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.
you should pity me.”  “You might do much,” said Olivia:  “what is your parentage?” Viola replied, “Above my fortunes, yet my state is well.  I am a gentleman.”  Olivia now reluctantly dismissed Viola, saying, “Go to your master, and tell him, I cannot love him.  Let him send no more, unless perchance you come again to tell me how he takes it.”  And Viola departed, bidding the lady farewel by the name of Fair Cruelty.  When she was gone, Olivia repeated the words, Above my fortunes, yet my state is well.  I am a gentleman.  And she said aloud, “I will be sworn he is; his tongue, his face, his limbs, action, and spirit, plainly shew he is a gentleman.”  And then she wished Cesario was the duke; and perceiving the fast hold he had taken on her affections, she blamed herself for her sudden love:  but the gentle blame which people lay upon their own faults has no deep root:  and presently the noble lady Olivia so far forgot the inequality between her fortunes and those of this seeming page, as well as the maidenly reserve which is the chief ornament of a lady’s character, that she resolved to court the love of young Cesario, and sent a servant after him with a diamond ring, under the pretence that he had left it with her as a present from Orsino.  She hoped, by thus artfully making Cesario a present of the ring, she should give him some intimation of her design; and truly it did make Viola suspect; for knowing that Orsino had sent no ring by her, she began to recollect that Olivia’s looks and manner were expressive of admiration, and she presently guessed her master’s mistress had fallen in love with her.  “Alas,” said she, “the poor lady might as well love a dream.  Disguise I see is wicked, for it has caused Olivia to breathe as fruitless sighs for me, as I do for Orsino.”

Viola returned to Orsino’s palace, and related to her lord the ill success of the negociation, repeating the command of Olivia, that the duke should trouble her no more.  Yet still the duke persisted in hoping that the gentle Cesario would in time be able to persuade her to shew some pity, and therefore he bade him he should go to her again the next day.  In the mean time, to pass away the tedious interval, he commanded a song which he loved to be sung; and he said, “My good Cesario, when I heard that song last night, methought it did relieve my passion much.  Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain.  The spinsters and the knitters when they sit in the sun, and the young maids that weave their thread with bone, chaunt this song.  It is silly, yet I love it, for it tells of the innocence of love in the old times.”


  Come away, come away, Death,
    And in sad cypress let me be laid;
  Fly away, fly away, breath,
    I am slain by a fair cruel maid. 
  My shroud of white stuck all with yew, O prepare it,
  My part of death no one so true did share it.

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