MALVOLIO ex-steward to Olivia

ROSINA an actress and courtesan

SIR TOBY BELCH Uncle to Olivia

MARIA Sir Toby's wife

FESTE a Fool and Jester

SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK ex-suitor to Olivia

ORSINO Duke of Illyria

OLIVIA a rich Countess

SEBASTIAN Olivia's betrothed and twin to Viola

VIOLA Orsino's betrothed and twin to Sebastian

FABIAN Olivia's groom

A SEA CAPTAIN agent of Rosina

A GENTLEMAN attendant to Olivia

OFFICER OF THE WATCH Orsino's officer

Sailors, constables of the Watch, attendants on Olivia and Orsino, a priest

ACT 1, scene 1

A desolate sea-shore in Illyria

(Enter Malvolio)

MALVOLIO - If music be the food of love,

What motion of the ether, then, will nourish hate?

If sweet airs fire the burning heart

To fill the blood with passion's heat,

What bitter drafts will flood the brooding spleen

Until it overflows to taint the tongue with acrid bile?

If love's thoughts like light butterflies

Fly to seek a secret bower,

Therein to flower amid sweet scents of riotous roses,

Then hate's dark brood will fly like bats

To black cracks amid the rank weeds of shunned graveyards.

If love will joyous hunt the heart,

Giving happy tongue in the bright morning of a new-born Spring,

Then hate does in night's shadows creep

And, silent as the serpent, seek its poison to insinuate.

Now in Illyria does love's sunshine reign.

Orsino, Duke, waits to wed his page that was

But now, that pert disguise caste off,

Does Viola as sweetest maid reveal.

While Olivia, the fair Countess

That once I served as steward to her house,

And loved as ever man his mistress can

Before deceit brought love to hate,

Is keen her nuptials to Sebastian

To consummate in holy harmony.

And, viler still, Sir Toby Belch,

Now newly wed to one Maria,

Once Olivia's maid and as such beneath my rank

Yet must now honour 'Lady',

Share in that rain of love.

Sir Toby and his servant wife,

Sniggering together, hatched that plot

That I, an honest man with no eye for deceit,

Tripped into, and thus out of my place and life.

Oh, Maria and Sir Toby Belch

With, like Rag, Tag and Bobtail at their heels

A feeble-witted knight named Aguecheek,

Feste the jester and Fabian, a lowly groom,

Conspired to bring me down from grace,

Took honour, pride and all prospects

Of dignified old age from out my grasp

And left me nought but hate to season life.

"I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you,"

I promised then, which still alone is music to my ears

With sweet dreams of revenge the only easing for my heart.

Revenge, they say, is best eaten cold,

Perhaps thereby to icy ease the sting of rank injustice,

And freeze the ache of anger unrequited,

But how much sweeter is that dish

When taken at the very flood of fortune of its victims.

Cold or not, fortune now sets the dish before me

And will not find Malvolio lacking in appetite.

Peace, and Janus grant me a good mask.

Here comes my instrument for the task.

Sweet maid, what brings you to Illyria?

(Enter Rosina)

ROSINA - That promise, sir, that has made many a maid

That leaves the straight and narrow,

Turn her head, and tho' she never can be made maid again

Yet may make the unmade made for life.

I had word that a gentleman would meet me here

On a matter of business,

With gold to pave the way to here from Italy.

'Tho if he be a gentleman in truth

He has no business doing business with me.

MALVOLIO - I am that Gentleman, and a Gentleman I am.

My business is for a nonpareil,

To act as a Lady of the highest birth

In furtherance of a policy

By some great state I cannot name,

In pursuit of which its treasure chests are open.

ROSINA - Then I am your lady both pretty and witty,

Who high birth can feign with native, low-born cunning.

Of Illyria I know nothing and care less,

And bear allegiance but to the state of Rosina.

The man who gives me his treasure chest

Gets my chest to treasure,

And the state that wants me for policy

Can for gold of the right weight

Buy the entire state of Rosina,

Full armed with arms that have disarmed armies,

Armoured with l'amour's sweet form,

Defended by that hidden trench that swallows men

And saps the strength of regiments of sappers,

With keys to any door beneath her dress,

And any secret's price in skills to please.

Rosina is a weapon winning wars,

Which, at Rosina's price, lies in the buyer's hand to wield.

MALVOLIO - Gold you shall have, such as a Countess might desire.

This purse for now,

And all these silks and gems that I will clothe you in.

Carry through my policy and they will seems as rags and trinkets.

ROSINA - I'll carry your policy to full term,

And bring it to bed of a fine, healthy issue.

First, 'tho, I need to conceive of it,

So set your lips to my ear and, through that passage,

Implant in my fertile soil the seeds of your desire.

Brood-mare I'll be and you be sire.


ACT I, Scene 2

A bedchamber in Olivia's house.

It is daylight and birds are singing outside. Sir Toby Belch snores sprawled in a very rumpled bed.

Enter Maria who, after appraising the scene, begins beating the bed and Sir Toby with a broom.

TOBY - Ow! Lay off, woman. What's the matter?

MARIA - There's a louse in my bed, and I seek to dislodge it.

TOBY - No more, I say. The bed is clean.

And anyway it is my niece's bed, not yours.

MARIA - Ay. And more's the shame

On an uncle that sleeps in a niece's bed.

There's not a thing of yours that's not your niece's

Bar me, and I was hers before I was yours.

I thought I was marrying a knight,

But find I have something less than a groom.

TOBY - And I say you married but for the night.

By day you want page and packhorse, not husband.

Ow! Give over, wench.

MARIA - Up, Sir Knight.

TOBY - What time is it?

MARIA - The hour is so old it is almost young again.

Twelve has had its birthday and will soon be one,

And you are already one over the twelve.

Shame on you, to be drunk so early.

TOBY - Nay! One is early but twelve is late,

Yet if it is after twelve then it must be after late.

And after late is too late to be drunk, so I deny the charge.

MARIA - Spare me the drunken logic of your late wit.

Be up with you.

TOBY - Up? What for? Morning is made for hunting or sleeping,

Afternoons for eating or sleeping,

Evenings for drinking or sleeping

And nights for wenching or sleeping.

There is no hunting this morning, so it is made for sleeping.

MARIA - Here's one knight that's done with wenching, at least.

And has done enough sleeping, too.

Will you get up?

TOBY - Will you lay off the broom, woman!

Were I up what would you have me do?

MARIA - Be at my side as I your household organise.

TOBY - My household? How many ways are there to organise

A single knife with fork and spoon?

For that's the span of my 'household'.

If you would have me at your side, well,

There's space enough beside me here.

Then will I draw you closer still,

And you will find me keen enough to 'get up'.

MARIA - Enough! I will my duties meet in that regard,

In proper time and place,

When circumstance renders it due and deserved.

And well have I learnt the span of your household.

'Poor Lady Belch,' I hear them say.

'She were better off, and more estimated,

When she was maid to a Countess,

Than ever she is as a knight's wife.'

TOBY - What's that to me? You were but a maid

Before I raised you to a Lady's rank,

To be the gossip of the scullery,

Instead of Lady Gossip there.

MARIA - You made well sure I was no maid

Before you made me Lady.

TOBY - Nor was I the first to have made you, lady!

At least I made you honest.

MARIA - Ay, an honest enough fraud.

For who, seeing me in these hand-down rags

And hung with pawnbroker's tags for jewellery,

Could possibly mistake me for a Lady?

Who, attending the Court of Sir and Lady Belch

Within the four walls of this borrowed bedroom,

Would ever say, 'There's true nobility for you.'

At least when I was maid unto your niece

My station was true, and I had work to fill the day.

TOBY - Pa! If it's true nobility you want,

Then go pursue Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

He'll drape you in a hundred gowns

And pepper you through with pearls

If you would just take him by the hand

And put it where he nightly yearns,

Yet 'knightly' cannot go.

Go lord it over his estates

And take in hand the schooling of his squires.

That Aguecheek is truly noble,

And no bull will you get from him.

MARIA - Yes, that is yet another thing.

Poor Sir Andrew here meant well

In seeking for your niece's hand,

Which ever was a forlorn hope.

Yet, instead of friendship's due,

Which would have been to let him know

In tactful terms he would not win your niece,

You friendship feigned

And kept him here in false expectation

With your hand ever deeper in his purse,

And at the end, did 'ass-head', 'gull' and 'thin-faced knave'

Call him to his face.

Now is the poor man left for home, heart-broke

By wedding dreams demised, and deeply hurt

By your duplicity. Jove, such callous cruelty

Makes me ashamed to be your wife.

TOBY - Then take a powder for it.

You took me for better or worse,

And my worse part is that I cannot stand

And let a trick or jape pass by unridden.

Sir Andrew offered such a ride I could not wish for better,

Saddled as he was with weak wit, and love's blinkers on.

MARIA - That's one worse part amid a hundred.

Your others compass lechery and drunkenness,

Sloth, vanity and a feeble wit

You fancy formidable.

If you have any better parts at all I've yet to find them.

TOBY - One I have, wench, hidden in these blankets

And awaiting your inspection.

MARIA - Well, it can wait. Nay, sleep.

Nay, hibernate, for all I care.

Stay in thy bed, then. Earn the name, 'Sir Sloth',

'Sir Hog,' 'Sir Sot,' 'Sir Cumference.'

I'll no more try to change your name

As you changed mine. From this time forward

I'll Lady be that lacks a lord.

(Exit Maria)

ACT 1, scene 3

The seashore. Rosina is seated on a rock, sumptuously dressed and attended by a few seamen. Enter Feste, accompanied by the captain.

CAPT - This is the Lady, Sir, I told you of.

And this, my Lady Mountebank,

Is Feste the jester, whom you sent me to seek.

FESTE - Now must Neptune have a myriad of mermaids

About him at his Court,

If he can let a second such Siren

'scape in the space of a season.

ROSINA - A second such? What other creature can have suffered

Such an awful fate as mine

Since Euridice was washed up on the Stygian shore?

FESTE - One just such as you, fair Lady,

Was born, like Venus in her shell,

Onto the shore not a league from here,

But four months ago.

Her brother too, as alike to her

As two fistfuls of ocean in a bucket

So none could tell them apart while they wore the same dress.

ROSINA - Wore the same dress? 'Twas either a capacious dress

To be worn by two at once,

Or did each wear the dress in turn

While the other went as Adam or Eve, fig-leaf clad?

And, to think it odder still,

Why would the brother wear a dress at all?

FESTE - To address your confusion,

And redress your distress,

I'll undress the matter and expressly stress,

That brother and sister merely dressed alike,

The sister adopting the brother's dress

Which was not the dress usual to her sex.

ROSINA - A wondress explanation, most dextress

And given without unnecessary dress or digress.

Tell me, what history followed on?

FESTE - His story, Madonna, depends upon her story first,

For each believed the other drowned.

Viola, for such was her name,

And to protect that name and her virgin state

In this alien state - and would I were

That virginity was an alien state to women generally -

Viola, then, adopted her brother's garb and guise

And took service with Duke Orsino,

With whom she quickly fell in love.

However the Duke, much taken with his new 'gentleman',

Employed him, or her, or what you will,

To carry his love to the Countess Olivia

Who spurned the Duke's love but fell in love herself

With the 'gentleman' who bore it.

To dock this tale like a poodle's

And wag it short, Sebastian,

The brother and not drowned,

Came to Illyria in his own dress and,

On meeting Olivia and being mistook by her for his sister,

Although not as his sister mistook

But being mistook for himself as it were,

Returned the love Olivia had not meant for him, and married her,

Though she his sister thought to marry,

Not knowing that she his sister was, or even she -

My poodle's tail grows long again, -

Briefly, Viola, revealed as a maid,

'Tho not revealed as in undressed

Which, tho' it would have settled the matter,

Is hardly proof to set before a court

'Tho justice is to be seen to be done,

Viola, then, now accepted as maid,

Has won the Duke's love and is soon to be his wife

While Sebastian, bethinking him that his first wedding

To the Countess should not count, on two counts,

One being that she was mistook as to who she was marrying

And the second that had she not been mistook

She would have married a maid,

Has chosen to remarry her for the first time

In company with the Duke and Viola.

In preparation for which celebration

All Illyria is now ahum like bees

After the honey in a politician's promises.

ROSINA - Your tale, sir, like the Gorgon's locks,

Grew longer with each cutting.

Yet I hope I am as fortunate

As my predecessor in misfortune.

For I, too, have been wrecked upon this shore -

CAPT - It is an unlucky coast. The bones of many vessels

Lie scattered on its strands.

ROSINA - 'Tho I was not with brother but with husband lost,

And lost indeed. For I his poor corpse saw

Carried into the soft bosom of the deep

Even as I was carried to the shore

By a wilful wave.

Now, like that Viola of your tale,

I am caste away in an alien state

At the mercy of any ruffian who might desire me

Or my possessions salvaged from the wreck.

No maid, 'tis true, but no husband, too.

Just my honour and my treasure saved.

So I sent this good, honest,

But very seaman-like, Captain into the City

To find for me a certain Feste the jester,

Whose skill with song and wit with word

Is spoken of as far afield as Italy -

FESTE - My fame in Italy?

ROSINA - For my need is for an honest man,

With wit and tried discretion,

To play the Lord unto my Ladyship

And keep me safe from harm

Until I can come again into the protection of friends and family.

It appears to me that those reports of you were faithful,

For you have wit, a noble figure,

And can, I have no doubt, imitate any shortage of nobility

Your blood might lack.

As a feeble and helpless woman I beg you, sir,

Take on yourself this task.

You shall not, I promise, go unrewarded.

FESTE - Madonna, I am but a poor fool,

A mere clown adept at making my betters laugh

With a fall, or a juggle with apples or words.

Or to cause them to weep at a warbling song

When wine has wetted and weakened their wits.

What you ask is a task for a Knight.

ROSINA - Nay, not for a night but for several.

But no knight true to his knightly vows

Would impersonate another,

While a knight untrue to his vows

Will not be a night with me.

And no more do I need an actor

For tho' at their best they can take the part of Jove himself,

Take away their parts and they are tongue-tied and red-faced.

My man must marry a mercurial mind

With a chameleon's changeability

And the closeness of the confessional.

A man entrusted by a Duke to play the clown

And keep his conscience with barb'd comments,

And is licenced by a Countess to be her fool,

And by his fooling teach her wisdom,

Seems to me well qualified for the role I've caste.

FESTE - Men need no qualifications to be fools and clowns, Madam,

And the man that seeks to fool others into thinking

He is what he is not, is qualified fool to the highest degree.

I'll gladly be your guide in fair Illyria,

And give you all the protection sharp wit and words can provide.

I have no doubt that the Duke will make you welcome as a sister,

And expend all it might take to see you safe to your home.

ROSINA - I'm sure he would, with any lesser folk.

And were I not who I am

I would lend myself to the Duke's hospitality without qualm.

But Illyria is a little state

Balanced between great ones

That ever scheme and plan against each other.

Were it known that I was here and helpless

There might be pressures brought against her, and the Duke,

That could bring to war his care of me as host,

With his wish to spare Illyria a war she could not win.

I cannot in conscience place the Duke

In such a position, and so I must this play invent.

FESTE - (Aside) 'Tis true that Illyria could stand a war

As well as an egg a millstone's embrace.

Yet the Duke would not willingly hand a helpless Lady

To her enemies.

(To Rosina) Yet Madonna, my face is known in all Illyria

And my voice is mine own herald.

Were I to portray your husband

I would soon, like a truffle, be rooted out

And made the sauce of a merry tale.

ROSINA - I doubt it not, were you to go barefaced as a liar,

And with your wicked wit hitched to an unreined tongue.

But my need is only for the shadow of a husband.

'Twil easy be to hide your face

Below a cap of capacious folds,

Behind owlish-globed spectacles

And beneath a bush of brushy beard

While, to keep that bold voice hid, you shall go dumb,

And I shall tell how you the power of speech have lost

From drinking some bad medicine.

Thus shall you go unmarked as husband at my side and,

To concrete in the abstract,

The sharer of my bed, 'tho it should be a marriage bed

Made athwart a chasm only you and I can contemplate,

And perhaps negotiate. Come, sir. Your answer?

FESTE - Madonna, let me think awhile.

(Aside) What answer can there be but yes and yes

A thousand times.

Oh, if but for a day I could the husband be

Of this sweet angel, and then but in a fantasy,

It would more precious seem

Then ten lives lived as husband to a common drab.

What, Feste? Whoa.

Can it be that you, who has so often mocked

Your peers laid low by Cupid's weightless, pointless shafts,

Is now shot through and by one nailed

Quite fast to some soft puff of love,

An insubstantial whiff of dream that nonetheless

Will draw me with it as it bobs

Now here, now there, defying sense

And floating far from any course

That reason's rudder might dictate.

But such a face, and such a form.

And such a mind that mirrors mine and then outshines it,

Capping quip with quip and rhyme with rhyme.

Here's heaven's match for Feste, wrapped

In heaven's form. Oh, Lady Incognita.

Like any fool I would play your lapdog to the ends of the earth

For a snap of your fingers,

Yet now must Feste lay aside the fool to do the foolish thing.

And thus the Fates crown Feste, Clown.

For love, which makes other men foolish,

Must make him serious and stern.

And love, which makes other men babble and laugh like fools,

Must make this Fool speechless.

Feste the Fool loved to live and make laughter.

Now must Feste live to love,

And the laughter is gone.

(To Rosina) My Lady, fair without compare.

I'll husband thee, ex temporare.

(Exit all)

(Enter Malvolio from behind the rock)

MALVOLIO - The Fool wriggled like an eel,

Yet still my pretty shark took him in.

Now the play's afoot, the spring is sprung.

My quest for vengeance is begun.


ACT 1 Scene 4

A garden at Olivia's house.

Enter the Countess Olivia and Duke Orsino.

ORSINO - . Does not true love make the very air you breath

Seem charged with extra life

That lodges, singing, in the blood?

OLIVIA - I find it so. But tell me, Orsino

Did you not taste this sweet, soft savour

When you thought you loved me true?

ORSINO - Sweet countess, say not 'I thought'.

For my love then was as true as my love now.

OLIVIA - Ah-ha. So love runs true

That veers from the mark and fixes another?

ORSINO - Yes. No. Olivia!

You tease me with a skilful feather.

My love for you is no less now than ever it was.

OLIVIA - And yet you mean to marry another?

For shame. Where lies the truth of love in that?

And what should poor Viola do

Were she to hear of that confession?

ORSINO - Olivia! You would not.

No. I know right well you would not,

For well I deem that in your heart you keep

A deep affection for Viola,

Born of that love you had for her

When you thought her a gentleman.

I know you would not cause her hurt.

So, while all your heart is given Sebastian

Yet is some part of it, in paradox,

Given to Viola too.

Thus do I love you and Viola too

But, as t'is with you, but one can have.

So are we both twice blessed with love,

And breath the air made twice as sweet.

OLIVIA - That's very true. Well answered, lord.

But now, I fear, I can no longer tease

But turn instead to a graver thing

As hard to speak of as it is to draw

A whale from the reluctant deep.

ORSINO - Olivia! While once I would have husband been to you,

Fate now makes me a brother.

Nothing should between us secret lie,

Nor any confession strain that bond of choice

That should for ever bind as tight

As ties of blood. You have a much-loved brother lost,

But I will ever be as true to you as he.

OLIVIA - My Lord, it is of no such matter

That it might strain a brother's love.

Nor, indeed, the proper love of friend for friend.

You will recall that on that happy day

When I Sebastian found, and you Viola,

I pledged that our alliance should be crowned

Here at my house, and at my proper cost?

ORSINO - Madam, I do.

OLIVIA - It grieves me. Oh, it grieves me...

And you recall that very day

Saw hatched some long-laid plot my uncle Toby

And my maid Maria, whom he has since wed,

Laid against my steward Malvolio, to his great discomfort?

ORSINO - I do recall.

OLIVIA - And how the same Malvolio, rejecting all our sympathies

And every compensation offered

Left, vowing vengeance 'gainst us all?

ORSINO - I do.

OLIVIA - Alas, I did not gauge the full extent of his black spite,

And hoped that time and open hands would heal

His sore-pricked pride and vanity.

Malvolio, as trusted steward, had, of course,

Much knowledge of my finances,

Which open were to him to swiftly deal

With all the petty orderings the running of the house required.

That knowledge, trust and openness he now has taken vantage of,

And milked my coffers and my credit to the whey.

I find my purse is empty, and though in time it will refill

I cannot at this time provide such hearty cheer

As the celebration of our happy state requires.

Sebastian has Antonio to Messaline now sent

To draw upon such ready wealth as he has there,

But weeks will pass 'fore it appears

And our nuptials are pressing.

ORSINO - Oh, is that all? I had feared some direr tale.

Orsino's purse, and all Illyria's wealth,

Are yours, dear sister-to-be, as if

We one father had, and one mother too.

