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Scene Study (Female-Female)


The honorable lady of the house, which is she?


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


Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty—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 penn’d, 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.


Whence came you, sir?


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.


Are you a comedian?


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?


If I do not usurp myself, I am.


Most 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.


Come to what is important in’t. I forgive you the praise.


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


It is the more like to be feign’d, I pray you keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates, and allow’d your approach rather to wonder at you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be gone. If you have reason, be brief. ’Tis not that time of moon with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue.


I bring no overture of war, no taxation of homage; I hold the olive in my hand; my words are as full of peace as matter.


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


The rudeness that hath appear’d in me have I learn’d from my entertainment. What I am, and what I would, are as secret as maidenhead: to your ears, divinity; to any other’s, profanation.


Now, sir, what is your text?


Most sweet lady—


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


In Orsino’s bosom.


In his bosom? In what chapter of his bosom?


To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.


O, 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; but we will draw the curtain, and show you the picture. Look you, sir, such a one I was this present.


Is’t not well done?


Excellently done, if God did all.


’Tis in grain, sir, ’twill endure wind and weather.


’Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white

Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on.

Lady, you are the cruell’st she alive

If you will lead these graces to the grave,

And leave the world no copy.


O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every particle and utensil labell’d to my will: as, item, two lips, indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise me?


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 recompens’d, though you were crown’d

The nonpareil of beauty.


How does he love me?


With adorations, fertile tears,

With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.


Your lord does know my mind, I cannot love him,

Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,

Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;

In voices well divulg’d, free, learn’d, and valiant,

And in dimension, and the shape of nature,

A gracious person. But yet I cannot love him.

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.


Why, what would you?


Make me a willow cabin at your gate,

And call upon my soul within the house;

Write loyal cantons of contemned love,

And sing them loud even in the dead of night;

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!


You might do much.

What is your parentage?


Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:

I am a gentleman.


Get you to your lord.

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.


I am no fee’d post, lady; keep your purse;

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

Plac’d in contempt! Farewell, fair cruelty.


“What is your parentage?”

“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, soft!

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.


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