A room in Duke Orsino’s palace.
(Valentine; Viola; Duke; Curio; Attendants)
Viola, dressed as a youth and calling herself Cesario, has become a favorite servant of Orsino’s. He sends her to woo Olivia for him. She promises to do her best, though to herself has to admit the task will be difficult, as she is herself in love with Orsino. (41 lines)
Enter Valentine, and Viola in man’s attire.
If the Duke continue these favors towards you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanc’d; he hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.
You either fear his humor or my negligence, that you call in question the continuance of his love. Is he inconstant, sir, in his favors?
No, believe me.
Enter Duke, Curio, and Attendants.
I thank you. Here comes the Count.
Who saw Cesario, ho?
On your attendance, my lord, here.
Stand you awhile aloof. Cesario,
Thou know’st no less but all. I have unclasp’d
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 fixed foot shall grow
Till thou have audience.
Sure, my noble lord,
If she be so abandon’d to her sorrow
As it is spoke, she never will admit me.
Be clamorous, and leap all civil bounds,
Rather than make unprofited return.
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
Than in a nuntio’s of more grave aspect.
I think not so, my lord.
Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years,
That say thou art a man. Diana’s lip
Is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe
Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,
And all is semblative a woman’s part.
I know thy constellation is right apt
For this affair. Some four or five attend him—
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.
I’ll do my best
To woo your lady.
Yet a barful strife!
Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.