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Twelfth Night
Act 1, scene 5

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Entire Play

Twelfth Night—an allusion to the night of festivity preceding the Christian celebration of the Epiphany—combines love, confusion, mistaken identities, and…

Act 1, scene 1

At his court, Orsino, sick with love for the Lady Olivia, learns from his messenger that she is grieving for…

Act 1, scene 2

On the Adriatic seacoast, Viola, who has been saved from a shipwreck in which her brother may have drowned, hears…

Act 1, scene 3

At the estate of Lady Olivia, Sir Toby Belch, Olivia’s kinsman, has brought in Sir Andrew Aguecheek to be her…

Act 1, scene 4

At Orsino’s court, Viola, disguised as a page and calling herself Cesario, has gained the trust of Orsino, who decides…

Act 1, scene 5

Viola, in her disguise as Cesario, appears at Olivia’s estate. Olivia allows Cesario to speak with her privately about Orsino’s…

Act 2, scene 1

A young gentleman named Sebastian, who has recently been saved from a shipwreck in which his sister has been lost,…

Act 2, scene 2

Malvolio finds the disguised Viola and “returns” the ring. Viola, alone, realizes that Olivia has fallen in love with Cesario…

Act 2, scene 3

At Olivia’s estate, Toby, Andrew, and the Fool hold a late night party. Maria comes in to quiet them, followed…

Act 2, scene 4

Orsino asks for a song to relieve his love-longing. In conversation about the capacities for love in men and in…

Act 2, scene 5

Maria lays her trap for Malvolio by placing her forged letter in his path. From their hiding place, Toby, Andrew,…

Act 3, scene 1

Viola (as Cesario), on her way to see Olivia, encounters first the Fool and then Sir Toby and Sir Andrew….

Act 3, scene 2

Sir Andrew, convinced that Olivia will never love him, threatens to leave. Sir Toby persuades him that he can win…

Act 3, scene 3

Antonio, having followed Sebastian, explains the incident in his past that keeps him from safely venturing into the streets of…

Act 3, scene 4

Malvolio, dressed ridiculously and smiling grotesquely, appears before an astonished Olivia. Thinking him insane, she puts him in the care…

Act 4, scene 1

The Fool encounters Sebastian, whom he mistakes for Cesario. When Sir Andrew and Sir Toby attack Sebastian, the Fool fetches…

Act 4, scene 2

Under directions from Sir Toby, the Fool disguises himself as a parish priest and visits the imprisoned Malvolio. In his…

Act 4, scene 3

While Sebastian is sure that neither he nor Olivia is insane, he is amazed by the wonder of his new…

Act 5, scene 1

Orsino, at Olivia’s estate, sends the Fool to bring Olivia to him. Antonio is brought in by officers and he…

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Scene 5
Enter Maria and Feste, the Fool.

MARIA Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I
 will not open my lips so wide as a bristle may enter

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ACT 1. SC. 5

 in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy
 absence.
FOOL 5Let her hang me. He that is well hanged in this
 world needs to fear no colors.
MARIA Make that good.
FOOL He shall see none to fear.
MARIA A good Lenten answer. I can tell thee where
10 that saying was born, of “I fear no colors.”
FOOL Where, good Mistress Mary?
MARIA In the wars; and that may you be bold to say in
 your foolery.
FOOL Well, God give them wisdom that have it, and
15 those that are Fools, let them use their talents.
MARIA Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent.
 Or to be turned away, is not that as good as a
 hanging to you?
FOOL Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage,
20 and, for turning away, let summer bear it out.
MARIA You are resolute, then?
FOOL Not so, neither, but I am resolved on two points.
MARIA That if one break, the other will hold, or if both
 break, your gaskins fall.
FOOL 25Apt, in good faith, very apt. Well, go thy way. If Sir
 Toby would leave drinking, thou wert as witty a
 piece of Eve’s flesh as any in Illyria.
MARIA Peace, you rogue. No more o’ that. Here comes
 my lady. Make your excuse wisely, you were best.
She exits.

Enter Lady Olivia with Malvolio and Attendants.

FOOL, aside 30Wit, an ’t be thy will, put me into good
 fooling! Those wits that think they have thee do very
 oft prove fools, and I that am sure I lack thee may
 pass for a wise man. For what says Quinapalus?
 “Better a witty Fool than a foolish wit.”—God bless
35 thee, lady!