I will not bear a day's delay

In wedding all our fortunes.

And as for Sir Malvolio Malevolent,

Well, Ha! to him.

He was ill used, but ever lacked all fun.

He was due recompense, but by these acts

Of malice and ingratitude

Does forfeit all our sympathy.

I'll post him thief and men shall hunt him

Like a rabid rat, if he be in Illyria.

While all those near and friendly states to us

Shall also name him reprobate.

Fear not. The sour-faced pussy-foot

Shall not our happy revels mar,

Nor ever spoil our blissful lives.

OLIVIA - No, good my lord. Let him go free.

Though he had all the wealth in Illyria,

Without his pride he'll live in misery.

The fault was greatly mine as,

Blinded by love, I did not see

The wicked, hurtful trick my uncle Toby

And Maria set for him

And thwart it, as it fell to me.

Alas, his fall diminishes me.

ORSINO - Well, 'gainst my will I'll leave him free.

I'll merely seek report of him,

And dog him for my peace of mind.

But no more of this,

For here comes our fair Gemini.

(Enter Sebastian and Viola)

SEBASTIAN - Most welcome, Lord, and Countess too.

VIOLA - Countess and Duke, we welcome you.

ORSINO - Even dressed as man and maid

It seems as if there were just one

That's by a mirror shadowed.

OLIVIA - And just one mind that has two tongues.

SEBASTIAN - Nay, madam. False be that surmise.

I own my mind is all my own.

VIOLA - And by his actions oft has shown

He'll not be ruled by me or mine.

SEBASTIAN - So tho' our thoughts do oft incline

In parallel,

VIOLA - In each our heads our own mind lies.

ORSINO - Yet oft, as then, you seek the contrary to show.

Tell me true, Sebastian.

Can you not read your sister's thoughts?

SEBASTIAN - No, Duke, alas. If you'd have proof

Just watch Viola lay me low at chess,

Or pillage through my purse at cards.

OLIVIA - Then, Viola, does this not prove

You know your brother's mind and plans?

VIOLA - Nay, not a wit, good Madam. No.

Yet in truth I will confess

It often seems I have a sense

Of those emotions, dark or light,

That him oppress, or fill with song.

SEBASTIAN - And so with me my sister's moods

Can echo distant in my soul

So that, although I thought her drowned,

I felt her love for you, my Lord,

Take hold of her and bloom with joy,

'Tho I did take it as a sign

That she to Paradise had gone.

VIOLA - As so I have, now love's returned.

And though I thought my brother drowned,

I will concede I always felt

Some whisper of his care for me

And not the lonely emptiness

I feared would mark death's severance

Of us, 'tho I did then

Attribute it to angels sweet

That let him from his watery grave

Still ward me as he did in life.

OLIVIA - Most marvellous.

ORSINO - Most fortunate. As are we all

Here met and by love's bands tight bound.

Come, brides-to-be with grooms beside,

A storm draws nigh. Let's go inside.

(All Exit)

ACT I, scene 5

A road near Illyria City.

Enter Rosina, Feste disguised as Lord Mountebank, Malvolio

disguised as Rosina's groom, Captain and seamen.

FESTE - (Sings)

In Italy there lived a maid,

And love is idle; love cares not.

No maid more beauty e'er displayed,

For cleft hearts love gives not a jot.

She kept herself in virtue fair,

And love is wilful; love is blind.

No man could win her heart to wear,

For love will ever be unkind.

The king himself did seek her hand,

And love is heedless; love is blithe.

To make her queen o'er all the land,

For love is bound to take its tithe.

No King can I take as a mate,

And love is aimless; love is poor.

I do not want a crown's cold weight,

Love never comes in by the door.

Then I will give my crown away,

And love is languid; love is swift.

Just Lord and Lady we will stay,

For love can only be a gift.

No, never Lady could I be,

And love is flitting; love is still.

Of Lords and lands I will stay free,

Love comes and goes just as it will.

Then shall I just a peasant be?

And love's suspicious; love is tart.

To toil out in the fields for thee?

For love will rule the hardest heart.

No peasant will I husband make,

And love is bitter; love is sweet.

To share my man with hoe and rake.

For love will never orders meet.

Then must I beggar go for you,

And love is gentle; love is armed.

To prove to you my love is true?

For love will make its own demand.

Take only me, and for love's sake,

For love is all and love no thing.

If love can king a beggar make,

Then love a beggar makes a king.

ROSINA - A pretty, witty, ditty, Sir,

And sweetly sung by one supposed

Bereft of speech.

FESTE - This silence you impose on me,

If meant in perpetuity,

Would be for me an agony

As if my tongue you'd nailed to tree

When it would sport and gambol free.

Can I not speak when 'lone with thee,

And silence keep in company?

ROSINA - Well sir, if such incontinence

Will help you maintain abstinence

I think I might just countenance

Such episodes of non-silence.

FESTE - Alas, sharp shrew, you silence me.

ROSINA - Well be unsilenced then, but brief.

Someone approaches. Who is he?

FESTE - Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

ROSINA - That's over brief. And what of him?

FESTE - He is an honest knight, who sorely lacks

All assets bar great wealth and learn'd nobility.

ROSINA - (Aside) This Aguecheek I know as one

That stands to fall in my employer's plots.

To do so he must be with us.

I see from my employer's bobs and winks

That he that message tries to send.

Oh fool, have you not yet divined

Rosina sells you all her mind.

Yet I must sly and careful tread,

For my dumb husband's far from dumb

And I must no suspicion wake.

(Enter Sir Andrew)

Good day, Sir Knight. Will you not stop

What looks like headlong, reckless flight

Just long enough to let us know

What danger lies behind your horse, for we,

And most Illyria it seems, is that way headed

And we are new-come strangers here.

SIR ANDREW - Good lady, 'reckless flight' I spurn.

I merely make my way with 'speedy haste'.

But be assured no danger lies

Before you, 'less your business lies

With one Sir Toby Belch, in which event

Your wits you should hone sharp,

And guard, and double lock, your purse.

ROSINA - (Aside) Sir Toby Belch, another name

That lies on my employer's list.

Indeed, lies at the head thereof

If hate's weight lends priority

While even at my horse's tail

I see him bridle at the name.

(To Sir Andrew) Good Sir, I never have known 'Belch',

And 'Belch' I'm sure would not 'scape me.

Your warning gives me some concern

And, if you've time, I will our plight

Unfold to you.

SIR ANDREW - Yea, Madam, as a knight I'm bound

To give assist where need is strong,

To succour in adversity

And give a blow if right's been wronged.

ROSINA - (Aside) Could this crass ass assist distress?

This sucker give a blow for me?

(To Sir Andrew) Good Sir, you breath nobility.

My husband, I, and household bound

From Messaline to Cyprus fair

On business, were on your shore wrecked.

Many of our household drowned, alas,

But seeming to repent thereof

The stormy sea returned to us

Our treasure and our daily goods.

My husband here, who Doctor is

Of Medicine, Theology, Philosophy and Law,

Astrology, Alchemy, Divinity and Horse,

Philology, Ontology and ologies galore

Is not a man of action but is married to his books.

The taking of a potion, which was said to lengthen life,

Stole from him the power of speech,

And another power, more keenly missed by me,

So must I thus conduct affairs

And seek our fortune to repair

Here in unexpected Illyria,

Where strangers surround us.

And in truth Sir knight, I feel like a maiden

At a convocation of dragons.

SIR ANDREW - Then be afraid no more, my Lady.

Your bold St. George is here.

While you needs must in Illyria stay

I will be your guide and ward.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek places himself,

And his sword, at your disposal.

ROSINA - Oh, brave Sir Knight! But no.

You clearly have some other, bolder knightly task

To undertake, which doth explain

You urgent speed along this road

Quite opposite the rest of us.

SIR ANDREW - Sweet Madam, nay. 'Tho I confess

The knightish errands I perform

And tasks that chivalry demands of me

Are heavy burdens on my time

I cannot leave you here alone

At mercy of the lawless bands

That boldly do invest these parts.

His sword in hand Sir Andrew Aguecheek

Will see you safe to sanctuary

With Countess, fair Olivia.

(Aside) Although in truth I'd rather fare

To any other port than there.

Follow me!

(Exit Sir Andrew)

FESTE - Lady, it was most unwise

To land us with that noble fool.

The fop, in colour bright and bold,

All clashing with the worse mismatch,

Will surely draw on us all eyes

And so make harder my disguise.

ROSINA - Be dumber, husband. If I'm right

All eyes will on Sir Andrew light

So you'll thus fade right out of sight

And your disguise make watertight.

Come on, let's follow our bold knight.

(All exit)

ACT 1, scene 6

A room at Olivia's House.

Enter Olivia and Maria.

OLIVIA - . No, Maria. I cannot take you back.

Not for the trick you played upon Malvolio,

'Tho in truth it was a cruel and malicious jape,

For I hold it was your husband, my uncle Toby,

That did set you on to it.

Nor even that you counterfeit

My hand and did misuse my seal

In writing out that shameful letter

By which you led my steward to believe

That I loved him.

It was a wicked thing to do, which greatly hurt Malvolio

So much that he is lost to us,

With losses else that fall outside your care.

It much embarrassed me as well

When he that false affirmation of love by me of him

Did unfold before the Duke, Sebastian, Viola

And even good Sir Priest within an hour

Of my vowing all my love to Sebastian.

Oh, I blush but to remember it.

Yet, Maria, even that could be forgiven,

Given due repentance on your part.

And, yes, you were the best of maids to me.

Always discrete, reliable, honest 'till Sir Toby came,

Excelled with needle and did always turn me loose

Upon the world in matchless state.

Even more, you were companion to me,

Always attentive to my moods

And ready to engage in serious converse

Or lift my spirits up with wit or song,

Or silly, harmless prank.

Oh, Maria. In truth, I miss you greatly.

But I cannot, as my close maid, take

A married woman, for the demands

Of mistress and of husband can't be reconciled.

Even less can I take as a maid

A Lady of your rank,

For that is the prerogative of Queens.

And, last, the strongest item on my list,

I will not come between you and your husband,

My uncle Toby Belch.

You knew before your wedding day

That he was drunkard, lech and sloth,

Quite content to always play the drone

Within the hives of others.

The gulf that's grown between you

I bitterly regret, but as his niece

And as the babe he jiggled on his knee,

I cannot hope with sage advice

To mend, or amend him.

Indeed, such advice should rather come

From uncle down to niece.

Yet still I think within him lies

Some seed of conduct true and right,

And so will Duke Orsino pray,

As day unto his knight,

To shed some sunlight onto it

And shower it with counsel wise

In hope that it might quickly grow

To make for you a proper groom

And uncle then to me.

MARIA - I would, Madam, thank you for that.

OLIVIA - Nay, Maria, Do not 'Madam' me.

You are a Lady now,

Yet all that's passed between us

Can never be undone.

For as my maid you closer were

To me than any sister.

'Olivia', I'd be to you

And, in that warm intimacy

Of woman to woman, friend to friend,

I would with apprehension touch

On a matter that now troubles me.

MARIA - Mistress? Madam? Olivia?

Alas, the simple words 'I do' and herald's pen

Can not a life-time habit quench.

But, Olivia, no greater praise

Could you give me, than 'sister' name.

And as that sister now stand near

To burden share, or helping hand extend.

OLIVIA - Friend and sister, then, I'm fain to know,

But fear to faint when I find out,

What goes on in a marriage bed?

MARIA - Do you not know?

OLIVIA - Oh yes. At least, I think I know a part of it.

I know, of course, how man is made,

And how he differs from a maid.

And I have seen the rams at work

And stallions and bulls likewise,

But that can, surely, not be love?

MARIA - Well, sister, it both is and's not.

Is, in that when's said and done

Love's purpose, all love's grand design

With flowers, music, poetry,

Heart's-yearning and duplicity,

Is but the quick, and hid, exchange

Of a thimble's worth of fluid.

Yet isn't, in that that exchange

Can be as sweet as honey's heart,

Can throw your mind out to the stars,

Can melt your bones to candle string,


OLIVIA - Maria, peace. Hyperbole

Is Feste's realm, 'tho where he's gone

It seems the Devil only knows.

I know full well the theory

Of what goes where, but troubled am

By all that seems to go before,

Which I do only know by hints

In cryptic clues, and girlish giggles

Snuffed as soon as I approach.

I've snatches caught of bawdy talk

By men, cut off as though by headsman's ax

As soon as they my presence saw.

I know there's songs that seem to list

At length, great length, this dalliance

But no-one's ever dared to sing

One such before a Countess.

I fear there must be practices

That engineers and acrobats took years

Of earnest study to perfect,

And yet of which I nothing know.

Maria, I would rather virgin stay

Than let my husband down in bed,

Yet cannot hope to please him there

If I know not what he expects.

MARIA - Olivia! Be you assured.

You will Sebastian satisfy

A whole lot more with ignorance

Than harlot's tricks on your wedding night.

If you will but submissive be,

Yet curious and unabashed,

Your meek obedience will please him more

Than feigned experience and guile

Which he might wonder where you learned.

That door will open as it will,

And op'ning it is half the thrill.

Yet, as you ask me my advice,

I will two observations make.

The first; though proper is your lord

Should rule your days, command your strength

And over time decide your fate,

That law runs only in this world.

Your marriage bed's a different world,

It's population only two, its laws

Run just between its sheets

And writ invisibly thereon. On your first night

Those marriage sheets are virgin white.

Make sure the laws that go thereon

Are writ by you. If from the first

You make the rules, say what can be

And what's a crime, you should not later troubled be

By unsought importunities. The second?

What those rules may be is up to you.

The marriage bed's a private world

Where no writ from the outside runs.

No man, no law, no doctrine strong

Can say what pleases you, is wrong

Or what you should or should not do.

Be faithful to yourself is first,

And faithful to your husband next.

OLIVIA - Maria, many thanks indeed,

For those wise words, which I shall heed.

Yet will you give me no advice

On governing this new estate?

MARIA - Well, Madam, yes. Reluctantly.

For this may be but true for me,

And not for you. Beneath his clothes

Man's but a beast, and woman too

I add before you smile too wide

'Tho woman is the more refined.

That's as it may, but just as beasts

We eat and sleep and bring forth young,

Take exercise, can bite and scratch,

And at the end, like all things, die.

Yet we rise above the beasts not by not doing,

But by the way we do.

Meat we eat, but not as beasts

With raw-torn hunks in dripping blood,

But neat and flavoured, cooked and diced.

And garnished round with artistry.

We need our nests and dens for sleep

But keep them fresh and clean and neat.

We bring forth young, but succour them

With shelter, food, advice and law.

We die, but not abandoned are

To rot beneath the open air,

But decent and with due regard

Lie interred 'neath memorial.

Thus man takes all his beastly acts

And lifts them to a skill or sport,

Turns base ore to a masterpiece.

So should it be with love's crude lists

Which some would relegate to brief

And beastly acts, necessity

By darkness hid, not spoken of

And wrapped in shame.

Yet those same acts, when by love raised

Alongside art or cookery,

When honed as does the athlete train

And practised as musicians seek

The sweetest harmonies to find

In catgut, reed or tight-drawn skin,

Those beastly acts of beasts break free

And soar to seek divinity.

OLIVIA - Maria, thy philosophy

Leaves me breathless.

MARIA - As will the meat of it.

But I, Olivia, must go

In search of husband, soused and sour

Already at this early hour.

Those common folk can rightly twit,

Who makes their bed must lie in it.

(Exit Maria)

ACT 2, scene 1

Another room in Olivia's house.

Enter Rosina with Feste in disguise, accompanied by a gentleman

GENT - These rooms, my good Lord Mountebank and Lady too,

Does Duke Orsino place at your disposal

While circumstances keep you here.

ROSINA - Most generous, and most generous too

Of Countess Olivia to accede

In the good Duke's dispositions.

Is that not so, husband?

FESTE - Grunt.

GENT - Pending the joint wedding of the Duke

And Countess, although not to each other

As doubtless you have heard,

The Countess has placed her house

And estates, at the Duke's disposal,

And Illyria's.

ROSINA - Oh, that such harmony could prevail

Between the great persons of every state.

Don't you agree, husband?

FESTE - Grunt, grunt.

ROSINA - As ever, he agrees with me.

I find him a most agreeable husband.

Are you not, husband?

FESTE - Grunt.

(Exit gentleman)

ROSINA - Now, husband, we are alone and you may speak,

A consent I think would many wives

Wish to have at their free choice

To grant or to deny.

FESTE - Grunt.

ROSINA - Oh come, good Feste, do not sulk

And piggy squint at me.

Cannot the jester take a jest?

Is clown not to be laughed at?

FESTE - Grunt, Lady Mountebank, Grunt, Grunt.

'tis not the jester that looks to be laughed at, but the jest.

Laugh at the clowning, not the clown.

He, or she, that laughs at foolish things

Fools do, is human. She who laughs at the fool

For being a fool is Lady Cruelty.

ROSINA - Ay, me. You have the right of it,

And I am wrong. Good Feste, I apologise.

'Tis but the feeble wit that arrow shoots

At tree because it cannot hit the bird,

And my poor, feeble wit, outraced by yours,

Just stumbles as it limps along.

FESTE - Nay, Lady. Even that is mock apology

That sneers as it would make amends.

You are here, safe, in the good Duke's care;

The fact you have a husband, seen.

Your household, goods and honour brought

Within these walls was all my care

Which, now discharged, I will depart

and Feste, like the phoenix, rise.

ROSINA - Please, Feste, no. I pray don't go.

Although you've husband been in play

Please stay, and play the part for real.

My husband lies on sea's cold bed

To haddock or to flounder wed,

While I, alive, face beds as cold,

And nights as lonely as the grave.

And is it not the finest jest

To fool the world with what is true?

FESTE - I will not, though to sleep with thee

Would be to dream a sweeter dream

Than any other sleep could bring.

When jester is become the jest

He's lost himself. To play the fool

Is Feste's lot, but Feste will not be a fool

And think he means a jot to you;

No more than just a passing ploy

To lightly toy and then forgot.

Nay, madam, I will clown for thee

But clown of yours I will not be.


ROSINA - Well, fool, you're wrong. I care for thee

Much more than suits Rosina's style.

And even if you have escaped

The web my duty was to weave,

Which quite is not Rosina's style

And will not my employer please,

I'd rather not bring harm to thee.

Nor can I see what policy

By great states drawn, would gain from harm

To one good fool, one foolish knight,

A drunken one who, by report,

Harms but himself, and his poor wife

Who was but late a servant girl.

To me it is a mystery.

The other goal, the marriage stop

Of Messaline and Illyria

This double-clasp of hands entails,

Makes much more sense, for larger states

Do often fear when small ones wed.

But this my paymaster seems to treat

As sub-plot to the play's device.

I'm puzzled, but that's behind the point

As I should be for, like the blade,

Rosina must be true and sharp,

And lively in her owner's hand.

To strike precisely as he aims

Without regard for why he does.

For where would states and armies be

If weapons would their wars not fight

Without discussion of the right.

Then arrows might, with argument,

The bowmen hold as bow is bent

While spears their bearers cause to pause

By talking through that grim war's cause.

Was that a scratching at the door?

Great lambs will little lions bite

If this is not our timid knight.

Enter, (aside) at your own risk.

(Enter Sir Andrew)

SIR ANDREW - Good Lady Mountebank, and good Lord too.

I bring... My Lady, is your husband here?

ROSINA - No, sir. I am here alone, apart from thee.

SIR ANDREW - Then I should not be here with you,

Lest damage come to your chaste name.

ROSINA - Nay, Sir Andrew. Stay, I pray.

I've never known another man

With whom I've ever felt as safe.

SIR ANDREW - Madam, you flatter. But your husband...

ROSINA - Has gone a-hunting.

SIR ANDREW - A-hunting? I knew of none today,

And am myself quite partial to the hunt.

The horns quite make my pulses race

And cause my heart to flutter.

ROSINA - I doubt it not. But my husband's hunts

Are of a solitary kind.

His prey a cunning beast that schools do form

In lonely places, out of sight,

Scarce visited; where they in silence lurk,

And bide their time 'til they can draw

Their victim to its fatal lure.

Once caught they hold him snared awhile,

Infect him with their fertile germs

And then return him to the world,

Those germs to multiply and spread.

SIR ANDREW - It sounds a very pestilence.

An evil creature, I can tell.

Where does your husband hunt this brute?

ROSINA - My husband's quarry, sir, is books.

They lurk in libraries and look

Quite innocent, 'til you take one down

And lay apart its leaves.

SIR ANDREW - Oh, I hate books. They are so dull.

There is no meat in them but words.

'I am, They are, He is,'

'I do, They do, He does."

They merely state in black and white

What everybody knows.

ROSINA - My husband, sir, loves books

Far more than ever he loves me.

A book he has not seen before

Is as a virgin to a libertine.

