But while he was in this fright, he lifted up his eyes, and behold, there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful, and it stood by the highway side. So I saw in my dream that he made haste, that if possible he might get lodging there. Now before he had gone far, he entered into a very narrow passage; and looking before him as he went, he espied two lions in the way. The lions were chained, but Christian did not see the chains. Then he was afraid and thought he would go back, but the porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, seeing Christian stop, as if he would go back, cried, "Fear not the lions, for they are chained."
Then I saw that Christian went on till he came and stood before the gate where the porter was. And Christian said to the porter, "Sir, what house is this? May I lodge here to-night?"
The porter answered, "This house was built by the Lord of the hill, for the safety of pilgrims."
So Watchful the porter rang a bell, at the sound of which a grave and beautiful damsel came out of the door. When she saw Christian she brought him into the Palace Beautiful, and she and her sisters talked with him until supper was ready. Now all their talk at table was about the Lord of the hill, and, by what they said, I knew that He had been a great Warrior, and that He had fought and slain Death, but not without great danger to Himself, which made me love Him the more. They talked together till late at night, and after they had committed themselves to their Lord for protection, they went to bed. The room in which the pilgrim slept had a window opening towards the sunrising, and the name of the room was Peace. In the morning they all got up, and after some more talk, they told him that they would take him to the armory before he left them. So they did, and when he came out, he was harnessed from head to foot, lest he should be attacked in the way. Then Christian walked with his friends to the gate, and there he asked the porter if he had seen any pilgrims pass.
The porter answered, "Yes, a pilgrim called Faithful has passed this way."
"Oh," said Christian, "I know him. He comes from the place where I was born. How far do you think he has got?"
"By this time he is below the hill," said the porter.
Then Christian began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation, where it is difficult not to slip. He went down very warily, yet he slipped once or twice. Now in the valley Christian had a hard fight with a fiend called Apollyon. Apollyon was a monster and hideous to behold. He was clothed with scales like a fish, he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion, and out of it came fire and smoke. When he came up to Christian he looked at him with rage in his face, and said, "Prepare thyself to die, for thou shalt go no farther." And he threw a flaming dart at him, but Christian had a shield in his hand, which caught the dart, so that it did him no harm. Then did Christian draw his sword, but Apollyon threw darts at him as thick as hail, and wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. This great combat lasted half a day, till Christian was almost worn out.
Then Apollyon came close to Christian, and wrestled with him and gave him a dreadful fall, and Christian's sword flew out of his hand.
"I am sure of thee now," said Apollyon. But while he was taking a last blow to kill this good man altogether, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it. Then he gave Apollyon a deadly thrust, and Apollyon spread his wings and sped him away, so that Christian saw him no more. In this combat no man could imagine, unless he had seen and heard as I did, what yelling and roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight. He spake like a dragon. On the other side, sighs and groans burst from Christian's heart. I never saw him give so much as a pleasant look, till he saw that he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword. Then indeed he did smile and look upward, but it was the dreadfulest sight that ever I saw.
So when the battle was over, Christian said, "I will give thanks to Him that did help me against Apollyon."
He also sat down in that place to eat and drink, so being refreshed, he again began his journey, with his sword drawn in his hand, "For," said he, "I do not know if some other enemy may not be at hand."
Now at the end of this valley was another, called the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Through it Christian must go, because the way to the Celestial City lay through it. Now this valley is a very lonely place. It is like a wilderness or a desert full of pits. No man dwells in it, and no man but a Christian passeth through it. Here Christian had a worse time than even in his fight with Apollyon. I saw then in my dream that when Christian had reached the borders of this valley, there met him two men, making haste to go back.
Christian said to them, "Whither are you going?"
"Back, back," they cried, "as you will go, if you prize life or peace!"
"Why, what is the matter?" said Christian.
"Matter!" said they. "We were going the way you are going, and we went as far as we dared. But had we gone a little farther we had not been here to bring the news to thee."
"But what have you met with?" said Christian.
"Why, we were almost in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but by good chance we looked before us and saw the danger before we came to it."
"But what have you seen?" said Christian.
"Seen!" said the men, "why, the valley itself was as dark as pitch. We also saw hobgoblins and dragons, and we heard a continual howling and yelling as of people in great misery. Death also doth always spread his wings over it. In a word, it is altogether dreadful, being utterly without order."
"But," said Christian, "this is the way to the Celestial City."
"Be it your way, then; we will not choose it for ours." So they parted. Christian went on his way, but still with his sword drawn in his hand, lest he should be attacked.
I saw then in my dream, that as far as this valley reached, there was on the right hand a very deep ditch. Again, behold, on the left hand, there was a very dangerous mire, into which if a man falls he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on. The pathway here was also exceeding narrow, and therefore Christian was the more distressed. For when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tumble over into the mire on the other, and when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would nearly fall into the ditch. Then he went on, and I heard him sigh bitterly. For besides these dangers, the pathway was here so dark, that when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where, nor upon what he should set it next. About the middle of this valley I saw the mouth of hell to be, and it stood close to the wayside.
"Now," thought Christian, "what shall I do?"
And ever and anon the flame and smoke came out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises, that he was forced to put away his sword and betake himself to another weapon, called All-prayer.
Then he cried out in my hearing, "O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul." Thus he went on a great while, yet still the flames would be rushing towards him. Also he heard doleful voices and rushings to and fro, so that sometimes he thought he should be torn in pieces, or trodden down like mire in the streets.
This frightful sight was seen, and these dreadful noises were heard by him for several miles together. Then Christian came to a place where he thought he heard a company of fiends coming forward to meet him, and he stopped and began to think what it would be best for him to do. Sometimes he thought he would go back, but again he thought he might be half-way through the valley. So he resolved to go on, yet the fiends seemed to come nearer and nearer. But when they were come almost close to him, he cried out in a loud voice, "I will walk in the strength of the Lord God." Then the fiends went back and came no farther.
Now Christian thought he heard the voice of a man going before him, saying, "Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." Then he was glad, for he thought that some one who feared God was in this valley, as well as himself, and he hoped to overtake him and have company by and by.
Now morning being come, he looked back to see by the light of day what dangers he had gone through in the night. So he saw more plainly the ditch that was on the one hand, and the mire that was on the other, also how narrow the way was that lay between them both. He saw, too, the hobgoblins and dragons, but all afar off, for after break of day they came not nigh.
About this time the sun was rising, and this was a great help to Christian, for you must know that though the first part of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was dangerous, yet this second part, through which he had to go, was, if possible, far more dangerous. For, from the place where he now stood, even to the end of the valley, the way was all along so full of snares, traps, and nets here, so full of pits, pitfalls, and deep holes down there, that if it had been dark, he would almost surely have been lost, but as I said just now, the sun was rising. In this light, therefore, he came to the end of the valley.
Now as Christian went on his way, he came to a little hill, and going up he looked forward and saw Faithful before him. Then said Christian, "Stay, and I will be your companion."
And when he overtook Faithful they went very lovingly on together, and talked of all that had happened to them in their pilgrimage. Then I saw in my dream that when they got out of the wilderness they saw a town before them, and the name of that town was Vanity, and at the town there was a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It was kept all the year long.
At this fair there were sold houses, lands, trades, husbands, wives, children, silver, gold, pearls, and precious stones. And, moreover, at this fair, there were at all times cheats and jugglers and knaves and rogues.
Now the way to the Celestial City lay just through this town, so the pilgrims had to go through the fair.
The Prince of princes Himself, when here, went through this town to his own country, and that on a fair-day too. And, I think, it was Beelzebub the chief lord of this fair that invited the Prince to buy of his vanities. Beelzebub even said he would have made Him lord of the fair, if He would have done him reverence as He went through the town. Yea, because the Prince was so great a person, Beelzebub took Him from street to street and showed Him all his kingdoms, that he might, if possible, tempt the Prince to buy some of his vanities. But the Blessed One did not wish any of these vanities, and therefore left the town without spending so much as one farthing upon these vanities.
Now these pilgrims, Christian and Faithful, as I said, had to go through this fair.
Well, so they did, but behold, whenever they entered into the fair, it and the town itself were in a hubbub about them. For the pilgrims were clothed with raiment that was very different from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people gazed upon Christian and Faithful and called them outlandish men.
