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Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

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Act III, Scene 4

OLIVIA’s garden.


[Enter OLIVIA and MARIA]

  • Olivia. I have sent after him: he says he'll come;
    How shall I feast him? what bestow of him? 1545
    For youth is bought more oft than begg'd or borrow'd.
    I speak too loud.
    Where is Malvolio? he is sad and civil,
    And suits well for a servant with my fortunes:
    Where is Malvolio? 1550
  • Maria. He's coming, madam; but in very strange manner. He
    is, sure, possessed, madam.
  • Olivia. Why, what's the matter? does he rave?
  • Maria. No. madam, he does nothing but smile: your
    ladyship were best to have some guard about you, if 1555
    he come; for, sure, the man is tainted in's wits.
  • Olivia. Go call him hither.
    [Exit MARIA]
    I am as mad as he,
    If sad and merry madness equal be. 1560
    [Re-enter MARIA, with MALVOLIO]
    How now, Malvolio!
  • Olivia. Smilest thou?
    I sent for thee upon a sad occasion. 1565
  • 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.' 1570
  • Olivia. Why, how dost thou, man? what is the matter with thee?
  • Malvolio. Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs. It
    did come to his hands, and commands shall be
    executed: I think we do know the sweet Roman hand.
  • Olivia. Wilt thou go to bed, Malvolio? 1575
  • Malvolio. To bed! ay, sweet-heart, and I'll come to thee.
  • Olivia. God comfort thee! Why dost thou smile so and kiss
    thy hand so oft?
  • Maria. How do you, Malvolio?
  • Malvolio. At your request! yes; nightingales answer daws. 1580
  • Maria. Why appear you with this ridiculous boldness before my lady?
  • Malvolio. 'Be not afraid of greatness:' 'twas well writ.
  • Olivia. What meanest thou by that, Malvolio?
  • Malvolio. 'And some have greatness thrust upon them.'
  • Malvolio. 'Remember who commended thy yellow stockings,'— 1590
  • Olivia. Thy yellow stockings!
  • Malvolio. 'And wished to see thee cross-gartered.'
  • Malvolio. 'Go to thou art made, if thou desirest to be so;'—
  • Malvolio. 'If not, let me see thee a servant still.'
  • Olivia. Why, this is very midsummer madness.

[Enter Servant]

  • Servant. Madam, the young gentleman of the Count Orsino's is
    returned: I could hardly entreat him back: he 1600
    attends your ladyship's pleasure.
  • Olivia. I'll come to him.
    [Exit Servant]
    Good Maria, let this fellow be looked to. Where's
    my cousin Toby? Let some of my people have a special 1605
    care of him: I would not have him miscarry for the
    half of my dowry.

[Exeunt OLIVIA and MARIA]

  • Malvolio. O, ho! do you come near me now? no worse man than
    Sir Toby to look to me! This concurs directly with 1610
    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 1615
    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 1620
    thankful! And when she went away now, 'Let this
    fellow be looked to:' fellow! not Malvolio, nor
    after my degree, but fellow. Why, every thing
    adheres together, that no dram of a scruple, no
    scruple of a scruple, no obstacle, no incredulous 1625
    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.

[Re-enter MARIA, with SIR TOBY BELCH and FABIAN]

  • Sir Toby Belch. Which way is he, in the name of sanctity? If all
    the devils of hell be drawn in little, and Legion
    himself possessed him, yet I'll speak to him.
  • Fabian. Here he is, here he is. How is't with you, sir?
    how is't with you, man? 1635
  • Malvolio. Go off; I discard you: let me enjoy my private: 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 him. 1640
  • Sir Toby Belch. Go to, go to; peace, peace; we must deal gently
    with him: let me alone. How do you, Malvolio? how
    is't with you? What, man! defy the devil:
    consider, he's an enemy to mankind. 1645
  • Maria. La you, an you speak ill of the devil, how he takes
    it at heart! Pray God, he be not bewitched!
  • Fabian. Carry his water to the wise woman.
  • Maria. Marry, and it shall be done to-morrow morning, if I 1650
    live. My lady would not lose him for more than I'll say.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Prithee, hold thy peace; this is not the way: do
    you not see you move him? let me alone with him. 1655
  • Fabian. No way but gentleness; gently, gently: the fiend is
    rough, and will not be roughly used.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Ay, Biddy, come with me. What, man! 'tis not for 1660
    gravity to play at cherry-pit with Satan: hang
    him, foul collier!
  • Maria. Get him to say his prayers, good Sir Toby, get him to pray.
  • Maria. No, I warrant you, he will not hear of godliness. 1665
  • Malvolio. Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shallow
    things: I am not of your element: you shall know
    more hereafter.


