Open Source Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

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Act I, Scene 3

OLIVIA’S house.



  • Sir Toby Belch. What a plague means my niece, to take the death of
    her brother thus? I am sure care's an enemy to life.
  • Maria. By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o'
    nights: your cousin, my lady, takes great
    exceptions to your ill hours. 120
  • Sir Toby Belch. Why, let her except, before excepted.
  • Maria. Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest
    limits of order.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Confine! I'll confine myself no finer than I am:
    these clothes are good enough to drink in; and so be 125
    these boots too: an they be not, let them hang
    themselves in their own straps.
  • Maria. That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard
    my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish
    knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer. 130
  • Sir Toby Belch. Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
  • Maria. Ay, he.
  • Sir Toby Belch. He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria.
  • Maria. What's that to the purpose?
  • Sir Toby Belch. Why, he has three thousand ducats a year. 135
  • Maria. Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these ducats:
    he's a very fool and a prodigal.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Fie, that you'll say so! he plays o' the
    viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages
    word for word without book, and hath all the good 140
    gifts of nature.
  • Maria. He hath indeed, almost natural: for besides that
    he's a fool, he's a great quarreller: and but that
    he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he
    hath in quarrelling, 'tis thought among the prudent 145
    he would quickly have the gift of a grave.
  • Sir Toby Belch. By this hand, they are scoundrels and subtractors
    that say so of him. Who are they?
  • Maria. They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company.
  • Sir Toby Belch. With drinking healths to my niece: I'll drink to 150
    her as long as there is a passage in my throat and
    drink in Illyria: he's a coward and a coystrill
    that will not drink to my niece till his brains turn
    o' the toe like a parish-top. What, wench!
    Castiliano vulgo! for here comes Sir Andrew Agueface. 155


  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby Belch!
  • Sir Toby Belch. Sweet Sir Andrew!
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Bless you, fair shrew.
  • Maria. And you too, sir. 160
  • Sir Toby Belch. Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. What's that?
  • Sir Toby Belch. My niece's chambermaid.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
  • Maria. My name is Mary, sir. 165
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Good Mistress Mary Accost,—
  • Sir Toby Belch. You mistake, knight; 'accost' is front her, board
    her, woo her, assail her.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. By my troth, I would not undertake her in this
    company. Is that the meaning of 'accost'? 170
  • Maria. Fare you well, gentlemen.
  • Sir Toby Belch. An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou mightst
    never draw sword again.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. An you part so, mistress, I would I might never
    draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have 175
    fools in hand?
  • Maria. Sir, I have not you by the hand.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Marry, but you shall have; and here's my hand.
  • Maria. Now, sir, 'thought is free:' I pray you, bring
    your hand to the buttery-bar and let it drink. 180
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Wherefore, sweet-heart? what's your metaphor?
  • Maria. It's dry, sir.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. 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. 185
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. 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 Belch. O knight thou lackest a cup of canary: when did I 190
    see thee so put down?
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. 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. 195
  • Sir Toby Belch. No question.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. An I thought that, I'ld forswear it. I'll ride home
    to-morrow, Sir Toby.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Pourquoi, my dear knight?
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. What is 'Pourquoi'? do or not do? I would I had 200
    bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in
    fencing, dancing and bear-baiting: O, had I but
    followed the arts!
  • Sir Toby Belch. Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Why, would that have mended my hair? 205
  • Sir Toby Belch. Past question; for thou seest it will not curl by nature.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. But it becomes me well enough, does't not?
  • Sir Toby Belch. Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I
    hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs
    and spin it off. 210
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. 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 woos her.
  • Sir Toby Belch. She'll none o' the count: she'll not match above
    her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I 215
    have heard her swear't. Tut, there's life in't,
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o' the
    strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques
    and revels sometimes altogether. 220
  • Sir Toby Belch. Art thou good at these kickshawses, knight?
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the
    degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare
    with an old man.
  • Sir Toby Belch. What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight? 225
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Faith, I can cut a caper.
  • Sir Toby Belch. And I can cut the mutton to't.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. And I think I have the back-trick simply as strong
    as any man in Illyria.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have 230
    these gifts a curtain before 'em? are they like to
    take dust, like Mistress Mall's picture? why dost
    thou not go to church in a galliard and come home in
    a coranto? My very walk should be a jig; I would not
    so much as make water but in a sink-a-pace. What 235
    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 a galliard.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a
    flame-coloured stock. Shall we set about some revels? 240
  • Sir Toby Belch. What shall we do else? were we not born under Taurus?
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Taurus! That's sides and heart.
  • Sir Toby Belch. No, sir; it is legs and thighs. Let me see the
    caper; ha! higher: ha, ha! excellent!