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)

    1985Enter Maria [carrying a minister's gown and a false beard,] and Clown.
    Nay, I prithee put on this gown, and this beard; make him believe thou art Sir Topaz the curate. Do it quickly. I'll call Sir Toby the whilst.
    [To the audience] Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself 1990in't, and I would I were the first that ever dissembled in such a gown. I am not tall enough to become the function well, nor lean enough to be thought a good student; but to be said an honest man and a good housekeeper goes as fairly as to say a careful man and a great 1995scholar.
    Enter Sir Toby [and Maria].
    1995.1The competitors enter.
    Sir Toby
    Jove bless thee, Master Parson.
    Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for as the old hermit of Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily said to a niece 2000of King Gorboduc, "That that is, is"; so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for what is "that" but "that," and "is" but "is"?
    Sir Toby
    To him, Sir Topaz!
    [In the voice of Sir Topaz] What ho, I say. Peace in this prison.
    Sir Toby
    [To the audience or Maria] The knave counterfeits well: a good knave.
    2005Malvolio within.
    [Within] Who calls there?
    Sir Topaz the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio the lunatic.
    [Within] Sir Topaz, Sir Topaz, good Sir Topaz, go to my 2010lady.
    Out, hyperbolical fiend! How vexest thou this man! Talkest thou nothing but of ladies?
    Sir Toby
    [Aside to Clown] Well said, Master Parson!
    [Within] Sir Topaz, never was man thus wronged. Good 2015Sir Topaz, do not think I am mad: they have laid me here in hideous darkness.
    Fie, thou dishonest Satan! I call thee by the most modest terms-- [Including the audience] for I am one of those gentle ones that will use the devil himself with courtesy--say'st thou 2020that house is dark?
    [Within] As hell, Sir Topaz.
    Why, it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes, and the clerestories toward the south-north are as lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of 2025obstruction?
    [Within] I am not mad, Sir Topaz; I say to you this house is dark.
    Madman, thou errest. I say there is no darkness but ignorance, in which thou art more puzzled than the 2030Egyptians in their fog.
    [Within] I say this house is as dark as ignorance, thoughignorance were as dark as hell; and I say there was never man thus abused. I am no more mad than you are. Make the trial of it in any constant question.
    What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wildfowl?
    [Within] That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a bird.
    What think'st thou of his opinion?
    [Within] I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve his opinion.
    Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness.Thou shalt hold th'opinion of Pythagoras ere I will allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a woodcock lest thou 2045dispossess the soul of thy grandam. [Moving away] Fare thee well.
    [Within] Sir Topaz, Sir Topaz!
    Sir Toby
    My most exquisite Sir Topaz!
    Nay, I am for all waters.
    Thou mightst have done this without thy beard 2050and gown; he sees thee not.
    Sir Toby
    [To Clown] To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how thou find'st him. I would we were well rid of this knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I would he were, for I am now so far in offence with my niece, 2055that I cannot pursue with any safety this sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.
    Exit [Sir Toby] [with Maria].
    Hey Robin, jolly Robin,
    Tell me how thy lady does.
    [Within] Fool!
    My lady is unkind, perdie.
    [Within] Fool!
    Alas, why is she so?
    [Within] Fool, I say!
    She loves another--
    Who calls, ha?
    [Within] Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink, and paper. As I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to thee for't.
    Master Malvolio?
    [Within] Ay, good fool.
    Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?
    [Within] Fool, there was never man so notoriously abused. I am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.
    But as well? Then you are mad indeed, if you be 2075no better in your wits than a fool.
    [Within] They have here propertied me: keep me in darkness, send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to face me out of my wits.
    Advise you what you say, the minister is here. 2080[Speaking as Sir Topaz] Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore. Endeavour thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain bibble babble.
    [Within] Sir Topaz!
    [As Sir Topaz] Maintain no words with him, good fellow. 2085[Speaking as himself] Who I, sir? Not I, sir! God buy you, good Sir Topaz. [As Sir Topaz] Marry, amen. [As himself] I will, sir, I will.
    [Within] Fool! Fool! Fool, I say!
    Alas, sir, be patient. What say you, sir? I am shent for speaking to you.
    [Within] Good fool, help me to some light, and some paper; I tell thee I am as well in my wits as any man in Illyria.
    Well-a-day that you were, sir.
    [Within] By this hand, I am! Good fool, some ink, 2095paper, and light; and convey what I will set down to my lady. It shall advantage thee more than ever the bearing of letter did.
    I will help you to't. But tell me true, are you not mad indeed, or do you but counterfeit?
    [Within] Believe me, I am not, I tell thee true.
    Nay, I'll ne'er believe a madman till I see his brains! I will fetch you light, and paper, and ink.
    [Within] Fool, I'll requite it in the highest degree. I prithee, be gone!
    I am gone, sir, and anon, sir,
    I'll be with you again,
    In a trice, like to the old Vice,
    Your need to sustain;
    Who with dagger of lath, in his rage and his wrath,
    2110Cries "Ah, ha!" to the devil,
    Like a mad lad, "Pare thy nails, dad!
    Adieu, goodman devil."