he entertained, he
commanded him to poison Polixenes.

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

The flight of Polixenes enraged the jealous Leontes
still more; he went to the queen’s apartment, where
THE WINTER’S TALE 307

the good lady was sitting with her little son Mamillus,
who was just beginning to tell one of his best stories
to amuse his mother, when the king entered, and
taking the child away, sent Hermione to prison.

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

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

When Hermione had been a short time in prison,
she was brought to bed of a daughter; and the poor
lady received much comfort from, the sight of her
pretty baby, and she said to it, “My poor little
prisoner, I am as innocent as you are.”

Hermione had a kind friend in the noble-spirited
Paulina, who was the wife of Antigonus, a Sicilian
lord: and when the lady Paulina heard her royal
mistress was brought to bed, she went to the prison
where Hermione was confined; and she said to
Emilia, a lady who attended upon Hermione, “I pray
you, Emilia, tell the good queen, if her majesty dare
trust me with her little babe, I will carry it to the
king its father; we do not know how he may soften
at the sight of his innocent child.” “Most worthy
madam,” replied Emilia, “I will acquaint the queen
with your noble offer; she was wishing to-day that
308 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

she had any friend who would venture to present the
child to the king.” ‘And tell her,” said Paulina,
“that I will speak boldly to Leontes in her defence.”
“* May you be for ever blessed,” said Emilia, “for your
kindness to our gracious queen!” Emilia then went
to Hermione, who joyfully gave up her baby to the
care of Paulina, for she had feared that no one would
dare venture to present the child to its father.

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

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

The good Paulina was mistaken; for no sooner was
she gone than the merciless father ordered Antigonus,
Paulina’s husband, to take the child, and carry it out to
sea, and leave it upon some desert shore to perish.

Antigonus, unlike the good Camillo, too well obeyed
the orders of Leontes; for he immediately carried the
child on ship-board, and put out to sea, intending to
leave it on the first desert coast he could find.
THE WINTER'S TALE 309

So firmly was the king persuaded of the guilt of
Hermione, that he would not wait for the return of
Cleomenes and Dion, whom he had sent to consult
the oracle of Apollo at Delphos; but before the
queen was recovered from her lying-in, and from her
grief for the loss of her precious baby, he had her
brought to a public trial before all the lords and
nobles of his court. And when all the great lords,
the judges, and all the nobility of the land were
assembled together to try Hermione, and that un-
happy queen was standing as a prisoner before her
subjects to receive their judgment, Cleomenes and
Dion entered the assembly, and presented to the king
the answer of the oracle sealed up; and Leontes com-
manded the seal to be broken, and the words of the
oracle to be read aloud, and these were the words :—
“* Hermione is innocent, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a
true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, and the king shall
live without an heir if that which is lost be not found.”
The king would give no credit to the words of the
oracle: he said it was a falsehood invented by the
queen’s friends, and he desired the judge to proceed
in the trial of the queen; but while Leontes was
speaking a man entered and told him that the prince
Mamillus, hearing his mother was to be tried for her
life, struck with grief and shame, had suddenly died.

Hermione, upon hearing of the death of this dear
affectionate child, who had lost his life in sorrowing
for her misfortune, fainted, and Leontes, pierced to the
heart by the news, began to feel pity for his unhappy
queen, and he ordered Paulina, and the ladies who
310 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

were her attendants, to take her away, and use means
for her recovery. Paulina soon returned, and told the
king that Hermione was dead.

When Leontes heard that the queen was dead, he
repented of his cruelty to her; and now that he
thought his ill-usage had broken Hermione’s heart,
he believed her innocent; and he now thought the
words of the oracle were true, as he knew “if that
which was lost was not found,” which he concluded
was his young daughter, he should be without an
heir, the young prince Mamillus being dead; and
he would give his kingdom now to recover his lost
daughter: and Leontes gave himself up to remorse,
and passed many years in mournful thoughts and
repentant grief.

The ship in which Antigonus carried the infant
princess out to sea was driven by a storm upon the
coast of Bohemia, the very kingdom of the good king
Polixenes. Here Antigonus landed, and here he left
the little baby.

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

The child was dressed in rich clothes and jewels;
for Hermione had made it very fine when she sent
it to Leontes, and Antigonus had pinned a paper to
its mantle, with the name of Perdita written thereon,
and words obscurely intimating its high birth and
untoward fate.
SSS aT FG
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THE FINDING OF PERDITA,
THE WINTER'S TALE 311
This poor deserted baby was found by a shepherd.

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

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

Polixenes, the king of Bohemia, had an only son,
whose name was Florizel. As this young prince was
hunting near the shepherd’s dwelling, he saw the old
man’s supposed daughter; and the beauty, modesty,
and queen-like deportment of Perdita caused him
instantly to fall in love with her. He soon, under
the name of Doricles, and in the disguise of a private
gentleman, became a constant visitor at the old shep-
herd’s house.

Florizel’s frequent absence from court alarmed
Polixenes; and setting people to watch his son, he
discovered his love for the shepherd’s fair daughter.

Polixenes then called for Camillo, the faithful
Camillo, who had preserved his life from the fury
312 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

of Leontes; and desired that he would accompany
him to the house of the shepherd, the supposed father
of Perdita.

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

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

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

The king was so disguised that it was impossible
his son could know him; he therefore advanced near
enough to hear the conversation. The simple yet
elegant manner in which Perdita conversed with his son
did not a little surprise Polixenes: he said to Camillo,
“This is the prettiest low-born lass I ever saw ; nothing
she does or says but looks like something greater than
herself, too noble for this place.”

Camillo replied, “Indeed she is the very queen of
curds and cream.”

“Pray, my good friend,” said the king to the old
THE WINTER’S TALE 313

shepherd, “what fair swain is that talking with your
daughter?” “They call him Doricles,” replied the
shepherd. “He says he loves my daughter; and to
speak truth, there is not a kiss to choose which loves
the other best. If young Doricles can get her, she
shall bring him that he little dreams of :” meaning
the remainder of Perdita’s jewels; which, after he had
bought herds of sheep with part of them, he had care-
fully hoarded up for her marriage portion.

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

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

“ Mark your divorce, young sir,” said the king, dis-
covering himself. Polixenes then reproached his son
for daring to contract himself to this low-born maiden,
calling Perdita “ shepherd’s brat, sheep-hook,” and
other disrespectful names; and threatening, if ever she
314 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

suffered his son to see her again, he would put her, and
the old shepherd her father, to a cruel death.

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

When the king had departed, Perdita, whose royal
nature was roused by Polixenes’ reproaches, said,
“Though we are all undone, I was not much afraid; and
once or twice I was about to speak, and tell him plainly
that the selfsame sun which shines upon his palace,
hides not his face from our cottage, but looks on both
alike.” Then sorrowfully she said, “But now I am
awakened from this dream, I will queen it no farther.
Leave me, sir; I will go milk my ewes, and weep.”

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

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

To this proposal they joyfully agreed ; and Camillo,
THE WINTER’S TALE 315

who conducted everything relative to their flight,
allowed the old shepherd to go along with them.

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

After a prosperous voyage, Florizel and Perdita,
Camillo and the old shepherd, arrived in safety at
the court of Leontes. Leontes, who still mourned his
dead Hermione and his lost child, received Camillo
with great kindness, and gave a cordial welcome to
prince Florizel. But Perdita, whom Florizel intro-
duced as his princess, seemed to engross all Leontes’
attention : perceiving a resemblance between her and his
dead queen Hermione, his grief broke out afresh, and
he said, such a lovely creature might his own daughter
have been, if he had not so cruelly destroyed her.
“« And then too,” said he to Florizel, “I lost the society
and friendship of your brave father, whom I now desire
more than my life once again to look upon.”