Then also, they wondered at the pilgrim's speech, as few could understand what they said, for they spoke the language of the Celestial City. But those that kept the fair spoke the language of the city of Vanity Fair, and they could not understand one another.
Now when these pilgrims would not buy their wares and would not even look at them, the sellers were angry and mocked these men, and some called on others to smite them. At last the master of the fair told his men to question the pilgrims. And when Christian and Faithful told the men that they were strangers in the world and were going to the Celestial City, the men thought they were mad. Therefore they took them and beat them and threw mud at them, and then they put them in a cage to be a show to the people at the fair. But when they were tired of mocking them, these two pilgrims were again examined and charged as guilty of the great disturbance in the fair. So they beat them pitilessly, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and down the fair. Then Christian and Faithful behaved so wisely and patiently, that the others were still more angry, and said they would put these men to death.
Therefore, after a trial, Faithful was brought out, to do with him according to their law. And first they scourged him, then they buffeted him, then they stoned him with stones, then they pricked him with their swords, and last of all they burned him to ashes at the stake. Now I saw behind the people a chariot and a couple of horses waiting for Faithful, who was taken by it through the clouds, the nearest way to the Celestial City. Then was Christian sent back to the prison, where he dwelt for a time, till he escaped and went again on his way. But he did not go alone, for there was one whose name was Hopeful, who left the town of Vanity, and was a companion to Christian in his pilgrimage. They went on their way till they came to a pleasant river. Now their way lay just along the bank of the river, and Christian and his companion walked there with great delight. They drank also of the river, and ate of the fruit that grew on the trees by its bank. On either side of the river was also a meadow, very beautiful with lilies, and it was green all the year long. In this meadow they lay down and slept, for here they might lie safely. Now I beheld in my dream that they had not journeyed far, when the river and the way parted, and at this they were very sorry, yet they dare not go out of the way.
A little before them was a meadow and a stile to go over into it. Then said Christian, "If this meadow lies along by our path, let us go over." He went to the stile to see, and behold, a path lay alongside of the way, on the other side of the fence.
"That is as I wish," said Christian. "Come, good Hopeful, and let us go over.
"But," said Hopeful, "what if this path should lead us out of the way?"
"That is not likely," said the other. "Look, it goes along by the wayside." So Hopeful, being persuaded by Christian, went after him over the stile. When they had gone over and had got into the path, they found it very easy for their feet. And as they looked before them they saw a man walking as they did, and his name was Vain-confidence. So they called after him, and asked where this way led.
He said, "To the Celestial City."
"Look," said Christian to Hopeful, "did I not tell you so? You see, we are right after all." So they followed Vain-confidence, and he went before them.
But behold, the night came on, and it was very dark, so that they that went behind lost sight of him that went before. Vain-confidence then went on, not seeing the way before him, and fell into a deep pit which was there. This pit was made by the Prince of those grounds on purpose, to catch such foolish men as Vain-confidence. He, then, fell into the pit and was dashed to pieces with his fall. Now Christian and Hopeful heard him fall, so they called to know what was the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard a groaning.
Then said Hopeful, "Where are we now?" But Christian was silent, for he began to be afraid that he had led Hopeful out of the way.
Now it began to rain and thunder and lighten in a very dreadful manner, and the river flowed over the banks.
And Hopeful groaned, "Oh that I had kept on my way."
By this time the waters were greatly risen, so that to go back was very dangerous. Yet they tried to go back, but it was so dark, and the flood was so high, that as they went they were nearly drowned nine or ten times, and they could not reach the stile again that night. Wherefore at last, coming to a little shelter, they sat down, but being weary they fell asleep. Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, and the owner of the castle was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds the pilgrims were now sleeping. Wherefore the giant, getting up early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep. Then with a grim and surly voice he woke them, and asked them what they were doing in his grounds. They told him they were pilgrims and had lost their way.
The giant said, "You have trampled on my ground, and slept on it, and therefore you must go along with me." So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. Also they said very little, for they knew they had done wrong.
The giant therefore drove them before him, and put them into his castle, into a very dark dungeon. Here, then, they lay, from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread or drop of drink, or light, or any one to speak to them. Now Giant Despair had a wife, and he told her he had taken a couple of men prisoners, because they were sleeping on his grounds. Then she told him that, when he arose in the morning, he should beat them without mercy.
So Giant Despair got a cudgel, and went down to the dungeon and beat Christian and Hopeful fearfully, so that they could not move. Then the giant left them, and they spent their time in sighs and bitter tears.
The next night Giant Despair again talked to his wife, and she said, "Tell your prisoners to kill themselves, for they will never escape from the dungeon."
So when morning came, the giant went to them in a surly manner, and seeing they still ached with the stripes he had given them, he told them to poison themselves, for they would never get away from him in any other way. But they asked the giant to let them go. That made him so angry that he rushed on them and would have killed them, but he fell into a fit and lost for a time the use of his hand, wherefore he withdrew and left them as before. Well, towards evening the giant went down again to the dungeon to see if his prisoners had followed his advice and poisoned themselves. He found them alive, but because of their wounds and for want of bread and water they could do little but breathe.
Now at night the giant's wife said: "Take the prisoners into the castle yard to-morrow, and show them the bones and skulls of those prisoners you have already killed. Tell them that in a week you will tear them to pieces, as you have torn your other prisoners."
When the morning was come, the giant went to them again and took them into the castle yard, and showed them all his wife had bidden him.
"These," said he, "were pilgrims once as you are, but they walked in my grounds as you have done. And when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do to you, Get you down to your den again," and he beat them all the way there.
That night, about midnight, Christian and Hopeful began to pray, and they prayed till dawn of day.
Now just at dawn Christian spoke in sudden amazement. "How foolish we are to lie here, when we might be free after all. I have a key in my pocket called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle."
Then said Hopeful, "That is good news, pull it out of your pocket and try."
Christian pulled it out and began to try the dungeon door, and the bolt, as he turned the key, yielded, and the door flew open, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the door that led to the castle yard, and with his key opened that door also. After that he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too. That lock was terribly hard, yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape in haste, but, as it opened, that gate made such a creaking that it waked Giant Despair, who got up hastily to follow his prisoners, but he could not run after them, for again he took one of his fits. Then Christian and Hopeful went on till they came to the King's highway and so were safe, because they were out of the giant's grounds. Now when they had got over the stile, they began to wonder what they should do to keep other pilgrims from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they agreed to put up there a pillar, and to write on it this sentence: "Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial Country and seeks to destroy His holy pilgrims."
Many pilgrims, that came after, read what was written and escaped Giant Despair. They then went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains. These mountains belonged to the Lord of the steep hill which Christian had climbed. So they went up these mountains to behold the gardens and orchards, the vineyards and fountains. There, too, they drank and washed themselves and ate the fruit of the vineyards. Now there were Shepherds on the mountains, who welcomed them lovingly and showed them many wonders. First they took them to the top of a hill which was very steep on one side, and bid them look down to the bottom. So Christian and Hopeful looked down, and saw at the bottom several men dashed all to pieces by a fall that they had had from the top.
"These," said the Shepherds, "are for an example to others to be careful not to clamber too high, or to come too near the brink of this mountain." The name of this mountain was Error.
Then the Shepherds took them to the top of another mountain, and the name of it was Caution, and the Shepherds bid them look afar off. When the pilgrims did this, they saw, as they thought, several men walking up and down among the tombs that were there. And they saw that the men were blind, because they stumbled sometimes upon the tombs, and because they could not get out from among them.
Then said Christian, "What means this?"
The Shepherds then answered, "Did you see a little below these mountains a stile that led into a meadow?"
They answered, "Yes."
"From that stile," said the Shepherds, "there goes a path that leads straight to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair. These men," and the Shepherds pointed to those among the tombs, "came once on a pilgrimage as you do now. But when they came to the stile, because the right way was rough, they went over it into the meadow. Here they were taken by Giant Despair and cast into Doubting Castle. After they had been kept some time in the dungeon, he at last did put out their eyes. Then he led them among those tombs, and left them to wander there till this very day."