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ACT 1. SC. 5

OLIVIA Take the Fool away.
FOOL Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the Lady.
OLIVIA Go to, you’re a dry Fool. I’ll no more of you.
 Besides, you grow dishonest.
FOOL 40Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel
 will amend. For give the dry Fool drink, then is
 the Fool not dry. Bid the dishonest man mend
 himself; if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he
 cannot, let the botcher mend him. Anything that’s
45 mended is but patched; virtue that transgresses is
 but patched with sin, and sin that amends is but
 patched with virtue. If that this simple syllogism
 will serve, so; if it will not, what remedy? As there is
 no true cuckold but calamity, so beauty’s a flower.
50 The Lady bade take away the Fool. Therefore, I say
 again, take her away.
OLIVIA Sir, I bade them take away you.
FOOL Misprision in the highest degree! Lady, cucullus
 non facit monachum.
 That’s as much to say as, I
55 wear not motley in my brain. Good madonna, give
 me leave to prove you a fool.
OLIVIA Can you do it?
FOOL Dexteriously, good madonna.
OLIVIA Make your proof.
FOOL 60I must catechize you for it, madonna. Good my
 mouse of virtue, answer me.
OLIVIA Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I’ll bide
 your proof.
FOOL Good madonna, why mourn’st thou?
OLIVIA 65Good Fool, for my brother’s death.
FOOL I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
OLIVIA I know his soul is in heaven, Fool.
FOOL The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your
 brother’s soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool,
70 gentlemen.
OLIVIA What think you of this Fool, Malvolio? Doth he
 not mend?

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MALVOLIO Yes, and shall do till the pangs of death
 shake him. Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth
75 ever make the better Fool.
FOOL God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the
 better increasing your folly! Sir Toby will be sworn
 that I am no fox, but he will not pass his word for
 twopence that you are no fool.
OLIVIA 80How say you to that, Malvolio?
MALVOLIO I marvel your Ladyship takes delight in
 such a barren rascal. I saw him put down the other
 day with an ordinary fool that has no more brain
 than a stone. Look you now, he’s out of his guard
85 already. Unless you laugh and minister occasion to
 him, he is gagged. I protest I take these wise men
 that crow so at these set kind of Fools no better than
 the Fools’ zanies.
OLIVIA O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste
90 with a distempered appetite. To be generous, guiltless,
 and of free disposition is to take those things
 for bird-bolts that you deem cannon bullets. There
 is no slander in an allowed Fool, though he do
 nothing but rail; nor no railing in a known discreet
95 man, though he do nothing but reprove.
FOOL Now Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou
 speak’st well of Fools!

Enter Maria.

MARIA Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman
 much desires to speak with you.
OLIVIA 100From the Count Orsino, is it?
MARIA I know not, madam. ’Tis a fair young man, and
 well attended.
OLIVIA Who of my people hold him in delay?
MARIA Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.
OLIVIA 105Fetch him off, I pray you. He speaks nothing
 but madman. Fie on him! Maria exits. Go you,
 Malvolio. If it be a suit from the Count, I am sick,

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ACT 1. SC. 5

 or not at home; what you will, to dismiss it. (Malvolio
 exits.) 
Now you see, sir, how your fooling
110 grows old, and people dislike it.
FOOL Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest
 son should be a Fool, whose skull Jove cram with
 brains, for—here he comes—one of thy kin has a
 most weak pia mater.

Enter Sir Toby.

OLIVIA 115By mine honor, half drunk!—What is he at the
 gate, cousin?
TOBY A gentleman.
OLIVIA A gentleman? What gentleman?
TOBY ’Tis a gentleman here—a plague o’ these pickle
120 herring!—How now, sot?
FOOL Good Sir Toby.
OLIVIA Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by
 this lethargy?
TOBY Lechery? I defy lechery. There’s one at the gate.
OLIVIA 125Ay, marry, what is he?
TOBY Let him be the devil an he will, I care not. Give
 me faith, say I. Well, it’s all one.He exits.
OLIVIA What’s a drunken man like, Fool?
FOOL Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman. One
130 draught above heat makes him a fool, the second
 mads him, and a third drowns him.
OLIVIA Go thou and seek the crowner and let him sit o’
 my coz, for he’s in the third degree of drink: he’s
 drowned. Go look after him.
FOOL 135He is but mad yet, madonna, and the Fool shall
 look to the madman.He exits.

Enter Malvolio.

MALVOLIO Madam, yond young fellow swears he will
 speak with you. I told him you were sick; he takes

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ACT 1. SC. 5

 on him to understand so much, and therefore
140 comes to speak with you. I told him you were
 asleep; he seems to have a foreknowledge of that
 too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is
 to be said to him, lady? He’s fortified against any
 denial.
OLIVIA 145Tell him he shall not speak with me.
MALVOLIO Has been told so, and he says he’ll stand at
 your door like a sheriff’s post and be the supporter
 to a bench, but he’ll speak with you.
OLIVIA What kind o’ man is he?
MALVOLIO 150Why, of mankind.
OLIVIA What manner of man?
MALVOLIO Of very ill manner. He’ll speak with you,
 will you or no.
OLIVIA Of what personage and years is he?
MALVOLIO 155Not yet old enough for a man, nor young
 enough for a boy—as a squash is before ’tis a
 peascod, or a codling when ’tis almost an apple. ’Tis
 with him in standing water, between boy and man.
 He is very well-favored, and he speaks very shrewishly.
160 One would think his mother’s milk were
 scarce out of him.
OLIVIA 
 Let him approach. Call in my gentlewoman.
MALVOLIO Gentlewoman, my lady calls.He exits.

