following version of Twelfth Night, or What
You Will is based on the text in the authoritative
1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig.
The text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions
such as "Enter" and "Exit." Annotations (notes and definitions)
appear in boldfaced type within the text.
by Michael J. Cummings
Orsino: Duke of Illyria, who is also referred to
as a count. He thinks he is in love with his neighbor, Olivia, but
has trouble gaining her attention. His so-called love for her is
fickle and frivolous, however. Later, he realizes that he loves
Viola, who has been working as a page for him in the disguise of a
Viola: Shipwreck survivor who disguises herself
as a male to get work as a page to Duke Orsino. She calls herself
Cesario. Viola is the main character, or protagonist. She is
smart, resourceful, kind, and loving.
Olivia: Neighbor of Duke Orsino who ignores his
proposals of marriage and who continues to mourn the death of a
brother long after he goes to his grave. However, she becomes
enamored of the disguised Viola, thinking he is a man, and begins
to emerge from her shell of sadness and sorrow.
Sebastian: Twin brother of Viola who also
survives the shipwreck, although Viola thinks he has drowned.
Valentine, Curio: Gentlemen
attending Duke Orsino.
Sir Toby Belch: Merrymaking
uncle of Olivia.
Sir Andrew Aguecheek: Bumbling
knight who hopes to marry Olivia.
Malvolio: Pompous steward of Olivia who is
led to believe that she loves him. He wears yellow stockings to
Feste: Fool (jester) and servant of Olivia. He
is highly intelligent and given to clever wordplay that often
centers on the folly of human beings.
Fabian: Servant of Olivia.
Maria: Olivia's handmaiden and author of a
letter that ensnares Malvolio in a prank that pokes fun at his
Antonio: Sea captain and friend of Sebastian.
Another Sea Captain: Friend of
Minor Characters: Lords,
priests, sailors, officers, musicians, attendants.
Act 1, Scene 1: A room in the duke's palace.
Act 1, Scene 2: The sea coast.
Act 1, Scene 3: A room in Olivia's house.
Act 1, Scene 4: A room in the duke's palace.
Act 1, Scene 5: A room in Olivia's house.
Act 2, Scene 1: The seacoast.
Act 2, Scene 2: A street.
Act 2, Scene 3: A room in Olivia's house.
Act 2, Scene 4: A room in the duke's palace.
Act 2, Scene 5: Olivia's garden.
Act 3, Scene 1: Olivia's garden.
Act 3, Scene 2: A room in Olivia's house.
Act 3, Scene 3: A street.
Act 3, Scene 4: Olivia's garden.
Act 4, Scene 1: The street adjoining Olivia's
Act 4, Scene 2: A room in Olivia's house.
Act 4, Scene 3: Olivia's garden.
Act 5, Scene 1: The street before Olivia's house.
Act 1, Scene 1
A room in
the duke's palace.
CURIO, lords; musicians attending.
If music be the food of love, play on;
excess of it, that, surfeiting [filling up with
may sicken, and so die.
[melody; tune] again! it had a dying fall [sorrowful effect]:
O! it came
o’er [over] my ear like the sweet sound [of wind]
breathes upon a bank of violets,
giving odour. Enough! no more:
[Stealing . . . odour: Stealing the odor and
giving it to me]
’Tis not so
sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of
love! how quick and fresh art thou,
notwithstanding thy capacity
the sea, nought enters there,
validity and pitch soe’er,
into abatement and low price,
[how quick . . . price: How quick love is to
ensnare us. But, even though its capacity is as wide and deep as
the sea, no one—not matter how high and mighty—can fall into it
without feeling low and base.]
Even in a
minute: so full of shapes is fancy,
alone is high fantastical.
[Even . . . fantastical: In only a minute, we
are enthralled by its fantastic powers.]
Will you go hunt, my lord?
The hart [male deer].
Why, so I do, the noblest that I have.
O! when mine
eyes did see Olivia first,
she purg’d the air of pestilence.
was I turn’d into a hart,
desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
what news from her?
So please my lord, I might not be admitted [I was not admitted to her presence];
But from her
handmaid do return this answer:
itself, till seven years’ heat,
behold her face at ample view;
[The element . . . view: She will not go
outside for seven years.]
But, like a
cloistress, she will veiled walk,
once a day her chamber round
eve-offending brine: all this, to season
dead love, which she would keep fresh
in her sad remembrance.
[But . . . remembrance: But even then she will
wear a veil as she walks, like a nun, and she will weep in tears
of sorrow all around her chamber once a day to keep the sad memory
of her dead brother alive.]
O! she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this
debt of love but to a brother,
How will she
love, when the rich golden shaft
the flock of all affections else
[golden shaft: Allusion to the arrow shot by
Cupid, the god of love, to smite a young man or woman with
That live in
her; when liver, brain, and heart,
sovereign thrones [organs], are all
supplied, and fill’d
perfections with one self king.
[and fill'd . . . king: And filled with love
for one king to rule her sweet perfections]
me to sweet beds of flowers;
lie rich when canopied with bowers. [Exeunt.
[Away . . . bowers: Let my thoughts of
love go with me to sweet beds of flowers that will enhance my
feelings for Olivia.]
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 1, Scene 2
Captain, and Sailors.
What country, friends, is this?
This is Illyria, lady.
[Illyria: Region separated from the eastern
shore of Italy by the Adriatic Sea.]
And what should I do in Illyria?
he is in Elysium [My dead brother is in
is not drown’d: what think you sailors?
It is perchance [by chance; luck] that you
yourself were sav’d.
O my poor brother! and so perchance may he be.
True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,
yourself, after our ship did split,
When you and
those poor number sav’d with you
Hung on our
driving boat, I saw your brother,
provident in peril, bind himself,—
hope both teaching him the practice,—
To a strong
mast that liv’d upon the sea;
Arion on the dolphin’s back,
I saw him
hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I
[Arion on the dolphin's back: While at sea,
according to a legend, the ancient Greek poet Arion escaped from
pirates by riding on the back of a dolphin.]
For saying so there’s gold.
escape unfoldeth to my hope,
speech serves for authority,
The like of
him. Know’st thou this country?
[Mine own . . . country: My own escape gives
me hope for my brother. Your encouraging words bolster my hope.
Are you familiar with this country?.]
Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born
hours’ travel from this very place.
Who governs here?
A noble duke, in nature as in name.
What is his name?
Orsino! I have heard my father name him:
He was a
And so is now, or was so very late [or was the last time I heard about him];
For but a
month ago I went from hence,
’twas fresh in murmur,—as, you know,
ones do the less will prattle of,—
[I went from . . . prattle of: I went to sea
from here, and there was a fresh rumor—as you know, what the great
noblemen do is a subject for common people to gossip about—]
That he did
seek the love of fair Olivia.
A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
some twelvemonth since; then leaving her
protection of his son, her brother,
also died: for whose dear love,
They say she
hath abjur’d [renounced] the
And sight of
O! that I serv’d that lady,
not be deliver’d to the world,
Till I had
made mine own occasion mellow,
[O! that . . . estate is: O! I would like to
be a servant of that lady, out of sight of the world, till the
time is right for me to decide what to do next.]
That were hard to compass,
will admit no kind of suit,
No, not the
[That were . . . duke's: That would be hard to
do, since she will admit no one into her company—not even the
There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain;
that nature with a beauteous wall
close in pollution, yet of thee
believe thou hast a mind that suits
thy fair and outward character.
[There is . . . character: You are an upright
man, captain. A lot of people look friendly and honest on the
outside, but inside they are just the opposite. I believe your
character is just as good inside as it is on the outside.]
prithee,—and I’ll pay thee bountously,—
what I am, and be my aid
disguise as haply shall become
The form of
my intent. I’ll serve this duke:
present me as a eunuch to him:
[I prithee . . . to him: I pray thee,
captain—and I'll pay you well if you do what I ask—disguise me as
a boy singer and introduce me to the duke.]
It may be
worth thy pains; for I can sing
And speak to
him in many sorts of music
allow me very worth his service [that will make
me very valuable to him].
may hap to time I will commit;
thou thy silence to my wit.
[What else . . . wit: Whatever else he wants
me to do I'll undertake. But please be quiet about who I really
Be you his eunuch, and your mute I’ll be:
tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.
I thank thee: lead me on. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everone leaves the stage.]
Act 1, Scene 3
A room in
TOBY BELCH and MARIA.
TOBY: What a plague means my niece, to take the death of her
brother thus? I am sure care’s an enemy to life.
[What a plague . . . life: What a bother it is
for my niece to take the death of her brother so hard. I am sure
the care she's showing is an enemy to life.]
By my troth [truly], Sir Toby, you
must come in earlier o’ nights [at night]: your cousin,
my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.
TOBY: Why, let her except before excepted.
[Why . . . excepted: Allusion to the Latin
legal term exceptis
excipiendis: with all the proper and necessary
exceptions; with the proper exceptions having been made.]
Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of
TOBY: Confine! I’ll confine myself no finer than I am. These
clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too: an
[if] they be not, let them hang themselves in their own
That quaffing [guzzling] and drinking
will undo you: I heard my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a
foolish knight that you brought in one night here to be her
TOBY: Who? Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
TOBY: He’s as tall a man as any’s in Illyria.
What’s that to the purpose? [What's that have
to do with what I am talking about?]
TOBY: Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.
[ducat: Gold or silver coin once used in
Ay, but he’ll have but a year in all these ducats [he'll spend them all within a year]: he’s a very
fool and a prodigal.
TOBY: Fie [for shame; bosh], that you’ll
say so! he plays o’ [on] the
viol-de-gamboys [stringed instruments
with a bass sound] and speaks three or four languages word for
word without book, and hath all the good gifts of
He hath indeed, almost natural; for, besides that he’s a fool,
he’s a great quarreller; and but [except] that he hath
the gift of a coward to allay the gust [gift of a coward to back down from the heat
generated in a quarrel] he hath in quarrelling, ’tis thought among
the prudent he would quickly have the gift of a grave.
TOBY: By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors [detractors] that say so of him. Who are
They that add, moreover, he’s drunk nightly in your
TOBY: With drinking healths to my niece. I’ll drink to her
as long as there is a passage in my throat and drink in Illyria.
He’s a coward and a coystril [low, base
fellow; knave] that will not drink to my niece till his
brains turn o’ the toe like a parish-top [spinning top]. What, wench! Castiliano vulgo! [Use gentle speech!] for here comes
Sir Andrew Agueface.
[Agueface: Play on words. An ague is a fever;
hence, it causes redness. Agueface means red face; Sir Andrew
Aguecheek means Sir Andrew Red Cheek.]
ANDREW: Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby Belch!
TOBY: Sweet Sir Andrew!
ANDREW: Bless you, fair shrew.
And you too, sir.
TOBY: Accost [introduce yourself;
confront her], Sir Andrew, accost.
ANDREW: What’s that?
TOBY: My niece’s chambermaid.
ANDREW: Good Mistress Accost, I desire better
My name is Mary, sir.
ANDREW: Good Mistress Mary Accost,—
TOBY: You mistake, knight: "accost" is, front her, board
her, woo her, assail her.
ANDREW: By my troth [truly], I would not
undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of "accost?"
Fare you well, gentlemen.
TOBY: An [if] thou let her part so, Sir Andrew, would thou
mightst never draw sword again!
ANDREW: An [if] you part so, mistress, I would I might never
draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have fools in
Sir, I have not you by the hand.
ANDREW: Marry [by the Virgin Mary], but you shall
have; and here’s my hand.
Now, sir, “thought is free:” [I'm free to give
you my opinion:] I pray you, bring your hand to the buttery-bar
[in a tavern, butter supplies sat on a board
on tankards] and let it drink.
ANDREW: Wherefore [why], sweetheart?
what’s your metaphor?
It’s dry, sir.
ANDREW: Why, I think so: I am not such an ass but I can keep
my hand dry. But what’s your jest?
A dry jest, sir.
ANDREW: Are you full of them?
Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers’ ends: marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.
TOBY: O knight! thou lackest a cup of canary [a white wine]: when did I see thee so put
ANDREW: Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary
put me down. Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a
Christian or an ordinary man has; but I am a great eater of beef,
and I believe that does harm to my wit.
TOBY: No question.
ANDREW: An [if] I thought that,
I’d forswear it.
home to-morrow, Sir Toby.
TOBY: Pourquoi [French for why], my dear
ANDREW: What is “pourquoi?” do or not do? I would I had
bestowed that time in the tongues [languages] that I have in fencing, dancing,
and bear-baiting. O! had I but followed the
[Bear-baiting: A popular
bloodsport in Shakespeare's London. In an enclosed area, keepers
of a bear first tied the animal to a stake, then released dogs to
fight with it.]
TOBY: Then hadst thou had an excellent head of
ANDREW: Why, would that have mended my hair?
TOBY: Past question; for thou seest it will not curl by
ANDREW: But it becomes me well enough, does it
TOBY: Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff [staff on which thread is spun from wool or
flax], and I hope to see a housewife take thee
between her legs, and spin it off.
ANDREW: Faith, I’ll home to-morrow, Sir Toby: your niece
will not be seen; or if she be, it’s four to one she’ll none of
me. The count himself here hard by [nearby] woos her.
TOBY: She’ll none o’ the count; she’ll not match above her
degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have heard her swear
it. Tut, there’s life in ’t, man.
[She'll none . . . man: She'll have nothing to
do with the count. She won't allow anyone to woo her who is higher
is social standing, older, or more intelligent. Tut, there's hope
for you to court her.]
ANDREW: I’ll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o’ the
strangest mind i’ the world; I delight in masques [entertainments performed by persons wearing
masks] and revels sometimes altogether.
TOBY: Art thou good at these kickchawses,
[kickchawses: Kickshaws, a term for tidbits,
trinkets, or delicacies. Here, Sir Toby uses it to mean “those
ANDREW: As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the
degree [social standing] of my betters:
and yet I will not compare with an old man.
TOBY: What is thy excellence in a galliard [lively dance], knight?
ANDREW: Faith, I can cut a caper.
TOBY: And I can cut the mutton to ’t.
ANDREW: And I think I have the back-trick [I can dance backward] simply as
strong as any man in Illyria.
TOBY: Wherefore [why] are these
things hid? Wherefore [why]have these gifts
a curtain before ’em? are they like to take dust, like Mistress
Mall’s picture? [Mistress Mall: Possibly a reference to a
prostitute or another name for Mary] Why dost thou not go to
church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto [dance with forward and backward steps]? My very walk
should be a jig: I would not so much as make water but in a
sink-a-pace [cinq pace, a five-step dance]. What dost thou
mean? is it a world to hide virtues in? I did think, by the
excellent constitution of thy leg, it was formed under the star of
ANDREW: Ay, ’tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a
flame-coloured stock. Shall we set about some revels?
TOBY: What shall we do else? were we not born under Taurus [a sign of the zodiac usually occurring
between May 16 and June 21]?
ANDREW: Taurus! that’s sides and heart. [In astrology in Shakespeare's day, Taurus was
thought to govern the sides and the heart.]
TOBY: No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper.
Ha! higher: ha, ha! excellent! [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 1, Scene 4
A room in
the Duke's palace.
VALENTINE, and VIOLA in man’s attire.
If the duke continue these favours towards you, Cesario [Viola's name as a disguised male], you are like
to be much advanced: he hath known you but three days, and already
you are no stranger.
You either fear his humour [mood; demeanor] or my
negligence, that you call in question the continuance of his love.
Is he inconstant [unfaithful;
unpredictable], sir, in his favours?
No, believe me.
I thank you. Here comes the count.
CURIO, and Attendants.
Who saw Cesario? ho!
On your attendance, my lord; here.
Stand you awhile aloof [stand aside a moment,
all of you]. Cesario,
no less but all; I have unclasp’d
To thee the
book even of my secret soul:
good youth, address thy gait unto her,
denied access, stand at her doors,
them, there thy fixed foot shall grow
[Cesario, thou . . . audience: Cesario, you
know everything about me, because I have even told you about the
deep secrets in my soul. Therefore, I think you are the right
person to go to her and stand fast at her door, refusing to be
denied entry, until she admits you to speak with her.]
Sure [I'm sure], my noble lord,
If she be so
abandon’d to her sorrow
As it is
spoke, she never will admit me.
Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds
make unprofited return.
[Be clamorous . . . return: Raise a ruckus or
whatever else it takes to get her to admit you. I don't want you
to return here unless you make progress with her.]
Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?
O! then unfold the passion of my love;
with discourse of my dear faith:
become thee well to act [act out; describe;
make vivid] my woes;
attend it better in thy youth
Than in a
nuncio of more grave aspect.
[She will . . . aspect: She will pay more
attention to a young person like you than to an older messenger
who is solemn and dignified.]
I think not so, my lord.
Dear lad, believe it;
shall yet belie thy happy years
thou art a man: Diana’s lip
Is not more
smooth and rubious; thy small pipe
Is as the
maiden’s organ, shrill and sound;
And all is
semblative a woman’s part.
I know thy
constellation is right apt
affair. Some four or five attend him;
All, if you
will; for I myself am best
in company. Prosper well in this,
shalt live as freely as thy lord,
To call his
[For they . . . fortunes thine: Those people
who say you are a man haven't noticed your vibrant youth. Even
Diana (in classical mythology, the beautiful goddess of the moon
and of chastity) does not have smoother and redder lips than you.
Your small voice is like a girl's. And the rest of you is womanly.
I know you are the right person for this task. Four or five of you
others go along with him. Or maybe all of you should go, for I
enjoy being without company. If you do well in this task, Cesario,
I will reward you well.]
I’ll do my best
To woo your
lady: [Aside.] yet, a barful strife [difficult task]!
woo, myself would be his wife. [Exeunt.
Aside: Stage direction
indicating that a character is speaking only to himself or, in
some instances, to himself and a nearby character or nearby
[Whoe'er . . . wife: If I could choose whom to
woo, I would choose the duke himself.]
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 1, Scene 5
A room in
and FESTE, Clown.
[Clown: Jester; fool.]
Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my
lips so wide as a bristle may enter in way of thy excuse. My lady
will hang thee for thy absence.
[Nay . . . absence: Either tell me where you
were, or I won't accept any excuse at all. My lady will hang you
for your absence.]
Let her hang me: he that is well hanged in this world needs to
fear no colours.
[He that . . . fear no colours: A dead man
fears nothing, no matter its shape, size, or color.]
Make that good [explain that].
He shall see none to fear.