Then Christian and Hopeful thought of their escape from Doubting Castle, and they looked at one another with tears in their eyes. But yet they said nothing to the Shepherds. Now I saw in my dream that the Shepherds brought them to another place, where was a door in the side of a hill, and they opened the door and bid the pilgrims look in. They looked in therefore and saw that within it was very dark and smoky. They also thought that they heard there a rumbling noise as of fire, and a cry as of some in trouble.
Then said Christian, "What means this?"
The Shepherds said, "This is a byway to hell."
And the Shepherds said one to another, "Let us show the pilgrims the gates of the Celestial City, if they have skill to look through our glass."
So they took Christian and Hopeful to the top of another high hill, called Clear, and gave them the glass to look. They tried to look, but the remembrance of that last thing the Shepherds had showed them made their hands shake, so that they could not look steadily through the glass. Yet they thought they saw something like the gate, and also some of the beauty of the place. When they were about to depart, one of the Shepherds gave them a note of the way. Another of them bid them beware when they met the Flatterer. The third bid them take heed that they did not sleep upon the Enchanted Ground. And the fourth bid them "Godspeed." So I awoke from my dream.
And I slept and dreamed again, and I saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains and along the highway. They went on then till they came to a place where they saw another path that seemed to be as straight as the way which they should go. And here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them, therefore here they stood still to think.
And as they were thinking about the way, behold, a man, black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there.
They answered they were going to the Celestial City, but knew not which of these ways to take.
"Follow me," said the man. "It is there I am going."
So they followed him in the path that had joined the way, and this path slowly turned, and at last turned them so far from the City that they wished to go to, that in a little time their faces were turned away from it. Yet they still followed him. But by and by before they knew what had happened, he led them both into a net, in which they were so entangled that they knew not what to do. Then the white robe fell off the black man's back, and they knew that he was the Flatterer and had brought them into his net. Wherefore there they lay, crying some time, for they could not get themselves out. And as they lay weeping in the net, they saw a Shining One coming toward them with a whip of small cord in his hand. When he was come to the place where they were, he asked them whence they came, and what they were doing there.
They told him that they were poor pilgrims going to Zion, but were led out of their way by a black man clothed in white. "He bid us," said they, "follow him, for he was going thither too."
Then said the Shining One, "It is a Flatterer that has clothed himself like an angel of light." So he rent the net and let the men out. And he said to the pilgrims, "Follow me," and he led them back to the way which they had left when they followed the Flatterer.
The one with the whip then asked them where they slept last night.
They said, "With the Shepherds on the Delectable Mountains."
He asked them if the Shepherds had not given them a note, telling them about the way. They answered, "Yes," but they had forgotten to read it. He asked them also if the Shepherds did not tell them to beware of the Flatterer. They answered, "Yes," but they did not think that this man who spoke so well could be he. Then I saw in my dream that the Shining One commanded them to lie down. And he took his whip, and when he had whipped them he said, "As many as I love I rebuke and punish, be careful therefore and repent."
This done, he bid them go on their way and take good heed to the other directions of the Shepherds. So they thanked the Shining One for all his kindness, and went gladly along the right way. Now I saw in my dream that when the pilgrims had got safely over the Enchanted Ground, they entered a beautiful country where the air was very sweet and pleasant. Every day they heard continually the singing of birds, and every day they saw the flowers appear in the earth. In this country the sun shineth night and day, and here they were within sight of the City to which they went. So I saw that as they went on, there met them two men in raiment that shone like gold, also their faces shone as the light. These men asked the pilgrims where they came from, and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures they had met in the way, and they told them.
Then said the men that met them, "You have but two difficulties more to meet and then you are in the City." So they all walked together till they came in sight of the gate.
Now I saw that between them and the gate was a river, but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was deep. At the sight of the river Christian and Hopeful were stunned, but the men that went with them said, "You must go through, or you cannot come in at the gate."
The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to be afraid, and looked this way and that way, but could find no way by which to escape the river. Then they entered the river, and Christian began to sink and to cry out to his friend Hopeful, saying, "I sink in deep waters, the billows go over my head."
But Hopeful cheered Christian, and said he felt the ground under his feet. Yet a great horror and darkness fell upon Christian, for he thought he should never reach the Celestial City, and Hopeful had much difficulty to keep his friend's head above water. Then I saw in my dream that at last Christian took courage, and soon he found ground to stand upon, and the rest of the river was shallow. Thus they got over. Now upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who waited there for them, and led them toward the gate.
The City stood upon a mighty hill, but the pilgrims went up that with ease, talking gladly to their shining companions, and thus they came up to the gate.
And over the gate there were written in letters of gold "Blessed are they that do the King's Commandments and may enter in through the gates into the City."
I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate, and lo! as they entered they were transfigured. And they had raiment put on that shone like gold. They had harps given to them to praise on, and crowns were given to them in token of honor.
Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the City rang again for joy, and that it was said, "Enter ye into the joy of your Lord."
Now just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold, the City shone like the sun, the streets also were paved with gold. And I heard many voices saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord."
And after that they shut up the gates, and when I had seen this, I wished I myself were within. So I awoke, and behold it was a dream.
TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE
By CHARLES AND MARY LAMB
There was a certain island in the sea, the only inhabitants of which were an old man, whose name was Prospero, and his daughter Miranda, a very beautiful young lady. She came to this island so young, that she had no memory of having seen any other human face than her father's.
They lived in a cave or cell, made out of a rock; it was divided into several apartments, one of which Prospero called his study; there he kept his books, which chiefly treated of magic, a study at that time much affected by all learned men: and the knowledge of this art he found very useful to him; for being thrown by a strange chance upon this island, which had been enchanted by a witch called Sycorax, who died there a short time before his arrival, Prospero, by virtue of his art, released many good spirits that Sycorax had imprisoned in the bodies of large trees, because they had refused to execute her wicked commands. These gentle spirits were ever after obedient to the will of Prospero. Of these Ariel was the chief.
The lively little sprite Ariel had nothing mischievous in his nature, except that he took rather too much pleasure in tormenting an ugly monster called Caliban, for he owed him a grudge because he was the son of his old enemy Sycorax. This Caliban, Prospero found in the woods, a strange misshapen thing, far less human in form than an ape: he took him home to his cell, and taught him to speak; and Prospero would have been very kind to him, but the bad nature which Caliban inherited from his mother Sycorax, would not let him learn anything good or useful: therefore he was employed like a slave, to fetch wood, and do the most laborious offices; and Ariel had the charge of compelling him to these services.
When Caliban was lazy and neglected his work, Ariel (who was invisible to all eyes but Prospero's) would come slily and pinch him, and sometimes tumble him down in the mire; and then Ariel, in the likeness of an ape, would make mouths at him. Then swiftly changing his shape, in the likeness of a hedgehog, he would lie tumbling in Caliban's way, who feared the hedgehog's sharp quills would prick his bare feet. With a variety of such-like vexatious tricks Ariel would often torment him, whenever Caliban neglected the work which Prospero commanded him to do.
Having these powerful spirits obedient to his will, Prospero could by their means command the winds, and the waves of the sea. By his orders they raised a violent storm, in the midst of which, and struggling with the wild sea-waves that every moment threatened to swallow it up, he showed his daughter a fine large ship, which he told her was full of living beings like themselves. "O my dear father," said she, "if by your art you have raised this dreadful storm, have pity on their sad distress. See! the vessel will be dashed to pieces. Poor souls! they will all perish. If I had power, I would sink the sea beneath the earth, rather than the good ship should be destroyed, with all the precious souls within her."
"Be not so amazed, daughter Miranda," said Prospero; "there is no harm done. I have so ordered it, that no person in the ship shall receive any hurt. What I have done has been in care of you, my dear child. You are ignorant who you are, or where you came from, and you know no more of me, but that I am your father, and live in this poor cave. Can you remember a time before you came to this cell? I think you cannot, for you were not then three years of age."
"Certainly I can, sir," replied Miranda.
"By what?" asked Prospero; "by any other house or person? Tell me what you can remember, my child."
Miranda said, "It seems to me like the recollection of a dream. But had I not once four or five women who attended upon me?"
Prospero answered, "You had, and more. How is it that this still lives in your mind? Do you remember how you came here?"
"No, sir," said Miranda, "I remember nothing more."
