Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Twelfth Night > Act II, scene IV
[Enter DUKE ORSINO, VIOLA, CURIO, and others]
DUKE ORSINO: Give me some music. Now, good morrow, friends.
Now, 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-paced times:
Come, but one verse.
CURIO: He is not here, so please your lordship that should sing it.
DUKE ORSINO: Who was it?
CURIO: Feste, the jester, my lord; a fool that the lady
Olivia's father took much delight in. He is about the house.
DUKE ORSINO: Seek him out, and play the tune the while.
[Exit CURIO. Music plays]
Come hither, boy: if ever thou shalt love,
In 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?
VIOLA: It gives a very echo to the seat
Where Love is throned.
DUKE ORSINO: Thou dost speak masterly:
My life upon't, young though thou art, thine eye
Hath stay'd upon some favour that it loves:
Hath it not, boy?
VIOLA: A little, by your favour.
DUKE ORSINO: What kind of woman is't?
VIOLA: Of your complexion.
DUKE ORSINO: She is not worth thee, then. What years, i' faith?
VIOLA: About your years, my lord.
DUKE ORSINO: Too old by heaven: let still the woman take
An elder than herself: so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband's heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women's are.
VIOLA: I think it well, my lord.
DUKE ORSINO: Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent;
For women are as roses, whose fair flower
Being once display'd, doth fall that very hour.
VIOLA: And so they are: alas, that they are so;
To die, even when they to perfection grow!
[Re-enter CURIO and Clown]
DUKE ORSINO: O, 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
Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.
Clown: Are you ready, sir?
DUKE ORSINO: Ay; prithee, sing.
Clown: Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
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 strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My 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!
DUKE ORSINO: There's for thy pains.
Clown: No pains, sir: I take pleasure in singing, sir.
DUKE ORSINO: I'll pay thy pleasure then.
Clown: Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or another.
DUKE ORSINO: Give me now leave to leave thee.
Clown: Now, the melancholy god protect thee; and the
tailor 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
every thing and their intent every where; for that's
it that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell.
DUKE ORSINO: Let all the rest give place.
[CURIO and Attendants retire]
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 bestow'd upon her,
Tell her, I hold as giddily as fortune;
But 'tis that miracle and queen of gems
That nature pranks her in attracts my soul.
VIOLA: But if she cannot love you, sir?
DUKE ORSINO: I cannot be so answer'd.
VIOLA: Sooth, but you must.
Say that some lady, as perhaps there is,
Hath for your love a great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her;
You tell her so; must she not then be answer'd?
DUKE ORSINO: 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 call'd appetite,
No motion of the liver, but the palate,
That suffer 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
And that I owe Olivia.
VIOLA: Ay, but I know--
DUKE ORSINO: What dost thou know?
VIOLA: Too well what love women to men may owe:
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.
DUKE ORSINO: And what's her history?
VIOLA: A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the 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?
We 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.
DUKE ORSINO: But died thy sister of her love, my boy?
VIOLA: I am all the daughters of my father's house,
And all the brothers too: and yet I know not.
Sir, shall I to this lady?
DUKE ORSINO: Ay, that's the theme.
To her in haste; give her this jewel; say,
My love can give no place, bide no denay.