A good lenten answer [that's a flimsy
answer]: I can tell thee where that saying was born,
of, “I fear no colours.”
Where, good Mistress Mary?
In the wars; and that may you be bold to say in your
[In the wars . . . foolery: Soldiers came up
with it in wars. You may use that answer in your jesting.]
Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools,
let them use their talents.
[God give . . . talents: They have wisdom who
were born with it. Fools have to use whatever meager talents they
Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent; or, to be turned
away [fired], is not that as good as a hanging
Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage; and, for turning
away, let summer bear it out.
[and, for turning . . . out: As for being out
of a job, I wouldn't mind living outdoors in the nice summer
You are resolute then? [So you're not worried
about being late?]
Not so, neither; but I am resolved on two
That if one break, the other will hold; or, if both break, your
[That if one garter (or suspender) breaks the
other will hold. But if both break, your stockings (or trousers)
Apt, in good faith; very apt. Well, go thy way: if Sir Toby would
leave drinking, thou wert as witty a piece of Eve’s flesh as any
[Apt . . . Illyria: That's a very good reply.
Well, you can run along now with the thought that if Sir Toby quit
drinking you would be the wittiest person in Illyria.]
Peace, you rogue, no more o’ that. Here comes my lady: make your
excuse wisely, you were best. [Exit.
Wit, an ’t be thy will, put me into good fooling! Those wits that
think they have thee, do very oft prove fools; and I, that am sure
I lack thee, may pass for a wise man: for what says Quinapalus?
“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”
[Wit, an 't . . . foolish wit: Wit, if it be
your will, help me do my best as a fool. Those people who think
they have intelligence and wit often turn out to be fools. I, who
lack wit, could pass for a wise man. For what says Quinapalus:
“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.” (Quinapalus was a
character in the works of the French writer, Rabelais.)]
Take the fool away.
Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the lady.
Go to, you’re a dry fool; I’ll no more of you: besides, you grow
Two faults, madonna [Italian for my lady], that drink and
good counsel will amend: for give the dry fool drink, then is the
fool not dry; bid the dishonest man mend himself: if he mend, he
is no longer dishonest; if he cannot, let the botcher
mend him. Any thing that’s mended is but patched: virtue that
transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but
patched with virtue. If that this simple syllogism [inept tailor][logical argument] will serve, so;
if it will not, what remedy? As there is no true cuckold but
calamity, so beauty’s a flower. The lady bade take away the fool;
therefore, I say again, take her away.
[There is no . . . flower: A cuckold is a
husband whose wife is unfaithful. A calamity is an event in which
there is great loss and ruination. Feste is saying in a roundabout
way that all men marry good fortune, or luck. When good fortune
abandons them—like an unfaithful wife—the men suffer calamity. A
flower is also a cuckold in that its beauty fades when cold
weather arrives. The flower then suffers a calamity—that is, it
Sir, I bade them take away you.
Misprision in the highest degree! Lady, cucullus non facit
monachum; that’s as much to say as I wear not motley in my brain.
Good madonna, give me leave to prove you a fool.
[Misprision . . . fool: That would be a great
mistake. Lady, the old Latin saying says that a hooded robe does
not make the monk. In other words, clothes do not make the man;
intelligence does. Now, that's like saying I wear my colorful
jester's clothes in my brain. My good lady, you're the one who's a
fool. Let me prove it.]
Can you do it?
Dexteriously [with dexterity; cleverly], good
Make your proof.
I must catechise you for it, madonna: good my mouse of virtue,
[I must . . . me: I must instruct you the way
they do in catechisms, by asking you questions. My good little
mouse, you then must answer me.]
Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I’ll bide your proof. [Well, I have nothing better to do. Proceed.]
Good madonna, why mournest thou?
Good fool, for my brother’s death.
I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
I know his soul is in heaven, fool.
The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul being in
heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.
[The more . . . heaven: There's your proof.
Only a fool would mourn for someone in heaven.]
think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he not mend [doesn't his funny talk make things more
cheerful around here]?
and shall do, till the pangs of death shake him: infirmity, that
decays the wise, doth ever make the better fool.
[Yes . . . better fool: Yes, and he'll
continue his funny talk until he is dead. As people grow old, what
they say gets funnier and funnier. Old age turns them into
God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the better increasing
your folly! Sir Toby will be sworn that I am no fox, but he will
not pass his word for two pence that you are no
How say you to that, Malvolio?
I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren [empty-headed] rascal: I saw him put down the
other day with [by] an ordinary
fool that has no more brain than a stone. Look you now, he’s out
of his guard already [he's run out of things
to say already]; unless you laugh and minister occasion [unless you laugh at him and pay attention] to him, he is
gagged. I protest, I take these wise men, that crow so at these
set kind of fools, no better than the fools’
[I protest . . . zanies: I think these
so-called wise men who laugh at fools like him are no better than
you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered
appetite. To be generous, guiltless, and of free disposition, is
to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets.
[O! You've made yourself sick with self-love,
Malvolio, and you're nothing but a grouch. If you had a kind and
generous disposition, you would take his little jests as harmless
pebbles rather than cannon balls.]
There is no
slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail; nor no
railing in a known discreet man, though he do nothing but
[There is . . . reprove: There is nothing
vicious in a fool hired to make you laugh by criticizing you; nor
does the fool's criticism mean that there are serious faults
in the man who hired him.]
Now, Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou speakest well of
[Because you speak well of fools, I hope
Mercury, the god of cunning and trickery, endows you with a reward
for your great skill at lying. (In classical mythology, Mercury
was the Roman name for the messenger god. His Greek name was Ares.
Mercury was also known for deception and lying.]
Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman much desires to
speak with you.
From the Count Orsino, is it?
I know not, madam: ’tis a fair young man, and well
Who of my people hold him in delay?
Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.
him off, I pray you: he speaks nothing but madman. Fie on
him! [Exit MARIA.] Go you, Malvolio: if it be a suit
from the count, I am sick, or not at home; what you will, to
dismiss it. [Exit MALVOLIO.] Now you see, sir, how
your fooling grows old, and people dislike it.
Thou hast spoken for us, madonna, as if thy eldest son should be a
fool; whose skull Jove cram with brains! for here comes one of thy
kin has a most weak pia mater.
[Thou . . . mater: You have spoken of us
fools, my lady, as if your oldest son is about to become a fool.
The king of the gods, Jove, should cram his head full of brains,
if one judges by the quality of the gray matter of your relatives.
Here comes one of them now. He seems to be greatly deficient in
By mine honour, half drunk. What is he at the gate,
TOBY: A gentleman.
A gentleman! what gentleman?
TOBY: ’Tis a gentleman here,—a plague o’ these pickle
herring! How now, sot!
[After Sir Toby says a gentleman is at the
gate, he belches from eating pickled herring, then greets Feste as
a fellow drunk.]
Good Sir Toby.
Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy [senseless behavior; drunkenness]?
[Cousin: This term was used for uncles, aunts,
nieces, nephews, and other relatives.]
TOBY: Lechery! [Apparently used in
jest to rhyme with lethargy
in line 58.] I defy lechery! There’s one [someone] at the gate.
Ay, marry, what is he?
TOBY: Let him be the devil, an [if] he will, I care not: give me faith, say I.
Well, it’s all one. [Well, it doesn't
matter to me who's at the gate.] [Exit.
What’s a drunken man like, fool?
Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman: one draught above heat [one drink too many] makes him a
fool, the second mads him, and a third drowns
Go thou and seek the crowner [coroner], and let him
sit on [hold an inquest on] my coz [cousin]; for he’s in the third degree of drink,
he’s drowned: go, look after him.
He is but mad yet, madonna; and the fool shall look to the
Madam, yond [yonder] young fellow
swears he will speak with you. I told him you were sick: he takes
on him to understand so much, and therefore comes to speak with
you. I told him you were asleep: he seems to have a foreknowledge
of that too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is to be
said to him, lady? he’s fortified against any
Tell him he shall not speak with me.
been told so; and he says, he’ll stand at your door like a
sheriff’s post, and be the supporter to a bench, but he’ll speak
What kind o’man is he?
Why, of mankind.
What manner of man?
Of very ill manner: he’ll speak with you, will you or
Of what personage and years is he?
Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy; as a
squash [unripe pod of a pea] is before ’tis
a peascod, or a codling [green apple used in cooking] when ’tis
almost an apple: ’tis with him in standing water, between boy and
man. He is very well-favoured [handsome], and he speaks
very shrewishly [speaks with a small
voice]: one would think his mother’s milk were
scarce out of him.
Let him approach. Call in my gentlewoman.
Gentlewoman, my lady calls. [Exit.
Give me my veil: come, throw it o’er my face.
more hear Orsino’s embassy [messenger; ambassador].
The honourable lady of the house, which is she?
Speak to me; I shall answer for her. Your will [message]?
Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty,—I pray you tell
me if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her: I would
be loath to cast away my speech; for, besides that it is
excellently well penned, I have taken great pains to con [memorize] it. Good beauties, let me sustain
no scorn; I am very comptible [sensitive], even to the
least sinister usage [even to mild
Whence came you, sir?
I can say little more than I have studied [memorized], and that question’s out of my part
[not part of my memorized speech]. Good gentle
one, give me modest assurance if you be the lady of the house,
that I may proceed in my speech.
Are you a comedian [Are you an actor in
No, my profound heart; and yet, by the very fangs of malice I
swear I am not that I play [not the person I
appear to be]. Are you the lady of the
If I do not usurp myself, I am [If I do not
unlawfully take the place of myself, I am the lady of the house.]
Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself; for, what is
yours to bestow is not yours to reserve. But this is from my
commission: I will on with my speech in your praise, and then show
you the heart of my message.
[Most certain . . . message: I'm sure you do
take the place of your true self. Your true self would not reserve
your love only for your dead brother but would bestow it on others
worthy of it. Now I will continue with my speech and get to the
heart of my message.]
Come to what is important in ’t: I forgive you the praise.
[Come . . . praise: Get to the important part
and forget about the praise.]
Alas! I took great pains to study [memorize] it, and ’tis
is the more like to be feigned: I pray you keep it in. I heard you
were saucy at my gates, and allowed your approach rather to wonder
at you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be gone; if you have
reason, be brief: ’tis not that time of moon with me to make one
in so skipping a dialogue.
[It is the more . . . dialogue: It is likely
that such a rehearsed speech lacks feeling and sincerity. It's a
fraud, so keep it to yourself. I heard that you were unmannerly
and overly bold at my gates, making yourself something to wonder
at rather than to listen to. If you're some madman, leave. If you
have something reasonable to say, be brief. I'm not in the mood to
listen to a person who speaks with such lunacy as you.]
Will you hoist sail [will you leave], sir? here lies
No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little longer. Some
mollification for your giant, sweet lady.
[Viola uses swabber
(sailor) and hull (drift aimlessly at sea) in
reply to Maria's use of a nautical term (hoist sail) in the previous line. Viola
addresses the second sentence of the line to Olivia. Viola
explains that she had to pacify Maria, who apparently is a bit
perturbed that Viola won't leave.]
Tell me your mind.
I am a messenger.
Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when the courtesy
of it is so fearful. Speak your office.[Surely you have some hideous message to
deliver, judging from your discourteous behavior. But go ahead.
Speak the message.]
It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of war, no
taxation of homage: I hold the olive in my hand; my words are as
full of peace as matter.
[It alone . . . matter. It's meant for you
only. I bring no hideous message, such as an announcement of war
or a demand for money.]
Yet you began rudely. What are you? what would you? [what do you want?]
The rudeness that hath appear’d in me have I learn’d from my
entertainment [from the way I was treated when I
arrived]. What I am, and what I would, are as secret
as maidenhead; to your ears, divinity; to any other’s,
profanation. [I will reveal the message to you if
these others leave the room.]
Give us the place alone: we will hear this divinity [divine secret]. [Exit
MARIA and Attendants.]
what is your text?
Most sweet lady,—
comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lies your
[A comfortable . . . text: Olivia pokes a
little fun at Viola, saying that “most sweet lady” does not sound
like a “divine” message from a sacred text.]
In Orsino’s bosom.
In his bosom! In what chapter of his bosom?
To answer by the method, in the first of his heart. [I'll answer in the way that you are framing
our conversation. It's in the first chapter of his heart.]
O! I have read it: it is heresy. Have you no more to say?
[O! . . . to say: Oh, I know what he has in
mind, and I'm not interested. Is there anything more?]
Good madam, let me see your face.
Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face?
you are now out of your text [you are not
sticking to the message]: but we will draw the curtain and show you
the picture. [Unveiling.] Look you, sir, such a one I
was as this present: is ’t not well done? [Look, sir, how my face appears right now. Is
it not well done?]
Excellently done, if God did all.
[if God . . . all: If it appears as God
created it and not as cosmetics enhanced it]
’Tis in grain, sir; ’twill endure wind and weather. [The colors are in my skin, not on it. Wind
and rain can't remove them.]
’Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
sweet and cunning hand laid on:
are the cruell’st she alive,
If you will
lead these graces to the grave
the world no copy.
[Lady . . . copy: Lady, you are the cruelest
woman alive if, before you die, you do not marry and bear a child
who inherits your beauty.]
O! Sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give out divers [various] schedules of my beauty: it shall be
inventoried, and every particle and utensil labelled to my will:
as Item, Two lips, indifferent red; Item, Two grey eyes, with lids
to them; Item, One neck, one chin, and so forth.
sent hither to praise me?
I see you what you are: you are too proud;
But, if you
were the devil, you are fair [you would still
My lord and
master loves you: O! such love
Could be but
recompens’d, though you were crown’d
nonpareil of beauty [as a beauty without
How does he love me?
With adorations, with fertile tears,
that thunder love, with sighs of fire.
Your lord does know my mind; I cannot love him;
suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
well divulg’d, free, learn’d, and valiant;
dimension and the shape of nature.
person; but yet I cannot love him:
have took his answer long ago.
If I did love you in my master’s flame,
[If I . . . flame: If I loved with the same
passion as my master]
With such a
suffering, such a deadly life,
denial I would find no sense;
I would not
Why, what would you [do]?
Make me a willow cabin at your gate,
upon my soul [Olivia] within the
cantons of contemned [scorned]
them loud even in the dead of night;
Holla [shout] your name to the reverberate [echoing] hills,
And make the
babbling gossip of the air
‘Olivia!’ O! you should not rest
elements of air and earth,
should pity me! [until you pity me!]
You might do much. [You have talent and
might go places.] What is your parentage?
Above my fortune, yet my state is well:
[Above . . . well: I was born to a
high-ranking family, although my present position does not reflect
this fact. Yet I get along well.]
I am a
Get you to your lord:
love him. Let him send no more,
perchance, you come to me again,
To tell me
how he takes it. Fare you well:
I thank you
for your pains: spend this for me.
I am no fee’d post, lady; keep your purse: [I do not require a fee to deliver a message;
keep your money.]
not myself, lacks recompense.
his heart of flint that you shall love,
And let your
fervour, like my master’s, be
contempt! Farewell, fair cruelty. [Exit.
[Love make . . . cruelty: May his unrequited
love turn his heart to stone, and may your indifference turn to
burning love for him so that you may know what it's like to be
rejected. Farewell, cruel beauty. Viola leaves.]
“What is your parentage?”
fortunes, yet my state is well:
I am a
gentleman.” I’ll be sworn thou art:
thy face, thy limbs, actions, and spirit,
Do give thee
five-fold blazon [make you five times a
handsome gentleman]. Not too fast: soft! soft!
master were the man. How now!
quickly may one catch the plague?
[Not too . . . plague: I should slow down,
slow down. But what if the master were more like this young
gentleman? What am I saying? Could I be falling in love so
feel this youth’s perfections
invisible and subtle stealth
To creep in
at mine eyes. Well, let it be.
Here, madam, at your service.
Run after that same peevish messenger,
[count's; duke's] man: he left
this ring behind him,
Would I, or
not: tell him I’ll none of it.
[Would . . . of it: He asked whether I would I
marry Orsino. The answer is no.]
Desire [tell] him not to flatter with his
Nor hold him
up with hopes: I’m not for him.
If that the
youth will come this way to-morrow,
him reasons for ’t. Hie thee [go now],
Madam, I will. [Exit.
I do I know not what, and fear to find
Mine eye too
great a flatterer for my mind.
thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
decreed must be, and be this so! [Exit.
[I do not . . . this so: I don't know what's
happening to me. I fear that my vision of this young gentleman is
persuading my mind to fall in love with him. Fate, do what you
will. We don't own ourselves, but are creatures of destiny. What
fate decrees, we must do. Whatever will be will be.]
Act 2, Scene 1
ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN.
Will you stay no longer? nor will you not that I go with
you? [Do you want me to go with you?]
your patience, no. My stars shine darkly over me; the malignancy
of my fate might, perhaps, distemper yours; therefore I shall
crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone. It were a
bad recompense for your love to lay any of them on you.
[My stars . . . on you: Sebastian says he has
no lucky stars shining on him but suffers from bad luck which
could brush off on Antonio if the latter goes with him. So
Sebastian says he will carry on alone, for he doesn't want to
repay Antonio for his kindness by passing on his bad luck to him.]
Let me yet know of you whither [where] you are
No, sooth, sir: my determinate voyage is mere
extravagancy. But I perceive in you so excellent a touch of
modesty that you will not extort from me what I am willing to keep
in; therefore, it charges me in manners the rather to express
myself. You must know of me then, Antonio, my name is Sebastian,
which I called Roderigo. [In truth, sir, I
cannot, because I'm just wandering. But I can tell that you are
too polite to press me on this matter. So I'll tell you as much as
I can. My name is Sebastian, but I've been going by the name
Roderigo.] My father was that Sebastian of Messaline,
whom I know you have heard of. He left behind him [after he died] myself and a
sister, both born in an hour: if the heavens had been pleased,
would we had so ended! but you, sir, altered that; for some hour
before you took me from the breach of the sea was my sister
Alas the day! [I'm so sorry!]
lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of
many accounted beautiful: but, though I could not with such
estimable wonder overfar believe that [I had a hard time believing that she was as
beautiful as people said], yet thus far I will boldly publish [describe] her: she bore a mind that envy
could not but call fair. She is drowned already, sir, with salt
water, though I seem to drown her remembrance again with more [I seem to drown her over and over by
continually mourning for her].
Pardon me, sir, your bad entertainment. [Pardon me, sir, for being a bad host on our
O good Antonio! forgive me your trouble! [Forgive me for the trouble I have caused
If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant. [If you don't mind, let me be your servant.]