"Twelve years ago, Miranda," continued Prospero, "I was duke of Milan, and you were a princess, and my only heir. I had a younger brother, whose name was Antonio, to whom I trusted everything; and as I was fond of retirement and deep study, I commonly left the management of my state affairs to your uncle, my false brother (for so indeed he proved). I, neglecting all worldly ends buried among my books, did dedicate my whole time to the bettering of my mind. My brother Antonio being thus in possession of my power, began to think himself the duke indeed. The opportunity I gave him of making himself popular among my subjects awakened in his bad nature a proud ambition to deprive me of my dukedom: this he soon effected with the aid of the king of Naples, a powerful prince, who was my enemy."
"Wherefore," said Miranda, "did they not that hour destroy us?"
"My child," answered her father, "they durst not, so dear was the love that my people bore me. Antonio carried us on board a ship, and when we were some leagues out at sea, he forced us into a small boat, without either tackle, sail, or mast: there he left us, as he thought, to perish. But a kind lord of my court, one Gonzalo, who loved me, had privately placed in the boat, water, provisions, apparel, and some books which I prize above my dukedom."
"O my father," said Miranda, "what a trouble must I have been to you then!"
"No, my love," said Prospero, "you were a little cherub that did preserve me. Your innocent smiles made me bear up against my misfortunes. Our food lasted till we landed on this desert island, since then my chief delight has been in teaching you, Miranda, and well have you profited by my instructions."
"Heaven thank you, my dear father," said Miranda. "Now pray tell me, sir, your reason for raising this sea-storm?"
"Know then," said her father, "that by means of this storm, my enemies, the king of Naples, and my cruel brother, are cast ashore upon this island."
Having so said, Prospero gently touched his daughter with his magic wand, and she fell fast asleep; for the spirit Ariel just then presented himself before his master, to give an account of the tempest, and how he had disposed of the ship's company, and though the spirits were always invisible to Miranda, Prospero did not choose she should hear him holding converse (as would seem to her) with the empty air.
"Well, my brave spirit," said Prospero to Ariel, "how have you performed your task?"
Ariel gave a lively description of the storm, and of the terrors of the mariners; and how the king's son, Ferdinand, was the first who leaped into the sea; and his father thought he saw his dear son swallowed up by the waves and lost. "But he is safe," said Ariel, "in a corner of the isle, sitting with his arms folded, sadly lamenting the loss of the king, his father, whom he concludes drowned. Not a hair of his head is injured, and his princely garments, though drenched in the sea-waves, look fresher than before."
"That's my delicate Ariel," said Prospero. "Bring him hither: my daughter must see this young prince. Where is the king, and my brother?"
"I left them," answered Ariel, "searching for Ferdinand, whom, they have little hopes of finding, thinking they saw him perish. Of the ship's crew not one is missing; though each one thinks himself the only one saved: and the ship, though invisible to them, is safe in the harbor."
"Ariel," said Prospero, "thy charge is faithfully performed: but there is more work yet."
"Is there more work?" said Ariel. "Let me remind you, master, you have promised me my liberty. I pray, remember, I have done you worthy service, told you no lies, made no mistakes, served you without grudge or grumbling."
"How now!" said Prospero. "You do not recollect what a torment I freed you from. Have you forgot the wicked witch Sycorax, who with age and envy was almost bent double? Where was she born? Speak; tell me."
"Sir, in Algiers," said Ariel.
"O, was she so?" said Prospero. "I must recount what you have been, which I find you do not remember. This bad witch, Sycorax, for her witchcrafts, too terrible to enter human hearing, was banished from Algiers, and here left by the sailors; and because you were a spirit too delicate to execute her wicked commands, she shut you up in a tree, where I found you howling. This torment, remember, I did free you from."
"Pardon me, dear master," said Ariel, ashamed to seem ungrateful; "I will obey your commands."
"Do so," said Prospero, "and I will set you free." He then gave orders what further he would have him do; and away went Ariel, first to where he had left Ferdinand, and found him still sitting on the grass in the same melancholy posture.
"O my young gentleman," said Ariel, when he saw him, "I will soon move you. You must be brought, I find, for the Lady Miranda to have a sight of your pretty person. Come, sir, follow me." He then began singing,
"Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell."
This strange news of his lost father soon aroused the prince from the stupid fit into which he had fallen. He followed in amazement the sound of Ariel's voice, till it led him to Prospero and Miranda, who were sitting under the shade of a large tree. Now Miranda had never seen a man before, except her own father.
"Miranda," said Prospero, "tell me what you are looking at yonder."
"O father," said Miranda, in a strange surprise, "surely that is a spirit. How it looks about! Believe me, sir, it is a beautiful creature. Is it not a spirit?"
"No, girl," answered her father; "it eats, and sleeps, and has senses such as we have. This young man you see was in the ship. He is somewhat altered by grief, or you might call him a handsome person. He has lost his companions, and is wandering about to find them."
Miranda, who thought all men had grave faces and gray beards like her father, was delighted with the appearance of this beautiful young prince; and Ferdinand, seeing such a lovely lady in this desert place, and from the strange sounds he had heard, expecting nothing but wonders, thought he was upon an enchanted island, and that Miranda was the goddess of the place, and as such he began to address her.
She timidly answered, she was no goddess, but a simple maid, and was going to give him an account of herself, when Prospero interrupted her. He was well pleased to find they admired each other, for he plainly perceived they had (as we say) fallen in love at first sight: but to try Ferdinand's constancy, he resolved to throw some difficulties in their way: therefore advancing forward, he addressed the prince with a stern air, telling him, he came to the island as a spy, to take it from him who was the lord of it. "Follow me," said he, "I will tie you neck and feet together. You shall drink sea-water; shell-fish, withered roots, and husks of acorns shall be your food." "No," said Ferdinand, "I will resist such entertainment, till I see a more powerful enemy," and drew his sword; but Prospero, waving his magic wand, fixed him to the spot where he stood, so that he had no power to move.
Miranda hung upon her father, saying, "Why are you so ungentle? Have pity, sir; I will be his surety. This is the second man I ever saw, and to me he seems a true one."
"Silence," said the father: "one word more will make me chide you, girl! What! an advocate for an impostor! You think there are no more such fine men, having seen only him and Caliban. I tell you, foolish girl, most men as far excel this, as he does Caliban." This he said to prove his daughter's constancy; and she replied, "My affections are most humble. I have no wish to see a goodlier man."
"Come on, young man," said Prospero to the prince; "you have no power to disobey me."
"I have not indeed," answered Ferdinand; and not knowing that it was by magic he was deprived of all power of resistance, he was astonished to find himself so strangely compelled to follow Prospero: looking back on Miranda as long as he could see her, he said, as he went after Prospero into the cave, "My spirits are all bound up, as if I were in a dream: but this man's threats, and the weakness which I feel, would seem light to me if from my prison I might once a day behold this fair maid."
Prospero kept Ferdinand not long confined within the cell: he soon brought out his prisoner, and set him a severe task to perform, taking care to let his daughter know the hard labor he had imposed on him, and then pretending to go into his study, he secretly watched them both.
Prospero had commanded Ferdinand to pile up some heavy logs of wood. King's sons not being much used to laborious work, Miranda soon after found her lover almost dying with fatigue. "Alas!" said she, "do not work so hard; my father is at his studies, he is safe for these three hours; pray rest yourself."
"O my dear lady," said Ferdinand, "I dare not. I must finish my task before I take my rest."
"If you will sit down," said Miranda, "I will carry your logs the while." But this Ferdinand would by no means agree to. Instead of a help Miranda became a hindrance, for they began a long conversation, so that the business of log-carrying went on very slowly.
Prospero, who had enjoined Ferdinand this task merely as a trial of his love, was not at his books, as his daughter supposed, but was standing by them invisible, to overhear what they said.
Ferdinand inquired her name, which she told, saying it was against her father's express command she did so.
Prospero only smiled at this first instance of his daughter's disobedience, for having by his magic art caused his daughter to fall in love so suddenly, he was not angry that she showed her love by forgetting to obey his commands. And he listened well pleased to a long speech of Ferdinand's, in which he professed to love her above all the ladies he ever saw.
