Complete Annotated Text
The 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.
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 male.
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
Sebastian: Twin brother
of Viola who also survives the shipwreck, although Viola thinks he
Valentine, Curio: Gentlemen attending
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 impress her.
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
handmaiden and author of a letter that ensnares Malvolio in a
prank that pokes fun at his haughty demeanor.
Antonio: Sea captain and
friend of Sebastian.
Another Sea Captain:
Friend of Viola.
Minor Characters: Lords,
priests, sailors, officers, musicians, attendants.
Complete Annotated Text
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
Act 1, Scene 4: A room in the duke's
Act 1, Scene 5: A room in Olivia's
Act 2, Scene 1: The seacoast.
Act 2, Scene 2: A street.
Act 2, Scene 3: A room in Olivia's
Act 2, Scene 4: A room in the duke's
Act 2, Scene 5: Olivia's garden.
Act 3, Scene 1: Olivia's garden.
Act 3, Scene 2: A room in Olivia's
Act 3, Scene 3: A street.
Act 3, Scene 4: Olivia's garden.
Act 4, Scene 1: The street adjoining
Act 4, Scene 2: A room in Olivia's
Act 4, Scene 3: Olivia's garden.
Act 5, Scene 1: The street before
Act 1, Scene 1
A room in the duke's
Enter DUKE, CURIO, lords; musicians attending.
DUKE: If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting [filling up with it],
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain [melody; tune]
again! it had a dying fall [sorrowful
O! it came o’er [over] my
ear like the sweet sound [of
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and 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,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls 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,
That it alone is high fantastical.
[Even . . . fantastical: In only
a minute, we are enthralled by its fantastic powers.]
CURIO: Will you go hunt, my lord?
DUKE: What, Curio?
CURIO: The hart [male
DUKE: Why, so I do, the noblest that I have.
O! when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purg’d the air of pestilence.
That instant was I turn’d into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E’er since pursue me.
How now! what news from her?
Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted [I was not admitted to her presence];
But from her handmaid do return this answer:
The element itself, till seven years’ heat,
Shall not 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,
And water once a day her chamber round
With eve-offending brine: all this, to season
A brother’s dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting 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.]
DUKE: O! she that hath a heart of that fine
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
Hath kill’d 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 romantic love]
That live in her; when liver, brain, and heart,
These sovereign thrones [organs],
are all supplied, and fill’d
Her sweet perfections with one self king.
[and fill'd . . . king: And
filled with love for one king to rule her sweet perfections]
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;
Love-thoughts 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
Act 1, Scene 2
Enter VIOLA, Captain, and Sailors.
VIOLA: What country, friends, is this?
CAPTAIN: This is Illyria, lady.
[Illyria: Region separated from
the eastern shore of Italy by the Adriatic Sea.]
VIOLA: And what should I do in Illyria?
My brother he is in Elysium [My
dead brother is in paradise].
Perchance he is not drown’d: what think you sailors?
CAPTAIN: It is perchance [by
chance; luck] that you yourself were sav’d.
VIOLA: O my poor brother! and so perchance may he
CAPTAIN: True, madam: and, to comfort you with
Assure 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,
Most provident in peril, bind himself,—
Courage and hope both teaching him the practice,—
To a strong mast that liv’d upon the sea;
Where, like Arion on the dolphin’s back,
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I could see.
[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.]
VIOLA: For saying so there’s gold.
Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
Whereto thy 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?.]
CAPTAIN: Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and
Not three hours’ travel from this very place.
VIOLA: Who governs here?
CAPTAIN: A noble duke, in nature as in name.
VIOLA: What is his name?
VIOLA: Orsino! I have heard my father name him:
He was a bachelor then.
CAPTAIN: And so is now, or was so very late [or was the last time I heard about
For but a month ago I went from hence,
And then ’twas fresh in murmur,—as, you know,
What great 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
That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
VIOLA: What’s she?
CAPTAIN: A virtuous maid, the daughter of a
That died some twelvemonth since; then leaving her
In the protection of his son, her brother,
Who shortly also died: for whose dear love,
They say she hath abjur’d [renounced]
And sight of men.
VIOLA: O! that I serv’d that lady,
And might not be deliver’d to the world,
Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
What my estate is.
[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.]
CAPTAIN: That were hard to compass,
Because she will admit no kind of suit,
No, not the duke’s.
[That were . . . duke's: That
would be hard to do, since she will admit no one into her
company—not even the duke.]
VIOLA: There is a fair behaviour in thee,
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this 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
I prithee,—and I’ll pay thee bountously,—
Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke:
Thou shalt 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
That will allow me very worth his service [that will make me very valuable to
What else may hap to time I will commit;
Only shape 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 am.]
CAPTAIN: Be you his eunuch, and your mute I’ll
When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.
VIOLA: I thank thee: lead me on. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everone leaves the
Act 1, Scene 3
A room in Olivia's house.
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA.
SIR 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.]
MARIA: 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.
SIR 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.]
MARIA: Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest
limits of order.
SIR 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
MARIA: 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
SIR TOBY: Who? Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
MARIA: Ay, he.
SIR TOBY: He’s as tall a man as any’s in Illyria.
MARIA: What’s that to the purpose? [What's that have to do with what I
am talking about?]
SIR TOBY: Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.
[ducat: Gold or silver coin once
used in Europe]
MARIA: 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.
SIR 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 nature.
MARIA: 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.
SIR TOBY: By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors
[detractors] that say so
of him. Who are they?
MARIA: They that add, moreover, he’s drunk nightly in your
SIR 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.]
Enter SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
SIR ANDREW: Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby
SIR TOBY: Sweet Sir Andrew!
SIR ANDREW: Bless you, fair shrew.
MARIA: And you too, sir.
SIR TOBY: Accost [introduce
yourself; confront her], Sir Andrew, accost.
SIR ANDREW: What’s that?
SIR TOBY: My niece’s chambermaid.
SIR ANDREW: Good Mistress Accost, I desire better
MARIA: My name is Mary, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Good Mistress Mary Accost,—
SIR TOBY: You mistake, knight: "accost" is, front her, board
her, woo her, assail her.
SIR ANDREW: By my troth [truly],
I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of
MARIA: Fare you well, gentlemen.
SIR TOBY: An [if] thou let her part so, Sir Andrew, would
thou mightst never draw sword again!
SIR ANDREW: An [if] you part so, mistress, I would I might
never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have fools in
MARIA: Sir, I have not you by the hand.
SIR ANDREW: Marry [by the Virgin Mary], but you
shall have; and here’s my hand.
MARIA: 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.
SIR ANDREW: Wherefore [why],
sweetheart? what’s your metaphor?
MARIA: It’s dry, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Why, I think so: I am not such an ass but I can
keep my hand dry. But what’s your jest?
MARIA: A dry jest, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Are you full of them?
MARIA: Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers’ ends: marry,
now I let go your hand, I am barren.
SIR TOBY: O knight! thou lackest a cup of canary [a white wine]: when did I see
thee so put down?
SIR 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.
SIR TOBY: No question.
SIR ANDREW: An [if]
I thought that, I’d forswear it.
I’ll ride home to-morrow, Sir Toby.
SIR TOBY: Pourquoi [French
for why], my
SIR 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 arts!
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.]
SIR TOBY: Then hadst thou had an excellent head of
SIR ANDREW: Why, would that have mended my hair?
SIR TOBY: Past question; for thou seest it will not curl by
SIR ANDREW: But it becomes me well enough, does it
SIR 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.
SIR 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.
SIR 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.]
SIR 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
SIR TOBY: Art thou good at these kickchawses,
[kickchawses: Kickshaws, a term
for tidbits, trinkets, or delicacies. Here, Sir Toby uses it to
mean “those dainty things.”]
SIR 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
SIR TOBY: What is thy excellence in a galliard [lively dance],
SIR ANDREW: Faith, I can cut a caper.
SIR TOBY: And I can cut the mutton to ’t.
SIR ANDREW: And I think I have the back-trick [I can dance backward] simply
as strong as any man in Illyria.
SIR TOBY: Wherefore [why]
are these things hid? Wherefore [why]have
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
SIR ANDREW: Ay, ’tis strong, and it does indifferent well in
a flame-coloured stock. Shall we set about some
SIR 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]?