Enter Maria.

OLIVIA 
 Give me my veil. Come, throw it o’er my face.
Olivia veils.
165 We’ll once more hear Orsino’s embassy.

Enter Viola.

VIOLA The honorable lady of the house, which is she?

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ACT 1. SC. 5

OLIVIA Speak to me. I shall answer for her. Your will?
VIOLA Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable
 beauty—I pray you, tell me if this be the lady of the
170 house, for I never saw her. I would be loath to cast
 away my speech, for, besides that it is excellently
 well penned, 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.
OLIVIA 175Whence came you, sir?
VIOLA 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.
OLIVIA 180Are you a comedian?
VIOLA 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?
OLIVIA If I do not usurp myself, I am.
VIOLA 185Most 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.
OLIVIA 190Come to what is important in ’t. I forgive you
 the praise.
VIOLA Alas, I took great pains to study it, and ’tis
 poetical.
OLIVIA It is the more like to be feigned. I pray you,
195 keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates, and
 allowed your approach rather to wonder at you than
 to hear you. If you be not mad, begone; if you have
 reason, be brief. ’Tis not that time of moon with me
 to make one in so skipping a dialogue.
MARIA 200Will you hoist sail, sir? Here lies your way.
VIOLA No, good swabber, I am to hull here a little

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ACT 1. SC. 5

 longer.—Some mollification for your giant, sweet
 lady.
OLIVIA Tell me your mind.
VIOLA 205I am a messenger.
OLIVIA Sure you have some hideous matter to deliver
 when the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your
 office.
VIOLA It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture
210 of war, no taxation of homage. I hold the olive in
 my hand. My words are as full of peace as matter.
OLIVIA Yet you began rudely. What are you? What
 would you?
VIOLA The rudeness that hath appeared in me have I
215 learned from my entertainment. What I am and
 what I would are as secret as maidenhead: to your
 ears, divinity; to any other’s, profanation.
OLIVIA Give us the place alone. We will hear this
 divinity. Maria and Attendants exit. Now, sir, what
220 is your text?
VIOLA Most sweet lady—
OLIVIA A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said
 of it. Where lies your text?
VIOLA In Orsino’s bosom.
OLIVIA 225In his bosom? In what chapter of his bosom?
VIOLA To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.
OLIVIA O, I have read it; it is heresy. Have you no more
 to say?
VIOLA Good madam, let me see your face.
OLIVIA 230Have 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. She removes her veil. Look you, sir, such a
 one I was this present. Is ’t not well done?
VIOLA 235Excellently done, if God did all.
OLIVIA ’Tis in grain, sir; ’twill endure wind and
 weather.

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ACT 1. SC. 5

VIOLA 
 ’Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
 Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
240 Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive
 If you will lead these graces to the grave
 And leave the world no copy.
OLIVIA O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted! I will give
 out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be
245 inventoried and every particle and utensil labeled
 to my will: as, item, two lips indifferent red; item,
 two gray eyes with lids to them; item, one neck, one
 chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise
 me?
VIOLA 
250 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 recompensed though you were
 crowned
255 The nonpareil of beauty.
OLIVIA  How does he love me?
VIOLA With adorations, fertile tears,
 With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.
OLIVIA 
 Your lord does know my mind. I cannot love him.
260 Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
 Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
 In voices well divulged, free, learned, and valiant,
 And in dimension and the shape of nature
 A gracious person. But yet I cannot love him.
265 He might have took his answer long ago.
VIOLA 
 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.

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ACT 1. SC. 5

OLIVIA 270 Why, what would you?
VIOLA 
 Make me a willow cabin at your gate
 And call upon my soul within the house,
 Write loyal cantons of contemnèd love
 And sing them loud even in the dead of night,
275 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.
OLIVIA 280 You might do much.
 What is your parentage?
VIOLA 
 Above my fortunes, yet my state is well.
 I am a gentleman.
OLIVIA  Get you to your lord.
285 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.
She offers money.
VIOLA 
 I am no fee’d post, lady. Keep your purse.
290 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
 Placed in contempt. Farewell, fair cruelty.She exits.
OLIVIA “What is your parentage?”
295 “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!
300 Unless the master were the man. How now?
 Even so quickly may one catch the plague?

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 Methinks I feel this youth’s perfections
 With an invisible and subtle stealth
 To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.—
305 What ho, Malvolio!

Enter Malvolio.

MALVOLIO  Here, madam, at your service.
OLIVIA 
 Run after that same peevish messenger,
 The County’s man. He left this ring behind him,
 Would I or not. Tell him I’ll none of it.
She hands him a ring.
310 Desire him not to flatter with his lord,
 Nor hold him up with hopes. I am not for him.
 If that the youth will come this way tomorrow,
 I’ll give him reasons for ’t. Hie thee, Malvolio.
MALVOLIO Madam, I will.He exits.
OLIVIA 
315 I do I know not what, and fear to find
 Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind.
 Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe.
 What is decreed must be, and be this so.
She exits.