A room in Olivia’s house.
(Sir Toby Belch; Maria; Sir Andrew Aguecheek)
Olivia’s debauched uncle Sir Toby chats with her gentlewoman Maria, who tries to convince him to be a bit less rowdy. Sir Toby cannot understand why Olivia is moaning so much about her brother. They discuss Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a foolish suitor for Olivia’s hand whom Sir Toby keeps around to milk of his money. Sir Toby praises his accomplishments while Maria points out his foolishness. Sir Andrew enters and quickly proves Maria’s opinion of him correct. Still, he has sense enough to suspect that Olivia will have nothing to do with him, and proposes returning home the next day. Sir Toby convinces him to stay a month longer, promising to help him, and Sir Toby therefore gets to keep his moneybags close for that much longer. He has Sir Andrew practice his dancing. (67 lines)
Enter Sir Toby Belch and Maria.
What a plague means my niece to take the death of her brother thus? I am sure care’s an enemy to life.
By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier a’ nights. Your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.
Why, let her except before excepted.
Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of order.
Confine? I’ll confine myself no finer than I am. These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too; and they be not, let them hang themselves in their own straps.
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.
Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
He’s as tall a man as any’s in Illyria.
What’s that to th’ purpose?
Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.
Ay, but he’ll have but a year in all these ducats. He’s a very fool and a prodigal.
Fie, 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 nature.
He hath indeed, almost natural; for besides 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.
By this hand, they are scoundrels and sub-stractors that say so of him. Who are they?
They that add moreov’r, he’s drunk nightly in your company.
With 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 coystrill 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.
Enter Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
Sir Toby Belch! How now, Sir Toby Belch?
Sweet Sir Andrew!
Bless you, fair shrew.
And you too, sir.
Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.
My niece’s chambermaid.
Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
My name is Mary, sir.
Good Mistress Mary Accost—
You mistake, knight. “Accost” is front her, board her, woo her, assail her.
By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of “accost”?
Fare you well, gentlemen.
And thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou mightst never draw sword again.
And you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have fools in hand?
Sir, I have not you by th’ hand.
Marry, but you shall have—and here’s my hand.
Now, sir, thought is free. I pray you bring your hand to th’ butt’ry-bar, and let it drink.
Wherefore, sweetheart? What’s your metaphor?
It’s dry, sir.
Why, I think so. I am not such an ass but I can keep my hand dry. But what’s your jest?
A dry jest, sir.
Are you full of them?
Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers’ ends. Marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.
O knight, thou lack’st a cup of canary. When did I see thee so put down?
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 has; but I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.
And I thought that, I’d forswear it. I’ll ride home tomorrow, Sir Toby.
Pourquoi, my dear knight?
What is “pourquoi”? Do, or not do? I would I had bestow’d that time in the tongues that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting. O had I but follow’d the arts!
Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.
Why, would that have mended my hair?
Past question, for thou seest it will not curl by nature.
But it becomes me well enough, does’t not?
Excellent, it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a huswife take thee between her legs, and spin it off.
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. The Count himself here hard by woos her.
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.
I’ll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o’ th’ strangest mind i’ th’ world; I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether.
Art thou good at these kickshawses, knight?
As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters, and yet I will not compare with an old man.
What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?
Faith, I can cut a caper.
And I can cut the mutton to’t.
And I think I have the back-trick simply as strong as any man in Illyria.
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 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 leg, it was form’d under the star of a galliard.
Ay, ’tis strong; and it does indifferent well in a dun-color’d stock. Shall we set about some revels?
What shall we do else? Were we not born under Taurus?
Taurus? That’s sides and heart.
No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper. Ha, higher! Ha, ha, excellent!