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Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

Part 4 out of 5

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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
Aegeon'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 before the duke to
demand justice, complaining that his wife had confined him on a false
charge of lunacy; and telling in what manner he had broken his bands,
and eluded the vigilance of his keepers. Adriana was strangely
surprised to see her husband, when she thought he had been within the

Aegeon, 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
his dear son would readily pay the money demanded for his ransom.
He therefore spoke to Antipholus in words of fatherly affection, with
joyful hope that he should now be released. But to the utter
astonishment of Aegeon, his son denied all knowledge of him, as well
he might, for this Antipholus had never seen his father since they were
separated in the storm in his infancy; but while the poor old Aegeon
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 perplexity, the lady abess and the other Antipholus and Dromio
came out and the wondering Adriana saw two husbands and two
romios standing before her.

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

But now an unlooked-for joy indeed completed the history of Aegeon;
and the tale he had in the morning told in sorrow, and under sentence
of death, before the setting sun went down was brought to a happy
conclusion, for the venerable lady abbess made herself known to be
the long-lost wife of Aegeon, and the fond mother of the two

When the fishermen took the eldest Antipholus 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 rites of hospitality to an unhappy stranger she had
unknowingly protected her own son.

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

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.

Antipholus of Syracuse married the fair Luciana, the sister of his
brother's wife; and the good old Aegeon, 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 adventures past, comical blunders
would happen, and the one Antipholus, and the one Dromio, be
mistaken for the other, making altogether a pleasant and diverting
Comedy of Errors.


In the city of Vienna there once reigned a duke of such a mild and
gentle temper, that he suffered his subjects to neglect the laws with
impunity; and there was in particular one law, the existence of which
was almost forgotten, the duke never having put it in force during his
whole reign. This was a law dooming any man to the punishment of
death, who should live with a woman that was not his wife; and this
law, through the lenity of the duke, being utterly disregarded, the holy
institution of marriage became neglected, and complaints were every
day made to the duke by the parents of the young ladies in Vienna,
that their daughters had been seduced from their rotection, 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 determined 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 kits own person.

Angelo, a man who bore the reputation of a saint in Vienna for his
strict and rigid life, was chosen by the duke as a fit person to
undertake this important change; and when the duke imparted his
design to lord Escalus, his chief counsellor, 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 presence
of making a journey into Poland, leaving Angelo to act as the lord
deputy in his absence; but the duke's absence was only a feigned one,
for he privately returned to Vienna, habited like a friar, with the intent
to watch unseen the conduct of the saintly-seeming Angelo.

It happened just about the time that Angelo was invested with his new
dignity, that a gentleman, whose name was Claudio, had seduced a
young lady from her parents; and for this 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 been so long 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 scare-
crow 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.'

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 her
noviciate in the convent, and it was her intent, after passing through
her probation as a novice, to take the veil, and she was inquiring of a
nun concerning the rules of the convent, when they heard the voice of
Lucio, who, as he entered that religious house, said: 'Peace be in this
place!' 'Who is it that speaks?' said Isabel. 'It is a man's voice,' replied
the nun: 'Gentle Isabel, go to him, and learn his business; you may, I
may not. When you have taken the veil, you must not speak with men
but in the presence of the prioress; then if you speak you must not
show your face, or if you show your face, you must not speak.' 'And
have you nuns no further privileges?' said Isabel. 'Are not these large
enough?' replied the nun. 'Yes, truly,' said Isabel: 'I speak not as
desiring more, but rather wishing a more strict restraint upon the
sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.' Again they heard the voice of
Lucio, and the nun said: 'He calls again. I pray you answer him.' Isabel
then went out to Lucio, and in answer to his salutation, said: 'Peace
and Prosperity! Who is it that calls?' Then Lucio, approaching her
with reverence, said: 'Hail, virgin, if such you be, as the roses on your
cheeks proclaim you are no less! can you bring me to the sight of
Isabel, a novice of this place, and the fair sister to her unhappy brother
Claudio?' 'Why her unhappy brother?' said Isabel, 'let me ask! for I am
that Isabel, and his sister.' 'Fair and gentle lady,' he replied, 'your
brother kindly greets you by me; he is in prison.' 'Woe is me! for
what?' said Isabel. Lucio then told her, Claudio was imprisoned for
seducing a young maiden. 'Ah,' said she, 'I fear it is my cousin Juliet.'
Juliet and Isabel were not related, but they called each other cousin in
remembrance of their school days' friendship; and as Isabel knew that
Juliet loved Claudio, she feared she had been led by her affection for
him into this transgression. ' She it is,' replied Lucio. 'Why then, let my
brother marry Juliet,' said Isabel. Lucio replied that Claudio would
gladly marry Juliet, but that the lord deputy had sentenced him to die
for his 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 to give the prioress notice of the affair, and then
I will go to Angelo. Command me to my brother: soon at night I will
send him word of my success.'

Isabel hastened to the palace, and threw herself on her knees before
Angelo, saying: 'I am a woeful suitor to your 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 accompanied her, said: 'Give it not over
so; return to him again, entreat him, kneel down before him, hang
upon his gown. You are too cold; if you should need a pin, you could
not with a more tame tongue desire it.' Then again Isabel on her knees
implored for mercy. 'He is sentenced,' said Angelo: 'it is too late.' 'Too
later' said Isabel: 'Why, no: I that do speak a word may call it back
again. Believe this, my lord, no ceremony that to great ones belongs,
not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, the marshal's truncheon,
nor the judge's robe, becomes them with one half so good a grace as
mercy does.' 'Pray you begone,' said Angelo. But still Isabel entreated,
and she said: 'If my brother had been as you, and you as he, you might
have slipped like him, but he, like you, would not have been so stern. I
would to heaven I had your power, and you were Isabel. Should it then
be thus? No. I would tell you what it were to be a judge, and what a
prisoner.' 'Be content, fair maid!' said Angelo: 'it is the law, not I,
condemns your brother. Were he my kinsman, my brother, or my son,
it should be thus with him. He must die to-morrow.' 'To-morrow?' said
Isabel; 'Oh, that is sudden: spare him, spare him; he is not prepared for
death. Even for our kitchens we kill the fowl in season; shall we serve
Heaven with less respect than we minister to our gross selves? Good,
good, my lord, 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 dishonourable love, such as Claudio's crime had been; and the
conflict in his mind made him to turn away from Isabel; but she called
him back, saying: 'Gentle my lord, turn back; hark, how I will bribe
you. Good my lord, turn back!' 'How, bribe me!' said Angelo,
astonished that she should think of offering him a 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 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 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 her 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 upon her brother, said: 'I would do as much
for my poor brother as for myself; that is, were I under sentence of
death, the impression of keen whips I would wear as rubies, and go to
my death as to a bed that longing I had been sick for, ere I would yield
myself up to this shame.' And then she told him, she hoped he only
spoke these words to try her virtue. But he said: 'Believe me, on my
honour, my words express my purpose.' Isabel, angered to the heart to
hear him use the word Honour to express such dishonourable
purposes, 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 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-

'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 confined, she said:
'Peace be here, grace, and good company!' 'Who is there?' said the
disguised duke; 'come in; the wish deserves a welcome.' 'My business
as 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 conversation.

