Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

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Act I, Scene 5

OLIVIA’S house.

       
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[Enter MARIA and Clown]

  • 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.
  • Feste. Let her hang me: he that is well hanged in this
    world needs to fear no colours. 300
  • Feste. He shall see none to fear.
  • Maria. A good lenten answer: I can tell thee where that
    saying was born, of 'I fear no colours.'
  • Feste. Where, good Mistress Mary? 305
  • Maria. In the wars; and that may you be bold to say in your foolery.
  • Feste. Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those
    that are fools, let them use their talents.
  • Maria. Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent; or,
    to be turned away, is not that as good as a hanging to you? 310
  • Feste. Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage; and,
    for turning away, let summer bear it out.
  • Maria. You are resolute, then?
  • Feste. Not so, neither; but I am resolved on two points.
  • Maria. That if one break, the other will hold; or, if both 315
    break, your gaskins 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.
  • Maria. Peace, you rogue, no more o' that. Here comes my 320
    lady: make your excuse wisely, you were best.

[Exit]

  • 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 325
    pass for a wise man: for what says Quinapalus?
    'Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.'
    [Enter OLIVIA with MALVOLIO]
    God bless thee, lady!
  • Olivia. Take the fool away. 330
  • Feste. Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the lady.
  • Olivia. Go to, you're a dry fool; I'll no more of you:
    besides, you grow dishonest.
  • Feste. Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel
    will amend: for give the dry fool drink, then is 335
    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 340
    amends is but patched with virtue. If that this
    simple syllogism will serve, so; if it will not,
    what remedy? As there is no true cuckold but
    calamity, so beauty's a flower. The lady bade take
    away the fool; therefore, I say again, take her away. 345
  • 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 fool. 350
  • Feste. Dexterously, good madonna.
  • Feste. I must catechise you for it, madonna: good my mouse
    of virtue, answer me. 355
  • Olivia. Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I'll bide your proof.
  • Feste. Good madonna, why mournest thou?
  • Olivia. Good fool, for my brother's death.
  • Feste. I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
  • Olivia. I know his soul is in heaven, fool. 360
  • Feste. The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's
    soul being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.
  • Olivia. What think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he not mend?
  • Malvolio. Yes, and shall do till the pangs of death shake him:
    infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make the 365
    better fool.
  • 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 fool. 370
  • Olivia. How say you to that, Malvolio?
  • Malvolio. I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a
    barren rascal: I saw him put down the other day
    with an ordinary fool that has no more brain
    than a stone. Look you now, he's out of his guard 375
    already; unless you laugh and minister occasion 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.
  • Olivia. Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste 380
    with a distempered appetite. To be generous,
    guiltless and of free disposition, is to take those
    things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets:
    there is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do
    nothing but rail; nor no railing in a known discreet 385
    man, though he do nothing but reprove.
  • Feste. Now Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou
    speakest well of fools!

[Re-enter MARIA]

  • Maria. Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman much 390
    desires to speak with you.
  • Olivia. From the Count Orsino, is it?
  • Maria. I know not, madam: 'tis a fair young man, and well attended.
  • Olivia. Who of my people hold him in delay?
  • Maria. Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman. 395
  • 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. 400
    [Exit MALVOLIO]
    Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and
    people dislike it.
  • Feste. Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest
    son should be a fool; whose skull Jove cram with 405
    brains! for,—here he comes,—one of thy kin has a
    most weak pia mater.

[Enter SIR TOBY BELCH]

  • Olivia. By mine honour, half drunk. What is he at the gate, cousin?
  • Olivia. A gentleman! what gentleman?
  • Sir Toby Belch. 'Tis a gentle man here—a plague o' these
    pickle-herring! How now, sot!
  • Olivia. Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy? 415
  • Olivia. Ay, marry, what is he?
  • Sir Toby Belch. Let him be the devil, an he will, I care not: give
    me faith, say I. Well, it's all one.

[Exit]

  • Olivia. What's a drunken man like, fool?
  • Feste. Like a drowned man, a fool and a mad man: one
    draught above heat makes him a fool; the second mads
    him; and a third drowns him.
  • Olivia. Go thou and seek the crowner, and let him sit o' my 425
    coz; for he's in the third degree of drink, he's
    drowned: go, look after him.
  • Feste. He is but mad yet, madonna; and the fool shall look
    to the madman.

[Exit]

[Re-enter MALVOLIO]

  • Malvolio. Madam, yond 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 435
    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 denial.
  • Olivia. Tell him he shall not speak with me.
  • Malvolio. Has been told so; and he says, he'll stand at your 440
    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?
  • Olivia. What manner of man? 445
  • Malvolio. Of very ill manner; he'll speak with you, will you or no.
  • 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 is before 'tis a peascod, or a
    cooling when 'tis almost an apple: 'tis with him 450
    in standing water, between boy and man. He is very
    well-favoured and he speaks very shrewishly; one
    would think his mother's milk were scarce out of him.
  • Olivia. Let him approach: call in my gentlewoman.
  • Malvolio. Gentlewoman, my lady calls. 455

[Exit]

[Re-enter MARIA]

  • Olivia. Give me my veil: come, throw it o'er my face.
    We'll once more hear Orsino's embassy.

