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 II. Scene IV.

Scene IV.—A Room in the DUKE'S Palace.

Enter DUKE, VIOLA, CURIO, and Others.

Duke. Give me some music. Now, good mor-
row, friends:
Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song,
That old and antique song we heard last
night;
Methought it did relieve my passion much,
More than light airs and recollected terms
Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times:
Come; but one verse.
Cur. He is not here, so please your lordship,
that should sing it.
Duke. Who was it?
Cur. Feste, the jester, my lord; a fool that
the Lady Olivia's father took much delight in.
He is about the house.
Duke. Seek him out, and play the tune the
while. [Exit CURIO. Music.
Come hither, boy: if ever thou shalt love,
In the sweet pangs of it remember me;
For such as I am all true lovers are:
Unstaid and skittish in all motions else
Save in the constant image of the creature
That is belov'd. How dost thou like this
tune?
Vio. It gives a very echo to the seat
Where love is thron'd.
Duke. Thou dost speak masterly.
My life upon't, young though thou art, thine
eye
Hath stay'd upon some favour that it loves;
Hath it not, boy?
Vio. A little, by your favour.
Duke. What kind of woman is't?
Vio. Of your complexion.
Duke. She is not worth thee, then. What
years, i' faith?
Vio, About your years, my lord.
Duke. Too old, by heaven. Let still the wo-
man take
An elder than herself, so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband's heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women's are.
Vio. I think it well, my lord.
Duke. Then, let thy love be younger than
thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent;
For women are as roses, whose fair flower
Being once display'd, doth fall that very hour.
Vio. And so they are: alas, that they are
so;
To die, even when they to perfection grow!

Re-enter CURIO with Clown.
Duke. O, fellow! come, the song we had last
night.
Mark it, Cesario; it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with
bones,
Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.
Clo. Are you ready, sir?
Duke. Ay; prithee, sing. [Music.
Clo. Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O! prepare it.
My part of death, no one so true .
Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corse, where my bones shall be
thrown
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O! where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there.
Duke. There's for thy pains.
Clo. No pains, sir; I take pleasure in singing,
sir.
Duke. I'll pay thy pleasure then.
Clo. Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one
time or another.
Duke. Give me now leave to leave thee.
Clo. Now, the melancholy god protect thee,
and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable
taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal! I would have
men of such constancy put to sea, that their
business might be everything and their intent
everywhere; for that's it that always makes a
good voyage of nothing. Farewell. [Exit
Duke. Let all the rest give place.
[Exeunt CURIO and Attendants.
Once more, Cesario,
Get thee to yond same sovereign cruelty:
Tell her, my love, more noble than the world,
Prizes not quantity of dirty lands;
The parts that fortune hath bestowed upon her,
Tell her, I hold as giddily as fortune;
But 'tis that miracle and queen of gems
That nature pranks her in attracts my soul.
Vio. But if she cannot love you, sir?
Duke. I cannot be so answer'd.
Vio. Sooth, but you must.
Say that some lady, as perhaps, there is,
Hath for your love as great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her;
You tell her so; must she not then be answer'd?
Duke. There is no woman's sides
Can bide the beating of so strong a passion
As love doth give my heart; no woman's heart
So big, to hold so much; they lack retention.
Alas! their love may be call'd appetite,
No motion of the liver, but the palate,
That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt;
But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
And can digest as much. Make no compare
Between that love a woman can bear me
And that I owe Olivia.
Vio. Ay, but I know,—
Duke. What dost thou know?
Vio. Too well what love women to men may
owe:
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.
Duke. And what's her history?
Vio. A blank, my lord. She never told her
love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more; but indeed
Our shows are more than will, for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.
Duke. But died thy sister of her love, my boy?
Vio. I am all the daughters of my father's
house,
And all the brothers too; and yet I know not.
Sir, shall I to this lady?
Duke. Ay, that's the theme.
To her in haste; give her this jewel; say
My love can give no place, bide no denay.
[Exeunt.
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