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Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

Part 5 out of 5

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count Paris, who had witnessed the fight between his master and
Romeo, had given the alarm, which had spread among the citizens,
who went up and down the streets of Verona confusedly exclaiming,
A Paris! a Romeo! a Juliet! as the rumour had imperfectly reached
them, till the uproar brought lord Montague and lord Capulet out of
their beds, with the prince, to inquire into the causes of the
disturbance. The friar had been apprehended by some of the watch,
coming from the churchyard, trembling, sighing, and weeping, in a
suspicious manner. A great multitude being assembled at the Capulets'
monument, the friar was demanded by the prince to deliver what he
knew of these strange and disastrous accidents.

And there, in the presence of the old lords Montague and Capulet, he
faithfully related the story of their children's fatal love, the part he
took in promoting their marriage, in the hope in that union to end the
long quarrels between their families: how Romeo, there dead, was
husband to Juliet; and Juliet, there dead, was Romeo's faithful wife;
how before he could kind a ht opportunity to divulge their marriage,
another match was projected for Juliet, who, to avoid the crime of a
second marriage, swallowed the sleeping draught (as he advised), and
all thought her dead; how meantime he wrote to Romeo, to come and
take her thence when the force of the potion should cease, and by
what unfortunate miscarriage of the messenger the letters never
reached Romeo: further than this the friar could not follow the story,
nor knew more than that coming himself, to deliver Juliet from that
place of death, he found the count Paris and Romeo slain. The
remainder of the transactions was supplied by the narration of the
page who had seen Paris and Romeo fight, and by the servant who
came with Romeo from Verona, to whom this faithful lover had given
letters to be delivered to his father in the event of his death, which
made good the friar's words, confessing his marriage with Juliet,
imploring the forgiveness of his parents, acknowledging the buying of
the poison of the poor apothecary, and his intent in coming to the
monument, to die, and lie with Juliet. All these circumstances agreed
together to clear the friar from any hand he could be supposed to have
in these complicated slaughters, further than as the unintended
consequences of his own well meant, yet too artificial and subtle

And the prince, turning to these old lords, Montague and Capulet,
rebuked them for their brutal and irrational enmities, and showed
them what a scourge Heaven had laid upon such offences, that it had
found means even through the love of their children to punish their
unnatural hate. And these old rivals, no longer enemies, agreed to
bury their long strife in their children's graves; and lord Capulet
requested lord Montague to give him his hand, calling him by the
name of brother, as if in acknowledgment of the union of their
families, by the marriage of the young Capulet and Montague; and
saying that lord Montague's hand (in token of reconcilement) was all
he demanded for his daughter's jointure: but lord Montague said he
would give him more, for he would raise her a statue of pure gold,
that while Verona kept its name, no figure should be so esteemed for
its richness and workmanship as that of the true and faithful Juliet.
And lord Capulet in return said that he would raise another statue to
Romeo. So did these poor old lords, when it was too late, strive to
outgo each other in mutual courtesies: while so deadly had been their
rage and enmity in past times, that nothing but the fearful overthrow
of their children (poor sacrifices to their quarrels and dissensions)
could remove the rooted hates and jealousies of the noble families.


Gertrude, queen of Denmark, becoming a widow by the sudden death
of King Hamlet, in less than two months after his death married his
brother Claudius, which was noted by all people at the time for a
strange act of indiscretion, or unfeelingness, or worse: for this
Claudius did no ways resemble her late husband in the qualities of his
person or his mind, but was as contemptible in outward appearance,
as he was base and unworthy in disposition; and suspicions did not
fail to arise in the minds of some, that he had privately made away
with his brother, the late king, with the view of marrying his widow,
and ascending the throne of Denmark, to the exclusion of young
Hamlet, the son of the buried king, and lawful successor to the throne.

But upon no one did this unadvised action of the queen make such
impression as upon this young prince, who loved and venerated the
memory of his dead father almost to idolatry, and being of a nice
sense of honour, and a most exquisite practicer of propriety himself,
did sorely take to heart this unworthy conduct of his mother Gertrude:
insomuch that, between grief for his father's death and shame for his
mother's marriage, this young prince was overclouded with a deep
melancholy, and lost all his mirth and all his good looks; all his
customary pleasure in books forsook him, his princely exercises and
sports, proper to his youth, were no longer acceptable; he grew weary
of the world, which seemed to him an unweeded garden, where all the
wholesome flowers were choked up, and nothing but weeds could
thrive. Not that the prospect of exclusion from the throne, his lawful
inheritance, weighed so much upon his spirits, though that to a young
and high-minded prince was a bitter wound and a sore indignity; but
what so galled him, and took away all his cheerful spirits, was, that
his mother had shown herself so forgetful to his father's memory; and
such a father! who had been to her so loving and so gentle a husband!
and then she always Appeared as loving and obedient a wife to him,
and would hang upon him as if her affection grew to him: and now
within two months, or as it seemed to young Hamlet, less than two
months, she had married again, married his uncle, her dear husband's
brother, in itself a highly improper and unlawful marriage, from the
nearness of relationship, but made much more so by the indecent
haste with which it was concluded, and the unkingly character of the
man whom she had chosen to be the partner of her throne and bed.
This it was, which more than the loss of ten kingdoms, dashed the
spirits and brought a cloud over the mind of this honourable young

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

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

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

A rumour had reached the ear of young Hamlet, that an apparition,
exactly resembling the dead king his father, had been seen by the
soldiers upon watch, on the platform before the palace at midnight,
for two or three nights successively. The figure came constantly clad
in the same suit of armour, from head to foot, which the dead king
was known to have worn: and they who saw it (Hamlet's bosom friend
Horatio was one) agreed in their testimony as to the time and manner
of its appearance: that it came just as the clock struck twelve; that it
looked pale, with a face more of sorrow than of anger; that its beard
was grisly, and the colour a sable silvered, as they had seen it in his
lifetime: that it made no answer when they spoke to it; yet once they
thought it lifted up its head, and addressed itself to motion, as if it
were about to speak; but in that moment the morning cock crew, and
it shrunk in haste away, and vanished out of their sight.

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

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

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

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

And when Hamlet was left alone, he took up a solemn resolution, that
all he had in his memory, all that he had ever learned by books or
observation, should be instantly forgotten by him, and nothing live in
his brain but the memory of what the ghost had told him, and enjoined
him to do. And Hamlet related the particulars of the conversation
which had passed to none but his dear friend Horatio; and he enjoined
both to him and Marcellus the strictest secrecy as to what they had
seen that night.

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

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

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

Though the rough business which Hamlet had in hand, the revenging
of his father's death upon his murderer, did not suit with the playful
state of courtship, or admit of the society of so idle a passion as love
now seemed to him, yet it could not hinder but that soft thoughts of
his Ophelia would come between, and in one of these moments, when
he thought that his treatment of this gentle lady had been
unreasonably harsh, he wrote her a letter full of wild starts of passion,
and in extravagant terms, such as agreed with his supposed madness,
but mixed with some gentle touches of affection, which could not but
show to this honoured lady that a deep love for her yet lay at the
bottom of his heart. He bade her to doubt the stars were fire, and to
doubt that the sun did move, to doubt truth to be a liar, but never to
doubt that he loved; with more of such extravagant phrases. This letter
Ophelia dutifully showed to her father, and the old man thought
himself bound to communicate it to the king and queen, who from
that time supposed that the true cause of Hamlet's madness was love.
And the queen wished that the good beauties of Ophelia might be the
happy cause of his wildness, for so she hoped that her virtues might
happily restore him to his accustomed way again, to both their

But Hamlet's malady lay deeper than she supposed, or than could be
so cured. His father's ghost, which he had seen, still haunted his
imagination, and the sacred injunction to revenge his murder gave him
no rest till it was accomplished. Every hour of delay seemed to him a
sin, and a violation of his father's commands. Yet how to compass the
death of the king, surrounded as he constantly was with his guards,
was no easy matter. Or if it had been, the presence of the queen,
Hamlet's mother, who was generally with the king, was a restraint
upon his purpose, which he could not break through. Besides, the very
circumstance that the usurper was his mother's husband filled him
with some remorse, and still blunted the edge of his purpose. The
mere act of putting a fellow-creature to death was in itself odious and
terrible to a disposition naturally so gentle as Hamlet's was. His very
melancholy, and the dejection of spirits he had so long been in,
produced an irresoluteness and wavering of purpose which kept him
from proceeding to extremities. Moreover, he could not help having
some scruples upon his mind, whether the spirit which he had seen
was indeed his father, or whether it might not be the devil, who he had
heard has power to take any form he pleases, and who might have
assumed his father's shape only to take advantage of his weakness and
his melancholy, to drive him to the doing of so desperate an act as
murder. And he determined that he would have more certain grounds
to go upon than a vision, or apparition, which might be a deluston.

