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Twelfth Night Scenes

Scene 1

A street before Olivia’s house.

(Clown; Fabian; Duke; Viola; Curio; Lords; Antonio; First Officer; Second Officer; Olivia; Attendants; Priest; Sir Andrew; Sir Toby; Malvolio)

Fabian tries to get Feste to let him read the letter Malvolio has written to Olivia, but the jester refuses. Orsino arrives, having finally decided to visit Olivia in person. Feste jests with him until Orsino has little choice but to pay him. The Officers bring Antonio in, and Viola, who is in Orsino’s train, points him out as the man who rescued her. Orsino recognizes him as the pirate who did them so much damage in the sea-battle, in which his own nephew lost a leg. Antonio protests that he was not a pirate, and explains his presence by telling the tale of how he followed Sebastian to Illyria, and how the lad denied knowing him. As Olivia comes in, Orsino tells the captain that he’s mad: “Cesario” has spent the three months Antonio claims he spent with him in the Duke’s own company. Olivia enters, chiding “Cesario” for not being with her and still refusing to love Orsino. The Duke soon works out that she is in love with his servant, and promises to never let her see “him” again. Olivia calls on “Cesario” to stay by her, but Viola insists on following ORsino. When Olivia calls her “husband”, she is utterly confused, but Orsino is enraged, convinced that “Cesario” has been acting behind his back. Viola denies having married the Countess, but Olivia calls in the priest to confirm her tale. Orsino banishes “Cesario” from his presence and Olivia reproaches “him” for perjury. Just then Sir Andrew comes in with a bleeding head, calling for a doctor. He accuses “Cesario” of the deed, though Viola, as confused as everyone else, denies this. Sir Toby arrives, his head bleeding as well. Sir Andrew offers to help him in so that they can have their wounds tended to together, but Toby turns on him and tells him to his face just what he is. Olivia sends them out. Sebastian arrives to apologize to Olivia for wounding her kinsman, to everyone’s great confusion. He also greets Antonio happily and gives him back his purse. No-one can tell a difference between Sebastian and “Cesario”. As they look at each other, the twins realize who they must be, and test each other, asking for details that only they would know to confirm their respective identities before they will believe that they are reunited. Viola’s identity as a woman is finally revealed, and the confusions cleared up. Orsino, remembering her promises that she would never love a woman as much as she loved him, takes her at her word and offers to marry her. Viola offers to change back into women’s clothing, but explains that the Captain who can prove her story (and who has her clothes) has been imprisoned for debt at Malvolio’s request. Olivia promises that Malvolio will let him go, but then remembers that the steward is mad. Feste hands over Malvolio’s letter after trying to read it aloud in a madman’s voice. Olivia is impatient with foolery at this moment, and has Fabian read it instead. No-one thinks it is the letter of a madman. While waiting for Malvolio to be fetched in, Orsino and Olivia agree to have a double wedding, and Olivia greets Viola as her sister. Malvolio enters and pleads for justice, holding out the letter he found in the garden as an explanation for his behavior. Olivia takes it and has to tell him that she didn’t write it: the handwriting’s is Maria’s. Fabian steps forward and admits to the whole plot against Malvolio, mentioning that to reward Maria for her ideas Toby has married her, and hoping that in the joy of a wedding-day they will be forgiven. Malvolio admits to his own role, and points out that Malvolio brought it on himself. The steward refuses to be reconciled, and goes out swearing that he will have his revenge on them all. Orsino requests that he be followed and persuaded to tell them about the Captain. In the meantime everyone goes indoors to sort out all the details of the story. Orsino insists they will not leave Olivia’s house until everyone is happily married. Feste remains behind, singing a farewell song to the audience. (357 lines)

Enter Clown and Fabian.


Now as thou lov’st me, let me see his letter.


Good Master Fabian, grant me another request.


Any thing.


Do not desire to see this letter.


