Enter Orsino, Duke of Illyria, Curio, and other Lords,
with Musicians playing .
If music be the food of love, play on.
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting ,
The appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again! It had a dying fall.
5 O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor. Enough; no more.
’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,
10 That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price
Even in a minute. So full of shapes is fancy
15 That it alone is high fantastical.
Will you go hunt, my lord?
ORSINO What, Curio?
CURIO The hart.
Why, so I do, the noblest that I have. ⊕
20 O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purged the air of pestilence.
That instant was I turned into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E’er since pursue me.
25 How now, what news from her?
So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
But from her handmaid do return this answer:
The element itself, till seven years’ heat,
Shall not behold her face at ample view,
30 But like a cloistress. she will veilèd walk,
And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine—all this to season
A brother’s dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance.
35 O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love when the rich golden shaft
Hath killed the flock of all affections else
That live in her; when liver, brain, and heart,
40 These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and filled
Her sweet perfections with one self king!
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers!
Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.
What country, friends, is this?
CAPTAIN This is Illyria, lady.
And what should I do in Illyria?
My brother he is in Elysium.
5 Perchance he is not drowned.—What think you,
It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
O, my poor brother! And so perchance may he be.
True, madam. And to comfort you with chance,
10 Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
When you and those poor number saved with you
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself
(Courage and hope both teaching him the practice)
15 To a strong mast that lived upon the sea,
Where, like Arion on the dolphin’s back ,
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I could see.
VIOLA , giving him money For saying so, there’s gold.
20 Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
The like of him. Know’st thou this country?
Ay, madam, well, for I was bred and born
Not three hours’ travel from this very place.
VIOLA 25Who governs here?
A noble duke, in nature as in name.
VIOLA What is his name?
Orsino. I have heard my father name him.
30 He was a bachelor then.
And so is now, or was so very late;
For but a month ago I went from hence,
And then ’twas fresh in murmur (as, you know,
What great ones do the less will prattle of)
35 That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
VIOLA 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,
40 Who shortly also died, for whose dear love,
They say, she hath abjured the sight
And company of men.
VIOLA O, that I served that lady,
And might not be delivered to the world
45 Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
What my estate is.
CAPTAIN That were hard to compass
Because she will admit no kind of suit,
No, not the Duke’s.
50 There is a fair behavior in thee, captain,
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee ⊕
I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
55 I prithee—and I’ll pay thee bounteously—
Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke.
Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him.
60 It may be worth thy pains, for I can sing
And speak to him in many sorts of music
That will allow me very worth his service.
What else may hap, to time I will commit.
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.
65 Be you his eunuch, and your mute I’ll be.
TOBY What a plague means my niece to take the death
of her brother thus? I am sure care’s an enemy to
MARIA By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier
5 o’ nights. Your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions
to your ill hours.
TOBY Why, let her except before excepted!
MARIA Ay, but you must confine yourself within the
modest limits of order.
TOBY 10Confine? I’ll confine myself no finer than I am.
These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so
be these boots too. An they be not, let them hang
themselves in their own straps!
MARIA That quaffing and drinking will undo you. I
15 heard my lady talk of it yesterday, and of a foolish
knight that you brought in one night here to be her
TOBY Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
MARIA Ay, he.
TOBY 20He’s as tall a man as any ’s in Illyria.
MARIA What’s that to th’ purpose?
TOBY Why, he has three thousand ducats a year!
MARIA Ay, but he’ll have but a year in all these ducats.
He’s a very fool and a prodigal.
TOBY 25Fie that you’ll say so! He plays o’ th’ viol-de-gamboys
and speaks three or four languages word
for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of
MARIA He hath indeed, almost natural, for, besides
30 that he’s a fool, he’s a great quarreler, and, but that
he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he hath
in quarreling, ’tis thought among the prudent he
would quickly have the gift of a grave.
TOBY By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors
35 that say so of him. Who are they?
MARIA They that add, moreover, he’s drunk nightly in
TOBY With drinking healths to my niece. I’ll drink to
her as long as there is a passage in my throat and
40 drink in Illyria. He’s a coward and a coistrel that
will not drink to my niece till his brains turn o’ th’
toe like a parish top. What, wench! Castiliano vulgo,
for here comes Sir Andrew Agueface.