While he was in this irresolute mind there came to the court certain
players, in whom Hamlet formerly used to take delight, and
particularly to hear one of them speak a tragical speech, describing the
death of old Priam, King of Troy, with the grief of Hecuba his queen.
Hamlet welcomed his old friends, the players, and remembering how
that speech had formerly given him pleasure, requested the player to
repeat it; which he did in so lively a manner, setting forth the cruel
murder of the feeble old king, with the destruction of his people and
city by fire, and the mad grief of the old queen, running barefoot up
and down the palace, with a poor clout upon that head where a crown
had been, and with nothing but a blanket upon her loins, snatched up
in haste, where she had worn a royal robe; that not only it drew tears
from all that stood by, who thought they saw the real scene, so lively
was it represented, but even the player himself delivered it with a
broken voice and real tears. This put Hamlet upon thinking, if that
player could so work himself up to passion by a mere fictitious
speech, to weep for one that he had never seen, for Hecuba, that had
been dead so many hundred years, how dull was he, who having a
read motive and cue for passion, a real king and a dear father
murdered, was yet so little moved, that his revenge all this while had
seemed to have slept in dull and muddy forgetfulness! and while he
meditated on actors and acting, and the powerful effects which a good
play, represented to the life, has upon the spectator, he remembered
the instance of some murderer, who seeing a murder on the stage, was
by the mere force of the scene and resemblance of circumstances so
affected, that on the spot he confessed the crime which he had
committed. And he determined that these players should play
something like the murder of his father before his uncle, and he would
watch narrowly what effect it might have upon him, and from his
looks he would be able to gather with more certainty if he were the
murderer or not. To this effect he ordered a play to be prepared, to the
representation of which he invited the king and queen.

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

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

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

Hamlet being come to his mother, she began to tax him in the
roundest way with his actions and behaviour, and she told him that he
had given great offence to his father, meaning the king, his uncle,
whom, because he had married her, she called Hamlet's father.
Hamlet, sorely indignant that she should give so dear and honoured a
name as father seemed to him, to a wretch who was indeed no better
than the murderer of his true father, with some sharpness replied:
'Mother, you have much offended my father.' The queen said that was
but an idle answer. 'As good as the question deserved,' said Hamlet.
The queen asked him if he had forgotten who it was he was speaking
to? 'Alas!' replied Hamlet, 'I wish I could forget. You are the queen,
your husband's brother's wife; and you are my mother: I wish you were
not what you are.' 'Nay, then,' said the queen, 'if you show me so little
respect, I will set those to you that can speak,' and was going to send
the king or Polonius to him. But Hamlet would not let her go, now he
had her alone, till he had tried if his words could not bring her to some
sense of her wicked life; and, taking her by the wrist, he held her fast,
and made her sit down. She, affrighted at his earnest manner, and
fearful lest in his lunacy he should do her a mischief, cried out; and a
voice was heard from behind the hangings: 'Help, help, the queen!'
which Hamlet hearing, and verily thinking that it was the king himself
there concealed, he drew his sword and stabbed at the place where the
voice came from, as he would have stabbed a rat that ran there, till the
voice ceasing, he concluded the person to be dead. But when he
dragged for the body, it was not the king, but Polonius, the old
officious counsellor, that had planted himself as a spy behind the
hangings. 'Oh me!' exclaimed the queen, 'what a rash and bloody deed
have you done!' 'A bloody deed, mother,' replied Hamlet, 'but not so
bad as yours, who killed a king, and married his brother.' Hamlet had
gone too far to leave off here. He was now in the humour to speak
plainly to his mother, and he pursued it. And though the faults of
parents are to be tenderly treated by their children, yet in the case of
great crimes the son may have leave to speak even to his own mother
with some harshness, so as that harshness is meant for her good, and
to turn her from her wicked ways, and not done for the purpose of
upbraiding. And now this virtuous prince did in moving terms
represent to the queen the heinousness of her offence, in being so
forgetful of the dead king, his father, as in so short a space of time to
marry with his brother and reputed murderer: such an act as, after the
vows which she had sworn to her first husband was enough to make
all vows of women suspected, and ail virtue to be accounted
hypocrisy, wedding contracts to be less than gamesters' oaths, and
religion to be a mockery and a mere form of words. He said she had
done such a deed, that the heavens blushed at it, and the earth was
sick of her because of it. And he showed her two pictures, the one of
the late king, her first husband, and the other of the present king, her
second husband, and he bade her mark the difference; what a grace
was on the brow of his father, how like a god he looked! the curls of
Apollo, the forehead of Jupiter, the eye of Mars, and a posture like to
Mercury newly alighted on some heaven-kissing hill! this man, he
said, had been her husband. And then he showed her whom she had
got in his stead: how like a blight or a mildew he looked, for so he had
blasted his wholesome brother. And the queen was sore ashamed that
he should so turn her eyes inward upon her soul, which she now saw
so black and deformed. And he asked her how she could continue to
live with this man, and be a wife to him, who had murdered her first
husband, and got the crown by as false means as a thief--and just as he
spoke, the ghost of his father, such as he was in his lifetime, and such
as he had lately seen it, entered the room, and Hamlet, in great terror,
asked what it would have; and the ghost said that it came to remind
him of the revenge he had promised, which Hamlet seemed to have
forgot; and the ghost bade him speak to his mother, for the grief and
terror she was in would else kill her. It then vanished, and was seen by
none but Hamlet, neither could he by pointing to where it stood, or by
any description, make his mother perceive it; who was terribly
frightened all this while to hear him conversing, as it seemed to her,
with nothing; and she imputed it to the disorder of his mind. But
Hamlet begged her not to flatter her wicked soul in such a manner as
to think that it was his madness, and not her own offences, which had
brought his father's spirit again on the earth. And he bade her feel his
pulse, how temperately it beat, not like a madman's. And he begged of
her with tears, to confess herself to heaven for what was past, and for
the future to avoid the company of the king, and be no more as a wife
to him: and when she should show herself a mother to him, by
respecting his father's memory, he would ask a blessing of her as a
son. And she promising to observe his directions, the conference

And now Hamlet was at leisure to consider who it was that in his
unfortunate rashness he had killed: and when he came to see that it
was Polonius, the father of the lady Ophelia, whom he so dearly
loved, he drew apart the dead body, and, his spirits being now a little
quieter, he wept for what he had done.

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

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

This was the funeral of the young and beautiful Ophelia, his once dear
mistress. The wits of this young lady had begun to turn ever since her
poor father's death. That he should die a violent death, and by the
hands of the prince whom she loved, so affected this tender young
maid, that in a little time she grew perfectly distracted, and would go
about giving flowers away to the ladies of the court, and saying that
they were for her father's burial, singing songs about love and about
death, and sometimes such as had no meaning at all, as if she had no
memory of what happened to her. There was a willow which grew
slanting over a brook, and reflected its leaves on the stream. To this
brook she came one day when she was unwatched, with garlands she
had been making, mixed up of daisies and nettles, flowers and weeds
together, and clambering up to hang her garland upon the boughs of
the willow, a bough broke, and precipitated this fair young maid,
garland, and all that she had gathered, into the water, where her
clothes bore her up for a while, during which she chanted scraps of
old tunes, like one insensible to her own distress, or as if she were a
creature natural to that element: but long it was not before her
garments, heavy with the wet, pulled her in from her melodious
singing to a muddy and miserable death. It was the funeral of this fair
maid which her brother Laertes was celebrating, the king and queen
and whole court being present, when Hamlet arrived. He knew not
what all this show imported, but stood on one side, not inclining to
interrupt the ceremony. He saw the flowers strewed upon her grave, as
the custom was in maiden burials, which the queen herself threw in;
and as she threw them she said: 'Sweets to the sweet! I thought to have
decked thy bride-bed, sweet maid, not to have strewed thy grave.
Thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife.' And he heard her brother
wish that violets might spring from her grave: and he saw him leap
into the grave all frantic with grief, and bid the attendants pile
mountains of earth upon him, that he might be buried with her. And
Hamlet's love for this fair maid came back to him, and he could not
bear that a brother should show so much transport of grief, for he
thought that he loved Ophelia better than forty thousand brothers.
Then discovering himself, he leaped into the grave where Laertes was,
all as frantic or more frantic than he, and Laertes knowing him to be
Hamlet, who had been the cause of his father's and his sister's death,
grappled him by the throat as an enemy, till the attendants parted
them: and Hamlet, after the funeral, excused his hasty act in throwing
himself into the grave as if to brave Laertes; but he said he could not
bear that any one should seem to outgo him in grief for the death of
the fair Ophelia. And for the time these two noble youths seemed