He fondles it, its cover strokes

Caressing every curve and cleft.

He breathes its fragrance, kisses it,

And then, with holy reverence,

He lays it down upon its spine, exposes it,

And spreads it wide to ravish it

With slow and thorough ecstasy.

I often wish my husband looks

Upon me as he does his books.

SIR ANDREW - My Lady, I, um. Well, I, um.

I really don't know what to say.

ROSINA - You should, Sir Andrew, read more books.

(Knock on door)

Hello? More visitors for me?

Sir Knight, would you the honours do?

(Enter Sir Toby and Maria)

SIR ANDREW - My Lady, I would introduce

Sir Toby Belch, uncle to the Countess

And his wife, the Lady Maria.

And with your leave I will depart.

To stay with them I have no heart.

ROSINA - No, Sir Knight. You shall not go.

Thy presence is a boon to me.

I'd have you noble at my side

To help me entertain my guests.

SIR ANDREW - Madam, your wish is my command.

ROSINA - Sir Toby and Lady Belch,

Lady Mountebank bids you welcome.

I've heard that many a happy match

Is made 'twixt uncle and niece.

TOBY - Humf. The foolish knight has slandered us.

I am but uncle to the Countess.

My wife is no kin to me.

ROSINA - But surely, sir, she is your wife.

TOBY - Ay, so 'tis said. and in that sense

She's kin to me, but of no other kind.

ROSINA - Madam, are you not kind to your husband?

MARIA - I would be, were he kind to me.

ROSINA - Come now, Lady Belch. For shame.

If each waits for the other to be kind

Then shall you go unkindly to your graves.

MARIA - My Lady, I acknowledge that,

And do a kind of kindness give

My husband just by being here

So he can kindness show to me.

But 'Lady Belch' I do abhor

And would 'Maria' rather be.

TOBY - Ay. You do not suit a Lady's cloth.

You're best clothed in humility.

ROSINA - Sir Toby, we should all dress so.

There's few of us that look our part,

'Tho I must say Sir Andrew here

Most noble looks in gartered silk

And sable cape. You are, Sir Toby,

Well advised to take the homespun, cosy garb

That suits your girth and altitude.

For who will wine with wisdom weigh

Who judges but the cask's outside?

What say you, Sir Andrew?

SIR ANDREW - I say Sir Toby ne'er weighs wine.

If it's in a cask it's good enough for him.

TOBY - It has to be, if it's from the purse

Of patty Andrew Aguecheek.

You don't know vintage from vinegar

And get sold the latter at the former's price.

SIR ANDREW - Well, 'tis only vinegar you'll get from me.

ROSINA - Come, gentlemen. No more of this.

I fear I've inadvertently

Some squabble or bad blood set free

That should in friendship settled be.

Maria, will you tell to me

The cause of this disharmony?

MARIA - Alas, my husband's in the wrong.

He has misled Sir Andrew here,

Offended him with word and deed

And caused him some financial loss,

'Tho no gain came to him by this

Except a mighty hangover.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, could you be reconciled?

SIR ANDREW - I could be so, but how to trust

When trust already's been abused.

ROSINA - Sir Toby, won't you please your wife

And beg forgiveness of Sir Andrew?

TOBY - No, Lady. I'll not beg of him,

Nor act at my own wife's behest.

Had Andrew not been born a fool

I never could have worked on him,

So he was just as wrong as me.

I'll 'pologise for fooling him

If he'll do so for being fooled.

ROSINA - No, sir. I will not have that.

Sir Andrew has a heart of gold

Which you have mined by unfair means.

Your wife says you were in the wrong.

Such testimony where loyalty is due

Is most persuasive evidence.

I take Sir Andrew's part in this

Beside your wife, and ask again

Will you apologise?

TOBY - I'll not. Nor will I stay to face

This bench of three 'gainst me arrayed.

(Exit Sir Toby)

ROSINA - Alas, Maria. What have I done?

I sought but to heal the rift

Between Sir Toby and Sir Andrew

Which clearly was a pain to you,

And have only made things worse.

Sir Andrew. Please pursue Sir Toby

And in my name entreat him to a peace

If such can be arranged.

Revile me, if you will, as an interfering crone,

A gossip and a busybody who had no right

To meddle in your close affairs.

Bring him, if you need, to an alliance against me

For so, in joining ranks 'gainst an outside nosey-parker,

Such rifts can oft' be healed.

SIR ANDREW - My Lady I'll try, at your behest.

For me, I've no wish to approach the Knight

And care not if I never see him after.

(Exit Sir Andrew)

ROSINA - Oh, Maria. Men are such babies.

MARIA - Indeed, I have always found it so.

ROSINA - How much more sensible are women.

MARIA - Too true.

ROSINA - What's to be done to heal the rift

'Twixt you and your husband?

If, that is, you wish it healed,

And also if you would not stop

My nose extending further into this affair.

MARIA - My Lady, I'd welcome any thoughts.

ROSINA - Maria, why 'My Lady' me?

That title is for servants' use.

Felicity I would be to you.

MARIA - Of course. Felicity.

In truth I know not what to say.

I'm loath to give my husband up

But know not what he thinks of me.

If he affection holds for me

But fears to show it, 'lest his peers

No longer think him what he was,

A man's man, full of brag and beer,

Then I will for his love fierce fight.

But if he really does not care

For me, then what's the point

In loving where it's not returned?

ROSINA - Then dare you put it to the test?

MARIA - How so?

ROSINA - If you will be advised by me, this is my plan.

Sir Andrew I will set to meet me

In some close and hidden spot.

You take my place and hold him there

In furtive conversation, such as lovers have

In planning assignations sweet.

Meantime I will your husband seek

In order to apologise

For my misguided words just now,

While leading him as though by chance

Where you and good Sir Andrew flirt.

By his reaction to that sight

Shall I, and you, his true heart know.

MARIA - Felicity, I like it not.

ROSINA - Nor should you, for duplicity

Should not in marriage be required.

But where the patient's sure to die

If nothing's done, the surgeon cannot be condemned

That risks the knife in hope to save.

MARIA - Alas, you speak the truth,

And I will risk your surgeon's knife.

ROSINA - Then go now. I will send you word

Of where and when Sir Andrew waits.

A smile paint on your face, 'til then.

'Twil after be for real, Amen.

(exit Maria)

Oh, honest servant girl that was.

There's more of Lady in thy cask

Despite its shabby outward view,

Than is in mine despite its silk and satin front.

Your husband, you and that poor knight

Sir Andrew, all conspire with me

To bring you down as though the plot you knew.

The man that slays the savage beast

Can feel true pride, and much relief,

But he who slays the harmless lamb

Can surely only feel remorse

At such an easy victory.

In truth I feel that same remorse

In working out my plan for all my victims here.

Enough, Rosina. Gold means guilt.

What fortunes are with conscience built?


ACT 2, scene 2

The garden in Olivia's house.

Enter Orsino and attendants.

ORSINO - You say the fool Feste has returned?

That's good news. Go seek him out.

(Exit attendant)

We need his wit and jesting

To add laughter to this already happy occasion.

For love without laughter is like

Strawberries without cream.

Love can make the world seem sweet,

Yet laughter can put honey on the sugar.

(Enter Attendant with Feste)

Ah, welcome, Fool. We've missed thy wit.

FESTE - Why, sir, I knew not you had shot at it.

Do you wonder that it fled?

But then, my wit must be a hit if it's missed,

'Tho good wit often hits what it seems to miss.

ORSINO - Tell me, Fool. What's a lover like?

FESTE - Why, sir, like a sleeper, a madman and a fool.

Like a sleeper for he only dreams,

A madman as he cannot tell dreams from reality,

And a fool because he prefers the dream.

ORSINO - What, Fool? Would you put me in with madmen and fools?

FESTE - Not I, good Duke. I merely build the door

That opens onto love's mad foolishness.

Enter it who will.

ORSINO - I like not this fooling.

Do you say love is not real,

Is but a dream?

FESTE - I do, sir. Will you give me leave

To prove it?

ORSINO - I doubt you can, any more than you can prove

That this is not my nose.

FESTE - As to your nose, sir,

How would you prove to you yourself

That you have one?

ORSINO - Why, I can see it in the mirror.

FESTE - It cannot be your nose, sir,

If it is not on you but in the mirror.

And if you say it represents your nose

It has no substance, shape or weight.

Seek to touch it and you'll find no nose there.

Believe a mirror and you believe a phantom.

ORSINO - Then I can touch my nose.

FESTE - I'll grant you can feel something

In the middle of your face,

But if you cannot see what you touch

How do you know it is your nose?

ORSINO - My hand knows it is my nose.

FESTE - Your hand knows it is your nose?

Then, my Lord, you should take special care

To always keep your hands clean

'Lest their smell offends you.

ORSINO - No, no. I know it is my nose.

FESTE - So it is, too. Four no's in a sentence,

And certainly yours, for you said them.

ORSINO - Fool. You make a net of my words

And tangle me in it.

I understand it is my nose,

For others tell me so.

FESTE - Sir, men will ever tell a Duke

The things they think he wants to hear.

They might well say you have a nose,

But you'd be a fool to take that at face value.

ORSINO - Fools, it seems, are not confined

To saying what I want to hear.

So tell me, Fool, have I a nose?

FESTE - Yes, sir. Or so it seems to me.

Yet would you take the word of a fool for it?

ORSINO - Have done with noses. What's your proof

That love has no reality?

FESTE - Well, sir. If you died of love,

As lovers often say they will,

And some bold surgeon cut you up

Would he some wart or carbuncle find

Upon your heart, that only lovers have?

ORSINO - Of course not.

FESTE - Were that heart placed within a still

And rendered down, as roses are

To find that oil we love them for,

Would that heart yield some 'Oil of Love',

Or love's essential essence form

Within the glass, as alcohol

From grain or berry is distilled?

ORSINO - They say not so.

FESTE - Then what is love? Where does it lie?

Can it be real that can't be seen,

Or tasted, smelt, nor heard nor touched?

ORSINO - Nay, Fool. For I can feel it well.

Would you deny that anger's real,

For anger can do bloody deeds?

FESTE - Anger and its brother, hate,

Are no more real than love, my Lord.

Let's say I should a play put on

Within this court. A famous play,

'The Murder of Gonzago,' say.

You know it well. So tell me, sir,

When you do watch the villain pour

The poison in the sleeping king's unguarded ear

Does anger not within you stir?

Do you not hate the murderer?

If you do not the actor has not

Played his part, but if you do,

Why should you hate and anger feel

At what is only fantasy, as well you know?

Can it be real that feeds on phantom fuel?

Hate, sir, and love are black and white

That makes a book, for black ink cannot write

Without white page, while virgin paper's

Meaningless without the black thereon.

Yet, sir, as is with love and hate,

That mix of black and white makes sense

Only when you draw it hence

By reading it. Without your mind

To give it life, no life you'd find.

ORSINO - If you think love can not be real

It shows, poor Fool, you've never loved.

FESTE - No, Lord. I've loved, and even now

Know all love's bitter ecstasy.

And 'tho I know love's but a dream

I do prefer to live my life

For love above reality.

In cold, hard fact no longing lies.

In dreams lie lives for which life strives.

ORSINO - You have, Fool, given food for thought.

(Enter Sir Toby)

But other matters now appear.

Sir Toby, I must speak with you.

TOBY - Your servant, sir.

ORSINO - Sir Toby, come apart a while.

(Exit Feste and attendants )

It's not my wish to you offend,

Or interfere where I've no writ,

Yet this discord with your fair wife

A shadow throws on all our joyful preparations.

Both I and sweet Olivia seek married bliss.

These yearnings, sir, are hardly spurred

By your example. If I in any way

Can help to set your marriage right

I beg you, do but ask.

TOBY - I thank you, Duke, for your concern.

And as for you and Viola,

As with the Countess and Sebastian,

I have no doubt your lives will be

Immersed in total harmony. You are, you see,

All marrying within your rank, and share

The understandings that lie there.

ORSINO - Is that the flaw? How does Maria not become a Lady's rank?

She's comely, witty, pretty too.

TOBY - Oh, I'll grant she is a comely wench,

and her wit's a match to mine.

But, Lord, she has a tongue to match

A drover's whip. It well becomes a street-girl,

But a Lady should be silent, 'cept to talk about the soup.

The pastries are her province

And the bedding her domain.

ORSINO - If that is all, then I will ask

Olivia to take your wife in hand

And instruct her as to a Lady's duties.

TOBY - Well sir, I pity poor Sebastian should she try.

I rather fear Maria will Olivia

Infect with thoughts of mutiny

Against a Lady's lot.

ORSINO - I will forewarn her.

TOBY - Then forewarn her, too, against

Our latest guest, the Lady Mountebank.

ORSINO - Warn her? Why? Think you not

She is the sweetest thing?

TOBY - I've never seen more beautiful.

But she is of Maria's mould

And will, I think, not be ruled by Lord.

No wonder her poor husband mutely goes,

And so downcast.

ORSINO - She'd turn the head of any man,

And sure it is a most ill match.

Yet beauty does not always look

To beauty. Perhaps her lord

Has other attributes she loves him for.

TOBY - There's little love 'twixt them, I'd say.

When last I saw she'd clipped a leash

To foolish Aguecheek's lace ruff

And had him prancing at her heel.

He doesn't have the brains to see

That she a poodle makes of him.

ORSINO - I hope this causes no bad blood

With Mountebank.

TOBY - The most you'll get from Aguecheek

Is milk, not blood, with cheesy cheeks

And butter for his spine.

He's assembled as is a dairy made.

He is no threat to Mountebank,

Or any husband with an ounce of wit.

Our Holy knight is wholly fool

And would not bed another's wife

To save her life. Death before dishonour,

As his dictionary has it.

ORSINO - As should yours, Sir Toby.

TOBY - It does, your Grace. My word it does.

(Aside) But if occasions lead to love...

And she may have a need to love,

Agreed to love, may plead for love...

If love puts roses in her cheeks...

Returns the sparkle to her eyes...

Turns tears to trills of happy laughter...

Oh, does not then chivalry require

A knight to use his arms for her

And, nightly, strive on her behalf

To bring relief to her distress?

ORSINO - Here is the Lady Mountebank.

(Enter Rosina)

ROSINA - My duty to you, Duke Orsino.

I seek Sir Toby here, the whom I fear I have offended.

Might I beg his absence from your side awhile,

While I humbly seek to make amends?

ORSINO - By all means, 'tho Sir Toby

Has spoke of no offence you might have caused.

He holds you but in high esteem, I do assure you.

Just as I, Sir Toby, hold you to your dictionary.

TOBY - As you say, my Lord.

(Exit Orsino)

ROSINA - Sir Toby, will you walk with me?

TOBY - Your wish is my command, my Lady.

ROSINA - Then, Sir Toby, 'tis my wish

That we should be friends.

TOBY - Can friendship be commanded, Lady?

ROSINA - Can love, Sir Toby, fill the heart upon demand?

Can great art flow from artist's brush or playwright's pen

Upon its owner's mere desire to be a genius today?

No. And as it seems that I must work

To gain your friendship, then I will.

TOBY - Nay, Lady. I would not put you to any labour.

ROSINA - Sir Toby, you have done nothing to make me conceive,

That any labour might be the result.

TOBY - Lady, that was not my meaning.

ROSINA - Oh come, sir. I do merely tease.

But now to wear a solemn face,

It was unfair of me to take the side

Of Aguecheek, and you condemn.

Your wife did tell me all the facts,

Of that affair once you had gone

And, to be quite honest sir,

'Twas hard to keep my mirth within.

I would I could have witness been

To Aguecheek at your wit's end.

In truth I guilty am as you

At leading on that simple knight,

Although it is my husband's wish

That he play chaperone to me,

And watch out for my chastity.

Come, sir. Will you walk?

TOBY - Most willingly, and help

In any other way I can.

ROSINA - You have a military air,

And are, I sense, quite comfortable

Commanding men for strategy.

In this sense, then, I ask of you,

As might be in my husband's stead,

If you a castle must defend and had a choice of forces,

Would you camp outside the battlements

And make defence beyond the moat,

Or occupy the keep and man the walls?

TOBY - Why, occupy the keep, of course.

ROSINA - Sound strategy. I'd do the same.

So would I have the forces set my honour to defend.

Not stand far off, to leave me naked and unoccupied,

But cosy camp within the keep, that happy laughter

Liven all the corridors, song brighten up the halls,

And hot fires burn to keep the cobwebs from the flues.

As for the bedrooms, ah, they're in another story.

Come, Sir Toby. This way.

You have, I see, a better grasp of strategy.

I would my husband had chosen you

Above Sir Andrew for the task.

TOBY - As would I, my Lady.

ROSINA - But who lurks there, behind that bush?

Some lover's tryst, I will be bound.

We should our steps elsewhere direct.

TOBY - Wait. Surely that is Aguecheek,

And with a lady. There's a thing.

I'd not have thought he had it in him.

Damn it, that's no lady. That's my wife.

(Rosina, pretending to trip, falls and pulls Sir Toby on top of her. They wrestle on the ground.)

ROSINA - Help! No, Sir Toby. I beg of you.

Release me! Help, I am abused.

Sir Toby, let me go. M'aider. M'aider.

(Enter Sir Andrew and Maria)

SIR ANDREW - What is this? Sir, unhand that woman.

Release her immediately.

MARIA - Husband. How could you?

TOBY - No, no. You are mistook.

ROSINA - Sir Toby, is this your response

To my overtures of friendship?

MARIA - I cannot believe it.

SIR ANDREW - Sir Toby Belch, this is vile behaviour,

Even for you.

ROSINA - I never would have believed it of a knight.

To force a woman!

TOBY - No, no. It was an accident.

I didn't mean... You cannot think that I...

MARIA - I can, you scoundrel. You have gone too far.

Just a month married, and not just wenching

With a trollop...

ROSINA - I am dishonoured. Sir Andrew, I am dishonoured.

SIR ANDREW - Sir Toby, she is dishonoured.

TOBY - Lady Mountebank, you pulled me down.

ROSINA - Sir, you seized me and I fell. I feel quite faint.

MARIA - This is too much.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, will you stand for it?

I am dishonoured. I must be avenged.

SIR ANDREW - Avenged?

TOBY - Ridiculous. I barely touched her.

MARIA - I saw you.

SIR ANDREW - Avenged?

MARIA - On the ground. On top of her.

Oh wicked, wicked man.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, he tried to force me.

My honour is at stake.

You must fight him.

SIR ANDREW - Lady, he would kill me. He is a better fighter.

TOBY - Don't be silly. This is nonsense.

ROSINA - (Aside to Andrew) Be not afraid.

My husband has a potion that will make a lion of you.

With it you will easily overcome him.

MARIA - What a fool I was to marry you.

SIR ANDREW - A potion?

ROSINA - All Illyria will talk of it.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the knight

Who avenged the Lady Mountebank.

King Arthur himself would be proud.

MARIA - I thought I was marrying quality.

You are a disgrace, Sir.

TOBY - I had no intention...The Lady is misleading you.

ROSINA - The brave Sir Andrew Aguecheek,

Who bested Toby Belch, the rogue.

Here is your revenge, Sir Andrew.

SIR ANDREW - A potion?

MARIA - I'll no more of you. You're a scoundrel,

Toby Belch. The world shall hear of this.

ROSINA - A distillation of the sword arm of Perseus,

With the courage of Horatius,

Suspended in water from the pool

In which Achilles himself was immersed.

TOBY - Nay, Maria. I am innocent.

The Lady was seducing me.

MARIA - Do you think me a fool?

What Lady would dream of seducing you.

You can only seduce serving girls,

And even they would not look at you,

Had you not knightly rank. Rank Knight!

The title suits you.

TOBY - Maria.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew. My honour is in your hands.

Challenge him.

SIR ANDREW - A potion?

MARIA - I'm ashamed to be your wife. I find you in the act

And still you try to lie.

ROSINA - Is as I say. The world will marvel at you.

Challenge him.

TOBY - Maria, I am innocent. She is deceiving you.

MARIA - You? Innocent? I have never known you innocent.

If you are not drunk you are pursuing some poor girl,

Or gulling some poor fool.

TOBY - Maria, believe me. She pulled me down.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, challenge him like a man for me.

SIR ANDREW - I don't know how.

ROSINA - For heaven's sake!

Sir Toby Belch, you have me wronged.

My champion, Sir Andrew Aguecheek,

Demands combat with you to restore my honour.

TOBY - Don't be silly, woman. I've seen better men

Still sucking at their mother's teat.

I'll not fight the fool.

SIR ANDREW - Sir Toby Belch, I'll take no more contempt from you.

I may not be much of a man,

But I will be all the man I can.

I challenge you to fight for this Lady's honour

Or be for ever forsworn knight.

TOBY - You'd fight for this Lady's honour?

Then you fight for nothing.

Very well. I will not kill you, fool.

At least I owe you that much.

