Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Viola Disguised, and the Duke
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
(See full text.)

  Duke.—Once more, Cesario,
Get thee to yon same sovereign cruelty:
The parts that fortune hath bestow’d upon her,
Tell her, I hold as giddily as fortune;
But ’tis that miracle and queen of gems,        5
That nature pranks her in, attracts my soul.
  Viola.—But if she cannot love you, sir?
  Duke.—I cannot be so answer’d.
  Vio.—Sooth, but you must.
Say, that some lady, as perhaps there is,        10
Hath for your love as great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her;
You tell her so; must she not, then, be answer’d?
  Duke.—There is no woman’s sides
Can bide the beating of so strong a passion        15
As love doth give my heart: no woman’s heart
So big, to hold so much; they lack retention.
Alas! their love may be call’d appetite,—
No motion of the liver, but the palate,—
That suffer forfeit, cloyment, and revolt;        20
But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
And can digest as much: make no compare
Between that love a woman can bear me,
And that I owe Olivia.
  Vio.—Ay, but I know,—        25
  Duke.—What dost thou know?
  Vio.—Too well what love women to men may owe:
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter lov’d a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,        30
I should your lordship.
  Duke.—And what’s her history?
  Vio.—A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek; she pin’d in thought;        35
And with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more; but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove        40
Much in our vows, but little in our love.
  Duke.—But died thy sister of her love, my boy?
  Vio.—I am all the daughters of my father’s house,
And all the brothers too.
 
 
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