  • Fabian. If this were played upon a stage now, I could
    condemn it as an improbable fiction.
  • Sir Toby Belch. His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man.
  • Maria. Nay, pursue him now, lest the device take air and taint.
  • Fabian. Why, we shall make him mad indeed. 1675
  • Maria. The house will be the quieter.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Come, we'll have him in a dark room and bound. My
    niece is already in the belief that he's mad: we
    may carry it thus, for our pleasure and his penance,
    till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt 1680
    us to have mercy on him: at which time we will
    bring the device to the bar and crown thee for a
    finder of madmen. But see, but see.


  • Fabian. More matter for a May morning. 1685
  • Sir Toby Belch. Give me. 1690
    'Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow.'
  • Sir Toby Belch. [Reads] 'Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind,
    why I do call thee so, for I will show thee no reason for't.' 1695
  • Fabian. A good note; that keeps you from the blow of the law.
  • Sir Toby Belch. [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 sense—less. 1700
  • Sir Toby Belch. [Reads] 'I will waylay thee going home; where if it
    be thy chance to kill me,'—
  • Sir Toby Belch. [Reads] 'Thou killest me like a rogue and a villain.'
  • Fabian. Still you keep o' the windy side of the law: good. 1705
  • Sir Toby Belch. [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, and thy sworn enemy,
    If this letter move him not, his legs cannot:
    I'll give't him.
  • Maria. You may have very fit occasion for't: he is now in
    some commerce with my lady, and will by and by depart.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Go, Sir Andrew: scout me for him at the corner the 1715
    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 1720
    earned him. Away!


  • Sir Toby Belch. Now will not I deliver his letter: for the behavior
    of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good 1725
    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 1730
    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 1735
    one another by the look, like cockatrices.

[Re-enter OLIVIA, with VIOLA]

  • Fabian. Here he comes with your niece: give them way till
    he take leave, and presently after him.
  • Sir Toby Belch. I will meditate the while upon some horrid message 1740
    for a challenge.


  • Olivia. I have said too much unto a heart of stone
    And laid mine honour too unchary out:
    There's something in me that reproves my fault; 1745
    But such a headstrong potent fault it is,
    That it but mocks reproof.
  • Viola. With the same 'havior that your passion bears
    Goes on my master's grief.
  • Olivia. Here, wear this jewel for me, 'tis my picture; 1750
    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 saved may upon asking give?
  • Viola. Nothing but this; your true love for my master. 1755
  • Olivia. How with mine honour may I give him that
    Which I have given to you?
  • Viola. I will acquit you.
  • Olivia. Well, come again to-morrow: fare thee well:
    A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell. 1760



  • Sir Toby Belch. That defence thou hast, betake thee to't: of what 1765
    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. 1770
  • Viola. You mistake, sir; I am sure no man hath any quarrel
    to me: my remembrance is very free and clear from
    any image of offence done to any man.
  • Sir Toby Belch. You'll find it otherwise, I assure you: therefore,
    if you hold your life at any price, betake you to 1775
    your guard; for your opposite hath in him what
    youth, strength, skill and wrath can furnish man withal.
  • Viola. I pray you, sir, what is he?
  • Sir Toby Belch. He is knight, dubbed with unhatched rapier and on
    carpet consideration; but he is a devil in private 1780
    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't.
  • Viola. I will return again into the house and desire some 1785
    conduct of the lady. I am no fighter. I have heard
    of some kind of men that put quarrels purposely on
    others, to taste their valour: belike this is a man
    of that quirk.
  • Sir Toby Belch. Sir, no; his indignation derives itself out of a 1790
    very competent injury: therefore, get you on and
    give him his desire. Back you shall not to the
    house, unless you undertake that with me which with
    as much safety you might answer him: therefore, on,
    or strip your sword stark naked; for meddle you 1795
    must, that's certain, or forswear to wear iron about you.
  • 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 purpose. 1800
  • Sir Toby Belch. I will do so. Signior Fabian, stay you by this
    gentleman till my return.


