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, Sir Andrew, and Fabian.
    Sir Toby Come thy ways, Signor Fabian.
    Fabian Nay, I'll come! If I lose a scruple of this sport, let me be boiled to death with melancholy.
    1020Sir Toby Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly rascally sheep-biter come by some notable shame?
    Fabian I would exult, man! You know he brought me out o'favor with my lady, about a bear-baiting here.
    Sir Toby To anger him we'll have the bear again, and 1025we will fool him black and blue--shall we not, Sir Andrew?
    Sir Andrew An we do not, it is pity of our lives.
    Enter Maria [with a letter].
    Sir Toby Here comes the little villain! How now, my 1030metal of India?
    Maria Get ye all three into the box-tree. Malvolio's coming down this walk; he has been yonder i'the sun practicing behavior to his own shadow this half hour. Observe him, for the love of mockery, for I know 1035this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him. Close, in the name of jesting! [The men hide.] Lie thou there; [Placing the letter on the stage] for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.
    Enter Malvolio.
    Malvolio [To the audience] 'Tis but fortune, all is fortune. Maria once 1040told me she did affect me, and I have heard herself come thus near, that should she fancy, it should be one of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a more exalted respect than anyone else that follows her. What should I think on't? [He struts about the stage.]
    1045Sir Toby [Aside to Sir Toby and Fabian] [and the audience.] Here's an overweening rogue!
    Fabian [Aside] Oh, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of him; how he jets under his advanced plumes!
    Sir Andrew [Aside] 'Slight, I could so beat the rogue!
    Sir Toby [Aside] Peace, I say!
    1050Malvolio To be Count Malvolio!
    Sir Toby [Aside] Ah, rogue!
    Sir Andrew [Aside] Pistol him, pistol him!
    Sir Toby [Aside] Peace, peace!
    Malvolio There is example for't: the Lady of the 1055Strachy married the yeoman of the wardrobe.
    Sir Andrew [Aside] Fie on him, Jezebel!
    Fabian [Aside] Oh, peace, now he's deeply in. Look how imagination blows him.
    Malvolio Having been three months married to her, 1060sitting in my state--
    Sir Toby [Aside] Oh, for a stone-bow to hit him in the eye!
    Malvolio --calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown, having come from a day-bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping--
    1065Sir Toby [Aside] Fire and brimstone!
    Fabian [Aside] Oh, peace, peace!
    Malvolio --and then to have the humor of state, and after a demure travel of regard--telling them I know my place, as I would they should do theirs--to ask for my 1070kinsman Toby.
    Sir Toby [Aside] Bolts and shackles!
    Fabian [Aside] Oh, peace, peace, peace![Malvolio walks near the letter.] Now, now!
    Malvolio Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make out for him. I frown the while, and perchance 1075wind up my watch, or play with my--[Realizing he is playing with his steward's chain] some rich jewel. Toby approaches; curtsies there to me--
    Sir Toby [Aside] Shall this fellow live!
    Fabian [Aside] Though our silence be drawn from us with cars, yet peace!
    1080Malvolio --I extend my hand to him, thus; quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control--
    Sir Toby [Aside] And does not Toby take you a blow o'the lips then?
    Malvolio --saying, "Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast 1085me on your niece give me this prerogative of speech--"
    Sir Toby [Aside] What, what!
    Malvolio "--you must amend your drunkenness."
    Sir Toby [Aside] Out, scab!
    Fabian [Aside] Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our 1090plot!
    Malvolio "Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight--"
    Sir Andrew [Aside] That's me, I warrant you.
    Malvolio "--one Sir Andrew."
    1095Sir Andrew [Aside] I knew 'twas I, for many do call me fool.
    Malvolio [Seeing and then taking up the letter] What employment have we here?
    Fabian [Aside] Now is the woodcock near the gin.
    Sir Toby [Aside] Oh, peace, and the spirit of humors intimate reading aloud to him.
    1100Malvolio [To the audience, as he examines the outside of the letter] By my life, this is my lady's hand: these be her very C's, her U's, and her T's, and thus makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.
    Sir Andrew [Aside] Her C's, her U's, and her T's--why that?
    Malvolio [Reading]
    "To the unknown belovèd, this, and my good wishes."
    1105Her very phrases! [Starting to break the seal] By your leave, wax. [Pausing] Soft! And the impressure her Lucrece, with which she uses to seal. 'Tis my lady! To whom should this be?
