Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 1

ACT III.

SCENE I. OLIVIA'S garden.

[Enter VIOLA, and CLOWN with a tabor.]

VIOLA.
Save thee, friend, and thy music! dost thou live by thy tabor?

CLOWN.
No, sir, I live by the church.

VIOLA.
Art thou a churchman?

CLOWN.
No such matter, sir: I do live by the church; for I do live at my
house, and my house doth stand by the church.

VIOLA.
So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar, if a beggar dwell
near him; or the church stands by thy tabor, if thy tabor stand
by the church.

CLOWN.
You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence is but a cheveril
glove to a good wit; how quickly the wrong side may be turn'd
outward!

VIOLA.
Nay, that's certain; they that dally nicely with words may
quickly make them wanton.

CLOWN.
I would, therefore, my sister had had no name, sir.

VIOLA.
Why, man?

CLOWN.
Why, sir, her name's a word; and to dally with that word might
make my sister wanton. But, indeed, words are very rascals since
bonds disgrac'd them.

VIOLA.
Thy reason, man?

CLOWN.
Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and words are
grown so false, I am loth to prove reason with them.

VIOLA.
I warrant thou art a merry fellow, and car'st for nothing.

CLOWN.
Not so, sir; I do care for something; but in my conscience, sir,
I do not care for you: if that be to care for nothing, sir, I
would it would make you invisible.

VIOLA.
Art not thou the Lady Olivia's fool?

CLOWN.
No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: she will keep no
fool, sir, till she be married; and fools are as like husbands as
pilchards are to herrings, the husband's the bigger. I am,
indeed, not her fool, but her corrupter of words.

VIOLA.
I saw thee late at the Count Orsino's.

CLOWN.
Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines
everywhere. I would be sorry, sir, but the fool should be as oft
with your master as with my mistress. I think I saw your
wisdom there.

VIOLA.
Nay, and thou pass upon me, I'll no more with thee. Hold,
there's expenses for thee.

CLOWN.
Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard!

VIOLA.
By my troth, I'll tell thee, I am almost sick for one; [Aside]
though I would not have it grow on my chin. Is thy lady within?

CLOWN.
Would not a pair of these have bred, sir?

VIOLA.
Yes, being kept together and put to use.

CLOWN.
I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to bring a Cressida
to this Troilus.

VIOLA.
I understand you, sir; 't is well begg'd.

CLOWN.
The matter, I hope, is not great, sir, begging but a beggar.
Cressida was a beggar. My lady is within, sir. I will construe to
them whence you come; who you are and what you would are out of
my welkin, — I might say 'element,' but the word is over-worn.

[Exit.]

VIOLA.
This fellow is wise enough to play the fool;
And to do that well craves a kind of wit:
He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
The quality of persons, and the time;
And, like the haggard, check at every feather
That comes before his eye. This is a practice
As full of labour as a wise man's art:
For folly that he wisely shows is fit;
But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.

[Enter SIR TOBY and SIR ANDREW.]

SIR TOBY.
Save you, gentleman!

VIOLA.
And you, sir.

SIR ANDREW.
Dieu vous garde, monsieur.

VIOLA.
Et vous aussi; votre serviteur.

SIR ANDREW.
I hope, sir, you are; and I am yours.

SIR TOBY.
Will you encounter the house? my niece is desirous you should
enter, if your trade be to her.

VIOLA.
I am bound to your niece, sir; I mean, she is the list of my
voyage.

SIR TOBY.
Taste your legs, sir; put them to motion.

VIOLA.
My legs do better understand me, sir, than I understand what you
mean by bidding me taste my legs.

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