Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editors: David Carnegie, Mark Houlahan
Peer Reviewed

Twelfth Night (Modern)


1.2
50Enter Viola, a Captain, and Sailors [as from a shipwreck].
Viola What country, friends, is this?
Captain This is Illyria, lady.
Viola And what should I do in Illyria?
My brother he is in Elysium.
55Perchance he is not drowned--what think you, sailors?
Captain It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
Viola Oh, my poor brother! And so perchance may he be.
Captain True, madam, and to comfort you with chance,
Assure your self, after our ship did split,
60When you, and those poor number saved with you,
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself--
Courage and hope both teaching him the practice--
To a strong mast, that lived upon the sea;
65Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back,
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
So long as I could see.
Viola [Giving him gold] For saying so, there's gold.
Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
70Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
The like of him. Know'st thou this country?
Captain Ay, madam, well, for I was bred and born
Not three hours' travel from this very place.
Viola Who governs here?
75Captain A noble duke, in nature as in name.
Viola What is his name?
Captain Orsino.
Viola Orsino! I have heard my father name him.
He was a bachelor then.
80Captain And so is now, or was so very late;
For but a month ago I went from hence,
And then 'twas fresh in murmur (as you know,
What great ones do, the less will prattle of)
That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
85Viola What's she?
Captain A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her
In the protection of his son, her brother,
Who shortly also died; for whose dear love,
90They say, she hath abjured the sight
And company of men.
Viola Oh, that I served that lady,
And might not be delivered to the world
Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
95What my estate is!
Captain
That were hard to compass,
Because she will admit no kind of suit,
No, not the duke's.
Viola There is a fair behavior in thee, Captain;
100And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
I prithee--and I'll pay thee bounteously--
105Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke.
Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him--
It may be worth thy pains, for I can sing,
110And speak to him in many sorts of music,
That will allow me very worth his service.
What else may hap, to time I will commit,
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.
Captain Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be;
115When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.
Viola I thank thee. Lead me on.
Exeunt.