SIR ANDREW: Taurus! that’s sides and heart. [In astrology in Shakespeare's day,
Taurus was thought to govern the sides and the heart.]
SIR TOBY: No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee
caper. Ha! higher: ha, ha! excellent! [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the
Act 1, Scene 4
A room in the Duke's
Enter VALENTINE, and VIOLA in man’s attire.
VALENTINE: 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
VIOLA: 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?
VALENTINE: No, believe me.
VIOLA: I thank you. Here comes the count.
Enter DUKE, CURIO, and Attendants.
DUKE: Who saw Cesario? ho!
VIOLA: On your attendance, my lord; here.
DUKE: Stand you awhile aloof [stand aside a moment, all of you].
Thou know’st no less but all; I have unclasp’d
To thee the book even of my secret soul:
Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto
Be not denied access, stand at her doors,
And tell them, there thy fixed foot shall grow
Till thou have audience.
[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
VIOLA: 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.
DUKE: Be clamorous and leap all civil
Rather than 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
VIOLA: Say I do speak with her, my lord, what
DUKE: O! then unfold the passion of my
Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith:
It shall become thee well to act [act
out; describe; make vivid] my woes;
She will 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.]
VIOLA: I think not so, my lord.
DUKE: Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years
That say 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
For this affair. Some four or five attend him;
All, if you will; for I myself am best
When least in company. Prosper well in this,
And thou shalt live as freely as thy lord,
To call his fortunes thine.
[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.]
VIOLA: I’ll do my best
To woo your lady: [Aside.] yet, a barful strife [difficult task]!
Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife. [Exeunt.
direction indicating that a character is speaking only to
himself or, in some instances, to himself and a nearby character
or nearby characters.]
[Whoe'er . . . wife: If I could
choose whom to woo, I would choose the duke himself.]
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the
Act 1, Scene 5
A room in Olivia's house.
Enter MARIA and FESTE, Clown.
[Clown: Jester; fool.]
MARIA: 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.]
FESTE: 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.]
MARIA: Make that good [explain
FESTE: He shall see none to fear.
MARIA: A good lenten answer [that's a flimsy answer]: I can tell thee where
that saying was born, of, “I fear no colours.”
FESTE: Where, good Mistress Mary?
MARIA: 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
FESTE: 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 have.]
MARIA: Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent; or,
to be turned away [fired],
is not that as good as a hanging to you?
FESTE: 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 weather.]
MARIA: You are resolute then? [So you're not worried about being late?]
FESTE: Not so, neither; but I am resolved on two
MARIA: That if one break, the other will hold; or, if both
break, your gaskins fall.
[That if one garter (or
suspender) breaks the other will hold. But if both break, your
stockings (or trousers) will fall.]
FESTE: 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 in Illyria.
[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
MARIA: Peace, you rogue, no more o’ that. Here comes my
lady: make your excuse wisely, you were best.
FESTE: 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,
Enter OLIVIA with MALVOLIO.
God bless thee, lady!
OLIVIA: Take the fool away.
FESTE: Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the
OLIVIA: Go to, you’re a dry fool; I’ll no more of you:
besides, you grow dishonest.
FESTE: 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
[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 dies.]
OLIVIA: Sir, I bade them take away you.
FESTE: 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
[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.]
OLIVIA: Can you do it?
FESTE: Dexteriously [with
dexterity; cleverly], good madonna.
OLIVIA: Make your proof.
FESTE: I must catechise you for it, madonna: good my mouse
of virtue, answer me.
[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.]
OLIVIA: Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I’ll bide
your proof. [Well, I have
nothing better to do. Proceed.]
FESTE: Good madonna, why mournest thou?
OLIVIA: Good fool, for my brother’s death.
FESTE: I think his soul is in hell,
OLIVIA: I know his soul is in heaven,
FESTE: 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.]
OLIVIA: What think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he not
mend [doesn't his funny talk
make things more cheerful around here]?
MALVOLIO: Yes; and shall do, till the pangs of death shake
him: infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make the better
[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 first-class fools.]
FESTE: 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
OLIVIA: How say you to that, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO: I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a
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’ zanies.
[I protest . . . zanies: I think
these so-called wise men who laugh at fools like him are no
better than fools themselves.]
OLIVIA: O! 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
[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
[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.]
FESTE: Now, Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou
speakest well of fools!
[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.]
MARIA: Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman much
desires to speak with you.
OLIVIA: From the Count Orsino, is it?
MARIA: I know not, madam: ’tis a fair young man, and well
OLIVIA: Who of my people hold him in
MARIA: Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.
OLIVIA: Fetch 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
FESTE: 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 gray matter.]
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH.
OLIVIA: By mine honour, half drunk. What is he at the gate,
SIR TOBY: A gentleman.
OLIVIA: A gentleman! what gentleman?
SIR 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.]
FESTE: Good Sir Toby.
OLIVIA: Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this
lethargy [senseless behavior;
[Cousin: This term was used for
uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and other relatives.]
SIR TOBY: Lechery!
[Apparently used in jest to rhyme with lethargy in line 58.] I defy lechery!
There’s one [someone] at
FESTE: Ay, marry, what is
SIR 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.]
OLIVIA: What’s a drunken man like, fool?
FESTE: 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
OLIVIA: 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
FESTE: He is but mad yet, madonna; and the fool shall look
to the madman. [Exit.
MALVOLIO: 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
OLIVIA: Tell him he shall not speak with
MALVOLIO: Has 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 with you.
OLIVIA: What kind o’man is he?
MALVOLIO: Why, of mankind.
OLIVIA: What manner of man?
MALVOLIO: Of very ill manner: he’ll speak with you, will you
OLIVIA: Of what personage and years is he?
MALVOLIO: 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
OLIVIA: Let him approach. Call in my
MALVOLIO: Gentlewoman, my lady calls.
OLIVIA: Give me my veil: come, throw it o’er my
We’ll once more hear Orsino’s embassy [messenger; ambassador].
Enter VIOLA and Attendants.
VIOLA: The honourable lady of the house, which is
OLIVIA: Speak to me; I shall answer for her. Your will [message]?
VIOLA: 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
OLIVIA: Whence came you, sir?
VIOLA: 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.
OLIVIA: Are you a comedian [Are
you an actor in stage comedies]?
VIOLA: 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 house?
OLIVIA: 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.]
VIOLA: 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.]
OLIVIA: Come to what is important in ’t: I forgive you the
[Come . . . praise: Get to the
important part and forget about the praise.]
VIOLA: Alas! I took great pains to study [memorize] it, and ’tis
OLIVIA: It 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.]
MARIA: Will you hoist sail [will
you leave], sir? here lies your way.
VIOLA: No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little longer.
Some mollification for your giant, sweet
[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.]
OLIVIA: Tell me your mind.
VIOLA: I am a messenger.
OLIVIA: 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.]
VIOLA: 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.]
OLIVIA: Yet you began rudely. What are you? what would you?
[what do you want?]
VIOLA: 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.]
OLIVIA: Give us the place alone: we will hear this divinity
[Exit MARIA and Attendants.]
Now, sir; what is your text?
VIOLA: Most sweet lady,—
OLIVIA: A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it.
Where lies your text?
[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.]
VIOLA: In Orsino’s bosom.
OLIVIA: In his bosom! In what chapter of his
VIOLA: 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
OLIVIA: O! I have read it: it is heresy. Have you no more to
[O! . . . to say: Oh, I know what
he has in mind, and I'm not interested. Is there anything more?]
VIOLA: Good madam, let me see your face.
OLIVIA: 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?]
VIOLA: Excellently done, if God did all.
[if God . . . all: If it appears
as God created it and not as cosmetics enhanced it]
OLIVIA: ’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.]
VIOLA: ’Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on:
Lady, you are the cruell’st she alive,
If you will lead these graces to the grave
And leave 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.]
OLIVIA: 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.
Were you sent hither to praise me?
VIOLA: I see you what you are: you are too
But, if you were the devil, you are fair [you would still be beautiful].
My lord and master loves you: O! such love
Could be but recompens’d, though you were
The nonpareil of beauty [as a
beauty without equal].
OLIVIA: How does he love me?
