Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 5

Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty, — I pray you,
tell me if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her: I
would be loth to cast away my speech; for, besides that it is
excellently well penn'd, I have taken great pains to con it. Good
beauties, let me sustain no scorn; I am very comptible, even to
the least sinister usage.

Whence came you, sir?

I can say little more than I have studied, and that question's
out of my part. Good gentle one, give me modest assurance if you
be the lady of the house, that I may proceed in
my speech.

Are you a comedian?

No, my profound heart; and yet, by the very fangs of malice I
swear, I am not that I play. Are you the lady of the house?

If I do not usurp myself, I am.

Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself; for what is
yours to bestow is not yours to reserve. But this is from my
commission. I will on with my speech in your praise, and then
show you the heart of my message.

Come to what is important in't; I forgive you the praise.

Alas, I took great pains to study it, and 't is poetical.

It is the more like to be feign'd; I pray you, keep it in. I
heard you were saucy at my gates, and allow'd your approach
rather to wonder at you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be
gone; if you have reason, be brief; 't is not that time of moon
with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue.

Will you hoist sail, sir? here lies your way.

No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little longer. Some
mollification for your giant, sweet lady. Tell me your mind; I am
a messenger.

Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when the courtesy
of it is so fearful. Speak your office.

It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of war, no
taxation of homage: I hold the olive in my hand; my words are as
full of peace as matter.

Yet you began rudely. What are you? what would you?

The rudeness that hath appear'd in me have I learn'd from my
entertainment. What I am, and what I would, are as secret as
maidenhead; to your ears, divinity; to any other's, profanation.

Give us the place alone; we will hear this divinity.
[Exeunt MARIA and ATTENDANTS.] Now, sir, what is your text?

Most sweet lady, —

A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lies
your text?

In Orsino's bosom.

In his bosom! In what chapter of his bosom?

To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.

O, I have read it; it is heresy. Have you no more to say?

Good madam, let me see your face.

Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face?
You are now out of your text; but we will draw the curtain, and
show you the picture. Look you, sir, such a one I was this
present; is 't not well done?

Excellently done, if God did all.

'T is in grain, sir; 't will endure wind and weather.

'T is beauty truly blent whose red and white
Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
Lady, you are the cruell'st she alive,
If you will lead these graces to the grave,
And leave the world no copy.

O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give out divers
schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every
particle and utensil labell'd to my will: as, item, two lips,
indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item,
one neck, one chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise

I see you what you are, you are too proud;
But, if you were the devil, you are fair.
My lord and master loves you; O, such love
Could be but recompens'd, though you were crown'd
The nonpareil of beauty!

How does he love me?

With adorations, fertile tears,
With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

Your lord does know my mind; I cannot love him:
Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
In voices well divulg'd, free, learn'd, and valiant;
And, in dimension and the shape of nature,
A gracious person: but yet I cannot love him;
He might have took his answer long ago.

If I did love you in my master's flame,
With such a suffering, such a deadly life,
In your denial I would find no sense;
I would not understand it.

Why, what would you?

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