'Now, sister, what is the comfort?' said Claudio. Isabel told him he
must prepare for death on the morrow. 'Is there no remedy?' said
Claudio. 'Yes, brother,' replied Isabel, 'there is, but such a one, as if
you consented to it would strip your honour from you, and leave you
naked.' 'Let me know the point,' said Claudio. 'O, I do fear you,
Claudio!' replied his sister; 'and I quake, lest you should wish to live,
and more respect the trifling term of six or seven winters added to
your life, then 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 deliverance as frankly as a pin!' 'Thanks,
dear Isabel,' said Claudio. 'Be ready to die to-morrow,' said Isabel.
'Death is a fearful thing,' said Claudio. 'And shamed life a hateful,'
replied his sister. But the thoughts of death now overcame the
constancy of Claudio's temper, and terrors, such as the guilty only at
their deaths do know, assailing him, he cried out: 'Sweet sister, let me
live! The sin you do to save a brother's life, nature dispenses with the
deed so far, that it becomes a virtue.' 'O faithless coward! O dishonest
wretch!' said Isabel; 'would you preserve your life by your sister's
shame? O fie, fie, fie! 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, overwhelmed with shame and sorrow
for his fault.

The duke being now alone with Isabel, commended her virtuous
resolution, saying: 'The hand that made you fair, has made you 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 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, beside the loss of a most noble and renowned
brother, who in his love towards her was ever most kind and natural,
in the wreck of her fortune she lost the affections of her husband, the
well-seeming Angelo; who pretending to discover some dishonour in
this honourable lady (though the true cause was the loss of her dowry)
left her in tears, and dried not one of them with his comfort. His
unjust unkindness, that in all reason should have quenched her love,
has, like an impediment in the current, made it more unruly, and
Mariana loves her cruel husband with the full continuance of her first
affection.' The duke then more plainly unfolded his plan. It was, that
Isabel should go to lord Angelo, and seemingly consent to come to
him as he desired at midnight; that by this means she would obtain the
promised pardon; and that Mariana should go in her stead to the
appointment, and pass herself upon Angelo in the dark for Isabel.
'Nor, gentle daughter,' said the feigned friar, 'fear you to do this thing;
Angelo is her husband, and to bring them thus together is no sin.'
Isabel being pleased with this project, departed to do as he directed
her; and he went to apprise Mariana of their intention. He had before
this time visited this unhappy lady in his assumed character, giving
her religious instruction and friendly 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 consented to be directed by him in
this undertaking.

When Isabel returned from her interview with Angelo, to the house of
Mariana, where the duke had appointed her to meet him, he said:
'Well met, and in good time; what is the news from this good deputy?'
Isabel related the manner in which she had settled the affair. 'Angelo,'
said she, 'has a garden surrounded with a brick wall, on the western
side of which is a vineyard, and to that vineyard is a gate.' And then
she showed to the duke and Mariana two keys that Angelo had given
her; and she said: 'This bigger key opens the vineyard gate; this other a
little door which leads from the vineyard to the garden. There I have
made my promise at the dead of the night to call upon him, and have
got from him his word of assurance for my brother's life. I have taken
a due and wary note of the place; and with whispering and most guilty
diligence he showed me the way twice over.' 'Are there no other
tokens agreed upon between you, that Mariana must observe?' said the
duke. 'No, none,' said Isabel, 'only to go when it is dark. I have told
him my time can be but short; for I have made him think a servant
comes along with me, and that this servant is persuaded I come about
my brother.' The duke commended her discreet management, and she,
turning to Mariana, said: 'Little have you to say to Angelo, when you
depart from him, but soft and low: Remember now my 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 morning. But the duke persuaded the
provost to put off the execution of Claudio, and to deceive Angelo, by
sending him the head of a man who died that morning in the prison.
And to prevail upon the provost to agree to this, the duke, whom still
the provost suspected not to be anything more or greater than he
seemed, showed the provost a letter written with the duke's hand, and
sealed with his seal, which when the provost saw, he concluded this
friar must have some secret order from the absent duke, and therefore
he consented to spare Claudio; and he cut off the dead man's head,
and carried it to Angelo.

Then the duke in his own name, wrote to Angelo a letter, saying, that
certain accidents had put a stop to his journey, and that he should be
in Vienna by the following morning, requiring Angelo to meet him at
the entrance of the city, there to deliver up his authority; and the duke
also commanded it to be proclaimed, that if any of his subjects craved
redress for injustice, they should exhibit their petitions in the street on
his first entrance into the 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 seeming 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 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 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 morning betimes, Angelo, forfeiting his promise,
sent a warrant for my poor brother's head!' The duke affected to
disbelieve her story; and Angelo said that grief for her brother's death,
who had suffered by the due course of the law, had disordered her
senses. And now another suitor approached, which was Mariana; and
Mariana said: 'Noble prince, as there comes light from heaven, and
truth from breath, as there is sense in truth and truth in virtue, I am
this man's wife, and my good lord, the words of Isabel are false; for
the night she says 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 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 sets 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 slander lord Angelo?' He replied: 'Where is the duke? It
is he who 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 employed and troubled your unknown
sovereignty.' He answered that he had most need of forgiveness from
her, for not having prevented the death of her brother for not yet
would he tell her that Claudio was living; meaning first to make a
further trial of her goodness. Angelo now knew the duke had been a
secret witness of his bad deeds, and he said: '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, 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 a better husband.' 'O my dear
lord,' said Mariana, 'I crave no other, nor no better man': and then on
her knees, even as Isabel had begged the life of Claudio, did this kind
wife of an ungrateful husband beg the life of Angelo; and she said:
'Gentle my liege, 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. Oh 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! 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 bother
living; and he said to Isabel: 'Give me your hand, Isabel; for your
lovely sake I pardon Claudio. Say you will be mine, and he shall be
my brother too.' By this time lord Angelo perceived he was safe; and
the duke, observing his eye to brighten up a little, said: 'Well, Angelo,
look that you love your wife; her worth has obtained your pardon: joy
to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo! I have confessed her, and know
her virtue.' Angelo remembered, when dressed in a little brief
authority, how hard his heart had been, and felt how sweet is mercy.

The duke commanded Claudio to marry Juliet, and offered himself
again to the acceptance of Isabel, whose virtuous and noble conduct
had won her prince's heart. Isabel, not having taken the veil, was free
to marry; and the friendly offices, while hid under the disguise of a
humble friar, which the noble duke had done for her, made her with
grateful joy accept the honour he offered her; and when she became
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.