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

Florizel and Perdita, Camillo and the faithful
Paulina, were present when the old shepherd related
to the king the manner in which he had found the
child, and also the circumstance of Antigonus’ death,
316 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

he having seen the bear seize upon him. He showed
the rich mantle in which Paulina remembered Her-
mione had wrapped the child; and he produced a
jewel which she remembered Hermione had tied about
Perdita’s neck; and he gave up the paper which
Paulina knew to be the writing of her husband; it
could not be doubted that Perdita was Leontes’ own
daughter: but O, the noble struggles of Paulina,
between sorrow for her husband’s death and joy that
the oracle was fulfilled, in the king’s heir, his long-lost
daughter, being found! When Leontes heard that
Perdita was his daughter, the great sorrow that he
felt that Hermione was not living to bekold her child,
made him that he could say nothing for a long time
but, “O thy mother, thy mother !”

Paulina interrupted this joyful yet distressful scene,
with saying to Leontes, that she had a statue, newly
finished by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano,
which was such a perfect resemblance of the queen,
that would his majesty be pleased to go to her house
and look upon it, he would almost be ready to think
it was Hermione herself. Thither then they all went ;
the king anxious to see the semblance of his Hermione,
and Perdita longing to behold what the mother she
never saw did look like.

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

“T like your silence, my liege,” said Paulina; “it
THE WINTER’S TALE 317

the more shows your wonder. Is not this statue very
like your queen?”

At length the king said, “O, thus she stood, even
with such majesty, when I first wooed her. But yet,
Paulina, Hermione was not so aged as this statuc looks.”
Paulina replied, “So much the more the carver’s excel-
lence, who has made the statue as Hermione would
have looked had she been living now. But let me draw
the curtain, sire, lest presently you think it moves,”

The king then said, “Do not draw the curtain!
Would I were dead! See, Camillo, would you not
think it breathed? Her eye seems to have motion
in it.” “TI must draw the curtain, my liege,” said
Paulina. “You are so transported, you will persuade
yourself the statue lives.” “O sweet Paulina,” said
Leontes, “make me think so twenty years together!
Still methinks there is an air comes from her. What
fine chisel could ever yet cut breath? Let no man
mock me, for I will kiss her.” “Good my lord,
forbear!” said Paulina. “The ruddiness upon her
lips is wet ; you will stain your own with oily painting.
Shall I draw the curtain?” « No, not these twenty
years,” said Leontes.

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

“ Hither forbear this transport,” said Paulina to
Leontes, “and let me draw the curtain ; or prepare
yourself for more amazement. I can make the statue
move indeed; ay, and descend from off the pedestal,
318 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

and take you by the hand. But then you will think,
which I protest Iam not, that I am assisted by some
wicked powers.”

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing but congratulations and affectionate
speeches were heard on all sides. Now the delighted
THE WINTER'S TALE 319

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

And as if nothing should be wanting to complete
this strange and unlooked-for joy, king Polixenes him-
self now entered the palace.

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

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

Thus have we seen the patient virtues of the long-
suffering Hermione rewarded. That excellent lady
lived many years with her Leontes and her Perdita,
the happiest of mothers and of queens.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

Bertram, count of Rossilion, had newly come to his
title and estate, by the death of his father. The king
of France loved the father of Bertram, and when he
heard of his death, he sent for his son to come im-
mediately to his royal court at Paris; intending, for
the friendship he bore the late count, to grace young
Bertram with his especial favour and protection.
Bertram was living with his mother, the widowed
countess, when Lafeu, an old lord of the French court,
came to conduct Bertram to the king. The king of
France was an absolute monarch, and the invitation
to court was in the form of a royal mandate, or posi-
tive command, which no subject, of what high dignity
soever, might disobey; therefore though the countess,
in parting with this dear son, seemed a second time
to bury her husband, whose loss she had so lately
mourned, yet she dared not to keep him a single day,
but gave instant orders for his departure. Lafeu,
who came to fetch him, tried to comfort the countess
for the loss of her late lord, and her son’s absence ;
and he said, in a courtier’s flattering manner, that
the king was so kind a prince, she would find in his
majesty a husband, and that he would be a father to
her son; meaning only, that the good king would
820
ALLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL 321

befriend the fortunes of Bertram. Lafeu told the
countess that the king had fallen into a sad malady,
which was pronounced by his physicians to be incur-
able. The lady expressed great sorrow on hearing
this account of the king’s ill health; and said, she
wished the father of Helena (a young gentlewoman
who was present in attendance upon her) were living,
for that she doubted not he could have cured his
majesty of his disease. And she told Lafeu some-
thing of the history of Helena, saying she was the
only daughter of the famous physician Gerard de
Narbon, and that he had recommended his daughter
to her care when he was dying, so that, since his
death, she had taken Helena under her protection ;
then the countess praised the virtuous disposition and
excellent qualities of Helena, saying she inherited
these virtues from her worthy father. While she was
speaking, Helena wept in sad and mournful silence,
which made the countess gently reprove her for too
much grieving for her father’s death.

Bertram now bade his mother farewell. The coun-
tess parted with this dear son with tears and many
blessings, and commended him to the care of Lafeu,
saying, “Good my lord, advise him, for he is an
unseasoned courtier.”

Bertram’s last words were spoken to Helena, but
they were words of mere civility, wishing her happi-
ness; and he concluded his short farewell to her with
saying, ‘ Be comfortable to my mother, your mistress,
and make much of her.”

Helena had long loved Bertram, and when she
x
322 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

wept in sad and mournful silence, the tears she shed
were not for Gerard de Narbon. Helena loved her
father, but in the present feeling of a deeper love, the
object of which she was about to lose, she had for-
gotten the very form and features of her dead father,
her imagination presenting no image to her mind but
Bertram’s.

Helena had long loved Bertram, yet she always
remembered that he was the count of Rossilion, de-
scended from the most ancient family in Paris. She
of humble birth. Her parents of no note at all. His
ancestors all noble. And therefore she looked up to
the high-born Bertram as to her master and to her
dear lord, and dared not form any wish but to live
his servant, and so living to die his vassal. So great
the distance seemed to her between his height of
dignity and her lowly fortunes, that she would say,
“Jt were all one that I should love a bright peculiar
star, and think to wed it, Bertram is so far above me.”

Bertram’s absence filled her eyes with tears, and
her heart with sorrow; for though she loved without
hope, yet it was a pretty comfort to her to see him
every hour, and Helena would sit and look upon his
dark eye, his arched brow, and the curls of his fine
hair, till she seemed to draw his portrait on the
tablet of her heart, that heart too capable of retain-
ing the memory of every line in the features of that
loved face.

Gerard de Narbon, when he died, left her no other
portion than some prescriptions of rare and well
proved virtue, which by deep study and long experi-
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 3823

ence in medicine, he had collected as sovereign and
almost infallible remedies. Among the rest, there
was one set down as an improved medicine for the
disease under which Lafeu said the king at that time
languished ; and when Helena heard of the king’s
complaint, she who till now had been so humble and
so hopeless, formed an ambitious project in her mind
to go herself to Paris, and undertake the cure of the
king. But though Helena was the possessor of this
choice prescription, it was unlikely, as the king as
well as his physicians were of opinion that his disease
was incurable, that they would give credit to a poor
unlearned virgin, if she should offer to perform a cure.
The firm hopes that Helena had of succeeding, if she
might be permitted to make the trial, seemed more
than even her father’s skill warranted, though he was
the most famous physician of his time; for she felt
a strong faith that this good medicine was sanctified
by all the luckiest stars in heaven, to be the legacy
that should advance her fortune, even to the high
dignity of being count Rossilion’s wife.

