54 Twelfth Night: Act 1

William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night (Modern). Internet Shakespeare Editions. University of Victoria. Editors: David Carnegie and Mark Houlahan.

Scene 1

[Music.][1] Enter DUKE ORSINO, CURIO, and other Lords.[2]

If music be the food of love,[3] play on,[4]
Give me excess[5] of it, that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
[To the Musicians][6] That strain again! It had a dying fall[7];
Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound[8]
10That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing, and giving odor. [To the Musicians] Enough, no more.
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh[9] art thou,
That notwithstanding thy capacity
15Receiveth[10] as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch[11] soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price[12]
Even in a minute. So full of shapes is fancy,
That it alone is high fantastical.

Will you go hunt, my Lord?

What, Curio?

The hart.[13]

Why so I do, the noblest[14] that I have.
O when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
25Methought she purged the air of pestilence;[15]
That instant was I turned into a hart,
And my desires, like fell[16] and cruel hounds,
E’er since pursue me.[17]
Enter Valentine.[18]
How now,[19] what news from her?

So please my lord, I might not be admitted,[20]
But from her handmaid do return this answer:
The element[21] itself, till seven years’ heat,[22]
Shall not behold her face at ample[23] view;
But like a cloistress[24] she will veilèd walk,
35And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine[25]–all this to season[26]
A brother’s dead love,[27] which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance.[28]

O she that hath a heart of that fine frame
40To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft[29]
Hath killed the flock of all affections else[30]
That live in her–when liver, brain, and heart,[31]
These sovereign thrones, are all supplied,[32] and filled
45Her sweet perfections,[33] with one self king!
Away before me, to sweet beds of flowers;
Love-thoughts lie rich, when canopied with bowers.[34]

Scene 2

50Enter Viola, a Captain, and Sailors [as from a shipwreck].[35]

What country, friends, is this?

This is Illyria,[36] lady.

And what should I do in Illyria?
My brother he is in Elysium.[37]
55Perchance[38] he is not drowned–what think you, sailors?

It is perchance[39] that you yourself were saved.

Oh, my poor brother! And so perchance[40] may he be.

True, madam, and to comfort you with chance,[41]
Assure your self, after our ship did split,
60When you, and those poor number saved with you,
Hung on our driving[42] boat,[43] I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself–
Courage and hope both teaching him the practice–
To a strong mast, that lived[44] upon the sea;
65Where, like Arion[45] on the dolphin’s back,
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I could see.

[Giving him gold] For saying so, there’s gold.[46]
Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
70Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
The like of him.[47] Know’st thou this country?[48]

Ay,[49] madam, well, for I was bred and born
Not three hours’ travel from this very place.

Who governs here?

A noble duke, in nature as in name.

What is his name?


Orsino! I have heard my father name him.
He was a bachelor then.

And so is now, or was so very late;[50]
For but a month ago I went from hence,
And then ’twas fresh in murmur[51] (as you know,
What great ones do, the less will prattle of)
That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.

What’s she?

A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her
In the protection of his son, her brother,
Who shortly also died;[52] for whose dear love,
90They say, she hath abjured the sight
And company of men.

Oh, that I served that lady,
And might not be delivered to the world
Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
95What my estate is![53]

That were hard to compass,[54]
Because she will admit no kind of suit,[55]
No, not the duke’s.

There is a fair behavior in thee, Captain;
100And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution,[56] yet of thee
I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.[57]
I prithee–and I’ll pay thee bounteously–
105Conceal me what I am,[58] and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent.[59] I’ll serve this duke.
Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him–
It may be worth thy pains, for I can sing,[60]
110And speak[61] to him in many sorts[62] of music,
That will allow me very worth[63] his service.
What else may hap,[64] to time I will commit,
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.[65]

Be you his eunuch, and your mute[66] I’ll be;
115When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.

I thank thee. Lead me on.

Scene 3

Enter Sir Toby [booted][67], and Maria [with a light].[68]

Sir Toby
120What a plague[69] means my niece[70] to take the death of her brother thus! I am
sure care’s an enemy to life.

By my troth[71], Sir Toby, you must come in earlier a-nights.[72] Your cousin, my
lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.

125Sir Toby
Why let her except, before excepted.[73]

Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest[74] limits of order.

Sir Toby
Confine? I’ll confine myself no finer[75] than I am! These clothes are good
130enough to drink in, and so be
these boots too; an[76] they be not, let them hang
themselves in their own straps.[77]

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.

135Sir Toby
Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?

Ay, he.

Sir Toby
He’s as tall[78] a man as any’s in Illyria.

What’s that to th’purpose?

Sir Toby
Why, he has three thousand ducats[79] a year.

Ay, but he’ll have but a year[80] in all these ducats. He’s a very[81] fool, and a

Sir Toby
Fie that you’ll say so! He plays o’th’viol-de-gamboys[82], and speaks three or
four languages word for word without book[83], and hath all the good gifts of

He hath indeed, all most natural.[84] For besides that he’s a fool, he’s a great
quarreler; and but that he hath the gift[85] of a coward, to allay the gust[86] he hath
in quarreling, ’tis thought among the prudent he would quickly have the gift
of a grave.

150Sir Toby
By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors[87] that say so of him. Who
are they?

They that add, moreover, he’s drunk nightly in your company.

Sir Toby
155With drinking healths to my niece! I’ll drink to her as long as there is a
passage in my throat, and drink in Illyria. He’s a coward and a coistrel[88] that
will not drink to my niece till his brains turn o’th’toe, like a parish top.[89]
160Enter Sir Andrew.[90]
158.1What, wench![91] Castiliano vulgo[92]; for here comes Sir Andrew Agueface[93].

Sir Andrew
Sir Toby Belch! How now, Sir Toby Belch!

Sir Toby
Sweet Sir Andrew!

Sir Andrew
Bless you, fair shrew[94].

And you too, sir.

165Sir Toby
Accost[95], Sir Andrew, accost!

Sir Andrew
What’s that?

Sir Toby
My niece’s chambermaid.[96]

Sir Andrew
Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.

My name is Mary, sir.

170Sir Andrew
Good Mistress Mary Accost–

Sir Toby
[Aside[97] to Sir Andrew] You mistake, knight. “Accost” is front[98] her, board[99] her,
woo her, assail[100] her.

Sir Andrew
[Aside to Sir Toby, indicating audience] By my troth, I would not undertake[101]
her in this company[102]. Is that the meaning of “accost”?

Fare you well, gentlemen.

Sir Toby
[Aside to Sir Andrew] An thou let part so[103], Sir Andrew, would thou
might’st never draw sword[104] again.

Sir Andrew
An you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again! Fair lady,
180do you think you have fools in hand?[105]

Sir, I have not you by th’hand.

Sir Andrew
Marry[106], but you shall have, and here’s my hand.

[Taking his hand] Now sir, thought is free[107]. I pray you, bring your hand to
th’buttery bar, and let it drink[108].

185Sir Andrew
Wherefore[109], sweetheart? What’s your metaphor?

It’s dry,[110] sir.

Sir Andrew
Why, I think so. I am not such an ass but I can keep my hand dry[111]. But what’s
your jest?

A dry jest[112], sir.

Sir Andrew
Are you full of them?

Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers’ ends[113]. [Letting go his hand] Marry, now I
let go your hand, I am barren[114].
Exit Maria.

Sir Toby
195O knight, thou lack’st[115] a cup of canary[116]. [Pouring wine] When did I see thee
so put down?[117]

Sir Andrew
Never in your life, I think, unless you see canary put me down. Methinks
sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian[118] or an ordinary man[119] has. But I
200am a great eater of beef[120], and I believe that does harm to my wit.

Sir Toby
No question.

Sir Andrew
An I thought that, I’d forswear it. I’ll ride home tomorrow, Sir Toby.

Sir Toby
Pourquoi[121], my dear knight?

205Sir Andrew
What is pourquoi? “Do,” or “not do”? I would I had bestowed that time in
the tongues[122] that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting. O had I but
followed the arts!

Sir Toby
Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.