Sebastian and his sister Viola, a young gentleman and lady of
Messaline, were twins, and (which was accounted a great wonder)
from their birth they so much resembled each other, that, but for the
difference in their dress, they could not be known apart. They were
both born in one hour, and in one hour they were both in danger of
perishing, for they were shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria, as they
were making a sea-voyage together. The ship, on board of which they
were, split on a rock in a violent storm, and a very small number of
the ship's company escaped with their lives. The captain of the vessel,
with a few of the sailors that were saved, got to land in a small boat,
and with them they brought Viola safe on shore, where she, poor lady,
instead of rejoicing at her own deliverance, began to lament her
brother's loss; but the captain comforted her with the assurance that he
had seen her brother, when the ship split, fasten himself to a strong
mast, on which, as long as he could see anything of him for the
distance, he perceived him borne up above the waves. Viola was
much consoled by the hope this account gave her, and now considered
how she was to dispose of herself in a strange country, so far from
home; and she asked the captain if he knew anything of Illyria. '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.

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 transformed this pretty
lady into a gentleman, having some interest at court, got her presented
to Orsino under the feigned name of Cesario. The duke was
wonderfully pleased with the address and graceful 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 he 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 held and all manly exercises in which he used to delight,
passed his hours in ignoble sloth, listening to the effeminate sounds of
soft music, gentle airs, and passionate love-songs; and neglecting the
company of the wise and learned lords with whom he used to
associate, he was now all day long 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 could behold without the deepest
admiration, and she ventured gently to hint to Orsino, that it was a
pity he should affect a lady who was so blind to his worthy qualities;
and she said: 'If a lady were to love you, my lord, as you love Olivia
(and perhaps there may be one who does), if you could not love her in
return, would you not tell her that you could not love, and must she
not be content with this answer?' But Orsino would not admit of this
reasoning, for he denied that it was possible for any woman to love as
he did. He said, no woman's heart was big enough to hold so much
love, and therefore it was unfair to compare the love of any lady for
him, to his love for Olivia. Now, though Viola had the utmost
deference for the duke's opinions, she could not help thinking this was
not quite true, for she thought her heart had full as much love in it as
Orsino's had; and she said: 'Ah, but I know, my lord.' 'What do you
know, Cesario?' said Orsino. 'Too well I know,' replied Viola, 'what
love women may owe to men. They are as true of heart as we are. My
father had a daughter loved a man, as I perhaps, were I a woman,
should love your lordship.' 'And what is her history?' said Orsino. 'A
blank, my lord,' replied Viola: 'she never told her love, but let
concealment, like a worm in the bud, feed on her damask cheek. She
pined in thought, and with a green and yellow melancholy, she sat like
Patience on a monument, 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 remembrance 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 her
doors, and tell her, there your fixed foot shall grow till you have
audience.' 'And if I do speak to her, my lord, what then?' said Viola. '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. 'I told him,' said the
servant, 'that you were sick: he said he knew you were, and therefore
he came to speak with you. I told him that you were asleep: he seemed
to have a 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 importunity. Viola, entering, put
on the most manly air she could assume, and affecting the fine
courtier language of great men's pages, she said to the veiled lady:
'Most radiant, exquisite, and matchless beauty, I pray you tell me if
you are the lady of the house; for I should be sorry to cast away my
speech upon another; for besides that it is 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

When Viola asked to see her face, Olivia said: 'Have you any
commission from your lord and master to negotiate with my face?'
And then, forgetting her determination to go veiled for seven long
years, she drew aside her veil, saying: 'But I will draw the curtain and
show the picture. Is it not well done?' Viola replied: 'It is beauty truly
mixed; the red and white upon your cheeks is by Nature's own
cunning hand laid on. You are the most cruel lady living, if you will
lead these graces to the grave, and leave the world no copy.' 'O, sir,'
replied Olivia, 'I will not be so cruel. The world may have an
inventory of my beauty. As, item, two Lips, indifferent red; item, two
grey eyes, with lids to them; one neck; one chin; and so forth. Were
you sent here to praise me?' Viola replied: 'I see what you are: you are
too proud, but you are fair. My lord and master loves you. 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.' 'If I did love you as my master does,' said Viola, 'I would make
me a willow cabin at your gates, and call upon your name, I would
write complaining sonnets on Olivia, and sing them in the dead of the
night; your name should sound among the hills, and I would make
Echo, the babbling gossip of the air, cry out Olivia. 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 farewell by the name of Fair Cruelty. When
she was gone, Olivia repeated the words, Above my fortunes, yet my
state is well. I am a gentleman. And she said aloud: 'I will be sworn he
is; his tongue, his face, his limbs, action, and spirit, plainly show he is
a gentleman.' And then she wished Cesario was the duke; and
perceiving the fast hold he had taken on her affections, she blamed
herself for her sudden love: but the gentle blame which people lay
upon their own faults has no deep root; and presently the noble lady
Olivia so far forgot the inequality between her fortunes and those of
this seeming page, as well as the maidenly reserve which is the chief
ornament of a lady's character, that she resolved to court the love of
young Cesario, and sent a servant after him with a diamond ring,
under the presence that he had left it with her as a present from
Orsino. She hoped by thus artfully making Cesario a present of the
ring, she should give him some intimation of her design; and truly it
did make Viola suspect; for knowing that Orsino had sent no ring by
her, she began to recollect that Olivia's looks and manner were
expressive of admiration, and she presently guessed her master's
mistress had fallen in love with her. 'Alas,' said she, 'the poor lady
might as well love a dream. Disguise I see is wicked, for it has caused
Olivia to breathe as fruitless sighs for me as I do for Orsino.'

Viola returned to Orsino's palace, and related to her lord the ill
success of the negotiation, repeating the command of Olivia, that the
duke should trouble her no more. Yet still the duke persisted in
hoping that the gentle Cesario would in time be able to persuade her
to show some pity, and therefore he bade him he should go to her
again the next day. In the meantime, to pass away the tedious interval,
he commanded a song which he loved to be sung; and he said: 'My
good Cesario, when I heard that song last night, 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.'


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 strewn:
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown
A thousand thousand sighs to save, lay me O where
Sad true lover never kind 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 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 complexion; 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 desired you never to speak of him again; but if you would
undertake another suit, I had rather hear you solicit, than music from
the spheres.' This was pretty plain speaking, but Olivia soon explained
herself still more plainly, and openly confessed 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
solicitation was, a declaration of a resolution Never to love any

No sooner had Viola left the lady than a claim was made upon her
velour. A gentleman, a rejected suitor 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

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 myself. You stand amazed, but be of comfort.'
His words did indeed amaze Viola, and she protested she knew him
not, nor had ever received a purse from him; but for the kindness he
had just shown her, she offered him a small sum of money, being
nearly the whole she possessed. And now the stranger spoke severe
things, charging her with ingratitude and unkindness. He said: 'This
youth, whom you see here, I snatched from the jaws of death, and for
his sake alone I came to Illyria, and have fallen into this danger.' But
the officers cared little for 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
Antonio, was a sea-captain. He had taken Sebastian up into his ship,
when, almost exhausted with fatigue, he was floating on the mast to
which he had fastened himself in the storm. Antonio conceived such a
friendship for Sebastian, that he resolved to accompany him
whithersoever he went; and when the youth expressed a curiosity to
visit Orsino's court, Antonio, rather than part from him, came to
Illyria, though he knew, if his person should be known there, his life
would be in danger, because in a sea-fight he had once dangerously
wounded the duke Orsino's nephew. This was the offence for which
he was now made a prisoner.

