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 V.

Scene V.—OLIVIA'S Garden,


Sir To. Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.
Fab. Nay, I'll come: if I lose a scruple of
this sport, let me be boiled to death with melan-
Sir To. Wouldst thou not be glad to have
the niggardly rascally sheep-biter come by some
notable shame?
Fab. I would exult, man: you know he
brought me out o' favour with my lady about
a bear-baiting here.
Sir To. To anger him we'll have the bear
again; and we will fool him black and blue;
shall we not, Sir Andrew?
Sir And. An we do not, it is pity of our
Sir To. Here comes the little villain.

[Enter MARIA.
How now, my nettle of India!
Mar. Get ye all three into the box-tree.
Malvolio's coming down this walk: he has been
yonder i' the sun practising behaviour to his own
shadow this half-hour. Observe him, for the
love of mockery; for I know this letter will
make a contemplative idiot of him. Close, in
the name of jesting! Lie thou there: [Throws
down a letter.] for here comes the trout that
must be caught with tickling. [Exit.

Mal. 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria
once told me she did affect me; and I have
heard herself come thus near, that should she
fancy, it should be one of my complexion.
Besides, she uses me with a more exalted respect
than anyone else that follows her. What should
I think on't?
Sir To. Here's an over-weening rogue!
Fab. O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare
turkey-cock of him: how he jets under his
advanced plumes!
Sir And. 'Slight, I could so beat the rogue!
Sir To. Peace! I say.
Mal. To be Count Malvolio!
Sir To. Ah, rogue!
Sir And. Pistol him, pistol him.
Sir To. Peace! peace!
Mal. There is example for't: the lady of
the Strachy married the yeoman of the ward-
Sir And. Fie on him, Jezebel!
Fab. O, peace! now he's deeply in; look how
imagination blows him.
Mal. Having been three months married to
her, sitting in my state,—
Sir To. O! for a stone-bow, to hit him in
the eye!
Mal. Calling my officers about me, in my
branched velvet gown; having come from a day-
bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping,—
Sir To. Fire and brimstone!
Fab. O, peace! peace!
Mal. And then to have the humour of state:
and after a demure travel of regard, telling them
I know my place, as I would they should do
theirs, to ask for my kinsman Toby,—
Sir To. Bolts and shackles!
Fab. O, peace, peace, peace! now, now.
Mal. Seven of my people, with an obedient
start, make out for him. I frown the while; and
perchance wind up my watch, or play with my—
some rich jewel. Toby approaches; curtsies
there to me,—
Sir To. Shall this fellow live?
Fab. Though our silence be drawn from us
with cars, yet peace!
Mal. I extend my hand to him thus, quench-
ing my familiar smile with an austere regard otontrol,—
Sir To. And does not Toby take you a blow
o' the lips then?
Mal. Saying, 'Cousin Toby, my fortunes hav-
ing cast me on your niece give me this preroga-
tive of speech,'—
Sir To. What, what?
Mal. 'You must amend your drunkenness.'
Sir To. Out, scab!
Fab. Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of
our plot.
Mal. 'Besides, you waste the treasure of your
time with a foolish knight,'—
Sir And. That's me, I warrant you.
Mal. 'One Sir Andrew;—
Sir And. I knew 'twas I; for many do call
me fool.
Mal. [Seeing the letter.] What employment
have we here?
Fab. Now is the woodcock near the gin.
Sir To. O, peace! and the spirit of humours
intimate reading aloud to him!
Mal. [Taking up the letter.] By my life, this
is my lady's hand! these be her very C's, her U's,
and her T's; and thus makes she her great P's.
It is, in contempt of question, her hand.
Sir And. Her C's, her U's, and her T's: why
Mal. [Reads.] To the unknown beloved, this
and my good wishes: her very phrases! By
your leave, wax. Soft! and the impressure her
Lucrece, with which she uses to seal: 'tis my
lady. To whom should this be?
Fab. This wins him, liver and all.
Mal. Jove knows I love;
But who?
Lips, do not move:
No man must know.
'No man must know.' What follows? the num-
ber's altered! 'No man must know:' if this
should be thee, Malvolio!
Sir To. Marry, hang thee, brock!
Mal. I may command where I adore;
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.
Fab. A fustian riddle!
Sir To. Excellent wench, say I.
Mal. 'M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.' Nay,
