Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 5

FABIAN.
Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.

MALVOLIO.
'Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish
knight,' —

SIR ANDREW.
That's me, I warrant you.

MALVOLIO.
'One Sir Andrew.'

SIR ANDREW.
I knew 't was I; for many do call me fool.

MALVOLIO.
What employment have we here?
[Taking up the letter.]

FABIAN.
Now is the woodcock near the gin.

SIR TOBY.
O, peace! and the spirit of humours intimate reading aloud to
him!

MALVOLIO.
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.
Her C's, her U's, and her T's; why that?

MALVOLIO.
[Reads]
To the unknown beloved, this, and my good wishes: — her very
phrases! By your leave, wax. Soft! and the impressure her
Lucrece, with which she uses to seal; 't is my lady. To whom
should this be?

FABIAN.
This wins him, liver and all.

MALVOLIO.
[Reads]
Jove knows I love;
But who?
Lips, do not move;
No man must know.

'No man must know.' What follows? the numbers alter'd!
'No man must know.' If this should be thee, Malvolio?

SIR TOBY.
Marry, hang thee, brock!

MALVOLIO.
[Reads]
I may command where I adore;
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.

FABIAN.
A fustian riddle!

SIR TOBY.
Excellent wench, say I.

MALVOLIO.
'M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.' Nay, but first, let me see, let
me see, let me see.

FABIAN.
What dish o' poison has she dress'd him!

SIR TOBY.
And with what wing the staniel checks at it!

MALVOLIO.
'I may command where I adore.' Why, she may command 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, —

SIR TOBY.
O, ay, make up that; he is now at a cold scent.

FABIAN.
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.
Did not I say he would work it out? the cur is 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.
And O shall end, I hope.

SIR TOBY.
Ay, or I 'll cudgel him, and make him cry O!

MALVOLIO.
And then I comes behind.

FABIAN.
Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see more detraction
at your heels than fortunes before you.

MALVOLIO.
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.
— [Reads] 'If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I am
above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are 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, surly
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
wish'd to see thee ever cross-garter'd. I say, remember. Go to,
thou art made, 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 champain discovers not more; this is open. I will be
proud, I will read politic authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I
will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be point-devise 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 stockings of late, she did praise my leg being
cross-garter'd; 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-garter'd, even with the swiftness
of putting on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a
postscript.

[Reads] 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, I thank thee. I will smile; I will do everything that thou
wilt have me.

[Exit.]

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

Antonio is afraid to be seen in Illyria because of an act he committed against




Quiz