Bertram had not been long gone, when the countess
was informed by her steward, that he had overheard
Helena talking to herself, and that he understood,
from some words she uttered, she was in love with
Bertram, and had thought of following him to Paris.
The countess dismissed the steward with thanks, and
desired him to tell Helena she wished to speak with
her. What she had just heard of Helena brought
the remembrance of days long past into the mind of
the countess; those days probably when her love for
324 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Bertram’s father first began; and she said to herself,
“Even so it was with me when I was young. Love
is a thorn that belongs to the rose of youth; for in
the season of youth, if ever we are nature’s children,
these faults are ours, though then we think not they
are faults.” While the countess was thus meditating
on the loving errors of her own youth, Helena
entered, and she said to her, “Helena, you know I
am a mother to you.” Helena replied, “ You are
my honourable mistress.” “ You are my daughter,”
said the countess again: “I say I am your mother.
Why do you start and look pale at my words ?”
With looks of alarm and confused thoughts, fearing
the countess suspected her love, Helena still replied,
“Pardon me, madam, you are not my mother; the
count Rossilion cannot be my brother, nor I your
daughter.” “Yet, Helena,” said the countess, “ you
might be my daughter-in-law; and I am afraid that is
what you mean to be, the words mother and daughter
so disturb you. Helena, do you love my son?”
“Good madam, pardon me,” said the affrighted
Helena. Again the countess repeated her question,
“Do you love my son?” “Do not you love him,
madam?” said Helena. The countess replied, “Give
me not this evasive answer, Helena. Come, come,
disclose the state of your affections, for your love
has to the full appeared.” Helena on her knees now
owned her love, and with shame and terror implored
the pardon of her noble mistress : and with words
expressive of the sense she had of the inequality
between their fortunes, she protested Bertram did
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 325

not know she loved him, comparing her humble
unaspiring love to a poor Indian, who adores the
sun, that looks upon his worshipper, but knows of
him no more. The countess asked Helena if she
had not lately an intent to go to Paris? Helena
owned the design she had formed in her mind, when
she heard Lafeu speak of the king’s illness. “This
was your motive for wishing to go to Paris,” said the
countess, “was it? Speak truly.” Helena honestly
answered, “ My lord your son made me to think of this,
else Paris, and the medicine, and the king had from
the conversation of my thoughts been absent then.”
The countess heard the whole of this confession
without saying a word either of approval or of blame,
but she strictly questioned Helena as to the proba-
bility of the medicine being useful to the king. She
found that it was the most prized by Gerard de
Narbon of all he possessed, and that he had given it
to his daughter on his death-bed; and remembering
the solemn promise she had made at that awful hour
in regard to this young maid, whose destiny, and the
life of the king himself, seemed to depend on the
execution of a project (which though conceived by
the fond suggestions of a loving maiden’s thoughts,
the countess knew not but it might be the unseen
workings of Providence to bring to pass the recovery
of the king, and to lay the foundation of the future
fortunes of Gerard de Narbon’s daughter), free leave
she gave to Helena to pursue her own way, and
generously furnished her with ample means and suit-
able attendants; and Helena set out for Paris with the
396 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

blessings of the countess, and her kindest wishes for
her success.

Helena arrived at Paris, and by the assistance of
her friend, the old lord Lafeu, obtained ‘an audience of
the king. She had still many difficulties to encounter,
for the king was not easily prevailed on to try the
medicine offered him by this fair young doctor. But
she told him she was Gerard de Narbon’s daughter
(with whose fame the king was well acquainted), and
she offered the precious medicine as the darling
treasure which contained the essence of all her father’s
long experience and skill, and she boldly engaged to
forfeit her life, if it failed to restore his majesty to
perfect health in the space of two days. The king
at length consented to try it, and in two days’ time
Helena was to lose her life if the king did not recover ;
but if she succeeded, he promised to give her the
choice of any man throughout all France (the princes
only excepted) whom she could like for a husband ;
the choice of a husband being the fee Helena de-
manded, if she cured the king of his disease.

Helena did not deceive herself in the hope she con-
ceived of the efficacy of her father’s medicine. Before
two days were at an end the king was restored to
perfect health, and he assembled all the young noble-
men of his court together, in order to confer the
promised reward of a husband on his fair physician ;
and he desired Helena to look round on this youthful
parcel of noble bachelors, and choose her husband.
Helena was not slow to make her choice, for among
these young lords she saw the count Rossilion, and
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 327

turning to Bertram, she said, “This is the man. I
dare not say, my lord, I take you, but I give me
and my service ever whilst I live, into your guiding
power.” ‘ Why then,” said the king, “ young Bertram,
take her; she is your wife.” Bertram did not hesitate
to declare his dislike to this present of the king’s
of the self-offered Helena, who, he said, was a poor
physician’s daughter, bred at his father’s charge,
and now living a dependant on his mother’s bounty.
Helena heard him speak these words of rejection and
of scorn, and she said to the king, “That you are
well, my lord, I am glad. Let the rest go.” But
the king would not suffer his royal command to be
so slighted, for the power of bestowing their nobles
in marriage was one of the many privileges of the
kings of France; and that same day Bertram was
married to Helena, a forced and uneasy marriage to
Bertram, and of no promising hope to the poor lady,
who, though she gained the noble husband she had
hazarded her life to obtain, seemed to have won but
a splendid blank, her husband’s love not being a gift
in the power of the king of France to bestow.

Helena was no sooner married than she was desired
by Bertram to apply to the king for him for leave of
absence from court; and when she brought him the
king’s permission for his departure, Bertram told her
that as he was not prepared for this sudden marriage,
it had much unsettled him, and therefore she must not
wonder at the course he should pursue. If Helena
wondered not, she grieved when she found it was his
intention to leave her. He ordered her to go home to
328 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

his mother. When Helena heard this unkind command,
she replied, “Sir, I can say nothing to this but that I
am your most obedient servant, and shall ever with
true observance seek to eke out that desert wherein my
homely stars have failed to equal my great fortunes.”
But this humble speech of Helena’s did not at all move
the haughty Bertram to pity his gentle wife, and he
parted from her without the common civility of a kind
farewell.

Back to the countess then Helena returned. She
had accomplished the purport of her journey, she had
preserved the life of the king, and she had wedded her
heart’s dear lord, the count Rossilion ; but she returned
back a dejected lady to her noble mother-in-law, and as
soon as she entered the house she received a letter from
Bertram which almost broke her heart.

The good countess received her with a cordial wel-
come, as if she had been her son’s own choice, and a
lady of high degree, and she spoke kind words to com-
fort her for the unkind neglect of Bertram in sending
his wife home on her bridal-day alone. But this
gracious reception failed to cheer the sad mind of
Helena, and she said, “Madam, my lord is gone, for
ever gone.” She then read these words out of
Bertram’s letter: When you can get the ring from my
Jinger which never shall come off, then call me hus-
band ; but in such a Then I write a Never. “This is a
dreadful sentence!” said Helena. The countess begged
her to have patience, and said, now Bertram was gone,
she should be her child, and that she deserved a lord
that twenty such rude boys as Bertram might tend
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 329

upon, and hourly call her mistress. But in vain by
respectful condescension and kind flattery this match-
less mother tried to soothe the sorrows of her daughter-
in-law. Helena still kept her eyes fixed upon the
letter, and cried out in an agony of grief, Till I have
no wife, I have nothing in France. The countess asked
her if she found those words in the letter? “ Yes,
madam,” was all poor Helena could answer.

The next morning Helena was missing. She left
a letter to be delivered to the countess after she was
gone, to acquaint her with the reason of her sudden
absence: in this letter she informed her that she was
so much grieved at having driven Bertram from his
native country and his home, that, to atone for her
offence, she had undertaken a pilgrimage to the shrine
of St. Jaques le Grand, and concluded with requesting
the countess to inform her son that the wife he so
hated had left his house for ever.