VIOLA: With adorations, with fertile
With groans that thunder love, with sighs of
OLIVIA: Your lord does know my mind; I cannot love
Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
In voices well divulg’d, free, learn’d, and
And, in dimension and the shape of nature.
A gracious person; but yet I cannot love him:
He might have took his answer long ago.
VIOLA: If I did love you in my master’s
[If I . . . flame: If I loved
with the same passion as my master]
With such a suffering, such a deadly life,
In your denial I would find no sense;
I would not understand it.
OLIVIA: Why, what would you [do]?
VIOLA: Make me a willow cabin at your
And call upon my soul [Olivia]
within the house;
Write loyal cantons of contemned [scorned]
And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
Holla [shout] your name
to the reverberate [echoing]
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out, ‘Olivia!’ O! you should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me! [until
you pity me!]
OLIVIA: You might do much. [You
have talent and might go places.] What is your
VIOLA: Above my fortune, yet my state is
[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 gentleman.
OLIVIA: Get you to your lord:
I cannot love him. Let him send no more,
Unless, 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.
VIOLA: I am no fee’d post, lady; keep your purse: [I do not require a fee to deliver a
message; keep your money.]
My master, not myself, lacks recompense.
Love make his heart of flint that you shall
And let your fervour, like my master’s, be
Plac’d in contempt! Farewell, fair cruelty.
[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
OLIVIA: “What is your parentage?”
“Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
I am a gentleman.” I’ll be sworn thou art:
Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions, and
Do give thee five-fold blazon [make
you five times a handsome gentleman]. Not too fast: soft!
Unless the master were the man. How now!
Even so 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
Methinks I feel this youth’s perfections
With an invisible and subtle stealth
To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.
What, ho! Malvolio!
MALVOLIO: Here, madam, at your service.
OLIVIA: Run after that same peevish
The county’s [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 lord,
Nor hold him up with hopes: I’m not for him.
If that the youth will come this way to-morrow,
I’ll give him reasons for ’t. Hie thee [go now], Malvolio.
MALVOLIO: Madam, I will. [Exit.
OLIVIA: I do I know not what, and fear to
Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind.
Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
What is decreed must be, and be this so!
[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
Act 2, Scene 1
Enter ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN.
ANTONIO: Will you stay no longer? nor will you not that I go
with you? [Do you want me to
go with you?]
SEBASTIAN: By 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
[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.]
ANTONIO: Let me yet know of you whither [where] you are
SEBASTIAN: No, sooth, sir:
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 drowned.
ANTONIO: Alas the day! [I'm
SEBASTIAN: A 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].
ANTONIO: Pardon me, sir, your bad entertainment. [Pardon me, sir, for being a bad
host on our journey.]
SEBASTIAN: O good Antonio! forgive me your trouble! [Forgive me for the trouble I have
ANTONIO: If you will not murder me for my love, let me be
your servant. [If you don't
mind, let me be your servant.]
SEBASTIAN: 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: farewell. [Exit.
ANTONIO: The gentleness of all the gods go with
I have many enemies in Orsino’s court,
Else would I very shortly see thee there;
But, come what may, I do adore thee so,
That danger 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
Enter VIOLA; MALVOLIO following.
MALVOLIO: Were not you even now with the Countess
VIOLA: Even now, sir: on a moderate pace I have since
arrived but hither [here].
MALVOLIO: She 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 so.
VIOLA: She took the ring of [from] me; I’ll none of it.
MALVOLIO: Come, 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.
VIOLA: I left no ring with her: what means this
Fortune forbid my outside have not charm’d her! [I hope I haven't charmed her into
She made good view of me; indeed, so much,
That sure methought her eyes had lost her
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
[She made . . . distractedly: She
looked me over closely, so much that she had trouble completing
She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion
Invites me 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,
Poor lady, 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.]
Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness,
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is it for the proper-false
In women’s 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
Alas! our 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 made of.]
How will this fadge [turn out]?
My master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as much on [of] him;
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.
What will 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!—
What 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 Olivia's house.
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
SIR TOBY: Approach, Sir Andrew: not to be a-bed after
midnight is to be up betimes; and diluculo
surgere, thou knowest,—
[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—]
SIR ANDREW: Nay, by my troth, I know not; but I know, to be
up late is to be up late.
SIR 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?]
SIR ANDREW: Faith, so they say; but, I think, it rather
consists of eating and drinking.
SIR TOBY: Thou art a scholar; let us therefore eat and
drink. Maria, I say! a stoup [cup]
SIR ANDREW: Here comes the fool, i’ faith.
FESTE: How now, my hearts! Did you never see the picture of
SIR TOBY: Welcome, ass. Now let’s have a catch [song for at least three voices].
SIR 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]
FESTE: 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
classical mythology, warriors led in battle in the Trojan War
by the Greek hero Achilles]
Excellent! Why, this is the best fooling, when all is done. Now, a
[for Malvolio's nose . . .
houses: Feste is simply talking nonsense.]
SIR TOBY: Come on; there is sixpence for you: let’s have a
SIR ANDREW: There’s a testrill [sixpence coin] of me too: if one knight give
FESTE: Would you have a love-song, or a song of good
SIR TOBY: A love-song, a love-song.
SIR ANDREW: Ay, ay; I care not for good life.
O! mistress mine! where are you roaming?
Excellent good, i’ faith.
O! stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip [travel] no
further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.
SIR TOBY: Good, good.
What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
SIR ANDREW: A
mellifluous voice, as I am true knight.
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.
SIR TOBY: A contagious breath. [A smelly breath.]
SIR ANDREW: Very sweet and contagious, i’ faith.
SIR 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.]
SIR ANDREW: An [if]
you love me, let’s do ’t: I am dog at a catch. [I am really good at singing.]
FESTE: By ’r lady [by Our
Lady], sir, and some dogs will catch [howl] well.
SIR ANDREW: Most certain. Let our catch be, "Thou knave."
FESTE: “Hold thy peace, thou knave,” knight? I shall be
constrain’d in ’t to call thee knave, knight.
SIR ANDREW: ’Tis not the first time I have constrained one
to call me knave. Begin, fool: it begins, “Hold thy
FESTE: I shall never begin if I hold my peace [if I keep quiet].
SIR ANDREW: Good, i’ faith. Come, begin. [They sing a
MARIA: 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 trust me.
SIR 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.)]
Sir Toby then sings: “There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady,
FESTE: 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).]
SIR 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
SIR TOBY: [Singing.] O! the twelfth day of
MARIA: For the love o’ God, peace!
MALVOLIO: 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,
SIR TOBY: We did keep time, sir, in our catches. Sneck up!
[Go hang yourself!]
MALVOLIO: 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
SIR TOBY: Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be
MARIA: Nay, good Sir Toby.
FESTE: His eyes do show his days are almost
MALVOLIO: Is ’t even so?
SIR TOBY: [Sings.] But I will never die.
FESTE: [Sings.] Sir Toby, there you lie.
MALVOLIO: This is much credit to you.
SIR TOBY: [Sings.] Shall I bid him go?
FESTE: [Sings.] What an if you do? [What if you do?]
SIR TOBY: [Sings.] Shall I bid him go, and spare not [and be mean to him]?
FESTE: [Sings.] O! no, no, no, no, you dare not.
SIR 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
[Art any . . . ale: You're only a
servant. Do you think that just because you're straitlaced,
everyone else has to act like you?]
FESTE: Yes, by Saint Anne; and ginger [spice in ale] shall be hot i’
the mouth too.
SIR TOBY: Thou ’rt in the right. Go, sir, rub your chain
with crumbs . A stoup [cup]
of wine, Maria!
[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.]
MALVOLIO: Mistress 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.
MARIA: Go shake your ears. [Maria
is calling him ass, which has long ears.]
SIR 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.]
SIR TOBY: Do ’t, knight: I’ll write thee a challenge; or
I’ll deliver thy indignation to him by word of mouth.
MARIA: 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 public]
SIR TOBY: Possess us, possess us; tell us something of him.
[You have our attention. Tell us
something about him.]
MARIA: Marry, sir, sometimes he is a
kind of puritan.
SIR ANDREW: O! if I thought that, I’d beat him like a
SIR TOBY: What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason,
SIR ANDREW: I have no exquisite reason for ’t, but I have
reason good enough.
MARIA: 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.]