  • Viola. Pray you, sir, do you know of this matter?
  • Fabian. I know the knight is incensed against you, even to a 1805
    mortal arbitrement; but nothing of the circumstance more.
  • Viola. I beseech you, what manner of man is he?
  • 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 is, indeed, sir, the most skilful, 1810
    bloody and fatal opposite 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 1815
    had rather go with sir priest than sir knight: I
    care not who knows so much of my mettle.



  • Sir Toby Belch. Why, man, he's a very devil; I have not seen such a 1820
    firago. 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 Sophy. 1825
  • Sir Toby Belch. Ay, but he will not now be pacified: Fabian can
    scarce hold him yonder.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Plague on't, an I thought he had been valiant and so
    cunning in fence, I'ld have seen him damned ere I'ld 1830
    have challenged him. Let him let the matter slip,
    and I'll give him my horse, grey Capilet.
  • Sir Toby Belch. I'll make the motion: stand here, make a good show
    on't: this shall end without the perdition of souls.
    [Aside] 1835
    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:
    I have persuaded him the youth's a devil. 1840
  • Fabian. He is as horribly conceited of him; and pants and
    looks pale, as if a bear were at his heels.
  • Sir Toby Belch. [To VIOLA] There's no remedy, sir; he will fight
    with you for's oath sake: marry, he hath better
    bethought him of his quarrel, and he finds that now 1845
    scarce to be worth talking of: therefore draw, for
    the supportance of his vow; he protests he will not hurt you.
  • Viola. [Aside] Pray God defend me! A little thing would
    make me tell them how much I lack of a man.
  • Fabian. Give ground, if you see him furious. 1850
  • Sir Toby Belch. 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 avoid it: but he has
    promised me, as he is a gentleman and a soldier, he
    will not hurt you. Come on; to't. 1855
  • Viola. I do assure you, 'tis against my will.

[They draw]


  • Antonio. Put up your sword. If this young gentleman 1860
    Have done offence, I take the fault on me:
    If you offend him, I for him defy you.
  • Antonio. One, sir, that for his love dares yet do more
    Than you have heard him brag to you he will. 1865

[They draw]

[Enter Officers]

  • Fabian. O good Sir Toby, hold! here come the officers.
  • Viola. Pray, sir, put your sword up, if you please.
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek. 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.
  • First Officer. No, sir, no jot; I know your favour well,
    Though now you have no sea-cap on your head.
    Take him away: he knows I know him well. 1880
  • Antonio. I must obey.
    [To VIOLA]
    This comes with seeking you:
    But there's no remedy; I shall answer it.
    What will you do, now my necessity 1885
    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 amazed;
    But be of comfort.
  • Antonio. I must entreat of you some of that money.
  • Viola. What money, sir?
    For the fair kindness you have show'd me here,
    And, part, being prompted by your present trouble,
    Out of my lean and low ability 1895
    I'll lend you something: my having is not much;
    I'll make division of my present with you:
    Hold, there's half my coffer.
  • Antonio. Will you deny me now?
    Is't possible that my deserts to you 1900
    Can lack persuasion? Do not tempt my misery,
    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; 1905
    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. 1910
  • Antonio. Let me speak a little. This youth that you see here
    I snatch'd one half out of the jaws of death,
    Relieved him with such sanctity of love, 1915
    And to his image, which methought did promise
    Most venerable worth, did I devotion.
  • Antonio. But O how vile an idol proves this god
    Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame. 1920
    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.
  • First Officer. The man grows mad: away with him! Come, come, sir. 1925

[Exit with Officers]

  • Viola. Methinks his words do from such passion fly,
    That he believes himself: so do not I.
    Prove true, imagination, O, prove true, 1930
    That I, dear brother, be now ta'en for you!
  • Sir Toby Belch. Come hither, knight; come hither, Fabian: we'll
    whisper o'er a couplet or two of most sage saws.
  • Viola. He named Sebastian: I my brother know
    Yet living in my glass; even such and so 1935
    In favour was my brother, and he went
    Still in this fashion, colour, ornament,
    For him I imitate: O, if it prove,
    Tempests are kind and salt waves fresh in love.


  • Sir Toby Belch. 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.
  • Fabian. A coward, a most devout coward, religious in it. 1945
  • Fabian. Come, let's see the event.