Bertram, when he left Paris, went to Florence, and
there became an officer in the duke of Florence’s army ;
and after a successful war, in which he distinguished
himself by many brave actions, Bertram received letters
from his mother, containing the acceptable tidings that
Helena would no more disturb him; and he was pre-
paring to return home when Helena herself, clad in her
pilgrim’s weeds, arrived at the city of Florence.

Florence was a city through which the pilgrims used
to pass on their way to St. Jaques le Grand; and when
Helena arrived at this city she heard that a hospitable
widow dwelt there, who used to receive into her house
the female pilgrims that were going to visit the shrine
330 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

of that saint, giving them lodging and kind entertain-
ment. To this good lady therefore Helena went, and
the widow gave her a courteous welcome, and invited
her to see whatever was curious in that famous city,
and told her that if she would like to see the duke’s
army she would take her where she might have a full
view of it. “And you will see a countryman of yours,”
said the widow; “his name is count Rossilion, who has
done worthy service in the duke’s wars.” Helena wanted
no second invitation, when she found Bertram was to
make a part of the show. She accompanied her hostess,
and a sad and mournful pleasure it was to her to look
once more upon her dear husband’s face.“ Is he not a
handsome man?” said the widow. “I like him well,”
replied Helena with great truth. All the way they
walked, the talkative widow’s discourse was all of
Bertram: she told Helena the story of Bertram’s
marriage, and how he had deserted the poor lady his
wife, and entered into the duke’s army to avoid living
with her. To this account of her own misfortunes
Helena patiently listened, and when it was ended the
history of Bertram was not yet done, for then the
widow began another tale, every word of which sunk
deep into the mind of Helena, for the story she now
told was of Bertram’s love for her daughter.

Though Bertram did not like the marriage forced
on him by the king, it seems he was not insensible to
love, for since he had been stationed with the army
at Florence, he had fallen in love with Diana, a fair
young gentlewoman, the daughter of this widow who
was Helena’s hostess; and every night, with music of
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 331

all sorts, and songs composed in praise of Diana’s
beauty, he would come under her window, and solicit
her love; and all his suit to her was, that she would
permit him to visit her by stealth after the family were
retired to rest; but Diana would by no means be per-
suaded to grant this improper request, nor give any
encouragement to his suit, knowing him to be a mar-
ried man; for Diana had been brought up under the
counsels of a prudent mother, who, though she was
now in reduced circumstances, was well-born, and de-
scended from the noble family of the Capulets.

All this the good lady related to Helena, highly
praising the virtuous principles of her discreet daugh-
ter, which she said were entirely owing to the excellent
education and good advice she had given her; and she
further said, that Bertram had been particularly im-
portunate with Diana to admit him to the visit he
so much desired that night, because he was going to
leave Florence early the next morning.

Though it grieved Helena to hear of Bertram’s
love for the widow’s daughter, yet from this story the
ardent mind of Helena conceived a project (nothing
discouraged at the ill-success of her former one) to
recover her truant lord. She disclosed to the widow
that she was Helena, the deserted wife of Bertram,
and requested that her kind hostess and her daughter
would suffer this visit from Bertram to take place, and
allow her to pass herself upon Bertram for Diana; tell-
ing them, her chief motive for desiring to have this
secret meeting with her husband, was to get a ring
from him, which he had said, if ever she was in
332 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

possession of, he would acknowledge her as his
wife.

The widow and her daughter promised to assist her
in this affair, partly moved by pity for this unhappy
forsaken wife, and partly won over to her interest by
the promises of reward which Helena made them,
giving them a purse of money in earnest of her future
favour. In the course of that day Helena caused in-
formation to be sent to Bertram that she was dead;
hoping that when he thought himself free to make a
second choice by the news of her death, he would offer
marriage to her in her feigned character of Diana.
And if she could obtain the ring and this promise too,
she doubted not she should make some future good
come of it.

In the evening, after it was dark, Bertram was ad-
mitted into Diana’s chamber, and Helena was there
ready to receive him. The flattering compliments and
love-discourse he addressed to Helena were precious
sounds to her, though she knew they were meant for
Diana; and Bertram was so well pleased with her, that
he made her a solemn promise to be her husband, and
to love her for ever; which she hoped would be pro-
phetic of a real affection, when he should know it was
his own wife, the despised Helena, whose conversation
had so delighted him.

Bertram never knew how sensible a lady Helena
was, else perhaps he would not have been so regardless
of her; and seeing her every day, he had entirely
overlooked her beauty; a face we are accustomed to
see constantly, losing the effect which is caused by the
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 333

first sight either of beauty or of plainness; and of her
understanding it was impossible he should judge, be-
cause she felt such reverence, mixed with her love
for him, that she was always silent in his presence ;
but now that her future fate, and the happy ending of
all her love-projects, seemed to depend on her leaving
a favourable impression on the mind of Bertram from
this night’s interview, she exerted all her wit to please
him; and the simple graces of her lively conversa-
tion and the endearing sweetness of her manners so
charmed Bertram, that he vowed she should be his
wife. Helena begged the ring from off his finger as
a token of his regard, and he gave it to her; and in
return for this ring, which it was of such importance to
her to possess, she gave him another ring, which was
one the king had made her a present of. Before it
was light in the morning, she sent Bertram away; and
he immediately set out on his journey towards his
mother’s house.

Helena prevailed on the widow and Diana to accom-
pany her to Paris, their further assistance being neces-
sary to the full accomplishment of the plan she had
formed. When they arrived there, they found the
king was gone upon a visit to the countess of Rossilion,
and Helena followed the king with all the speed she
could make.

The king was still in perfect health, and his grati-
tude to her who had been the means of his recovery
was so lively in his mind, that the moment he saw the
countess of Rossilion, he began to talk of Helena,
calling her a precious jewel that was lost by the folly
334 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

of her son; but seeing the subject distressed the
countess, who sincerely lamented the death of Helena,
he said, “ My good lady, I have forgiven and forgotten
all.” But the good-natured old Lafeu, who was pre-
sent, and could not bear that the memory of his
favourite Helena should be so lightly passed over,
said, “This I must say, the young lord did great
offence to his majesty, his mother, and his lady; but
to himself he did the greatest wrong of all, for he has
lost a wife whose beauty astonished all eyes, whose
words took all ears captive, whose deep perfection
made all hearts wish to serve her.” The king said,
“Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear.
Well—call him hither;” meaning Bertram, who now
presented himself before the king: and on his ex-
pressing deep sorrow for the injuries he had done to
Helena, the king, for his dead father’s and his admir-
able mother’s sake, pardoned him and restored him
once more to his favour. But the gracious counten-
ance of the king was soon changed towards him, for he
perceived that Bertram wore the very ring upon his
finger which he had given to Helena; and he well
remembered that Helena had called all the saints in
heaven to witness she would never part with that ring,
unless she sent it to the king himself upon some great
disaster befalling her; and Bertram, on the king’s
questioning him how he came by the ring, told an im-
probable story of a lady throwing it to him out of a
window, and denied ever having seen Helena since the
day of their marriage. The king knowing Bertram’s

dislike to his wife, feared he had destroyed her; and he
ALLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL 335

ordered his guards to seize Bertram, saying, “I am
wrapped in dismal thinking, for I fear the life of Helena
was foully snatched.” At this moment Diana and her
mother entered, and presented a petition to the king,
wherein they begged his majesty to exert his royal
power to compel Bertram to marry Diana, he having —
made her a solemn promise of marriage. Bertram,
fearing the king’s anger, denied he had made any such
promise; and then Diana produced the ring (which
Helena had put into her hands) to confirm the truth
of her words; and she said that she had given Bertram
the ring he then wore, in exchange for that, at the
time he vowed to marry her. On hearing this, the
king ordered the guards to seize her also; and her
account of the ring differing from Bertram’s, the king’s
suspicions were confirmed ; and he said, if they did not
confess how they came by this ring of Helena’s, they
should be both put to death. Diana requested her
mother might be permitted to fetch the jeweller of
whom she bought the ring, which being granted, the
widow went out, and presently returned leading in
Helena herself.