Antonio and Sebastian had landed together but a few hours before
Antonio met Viola. He had given his purse to Sebastian, desiring him
to use it freely if he saw anything he wished to purchase, telling him
he would wait at the inn, while Sebastian went to view the town; but
Sebastian not returning at the time appointed, Antonio had ventured
out to look for him, and Viola being dressed the same, and in face so
exactly resembling her brother, Antonio drew his sword (as he
thought) in 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 Antonio was gone, fearing a second invitation to fight,
slunk home as fast as she could. She had not been long gone, when
her adversary thought he saw her return; but it was her brother
Sebastian, who happened to arrive at this place, and he 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, expressing much sorrow at the rude attack he had met with.
Though Sebastian was as much surprised at the courtesy of this lady
as at the rudeness of his unknown foe, yet he went very willingly into
the house, and Olivia was 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, proposed that, as she had a priest in the
house, they should be instantly married. Sebastian assented to this
proposal; and when the marriage ceremony was over, he left his lady
for a short time intending to go and tell his friend Antonio the good
fortune that he had met with. In the meantime Orsino came to visit
Olivia: and at the moment he arrived before Olivia's house, the
officers of justice brought their prisoner, Antonio, before the duke.
Viola was with Orsino, her master; and when Antonio saw Viola,
whom he still imagined to be Sebastian, he told the duke in what
manner he had rescued this youth from the perils of the sea; and after
fully relating all the kindness he had really shown to Sebastian, he
ended his complaint with saying, that for three months, both day and
night, this ungrateful youth had been with him. But now the lady
Olivia coming forth from her house, the duke could no longer attend
to Antonio's story; and he said: 'Here comes the countess: now Heaven
walks on earth! but for thee, fellow, thy words are madness. Three
months has this youth attended on me': and then he ordered Antonio to
be taken aside. But Orsino's heavenly countess soon gave the duke
cause to accuse Cesario as much of ingratitude as Antonio had done,
for all the words he could hear Olivia speak were words of kindness to
Cesario: and when he found his page had obtained this high place in
Olivia's 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 mischief.'
Though it seemed in his jealous rage he was going to doom Viola to
instant death, yet her love made her no longer a coward, and she said
she would most 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,
however, 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 he prized above his life. But thinking
that it was past recall, he was bidding farewell to his faithless
mistress, and the young dissemisler, her husband, as he called Viola,
warning her never to come in his sight again, when (as it seemed to
them) a miracle appeared! for another Cesario entered, and addressed
Olivia as his wife. This new Cesario was Sebastian, the real husband
of Olivia; and when their wonder had a little ceased at seeing two
persons with the same face the same voice, and the same habit, the
brother and sister began to question each other; for Viola could scarce
be persuaded that her brother was living, and Sebastian knew not how
to account for the sister he supposed drowned being found in the habit
of a young man. But Viola presently acknowledged that she was
indeed Viola, and his sister, under that disguise.

When all the errors were cleared up which the extreme likeness
between this 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 exchange,
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 handsome he had
always thought Cesario was, and he concluded she would look very
beautiful in a woman's attire; and then he remembered how often she
had said she loved him, which at the time seemed only the dutiful
expressions of a faithful page; but now he guessed that something
more was meant, for many of her pretty sayings, which were like
riddles to him, came now into his mind, and he no sooner
remembered all these things than he resolved to make Viola his wife;
and he said to her (he still could not help calling her Cesario and boy):
'Boy, you have said to me a thousand times that you should never love
a woman like to me, and for the faithful service you have done for me
so much beneath your soft and tender breeding, and since you have
called me master so long, you shall now be your master's mistress, and
Orsino's true duchess.'

Olivia, perceiving Orsino was making over that heart, which she had
so ungraciously rejected, to Viola, invited them to enter her house,
and offered the assistance of the good priest, who had married her to
Sebastian in the morning, to perform the same ceremony in the
remaining part of the day for Orsino and Viola. Thus the twin brother
and sister were both wedded on the same day: the storm and
shipwreck, which had separated them, being the means of bringing to
pass their high and mighty fortunes. Viola was the wife of Orsino, the
duke of Illyria, and Sebastian the husband of the rich and noble
countess, the lady Olivia.


Timon, a lord of Athens, in the enjoyment of a princely fortune,
affected a humour of liberality which knew no limits. His almost
infinite wealth could not flow in so fast, but he poured it out faster
upon all sorts and degrees of people. Not the poor only tasted of his
bounty, but great lords did not disdain to rank themselves among his
dependents and followers. His table was resorted to by all the
luxurious feasters, and his house was open to all comers and goers at
Athens. His large wealth combined with his free and prodigal nature
to subdue all hearts to his love; men of all minds and dispositions
tendered their services to lord Timon, from the glass-faced flatterer,
whose face reflects as in a mirror the present 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
entertainments, and return most rich in his own estimation if he had
received a nod or a salutation from Timon.

If a poet had composed a work which wanted a recommendatory
introduction to the world, he had no more to do but to dedicate it to
lord Timon, and the poem was sure of sale, besides a present purse
from the patron, and daily access to his house and table. If a painter
had a picture to dispose of, he had only to take it to lord Timon, and
pretend to consult his taste as to the merits of it; nothing more was
wanting to persuade the liberal-hearted lord to buy it. If a jeweller had
a stone of price, or a mercer rich costly stuffs, which for their
costliness lay upon his hands, lord Timon's house was a ready mart
always open, where they might get off their wares or their jewellery at
any price, and the good-natured lord would thank them into the
bargain, as if they had done him a piece of courtesy in letting him
have the refusal of such precious commodities. So that by this means
his house was thronged with superfluous purchases, of no use but to
swell uneasy and ostentatious pomp; and his person was still more
inconveniently beset with a crowd of these idle visitors, lying poets,
painters, sharking tradesmen, lords, ladies, needy courtiers, and
expectants, who continually filled his lobbies, 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 dependents were young men of birth, who (their
means not answering to their extravagance) had been put in prison by
creditors, and redeemed thence by lord Timon; these young prodigals
thenceforward fastened upon his lordship, as if by common sympathy
he were necessarily endeared to all such spendthrifts and loose livers,
who, not being able to follow him in his wealth, found it easier to
copy him in prodigality and copious spending of what was their own.
One of these flesh-flies was Ventidius, for whose debts, unjustly
contracted, Timon but lately had paid down the sum of five talents.