If you will not undo what you have done, that is, kill him whom
you have recovered, desire it not. [You're the man who saved me. I don't want
you to become angry with me if I seem ungrateful for your kind
offer, but I must move on alone.] Fare ye well at once: my bosom is
full of kindness [full of good feelings
for you]; and I am yet so near the manners of my
mother, that upon the least occasion more mine eyes will tell
tales of me. [I am so much like my mother, who
cried at the drop of a hat, that I will cry right now if I don't
leave.] I am bound to the Count Orsino’s court:
The gentleness of all the gods go with thee!
I have many
enemies in Orsino’s court,
Else would I
very shortly see thee there;
what may, I do adore thee so,
shall seem sport, and I will go. [Exit.
[I have . . . will go: (Speaking to himself)
If I didn't have so many enemies in Orsino's court, I would meet
you there. But so what. I like you so much as a friend that I'll
risk the danger and follow you.]
Act 2, Scene 2
Were not you even now with the Countess Olivia?
Even now, sir: on a moderate pace I have since arrived but hither
returns this ring to you, sir: you might have saved me my pains,
to have taken it away yourself. She adds, moreover, that you
should put your lord into a desperate assurance she will none of
him. And one thing more; that you be never so hardy to come again
in his affairs, unless it be to report your lord’s taking of this
[to report how your lord reacts]. Receive it
She took the ring of [from] me; I’ll none
sir, you peevishly threw it to her; and her will is it should be
so returned: if it be worth stooping for, there it lies in your
eye; if not, be it his that finds it.
I left no ring with her: what means this lady?
forbid my outside have not charm’d her! [I hope I haven't charmed her into liking me.]
good view of me; indeed, so much,
methought her eyes had lost her tongue,
For she did
speak in starts distractedly.
[She made . . . distractedly: She looked me
over closely, so much that she had trouble completing her
me, sure; the cunning of her passion
in this churlish messenger.
[She loves . . . messenger: I'm sure she loves
me. When her rude messenger caught up with me and showed me the
ring, it was part of a ploy of hers to get me to visit her again.]
None of my
lord’s ring! why, he sent her none.
[None . . . her none: She supposedly said she
would have nothing to do with Orsino's ring. But he didn't send
her a ring.]
I am the
man: if it be so, as ’tis,
she were better love a dream.
[I am . . . dream: I'm the man she desires. If
that's true, she would be better off loving someone in a dream.]
see, thou art a wickedness,
pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is
it for the proper-false
waxen hearts to set their forms!
[Disguise . . . forms: I now realize that
wearing a disguise is wicked, for it preys on people who want to
believe what they see. How easy it is for deceitful men to stamp
their images on the innocent hearts of women.]
frailty is the cause, not we! [Alas! We women
are vulnerable because we are frail.]
For such as
we are made of, such we be. [We are what we are
this fadge [turn out]? My master
loves her dearly;
And I, poor
monster, fond as much on [of] him;
mistaken, seems to dote on me.
become of this? As I am man,
My state is
desperate for my master’s love;
[As I . . . love: I'm desperate for my
master's love, but I am disguised as a man.]
As I am
woman,—now alas the day!—
thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe!
[Because I am really a woman, the sighs poor
Olivia breathes for me are useless.]
O time! thou
must untangle this, not I;
It is too
hard a knot for me to untie. [Exit.
Act 2, Scene 3
A room in
TOBY BELCH and SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
TOBY: Approach, Sir Andrew: not to be a-bed after midnight
is to be up betimes; and diluculo surgere, thou
[Not to be . . . knowest: Not to be sleeping
in bed after midnight is the same as being up early. And as you
know, rising early makes a man healthy—]
ANDREW: Nay, by my troth, I know not; but I know, to be up
late is to be up late.
TOBY: A false conclusion: I hate it as an unfilled can. To
be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is early; so that to
go to bed after midnight is to go to bed betimes. Does not our
life consist of the four elements?
[A false . . . elements: That's a false
conclusion, which I hate as much as an unfilled wine cup. If
you're up after midnight, you're up at the beginning of a new day.
Therefore, if you go to bed after midnight, you're going to bed
early. Doesn't our life consist of the four elements—earth, air,
water, and fire?]
ANDREW: Faith, so they say; but, I think, it rather consists
of eating and drinking.
TOBY: Thou art a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.
Maria, I say! a stoup [cup] of
ANDREW: Here comes the fool, i’ faith.
How now, my hearts! Did you never see the picture of ‘we
TOBY: Welcome, ass. Now let’s have a catch [song for at least three voices].
ANDREW: By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast [voice]. I had rather than forty shillings I had
such a leg, and so sweet a breath to sing, as the fool has. In
sooth [in truth], thou wast in very gracious fooling
last night, when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the Vapians
passing the equinoctial of Queubus: ’twas very good, i’ faith. I
sent thee sixpence for thy leman [lady friend]: hadst it?
[Pigrogromitus . . . Queubus: Nonsense talk
brought on by drinking]
I did impeticos [put in my pocket] thy gratillity
[gratuity; tip]; for Malvolio’s
nose is no whipstock [whip handle]: my lady has a
white hand, and the Myrmidons are no bottleale houses.
In classical mythology, warriors led in battle in the Trojan War
by the Greek hero Achilles]
ANDREW: Excellent! Why, this is the best fooling, when all
is done. Now, a song.
[for Malvolio's nose . . .
houses: Feste is simply talking nonsense.]
TOBY: Come on; there is sixpence for you: let’s have a
ANDREW: There’s a testrill [sixpence coin] of me too: if
one knight give a—
Would you have a love-song, or a song of good life?
TOBY: A love-song, a love-song.
ANDREW: Ay, ay; I care not for good life.
O! mistress mine! where are you roaming?
ANDREW: Excellent good, i’ faith.
O! stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip [travel] no further,
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.
TOBY: Good, good.
What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
ANDREW: A mellifluous voice, as I am true
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.
TOBY: A contagious breath. [A smelly
ANDREW: Very sweet and contagious, i’ faith.
TOBY: To hear by the nose, it is dulcet in contagion. [If we could listen to his song with our
noses, we would say he sings sweetly with a smelly breath.] But shall we
make the welkin dance indeed? [Shall we send up
a song that will make the very sky dance?] Shall we rouse
the night-owl in a catch [song] that will draw
three souls out of one weaver? shall we do that? [Weavers liked to sing church music soulfully.
Sir Toby apparently is suggesting that they could sing with triple
the feeling of a weaver.]
ANDREW: An [if] you love me,
let’s do ’t: I am dog at a catch. [I am really good at singing.]
By ’r lady [by Our Lady], sir, and some
dogs will catch [howl]
ANDREW: Most certain. Let our catch be, "Thou knave."
“Hold thy peace, thou knave,” knight? I shall be constrain’d in ’t
to call thee knave, knight.
ANDREW: ’Tis not the first time I have constrained one to
call me knave. Begin, fool: it begins, “Hold thy
I shall never begin if I hold my peace [if I keep quiet].
ANDREW: Good, i’ faith. Come, begin. [They sing a
What a caterwauling do you keep here! If my lady have not called
up her steward Malvolio and bid him turn you out of doors, never
TOBY: My lady’s a Cataian; we are politicians; Malvolio’s a
Peg-a-Ramsey, and ‘Three merry men be we.’ Am not I
consanguineous? am I not of her blood? Tillyvally,
[My lady's . . . Tillvally, lady: Your lady
can go to the devil. (Literally, your lady can go to Cathay, a
name for China in the Middle Ages. A Cataian was a native or
resident of Cathay.) We're clever fellows, like politicians, so
don't fool with us. As for Malvolio, he's a just a nosy spy. And
we are three merry men. Am I not consanguineal (related by blood)
to Olivia? Get lost, lady! (Tillyvally
was an expression of contempt.)]
then sings: “There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady,
Beshrew me, the knight’s in admirable fooling. [Well, I'll be a son of a gun. The knight is
pretty good at fooling (jesting).]
ANDREW: Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed, and so do
I too: he does it with a better grace, but I do it more
TOBY: [Singing.] O! the twelfth day of
For the love o’ God, peace!
My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have you no wit,
manners, nor honesty, but to gabble [chatter; talk aimlessly and incoherently] like tinkers at
this time of night? Do ye make an alehouse of my lady’s house,
that ye squeak out your coziers’ catches [stupid cobblers' songs] without any
mitigation or remorse of voice [without lowering
your voices]? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor
time, in you?
TOBY: We did keep time, sir, in our catches. Sneck up! [Go
Sir Toby, I must be round [frank; firm] with you. My
lady bade me tell you, that, though she harbours you as her
kinsman, she’s nothing allied to your disorders. If you can
separate yourself and your misdemeanours, you are welcome to the
house; if not, an [if] it would please
you to take leave of her, she is very willing to bid you
TOBY: Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be
Nay, good Sir Toby.
His eyes do show his days are almost done.
Is ’t even so?
TOBY: [Sings.] But I will never die.
[Sings.] Sir Toby, there you lie.
This is much credit to you.
[Sings.] Shall I bid him go?
[Sings.] What an if you do? [What if you do?]
[Sings.] Shall I bid him go, and spare not [and be mean to him]?
[Sings.] O! no, no, no, no, you dare not.
TOBY: “Out o’ time” [You're not keeping
time with the music]! Sir, ye lie. [To Malvolio.] Art any more
than a steward? Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there
shall be no more cakes and ale?
[Art any . . . ale: You're only a servant. Do
you think that just because you're straitlaced, everyone else has
to act like you?]
Yes, by Saint Anne; and ginger [spice in ale] shall be hot i’
the mouth too.
TOBY: Thou ’rt in the right. Go, sir, rub your chain with
crumbs . A stoup [cup] of wine,
[rub . . . office: Malvolio, like many
stewards in Shakespeare's time, wears a chain around his neck to
indicate his office in the household. It was part of his livery,
or uniform. Crumbs
refers to a compound used to polish the chain.]
Mary, if you prized my lady’s favour at anything more than
contempt, you would not give means for this uncivil rule: she
shall know of it, by this hand. [Exit.
Go shake your ears. [Maria is calling him
ass, which has long ears.]
ANDREW: ’Twere as good a deed as to drink when a man’s
a-hungry, to challenge him the field, and then to break promise
with him and make a fool of him.
[to challenge . . . of him: To challenge
Malvolio to a duel, then to disappear on the day of the duel and
leave him standing alone in the field.]
TOBY: Do ’t, knight: I’ll write thee a challenge; or I’ll
deliver thy indignation to him by word of mouth.
Sweet Sir Toby, be patient for to-night: since the youth of the
count’s was to-day with my lady, she is much out of quiet [out of sorts; not herself]. For Monsieur
Malvolio, let me alone with him: if I do not gull him into a
nayword, and make him a common recreation, do not think I have wit
enough to lie straight in my bed. I know I can do it.
[If I do . . . recreation: If I cannot trick
him into becoming an object of ridicule, a laughingstock for the
TOBY: Possess us, possess us; tell us something of him. [You have our attention. Tell us something
Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of
ANDREW: O! if I thought that, I’d beat him like a
TOBY: What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason, dear
ANDREW: I have no exquisite reason for ’t, but I have reason
The devil a puritan that he is, or anything constantly but a
time-pleaser; an affectioned ass, that cons state without book,
and utters it by great swarths: the best persuaded of himself; so
crammed, as he thinks, with excellences, that it is his ground of
faith that all that look on him love him; and on that vice in him
will my revenge find notable cause to work.
[The devil . . . work: Malvolio isn't really
anything except someone who spends his time pleasing himself. He
is a vain ass who memorizes the rules of elegant behavior to
ingratiate himself with others. He flatters them with outpourings
of praise. He thinks that because of his behavior everyone who
looks at him loves him. Thus, I can get back at him by playing to
his weakness, his vanity.]
TOBY: What wilt thou do?
I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of love [love letters]; wherein, by the colour of his
beard, the shape of his leg, the manner of his gait, the
expressure [the look] of his eye,
forehead, and complexion, he shall find himself most feelingly
personated [described]. I can write
very like my lady your niece; on a forgotten matter we can hardly
make distinction of our hands.
[on a forgotten . . . hands: If we come across
a note that we forgot about, we can't tell the difference between
her handwriting and mine.]
TOBY: Excellent! I smell a device. [I smell a clever trick.]
ANDREW: I have ’t in my nose too.
TOBY: He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop,
that they come from my niece, and that she is in love with
My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour.
ANDREW: And your horse now would make him an
Ass, I doubt not.
ANDREW: O! ’twill be admirable.
Sport royal, I warrant you: I know my physic will work with him. I
will plant you two, and let the fool make a third, where he shall
find the letter: observe his construction of [reaction to] it. For this night, to bed, and
dream on the event. Farewell. [Exit.
Laxative; medicine that purges the bowels. Maria uses this word
figuratively, as if her scheme will purge Malvolio of his
TOBY: Good night, Penthesilea.
[Penthesilea: In classical mythology, queen of
the Amazons, a tribe of warrior women. Sir Toby is pleased that
Maria has “declared war” on Malvolio.]
ANDREW: Before me, she’s a good wench.
TOBY: She’s a beagle, true-bred, and one that adores me:
what o’ that? [She's a good hunting
dog, like a beagle, and just as devoted as a beagle to her
friends, including me.]
ANDREW: I was adored once too.
TOBY: Let’s to bed, knight. Thou hadst need send for more
ANDREW: If I cannot recover [win] your niece, I am a foul way out [I'm out of a lot of money].
TOBY: Send for money, knight: if thou hast her not i’ the
end, call me cut [castrated; gelded].
ANDREW: If I do not, never trust me, take it how you
TOBY: Come, come: I’ll go burn some sack [go drink some wine]; ’tis too late
to go to bed now. Come, knight; come, knight. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 2, Scene 4
A room in
the DUKE'S palace.
VIOLA, CURIO, and Others.
Give me some music. Now, good morrow [morning], friends:
Cesario, but [regarding] that piece of
That old and
antique song we heard last night;
did relieve my passion [did soothe me]
light [frivolous; trivial] airs and
recollected terms [discussions]
most brisk and giddy-paced times:
He is not here, so please your lordship, that should sing
Who was it?
Feste, the jester, my lord; a fool that the Lady Olivia’s father
took much delight in. He is about the house.
Seek him out, and play the tune the while. [Exit CURIO.
boy [Viola]: if ever thou shalt
In the sweet
pangs of it remember me;
For such as
I am all true lovers are:
Unstaid [unsettled] and skittish in all motions else [in all other thoughts]
Save [except] in the constant image of the
belov’d. How dost thou like this tune?
It gives a very echo to the seat
Thou dost speak masterly. [Masterly is an
adjective that is used here an adverb.]
My life upon
’t, young though thou art, thine eye
upon some favour that it loves;
Hath it not,
A little, by your favour.
[by your favour: There is dramatic irony here.
The duke is unaware that “by your favour” (which means “if you
please”) has a second meaning: the favor that Viola's eye has
focused on is the duke.]
What kind of woman is ’t?
Of your complexion.
She is not worth thee, then. What years, i’
About your years, my lord.
Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman take
than herself, so wears she to him,
So sways she
level in her husband’s heart:
[Let still . . . heart: But a woman should
marry a man older than herself, then adapt to his ways and thus
remain dear to him in his heart.]
however we do praise ourselves,
[desires and affections] are more giddy
longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn [done in],
I think it well, my lord.
Then, let thy love be younger than thyself,
affection cannot hold the bent [cannot maintain
itself; cannot remain strong];
are as roses, whose fair flower
display’d, doth fall that very hour.
And so they are: alas, that they are so;
To die, even
when they to perfection grow!
CURIO with FESTE.
O, fellow! come, the song we had last night.
Cesario; it is old and plain;
spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free
maids that weave their thread with bones,
Do use to
chant it: it is silly sooth [uncomplicated
with the innocence of love,
Like the old
age [like in olden times].
Are you ready, sir?
Ay; prithee, sing. [Music.
Come away, come away [come to me], death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
[And in . . . laid: And laid in a
grove of sad cypress trees.]
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew [adorned with sprigs of yew, a symbol of death],
O! prepare it.
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown [strewn];
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corse [corpse],
where my bones shall be thrown.
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
[Not a friend . . . save: Because
no one will greet my corpse, no one will sigh for me.]
Lay me, O! where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there.
There’s for thy pains [The duke offers
No pains, sir; I take pleasure in singing, sir.
I’ll pay thy pleasure then.
Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or
Give me now leave to leave thee.
Now, the melancholy god protect thee, and the tailor make thy
doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal! I
would have men of such constancy put to sea, that their business
might be everything and their intent everywhere; for that’s it
that always makes a good voyage of nothing.
[Now . . . nothing: May the god of melancholy
protect you. And may the tailor make your jacket of shiny taffeta
to match your shining mind. I would send men like you to sea to
spread your good qualities everywhere. You're the kind of man who
can make something good from nothing.]
Let all the rest give place [leave]. [Exeunt
CURIO and Attendants.
[Exeunt: The specified characters leave the
Get thee to
yond [yonder] same sovereign
Tell her, my
love, more noble than the world,
quantity of dirty lands;
that fortune hath bestow’d upon her,
Tell her, I
hold as giddily as fortune;
that miracle and queen of gems
pranks her in attracts my soul.
[Get thee . . . my soul: Go back to Olivia's
place. Tell her that I prize her above land and wealth and
whatever else fortune bestows on a person. What I want is her
But if she cannot love you, sir?
I cannot be so answer’d.
Sooth [in truth], but you must.
some lady, as perhaps, there is,
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?
There is no woman’s sides
Can bide the
beating of so strong a passion
As love doth
give my heart; no woman’s heart
So big, to
hold so much; they lack retention.
[This hyperbole, or exaggeration, says that
the duke's love for Olivia beats with such passion in his heart
that no woman other than Olivia could endure it. Her sides would
love may be call’d appetite,
No motion of
the liver, but the palate,
surfeit, cloyment, and revolt;
[Alas! . . . revolt: Alas, the love of another
woman would just be a kind of appetite: it would taste and consume
me, then become sick with overindulgence and spew me up.]
But mine is
all as hungry as the sea,
digest as much. Make no compare
love a woman can bear me
And that I
Ay, but I know,—
What dost thou know?
Too well what love women to men may owe:
they are as true of heart as we.
had a daughter lov’d a man,
As it might
be, perhaps, were I a woman,
[My father had a daughter who loved a man as a
I might love you if I were a woman.]