but first, let me see, let me see, let me see.
Fab. What a dish o' poison has she dressed
Sir To. And with what wing the staniel
checks at it!
Mal. ' I may command where I adore.' Why,
she may command me: I serve her; she is my
lady. Why, this is evident to any formal capa-
city; there is no obstruction in this. And the
end, what should that alphabetical position
portend? if I could make that resemble some-
thing in me—Softly!—M, O, A, I,—
Sir To. O! ay, make up that: he is now at a
cold scent.
Fab. Sowter will cry upon't, for all this,
though it be as rank as a fox.
Mal. M, Malvolio; M, why, that begins my
Fab. Did not I say he would work it out? the
cur is excellent at faults.
Mal. M,—But then there is no consonancy in
the sequel; that suffers under probation: A
should follow, but O does.
Fab. And O shall end, I hope.
Sir To. Ay, or I'll cudgel him, and make him
cry, O!
Mal. And then I comes behind.
Fab. Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you
might see more detraction at your heels than
fortunes before you.
Mal. M, O, A, I; this simulation is not as
the former; and yet, to crush this a little, it
would bow to me, for every one of these letters
are in my name. Soft! here follows prose.
If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars
I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness:
some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon them. Thy Fates
open their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace
them; and to inure thyself to what thou art like
to be, cast thy humble slough, and appear fresh.
Be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants;
let thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself
into the trick of singularity. She thus advises thee
that sighs for thee. Remember who commended
thy yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever
cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art
made, if thou desirest to be so; if not, let me see
thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and not
worthy to touch Fortune's fingers. Farewell. She
that would alter services with thee,
Daylight and champian discovers not more: this
is open. I will be proud, I will read politic
authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off
gross acquaintance, I will be point-devise the
very man. I do not now fool myself, to let
imagination jade me, for every reason excites to
this, that my lady loves me. She did commend
my yellow stockings of late, she did praise my
leg being cross-gartered; and in this she mani-
fests herself to my love, and, with a kind of
injunction drives me to these habits of her
liking. I thank my stars I am happy. I will
be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and cross-
gartered, even with the swiftness of putting on.
Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a
Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If
thou entertainest my love, let it appear in thy
smiling; thy smiles become thee well; therefore
in my presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.
Jove, I thank thee. I will smile: I will do every-
thing that thou wilt have me. [Exit.
Fab. I will not give my part of this sport
for a pension of thousands to be paid from the
Sir To. I could marry this wench for this
Sir And. So could I too.
Sir To. And ask no other dowry with her but
such another jest. 204
Sir And. Nor I neither.
Fab. Here comes my noble gull-catcher.

Re-enter MARIA.
Sir To. Wilt thou set thy foot o' my neck?
Sir And. Or o' mine either?
Sir To. Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip,
and become thy bond-slave?
Sir And. I' faith, or I either?
Sir To. Why, thou hast put him in such a
dream, that when the image of it leaves him he
must run mad.
Mar. Nay, but say true; does it work upon
Sir To. Like aqua-vitæ with a midwife.
Mar. If you will, then see the fruits of the
sport, mark his first approach before my lady;
he will come to her in yellow stockings, and 'tis a
colour she abhors; and cross-gartered, a fashion
she detests; and he will smile upon her, which
will now be so unsuitable to her disposition,
being addicted to a melancholy as she is, that it
cannot but turn him into a notable contempt.
If you will see it, follow me,
Sir To. To the gates of Tartar, thou most
excellent devil of wit!
Sir And. I'll make one too. [Exeunt.
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