But out of the grief and anger of Laertes for the death of his father and
Ophelia, the king, Hamlet's wicked uncle, contrived destruction for
Hamlet. He set on Laertes, under cover of peace and reconciliation, to
challenge Hamlet to a friendly trial of skill at fencing, which Hamlet
accepting, a day was appointed to try the match. At this match all the
court was present, and Laertes, by direction of the king, prepared a
poisoned weapon. Upon this match great wagers were laid by the
courtiers, as both Hamlet and Laertes were known to excel at this
sword play; and Hamlet taking up the foils chose one, not at all
suspecting the treachery of Laertes, or being careful to examine
Laertes' weapon, who, instead of a foil or blunted sword, which the
laws of fencing require, made use of one with a point, and poisoned.
At first Laertes did but play with Hamlet, and suffered him to gain
some advantages, which the dissembling king magnified and extolled
beyond measure, drinking to Hamlet's success, and wagering rich bets
upon the issue: but after a few passes, Laertes growing warm made a
deadly thrust at Hamlet with his poisoned weapon, and gave him a
mortal blow. Hamlet incensed, but not knowing the whole of the
treachery, in the scuffle exchanged his own innocent weapon for
Laertes' deadly one, and with a thrust of Laertes' own sword repaid
Laertes home, who was thus justly caught in his own treachery. In this
instant the queen shrieked out that she was poisoned. She had
inadvertently drunk out of a bowl which the king had prepared for
Hamlet, in case, that being warm in fencing, he should call for drink:
into this the treacherous king had infused a deadly poison, to make
sure of Hamlet, if Laertes had failed. He had forgotten to warn the
queen of the bowl. which she drank of, and immediately died,
exclaiming with her last breath that she was poisoned. Hamlet,
suspecting some treachery, ordered the doors to be shut, while he
sought it out. Laertes told him to seek no farther for he was the traitor,
and feeling his life go away with the wound which Hamlet had given
him, he made confession of the treachery he had used, and now he had
fallen a victim to it: and he told Hamlet of the envenomed point, and
said that Hamlet had not half an hour to live, for no medicine could
cure him; and begging forgiveness of Hamlet, he died, with his last
words accusing the king of being the contriver of the mischief. When
Hamlet saw his end draw near, there being yet some venom left upon
the sword, he suddenly turned upon his false uncle, and thrust the
point of it to his heart, fulfilling the promise which he had made to his
father's spirit, whose injunction was now accomplished, and his foul
murder revenged upon the murderer. Then Hamlet, feeling his breath
fail and life departing, turned to his dear friend Horatio, who had been
spectator of this fatal tragedy; and with his dying breath requested him
that he would live to tell his story to the world (for Horatio had made
a motion as if he would slay himself to accompany the prince in
death), and Horatio promised that he would make a true report, as one
that was privy to all the circumstances. And, thus satisfied, the noble
heart of Hamlet cracked; and Horatio and the bystanders with many
tears commended the spirit of this sweet prince to the guardianship of
angels. For Hamlet was a loving and a gentle prince, and greatly
beloved for his many noble and princelike qualities; and if he had
lived, would no doubt have proved a most royal and complete king to


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

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

He had been a traveller, and Desdemona (as is the manner of ladies)
loved to hear him tell the story of his adventures, which he would run
through from his earliest recollection; the battles, sieges, and
encounters, which he had passed through; the perils he had been
exposed to by land and by water; his hair-breadth escapes, when he
had entered a breach, or marched up to the mouth of a cannon; and
how he had been taken prisoner by the insolent enemy, and sold to
slavery; how he demeaned himself in that state, and how he escaped:
all these accounts, added to the narration of the strange things he had
seen in foreign countries. the vast wilderness and romantic caverns,
the quarries, the rocks and mountains, whose heads are in the clouds;
of the savage nations, the cannibals who are man-eaters, and a race of
people in Africa whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders: these
travellers' stories would so enchain the attention of Desdemona, that if
she were called off at any time by household affairs, she would
despatch with all haste that business, and return, and with a greedy ear
devour Othello's discourse. And once he took advantage of a pliant
hour, and drew from her a prayer, that he would tell her the whole
story of his life at large, of which she had heard so much, but only by
parts: to which he consented, and beguiled her of many a tear, when
he spoke of some distressful stroke which his youth had suffered.

His story being done, she gave him for his pains a world of sighs: she
swore a pretty oath, that it was all passing strange, and pitiful,
wondrous pitiful: she wished (she said) she had not heard it, yet she
wished that heaven had made her such a man; and then she thanked
him, and told him, if he had a friend who loved her, he had only to
teach him how to tell his story, and that would woo her. Upon this
hint, delivered not with more frankness than modesty, accompanied
with certain bewitching prettiness, and blushes, which Othello could
not but understand, he spoke more openly of his love, and in this
golden opportunity gained the consent of the generous lady
Desdemona privately to marry him.

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

Their marriage, which, though privately carried, could not long be
kept a secret, came to the ears of the old man, Brabantio, who
appeared in a solemn council of the senate, as an accuser of the Moor
Othello, who by spells and witchcraft (he maintained) had seduced the
affections of the fair Desdemona to marry him, without the consent of
her father, and against the obligations of hospitality.

At this juncture of time it happened that the state of Venice had
immediate need of the services of Othello, news having arrived that
the Turks with mighty preparation had fitted out a fleet, which was
bending its course to the island of Cyprus, with intent to regain that
strong post from the Venetians, who then held it; in this emergency
the state turned its eyes upon Othello, who alone was deemed
adequate to conduct the defence of Cyprus against the Turks. So that
Othello, now summoned before the senate, stood in their presence at
once as a candidate for a great state employment, and as a culprit,
charged with offences which by the laws of Venice were made

The age and senatorial character of old Brabantio, commanded a most
patient hearing from that grave assembly; but the incensed father
conducted his accusation with so much intemperance, producing
likelihoods and allegations for proofs, that, when Othello was called
upon for his defence, he had only to relate a plain tale of the course of
his love; which he did with such an artless eloquence, recounting the
whole story of his wooing, as we have related it above, and delivered
his speech with so noble a plainness (the evidence of truth), that the
duke, who sat as chief judge, could not help confessing that a tale so
told would have won his daughter too: and the spells and conjurations
which Othello had used in his courtship, plainly appeared to have
been no more than the honest arts of men in love; and the only
witchcraft which he had used, the faculty of telling a soft tale to win a
lady's ear.

This statement of Othello was confirmed by the testimony of the lady
Desdemona herself, who appeared in court, and professing a duty to
her father for life and education, challenged leave of him to profess a
yet higher duty to her lord and husband, even so much as her mother
had shown in preferring him (Brabantio) above her father.

The old senator, unable to maintain his plea, called the Moor to him
with many expressions of sorrow, and, as an act of necessity,
bestowed upon him his daughter, whom, if he had been free to
withhold her (he told him), he would with all his heart have kept from
him; adding, that he was glad at soul that he had no other child, for
this behaviour of Desdemona would have taught him to be a tyrant,
and hang clogs on them for her desertion.

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

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

Among all the general's friends no one possessed the confidence of
Othello more entirely than Cassio. Michael Cassio was a young
soldier, a Florentine, gay, amorous, and of pleasing address, favourite
qualities with women; he was handsome and eloquent, and exactly
such a person as might alarm the jealousy of a man advanced in years
(as Othello in some measure was), who had married a young and
beautiful wife; but Othello was as free from jealousy as he was noble,
and as incapable of suspecting as of doing a base action. He had
employed this Cassio in his love affair with Desdemona, and Cassio
had been a sort of go-between in his suit: for Othello, fearing that
himself had not those soft parts of conversation which please ladies,
and finding these qualities in his friend, would often depute Cassio to
go (as he phrased it) a courting for him: such innocent simplicity
being rather an honour than a blemish to the character of the valiant
Moor. So that no wonder, if next to Othello himself (but at far
distance, as beseems a virtuous wife) the gentle Desdemona loved and
trusted Cassio. Nor had the marriage of this couple made any
difference in their behaviour to Michael Cassio. He frequented their
house, and his free and rattling talk was no unpleasing variety to
Othello, who was himself of a more serious temper: for such tempers
are observed often to delight in their contraries, as a relief from the
oppressive excess of their own: and Desdemona and Cassio would
talk and laugh together, as in the days when he went a courting for his

Othello had lately promoted Cassio to be the lieutenant, a place of
trust, and nearest to the general's person. This promotion gave great
offence to Iago, an older officer who thought he had a better claim
than Cassio, and would often ridicule Cassio as a fellow ht only for
the company of ladies, and one that knew no more of the art of war or
how to set an army in array for battle, than a girl. Iago hated Cassio,
and he hated Othello. as well for favouring Cassio, as for an unjust
suspicion, which he had lightly taken up against Othello that the Moor
was too fond of Iago's wife Emilia. From these imaginary
provocations, the plotting mind of Iago conceived a horrid scheme of
revenge, which should involve both Cassio, the Moor, and
Desdemona, in one common ruin.