SIR TOBY: What wilt thou do?
MARIA: 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
[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.]
SIR TOBY: Excellent! I smell a device. [I smell a clever trick.]
SIR ANDREW: I have ’t in my nose too.
SIR TOBY: He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt
drop, that they come from my niece, and that she is in love with
MARIA: My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that
SIR ANDREW: And your horse now would make him an
MARIA: Ass, I doubt not.
SIR ANDREW: O! ’twill be admirable.
MARIA: 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.
[physic: Laxative; medicine that purges the bowels. Maria uses
this word figuratively, as if her scheme will purge Malvolio of
SIR 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.]
SIR ANDREW: Before me, she’s a good wench.
SIR 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.]
SIR ANDREW: I was adored once too.
SIR TOBY: Let’s to bed, knight. Thou hadst need send for
SIR ANDREW: If I cannot recover [win] your niece, I am a foul way out [I'm out of a lot of money].
SIR TOBY: Send for money, knight: if thou hast her not i’
the end, call me cut [castrated;
SIR ANDREW: If I do not, never trust me, take it how you
SIR 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
Act 2, Scene 4
A room in the DUKE'S
Enter DUKE, VIOLA, CURIO, and Others.
DUKE: Give me some music. Now, good morrow [morning],
Now, good Cesario, but [regarding]
that piece of song,
That old and antique song we heard last night;
Methought it did relieve my passion [did soothe me] much,
More than light [frivolous;
trivial] airs and recollected terms [discussions]
Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times:
Come; but one verse.
CURIO: He is not here, so please your lordship, that should
DUKE: Who was it?
CURIO: Feste, the jester, my lord; a fool that the Lady
Olivia’s father took much delight in. He is about the
DUKE: Seek him out, and play the tune the while. [Exit
Come hither, boy [Viola]:
if ever thou shalt love,
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 creature
That is belov’d. How dost thou like this tune?
VIOLA: It gives a very echo to the seat
Where love is thron’d.
DUKE: Thou dost speak masterly. [Masterly is
an adjective that is used here an adverb.]
My life upon ’t, young though thou art, thine
Hath stay’d upon some favour that it loves;
Hath it not, boy?
VIOLA: 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.]
DUKE: What kind of woman is ’t?
VIOLA: Of your complexion.
DUKE: She is not worth thee, then. What years, i’
VIOLA: About your years, my lord.
DUKE: Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman
An elder 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.]
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies [desires and
affections] are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn [done in],
Than women’s are.
VIOLA: I think it well, my lord.
DUKE: Then, let thy love be younger than
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent [cannot maintain itself; cannot remain strong];
For women are as roses, whose fair flower
Being once display’d, doth fall that very hour.
VIOLA: And so they are: alas, that they are
To die, even when they to perfection grow!
Re-enter CURIO with FESTE.
DUKE: O, fellow! come, the song we had last
Mark it, Cesario; it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with
Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth [uncomplicated but true],
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age [like in olden
FESTE: Are you ready, sir?
DUKE: 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.
DUKE: There’s for thy pains [The duke offers payment].
FESTE: No pains, sir; I take pleasure in singing,
DUKE: I’ll pay thy pleasure then.
FESTE: Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or
DUKE: Give me now leave to leave thee.
FESTE: 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.]
DUKE: Let all the rest give place [leave]. [Exeunt CURIO and Attendants.
[Exeunt: The specified characters
leave the stage.]
Once more, Cesario,
Get thee to yond [yonder]
same sovereign cruelty:
Tell her, my love, more noble than the world,
Prizes not quantity of dirty lands;
The parts that fortune hath bestow’d upon her,
Tell her, I hold as giddily as fortune;
But ’tis that miracle and queen of gems
That nature 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 love.]
VIOLA: But if she cannot love you, sir?
DUKE: I cannot be so answer’d.
VIOLA: Sooth [in truth],
but you must.
Say that some lady, as perhaps, there is,
Hath for your love as great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her;
You tell her so; must she not then be answer’d?
DUKE: There is no woman’s sides
Can bide the beating of so strong a passion
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 burst.]
Alas! their love may be call’d appetite,
No motion of the liver, but the palate,
That suffer 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,
And can digest as much. Make no compare
Between that love a woman can bear me
And that I owe Olivia.
VIOLA: Ay, but I know,—
DUKE: What dost thou know?
VIOLA: Too well what love women to men may
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter lov’d a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.
[My father had a daughter who
loved a man as a I might love you if I were a woman.]
DUKE: And what’s her history?
VIOLA: A blank, my lord. She never told her
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask [silken]
cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more; but indeed
Our shows are more than will, for still we prove
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.]
DUKE: But died thy sister of her love, my
VIOLA: I am all the daughters of my father’s
And all the brothers too; and yet I know not,
Sir, shall I [go] to this
DUKE: 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
Act 2, Scene 5
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK, and FABIAN.
SIR 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 melancholy.
SIR 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 Andrew?
[To anger . . . bear: To anger
Malvolio, we'll provoke him as if he were a bear].
SIR ANDREW: An [if] we do
not, it is pity of our lives.
SIR 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
[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
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]?
SIR 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.]
SIR ANDREW: ’Slight, I could so beat the rogue!
By His light—that is, by God's light.]
SIR TOBY: Peace! [Quiet!]
MALVOLIO: To be Count Malvolio!
SIR TOBY: Ah, rogue!
SIR ANDREW: Pistol him, pistol him. [Shoot him.]
SIR 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 wardrobe.]
SIR ANDREW: Fie on him, Jezebel! [A
curse on him. Has he no shame?]
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 king—]
SIR TOBY: O! for a stone-bow [crossbow that shoots stones], to hit him in the
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,—
SIR TOBY: Fire and brimstone! [This guy is too much; that's the
FABIAN: O, peace! peace! [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—]
SIR TOBY: Bolts and shackles! [He's going too far! That's a slap in
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
SIR 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,—
SIR 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,”—
SIR TOBY: What, what?
MALVOLIO: “You must amend your drunkenness.”
SIR 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,”—
SIR ANDREW: That’s me, I warrant you.
MALVOLIO: ‘One Sir Andrew,’—
SIR 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].
SIR 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 hand.
SIR ANDREW: Her C’s,
her U’s, and her T’s: why that—
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 republic.]
FABIAN: This wins him, liver and all.
Jove knows I love;
Lips, do not move:
No man must know.
classical mythology, an alternate name for Jupiter, the Roman
name for the king of the gods. His Greek name was Zeus.]
“No man 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 syllables.]
SIR TOBY: Marry, hang thee, brock [badger]!
I may command where I adore;
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my
FABIAN: A fustian
SIR 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!]
SIR TOBY: And with what wing the staniel checks at it! [Sir Toby compares Malvolio to a
falcon examining bait.]
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,—
SIR TOBY: O! ay, make up that: he is now at a cold scent. [Uh, oh. He's like a hunting dog that
has lost the scent.]
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 fox.]
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].
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 hope.
SIR TOBY: Ay, or I’ll cudgel him, and make him cry,
MALVOLIO: And then I
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
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.
[If this 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,
Daylight 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 man.]
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 suggested.]
I thank my stars I am happy. I will be strange, stout, in yellow
stockings, and cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting
[I will do everything she said—and do it in yellow stockings and
cross garters that I will put on right now.]
Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a
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.
Jove, 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 Persia.]
SIR TOBY: I could marry this wench [Maria] for this
SIR ANDREW: So could I too.
SIR TOBY: And ask no other dowry with her but such another
SIR ANDREW: Nor I neither.
FABIAN: Here comes my noble gull-catcher [trickster].
SIR TOBY: Wilt thou set thy foot o’ my neck? [Will you let me kiss your foot?]
SIR ANDREW: Or o’ mine either? [And let me, too?] 85
SIR TOBY: Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip [gamble away my freedom at cards],
and become thy bond-slave?
SIR ANDREW: I’ faith, or I either? [And let me serve you
SIR 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
SIR 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.
SIR TOBY: To the gates of Tartar [in classical mythology, part of Hades, or hell],
thou most excellent devil of wit!
SIR ANDREW: I’ll make one too. [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the
Act 3, Scene 1
Enter VIOLA, and FESTE with a tabor [drum].
[Viola is still disguised as
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
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
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 interpretation.]
