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Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

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Act III, Scene 1

OLIVIA’s garden.


[Enter VIOLA, and Clown with a tabour]

  • Viola. Save thee, friend, and thy music: dost thou live by
    thy tabour?
  • Feste. No, sir, I live by the church.
  • Viola. Art thou a churchman?
  • Feste. No such matter, sir: I do live by the church; for 1240
    I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by
    the church.
  • Viola. So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar, if a
    beggar dwell near him; or, the church stands by thy
    tabour, if thy tabour stand by the church. 1245
  • 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!
  • Viola. Nay, that's certain; they that dally nicely with
    words may quickly make them wanton. 1250
  • Feste. I would, therefore, my sister had had no name, sir.
  • Feste. Why, sir, her name's a word; and to dally with that
    word might make my sister wanton. But indeed words
    are very rascals since bonds disgraced them. 1255
  • Feste. Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and
    words are grown so false, I am loath to prove
    reason with them.
  • Viola. I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for nothing. 1260
  • 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.
  • Viola. Art not thou the Lady Olivia's fool?
  • Feste. No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: she 1265
    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.
  • Viola. I saw thee late at the Count Orsino's. 1270
  • Feste. Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb 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.
  • Viola. Nay, an thou pass upon me, I'll no more with thee. 1275
    Hold, there's expenses for thee.
  • Feste. Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard!
  • Viola. By my troth, I'll tell thee, I am almost sick for
    [Aside] 1280
    though I would not have it grow on my chin. Is thy
    lady within?
  • Feste. Would not a pair of these have bred, sir?
  • Viola. Yes, being kept together and put to use.
  • Feste. I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to bring 1285
    a Cressida to this Troilus.
  • Viola. I understand you, sir; 'tis well begged.
  • Feste. The matter, I hope, is not great, sir, begging but
    a beggar: Cressida was a beggar. My lady is
    within, sir. I will construe to them whence you 1290
    come; who you are and what you would are out of my
    welkin, I might say 'element,' but the word is over-worn.


  • Viola. This fellow is wise enough to play the fool;
    And to do that well craves a kind of wit: 1295
    He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
    The quality of persons, and the time,
    And, like the haggard, cheque at every feather
    That comes before his eye. This is a practise
    As full of labour as a wise man's art 1300
    For folly that he wisely shows is fit;
    But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.


  • Viola. And you, sir. 1305
  • Viola. Et vous aussi; votre serviteur.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Will you encounter the house? my niece is desirous
    you should enter, if your trade be to her. 1310
  • Viola. I am bound to your niece, sir; I mean, she is the
    list of my voyage.
  • Viola. My legs do better understand me, sir, than I
    understand what you mean by bidding me taste my legs. 1315
  • Viola. I will answer you with gait and entrance. But we
    are prevented.
    [Enter OLIVIA and MARIA]
    Most excellent accomplished lady, the heavens rain 1320
    odours on you!
  • Viola. My matter hath no voice, to your own most pregnant
    and vouchsafed ear.
  • Olivia. Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my hearing.
    Give me your hand, sir.
  • Viola. My duty, madam, and most humble service. 1330
  • Viola. Cesario is your servant's name, fair princess.
  • Olivia. My servant, sir! 'Twas never merry world
    Since lowly feigning was call'd compliment:
    You're servant to the Count Orsino, youth. 1335
  • Viola. And he is yours, and his must needs be yours:
    Your servant's servant is your servant, madam.
  • Olivia. For him, I think not on him: for his thoughts,
    Would they were blanks, rather than fill'd with me!
  • Viola. Madam, I come to whet your gentle thoughts 1340
    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 1345
    Than music from the spheres.
  • Olivia. Give me leave, beseech you. I did send,
    After the last enchantment you did here,
    A ring in chase of you: so did I abuse 1350
    Myself, my servant and, I fear me, you:
    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 think?
    Have you not set mine honour at the stake
    And baited it with all the unmuzzled thoughts 1355
    That tyrannous heart can think? To one of your receiving
    Enough is shown: a cypress, not a bosom,
    Hideth my heart. So, let me hear you speak.
  • Olivia. That's a degree to love. 1360
  • Viola. No, not a grize; for 'tis a vulgar proof,
    That very oft we pity enemies.
  • Olivia. Why, then, methinks 'tis time to smile again.
    O, world, how apt the poor are to be proud!
    If one should be a prey, how much the better 1365
    To fall before the lion than the wolf!
    [Clock strikes]
    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, 1370
    Your were is alike to reap a proper man:
    There lies your way, due west.
  • Viola. Then westward-ho! Grace and good disposition
    Attend your ladyship!
    You'll nothing, madam, to my lord by me? 1375
  • Olivia. Stay:
    I prithee, tell me what thou thinkest of me.
  • Viola. That you do think you are not what you are.
  • Olivia. If I think so, I think the same of you.
  • Viola. Then think you right: I am not what I am. 1380
  • Olivia. I would you were as I would have you be!
  • Viola. Would it be better, madam, than I am?
    I wish it might, for now I am your fool.
  • Olivia. O, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
    In the contempt and anger of his lip! 1385
    A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
    Than love that would seem hid: love's night is noon.
    Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
    By maidhood, honour, truth and every thing,
    I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, 1390
    Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
    Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
    For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause,
    But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
    Love sought is good, but given unsought better. 1395
  • Viola. By innocence I swear, and by my youth
    I have one heart, one bosom and one truth,
    And that no woman has; nor never none
    Shall mistress be of it, save I alone.
    And so adieu, good madam: never more 1400
    Will I my master's tears to you deplore.
  • Olivia. Yet come again; for thou perhaps mayst move
    That heart, which now abhors, to like his love.