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to Constantinople from a crusade against the infidels. He was succoured and hospitably entertained by Pontus, the duke and governor, whose daughter, Silla, became deeply enamoured of the young and handsome guest. But wholly engrossed by the desire of returning to his native city, Apolonius was insensible to such advances as the modesty of Silla permitted her to make, and he departed ignorant of her attachment.
The difficulties in the way of its gratification inflamed the love of Silla, and trusting herself to the protection of a faithful servant, she stole from her father's court in pursuit of Apolonius. The vessel in which she embarked was wrecked, Pedro, her servant, was drowned, and she herself barely escaped with life on a chest belonging to the captain. The chest was rich in apparel and in coin : she disguised herself as a man, assumed the name of her brother, Silvio, prosecutedher journey, and arrived safe at Constantinople. She directed her steps to the palace of Apolonius, offered herself to him as a page, and was readily received into his service. Her attention and diligence speedily recommended her to the notice of her master, and of all his servants she was first in his confidence and love.
There was resident in Constantinople a widow named Julina, famous for wealth and beauty, to
whom Apolonius endeavoured, in vain, to make himself acceptable. Silvio was the bearer of his tokens of affection, and, altogether desirous to please her master, pressed his suit with earnestness. Though cold to Apolonius, the lady was not insensible to the charms of grace and beauty, and she became as deeply entangled in love with the page as his master was with herself. “Silvio," said Julina, interrupting him in a message from his master, “it is enough that you have said in behalf of another; henceforth speak only for yourself, or be for ever silent.”
The clandestine flight of Silla from her father's court was ascribed to her seduction by Pedro who accompanied her, and her brother vowed never to discontinue his pursuit of the fugitives till he had found and punished the betrayer of his sister's honour. He traversed many countries without success, and at length reached Constantinople. He had been there but a few days when Julina met and accosted him as the page of Apolonius, for so strong was the resemblance of Silvio and Silla that it was impossible for strangers to distinguish them.
The curiosity of Silvio was awakened at being thus familiarly addressed, and perceiving by the splendour of Julina's train that she was no less wealthy than beautiful, he answered her with
courtesy, and joyfully accepted an invitation to supper on the following evening. He went, he loved; and Julina did not suffer him to languish in despair. Reflecting on what had passed, Silvio clearly perceived that he had been mistaken for some other person: apprehensive, therefore, that Julina's discovery of her error might plunge him into difficulty, he determined to quit Constantinople and resume his journey in search of Silla.
When the duke again preferred his suit to Julina, she silenced his importunity by the reply, that she had transferred her power to another ; and it quickly reached the ears of Apolonius that he was rejected in favour of his page, on whom the most profuse and lavish favours were bestowed. Piqued and enraged, he cast the supposed offender into prison in spite of his most vehement protestations of innocence.
Julina found it necessary to take some active steps for the preservation of her fame ; and she accordingly resolved to wait upon the duke and claim Silvio as her husband. Apolonius could not but believe his page to be the most despicable of hypocrites; and he was confirmed in his opinion by the perseverance of Silvio in asseverations of his guiltlessness, even when assured by Julina herself of protection, and conjured, by
every motive of honour and of gratitude, to declare the truth and rescue her reputation from destruction.
Moved by compassion for a lady he had long tenderly loved, and disgusted to the last degree with what he imagined the unparalleled effrontery and villany of his page, the duke solemnly swore to put Silvio to death upon the spot without he made honourable reparation to Julina. It being no longer possible to dissemble, Silla solicited a private interview with her accuser, and on that occasion revealed her sex and told her tale.
When Apolonius was informed of these circumstances, he instantly recognised the daughter of his benefactor, the governor of Cyprus, and struck with admiration at love and disinterestedness so unequivocal, immediately directed the commencement of preparations for the solemnisation of his nuptials with her. The fame of events so extraordinary was bruited through every corner of the country; and it no sooner came to the knowledge of Silvio than he comprehended the whole affair, and hastened back to Constantinople. His marriage with Julina concludes the tale.
It will be immediately perceived that this story contains many particulars of the play, of which Shakspeare could not have received the most distant hint from the Italian novel. Here the
prototype of Orsino is, like himself, a duke, and not a private citizen, as the hero of the other tale. Lattantio first returned the passion of the maid who loved him, and the design of her disguise is not to make an original conquest, but to reclaim his affections. The dukes know no attachment but to the ladies to whom the pages are sent, till they are rejected by those scornful beauties. They are then subdued by the fidelity of their disguised lovers.
There is no shipwreck in Bandello; but the - heroine of the English story is cast away, and her life with difficulty is saved : hence the shipwreck of Viola on the coast of Illyria. But it must not be concealed, that, after all, the separation of Sebastian and Viola, in the play, assimilates more closely to a tale in the Heccatommithi than to either of those already mentioned. Cinthio relates the story of a gentleman, who, falling under the displeasure of the King of Naples, leaves that country with his two children, a boy and a girl, bearing a strong resemblance to each other. Their vessel is wrecked, and their father is lost; but the two children getting safely to the shore are brought up, unknown to each other, by different persons.
Shakspeare's Sebastian and Viola are twins and orphans separated by shipwreck; each is ignorant that the other had