In answer to his praises of her beauty, which he said exceeded all the women in the world, she replied, "I do not remember the face of any woman, nor have I seen any more men than you, my good friend, and my dear father. How features are abroad, I know not; but, believe me, sir, I would not wish any companion in the world but you, nor can my imagination form any shape but yours that I could like. But, sir, I fear I talk to you too freely, and my father's precepts I forget."
At this Prospero smiled, and nodded his head, as much as to say, "This goes on exactly as I could wish; my girl will be queen of Naples."
And then Ferdinand, in another fine long speech (for young princes speak in courtly phrases), told the innocent Miranda he was heir to the crown of Naples, and that she should be his queen.
"Ah! sir," said she, "I am a fool to weep at what I am glad of. I will answer you in plain and holy innocence. I am your wife if you will marry me."
Prospero prevented Ferdinand's thanks by appearing visible before them.
"Fear nothing, my child," said he; "I have overheard, and approve of all you have said. And, Ferdinand, if I have too severely used you, I will make you rich amends, by giving you my daughter. All your vexations were but trials of your love, and you have nobly stood the test. Then as my gift, which your true love has worthily purchased, take my daughter, and do not smile that I boast she is above all praise." He then, telling them that he had business which required his presence, desired they would sit down and talk together till he returned; and this command Miranda seemed not at all disposed to disobey.
When Prospero left them, he called his spirit Ariel, who quickly appeared before him, eager to relate what he had done with Prospero's brother and the king of Naples. Ariel said he had left them almost out of their senses with fear, at the strange things he had caused them to see and hear. When fatigued with wandering about, and famished for want of food, he had suddenly set before them a delicious banquet, and then, just as they were going to eat, he appeared visible before them in the shape of a harpy, a voracious monster with wings, and the feast vanished away. Then, to their utter amazement, this seeming harpy spoke to them, reminding them of their cruelty in driving Prospero from his dukedom, and leaving him and his infant daughter to perish in the sea; saying, that for this cause these terrors were suffered to afflict them.
The king of Naples, and Antonio the false brother, repented the injustice they had done to Prospero: and Ariel told his master he was certain their penitence was sincere, and that he, though a spirit, could not but pity them.
"Then bring them hither, Ariel," said Prospero: "if you, who are but a spirit, feel for their distress, shall not I, who am a human being like themselves, have compassion on them? Bring them, quickly, my dainty Ariel."
Ariel soon returned with the king, Antonio, and old Gonzalo in their train, who had followed him, wondering at the wild music he played in the air to draw them on to his master's presence. This Gonzalo was the same who had so kindly provided Prospero formerly with books and provisions, when his wicked brother left him, as he thought, to perish in an open boat in the sea.
Grief and terror had so stupefied their senses, that they did not know Prospero. He first discovered himself to the good old Gonzalo, calling him the preserver of his life; and then his brother and the king knew that he was the injured Prospero.
Antonio with tears, and sad words of sorrow and true repentance, implored his brother's forgiveness, and the king expressed his sincere remorse for having assisted Antonio to depose his brother: and Prospero forgave them; and, upon their engaging to restore his dukedom, he said to the king of Naples, "I have a gift in store for you too;" and opening a door, showed him his son Ferdinand playing at chess with Miranda.
Nothing could exceed the joy of the father and the son at this unexpected meeting, for they each thought the other drowned in the storm.
"O wonder!" said Miranda, "what noble creatures these are! It must surely be a brave world that has such people in it."
The king of Naples was almost as much astonished at the beauty and excellent graces of the young Miranda, as his son had been. "Who is this maid?" said he; "she seems the goddess that has parted us, and brought us thus together." "No, sir," answered Ferdinand, smiling to find his father had fallen into the same mistake that he had done when he first saw Miranda, "she is a mortal, but by immortal Providence she is mine; I chose her when I could not ask you, my father, for your consent, not thinking you were alive. She is the daughter to this Prospero, who is the famous duke of Milan, of whose renown I have heard so much, but never saw him till now: of him I have received a new life: he has made himself to me a second father, giving me this dear lady."
"Then I must be her father," said the king; "but oh! how oddly will it sound, that I must ask my child forgiveness."
"No more of that," said Prospero: "let us not remember our troubles past, since they so happily have ended." And then Prospero embraced his brother, and again assured him of his forgiveness; and said that a wise overruling Providence had permitted that he should be driven from his poor dukedom of Milan, that his daughter might inherit the crown of Naples, for that by their meeting in this desert island, it had happened that the king's son had loved Miranda.
These kind words which Prospero spoke, meaning to comfort his brother, so filled Antonio with shame and remorse, that he wept and was unable to speak; and the kind old Gonzalo wept to see this joyful reconciliation, and prayed for blessings on the young couple.
Prospero now told them that their ship was safe in the harbor, and the sailors all on board her, and that he and his daughter would accompany them home the next morning. "In the meantime," says he, "partake of such refreshments as my poor cave affords; and for your evening's entertainment I will relate the history of my life from my first landing in this desert island." He then called for Caliban to prepare some food, and set the cave in order; and the company were astonished at the uncouth form and savage appearance of this ugly monster, who (Prospero said) was the only attendant he had to wait upon him.
Before Prospero left the island, he dismissed Ariel from his service, to the great joy of that lively little spirit; who, though he had been a faithful servant to his master, was always longing to enjoy his free liberty, to wander uncontrolled in the air, like a wild bird, under green trees, among pleasant fruits, and sweet-smelling flowers. "My quaint Ariel," said Prospero to the little sprite when he made him free, "I shall miss you; yet you shall have your freedom." "Thank you, my dear master," said Ariel; "but give me leave to attend your ship home with prosperous gales, before you bid farewell to the assistance of your faithful spirit; and then, master, when I am free, how merrily I shall live!" Here Ariel sung this pretty song:
"Where the bee sucks, there suck I; In a cowslip's bell I lie: There I crouch when owls do cry. On the bat's back I do fly After summer Merrily. Merrily, merrily shall I live now Under the blossom that hangs on the bough."
Prospero then buried deep in the earth his magical books and wand, for he was resolved never more to make use of the magic art. And having thus overcome his enemies, and being reconciled to his brother and the king of Naples, nothing now remained to complete his happiness, but to revisit his native land, to take possession of his dukedom, and to witness the happy nuptials of his daughter and Prince Ferdinand, which the king said should be instantly celebrated with great splendor on their return to Naples. At which place, under the safe convoy of the spirit Ariel, they, after a pleasant voyage, soon arrived.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
There was a law in the city of Athens which gave to its citizens the power of compelling their daughters to marry whomsoever they pleased; for upon a daughter's refusing to marry the man her father had chosen to be her husband, the father was empowered by this law to cause her to be put to death; but as fathers do not often desire the death of their own daughters, even though they do happen to prove a little refractory, this law was seldom or never put in execution, though perhaps the young ladies of that city were not unfrequently threatened by their parents with the terrors of it.
There was one instance, however, of an old man, whose name was Egeus, who actually did come before Theseus (at that time the reigning duke of Athens), to complain that his daughter Hermia, whom he had commanded to marry Demetrius, a young man of a noble Athenian family, refused to obey him, because she loved another young Athenian, named Lysander. Egeus demanded justice of Theseus, and desired that this cruel law might be put in force against his daughter.
Hermia pleaded in excuse for her disobedience, that Demetrius had formerly professed love for her dear friend Helena, and that Helena loved Demetrius to distraction; but this honorable reason, which Hermia gave for not obeying her father's command, moved not the stern Egeus.
Theseus, though a great and merciful prince, had no power to alter the laws of his country; therefore he could only give Hermia four days to consider of it: and at the end of that time, if she still refused to marry Demetrius, she was to be put to death.
When Hermia was dismissed from the presence of the duke, she went to her lover Lysander, and told him the peril she was in, and that she must either give him up and marry Demetrius, or lose her life in four days.
Lysander was in great affliction at hearing these evil tidings; but recollecting that he had an aunt who lived at some distance from Athens, and that at the place where she lived the cruel law could not be put in force against Hermia (this law not extending beyond the boundaries of the city), he proposed to Hermia that she should steal out of her father's house that night, and go with him to his aunt's house, where he would marry her. "I will meet you," said Lysander, "in the wood a few miles without the city; in that delightful wood where we have so often walked with Helena in the pleasant month of May."
