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Twelfth Night :: Scenes :: Twelfth Night: Act IV, Scene 2

Scene 2

A room in Olivia’s house.

(Maria; Clown; Toby; Malvolio)

Maria dresses Feste up with a false beard as the curate Sir Topas so that he may visit Malvolio, who is locked and bound in a dark room. Feste does so, pretending to determine whether or not Malvolio is mad, but refusing to believe the steward’s claims that he is not. He goes away, leaving Malvolio in his jail. Toby, worried at how much trouble he’s in with Olivia, tells Feste to go back to Malvolio as himself, and to see if he can find a way to safely set Malvolio free. Feste wanders by the cell, singing, and Malvolio begs him to bring him pen and ink. Feste pretends that Sir Topas is coming, and holds a conversation with himself warning Feste to stay away from the madman. Still, in the end he agrees to help Malvolio write a letter to Olivia. ( line)

Enter Maria and Clown.

MAR.

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

Exit.

CLO.

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

Enter Toby and Maria.

SIR TO.

Jove bless thee, Master Parson.

CLO.

Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for as the old hermit of Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily said to a niece of King Gorboduc, “That that is is”; so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for what is “that” but “that,” and “is” but “is”?

SIR TO.

To him, Sir Topas.

CLO.

What ho, I say! Peace in this prison!

SIR TO.

The knave counterfeits well; a good knave.

MAL.

Within.

Who calls there?

CLO.

Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio the lunatic.

MAL.

Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to my lady.

CLO.

Out, hyperbolical fiend! How vexest thou this man! Talkest thou nothing but of ladies?

SIR TO.

Well said, Master Parson.

MAL.

Sir Topas, never was man thus wrong’d. Good Sir Topas, do not think I am mad; they have laid me here in hideous darkness.

CLO.

Fie, thou dishonest Sathan! I call thee by the most modest terms, for I am one of those gentle ones that will use the devil himself with courtesy. Say’st thou that house is dark?

MAL.

As hell, Sir Topas.

CLO.

Why, it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes, and the clerestories toward the south north are as lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of obstruction?

MAL.

I am not mad, Sir Topas, I say to you this house is dark.

CLO.

Madman, thou errest. I say there is no darkness but ignorance, in which thou art more puzzled than the Egyptians in their fog.

MAL.

I say this house is as dark as ignorance, though ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say there was never man thus abus’d. I am no more mad than you are; make the trial of it in any constant question.

CLO.

What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild-fowl?

MAL.

That the soul of our grandam might happily inhabit a bird.

CLO.

What think’st thou of his opinion?

MAL.

I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve his opinion.

CLO.

Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness. Thou shalt hold th’ opinion of Pythagoras ere I will allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a woodcock lest thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee well.

MAL.

Sir Topas, Sir Topas!

SIR TO.

My most exquisite Sir Topas!

CLO.

Nay, I am for all waters.

MAR.

Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and gown, he sees thee not.

SIR TO.

To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how thou find’st him. I would we were well rid of this knavery. If he may be conveniently deliver’d, I would he were, for I am now so far in offense with my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this sport t’ the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.

Exit with Maria.

CLO.

Sings.

“Hey, Robin, jolly Robin,

Tell me how thy lady does.”

MAL.

Fool!

CLO.

“My lady is unkind, perdie.”

MAL.

Fool!

CLO.

“Alas, why is she so?”

MAL.

Fool, I say!

CLO.

“She loves another”—

Who calls, ha?

MAL.

Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink, and paper. As I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to thee for’t.

CLO.

Master Malvolio?

MAL.

Ay, good fool.

CLO.

Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?

MAL.

Fool, there was never man so notoriously abus’d; I am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.

CLO.

But as well! Then you are mad indeed, if you be no better in your wits than a fool.

MAL.

They have here propertied me, keep me in darkness, send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to face me out of my wits.

CLO.

Advise you what you say; the minister is here.—Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore! Endeavor thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain bibble babble.

MAL.

Sir Topas!

CLO.

Maintain no words with him, good fellow.—Who, I, sir? Not I, sir. God buy you, good Sir Topas.—Marry, amen.—I will, sir, I will.

MAL.

Fool, fool, fool, I say!

CLO.

Alas, sir, be patient. What say you, sir? I am shent for speaking to you.

MAL.

Good fool, help me to some light and some paper. I tell thee I am as well in my wits as any man in Illyria.

CLO.

Well-a-day that you were, sir!

MAL.

By this hand, I am. Good fool, some ink, paper, and light; and convey what I will set down to my lady. It shall advantage thee more than ever the bearing of letter did.

CLO.

I will help you to’t. But tell me true, are you not mad indeed, or do you but counterfeit?

MAL.

Believe me I am not, I tell thee true.

CLO.

Nay, I’ll ne’er believe a madman till I see his brains. I will fetch you light and paper and ink.

MAL.

Fool, I’ll requite it in the highest degree. I prithee be gone.

CLO.

Sings.

I am gone, sir,

And anon, sir,

I’ll be with you again;

In a trice,

Like to the old Vice,

Your need to sustain;

Who with dagger of lath,

In his rage and his wrath,

Cries, ah, ha! To the devil;

Like a mad lad,

Pare thy nails, dad.

Adieu, goodman devil.

Exit.

 
 
 
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