“O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true-love’s coming
That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers’ meeting—
Every wise man’s son doth know.”
This passage, sung by the jester of the court, Feste, tells of the shipwreck that separates twins, Viola and Sebastian, and results in Viola being stranded on the island of Illyria. Unbeknownst to most of the characters, Feste sings the prophecy to the audience—foreshadowing the events that will occur between the lovers later in the play. In the first line, Feste describes Olivia’s “roaming”, which could be interpreted to the audience as if her heart or mind seems lost and she cannot find herself to truly love anyone (Duke Orsino or Malvolio). Feste’s passage instructs Olivia to be patient and wait for her true love and to look no further in finding her love, because he will come to her. Initially, Olivia and the audience may be lead to believe that Viola, dressed as Cesario, is Olivia’s true love. However, along with the other confused characters within the play (Orsino, Viola, etc.), the initial lovers are eventually united with their truest loves.
The most important part of this passage is the “Journeys end in lover’s meeting…” because of the significance it holds with Olivia’s feelings and the feelings of others within the play. Shakespeare voyages his characters through conflicting romances, but eventually leads them to their respective counterparts. By suggesting this notion, Shakespeare employs Feste as a non-mythological Cupid (sans connective powers) and uses his preemptive knowledge to signify the audience and implicitly indicate to the remaining characters that the “love journey” will eventually end when all lovers connect with their soulmates.