To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she told no one of her intended flight but her friend Helena. Helena (as maidens will do foolish things for love) very ungenerously resolved to go and tell this to Demetrius, though she could hope no benefit from betraying her friend's secret, but the poor pleasure of following her faithless lover to the wood: for she well knew that Demetrius would go thither in pursuit of Hermia.
The wood in which Lysander and Hermia proposed to meet, was the favorite haunt of those little beings known by the name of Fairies.
Oberon the king, and Titania the queen of the Fairies, with all their tiny train of followers, in this wood held their midnight revels.
Between this little king and queen of sprites there happened, at this time, a sad disagreement: they never met by moonlight in the shady walks of this pleasant wood, but they were quarreling, till all their fairy elves would creep into acorn-cups and hide themselves for fear.
The cause of this unhappy disagreement was Titania's refusing to give Oberon a little changeling boy, whose mother had been Titania's friend; and upon her death the fairy queen stole the child from its nurse, and brought him up in the woods.
The night on which the lovers were to meet in this wood, as Titania was walking with some of her maids of honor, she met Oberon attended by his train of fairy courtiers.
"Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania," said the fairy king. The queen replied, "What, jealous Oberon, is it you? Fairies, skip hence; I have forsworn his company." "Tarry, rash fairy," said Oberon; "am not I thy lord? Why does Titania cross her Oberon? Give me your little changeling boy to be my page."
"Set your heart at rest," answered the queen; "your whole fairy kingdom buys not the boy of me." She then left her lord in great anger. "Well, go your way," said Oberon: "before the morning dawns I will torment you for this injury."
Oberon then sent for Puck, his chief favorite and privy counselor.
Puck (or as he was sometimes called, Robin Goodfellow) was a shrewd and knavish sprite, that used to play comical pranks in the neighboring villages; sometimes getting into the dairies and skimming the milk, sometimes plunging his light and airy form into the butter-churn, and while he was dancing his fantastic shape in the churn, in vain the dairy-maid would labor to change her cream into butter: nor had the village swains any better success; whenever Puck chose to play his freaks in the brewing copper, the ale was sure to be spoiled. When a few good neighbors were met to drink some comfortable ale together, Puck would jump into the bowl of ale in the likeness of a roasted crab, and when some old goody was going to drink he would bob against her lips, and spill the ale over her withered chin; and presently after, when the same old dame was gravely seating herself to tell her neighbors a sad and melancholy story, Puck would slip her three-legged stool from under her, and down toppled the poor old woman, and then the old gossips would hold their sides and laugh at her, and swear they never wasted a merrier hour.
"Come hither, Puck," said Oberon to this little merry wanderer of the night; "fetch me the flower which maids call Love in Idleness; the juice of that little purple flower laid on the eyelids of those who sleep, will make them, when they awake, dote on the first thing they see. Some of the juice of that flower I will drop on the eyelids of my Titania when she is asleep; and the first thing she looks upon when she opens her eyes she will fall in love with, even though it be a lion or a bear, a meddling monkey, or a busy ape; and before I will take this charm from off her sight, which I can do with another charm I know of, I will make her give me that boy to be my page."
Puck, who loved mischief to his heart, was highly diverted with this intended frolic of his master, and ran to seek the flower; and while Oberon was waiting the return of Puck, he observed Demetrius and Helena enter the wood: he overheard Demetrius reproaching Helena for following him, and after many unkind words on his part, and gentle expostulations from Helena, reminding him of his former love and professions of true faith to her, he left her (as he said) to the mercy of the wild beasts, and she ran after him as swiftly as she could.
The fairy king, who was always friendly to true lovers, felt great compassion for Helena; and perhaps, as Lysander said they used to walk by moonlight in this pleasant wood, Oberon might have seen Helena in those happy times when she was beloved by Demetrius. However that might be, when Puck returned with the little purple flower, Oberon said to his favorite, "Take a part of this flower; there has been a sweet Athenian lady here, who is in love with a disdainful youth; if you find him sleeping, drop some of the love-juice in his eyes, but contrive to do it when she is near him, that the first thing he sees when he awakes may be this despised lady. You will know the man by the Athenian garments which he wears." Puck promised to manage this matter very dexterously: and then Oberon went, unperceived by Titania, to her bower, where she was preparing to go to rest. Her fairy bower was a bank, where grew wild thyme, cowslips, and sweet violets, under a canopy of woodbine, musk-roses, and eglantine. There Titania always slept some part of the night; her coverlet the enameled skin of a snake, which, though a small mantle, was wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
He found Titania giving orders to her fairies, how they were to employ themselves while she slept. "Some of you," said her majesty, "must kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, and some wage war with the bats for their leathern wings, to make my small elves coats; and some of you keep watch that the clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, come not near me: but first sing me to sleep. Then they began to sing this song:
"You spotted snakes with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; Newts and blindworms do no wrong, Come not near our Fairy Queen. Philomel, with melody, Sing in our sweet lullaby, Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby; Never harm, nor spell, nor charm, Come our lovely lady nigh; So good night with lullaby."
When the fairies had sung their queen asleep with this pretty lullaby, they left her to perform the important services she had enjoined them. Oberon then softly drew near his Titania, and dropped some of the love-juice on her eyelids, saying,
"What thou seest when them dost wake, Do it for thy true-love take."
But to return to Hermia, who made her escape out of her father's house that night, to avoid the death she was doomed to for refusing to marry Demetrius. When she entered the wood, she found her dear Lysander waiting for her, to conduct her to his aunt's house; but before they had passed half through the wood, Hermia was so much fatigued, that Lysander, who was very careful of this dear lady, who had proved her affection for him even by hazarding her life for his sake, persuaded her to rest till morning on a bank of soft moss, and lying down himself on the ground at some little distance, they soon fell fast asleep. Here they were found by Puck, who, seeing a handsome young man asleep, and perceiving that his clothes were made in the Athenian fashion, and that a pretty lady was sleeping near him, concluded that this must be the Athenian maid and her disdainful lover whom Oberon had sent him to seek; and he naturally enough conjectured that, as they were alone together, she must be the first thing he would see when he awoke; so, without more ado, he proceeded to pour some of the juice of the little purple flower into his eyes. But it so fell out, that Helena came that way, and, instead of Hermia, was the first object Lysander beheld when he opened his eyes; and strange to relate, so powerful was the love-charm, all his love for Hermia vanished away, and Lysander fell in love with Helena.
Had he first seen Hermia when he awoke, the blunder Puck committed would have been of no consequence, for he could not love that faithful lady too well; but for poor Lysander to be forced by a fairy love-charm, to forget his own true Hermia, and to run after another lady, and leave Hermia asleep quite alone in a wood at midnight, was a sad chance indeed.
Thus this misfortune happened. Helena, as has been before related, endeavored to keep pace with Demetrius when he ran away so rudely from her; but she could not continue this unequal race long, men being always better runners in a long race than ladies. Helena soon lost sight of Demetrius; and as she was wandering about, dejected and forlorn, she arrived at the place where Lysander was sleeping. "Ah!" said she, "this is Lysander lying on the ground: is he dead or asleep?" Then, gently touching him, she said, "Good sir, if you are alive, awake." Upon this Lysander opened his eyes, and (the love-charm beginning to work) immediately addressed her in terms of extravagant love and admiration; telling her she as much excelled Hermia in beauty as a dove does a raven, and that he would run through fire for her sweet sake; and many more such lover-like speeches. Helena, knowing Lysander was her friend Hermia's lover, and that he was solemnly engaged to marry her, was in the utmost rage when she heard herself addressed in this manner; for she thought (as well she might) that Lysander was making a jest of her. "Oh!" said she, "why was I born to be mocked and scorned by every one? Is it not enough, is it not enough, young man, that I can never get a sweet look or a kind word from Demetrius; but you, sir, must pretend in this disdainful manner to court me? I thought, Lysander, you were a lord of more true gentleness." Saying these words in great anger, she ran away; and Lysander followed her, quite forgetful of his own Hermia, who was still asleep.