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

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

Cassio had the direction of the guard that night, with a charge from
Othello to keep the soldier from excess in drinking, that no brawl
might arise, to fright the inhabitants, or disgust them with the new-
landed forces. That night Iago began his deep-laid plans of mischief:
under colour of loyalty and love to the general, he enticed Cassio to
make rather too free with the bottle (a great fault in an officer upon
guard). Cassio for a time resisted, but he could not long hold out
against the honest freedom which Iago knew how to put on, but kept
swallowing glass after glass (as Iago still plied him with drink and
encouraging songs), and Cassio's tongue ran over in praise of the lady
Desdemona, whom he again and again toasted, affirming that she was
a most exquisite lady: until at last the enemy which he put into his
mouth stole away his brains; and upon some provocation given him by
a fellow whom Iago had set on, swords were drawn, and Montano, a
worthy officer, who interfered to appease the dispute, was wounded in
the scuffle. The riot now began to be general, and Iago, who had set
on foot the mischief, was foremost in spreading the alarm, causing the
castle-bell to be rung (as if some dangerous mutiny instead of a slight
drunken quarrel had arisen): the alarm-bell ringing awakened Othello,
who, dressing in a hurry, and coming to the scene of action,
questioned Cassio of the cause. Cassio was now come to himself, the
effect of the wine having a little gone off, but was too much ashamed
to reply; and Iago, pretending a great reluctance to accuse Cassio, but,
as it were, forced into it by Othello, who insisted to know the truth,
gave an account of the whole matter (leaving out his own share in it,
which Cassio was too far gone to remember) in such a manner, as
while he seemed to make Cassio's offence less, did indeed make it
appear greater than it was. The result was, that Othello, who was a
strict observer of discipline, was compelled to take away Cassio's
place of lieutenant from him.

Thus did Iago's first artifice succeed completely; he had now
undermined his hated rival, and thrust him out of his place: but a
further use was hereafter to be made of the adventure of this
disastrous night.

Cassio, whom this misfortune had entirely sobered, now lamented to
his seeming friend Iago that he should have been such a fool as to
transform himself into a beast. He was undone, for how could he ask
the general for his place again? he would tell him he was a drunkard.
He despised himself. Iago, affecting to make light of it, said, that he,
or any man living, might be drunk upon occasion; it remained now to
make the best of a bad bargain; the general's wife was now the
general, and could do anything with Othello; that he were best to
apply to the lady Desdemona to mediate for him with her lord; that
she was of a frank, obliging disposition, and would readily undertake
a good office of this sort, and set Cassio right again in the general's
favour; and then this crack in their love would be made stronger than
ever. A good advice of Iago, if it had not been given for wicked
purposes, which will after appear.

Cassio did as Iago advised him, and made application to the lady
Desdemona, who was easy to be won over in any honest suit; and she
promised Cassio that she should be his solicitor with her lord, and
rather die than give up his cause. This she immediately set about in so
earnest and pretty a manner, that Othello, who was mortally offended
with Cassio, could not put her off. When he pleaded delay, and that it
was too soon to pardon such an offender, she would not be beat back,
but insisted that it should be the next night, or the morning after, or
the next morning to that at farthest. Then she showed how penitent
and humbled poor Cassio was, and that his offence did not deserve so
sharp a check. And when Othello still hung back: 'What! my lord,' said
she, 'that I should have so much to do to plead for Cassio, Michael
Cassio, that came a courting for you, and oftentimes, when I have
spoken in dispraise of you, has taken your part! I count this but a little
thing to ask of you. When I mean to try your love indeed, I shall ask a
weighty matter.' Othello could deny nothing to such a pleader, and
only requesting that Desdemona would leave the time to him,
promised to receive Michael Cassio again in favour.

It happened that Othello and Iago had entered into the room where
Desdemona was, just as Cassio, who had been imploring her
intercession, was departing at the opposite door: and Iago, who was
full of art, said in a low voice, as if to himself: 'I like not that.' Othello
took no great notice of what he said; indeed, the conference which
immediately took place with his lady put it out of his head; but he
remembered it afterwards. For when Desdemona was gone, Iago, as if
for mere satisfaction of his thought, questioned Othello whether
Michael Cassio, when Othello was courting his lady, knew of his love.
To this the general answering in the affirmative, and adding, that he
had gone between them very often during the courtship, Iago knitted
his brow, as if he had got fresh light on some terrible matter, and
cried: 'Indeed!' This brought into Othello's mind the words which Iago
had let fall upon entering the room, and seeing Cassio with
Desdemona; and he began to think there was some meaning in all this:
for he deemed Iago to be a just man, and full of love and honesty, and
what in a false knave would be tricks, in him seemed to be the natural
workings of an honest mind, big with something too great for
utterance: and Othello prayed Iago to speak what he knew, and to give
his worst thoughts words. 'And what,' said Iago, 'if some thoughts very
vile should have intruded into my breast, as where is the palace into
which foul things do not enter?' Then Iago went on to say, what a pity
it were, if any trouble should arise to Othello out of his imperfect
observations; that it would not be for Othello's peace to know his
thoughts; that people's good names were not to be taken away for
slight suspicions; and when Othello's curiosity was raised almost to
distraction with these hints and scattered words, Iago, as if in earnest
care for Othello's peace of mind, besought him to beware of jealousy:
with such art did this villain raise suspicions in the unguarded Othello,
by the very caution which he pretended to give him against suspicion.
'I know,' said Othello, 'that my wife is fair, loves company and
feasting, is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well: but where
virtue is, these qualities are virtuous. I must have proof before I think
her dishonest.' Then Iago, as if glad that Othello was slow to believe
ill of his lady, frankly declared that he had no proof, but begged
Othello to observe her behaviour well, when Cassio was by; not to be
jealous nor too secure neither, for that he (Iago) knew the dispositions
of the Italian ladies, his countrywomen, better than Othello could do;
and that in Venice the wives let heaven see many pranks they dared
not show their husbands. Then he artfully insinuated that Desdemona
deceived her father in marrying with Othello, and carried it so closely,
that the poor old man thought that witchcraft had been used. Othello
was much moved with this argument, which brought the matter home
to him, for if she had deceived her father, why might she not deceive
her husband?

Iago begged pardon for having moved him; but Othello, assuming an
indifference, while he was really shaken with inward grief at Iago's
words, begged him to go on, which Iago did with many apologies, as
if unwilling to produce anything against Cassio, whom he called his
friend: he then came strongly to the point, and reminded Othello how
Desdemona had refused many suitable matches of her own clime and
complexion, and had married him, a Moor, which showed unnatural
in her, and proved her to have a headstrong will; and when her better
judgment returned, how probable it was she should fall upon
comparing Othello with the fine forms and clear white complexions
of the young Italians her countrymen. He concluded with advising
Othello to put off his reconcilement with Cassio a little longer, and in
the meanwhile to note with what earnestness Desdemona should
intercede in his behalf; for that much would be seen in that. So
mischievously did this artful villain lay his plots to turn the gentle
qualities of this innocent lady into her destruction, and make a net for
her out of her own goodness to entrap her: first setting Cassio on to
entreat her mediation, and then out of that very mediation contriving
stratagems for her ruin.

The conference ended with Iago's begging Othello to account his wife
innocent, until he had more decisive proof; and Othello promised to
be patient; but from that moment the deceived Othello never tasted
content of mind. Poppy, nor the juice of mandragora, nor all the
sleeping potions in the world, could ever again restore to him that
sweet rest, which he had enjoyed but yesterday. His occupation
sickened upon him. He no longer took delight in arms. His heart, that
used to be roused at the sight of troops, and banners, and battle-array,
and would stir and leap at the sound of a drum, or a trumpet, or a
neighing war-horse, seemed to have lost all that pride and ambition
which are a soldier's virtue; and his military ardour and all his old joys
forsook him. Sometimes he thought his wife honest, and at times he
thought her not so; sometimes he thought Iago just, and at times he
thought him not so; then he would wish that he had never known of it;
he was not the worse for her loving Cassio, so long as he knew it not:
torn to pieces with these distracting thoughts, he once laid hold on
Iago's throat, and demanded proof of Desdemona's guilt, or threatened
instant death for his having belied her. Iago, feigning indignation that
his honesty should be taken for a vice, asked Othello, if he had not
sometimes seen a handkerchief spotted with strawberries in his wife's
hand. Othello answered, that he had given her such a one, and that it
was his first gift. 'That same handkerchief,' said Iago, 'did I see
Michael Cassio this day wipe his face with.' 'If it be as you say,' said
Othello, 'I will not rest till a wide revenge swallow them up: and first,
for a token of your fidelity, I expect that Cassio shall be put to death
within three days; and for that fair devil (meaning his lady), I will
withdraw and devise some swift means of death for her.'