The good countess, who in silent grief had beheld
her son’s danger, and had even dreaded that the
suspicion of his having destroyed his wife might
possibly be true, finding her dear Helena, whom she
loved with even a maternal affection, was still living,
felt a delight she was hardly able to support; and the
king, scarce believing for joy that it was Helena, said,
“Ts this indeed the wife of Bertram that I see?”
Helena, feeling herself yet an unacknowledged wife,
336 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

replied, “No, my good lord, it is but the shadow of a
wife you see, the name and not the thing.” Bertram
cried out, “Both, both! O pardon!” “O my lord,”
said Helena, “when I personated this fair maid, I
found you wondrous kind; and look, here is your
letter!” reading to him in a joyful tone those words
which she had once repeated so sorrowfully, When
from my finger you can get this ring — “This is done,
it was to me you gave the ring. Will you be mine,
now you are doubly won?” Bertram replied, “If you
can make it plain that you were the lady I talked with
that night, I will love you dearly, ever, ever dearly.”
This was no difficult task, for the widow and Diana
came with Helena purposely to prove this fact; and
the king was so well pleased with Diana, for the
friendly assistance she had rendered the dear lady he so
truly valued for the service she had done him, that he
promised her also a noble husband; Helena’s history
giving him a hint that it was a suitable reward for
kings to bestow upon fair ladies when they perform
notable services.

Thus Helena at last found that her father’s legacy
was indeed sanctified by the luckiest stars in heaven ;
for she was now the beloved wife of her dear Bertram,
the daughter-in-law of her noble mistress, and herself
the countess of Rossilion.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF
VERONA

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

One morning Valentine came to Protheus to tell
him that they must for a time be separated, for that
he was going to Milan. Protheus, unwilling to part
with his friend, used many arguments to prevail
upon Valentine not to leave him; but Valentine said,

“Cease to persuade me, my loving Protheus. I will
837 Y
838 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

not, like a sluggard, wear out my youth in idleness at
home. Home-keeping youths have ever homely wits.
If your affection were not chained to the sweet glances
of your honoured Julia, I would entreat you to accom-
pany me, to see the wonders of the world abroad; but
since you are a lover, love on still, and may your love
be prosperous!”

They parted with mutual expressions of unalterable
friendship. “Sweet Valentine, adieu!” said Protheus ;
“think on me when you see some rare object worthy
of notice in your travels, and wish me partaker of
your happiness.”

Valentine began his journey that same day towards
Milan; and when his friend had left him, Protheus
sat down to write a letter to Julia, which he gave to
her maid Lucetta to deliver to her mistress.

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

And when Lucetta offered the letter to Julia, she
would not receive it, and chid her maid for taking
letters from Protheus, and ordered her to leave the
room. But she so much wished to see what was
written in the letter that she soon called in her maid
again, and when Lucetta returned, she said, “ What
o'clock is it?” Lucetta, who knew her mistress more
desired to see the letter than to know the time of day,
without answering her question, again offered the re-
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 339

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

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

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

Protheus was greatly delighted at receiving this
favourable answer to his letter; and while he was
reading it, he exclaimed, “Sweet love, sweet lines,
sweet life!” In the midst of his raptures he was
interrupted by his father. “How now!” said the old
gentleman, “what letter are you reading there?”
340 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

“My lord,” replied Protheus, “it is a letter from my
friend Valentine, at Milan.”

“Lend me the letter,” said his father: “let me see
what news.”

“There are no news, my lord,” said Protheus, greatly
alarmed, “but that he writes how well beloved he is of
the duke of Milan, who daily graces him with favours ;
and how he wishes me with him, the partner of his
fortune.”

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

“ As one relying on your lordship’s will, and not
depending on his friendly wish,” said Protheus.

Now it had happened that Protheus’ father had just
been talking with a friend on this very subject: his
friend had said, he wondered his lordship suffered his
son to spend his youth at home, while most men were
sending their sons to seek preferment abroad: ‘some,’
said he, “to the wars, to try their fortunes there, and
some to discover islands far away, and some to study
in foreign universities; and there is his companion
Valentine, he is gone to the duke of Milan’s court.
Your son is fit for any of these things, and it will be
a great disadvantage to him in his riper age, not to
have travelled in his youth.”

Protheus’ father thought the advice of his friend
was very good, and upon Protheus telling him that
Valentine “wished him with him, the partner of his
fortune,” he at once determined to send his son to
Milan; and without giving Protheus any reason for
this sudden resolution, it being the usual habit of this
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 341

positive old gentleman to command his son, not reason
with him, he said, “ My will is the same as Valentine’s
wish:” and seeing his son look astonished, he added,
“Look not amazed, that I so suddenly resolve you
shall spend some time in the duke of Milan’s court;
for what I will I will, and there is an end. To-
morrow be in readiness to go. Make no excuses; for
I am peremptory.”

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

Now that Julia found she was going to lose Protheus
for so long a time, she no longer pretended indiffer-
ence; and they bade each other a mournful farewell,
with many vows of love and constancy. Protheus and
Julia exchanged rings, which they both promised to
keep for ever in remembrance of each other; and thus,
taking a sorrowful leave, Protheus set out on his jour-
ney to Milan, the abode of his friend Valentine.

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

She who had wrought this wondrous change in
Valentine was the lady Silvia, daughter of the duke
of Milan, and she also loved him; but they concealed
their love from the duke, because although he showed
342 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

much kindness for Valentine, and invited him every
day to his palace, yet he designed to marry his
daughter to a young courtier whose name was Thurio.
Silvia despised this Thurio, for he had none of the fine
sense and excellent qualities of Valentine.

These two rivals, Thurio and Valentine, were one
day on a visit to Silvia, and Valentine was entertaining
Silvia with turning everything Thurio said into ridi-
cule, when the duke himself entered the room, and
told Valentine the welcome news of his friend Pro-
theus’ arrival. Valentine said, “If I had wished a
thing, it would have been to have seen him here !”
and then he highly praised Protheus to the duke,
saying, “My lord, though I have been a truant of my
time, yet hath my friend made use and fair advantage
of his days, and is complete in person and in mind, in
all good grace to grace a gentleman.”

“Welcome him then according to his worth,” said
the duke: “Silvia, I speak to you, and you, sir
Thurio; for Valentine, I need not bid him do so.”
They were here interrupted by the entrance of Pro-
theus, and Valentine introduced him to Silvia, saying,
“Sweet lady, entertain him to be my fellow-servant to
your ladyship.”

When Valentine and Protheus had ended their visit,
and were alone together, Valentine said, ‘‘ Now tell me
how all does from whence you came? How does your
lady, and how thrives your love?” Protheus replied,
“My tales of love used to weary you. I know you joy
not in a love-discourse.”

“‘ Ay, Protheus,” returned Valentine, “ but that life
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 343

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

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

Valentine imparted to him in confidence the whole
history of his love, and how carefully they had con-
B44 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

cealed it from the duke her father, and told him, that,
despairing of ever being able to obtain his consent,
he had prevailed upon Silvia to leave her father’s
palace that night, and go with him to Mantua; then
he showed Protheus a ladder of ropes, by help of
which he meant to assist Silvia to get out of one of
the windows of the palace, after it was dark.

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

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

The duke thought Protheus quite a miracle of
integrity, in that he preferred telling his friend’s in-
tention rather than he would conceal an unjust
action; highly commended him, and promised him
not to let Valentine know from whom he had learnt
this intelligence, but by some artifice to make Valen-
tine betray the secret himself. For this purpose
the duke awaited the coming of Valentine in the
evening, whom he soon saw hurrying towards the
palace, and he perceived something was wrapped
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 345

within his cloak, which he concluded was the rope-
ladder.