When Hermia awoke, she was in a sad fright at finding herself alone. She wandered about the wood, not knowing what was become of Lysander, or which way to go to seek for him. In the meantime Demetrius not being able to find Hermia and his rival Lysander, and fatigued with his fruitless search, was observed by Oberon fast asleep. Oberon had learnt by some questions he had asked of Puck, that he had applied the love-charm to the wrong person's eyes; and now having found the person first intended, he touched the eyelids of the sleeping Demetrius with the love-juice, and he instantly awoke; and the first thing he saw being Helena, he, as Lysander had done before, began to address love-speeches to her; and just as that moment Lysander, followed by Hermia (for through Puck's unlucky mistake it was now become Hermia's turn to run after her lover), made his appearance; and then Lysander and Demetrius, both speaking together, made love to Helena, they being each one under the influence of the same potent charm.
The astonished Helena thought that Demetrius, Lysander, and her once dear friend Hermia, were all in a plot together to make a jest of her.
Hermia was as much surprised as Helena: she knew not why Lysander and Demetrius, who both before loved her, were now become the lovers of Helena; and to Hermia the matter seemed to be no jest.
The ladies, who before had always been the dearest of friends, now fell to high words together.
"Unkind Hermia," said Helena, "it is you who have set Lysander to vex me with mock praises; and your other lover Demetrius, who used almost to spurn me with his foot, have you not bid him call me Goddess, Nymph, rare, precious, and celestial? He would not speak thus to me, whom he hates, if you did not set him on to make a jest of me. Unkind Hermia, to join with men in scorning your poor friend. Have you forgot our school-day friendship? How often, Hermia, have we two, sitting on one cushion, both singing one song, with our needles working the same flower, both on the same sampler wrought; growing up together in fashion of a double cherry, scarcely seeming parted! Hermia, it is not friendly in you, it is not maidenly to join with men in scorning your poor friend."
"I am amazed at your passionate words," said Hermia: "I scorn you not; it seems you scorn me." "Ay, do," returned Helena, "persevere, counterfeit serious looks, and make mouths at me when I turn my back; then wink at each other, and hold the sweet jest up. If you had any pity, grace, or manners, you would not use me thus."
While Helena and Hermia were speaking these angry words to each other, Demetrius and Lysander left them, to fight together in the wood for the love of Helena.
When they found the gentlemen had left them, they departed, and once more wandered weary in the wood in search of their lovers.
As soon as they were gone, the fairy king, who with little Puck had been listening to their quarrels, said to him, "This is your negligence, Puck; or did you do this wilfully?" "Believe me, king of shadows," answered Puck, "it was a mistake; did not you tell me I should know the man by his Athenian garments? However, I am not sorry this has happened, for I think their jangling makes excellent sport." "You heard," said Oberon, "that Demetrius and Lysander are gone to seek a convenient place to fight in. I command you to overhang the night with a thick fog, and lead these quarrelsome lovers so astray in the dark, that they shall not be able to find each other. Counterfeit each of their voices to the other, and with bitter taunts provoke them to follow you, while they think it is their rival's tongue they hear. See you do this, till they are so weary they can go no farther; and when you find they are asleep, drop the juice of this other flower into Lysander's eyes, and when he awakes he will forget his new love for Helena, and return to his old passion for Hermia; and then the two fair ladies may each one be happy with the man she loves, and they will think all that has passed a vexatious dream. About this quickly, Puck, and I will go and see what sweet love my Titania has found."
Titania was still sleeping, and Oberon seeing a clown near her, who had lost his way in the wood, and was likewise asleep: "This fellow," said he, "shall be my Titania's true love;" and clapping an ass's head over the clown's, it seemed to fit him as well as if it had grown upon his own shoulders. Though Oberon fixed the ass's head on very gently, it awakened him, and rising up, unconscious of what Oberon had done to him, he went towards the bower where the fairy queen slept.
"Ah! what angel is that I see?" said Titania, opening her eyes, and the juice of the little purple flower beginning to take effect: "are you as wise as you are beautiful?"
"Why, mistress," said the foolish clown, "if I have wit enough to find the way out of this wood, I have enough to serve my turn."
"Out of the wood do not desire to go," said the enamored queen. "I am a spirit of no common rate. I love you. Go with me, and I will give you fairies to attend upon you."
She then called four of her fairies: their names were, Pease-blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed.
"Attend," said the queen, "upon this sweet gentleman; hop in his walks, and gambol in his sight; feed him with grapes and apricots, and steal for him the honey-bags from the bees. Come, sit with me," said she to the clown, "and let me play with your amiable hairy cheeks, my beautiful ass! and kiss your fair large ears, my gentle joy!"
"Where is Pease-blossom?" said the ass-headed clown, not much regarding the fairy queen's courtship, but very proud of his new attendants.
"Here, sir," said little Pease-blossom.
"Scratch my head," said the clown. "Where is Cobweb?"
"Here, sir," said Cobweb.
"Good Mr. Cobweb," said the foolish clown, "kill me the red humblebee on the top of that thistle yonder; and, good Mr. Cobweb, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, Mr. Cobweb, and take care the honey-bag break not; I should be sorry to have you overflown with a honey-bag. Where is Mustard-seed?"
"Here, sir," said Mustard-seed: "what is your will?"
"Nothing," said the clown, "good Mr. Mustard-seed, but to help Mr. Pease-blossom to scratch; I must go to a barber's, Mr. Mustard-seed, for methinks I am marvelous hairy about the face."
"My sweet love," said the queen, "what will you have to eat? I have a venturous fairy shall seek the squirrel's hoard, and fetch you some new nuts."
"I had rather have a handful of dried pease," said the clown, who with his ass's head had got an ass's appetite. "But, I pray, let none of your people disturb me, for I have a mind to sleep."
"Sleep, then," said the queen, "and I will wind you in my arms. O how I love you! how I dote upon you!"
When the fairy king saw the clown sleeping in the arms of his queen, he advanced within her sight, and reproached her with having lavished her favors upon an ass.
This she could not deny, as the clown was then sleeping within her arms, with his ass's head crowned by her with flowers.
When Oberon had teased her for some time, he again demanded the changeling boy; which she, ashamed of being discovered by her lord with her new favorite, did not dare to refuse him.
Oberon, having thus obtained the little boy he had so long wished for to be his page, took pity on the disgraceful situation into which, by his merry contrivance, he had brought his Titania, and threw some of the juice of the other flower into her eyes; and the fairy queen immediately recovered her senses, and wondered at her late dotage, saying how she now loathed the sight of the strange monster.
Oberon likewise took the ass's head from off the clown, and left him to finish his nap with his own fool's head upon his shoulders.
Oberon and his Titania being now perfectly reconciled, he related to her the history of the lovers, and their midnight quarrels; and she agreed to go with him and see the end of their adventures.
The fairy king and queen found the lovers and their fair ladies, at no great distance from each other, sleeping on a grass-plot; for Puck, to make amends for his former mistake, had contrived with the utmost diligence to bring them all to the same spot, unknown to each other; and he had carefully removed the charm from off the eyes of Lysander with the antidote the fairy king gave to him.
Hermia first awoke, and finding her lost Lysander asleep so near her, was looking at him and wondering at his strange inconstancy. Lysander presently opening his eyes, and seeing his dear Hermia, recovered his reason which the fairy charm had before clouded, and with his reason, his love for Hermia; and they began to talk over the adventures of the night, doubting if these things had really happened, or if they had both been dreaming the same bewildering dream.
Helena and Demetrius were by this time awake; and a sweet sleep having quieted Helena's disturbed and angry spirits, she listened with delight to the professions of love which Demetrius still made to her, and which, to her surprise as well as pleasure, she began to perceive were sincere.
These fair night-wandering ladies, now no longer rivals, became once more true friends; all the unkind words which had passed were forgiven, and they calmly consulted together what was best to be done in their present situation. It was soon agreed that, as Demetrius had given up his pretensions to Hermia, he should endeavor to prevail upon her father to revoke the cruel sentence of death which had been passed against her. Demetrius was preparing to return to Athens for this friendly purpose, when they were surprised with the sight of Egeus, Hermia's father, who came to the wood in pursuit of his runaway daughter.
When Egeus understood that Demetrius would not now marry his daughter, he no longer opposed her marriage with Lysander, but gave his consent that they should be wedded on the fourth day from that time, being the same day on which Hermia had been condemned to lose her life; and on that same day Helena joyfully agreed to marry her beloved and now faithful Demetrius.