FESTE: I would therefore my sister had had no name, sir. [That's why I wish my sister had no
name, sir.] 10
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 them.
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 Orsino’s.
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 (Feste).]
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 of money.
FESTE: Now Jove, in his next commodity
[distribution] of hair,
send thee a beard!
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
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
FESTE: The matter, I hope, is not great, sir, begging but a
beggar: Cressida was a beggar. [After
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 overworn.
VIOLA: This fellow’s wise enough to play the
And to do that well craves a kind of wit:
He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
The quality of persons, and the time,
And, like the haggard, check at every feather
That comes before his eye. This is a practice
As full of labour as a wise man’s art;
For folly that he wisely shows is fit;
But wise men folly-fall’n, quite taint their
[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 their wit.]
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
SIR TOBY: Save you, gentleman. [God save you, gentleman.]
VIOLA: And you, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Dieu vous garde, monsieur. [French: God keep you, sir.]
VIOLA: Et vous aussi; votre serviteur. [French: And you also; I am your
SIR ANDREW: I hope, sir, you are; and I am
SIR TOBY: Will you encounter [come into] the house? my niece is desirous you
should enter, if your trade be to her.
VIOLA: I am bound to [I
have come to speak with] your niece, sir: I mean, she is
the list of [reason for]
SIR 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
SIR 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.]
Enter OLIVIA and MARIA.
Most excellent accomplished lady, the heavens rain odours on
SIR ANDREW: That youth’s a rare courtier. ‘Rain odours!’
[courtier: One who uses flattery
to gain favor.]
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.]
SIR 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 stage.]
Give me 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
Since lowly feigning was call’d compliment.
You’re 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 Count Orsino's.]
VIOLA: And he is yours, and his must needs be
Your 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
Would they were blanks rather than fill’d with
VIOLA: Madam, I come to whet your gentle
On his behalf.
OLIVIA: O! by your leave, I pray you,
I bade you never speak again of him:
But, would you undertake another suit,
I had rather hear you to solicit that
Than music 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,—
Oli Give me leave, beseech you. [Please let me speak.] I did
After the last enchantment you did here,
A ring in chase of you: so did I abuse
Myself, my 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
Under your hard construction must I sit,
To force that on you, in a shameful cunning,
Which you knew none of yours: what might you
[Under your gaze and judgment I
must sit to force that shameful information on you while I
wonder what you think of me?]
Have you not set mine honour at the stake,
And baited it with all th’ unmuzzled thoughts
That tyrannous heart can think? To one of your
Enough is shown; a cypress, not a bosom,
Hideth my 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
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
That very 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
O world! how apt the poor are to be proud.
If one should be a prey, how much the better
To fall 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 wolf.]
The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.
Be not afraid, good youth, I will not have you:
And yet, when wit and youth is come to harvest,
[when wit . . . harvest: When
you are fully mature]
Your wife is like to reap a proper man:
There lies your way, due west [toward
the setting sun].
VIOLA: Then westward-ho!
[westward-ho: Cry of Thames River
boatmen calling for passengers to Westminster.]
Grace and good disposition attend your ladyship!
You’ll nothing, madam, to my lord by me? [Do you have any message for the
I prithee, 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
In the contempt and anger of his lip.
A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
Than love that would seem hid; love’s night is
[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.]
Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
By maidhood [virginity],
honour, truth, and every thing,
I love thee so, that, maugre [in
spite of] all thy pride,
Nor [neither] wit nor
reason can my passion hide.
Do not 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.]
But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
Love sought 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.
VIOLA: By innocence I swear, and by my
I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth,
And that no woman has; nor never none
Shall 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 it.]
And so 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
That heart, 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
Act 3, Scene 2
A room in Olivia's house.
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK, and FABIAN.
SIR ANDREW: No, faith, I’ll not stay a jot
SIR TOBY: Thy reason, dear venom; give thy
FABIAN: You must needs yield your reason, Sir
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.
SIR TOBY: Did she see thee the while, old boy? tell me
SIR ANDREW: As plain as I see you now.
FABIAN: This was a great argument [demonstration] of love in her toward
SIR ANDREW: ’Slight! will you
make an ass o’ me?
FABIAN: I will prove it legitimate, sir, upon the oaths of
judgment and reason.
SIR TOBY: And they [judgment
and reason] have been grand-jurymen since before Noah was
[Noah: In 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
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 policy.
[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.]
SIR 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.]
SIR 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 valor.]
FABIAN: There is no way but this, Sir
SIR ANDREW: Will either of you bear me a challenge to
SIR 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.]
SIR ANDREW: Where shall I find you?
SIR 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
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
FABIAN: We shall have a rare letter from him; but you’ll not
deliver it [but are you really
going to deliver it?].
SIR 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
[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
SIR 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
SIR 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
SIR TOBY: Come, bring us, bring us where he is.
Act 3, Scene 3
Enter SEBASTIAN and ANTONIO.
SEBASTIAN: I would not by my will have troubled
But since 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
More sharp than filed steel, did spur me forth;
And not all love to see you,—though so much
As might have drawn one to a longer voyage,—
But jealousy what might befall your travel,
Being skilless in these parts; which to a
Unguided and unfriended, often prove
Rough and unhospitable: my willing love,
The rather by these arguments of fear,
Set forth 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 thanks, and over thanks; for oft good turns
Are shuffled off with such uncurrent pay:
But, were my worth, as is my conscience, firm,
You should 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
With the memorials and the things of fame
That do 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 rescued.]
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
Might well have given us bloody argument.
[Albeit . . . argument: But the
nature of the quarrel and the time it happened might well have
resulted in a bloody fight.]
It might have since been answer’d in repaying
What we took from them; which, for traffic’s
Most of our city did: only myself stood out;
For which, if I be lapsed in this place,
I shall pay dear.
[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
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
In the south suburbs, at the Elephant,
Is best to lodge: I will bespeak our diet [order food for us],
Whiles you beguile [pass]
the time and feed your knowledge
With 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
You have 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
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
Act 3, Scene 4
Enter OLIVIA and MARIA.
OLIVIA: I have sent after him: he says he’ll
How shall I feast him? what bestow of [on] him?
For youth is bought more oft than begg’d or
I speak too loud.
Where is Malvolio? he is sad, and civil,
And suits 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.]
Where is Malvolio?
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 as he,
If sad and merry madness equal be.
[If sad . . . be: If seriousness
is equal to his merry madness.]
Re-enter MARIA, with MALVOLIO.
How now, 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 somber.]
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
[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
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
Ser. Madam, the young gentleman of the Count Orsino’s is
returned. I could hardly entreat him back: he attends your
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.]
Re-enter MARIA, with SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN.
SIR 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
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?
SIR 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!
SIR 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.
SIR TOBY: Why, how now, my bawcock [good fellow]! how dost thou,
chuck [chick, term of endearment
spoken to give comfort—perhaps to a baby]?
SIR 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
SIR TOBY: Is ’t possible?
FABIAN: If this were played upon a stage now, I could
condemn it as an improbable fiction.
SIR 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.
SIR 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.
Enter SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
FABIAN: More matter for a May morning. [Here's another man to amuse us on
this May morning.]
SIR ANDREW: Here’s the challenge; read it: I warrant there’s
vinegar and pepper in ’t.
FABIAN: Is ’t so saucy?
SIR ANDREW: Ay, is ’t, I warrant him: do but
SIR TOBY: Give [the letter
to] me. [Reads.] "Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art
but a scurvy fellow."
FABIAN: Good, and valiant.
SIR 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
SIR 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
SIR TOBY: [Reads.] "I will waylay thee going home; where, if
it be thy chance to kill me,—"
SIR TOBY: [Reads.] "Thou killest me like a rogue and a villain."
FABIAN: Still you keep o’ the windy [right] side of the law:
SIR 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 enemy,
If this 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
SIR 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!]
SIR ANDREW: Nay, let me alone for swearing.
SIR 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 victim.)
FABIAN: Here he [Cesario/Viola]
comes with your niece: give them way till he take leave, and [then] presently [go] after
SIR 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 stage.]
Re-enter OLIVIA, with VIOLA.
OLIVIA: I have said too much unto a heart of
And laid mine honour too unchary [openly]
There’s 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 master’s griefs.