Trifles light as air are to the jealous proofs as strong as holy writ. A
handkerchief of his wife's seen in Cassio's hand, was motive enough
to the deluded Othello to pass sentence of death upon them both.
without once inquiring how Cassio came by it. Desdemona had never
given such a present to Cassio, nor would this constant lady have
wronged her lord with doing so naughty a thing as giving his presents
to another man; both Cassio and Desdemona were innocent of any
offence against Othello: but the wicked Iago, whose spirits never slept
in contrivance of villany, had made his wife (a good, but a weak
woman) steal this handkerchief from Desdemona, under presence of
getting the work copied, but in reality to drop it in Cassio's way,
where he might find it, and give a handle to Iago's suggestion that it
was Desdemona's present.

Othello, soon after meeting his wife, pretended that he had a headache
(as he might indeed with truth), and desired her to lend him her
handkerchief to hold to his temples. She did so. 'Not this,' said
Othello, 'but that handkerchief I gave you.' Desdemona had it not
about her (for indeed it was stolen, as we have related). 'How?' said
Othello, 'this is a fault indeed. That handkerchief an Egyptian woman
gave to my mother; the woman was a witch and could read people's
thoughts: she told my mother, while she kept it, it would make her
amiable, and my father would love her; but, if she lost it, or gave it
away, my father's fancy would turn, and he would loathe her as much
as he had loved her. She dying gave it to me, and bade me, if I ever
married, to give it to my wife. I did so; take heed of it. Make it a
darling as precious as your eye.' 'It is possible?' said the frighted lady.
"Tis true,' continued Othello 'it is a magical handkerchief; a sibyl that
had lived in the world two hundred years, in a fit of prophetic fury
worked it; the silkworms that furnished the silk were hallowed, and it
was dyed in a mummy of maidens' hearts conserved.' Desdemona,
hearing the wondrous virtues of the handkerchief, was ready to die
with fear, for she plainly perceived she had lost it, and with it, she
feared, the affections of her husband. Then Othello started, and
looked as if he were going to do some rash thing, and still he
demanded the handkerchief, which when she could not produce, she
tried to divert her husband from too serious thoughts, and cheerfully
told him she saw all his talk about the handkerchief was only to put
her off from her suit about Michael Cassio, whom she went on to
praise (as Iago had foretold), till Othello in perfect distraction burst
out of the room, and then Desdemona, though unwillingly, began to
suspect that her lord was jealous.

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

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

Desdemona being retired to bed expecting her lord would follow her,
soon fell into a slumber, the effect of her troubled spirits, when
Othello entered the chamber, full of the black purpose which he had
meditated of putting his lady to death. But when he saw her asleep, he
thought he would not shed her blood, nor scar that white skin of hers,
more white than alabaster. But he was resolved she should die; else
(as he said) she would live to betray more men, as she had done him.
Then he kissed her for the last time (as he said), and that kiss was so
sweet, that he must needs kiss her again: and he wept, but he said they
were cruel tears.

Desdemona was awakened with his kisses, and she looked upon
Othello, and she saw him gnaw his under lip, and roll his eyes, and
she knew he was always fatal when he looked so: and he bade her
prepare for death, and to say her prayers, for he would not kill her
soul. And this innocent wife, as she lay at his mercy, begged for
compassion, and to know her fault, and then he named Cassio, and the
handkerchief which (he said) she had given him; and as the guiltless
lady was proceeding to clear herself he suddenly would hear no more,
but covering her up in the bed-clothes, stifled her till she died.

In this instant of time was brought into the house Cassio, wounded
and bleeding, whom Iago had set one of his creatures on to
assassinate; but the fellow not succeeding in his attempt to kill Cassio
(whom he wounded, but not mortally), and being himself killed by
Iago to prevent discovery, in his pockets were found certain letters,
which made the guilt of Iago, and the innocence of Cassio, clear
beyond all doubt; and Cassio now came to beg pardon of Othello, and
to ask wherein he had offended him, that he had employed Iago to
murder him.

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

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


Pericles, prince of Tyre, became a voluntary exile from his dominions,
to avert the dreadful calamities which Antiochus, the wicked emperor
of Greece, threatened to bring upon his subjects and city of Tyre, in
revenge for a discovery which the prince had made of a shocking deed
which the emperor had done in secret; as commonly it proves
dangerous to pry into the hidden crimes of great ones. Leaving the
government of his people in the hands of his able and honest minister,
Helicanus, Pericles set sail from Tyre, thinking to absent himself till
the wrath of Antiochus, who was mighty, should be appeased.

The first place which the prince directed his course to was Tarsus, and
hearing that the city of Tarsus was at that time suffering under a
severe famine, he took with him store of provisions for its relief. On
his arrival he found the city reduced to the utmost distress; and, he
coming like a messenger from heaven with his unhoped-for succour,
Cleon, the governor of Tarsus, welcomed him with boundless thanks.
Pericles had not been here many days, before letters came from his
faithful minister, warning him that it was not safe for him to stay at
Tarsus, for Antiochus knew of his abode, and by secret emissaries
despatched for that purpose sought his life. Upon receipt of these
letters Pericles put out to sea again, amidst the blessings and prayers
of a whole people who had been fed by his bounty.

He had not sailed far, when his ship was overtaken by a dreadful
storm, and every man on board perished except Pericles, who was cast
by the sea-waves naked on an unknown shore, where he had not
wandered long before he met with some poor fishermen, who invited
him to their homes, giving him clothes and provisions. The fishermen
told Pericles the name of their country was Pentapolis, and that their
king was Simonides, commonly called the good Simonides, because
of his peaceable reign and good government. From them he also
learned that king Simonides had a fair young daughter, and that the
following day was her birthday, when a grand tournament was to be
held at court, many princes and knights being come from all parts to
try their skill in arms for the love of Thaisa, this fair princess. While
the prince was listening to this account, and secretly lamenting the
loss of his good armour, which disabled him from making one among
these valiant knights, another fisherman brought in a complete suit of
armour that he had taken out of the sea with his fishing-net, which
proved to be the very armour he had lost. When Pericles beheld his
own armour, he said: 'Thanks, Fortune; after all my crosses you give
me somewhat to repair myself. This armour was bequeathed to me by
my dead father, for whose dear sake I have so loved it that
whithersoever I went, I still have kept it by me, and the rough sea that
parted it from me, having now become calm, hath given it back again,
for which I thank it for, since I have my father's gift again, I think my
shipwreck no misfortune.'

The next day Pericles clad in his brave father's armour, repaired to the
royal court of Simonides, where he performed wonders at the
tournament, vanquishing with ease all the brave knights and valiant
princes who contended with him in arms for the honour of Thaisa's
love. When brave warriors contended at court tournaments for the
love of king's daughters, if one proved sole victor over all the rest, it
was usual for the great lady for whose sake these deeds of velour were
undertaken, to bestow all her respect upon the conqueror, and Thaisa
did not depart from this custom, for she presently dismissed all the
princes and knights whom Pericles had vanquished, and distinguished
him by her especial favour and regard, crowning him with the wrath
of victory, as king of that day's happiness; and Pericles became a most
passionate lover of this beauteous princess from the first moment he
beheld her.

The good Simonides so well approved of the velour and noble
qualities of Pericles, who was indeed a most accomplished gentleman,
and well learned in all excellent arts, that though he knew not the rank
of this royal stranger (for Pericles for fear of Antiochus gave out that
he was a private gentleman of Tyre), yet did not Simonides disdain to
accept of the valiant unknown for a son-in-law, when he perceived his
daughter's affections were firmly fixed upon him.

Pericles had not been many months married to Thaisa, before he
received intelligence that his enemy Antiochus was dead, and that his
subjects of Tyre, impatient of his long absence, threatened to revolt,
and talked of placing Helicanus upon his vacant throne. This news
came from Helicanus himself, who, being a loyal subject to his royal
master, would not accept of the high dignity offered him, but sent to
let Pericles know their intentions, that he might return home and
resume his lawful right. It was matter of great surprise and joy to
Simonides, to kind that his son-in-law (the obscure knight) was the
renowned prince of Tyre; yet again he regretted that he was not the
private gentleman he supposed him to be, seeing that he must now
part both with his admired son-in-law and his beloved daughter,
whom he feared to trust to the perils of the sea, because Thaisa was
with child; and Pericles himself wished her to remain with her father
till after her confinement, but the poor lady so earnestly desired to go
with her husband, that at last they consented, hoping she would reach
Tyre before she was brought to bed.