The duke upon this stopped him, saying, “ Whither
away so fast, Valentine?” ‘‘ May it please your grace,”
said Valentine, “there is a messenger, that stays to
bear my letters to my friends, and I am going to
deliver them.” Now this falsehood of Valentine’s
had no better success in the event than the untruth
Protheus told his father.

“ Be they of much import?” said the duke.

* No more, my lord,” said Valentine, “than to tell
my father I am well and happy at your grace’s
court.”

“Nay, then,” said the duke, “no matter: stay
with me a while. I wish your counsel about some
affairs that concern me nearly.” He then told Valen-
tine an artful story, as a prelude to draw his secret
from him, saying, that Valentine knew he wished to
match his daughter with Thurio, but that she was
stubborn and disobedient to his commands, “neither
regarding,” said he, “that she is my child, nor fearing
me as if I were her father. And I may say to thee,
this pride of hers has drawn my love from her. I had
thought my age should have been cherished by her
child-like duty. I now am resolved to take a wife,
and turn her out to whosoever will take her in. Let
her beauty be her wedding dower, for me and my
possessions she esteems not.”

Valentine, wondering where all this would end, made
answer, “And what would your grace have me to do
in all this?”
346 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine then unfortunately proposed, that the
duke should get into the lady’s chamber at night by
means of a ladder of ropes, saying, he would procure
him one fitting for that purpose; and in conclusion
advised him to conceal this ladder of ropes under
such a cloak as that which he now wore. “Lend me
your cloak,” said the duke, who had feigned this long
story on purpose to have a pretence to get off the
cloak: so, upon saying these words, he caught hold
of Valentine’s cloak, and throwing it back, he dis-
covered not only the ladder of ropes, but also a
letter of Silvia’s, which he instantly opened, and,
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 347

read; and this letter contained a full account of their
intended elopement. The duke, after upbraiding
Valentine for his ingratitude in thus returning the
favour he had shown him, by endeavouring to steal
away his daughter, banished him from the court and
city of Milan for ever; and Valentine was forced to
depart that night, without even seeing Silvia.

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

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

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

The reason Julia looked so very melancholy was,
348 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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

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

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

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


JULIA OFFERING SILVIA THE RING OF PROTEUS.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 349

When she went to that lady with the ring, she was
most glad to find that Silvia utterly rejected the suit
of Protheus; and Julia, or the page Sebastian, as she
was called, entered into conversation with Silvia about
Protheus’ first love, the forsaken lady Julia. She,
putting in (as one may say) a good word for herself,
said she knew Julia; as well she might, being herself
the Julia of whom she spoke; telling how fondly
Julia loved her master Protheus, and how his unkind
neglect would grieve her; and then she with a pretty
equivocation went on: “Julia is about my height and
of my complexion, the colour of her eyes and hair
the same as mine;” and indeed Julia looked a most
beautiful youth in her boy’s attire. Silvia was moved
to pity this lovely lady, who was so sadly forsaken
by the man she loved; and when Julia offered the
ring which Protheus had sent, refused it, saying, “'The
more shame for him that he sends me that ring; I
will not take it, for I have often heard him say his
Julia gave it to him. I love thee, gentle youth, for
pitying her, poor lady! Here is a purse; I give it
you for Julia’s sake.” These comfortable words
coming from her kind rival’s tongue cheered the
drooping heart of the disguised lady.

But to return to the banished Valentine, who scarce
knew which way to bend his course, being unwilling
to return home to his father a disgraced and banished
man: as he was wandering over a lonely forest, not
far distant from Milan, where he had lert his heart’s
dear treasure, the lady Silvia, he was set upon by
robbers, who demanded his money.
350 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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

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

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

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

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

Silvia contrived to effect her escape from her
father’s palace in company with a worthy old gentle-
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 351

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

The robber who had taken Silvia, seeing the terror
she was in, bid her not be alarmed, for that he was
only going to carry her to a cave where his captain
lived, and that she need not be afraid, for their cap-
tain had an honourable mind, and always showed
humanity to women. Silvia found little comfort in
hearing she was going to be carried as a prisoner be-
fore the captain of a lawless banditti. “O Valentine,”
she cried, “this I endure for thee!”

But as the robber was conveying her to the cave
of his captain, he was stopped by Protheus, who, still
attended by Julia in the disguise of a page, having
heard of the flight of Silvia, had traced her steps to
this forest. Protheus now rescued her from the hands
of the robber; but scarce had she time to thank him
for the service he had done her, before he began to
distress her afresh with his love-suit; and while he
was rudely pressing her to consent to marry him, and
his page (the forlorn Julia) was standing beside him
in great anxiety of mind, fearing lest the great service
which Protheus had just done to Silvia should win her
to show him some favour, they were all strangely sur-
prised with the sudden appearance of Valentine, who,
having heard his robbers had taken a lady prisoner,
came to console and relieve her.

Protheus was courting Silvia, and he was so much
352 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ashamed of being caught by his friend, that he was
all at once seized with penitence and remorse; and
he expressed such a lively sorrow for the injuries he
had done to Valentine, that Valentine, whose nature
was noble and generous, even to a romantic degree,
not only forgave and restored him to his former place
in his friendship, but in a sudden flight of heroism he
said, “I freely do forgive you; and all the interest I
have in Silvia, I give it up to you.” Julia, who was
standing beside her master as a page, hearing this
strange offer, and fearing Protheus would not be able
with this new-found virtue to refuse Silvia, fainted,
and they were all employed in recovering her; else
would Silvia have been offended at being thus made
over to Protheus, though she could scarcely think that
Valentine would long persevere in this overstrained
and too generous act of friendship. When Julia re-
covered from the fainting fit, she said, “I had forgot,
my master ordered me to deliver this ring to Silvia.”
Protheus, looking upon the ring, saw that it was the
one he gave to Julia, in return for that which he
received from her, and which he had sent by the sup-
posed page to Silvia. ‘ How is this?” said he: “this
is Julia’s ring; how came you by it, boy?” Julia
answered, “ Julia herself did give it me, and Julia her-
self hath brought it hither.”

Protheus now looking earnestly upon her, plainly
perceived that the page Sebastian was no other than
the lady Julia herself; and the proof she had given of
her constancy and true love so wrought in him, that
his love for her returned into his heart, and he took
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 353

again his own dear lady, and joyfully resigned all pre-
tensions to the lady Silvia to Valentine, who had so
well deserved her.

Protheus and Valentine were expressing their happi-
ness in their reconciliation, and in the love of their
faithful ladies, when they were surprised with the sight
of the duke of Milan and Thurio, who came there in
pursuit of Silvia.

Thurio first approached, and attempted to seize
Silvia, saying, “Silvia is mine.” Upon this Valentine
said to him in a very spirited manner, “'Thurio, keep
back: if once again you say that Silvia is yours, you
shall embrace your death. Here she stands, take but
possession of her with a touch! I dare you but to
breathe upon my love.” Hearing this threat, Thurio,
who was a great coward, drew back, and said he cared
not for her, and that none but a fool would fight for a
girl who loved him not.

The duke, who was a very brave man himself, said
now in great anger, “The more base and degenerate
in you to take such means for her as you have done,
and leave her on such light conditions.” Then turn-
ing to Valentine, he said, “I do applaud your spirit,
Valentine, and think you worthy of an empress’s love.
You shall have Silvia, for you have well deserved her.”
Valentine then with great humility kissed the duke’s
hand, and accepted the noble present which he had
made him of his daughter with becoming thankfulness ;
taking occasion of this joyful minute to entreat the
good-humoured duke to pardon the thieves with whom

he had associated in the forest, assuring him that when
z
354 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

reformed and restored to society, there would be found
among them many good, and fit for great employment ;
for the most of them had been banished, like Valentine,
for state offences, rather than for any black crimes they
had been guilty of. To this the ready duke consented ;
and now nothing remained but that Protheus, the false
friend, was ordained, by way of penance for his love-
prompted faults, to be present at the recital of the
whole story of his loves and falsehoods before the duke;
and the shame of the recital to his awakened conscience
was judged sufficient punishment: which being done,
the lovers, all four, returned back to Milan, and their
nuptials were solemnised in presence of the duke, with
high triumphs and feasting.
CYMBELINE

Durixe the time of Augustus Cxsar, emperor of
Rome, there reigned in England (which was then
called Britain) a king whose name was Cymbeline.