Send me word of place and time.

Wife, you are this time mistook,

But perhaps it's for the best.

My Lady, you have cozened me

And I cannot imagine why,

As I have never done you ill.

You do well to place your honour in the hands

Of this silly knight, for his faint defence of it

Will far exceed its measure.

(Exit Sir Toby)

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, have no fear.

I would not have you kill him.

Yet you will defeat him and my tarnished name restore

Along with yours. You have my faith and help in this.

Go now and find some quiet chapel

There in meditation to prepare yourself.

SIR ANDREW - Lady, I will.

(Exit Sir Andrew)

ROSINA - Maria. I wish it had not come to this.

I did not dream he would misread

My outstretched hand of friendship so.

Alas, men deem me beautiful,

As I'm sure they do you too,

And so upon our shoulders load

A cross not of our making.

They are like moths that choose to think

The flame more beautiful than the flower

Then, when they by the flame are burnt,

Blame us for being beautiful.

I often wish men found me plain.

Life then would be much easier.

MARIA - So you, as a Lady, might.

If you had but a servant been

You would not wish for such a thing.

Plainness then is like a shroud

That muffles wit, can talent clog

And covers any other skill.

You sew until you fingers bleed

Or toil at making meals so good

That angels wish they could attend,

And get no more than passing thanks,

Unnoticed as the keystone is

For only doing what it should.

Men see you, if they look at all,

Just from the Adam's apple down

And say, "She would, in darkness, do."

But if your face is beautiful,

Men think your beauty will invest

Each thing you do and, thinking it,

Will see it where it doesn't lie.

Beauty, which is Nature's gift unearned,

Grants its owner that which others toil to earn.

ROSINA - Maria, you do humble me. and speak the truth

For I would not my beauty swap

For half the world, if truth be known.

I would as well in convent be

If men's eyes did not notice me.

Yet now you see me at my worst.

A marriage wrecked, a fight provoked,

And proud of it as if such spite

Were measures of my beauty's height.

My Lady, do you not hate me?

MARIA - No, for you are beautiful,

And cannot take the blame for what others make of that.

My marriage was already lost,

And Toby and Sir Andrew were at odds before you came.

You merely were the catalyst.

ROSINA - Perhaps some good might come of this.

If perchance Sir Andrew wins the fight

Your humbled husband might love himself

A little less and you much more,

While Sir Andrew might not come amiss

If he a victory does score, and so restore

His good opinion of himself.

To this end will you join with me

On Andrew's side against your husband,

Who after all has wronged us both?

MARIA - Felicity, I will. But you should know

The Duke has duelling strictly banned.

If Orsino should get word of this

Both knights will instant banished be

With no appeal.

ROSINA - Then deadly secret must it be.

But come, let's turn to lighter things

Lest dark forebodings rule our minds.

Come Maria, tell me all the gossip in Illyria.

MARIA - I fear me there is none of note.

Just tattle of a hard word here

Or badly buttoned bodice there.

ROSINA - Can this be such a boring place?

To Heaven I might fear to go

If there's no gossip there to know.

MARIA - Felicity!

ROSINA - Nay, I jest. But let me, then

A choicer morsel pass to thee.

In Messaline for some short while

We lived before the wild sea brought

Us here into Illyria, and there the tongues

Are all alive with shocking news.

It seems that there, of honoured line,

A brother and a sister, born as mirror twins

So each could as the other pass,

Were, in flagrante, caught in that embrace

That should the sole preserve

Of husband with his wife be kept.

MARIA - You mean...

ROSINA - Such was the hint. Who'd make it plain?

In shame they fled, no-one knows where.

In their absence it was found

That he would often dress as she,

And with the women gossip share,

Ears open on those close confessions

Women never share with men,

While she, in brother's vestments bold,

Would join the men in lewd, crude talk

About her female friends, and there betray

The secrets they'd confide in her.

How vile to so betray her sex.

It's said in their unholy bed

They'd swap the news they'd learned that day

In order their true roles to play.

MARIA - But this is terrible.

ROSINA - It certain is. I pity feel

For those unfortunates that harbour

This unnatural couple now.

MARIA - No. No. It's truly terrible,

For they are here.

Viola and Sebastian, from Messaline,

Were washed up here not four months past.

Most certain twins they are, and so alike

That easy is to mix them up

Despite the symbols of their sex.

Viola as a man did pass

For three months in Orsino's court.

What's to be done?

ROSINA - Be not so quick, for it could be

These are not that same couple.

Or if they are, that gossip could be wholly false,

Spread by malicious tongues.

I would be loath to link their names

With such a loathsome story

On such vague and suspect evidence.

MARIA - But if it's true, then will the Countess wed

The brother of this shameful two,

And Orsino take the sister.

Then will the foulness sit

In Illyria's very heart.

ROSINA - There is that, too. Then very well.

If you'll be ruled by me, I think you privy should

Impart this to Olivia.

Impress on her that this may not that couple be,

It may be that in Messaline

Some tonic in the water flows

To make such twins no rare event.

Or if they seem to fit the bill

Then warn her with the strongest terms

That gossip can be far from truth.

Suggest that she Orsino tells,

But no-one else, so they may secret watch these twins

For proof that no such twinning lies 'twixt them,

Which I am sure they'll quickly find.

MARIA - I will. I think that is the way.

ROSINA - But one thing more. I beg of you

Do not my name reveal as source

Of this unpleasant and unwelcome news.

I very much beholden am

To both the Countess and the Duke

For their kind hospitality.

Such generosity deserves

A fair return and not this grim

And sordid tale.

MARIA - I understand, and will not link

Your name with this

Now I must to the Countess go

With what can only bring her woe.

(Exit Maria)

ROSINA - My plots from mere imaginings

To deep, sheer-sided canyons go.

My victims are, like rivers, caught

Within them, with nowhere to flow

Except as I direct their course.

My potion for the sallow knight

Is nothing more than brandy strong

Which may yet serve him to enlarge

Into as much as half a man.

This fight will be a girlish thing

At full sword's length,

But once one gets but half a nick

I will the hint of blood dab off

With cloth that bears a venom pure

That's certain death. It matters not

Which one it is, for I'll make sure

The good Duke gets to hear of it

And banishment will be the best

The one that lives can then expect.

As for the rest, I've dropped a seed

From which will grow a noxious weed

That no denial can grub out.

The doubt I've sown will soon be grown

Into uncertainty's sharp itch

Which, scratched, will grow suspicion's scab

Above distrust's slow-spread decay

From which the germ of 'It must be',

Will soon infect the whole sane mind.

The fuses of that mine I've lit,

But others now must carry it.


ACT 2, scene 3

The garden at Olivia's House.

Enter Feste.

FESTE - If music be the food of love,

Then I a banquet need to lay

Before the Countess and the Duke

Upon their double wedding day.

So aid me, music's Muses gay,

And on me inspiration lay.

"Love and marriage,

Love and marriage,"

Nay, 'tis a knavish trick to repeat the word

To make the rhyme, but it would do. What follows after?

"Go together like a horse and carriage,"

Sweetly rhymed, but who with wit

Would ever have a bar of it,

For marriage, like a carriage sure

Goes nowhere 'less love's in the shafts.

Yet, like a horse, love's much more fun

If free of shafts to unhitched run.

Try another.

"Love is a many splendoured thing,"

True, and has a noble ring.

"In the morning mist

Two lovers kissed,

And the world stood still."

'Twil not do. The middle scans

But no rhyme on the outside stands.

They need to stand upon a hill,

Or somewhere there should be a pill,

Or something should her something fill,

Or kill, or spill, is there a mill?

Can he be Jack unto her Jill,

Or Bill unto her cooing?

In any case, the morning mist

Too often sees no lover's tryst

But, rather, shamefaced parting and regret.

Try something else.

"Love, love me do,

You know I love you.

I'll always be true.

So please, please, please please,

Love me do."

Has sentiment, and rhymes right through,

'Tho somewhat light on words.

It would for kindergarten do,

On that first sweet exchange of sweets,

But's hardly fit for grown-ups.

Is there a better?

"If I fell in love with you,

Would you promise to be true?"

Nay, 'Tis the kindergarden again.

Come, you Muses. Can you do no better?

"Honey, honey, honey,

I've got love in my tummy

And I feel like loving you."

Feste, you had better learn to use

A cobbler's last, or you will starve.

"Let's spend the night together.

Now I need you more than ever. Yeah."

'Stones, what is this doggerel?

And where's the love in that?

Feste, can't you find love's heart?

Yes. In the imitation Lady Mountebank.

Oh, I would love her for her mind alone

As Mercury would love the Moon

For setting off his radiance.

Yet she is beautiful as well,

So how can I, poor homespun fool,

Hope to compete with those who'd love her for her looks.

Were she as ugly as the Gorgon is

I would still love her, and might stand

Some chance that she might love return.

But when her jewel-like mind's encased

In such a pretty box I'm lost

And she by better men embraced.

Enough, I've still a song to write.

Praise love, fool, even through love's bite.

'Tho men hunt love as love the heart..'

There's something there.

'The heart hunts love as men the hart.."

(Enter Rosina, unseen by Feste)

The man who hunts love as he chases the hart,

ROSINA - A maid whose chaste heart will surrender for love,

FESTE - The wrong road do take from wherever they start,

ROSINA - Though they take it from Hades to Heaven above.

FESTE - Who searches for love a chimera pursues.

ROSINA - Who hopes to find love ever searches in vain.

FESTE - Who gambles on love her heart's stake will soon lose.

ROSINA - Who sighs for love wastes his dear breath for no gain.

FESTE - For love is a lock the which must have a key.

ROSINA - Love is a beach that depends on the sea.

FESTE - Love is a honey that must have a bee.

ROSINA - Love is a windward that must have a lee.

FESTE - Love cannot be 'til a he joins a she,

ROSINA - And not before then can lo link up with ve.

FESTE - Lady, you inspire me.

ROSINA - Feste, I still have need of a husband.

The lack of one has already brought

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew to each other's throats.

FESTE - Aye. I am to be Sir Toby's second.

I better fit the role of fool to foolish knight,

Than husband, true or false, to thee.

You are a Lady and deserve a paragon.

I must pursue the Muses, and am gone.

(Exit Feste)

ROSINA - Ah, Feste. If you saw me as I really am

You'd see it's not a paragon,

But lexicon I need, containing

Clemency, mercy, forbearance, compassion,

Sympathy, patience and understanding.

To see me marred with all my faults

And know my sordid history,

And even then to love me

I cannot ask of any man. He'd have to be a fool

To take me as I am, and all my much-used love.

(Enter Sebastian and Viola)

Good day, fair friends. I deem you are

The pair of twins all speak about,

'tho pair of twins I'd take as four.

SEBASTIAN - Most welcome, Lady. We are but two,

'Tho paired, and twinned.

I'm sorry if we are but half your expectation.

ROSINA - Nay, you double it, for even one

As fair as one of you

Would seem to grace the Earth far more than she deserves.

That double-you doth walk abroad

Does bring the very alphabet of poetry to life.

VIOLA - Lady, you are gracious,

and grace the Earth far more than us.

Although I think you U's us but to T's,

It O's much to Y's I's that double C's.

Lady, will you take your E's in X's I's

and walk with us?

ROSINA - I dare not, L's it N's in Q's of spelling B's

Among sweet P's, which N M E's

Leave H's in my R's.

SEBASTIAN - A truce. A truce.

ROSINA - I willingly accept.

SEBASTIAN - Lady, something of your plight is known to us,

As we did suffer that same fate

Of shipwreck on Illyria's shore.

Now fortune smiles on us, and we that fortune

Hope to shortly share with you,

And look to treat thee on our wedding day.

ROSINA - I would not miss it for the world,

And as the pair of you will single be

Only to that day, I'll leave you here

That you might single be together.

(Exit Rosina)

SEBASTIAN - A most accomplished Lady.

VIOLA - A most attractive Lady, would you not say, brother?

SEBASTIAN - I would, 'tho sister dear there is no need

To look on every pretty maid, or widow,

As a bride for me. I found a bride

All by myself, without your help.

VIOLA - Nay, brother. When Olivia

Did offer you her hand, it was mine

She thought she was taking.

SEBASTIAN - I know you jest, but it is true.

And in truth it worries me.

Our features are identical, but in our minds

We differ. If Olivia was brought to love

By that bright quickness in your mind,

She will be disappointed in me.

VIOLA - Dismiss the thought, for you have qualities

That beggar mine, of far more worth than playful wit.

The love Olivia thought she had for me

Is not a tenth of that she has for you.

SEBASTIAN - I hope 'tis so, for I love her

And could not bear to let her down

By being other than she deems.

But still I rue the haste with which

We rush towards this wedding.

I would she had more time to find

That I am not you.

VIOLA - Brother, you'd prevaricate your life away.

SEBASTIAN - I wish I did not also doubt

Your wedding to Orsino.

He is a noble gentleman with every sign

Of all the proper qualities,

But as to love, it seems to me

That he is deeply wrapped in love

With love itself, and not with you.

The speed with which his love did bounce

On you from fair Olivia, when she he found

Had pledged her love to me, gives me alarm.

If he is that inconstant, who can say

How long his love will stay with you?

VIOLA - Well, I love him as you love sweet Olivia.

If those we love some other love doth know,

Love of a dream or even love of love itself,

Still does it prove that they can love.

So must our love reach out to that

Misguided love and, with love's hands,

Then lead our love to true love's path.

SEBASTIAN - As ever, you show me the way.

And sister does big brother play.


ACT 2, scene 4

Olivia's garden.

Fabian is hanging from a tree branch by his arms, looking in

considerable discomfort. Enter Malvolio, disguised as Rosina's groom.

MALVOLIO - Will you tell me the word, Master Fabian?

FABIAN - Never.

MALVOLIO - Then you shall hang there.

FABIAN - Oh. Is there not another way to torture me, Master Alias?

MALVOLIO - How would you like to be tortured?

FABIAN - You could smear honey inside my breeches

And tie me on an ants' nest.

MALVOLIO - In what way would that be torture?

FABIAN - Well, they say the ants crawl inside your breeches

And tickle you terribly.

I have heard that the Great Chan uses the method

To extract confessions.

MALVOLIO - Tickling, even terrible tickling,

Does not seem much of a torture to me.

FABIAN - We could try.

MALVOLIO - I know of no ants' nest.

FABIAN - There is one near the well,

Under an apple tree. It is a big one.

MALVOLIO - Neither do I have honey.

FABIAN - I'm sure the kitchens would oblige with some.

MALVOLIO - And if cook asks me what I want honey for,

I tell her it is to torture Fabian with?

Nay. Ants are a heathen way of torture.

You shall be tortured like a good Christian.

Give me the word, or hang there longer.

FABIAN - Could you not stick me with needles instead?

MALVOLIO - Oh no. The very thought makes me shudder

And feel quite faint. Give me the word.

FABIAN - No. How about boiling oil?

MALVOLIO - You would not like it.

FABIAN - Yes, that's true. Forget the boiling oil.

You could starve me and then put a roast chicken

Or succulent beef before me, and not let me eat it.

That would be torture.

MALVOLIO - That would take too long. Just give me the word

And I will let you down.

FABIAN - I've forgotten what the word is.

MALVOLIO - The word is 'durare', Fabian.

Now, give it back to me and you'll go free.

FABIAN- Never. What is durare, anyway?

MALVOLIO - It is Latin, Fabian. The root of our word

Endure. Which is what you are doing.

FABIAN- Oh. I thought I was just hanging here.

It sounds different in Latin,

Tho' it's just as uncomfortable.

MALVOLIO - Well, give me the word

And you'll be comfortable again.

FABIAN - No. I'll durare, tho' I had rather

You beat me on the bare buttocks

With a cane. Would that not do?

MALVOLIO - No, Master Fabian. Some men enjoy

Being beaten on the bare buttocks,

And you might be one of them.

That is why it is not a fair test.

If I am to tell you the secret

Of the Horseman's Word as you desire,

You must first pass the tests

Of which this is the first.

Tell me the word I have given you not to tell me

And I will let you down.

But if you are to be entrusted with

The Secret Word of the Horsemaster which,

When breathed into the ear of any horse

Will render it obedient and docile,

You must prove to me that you would not reveal it

Even under torture. So if you want that torture to end

Just tell me the word.

FABIAN - I have forgot it again.

MALVOLIO - It is durare, Fabian. Durare.

FABIAN - Durare.

MALVOLIO - Did you give me it?

FABIAN - Give you what?

MALVOLIO - The word.

FABIAN - You have not given it to me, yet.

MALVOLIO - Yes I have. It is durare. You said it.

FABIAN - Is that the Horseman's Word? Durare?

MALVOLIO - No. That is the test word you must keep from me.

Did you give it to me?

FABIAN - No. You gave it to me, but I keep losing it.

How much longer is my time?

MALVOLIO - I cannot say. It would spoil the test.

But give me the word and you'll be down straight-way.

FABIAN - I have lost it again.

MALVOLIO - Durare, Fabian. Durare.

(Aside) I joy to see you suffering

As my petty revenge for your petty involvement

In the plot that brought me down,

But never thought a torturer's

Was such a toilsome task.

It is enough. I have bigger game.

(To Fabian) Time. It is time, Fabian.

You have done well and passed the first test.

The second test I will unfold to you shortly.

FABIAN - Oh, I am glad for that. I'm sure my arms are longer by a foot.

MALVOLIO - Master Fabian, will you give an ear

To a tale that gives me puzzlement?

FABIAN - Why master Alias, I will,

If my ear can add anything to your tale.

MALVOLIO - You know I sleep aloft here in the stalls,

Rather than in the dormitory

Your mistress has provided for us?

FABIAN - I do.

MALVOLIO - Well, last night as I slept there

But did not sleep, 'tho I was trying hard to sleep,

I heard a murmur of voices from the shadows

Near where Lightning chewed her hay.

Thinking, perhaps, some foul deed was afoot

That would prejudice the horses,

I listened to their words.

FABIAN - Who was it?

MALVOLIO - I do not know. They called themselves assassingings.

FABIAN - Assassinings?

MALVOLIO - So they said. "We are assassinings," they said.

FABIAN - Perhaps they are from Assassing.

MALVOLIO - Is there such a place?

FABIAN - I'm sure there must be. What did they say?

MALVOLIO - They said they were going to do murder on the Duke's violin.

FABIAN - Do murder on the Duke's violin?

MALVOLIO - That's what one said. "The Duke has given me gold

To do murder on his violin. When shall we do it?"

FABIAN - I have heard the Countess say

That she did once hear a player

Murder a violin.

MALVOLIO - Perhaps it is the name of a piece

You play upon a violin.

FABIAN - "Murder" is a funny name for a piece.

MALVOLIO - I have heard it said that Scottish folk

Play an instrument that sounds

Like someone murdering a cat.

FABIAN - When did they say they'd play this murder

For the Duke?

MALVOLIO - This they talked about at length,

But the oddest thing was that they seemed to want

To play this murder when no-one would hear it.

"We must not be heard or seen," they said.

FABIAN - Very odd. Did they decide?

MALVOLIO - They did. It seems your Duke is given

To walking apart in the gardens with his violin

In the afternoons. "We'll do it then,"

They said, "When the Duke is alone with his violin.

"We'll seize her and do murder on her."

Strange. They talked of the violin as a woman,

As sailors do a ship,

FABIAN - This is very odd. The Duke has no violin,

And cannot play anything on it, anyway.

It's true he walks in the gardens in the afternoon,

But not with a violin. Oh, but wait.

The Duke's betrothed is called Viola,

And he often walks with her in the gardens

Of an afternoon.

MALVOLIO - Viola. That might have been it.

FABIAN - They intend to murder the Duke's Viola!

MALVOLIO - But the Duke has paid them gold to do it.

Wherefore should he?

He is a Duke. He could murder her himself

And save the gold.

FABIAN - No. He surely cannot be seen to do such a thing.

People wouldn't like it. What should we do?

MALVOLIO - What should we do? Why should we do anything?

The things Dukes do are not for us to question.

I'm sure your Duke has a good reason

For murdering this Viola.

FABIAN - Nay, she is a sweet lady, generous and kind.

I do not think I want to see her murdered.

And however things are where you come from

Dukes cannot do as they like here in Illyria.

We must do something.

MALVOLIO - Well, I'm not for crossing a Duke.

But does not this lady have a brother

Who could pass for her in ladies dress?

FABIAN - It is so.

MALVOLIO - Is he a fighter?

FABIAN - In competition he has proved himself the best in Illyria.

MALVOLIO - Why then, the answer is simple.

Take you to this brother and tell him this tale.

He durst not enlist the Duke's help to protect his sister

As the Duke is behind the plot,

But if he dresses as his sister and walks with the Duke

This afternoon, secretly armed,

It will be him rather than the lady these

Assassingings will try to murder

And I'm sure he will soundly rout them.

