Imatges de pÓgina
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St Andrew.

Plague on't, an I had thought he had been valiant, and so cunning

in tence, I'd have scen him damn'd ere I'd have challenged him.


THERE is great reason to believe, that the serious part of this Comedy is founded on some old translation of the seventh history in the 4th vol. of Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques. Belleforest took the story as usual, from Bandello. The comic scenes appear to have been entirely the production of Shakspeare. It is not impossible, however, that the circumstances of the Duke sending his Page to plead his cause with the Lady, and of the Lady's falling in love with the Page, &c. might be borrowed from the Fifth Eglog of Barnaby Googe, published with his other original Poems in 1563.


This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Ague-cheek is drawn with great propriety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly com

ic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life. JOHNSON.

The first edition of this play is in the folio of 1623.


ORSINO, duke of Illyria.

SEBASTIAN, a young gentleman, brother to Viola.
ANTONIO, a sea captain, friend to Sebastian.
A Sea Captain, friend to Viola.

VALENTINE, gentlemen, attending on the duke.


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Lords, Priests, Sailors, Officers, Musicians, and other


SCENE-a City in Illyria; and the Sea-coast near it.



SCENE I.—An Apartment in the Duke's Palace.
CURIO, Lords; Musicians attending.


Enter Duke,

IF music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again ;-it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing, and giving odour.2-Enough;
'Tis not so sweet now, as it was before.
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou!
That, notwithstanding thy capacity

no more;

[1] Amongst the beauties of this charming similitude, its exact propriety is not the least. For, as a south wind, while blowing over a violet bank, wafts away the odour of the flowers, it at the same time communicates its own sweetness to it; so the soft affecting music, here described, though it takes away the natural sweet tranquillity of the mind, yet, at the same time, it communicates a new pleasure to it. Or, it may allude to another property of music, where the same strains have a power to excite pain or pleasure, as the state is in which it finds the hearer. Hence Milton makes the self-same strains of Orpheus proper to excite both the affections of mirth and melancholy, just as the mind is then disposed. If to mirth, he calls for such music, "That Orpheus' self may heave his head From golden slumbers on a bed

Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear

Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice."

If to melancholy,


"Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,

And made hell grant what love did seek.' Il Pensereso. WARB.

[2] Milton, in his Paradise Lost, B. IV. has very successfully introduced the same image:


-now gentle gales,

Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense

Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils."



Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soever,

But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute! so full of shapes is fancy,
That it alone is high-fantastical.

Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord?
Duke. What, Curio?

Cur. The hart.

Duke. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have:
O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought, she purg'd the air of pestilence;
That instant was I turn'd into a hart ;3
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,

E'er since pursue me.-How now? what news from her?

Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
But from her hand-maid do return this answer:
The element itself, till seven years heat,
Shall not behold her face at ample view;
But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk,
And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine: all this, to season
A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh,
And lasting, in her sad remembrance.

Duke. O, she, that hath a heart of that fine frame, To pay this debt of love but to a brother,

How will she love, when the rich golden shaft,
Hath kill'd the flock of all affections else

That live in her when liver, brain, and heart,
These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and fill'd
(Her sweet perfections,) with one self king!-
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;
Love-thoughts lie rich, when canopied with bowers.


The Sea-coast. Enter VIOLA, Captain, and Sailors.

Vio. What country, friends, is this?

Cap. Illyria, lady.

Vio. And what should I do in Illyria?

[3] This image evidently alludes to the story of Acteon, by which Shak speare seems to think men cautioned against too great familiarity with forbidden beauty. Acteon, who saw Diana naked and was torn to pieces by his hounds, represents a man, who indulging his eyes, or his imagination, with the view of a woman that he cannot gain, has his heart torn with incessant

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