This is to give a dog and in recompense desire my dog again.

Enter Duke, Viola, Curio, and Lords.


Belong you to the Lady Olivia, friends?


Ay, sir, we are some of her trappings.


I know thee well; how dost thou, my good fellow?


Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for my friends.


Just the contrary: the better for thy friends.


No, sir, the worse.


How can that be?


Marry, sir, they praise me, and make an ass of me. Now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass; so that by my foes, sir, I profit in the knowledge of myself, and by my friends I am abus’d; so that, conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives, why then the worse for my friends and the better for my foes.


Why, this is excellent.


By my troth, sir, no; though it please you to be one of my friends.


Thou shalt not be the worse for me, there’s gold.


But that it would be double-dealing, sir, I would you could make it another.


O, you give me ill counsel.


Put your grace in your pocket, sir, for this once, and let your flesh and blood obey it.


Well, I will be so much a sinner to be a double-dealer. There’s another.


Primo, secundo, tertio, is a good play, and the old saying is, the third pays for all. The triplex, sir, is a good tripping measure, or the bells of Saint Bennet, sir, may put you in mind—one, two, three.


You can fool no more money out of me at this throw. If you will let your lady know I am here to speak with her, and bring her along with you, it may awake my bounty further.


Marry, sir, lullaby to your bounty till I come again. I go, sir, but I would not have you to think that my desire of having is the sin of covetousness; but as you say, sir, let your bounty take a nap, I will awake it anon.


Enter Antonio and Officers.


Here comes the man, sir, that did rescue me.


That face of his I do remember well,

Yet when I saw it last, it was besmear’d

As black as Vulcan in the smoke of war.

A baubling vessel was he captain of,

For shallow draught and bulk unprizable,

With which such scathful grapple did he make

With the most noble bottom of our fleet,

That very envy, and the tongue of loss,

Cried fame and honor on him. What’s the matter?

1. OFF.

Orsino, this is that Antonio

That took the Phoenix and her fraught from Candy,

And this is he that did the Tiger board,

When your young nephew Titus lost his leg.

Here in the streets, desperate of shame and state,

In private brabble did we apprehend him.


He did me kindness, sir, drew on my side,

But in conclusion put strange speech upon me.

I know not what ’twas but distraction.


Notable pirate, thou salt-water thief!

What foolish boldness brought thee to their mercies

Whom thou in terms so bloody and so dear

Hast made thine enemies?


Orsino, noble sir,

Be pleas’d that I shake off these names you give me.

Antonio never yet was thief or pirate,

Though I confess, on base and ground enough,

Orsino’s enemy. A witchcraft drew me hither:

That most ingrateful boy there by your side

From the rude sea’s enrag’d and foamy mouth

Did I redeem; a wrack past hope he was.

His life I gave him, and did thereto add

My love, without retention or restraint,

All his in dedication. For his sake

Did I expose myself (pure for his love)

Into the danger of this adverse town,

Drew to defend him when he was beset;

Where being apprehended, his false cunning

(Not meaning to partake with me in danger)

Taught him to face me out of his acquaintance,

And grew a twenty years removed thing

While one would wink; denied me mine own purse,

Which I had recommended to his use

Not half an hour before.


How can this be?


When came he to this town?


Today, my lord; and for three months before,

No int’rim, not a minute’s vacancy,

Both day and night did we keep company.

Enter Olivia and Attendants.


Here comes the Countess, now heaven walks on earth.

But for thee, fellow—fellow, thy words are madness.

Three months this youth hath tended upon me,

But more of that anon. Take him aside.


What would my lord, but that he may not have,

Wherein Olivia may seem serviceable?

Cesario, you do not keep promise with me.




Gracious Olivia—


What do you say, Cesario? Good my lord—


My lord would speak, my duty hushes me.


If it be aught to the old tune, my lord,

It is as fat and fulsome to mine ear

As howling after music.


Still so cruel?