But among this confluence, this great flood of visitors, none were
more conspicuous than the makers of presents and givers of gifts. It
was fortunate for these men if Timon took a fancy to a dog or a horse,
or any piece of cheap furniture which was theirs. The thing so praised,
whatever it was, was sure to be sent the next morning with the
compliments of the giver for lord Timon's acceptance, and apologies
for the unworthiness of the gift; and this dog or horse, or whatever it
might be, did not fail to produce from Timon's bounty, who would not
be outdone in gifts, 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 dishonest views of
the presenters; and the givers of course were rewarded with some rich
return, a diamond or some jewel of twenty times the value of their
false and mercenary donation.

Sometimes these creatures would go to work in a more direct way,
and with gross and palpable artifice, which yet the credulous Timon
was too blind to see, would affect to admire and praise something that
Timon possessed, a bargain that he had bought, or some late purchase,
which was sure to draw from this yielding and soft-hearted lord a gift
of the thing commended, for no service in the world done for it but
the easy expense of a little cheap and 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 husband. But for
the most part, knaves and parasites had the command of his fortune,
false friends whom he did not know to be such, but, because they
flocked around his person, he thought they must needs love him; and
because they smiled and flattered him, he thought surely that his
conduct was approved by all the wise and good. And when he was
feasting in the midst of all these flatterers and mock friends, when
they were eating him up, and draining his fortunes dry with large
draughts of richest wines drunk to his health and prosperity, he could
not perceive the difference of a friend from a flatterer, but to his
deluded eyes (made proud with the sight) it seemed a precious
comfort to have so many like brothers commanding one another's
fortunes (though it was his own fortune which paid all the costs), and
with joy they would run over at the spectacle of such, as it appeared to
him, truly festive and fraternal meeting.

But while he thus outwent the very heart of kindness, and poured out
his bounty, as if Plutus, the god of gold, had been but his steward;
while thus he proceeded without care or stop, so senseless of expense
that he would neither inquire how he could maintain it, nor cease his
wild flow of riot; his riches, which were not infinite, must needs melt
away before a prodigality which knew no limits. But who should tell
him so? his flatterers? they had no interest in shutting his eyes. In vain
did his honest steward Flavius try to represent to him his condition,
laying his accounts before him, begging of him, praying of him, with
an importunity that on any other occasion would have been
unmannerly in a servant, beseeching him with tears to look into the
state of his affairs. Timon would still put him off, and turn the
discourse to something else; for nothing is so deaf to remonstrance as
riches turned to poverty, nothing is so unwilling to believe its
situation, nothing so incredulous to its own true state, and hard to give
credit to a reverse. Often had this good steward, this honest creature,
when all the rooms of Timon's great house 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 feasting,
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
presentation, Timon hastily replied: 'My lands extend from Athens to
Lacedaemon.' 'O my good lord,' said Flavius, 'the world is but a world,
and has bounds; were it all yours to give in a breath, how quickly were
it gone!'

Timon consoled himself that no villanous bounty had yet come from
him, that if he had given his wealth away unwisely, it had not been
bestowed to feed his vices, but to cherish his friends; and he made 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
Sempronius, men upon whom he had lavished his gifts in past times
without measure or moderation; and to Ventidius, whom he had lately
released out of prison by paying his debts, and who, by the death of
his father, was now come into the possession of an ample fortune, and
well enabled to requite Timon's courtesy: to request of Ventidius the
return of those five talents which he had paid for him, and of each of
those noble lords the loan of fifty talents; nothing doubting that their
gratitude would supply his wants (if he needed it) to the amount of
five hundred times fifty talents.

Lucullus was the first applied to. This mean lord had been dreaming
overnight of a silver bason and cup, and when Timon's servant was
announced, his sordid mind suggested to him that this was surely a
making out of his dream, and that Timon had sent him such a present:
but when he understood the truth of the matter, and that Timon
wanted money, the quality of his faint and watery friendship showed
itself, for with many protestations he vowed to the servant that he had
long foreseen the ruin of his master's affairs, and many a time had he
come to dinner to tell him of it, and had come again to 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 confirmed, he affected
great regret that he should not have it in his power to serve lord
Timon, for unfortunately (which was a base falsehood) he had made a
great purchase the day before, which had quite disfurnished him of the
means at present, the more beast he, he called himself, to put it out of
his power to serve so good a friend; and he counted it one of his
greatest afflictions that his ability should fail him to pleasure such an
honourable gentleman.

Who can call any man friend that dips in the same dish with him? just
of this metal is every flatterer. In the recollection of 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 these mercenary lords to whom Timon
applied in their turn, returned the same evasive answer or direct
denial; even Ventidius, the redeemed and now rich Ventidius, refused
to assist him with the loan of those five talents which Timon had not
lent but generously given him in his distress.

Now was Timon as much avoided in his poverty as he had been
courted and resorted to in his riches. Now the same tongues which had
been loudest in his praises, extolling him as bountiful, liberal, and
open handed, were not ashamed to censure that very bounty as folly,
that liberality as profuseness, though it had shown itself folly in
nothing so truly as in the selection of such unworthy creatures as
themselves for its objects. Now was Timon's princely mansion
forsaken, and become a shunned and hated place, a place for men to
pass by, not a place, as formerly, where every passenger must stop and
taste of his wine and good cheer; now, instead of being thronged with
feasting and tumultuous guests, it was beset with impatient and
clamorous creditors, usurers, extortioners, fierce and intolerable in
their demands, pleading bonds, interest, mortgages; iron-hearted men
that would take no denial nor putting off, that Timon's house was now
his jail, which he could not pass, nor go in nor out for them; one
demanding his due of fifty talents, another bringing in a bill of five
thousand crowns, which if he would tell out his blood by drops, and
pay them so, he had not enough in his body to discharge, drop by

In this desperate and irremediable state (as it seemed) of his affairs,
the eyes of all men were suddenly surprised at a new and incredible
lustre which this setting sun put forth. Once more lord Timon
proclaimed a feast, to which he invited his accustomed guests, lords,
ladies, all that was great or fashionable in Athens. Lord Lucius and
Lucullus came, Ventidius, Sempronius, and the rest. Who more sorry
now than these fawning wretches, when they found (as they thought)
that Lord Timon's poverty was all pretence, and had been only 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 forgotten it. And these base fawning
lords, though they had denied him money in his adversity, yet could
not refuse their presence at this new blaze of his returning prosperity.
For the swallow follows not summer more willingly than men of these
dispositions follow the good fortunes of the great, nor more willingly
leaves winter than these shrink from the first appearance of a reverse;
such summer birds are men. But now with music and state the
banquet of smoking dishes was served up; and when the guests had a
little done admiring whence the bankrupt Timon could find means to
furnish so costly a feast, some doubting whether the scene which they
saw was real, as scarce trusting their own eyes; at a signal given, the
dishes were uncovered, and Timon's drift appeared: instead of those
varieties and far-fetched dainties which they expected, that Timon's
epicurean table in past times had so liberally presented, now appeared
under the covers of these dishes a preparation more suitable to
Timon's poverty, nothing but a little smoke and lukewarm water, fit
feast for this knot of mouth-friends, whose professions were indeed
smoke, and their hearts lukewarm and slippery as the water with
which Timon welcomed his astonished guests, bidding them,
'Uncover, dogs, and lap'; and before they could recover their surprise,
sprinkling it in their faces, that they might have enough, and throwing
dishes and all after them, who now ran huddling out, lords, ladies,
with their caps snatched up in haste, a splendid confusion, Timon
pursuing them, still calling them what they were, 'smooth smiling
parasites, destroyers under the mask of courtesy, affable wolves, meek
bears, fools of fortune, feast-friends, time-flies.' They, crowding out to
avoid him, left the house more willingly than they had entered it;
some losing their gowns and caps, and some their jewels in the hurry,
all glad to escape out of the presence of such a mad lord, and from the
ridicule of his mock banquet.