Then, with the plot uncovered,

The Duke will either be exposed

Or think better of murdering the lady.

FABIAN - It is a good plan. We should do it.

MALVOLIO - Nay. I want no part of it. Thwarting the plots

Of Dukes is bad for the health of such as us.

You say you overheard the conversation

And that the plan is yours. Thus will your standing

Be greatly improved in the estimation of

The Countess, and these twins.

But do not tell the tale to the brother

In the sister's presence, lest she faint

Or run historical as ladies are want to do.

FABIAN - Why, that's very generous of you.

And to tell me the Secret Horseman's Word as well,

I am much indebted to you.

MALVOLIO - Go now and enlarge the plot to the brother,

And when you return tell me of his reception of it.

Then shall you take the second test of the Horseman's Word and,

With a bare knife at your throat,

Swear the fatal oath of eternal silence.

FABIAN - I cannot wait. I beg you, stay until my return.

MALVOLIO - I shall stay.

(Exit Fabian)

I shall stay until I know if Sebastian has fallen into my trap,

As I am sure he will

For I know he is suspicious of Orsino's love for his sister,

And holds it but a passing fancy.

This tale told by an idiot he may not fully believe,

But any little doubt should suffice to catch him.

When Fabian returns to me

He'll silence vow, and ever silent be.


Act 2 scene 5

The garden at Olivia's House.

Enter Rosina.

ROSINA - This is the place and time where Aguecheek

And Belch are due to meet, and where I earn my wages.

This kerchief bears a poison, harmless if it's smelt or touched,

Yet fatal if it touches blood. 'Twill make the perfect bandage.

So one, it matters not which one, will die at just the sight of blood

While his opponent, if not taken up for murder, faces banishment.

Thus is Maria's marriage wrecked what e'er the outcome of this duel.

Which saddens me for she, like me, has by her wit 'scaped servitude,

Which is a chance that comes just once in life, and I must throw her back.

(Enter Maria)

Can you not attempt to smile beneath the surgeon's knife, Maria?

MARIA - Would smiling take away the pain?

ROSINA - No, not a jot. But it might ease the surgeon's, as he hacks at you.

MARIA - Then, Felicity, I'll smile for you.

(Enter Feste)

FESTE - So should the talk always be of smiling,

When the Fool comes in.

Therefore will you never find a Fool at a funeral.

ROSINA - It would become you to hold a funeral for your wit,

And bury it without delay. 'Twil not need a big hole.

FESTE - Mercy. Would you amputate my wit

And bury it without me?

Without my wit would I be a bigger fool,

Or is it my wit that makes me a Fool?

If so its loss might make me a man.

What would you be without your wit, my Lady?

ROSINA - For sure I would not be a man.

FESTE - For sure, but would you still be a Lady?

ROSINA - Feste, we are here but for the fight

Of Sir Toby and Sir Andrew.

We do not need to fight ourselves.

MARIA - Here comes Sir Andrew.

(Enter Sir Andrew)

ROSINA - Most welcome, sir.

The sight of you gladdens a Lady's heart.

FESTE - Aye. Flowers will ever gladden a lady's heart.

You, sir, are a positive bouquet.

MARIA - Do you make fun of him, sirrah?

It ill becomes a man that doesn't wear a sword

To make fun of one that does.

FESTE - Lady, I would soon become ill if I wore a sword,

With fear that I might have to use it.

Sir Andrew, I fear that you look ill.

SIR ANDREW - In truth I have felt better.

ROSINA - And you shall feel better shortly.

Will you take a sip of wine

To settle your stomach?

(Aside to Sir Andrew) This is the potion of which I told you.

It will put fire in your blood

And make quite another man of you.

SIR ANDREW - No, Madam. I will not take your potion.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, why? Do you think you are man enough

To beat Sir Toby without it?

SIR ANDREW - I do not think I am, but to take your potion

Would be cheating in a matter of honour.

ROSINA - Say not "cheating", Sir Andrew.

Is it "cheating" to practice hours each day at feats of arms?

To study combat's many moves?

To lessons take from fighting men?

Of course not. And neither is it cheating

To take the essence of those things from a bottle.

SIR ANDREW -Your argument, my Lady, might be true,

But it is far too subtle for me.

If I must face Sir Toby I will do it as me,

And not as any other man. If I lose, I lose.

But if I win the victory will be mine for true.

ROSINA - As you wish. You are a brave man, Sir Andrew.

Brave and noble, too, whate'er the outcome.

SIR ANDREW - My Lady, that opinion of me is all that I desire.

FESTE - Here comes the other half of the quarrel.

(Enter Sir Toby)

Is it not strange that fighting and making love

Are the only things in the world that you can't do on your own.

One is for the day and the other for the night,

But as far as I'm concerned

The knights can do all of the fighting.

ROSINA - I would, sirrah, that you played the fool on your own.

FESTE - So would I, Madonna. So would I.

But here, it seems to me, I am in good company,

For would we be here at all, were we not all fools?

TOBY - Have done, Fool. Let's get this business over.

FESTE - Is it business now? God help the world

When business is done with swords.

TOBY - Maria. Your place is surely at my side.

MARIA - No, sir. You dishonoured this Lady,

And therefore dishonoured your wife.

If you will make her, and me, an apology we can accept

Then will I gladly take my place at your side.

TOBY - Maria, I admit that I have wronged you,

But never have I dishonoured you.

This Lady is, to say the least, mistaken

If she claims I assaulted her.

I cannot apologise where I was not in the wrong.

FESTE - Bravo, Sir Toby. I so admire a man of principle,

Who will not compromise.

And so do lawyers, for such men stand upon their rights,

And surgeons, for such men will not stand aside,

And bailiffs, for such men often stand to lose,

And gaolers, for such men stand to stand a term,

And all because their pride but stands to take a fall.

It's only sir parson gets nothing from him,

Notwithstanding that he stands to bury him.

ROSINA - I would, sir, I could stand upon your tongue to silence it.

FESTE - Aye, Lady. I well understand you might

Desire my silence.

TOBY - Have done, and let us now begin.

Can you draw your sword, Sir Andrew,

Or is it rusted in its bed the way

Your wit is rusted in your skull?

SIR ANDREW - I am ready.

(Feste supervises the start. Sir Toby, who is better than Sir Andrew, toys with him.)

TOBY - Come, Aguecheek. Have you never had

Your weapon in your hand before?

Perhaps you should ask your Lady there

To show you what to do with it.

FESTE - (Aside to Rosina - ) Sir Toby swears he did not assault you,

And that you attempted to seduce him.

An unlikely tale, I would have thought,

Had you not attempted to seduce me also,

Which is even more unlikely.

My Lady, what's your purpose here?

TOBY - Nay, Andrew, thrust with it, not swipe.

'Tis the thrust that makes the ladies glad.

Did not your fencing master emphasise the thrust?

"Oh, come, Sir Andrew. Thrust again."

ROSINA - It's true I did set up this fight.

I looked for Aguecheek to win

And so win back his self-respect

While Toby, by defeat brought low,

Might in Maria's love find consolation.

TOBY - Come, Andrew, prance.

If you wasted your money

On your fencing master, let's see

What your dancing master taught you.

FESTE - Well, Lady, your idle dabbling

Looks likely to lay Sir Andrew even lower,

Bolster Sir Toby's already braggy conceit

And make Maria a dog begging for a place

At her husband's heel.

TOBY - Sir, your sword waves in the air like a cobweb

On a dandelion. Save that it's a dandelion

That lacks all lion, which leaves it just a dandy.

ROSINA - I see that now and am dismayed.

(Toby pierces Andrew's guard and nicks him on the left arm.)

SIR ANDREW - Oh, I am hit.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, let me see.

(Aside) 'Tis all I need. A little scratch

But to the blood. My viper-fanged kerchief

Now applied will see him dead within the hour.

SIR ANDREW - Nay, Lady. It is nothing.

MARIA - Sir Andrew, you are bleeding.

SIR ANDREW - Am I? Oh. It doesn't hurt as much as I had feared.

I've never seen my blood before.

E'en the thought usually makes me faint.

ROSINA - Do you not feel faint now?

SIR ANDREW - No. I feel... I feel...

I feel as I have never done.

My Lady, did you sneak some of that potion to me?


SIR ANDREW - I feel as you had said I'd feel

If I had taken some.

MARIA - I think, Sir Andrew, what you feel

Is courage. and it's from your heart.

SIR ANDREW - Oh, marvellous. My thanks to you,

My Lady Mountebank, to make me feel

What I 'til now have sadly lacked.

I do not need thy bandage, but would beg

Thy kerchief bound around my wound

That I might wear your token, and its influence

Go straight into my blood.

For Aguecheek, in thy sweet name,

Is half-way to be made a man.

FESTE - (Aside to Rosina) He would not be the first maid

You have made a man, I think?

ROSINA - (Aside) No. I cannot.

SIR ANDREW - Would you abandon me, my Lady,

When my blood runs for your name?

ROSINA - No, sir knight. I'll not betray you.

Your heart has shown its worth to me.

This kerchief is too light a token.

Let me find some other thing.

(Rosina uses a scarf or some such to bind Andrew's wound)

SIR ANDREW - Now, Sir Toby. Let's resume.

ROSINA - No, Sir Andrew. Blood's been drawn.

The bout is over, I'll not risk

Thy further hurt.

SIR ANDREW - Nay, Lady. 'Tis Sir Toby's blood

Must wash the stain from off thy name.

Not mine. Sir Toby, have at you.

(The fight resumes as before.)

MARIA - Felicity, what was the potion

Aguecheek refused from you?

TOBY - Why, Andrew, how did that brief break add years onto your age?

Now you're fighting like a ten-year-old.

I must not give you any more breaks, or you'll be growing a beard.

ROSINA - Just a tonic for his nerves..

TOBY - And your voice will drop two octaves,

MARIA - Give some to me. This fight is playing on my nerves

Like horsehair on catgut.

TOBY - And two of something else will drop,

ROSINA - (aside) 'Tis just brandy.

I have need of some myself.

TOBY - Which should please your Lady.

(Toby nicks Andrew again.)

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, stop. No more, I beg.

My honour is not worth your blood.

SIR ANDREW - My Lady, I am required to defend your honour with my life.

I will have Sir Toby's blood, or he must kill me.

FESTE - That is foolish talk, Sir Andrew.

The Fool tells you so.

(The fight resumes.)

TOBY - Andrew, won't you have done?

FESTE - (Aside to Rosina) My Lady, this is out of hand.

Will you not concede you have no honour to defend?

TOBY - Your Lady's honour is not worth this sweat.

ROSINA - I cannot go so far. It would betray Sir Andrew.

TOBY - You're forcing me to hurt you.

FESTE - It might keep him alive.

ROSINA - I have a another potion. Put it in Sir Toby's wine.

It will slow him down enough for Sir Andrew

To score the point he needs.

TOBY - Andrew, have done I say.

FESTE - I am second to Sir Toby.

You ask me to betray him,

and bring him to defeat?

(Toby wounds Andrew)

SIR ANDREW - Oh. That did hurt. My Lady,

Might I beg the kerchief off you,

To wipe away the blood.

ROSINA - No, sir knight. A mere kerchief does not suffice

For such a noble wound.

Take a part of my chemise,

And have done the fight.

You've proved yourself a worthy champion.

SIR ANDREW - Nay, Madam. I cannot cease the fight

Until Sir Toby has begged your pardon,

Or apologised with blood.

Sir Toby, are you ready?

TOBY - Andrew, you've done better

Than I ever thought you could,

But you cannot beat me.

However, for the tricks I've played on you,

Advantage that I took of you,

And opinion that I had of you,

I here and now apologise.

I wronged you, and say I was wrong

In doing so. You are a gentleman at heart,

And 'tis my hope that you will take my hand

In friendship reconciled.

SIR ANDREW - I'll do so gladly.

FESTE - Ah, blood must be a powerful purgative,

If such a little drop can move

Such a mighty obstacle as Toby Belch's pride.

ROSINA - This is good.

MARIA - Husband, you have done the right thing.

SIR ANDREW - Now, Toby, take guard again.

Or apologise to the Lady.

TOBY - Andrew, I cannot.

For I did not wrong her.

SIR ANDREW - My Lady, did he wrong you?

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, it has ever been my flaw

That I will tease a handsome man,

As I teased you.

I will confess I had Sir Toby teased.

Mayhap he tripped and fell against me.

I will happily concede it might have been an accident.

SIR ANDREW - Might it have been an accident?

TOBY - No.

SIR ANDREW - You impugn my Lady's honour.

Take your guard.

TOBY - Andrew, I will not fight a friend

For the sake of an enemy,

For so I hold you, Lady.

SIR ANDREW - Come Toby. I must avenge her honour.

TOBY - Lady she may be, but she has no honour

Worthy of your defence.

SIR ANDREW - Toby, defend yourself.

(Andrew attacks Toby who defends himself but refuses to retaliate.)

Friend, if you do not defeat me

You concede you have no honour.

(Toby wounds Andrew again but Andrew presses on with the fight.)

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, if you fight for me

I say I am quite satisfied.

You've done enough.

SIR ANDREW - Madam I do not fight for you,

But for your Honour,

Which does not have the soft heart of a woman,

But the hard demands of chivalry.

ROSINA - Feste. It is up to you.

FESTE - Come sirs, draw apart a pace.

Take brief refreshment and a breath.

Let's have a bar of harmony

In this discordant clash.

Some wine, Sir Toby.

TOBY - I'd welcome it. How can I stop the fool?

FESTE - Why, sir, make him sage,

And let him stick you like an onion.

TOBY - What mean you?

FESTE - Sir Andrew, sir, is drunk with love.

His mistress, 'tho she wears the face

Of Mountebank, is really Lady Honour,

Who personifies perfection.

Her standards he must try to meet

Or die in the attempt.

You must either wound him sorely,

Or let him have the blood

His cruel mistress demands.

TOBY - You mean, let him wound me?

FESTE - 'Twil stop him, sir.

Honour will demand it.

TOBY - Nay. I do not think I can.

FESTE - Come sirs. At it again.

(Feste restarts the fight)

MARIA - Felicity. They'll kill each other.

ROSINA - That's hard to do, but surely one will kill the other.

MARIA - What can we do?

ROSINA - Go fetch the Watch. They have the power.

MARIA - 'Twil mean exile for them both.

ROSINA - Live in exile, or lie dead in Illyria?

MARIA - I'll go. Pray God I am in time.

(Exit Maria)

FESTE - Sir Toby slows. Sir Andrew fails.

One or t'other must soon be beat.

Will you wager on it, my Lady?

Toby, or not Toby?

That is the question.

ROSINA - How can you fool now?

FESTE - Why Lady, is this not the height of fooling?

What greater foolishness is there

Than to risk hurt in order to hurt another?

Mayhap if the fools that so seriously watch

Such other fools in action,

Faced the fool in themselves,

Such tragedies would become comedies.

Then would no-one die, but of laughing.

(Andrew stabs Toby)

SIR ANDREW - Oh, what have I done?

FESTE - Dishonour in the name of Honour. It is always the way.

My lady, give me your kerchief. I must bind Sir Toby's wound.

ROSINA - (Aside) Fate still worries at my plots

Like a cat with a mouse.

Sir Toby has my measure and is a danger,

And my paymaster would rejoice generously at his death.

Rosina's reputation is in the balance

And outcomes that could affect nations,

And affect the lives of those unborn,

Teeter on a gnat's tongue.

Toby Belch, live or die at my mere whim.

(To Feste) I have it here.

But it is soiled. Share my chemise

Between them. I can spare another square.

(Aside) I had them both within my hand,

And could not close my fist.

Rosina, have you at last become a woman

With instinct to make life, not take it?

I'd best take up embroidery,

And wind my wit with wool.

(Enter Maria with the Watch)

MARIA - Here, this way. Quickly.

Oh, Felicity. What's happened here?

ROSINA - Sir Andrew pricked Sir Toby,

But 'tis not a fatal wound.

I can see him now, grandchild on knee,

Pointing at the scar and telling of some glorious battle,

In which he was the hero.

MARIA - Felicity. Oh. Grandchildren. Oh.

(Falls on Rosina, sobbing)

WATCH - Come all. This matter is most serious.

The Duke must hear of this and judge.

Sir Andrew, I must take you into custody.

Sir Toby? Is his wound so great that we must have a litter?

FESTE - We'll need a litter, yes, but it's no wound

That keeps Sir Toby down. He's sleeping sound.

(Exit Watch with Andrew and Rosina, leaving a guard over Sir Toby, Feste and Maria.)

ACT 3, scene1

A room in Olivia's house.

Enter Olivia.

OLIVIA - I would that it were yesterday, and I was young again.

Where is the Fool?

I saw him hurrying hugger-mugger with Sir Toby.

I'd best take care they are not plotting the downfall

Of some other victim, like poor Malvolio.

Where is Sebastian? Sir Andrew? Lady Mountebank?

Even Maria has vanished

After passing on to me that dreadful rumour.

People seem to have seeped away from me like the tide,

As though I had the plague.

I would better have the plague than have that rumour true.

Could it be true? Of course it could.

An infinity of monkeys with paper, pens, ink and infinite time could,

The philosophers tell us, write all the plays of Shakespeare.

Yet in this finite world that which is possible may yet not be.

Can I believe it of Sebastian and Viola?

No more than I believe a monkey could write a Shakespeare play.

Yet as, it seems, a monkey could write Twelfth Night

It behoves us not to dismiss monkeys as prospective playwrights,

And I cannot dismiss this rumour.

Thus have Orsino and I decided to watch our lovers

As one might watch an inky monkey with a piece of paper.

We do not expect to see ourselves appear thereon, but we might.

(Enter a gentleman with Malvolio disguised as a messenger)

GENT - Countess, this messenger has a packet for Sebastian.

OLIVIA - Then you may deliver it to me, sirrah. I will see he gets it.

MALVOLIO - My Lady I regret.

My charge is to deliver it to the gentleman's own hand, or not at all.

OLIVIA - Sir, would you favour me by seeking out Sebastian

and directing him here?

GENT - Lady, I will.

(Exit gentleman)

OLIVIA - Sirrah, do I know you? You seem familiar.

MALVOLIO - (Aside) So was I once, my Lady,

And being familiar was Malvolio's downfall.

(To Olivia) You will have seen me before,

I have no doubt, my Lady.

My travels often bring me to this house

From Cyprus, Italy or Messaline.

Yet on previous occasions I was received

And did my papers pass to your steward,

One Malvolio. He seemed a most efficient fellow.

I hope you have not lost his services.

OLIVIA - Alas I have.

MALVOLIO - A misfortune. Servants of his quality

Are hard to find, and should be treasured.

OLIVIA - I tried to always do so. The choice to leave was his.

MALVOLIO - Were I to meet him on my travels

Is there any message I could pass to him from you?

OLIVIA - You could say that Olivia harbours yet

Some sympathy and compassion for him.

Were he to return of his own free will

I believe an accommodation could be reached.

MALVOLIO - An accommodation? Should I see him I will tell him.

OLIVIA - I'd be obliged. Have you recent been in Messaline?

MALVOLIO - 'Tis from there I have just posted.

This packet to Sebastian was issued there,

By a lady.

OLIVIA - By a lady? Do you know her, sir?

MALVOLIO - No more than might a mule know the demoiselle

That loads its back with baggage.

OLIVIA - Why, was she young?

MALVOLIO - And pretty, Madam. I think our friend Sebastian

Must fret to be in Illyria

When she yearns for him in Messaline.

But I speak out of turn. Forgive me, Lady.

OLIVIA - What's the news from Messaline?

MALVOLIO - Lady it prospers, so there is no news.

That which makes news is usually the enemy of prosperity.

OLIVIA - That's ever true. Tell me, then. What's the gossip?

MALVOLIO - As ever, 'tis of shabby things.

Such grubby goings-on as are not fit

For telling to a Countess.

OLIVIA - Oh sir! A Countess is a woman too.

I take as much delight as any ploughman's wife

In telling tasty tattle, and rehearsing it.

Yet I forget. Your profession is to carry news and,

As with all professionals, are due a fee

For performance of your calling.

MALVOLIO - My Lady, no. Such gossip as I heard in Messaline

I would not tell a ploughman's wife. It is too shocking.

OLIVIA - Come sir, you little know of women

If you truly think us fainting flowers.

Take you this golden coin if you can shock me.

MALVOLIO - No wager, Countess. It's a tale I will not part with freely.

OLIVIA - This tale must surely rank as gossip's Holy Grail.

And I will have its scoop in all Illyria.

Pray, sir. Name your price.

MALVOLIO - My price? 'Twould cost you nothing,

Is a little thing, but I would set your golden coin against my tale

You will not pay it.

OLIVIA - What is it, sir?

MALVOLIO - A kiss from those sweet lips.

OLIVIA - Ah. Sirrah, you nearly win your golden coin.

With my flat palm across your cheek as interest.