Still so constant, lord.


What, to perverseness? You uncivil lady,

To whose ingrate and unauspicious altars

My soul the faithfull’st off’rings have breath’d out

That e’er devotion tender’d! What shall I do?


Even what it please my lord, that shall become him.


Why should I not (had I the heart to do it),

Like to th’ Egyptian thief at point of death,

Kill what I love? (a savage jealousy

That sometime savors nobly), but hear me this:

Since you to non-regardance cast my faith,

And that I partly know the instrument

That screws me from my true place in your favor,

Live you the marble-breasted tyrant still.

But this your minion, whom I know you love,

And whom, by heaven I swear, I tender dearly,

Him will I tear out of that cruel eye,

Where he sits crowned in his master’s spite.

Come, boy, with me, my thoughts are ripe in mischief.

I’ll sacrifice the lamb that I do love,

To spite a raven’s heart within a dove.


And I most jocund, apt, and willingly,

To do you rest, a thousand deaths would die.


Where goes Cesario?


After him I love

More than I love these eyes, more than my life,

More by all mores than e’er I shall love wife.

If I do feign, you witnesses above

Punish my life for tainting of my love!


Ay me, detested! How am I beguil’d!


Who does beguile you? Who does do you wrong?


Hast thou forgot thyself? Is it so long?

Call forth the holy father.


Come, away!


Whither, my lord? Cesario, husband, stay.




Ay, husband. Can he that deny?


Her husband, sirrah?


No, my lord, not I.


Alas, it is the baseness of thy fear

That makes thee strangle thy propriety.

Fear not, Cesario, take thy fortunes up,

Be that thou know’st thou art, and then thou art

As great as that thou fear’st.

Enter Priest.

O, welcome, father!

Father, I charge thee by thy reverence

Here to unfold, though lately we intended

To keep in darkness what occasion now

Reveals before ’tis ripe, what thou dost know

Hath newly pass’d between this youth and me.


A contract of eternal bond of love,

Confirm’d by mutual joinder of your hands,

Attested by the holy close of lips,

Strength’ned by interchangement of your rings,

And all the ceremony of this compact

Seal’d in my function, by my testimony;

Since when, my watch hath told me, toward my grave

I have travel’d but two hours.


O thou dissembling cub! What wilt thou be

When time hath sow’d a grizzle on thy case?

Or will not else thy craft so quickly grow,

That thine own trip shall be thine overthrow?

Farewell, and take her, but direct thy feet

Where thou and I (henceforth) may never meet.


My lord, I do protest—


O, do not swear!

Hold little faith, though thou hast too much fear.

Enter Sir Andrew.


For the love of God, a surgeon! Send one presently to Sir Toby.


What’s the matter?


H’as broke my head across, and has given Sir Toby a bloody coxcomb too. For the love of God, your help! I had rather than forty pound I were at home.


Who has done this, Sir Andrew?


The Count’s gentleman, one Cesario. We took him for a coward, but he’s the very devil incardinate.


My gentleman, Cesario?


’Od’s lifelings, here he is! You broke my head for nothing, and that that I did, I was set on to do’t by Sir Toby.


Why do you speak to me? I never hurt you.

I drew your sword upon me without cause,

But I bespake you fair, and hurt you not.

Enter Toby and Clown.


If a bloody coxcomb be a hurt, you have hurt me. I think you set nothing by a bloody coxcomb. Here comes Sir Toby halting—you shall hear more. But if he had not been in drink, he would have tickled you othergates than he did.


How now, gentleman? How is’t with you?


That’s all one. H’as hurt me, and there’s th’ end on’t. Sot, didst see Dick surgeon, sot?


O, he’s drunk, Sir Toby, an hour agone; his eyes were set at eight i’ th’ morning.


Then he’s a rogue, and a passy-measures pavin. I hate a drunken rogue.


Away with him! Who hath made this havoc with them?