The sea was no friendly element to unhappy Pericles, for long before
they reached Tyre another dreadful tempest arose, which so terrified
Thaisa that she was taken ill, and in a short space of time her nurse
Lychorida came to Pericles with a little child in her arms, to tell the
prince the sad tidings that his wife died the moment her little babe
was born. She held the babe towards its father, saying: 'Here is a thing
too young for such a place. This is the child of your dead queen.' No
tongue can tell the dreadful sufferings of Pericles when he heard his
wife was dead. As soon as he could speak, he said: 'O you gods, why
do you make us love your goodly gifts, and then snatch those gifts
away?' 'Patience, good sir,' said Lychorida, 'here is all that is left alive
of our dead queen, a little daughter, and for your child's sake be more
manly. Patience, good sir, even for the sake of this precious charge.'
Pericles took the new-born infant in his arms, and he said to the little
babe: 'Now may your life be mild, for a more blusterous birth had
never babe! May your condition be mild and gentle, for you have had
the rudest welcome that ever prince's child did meet with! May that
which follows be happy, for you have had as chiding a nativity as fire,
air, water, earth, and heaven could make to herald you from the
womb! Even at the first, your loss,' meaning in the death of her
mother, 'is more than all the joys, which you shall find upon this earth
to which you are come a new visitor, shall be able to recompense.'

The storm still continuing to rage furiously, and the sailors having a
superstition that while a dead body remained in the ship the storm
would never cease, they came to Pericles to demand that his queen
should be thrown overboard; and they said: 'What courage, sir? God
save you!' 'Courage enough,' said the sorrowing prince: 'I do not fear
the storm; it has done to me its worst; yet for the love of this poor
infant, this fresh new seafarer, I wish the storm was over.' 'Sir,' said
the sailors, 'your queen must overboard. The sea works high, the wind
is loud, and the storm will not abate till the ship be cleared of the
dead.' Though Pericles knew how weak and unfounded this
superstition was, yet he patiently submitted, saying: 'As you think
meet. Then she must overboard, most wretched queen!' And now this
unhappy prince went to take a last view of his dear wife, and as he
looked on his Thaisa, he said: 'A terrible childbed hast thou had, my
dear; no light, no fire; the unfriendly elements forget thee utterly, nor
have I time to bring thee hallowed to thy grave, but must cast thee
scarcely coffined into the sea, where for a monument upon thy bones
the humming waters must overwhelm thy corpse, lying with simple
shells. O Lychorida, bid Nestor bring me spices, ink, and paper, my
casket and my jewels, and bid Nicandor bring me the satin coffin. Lay
the babe upon the pillow, and go about this suddenly, Lychorida,
while I say a priestly farewell to my Thaisa.'

They brought Pericles a large chest, in which (wrapped in a satin
shroud) he placed his queen, and sweet-smelling spices he strewed
over her, and beside her he placed rich jewels, and a written paper,
telling who she was, and praying if haply any one should kind the
chest which contained the body of his wife, they would give her
burial: and then with his own hands he cast the chest into the sea.
When the storm was over, Pericles ordered the sailors to make for
Tarsus. 'For,' said Pericles, 'the babe cannot hold out till we come to
Tyre. At Tarsus I will leave it at careful nursing.'

After that tempestuous night when Thaisa was thrown into the sea,
and while it was yet early morning, as Cerimon, a worthy gentleman
of Ephesus, and a most skilful physician, was standing by the sea-side,
his servants brought to him a chest, which they said the sea-waves had
thrown on the land. 'I never saw,' said one of them, 'so huge a billow
as cast it on our shore.' Cerimon ordered the chest to be conveyed to
his own house and when it was opened he beheld with wonder the
body of a young and lovely lady; and the sweet-smelling spices and
rich casket of jewels made him conclude it was some great person
who was thus strangely entombed: searching farther, he discovered a
paper, from which he learned that the corpse which lay as dead before
him had been a queen, and wife to Pericles, prince of Tyre; and much
admiring at the strangeness of that accident, and more pitying the
husband who had lost this sweet lady, he said: 'If you are living,
Pericles, you have a heart that even cracks with woe.' Then observing
attentively Thaisa's face, he saw how fresh and unlike death her looks
were, and he said: 'They were too hasty that threw you into the sea':
for he did not believe her to be dead. He ordered a fire to be made,
and proper cordials to be brought, and soft music to be played, which
might help to calm her amazed spirits if she should revive; and he said
to those who crowded round her, wondering at what they saw: 'I pray
you, gentlemen, give her air; this queen will live; she has not been
entranced above five hours; and see, she begins to blow into life
again; she is alive; behold, her eyelids move; this fair creature will
live to make us weep to hear her fate.' Thaisa had never died, but after
the birth of her little baby had fallen into a deep swoon, which made
all that saw her conclude her to be dead; and now by the care of this
kind gentleman she once more revived to light and life; and opening
her eyes, she said: 'Where am I? Where is my lord? What world is
this?' By gentle degrees Cerimon let her understand what had befallen
her; and when he thought she was enough recovered to bear the sight,
he showed her the paper written by her husband, and the jewels; and
she looked on the paper, and said: 'It is my lord's writing. That I was
shipped at sea, I well remember, but whether there delivered of my
babe, by the holy gods I cannot rightly say; but since my wedded lord
I never shall see again, I will put on a vestal livery, and never more
have joy.' 'Madam,' said Cerimon, 'if you purpose as you speak, the
temple of Diana is not far distant from hence; there you may abide as
a vestal. Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine shall there attend
you.' This proposal was accepted with thanks by Thaisa; and when she
was perfectly recovered, Cerimon placed her in the temple of Diana,
where she became a vestal or priestess of that goddess, and passed her
days in sorrowing for her husband's supposed loss, and in the most
devout exercises of those times.

Pericles carried his young daughter (whom he named Marina, because
she was born at sea) to Tarsus, intending to leave her with Cleon, the
governor of that city, and his wife Dionysia, thinking, for the good he
had done to them at the time of their famine, they would be kind to
his little motherless daughter. When Cleon saw prince Pericles, and
heard of the great loss which had befallen him, he said: 'O your sweet
queen, that it had pleased Heaven you could have brought her hither
to have blessed my eyes with the sight of her!' Pericles replied: 'We
must obey the powers above us. Should I rage and roar as the sea does
in which my Thaisa lies, yet the end must be as it is. My gentle babe,
Marina here, I must charge your charity with her. I leave her the infant
of your care, beseeching you to give her princely training.' And then
turning to Cleon's wife, Dionysia, he said: 'Good madam, make me
blessed in your care in bringing up my child': and she answered: 'I
have a child myself who shall not be more dear to my respect than
yours, my lord'; and Cleon made the like promise, saying: 'Your noble
services, prince Pericles, in feeding my whole people with your corn
(for which in their prayers they daily remember you) must in your
child be thought on. If I should neglect your child, my whole people
that were by you relieved would force me to my duty; but if to that I
need a spur, the gods revenge it on me and mine to the end of
generation.' Pericles being thus assured that his child would be
carefully attended to, left her to the protection of Cleon and his wife
Dionysia, and with her he left the nurse Lychorida. When he went
away, the little Marina knew not her loss, but Lychorida wept sadly at
parting with her royal master. 'O, no tears, Lychorida,' said Pericles:
'no tears; look to your little mistress, on whose grace you may depend