This was the last feast which ever Timon made, and in it he took
farewell of Athens and the society of men; for, after that, he betook
himself to the woods, turning his back upon the hated city and upon
all mankind, wishing the walls of that detestable city might sink, and
the houses fall upon their owners, wishing all plagues which infest
humanity, war, outrage, poverty, 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 chamberlain, to put his shirt
on warm? Would those stiff trees that had outlived the eagle, turn
young and airy pages to him, to skip on his errands when he bade
them? Would the cool brook, when it was iced with winter, administer
to him his warm broths and caudles when sick of an overnight's
surfeit? Or would the creatures that lived in those wild woods come
and lick his hand and flatter him?

Here on a day, when he was digging for roots, his poor 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

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, violence, and murder, among men, he had a
pleasure in imagining (such a rooted hatred did he bear to his species)
that out of this heap, which in digging he had discovered, might arise
some mischief to plague mankind. And some soldiers passing through
the woods near to his cave at that instant, which proved to be a part of
the troops of the Athenian captain Alcibiades, who upon some disgust
taken against the senators of Athens (the Athenians were ever noted to
be a thankless and ungrateful people, giving disgust to their generals
and best friends), was marching at the head of the same triumphant
army which he had formerly headed in their defence, to war against
them; Timon, who liked their business well, bestowed upon their
captain the gold to pay his soldiers, requiring no other service from
him, than that he should with his conquering army lay Athens level
with the ground, and burn, slay, kill all her inhabitants; not sparing the
old men for their white beards, for (he said) they were usurers, nor the
young children for their seeming innocent smiles, for those (he said)
would live, if they grew up, to be traitors; but to steel his eyes and ears
against any sights or sounds that might awaken compassion; and not
to let the cries of virgins, babes, or mothers. hinder him from making
one universal massacre of the city, but to confound them all in his
conquest; and when he had conquered, he prayed that the gods would
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 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 utterance
at last to his words, they were so choked with tears, that Timon had
much ado to know him again, or to make out who it was that had
come (so contrary to the experience he had had of mankind) to offer
him service in extremity. And being in the form and shape of a man,
he suspected him for a traitor, and his tears for false; but the good
servant by so many tokens confirmed the truth of his fidelity, and
made it clear that nothing but love and zealous duty to his once dear
master had brought him there, that Timon was forced to confess that
the world 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 incensed wild
boar, was raging at the walls of their city, and with his hot siege
threatened to lay fair Athens in the dust. And now the memory of lord
Timon's former prowess and military conduct came fresh into their
forgetful minds, for Timon had been their general in past times, and a
valiant and expert soldier, who alone of all the Athenians was deemed
able to cope with a besieging army such as then threatened them, or to
drive back the furious approaches of Alcibiades.

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

Now they earnestly beseech him, implore him with tears, to return and
save that city, from which their ingratitude had so lately driven him;
now they offer him riches, power, dignities, satisfaction for past
injuries, and public honours, and the public love; their persons, lives,
and fortunes, to be at his 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 velour, 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 weeping 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 mankind brought Timon to his
conclusion, was not clear, yet all men admired the fitness of his
epitaph, and the consistency of his end; dying, as he had lived, a hater
of mankind: and some there were who fancied a conceit in the very
choice which he had made of the sea-beach for his place of burial,
where the vast sea might weep for ever upon his grave, as in contempt
of the transient and shallow tears of hypocritical and deceitful


The two chief families in Verona were the rich Capulets and the
Montagues. There had been an old quarrel between these families,
which was grown to such a height, and so deadly was the enmity
between them, that it extended to the remotest kindred, to the
followers and retainers of both sides, insomuch that a servant of the
house of Montague could not meet a servant of the house of Capulet,
nor a Capulet encounter with a Montague by chance, but fierce words
and sometimes bloodshed ensued; and frequent were the brawls from
such accidental meetings, which disturbed the happy quiet of Verona's

Old lord Capulet made a great supper, to which many fair ladies and
many noble guests were invited. All the admired beauties of Verona
were present, and all comers were made welcome if they were not of
the house of Montague. At this feast of Capulets, Rosaline, beloved of
Romeo, son to the old lord Montague, was present; and though it was
dangerous for a Montague to be seen in this assembly, yet Benvolio, a
friend of Romeo, persuaded the young lord to go to this assembly in
the disguise of a mask, that he might see his Rosaline, and seeing her,
compare her with some choice beauties of Verona, who (he said)
would make him think his swan a crow. Romeo had small faith in
Benvolio's words; nevertheless, for the love of Rosaline, he was
persuaded to go. For Romeo was a sincere and passionate lover, and
one that lost his sleep for love, and fled society to be alone, thinking
on Rosaline, who disdained him, and never requited his love, with the
least show of courtesy or affection; and Benvolio wished to cure his
friend of this love by showing him diversity of ladies and company.
To this feast of Capulets then young Romeo with Benvolio and their
friend Mercutio went masked. Old Capulet bid them welcome, and
told them that ladies who had their toes unplagued with corns would
dance with them. And the old man was light hearted and merry, and
said that he had worn a mask when he was young, and could have told
a whispering tale in a fair lady's ear. And they fell to dancing, and
Romeo was suddenly struck with the exceeding beauty of a lady who
danced there, who seemed to him to teach the torches to burn bright,
and her beauty to show by night like a rich jewel worn by a
blackamoor; beauty too rich for use, too dear for earth! like a snowy
dove trooping with crows (he said), so richly did her beauty and
perfections shine above the ladies her companions. While he uttered
these praises, he was overheard by Tybalt, a nephew of lord Capulet,
who knew him by his voice to be Romeo. And this Tybalt, being of a
fiery and passionate temper, could not endure that a Montague should
come under cover of a mask, to fleer and scorn (as he said) at their
solemnities. And he stormed and raged exceedingly, and would have
struck young Romeo dead. But his uncle, the old lord Capulet, would
not 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 Montague 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 masking habit, which might seem to
excuse in part the liberty, he presumed in the gentlest manner to take
her by the hand, calling it a shrine, which if he profaned by touching
it, he was a blushing pilgrim, and would kiss it for atonement. 'Good
pilgrim,' answered the lady, 'your devotion shows by 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.' 'O then, my dear saint,' said
Romeo, 'hear my prayer, and grant it, lest I despair.' In such like
allusions and loving conceits they were engaged, when the lady was
called away to her mother. And Romeo inquiring who her mother
was, discovered that the lady whose peerless beauty he was so much
struck with, was young Juliet, daughter and heir to the lord Capulet,
the great enemy of the Montagues; and that he had unknowingly
engaged his heart to his foe. This troubled him, but it could not
dissuade him from loving. As little rest had Juliet, when she found
that the gentleman that she had been talking with was Romeo and a
Montague, 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 afflictions should settle there, where family
considerations should induce her chiefly to hate.

