The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 755 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3.
and for his possessions, Mariana, we do enstate and widow you withal, to buy you a better husband.”  “O my dear lord,” said Mariana, “I crave no other, nor no better man;” and then on her knees, even as Isabel had begged the life of Claudio, did this kind wife of an ungrateful husband beg the life of Angelo; and she said, “Gentle my liege, O good my lord!  Sweet Isabel, take my part!  Lend me your knees, and all my life to come I will lend you, all my life, to do you service!” The duke said, “Against all sense you importune her.  Should Isabel kneel down to beg for mercy, her brother’s ghost would break his paved bed, and take her hence in horror.”  Still Mariana said, “Isabel, sweet Isabel, do but kneel by me, hold up your hand, say nothing!  I will speak all.  They say, best men are moulded out of faults, and for the most part become much the better for being a little bad.  So may my husband.  Oh, Isabel, will you not lend a knee?” The duke then said, “He dies for Claudio.”  But much pleased was the good duke, when his own Isabel, from whom he expected all gracious and honourable acts, kneeled down before him, and said, “Most bounteous sir, look, if it please you, on this man condemned, as if my brother lived.  I partly think a due sincerity governed his deeds, till he did look on me.  Since it is so, let him not die!  My brother had but justice, in that he did the thing for which he died.”

The duke, as the best reply he could make to this noble petitioner for her enemy’s life, sending for Claudio from his prison-house, where he lay doubtful of his destiny, presented to her this lamented brother living; and he said to Isabel, “Give me your hand, Isabel; for your lovely sake I pardon Claudio.  Say you will be mine, and he shall be my brother too.”  By this time lord Angelo perceived he was safe; and the duke observing his eye to brighten up a little, said, “Well, Angelo, look that you love your wife; her worth has obtained your pardon:  joy to you, Mariana!  Love her, Angelo!  I have confessed her, and know her virtue.”  Angelo remembered, when drest in a little brief authority, how hard his heart had been, and felt how sweet is mercy.

The duke commanded Claudio to marry Juliet, and offered himself again to the acceptance of Isabel, whose virtuous and noble conduct had won her prince’s heart.  Isabel, not having taken the veil, was free to marry; and the friendly offices, while hid under the disguise of a humble friar, which the noble duke had done for her, made her with grateful joy accept the honour he offered her; and when she became duchess of Vienna, the excellent example of the virtuous Isabel worked such a complete reformation among the young ladies of that city, that from that time none ever fell into the transgression of Juliet, the repentant wife of the reformed Claudio.  And the mercy-loving duke long reigned with his beloved Isabel, the happiest of husbands and of princes.


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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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