Pericles arrived in safety at Tyre, and was once more settled in the
quiet possession of his throne, while his woeful queen, whom he
thought dead, remained at Ephesus. Her little babe Marina, whom this
hapless mother had never seen, was brought up by Cleon in a manner
suitable to her high birth. He gave her the most careful education, so
that by the time Marina attained the age of fourteen years, the most
deeply-learned men were not more studied in the learning of those
times than was Marina. She sang like one immortal, and danced as
goddesslike, and with her needle she was so skilful that she seemed to
compose nature's own shapes, in birds, fruits, or flowers, the natural
roses being scarcely more like to each other than they were to
Marina's silken flowers. But when she had gained from education all
these graces, which made her the general wonder, Dionysia, the wife
of Cleon, became her mortal enemy from jealousy, by reason that her
own daughter, from the slowness of her mind, was not able to attain to
that perfection wherein Marina excelled: and finding that all praise
was bestowed on Marina, whilst her daughter, who was of the same
age, and had been educated with the same care as Marina, though not
with the same success, was in comparison disregarded, she formed a
project to remove Marina out of the way, vainly imagining that her
untoward daughter would be more respected when Marina was no
more seen. To encompass this she employed a man to murder Marina,
and she well timed her wicked design, when Lychorida, the faithful
nurse, had just died. Dionysia was discoursing with the man she had
commanded to commit this murder, when the young Marina was
weeping over the dead Lychorida. Leonine, the man she employed to
do this bad deed, though he was a very wicked man, could hardly be
persuaded to undertake it, so had Marina won all hearts to love her.
He said: 'She is a goodly creature!' 'The tatter then the gods should
have her,' replied her merciless enemy: 'here she comes weeping for
the death of her nurse Lychorida: are you resolved to obey me?'
Leonine, fearing to disobey her, replied: 'I am resolved.' And so, in
that one short sentence, was the matchless Marina doomed to an
untimely death. She now approached, with a basket of flowers in her
hand, which she said she would daily strew over the grave of good
Lychorida. The purple violet and the marigold should as a carpet hang
upon her grave, while summer days did last. 'Alas, for me!' she said,
'poor unhappy maid, born in a tempest, when my mother died. This
world to me is like a lasting storm, hurrying me from my friends.'
'How now, Marina,' said the dissembling Dionysia, 'do you weep
alone? How does it chance my daughter is not with you? Do not
sorrow for Lychorida, you have a nurse in me. Your beauty is quite
changed with this unprofitable woe. Come, give me your flowers, the
sea-air will spoil them; and walk with Leonine: the air is fine, and will
enliven you. Come, Leonine, take her by the arm, and walk with her.'
'No, madam,' said Marina, 'I pray you let me not deprive you of your
servant': for Leonine was one of Dionysia's attendants. 'Come, come,'
said this artful woman, who wished for a presence to leave her alone
with Leonine, 'I love the prince, your father, and I love you. We every
day expect your father here; and when he comes, and finds you so
changed by grief from the paragon of beauty we reported you, he will
think we have taken no care of you. Go, I pray you, walk, and be
cheerful once again. Be careful of that excellent complexion, which
stole the hearts of old and young.' Marina, being thus importuned,
said: 'Well, I will go, but yet I have no desire to it.' As Dionysia
walked away, she said to Leonine: 'Remember what I have said!'--
shocking words, for their meaning was that he should remember to
kill Marina.

Marina looked towards the sea, her birthplace, and said: 'Is the wind
westerly that blows?' 'South-west,' replied Leonine. 'When I was born
the wind was north,' said she: and then the storm and tempest, and all
her father's sorrows, and her mother's death, came full into her mind;
and she said: 'My father, as Lychorida told me, did never fear, but
cried, Courage, good seamen, to the sailors, galling his princely hands
with the ropes, and, clasping to the masts, he endured a sea that
almost split the deck.' 'When was this?' said Leonine. 'When I was
born,' replied Marina: 'never were wind and waves more violent'; and
then she described the storm, the action of the sailors, the boatswain's
whistle, and the loud call of the master, 'which,' said she, 'trebled the
confusion of the ship.' Lychorida had so often recounted to Marina the
story of her hapless birth that these things seemed ever present to her
imagination. But here Leonine interrupted her with desiring her to say
her prayers. 'What mean you?' said Marina, who began to fear, she
knew not why. 'If you require a little space for prayer, I grant it,' said
Leonine; 'but be not tedious, the gods are quick of ear, and I am sworn
to do my work in haste.' 'Will you kill me?' said Marina: 'alas! why?'
'To satisfy my lady,' replied Leonine. 'Why would she have me killed?'
said Marina: 'now, as I can remember, I never hurt her in all my life. I
never spake bad word, nor did any ill turn to any living creature.
Believe me now, I never killed a mouse, nor hurt a fly. I trod upon a
worm once against my will, but I wept for it. How have I offended?'
The murderer replied: 'My commission is not to reason on the deed,
but to do it.' And he was just going to kill her, when certain pirates
happened to land at that very moment, who seeing Marina, bore her
off as a prize to their ship.

The pirate who had made Marina his prize carried her to Mitylene,
and sold her for a slave, where, though in that humble condition,
Marina soon became known throughout the whole city of Mitylene for
her beauty and her virtues; and the person to whom she was sold
became rich by the money she earned for him. She taught music,
dancing, and fine needleworks, and the money she got by her scholars
she gave to her master and mistress; and the fame of her learning and
her great industry came to the knowledge of Lysimachus, a young
nobleman who was governor of Mitylene, and Lysimachus went
himself to the house where Marina dwelt, to see this paragon of
excellence, whom all the city praised so highly. Her conversation
delighted Lysimachus beyond measure, for though he had heard much
of this admired maiden, he did not expect to find her so sensible a
lady, so virtuous, and so good, as he perceived Marina to be; and he
left her, saying, he hoped she would persevere in her industrious and
virtuous course, and that if ever she heard from him again it should be
for her good. Lysimachus thought Marina such a miracle for sense,
fine breeding, and excellent qualities, as well as for beauty and all
outward graces, that he wished to marry her, and notwithstanding her
humble situation, he hoped to find that her birth was noble; but ever
when they asked her parentage she would sit still and weep.

Meantime, at Tarsus, Leonine, fearing the anger of Dionysia, told her
he had killed Marina; and that wicked woman gave out that she was
dead, and made a pretended funeral for her, and erected a stately
monument; and shortly after Pericles, accompanied by his royal
minister Helicanus, made a voyage from Tyre to Tarsus, on purpose to
see his daughter, intending to take her home with him: and he never
having beheld her since he left her an infant in the care of Cleon and
his wife, how did this good prince rejoice at the thought of seeing this
dear child of his buried queen! but when they told him Marina was
dead, and showed the monument they had erected for her, great was
the misery this most wretched father endured, and not being able to
bear the sight of that country where his last hope and only memory of
his dear Thaisa was entombed, he took ship, and hastily departed from
Tarsus. From the day he entered the ship a dull and heavy melancholy
seized him. He never spoke, and seemed totally insensible to
everything around him.

Sailing from Tarsus to Tyre, the ship in its course passed by Mitylene,
where Marina dwelt; the governor of which place, Lysimachus,
observing this royal vessel from the shore, and desirous of knowing
who was on board, went in a barge to the side of the ship, to satisfy
his curiosity. Helicanus received him very courteously and told him
that the ship came from Tyre, and that they were conducting thither
Pericles, their prince; 'A man, sir,' said Helicanus, 'who has not spoken
to any one these three months, nor taken any sustenance, but just to
prolong his grief; it would be tedious to repeat the whole ground of
his distemper, but the main springs from the loss of a beloved
daughter and a wife.' Lysimachus begged to see this afflicted prince,
and when he beheld Pericles, he saw he had been once a goodly
person, and he said to him: 'Sir king, all hail, the gods preserve you,
hail, royal sir!' But in vain Lysimachus spoke to him; Pericles made no
answer, nor did he appear to perceive any stranger approached. And
then Lysimachus bethought him of the peerless maid Marina, that
haply with her sweet tongue she might win some answer from the
silent prince: and with the consent of Helicanus he sent for Marina,
and when she entered the ship in which her own father sat motionless
with grief, they welcomed her on board as if they had known she was
their princess; and they cried: 'She is a gallant lady.' Lysimachus was
well pleased to hear their commendations, and he said: 'She is such a
one, that were I well assured she came of noble birth, I would wish no
better choice, and think me rarely blessed in a wife.' And then he
addressed her in courtly terms, as if the lowly-seeming maid had been
the high-born lady he wished to kind her, calling her Fair and
beautiful Marina, telling her a great prince on board that ship had
fallen into a sad and mournful silence; and, as if Marina had the
power of conferring health and felicity, he begged she would
undertake to cure the royal stranger of his melancholy. 'Sir,' said
Marina, 'I will use my utmost skill in his recovery, provided none but I
and my maid be suffered to come near him.'