    [He breaks the seal and opens the letter.]
    Fabian [Aside] This wins him, liver and all.
    "Jove knows I love,
    But who?
    Lips, do not move,
    No 1110man must know."
    "No man must know." What follows? The numbers altered. "No man must know." If this should be thee, Malvolio!
    Sir Toby [Aside] Marry, hang thee, brock!
    Malvolio [Reading]
    "I may command, where I adore,
    But silence, like a 1115Lucrece knife,
    With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore;
    M.O.A.I. doth sway my life."
    Fabian [Aside] A fustian riddle.
    Sir Toby [Aside] Excellent wench, say I.
    1120Malvolio "M.O.A.I. doth sway my life." Nay, but first let me see, let me see, let me see.
    Fabian [Aside] What dish o'poison has she dressed him!
    Sir Toby [Aside] And with what wing the staniel checks at it!
    Malvolio "I may command, where I adore." Why, she may 1125command me: I serve her, she is my lady. Why, this is evident to any formal capacity. There is no obstruction in this. And the end--what should that alphabetical position portend? If I could make that resemble something in me! Softly. "M.O.A.I."
    1130Sir Toby [Aside] Oh, ay, make up that! He is now at a cold scent.
    Fabian [Aside] Sowter will cry upon't for all this, though it be as rank as a fox.
    Malvolio "M." Malvolio! "M," why that begins my name!
    Fabian [Aside] Did not I say he would work it out? The cur 1135is excellent at faults.
    Malvolio "M." But then there is no consonancy in the sequel. That suffers under probation: "A" should follow, but "O" does.
    Fabian [Aside] And "O" shall end, I hope.
    1140Sir Toby [Aside] Ay, or I'll cudgel him, and make him cry "O"!
    Malvolio And then "I" comes behind.
    Fabian [Aside] Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see more detraction at your heels than fortunes before you.
    1145Malvolio "M.O.A.I." This simulation is not as the former; and yet to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for every one of these letters are in my name. Soft, here follows prose.
    "If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness. Some 1150are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. Thy fates open their hands, let thy blood and spirit embrace them; and to inure thyself to what thou art like to be, cast thy humble slough, and appear fresh. Be opposite with a kinsman, 1155surly with servants; let thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into the trick of singularity. She thus advises thee, that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever cross-gartered. I say remember. Go to, thou art 1160made if thou desir'st to be so. If not, let me see thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and not worthy to touch Fortune's fingers. Farewell.
    She that would alter services with thee,
    The Fortunate-Unhappy."
    Daylight and champaign discovers not more! This is open. I will be 1165proud, I will read politic authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be point-device the very man. I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady loves me. She did commend my yellow 1170stockings of late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered, and in this she manifests herself to my love, and with a kind of injunction drives me to these habits of her liking. I thank my stars, I am happy. I will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered, 1175even with the swiftness of putting on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a postscript. [Reading]
    "Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou entertain'st my love, let it appear in thy smiling; thy smiles become thee well. Therefore in my presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee."
    Jove, 1180I thank thee. I will smile, I will do everything that thou wilt have me.
    Fabian I will not give my part of this sport for a pension of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.
    Sir Toby I could marry this wench for this device--
    1185Sir Andrew So could I too.
    Sir Toby --and ask no other dowry with her, but such another jest.
    Sir Andrew Nor I neither.
    Enter Maria.
    1190Fabian Here comes my noble gull-catcher.
    Sir Toby [Abasing himself on the stage] Wilt thou set thy foot o'my neck?
    Sir Andrew [Following suit as Sir Toby rises] Or o'mine either?
    Sir Toby Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip, and become thy bondslave?
    1195Sir Andrew I'faith, or I either?
    Sir Toby Why, thou hast put him in such a dream that when the image of it leaves him he must run mad.
    Maria Nay, but say true, does it work upon him?
    Sir Toby Like aqua-vitae with a midwife.
    1200Maria If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark his first approach before my lady. He will come to her in yellow stockings, and 'tis a color she abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests; and he will smile upon her, which will now be so unsuitable to her 1205disposition, being addicted to a melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow me.
    Sir Toby To the gates of Tartarus, thou most excellent devil of wit!
    [Exit following Maria.]
    1210Sir Andrew I'll make one too.
    [Exit following them both.]