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Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

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Act IV, Scene 2

OLIVIA’s house.


[Enter MARIA and Clown]

  • Maria. Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and this beard;
    make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate: do
    it quickly; I'll call Sir Toby the whilst.


  • Feste. Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself 2025
    in't; and I would I were the first that ever
    dissembled in such a gown. I am not tall enough to
    become the function well, nor lean enough to be
    thought a good student; but to be said an honest man
    and a good housekeeper goes as fairly as to say a 2030
    careful man and a great scholar. The competitors enter.


  • Feste. Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for, as the old hermit of
    Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily 2035
    said to a niece of King Gorboduc, 'That that is is;'
    so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for,
    what is 'that' but 'that,' and 'is' but 'is'?
  • Feste. What, ho, I say! peace in this prison! 2040
  • Feste. Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio
    the lunatic.
  • Malvolio. Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to my lady. 2045
  • Feste. Out, hyperbolical fiend! how vexest thou this man!
    talkest thou nothing but of ladies?
  • Malvolio. Sir Topas, never was man thus wronged: good Sir
    Topas, do not think I am mad: they have laid me 2050
    here in hideous darkness.
  • Feste. Fie, thou dishonest Satan! I call thee by the most
    modest terms; for I am one of those gentle ones
    that will use the devil himself with courtesy:
    sayest thou that house is dark? 2055
  • Feste. Why it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes,
    and the clearstores toward the south north are as
    lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of
    obstruction? 2060
  • Malvolio. I am not mad, Sir Topas: I say to you, this house is dark.
  • Feste. Madman, thou errest: I say, there is no darkness
    but ignorance; in which thou art more puzzled than
    the Egyptians in their fog.
  • Malvolio. I say, this house is as dark as ignorance, though 2065
    ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say, there
    was never man thus abused. I am no more mad than you
    are: make the trial of it in any constant question.
  • Feste. What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild fowl?
  • Malvolio. That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a bird. 2070
  • Feste. What thinkest thou of his opinion?
  • Malvolio. I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve his opinion.
  • Feste. Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness:
    thou shalt hold the opinion of Pythagoras ere I will
    allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a woodcock, lest 2075
    thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee well.
  • Feste. Nay, I am for all waters.
  • Maria. Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and 2080
    gown: he sees thee not.
  • Sir Toby Belch. To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how
    thou findest him: I would we were well rid of this
    knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I
    would he were, for I am now so far in offence with 2085
    my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this
    sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.


  • Feste. [Singing]
    'Hey, Robin, jolly Robin, 2090
    Tell me how thy lady does.'
  • Feste. 'My lady is unkind, perdy.'
  • Feste. 'Alas, why is she so?' 2095
  • Feste. 'She loves another'—Who calls, ha?
  • Malvolio. Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my
    hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink and paper:
    as I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to 2100
    thee for't.
  • Feste. Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?
  • Malvolio. Fool, there was never a man so notoriously abused: I 2105
    am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.
  • Feste. But as well? then you are mad indeed, if you be no
    better in your wits than a fool.
  • Malvolio. They have here propertied me; keep me in darkness,
    send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to 2110
    face me out of my wits.
  • Feste. Advise you what you say; the minister is here.
    Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore!
    endeavour thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain
    bibble babble. 2115
  • Feste. Maintain no words with him, good fellow. Who, I,
    sir? not I, sir. God be wi' you, good Sir Topas.
    Merry, amen. I will, sir, I will.
  • Feste. Alas, sir, be patient. What say you sir? I am
    shent for speaking to you.
  • Malvolio. Good fool, help me to some light and some paper: I
    tell thee, I am as well in my wits as any man in Illyria.
  • Feste. Well-a-day that you were, sir 2125
  • Malvolio. By this hand, I am. Good fool, some ink, paper and
    light; and convey what I will set down to my lady:
    it shall advantage thee more than ever the bearing
    of letter did.
  • Feste. I will help you to't. But tell me true, are you 2130
    not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit?
  • Malvolio. Believe me, I am not; I tell thee true.
  • Feste. Nay, I'll ne'er believe a madman till I see his
    brains. I will fetch you light and paper and ink.
  • Malvolio. Fool, I'll requite it in the highest degree: I 2135
    prithee, be gone.
  • Feste. [Singing]
    I am gone, sir,
    And anon, sir,
    I'll be with you again, 2140
    In a trice,
    Like to the old Vice,
    Your need to sustain;
    Who, with dagger of lath,
    In his rage and his wrath, 2145
    Cries, ah, ha! to the devil:
    Like a mad lad,
    Pare thy nails, dad;
    Adieu, good man devil.