And what’s her history?
A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her
damask [silken] cheek: she pined in
And with a
green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like
Patience on a monument,
grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may
say more, swear more; but indeed
are more than will, for still we prove
Much in our
vows, but little in our love.
[but indeed . . . love: But we men are all
talk and small action. We vow that we will love someone, but we
don't do much to demonstrate our love.]
But died thy sister of her love, my boy?
I am all the daughters of my father’s house,
And all the
brothers too; and yet I know not,
Sir, shall I
[go] to this lady?
Ay, that’s the theme.
To her in
haste; give her this jewel; say
My love can
give no place, bide no denay. [Exeunt.
[My love . . . denay: My love remains strong
and cannot abide a denial.]
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 2, Scene 5
TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK, and FABIAN.
TOBY: Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.
FABIAN: Nay [No need to coax me], I’ll come: if
I lose a scruple of this sport, let me be boiled to death with
TOBY: Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly
rascally sheep-biter come by some notable
[sheep-biter: Sir Toby compares Malvolio to a
vicious dog that bites sheep.]
FABIAN: I would exult, man: you know he brought me out o’
favour with my lady about a bear-baiting here.
SIR TOBY: To anger him we’ll have the bear again; and we
will fool him black and blue; shall we not, Sir
[To anger . . . bear: To anger Malvolio, we'll
provoke him as if he were a bear].
An [if] we do not, it is pity of our
TOBY: Here comes the little villain.
How now, my
metal of India!
[metal of India: Probably a reference to gold.
India has long had great deposits of it. Here, Sir Toby is
complimenting Maria as being as good as gold.]
MARIA: Get ye all three into the box-tree [hedges]. Malvolio’s coming down this walk: he has
been yonder i’ the sun practising behaviour to his own shadow this
half-hour. Observe him, for the love of mockery; for I know this
letter will make a contemplative idiot of him. Close, in the name
of jesting! Lie thou there: [Throws down a letter.] for here
comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.
[for I know . . . jesting: I know this letter
will make him think how wonderful he is—and turn him into an idiot
for us to look upon. Hide, in the name of jesting!]
MALVOLIO: ’Tis but fortune; all is fortune. [Everything is a matter of luck.] Maria once told
me she did affect [told me Olivia liked] me; and I have
heard herself come thus near, that should she fancy [me], it should be one of my complexion [someone like me]. Besides, she
uses me with a more exalted respect than anyone else that follows
her. What should I think on ’t [of it]?
TOBY: Here’s an over-weening [proud] rogue!
FABIAN: O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of
him: how he jets under his advanced plumes!
[O, peace . . . plumes: Be quiet! When he
walks around thinking about himself, he looks like a male turkey
strutting under his plumage.]
ANDREW: ’Slight, I could so beat the rogue!
['Slight: By His
light—that is, by God's light.]
TOBY: Peace! [Quiet!] I
MALVOLIO: To be Count Malvolio!
TOBY: Ah, rogue!
ANDREW: Pistol him, pistol him. [Shoot him.]
TOBY: Peace! peace!
MALVOLIO: There is example for ’t: the lady of the Strachy
married the yeoman of the wardrobe.
[the lady . . . wardrobe: A noblewoman named
Lady Strachy married down to the servant in charge of her
Fie on him, Jezebel! [A curse on him. Has he
FABIAN: O, peace! now he’s deeply in; look how imagination
MALVOLIO: Having been three months married to her, sitting
in my state,—
[Having . . . state: How grand it would be
after three months of marriage to Olivia, lounging around like a
TOBY: O! for a stone-bow [crossbow that
shoots stones], to hit him in the eye!
MALVOLIO: Calling my officers about me, in my branched
velvet gown [gown embroidered with
representations of tree branches] come from a day-bed, where I have
left Olivia sleeping,—
TOBY: Fire and brimstone! [This guy is too much; that's the last straw]
FABIAN: O, peace! peace! [Quiet! Quiet!]
MALVOLIO: And then to have the humour of state: and after a
demure travel of regard, telling them I know my place, as I would
they should do theirs, to ask for my kinsman Toby,—
[And then . . . Toby: And then I'd put on the
airs of a great nobleman and, looking around the room, tell the
gathering of people that I know my place and that they should know
theirs. Asking for my kinsman Toby—]
TOBY: Bolts and shackles! [He's going too far! That's a slap in the
FABIAN: O, peace, peace, peace! now, now. [Oh, please be quiet.]
MALVOLIO: Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make
out for him. I frown the while; and perchance wind up my watch, or
play with my—some rich jewel. Toby approaches; curtsies there to
[Seven . . . to me: I'd send seven of my
servants to fetch Toby while I frown, wind up my watch, or play
with some jewel. When Toby approaches, he bows to me—]
TOBY: Shall this fellow live?
FABIAN: Though our silence be drawn from us with cars [horse-drawn carts], yet
MALVOLIO: I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my
familiar smile with an austere regard of control,—
TOBY: And does not Toby take you a blow on the lips
MALVOLIO: Saying, “Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me
on your niece give me this prerogative of speech,”—
TOBY: What, what?
“You must amend your drunkenness.”
TOBY: Out, scab!
FABIAN: Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our
MALVOLIO: “Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with
a foolish knight,”—
ANDREW: That’s me, I warrant you.
MALVOLIO: ‘One Sir Andrew,’—
ANDREW: I knew ’twas I; for many do call me
MALVOLIO: [Seeing the letter.] What employment have we
here? [Is that something to occupy my time?]
FABIAN: Now is the woodcock near the gin [snare; trap].
TOBY: O, peace! and the spirit of humours intimate reading
aloud to him!
[O . . . him: O, quiet. I hope some spirit
tells him to read the letter out loud!]
MALVOLIO: [Taking up the letter.] By my life, this is
my lady’s hand! these be her very C’s, her U’s, and her T’s; and thus
makes she her great P’s. It is, in
contempt of [it is without] question, her
ANDREW: Her C’s, her U’s, and her T’s: why
MALVOLIO: [Reads.] To the unknown beloved, this and my
good wishes: her very phrases! By your leave, wax. Soft! and the
impressure her Lucrece, with which she uses to seal: ’tis my lady.
To whom should this be?
[By our . . . this be: Look here—a wax seal.
Wait a minute—that's the Lucrece imprint she uses on the seal.
This is indeed my lady's, letter. To whom did she send it?]
[Lucrece: Legendary Roman woman of great
beauty. Just before the founding of the Roman republic in 509 BC,
Sextus Tarquinius—son of Lucius Tarquinius, the king of Rome—was
said to have raped Lucrece. So distraught was she that she stabbed
herself to death. Outraged citizens struck back at the Tarquinius
family, overthrowing the king and establishing the Roman
FABIAN: This wins him, liver and all.
No man must
[Jove: In classical
mythology, an alternate name for Jupiter, the Roman name for the
king of the gods. His Greek name was Zeus.]
must know.” What follows? the numbers altered! “No man must know:”
if this should be thee, Malvolio!
[the numbers altered: The meter of the poetry
changes so that the lines in the next part of the poem have more
TOBY: Marry, hang thee, brock [badger]!
command where I adore;
silence, like a Lucrece knife,
bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.
FABIAN: A fustian [elaborate]
TOBY: Excellent wench, say I.
MALVOLIO: “M, O, A, I, doth sway my
life.” Nay, but first, let me see, let me see, let me
FABIAN: What dish o’ poison has she dressed him! [What a trap she has set for him!]
TOBY: And with what wing the staniel checks at it! [Sir Toby compares Malvolio to a falcon
MALVOLIO: “I may command where I adore.” Why, she may
command me: I serve her; she is my lady. Why, this is evident to
any formal capacity [evident to just about
anyone]; there is no obstruction in this [There is nothing obscure in the message]. And the end,
what should that alphabetical position portend? if I could make
that resemble something in me,—Softly! [Go slowly.]—M, O, A, I,—
TOBY: O! ay, make up that: he is now at a cold scent. [Uh, oh. He's like a hunting dog that has lost
FABIAN: Sowter will cry upon ’t, for all this, though it be
as rank as a fox.
[Sowter . . . fox: Sowter (a dog's name) will
pick up the scent in a moment even though it stinks as much as a
MALVOLIO: M, Malvolio; M, why, that begins my name.
FABIAN: Did not I say he would work it out? the cur [dog] is excellent at faults [gaps in the scent].
MALVOLIO: M,—But then there
is no consonancy [consistency] in the sequel [in what follows]; that suffers
under probation [that leads nowhere
under testing]: A should follow,
but O does.
FABIAN: And O shall end, I
TOBY: Ay, or I’ll cudgel him, and make him cry,
MALVOLIO: And then I comes
FABIAN: Ay, an [if] you had any eye
behind you [if you could see behind you], you might see
more detraction [problems] at your heels
than fortunes before you.
MALVOLIO: M, O, A, I; this
simulation [puzzle] is not as the
former; and yet, to crush this a little [to tinker with it a little], it would bow
to me, for every one of these letters are in my name. Soft! [But wait!] here follows prose.
If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my
stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are
born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust
upon them. Thy Fates open their hands; let thy blood and spirit
embrace them; and to inure thyself to what thou art like to be,
cast thy humble slough, and appear fresh. Be opposite with a
kinsman, surly with servants; let thy tongue tang arguments of
state; put thyself into the trick of singularity. She thus advises
thee that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy yellow
stockings, and wished to see thee ever cross-gartered: I say,
remember. Go to, thou art made, if thou desirest to be so; if not,
let me see thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and not
worthy to touch Fortune’s fingers. Farewell. She that would alter
services with thee.
letter falls into your hands, ponder it. Though I have a higher
rank than you, you can rise higher than you are. Embrace a new
destiny the Fates have prepared for you. To begin your advance,
begin wearing new clothes. Be nasty with a kinsman and crude to
servants. Discuss politics. Be your own man. The woman who loves
you advises you to make these changes. Remember to wear
yellow stockings and garters that cross. So go ahead and renew
yourself if you wish to. If not, then remain a steward, the
equal of lowly servants, and not worthy of a better fortune.
Farewell. I am she who would serve you, the FORTUNATE-UNHAPPY.]
and champaigne discovers not more: this is open. [Daylight and champaign cannot make this
message any clearer, and I am open to doing what it says.]
I will be
proud, I will read politic authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I will
wash off gross acquaintance, I will be point-devise the very man.
[I will be proud and read books on politics. I
will be nasty to Sir Toby and avoid associating with common
people. I will be meticulous and precise in everything—the ideal
I do not
now fool myself, to let imagination jade me, for every reason
excites to this, that my lady loves me. She did commend my yellow
stockings of late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered; and
in this she manifests herself to my love, and, with a kind of
injunction drives me to these habits of her liking. [I do not deceive myself or let my imagination
run wild when I conclude from this letter that Lady Olivia loves
me. She was the one who recently praised my yellow stockings and
cross garters—a clue that she loves me and wants me to act how she
I thank my
stars I am happy. I will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings,
and cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting on.
[I will do everything she said—and do it in yellow stockings and
cross garters that I will put on right now.]
and my stars be praised! Here is yet a postscript.
Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If
thou entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling; thy
smiles become thee well; therefore in my presence still smile,
dear my sweet, I prithee.
I thank thee. I will smile: I will do everything that thou wilt
have me. [Exit.
FABIAN: I will not give my part of this sport for a pension
of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.
[I will not . . . Sophy: I wouldn't give up my
part in this scheme for a pension of thousands paid by the king of
TOBY: I could marry this wench [Maria] for this device.
ANDREW: So could I too.
TOBY: And ask no other dowry with her but such another
ANDREW: Nor I neither.
FABIAN: Here comes my noble gull-catcher [trickster].
TOBY: Wilt thou set thy foot o’ my neck? [Will you let me kiss your foot?]
ANDREW: Or o’ mine either? [And let me,
TOBY: Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip [gamble away my freedom at cards], and become thy
ANDREW: I’ faith, or I either? [And let me serve you
TOBY: Why, thou hast put him in such a dream, that when the
image of it leaves him he must run mad.
MARIA: Nay, but say true; does it work upon him? [Tell me truthfully, is it working on him?]
TOBY: Like aqua-vitae [a medicinal
preparation] with a midwife.
MARIA: If you will, then see the fruits of the sport, mark
his first approach before my lady; he will come to her in yellow
stockings, and ’tis a colour she abhors; and cross-gartered, a
fashion she detests; and he will smile upon her, which will now be
so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a melancholy
as she is, that it cannot but turn him into a notable contempt. If
you will see it, follow me.
TOBY: To the gates of Tartar [in classical mythology, part of Hades, or
hell], thou most excellent devil of
ANDREW: I’ll make one too. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 3, Scene 1
VIOLA, and FESTE with a tabor [drum].
[Viola is still disguised as Cesario.]
VIOLA: Save thee, friend, and thy music. Dost thou live by
thy tabor? [God preserve you, friend, and your
music. Do you earn your keep by playing your drum?]
FESTE: No, sir, I live by the church.
VIOLA: Art thou a churchman?
FESTE: No such matter, sir: I do live by [next to] the church; for I do live at my
house, and my house doth stand by the church.
VIOLA: So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar, if a
beggar dwell near him; or, the church stands by thy tabor, if thy
tabor stand by the church.
FESTE: You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence is
but a cheveril glove to a good wit: how quickly the wrong side may
be turned outward!
[To see . . . outward: What an age we live in!
A spoken or written sentence is like a soft goatskin glove to a
clever person, who can apply a different meaning to the words as
quickly as he or she could turn the glove inside out.]
VIOLA: Nay, that’s certain: they that dally nicely with
words may quickly make them wanton.
[they that . . . wanton: Those who know how to
play with words can quickly change them around or give them a new
FESTE: I would therefore my sister had had no name, sir. [That's why I wish my sister had no name,
VIOLA: Why, man?
FESTE: Why, sir, her name’s a word; and to dally with that
word might make my sister wanton [promiscuous;
uncontrollable]. But indeed, words are very rascals since
bonds [legal documents; contracts] disgraced
VIOLA: Thy reason, man?
FESTE: Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and
words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them.
[Troth . . . with them: Truly, sir, I can't
give you a reason without words. But words have grown so false
that I don't want to use them to make a point.]
VIOLA: I warrant thou art a merry fellow, and carest for
FESTE: Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my
conscience, sir, I do not care for you: if that be to care for
nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.
[Not so . . . invisible: Not so, sir. I do
care for something. But I don't care for you. If that means that I
care for nothing (as Viola said in line 15), then you are nothing.
You are invisible to me.]
VIOLA: Art not thou the Lady Olivia’s
FESTE: No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: she
will keep no fool, sir, till she be married; and fools are as like
husbands as pilchards are to herrings—the husband’s the bigger. I
am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter of words.
[pilchard: Fish that is smaller and rounder
than a herring]
VIOLA: I saw thee late [recently] at the Count
FESTE: Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb [the earth] like the sun; it shines every
where. I would be sorry, sir, but the fool should be as oft with
your master as with my mistress. I think I saw your wisdom there.
[Wisdom (Olivia) contrasts with foolery
VIOLA: Nay, an [if] thou pass upon
me [fence with me], I’ll no more
with thee. Hold, there’s sixpence for thee. [Gives a piece
FESTE: Now Jove, in his next commodity [distribution] of hair, send thee a
VIOLA: By my troth [truly], I’ll tell
thee, I am almost sick for one, though I would not have it grow on
my chin. Is thy lady within?
FESTE: [Pointing to the coin.] Would not a pair of these
have bred, sir? [Shouldn't a pair of
these breed another coin? In other words, Feste wants another
VIOLA: Yes, being kept together and put to use [put to use: earning interest].
FESTE: I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to bring
a Cressida to this Troilus.
[I would . . . Troilus: I would play a
matchmaker to bring these two coins together as lovers who breed a
child—that is, another coin. (In medieval stories about the
ancient Trojan War, between Troy and Greece, Pandarus arranges a
love affair between Troilus—the son of the king of Troy—and
Cressida, a Trojan woman. In Greek mythology, Pandarus was a
military leader allied with Troy.]
VIOLA: I understand you, sir; ’tis well begg’d. [I understand your allusion to the story of
Troilus and Cressida, sir. It was a good way to beg for another
FESTE: The matter, I hope, is not great, sir, begging but a
beggar: Cressida was a beggar. [After Cressida
was unfaithful to Troilus, says one medieval account, the gods
inflicted leprosy on her and she ended up a beggar.] My lady is
within, sir. I will conster to them whence you come [explain to them where you come from]; who you are
and what you would [what you want] are out of my
welkin [out of my sky, meaning out of my scope of
knowledge]; I might say "element," but the word is
VIOLA: This fellow’s wise enough to play the
And to do
that well craves a kind of wit:
observe their mood on whom he jests,
of persons, and the time,
the haggard, check at every feather
before his eye. This is a practice
As full of
labour as a wise man’s art;
that he wisely shows is fit;
men folly-fall’n, quite taint their wit.
[This fellow's . . . their wit: This fellow is
an accomplished jester. He performs well because he has the
intelligence to observe and react to the moods and qualities of
people he targets for comment. Like a hawk that examines every
feather of the bird it preys on, he must examine everything that
comes before his eye. He must work hard to make his jesting wise
and witty. But wise men who make fools of themselves quite taint
TOBY BELCH and SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
TOBY: Save you, gentleman. [God save you,
VIOLA: And you, sir.
ANDREW: Dieu vous garde, monsieur. [French: God keep you, sir.]
VIOLA: Et vous aussi; votre serviteur. [French: And you also; I am your servant.]
ANDREW: I hope, sir, you are; and I am
TOBY: Will you encounter [come into] the house? my
niece is desirous you should enter, if your trade be to
VIOLA: I am bound to [I have come to speak
with] your niece, sir: I mean, she is the list of [reason for] my voyage.
TOBY: Taste your legs, sir: put them to
VIOLA: My legs do better understand me, sir, than I
understand what you mean by bidding me taste my
TOBY: I mean, to go, sir, to enter.
VIOLA: I will answer you with gait and entrance. But we are
[I will . . . prevented: I would go in, but
here comes your lady.]
OLIVIA and MARIA.
excellent accomplished lady, the heavens rain odours on
ANDREW: That youth’s a rare courtier. ‘Rain odours!’ well.
[courtier: One who uses flattery to gain
VIOLA: My matter hath no voice, lady, but to your own most
pregnant and vouchsafed ear.