[With the . . . griefs: My
master has the same problem; he continues to love you.]
OLIVIA: Here; wear this jewel for me, ’tis my
Refuse it not; it hath no tongue to vex you;
And I beseech you come again to-morrow.
What shall you ask of me that I’ll deny,
That honour 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
Which I 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
A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell.
[A fiend . . . hell: A devil
resembling you could lead me to hell.]
Re-enter SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN.
SIR TOBY: Gentleman, God save thee.
VIOLA: And you, sir.
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 deadly.]
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
SIR 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
VIOLA: I pray you, sir, what is he?
SIR 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].
SIR 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.]
SIR 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
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
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
Re-enter SIR TOBY, with SIR ANDREW.
SIR 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 Persia.]
SIR ANDREW: Pox on ’t, I’ll not meddle with
SIR TOBY: Ay, but he will not now be pacified: Fabian can
scarce hold him yonder.
SIR 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
SIR 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.
Re-enter FABIAN and VIOLA.
[To 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
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.
SIR 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 man.
FABIAN: Give ground, if you see him
SIR 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
SIR ANDREW: Pray God, he keep his oath!
VIOLA: I do assure you, ’tis against my will.
ANTONIO: Put up your sword. If this young
Have done offence, I take the fault on me:
If you offend him, I for him defy you.
SIR TOBY: You, sir! why, what are you?
ANTONIO: One, sir, that for his love dares yet do
Than you have heard him brag to you he will.
SIR TOBY: Nay, if you be an undertaker, I am for you.
FABIAN: O, good sir Toby, hold! here come the
SIR TOBY: I’ll be with you anon [anon].
VIOLA: [To SIR ANDREW.] Pray, sir, put your sword up,
if you please.
SIR 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.
Enter two Officers.
FIRST OFFICER: This is the man; do thy
SECOND OFFICER: Antonio, I arrest thee at the
Of Count Orsino.
ANTONIO: You do mistake me, sir.
FIRST OFFICER: No, sir, no jot: I know your favour [face] well,
Though now you have no sea-cap on your head.
Take him 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
But there’s no remedy: I shall answer it [I shall do what's necessary to
What will you do, now my necessity
Makes me to ask you for my purse? It grieves me
Much more for what I cannot do for you
Than what befalls myself. You stand amaz’d:
But be of comfort.
SECOND OFFICER: Come, sir, away.
ANTONIO: I must entreat of you some of that
VIOLA: What money, sir?
For the fair kindness you have show’d me here,
And part, being prompted by your present
Out of my lean and low ability
I’ll lend you something: my having
is not much:
I’ll make division of my present with
Hold, there 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 now?
Is ’t possible that my deserts to you
Can lack persuasion? Do not tempt my misery,
[Is 't possible . . .
persuasion: Is it possible that what I did for you means nothing
Lest that it make me so unsound a man
As to 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.
I hate ingratitude more in a man
Than lying, vainness, babbling drunkenness,
Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.
ANTONIO: O heavens themselves!
SECOND OFFICER: Come, sir: I pray you, go.
ANTONIO: Let me speak a little. This youth that you see
I snatch’d one-half out of the jaws of death,
Reliev’d him with such sanctity of love,
And to his image, which methought did promise
Most venerable worth, did I devotion.
FIRST OFFICER: What’s that to us? The time goes by [we're wasting time]:
ANTONIO: But O! how vile an idol proves this
Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame.
[But O! . . . shame: But, oh, how vile is this young man who I
previously thought was honorable.]
In nature there’s no blemish but the mind;
None can be call’d deform’d but the unkind:
Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil
Are empty 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
FIRST OFFICER: The man grows mad: away with him! Come, come,
ANTONIO: Lead me on. [Exeunt Officers with
[Exeunt: The specified characters
leave the stage.]
VIOLA: Methinks his words do from such passion
That he believes himself; so do not I.
Prove true, imagination, O, prove true,
That I, 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.]
SIR TOBY: Come hither [here],
knight; come hither, Fabian: we’ll whisper o’er a couplet or two
of most sage saws.
[we'll whisper . . . saws: We'll ponder the meaning of some wise
VIOLA: He nam’d [referred to me as] Sebastian:
I my brother know
Yet living in my glass; even such and so
In favour was my brother;
and he went
Still in 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,
Tempests 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
SIR 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
SIR ANDREW: ’Slid [by
God's eyelid], I’ll after him again and beat
SIR TOBY: Do; cuff him soundly, but never draw thy
SIR ANDREW: An [if]
I do not, [Count on me.]— [Exit.
FABIAN: Come, let’s see the event.
SIR 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
Act 4, Scene 1
The street adjoining
Enter 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
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
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
SEBASTIAN: I prithee, foolish Greek [numskull], depart from
There’s money for thee: if you tarry longer
I shall 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’
Enter SIR ANDREW.
SIR 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 people mad?
Enter SIR TOBY and FABIAN.
SIR TOBY: Hold, sir, or I’ll throw your dagger o’er the
FESTE: This will I tell my lady straight. I would not be in
some of your coats for twopence. [Exit.
SIR TOBY: [Holding SEBASTIAN.] Come on, sir:
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 that.
SEBASTIAN: Let go thy hand.
SIR 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?
If thou dar’st tempt me further, draw thy sword.
SIR TOBY: What, what! Nay then, I must have an ounce or two
of this malapert [impudent; bold]
blood from you. [Draws.
OLIVIA: Hold [stop],
Toby! on thy life I charge thee, hold!
SIR TOBY: Madam!
OLIVIA: Will it be ever thus? Ungracious [bad-mannered]
Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves,
Where manners ne’er were preach’d. Out of my
Be not offended, dear Cesario.
Rudesby [rude man], be
gone! [Exeunt SIR TOBY, ANDREW, and FABIAN.
[Exeunt: The specified characters
leave the stage.]
I prithee, gentle friend,
Let thy fair wisdom, not thy passion, sway
In this uncivil and unjust extent [offense]
Against thy peace. Go with me to my house,
And hear thou there how many fruitless pranks
This ruffian hath botch’d up, that thou thereby
Mayst smile at this. Thou shalt not choose but
Do not deny. Beshrew [curse]
his soul for me,
He started 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:
Let fancy still my sense in Lethe [River of Forgetfulness in classical mythology]
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 stage.]
Act 4, Scene 2
A room in Olivia's house.
Enter MARIA 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.
[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.]
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA.
SIR 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 "good morning."]
[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
[that, that is, is: That which is
exists; that which exists is. Feste, as usual, is just playing
SIR TOBY: To him [speak to
Malvolio], Sir Topas.
FESTE: [Disguising his voice.] What ho! I say. Peace in this
SIR 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
SIR 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 of obstruction?
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 never changes.]
FESTE: What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild
[Pythagoras: Ancient Greek
philosopher and mathematician who was said to believe in
MALVOLIO: That the soul of our grandam might haply [by chance] inhabit a
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 it.]
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas! Sir Topas!
SIR TOBY: My most exquisite Sir Topas! [What a great job you are doing, Sir
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.
SIR 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.]
Hey Robin, jolly Robin,
Tell me how thy lady does.
MALVOLIO: Fool! [It's
the fool, Feste!]
My lady is unkind, perdy!
[perdy: Alternate spelling of perdie, meaning certainly or indeed.]
Alas, why is she so?
MALVOLIO: Fool, I say!
She loves another.
Who calls, ha?
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 bibble-babble.
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 will.
MALVOLIO: Fool, fool, fool, I say!
FESTE: Alas, sir, be patient. What say you, sir? I am shent
[reprimanded] for speaking
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,
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 letter did.
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
I am gone, sir,
And anon [soon], sir,
I’ll be with you again
In a trice [moment],
Like to the old Vice,
Your need to sustain;
Who with dagger of lath,
In his rage and his wrath,
Cries, Ah, ha! to the devil:
Like a mad lad,
Pare thy nails, dad;
Adieu, goodman devil.
[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 suggest.]
Act 4, Scene 3
SEBASTIAN: This is the air; that is the glorious
This pearl she [Olivia]
gave me, I do feel ’t and see ’t;
And though ’tis wonder that enwraps me thus,
Yet ’tis not madness. Where’s Antonio then?