210Sir Andrew
Why, would that have mended my hair?

Sir Toby
Past question, for thou see’st it will not curl by nature[123].

Sir Andrew
But it becomes me well enough, dost not?

Sir Toby
Excellent! It hangs like flax on a distaff[124]; and I hope to see a housewife take
thee between her legs, and spin[125] it off.

215Sir Andrew
Faith, I’ll home tomorrow, Sir Toby. Your niece will not be seen, or if she be,
it’s four to one she’ll none of me[126]. The count[127] himself here hard by woos her.

Sir Toby
She’ll none o’th’count. She’ll not match above her degree, neither in estate,
220years[128], nor wit; I have heard her swear’t. Tut, there’s life in’t, man.

Sir Andrew
I’ll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o’th’ strangest mind i’th’world. I
delight in masques and revels[129] sometimes altogether.

Sir Toby
Art thou good at these kickshawses[130], knight?

225Sir Andrew
As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters[131]; and
yet I will not compare with an old man[132].

Sir Toby
What is thy excellence in a galliard[133], knight?

Sir Andrew
Faith, I can cut a caper[134].
[He dances.]

230Sir Toby
And I can cut the mutton[135] to it.

Sir Andrew
And I think I have the back-trick[136] simply as strong as any man in Illyria.
[He demonstrates.]

Sir Toby
Wherefore are these things hid? Wherefore have these gifts a curtain before
235’em? Are they like to take dust, like Mistress Moll’s picture?[137] Why dost thou
not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto[138]? My very walk
should be a jig[139]; I would not so much as make water but in a cinquepace[140]!
240What 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.[141]

Sir Andrew
Ay, ’tis strong, and it does indifferent[142] well in a flame-colored[143] stock. Shall we
set about some revels?

Sir Toby
245What shall we do else? Were we not born under Taurus!

Sir Andrew
Taurus?[144] That’s sides and heart.

Sir Toby
No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper.
[Sir Andrew dances.]
Ha, higher! Ha, ha, excellent!

Scene 4

250Enter Valentine, and Viola in man’s attire[145] [as Cesario].

If the Duke continue these favors towards you, Cesario, you are like to be
much advanced. He hath known you but three days[146], and already you are no

255You either fear his humor[147], or my negligence, that you call in question the
continuance of his love. Is he inconstant, sir, in his favors?

No, believe me.
Enter Orsino, Curio, and Attendants.

I thank you. Here comes the count[148].

Who saw Cesario, ho?

On your attendance, my lord, here.

[To the Courtiers] Stand you awhile aloof. [All but Viola stand apart.]
Thou know’st no less but all; I have unclasped
To thee the book even of my secret soul.
Therefore, good youth, address thy gait[149] unto her,
265Be not denied access[150], stand at her doors,
And tell them, there thy fixèd foot shall grow[151]
Till thou have audience.

Sure, my noble lord,
If she be so abandoned to her sorrow
270As it is spoke, she never will admit me.

Be clamorous, and leap all civil bounds,[152]
Rather than make unprofited return.

Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?

O then unfold the passion of my love,
275Surprise[153] her with discourse of my dear[154] faith;
It shall become thee well to act my woes,
She will attend[155] it better in thy youth,
Than in a nuncio’s[156] [Indicating Valentine] of more grave aspect[157].

I think not so, my lord.

Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years[158]
That say thou art a man. Diana’s lip
Is not more smooth, and rubious[159]; thy small pipe[160]
Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill, and sound[161];
285And all is semblative[162] a woman’s part[163].
I know thy constellation[164] is right apt
For this affair. [To the Courtiers] Some four or five attend him–
All if you will, for I myself am best
When least in company. Prosper well in this,
290And thou shalt live as freely as thy lord
To call his fortunes thine[165].

I’ll do my best
To woo your lady.
[Exit Orsino.]
[To the audience] Yet a barful strife[166];
Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.
Exeunt [Viola, Courtiers, and Attendants].

Scene 5

Enter Maria, and Clown[167].

Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so wide
as a bristle may enter, in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee[168] for thy

Let her hang me; he that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colors[169].

Make that good.[170]

He shall see none to fear!

305A good lenten[171] answer. I can tell thee where that saying was born, of “I fear
no colors.”

Where, good Mistress Mary?

In the wars[172]; and that may you be bold to say in your foolery.

310Well, God give them wisdom that have it[173]; and those that are fools, let them
use their talents[174].

Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent; or to be turned away[175]–is not
that as good as a hanging to you?

315Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage; and for turning away, let
summer bear it out[176].

You are resolute, then?

Not so neither, but I am resolved on two points[177]

That if one break, the other will hold; or if both break, your gaskins[178] fall!

Apt in good faith, very apt. Well, go thy way[179]; if Sir Toby would leave
drinking, thou wert as witty a piece of Eve’s flesh[180] as any in Illyria.

325Peace,[181] you rogue, no more o’that!
Enter Lady Olivia, with Malvolio [and Gentlemen] [and Ladies][182].
Here comes my lady. Make your excuse wisely, you were best.

[To the audience] Wit[183], an’t be thy will, put me into good fooling! Those wits
that think they have thee, do very oft prove fools; and I, that am sure I lack
thee, may pass for a wise man. For what says Quinapalus?[184] “Better a witty
330fool, than a foolish wit.” [To Olivia] God bless thee, lady!

[To the Gentlemen] Take the fool away.

Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the lady.

Go to[185], y’are a dry[186] fool; I’ll no more of you. Besides, you grow dishonest[187].

Two faults, madonna[188], that drink and good counsel will amend: for give the
dry fool drink, then is the fool not dry. Bid the dishonest man mend himself[189]:
if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he cannot, let the botcher mend him.
340Anything that’s mended is but patched[190]; virtue that transgresses is but
patched with sin, and sin that amends is but patched with virtue. If that this
simple syllogism[191] will serve, so; if it will not, what remedy? As there is no
true cuckold but calamity, so beauty’s a flower. The lady bade[192] take away the
345fool,[193] therefore I say again, take her away.

Sir, I bade them take away you.

Misprision[194] in the highest degree! Lady, cucullus non facit monachum[195]–that’s
as much to say, as “I wear not motley[196] in my brain.” Good madonna, give me
350leave to prove you a fool.

Can you do it?

Dexteriously[197], good madonna.

Make your proof.

355I must catechize[198] you for it, madonna. Good my mouse of virtue[199], answer me.

Well sir, for want of other idleness[200], I’ll bide[201] your proof.

Good madonna, why mourn’st thou?

Good fool, for my brother’s death.

I think his soul is in hell, madonna.

I know his soul is in heaven, fool.

The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul, being in heaven.
[To the Gentlemen] Take away the fool, gentlemen.

What think you of this fool, Malvolio? Doth he not mend?[202]

Yes,[203] and shall do, till the pangs of death shake him: infirmity, that decays
the wise, doth ever make the better fool.

God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the better increasing your folly: Sir
Toby will be sworn that I am no fox[204], but he will not pass[205] his word for
twopence[206] that you are no fool.

How say you to that, Malvolio?

I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren[207] rascal. I saw him put
down[208] the other day with an ordinary[209] fool, that has no more brain than a
stone[210]. Look you now, he’s out of his guard[211] already. Unless you laugh and
380minister occasion[212] to him, he is gagged. I protest I take these wise men[213], that
crow[214] so at these set[215] kind of fools, no better than the fools’ zanies[216].

Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered[217]
appetite. To be generous, guiltless, and of free disposition[218], is to take those
385things for bird-bolts[219] that you deem cannon bullets. There is no slander in an
allowed[220] fool, though he do nothing but rail; nor no railing in a known
discreet man[221], though he do nothing but reprove.

390Now Mercury endue thee with leasing[222], for thou speak’st well of fools.
Enter Maria.

Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman much desires to speak with you.

From the Count Orsino, is it?

I know not, madam. ‘Tis a fair young man, and well attended[223].

Who of my people hold him in delay?

Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.

400Fetch him off, I pray you, he speaks nothing but madman[224]. Fie on him!
[Exit Maria.]
Go you, Malvolio; if it be a suit from the count, I am sick, or not at home.
What you will, to dismiss it.
Exit Malvolio.
Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old[225], and people dislike it.

Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest son should be a fool;
whose skull Jove cram with brains, for–
Enter Sir Toby [drunk].
here he comes–[226] one of thy kin has a most weak pia mater[227].

410By mine honor, half drunk. What is he at the gate, cousin?[228]

Sir Toby
A gentleman.

A gentleman? What gentleman?

Sir Toby
‘Tis a gentleman here–[belching] a plague o’these pickle herring[229]! [To
Clown] How now, sot[230]!

Good Sir Toby!

Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy[231]?

Sir Toby
Lechery? I defy lechery! There’s one at the gate.

Ay, marry, what is he?

Sir Toby
Let him be the devil an he will, I care not; give me faith, say I. Well, it’s all

What’s a drunken man like, fool?

425Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman: one draught[233] above heat[234] makes
him a fool, the second mads him, and a third drowns him.

Go thou and seek the coroner, and let him sit[235] o’my coz, for he’s in the third
degree of drink: he’s drowned. Go look after him.

He is but mad yet, madonna, and the fool shall look to the madman.
Enter Malvolio.

Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with you. I told him you
435were sick; he takes on him to understand so much, and therefore comes to
speak with you. I told him you were asleep; he seems to have a
foreknowledge of that too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is
to be said to him, lady? He’s fortified against any denial.

Tell him he shall not[236] speak with me.

He has been told so; and he says he’ll stand at your door like a sheriff’s post[237],
and be the supporter[238] to a bench, but he’ll speak with you.

What kind o’man is he?

Why, of mankind[239].

What manner of man?

Of very ill manner: he’ll speak with you, will you or no.

Of what personage and years is he?

Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy: as a squash[240] is
before ’tis a peascod, or a codling[241] when ’tis almost an apple. ‘Tis with him in
standing water[242] between boy and man. He is very well-favored[243], and he
455speaks very shrewishly[244]; one would think his mother’s milk were scarce out
of him.

Let him approach.[245] Call in my gentlewoman.

[Calling offstage] Gentlewoman, my lady calls.
Enter Maria.

Give me my veil. Come, throw it o’er my face.
[She is veiled.]
460We’ll once more hear Orsino’s embassy.
Enter Viola[246] [as Cesario].

The honorable lady of the house, which is she?[247]

Speak to me, I shall answer for her[248]. Your will?

465Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty–[To Maria or a
Gentleman][249] I pray you tell me if this be the lady of the house, for I never
saw her. I would be loath to cast away my speech; for besides that it is
excellently well penned[250], I have taken great pains to con[251] it. [Olivia and
others laugh.] Good beauties[252], let me sustain[253] no scorn; I am very comptible,
470even to the least sinister usage[254].

Whence came you, sir?

I can say little more than I have studied, and that question’s out of my part[255].
Good gentle one, give me modest[256] assurance if you be the lady of the house,
475that I may proceed in my speech.

Are you a comedian?[257]

No, my profound heart[258]; and yet–by the very fangs of malice I swear–I am
not that[259] I play[260]. Are you the lady of the house?

If I do not usurp myself, I am.

Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp[261] yourself, for what is yours to
bestow is not yours to reserve[262]. But this is from my commission[263]. I will on
485with my speech in your praise, and then show you the heart of my message.

Come to what is important in’t, I forgive you[264] the praise.

Alas, I took great pains to study it, and ’tis poetical.

It is the more like to be feigned[265], I pray you keep it in. I heard you were
saucy at my gates, and allowed your approach rather to wonder at you, than
to hear you. If you be not mad[266], be gone. If you have reason, be brief. ‘Tis not
495that time of moon[267] with me to make one in so skipping[268] a dialogue.

Will you hoist sail[269], sir? Here lies your way.

[To Maria] No, good swabber[270], I am to hull[271] here a little longer. [To Olivia]
Some mollification for your Giant[272], sweet lady! Tell me your mind, I am a

Sure you have some hideous matter to deliver, when the courtesy of it is so
fearful[274]. Speak your office.

It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture[275] of war, no taxation of
homage[276]. I hold the olive[277] in my hand. My words are as full of peace as

Yet you began rudely. What are you? What would you?

The rudeness that hath appeared in me, have I learned from my
entertainment[279]. What I am, and what I would, are as secret as maidenhead[280]: to
510your ears, divinity[281]; to any others’, profanation.

Give us the place alone; we will hear this divinity.
[Exeunt Maria, Gentlemen, and Ladies.]
Now sir, what is your text?[282]

Most sweet lady–

515A comfortable[283] doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lies your text?

In Orsino’s bosom.

In his bosom! In what chapter[284] of his bosom?

To answer by the method[285], in the first[286] of his heart.

520O, I have read it. It is heresy. Have you no more to say?

Good madam, let me see your face.

Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? You
are now out of your text[287]. But we will draw the curtain[288], and show you the
[She unveils.]
525Look you, sir, such a one I was this present[289]. Is’t not well done?

Excellently done, if god did all[290].

‘Tis in grain[291], sir, ’twill endure wind and weather.

‘Tis beauty truly blent[292], whose red and white
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive
If you will lead these graces to the grave,
And leave the world no copy[293].

O sir, I will not be so hardhearted. I will give out divers schedules[294] of my
beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every particle and utensil labeled to my
will[295]: as, item[296], [Indicating] two lips, indifferent[297] red; item, two grey eyes,
540with lids to them; item, one neck; one chin; and so forth. Were you sent
hither to praise[298] me?

I see you what you are, you are too proud;
But if you were the devil[299], you are fair.
My lord and master loves you. O, such love
Could be but recompensed[300], though you were crowned
545The nonpareil[301] of beauty.

How does he love me?[302]

With adorations, fertile[303] tears,[304]
With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

Your lord does know my mind, I cannot love him.
550Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
In voices well divulged[305], free[306], learn’d, and valiant,
And in dimension, and the shape of nature,[307]
A gracious[308] person. But yet I cannot love him.
555He might have took his answer long ago.

If I did love you in my master’s flame[309],
With such a suff’ring, such a deadly[310] life,
In your denial I would find no sense;
I would not understand it.

Why, what would you?

Make me a willow[311] cabin at your gate,
And call upon my soul[312] within the house;
Write loyal cantos[313] of contemnèd love,
And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
565Hallow[314] your name to the reverberate[315] hills,
And make the babbling gossip[316] of the air
Cry out “Olivia!” O you should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me.

You might do much!
What is your parentage?[317]

Above my fortunes, yet my state[318] is well:
I am a gentleman.

Get you to your lord.[319]
575I cannot love him. Let him send no more,
Unless, perchance, you come to me again,
To tell me how he takes it. Fare you well.
[Offering a purse] I thank you for your pains. Spend this for me.

I am no fee’d post[320], lady; keep your purse.
580My master, not myself, lacks recompense.
Love[321] make his heart of flint, that you shall love,
And let your fervor, like my master’s, be
Placed in contempt. Farwell, fair cruelty.

“What is your parentage?”
585“Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
I am a gentleman.” I’ll be sworn thou[322] art!
Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions, and spirit,
Do give thee five-fold blazon[323]. Not too fast! Soft, soft[324]!
Unless the master were the man.[325] How now!
590Even so quickly may one catch the plague?
Methinks I feel this youth’s perfections[326]
With an invisible and subtle stealth
To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.
[Calling] What ho, Malvolio!
595Enter Malvolio.

Here, madam, at your service.

Run after that same peevish[327] messenger,
The county’s[328] man. He left this ring[329] behind him,
[Having secretly taken a ring from her finger, she gives it to Malvolio.]
Would I[330] or not. Tell him I’ll none of it.
600Desire him not to flatter with[331] his lord,
Nor hold him up with hopes; I am not for him.
If that the youth will come this way tomorrow,
I’ll give him reasons for’t. Hie thee[332], Malvolio.

Madam, I will.