Yet I must hear this gossip, and will pay your price.

I trust it will be worth it.

(Aside) What do I say? I fear to hear

The loathsome tale I fear I'll buy at this vile price.

(Olivia submits to a kiss.)

Now, sir. Thy tale.

MALVOLIO - Madam, 'tis of twins in Messaline.

A he and she of noble birth, and very much alike.

Their father died ten years ago or so, their mother shortly after.

They are, by all accounts, a handsome pair,

With all the proper skills of their estate.

The lady was much courted by the best of Messaline's nobility.

Her brother had the choice of ladies fair.

Yet it seems, and not to dwell upon the point,

Their love was for each other,

As it is with man and wife.

They were found out and fled in shame,

All fortune and estates are from them stripped.

The high-born and the well-bred of fair Messaline

Have wiped their names from all converse,

While the commons do delight in gentry's fall.

OLIVIA - Know you the names of this pair?

MALVOLIO - Their names? Oh, I did not give heed

To them, for they are foreigners to me.

Hers, I think, was Violet, or something like,

The brother's name? I do not think

I heard it spoke, but do recall

The children in the street did chant,

"He had a she as shouldn't be,

A bastion of iniquity."

Madam, I have shocked you, I can see.

OLIVIA - Aye, just a little, I'll admit.

But it will pass.

(Enter the gentleman with Viola disguised as Sebastian)

This is the gentleman for whom you have the letter.

MALVOLIO - Sir, I have a letter for one Sebastian at this house,

Which I must place into his hand.

Will you confirm you are that gentleman?

VIOLA - (Aside) Can I confirm what I am not?

Sebastian in my attire is with the Duke

To test this wild tale of my planned demise.

I took my brother's place, but hoped I might avoid his Lady.

Yet we are two apples from one seed, and in that sense

I am Sebastian as he is me.

(To Malvolio - ) Sir, I am Sebastian and of this House.

MALVOLIO - Then, sir, I may give you this. and must depart.

(Exit Malvolio and gentleman.)

OLIVIA - Sebastian, what have you there?

VIOLA - Olivia. It is most like a letter from Antonio

With news of our affairs in Messaline.

OLIVIA - Well, read it then.

VIOLA - Nay. 'Twil be a dull affair.

Just lists and items, carried downs,

Cross-references and ditto dots.

I'll let Viola look it through.

Accountancy is not my sport.

OLIVIA - No? Then let us talk of love.

VIOLA - (Aside) I'd rather talk accountancy.

(To Olivia) 'Tis closer to my heart.

OLIVIA - Sebastian, do you love me?

VIOLA - Oh, lady. Need you ask?

I love you as the virgin snow the winter peaks

Do hold in soft embrace, to shield them

From the icy wind and bitter sun.

OLIVIA - You sound like your sister.

VIOLA - We are much alike.

OLIVIA - Do you love your sister?

VIOLA - Why, yes. Of course.

OLIVIA - More than you love me?

VIOLA - Not more. Just differently.

OLIVIA - How, 'differently'?

VIOLA - Olivia, you had a brother whom you loved so much

That on his tragic death you did abjure the sight of men.

If he lived still would you love me?

OLIVIA - I do not know. Perhaps his death

Did loose my love to fix on you.

VIOLA - I cannot think you think it so.

Love is like an ocean, all the same

From shore to distant shore.

From that vast sea do we in little buckets

Draw our loves which, though we fill them to the brim,

Make no impression on love's ocean deep.

I have, as it might be, a bucket full of love for thee,

Another for Viola, and still buckets hold

For father and for mother gone.

Other, smaller, buckets do I from that ocean fill

For home and country, smaller pails for

Childhood pets, and in the larder of my heart

Hold rows of cups and jars of love

For music and a pretty rhyme, a rose in bloom,

And memories of sunsets. Oh, Olivia,

There is a boundless sea of love

No man can ever hope to drain. Our only need

Is to fill as many buckets as we can.

OLIVIA - Oh, you do inspire me, and I love you.

Yet, by your neat analogy of buckets full of love,

How can one bucket vary from another?

How does the bucket for a sister, say,

Differ from the bucket for a wife?

VIOLA - Not by the contents, nor indeed the bucket,

But by what we choose to do with it.

All my buckets and my pots of love, bar one, are mine.

I keep a bucket full of love for Viola and, I know,

She keeps a bucket full of love for me.

A mother keeps a bucket brimmed with love for every child

And they, I hope, keep buckets full of love for her.

Yet when two lovers such, mayhap, as you and I

Our lives conjoin, then should we each our buckets

Full of love for one another take and pour them in a well,

And every beat of each our hearts

Should those deep buckets fill with love to empty down that well

Until it overflows with our love mixed

To make a pool and then a lake, and then at last

An ocean to which other buckets come.

OLIVIA - I wonder what Feste would make of the idea

Of pouring love down a well.

VIOLA - I've no doubt a song would well up in him,

and well would he would sing it.

OLIVIA - Indeed. Sebastian, read the letter.

VIOLA - Olivia, I will. When I have nothing better to do.

When I'm with you I have something better to do.

OLIVIA - No. It might be important. If you do not

I shall think you're hiding something from me.

VIOLA - Then let's leave love and enter accountancy.

Madam be warned, it is a great soporific.

(Aside) I am loath to open a letter for Sebastian,

But it is most likely from Antonio and thus concerns us both.

(Reads) No. This cannot be.

OLIVIA - Sebastian. What's the matter?

VIOLA - Lady, this is slander.

OLIVIA - Let me see the letter.

VIOLA - No. Olivia, it is not fit.

'Tis just a catalogue of lies.

As you love me, don't ask to see it.

OLIVIA - Sebastian, I will. If you withhold

That letter from my sight, you say

You do not trust my love.

VIOLA - Here, then, is a test of thy love for Sebastian.

Do not forget it.

OLIVIA - (Reads) 'Sebastian. I hear you are in Illyria, and to be

wed to a Countess no less. You are fortunate, for here in

Messaline is only contempt and disgust for you, for reasons

you know well, and which I share in full. I hope your

Countess is rich, for your child kicks lustily in my womb and

its upbringing will be costly, while its mother still looks to enjoy

the luxury you promised her, even without the luxury of a wedding

band. Let me know what provision you intend to make for us,

unless you wish to find us begging on your doorstep with tales your

new fine wife will not enjoy. Your betrayed Diana.'

Do you deny this?

VIOLA - I know of no Diana. That letter is a counterfeit.

It must be.

OLIVIA - 'It must be'? Why, sir, do you harbour doubt?

In your sick mind does some voice hint,

'Diana? Yes, there might be a Diana

In the catalogue of ladies I've betrayed.'

What, sir? Are you speechless?

Before we wed I hope you'll let me know

How many of your bastards with their mothers

Will be coming on my payroll.

I trust all those your wretched sister bore you

Will leech on poor Orsino's purse.

VIOLA - My wretched sister bore me? Lady, what do you say?

OLIVIA - Did you think you could outrun the shame?

Nay. This letter but confirms the tale

Two other sources tell.

VIOLA - What tale?

OLIVIA - Will you not spare me the shame

Of speaking it?

VIOLA - Olivia, I know not.

OLIVIA - Oh, wretch. You'd still feign innocence

If guilt were on your forehead burned.

I know you with your sister are

As husband is to wife.

VIOLA - Oh, that is not true.

A vaster lie could not encompassed be

Within the world. Sebastian has not known me as wife,

Nor never would. I speak the truth.

OLIVIA - So. It is the she of this accurs'd pair.

I did suspect it, for thy brother

Lacks the gift of poesy you cannot hide.

So you stand there in deceit revealed?

And tell me that you speak the truth.

You would me fool, and look to have me

Take you as an honest, what? Man or woman?

You ask that i extend you trust

Yet act out lies before my eyes.

Oh, viper. If ever I loved you and your brother

Now I know ten times its weight in hate.

VIOLA - Lady, please. I beg of you.

There is a cause for this disguise which,

If you'll hear, you'll understand.

OLIVIA - Nay, save your breath. What could you do

To make me think ee'n one word true?

VIOLA - Madam, let me try.

OLIVIA - What is that commotion?

(Enter Malvolio as Alias, covered in blood, trailed by attendants.)

MALVOLIO - Oh help. Help. Murder most horrible.

OLIVIA - Murder? Who has been murdered?

MALVOLIO - Poor Fabian. In the stable.

His throat cut like a letter-box.

OLIVIA - Who would do such a thing?

MALVOLIO - 'Twas the vile violinist from Assassing, Madam.


MALVOLIO - Madam, as I held poor Fabian's bleeding body

To my own, I tried with my own lips

To breath life back into it.

Alas, I failed. But with that breath I lent him,

Dead Fabian told me he was killed

By the violinist going to his assassing nation.

OLIVIA - Go to the stables quickly. Find the surgeon.

(Exit attendants)

(Aside) Oh, today becomes more horrible with every hour.

(To Malvolio) I do not understand you, sir.

Who is this violinist?

MALVOLIO - Madam, this morning Fabian did tell me,

As we attended to our duties in the stable,

That, sleeping in the hay-loft last night,

Tho' not sleeping as in to sleep perchance to dream

But sleeping as in being there to sleep but being awake...

OLIVIA - I get the sense. Go on, and quickly.

MALVOLIO - Well, Madam. Being up there hidden

He did at midnight overhear

A gentleman with aggervation

Pace the floor below in Bellerophon's stall...

VIOLA - Bellerophon is Sebastian's horse.

MALVOLIO - Aye, sir. and a fine one too,

Tho' I think he has a spavin coming

Lower on his nearside hock

Which I would poultice...

OLIVIA - Damn spavins and the horse. What is thy tale?

MALVOLIO - My tale? Oh, yes. In Bellerophon's stall.

"The Duke hath stole my sister's love,"

He said. That is, the gentleman said,

Not Bellerophon.

OLIVIA - I had assumed such. Go on.

MALVOLIO - "The Duke hath stole my sister's love,"

He said, or so Fabian said he said,

"But today I'll murder do,

Playing the Duke's violin."

OLIVIA - He said that? The Duke has no violin.

MALVOLIO - Aye, Madam. So did Fabian say,

And so we shrugged the matter off

As no more than the raving of a lunatic.

After all, the moon was full last night,

Or near to full, or would have been

Had there been no cloud to make nothing of it.

But now that same violinist has murdered Fabian,

By his own report.

OLIVIA - There must be sense in this nonsense.

"The Duke hath stole my sister's love",

Points to Sebastian, as does his horse

For men will often show their hearts

Unto to their horse and no-one else.

But "Today I will murder do

Playing the Duke's violin?"

Were those his actual words, sirrah?

MALVOLIO - Madam, I know not. I can only tell

What Fabian told me.

OLIVIA - Were those his words as Fabian said them?

MALVOLIO - No, Madam. His words, that is the assassingings words

As I recall Fabian recalling them, were

"Today I shall go, playing the Duke's violin,

and do murder. No-one would guess the feat

Lay at the hands of his unwed widow.

Then shall I count on all Illyria."

We could make no sense of that.

Where was he to go and do murder?

And why should he think to play

A violin the Duke does not have?

What is the significance of feet and hands?

And a widow unwed?

And what could he count on all Illyria for?

We deemed it was the raving of a madman.

OLIVIA - Wherefore was he from this 'Assassing Nation ?'

MALVOLIO - Madam, those were poor Fabian's last words.

"Playing, cough cough," those were his words, madam,

"Playing cough cough violin he doth, cough,

Go to the assassing nation

and assassingnate the Duke. Cough. Ergh."

OLIVIA - Oh, fool. It was not 'violin' he said

But, playing Viola,

Go to keep her assignation with the Duke.

And there assassinate him.

MALVOLIO - Mayhap. It was a fiddle of some kind he named.

OLIVIA - Nay. 'Tis nought to do with music.

Sebastian, as Viola dressed,

Has gone to murder the Duke.

VIOLA - No, Olivia. That is not the way of it.

OLIVIA - You, sir. Quickly. Go find the Duke.

If he still lives tell him privily

That the woman at his side is not Viola,

For she is here. It is Sebastian, armed to murder him.

(Exit Malvolio)

VIOLA - No, Olivia. Hear me, I beg.

OLIVIA - What's to hear of you, deceitful strumpet?

Your very presence here, posing as your brother

And my lover at my side,

Not only brands you traitor, fraud and cheat

But implicates you firmly in this murderous plot.

Now can I well believe those rumours linking you

And your vile brother in unholy combination.

Get from my sight. Your presence sickens me.

VIOLA - Madam, hear me out I beg. It is not as you think.

My brother did get word today from Fabian,

But of a plot to murder me when walking with the Duke.

To forestall this Sebastian did my semblance take, discretely armed,

While I my brother's place have took

In order to maintain the stratagem.

OLIVIA - Does the Duke know of this?


OLIVIA - Why not? Should he not be the first to know

Of any threat against your life?

VIOLA - Lady, as my brother reported Fabian's tale to me

My murder was to be at the Duke's own hand.

OLIVIA - Impossible! The Duke loves you.

How could you have believed that? Your tale is preposterous.

VIOLA - Yes, Madam. I could not believe it.

And if Orsino wants me dead

I would welcome an assassin's dagger,

For a life without Orsino's love

Would be, for me, death anyway.

But Sebastian, with a brother's love,

Is careful where my safety lies,

And has some fears Orsino's passions,

Hot and strong, might outrun control

And lead to such a deed.

Indeed, he fears Orsino might yet love but you

And seek by this means to remove both me

And brother mine from off the scene, and so win you.

OLIVIA - Did you hear Fabian's report?

VIOLA - No. He spoke only to my brother.

OLIVIA - Then I say you have also been deceived by your base brother.

Do I not hold the evidence Sebastian has betrayed us both?

I can believe he told his horse how, pretending to be you,

He did mean to kill the unsuspecting Duke,

And did get you party to the scheme

With this invented plot to murder you.

By this means did he mean to keep you for himself,

To marry me and through me

Claim the title Count in our Illyria.

A subtle plot, and once he knew poor Fabian had discovered it,

Had no choice but to kill him.

VIOLA - No. I will not believe it.

OLIVIA - I hold proof of his faithlessness in my hand.

VIOLA - I say it is a trick. I know Sebastian.

OLIVIA - The rumours say you know him too well.

I would not, could not, have believed it.

Yet however wrong, I can't deny

Your love for him seems true,

And has also been betrayed.

So, in pity and repugnance mixed, say,

Go, get from my sight and flee Illyria

Before the Duke's and my wrath falls on you.

VIOLA - Madam, I will prove Sebastian's innocence

Of all these charges.

(Exit Viola)

OLIVIA - Viola, hopes I dare not hope are true,

With my poor shattered, bleeding heart

Do go with you.


ACT 3, scene 2

The garden at Olivia's House.

Enter Orsino with Sebastian disguised as Viola.

ORSINO - Well, Lady Wagtongue was quite put out by this

And when she held her spring-time ball

Did stipulate the ladies should wear green,

Well knowing green was not Aunt Athene's colour.

So Athene, the cunning minx, went to the ball

In blue and yellow, making quite a stunning sight

And most certainly the fairest there.

When Wagtongue asked, most waspishly,

If Athene had no green to wear

Athene, with sweetest innocence, replied,

'I have, yet did I think this best,

For what do blue and yellow make?'

SEBASTIAN - (Aside) Now I can almost believe this Duke intends my sister's death.

He will bore her into her grave.

(To Orsino) Lord, it is a pleasant tale.

ORSINO - I find it so. Have you no tale of life in Messaline for me?

SEBASTIAN - No, Orsino. Messaline is history.

I'd rather forward look to life here in Illyria,

And sir, I hope when we are wed

You'll share with me your burdens

And your duties in its governance.

ORSINO - Why, Viola, if you wish it so I will.

But tell me, love, is something wrong?

You seem distracted and apart. I'd say you're not yourself.

SEBASTIAN - (Aside) Most certainly I'm not.

(To Orsino) 'Tis but a woman's thing.

'Twill pass with the moon.

ORSINO - I trust it will, and quickly.

I have not known you in this sombre mood before.

It does not suit you.

Yet there is a thing a sombre mood does suit,

And as you ask to share with me the burdens of my rank

I will, reluctantly, unfold it here,

In trial, as it might be, of your resolve.

SEBASTIAN - I will most solemnly receive it,

And will not quail from delivering my true thoughts.

ORSINO - It's of a judgement I, as Duke, must deliver on two lovers.

They are a happy pair,

Accomplished and well-liked by all they meet.

They mean no harm to anyone, so far as I can tell,

And only wish the privacy to give their love

Unto each other to the full.

What think you I should do?

SEBASTIAN - Why, Lord, should you do anything?

ORSINO - Did I not say? The trouble with these lovers is

That they are brother and sister.

They think their sin has gone unseen,

And so it has by most. But I

Whose duty is to oversee the safety of the State,

Do know of it and so must act.

What punishment would you advise?

SEBASTIAN - I would not think of punishment.

ORSINO - No punishment? Do you not think

It is a vile and loathsome crime?

SEBASTIAN - Why say you 'vile and loathsome'?

ORSINO - Is it not unnatural?

Quite opposite to proper thought and contrary to custom?

SEBASTIAN - When water makes its way uphill

Or ice can boil the washing tub,

That, I say's, unnatural.

And 'twas once opposed to proper thought

To hold the world was round not flat,

While custom once did human blood require

In sacrifice to jealous gods.

Love is love, without degree

Of right or wrong, and love to me

Can never vile and loathsome be.

ORSINO - I see. So you'd condone their acts

And ask that I'd applaud them?

SEBASTIAN - No, not a wit. I merely say

That punishment is not the course to take.

The race requires that blood be mixed

So skills and genius can spread and land

At every baby's feet according to the dice of fate,

While 'tis the need of every State

That houses look beyond their walls

And links with other clans are forged by marriage,

'Lest those walls become like dungeons

Shutting out the world, and houses turn to islands.

This, sir, is the reason you must act,

Yet you cannot punish love for being love.

ORSINO - I say it is not love, or if it is

It's love defiled, or some debased

Or imitation love that apes a true and noble love.

SEBASTIAN - And I say love is love, always as pure

As that pure spark that glows in us as life.

The spark of life that drives the greatest sinner

In Illyria, is just as pure as that which glows in you.

'Tis no more than the stains that life itself

Leaves on the spark's container that can seem

From outward view, to stain the spark itself.

Clean off the stains with sympathy

Then will the spark burn clear

And bright as ever.

ORSINO - What, then, would be your counsel on this pair?

Leave them to wallow in their incestuous bed?

SEBASTIAN - (Aside) What were Viola's words?

(To Orsino) The love this pair doth share is true,

Its assertion is misguided.

Yet it proves that they can love.

So must we with love reach out to that

Misguided love and, with love's hands,

Direct that love to true love's paths.

ORSINO - Can that be done? Can I with love

Reach out to that misguided love

And guide it onto true love's path?

Oh, Viola, can I?

SEBASTIAN - Lord you can, if you can love.

ORSINO - Oh I can love. Viola, all my love is yours.

Will you not give me all your love?

SEBASTIAN - Orsino, all my love is yours,

Save that which is Sebastian's.

ORSINO - No, no. It will not do. I cannot,

Will not, share your love with Sebastian.

SEBASTIAN - Sir, you ask too much. Sebastian

Doth truly love Olivia with all his heart,

Yet still some love retains for me, as it should be.

If you a sister had you'd understand.

Olivia will not require Sebastian

To kill his love for me, for she a brother had

And knows full well what love lies there.

ORSINO - What's this? Has the Countess told you so?

SEBASTIAN - Does the world not know how Olivia

Did vow herself to seven years

Of veil and cloister on her brother's death?

ORSINO - How now? Am I surrounded by licentious love?

Do I alone seek love's exchange in true and proper fashion?

SEBASTIAN - I say you are too jealous.

Would you begrudge a sister's honest love

That blood ties owe a brother?

Demand that you alone have her affection,

And greedy seek to keep her in a cell?

Oh yes! Don't I recall that when you thought that I,

Then a gentleman, had won Olivia's love

You boasted how you'd go so far as kill what you do love.

'I'll sacrifice the lamb that I do love,

To spite a raven's heart within a dove,' you claimed.

Now, jealous of a brother's love, you seek to kill that love.

Or are you jealous of Sebastian

For winning where you wooed and lost?

Is it your revenge on him that I should die?


(Enter Malvolio)

MALVOLIO - Murder. Bloody murder.

(Aside to Orsino) Sir, that is Sebastian

In woman's dress. He intends your death.

(Orsino draws his sword. Sebastian responds by producing his.)

ORSINO - Are you Sebastian?

SEBASTIAN - I am. I did suspect you meant

To part me and my sister.

ORSINO - The world will better be without you.

(They fight.)

MALVOLIO - (Aside) So, here is success indeed

And my revenge is rampant.