I could not find him at the Elephant;
Yet there he was, and there I found this credit [information],
That he did range the town to seek me out.
His counsel [advice] now
might do me golden service;
For though my soul disputes well [agrees]
with my sense [reason]
That this may be some
error, but no madness,
Yet doth this accident [good
luck] and flood of fortune
So far exceed all instance, all discourse,
That I am ready to distrust mine eyes,
And wrangle with my reason that persuades me
To any 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,
She could not sway [manage]
her house, command her followers [staff],
Take and give back affairs and their dispatch [conduct business and make decisions]
With such a smooth, discreet, and stable bearing
As I perceive she does. There’s something in ’t
That is deceivable. But here the lady comes.
[There's something . . . comes:
There's something strange going on, but here the lady comes.]
Enter OLIVIA and a Priest.
OLIVIA: Blame not this haste of mine. If you mean
Now go with me and with this holy man
Into the chantry by [into his
nearby chapel]; there, before him,
And underneath that consecrated roof,
Plight me the full assurance of your faith; [swear that we are engaged to be
That [so that] my most
jealous [uneasy; anxious]
and too doubtful soul
May live at peace. He shall conceal it
Whiles you are willing it shall come to note,
What time 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.]
According to my birth. What do you say?
SEBASTIAN: I’ll follow this good man, and go with
And, having sworn truth, ever will be true.
OLIVIA: Then lead the way, good father; and heavens so
That they may fairly note this act of mine!
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the
Act 5, Scene 1
The street before
Enter FESTE and FABIAN.
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
Enter DUKE, VIOLA, CURIO, and Attendants.
DUKE: Belong you to the Lady Olivia,
FESTE: Ay, sir; we are some of her
DUKE: I know thee well: how dost thou, my good
FESTE: Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for
DUKE: Just the contrary; the better for thy
FESTE: No, sir, the worse.
DUKE: 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
profit in 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.]
DUKE: Why, this is excellent.
FESTE: By my troth [truly],
sir, no; though it please you to be one of my
DUKE: 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
DUKE: 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
DUKE: Well, I will be so much a sinner to be a
double-dealer: there’s another.
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, three.
DUKE: 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].
VIOLA: Here comes the man, sir, that did rescue
Enter ANTONIO and Officers.
DUKE: 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 blacksmith god.]
A bawbling [small] vessel
was he captain of,
For shallow draught and hulk unprizable
[draught: Distance from the water
line to the bottom of the hull]
[hulk unprizable: Hull that is
old and barely seaworthy]
With which such scathful grapple did he make
[With which . . . make: With
which he put up an admirable fight]
With the most noble bottom [best
ship] of our fleet,
That very envy and the tongue of loss
Cried fame 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 him.]
FIRST OFFICER: Orsino, this is that
That took the Phoenix [a ship] and her fraught [cargo] from
[Candy: Kingdom of Candia, the
official name of Crete in Shakespeare's time]
And this is he that did the Tiger
When your young nephew Titus lost his leg.
Here in the streets, desperate of shame and
In private brabble [squabble;
quarrel] did we apprehend him.
VIOLA: He did me kindness, sir, drew on my
But in conclusion put strange speech upon me:
I know not what ’twas but distraction [confusion; mental or emotional turmoil].
DUKE: Notable pirate! thou salt-water
What foolish boldness brought thee to their mercies [to the mercy of those]
Whom thou, in terms so bloody and so dear,
Hast made thine enemies?
ANTONIO: Orsino, noble sir,
Be pleas’d that I shake off these names you give
Antonio never yet was thief or pirate,
Though I confess, on base and ground enough [on the available evidence],
Orsino’s enemy. A witchcraft drew me hither [here]:
That most ingrateful boy there by your side,
From the rude sea’s enrag’d and foamy mouth
Did I redeem [rescue]; a
wrack [wreck] past hope
His life I gave him, and did thereto add
My love, without retention or restraint,
All his in dedication; for his sake
Did I expose myself, pure for his love,
Into the danger of this adverse town;
Drew to defend him when he was beset:
Where being apprehended [when I
was arrested], his false cunning,
Not meaning to partake with me in danger,
Taught him to face me out of his acquaintance
And grew a twenty years removed thing
While one would wink, denied me mine own purse,
Which I had recommended to his use
Not half an hour before.
[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?
DUKE: When came he to this town?
ANTONIO: To-day, my lord; and for three months
No interim, not a minute’s vacancy,—
Both day and night did we keep company.
Enter OLIVIA and Attendants.
DUKE: Here comes the countess: now heaven walks on
But for thee, fellow [Antonio];
fellow, thy words are madness:
Three months this youth hath tended upon me;
But more of that anon [soon].
Take him aside.
OLIVIA: What would my lord, but that he may not
Wherein Olivia may seem serviceable?
[What would . . . serviceable:
What do you want, my lord—except for me—that I might provide
Cesario, you do not keep promise with me. [Cesario, you failed to keep your
promise to me. (Olivia thinks Cesario is Sebastian.)]
DUKE: Gracious Olivia.—
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
As howling after music.
[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 howling.]
DUKE: Still so cruel?
OLIVIA: Still so constant, lord.
DUKE: What, to perverseness? you uncivil
To whose ingrate and unauspicious altars
My soul the faithfull’st offerings hath breath’d
That e’er devotion tender’d! What shall I do?
[What, to . . . shall I do: You
are being stubborn and uncivil. I have paid faithful homage to
OLIVIA: Even what it please my lord, that shall become him.
[Do what you please within the
bounds of good taste.]
DUKE: Why should I not, had I the heart to do
Like to the Egyptian thief at point of death,
Kill what I love? a savage jealousy
That 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 wrong
[a savage . . . nobly: Sometimes
people regard savage jealousy as a noble trait.]
Since you to non-regardance cast my faith,
And that I partly know the instrument
That screws me from my true place in your
Live you, the marble-breasted tyrant still;
But this your minion, whom I know you love,
And whom, by heaven I swear, I tender dearly,
Him will I tear out of that cruel eye,
Where he 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 spite me.]
Come, boy, with me; my thoughts are ripe in
I’ll sacrifice the lamb that I do love,
To spite a raven’s heart within a dove.
[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
OLIVIA: Where goes Cesario? [Where are you going, Cesario?]
VIOLA: After him I love
More than I love these eyes, more than my life,
More, by all mores, than e’er I shall love wife.
If I do feign, you witnesses above [If I pretend, you witnesses in
Punish my 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
Call forth the holy father. [Exit an
DUKE: [To VIOLA.] Come away.
OLIVIA: Whither [where],
my lord? Cesario, husband, stay.
OLIVIA: Ay, husband: can he that deny?
DUKE: Her husband, sirrah?
VIOLA: No, my lord, not I.
OLIVIA: Alas! it is the baseness of thy
That makes thee strangle thy propriety.
[it is . . . propriety:
You're afraid to ackowledge who you are.]
Fear not, Cesario; take thy fortunes up;
Be that 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.]
O, welcome, father!
Father, I charge thee, by thy reverence,
Here to unfold,—though lately we intended
To keep in darkness what occasion now
Reveals before ’tis ripe,—what thou dost know
Hath newly 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],
Confirm’d by mutual joinder of your hands,
Attested by the holy close of lips,
Strengthen’d by interchangement of your rings;
And all the ceremony of this compact
Seal’d in my function, by my testimony:
Since when, my watch hath told me, toward my
I have 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.]
DUKE: O, thou dissembling [deceitful]
cub! what wilt thou be [what
other trickery will you work]
When time hath sow’d a grizzle on thy case? [when time has grayed the hair on
Or will not else thy craft so quickly grow
That thine own trip shall be thine overthrow?
[Or will your trickery trip you
up and bring about your downfall?]
Farewell, and take her; but direct thy feet
Where thou and I henceforth may never meet.
VIOLA: My lord, I do protest,—
OLIVIA: O! do not swear:
Hold little faith, though thou hast too much fear. [Hold onto a little virtue even
though you have a lot to fear.]
Enter SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK, with his head broken.
SIR ANDREW: For the love of God, a surgeon! send one
presently to Sir Toby.
OLIVIA: What’s the matter?
SIR 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 home.
Cockscomb, 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?