She, who at Mitylene had so carefully concealed her birth, ashamed to
tell that one of royal ancestry was now a slave, first began to speak to
Pericles of the wayward changes in her own fate, telling him from
what a high estate herself had fallen. As if she had known it was her
royal father she stood before, all the words she spoke were of her own
sorrows; but her reason for so doing was, that she knew nothing more
wins the attention of the unfortunate than the recital of some sad
calamity to match their own. The sound of her sweet voice aroused
the drooping prince; he lifted up his eyes, which had been so long
fixed and motionless; and Marina, who was the perfect image of her
mother, presented to his amazed sight the features of his dead queen.
The long-silent prince was once more heard to speak. 'My dearest
wife,' said the awakened Pericles, 'was like this maid, and such a one
might my daughter have been. My queen's square brows, her stature to
an inch, as wand-like straight, as silver-voiced, her eyes as jewel-like.
Where do you live, young maid? Report your parentage. I think you
said you had been tossed from wrong to injury, and that you thought
your griefs would equal mine, if both were opened.' 'Some such thing I
said,' replied Marina, 'and said no more than what my thoughts did
warrant me as likely.' 'Tell me your story,' answered Pericles; 'if I find
you have known the thousandth part of my endurance, you have borne
your sorrows like a man, and I have suffered like a girl; yet you do
look like Patience gazing on kings' graves, and smiling extremity out
of act. How lost you your name, my most kind virgin? Recount your
story I beseech you. Come, sit by me.' How was Pericles surprised
when she said her name was Marina, for he knew it was no usual
name, but had been invented by himself for his own child to signify
seaborn: 'O, I am mocked,' said he, 'and you are sent hither by some
incensed god to make the world laugh at me.' 'Patience, good sir,' said
Marina, 'or I must cease here.' 'Nay,' said Pericles, 'I will be patient;
you little know how you do startle me, to call yourself Marina.' 'The
name,' she replied, 'was given me by one that had some power, my
father, and a king.' 'How, a king's daughter! ' said Pericles, 'and called
Marina! But are you flesh and blood? Are you no fairy? Speak on;
where were you born? and wherefore called Marina?' She replied: 'I
was called Marina, because I was born at sea. My mother was the
daughter of a king; she died the minute I was born, as my good nurse
Lychorida has often told me weeping. The king, my father, left me at
Tarsus, till the cruel wife of Cleon sought to murder me. A crew of
pirates came and rescued me, and brought me here to Mitylene. But,
good sir, why do you weep? It may be, you think me an impostor. But,
indeed, sir, I am the daughter to king Pericles, if good king Pericles be
living.' Then Pericles, terrified as he seemed at his own sudden joy,
and doubtful if this could be real, loudly called for his attendants, who
rejoiced at the sound of their beloved king's voice; and he said to
Helicanus: 'O Helicanus, strike me, give me a gash, put me to present
pain, lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me, overbear the shores
of my mortality. O, come hither, thou that west born at sea, buried at
Tarsus, and found at sea again. O Helicanus, down on your knees,
thank the holy gods! This is Marina. Now blessings on thee, my child!
Give me fresh garments, mine own Helicanus! She is not dead at
Tarsus as she should have been by the savage Dionysia. She shall tell
you all, when you shall kneel to her and call her your very princess.
Who is this?' (observing Lysimachus for the first time). 'Sir,' said
Helicanus, 'it is the governor of Mitylene, who, hearing of your
melancholy, came to see you.' 'I embrace you, sir,' said Pericles. 'Give
me my robes! I am wild with beholding--O heaven bless my girl! But
hark, what music is that?'--for now, either sent by some kind god, or
by his own delighted fancy deceived, he seemed to hear soft music.
'My lord, I hear none,' replied Helicanus. 'None?' said Pericles; 'why it
is the music of the spheres.' As there was no music to be heard,
Lysimachus concluded that the sudden joy had unsettled the prince's
understanding; and he said: 'It is not good to cross him: let him have
his way': and then they told him they heard the music; and he now
complaining of a drowsy slumber coming over him, Lysimachus
persuaded him to rest on a couch, and placing a pillow under his head,
he, quite overpowered with excess of joy, sank into a sound sleep, and
Marina watched in silence by the couch of her sleeping parent.

While he slept, Pericles dreamed a dream which made him resolve to
go to Ephesus. His dream was, that Diana, the goddess of the
Ephesians, appeared to him, and commanded him to go to her temple
at Ephesus, and there before her altar to declare the story of his life
and misfortunes; and by her silver bow she swore, that if he
performed her injunction, he should meet with some rate felicity.
When he awoke, being miraculously refreshed, he told his dream, and
that his resolution was to obey the bidding of the goddess.

Then Lysimachus invited Pericles to come on shore, and refresh
himself with such entertainment as he should find at Mitylene, which
courteous offer Pericles accepting, agreed to tarry with him for the
space of a day or two. During which time we may well suppose what
feastings, what rejoicings, what costly shows and entertainments the
governor made in Mitylene, to greet the royal father of his dear
Marina, whom in her obscure fortunes he had so respected. Nor did
Pericles frown upon Lysimachus's suit, when he understood how he
had honoured his child in the days of her low estate, and that Marina
showed herself not averse to his proposals; only he made it a
condition, before he gave his consent, that they should visit with him
the shrine of the Ephesian Diana: to whose temple they shortly after
all three undertook a voyage; and, the goddess herself filling their
sails with prosperous winds, after a few weeks they arrived in safety at

There was standing near the altar of the goddess, when Pericles with
his train entered the temple, the good Cerimon (now grown very aged)
who had restored Thaisa, the wife of Pericles, to life; and Thaisa, now
a priestess of the temple, was standing before the altar; and though the
many years he had passed in sorrow for her loss had much altered
Pericles, Thaisa thought she knew her husband's features, and when he
approached the altar and began to speak, she remembered his voice,
and listened to his words with wonder and a joyful amazement. And
these were the words that Pericles spoke before the altar: 'Hail, Diana!
to perform thy just commands, I here confess myself the prince of
Tyre, who, frighted from my country, at Pentapolis wedded the fair
Thaisa: she died at sea in childbed, but brought forth a maid-child
called Marina. She at Tarsus was nursed with Dionysia, who at
fourteen years thought to kill her, but her better stars brought her to
Mitylene, by whose shores as I sailed, her good fortunes brought this
maid on board, where by her most clear remembrance she made
herself known to be my daughter.'

Thaisa, unable to bear the transports which his words had raised in
her, cried out: 'You are, you are, O royal Pericles'-- and fainted. 'What
means this woman?' said Pericles: 'she dies! gentlemen, help.' 'Sir,'
said Cerimon, 'if you have told Diana's altar true, this is your wife.'
'Reverend gentleman, no,' said Pericles: 'I threw her overboard with
these very arms.' Cerimon then recounted how, early one tempestuous
morning, this lady was thrown upon the Ephesian shore; how, opening
the coffin, he found therein rich jewels, and a paper; how, happily, he
recovered her, and placed her here in Diana's temple. And now,
Thaisa being restored from her swoon said: 'O my lord, are you not
Pericles? Like him you speak, like him you are. Did you not name a
tempest, a birth, and death?' He astonished said: 'The voice of dead
Thaisa!' 'That Thaisa am I,' she replied, 'supposed dead and drowned.'
'O true Diana!' exclaimed Pericles, in a passion of devout
astonishment. 'And now,' said Thaisa, 'I know you better. Such a ring
as I see on your finger did the king my father give you, when we with
tears parted from him at Pentapolis.' 'Enough, you gods!' cried
Pericles, 'your present kindness makes my past miseries sport. O
come, Thaisa, be buried a second time within these arms.

And Marina said: 'My heart leaps to be gone into my mother's bosom.'
Then did Pericles show his daughter to her mother, saying: 'Look who
kneels here, flesh of thy flesh, thy burthen at sea, and called Marina,
because she was yielded there.' 'Blessed and my own!' said Thaisa: and
while she hung in rapturous joy over her child, Pericles knelt before
the altar, saying: 'Pure Diana, bless thee for thy vision. For this, I will
offer oblations nightly to thee.' And then and there did Pericles, with
the consent of Thaisa, solemnly affiance their daughter, the virtuous
Marina, to the well-deserving Lysimachus in marriage.

Thus have we seen in Pericles, his queen, and daughter, a famous
example of virtue assailed by calamity (through the sufferance of
Heaven, to teach patience and constancy to men), under the same
guidance becoming finally successful, and triumphing over chance
and change. In Helicanus we have beheld a notable pattern of truth, of
faith, and loyalty, who, when he might have succeeded to a shone,
chose rather to recall the rightful owner to his possession, than to
become great by another's wrong. In the worthy Cerimon, who
restored Thaisa to life, we are instructed how goodness directed by
knowledge, in bestowing benefits upon mankind, approaches to the
nature of the gods. It only remains to be told, that Dionysia, the
wicked wife of Cleon, met with an end proportionable to her deserts;
the inhabitants of Tarsus, when her cruel attempt upon Marina was
known, rising in a body to revenge the daughter of their benefactor,
and setting fire to the palace of Cleon, burnt both him and her, and
their whole household: the gods seeming well pleased, that so foul a
murder, though but intentional, and never carried into act, should be
punished in a way befitting its enormity.

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