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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene III.

Twelfth-Night; or, What You Will

A Room in OLIVIA’S House.


Sir To.Approach, Sir Andrew: not to be a-bed after midnight is to be up betimes; and diluculo surgere, thou knowest,—

Sir And.Nay, by my troth, I know not; but I know, to be up late is to be up late.

Sir To.A false conclusion: I hate it as an unfilled can. To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is early; so that to go to bed after midnight is to go to bed betimes. Does not our life consist of the four elements?

Sir And.Faith, so they say; but, I think, it rather consists of eating and drinking.

Sir To.Thou art a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink. Marian, I say! a stoup of wine!

Enter Clown.

Sir And.Here comes the fool, i’ faith.

Clo.How now, my hearts! Did you never see the picture of ‘we three?’

Sir To.Welcome, ass. Now let’s have a catch.

Sir And.By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast. I had rather than forty shillings I had such a leg, and so sweet a breath to sing, as the fool has. In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night, when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus: ’twas very good, i’ faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy leman: hadst it?

Clo.I did impeticos thy gratillity; for Malvolio’s nose is no whipstock: my lady has a white hand, and the Myrmidons are no bottleale houses.

Sir And.Excellent! Why, this is the best fooling, when all is done. Now, a song.

Sir To.Come on; there is sixpence for you: let’s have a song.

Sir And.There’s a testril of me too: if one knight give a—

Clo.Would you have a love-song, or a song of good life?

Sir To.A love-song, a love-song.

Sir And.Ay, ay; I care not for good life.


  • O mistress mine! where are you roaming?
  • O! stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
  • That can sing both high and low.
  • Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
  • Journeys end in lovers meeting,
  • Every wise man’s son doth know.
  • Sir And.Excellent good, i’ faith.

    Sir To.Good, good.


  • What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
  • Present mirth hath present laughter;
  • What’s to come is still unsure:
  • In delay there lies no plenty;
  • Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
  • Youth’s a stuff will not endure.
  • Sir And.A mellifluous voice, as I am true knight.

    Sir To.A contagious breath.

    Sir And.Very sweet and contagious, i’ faith.

    Sir To.To hear by the nose, it is dulcet in contagion. But shall we make the welkin dance indeed? Shall we rouse the night-owl in a catch that will draw three souls out of one weaver? shall we do that?

    Sir And.An you love me, let’s do ’t: I am dog at a catch.

    Clo.By ’r lady, sir, and some dogs will catch well.

    Sir And.Most certain. Let our catch be, ‘Thou knave.’

    Clo.‘Hold thy peace, thou knave,’ knight? I shall be constrain’d in ’t to call thee knave, knight.

    Sir And.’Tis not the first time I have constrained one to call me knave. Begin, fool: it begins, ‘Hold thy peace.’

    Clo.I shall never begin if I hold my peace.

    Sir And.Good, i’ faith. Come, begin.[They sing a catch.

    Enter MARIA.

    Mar.What a caterwauling do you keep here! If my lady have not called up her steward Malvolio and bid him turn you out of doors, never trust me.

    Sir To.My lady’s a Cataian; we are politicians; Malvolio’s a Peg-a-Ramsey, and ‘Three merry men be we.’ Am not I consanguineous? am I not of her blood? Tillyvally, lady!

    There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady, lady!

    Clo.Beshrew me, the knight’s in admirable fooling.

    Sir And.Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed, and so do I too: he does it with a better grace, but I do it more natural.

    Sir To.O! the twelfth day of December,

    Mar.For the love o’ God, peace!

    Enter MALVOLIO.

    Mal.My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night? Do ye make an alehouse of my lady’s house, that ye squeak out your coziers’ catches without any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time, in you?

    Sir To.We did keep time, sir, in our catches. Sneck up!

    Mal.Sir Toby, I must be round with you. My lady bade me tell you, that, though she harbours you as her kinsman, she’s nothing allied to your disorders. If you can separate yourself and your misdemeanours, you are welcome to the house; if not, an it would please you to take leave of her, she is very willing to bid you farewell.

    Sir To.Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be gone.

    Mar.Nay, good Sir Toby.

    Clo.His eyes do show his days are almost done.

    Mal.Is ’t even so?

    Sir To.But I will never die.

    Clo.Sir Toby, there you lie.

    Mal.This is much credit to you.

    Sir To.Shall I bid him go?

    Clo.What an if you do?

    Sir To.Shall I bid him go, and spare not?

    Clo.O! no, no, no, no, you dare not.

    Sir To.‘Out o’ time!’ Sir, ye lie. Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

    Clo.Yes, by Saint Anne; and ginger shall be hot i’ the mouth too.

    Sir To.Thou ’rt i’ the right. Go, sir, rub your chain with crumbs. A stoup of wine, Maria!

    Mal.Mistress Mary, if you prized my lady’s favour at anything more than contempt, you would not give means for this uncivil rule: she shall know of it, by this hand.[Exit.

    Mar.Go shake your ears.

    Sir And.’Twere as good a deed as to drink when a man’s a-hungry, to challenge him the field, and then to break promise with him and make a fool of him.

    Sir To.Do ’t, knight: I’ll write thee a challenge; or I’ll deliver thy indignation to him by word of mouth.

    Mar.Sweet Sir Toby, be patient for to-night: since the youth of the count’s was to-day with my lady, she is much out of quiet. For Monsieur Malvolio, let me alone with him: if I do not gull him into a nayword, and make him a common recreation, do not think I have wit enough to lie straight in my bed. I know I can do it.

    Sir To.Possess us, possess us; tell us something of him.

    Mar.Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of puritan.

    Sir And.O! if I thought that, I’d beat him like a dog.

    Sir To.What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason, dear knight?

    Sir And.I have no exquisite reason for ’t, but I have reason good enough.

    Mar.The devil a puritan that he is, or anything constantly but a time-pleaser; an affectioned ass, that cons state without book, and utters it by great swarths: the best persuaded of himself; so crammed, as he thinks, with excellences, that it is his ground of faith that all that look on him love him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find notable cause to work.

    Sir To.What wilt thou do?

    Mar.I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find himself most feelingly personated. I can write very like my lady your niece; on a forgotten matter we can hardly make distinction of our hands.

    Sir To.Excellent! I smell a device.

    Sir And.I have ’t in my nose too.

    Sir To.He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop, that they come from my niece, and that she is in love with him.

    Mar.My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour.

    Sir And.And your horse now would make him an ass.

    Mar.Ass, I doubt not.

    Sir And.O! ’twill be admirable.

    Mar.Sport royal, I warrant you: I know my physic will work with him. I will plant you two, and let the fool make a third, where he shall find the letter: observe his construction of it. For this night, to bed, and dream on the event. Farewell.[Exit.

    Sir To.Good night, Penthesilea.

    Sir And.Before me, she’s a good wench.

    Sir To.She’s a beagle, true-bred, and one that adores me: what o’ that?

    Sir And.I was adored once too.

    Sir To.Let’s to bed, knight. Thou hadst need send for more money.

    Sir And.If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way out.

    Sir To.Send for money, knight: if thou hast her not i’ the end, call me cut.

    Sir And.If I do not, never trust me, take it how you will.

    Sir To.Come, come: I’ll go burn some sack; ’tis too late to go to bed now. Come, knight; come, knight.[Exeunt.