William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the famous gender-bending comedy, tells the story of Viola, a young woman who loses her brother at sea.
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Twelfth Night

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Act I. Scene III.

Scene III.—A Room in OLIVIA'S House.


Sir To. What a plague means my niece, to
take the death of her brother thus? I am sure
care's an enemy to life.
Mar. By my troth. Sir Toby, you must come
in earlier o' nights: your cousin, my lady, takes
great exceptions to your ill hours.
Sir To. Why, let her except before excepted.
Mar. Ay, but you must confine yourself with-
in the modest limits of order.
Sir To. Confine! I'll confine myself no finer
than I am. These clothes are good enough to
drink in, and so be these boots too: an they be
not, let them hang themselves in their own
Mar. 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.
Sir To. Who? Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
Mar. Ay, he.
Sir To. He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria.
Mar. What's that to the purpose?
Sir To. Why, he has three thousand ducats a
Mar. Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these
ducats: he's a very fool and a prodigal.
Sir To. Fie, that you'll say so! he plays o'
the viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four
languages word for word without book, and hath
all the good gifts of nature. 30
Mar. He hath indeed, almost natural; for,
besides that he's a fool, he's a great quarreller;
and but that he hath the gift of a coward to allay
the gust he hath in quarrelling, 'tis thought
among the prudent he would quickly have the
gift of a grave.
Sir To. By this hand, they are scoundrels and
substraetors that say so of him. Who are they?
Mar. They that add, moreover, he's drunk
nightly in your company.
Sir To. 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 coystril, that will not drink to my niece
till his brains turn o' the toe like a parish-top.
What, wench! Castiliano vulgo! for here comes
Sir Andrew Agueface.

Sir And. Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby
Sir To. Sweet Sir Andrew!
Sir And. Bless you, fair shrew.
Mar. And you too, sir.
Sir To. Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.
Sir And. What's that?
Sir To. My niece's chambermaid.
Sir And. Good Mistress Accost, I desire
better acquaintance.
Mar. My name is Mary, sir.
Sir And. Good Mistress Mary Accost,—
Sir To. You mistake, knight: 'accost' is,
front her, board her, woo her, assail her.
Sir And. By my troth, I would not undertake
her in this company. Is that the meaning of
Mar. Fare you well, gentlemen.
Sir To. An thou let her part so. Sir Andrew,
would thou mightst never draw sword again!
Sir And. An you part so, mistress, I would I
might never draw sword again. Fair lady, do
you think you have fools in hand?
Mar. Sir, I have not you by the hand.
Sir And. Marry, but you shall have; and
here's my hand.
Mar. Now, sir, 'thought is free:' I pray you,
bring your hand to the buttery-bar and let it
Sir And. Wherefore, sweetheart? what's your
Mar. It's dry, sir.
Sir And. Why, I think so: I am not such an
ass but I can keep my hand dry. But what's
your jest?
Mar. A dry jest, sir.
Sir And. Are you full of them?
Mar. Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers' ends:
marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.
Sir To. O knight! thou lackest a cup
canary: when did I see thee so put down?
Sir And. Never in your life, I think; unless
you see canary put me down. Methinks some-
times 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.
Sir To. No question.
Sir And. An I thought that, I'd forswear it.
I'll ride home to-morrow. Sir Toby.
Sir To. Pourquoi, my dear height?
Sir And. What is 'pourquoi?' do or not do?
I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues
that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting.
O! had I but followed the arts!
Sir To. Then hadst thou had an excellent
head of hair.
Sir And. Why, would that have mended my
Sir To. Past question; for thou seest it will
not curl by nature.
Sir And. But it becomes me well enough,
does't not?
Sir To. Excellent; it hangs like flax on a
distaff, and I hope to see a housewife take thee
between her legs, and spin it off.
Sir And. Faith, I'll home to-morrow, 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.
Sir To. She'll none o' the count; she'll not
match above her degree, neither in estate, years,
nor wit; I have heard her swear it. Tut, there's
life in't, man.
Sir And. I'll stay a month longer. I am a
fellow o' the strangest mind i' the world; I de-
light in masques and revels sometimes altogether.
Sir To. Art thou good at these kickchawses,
Sir And. As any man in Illyria, whatsoever
he be, under the degree of my betters: and yet I
will not compare with an old man.
Sir To. What is thy excellence in a galliard,
Sir And. Faith, I can cut a caper.
Sir To. And I can cut the mutton to't.
Sir And. And I think I have the back-trick
simply as strong as any man in Illyria.
Sir To. 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 formed under the star of a galliard,
Sir And. Ay, 'tis strong, and it docs indifferent
well in a flame-coloured stock. Shall we set
about some revels?
Sir To. What shall we do else? were we not
born under Taurus?
Sir And. Taurus! that's sides and heart.
Sir To. No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me
see thee caper. Ha! higher: ha, ha! excellent!
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