I’ll help you, Sir Toby, because we’ll be dress’d together.


Will you help?—an ass-head and a coxcomb and a knave, a thin-fac’d knave, a gull!


Get him to bed, and let his hurt be look’d to.

Exeunt Clown, Fabian, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew.

Enter Sebastian.


I am sorry, madam, I have hurt your kinsman,

But had it been the brother of my blood,

I must have done no less with wit and safety.

You throw a strange regard upon me, and by that

I do perceive it hath offended you.

Pardon me, sweet one, even for the vows

We made each other but so late ago.


One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons,

A natural perspective, that is and is not!


Antonio, O my dear Antonio!

How have the hours rack’d and tortur’d me,

Since I have lost thee!


Sebastian are you?


Fear’st thou that, Antonio?


How have you made division of yourself?

An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin

Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?


Most wonderful!


Do I stand there? I never had a brother;

Nor can there be that deity in my nature

Of here and every where. I had a sister,

Whom the blind waves and surges have devour’d.

Of charity, what kin are you to me?

What countryman? What name? What parentage?


Of Messaline; Sebastian was my father,

Such a Sebastian was my brother too;

So went he suited to his watery tomb.

If spirits can assume both form and suit,

You come to fright us.


A spirit I am indeed,

But am in that dimension grossly clad

Which from the womb I did participate.

Were you a woman, as the rest goes even,

I should my tears let fall upon your cheek,

And say, “Thrice welcome, drowned Viola!”


My father had a mole upon his brow.


And so had mine.


And died that day when Viola from her birth

Had numb’red thirteen years.


O, that record is lively in my soul!

He finished indeed his mortal act

That day that made my sister thirteen years.


If nothing lets to make us happy both

But this my masculine usurp’d attire,

Do not embrace me till each circumstance

Of place, time, fortune, do cohere and jump

That I am Viola—which to confirm,

I’ll bring you to a captain in this town,

Where lie my maiden weeds; by whose gentle help

I was preserv’d to serve this noble count.

All the occurrence of my fortune since

Hath been between this lady and this lord.


To Olivia.

So comes it, lady, you have been mistook;

But Nature to her bias drew in that.

You would have been contracted to a maid,

Nor are you therein, by my life, deceiv’d,

You are betroth’d both to a maid and man.


Be not amaz’d, right noble is his blood.

If this be so, as yet the glass seems true,

I shall have share in this most happy wrack.

To Viola.

Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand times

Thou never shouldst love woman like to me.


And all those sayings will I over swear,

And all those swearings keep as true in soul

As doth that orbed continent the fire

That severs day from night.


Give me thy hand,

And let me see thee in thy woman’s weeds.


The captain that did bring me first on shore

Hath my maid’s garments. He upon some action

Is now in durance, at Malvolio’s suit,

A gentleman, and follower of my lady’s.


He shall enlarge him; fetch Malvolio hither.

And yet, alas, now I remember me,

They say, poor gentleman, he’s much distract.

Enter Clown with a letter, and Fabian.

A most extracting frenzy of mine own

From my remembrance clearly banish’d his.

How does he, sirrah?


Truly, madam, he holds Beelzebub at the stave’s end as well as a man in his case may do. H’as here writ a letter to you; I should have given’t you today morning. But as a madman’s epistles are no gospels, so it skills not much when they are deliver’d.


Open’t and read it.


Look then to be well edified when the fool delivers the madman.

Reads madly.

“By the Lord, madam”—


How now, art thou mad?


No, madam, I do but read madness. And your ladyship will have it as it ought to be, you must allow vox.


Prithee read i’ thy right wits.


So I do, madonna; but to read his right wits is to read thus; therefore perpend, my princess, and give ear.


To Fabian.

Read it you, sirrah.