Breath deeply of the moment, Malvolio,

And savour every atom of the air

For it will pass, and this sweet meal

Become the musty matter just of memory,

A fusty feast to dull the pangs of hate.

Already I feel old. But someone comes.

I must not be taken.

(exit Malvolio)

SEBASTIAN - You may not find this lamb so ready to be sacrificed.

ORSINO - To go dressed as your sister,

And talk of love with her lover.

What could be more vile?

SEBASTIAN - Her love was wasted on you.

You wear love like a coxcomb

Wears a gew-gaw, prinking out your pride.

ORSINO - What could be more vile?

Why, that love you and your sister shared

Doth plumb the pits of vileness.

SEBASTIAN - You will never know a love so true.

(Enter the Watch)

WATCH - My Lord Duke? My Lady?

If this is but some lover's tiff

We will withdraw.

ORSINO - Nay, seize him.

WATCH - Him?

ORSINO - Aye, him. It is Sebastian

In woman's dress.

SEBASTIAN - Nay. It is the Duke you should arrest.

He meant to kill my sister.

ORSINO - That's a lie.

WATCH - (To Sebastian) Sir, my fealty is to the Duke and him I will obey.

Yet even were that not the case

He, at least, is in his proper dress.

Thy attire doth brand you malfeasant.

Hand over your sword, or prepare to fight us all.

SEBASTIAN - I do not wish to kill honest men,

Yet if I yield myself to justice,

What justice will I find in all Illyria?

ORSINO - I'll let the Countess judge thy guilt or innocence,

And will, I swear, abide by it.

SEBASTIAN - I am content.

WATCH - Sir we came here to report that we have in custody

Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch, for breach

Of thy firm prohibition against duelling. Also Lady Belch,

Lady Mountebank and the Fool, Feste, for assisting the same.

And, it appears, the Countess' groom Fabian has been murdered

With Sebastian accused thereof.

ORSINO - Take him away and let him dress as befits a man.

These cases will be judged straightway.

(Exit Watch with Sebastian)

Oh how quickly day can turn to night,

And sweet strings of the viol lose their tune.

I would I were in a monastery.

This life beguiles, and doth betray.

I'll never more love's laws obey.


ACT 3, scene 3

A room in Olivia's house.

Enter Orsino and Olivia.

OLIVIA - Lord, I beg you once again.

Do not ask me to judge Sebastian.

You could not ask a wife to judge her husband,

And such Sebastian is to me.

ORSINO - Olivia, I gave my word. If I had not,

Sebastian would have fought the Watch

And would probably be dead, with half of them.

But you at least, in all Illyria,

Are most like to give him the fairest trial.

This rumour out of Messaline

Is common knowledge in the streets,

And this uncanny likeness of the twins

Is all too swiftly seen as Satan's work,

And devilry ascribed to them.

The love the masses felt for them

Is now just seen as but a spell by witches cast,

And folk deceived do bay for blood the loudest.

OLIVIA - Could we then not postpone this trial

Until we confirmation get from Messaline

By serious report, and not base rumour's accusation?

ORSINO - There is no point. This love that they are said to share

Would kill all other love, for I'll not have Viola now

And you do surely spurn Sebastian's.

Yet that is not the matter we must try.

Sebastian stands accused of Fabian's death,

And intent to murder me. Keep that in mind,

And merely weigh the facts.

(Enter the Watch with Sir Toby still half asleep, Sir Andrew, Feste, Maria, Rosina and Sebastian.)

We'll deal with other matters first.

Is Sir Toby yet with us?

FESTE - No, Lord. He still fights off the sleeping draught.

ORSINO - Then who will speak for him? Maria?

MARIA - How can I, Lord, when I did spur him to the thing,

and stood by his opponent?

ORSINO - Then, Fool, you must do it.

FESTE - I, Lord? Pity the man on trial for his life

Who has a Fool as his counsel. Still, I will try,

And will not be the first fool

To address a court for a better,

Tho' the others have looked to be paid for it.

ORSINO - And who speaks for Sir Andrew?

ROSINA - Although Maria will not speak for her husband,

She should not be made to speak against him.

Sir Andrew was championing me,

So will I champion him.

ORSINO - Then know that the law in Illyria is

That duelling is forbidden,

To be punished by death if death ensues,

And banishment if not.

Why should they not be banished?

FESTE - Lord, I say there was no duel.

ORSINO - How so?

FESTE - There was a fight. I would not be so great a fool

As say that there was not.

Yet Sir Toby had already vowed

He would not kill Sir Andrew.

ROSINA - And tho' Sir Andrew fought for me

I had his word he would not seek to kill Sir Toby.

FESTE - So, sir, if you make this a duel

And look to banish either knight,

You must also banish all those boys

Who squabble in the street for toys.

ROSINA - And every husband with his wife

Who spend their married life in strife.

FESTE - And every man that waves a fist

When friends wink invites at his girl,

ROSINA - And wives who with their neighbours brawl

When stoves throw smuts on washing lines,

FESTE - And everyone involved in strife

When beer and bad-blood badly blend

And bring the brewer's bar to blows,

ROSINA - And any who when brandy burns

Within their blood, do bandy words

And brandish swords,

FESTE - And those...

ORSINO - Enough. I take your point.

If I did banish from the land

All those who fought, there's few would be

Remaining here, that's not within a monastery.

That fighting I can't seek to ban

That's caused by instant passion's bite.

But when men coldly set to fight

With swords and rules of chivalry,

I say that's nothing but a duel

And your objection overrule.

ROSINA - Then, sir, I say your law is wrong.

It looks to punish men for being civilized.

Surely it much better is for men to settle differences

In open strife, with rules to regulate the fight

And friends nearby to see fair play?

Or would you have them no-holds-barred

In dim and sordid corners, with the victory

To him who plays it dirtiest?

ORSINO - Madam, I hold it's better still

That men should settle differences

Without the need to fight at all.

FESTE - Amen to that. But sir I say

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew fought

Not for themselves, and not for sport.

No wager to the winner went.

Each in his way for honour fought,

And honour stands above the law,

Above the land, and doth transcend

All other duties and all loves

Save those that are to honour due.

Pray tell me, sir, in battle's strife

Would you choose men that with you fight

For duty and the law's demand,

Or those whose honour brought them there?

ORSINO - I see that honour is most like to stand

The best to battle's cruel demands,

For courage can't be lent by law

And, once the battle has been joined,

A man's first duty's often to himself.

Yet honour should not flout the law

And so your pleading has a flaw.

This was a duel, for all you say,

But all your arguments will play

A part as I now have to weigh the punishment

I must impose. But first, I pray,

Explain Sir Toby's lethargy?

FESTE - Sir, I meant to stop the fight

By putting in Sir Toby's wine a sleeping draught.

I must have overdone it.

ORSINO - How came you by this draught?

FESTE - 'Tis part of every clown and jester's kit.

A most judicious use of it

Can make a fool of any man, as I fear I have Sir Toby.

SIR ANDREW - And me, for now I find my victory

Was won for me by knavery.

ROSINA - Nay, Sir Andrew. The valour that you showed

In fighting when you knew he could you beat

And hurt almost at will, was a battle

Few would face, and thus itself

A conquest to be proud of.

It marks you as true knight, and valiant.

ORSINO - Sir Andrew, what the Lady says is true.

But now I must pronounce my sentence.

Sir Andrew and Sir Toby broke the law .

And despite all those strong arguments

Their able counsel did put forth,

Their banishment must follow

OLIVIA - Maria. Since Malvolio did leave me with such spite

I've felt the lack of aid to run my house.

I cannot take you back as maid, but I'd be glad

If you would stay with me to take a steward's place.

MARIA - Olivia, I thank you. But my place is by my husband.

OLIVIA - Maria, you are right, and may well find

That trial will go far to mend your marriage.

ORSINO - Now we must to other things.

I pray, my Lady Mountebank, please tell us

Who you really are?

ROSINA - My Lord?

ORSINO - The Captain that did come with you to our fair state

Was in his cups last night, and in that state

Was heard to say that you are not the Lady that you claim.

It seems he sobered to the memory,

For in dawn's light he fled and cannot further questioned be.

This by itself would make us doubt, but further is

The fact that Alias your groom,

Has all the facts we know of Fabian's death.

and Alias, it seems, has also fled.

ROSINA - Sir, as to Alias I little know of him.

He latched onto me as I came here unstaffed,

And did his duties well. He is a simpleton,

And I've no doubt the horrors that he witnessed here,

The gory death of Fabian and savage fight of you and Sir Sebastian,

Have made him hide, or flee with terror's heels.

ORSINO - That could be so yet, Lady, who are you?

and where is your husband, who seems also to be fled?.

ROSINA - My Lord, I will not answer.

ORSINO - My Lady, I could press the answer from you.

ROSINA - And I say you could not,

Tho' I hope you will not try to prove me wrong.

ORSINO - I'm loath to torture any of your sex,

Yet I cannot leave this secret for the safety of the state.

So Lady, I will keep you here in comfort for a night

And if you still won't answer after, some discomfort must impose.

FESTE - My Lord, I pray forgive me. This jest is gone too far.

I own the Lady is my niece,

Who I did bring from Venice for your weddings.

I had her play the Lady, and myself did play her husband,

In the hope that at your wedding feast,

When I the jest uncovered,

You would laugh at yourselves for being fooled,

And be laughed at, which is no bad thing for anyone

At the centre of the stage.

ORSINO - Fool, I do not think we would have laughed,

Though plenty would have laughed at us.

This smells too much of mockery.

I've a mind to have you whipped.

OLIVIA - Nay, Lord. If you expect the Fool to always make you laugh,

You must expect there will be times he oversteps the mark,

'Tis a licence you must give him as he practices his art,

Or you'd make him just a hack.

ORSINO - Aye, very well. I acknowledge it.

Fool, I place the lady in your care

And we'll no more of it.

So come we to the last.

Sebastian, you stand accused of murder

And of purposing my death, which treason is.

In honour of my promise the Countess will,

Reluctant, be your judge.

ROSINA - Sir, I do protest. That is a vile and loathsome thing

To do to her.

ORSINO - I do agree, but say there is

No fairer judge for him in all Illyria.

FESTE - Aye, judges rarely come as fair.

ORSINO - Be silent, fool. This is no place for levity.

FESTE - Justice, sir, should surely levitate us all

To be honest and impartial.

and I was merely being honest.

The Countess does not wear a grim face well,

And can be honest and unbiased with a smile.

ORSINO - Be silent, or I will have you whipped.

OLIVIA - Sir, the Fool means well and I thank him.

ORSINO - Sebastian, will you not spare Olivia

Her dreadful task, and make a voluntary confession?

SEBASTIAN - I can not. I did not kill Fabian nor intend your death.

ORSINO - The case is that Fabian did overhear you plan to take

your sister's place in order to kill me. When you found out

that he knew this you murdered him and, dressed as Viola

and armed secretly, did take her place. Fabian is dead and

you were taken in your sister's guise with your sword near at

my throat. How can you deny it?

SEBASTIAN - I know nought of Fabian's death,

And I cannot question this Alias who seems to know of it.

Fabian told me you did intend my sister's death

And I went dressed as her in order to frustrate it.

ORSINO - Why should I want Viola dead? I was to marry her.

SEBASTIAN - At that time, Lord, I deemed your passions

Were unstable. I have since learned that you believe

I and my sister... I cannot say the foulness,

But would think that reason enough

For you to want her killed.

OLIVIA - No, Sebastian.

I am convinced the Duke knew nought of that

Until I broke the news to him

Mere moments 'fore you met him in the garden.

SEBASTIAN - Then Madam, as I said, I did believe

He'd do Viola harm if love had turned to jealousy,

And by her death would take revenge on me

For taking your love, which he had been so desperate for.

OLIVIA - I can not believe that of Orsino.

SEBASTIAN - If that is so, how can you believe

The slanders on Viola and Sebastian?

Madam, as you know me you must trust me.

OLIVIA - Trust you? Oh, Sebastian. But hours ago

My honour, fortune and my life were in your hands.

Do you know one Diana?

SEBASTIAN - Diana? No, except as poets name the moon.

OLIVIA - Did you not know one in Messaline?

I entreat you, speak the truth.

SEBASTIAN - No, Madam. and I would have known. It is a pretty name.

OLIVIA - Aye, it is. It is. A pretty name for one that gives the Judas kiss.

SEBASTIAN - Madam, you have lost me.

OLIVIA - Yes, Sebastian. I have.

ORSINO - Countess, have you judged him?

OLIVIA - Yes. My heart cries out his innocence,

But in my head I know full well

How love can disregard cold fact,

And overlook a mountain's weight of faults

Good sense would enter on the ledger.

ROSINA - My Lady, listen to your heart.

OLIVIA - I know you have betrayed me and your sister

With some other love, or loves, in Messaline.

Here is proof of it, which you denied

And so cast doubt on all denials else.

The facts as set out by the Duke

Alone make sense of this affair.

You were nearly caught blood-handed,

And in your sister's dress while she,

As you, did dally love with me.

Now she in shame is fled, and I can do nought else

But think you guilty.

SEBASTIAN - Olivia. That you think me so by far outweighs any punishment

The law can lay on me.

ROSINA - Countess, let love lead thy choice.

Love may be blind, but often sees

Through walls built thick with brick-like facts.

FESTE - Madonna, if you cross your heart

And think it wrong when it is right

You stand to split it right in twain,

But if your heart should rule your head

and know it wrong when it thinks right.

It easy is to change your mind.

OLIVIA - Nay, it is done.

SEBASTIAN - Lady, let me see the letter.

ORSINO - There is no point. That you'll deny its charge

Is easily foreseen.

You have been guilty found of treason and of murder.

You will hang before the sun sets. That's the end.

OLIVIA - Oh, so soon?

ORSINO - Yes. It's best done quick, and mercy is to you.

For while he lives your love will live in agony,

And every heartbeat cry "Sebastian".

When he is gone the healing can begin, and all delay

Will make that healing harder.

Take him away.

(Exit Watch and Sebastian)

Leave us.

(Exit all but Orsino and Olivia)

Countess, it is over and you did the proper thing.

It was required, and you will love again.

OLIVIA - Nay, Duke, not I, for I am ice inside.

I might as well be dead, for love has died.


ACT 3, scene 4

A road in Illyria.

Enter Feste, Rosina and Sir Andrew.

FESTE - I will come no further, niece.

Sir Andrew, on his way into exile,

Will take you as far as you want to go.

ROSINA - Nay, uncle. Sir Andrew is a gentleman.

He would not do such a thing.

FESTE - And so he is. Sir Andrew,

Would you go all the way with my niece?

SIR ANDREW - Of course. It would be my pleasure

To oblige the lady.

ROSINA - The pleasure, sir, I trust would be shared.

SIR ANDREW - Lady, I aim to please.

ROSINA - What more could a lady ask of a gentleman.

FESTE - The wherewithall perhaps?

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, are you equipped to take me all the way?

SIR ANDREW - Lady, I am accoutred, armed and arrayed

For all possibilities.

ROSINA - Sir, you are a lady's dream.

How could I reward you?

SIR ANDREW - Your presence is sufficient reward.

FESTE - And your reward for rewarding Sir Andrew, niece?

ROSINA - Why, uncle, the satisfaction of going all the way.

FESTE - Sir Andrew's reward is to ward my ward,

And by his warding is my ward rewarded.

But where is the warden's reward?

ROSINA - Uncle, I would go all the way with you.

Will you not come?

FESTE - Niece, were I to go all the way with you,

I undoubtably would.

SIR ANDREW - That's true. Were you to go, you would come,

Would you not?

FESTE - Sir Andrew, I would have to come before I could go.

And probably need to come to get my niece going.

ROSINA - Come, come, uncle. Why not come?

It would give us both great pleasure.

Both the journey, and its climax at its destination.

FESTE - Your destination, niece, is not mine.

ROSINA - What think you is my destination, uncle?

FESTE - Why, niece, you're bound for better things than me.

You are meant to shine in palaces,

A bird of paradise with the voice of a nightingale

To be held, if held at all, in a cage of gold and owned by princes.

'Til then you flit from tree to tree

And perch on rustic bough or noble branch

To light it with your weight of wit and beauty

For a spell and then are gone, to leave it drab and empty.

Niece, I will not come with you,

For I could not bear it when you go again,

In search of palace and of prince.

ROSINA - Then, uncle, where would you have me?

FESTE - I have you in my heart, where e're you go.

ROSINA - You think I'm bound for better things?

What better can there be than bound within a heart?

and I would bind myself in yours, if you will have me.

FESTE - Nay, niece. I'll not have that.

ROSINA - Sir Andrew, pray excuse us for a while

While I bid farewell to my uncle.

'Twil be tearful, and I'll not embarrass thee.

SIR ANDREW - Lady, I'll be not far off.

(Exit Andrew)

ROSINA - Do you think me dishonest to my own heart?

FESTE - I cannot know your heart.

ROSINA - Do you not fool your fellow men

And trick them if you can?

Yet they do not think you dishonest.

FESTE - That's so. But they all know I am a fool

and look for me to trick them.

Your fooling wears an honest face

And as no man can see behind that face

He looks to see you honest 'til he's tricked,

And ever after looks to see the trick.

ROSINA - You will not lie with me, and yet you will lie for me.

It will go hard for you if Duke Orsino finds he has been tricked.

FESTE - I do not know the real reason for your secrecy,

But could not stand to see you tortured.

ROSINA - Do you care for me?

FESTE - Yes, lady. What man would not?

ROSINA - Do you love me?

FESTE - Yes, lady. What man would not?

ROSINA - Few, indeed. and I've had many, though few with love.

Most that thought they loved me loved themselves

and saw Rosina's beauty as their worth.

They wore me on their arm as a possession,

And saw envy in their peers as admiration.

Men have fought for me, and even died,

As though I was a hen impressed with cock's-spurs.

I thought them fools. I'd rather have

A man ham-fisted on the lute than nimble with a sword.

Men thought to buy me, and I took their wealth

To give them what they wanted, 'til it palled

And they looked to buy another toy.

I've sold myself a thousand times,

And every talent I may own I used for my advantage.

I've built up quite a fortune,

And used men as they would use me,

As puppets dancing to a golden string.

And all for nothing. Feste, I am lonely.

Love is my Fool, and I have been so oft' betrayed

By its fair face that I, like you,

Look through it for the trick, and disbelieve.

Yet now a Fool and jester says he loves me,

And I do believe he does. Yet he cannot believe

That I love him, and think I take him for a fool.

Well, Fool, I've offered you, and oft' enough,

That which most men want of me

And, foolishly, you have refused. Now I give you

What I have never offered man before. My life.

FESTE - What say you, lady? Rosina?

ROSINA - Rosina. Feste, I love you. In proof whereof

I'll place my life within your hands.

I've treason done here in Illyria.

The Duke and Countess's weddings wrecked,

Sebastian to hang and Viola fled a pauper,

Sir Andrew and Sir Toby banished,

All have been at my behest.

FESTE - How? Why?

ROSINA - How? I wrestled Toby to the ground

In Maria's sight, when I had set her up

To with Sir Andrew flirt as Toby watched.

I did their fight provoke intending banishment.

Indeed, I could have caused the death of either knight

and should have done, but shrank from that.

I also spread the rumour of affinity between the twins,

And made sure that it reached the Countess's ear,

I penned the letter that did turn her 'gainst Sebastian

'Tho I did not kill Fabian, or know it was intended,

And neither did I set Sebastian 'gainst the Duke.

That was my employer's work.

As to why? I do not know. I was not paid to know.

FESTE - Your employer. Who was he?

ROSINA - I know not. He was in my train as Alias, my groom.

A lugubrious fellow, by hatred fired.

I would not want him at a wedding.

He told me he had greatness thrust upon him,

But I say to be great is to create

And not destroy, which he has done.

FESTE - Malvolio! So this is his revenge.

Would you tell this to the Duke?

ROSINA - I could not stop you and the knight

From bringing me before the Duke, and I would confirm it

If torture was the other choice.

Thus would my love have me hanging in Sebastian's place.

FESTE - Nay, then. Go and go quickly. The Duke will believe me.

ROSINA - To save Sebastian you must tell him before sunset.

I cannot get beyond the Duke's reach in that time.

Would your love protect me from him?

FESTE - What's to be done?

ROSINA - Does your love extend to trusting me?

FESTE - As you have trusted me with your life.

ROSINA - It is but guess and gamble I can try,

But gather up the knight, for we must fly.


ACT 3, scene 5

The shore at Illyria.

Enter Viola still dressed as Sebastian.

VIOLA - The seasons hath not turned but half a year,

And I am here once more.

Was it a dream? Orsino and Olivia

No more than fictions of a drowning mind

That seeks to sweeten death with fantasy?

No. I am not wet. Nor would I be in man's attire

If I were still a victim of that wreck.

Am I Sebastian? Could that same drowning dream

Exchange me with drowning sister's reverie?