[My matter . . . ear: I will not speak with
anyone but you.]
ANDREW: “Odours,” “pregnant,” and “vouchsafed.” I’ll get ’em
all three all ready. [I'll put those words
in my vocabulary.]
OLIVIA: Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my
hearing. [Exeunt SIR TOBY, SIR ANDREW, and
[Exeunt: The specified characters leave the
your hand, sir.
VIOLA: My duty, madam, and most humble
OLIVIA: What is your name?
VIOLA: Cesario is your servant’s name, fair
OLIVIA: My servant, sir! 'Twas never merry
feigning was call’d compliment.
servant to the Count Orsino, youth.
[My servant . . . youth: My servant? The
world hasn't been the same since people began pretending that
flattery was a sincere compliment. You're not my servant. You're
VIOLA: And he is yours, and his must needs be
servant’s servant is your servant, madam.
[And he . . . madam: And he is your servant,
madam. Whatever is his is yours. Since I am his servant, I must
also be yours.]
OLIVIA: For him, I think not on him: for his
were blanks rather than fill’d with me!
VIOLA: Madam, I come to whet your gentle
OLIVIA: O! by your leave, I pray you,
I bade you
never speak again of him:
you undertake another suit,
rather hear you to solicit that
from the spheres.
[But . . . sphere: But if you were to speak
for someone else (meaning Cesario), I would listen more
attentively to you than I would to music from heaven. ]
VIOLA: Dear lady,—
Give me leave, beseech you. [Please let me
speak.] I did send,
last enchantment you did here,
A ring in
chase of you: so did I abuse
servant, and, I fear me, you:
[After . . . me, you: After you enchanted me
on your last visit here, I sent you a ring. But it was wrong of me
to try to deceive my servant and you about the ring.]
hard construction must I sit,
that on you, in a shameful cunning,
knew none of yours: what might you think?
[Under your gaze and judgment I must sit to
force that shameful information on you while I wonder what you
think of me?]
not set mine honour at the stake,
it with all th’ unmuzzled thoughts
tyrannous heart can think? To one of your
shown; a cypress, not a bosom,
heart. So, let me hear you speak.
[Have you not tied my honor to a stake, like
a bear, and baited it with dogs representing all the tyrranous
thoughts which Duke Orsino can think of? Well, I've said enough. I
wish I could hide my heart under a cypress tree instead of in my
bosom. Now I want to hear what you have to say.]
VIOLA: I pity you.
OLIVIA: That’s a degree to love. [That's one step toward love.]
VIOLA: No, not a grize; for ’tis a vulgar
oft we pity enemies.
[no . . . enemies: No, not a step. It's a
common feeling for anyone to pity enemies.]
OLIVIA: Why, then methinks ’tis time to smile
how apt the poor are to be proud.
should be a prey, how much the better
before the lion than the wolf! [Clock strikes.
[Why, then . . . wolf: Why, then, if you
don't love me, at least I can laugh at my misfortune. In this
world, how likely it is for a person who lacks something to
believe he can get it. Well, I'd rather lose to a lion than to a
upbraids me with the waste of time.
afraid, good youth, I will not have you:
when wit and youth is come to harvest,
[when wit . . . harvest: When you are fully
is like to reap a proper man:
your way, due west [toward the setting
VIOLA: Then westward-ho!
[westward-ho: Cry of Thames River boatmen
calling for passengers to Westminster.]
good disposition attend your ladyship!
nothing, madam, to my lord by me? [Do you have any message for the duke?]
tell me what thou think’st of me.
VIOLA: That you do think you are not what you
[That you . . . are: That you think you are
someone who you are not. (This sentence is an indirect way of
saying that Olivia doesn't think she is the kind of woman who
could love the duke.)]
OLIVIA: If I think so, I think the same of
VIOLA: Then think you right: I am not what I
OLIVIA: I would you were as I would have you
VIOLA: Would it be better, madam, than I
I wish it
might, for now I am your fool.
[Would it . . . fool: Would I be better than
I am now? I hope so, for now I feel like a fool.]
OLIVIA: O! what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
contempt and anger of his lip.
guilt shows not itself more soon
that would seem hid; love’s night is noon.
[O! what . . . noon: O! How beautiful he
looks when he is angry and contemptuous. A murderer can conceal
his guilt longer than someone like me can hide her love. What I
feel is as easy to see as the noon sun.]
the roses of the spring,
[virginity], honour, truth, and every
I love thee
so, that, maugre [in spite of] all thy
Nor [neither] wit nor reason can my passion
extort thy reasons from this clause,
For that I
woo, thou therefore hast no cause;
[Do not . . . cause: Don't think that you
have no reason to reveal your feelings for me just because I have
revealed my feelings for you.]
reason thus with reason fetter,
is good, but giv’n unsought is better.
[Instead, think that love sought is good
(like the love that Orsino seeks) but that love unsought (like the
love that Cesario might feel for Olivia) is better.
By innocence I swear, and by my youth,
I have one
heart, one bosom, and one truth,
And that no
woman has; nor never none
mistress be of it, save I alone.
[By innocence . . . alone: By my innocent
youth, I swear that no woman has ever won my love. Moreover, I
swear that no woman shall ever control my love. Only I control
adieu [French: good-bye], good madam: never more
Will I my
master’s tears to you deplore.
[never more . . . deplore: Will I tell you
about the tears my master cries for you.]
OLIVIA: Yet come again, for thou perhaps mayst
which now abhors, to like his love.
[Yet come . . . his love: But come again.
Perhaps you can persuade me to love Duke Orsino even though I now
reject his love.]
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 3, Scene 2
A room in
TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK, and FABIAN.
ANDREW: No, faith, I’ll not stay a jot
TOBY: Thy reason, dear venom; give thy
FABIAN: You must needs yield your reason, Sir
ANDREW: Marry, I saw your niece do more favours to the
count’s serving-man [Viola as Cesario] than ever she
bestowed upon me; I saw ’t i’ the orchard.
TOBY: Did she see thee the while, old boy? tell me
ANDREW: As plain as I see you now.
FABIAN: This was a great argument [demonstration] of love in her
ANDREW: ’Slight! will you make
an ass o’ me?
FABIAN: I will prove it legitimate, sir, upon the oaths of
judgment and reason.
TOBY: And they [judgment and reason] have been
grand-jurymen since before Noah was a sailor.
the Old Testament (Genesis 5:28 and 10:32), the patriarch who
constructed an ark to save himself and his family.]
FABIAN: She did show favour to the youth in your sight only
to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse [timid] valour, to put fire in your heart, and
brimstone in your liver. You should then have accosted [confronted] her, and with some excellent jests,
fire-new from the mint, you should have banged the youth into
dumbness. This was looked for at your hand, and this was balked:
the double gilt of this opportunity you let time wash off, and you
are now sailed into the north of my lady’s opinion; where you will
hang like an icicle on a Dutchman’s beard, unless you do redeem it
by some laudable attempt, either of valour or
[This was looked . . . policy: She was looking
for you to do these things, but you hesitated and passed up a
golden opportunity. Now you have sailed north of Lady Olivia's
favor and will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman's beard unless
you do something to redeem yourself.]
ANDREW: An ’t [if it] be any way, it
must be with valour, for policy I hate: I had as lief be a
Brownist as a politician.
[Brownist: Follower of Robert Browne
(1550-1633), a Puritan leader.]
TOBY: Why, then, build me thy fortunes upon the basis of
valour: challenge me the count’s youth to fight with him; hurt him
in eleven places: my niece shall take note of it; and assure
thyself, there is no love-broker in the world can more prevail in
man’s commendation with woman than report of
[Why, then . . . Why, then, entrust your
fortunes to valor. Challenge Cesario to a fight, and hurt him in
eleven places. Olivia take note of your achievement. There is no
better way to endear yourself to Olivia than to demonstrate your
FABIAN: There is no way but this, Sir
ANDREW: Will either of you bear me a challenge to
TOBY: Go, write it in a martial [warlike] hand; be curst and brief [use curses and be brief]; it is no
matter how witty, so it be eloquent [it doesn't matter how witty the challenge is
as long as it is eloquent], and full of invention: taunt him with
the licence of ink [with your words]: if thou
thou’st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss [use thou at least three times to insult him; he will
take notice] and [tell] as many lies as
will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough
for the bed of Ware in England, set ’em down: go, about it. Let
there be gall [outrage; bitterness] enough in thy
ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter: about it [now go about writing it].
[bed of Ware: Huge four-poster bed at the
White Hart Inn in the town of Ware, Hertfordshire, England. It
measured ten by eleven feet.]
ANDREW: Where shall I find you?
TOBY: We’ll call thee at the cubiculo [small room or bedroom]: go.
[Exit SIR ANDREW.
FABIAN: This is a dear manakin [puppet; dummy] to you, Sir
TOBY: I have been dear to him, lad, some two thousand
strong, or so. [I have been dear (meaning
expensive) to him in that I got a lot of money from him over
FABIAN: We shall have a rare letter from him; but you’ll not
deliver it [but are you really going to deliver
TOBY: Never trust me, then [never trust me
again if I don't deliver it]; and by all means stir on the youth to an answer [to answer it]. I think oxen
and wainropes cannot hale them together. For Andrew, if he
were opened, and you find so much blood in his liver as will clog
the foot of a flea, I’ll eat the rest of the anatomy.
[wainropes: Wain ropes, which are used to tie
down a load in a cart or wagon.]
[For Andrew . . . anatomy: Sir Toby is
implying that Andrew is a coward and therefore won't fight. It was
said that a coward had little blood in his liver.]
FABIAN: And his opposite, the youth, bears in his visage no
great presage [sign] of
TOBY: Look, where the youngest wren of nine comes. [Look, here comes our friend, Maria. Because
Maria is a small woman, Sir Toby compares her to the youngest wren
in a brood.]
MARIA: If you desire the spleen [if you want some fun], and will laugh
yourselves into stitches, follow me. Yond gull [person easily tricked] Malvolio is
turned heathen, a very renegado [renegade; one
who rejects Christianity]; for there is no Christian, that means to
be saved by believing rightly, can ever believe such impossible
passages of grossness [such passages that I
wrote in the letter he found]. He’s in yellow
TOBY: And cross-gartered?
MARIA: Most villanously; like a pedant [teacher] that keeps a school i’ the church.
I have dogged him like his murderer. [I have followed him closely, like a murderer
stalking a victim]. He does obey every point of the letter that
I dropped to betray him: he does smile his face into more lines
than are in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies. You
have not seen such a thing as ’tis; I can hardly forbear hurling
things at him. I know my lady will strike him: if she do, he’ll
smile and take ’t for a great favour.
TOBY: Come, bring us, bring us where he is. [Exeunt.
Act 3, Scene 3
SEBASTIAN and ANTONIO.
SEBASTIAN: I would not by my will have troubled
you make your pleasure of your pains,
[But . . . pains: But since you take pleasure
in helping me]
I will no
further chide you.
ANTONIO: I could not stay behind you: my
than filed steel, did spur me forth;
And not all
love to see you,—though so much
have drawn one to a longer voyage,—
jealousy what might befall your travel,
skilless in these parts; which to a stranger,
and unfriended, often prove
unhospitable: my willing love,
by these arguments of fear,
in your pursuit.
[And not all . . . pursuit: I followed not
only because I wanted to befriend you but also because I was
concerned about what my happen to you in these parts. To an
unguided and unfriended stranger, this place can be rough and
inhospitable. So it was both my friendship and my concern for your
safety that prompted me to follow you.]
SEBASTIAN: My kind Antonio,
I can no
other answer make but thanks,
and over thanks; for oft good turns
shuffled off with such uncurrent pay:
my worth, as is my conscience, firm,
find better dealing. What’s to do?
Shall we go
see the reliques of this town?
[I can no . . . town: Sebastian regrets that
all he can do is say thanks—referred to as "uncurrent pay" because
it is not currency, or money—for Antonio's support. But he would
pay him handsomely, he says, if his financial status were as solid
as his conscience. Then he suggests that they see the historical
sights of the town.]
ANTONIO: To-morrow, sir: best first go see your
SEBASTIAN: I am not weary, and ’tis long to
I pray you,
let us satisfy our eyes
memorials and the things of fame
renown this city.
ANTONIO: Would you’d pardon me;
I do not
without danger walk these streets:
Once, in a
sea-fight ’gainst the Count his galleys [the galleys of the count],
I did some
service; of such note indeed,
That were I
ta’en [captured] here it would scarce be
[it would . . . answer'd: I would not be
SEBASTIAN: Belike you slew great number of his people?
[Belike . . . people: Probably you killed many
of his people?]
ANTONIO: The offence is not of such a bloody
e quality of the time and quarrel
have given us bloody argument.
[Albeit . . . argument: But the nature of the
quarrel and the time it happened might well have resulted in a
have since been answer’d in repaying
took from them; which, for traffic’s sake,
Most of our
city did: only myself stood out;
if I be lapsed in this place,
I shall pay
[It might have . . . pay dear: The argument
may have been settled when most of our city paid back what we took
from them so that the shipping trade could continue. I was the
only one who did not take part in the settlement. Thus, if I'm not
careful, I shall have to pay dearly.]
SEBASTIAN: Do not then walk too open.
ANTONIO: It doth not fit me [It's wise for me not to]. Hold, sir;
here’s my purse.
south suburbs, at the Elephant,
Is best to
lodge: I will bespeak our diet [order food for
beguile [pass] the time and feed your
viewing of the town: there shall you have me [I'll be waiting for
you at the Elephant].
SEBASTIAN: Why I your purse?
ANTONIO: Haply [perhaps] your eye shall
light upon some toy
desire to purchase; and your store,
I think, is
not for idle markets, sir.
[your store . . . sir: Your store of money, I
think, is not large enough to buy anything except necessities.]
SEBASTIAN: I’ll be your purse-bearer and leave you for an
ANTONIO: To the Elephant.
SEBASTIAN: I do remember. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Both men leave the stage.]
Act 3, Scene 4
OLIVIA and MARIA.
OLIVIA: I have sent after him: he says he’ll
How shall I
feast him? what bestow of [on]
is bought more oft than begg’d or borrow’d.
I speak too
Malvolio? he is sad, and civil,
well for a servant with my fortunes:
[he is sad . . . fortunes: He is
serious-minded and civil and thus suits me well at a time when I
am in mourning.]
MARIA: He’s coming, madam; but in very strange manner. He is
sure possess’d, madam.
OLIVIA: Why, what’s the matter? does he
MARIA: No, madam; he does nothing but smile: your ladyship
were best to have some guard about you if he come, for sure the
man is tainted in ’s [in his]
OLIVIA: Go call him hither. [Exit
I am as mad
If sad and
merry madness equal be.
[If sad . . . be: If seriousness is equal to
his merry madness.]
MARIA, with MALVOLIO.
MALVOLIO: Sweet lady, ho, ho.
OLIVIA: Smil’st thou?
I sent for
thee upon a sad occasion.
[sad: Olivia uses the word to mean serious and
MALVOLIO: Sad, lady! I could be sad: this does make some
obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering; but what of that?
if it please the eye of one, it is with me as the very true sonnet
is, "Please one and please all."
[I could be . . . please all: I suppose I
could be sad, for my yellow garters obstruct the flow of my blood.
But so what? If what I am wearing pleases the eye of an onlooker,
I'm all for it.]
OLIVIA: Why, how dost thou, man? what is the matter with
MALVOLIO: Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs. [I'm not sad or depressed in my mind but
yellow in my legs.] It did come to his hands, and commands shall
be executed: I think we do know the sweet Roman hand.
[It did . . . hand: That letter of yours did
come to my hands, and what you suggested in it shall be carried
out. I recognized the handwriting in the letter as your own.]
OLIVIA: Wilt thou go to bed, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO: To bed! ay, sweetheart; and I’ll come to
OLIVIA: God comfort thee! Why dost thou smile so and kiss
thy hand so oft?
MARIA: How do you, Malvolio? [Are you well, Malvolio?]
MALVOLIO: At your request! Yes; nightingales answer
[At your . . . daws: You dare to request
information from me, a person who is far above you? Am I supposed
to answer to a common crow?]
MARIA: Why appear you with this ridiculous boldness before
MALVOLIO: "Be not afraid of greatness:" ’Twas well writ. [Malvolio quotes from the letter.]
OLIVIA: What meanest thou by that,
MALVOLIO: "Some are born great,"— [another quotation from the letter]
MALVOLIO: "Some achieve greatness,"— [another quotation from the letter]
OLIVIA: What sayst thou?
MALVOLIO: "And some have greatness thrust upon them." [another quotation from the letter]
OLIVIA: Heaven restore thee!
MALVOLIO: "Remember who commended thy yellow stockings,"— [another quotation from the letter]
OLIVIA: Thy yellow stockings!
MALVOLIO: "And wished to see thee cross-gartered." [another quotation from the letter]
MALVOLIO: "Go to, thou art made, if thou desirest to be
so,"— [another quotation from the letter]
OLIVIA: Am I made?
MALVOLIO: "If not, let me see thee a servant still." [another quotation from the letter]
OLIVIA: Why, this is very midsummer
Madam, the young gentleman of the Count Orsino’s is returned. I
could hardly entreat him back: he attends your ladyship’s
OLIVIA: I’ll come to him. [Exit Servant.] Good
Maria, let this fellow [Malvolio] be looked to.
Where’s my cousin Toby? Let some of my people have a special care
of him [Malvolio]: I would not have him miscarry [go mad] for the half of my dowry. [Exeunt
OLIVIA and MARIA. [Exeunt: The specified
characters leave the stage.]
MALVOLIO: Oh, ho! do you come near me now? no worse man than
Sir Toby to look to me! This concurs directly with the letter: she
sends him on purpose, that I may appear stubborn to him; for she
incites me to that in the letter. ‘Cast thy humble slough,’ says
she; ‘be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; let thy
tongue tang with arguments of state; put thyself into the trick of
singularity;’ and consequently sets down the manner how; as, a sad
face, a reverend carriage, a slow tongue, in the habit of some sir
of note, and so forth. I have limed her; but it is Jove’s doing, and
Jove make me thankful! And when she went away now, ‘Let this
fellow be looked to;’ fellow! not Malvolio, nor after my degree,
but fellow. Why, everything adheres together, that no dram of a
scruple, no scruple of a scruple, no obstacle, no incredulous or
unsafe circumstance—What can be said? Nothing that can be can come
between me and the full prospect of my hopes. Well, Jove, not I,
is the doer of this, and he is to be thanked.