“By the Lord, madam, you wrong me, and the world shall know it. Though you have put me into darkness, and given your drunken cousin rule over me, yet have I the benefit of my senses as well as your ladyship. I have your own letter that induc’d me to the semblance I put on; with the which I doubt not but to do myself much right, or you much shame. Think of me as you please. I leave my duty a little unthought of, and speak out of my injury.

The madly-us’d Malvolio.”


Did he write this?


Ay, madam.


This savors not much of distraction.


See him deliver’d, Fabian, bring him hither.

Exit Fabian.

My lord, so please you, these things further thought on,

To think me as well a sister as a wife,

One day shall crown th’ alliance on’t, so please you,

Here at my house and at my proper cost.


Madam, I am most apt t’ embrace your offer.

To Viola.

Your master quits you; and for your service done him,

So much against the mettle of your sex,

So far beneath your soft and tender breeding,

And since you call’d me master for so long,

Here is my hand—you shall from this time be

Your master’s mistress.


A sister! You are she.

Enter Fabian with Malvolio.


Is this the madman?


Ay, my lord, this same.

How now, Malvolio?


Madam, you have done me wrong,

Notorious wrong.


Have I, Malvolio? No.


Lady, you have. Pray you peruse that letter.

You must not now deny it is your hand;

Write from it if you can, in hand or phrase,

Or say ’tis not your seal, not your invention.

You can say none of this. Well, grant it then,

And tell me, in the modesty of honor,

Why you have given me such clear lights of favor,

Bade me come smiling and cross-garter’d to you,

To put on yellow stockings, and to frown

Upon Sir Toby and the lighter people;

And acting this in an obedient hope,

Why have you suffer’d me to be imprison’d,

Kept in a dark house, visited by the priest,

And made the most notorious geck and gull

That e’er invention play’d on? Tell me why!


Alas, Malvolio, this is not my writing,

Though I confess much like the character;

But out of question ’tis Maria’s hand.

And now I do bethink me, it was she

First told me thou wast mad. Then cam’st in smiling,

And in such forms which here were presuppos’d

Upon thee in the letter. Prithee be content.

This practice hath most shrewdly pass’d upon thee;

But when we know the grounds and authors of it,

Thou shalt be both the plaintiff and the judge

Of thine own cause.


Good madam, hear me speak,

And let no quarrel nor no brawl to come

Taint the condition of this present hour,

Which I have wond’red at. In hope it shall not,

Most freely I confess, myself and Toby

Set this device against Malvolio here,

Upon some stubborn and uncourteous parts

We had conceiv’d against him. Maria writ

The letter at Sir Toby’s great importance,

In recompense whereof he hath married her.

How with a sportful malice it was follow’d

May rather pluck on laughter than revenge,

If that the injuries be justly weigh’d

That have on both sides pass’d.


Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!


Why, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them.” I was one, sir, in this enterlude—one Sir Topas, sir, but that’s all one. “By the Lord, fool, I am not mad.” But do you remember? “Madam, why laugh you at such a barren rascal? And you smile not, he’s gagg’d.” And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.


I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you.



He hath been most notoriously abus’d.


Pursue him, and entreat him to a peace;

He hath not told us of the captain yet.

When that is known, and golden time convents,

A solemn combination shall be made

Of our dear souls. Mean time, sweet sister,

We will not part from hence. Cesario, come—

For so you shall be while you are a man;

But when in other habits you are seen,

Orsino’s mistress, and his fancy’s queen.

Exeunt all but Clown.


Clown sings.

When that I was and a little tiny boy,

With hey ho, the wind and the rain,

A foolish thing was but a toy,

For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,

With hey ho, etc.

’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,

For the rain, etc.

But when I came, alas, to wive,

With hey ho, etc.

By swaggering could I never thrive,

For the rain, etc.

But when I came unto my beds,

With hey ho, etc.

With toss-pots still had drunken heads,

For the rain, etc.

A great while ago the world begun,

With hey ho, etc.

But that’s all one, our play is done,

And we’ll strive to please you every day.



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