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my ears hear waves, and shouting, and then silence. and then there is the beach, and captain, too and clad in trousers and quick wit, i go stride forth into this land illyria. the duke is kind, when he does not forget. love weighs, like wine, heavy upon his mind, and to self-same effect, all things admitted once i the lady see, i understand. i say some shame at this, but none too far for clear as day she’s brushed aside the duke. if heaven had sent angels to this land, olivia is of their chosen house. olivia! fair heavens bless her crown, cry joy at her joys, rain with her sorrows. (she chased me with a ring, and urged a promise and honest as was made i did fulfil: we met again, oh, very happy met!) when flights of fancy do pervade my bliss, pity strikes me for poor, forlorn orsino affections spurned, turned to the one he sent to tell his love; she kisses me again waves, then shouting, and then, dread silence then antonio, and daring rescue then, clad in trousers and quick wit, i go into this strange coast, toward illyria there is a challenge made as from my lady’s --oh, i but wished to one day be thus blessed to say “my lady” (and i to be hers)-- to yet contracted master’s court i strode he follows me, fool pirate, fool in love and places in my palms his purse and wallet, and his life (his life! he should not be seen here! illyria's his enemy!) a brave competitor was promised i, (this promise unfulfilled to point of hearsay) it went like this: we saw the other’s face and like children, we both did run off screaming and out with purse and wallet (and with life) into the duke orsino’s land i go and meet with someone else’s duel, someone like i in feature must it be. (perhaps... i’ve not a challenge of my own yet heard, dare i to hope it could be drown’d viola?) i to my lord orsino’s house did flee and in the interim came ‘pon the knight and a strange man, who called me brother’s name and hence did save my life and beg his purse i lost him, somehow, in the thick of life antonio, not at the inn as promised the worst fear flickers yet in my gay heart twere not for me he would not dare to be here! my lady asks of me to wed her promptly oh heart, i can but hope she’ll not regret my part-deception; i shall tell her ere we plan to fast my heart, my hands, to hers. i came upon a lady that did ask after our marriage, one i quick forgot perhaps because the marriage was not mine is drown’d viola here, and wed this lady? i made good haste to the duke’s home, to cancel my contract in his house before my wedding and there came again upon my savior this pirate they have called antonio who called me by my brother’s moniker the lady did henceforth take me away and to the duke’s estate, and there he was antonio, his life yet in my palms! and there’s viola too, alive, not drown’d! oh! oh! sebastian, safe, alive, undrowned! and he does recognize antonio lady olivia, eyes bathed in light we tell her truths together, we two halves oh, seas are merciful as none have told! my sister, living, breathing, thus employed i look to lady, duke, to pirate dear and we tell truths together, halves made whole never a sister did my mother bear my mother has yet to bear me a brother and have our fathers ever shared a name? from self-same womb we came; it should be thus my lady, ere you wed me, hear my piece: i am viola, this my twin, sebastian some month hence, in a storm, our ship did break and on the shore, i found myself alone i did endeavor to find work, and found’t in duke orsino’s court, through whose employ i came to meet my dear your ladyship, and fell in love, if in love you will have me and to be wed, if be wed you will let me antonio, and others gathered here now do hear me, sebastian, speak my fate: i, too, shipwrecked upon that fated voyage. antonio did find me on the shore, and brought me here to bold illyria, tho’ hangman’s noose here weighs upon his shoulders and while i’ve cause to yet hold still my tongue my heart yearns to profess as sister hast, oh, dear antonio, whose life yet rests in both my palms, as you have left it, now take mine in yours, and take my hands forthwith. i’ve heard tales tell that pirates do love rings. ---- [Author's Note: Here it is! Written in iambic pentameter, as it should be.]