Let me look see. No, all is still as it should be

To publish me Viola. So then,

This dream turned nightmare is reality

And I am here again with brother lost,

A cast-away, and cast-away indeed

With no more than the clothes upon my back.

Has fortune's wheel again stopped here with me beneath its rim

Or shall I risk another turn?

Can I go on? Or shall a brother's blade

Bring black oblivion?

Nay, while Sebastian still lives I will face life,

But if I sense his death I'll end my strife

And dream with him. Who is this here?

(Enter Malvolio, dressed as a gentleman)

MALVOLIO - Lady, I did think to find you here.

You have, I know, no other place to go in all Illyria.

VIOLA - Sir, how knew you I was lady in a man's attire?

Do I know you?

MALVOLIO - I know you are Viola. Your brother, in your guise,

Is damned for Fabian's murder and attempt upon the Duke.

He is to hang within three hours.

VIOLA - How can this be? He would not murder Fabian,

And only fight the Duke in self-defence.

MALVOLIO - Olivia herself did judge him guilty, and her love surely equals yours.

Can you be so sure?

VIOLA - I can. I know my brother.

MALVOLIO - The legend is that you know him too well.

VIOLA - I've known him from the womb and we share a precious empathy,

But that, sir, is the sum of it.

Who are you?

MALVOLIO - But if your brother's true, it must be Duke Orsino who is false.

Love both and you love black and white.

VIOLA - Nay, even if the Duke my brother puts to death

I'll love him still. Some double-dealing devil has him duped.

MALVOLIO - Are you so sure? Love is the best cosmetic,

And conceals all kinds of flaws.

VIOLA - Who are you, sir, who claims to know so much of love

Yet shows he knows so little?

Love is not blind to faults and flaws,

But loves them and accepts them even as,

An intimate physician, it would cure them.

Love does not see, or need, perfection in its love

But loves those imperfections as it labours to correct them.

Love betrayed may hurt and bleed,

But if it's true it loves as long as life remains.

Love does not seek the best, and judge to give itself

As prize to him or her it deems best merits it.

Love Is, as is a mountain or a star

Without regard to us, and our straight choice

Is risk the massive burden of its beauty

Or look downward at our feet and pass it by.

MALVOLIO - Lady, you are right. I don't know love,

And never have. It was the urge to know it

That did bring me down. I was betrayed by love,

And all of my revenge has been to mar it.

VIOLA - Revenge? You are Malvolio. I do remember you.

MALVOLIO - I am Malvolio, and am revenged.

VIOLA - You are behind it all.

MALVOLIO - I am. Where love joined I have sundered.

Those to whom love tasted sweet,

Now know the bitterness I did taste.

Where love reigned in Illyria

Is now a desert drought of fiery sand,

That chokes in throats and rasps at hearts

With harsh recriminations.

VIOLA - I will to the Duke with this.

MALVOLIO - You shall not, unless that sword

Is less a stranger to your hand than I suspect.

Besides, why should the Duke believe you?

You and your brother both already are forsworn.

There is a surer way to save him.

VIOLA - A surer way? I pray God, tell me.

MALVOLIO - I have, in the vicinity, a letter I have writ

Which sets out every detail of my plot.

It will absolve you and your brother

Of all blame, and all shame, in this affair.

You were, I deem, not close involved

In that vile scheme that brought me down,

But like the Countess and the Duke, mere witnesses

To my confusion.

VIOLA - Then, sir, will you give me it? and quickly,

For time speeds against my brother.

MALVOLIO - Yes, if you choose. But you should know

The letter has a price, and says as much.

VIOLA - What price is this? Will you not just give me it?

MALVOLIO - No, lady. I will not. and do not think to look for it.

You brother would be hanged as long as venison before you found it.

VIOLA - Then what is its price? I have nothing but these clothes.

MALVOLIO - Its price, lady? That which lies beneath those clothes.

I would know the taste of love

With a lady of your quality. That is the price.

Your virginity for mine.

VIOLA - Ahh. You ask, sirrah, the one thing I have left.

My honour. Shall I lose that too?

MALVOLIO - Madam, that's my bargain. This is fair commerce.

Take it or leave it.

VIOLA - How do I know this letter exists?

Or that you would give it to me after, with my freedom.

MALVOLIO - Lady it does, and I will. That is my word.

You must take that or leave it, too.

VIOLA - If this commerce is to be fair,

Know I cannot give you love,

For love is not dispensed at will.

Yet for my brother's life I offer you my body with my hate.

If you can make of that some facsimile of love, I pity you.

Yet 'tis the best that I can do.

MALVOLIO - 'Twil do and I accept.

VIOLA - Time to save my brother's life is short.

Let's get it done without delay

Or I will not this foul price pay.


ACT 3, scene 6

Olivia's garden. A scaffold has been erected or a rope and noose thrown over the tree branch.

Enter Orsino, Olivia in a plain dress of coarse material, Watch with Sebastian bound and the priest.

ORSINO - Countess, as you asked

This will not be done before the common gaze.

OLIVIA - I thank you.

ORSINO - Sir, will you not make confession

And ease of the souls of both yourself and this lady?

SEBASTIAN - I did not murder Fabian,

And 'tho I would have killed you,

Had it been proved to me that you did mean my sister harm,

If that was not your mind I would have died for you.

ORSINO - 'Tis a confession of sorts.

OLIVIA - By no means.

Sebastian, what further harm can come to you?

If you are guilty, ease my agony and tell me so,

And shrive yourself to holy father here

So I may have some hope that we might one day

Meet in heaven.

SEBASTIAN - Olivia, I am innocent.

OLIVIA - Orsino, I do rescind the judgement I made yesterday.

Sebastian is innocent.

ORSINO - Countess, what new facts have come to light

Since yesterday?

OLIVIA - None, sir. But I do judge the matter different.

ORSINO - Olivia, judgement has been given,

And cannot be amended by mere sentiment.

Once delivered it is done,

Or justice varies with the weathercock.

OLIVIA - Then I beg you, change the sentence.

I give up all my titles and estates,

And all to which I might lay claim bar this one dress.

Just banish him, and I with him will beggar go

And undertake he'll no more in Illyria.

ORSINO - Nay, madam. He did murder,

For which the law's decree is he must hang.

There is no lesser choice I can impose.

(Enter Sir Toby and Maria)

Sir Toby, you are exiled and are not welcome here.

And Maria, this is no place for a lady.

TOBY - Orsino, we will go when this disgraceful deed is done.

And think perhaps it better is

To be out of Illyria, where justice is so hasty.

But at this time, and for the first time too,

My niece has need of me, and I will not fail her.

MARIA - Olivia, will you not come away.

'Tis already hard enough on you. To witness it as well

Is needless pain.

OLIVIA - No, Maria. This is my work and I must see it ended.

ORSINO - Officers, do your work.

SEBASTIAN - Olivia, I still say I am innocent, and this you'll know one day.

Yet I love you still, and worse than death for me

Is the knowledge that you'll suffer

When you find out what you've done.

So know that I forgive you and you must forgive yourself.

Above all else I would that you be happy.

Feel sadness if you must, but no regrets.

You were wrong, but you were honest,

And you have no cause for blame. Remember that.

OLIVIA - Oh, Sebastian.

(Enter Viola, still dressed as Sebastian)

VIOLA - Hold, I beg of you. Orsino, if you will unfold this

You will unfold all that which brought us to this pass.

ORSINO - Wait. Viola? I never thought I'd see your face again,

'Cept forever in my memory, in this hempen frame.

What is this?

VIOLA - Lord, it is a letter by Malvolio,

Whose fiendish spite has brought us down to this.

OLIVIA - 'Tis certainly Malvolio's hand. I know it well.

What does he write?

ORSINO - (Reads) 'My Lord and Countess, know that I,

Your once despised servant, mocked and put upon,

Have toyed with thee and had thee dancing at my fingers ends.'

Oh, the villain. I shall see him dancing,

At a rope's end.

OLIVIA - Nay, go on.

ORSINO - 'I did murder Fabian, with his own knife which he gave me

to hold against his throat. I and my agent spread the

lies that gave the name of lovers to Sebastian and his

sister, for which the Countess paid me with a kiss, and

my agent wrote the letter that branded Sebastian

faithless. Mine was the tale that set Sebastian against

Orsino while my agent set the quarrel between the pompous

knights, and carved Maria from the fat.'

Oh, it is intolerable.

OLIVIA - Sebastian. I doubted thee.

SEBASTIAN - Olivia. Thy breeding is to duty.

You are not as other women, free to chase their hearts.

You are a Countess, which can impose requirements

That run counter to desires. You duty put above yourself

In judging honestly, and though it put my neck

Within a noose, I honour you

For doing what you thought was right, despite the pain,

And love you even more.

ORSINO - Wait, there's more.

(Reads) 'I set all clear before you as the final cut of my

revenge, for know if you know happiness hereafter it is

only by my let and leave. You will ever be beholden to

Malvolio for as long as you shall live.'

The rogue. He will not live long.

OLIVIA - Is that the end?

ORSINO - He signs it, as before, 'The Madly-used Malvolio'.

and there is a postscript.

'Orsino, ask you your Lady what price she paid for this letter.'

There is no more.

Sir, can you forgive me?

SEBASTIAN - Yes, Duke, and gladly. You were hard and ruthless,

But I concede the circumstances called for it.

Faint heart and indecision make for feeble, lawless states.

OLIVIA - Well, I say let us take the happiness

This wretch has granted us and make it burn so bright

He can not bear to watch it, and relinquish it to us.

ORSINO - My love, when I heard you had gone and thought it was for ever,

I could not bear the thought of living on

In such an empty, lifeless world.

Each heartbeat was vast labour, which seemed pointless.

Do you forgive Orsino? and can you find it in your heart

To let him love you?

VIOLA - Yes and yes. Wholeheartedly. For it loves you.

ORSINO - Then I give not a fig for mad Malvolio

and his revenge. That pleasure it gave him

Cannot be one ten-thousandth of the pleasure that is mine

In loving, and in being loved by, you.

Love, what was the price he asked of you

To buy of him this letter? Whate'er it was

Orsino will return it ten times o'er,

Or make it better than it was before.

VIOLA - Sir, the thing he asked

Can never be returned, or e'er made good.

ORSINO - Come, come. There's nought that cannot be replaced,

Or with a craftsman's cunning duplicate.

If it's some rare jewel or thing of note he had of you

'Twil be on him when he is caught, or if it's sold

I'll track it down and buy it back for you.

VIOLA - His price, good Duke, was nothing less

Than my virginity.

ORSINO - And this you paid?

VIOLA - Do you not hold the letter in your hand?

OLIVIA - Oh, Viola.

SEBASTIAN - Countess, Duke, and sister sweet,

I tell you now that I'll not rest

Until I have this malefactor spitted on my sword.

ORSINO - And you shall have the Watch and every able man

In all Illyria at your command.

Yet kill him not, Sebastian. Justice will be done, but not in haste.

A dozen life-times on the rack would be too short a punishment.

VIOLA - Nay, brother, Duke. Do not adopt

Malvolio's insanity and hate the rogue.

The loathing he lets rankle in his mind

Does make his life a misery, and forms

A crushing weight 'neath which he crawls

Up mountains of his own devise.

If you devote yourselves to hunting him with hate,

You make a prize to him

Of every day he leads you on and causes you to waste

In detestation, when it should be spent in love.

ORSINO - Lady, you are right.

SEBASTIAN - Viola, you save me from another trap.

VIOLA - Duke Orsino. Know I will not hold you to your pledge

To make of me your wife if, paid, the price Malvolio

Did place upon that letter kills your love for me,

Or turns it into pity and abhorrence masked by sympathy.

If your love is no longer true to me be true to me and tell me so

And I will to a nearby convent go, to dwell serene

And watch with joy my nephews and my nieces grow.

ORSINO - Nay. You are Viola still, and Viola do I love.

I love you from your topmost hair to toe-nails,

For every thought that twinkles in your mind

And sparkles in your eye,

And for that smile I know you never gave Malvolio.

Those are the precious things to me and, if you will,

Would marry them, that they might ever be

My greatest treasure and delight.

VIOLA - Lord, I will with joy. Yet all is not done.

There are three without who wait upon your judgment.

ORSINO - Who is this?

(Enter Sir Andrew, Feste carrying a chest and Rosina.)

Well met, my friends. You come upon a happy time.

Sir Andrew and Sir Toby, I cannot revoke

My sentences on you, for tho' we know

Thy quarrel was by malice fanned

You knowingly still broke the law.

Yet I the sentence can commute

And limit on your exile put of just a year.

Still further, I would ask that you delayed your leaving

To be with us for our weddings.

SIR ANDREW - I shall be happy.

TOBY - Lord, I would be honoured.

MARIA - Aye. You can begin your banishment

With a full belly and a hang-over.

OLIVIA - Maria, would you be my Matron of Honour?

MARIA - Oh, Olivia. Oh, yes, Of course.

VIOLA - Sir, there is yet one stern thing

That falls to you. Malvolio

Does write he had an agent helping him.

She stands before you here.


FESTE - Lord Duke, I lied to you.

This one-time Lady Mountebank is not my niece,

Nor never was, and likely never will be.

I met her on the shore where she me fooled

As never Fool was fooled before,

With tale of shipwreck and of husband lost.

At her request I took a husband's part,

'Tho only out of bed, and helped her come,

Pretender, to your Court.

ROSINA - Sir, I was employed by him you call Malvolio,

'Tho he I took as agent of a foreign power

Troubled by the linking of Illyria to Messaline.

My brief was, if I could, to wreck the marriage

Of Maria to Sir Toby, bring Sir Toby and Sir Andrew

To a duel and kill one if I could.

MARIA - Felicity!

ROSINA - Nay. Rosina is my name.

Feste, too, was to be hurt

When he was as false husband to a cheat revealed,

But he evaded me. I also had to spread

The rumour of Viola and Sebastian's concupiscence.

All of which I did conscientiously.

FESTE - Not so. You had the chance to kill Sir Andrew

Or Sir Toby, yet withheld your hand.

ROSINA - Yes, that is so. I had the means and opportunity.

FESTE - And did you murder Fabian?

ROSINA - No. I nothing knew of that,

Although I would have let it be.

FESTE - And did you set Sebastian against the Duke?

ROSINA - No. That was all Malvolio's part as Alias in my train,

'Tho I knew of the plot.

ORSINO - Feste, we are gratified that you saw fit

To bring this Jezebel to justice.

For this we do excuse you for your earlier deception.

FESTE - No, Lord. She is here of her free will.

I begged her not to come and risk your wrath.

I would have you know that I have here

Most of the Countess's wealth, stolen by Malvolio.

The lady led us to it.

VIOLA - And to me. She brought Sir Andrew and the Fool

To where Malvolio was taunting me. He fled at their approach

And still runs free, but in his hidden treasure chest

That letter lay which he did think to sell to me.

ORSINO - Then you didn't have to pay his price?

VIOLA - My Lord. I never said I did.

ORSINO - Then...

VIOLA - My Lord, if you would have it so.

ORSINO - Then why did you torment me so,

With talk of weddings cancelled and of convents?

VIOLA - I wanted, sir, to lay a ghost to rest.

Your love for me did pass the test

And never more can questioned be.

'Tho 'twas not me that questioned it.

SEBASTIAN - Forgive me, Lord. I'm satisfied.

ORSINO - So, lady, what was it brought about

This change of heart?

ROSINA - Sir, I saw Sir Andrew change from ninny

Into noble knight for honour's sake,

Saw honour in Sir Toby, too,

And in Maria caught a glimpse of true love

For a husband blind to it.

Both love and honour, sir, are rare indeed in my poor world.

Nor could I stand and watch my plots destroy

This lady and her brother, whose fair nobility

Is also rare in this sad world,

And rare guilt felt within my heart

At that great hurt the Countess knew,

When I knew it was not earned.

So, sir, I've done all in my power to mend what I have done.

FESTE - Sir, I beg. Read more into that.

See what she has for Andrew done,

and how Sir Toby and Maria now are linked in love.

and like a smith with iron white

She put a fiery test upon your love for fair Viola,

And that between the Countess and Sebastian which,

Passing through this forge of joint mistrust

And with doubt's hammer beaten out on truth's hard anvil,

Forms a chain of love with links

Far stronger and more pure than Sheffield's steel.

We should, sir, all give thanks to her.

ORSINO - I do note it. Yet, lady, is it just your conscience

That does have you standing there?

ROSINA - No, sir. For there seems to be in your fair state

Some magic that sets love to seed.

See here, we have three pairs of lovers

and Sir Andrew, lost in love

With daughter of high chivalry,

The lovely Lady Honour, who's the fairest of us all.

I, too, found love and where I least expected it.

A man who stands quite opposite

To those who sought Rosina's heart before.

He does not think a sword makes him a man,

and rich clothes make a heart that's rich in warmth.

He never sought to buy my love with gold

As though it were a thing that I controlled.

A man who places wisdom over fortune

And is honest with himself above all else.

He would not tread where others meanly trampled,

And won Rosina's heart by not trying to.

And, sir, you call him Fool.

ORSINO - Our Fool?

ROSINA - Sir, he is his own fool. None of yours.

You are the paper that he writes his wisdom on.

OLIVIA - What say you to that, Fool?

FESTE - Madam, I say, "Welcome 'that'",

As a relative conjunction.

For marry, 'that' is but to marry

Adjective with pronoun, and so pronounce 'I do'

So 'that' is both to marry and make relative

Of that which should conjoin,

and 'that' I would with her I love.

But 'that's' beside the point.

Sir I ask, what are the crimes

With which this lady can be charged?

She has not killed nor stolen

And gained nothing by her fraud.

If you would say it is a crime to merely go as fraud

How many of us here would 'scape the dock?

And if you say she gave the lie to these two twins

And slandered them, ask Maria did she not

Most strongly emphasise it could be lies.

The guilt here lies with those

Who made assumption of its truth.

MARIA - It's true. She did most strongly press on me

That 'twas a rumour, and as such not to be trusted.

FESTE - And though she brought Sir Toby and Sir Andrew to a fight,

And was accessory thereto,

She merely tapped on that ill-will

That was already there, and made it well.

ORSINO - I note it all, but still I think some sentence to impose

For fooling us. and fooling us so well and so completely

That no sentence less than life will meet the bill.

Yet shall my sentence give a choice.

One is that she quit Illyria, never to return

While she shall live. The other?

That she marry with the Fool, and spend her life

Companion to his fooling.

FESTE - Marry, there's a sentence. A set of words

Containing subject and predicate,

Which subjects you to a predicament.

ORSINO - Lady?

ROSINA - Sir, if he'll have me I will marry the Fool.

FESTE - Lady, I'll marry you before I have you.

'Tis the custom. Many seem to find it foolish,

Which makes it proper for the Fool.

ORSINO - Then let us share the day,

And have a triple wedding.

After which I shall have need

For an embassy to England.

Some say it is punishment enough just to be sent

To that dank and rainy land.

If, Sir Andrew, you might wish

To spend your term of exile in Illyria's service

And at her expense, I'd be glad to see you go.

SIR ANDREW - My Lord it would be an honour.

SEBASTIAN - Sir Toby and Maria,

Antonio doth steward our estates in Messaline,

But I well know he'd rather be at sea.

You'd do us great service to agree

To spend your year of exile in his place.

TOBY - Why sir, that is most generous.

We willingly accept.

MARIA - And I'll ensure he doesn't drink your cellars dry.

OLIVIA - To bring a sadder note to this most happy day

I would we thought of Fabian, who in the end

Was Malvolio's only victim and deserved it least.

May I propose that which of us first bears a son

Doth name him Fabian, so he is not forgot?

SEBASTIAN - Aye, 'tis a good thought.

ORSINO - I agree.

FESTE - 'Tis a noble name, tho' if we be as Fabius 'bout it

He never will be born.

ORSINO - Come all, and leave this gloomy place.

I fear this garden never will be gay again

Until that tree is gone. Let's to the house,

And happy clans make happy plans.

(Exit all but Feste)

FESTE - Well, that's our little play on words

And your imagination.

The sharper minds out there might ask themselves

If we really were in time to save Viola.

Or had she paid the price by then.

Resolve it how you will. What you decide

Becomes as true as all the rest

Of this our fantasy.

Yet one loose end remains.

Malvolio still wanders free, in your time as in ours,

And has 'revenge' still deeply etched

By hatred's burning acid on his heart.

Should you, sir, or your shadow be out there, I urge you

Let it go. It foolish is to waste a thought

In seeking for revenge, for waste it is.

What's done is done, and cannot be redone

As we might wish, while vengeance is

To vainly fan a fire that's better out.

(Re-enter Rosina)

ROSINA - Feste? Why do you waste your breath

And wisdom on the birds?

FESTE - Is that what I have done? I hope not so.

I've said my piece. The script says we must go.