It being midnight, Romeo with his companions departed; but they
soon missed him, for, unable to stay away from the house where he
had left his heart, he leaped the wall of an orchard which was at the
back of Juliet's house. Here he had not been long, ruminating on his
new love, when Juliet appeared above at a 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 cheek upon her hand, he passionately
wished himself a glove upon that hand, that he might touch her cheek.
She all this while thinking herself alone, fetched a deep sigh, and
exclaimed: 'Ah me! ' Romeo, enraptured to hear her speak, said softly,
and unheard by her: 'O speak again, bright angel, for such you appear,
being over my head, like a winged messenger from heaven whom
mortals fall back to gaze upon.' She, unconscious of being overheard,
and full of the new passion which that night's adventure had given
birth to, called upon her lover by name (whom she supposed absent):
'O Romeo, Romeo!' said she, 'wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy
father, and refuse thy name, for my sake; or if thou wilt not, be but my
sworn love, and I no longer will be a Capulet.' Romeo, having this
encouragement, would fain have spoken, but he was desirous of
hearing more; and the lady continued her passionate discourse with
herself (as she thought), still chiding Romeo for being Romeo and a
Montague, and wishing him some other name, or that he would put
away that hated name, and for that name which was no part of
himself, he should take all herself. At this loving word Romeo could
no longer refrain, but taking up the dialogue as if her words had been
addressed to him personally, and not merely in fancy, he bade her call
him Love, or by whatever other name she pleased, for he was no
longer Romeo, if that name was displeasing to her. Juliet, alarmed to
hear a man's voice in the garden, did not at first know who it was, that
by favour of the night and darkness had thus stumbled upon the
discovery of her secret; but when he spoke again, though her ears had
not yet drunk a hundred words of that tongue's uttering, yet so nice is
a lover's hearing, that she immediately knew him to be young Romeo,
and she expostulated with him on the danger to which he had exposed
himself by climbing the orchard walls, for if any of her kinsmen
should find him there, it would be death to him, being a Montague.
'slack,' said Romeo, 'there is more peril in your eye, than in twenty of
their swords. Do you but look kind upon me, lady, and I am proof
against their enmity. Better my life should be ended by their hate, than
that hated life should be prolonged, to live without your love.' 'How
came you into this place,' said Juliet, 'and by whose direction?' 'Love
directed me,' answered Romeo: 'I am no pilot, yet wert thou as far
apart from me, as that vast shore which is washed with the farthest
sea, I should venture for such merchandise.' A crimson blush came
over Juliet's face, yet unseen by Romeo by reason of the night, when
she reflected upon the discovery which she had made, yet not meaning
to make it, of her love to Romeo. She would fain have recalled her
words, but that was impossible: fain would she have stood upon form,
and have kept her lover at a distance, as the custom of discreet ladies
is, to frown and be perverse, and give their suitors harsh denials at
first; to stand off, and affect a coyness or indifference, where they
most love, that their lovers may not think them too lightly or too
easily won; for the difficulty of attainment increases the value of the
object. But there was no room in her case for denials, or puttings off,
or any of the customary arts of delay and protracted courtship. Romeo
had heard from her own tongue, when she did not dream that he was
near her, a confession of her love. So with an honest frankness, which
the novelty of her situation excused, she confirmed the truth of what
he had before heard, and addressing him by the name of fair
Montague (love can sweeten a sour name), she begged him not to
impute her easy yielding to levity or an unworthy mind, but that he
must lay the fault of it (if it were a fault) upon the accident of the
night which had so strangely discovered her thoughts. And she added,
that though her 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 dissembling, 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, begging him not to
swear; for although she joyed in him, yet she had no joy of that night's
contract: it was too rash, too unadvised, too sudden. But he being
urgent with her to exchange a vow of love with him that night, she
said that she already had given him hers before he requested it;
meaning, when he overheard her confession; but she would retract
what she then bestowed, for the pleasure of giving it again, for her
bounty was as infinite as the sea, and her love as deep. From this
loving conference she was called away by her nurse, who slept with
her, and thought it time for her to be in bed, for it was near to
daybreak; but hastily returning, she said three or four words more to
Romeo, the purport of which was, that if his love was indeed
honourable, and his purpose marriage, she would send a messenger to
him to-morrow, to appoint a time for their marriage, when she would
lay all her fortunes at his feet, and follow him as her lord through the
world. While they were settling this point, Juliet was repeatedly called
for by her nurse, and went in and returned, and went and returned
again, for she seemed as jealous of Romeo going from her, as a young
girl of her bird, which she will let hop a little from her hand, and
pluck it back with a silken thread; and Romeo was as loath to part as
she; for the sweetest music to lovers is the sound of each other's
tongues at night. But at last they parted, wishing mutually sweet sleep
and rest for that 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 again, whereas Juliet both loved
and was beloved by him, the friar assented in some measure to his
reasons; and thinking that a matrimonial alliance between young
Juliet and Romeo might happily be the means of making up the long
breach between the Capulets and the Montagues; which no one more
lamented than this good friar, who was a friend to both the families
and had often interposed his mediation to make up the quarrel without
effect; partly moved by policy, and partly by his fondness for young
Romeo, to whom he could deny nothing, the old man consented to
join their hands in marriage.