The fairy king and queen, who were invisible spectators of this reconciliation, and now saw the happy ending of the lovers' history, brought about through the good offices of Oberon, received so much pleasure, that these kind spirits resolved to celebrate the approaching nuptials with sports and revels throughout their fairy kingdom.
And now, if any are offended with this story of fairies and their pranks, as judging it incredible and strange, they have only to think that they have been asleep and dreaming, and that all these adventures were visions which they saw in their sleep; and I hope none of my readers will be so unreasonable as to be offended with a pretty harmless Midsummer Night's Dream.
By MARIA EDGEWORTH
ADAPTED BY LOUEY CHISHOLM
QUEEN OF THE MAY
Simple Susan lived one hundred years ago. Mr. Price was Susan's father. He rented a small farm and was always hard at work. No more honest man could be found far or near, and he loved his little daughter from the bottom of his big heart.
Mrs. Price was Susan's mother. She was a good woman who was always busy cooking, or cleaning, or sewing. The bread and cakes made by her were better than those made by any one else in the village. When she was not doing household work, she earned money by taking in plain needlework. All who knew Mrs. Price liked her and were sorry she was so far from strong. That no girl had a better mother than Susan, every one agreed.
John and William were Susan's little brothers. They were quite sure that no other boys in all the world had such a good sister as theirs.
Our story begins on the evening before the first of May. Now one hundred years ago, Mayday was looked forward to with glee by all English children living in the country. Early that morning the lads and lasses of the village, gaily decked with flowers, would go merrily singing from house to house. In their midst would walk the Queen of the May, or sometimes, seated in a chair twined round with blossom, she would be carried from door to door by her little companions. With a wreath of their gayest flowers they would crown her their Queen, and for her would be woven the fairest garlands. After the May carols were sung, cake, coppers, or small coins would be given to the boys and girls.
To choose their Queen and to arrange their flowers the children would meet on the last day of April. This they did in the village where Susan lived, and their meeting-place was in a corner of a field close by a large pink hawthorn. A shady lane ran past one side of the bush. On another side a sweetbrier hedge separated it from the garden belonging to an attorney.
This attorney was a very cross man, so cross that the village people were always in fear of him. Although he had hedged and fenced his garden, it sometimes happened that there would stray into it a pig, or a dog, or a goat, or a goose belonging to a poor neighbor. Then the attorney would go to the owner of the stray animal and in a harsh voice demand money to pay for the damage it had done.
Nor did this cruel man let people walk along the paths through his meadows, although they did no harm. He blocked up the stiles with stones and prickly shrubs, so that not even a gosling could squeeze under them nor a giant climb over. Even the village children were afraid to fly their kites near his fields, lest they should get entangled in his trees or fall on his ground.
Mr. Case was the name of this attorney, and he had one son and a daughter called Barbara.
For long the father paid no attention to the education of his children, for all his time and thought were given to money-making. Meanwhile Barbara and her brother ran wild with the village children. But suddenly Mr. Case decided to send his son to a tutor to learn Latin, and to employ a maid to wait upon Barbara. At the same time he gave strict orders that his children should no longer play with their old companions.
The village children were not at all sorry when they heard this. Barbara had not been a favorite among them, for she had always wanted to rule them and to secure for herself the chief part in their games. When Barbara saw that she was not missed by her old friends she was vexed, and she became angry when she found that they paid no attention to the grand air with which she now spoke nor to the fine frocks which she wore.
To one girl Barbara had a special dislike. This was none other than Susan Price, the sweetest-tempered and busiest lass in the village, and the pride and delight of all who knew her. The farm rented by Susan's father was near the house in which Mr. Case lived, and Barbara from her window used to watch Susan at work.
Sometimes the little girl was raking the garden-plots in her neat garden; sometimes she was weeding the paths; sometimes she was kneeling at her beehive with fresh flowers for her bees, and sometimes she was in the hen-yard scattering corn among the eager little chickens. In the evening Barbara often saw her sitting in the summer-house over which sweet honeysuckle crept, and there, with a clean three-legged pine table before her upon which to lay her work, Susan would sew busily. Her seams were even and neat, for Mrs. Price had taught her daughter that what is worth doing is worth doing well.
Both Susan and her mother were great favorites in the village. It was at Mrs. Price's door that the children began their Mayday rounds, and it was Susan who was usually Queen of the May.
It was now time for the village children to choose their queen. The setting sun was shining full upon the pink blossoms of the hawthorn when the merry group met to make their plans for the morrow.
Barbara Case, sulkily walking alone in her father's garden, heard the happy voices and, crouching behind the hedge that divided her from the other children, she listened to their plans.
"Where is Susan?" were the first words she overheard.
"Yes, where is Susan?" repeated a boy called Philip, stopping short in a tune he was playing on his pipe: "I want her to sing me this air, I can't remember how it goes."
"And I wish Susan would come, I'm sure," cried Mary, a little girl whose lap was full of primroses. "She will give me some thread to tie up my nosegays, and she will show me where the fresh violets grow, and she has promised to give me a great bunch of her cowslips to wear to-morrow. I wish she would come."
"Nothing can be done without Susan!" cried another child. "She always shows us where the nicest flowers are to be found in the lanes and meadows."
"Susan must help to weave the garlands," said another.
"Susan must be Queen of the May!" shouted several together.
"Why does she not come?" grumbled Philip.
Rose, who was Susan's special friend, now came forward to remind them that when Susan was late it was always because she was needed at home.
"Go, Rose, and tell her to make haste," cried the impatient Philip. "Attorney Case is dining at the Abbey to-day, and if he comes home and finds us here, perhaps he will drive us away. He says this bit of ground belongs to his garden, but that is not true, for Farmer Price says we have all as much right to it as he has. He wants to rob us of our playground. I wish he and Bab, or Miss Barbara, as I suppose we must now call her, were a hundred miles away, I do. Just yesterday she knocked down my ninepins on purpose as she passed with her gown trailing in the dust."
"Yes," cried Mary, "her gown is always trailing. She does not hold it up nicely like Susan, and in spite of all her fine clothes she never looks half so neat. Mamma says she hopes I shall grow like Susan, and so do I. I should not like to be vain like Barbara were I ever so rich."
"Rich or poor," said Philip, "it does not become a girl to be vain, much less bold, as Barbara was the other day. She stood at her father's door, and stared at a strange gentleman who stopped near by, to let his horse drink. I know what he thought of Bab, by his looks, and of Susan too; for Susan was in her garden, bending down a branch of the laburnum-tree, looking at its yellow flowers which had just come out, and when the gentleman asked her how many miles it was to the next village, she answered him modestly, not bashfully as if she had never seen any one before, but just right. Then she pulled on her straw hat that had fallen back while she was looking up at the laburnum, and went her way home, and the gentleman said to me after she was gone, 'Pray, who is that neat, modest girl?' But I wish," cried Philip, interrupting himself, "I wish Susan would come!"
Barbara, still crouching on the other side of the hedge, heard everything that was said.
Susan was all this time, as her friend Rose had guessed, busy at home. She had been kept by her father's returning later than usual. His supper was ready for him nearly an hour before he came home, and Susan swept the hearth twice, and twice put on wood to make a cheerful blaze for him. At last, when he did come in, he took no notice of the blaze or of Susan; and when his wife asked him how he was, he made no answer, but stood with his back to the fire, looking very gloomy. Susan put his supper upon the table, and set his own chair for him, but he pushed away the chair and turned from the table, saying, "I shall eat nothing, child. Why have you such a fire to roast me at this time of year?"
"You said yesterday, father, I thought, that you liked a little cheerful wood-fire in the evening, and there was a great shower of hail. Your coat is quite wet. We must dry it."
"Take it, then, child," he said, pulling it off, "I shall soon have no coat to dry. Take my hat, too," he went on, throwing it upon the ground.
Susan hung up his hat, put his coat over the back of a chair to dry, and then stood looking at her mother, who was not well. She had tired herself with baking, and now, alarmed by her husband's strange conduct, she sat down pale and trembling. The father threw himself into a chair, folded his arms, and gazed into the fire.