[Enter VIOLA, and Attendants]

  • Viola. The honourable lady of the house, which is she?
  • Olivia. Speak to me; I shall answer for her.
    Your will?
  • Viola. Most radiant, exquisite and unmatchable beauty,—I
    pray you, tell me if this be the lady of the house, 465
    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 it. Good
    beauties, let me sustain no scorn; I am very
    comptible, even to the least sinister usage. 470
  • Olivia. Whence came you, sir?
  • Viola. I can say little more than I have studied, and that
    question's out of my part. Good gentle one, give me
    modest assurance if you be the lady of the house,
    that I may proceed in my speech. 475
  • Viola. No, my profound heart: and yet, by the very fangs
    of malice I swear, I am not that I play. Are you
    the lady of the house?
  • Olivia. If I do not usurp myself, I am. 480
  • 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. 485
  • Olivia. Come to what is important in't: I forgive you the praise.
  • Viola. Alas, I took great pains to study it, and 'tis poetical.
  • 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 490
    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.
  • Maria. Will you hoist sail, sir? here lies your way.
  • Viola. No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little 495
    longer. Some mollification for your giant, sweet
    lady. Tell me your mind: I am a messenger.
  • Olivia. Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when
    the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.
  • Viola. It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of 500
    war, no taxation of homage: I hold the olive in my
    hand; my words are as fun of peace as matter.
  • Olivia. Yet you began rudely. What are you? what would you?
  • Viola. The rudeness that hath appeared in me have I
    learned from my entertainment. What I am, and what I 505
    would, are as secret as maidenhead; to your ears,
    divinity, to any other's, profanation.
  • Olivia. Give us the place alone: we will hear this divinity.
    [Exeunt MARIA and Attendants]
    Now, sir, what is your text? 510
  • Viola. Most sweet lady,—
  • Olivia. A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it.
    Where lies your text?
  • Viola. In Orsino's bosom.
  • Olivia. In his bosom! In what chapter of his bosom? 515
  • Viola. To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.
  • Olivia. O, I have read it: it is heresy. Have you no more to say?
  • 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: but 520
    we will draw the curtain and show you the picture.
    Look you, sir, such a one I was this present: is't
    not well done?

[Unveiling]

  • Viola. Excellently done, if God did all. 525
  • Olivia. 'Tis in grain, sir; 'twill endure wind and weather.
  • Viola. 'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
    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 530
    And leave the world no copy.
  • Olivia. O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give
    out divers schedules of my beauty: it shall be
    inventoried, and every particle and utensil
    labelled to my will: as, item, two lips, 535
    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 proud;
    But, if you were the devil, you are fair. 540
    My lord and master loves you: O, such love
    Could be but recompensed, though you were crown'd
    The nonpareil of beauty!
  • Viola. With adorations, fertile tears, 545
    With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.
  • Olivia. Your lord does know my mind; I cannot love him:
    Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
    Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
    In voices well divulged, free, learn'd and valiant; 550
    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 flame,
    With such a suffering, such a deadly life, 555
    In your denial I would find no sense;
    I would not understand it.
  • Viola. Make me a willow cabin at your gate,
    And call upon my soul within the house; 560
    Write loyal cantons of contemned love
    And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
    Halloo your name to the reverberate hills
    And make the babbling gossip of the air
    Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest 565
    Between the elements of air and earth,
    But you should pity me!
  • Olivia. You might do much.
    What is your parentage?
  • Viola. Above my fortunes, yet my state is well: 570
    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: 575
    I thank you for your pains: spend this for me.
  • Viola. I am no fee'd post, lady; keep your purse:
    My master, not myself, lacks recompense.
    Love make his heart of flint that you shall love;
    And let your fervor, like my master's, be 580
    Placed in contempt! Farewell, fair cruelty.

[Exit]

  • Olivia. 'What is your parentage?'
    'Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
    I am a gentleman.' I'll be sworn thou art; 585
    Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions and spirit,
    Do give thee five-fold blazon: not too fast:
    soft, soft!
    Unless the master were the man. How now!
    Even so quickly may one catch the plague? 590
    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!

[Re-enter MALVOLIO]

  • Malvolio. Here, madam, at your service.
  • Olivia. Run after that same peevish messenger,
    The county's man: he left this ring behind him,
    Would I or not: tell him I'll none of it.
    Desire him not to flatter with his lord, 600
    Nor hold him up with hopes; I am not for him:
    If that the youth will come this way to-morrow,
    I'll give him reasons for't: hie thee, Malvolio.

[Exit]

  • Olivia. I do I know not what, and fear to find
    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.

[Exit]

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