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

Cymbeline was twice married; his second wife
was a wicked, plotting woman, and a cruel step-
mother to Imogen, Cymbeline’s daughter by his first
wife.

The queen, though she hated Imogen, yet wished
her to marry a son of her own by a former husband
(she also having been twice married): for by this
means she hoped upon the death of Cymbeline to
place the crown of Britain upon the head of her son
Cloten; for she knew that, if the king’s sons were not
found, the princess Imogen must be the king’s heir.
But this design was Petes by Imogen herself, who
356 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

married without the consent or even knowledge of her
father or the queen.

Posthumus (for that was the name of Imogen’s hus-
band) was the best scholar and most accomplished
gentleman of that age. His father died fighting in
the wars for Cymbeline, and soon after his birth his
mother died also for grief at the loss of her husband.

Cymbeline, pitying the helpless state of this orphan,
took Posthumus (Cymbeline having given him that
name, because he was born after his father’s death),
and educated him in his own court.

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

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

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

The queen, who pretended to pity Imogen for the
grief she suffered at losing her husband, offered to
procure them a private meeting before Posthumus set
out on his journey to Rome, which place he had chosen
for his residence in his banishment: this seeming kind-
CYMBELINE 357

ness she showed, the better to succeed in her future
designs in regard to her son Cloten; for she meant to
persuade Imogen, when her husband was gone, that her
marriage was not lawful, being contracted without the
consent of the king.

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

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

Posthumus fell into company at Rome with some
gay young men of different nations, who were talking
freely of ladies; each one praising the ladies of his own
country, and his own mistress. Posthumus, who had
ever his own dear lady in his mind, affirmed that his
wife, the fair Imogen, was the most virtuous, wise, and
constant lady in the world.

One’ of these gentlemen, whose name was Iachimo,
being offended that a lady of Britain should be so
praised above the Roman ladies, his country-women,
provoked Posthumus by seeming to doubt the con-
stancy of his so highly-praised wife; and at length,
after much altercation, Posthumus consented to a
proposal of Iachimo’s, that he (Iachimo) should go to
Britain, and endeavour to gain the love of the married
358 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Imogen. They then laid a wager, that if Iachimo did
not succeed in this wicked design, he was to forfeit a
large sum of money; but if he could win Imogen’s
favour, and prevail upon her to give him the bracelet
which Posthumus had so earnestly desired she would
keep as a token of his love, then the wager was to
terminate with Posthumus giving to Iachimo the ring,
which was Imogen’s love-present when she parted with
her husband. Such firm faith had Posthumus in the
fidelity of Imogen, that he thought he ran no hazard
in this trial of her honour.

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

The desire Iachimo had to win the wager made him
now have recourse to a stratagem to impose upon
Posthumus, and for this purpose he bribed some of
Imogen’s attendants, and was by them conveyed into
her bed-chamber, concealed in a large trunk, where he
remained shut up till Imogen had retired to rest, and
had fallen to sleep; and then getting out of the trunk,
he examined the chamber with great attention, and
wrote down everything he saw there, and particularly
noticed a mole which he observed upon Imogen’s
neck, and then softly unloosing the bracelet from her
arm, which Posthumus had given to her, he retired
into the chest again; and the next day he set off
for Rome with great expedition, and boasted to
CYMBELINE 359

Posthumus that Imogen had given him the bracelet,
and likewise permitted him to pass a night in her
chamber: and in this manner Iachimo told his false
tale: “Her bed-chamber,” said he, “was hung with
tapestry of silk and silver, the story was the proud
Cleopatra when she met her Anthony, a piece of work
most bravely wrought.”

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

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

“This is a thing you might have likewise heard,”
said Posthumus, “for it is much talked of.”

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

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

Posthumus then in a jealous rage wrote to Pisanio,
360 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

a gentleman of Britain, who was one of Imogen’s
attendants, and had long been a faithful friend to
Posthumus ; and after telling him what proof he had
of his wife’s disloyalty, he desired Pisanio would take
Imogen to Milford Haven, a seaport of Wales, and
there kill her. And at the same time he wrote a
deceitful letter to Imogen, desiring her to go with
Pisanio, for that, finding he could live no longer with-
out seeing her, though he was forbidden upon pain of
death to return to Britain, he would come to Milford
Haven, at which place he begged she would meet him.
She, good unsuspecting lady, who loved her husband
above all things, and desired more than her life to see
him, hastened her departure with Pisanio, and the same
night she received the letter she set out.

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

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

Pisanio persuaded her to take comfort, and wait with
patient fortitude for the time when Posthumus should
see and repent his injustice: in the meantime, as she
refused in her distress to return to her father’s court,
he advised her to dress herself in boy’s clothes for more
security in travelling ; to which advice she agreed, and
thought in that disguise she would go over to Rome,
and see her husband, whom, though he had used her so
barbarously, she could not forget to love.
CYMBELINE 361

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

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

Providence strangely directed Imogen’s steps to the
dwelling of her two brothers, who had been stolen
away in their infancy. Bellarius, who stole them
away, was a lord in the court of Cymbeline, and
having been falsely accused to the king of treason,
and banished from the court, in revenge he stole
away the two sons of Cymbeline, and brought them
up in a forest, where he lived concealed in a cave.
He stole them through revenge, but he soon loved
them as tenderly as if they had been his own children,
educated them carefully, and they grew up fine
362 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

youths, their princely spirits leading them to bold
and daring actions: and as they subsisted by hunting,
they were active and hardy, and were always pressing
their supposed father to Jet them seek their fortune in
the wars.

At the cave where these youths dwelt, it was
Imogen’s fortune to arrive. She had lost her way in
a large forest through which her road lay to Milford
Haven (from whence she meant to embark for Rome) ;
and being unable to find any place where she could
purchase food, she was with weariness and hunger
almost dying; for it is not merely putting on a man’s
apparel that will enable a young lady, ~ tenderly
brought up, to bear the fatigue of wandering about
lonely forests like a man. Seeing this cave, she
entered, hoping to find some one within of whom she
could procure food. She found the cave empty, but
looking about she discovered some cold meat; and
her hunger was so pressing, that she could not wait
for an invitation, but sat down and began to eat.
“ Ah!” said she, talking to herself, “I see a man’s
life is a tedious one; how tired am I! for two nights
together I have made the ground my bed: my resolu-
tion helps me, or I should be sick. When Pisanio
showed me Milford Haven from the mountain-top,
how near it seemed!” Then the thoughts of her
husband and his cruel mandate came across her, and
she said, “My dear Posthumus, thou art a false one.”

The two brothers of Imogen, who had been hunt-
ing with their reputed father Bellarius, were by this
time returned home. Bellarius had given them the
CYMBELINE 363

names of Polidore and Cadwal, and they knew no
better, but supposed that Bellarius was their father ;
but the real names of these princes were Guiderius
and Arviragus.

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

“What is the matter, sir?” said the young men.
“ By Jupiter,” said Bellarius again, “there is an angel
in the cave, or if not, an earthly paragon.” So beauti-
ful did Imogen look in her boy’s apparel.

