Viola and Olivia.

When Viola, a servant of the Duke,
Of him she loved the page, went, sent by him,
To tell Olivia that great love which shook
His breast and stopt his tongue; was it a whim,
Or jealousy or fear that she must look
Upon the face of that Olivia?

'Tis hard to say if it were whim or fear
Or jealousy, but it was natural,
As natural as what came next, the near
Intelligence of hearts: Olivia
Loveth, her eye abused by a thin wall
Of custom, but her spirit's eyes were clear.

Clear? we have oft been curious to know
The after-fortunes of those lovers dear;
Having a steady faith some deed must show
That they were married souls--unmarried here
Having an inward faith that love, called so
In verity, is of the spirit, clear
Of earth and dress and sex--it may be near
What Viola returned Olivia?



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Last modified: 23 March 1996