[To the audience] I do I know not what, and fear to find
Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind.[333]
Fate, show thy force, ourselves we do not owe[334];
What is decreed must be; and be this so.[335]

  1. The musicians may enter onto the stage as a preliminary part of Duke Orsino's retinue. If the musicians form part of Orsino's court they are characters in the play. But they may be the regular theater musicians. At the Globe they might have been revealed by the drawing of a curtain that usually concealed them.
  2. The effect of the courtly music will be confirmed by the entry of richly costumed courtiers. It is unlikely that a ducal state (i.e. a canopied throne) would be placed on the otherwise bare stage, since Orsino is not holding court, but the deference of the "Lords" will establish his preeminence, as will his costume.
  3. The musicians have been playing, probably on viols, "music, moody food / Of us that trade in love" (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.5.1-2, TLN 1025-1026).
  4. Possibly a command to the musicians. If the musicians are on stage this is likely to be addressed to them, especially if they stopped playing after Orsino's entry. He may address them again at TLN 8 and almost certainly at TLN 11.
  5. Although the literal meaning may be that love's appetite for music can, by overfeeding, be satisfied, the clear poetic sense is that Orsino wishes, by over-indulgence in music, to eliminate the pain of love. His comments on "appetite" and "surfeit" at TLN 984-986 are in ironic contrast to this speech.
  6. Orsino seems to exemplify the comic capriciousness of lovers by first telling the musicians to play a musical phrase again, then at TLN 11 stopping them altogether. A second level of comedy will operate if these are not characters in the play, but the theater's musicians (see note to TLN 2), since Orsino would in effect step out of the fictional narrative for a moment. But possibly he simply comments on a musical repeat.
  7. A musical phrase dropping to its resolution or cadence.
  8. I.e. of the gentle wind which distributes the scent of the violets.
  9. Lively and eager.
  10. Swallows.
  11. Value. "Pitch," a technical term from falconry meaning the highest point of flight, is an appropriately aristocratic metaphor for Orsino to use.
  12. Continuing his metaphor of appetite, Orsino says, as at TLN 987-988, that love is "all as hungry as the sea, / And can digest as much," but however excellent the thing love swallows ("receiveth"), it quickly loses its value in the eyes of a never-satisfied lover.
  13. Stag.
  14. I.e. noblest heart, punning on "hart."
  15. Plague.
  16. Savage.
  17. Orsino draws on Ovid's Metamorphoses (one of Shakespeare's favorite sources); having said that he hunts a heart/hart (TLN 23 {1.1.18}), he now imagines himself the quarry, like Actaeon, who was transformed to a stag (hart) by the goddess Diana (whom he spied bathing naked, and was enamored of) and torn apart by his own savage ("fell", TLN 27 {1.1.22}) hounds. Orsino is consciously using Actaeon as an allegory, but is unconscious of the irony that Olivia will indeed turn out to be an inappropriate object of his passion. Sixteenth-century paintings and woodcuts often depict Orsino's metamorphosis is in process: his human legs are visible, but his hunting hounds already attacking the upper half of his body, a hart, as Diana and her nymphs look on.
  18. "To enter booted is to imply a recently completed journey or one about to be undertaken and by extension to suggest weariness or haste" (Alan C Dessen and Leslie Thomson, A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama 1580–1642 [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], under "booted"; see also "riding" and "spurs"). Valentine’s function in 1.1 as a returning messenger would thus be reinforced if he enters in haste, booted and spurred, and perhaps wearing a riding cloak. So would a sense of both the geographical and emotional distance between the two households, far enough that it may be regarded as riding distance (although not incompatible with Viola apparently being on foot in 2.2). If Orsino were also wearing boots, dressed to "go hunt" (TLN 20 {1.1.16}), his failure to do so would reinforce a sense of love overwhelming his usual habits and determination; on the other hand, if he first wears boots and spurs only when he arrives at Olivia's in 5.1, the change would reinforce for the audience a metaphorical sense of movement and development in the character, and help prepare for the transfer of his affections from Olivia to Viola.
  19. Abbreviation of "how is it now?" This interjection suggests sudden energy from Orsino, who has evidently been waiting.
  20. Sometimes in production Valentine is clearly still surprised at Olivia's response, which he must now report.
  21. Here, the air (or sky), one of the "four elements" (TLN 709), and also an apparently fashionable (or "overworn") word; compare TLN 1646 and TLN 1270.
  22. Summer (i.e. the heat of the seven summers).
  23. Full, complete.
  24. Nun (cloistered from the world and the sun).
  25. Stinging tears.
  26. Preserve (in "brine").
  27. (a) the love her dead brother bore her, and/or (b) her love for her dead brother.
  28. The meter requires the old pronunciation "rememberance."
  29. Cupid's arrow of love (his lead-tipped arrow caused aversion).
  30. Other feelings.
  31. Three governing organs (which also control attributes of love: desire, reason, and emotion).
  32. Occupied.
  33. Her perfections are made complete. Punctuation and meaning are much debated. Orsino continues his praise for how Olivia will love once she is married to him; the belief that "woman receiveth perfection [= completion] by the man" (Aristotle) is significant in the play's attitude to marriage.
  34. Orsino may well, as last on the stage, share the second line of the couplet with the audience rather than his courtiers.
  35. Perhaps wet. The Elizabethan stage had standard ways of indicating shipwreck by creating storm noise, sometimes lightning, and having actors enter wet. This group has escaped by boat, and Viola, at least, has sufficient money (see TLN 68 and TLN 104), so they are not utterly destitute (as in, e.g., the Branagh film).
  36. East of the Adriatic Sea, particularly what is now the Dalmatian coast; Croatia and Bosnia. The Captain's information that they have been shipwrecked in Illyria (TLN 52 {1.2.2}) seems to leave Viola at a loss. Various suppositions have been made about what images an Elizabethan audience in England might have had of the land to the east of the Adriatic Sea, what we now call Dalmatia or Croatia: a dangerous place renowned for pirates ("Notable pirate, thou salt-water thief" is Orsino's abuse of Antonio at TLN 2220 {5.1.67}); a literary setting from romance tales or the Metamorphoses where those thought drowned at sea may miraculously be saved; or simply a far-off place of the imagination, a bit like the sea coast of Bohemia in The Winter's Tale. What is important to Viola is that it is unknown, and that she has here lost her brother.Historically, Illyricum (to use the Latin name) had been in use since classical Greek times, and was well known to Renaissance cartographers (e.g., Mercator, 1578, Ortelius, 1588, and Girolamo Porro, 1598) and readers as identifying the Roman province covering most of the Balkans north of Greece, and often appearing in more recent maps to designate part or all of the territories on the eastern coast and a good distance inland of the Adriatic Sea from Macedonia almost to Venice, which controlled the coastal region (hence the Italian names in the play, despite the very English local color).
  37. The classical heaven. Similarity of sound to "Illyria" emphasizes Viola's sense of the contrast of places.
  38. Perhaps (see note to TLN 57).
  39. By chance (see note to TLN 55)
  40. (a) perhaps, and (b) by chance. "Viola uses the term to mean 'perhaps,' the Captain uses it to mean 'by chance,' and Viola then plays upon both senses" (Donno). See also note to TLN 58.
  41. Possibility. The fourth use of "chance" in as many lines lightens the mood, and leads directly to Viola's increased optimism from TLN 68.
  42. Driven (by the wind), drifting.
  43. I.e. the ship's boat.
  44. Remained afloat (a nautical term).
  45. A classical poet and musician reputed to have been rescued, after jumping overboard to escape murder, by a dolphin charmed with his music.
  46. A valuable coin, or just possibly a piece of jewellery.
  47. My escape opens the hope, supported by your account, that he too has escaped.