ANDREW Sir Toby Belch! How now, Sir Toby Belch?
TOBY 45Sweet Sir Andrew!
ANDREW , to Maria Bless you, fair shrew.
MARIA And you too, sir.
TOBY Accost, Sir Andrew, accost!
ANDREW What’s that?
TOBY 50My niece’s chambermaid.
ANDREW Good Mistress Accost, I desire better
MARIA My name is Mary, sir.
ANDREW Good Mistress Mary Accost—
TOBY 55You mistake, knight. “Accost” is front her, board
her, woo her, assail her.
ANDREW By my troth, I would not undertake her in
this company. Is that the meaning of “accost”?
MARIA Fare you well, gentlemen. She begins to exit.
TOBY 60An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou
mightst never draw sword again.
ANDREW An you part so, mistress, I would I might
never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you
have fools in hand?
MARIA 65Sir, I have not you by th’ hand.
ANDREW Marry, but you shall have, and here’s my
hand. He offers his hand.
MARIA , taking his hand Now sir, thought is free. I
pray you, bring your hand to th’ butt’ry bar and let
70 it drink.
ANDREW Wherefore, sweetheart? What’s your
MARIA It’s dry, sir.
ANDREW Why, I think so. I am not such an ass but I
75 can keep my hand dry. But what’s your jest?
MARIA A dry jest, sir.
ANDREW Are you full of them?
MARIA Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers’ ends. Marry,
now I let go your hand, I am barren. Maria exits.
TOBY 80O knight, thou lack’st a cup of canary! When did
I see thee so put down?
ANDREW Never in your life, I think, unless you see
canary put me down. Methinks sometimes I have
no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man
85 has. But I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that
does harm to my wit.
TOBY No question.
ANDREW An I thought that, I’d forswear it. I’ll ride
home tomorrow, Sir Toby.
TOBY 90Pourquoi, my dear knight?
ANDREW What is “pourquoi”? Do, or not do? I would I
had bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in
fencing, dancing, and bearbaiting . O, had I but
followed the arts!
TOBY 95Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.
ANDREW Why, would that have mended my hair?
TOBY Past question, for thou seest it will not curl by
ANDREW But it becomes me well enough, does ’t not?
TOBY 100Excellent! It hangs like flax on a distaff, and I
hope to see a huswife take thee between her legs
and spin it off.
ANDREW Faith, I’ll home tomorrow, Sir Toby. Your
niece will not be seen, or if she be, it’s four to one
105 she’ll none of me. The Count himself here hard by
TOBY She’ll none o’ th’ Count. She’ll not match above
her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit. I have
heard her swear ’t. Tut, there’s life in ’t, man.
ANDREW 110I’ll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o’ th’
strangest mind i’ th’ world. I delight in masques
and revels sometimes altogether.
TOBY Art thou good at these kickshawses, knight?
ANDREW As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be,
115 under the degree of my betters, and yet I will not
compare with an old man.
TOBY What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?
ANDREW Faith, I can cut a caper.
TOBY And I can cut the mutton to ’t.
ANDREW 120And I think I have the back-trick simply as
strong as any man in Illyria.
TOBY Wherefore are these things hid? Wherefore have
these gifts a curtain before ’em? Are they like to
take dust, like Mistress Mall’s picture? Why dost
125 thou not go to church in a galliard and come home
in a coranto? My very walk should be a jig. I would
not so much as make water but in a sink-a-pace.
What dost thou mean? Is it a world to hide virtues
in? I did think, by the excellent constitution of thy
130 leg, it was formed under the star of a galliard.
ANDREW Ay, ’tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a
dun-colored stock. Shall we set about some
TOBY What shall we do else? Were we not born under
ANDREW Taurus? That’s sides and heart.
TOBY No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee
caper. Sir Andrew dances. Ha, higher! Ha, ha,
VALENTINE If the Duke continue these favors towards
you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanced. He
hath known you but three days, and already you
are no stranger.
VIOLA 5You either fear his humor or my negligence, that
you call in question the continuance of his love. Is
he inconstant, sir, in his favors?
