Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Twelfth Night (Modern)
  • Editors: David Carnegie, Mark Houlahan
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-372-4

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editors: David Carnegie, Mark Houlahan
    Peer Reviewed

    Twelfth Night (Modern)

    Enter Sir Toby [booted], and Maria [with a light].
    Sir Toby What a plague means my niece to take the 120death of her brother thus! I am sure care's an enemy to life.
    Maria By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier a-nights. Your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.
    125Sir Toby Why let her except, before excepted.
    Maria Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of order.
    Sir Toby Confine? I'll confine myself no finer than I am! These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be 130these boots too; an they be not, let them hang themselves in their own straps.
    Maria That quaffing and drinking will undo you. I heard my lady talk of it yesterday--and of a foolish knight that you brought in one night here, to be her wooer.
    135Sir Toby Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
    Maria Ay, he.
    Sir Toby He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria.
    Maria What's that to th'purpose?
    Sir Toby Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.
    140Maria Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these ducats. He's a very fool, and a prodigal.
    Sir Toby Fie that you'll say so! He plays o'th'viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages word for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of nature.
    145Maria He hath indeed, all most natural. For besides that he's a fool, he's a great quarreler; and but that he hath the gift of a coward, to allay the gust he hath in quarreling, 'tis thought among the prudent he would quickly have the gift of a grave.
    150Sir Toby By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors that say so of him. Who are they?
    Maria They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company.
    Sir Toby With drinking healths to my niece! I'll drink 155to her as long as there is a passage in my throat, and drink in Illyria. He's a coward and a coistrel that will not drink to my niece till his brains turn o'th'toe, like a parish top.
    Enter Sir Andrew.
    158.1What, wench! Castiliano vulgo; for here comes Sir Andrew Agueface.
    Sir Andrew Sir Toby Belch! How now, Sir Toby Belch!
    Sir Toby Sweet Sir Andrew!
    Sir Andrew Bless you, fair shrew.
    Maria And you too, sir.
    165Sir Toby Accost, Sir Andrew, accost!
    Sir Andrew What's that?
    Sir Toby My niece's chambermaid.
    Sir Andrew Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
    Maria My name is Mary, sir.
    170Sir Andrew Good Mistress Mary Accost--
    Sir Toby [Aside to Sir Andrew] You mistake, knight. "Accost" is front her, board her, woo her, assail her.
    Sir Andrew [Aside to Sir Toby, indicating audience] By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of "accost"?
    175Maria Fare you well, gentlemen.
    Sir Toby [Aside to Sir Andrew] An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou might'st never draw sword again.
    Sir Andrew An you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again! Fair lady, do you think you have 180fools in hand?
    Maria Sir, I have not you by th'hand.
    Sir Andrew Marry, but you shall have, and here's my hand.
    Maria [Taking his hand] Now sir, thought is free. I pray you, bring your hand to th'buttery bar, and let it drink.
    185Sir Andrew Wherefore, sweetheart? What's your metaphor?
    Maria It's dry, sir.
    Sir Andrew Why, I think so. I am not such an ass but I can keep my hand dry. But what's your jest?
    190Maria A dry jest, sir.
    Sir Andrew Are you full of them?
    Maria Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers' ends. [Letting go his hand] Marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.
    Exit Maria.
    Sir Toby O knight, thou lack'st a cup of canary. [Pouring wine] When did 195I see thee so put down?
    Sir Andrew Never in your life, I think, unless you see canary put me down. Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has. But I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm 200to my wit.
    Sir Toby No question.
    Sir Andrew An I thought that, I'd forswear it. I'll ride home tomorrow, Sir Toby.
    Sir Toby Pourquoi, my dear knight?
    205Sir Andrew What is pourquoi? "Do," or "not do"? I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting. O had I but followed the arts!
    Sir Toby Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.
    210Sir Andrew Why, would that have mended my hair?
    Sir Toby Past question, for thou see'st it will not curl by nature.
    Sir Andrew But it becomes me well enough, dost not?
    Sir Toby Excellent! It hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs, and spin it off.
    215Sir Andrew Faith, I'll home tomorrow, Sir Toby. Your niece will not be seen, or if she be, it's four to one she'll none of me. The count himself here hard by woos her.
    Sir Toby She'll none o'th'count. She'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have heard her 220swear't. Tut, there's life in't, man.
    Sir Andrew I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o'th' strangest mind i'th'world. I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether.
    Sir Toby Art thou good at these kickshawses, knight?
    225Sir Andrew As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare with an old man.
    Sir Toby What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?
    Sir Andrew Faith, I can cut a caper.
    [He dances.]
    230Sir Toby And I can cut the mutton to it.
    Sir Andrew And I think I have the back-trick simply as strong as any man in Illyria.
    [He demonstrates.]
    Sir Toby Wherefore are these things hid? Wherefore have these gifts a curtain before 'em? Are they like to take 235dust, like Mistress Moll's picture? Why dost thou not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very walk should be a jig; I would not so much as make water but in a cinquepace! What dost thou mean! Is it a world to hide virtues in? I did think by 240the excellent constitution of thy leg, it was formed under the star of a galliard.
    Sir Andrew Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a flame-colored stock. Shall we set about some revels?
    Sir Toby What shall we do else? Were we not born under 245Taurus!
    Sir Andrew Taurus? That's sides and heart.
    Sir Toby No, sir, it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper.
    [Sir Andrew dances.]
    Ha, higher! Ha, ha, excellent!