  48. Both Viola and the audience need this information. Equally important, Viola now puts aside her grief and faces the unknown with energy.
  49. Pronounced, as spelled in Folio, "I" (sounds like "eye").
  50. Recently.
  51. Rumor.
  52. In the Armfield film, Viola sighs in sympathy for another woman who has lost a brother. This my be the intention of the text's "Oh" at TLN 92.
  53. The "occasion" (business) which is not yet mature ("mellow") includes a need to confirm her status ("estate") before she is, as it were, born ("delivered") into the public world. Viola needs to know if she still has a brother as head of her family. Many editors gloss more simply as "I wish that my position ('estate') should not become known until the time is ripe" (Donno) without addressing the complexity of Viola's "estate".
  54. Accomplish.
  55. Petition.
  56. Concern about a fair outside concealing a corrupted interior is a common Renaissance preoccupation. Compare TLN 1889-1890, TLN 2287.
  57. Appearance.
  58. Conceal the fact that I am a woman.
  59. As may chance to suit the shape of my plan.
  60. Male singers were sometimes castrated before puberty to retain a soprano voice. No further reference is made to this disguise; Viola enters Orsino's service as a page boy, with youth taken to explain her "small pipe . . . shrill and sound" (TLN 283-284).
  61. Figurative use for singing or playing an instrument.
  62. Kinds (possibly indicating instrumental as well as songs).
  63. Which will prove me worthy of.
  64. Happen, occur by chance. In production Viola sometimes speaks this line direct to the audience to emphasize the role of time and fate.
  65. (a) stratagem, (b) intelligence, ingenuity.
  66. (a) dumb servant in a Turkish court, sometimes attending eunuchs, (b) a silent extra in the theatre.
  67. A clear sign on the Elizabethan stage that Sir Toby has just arrived home by horse (cf. TLN 129-131 and note to TLN 29). Sir Toby may well be wearing a riding cloak as well. His drinking haunts are evidently widespread.
  68. This scene seems to be at night; cf. TLN 122-123. At the Globe this night scene (see previous note) would need various characters to carry candles, lanterns or torches to signal the fact at an outdoor afternoon performance.
  69. i.e. what in the name of the plague (a mild oath).
  70. i.e. young kinswoman. Cf. "cousin" at TLN 123.
  71. By my faith (a very mild oath).
  72. Of a night, at night.
  73. Excepting those things previously named to be excepted. Sir Toby uses the legal phrase to evade and deliberately misunderstand Olivia's displeasure ("exceptions").
  74. Moderate.
  75. Sir Toby slides from "confine" as "keeping within limits" to being confined by "finer" clothing. "Fine" can mean both slender and elegant.
  76. If.
  77. Looped bands of leather or cloth attached to the top of boots to draw them on. Perhaps the loop suggests a noose to Sir Toby; hence "hang." In production Maria is sometimes pulling off his boots at this point.
  78. Valiant. Maria deliberately takes the word in its other, more usual, sense of height.
  79. Venetian currency, approximately 4 to the English pound. Thus Sir Andrew has about £750 annually, a rich income. The rich Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice, 1.2.53-8, cannot raise such a sum without calling on associates.
  80. He'll squander his income (and sell all the land which produces it) within a year.
  81. Real, true.
  82. Viol da gamba, held between the legs (Italian gamba) like the modern cello, and therefore frequently, as here, with an obscene connotation. The viol da gamba has more strings than a cello, and playing a melody on it was a minimum accomplishment expected of any gentleman. In 1.1 Viola was confident her "many sorts of music" (TLN 110) would help admit her to Orsino's service.
  83. From memory. The ambiguity of this praise is reinforced by Sir Andrew's failure with the simplest French at TLN 205. Compare TLN 1283-1285.
  84. Playing on Sir Toby's "all" as "almost" (so Folio) and "natural" (an idiot).
  85. (a) talent, (b) present. So also TLN 149.
  86. Gusto, relish.
  87. Sir Toby's drunken error for "detractors"; Maria's "add" (TLN 152) puns on "subtract."
  88. Knave, base fellow.
  89. A large version of a child's spinning top, for public use (sometimes "town top"), about which little is known. In Fletcher and Massinger's Thierry and Theodoret we find a suggestion that children might still use it: "a boy of twelve / Should scourge him hither like a Parish Top, / And make him dance before you" (Act II). The point is the spinning: "Spins like the parish top" (Ben Jonson, The New Inn, II).
  90. The exact moment of his entry is for the actors to decide, but the size of the Elizabethan stage made it possible for characters already on stage to comment on the approach of another character, as here.
  91. "Sir Toby may be seeking Maria's approval for his drinking resolution, responding to some reproof of his deportment, or warning her of Sir Andrew's approach" (Donno).
  92. Obscure. Perhaps, seeing Sir Andrew, "speak of the devil [and he will appear]"; or possibly a cant drinking cry with no meaning. A devil had adopted the name Castiliano (i.e. one from Castile) in a recent play, and vulgo means "in the common tongue."
  93. Presumably a rude play on the significance of Sir Andrew's name.
  94. Perhaps an inadvertent reference to (a) an ill-tempered woman, when he intends (b) a shrew-mouse. This is the first reference to Maria's small stature. Compare the ironic "giant" at TLN 498).
  95. Hail, go alongside (a nautical term, used figuratively here to mean "make up to"). When Sir Andrew mistakes "Accost" for Maria's name, Sir Toby expands on the nautical and sexual meanings at TLN 171-172.
  96. It is unclear whether Sir Toby deliberately misleads Sir Andrew into thinking Maria a menial servant, or if the word at this time could mean "waiting gentlewoman," which she clearly is.
  97. Most likely Sir Toby sets up Maria, fully confident she can cope with Sir Andrew's foolishness; but it is possible to play the scene with Maria allowed to hear the set-up.
  98. (a) confront (military), (b) woo.
  99. Come alongside (nautical).
  100. (a) assault (military), (b) attempt to seduce.
  101. Enter into combat with (here with a sexual implication).
  102. Sir Andrew jokingly acknowledges the presence of the theatre audience.
  103. If you allow her to leave "unaccosted." Sir Toby now uses the second person singular "thou" for the rest of the play, a familiarity which Sir Andrew does not attempt to copy.
  104. Cease to be a gentleman (compare "forswear to wear iron," TLN 1770). Sir Andrew's repetition in the next line, since it refers to her action rather than his, is comically foolish.
  105. To deal with. Maria deliberately takes him literally in her reply.
  106. By (the Virgin) Mary (a mild oath).
  107. I may think what I like (proverbial; here, an equivalent of the modern "you said it, not me").
  108. Maria has taken the hand he offered, and in many performances brings it to her breasts (see "buttery bar," next note), usually to Sir Andrew's consternation. In productions such as Armfield's film which avoid this easy laugh, Sir Andrew's bewilderment ("what's your jest?," TLN 189) is the greater.
  109. Why? Sir Andrew has not understood the "metaphor."
  110. (a) thirsty, (b) sexually insufficient (a moist hand was a sign of amorousness and fertility). Cf. Antony and Cleopatra TLN 125-131, and Othello TLN 2177-2187.
  111. Generally taken to refer to the proverb "Fools have wit enough to come in out of the rain"; but "hand" is specific, and Sir Andrew may simply be proud of not splashing himself when he "make[s] water" (TLN 238).
  112. (a) insipid (compare TLN 333), (b) ironical, (c) Sir Andrew's dry hand (which she still holds).
  113. (a) always ready, (b) in my hand (which she is about to "let go").
  114. (a) unproductive, (b) empty of jests (having let go of Sir Andrew's hand which made her "full of them").
  115. "lack'st" probably here means "stand in need of," though in production Sir Toby often refills a glass already in use.
  116. A sweet wine originally from the Canary Islands.
  117. (a) defeated in repartee, (b) rendered legless (from drink).
  118. i.e. "an ordinary man."
  119. (a) typical, (b) one who eats at an "ordinary" (a cheap fixed price eating house). Hence Sir Andrew's reference to beef.
  120. Believed to dull the brain, though possibly to instil valor.
  121. Why (French). See TLN 144.
  122. (a) foreign languages (Sir Andrew's meaning), (b) tongs for curling hair (Sir Toby's meaning). Pronunciation was the same.
  123. In comparison to "arts" (TLN 208).