VALENTINE No, believe me.
VIOLA I thank you.
10 Here comes the Count.
ORSINO Who saw Cesario, ho?
VIOLA On your attendance, my lord, here.
ORSINO , to Curio and Attendants
Stand you awhile aloof.—Cesario,
Thou know’st no less but all. I have unclasped
15 To thee the book even of my secret soul.
Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her.
Be not denied access. Stand at her doors
And tell them, there thy fixèd foot shall grow
Till thou have audience.
VIOLA 20 Sure, my noble lord,
If she be so abandoned to her sorrow
As it is spoke, she never will admit me.
Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds
Rather than make unprofited return.
25 Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?
O, then unfold the passion of my love.
Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith.
It shall become thee well to act my woes.
She will attend it better in thy youth
30 Than in a nuncio’s of more grave aspect.
I think not so, my lord.
ORSINO Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years
That say thou art a man. Diana ’s lip
35 Is not more smooth and rubious, thy small pipe
Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,
And all is semblative a womans part. ⊕
I know thy constellation is right apt
For this affair.—Some four or five attend him,
40 All, if you will, for I myself am best
When least in company.—Prosper well in this
And thou shalt live as freely as thy lord,
To call his fortunes thine.
VIOLA I’ll do my best
45 To woo your lady. Aside. Yet a barful strife!
Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.
in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy
FOOL 5Let her hang me. He that is well hanged in this
world needs to fear no colors .
MARIA Make that good.
FOOL He shall see none to fear.
MARIA A good Lenten answer. I can tell thee where
10 that saying was born, of “I fear no colors.”
FOOL Where, good Mistress Mary?
MARIA In the wars; and that may you be bold to say in
FOOL Well, God give them wisdom that have it, and
15 those that are Fools, let them use their talents.
MARIA Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent.
Or to be turned away, is not that as good as a
hanging to you?
FOOL Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage ,
20 and, for turning away, let summer bear it out.
MARIA You are resolute, then?
FOOL Not so, neither, but I am resolved on two points.
MARIA That if one break, the other will hold, or if both
break, your gaskins fall.
FOOL 25Apt, in good faith, very apt. Well, go thy way. If Sir
Toby would leave drinking, thou wert as witty a
piece of Eve’s flesh as any in Illyria.
MARIA Peace, you rogue. No more o’ that. Here comes
my lady. Make your excuse wisely, you were best.
FOOL , aside 30Wit, 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 ?
“Better a witty Fool than a foolish wit.”—God bless
35 thee, lady!
OLIVIA Take the Fool away.
FOOL Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the Lady.
OLIVIA Go to, you’re a dry Fool. I’ll no more of you.
Besides, you grow dishonest.
FOOL 40Two faults, madonna, 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; if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he
cannot, let the botcher mend him. Anything that’s
45 mended is but patched; virtue that transgresses is
but patched with sin, and sin that amends is but
patched with virtue. If that this simple syllogism
will serve, so; if it will not, what remedy? As there is
no true cuckold but calamity, so beauty’s a flower.
50 The Lady bade take away the Fool. Therefore, I say
again, take her away.
OLIVIA Sir, I bade them take away you.
FOOL Misprision in the highest degree! Lady, cucullus
non facit monachum. That’s as much to say as, I
55 wear not motley in my brain. Good madonna, give
me leave to prove you a fool.
OLIVIA Can you do it?
FOOL Dexteriously, good madonna.
OLIVIA Make your proof.
FOOL 60I must catechize you for it, madonna. Good my
mouse of virtue, answer me.
OLIVIA Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I’ll bide
FOOL Good madonna, why mourn’st thou?
OLIVIA 65Good Fool, for my brother’s death.
FOOL I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
OLIVIA I know his soul is in heaven, Fool.
FOOL The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your
brother’s soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool,
OLIVIA What think you of this Fool, Malvolio? Doth he
MALVOLIO Yes, and shall do till the pangs of death
shake him. Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth
75 ever make the better Fool.
FOOL God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the
better increasing your folly! Sir Toby will be sworn
that I am no fox, but he will not pass his word for
twopence that you are no fool.