[Oh . . . thanked: After hearing Olivia tell
Maria to summon Sir Toby, Malvolio thinks Olivia has begun to act
on what was outlined in the letter, saying, "she sends him on
purpose, that I may appear stubborn to him." Then he quotes from
other parts of the letter that tell him what to wear and how to
act. Malvolio now believes that he has snared Olivia for himself
with the help of Jove. Moreover, he interprets Olivia's reference
to him as "this fellow" as a sign that she regards him as a
companion. He concludes that nothing can come between him and
Olivia, not even a dram or a scruple. (A dram and a scruple are
tiny amounts of something.) He thanks Jove for his intervention.]
MARIA, with SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN.
TOBY: Which way is he, in the name of sanctity? If all the
devils in hell be drawn in little [be drawn into him], and Legion
himself possess’d him, yet I’ll speak to him.
[Legion: Allusion to Mark 5:9 of the New
Testament, in which the devil identifies himself as Legion,
because "we are many."]
FABIAN: Here he is, here he is. How is ’t with you, sir? how
is ’t with you, man?
MALVOLIO: Go off; I discard you: let me enjoy my private [privacy]; go off.
MARIA: Lo, how hollow the fiend speaks within him! did not I
tell you? Sir Toby, my lady prays you to have a care of
MALVOLIO: Ah, ha! does she so?
TOBY: Go to, go to: [help him, help him:] peace! peace!
we must deal gently with him; let me alone [don't interfere with what I am doing]. How do you,
Malvolio? how is ’t with you? What, man! defy the devil: consider,
he’s an enemy to mankind.
MALVOLIO: Do you know what you say?
MARIA: La you! [what a sight you are!] an [if] you speak ill of the devil, how he takes it
at heart [how he resents it]. Pray God, he
be not bewitched!
FABIAN: Carry his water [urine] to the
wise-woman [medicine woman; woman who uses
charms to effect a cure].
MARIA: Marry, and it shall be done to-morrow morning, if I
live. My lady would not lose him for more than I’ll
MALVOLIO: How now, mistress!
TOBY: Prithee, hold thy peace [please be quiet]; this is not
the way: do you not see you move [disturb] him? let me
alone with him.
FABIAN: No way but gentleness; gently, gently: the fiend is
rough, and will not be roughly used.
TOBY: Why, how now, my bawcock [good fellow]! how dost thou, chuck [chick, term of endearment spoken to give
comfort—perhaps to a baby]?
TOBY: Ay, Biddy, come with me.
What, man! ’tis not for gravity to play at cherry-pit with Satan:
hang him, foul collier!
[Ay, Biddy . . . collier: Come with me, my
little chick. Now, then, we can't play games with Satan, that
black devil. Hang him! (Cherry pit was a child's game in which
players tossed cherry pits into a hole.)]
MARIA: Get him to say his prayers, good Sir Toby, get him to
MALVOLIO: My prayers, minx [trollop;
MARIA: No, I warrant you, he will not hear of
MALVOLIO: Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shallow
things: I am not of your element. You shall know more
TOBY: Is ’t possible?
FABIAN: If this were played upon a stage now, I could
condemn it as an improbable fiction.
TOBY: His very genius hath taken the infection of the
[His very . . . man: His very soul is infected
with the trickery, man.]
MARIA: Nay, pursue him now, lest the device take air, and
taint [lest the trickery lose its hold on him].
FABIAN: Why, we shall make him mad indeed.
MARIA: The house will be the quieter.
TOBY: Come, we’ll have him in a dark
room, and bound [tied up]. My niece is already in the belief that he’s
mad: we may carry it [continue our prank] thus, for our
pleasure and his penance, till our very pastime, tired out of
breath, prompt us to have mercy on him; at which time we will
bring the device to the bar [to trial; to a
court of justice], and crown thee for a finder of madmen [and have you, Maria, testify as a finder of
madmen]. But see, but see.
FABIAN: More matter for a May morning. [Here's another man to amuse us on this May
ANDREW: Here’s the challenge; read it: I warrant there’s
vinegar and pepper in ’t.
FABIAN: Is ’t so saucy?
ANDREW: Ay, is ’t, I warrant him: do but
TOBY: Give [the letter to] me. [Reads.]
"Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow."
FABIAN: Good, and valiant.
TOBY: [Reads.] "Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind [nor be astonished], why I do call
thee so, for I will show thee no reason for ’t."
FABIAN: A good note, that keeps you
from the blow of the law.
[A good . . . law: That's a good way to word
the challenge. It won't get you into trouble with the law.]
TOBY: [Reads.] "Thou comest to the Lady Olivia, and in my
sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy throat; that is
not the matter I challenge thee for."
FABIAN: Very brief, and to exceeding good
TOBY: [Reads.] "I will waylay thee going home; where, if it
be thy chance to kill me,—"
[Reads.] "Thou killest me like a rogue and a villain."
FABIAN: Still you keep o’ the windy [right] side of the law: good.
TOBY: [Reads.] Fare thee well; and God have mercy upon one
of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine, but my hope is better;
and so look to thyself. Thy friend, as thou usest him [depending on how you treat him], and thy sworn
letter move him not, his legs cannot. I’ll give ’t
MARIA: You may have very fit occasion for ’t: he is now in
some commerce with my lady, and will by and by
[You may . . . depart: It so happens that he's
here now talking with my lady and will soon leave.]
TOBY: Go, Sir Andrew; scout me for him at the corner of the
orchard like a bum-baily: so soon as ever thou seest him, draw;
and, as thou drawest, swear horrible; for it comes to pass oft
that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged
off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would
have earned him. Away!
[Go, Sir . . . Away: Go out and stand watch
for him at the corner of the orchard like a sheriff's officer
ready to arrest a deadbeat. As soon as you see him, draw and then
swear horribly. Shouting a terrible curse at him can make you seem
really fearsome. Away!]
ANDREW: Nay, let me alone for swearing.
TOBY: Now will not I deliver his letter: for the behaviour
of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good capacity and
breeding; his employment between his lord and my niece confirms no
less: therefore this letter, being so excellently ignorant, will
breed no terror in the youth: he will find it comes from a
clodpole. But, sir, I will deliver his challenge by word of mouth;
set upon Aguecheek a notable report of valour; and drive the
gentleman,—as I know his youth will aptly receive it,—into a most
hideous opinion of his rage, skill, fury, and impetuosity. This
will so fright them both that they will kill one another by the
look, like cockatrices.
[Now will . . . cockatrices: I won't deliver
this letter, for the young gentleman seems intelligent and
well-bred. His behavior as a messenger confirms no less.
Consequently, this letter will have little effect on him. He will
discover that it comes from an idiot. However, I will deliver the
challenge by word of mouth and tell the youth that Aguecheek is a
man of valor. This report will send the young man—who, because of
his youth, will believe me—into a furious rage that will frighten
both of them. They will end up trying to kill each other with
terrifying gazes, like cockatrices. (In ancient mythology, a
cockatrice was a serpent that could kill merely by looking at its
FABIAN: Here he [Cesario/Viola] comes with your
niece: give them way till he take leave, and [then] presently [go] after him.
TOBY: I will meditate the while upon some horrid message for
a challenge. [Exeunt SIR TOBY, FABIAN, and MARIA.
[Exeunt: The specified characters leave the
OLIVIA, with VIOLA.
OLIVIA: I have said too much unto a heart of
mine honour too unchary [openly]
something in me that reproves my fault [that scolds me for loving you],
But such a
headstrong potent fault it is
That it but
mocks reproof [that I continue to love you].
VIOLA: With the same haviour that your passion
Goes on my
[With the . . . griefs: My master has
the same problem; he continues to love you.]
OLIVIA: Here; wear this jewel for me, ’tis my
not; it hath no tongue to vex you;
beseech you come again to-morrow.
you ask of me that I’ll deny,
sav’d may upon asking give?
[What do you want from me that I can give you
as long as it doesn't taint my honor?]
VIOLA: Nothing but this; your true love for my
OLIVIA: How with mine honour may I give him
have given to you?
VIOLA: I will acquit you. [You are free to
take back your love and give it the duke.]
OLIVIA: Well, come again to-morrow: fare thee
like thee might bear my soul to hell.
[A fiend . . . hell: A devil resembling you
could lead me to hell.]
SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN.
TOBY: Gentleman, God save thee.
VIOLA: And you, sir.
TOBY: That defence thou hast, betake thee to ’t: of what
nature the wrongs are thou hast done him, I know not; but thy
intercepter, full of despite, bloody as the hunter, attends thee
at the orchard-end. Dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation,
for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly.
[That defence . . . deadly: If you can wield
a sword, take one in hand. I don't know what wrongs you committed
against Sir Andrew, but he is waiting for you at the end of the
orchard. He is full of spite and ready to attack. Draw your sword
and prepare to defend yourself, for he is quick, skillful, and
VIOLA: You mistake, sir: I am sure no man hath any quarrel
to [with] me: my remembrance [memory] is very free and clear from any image of
offence done to any man.
TOBY: You’ll find it otherwise, I assure you: therefore, if
you hold your life at any price, betake you to your guard; for
your opposite [enemy] hath in
him what youth, strength, skill, and wrath, can furnish man
VIOLA: I pray you, sir, what is he?
TOBY: He is knight dubbed with unhatched rapier, and on
carpet consideration; but he is a devil in private brawl: souls
and bodies hath he divorced three, and his incensement at this
moment is so implacable that satisfaction can be none but by pangs
of death and sepulchre. Hob, nob, is his word: give ’t or take
[He is . . . take 't: He's a knight with a
sword never dented in battle. Although he earned his title by
kneeling on a carpet before the king instead of by distinguishing
himself in battle, he is a devil in private brawls. He has killed
three men. His anger is so great that he will not be satisfied
except by the death and burial of his foe. Be ready to hit or
miss, to give or take.]
VIOLA: I will return again into the house and desire some
conduct of the lady [and request a guard to
accompany me]: I am no fighter. I have heard of some kind
of men that put [start] quarrels
purposely on [with] others to taste
their valour; belike [probably] this is a man
of that quirk [ilk; kind].
TOBY: Sir, no; his indignation derives itself out of a very
competent injury [of an offense you
inflicted upon him]: therefore get you on and give him his desire
[therefore go out and face him]. Back you shall
not to the house, unless you undertake that with me which with as
much safety you might answer him: [don't try to take refuge in the house unless
you want to fight with me, and you will be no better off]; therefore, on,
or strip your sword stark naked; for meddle you must, that’s
certain, or forswear to wear iron about you [therefore, go out and fight him. Either do
that or take off your sword and be a coward].
VIOLA: This is as uncivil as strange. I beseech you, do me
this courteous office, as to know of the knight what my offence to
him is: it is something of my negligence, nothing of my
[This is . . . purpose: This is uncivilized
and bizarre. I beg you, do me the courtesy of asking the knight
how I offended him. It must be something I did accidentally
rather than on purpose.]
TOBY: I will do so. Signior Fabian, stay you by this
gentleman till my return. [Exit.
VIOLA: Pray you, sir, do you know of this
FABIAN: I know the knight is incensed against you, even to a
mortal arbitrement [even to mortal combat], but nothing of
the circumstance more.
VIOLA: I beseech you, what manner of man is
FABIAN: Nothing of that wonderful promise, to read him by
his form, as you are like to find him in the proof of his valour.
[He looks ordinary, but he is a fierce
fighter.] He is, indeed, sir, the most skilful, bloody,
and fatal opposite [enemy] that you could
possibly have found in any part of Illyria. Will you walk towards
him? I will make your peace with him if I can.
VIOLA: I shall be much bound to you for ’t: I am one that
had rather go with sir priest than sir knight [I'd rather pray than fight]; I care not who
knows so much of my mettle [I don't care whether
or not people think I'm brave]. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: All the characters leave the stage.]
SIR TOBY, with SIR ANDREW.
TOBY: Why, man, he’s a very devil; I have not seen such a
firago [fierce foe; beast]. I had a pass
with him, rapier, scabbard and all, and he gives me the stuck in
with such a mortal motion that it is inevitable; and on the
answer, he pays you as surely as your feet hit the ground they
step on. They say he has been fencer to the
[I had . . . Sophy: He and I had a go at it
with swords. When he fences, he thrusts so quickly and with such
deadly accuracy that the result is inevitable. No one stands a
chance against him. They say he has been a fencer for the king of
ANDREW: Pox on ’t, I’ll not meddle with
TOBY: Ay, but he will not now be pacified: Fabian can scarce
hold him yonder.
ANDREW: Plague on ’t; an [if] I thought he
had been valiant and so cunning in fence I’d have seen him damned
ere I’d have challenged him. Let him let the matter slip, and I’ll
give him my horse, grey Capilet.
TOBY: I’ll make the motion. Stand here; make a good show on
’t: this shall end without the perdition of souls [shall end peacefully].—[Aside.] Marry, I’ll ride your
horse as well as I ride you.
FABIAN and VIOLA.
FABIAN.] I have his horse to take up the quarrel [he gave me his horse to settle the quarrel]. I have
persuaded him the youth’s a devil.
FABIAN: He is as horribly conceited of him [the youth is just as frightened as Sir
Andrew]; and pants and looks pale, as if a bear were
at his heels.
TOBY: There’s no remedy, sir: he will fight with you for his
oath’s sake. Marry, he hath better
bethought him of his quarrel, and he finds that now scarce to be
worth talking of: therefore draw for the supportance of his vow:
he protests he will not hurt you.
[There's no . . . hurt you: There's no way out of this fight, sir. He
wants to go on with it so he won't violate the oath he made. However, he now realizes it was a bad idea to
challenge you to a duel. Nevertheless, you must draw against him.
He promises that he won't hurt you.]
VIOLA: [Aside.] Pray
God defend me! A little thing [the slightest
threat to my safety] would make me tell them how much I lack of a
FABIAN: Give ground, if you see him
TOBY: Come, Sir Andrew, there’s no remedy: the gentleman
will, for his honour’s sake, have one bout with you; he cannot by
the duello [by the rules of dueling] avoid it: but
he has promised me, as he is a gentleman and a soldier, he will
not hurt you. Come on; to ’t.
ANDREW: Pray God, he keep his oath!
VIOLA: I do assure you, ’tis against my will.
ANTONIO: Put up your sword. If this young
offence, I take the fault on me:
offend him, I for him defy you. [Drawing.
TOBY: You, sir! why, what are you?
ANTONIO: One, sir, that for his love dares yet do
have heard him brag to you he will.
TOBY: Nay, if you be an undertaker, I am for you.
FABIAN: O, good sir Toby, hold! here come the
TOBY: I’ll be with you anon [anon].
VIOLA: [To SIR ANDREW.] Pray, sir, put your sword up,
if you please.
ANDREW: Marry, will I, sir;
and, for that I promised you, I’ll be as good as my word. He will
bear you easily and reins well.
OFFICER: This is the man; do thy office.
OFFICER: Antonio, I arrest thee at the
ANTONIO: You do mistake me, sir.
OFFICER: No, sir, no jot: I know your favour [face] well,
you have no sea-cap on your head.
away: he knows I know him well.
ANTONIO: I must obey.—[To VIOLA.] This comes with
[this is a result of] seeking you:
[Antonio thinks Viola is Sebastian.]
no remedy: I shall answer it [I shall do
what's necessary to defend myself].
you do, now my necessity
Makes me to
ask you for my purse? It grieves me
for what I cannot do for you
befalls myself. You stand amaz’d:
But be of
OFFICER: Come, sir, away.
ANTONIO: I must entreat of you some of that
VIOLA: What money, sir?
fair kindness you have show’d me here,
being prompted by your present trouble,
Out of my
lean and low ability
you something: my having is not
division of my present with
is half my coffer.
[my having . . . my coffer: I don't have much
money, but I'll share it with you. There is half of what I have.]
ANTONIO: Will you deny [that you know] me
possible that my deserts to you
persuasion? Do not tempt my misery,
[Is 't possible . . . persuasion: Is it
possible that what I did for you means nothing to you?]
it make me so unsound a man
upbraid you with those kindnesses
That I have
done for you.
VIOLA: I know of none;
Nor know I
you by voice or any feature.
ingratitude more in a man
vainness, babbling drunkenness,
taint of vice whose strong corruption
our frail blood.
ANTONIO: O heavens themselves!
OFFICER: Come, sir: I pray you, go.
ANTONIO: Let me speak a little. This youth that you see
one-half out of the jaws of death,
him with such sanctity of love,
And to his
image, which methought did promise
venerable worth, did I devotion.
OFFICER: What’s that to us? The time goes by [we're wasting time]:
ANTONIO: But O! how vile an idol proves this
Sebastian, done good feature shame.
[But O! . .
. shame: But, oh, how vile is this young man who I previously
thought was honorable.]
there’s no blemish but the mind;
None can be
call’d deform’d but the unkind:
beauty, but the beauteous evil
trunks o’erflourish’d by the devil.
[In nature . . . devil: Outwardly you don't
have a single blemish, but inside you're foul and ugly. Your
unkindness deforms you. The devil must have made you appear
OFFICER: The man grows mad: away with him! Come, come,
ANTONIO: Lead me on. [Exeunt Officers with
[Exeunt: The specified characters leave the
VIOLA: Methinks his words do from such passion
believes himself; so do not I.
imagination, O, prove true,
dear brother, be now ta’en for you!
[Methinks . . . you: I think he spoke with
such passion that he really believed what he was saying. He was
mistaken. On the other hand, my imagination tells me that he might
have taken me for my brother. O, if only he were still alive.]
TOBY: Come hither [here], knight; come
hither, Fabian: we’ll whisper o’er a couplet or two of most sage
whisper . . . saws: We'll ponder the meaning of some wise
VIOLA: He nam’d [referred to me as] Sebastian: I my
in my glass; even such and so
In favour was my brother; and he went
this fashion, colour, ornament,
[I my brother . . . ornament: I see my brother
all the time when I look into a mirror, because that's how much we
resembled each other. Moreover, he always dressed in the same
colors and ornaments that I'm wearing now.]
For him I
imitate. O! if it prove,
are kind, and salt waves fresh in love!
[O! . . . O! I hope it's true that sea storms
can be kind and that the salty waves can demonstrate love.]
TOBY: A very dishonest paltry boy, and more a coward than a
hare. His dishonesty appears in leaving his friend here in
necessity, and denying him; and for his cowardship, ask
FABIAN: A coward, a most devout coward, religious in
ANDREW: ’Slid [by God's eyelid], I’ll after him
again and beat him.