  124. Sir Andrew is compared to the thin staff held upright between the knees to hold the straw-colored strands of flax ready for spinning.
  125. A housewife would spin flax, but the pronunciation "hussif" also suggests "hussy" or prostitute, who might take Sir Andrew between her legs and give him venereal disease, leading to his hair falling out.
  126. (she'll have) nothing to do with me.
  127. Orsino, earlier described as a duke. In the next speech Sir Toby says Olivia (a countess) will not marry "above her degree," so Shakespeare is still thinking of Orsino as of higher rank than Olivia.
  128. Implies that Orsino is older, but that Sir Andrew is much the same age as Olivia.
  129. Courtly presentations in which some members of the audience joined in the dancing.
  130. Trifles, (little) somethings (French, quelque choses).
  131. "betters" = of higher rank, but the entire phrase is a foolish backtracking from meaning. "The whole phrase is probably as absurd as Verges' claim to be 'as honest as any man living that is an old man and no honester than I'" (Arden 2 Much Ado About Nothing, TLN 1609-1610).
  132. Perhaps "experienced," or a clumsy compliment to the older Sir Toby, or simply a further exception from comparison.
  133. A lively dance in triple time with a leap, or "caper" after the fourth step.
  134. Sir Toby's encouragement of Sir Andrew to dance draws on a vocabulary familiar to Elizabethans, including reference to the coranto, jig, and cinquepace. "What is thy excellence in a galliard," he asks at TLN 228 {1.3.117} referring to a lively dance of "four movements [steps], then a saut majeur. . . ." (Thoinot Arbeau, Orchésographie [Langres: 1589], transl Cyril W. Beaumont [London: C. W. Beaumont, 1925], p. 80). The saut majeur ("high leap") is sometimes translated as "caper" (see TLN 229), and certainly the general English sense of "caper" (French capriole) is "a frolicsome leap"; but Arbeau has a more technical definition: "there are many dancers so agile that, in making the saut majeur, they move their legs in the air, and this shaking is called capriole. . . ." Possibly Sir Andrew demonstrates at this point, leaping high and scissoring his long thin legs back and forth several times before landing. But when he boasts about his "back-trick" we are less certain what he means. A 1606 play, The Return from Parnassus, refers in 2.6 to a "back-caper," and this is what Cesare Negri's Nuove Inventioni di Balli, describes as a salto (again, a "leap") that finishes with the leg behind. It is no wonder Sir Toby ends the scene exhorting Sir Andrew to "caper. . . . higher!" (TLN 248-249 {1.3.139}).
  135. Sir Toby quibbles on "cut," and on "caper" as a pickle to eat with "mutton" (which may also suggest "prostitute").
  136. Probably a "back-caper" (OED), possibly with a sexual quibble, given "mutton," and the association of a strong back with male sexual capacity. Amoretto's page in The Return from Parnassus (1606, D3r [2.6])comments on his master's "crosspoint back-caper" in a galliard, presumably one or more backwards leaping steps in the dance.
  137. Paintings were often protected by curtains. There may be a lost topical reference to a particular Mary (Moll, Mall).
  138. A fast "running" (Italian) dance.
  139. Another fast dance.
  140. A dance of "five steps" (French). If Sir Toby mimes urinating ("make water") while advancing in a cinquepace, it is a bizarre sight indeed. He also quibbles on "sink" (so spelled in Folio) = sewer.
  141. Astrology favorable to dancing. In Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice says "there was a star danced, and under that was I born" to explain her birth at a "merry hour" (TLN 732, TLN 730).
  142. Moderately.
  143. In Folio Sir Andrew's stocking ("stock") is "dam'd colored," but the profane intensifier seems unlikely. Other suggested emendations of this presumed compositorial misreading include "dun-," "lemon-" or "divers-" colored.
  144. Taurus is the sign of the zodiac that governs the neck. Both men are wrong, Sir Toby perhaps deliberately. The twelve signs of the zodiac were thought to govern individual health and personality according to both when someone was born and the current date. Various signs were believed to be especially associated with particular parts of the body, as contemporary almanac woodcuts illustrate. Phillip Stubbes's Anatomy of Abuses (1583) provides a critical contemporary view: So far infatuate are these busy-headed astronomers, and curious searching astrologers, that they attribute every part of man's body to one particular sign or planet. And therefore to Aries they have assigned the government of the head and face. To Taurus the neck and throat. To Gemini the shoulders, the armes, and the hands. To Leo the heart and back. To Cancer the breast, stomach, and lungs. To Libra the reins [kidneys] and loins. To Virgo the guts and belly. To Scorpio the privy parts and bladder. To Sagittarius the thighs. To Capricorn the knees. To Aquarius the legs. To Pisces the feet. And thus they doe bear the world in hand that the whole body of man, both intern and extern, within and without, is ruled and governed by their signs, by stars and planets, not by God only. Because the astrological information was constant, the same woodcut would appear year after year in annual almanacs that listed holy days in the church calendar, dates for planting crops or seeking medical attention, astrological calculations, weather forecasts, and other useful information, so the image and its associated signs of the zodiac was known to everyone. Sir Toby justifies setting about revels by saying he and Sir Andrew were "born under Taurus" (TLN 244–5 {1.3.135–6}). Taurus (the Bull), as woodcuts show, governs the neck, so perhaps Sir Toby is thinking about drinking. (Arden 2 cites Lyly, Galathea 3.3.58, in which an astronomer advises, "Then the Bull for the throat.") Sir Andrew, however, mistakenly identifies Taurus with "sides and heart", so Sir Toby (mis-) corrects him to "legs and thighs" (TLN 246–7 {1.3.137–8}), but there is no way of knowing whether Sir Toby's mistake is deliberate (which seems likely, since his first use of Taurus was entirely appropriate) or a further error. Either way, the choice of "legs and thighs" encourages Sir Andrew to "caper . . . higher" (TLN 248 {1.3.139}) as they leave.
  145. Viola may also appear to have cropped her hair (i.e. the actor may have had a long wig for 1.2). Various options are open as to how, and how much, to play Viola's difficulties, embarrassments or pleasures in impersonating the opposite sex.
  146. For the double time scheme, see TLN 2246-2254.
  147. Capriciousness.
  148. In the first line of this scene "Duke"; see note to TLN 217.
  149. Direct your steps.
  150. Stressed on the second syllable.
  151. Be planted.
  152. Usual polite limits.
  153. Capture by surprise attack.
  154. Loving.
  155. Attend to.
  156. Messenger's.
  157. Serious expression, with implication of age. Accent is on the second syllable of "aspect."
  158. "misrepresent your fortunate youthfulness" (Arden 2).
  159. Ruby-colored (a Shakespearean coinage).
  160. High voice.
  161. High-pitched and unbroken.
  162. Like.
  163. (a) nature, (b) theatrical role. Ironically, Orsino thinks Cesario well-fitted to play a woman in the theatre, as boys did at the time.
  164. Character, as determined by the configuration of the "stars" (i.e. planets) at one's birth. Cf. TLN 241.
  165. Either (a) be as free as your lord is to control his fortune, or (b) live in the same freedom as your lord, and share his fortune.
  166. (internal) conflict full of obstacles.
  167. The Clown was almost certainly played by Robert Armin. Armin joined the Lord Chamberlain's men as their clown in 1599, replacing Will Kemp, who was best known for extemporaneous jests, and for dancing and jigs; he even danced from London to Norwich for a dare (seen in the well-known title-page woodcut to his Kemp's Nine Days' Wonder [London, 1600]). Armin was better known for his singing, which may explain the number of songs in Twelfth Night, and perhaps why Viola's intention to offer her services as a singer in Orsino's court never materializes. He also specialized in ventriloquistic double acts such as his portrayal of both himself and "Sir Topaz" in 4.2. A similar scene for himself is written into one of his own plays, Two Maids of More-clacke (London, 1609). The title-page woodcut shows Armin himself in role, but wearing the long coat of an idiot, whereas he probably played Feste (also a "natural" fool) in the traditional jester's motley and cockscomb (see note to TLN 717). See Gurr 1992, pp. 84–90, C. S. Felver, Robert Armin, Shakespeare's Fool, (Kent, OH: Kent State UP, 1961), and David Wiles, Shakespeare's Clown (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987). The woodcut of Kemp's jig to Norwich (including a servant playing on pipe and tabor as at the start of 3.1) is available at TLN 1213.