OLIVIA 80How say you to that, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO I marvel your Ladyship takes delight in
such a barren rascal. I saw him put down the other
day with an ordinary fool that has no more brain
than a stone. Look you now, he’s out of his guard
85 already. Unless you laugh and minister occasion to
him, he is gagged. I protest I take these wise men
that crow so at these set kind of Fools no better than
the Fools’ zanies.
OLIVIA O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste
90 with a distempered appetite. To be generous, guiltless,
and of free disposition is to take those things
for bird-bolts that you deem cannon bullets. There
is no slander in an allowed Fool, though he do
nothing but rail; nor no railing in a known discreet
95 man, though he do nothing but reprove.
FOOL Now Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou
speak’st well of Fools!
MARIA Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman
much desires to speak with you.
OLIVIA 100From the Count Orsino, is it?
MARIA I know not, madam. ’Tis a fair young man, and
OLIVIA Who of my people hold him in delay?
MARIA Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.
OLIVIA 105Fetch him off, I pray you. He speaks nothing
but madman. Fie on him! Maria exits. Go you,
Malvolio. If it be a suit from the Count, I am sick,
or not at home; what you will, to dismiss it. (Malvolio
exits.) Now you see, sir, how your fooling
110 grows old, and people dislike it.
FOOL Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest
son should be a Fool, whose skull Jove cram with
brains, for—here he comes—one of thy kin has a
most weak pia mater.
OLIVIA 115By mine honor, half drunk!—What is he at the
TOBY A gentleman.
OLIVIA A gentleman? What gentleman?
TOBY ’Tis a gentleman here—a plague o’ these pickle
120 herring!—How now, sot?
FOOL Good Sir Toby.
OLIVIA Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by
TOBY Lechery? I defy lechery. There’s one at the gate.
OLIVIA 125Ay, marry, what is he?
TOBY Let him be the devil an he will, I care not. Give
me faith, say I. Well, it’s all one. He exits.
OLIVIA What’s a drunken man like, Fool?
FOOL Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman. One
130 draught above heat makes him a fool, the second
mads him, and a third drowns him.
OLIVIA Go thou and seek the crowner and let him sit o’
my coz, for he’s in the third degree of drink: he’s
drowned. Go look after him.
FOOL 135He is but mad yet, madonna, and the Fool shall
look to the madman. He exits.
on him to understand so much, and therefore
140 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
OLIVIA 145Tell him he shall not speak with me.
MALVOLIO Has been told so, and he says he’ll stand at
your door like a sheriff’s post and be the supporter
to a bench, but he’ll speak with you.
OLIVIA What kind o’ man is he?
MALVOLIO 150Why, of mankind.
OLIVIA What manner of man?
MALVOLIO Of very ill manner. He’ll speak with you,
will you or no.
OLIVIA Of what personage and years is he?
MALVOLIO 155Not yet old enough for a man, nor young
enough for a boy—as a squash is before ’tis a
peascod, or a codling when ’tis almost an apple. ’Tis
with him in standing water, between boy and man.
He is very well-favored, and he speaks very shrewishly.
160 One would think his mother’s milk were
scarce out of him.
Let him approach. Call in my gentlewoman.
MALVOLIO Gentlewoman, my lady calls. He exits.
OLIVIA Speak to me. I shall answer for her. Your will?
VIOLA Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable
beauty—I pray you, tell me if this be the lady of the
170 house, for I never saw her. I would be loath to cast
away my speech, for, besides that it is excellently
well penned, I have taken great pains to con it. Good
beauties, let me sustain no scorn. I am very comptible
even to the least sinister usage.
OLIVIA 175Whence came you, sir?
VIOLA I can say little more than I have studied, and
that question’s out of my part. Good gentle one,
give me modest assurance if you be the lady of the
house, that I may proceed in my speech.
OLIVIA 180 Are you a comedian?
VIOLA No, my profound heart. And yet by the very
fangs of malice I swear I am not that I play. Are
you the lady of the house?
OLIVIA If I do not usurp myself, I am.
VIOLA 185Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp
yourself, for what is yours to bestow is not yours to
reserve. But this is from my commission. I will on
with my speech in your praise and then show you
the heart of my message.