SIR ANDREW: The count’s gentleman, one Cesario: we took him
for a coward, but he’s the very devil incardinate [incarnate].
DUKE: My gentleman, Cesario?
SIR 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
VIOLA: Why do you speak to me? I never hurt
You drew your sword upon me without cause;
But I bespake you fair, and hurt you not.
SIR ANDREW: If a bloody coxcomb be a
hurt, you have hurt me: I think you set nothing by a bloody coxcomb.
Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, drunk, led by the Clown.
Here comes 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 sword].
DUKE: How now, gentleman! how is ’t with
SIR 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 surgeon?]
FESTE: O! he’s [the
surgeon is] drunk, Sir Toby, an hour agone: his eyes were
set at eight i’ the morning.
[O! he's . . . morning: Oh, he's
been drunk for the last hour. His eyes set like the sun at eight
SIR 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
OLIVIA: Away with him! Who hath made this havoc with
SIR ANDREW: I’ll help you, Sir Toby, because we’ll be
SIR 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 stage.]
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
I do perceive it hath offended you:
Pardon me, sweet one, even for the vows
We made each other but so late ago.
DUKE: One face, one voice, one habit, and two
A natural perspective, that is, and is not!
SEBASTIAN: Antonio! O my dear Antonio!
How have the hours rack’d and tortur’d me
Since I have lost thee!
ANTONIO: Sebastian are you?
SEBASTIAN: Fear’st thou that, Antonio?
ANTONIO: How have you made division of
An apple cleft in two is not more twin
Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?
OLIVIA: Most wonderful!
SEBASTIAN: Do I stand there? I never had a
Nor can 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
Whom the blind waves and surges have devour’d.
Of charity, what kin are you to me?
[Of charity . . . me: Be kind
enough to tell me what relation you are to me.]
What countryman? what name? what parentage
VIOLA: Of Messaline: Sebastian was my
Such a Sebastian was my brother too,
So went he suited [dressed as he
is now] to his watery tomb.
If spirits can assume both form and suit
You come to fright us.
[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
SEBASTIAN: A spirit I am indeed;
But am in that dimension grossly clad [am in the same body]
Which from 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,
And say, "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
Had number’d thirteen years.
SEBASTIAN: O! that record is lively in my
He finished indeed his mortal act [his life]
That day that made my sister thirteen years.
VIOLA: If nothing lets to make us happy
But this my masculine usurp’d attire,
Do not embrace me till each circumstance
Of place, time, fortune, do cohere and jump
That I am Viola: which to confirm,
I’ll bring you to a captain in this town,
Where [in whose home] lie
my maiden weeds [my woman's
clothes]: by whose gentle help
I was preserv’d to serve this noble count.
All the occurrence of my fortune since
Hath been between this lady and this lord.
SEBASTIAN: [To OLIVIA.] So comes it, lady, you have
been mistook [mistaken]:
But nature to her bias drew in that.
You would 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,
You are 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.]
DUKE: Be not amaz’d; right noble is his blood. [Don't be surprised, either, that he
is of noble blood.]
If this be so, as yet the glass seems true,
I shall have share in this most happy wrack.
[To VIOLA.] Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand
Thou never 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 me.]
VIOLA: And all those sayings will I over-swear [will I swear again],
And all those swearings keep as true in soul
As doth that orbed continent the fire [as does the sun keep the fire]
That severs day from night.
DUKE: 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
Hath my maid’s garments: he upon some action
Is now in durance at Malvolio’s suit [is now detained at Malvolio's request],
A gentleman and follower of my lady’s.
OLIVIA: He shall enlarge [provide
information on] him. Fetch Malvolio hither [here].
And yet, alas, now I remember me [now
I remind myself that],
They say, poor gentleman, he’s much distract [disturbed mentally].
A most extracting frenzy of mine own
From my remembrance clearly banish’d his.
[A most . . . his: I have been so
preoccupied that I forgot about his problem.]
Re-enter Clown with a letter, and FABIAN.
How does he, sirrah?
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 delivered.
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, madam,—
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
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.
THE MADLY-USED MALVOLIO.
[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 to me.]
OLIVIA: Did he write this?
FESTE: Ay, madam.
DUKE: This savours not much of distraction. [It doesn't sound much like a letter
from a madman.]
OLIVIA: See him deliver’d, Fabian; bring him hither.
My lord, so please you, these things further thought
To think me as well a sister as a wife,
One day shall crown the alliance on ’t, so please
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.]
DUKE: Madam, I am most apt to embrace your
[To VIOLA.] Your master quits you [relieves you of your duties]; and, for your
service done him,
So much against the mettle of your sex, [so difficult for a woman to carry out]
So far beneath your soft and tender breeding;
And since you call’d me master for so long,
Here is my hand: you shall from this time be
Your master’s mistress [wife].
OLIVIA: A sister! you are she.
Re-enter FABIAN, with MALVOLIO.
DUKE: Is this the madman?
OLIVIA: Ay, my lord, this same.
How now, Malvolio!
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
You must not now deny it is your hand:
Write from 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
And tell me, in the modesty of honour,
Why you have given me such clear lights of favour [why you praised me],
Bade me come smiling and cross-garter’d to you,
To put on yellow stockings, and to frown
Upon Sir Toby and the lighter people [servants];
And, acting this in an obedient hope,
Why have you suffer’d me to be imprison’d,
Kept in a dark house, visited by the priest,
And made the most notorious geck and gull
That e’er invention play’d on?
tell me why.
[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
Though, I confess, much like the character;
But, out of question, ’tis Maria’s hand:
And now I do bethink me, it was she
First told me thou wast mad; then [you] cam’st in smiling,
And in such forms which here were presuppos’d
Upon thee in the letter. Prithee, be content:
[And in . . . content: And
wearing such clothes as those described in the letter. Please be
This practice [trick]
hath most shrewdly pass’d upon thee;
But when we know the grounds and authors of it,
Thou shalt be both the plaintiff and the judge
Of thine own cause.
FABIAN: Good madam, hear me speak,
And let no quarrel nor no brawl to come
Taint the condition of this present hour,
[And let . . . hour: Let no
quarrel or brawl spoil the goodwill of this moment.]
Which I have wonder’d at. In hope it shall not,
Most freely I confess, myself and Toby
Set this device against [played
this trick on] Malvolio here,
Upon some stubborn and uncourteous parts
We had conceiv’d against him. Maria writ
The letter at Sir Toby’s great importance;
In recompense whereof he
hath married her.
[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,
May rather pluck on laughter than revenge,
If that the injuries be justly weigh’d
That have 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
DUKE: Pursue him, and entreat him to a
He hath not told us of the captain yet: [see lines
253-257 for the previous reference to the captain]
When that is known and golden time convents [and the time is convenient],
A solemn 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 man;
But when in other habits [a
woman's clothes] you are seen [you will be regarded as],
Orsino’s mistress, and his fancy’s queen. [Exeunt all except
[Exeunt: Everyone leaves the
stage except Feste.]
FESTE: When that I was and a little tiny boy [When I was a little boy],
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain;
A foolish thing was but a toy [a
foolish thing was just a toy],
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came to man’s estate [But
when I arrived at manhood],
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain;
’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gates [men locked their doors against
knaves and thieves],
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came, alas! to wive [to
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain;
By swaggering could I never thrive [by showing off I could never thrive],
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came unto my beds [But
when I came unto my resting place]
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain;
With toss-pots still had drunken heads, [With drunkards as my bedfellows]
For the rain it raineth every day.
A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain;
But that’s all one [but that
doesn't matter], our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.
About the Author
Michael J. Cummings, a
native of Williamsport, Pa., was a public-school teacher,
journalist, freelance writer, author, and college instructor
before retiring and devoting his time to writing. He graduated
from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and undertook additional
studies at Elmira (N.Y) College and Lycoming College in
Williamsport. He also underwent training at the American Press
Institute. Mr. Cummings is the author of five print books, ten
e-books, and more than 2,500 newspaper and magazine articles.
Among those he interviewed over the years were actors Peter
Ustinov and Dennis Weaver, Merrill-Lynch chairman William
Schreyer, Indy race-car champion Rick Mears, and George W. Bush
(while he was running for vice president of the United States on
Ronald Reagan's ticket). Mr. Cummings continues to reside in his