  168. An exaggeration; whipping was the standard punishment for fools.
  169. Need not fear the battle flags (of any enemy). The Clown puns on "collars" = noose for hanging.
  170. Explain the logic of that.
  171. Dull, thin (like food during Lent, a period of fasting).
  172. See TLN 301 and note.
  173. Apparently nonsensical (since those who have wisdom are not in need of it); Given "God," and "talents" (professional skills), probably also a mock-religious admonition (compare Sir Topaz in 4.2) referring to the parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14-29).
  174. (a) professional skills, (b) unit of weight of gold or silver; hence, money. See Matthew 25: 14-29.
  175. Dismissed (with a pun on "turned off" = hanged).
  176. Make it (i.e. dismissal) endurable (because summer will make food easy to find and shelter unnecessary).
  177. (a) matters, (b) laces with metal "points" to tie breeches ("gaskins") up to the doublet. The Clown is setting up the well-worn joke, but Maria beats him to the punch line.
  178. Wide knee-length slops (breeches).
  179. Do things in your own manner, go about your business.
  180. "Eve's flesh" = woman "Except for the conditional about Sir Toby's drinking, he implies that Maria and Sir Toby would make a good match and sexual partnership" (Donno).
  181. Maria stops the Clown either to prevent further comment on Sir Toby, or because she sees Olivia entering.
  182. Like Orsino, Olivia is well attended. She is likely to be in mourning black. Olivia is attended by both men and women. The Clown addresses "fellows" (TLN 332) and "gentlemen" (TLN 364); and since Viola cannot distinguish Olivia among the "Good beauties" (TLN 468), probably Maria is not the only waiting woman. The extent to which Olivia's household is also in mourning will be significant. It is possible, but unlikely, that a state (canopied throne) may be placed on stage (compare note to TLN 2-3).
  183. Intelligence, wisdom (in contrast to "will" = desire).
  184. A philosopher probably invented on the spot; compare "Pigrogromitus" (TLN 723)
  185. An expression of impatience, like "Come, come."
  186. Insipid. The Clown, like Maria earlier (TLN 187), plays on both meanings.
  187. Dishonorable (because absent).
  188. My lady (Italian), used often by the Clown as an endearment.
  189. (a) amend, reform, (b) repair.
  190. (a) repaired, (b) ? clothed in the motley of a jester.
  191. A proposition in logic; in this case the conclusion (that sin and virtue are much the same) is nonsense, but the implication that all life is a mixture of the two is important.
  192. Pronounced "bad."
  193. Olivia, currently "wedded to calamity" (Romeo and Juliet, TLN 1801), will eventually be unfaithful to calamity (i.e. will cheer up); but her beauty, like a flower, will fade (compare TLN 747-752 and TLN 926-929; she would do better to love and marry now). Therefore to insist on seven years' mourning is folly.
  194. (a) misunderstanding, (b) action wrong in law (intensified by "in the highest degree").
  195. (Wearing) a cowl does not make (a man) a monk (Latin proverb). The Clown may point to his own fool's cap, traditionally patterned on a monk's cowl with long ears and bells, and sometimes a coxcomb, added.
  196. The particolored garment and cap worn by professional jesters, and emblematically signalling folly.
  197. Dexterously (an Elizabethan form).
  198. Question (as a priest teaches religious belief by question and answer). He possibly puts on his Sir Topaz voice.
  199. My good virtuous mouse. For "mouse" as an endearment, see Hamlet: "tempt you again to bed, / Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse" (TLN 2558-2559).
  200. Pastime (not pejorative).
  201. (a) abide, await, (b) endure.
  202. Improve. Evidently the Clown's catechism has led Olivia to "laugh" (TLN 379), or at least to accept his joking criticism. Malvolio interprets improvement in a fool as an increase in folly.
  203. In performance, this single reluctant first word can reveal so much of Malvolio's antipathy to the Clown as to raise a laugh.
  204. i.e. not crafty (in antithesis to "fool").
  205. Pledge.
  206. Pronounced, prior to British decimal coinage in 1971, "tuppence."
  207. Empty (of jests; cf. TLN 193).
  208. Defeated in repartee (cf. TLN 195).
  209. (a) undistinguished, (b) who performs at an eating house ("ordinary"; cf. TLN 198).
  210. Probably alluding to Stone, a popular "tavern fool" (compare "ordinary fool").
  211. OED defines as "off guard," but Malvolio seems to be observing ("Look you now") the Clown abandoning the contest. Perhaps "shrugging his shoulders, or turning away" (Wilson).
  212. Supply opportunities (as a comedy straight man).
  213. Persons of good judgement. Originally one word (as in Folio), and not necessarily gender specific; therefore perhaps applying, rudely, to Olivia.
  214. Laugh loudly (as perhaps Olivia has done).
  215. Not spontaneous (possibly implying "memorized," or simply "formulaic." Compare As You Like It, TLN 989-9902: "railed . . . in good terms, / In good set terms, and yet a motley fool").
  216. Subordinate comic performers who assist the act (from the Italian zanni, comic servants in the commedia dell'arte).
  217. Diseased
  218. Magnanimous, noble.
  219. Blunt arrows or quarrels for shooting birds.
  220. Licensed, allowed to jest. Cf. King Lear, TLN 712: "your all-licensed fool."
  221. Presumably with reference to Malvolio. In production Olivia has been known to insist they shake hands.
  222. The god of cheating give you the gift of lying ("leasing") (which you will need if you praise fools).
  223. See TLN 287-288.
  224. i.e. madman's talk.
  225. Stale
  226. The punctuation adopted here emphasizes the difference between Olivia's potential "eldest son," and another of her "kin" whom the Clown sees approaching. The Folio punctuation makes no sense, and probably results from compositorial error related to squeezing the entry direction for Sir Toby into limited space. An alternative emendation, requiring only the insertion of a comma after "comes," would read "has" as "who has."
  227. Brain (physiologically, an enclosing membrane).
  228. Olivia does not call her "kinsman" (TLN 398l) uncle; see TLN 119.
  229. In the Armfield film, this weak attempt to blame on food the effects of drink leads the Clown to laugh, and thus draws Sir Toby's attention.
  230. (a) fool, (b) drunkard.
  231. Torpor. This indicates the symptoms of Sir Toby's drunkenness, and perhaps why he mishears the word.
  232. It doesn't matter (a phrase repeated elsewhere in the play).
  233. Drink.
  234. i.e. above normal body temperature (wine was thought to heat the blood).
  235. Convene his court (to pass judgement).
  236. Olivia uses the emphatic form (rather than the simple "will not").
  237. One of the pair of large painted posts set up by the door of a sheriff, probably for displaying public notices.
  238. Support, prop.
  239. I.e. ordinary. Malvolio's apparent quibbles, here and at TLN 457 ("manner"), which require Olivia to become ever more specific in her questions, may result from his confusion (or irritation) about Viola, and can also be played as Malvolio showing off his wit now that the Clown has gone.
  240. Immature pea-pod ("peascod").
  241. Immature "apple."
  242. At the turn of the tide, between ebb and flow.
  243. Good-looking
  244. Sharply (but also perhaps "shrill," as at TLN 284).
  245. This decision is likely to surprise, possibly irritate, Malvolio.
  246. In original staging she may have worn riding boots and spurs here and in other scenes with Olivia to indicate arrival from a distance; see note to TLN 29.
  247. Viola may or may not be in real uncertainty. In production, sometimes Maria and other ladies also wear veils, producing comic consternation in Viola. Olivia and Maria have even changed places several times to confuse Viola. However, it is possible Olivia alone is veiled, and Viola either (a) is being deliberately provocative, or (b) wants to ensure Olivia is not a deputy (see next note).
  248. Deliberate equivocation: (a) act as her deputy, or (b) reply for myself.
  249. Viola abandons her rhetorical speech and turns from Olivia, and Maria is the obvious source of help if she is not veiled (see note to TLN 462); otherwise an attendant gentleman must be intended.
  250. Written, composed.
  251. Memorize (see "studied," TLN 472).
