Plays  +  Sonnets  +  Poems  +  Concordance  +  Advanced Search  +  About OSS

Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

print/save print/save view


Act I, Scene 2

The sea-coast.


[Enter VIOLA, a Captain, and Sailors]

  • Viola. What country, friends, is this?
  • Viola. And what should I do in Illyria? 50
    My brother he is in Elysium.
    Perchance he is not drown'd: what think you, sailors?
  • Captain. It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
  • Viola. O my poor brother! and so perchance may he be.
  • Captain. True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance, 55
    Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
    When you and those poor number saved with you
    Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
    Most provident in peril, bind himself,
    Courage and hope both teaching him the practise, 60
    To a strong mast that lived 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.
  • Viola. For saying so, there's gold: 65
    Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
    Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
    The like of him. Know'st thou this country?
  • Captain. Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born
    Not three hours' travel from this very place. 70
  • Viola. Who governs here?
  • Captain. A noble duke, in nature as in name.
  • Viola. What is the name?
  • Viola. Orsino! I have heard my father name him: 75
    He was a bachelor then.
  • Captain. And so is now, or was so very late;
    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,— 80
    That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
  • Captain. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
    That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her
    In the protection of his son, her brother, 85
    Who shortly also died: for whose dear love,
    They say, she hath abjured the company
    And sight of men.
  • Viola. O that I served that lady
    And might not be delivered to the world, 90
    Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
    What my estate is!
  • Captain. That were hard to compass;
    Because she will admit no kind of suit,
    No, not the duke's. 95
  • Viola. There is a fair behavior in thee, captain;
    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. 100
    I prithee, and I'll pay thee bounteously,
    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 shall present me as an eunuch to him: 105
    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.
    What else may hap to time I will commit;
    Only shape thou thy silence to my wit. 110
  • Captain. Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be:
    When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.
  • Viola. I thank thee: lead me on.