She, hearing the sound of voices, came forth from
the cave, and addressed them in these words: “ Good
masters, do not harm me; before I entered your cave,
I had thought to have begged or bought what I have
eaten. Indeed I have stolen nothing, nor would I,
though I had found gold strewed on the floor. Here
is money for my meat, which I would have left on the
board when I had made my meal, and parted with
prayers for the provider.” They refused her money
with great earnestness. “I see you are angry with
me,” said the timid Imogen; “but, sirs, if you kill
me for my fault, know that I should have died if I
had not made it.”

“Whither are you bound ?” asked Bellarius, “and
what is your name?” ji

“Fidele is my name,” answered Imogen. “I have
a kinsman, who is bound for Italy; he embarked at
Milford Haven, to whom being going, almost spent
with hunger, I am fallen into this offence.”

“ Prithee, fair youth,” said old Bellarius, “do not
364 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

think us churls, nor measure our good minds by this
rude place we live in. You are well encountered ; it
is almost night. You shall have better cheer before
you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it. Boys, bid
him welcome.”

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

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

For these her gentle qualities (or perhaps it was
their near relationship, though they knew it not),
Imogen (or, as the boys called her, Fidele) became
the doting-piece of her brothers, and she scarcely less
loved them, thinking that but for the memory of her
dear Posthumus, she could live and die in the cave
with these wild forest youths; and she gladly con-
sented to stay with them, till she was enough rested
CYMBELINE 365

from the fatigue of travelling to pursue her way to
Milford Haven.

When the venison they had taken was all eaten,
and they were going out to hunt for more, Fidele
could not accompany them, because _she was unwell.
Sorrow, no doubt, for her husband’s cruel usage, as
well as the fatigue of penderne 7 in the forest, was the
cause of her illness.

They then bid her farewell, and went to their hunt,
praising all the way the noble parts and graceful de-
meanour of the youth Fidele.

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

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

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

Imogen’s two brothers then carried her to a shady
covert, and there laying her gently on the grass, they
sang repose to her departed spirit, and covering her
over with leaves and flowers, Polidore said, ‘“ While
366 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

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

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

Imogen had not been long left alone when, the
effect of the sleepy drug going off, she awakened, and
easily shaking off the slight covering of leaves and
flowers they had thrown over her, she arose, and
imagining she had been dreaming, she said, “I thought
I was a cave-keeper, and cook to honest creatures; how
came I here, covered with flowers?” Not being able
to find her way back to the cave, and seeing nothing
of her new companions, she concluded it was certainly
all a dream; and once more Imogen set out on her
weary pilgrimage, hoping at last she should find her
way to Milford Haven, and thence get a passage in
some ship bound for Italy; for all her thoughts were
still with her husband Posthumus, whom she intended
to seek in the disguise of a page.

But great events were happening at this time, of
which Imogen knew nothing; for a war had suddenly
broken out between the Roman emperor Augustus
Cesar, and Cymbeline the king of Britain; and a
Roman army had landed to invade Britain, and was
advanced into the very forest over which Imogen was
journeying. With this army came Posthumus,
CYMBELINE 367

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

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

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

Cymbeline’s army now advanced to meet the enemy,
and when they entered this forest, Polidore and
Cadwal joined the king’s army. The young men
were eager to engage in acts of valour, though they
little thought they were going to fight for their own
royal father: and old Bellarius went with them to
the battle. He had long since repented of the injury
he had done to Cymbeline in carrying away his sons;
and having been a warrior in his youth, he gladly
joined the army to fight for the king he had so
injured.

And now a great battle commenced between the
armies, and the Britons would have been defeated,
and Cymbeline himself killed, but for the extra-
368 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

ordinary valour of Posthumus, and Bellarius, and the
two sons of Cymbeline. They rescued the king, and
saved his life, and so entirely turned the fortune of the
day that the Britons gained the victory.

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

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

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

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

Imogen saw Posthumus and knew him, though he
CYMBELINE 369

was in the disguise of a peasant; but he did not
know her in her male attire: and she knew Tachimo,
and she saw a ring on his finger which she perceived
to be her own, but she did not know him as yet to
have been the author of all her troubles: and she
stood before her own father a prisoner of war.

Pisanio knew Imogen, for it was he who had dressed
her in the garb of a boy. “It is my mistress,”
thought he; “since she is living, let the time run
on to good or bad.” Bellarius knew her too, and
softly said to Cadwal, “Is not this boy revived from
death?” “One sand,” replied Cadwal, “does not
more resemble another than that sweet rosy lad is
like the dead Fidele.” “The same dead thing alive,”
said Polidore. ‘Peace, peace,” said Bellarius; “if
it were he, I am sure he would have spoken to us.”
“But we saw him dead,” again whispered Polidore.
“ Be silent,” replied Bellarius.

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

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

“JT hear you take no ransom for your prisoners,
but doom them all to death: I am a Roman, and

with a Roman heart will suffer death. But there is
Qa
370 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

one thing for which I would entreat.” Then bring-
ing Imogen before the king, he said, “This boy is
a Briton born. Let him be ransomed. He is my
page. Never master had a page so kind, so duteous,
so diligent on all occasions, so true, so nurse-like.
He hath done no Briton wrong, though he hath
served a Roman. Save him, if you spare no one
beside.”

Cymbeline looked earnestly on his daughter Imo-
gen. He knew her not in that disguise; but it
seemed that all-powerful Nature spake in his heart,
for he said, “I have surely seen him, his face appears
familiar to me. I know not why or wherefore I say,
Live, boy; but I give you your life, and ask of me
what boon you will, and I will grant it you. Yea,
even though it be the life of the noblest prisoner I
have.”

“J humbly thank your highness,” said Imogen.

What was then called granting a boon was the
same as a promise to give any one thing, whatever it
might be, that the person on whom that favour was
conferred chose to ask for. They all were attentive
to hear what thing the page would ask for; and
Lucius her master said to her, “I do not beg my life,
good lad, but I know that is what you will ask for.”
“No, no, alas!” said Imogen, “I have other work in
hand, good master; your life I cannot ask for.”

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

Imogen then, fixing her eye on Jachimo, demanded
no other boon than this, that Iachimo should be
CYMBELINE 371

made to confess whence he had the ring he wore on
his finger.

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

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

What Posthumus felt at hearing this proof of the
innocence of his lady, cannot be expressed. He
instantly came forward and confessed to Cymbeline
the cruel sentence which he had enjoined Pisanio to
execute upon the princess; exclaiming wildly, “O
Imogen, my queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!”

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

Cymbeline, almost as much overwhelmed as he
with joy at finding his lost daughter so strangely
recovered, received her to her former place in his
fatherly affection, and not only gave her husband
Posthumus his life, but consented to acknowledge
him for his son-in-law.

Bellarius chose this time of joy and reconciliation
to make his confession. He presented Polidore and
Cadwal to the king, telling him they were his two
lost sons Guiderius and Arviragus.
372 TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE

Cymbeline forgave old Bellarius; for who could
think of punishment at a season of such universal
happiness? To find his daughter living, and his lost
sons in the persons of his young deliverers, that he
had seen so bravely fight in his defence, was unlooked-
for joy indeed !

Imogen was now at leisure to perform good ser-
vices for her late master, the Roman general Lucius,
whose life the king her father readily granted at her
request; and by the mediation of the same Lucius a
peace was concluded between the Romans and the
Britons, which was kept inviolate many years.

How Cymbeline’s wicked queen, through despair
of bringing her projects to pass, and touched with
remorse of conscience, sickened and died, having first
lived to see her foolish son Cloten slain in a quarrel
which he had provoked, are events too tragical to
interrupt this happy conclusion by more than merely
touching upon. It is sufficient that all were made
happy who were deserving; and even the treacherous
Iachimo, in consideration of his villany having missed
its final aim, was dismissed without punishment.

Printed by BaLLanryNE, Hanson & Co.
Edinburgh é London

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