  252. Most likely Olivia and all her gentlewomen; but smaller productions have only Olivia and Maria.
  253. Suffer.
  254. Context suggests "sensitive even to the smallest discourtesy." Viola is pleading for a fair hearing. But "comptible" is a form of "accountable," in which case she may be defiant (because Orsino must be accounted to for any insult to his ambassador).
  255. Not in my script.
  256. Moderate, appropriate.
  257. Actor (not necessarily comic). Olivia picks up Viola's various theatrical usages ("speech," "con," "studied," "part"), and probably a mocking insult is intended in asking a young gentleman if he earns money at a low occupation.
  258. A mild oath, like "by my faith" (not a jocular form of address to Olivia).
  259. i.e. that which.
  260. The first of several occasions when Viola, though ostensibly replying to another character on stage, seems to share her most vulnerable feelings with the audience. Swearing by "my profound heart" is similar in its self-awareness to "by the fangs of malice" (the deadliest part of any hostility which might endanger her): she is, as the audience knows, not what she pretends.
  261. Viola responds to Olivia's joke about supplanting herself ("usurp") with a more serious sense of the word--to appropriate a power wrongfully. See next note.
  262. That which is your right to give where you choose (i.e. yourself in marriage) is not yours to withhold altogether. See previous and next note.
  263. Outside, beyond, my instructions. This admission demonstrates the strength of Viola's personal belief in what she has just said; see two previous notes.
  264. Excuse you (from delivering).
  265. (a) invented, "poetical" (TLN 489), (b) deceitful.
  266. Sane. Olivia parallels "not mad" and "have reason." Some editors have interpreted as "not altogether mad" in order to achieve an antithesis between madness and "reason" that others have achieved by deleting the "not" as an error.
  267. Period of lunacy. The lunar cycle was thought to influence madness. There is no reference here to the menstrual cycle ("time of the month"), despite the lunar connection.
  268. Erratic, going from one thing to another.
  269. If Maria wears a veil (see note to TLN 462), she has probably removed it by this point.
  270. A low-ranked sailor who washes ("swabs") the decks.
  271. Lie with sails furled. As with "swabber," this responds to Maria's "hoist sail."
  272. Please pacify your huge protector. In romances and epic poems, ladies were often guarded by giants; and the part of Maria was evidently written for a particularly small boy actor (compare TLN 1029, 1446).
  273. Tell me your views, and I shall report them back. Many editors have given the first half of the sentence to Olivia, on the basis that Viola has not yet delivered Orsino's embassy, and therefore cannot demand an answer. This change increases the dramatic tempo, and shows Olivia interested thus early in Viola herself (Viola then retreating into her role as a messenger for Orsino). But the Folio reading makes acceptable sense.
  274. Terrible, inspiring fear.
  275. Preliminary declaration.
  276. Demand for payment due to a feudal superior.
  277. i.e. olive branch (symbol of peace).
  278. Substance.
  279. Viola refers to her reception by Sir Toby and Malvolio (and possibly Maria).
  280. Virginity.
  281. Religious discourse. Viola's theological vocabulary ("divinity,", "profanation") is adopted by Olivia in the speeches following: "text," "comfortable," "doctrine," "chapter," "heresy."
  282. Chosen passage (from the bible, as theme for a sermon).
  283. Strengthening. The "Comfortable Words" in the Anglican liturgy are quotations from the bible that encourage the congregation before they receive communion.
  284. As of the bible. Compare "text" (TLN 512, 515).
  285. i.e. catechetical style (being adopted by Olivia, as earlier by the Clown; see note to TLN 354).
  286. i.e. first chapter
  287. Straying from your theme.
  288. Unveil. Compare TLN 235 and note for the use of a "curtain" over a "picture."
  289. Just now, today. In performance a pause often follows Olivia's mock-solemnity in unveiling, as Viola ruefully admires her rival's beauty. Olivia's next line may be entirely confident, or comically anxious at the lack of response.
  290. i.e. if nature has not been assisted by cosmetics. A pause is implicit after Viola's true admiration, before this undercutting joke.
  291. Fast dyed, indelible. Olivia's denial of needing cosmetics wittily uses the metaphor of Scarlet Grain (see "red," TLN 530), or another indelible dye.
  292. Blended
  293. i.e. a child (though Olivia will twist the meaning to "list, inventory" at TLN 536). As in Sonnets 1-17, the beloved is urged, as a duty, to marry and reproduce personal "graces" and beauty. Compare TLN 481-483. Viola's sincerity as well as her lyricism is evident in the switch to blank verse.
  294. Various lists. Olivia refuses Viola's metaphor (and her use of blank verse), using "copy" literally to mean list or "inventory."
  295. Every small portion and part of my body will be listed and attached as a codicil to my will (quibbling on Viola's "leave" as "bequeath").
  296. Also (a Latin term, used to introduce each new entry in a formal list or inventory).
  297. Moderately.
  298. Appraise (for an inventory).
  299. Lucifer was beautiful, but fell from heaven through being "proud."
  300. Could be no more than requited (even if . . .).
  301. Unmatchable person.
  302. Olivia's more serious interest in what Viola says is signalled here by her completing the blank verse line, and then continuing in verse.
  303. Abundant.
  304. The short (four beat) line may suggest a pause in the middle or at the end.
  305. Well spoken of (or possibly "well spoken of as: . . .").
  306. Generous, magnanimous.
  307. Physically.
  308. Graceful.
  309. With Orsino's burning passion.
  310. Deathly.
  311. Associated with rejected love. Compare the "Willow" song in Othello, 4.3. This lyrical and passionate speech from Viola seizes the attention from the start by employing an emphatic contrapuntal stress on "Make" (the first verse foot trochaic, not iambic).
  312. i.e. Olivia.
  313. Songs.
  314. Halloo, shout. The Folio spelling is retained here both to emphasize the play on "bless," and to indicate the contrapuntal stress on the first syllable (compare TLN 561).
  315. Reverberating.
  316. The nymph Echo. Compare "reverberate," TLN 565. Golding translates from Ovid, "a babbling nymph that Echo hight" (3.443).
  317. TLN 570 may complete Viola's short line, or may start a new iambic line by Olivia incorporating TLN 571. The actor of Olivia has significant decisions to make about her verse. Viola's short final line may indicate an eloquent pause before Olivia expresses her admiration, and seeks information that would establish if "Cesario" is of rank to be a potential husband. If so, Olivia may make her two short lines in Folio a single verse line. Alternatively, she may complete the blank verse line begun by Viola (a kind of collaboration in meter), then finish with a short line herself. It may be here that the signs of love which Viola recalls at TLN 675-677 ("made good view," "lost her tongue," "did speak in starts") begin to be evident.
  318. Viola's first response is as herself, her second about Cesario's social rank ("state").
  319. Olivia's short line may complete the verse line started by Viola, or may indicate a pause as she considers what to say.
  320. Messenger requiring a tip.
  321. May the god of love (Cupid). . . .
  322. Olivia shifts to the more intimate singular form of address.
  323. Coat of arms (indicating a gentleman).
  324. Take it slowly! Olivia warns herself as the implications of her attraction to "Cesario" become clear to her, and she shares her consternation (? and delight) with the audience.
  325. Unless Orsino were (like) his servant Cesario.
  326. "-tions" is pronounced as two syllables (as elsewhere in the play when metrically required).
  327. Perverse, obstinate.
  328. Count's (Orsino's).
  329. Since Viola left no ring, Olivia must quickly provide one.
  330. Whether I wanted it.
  331. Encourage.
  332. Hasten. Some actors of Malvolio have adopted such a slow dignity that Olivia, after waiting, has felt obliged thus to urge him to speed. Malvolio's response is full of potential for the actor.
  333. That my eye will over-praise (Cesario) and my reason be persuaded too easily (of his worth).
  334. Own.
  335. Like Viola at 1.2.60, Olivia expresses an openness to events. The rhyming couplets, as at the end of many scenes, emphasize the completion of a movement of the play.


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