TOBY: Do; cuff him soundly, but never draw thy
ANDREW: An [if] I do not,
[Count on me.]— [Exit.
FABIAN: Come, let’s see the event.
TOBY: I dare lay any money ’twill be nothing yet. [I'll bet
you any amount that nothing comes of it.]
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 4, Scene 1
adjoining Olivia’s house.
SEBASTIAN and FESTE.
FESTE: Will you make me believe that I am not sent for
SEBASTIAN: Go to, go to [get out of here]; thou art a
foolish fellow: Let me be clear of thee.
FESTE: Well held out, i’ faith! [You're pretending. Well, so will I.] No, I do
not know you; nor I am not sent to you by my lady to bid you come
speak with her; nor your name is not Master Cesario; nor this is
not my nose neither. Nothing that is so is so.
SEBASTIAN: I prithee, vent thy folly somewhere else [Please go somewhere else to practice your
foolery]: Thou know’st not me.
FESTE: Vent my folly! He has heard that word of some great
man, and now applies it to a fool. Vent my folly! I am afraid this
great lubber, the world, will prove a cockney [I'm afraid I'll have to pamper him like a
child]. I prithee now, ungird thy strangeness and
tell me what I shall vent [say] to my lady.
Shall I vent to her that thou art coming?
SEBASTIAN: I prithee, foolish Greek [numskull], depart from me:
money for thee: if you tarry longer
give worse payment.
FESTE: By my troth [truly], thou hast an
open hand. These wise men that give fools money get themselves a
good report after fourteen years’ purchase.
ANDREW: Now, sir, have I met you again? there’s for
you. [Striking SEBASTIAN.
SEBASTIAN: Why, there’s for thee, and there, and there, and
there! [Beating SIR ANDREW.
Are all the
TOBY and FABIAN.
TOBY: Hold, sir, or I’ll throw your dagger o’er the
This will I tell my lady straight. I would not be in some of your
coats for twopence. [Exit.
TOBY: [Holding SEBASTIAN.] Come on, sir:
ANDREW: Nay, let him alone; I’ll go another way to work with
him: I’ll have an action of battery against him [I'll sue him for battery] if there be any
law in Illyria. Though I struck him first, yet it’s no matter for
SEBASTIAN: Let go thy hand.
TOBY: Come, sir, I will not let you go. Come, my young
soldier, put up your iron: you are well fleshed; come
SEBASTIAN: I will be free from thee. [Disengaging
himself.] What wouldst thou now?
dar’st tempt me further, draw thy sword.
TOBY: What, what! Nay then, I must have an ounce or two of
this malapert [impudent; bold] blood from
OLIVIA: Hold [stop], Toby! on thy
life I charge thee, hold!
OLIVIA: Will it be ever thus? Ungracious [bad-mannered] wretch!
Fit for the
mountains and the barbarous caves,
manners ne’er were preach’d. Out of my sight!
offended, dear Cesario.
Rudesby [rude man], be gone! [Exeunt SIR TOBY,
ANDREW, and FABIAN.
[Exeunt: The specified characters leave the
fair wisdom, not thy passion, sway
uncivil and unjust extent [offense]
peace. Go with me to my house,
thou there how many fruitless pranks
ruffian hath botch’d up, that thou thereby
at this. Thou shalt not choose but go:
deny. Beshrew [curse] his soul for
one poor heart of mine in thee. [He startled that
heart of mine which is in you.]
SEBASTIAN: What relish is in this? how runs the
stream? [What are you saying? I don't
understand your stream of words?]
Or I am
mad, or else this is a dream:
still my sense in Lethe [River of Forgetfulness
in classical mythology] steep;
If it be
thus to dream, still let me sleep!
[Or I am . . . sleep: Am I mad? Or is this
beautiful woman a dream? If I am dreaming, let the dream continue
and let me forget about reality.]
OLIVIA: Nay; come, I prithee. Would thou’dst be rul’d by
me! [Come with me. Please do as I ask.]
SEBASTIAN: Madam, I will.
OLIVIA: O! say so, and so be! [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Olivia and Sebastian leave the
Act 4, Scene 2
A room in
and FESTE; MALVOLIO in a dark chamber adjoining.
MARIA: Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and this beard; make
him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate [Anglican priest]: do it quickly;
I’ll call Sir Toby the whilst. [Exit.
[Sir Topas: Comic protagonist in Geoffrey
Chaucer's Rime of Sir Topas.]
FESTE: Well, I’ll put it on and I will dissemble [disguise] myself in ’t: and I would I were
the first that ever dissembled in such a gown. I am not tall
enough to become the function well, nor lean enough to be thought
a good student; but to be said an honest man and a good
housekeeper goes as fairly as to say a careful man and a great
scholar. The competitors enter. [Here come my
co-conspirators against Malvolio.]
TOBY BELCH and MARIA.
TOBY: God bless thee, Master parson.
FESTE: Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for,
as the old hermit of Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very
wittily said to a niece of King Gorboduc, ‘That, that is, is;’ so
I, being Master parson, am Master parson; for, what is ‘that,’ but
‘that,’ and ‘is,’ but ‘is?’
[Bonos dies: Feste attempts to say "good day"
or "hello" in Latin. However, the ancient Romans usually used
"salve" for this greeting. Sometimes they used "bonum diem" to say
[old hermit of Prague: Possible reference to
Edmund Campion (1540-1581), an English Jesuit priest who taught
philosophy for six years in Prague.
[Gorboduc: A legendary king of Britain and the
subject of a play by Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, first
performed before England's Queen Elizabeth I in 1561.
[that, that is, is: That which is exists; that
which exists is. Feste, as usual, is just playing with words.]
TOBY: To him [speak to Malvolio], Sir
FESTE: [Disguising his voice.] What ho! I say. Peace in this
TOBY: The knave counterfeits well; a good
MALVOLIO: [Within] Who calls there?
FESTE: Sir Topas, the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to my
FESTE: Out, hyperbolical fiend! how vexest thou this man!
Talkest thou nothing but of ladies? [Feste pretends that Malvolio's voice is that
of the devil.]
TOBY: Well said, Master Parson.
MALVOLIO: [Within.] Sir Topas, never was man thus
wronged. Good Sir Topas, do not think I am mad: they have laid me
here in hideous darkness.
FESTE: Fie, thou dishonest Satan! I call thee by the most
modest terms; for I am one of those gentle ones that will use the
devil himself with courtesy. Sayst thou that house is
MALVOLIO: As hell, Sir Topas.
FESTE: Why, it hath bay-windows transparent as barricadoes [stone barricades], and the
clerestories [part of a church wall, below the
ceiling, containing windows to admit light], above toward
the south-north are as lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou
MALVOLIO: I am not mad, Sir Topas. I say to you, this house
FESTE: Madman, thou errest [err]: I say, there
is no darkness but ignorance, in which thou art more puzzled than
the Egyptians in their fog.
MALVOLIO: I say this house is as dark as ignorance, though
ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say, there was never man
thus abused. I am no more mad than you are: make the trial of it
in any constant question [test me by asking me
any question with an answer that is always constant—that is, that
FESTE: What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild
[Pythagoras: Ancient Greek philosopher and
mathematician who was said to believe in reincarnation]
MALVOLIO: That the soul of our grandam might haply [by chance] inhabit a bird.
FESTE: What thinkest thou of his opinion?
MALVOLIO: I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve his
FESTE: Fare thee well: remain thou still in darkness: thou
shalt hold the opinion of Pythagoras ere I will allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a
woodcock, lest thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee
[thou shalt . . . grandam: You must agree with
the opinion of Pythagoras before I will regard you as sane. In
addition, you must be fearful of killing a woodcock (small bird
with a long bill), lest you drive the soul of your grandam out of
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas! Sir Topas!
TOBY: My most exquisite Sir Topas! [What a great job you are doing, Sir Topas!]
FESTE: Nay, I am for all waters. [I can swim in any water. (Feste is bragging
that he can pull off any stunt.)]
MARIA: Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and
gown: he sees thee not.
TOBY: To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how thou
findest him: I would we were well rid of this knavery. If he may
be conveniently delivered, I would he were; for I am now so far in
offence with my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this
sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber. [Exeunt
SIR TOBY and MARIA.
[To him . . . chamber: Speak to him without
disguising your voice, and let me know what condition he is in. I
would like to end this prank. If you can find a way to release him
without causing us problems, do so. Right now, I'm in trouble with
Olivia, and I don't think it would be wise to continue with this
trick. Come to my chamber when you get a chance.]
Tell me how
thy lady does.
MALVOLIO: Fool! [It's the fool,
My lady is
[perdy: Alternate spelling of perdie, meaning
certainly or indeed.]
is she so?
MALVOLIO: Fool, I say!
MALVOLIO: Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my
hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink, and paper. As I am a
gentleman, I will live to be thankful to thee for
FESTE: Master Malvolio!
MALVOLIO: Ay, good fool.
FESTE: Alas, sir, how fell you beside your five wits? [What happened to make you so crazy?]
MALVOLIO: Fool, there was never man so notoriously abused: I
am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.
FESTE: But as well? then you are mad indeed, if you be no
better in your wits than a fool.
MALVOLIO: They have here propertied me; keep me in darkness,
send ministers to me, asses! and do all they can to face me out of
[They have . . . wits: They have confined me
here like unwanted property moved to a dark cellar. Then they sent
stupid ministers to exorcise me and did all they could to drive me
out of my wits.]
FESTE: Advise you what you say [be careful of what you say]: the minister
is here. Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the
heavens restore! endeavour thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas!
FESTE: Maintain no words with him, good fellow.— [Feste speaks as himself.] Who, I, sir?
not I, sir. God be wi’ you, good Sir Topas. [Feste speaks as Sir Topas.] Marry, amen. [Feste speaks as himself.]I will sir, I
MALVOLIO: Fool, fool, fool, I say!
FESTE: Alas, sir, be patient. What say you, sir? I am shent
[reprimanded] for speaking to
MALVOLIO: Good fool, help me to some light and some paper: I
tell thee I am as well in my wits as any man in
FESTE: Well-a-day, that you were, sir! [Goodness gracious, I wish you were, sir!]
MALVOLIO: By this hand, I am. Good fool, some ink, paper,
and light; and convey what I will set
down to my lady: it shall advantage [benefit] thee more than ever the bearing of
FESTE: I will help you to ’t. But tell me true, are you not
mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit [pretend]?
MALVOLIO: Believe me, I am not: I tell thee
FESTE: Nay, I’ll ne’er believe a madman till I see his
brains. I will fetch you light and paper and
MALVOLIO: Fool, I’ll requite it [reward you] in the highest degree: I prithee,
be gone [Please get the paper and ink].
I am gone,
And anon [soon], sir,
with you again
In a trice
Like to the
dagger of lath,
In his rage
and his wrath,
ha! to the devil:
Like a mad
[Vice: In medieval morality plays, a
character—often comic—representing a specific vice or vice in
general. Sometimes the character carried a wooden dagger which he
brandished at the devil and with which he threatened to cut the
fingernails of the devil. As a harasser of the devil, Vice would
be helping Malvolio, as the fifth and sixth lines of Feste's poem
Act 4, Scene 3
SEBASTIAN: This is the air; that is the glorious
she [Olivia] gave me, I do feel ’t and see
’tis wonder that enwraps me thus,
not madness. Where’s Antonio then?
I could not
find him at the Elephant;
he was, and there I found this credit [information],
That he did
range the town to seek me out.
[advice] now might do me golden
my soul disputes well [agrees] with my sense [reason]
may be some error, but no madness,
this accident [good luck] and flood of
exceed all instance, all discourse,
That I am
ready to distrust mine eyes,
with my reason that persuades me
other trust but that I am mad
[For though . . . am mad: For my instinct
agrees with my common sense that I am here in this dream world
because of some mistake, not because of madness. However, the good
luck and flood of fortune that came my way are so great and so
inexplicable that I am ready to distrust my eyes and my common
sense and conclude that I am indeed mad.]
Or else the
lady’s mad: yet, if ’twere so,
not sway [manage] her house,
command her followers [staff],
give back affairs and their dispatch [conduct business and make decisions]
With such a
smooth, discreet, and stable bearing
perceive she does. There’s something in ’t
deceivable. But here the lady comes.
[There's something . . . comes: There's
something strange going on, but here the lady comes.]
OLIVIA and a Priest.
OLIVIA: Blame not this haste of mine. If you mean
Now go with
me and with this holy man
chantry by [into his nearby chapel]; there, before
underneath that consecrated roof,
the full assurance of your faith; [swear that we are engaged to be married]
That [so that] my most jealous [uneasy; anxious] and too
May live at
peace. He shall conceal it
are willing it shall come to note,
we will our celebration keep
[He shall . . . keep: The priest will conceal
our vows to marry until you are ready to publicize when the
wedding celebration will take place.]
to my birth. What do you say?
SEBASTIAN: I’ll follow this good man, and go with
sworn truth, ever will be true.
OLIVIA: Then lead the way, good father; and heavens so
may fairly note this act of mine! [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage.]
Act 5, Scene 1
before Olivia's house.
FABIAN: Now, as thou lovest me, let me see his
FESTE: Good Master Fabian, grant me another
FESTE: Do not desire to see this letter.
FABIAN: This is, to give a dog, and, in recompense desire my
[This is . . . again: This is like giving me a
dog and then making me pay for it by giving the dog back.]
VIOLA, CURIO, and Attendants.
Belong you to the Lady Olivia, friends?
FESTE: Ay, sir; we are some of her
I know thee well: how dost thou, my good fellow?
FESTE: Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for
Just the contrary; the better for thy friends.
FESTE: No, sir, the worse.
How can that be?
FESTE: Marry, sir, they
praise me and make an ass of me; now my foes tell me plainly I am
an ass: so that by my foes, sir, I
the knowledge of myself, and by my friends I am abused: so that,
conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two
affirmatives, why then, the worse for my friends and the better
for my foes.
[they praise . . . for my foes: My friends
praise me insincerely, then make an ass of me. But my enemies tell
me the truth: that I am an ass. Therefore, I learn something about
myself when they criticize me. So I am the better for my enemies
than I am for my foes. The point is that the negative things that
my enemies say about me can turn out to be positives. So, as I
said, I am better for my enemies.]
Why, this is excellent.
FESTE: By my troth [truly], sir, no;
though it please you to be one of my friends.
Thou shalt not be the worse for me: there’s
FESTE: But that it would be double-dealing,
I would you
could make it another.
[If it weren't double-dealing (that is,
dishonesty or trickery), I wish you would give me another coin.]
O, you give me ill counsel [bad advice].
FESTE: Put your grace in your pocket, sir, for this once,
and let your flesh and blood obey it.
[Put your . . . obey it: Don't worry about
double-dealing, sir. Just this once, break the rules.]
Well, I will be so much a sinner to be a double-dealer: there’s
FESTE: Primo, secundo, tertio [First, second, third], is a good
play; and the old saying is, ‘the third pays for all:’ the
triplex, sir, is a good tripping [dancing] measure; or the
bells of Saint Bennet [Saint Benedict, a
church in London] sir, may put you in mind; one, two,
You can fool no more money out of me at this throw: if you will
let your lady know I am here to speak with her, and bring her
along with you, it may awake my bounty further [I may give you another coin].
FESTE: Marry, sir, lullaby
to your bounty till I come again. I go, sir; but I would not have
you to think that my desire of having is the sin of covetousness;
but as you say, sir, let your bounty take a nap, I will awake it
anon [soon]. [Exit.
VIOLA: Here comes the man, sir, that did rescue
ANTONIO and Officers.
That face of his I do remember well;
Yet when I
saw it last, it was besmear’d
As black as
Vulcan in the smoke of war.
[Vulcan: In ancient Roman mythology, the
[small] vessel was he
draught and hulk unprizable
[draught: Distance from the water line to the
bottom of the hull]
[hulk unprizable: Hull that is old and barely
such scathful grapple did he make
[With which . . . make: With which he put up
an admirable fight]
most noble bottom [best ship] of our
envy and the tongue of loss
and honour on him. What’s the matter?
[That very . . . him: That even though we
suffered losses, we envied him and shouted fame and honor upon
OFFICER: Orsino, this is that Antonio
the Phoenix [a ship] and her fraught
[cargo] from Candy;
[Candy: Kingdom of Candia, the official name
of Crete in Shakespeare's time]
And this is
he that did the Tiger [ship] board,
young nephew Titus lost his leg.
Here in the
streets, desperate of shame and state,
brabble [squabble; quarrel] did we
VIOLA: He did me kindness, sir, drew on my
conclusion put strange speech upon me:
I know not
what ’twas but distraction [confusion; mental or
Notable pirate! thou salt-water thief!
foolish boldness brought thee to their mercies [to the mercy of those]
in terms so bloody and so dear,
ANTONIO: Orsino, noble sir,
that I shake off these names you give me:
never yet was thief or pirate,
confess, on base and ground enough [on the available evidence],
enemy. A witchcraft drew me hither [here]:
ingrateful boy there by your side,
rude sea’s enrag’d and foamy mouth
redeem [rescue]; a wrack [wreck] past hope he was:
His life I
gave him, and did thereto add
without retention or restraint,
All his in
dedication; for his sake
expose myself, pure for his love,
danger of this adverse town;
defend him when he was beset:
apprehended [when I was arrested], his false
to partake with me in danger,
to face me out of his acquaintance
And grew a
twenty years removed thing
would wink, denied me mine own purse,
Which I had
recommended to his use
Not half an
[Taught . . . before: Made him pretend that he didn't know me. He
distanced himself from me in the wink of an eye and refused to
help me with money I gave him for his own use only a half-hour
before my arrest.]
VIOLA: How can this be?
When came he to this town?
ANTONIO: To-day, my lord; and for three months
not a minute’s vacancy,—
and night did we keep company.
OLIVIA and Attendants.
Here comes the countess: now heaven walks on
thee, fellow [Antonio]; fellow, thy
words are madness:
months this youth hath tended upon me;
But more of
that anon [soon]. Take him
OLIVIA: What would my lord, but that he may not
Olivia may seem serviceable?
[What would . . . serviceable: What do you
want, my lord—except for me—that I might provide you?]
you do not keep promise with me. [Cesario, you
failed to keep your promise to me. (Olivia thinks Cesario is
OLIVIA: What do you say, Cesario? Good my lord,—
[Good my lord: In response to the duke's
greeting ("Gracious Olivia"), Olivia asks the duke not to
VIOLA: My lord would speak; my duty hushes
[My lord . . . me: Duke Orsino wishes to
speak. My duty to him requires me to be silent.]
