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 Orsino, Viola [as Cesario], Curio, and others.
    [To the Musicians] Give me some music. [To the Courtiers] Now good morrow, friends;
    885Now, good Cesario--but that piece of song,
    That old and antique song we heard last night;
    Methought it did relieve my passion much,
    More than light airs and recollected terms
    Of these most brisk and giddy-pacèd times.
    890Come, but one verse.
    He is not here, so please your lordship, that
    should sing it.
    Who was it?
    Feste the jester, my lord, a fool that the Lady 895Olivia's father took much delight in. He is about the house.
    Seek him out, [To the Musicians] and play the tune the while.
    [Exit Curio.]
    Music plays.
    Come hither, boy. If ever thou shalt love,
    900In the sweet pangs of it, remember me.
    For such as I am, all true lovers are:
    Unstaid and skittish in all motions else,
    Save in the constant image of the creature
    That is beloved. How dost thou like this tune?
    It gives a very echo to the seat
    Where love is throned.
    Thou dost speak masterly;
    My life upon't, young though thou art, thine eye
    Hath stayed upon some favor that it loves.
    910Hath it not, boy?
    A little, by your favor.
    What kind of woman is't?
    Of your complexion.
    She is not worth thee then. What years, i'faith?
    About your years, my lord.
    Too old, by heaven! Let still the woman take
    An elder than her self; so wears she to him,
    So sways she level in her husband's heart.
    For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
    920Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
    More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
    Than women's are.
    I think it well, my lord.
    Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
    925Or thy affection cannot hold the bent;
    For women are as roses, whose fair flower
    Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.
    And so they are. Alas, that they are so:
    To die, even when they to perfection grow.
    930Enter Curio and Clown.
    Oh, fellow, come, the song we had last night.
    Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain;
    The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
    And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
    935Do use to chant it. It is silly sooth,
    And dallies with the innocence of love,
    Like the old age.
    Are you ready, sir?
    Ay, prithee sing. Music.
    940The Song.
    Come away, come away, death,
    And in sad cypress let me be laid.
    Fie away, fie away, breath,
    I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
    945 My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
    O prepare it.
    My part of death no one so true
    Did share it.
    Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
    On my black coffin let there be strewn.
    Not a friend, not a friend greet
    950My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown.
    A thousand, thousand sighs to save,
    Lay me O where
    Sad true lover never find my grave,
    To weep there.
    [Giving money] There's for thy pains.
    No pains, sir; I take pleasure in singing, sir.
    I'll pay thy pleasure then.
    Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or another.
    Give me now leave to leave thee.
    Now the melancholy god protect thee, and the 960tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal. I would have men of such constancy put to sea, that their business might be everything, and their intent everywhere; for that's it that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell.
    Let all the rest give place.
    [All the Courtiers except Viola stand apart.]
    Once more, Cesario,
    Get thee to yond same sovereign cruelty.
    Tell her my love, more noble than the world,
    Prizes not quantity of dirty lands;
    The parts that Fortune hath bestowed upon her,
    970Tell her I hold as giddily as Fortune;
    But 'tis that miracle and queen of gems
    That Nature pranks her in, attracts my soul.
    But if she cannot love you, sir?
    I cannot be so answered.
    Sooth, but you must.
    Say that some lady, as perhaps there is,
    Hath for your love as great a pang of heart
    As you have for Olivia. You cannot love her.
    You tell her so. Must she not then be answered?
    There is no woman's sides
    Can bide the beating of so strong a passion
    As love doth give my heart; no woman's heart
    So big, to hold so much. They lack retention.
    Alas, their love may be called appetite,
    985No motion of the liver, but the palate,
    That suffers surfeit, cloyment, and revolt;
    But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
    And can digest as much. Make no compare
    Between that love a woman can bear me,
    990And that I owe Olivia.
    Ay, but I know--
    What dost thou know?
    Too well what love women to men may owe.
    In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
    995My father had a daughter loved a man
    As it might be perhaps, were I a woman,
    I should your lordship.
    And what's her history?
    A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
    1000But let concealment like a worm i'th'bud
    Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought,
    And with a green and yellow melancholy
    She sat like Patience on a monument,
    Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
    1005We men may say more, swear more, but indeed
    Our shows are more than will: for still we prove
    Much in our vows, but little in our love.
    But died thy sister of her love, my boy?
    I am all the daughters of my father's house,
    1010And all the brothers too; and yet I know not--
    Sir, shall I to this lady?
    Ay, that's the theme.
    To her in haste; [Giving a jewel] give her this jewel; say
    My love can give no place, bide no denay.
    Exeunt [Viola a different way].