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

The ceremony being over, Juliet hastened home, where she stayed
impatient for the coming of night, at which time Romeo promised to
come and meet her in the orchard, where they had met the night
before; and the time between seemed as tedious to her, as the night
before some great festival seems to an 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 the
Capulets with the impetuous Tybalt at their head. This was the same
angry Tybalt who would have fought with Romeo at old lord Capulet's
feast. He, seeing Mercutio, accused him bluntly of associating with
Romeo, a Montague. Mercutio, who had as much fire and youthful
blood in him as Tybalt, replied to this accusation with some
sharpness; and in spite of all Benvolio could say to moderate their
wrath, a quarrel was 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 Montague had
never thoroughly entered into the family quarrel, being by nature wise
and gentle, and the name of a Capulet, which was his dear lady's
name, was now rather a charm to allay resentment, than a watchword
to excite fury. So he tried to reason with Tybalt, whom he saluted
mildly by the name of good Capulet, as if he, though a Montague, had
some secret pleasure in uttering that name: but Tybalt, who hated all
Montagues as he hated hell, would hear no reason, but drew his
weapon; and Mercutio, who knew not of Romeo's secret motive for
desiring peace with 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 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 Montague, with their wives; and soon after
arrived the prince himself, who being related to Mercutio, whom
Tybalt had slain, and having had the peace of his government often
disturbed by these brawls of Montagues and Capulets, came
determined to put the law in strictest force against those who should
be found to be offenders. Benvolio, who had been eyewitness to the
fray, was commanded by the prince to relate the origin of it, which he
did, keeping as near the truth as he could without injury to Romeo,
softening and excusing the part which his friends took in it. Lady
Capulet, whose extreme grief for the loss of her kinsman Tybalt made
her keep no bounds in her revenge, exhorted the prince to do strict
justice upon his murderer, and to pay no attention to Benvolio's
representation, who, being Romeo's friend and a Montague, spoke
partially. Thus she pleaded against her new son-in- law, but she knew
not yet that he was her son-in-law and Juliet's husband. On the other
hand was to be seen Lady Montague pleading for her child's life, and
arguing with some justice that Romeo had done nothing worthy of
punishment in taking the life of Tybalt, which was already forfeited to
the law by his having slain 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 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 banishment. He
had slain Tybalt, but Tybalt would have slain him: there was a sort of
happiness in that. Juliet was alive, and (beyond all hope) had become
his dear wife; therein he was most happy. All these blessings, as the
friar made them out to be, did Romeo put from him like a sullen
misbehaved wench. And the friar bade him beware, for such as
despaired, (he said) died miserable. Then when Romeo was a little
calmed, he counselled him that he should go that night and secretly
take his leave of Juliet, and thence proceed straightways to Mantua, at
which place he should sojourn, till the friar found fit occasion to
publish his marriage, which might be a joyful means of reconciling
their families; and then he did not doubt but the prince would be
moved to pardon him, and he would return with twenty times more
joy than he went forth with grief. Romeo was convinced by these wise
counsels of the friar, and took his leave to go and seek his lady,
proposing to stay with her that night, and by daybreak pursue his
journey alone to Mantua; to which place the good friar promised to
send him letters from time to time, acquainting him with the state of
affairs at home.

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

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

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

In this extremity Juliet applied to the friendly friar, always her
counsellor in distress, and he asking her if she had resolution to
undertake a desperate remedy, and she answering that she would go
into the grave alive rather than marry Paris, her own dear husband
living; he directed her to go home, and appear merry, and give her
consent to marry Paris, according to her father's desire, and on the
next night, which was the night before the marriage, to drink off the
contents of 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; and when the bridegroom came to fetch her in the
morning, he would find her to appearance dead; that then she would
be borne, as the manner in that country was, uncovered on a bier, to
be buried in the family vault; that if she could put off womanish fear,
and consent to this terrible trial, in forty-two hours after swallowing
the liquid (such was its certain operation) she would be sure to awake,
as from a dream; and before she should awake, he would let her
husband know their drift, and he should come in the night, and bear
her thence to Mantua. Love, and the dread of marrying Paris, gave
young Juliet strength to undertake this horrible adventure; and she
took the 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 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 of dead Capulets' bones, and where Tybalt, all bloody,
lay festering in his shroud, would not be enough to drive her
distracted: again she thought of all the stories she had heard of spirits
haunting the places where their bodies were bestowed. But then her
love for Romeo, and her aversion for Paris returned, and she
desperately swallowed the draught and became insensible.

When young Paris came early in the morning with music to awaken
his bride, instead of a living Juliet, her chamber presented the dreary
spectacle of a lifeless corset 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 bridal
hymns were changed for sullen dirges, the sprightly instruments to
melancholy bells, and the flowers that should have been strewed in
the bride's path, now served but to strew her corset Now, instead of a
priest to marry her, a priest was needed to bury her; and she was borne
to church indeed, not to augment the cheerful hopes of the living, but
to swell the dreary numbers of the dead.

Bad news, which always travels faster than good, now brought the
dismal story of his Juliet's death to Romeo, at Mantua, before the
messenger could arrive, who was sent from friar 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 would 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, whose shop in
Mantua he had lately passed, and from the beggarly appearance of the
man, who seemed famished, and the wretched show in his show of
empty boxes ranged on dirty shelves, and other tokens of extreme
wretchedness, he had said at the time (perhaps having some
misgivings that his own disastrous life might haply meet with a
conclusion so desperate), 'If a man were to need poison, which by the
law of Mantua it is death to sell, here lives a poor wretch who would
sell it him.' These words of his now came into his mind, and he sought
out the apothecary, who after some pretended scruples, Romeo
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
Montague, bade him desist from his unlawful business. It was the
young count Paris, who had come to the tomb of Juliet at that
unseasonable time of night, to strew flowers and to weep over the
grave of her that -should have been his bride. He knew not what an
interest Romeo had in the dead, but knowing him to be a Montague,
and (as he supposed) a sworn foe to all the Capulets, he judged that he
was come by night to do some villanous shame to the dead bodies;
therefore in an angry tone he bade him desist; and as a criminal,
condemned by the laws of Verona to die if he were found within the
walls of the city, he would have apprehended him. Romeo urged Paris
to leave him, and warned him by the fate of Tybalt, who lay buried
there, not to provoke his anger, or draw down another sin upon his
head, by forcing him to kill him. But the count in scorn refused his
warning, and laid hands on him as a felon, which Romeo resisting,
they fought, and Paris fell. When Romeo, by the help of a light, came
to see who it was that he had slain, that it was Paris, who (he learned
in his way from Mantua) should have married Juliet, he took the dead
youth by the hand, as one whom misfortune had made a companion,
and said that he would bury him in a triumphal grave, meaning in
Juliet's grave, which he now opened: and there lay his lady, as one
whom death had no power upon to change a feature or complexion, in
her matchless beauty; or as if Death were amorous, and the lean
abhorred monster kept her there for his delight; for she lay yet fresh
and blooming, as she had fallen to sleep when she swallowed that
benumbing potion; and near her lay Tybalt in his bloody shroud,
whom Romeo seeing, begged pardon of his lifeless corse, and for
Juliet's sake called him cousin, and said that he was about to do him a
favour by putting his enemy to death. Here Romeo took his last leave
of his lady's lips, kissing them; and here he shook the burden of his
cross stars from his weary body, swallowing that poison which the
apothecary had sold him, whose operation was fatal and real, not like
that dissembling potion which Juliet had swallowed, the effect of
which was now nearly expiring, and she about to awake to complain
that Romeo had not kept his time, or that he had come too soon.

For now the hour was arrived at which the friar had promised that she
should awake; and he, having learned that his letters which he had
sent to Mantua, by some unlucky detention of the messenger, had
never reached Romeo, came himself, provided with the 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 near it, and Romeo and Paris lying breathless by the

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 frightened by the noise of people
coming, he fled: but when Juliet saw the cup closed in her true love's
hand, she guessed that poison had been the cause of his end, and she
would have swallowed the dregs if any had been left, and she kissed
his still warm lips to try if any poison yet did hang upon them, then
hearing a nearer noise of people coming, she quickly unsheathed a
dagger which she wore, and stabbing herself, died by her true Romeo's

The watch by this time had come up to the place. A page belonging to

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