OLIVIA: If it be aught to the old tune, my
It is as
fat and fulsome to mine ear
[If it be . . . music: If you are going to try
to woo me again, my lord, you would be singing the same tune that
I've heard over and over. This tune is offensive to my ear, like
Still so cruel?
OLIVIA: Still so constant, lord.
What, to perverseness? you uncivil lady,
ingrate and unauspicious altars
My soul the
faithfull’st offerings hath breath’d out
devotion tender’d! What shall I do?
[What, to . . . shall I do: You are being
stubborn and uncivil. I have paid faithful homage to you.]
OLIVIA: Even what it please my lord, that shall become him.
[Do what you please within the bounds of good
Why should I not, had I the heart to do it,
Like to the
Egyptian thief at point of death,
Kill what I
love? a savage jealousy
sometimes savours nobly. But hear me this:
[Egyptian thief: An allusion to Thyamis, a
character in Aethiopica, by the ancient Greek writer Heliodorus.
Thyamis, a robber, fell in love with an Ethiopian princess. When
other robbers pursued him, he placed Chariclea in a dark cave
where he kept treasure. The other robbers attacked. Believing he
was about to die, Thyamis entered the cave to kill Chariclea so
that no one else could have her. In the darkness, he killed the
[a savage . . . nobly: Sometimes people regard
savage jealousy as a noble trait.]
to non-regardance cast my faith,
And that I
partly know the instrument
me from my true place in your favour,
the marble-breasted tyrant still;
your minion, whom I know you love,
by heaven I swear, I tender dearly,
Him will I
tear out of that cruel eye,
sits crowned in his master’s spite.
[Since you . . . spite: Since you ignore me
and since I know you love Cesario, I am going to take him from you
so that you will have to continue living as a cold-hearted tyrant.
I will tear him free of your cruel eye, where his image sits to
with me; my thoughts are ripe in mischief;
sacrifice the lamb that I do love,
To spite a
raven’s heart within a dove. [Going.
[I'll sacrifice . . . dove: I'll sacrifice
this boy to spite you, Olivia.]
VIOLA: And I, most jocund, apt, and
To do you
rest, a thousand deaths would die.
[And I . . . die: And I would happily and
willingly die a thousand deaths if you could be at peace, master.]
OLIVIA: Where goes Cesario? [Where are you going, Cesario?]
VIOLA: After him I love
More than I
love these eyes, more than my life,
all mores, than e’er I shall love wife.
If I do
feign, you witnesses above [If I pretend,
you witnesses in heaven]
life for tainting of my love!
OLIVIA: Ah me, detested! how am I
VIOLA: Who does beguile you? who does do you
OLIVIA: Hast thou forgot thyself? Is it so long? [Olivia thinks Viola/Cesario is Sebastian.]
the holy father. [Exit an Attendant.
[To VIOLA.] Come away.
OLIVIA: Whither [where], my lord?
Cesario, husband, stay.
OLIVIA: Ay, husband: can he that deny?
Her husband, sirrah?
my lord, not I.
Alas! it is the baseness of thy fear
thee strangle thy propriety.
[it is . . . propriety: You're afraid to
ackowledge who you are.]
Cesario; take thy fortunes up;
thou know’st thou art, and then thou art
As great as
that thou fear’st.
[Fear not . . . fear'st: Don't be afraid,
Cesario. Be who you really are and then you will be as formidable
as the one you fear.]
charge thee, by thy reverence,
unfold,—though lately we intended
To keep in
darkness what occasion now
before ’tis ripe,—what thou dost know
pass’d between this youth and me.
[Father, I ask you now to reveal what we
previously said we would keep secret. Tell everyone what recently
took place between this youth and me.]
Priest. A contract of eternal bond of love [a contract to marry],
by mutual joinder of your hands,
the holy close of lips,
Strengthen’d by interchangement of your rings;
And all the
ceremony of this compact
my function, by my testimony:
my watch hath told me, toward my grave
travell’d but two hours.
[and all the . . . hours: And by the
ceremony which I conducted to seal this contract. It took place
just two hours ago.]
O, thou dissembling [deceitful] cub! what wilt
thou be [what other trickery will you work]
hath sow’d a grizzle on thy case? [when time has grayed the hair on your skin]
Or will not
else thy craft so quickly grow
own trip shall be thine overthrow?
[Or will your trickery trip you up and bring
about your downfall?]
and take her; but direct thy feet
and I henceforth may never meet.
VIOLA: My lord, I do protest,—
OLIVIA: O! do not swear:
faith, though thou hast too much fear. [Hold onto a little virtue even though you
have a lot to fear.]
ANDREW AGUECHEEK, with his head broken.
ANDREW: For the love of God, a surgeon! send one presently
to Sir Toby.
OLIVIA: What’s the matter?
ANDREW: He has broke my head across, and has given Sir Toby
a bloody coxcomb too. For the
love of God, your help! I had rather than forty pound I were at
which is the red, fleshy outgrowth on the top of a rooster's head.
Sir Andrew is saying that Sir Toby suffered a wound on the top of
his head. Cockscomb can
also refer to the hat worn by a jester (fool), which is designed
to resemble the cockscomb of a rooster.]
OLIVIA: Who has done this, Sir Andrew?
ANDREW: The count’s gentleman, one Cesario: we took him for
a coward, but he’s the very devil incardinate [incarnate].
My gentleman, Cesario?
ANDREW: Od’s lifelings [by God's little creatures]!
here he is. You broke my head for nothing! and that that I did [and that which I did], I was set on
to do ’t by Sir Toby.
VIOLA: Why do you speak to me? I never hurt
your sword upon me without cause;
bespake you fair, and hurt you not.
ANDREW: If a bloody coxcomb be a hurt, you
have hurt me: I think you set nothing by a bloody coxcomb.
TOBY BELCH, drunk, led by the Clown.
Sir Toby halting [limping]; you shall hear
more: but if he had not been in drink [not been drunk] he would have
tickled you othergates than he did [he would have tickled you otherwise with his
How now, gentleman! how is ’t with you?
TOBY: That’s all one: he has hurt me, and there’s the end on
’t. Sot, didst see Dick surgeon, sot?
[That's all . . . sot: What matters is that he
hurt me, and there's an end to it. Drunkard, did you see the
FESTE: O! he’s [the surgeon is] drunk, Sir
Toby, an hour agone: his eyes were set at eight i’ the
[O! he's . . . morning: Oh, he's been drunk
for the last hour. His eyes set like the sun at eight this
TOBY: Then he’s a rogue, and a passy-measures pavin. I hate
a drunken rogue.
[passy-measures pavin: Sir Toby is comparing
the surgeon to a pavan, a dance with slow, dainty movements.]
OLIVIA: Away with him! Who hath made this havoc with
ANDREW: I’ll help you, Sir Toby, because we’ll be dressed [bandaged] together.
TOBY: Will you help? an ass-head and a coxcomb and a knave, a
thin-faced knave, a gull [victim of foul play]!
OLIVIA: Get him to bed, and let his hurt be look’d to.
[Exeunt Clown, FABIAN, SIR TOBY, and SIR ANDREW.
[Exeunt: The specified characters leave the
SEBASTIAN: I am sorry, madam, I have hurt your
But, had it
been the brother of my blood,
I must have
done no less with wit and safety.
You throw a
strange regard upon me, and by that
perceive it hath offended you:
sweet one, even for the vows
each other but so late ago.
One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons;
perspective, that is, and is not!
SEBASTIAN: Antonio! O my dear Antonio!
the hours rack’d and tortur’d me
have lost thee!
ANTONIO: Sebastian are you?
SEBASTIAN: Fear’st thou that, Antonio?
ANTONIO: How have you made division of
cleft in two is not more twin
two creatures. Which is Sebastian?
OLIVIA: Most wonderful!
SEBASTIAN: Do I stand there? I never had a
there be that deity in my nature,
Of here and
every where. I had a sister,
[Nor can . . . where: Nor do I have the
godlike power of being in more than one place at the same time.]
blind waves and surges have devour’d.
what kin are you to me?
[Of charity . . . me: Be kind enough to tell
me what relation you are to me.]
countryman? what name? what parentage
VIOLA: Of Messaline: Sebastian was my
Sebastian was my brother too,
So went he
suited [dressed as he is now] to his watery
can assume both form and suit
You come to
[If spirits . . . fright us: If spirits can
assume human form and wear the clothes of my brother, you must be
the spirit of my brother here to frighten us.]
SEBASTIAN: A spirit I am indeed;
But am in
that dimension grossly clad [am in the same
the womb I did participate [appear in].
[A spirit . . . participate: I am indeed a
spirit—that is, a soul—but I am in the same body that I appeared
in on the day I was born.]
Were you a
woman, as the rest goes even,
I should my
tears let fall upon your cheek,
"Thrice welcome, drowned Viola!"
VIOLA: My father had a mole upon his brow.
SEBASTIAN: And so had mine.
VIOLA: And died that day when Viola from her
number’d thirteen years.
SEBASTIAN: O! that record is lively in my
indeed his mortal act [his life]
that made my sister thirteen years.
VIOLA: If nothing lets to make us happy
But this my
masculine usurp’d attire,
embrace me till each circumstance
time, fortune, do cohere and jump
That I am
Viola: which to confirm,
you to a captain in this town,
Where [in whose home] lie my maiden
weeds [my woman's clothes]: by whose
preserv’d to serve this noble count.
occurrence of my fortune since
between this lady and this lord.
SEBASTIAN: [To OLIVIA.] So comes it, lady, you have
been mistook [mistaken]:
to her bias drew in that.
have been contracted to a maid;
[But . . . maid: But nature biased you toward
someone resembling me. When you loved Cesario, you loved me. If
the engagement ceremony had taken place, you would have been
contracted to a woman.]
Nor are you
therein, by my life, deceiv’d,
betroth’d both to a maid and man.
[Nor are . . . man: But you haven't been
entirely wrong, for I am a virgin like my sister. In that sense,
you love a maid.]
Be not amaz’d; right noble is his blood. [Don't be surprised, either, that he is of
If this be
so, as yet the glass seems true,
have share in this most happy wrack.
VIOLA.] Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand
shouldst love woman like to me.
[If this . . . me: There's no doubt that all
of this is true, for you both resemble each other so closely. And
I shall have share in these developments. Boy, you have told me a
thousand times that you would never love a woman the way you love
VIOLA: And all those sayings will I over-swear [will I swear again],
those swearings keep as true in soul
that orbed continent the fire [as does the sun
keep the fire]
day from night.
Give me thy hand;
And let me
see thee in thy woman’s weeds [clothes].
VIOLA: The captain that did bring me
first on shore
maid’s garments: he upon some action
Is now in
durance at Malvolio’s suit [is now detained at
and follower of my lady’s.
OLIVIA: He shall enlarge [provide
information on] him. Fetch Malvolio hither [here].
alas, now I remember me [now I remind myself
poor gentleman, he’s much distract [disturbed mentally].
extracting frenzy of mine own
remembrance clearly banish’d his.
[A most . . . his: I have been so preoccupied
that I forgot about his problem.]
Clown with a letter, and FABIAN.
FESTE: Truly, madam, he holds Belzebub [Beelzebub (pronounced be EL zuh bub), another
name for Satan] at the stave’s end [at arm's length] as well as a
man in his case may do. He has here writ a letter to you: I should
have given it to you to-day morning; but as a madman’s epistles
are no gospels, so it skills not much when [it makes no difference what time of day] they are
OLIVIA: Open it, and read it.
FESTE: Look then to be well edified, when the fool delivers
the madman. [Look to be well educated when a
fool like me reads the letter of a madman.] By the Lord,
OLIVIA: How now! art thou mad?
FESTE: No, madam, I do but read madness [but read what mad Malvolio says]: an [if] your ladyship will have it as it ought to be,
you must allow vox [you must allow me to
read it in a madman's voice].
OLIVIA: Prithee, read i’ thy right wits [Please read it in your right voice].
FESTE: So I do, madonna [my lady]; but to read
his right wits is to read thus: therefore perpend [pay attention], my princess,
and give ear.
OLIVIA: [To FABIAN.] Read it you,
FABIAN: By the Lord, madam, you wrong me, and the world
shall know it: though you have put me into darkness, and given
your drunken cousin rule over me, yet have I the benefit of my
senses as well as your ladyship. I have your own letter that
induced me to the semblance [behavior] I put on; with
the which I doubt not but to do myself much right, or you much
shame. Think of me as you please. I leave my duty a little
unthought of, and speak out of my injury.
[with the which . . . injury: with the letter,
I don't doubt that I can prove myself right and you wrong. Think
of me as you please. I am not going to do my duties for a while
but instead will concentrate on speaking out about the wrong done
OLIVIA: Did he write this?
FESTE: Ay, madam.
This savours not much of distraction. [It doesn't sound much like a letter from a
OLIVIA: See him deliver’d, Fabian; bring him hither.
My lord, so
please you, these things further thought on,
To think me
as well a sister as a wife,
shall crown the alliance on ’t, so please you,
Here at my
house and at my proper cost.
[My lord . . . cost: My lord, if it pleases
you, I have thought things over and would like you to think of me
as a sister-in-law rather than a wife. In a single day, we shall
have the weddings of you to Viola and me to Sebastian here at my
house and at my cost.]
Madam, I am most apt to embrace your offer.
VIOLA.] Your master quits you [relieves you of your duties]; and, for your
service done him,
against the mettle of your sex, [so difficult for
a woman to carry out]
beneath your soft and tender breeding;
you call’d me master for so long,
Here is my
hand: you shall from this time be
master’s mistress [wife].
OLIVIA: A sister! you are she.
FABIAN, with MALVOLIO.
Is this the madman?
OLIVIA: Ay, my lord, this same.
MALVOLIO: Madam, you have done me wrong,
OLIVIA: Have I, Malvolio? no. [I have done you wrong? That's not true.]
MALVOLIO: Lady, you have. Pray you peruse that
not now deny it is your hand:
it, if you can, in hand or phrase,
[Write from . . . phrase: Write down words
from it and you will see that your handwriting is the same as that
in the letter.]
Or say ’tis
not your seal nor your invention [not the seal you
invented to stamp on the wax]:
You can say
none of this [you can't deny that you wrote the
letter]. Well, grant [admit] it then,
me, in the modesty of honour,
have given me such clear lights of favour [why you praised me],
come smiling and cross-garter’d to you,
To put on
yellow stockings, and to frown
Toby and the lighter people [servants];
this in an obedient hope,
you suffer’d me to be imprison’d,
Kept in a
dark house, visited by the priest,
the most notorious geck and gull
invention play’d on? tell me
[And, acting . . . me why: And, after I
followed your instructions obediently, why did you imprison me in
a dark room and have a priest visit me? I was made the most
laughable fool that was ever a victim of trickery. Tell me why.]
OLIVIA: Alas! Malvolio, this is not my
confess, much like the character;
But, out of
question, ’tis Maria’s hand:
And now I
do bethink me, it was she
me thou wast mad; then [you] cam’st in
And in such
forms which here were presuppos’d
in the letter. Prithee, be content:
[And in . . . content: And wearing such
clothes as those described in the letter. Please be content.]
practice [trick] hath most
shrewdly pass’d upon thee;
But when we
know the grounds and authors of it,
be both the plaintiff and the judge
FABIAN: Good madam, hear me speak,
And let no
quarrel nor no brawl to come
condition of this present hour,
[And let . . . hour: Let no quarrel or brawl
spoil the goodwill of this moment.]
have wonder’d at. In hope it shall not,
I confess, myself and Toby
device against [played this trick on] Malvolio
stubborn and uncourteous parts
conceiv’d against him. Maria writ
at Sir Toby’s great importance;
In recompense whereof he hath married
[Upon some . . . married her: We did it to get
back at him for his haughty and discourteous manner toward us.
Maria wrote the letter at Sir Toby's request. As recompense for
her, he married her.]
How with a
sportful malice it was follow’d,
pluck on laughter than revenge,
If that the
injuries be justly weigh’d
on both sides past.
[How with . . . past: The merry mischief with
which we carried out the trick ought to make you laugh rather than
desire to punish us. After all, the offenses suffered by us
and by Malvolio seem to balance out.]
OLIVIA: Alas, poor fool [referring to
Malvolio], how have they baffled
FESTE: Why, "some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them." I was one [a participant], sir, in this
interlude; one Sir Topas, sir; but that’s all one [but that doesn't matter]. "By the Lord,
fool, I am not mad": But do
you remember? "Madam, why laugh you at such a barren rascal? an
you smile not, he’s gagged:’ and thus the whirligig of time brings
in his revenges.
[Why, "some . . . revenges: In this passage,
Feste quotes from the letter words that Malvolio repeated in front
of the hidden tricksters. Feste also quotes words that Malvolio
spoke as the plot against him was unfolding. Finally, Feste says
that time eventually sees that a person who acts offensively gets
what's coming to him.]
MALVOLIO: I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you.
OLIVIA: He hath been most notoriously
Pursue him, and entreat him to a peace;—
He hath not
told us of the captain yet: [see lines 253-257
for the previous reference to the captain]
is known and golden time convents [and the time is convenient],
combination shall be made
Of our dear
souls. Meantime, sweet sister,
[A solemn . . . souls: A wedding ceremony
shall be held to unite our dear souls.]
We will not
part from hence. Cesario, come;
For so you
shall be [called], while you are
[in the clothes of] a
But when in
other habits [a woman's clothes] you are seen [you will be regarded as],
mistress, and his fancy’s queen. [Exeunt all except
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the stage except
FESTE: When that I was and a little tiny boy [When I was a little boy],
ho, the wind and the rain;
thing was but a toy [a foolish thing was
just a toy],
rain it raineth every day.
But when I
came to man’s estate [But when I arrived at
ho, the wind and the rain;
knaves and thieves men shut their gates [men locked their doors against knaves and
rain it raineth every day.
But when I
came, alas! to wive [to marry],
ho, the wind and the rain;
swaggering could I never thrive [by showing off I
could never thrive],
rain it raineth every day.
But when I
came unto my beds [But when I came unto
my resting place]
ho, the wind and the rain;
toss-pots still had drunken heads, [With drunkards as my bedfellows]
rain it raineth every day.
while ago the world begun,
ho, the wind and the rain;
all one [but that doesn't matter], our play is
strive to please you every day.