OLIVIA 190Come to what is important in ’t. I forgive you
VIOLA Alas, I took great pains to study it, and ’tis
OLIVIA It is the more like to be feigned. I pray you,
195 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, begone; if you have
reason, be brief. ’Tis not that time of moon with me
to make one in so skipping a dialogue.
MARIA 200Will you hoist sail, sir? Here lies your way.
VIOLA No, good swabber, I am to hull here a little
—Some mollification for your giant, sweet
OLIVIA Tell me your mind.
VIOLA 205I am a messenger.
OLIVIA Sure you have some hideous matter to deliver
when the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your
VIOLA It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture
210 of war, no taxation of homage. I hold the olive in
my hand. My words are as full of peace as matter.
OLIVIA Yet you began rudely. What are you? What
VIOLA The rudeness that hath appeared in me have I
215 learned from my entertainment. What I am and
what I would are as secret as maidenhead: to your
ears, divinity; to any other’s, profanation.
OLIVIA Give us the place alone. We will hear this
divinity. Maria and Attendants exit. Now, sir, what
220 is your text?
VIOLA Most sweet lady—
OLIVIA A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said
of it. Where lies your text?
VIOLA In Orsino’s bosom.
OLIVIA 225In his bosom? In what chapter of his bosom?
VIOLA To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.
OLIVIA O, I have read it; it is heresy. Have you no more
VIOLA Good madam, let me see your face.
OLIVIA 230Have you any commission from your lord to
negotiate with my face? You are now out of your
text. But we will draw the curtain and show you the
picture. She removes her veil. Look you, sir, such a
one I was this present. Is ’t not well done?
VIOLA 235Excellently done, if God did all.
OLIVIA ’Tis in grain, sir; ’twill endure wind and
’Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
240 Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive
If you will lead these graces to the grave
And leave the world no copy.
OLIVIA O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted! I will give
out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be
245 inventoried and every particle and utensil labeled
to my will: as, item, two lips indifferent red; item,
two gray eyes with lids to them; item, one neck, one
chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise
250 I see you what you are. You are too proud.
But if you were the devil you are fair.
My lord and master loves you. O, such love
Could be but recompensed though you were
255 The nonpareil of beauty.
OLIVIA How does he love me?
VIOLA With adorations, fertile tears,
With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.
Your lord does know my mind. I cannot love him.
260 Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
In voices well divulged, free, learned, and valiant,
And in dimension and the shape of nature
A gracious person. But yet I cannot love him.
265 He might have took his answer long ago.
If I did love you in my master’s flame,
With such a suff’ring, such a deadly life,
In your denial I would find no sense.
I would not understand it.
OLIVIA 270 Why, what would you?
Make me a willow cabin at your gate ⊕
And call upon my soul within the house,
Write loyal cantons of contemnèd love
And sing them loud even in the dead of night,
275 Hallow your name to the reverberate hills
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out “Olivia!” O, you should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth
But you should pity me.
OLIVIA 280 You might do much.
What is your parentage?
Above my fortunes, yet my state is well.
I am a gentleman.
OLIVIA Get you to your lord.
285 I 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.
I thank you for your pains. Spend this for me.
She offers money.
I am no fee’d post, lady. Keep your purse.
290 My master, not myself, lacks recompense.
Love make his heart of flint that you shall love,
And let your fervor, like my master’s, be
Placed in contempt. Farewell, fair cruelty. She exits.
OLIVIA “What is your parentage?”
295 “Above my fortunes, yet my state is well.
I am a gentleman.” I’ll be sworn thou art.
Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions, and spirit
Do give thee fivefold blazon. Not too fast! Soft,
300 Unless the master were the man. How now?
Even so quickly may one catch the plague?
Methinks I feel this youth’s perfections
With an invisible and subtle stealth
To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.—
305 What ho, Malvolio!
MALVOLIO Here, madam, at your service.
Run after that same peevish messenger,
The County’s man. He left this ring behind him,
Would I or not. Tell him I’ll none of it.
She hands him a ring.
310 Desire him not to flatter with 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, Malvolio.
MALVOLIO Madam, I will. He exits.
315 I do I know not what, and fear to find
Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind.
Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe.
What is decreed must be, and be this so.