Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Twelfth Night > Act II, scene V
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[Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW, and FABIAN]
SIR TOBY BELCH: Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.
FABIAN: Nay, I'll come: if I lose a scruple of this sport,
let me be boiled to death with melancholy.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly
rascally sheep-biter come by some notable shame?
FABIAN: I would exult, man: you know, he brought me out o'
favour with my lady about a bear-baiting here.
SIR TOBY BELCH: To anger him we'll have the bear again; and we will
fool him black and blue: shall we not, Sir Andrew?
SIR ANDREW: An we do not, it is pity of our lives.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Here comes the little villain.
How now, my metal of India!
MARIA: Get ye all three into the box-tree: Malvolio's
coming down this walk: he has been yonder i' the
sun practising behavior to his own shadow this half
hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for I
know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of
him. Close, in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,
[Throws down a letter]
for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.
MALVOLIO: 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria once told
me she did affect me: and I have heard herself come
thus near, that, should she fancy, it should be one
of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a more
exalted respect than any one else that follows her.
What should I think on't?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Here's an overweening rogue!
FABIAN: O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock
of him: how he jets under his advanced plumes!
SIR ANDREW: 'Slight, I could so beat the rogue!
SIR TOBY BELCH: Peace, I say.
MALVOLIO: To be Count Malvolio!
SIR TOBY BELCH: Ah, rogue!
SIR ANDREW: Pistol him, pistol him.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Peace, peace!
MALVOLIO: There is example for't; the lady of the Strachy
married the yeoman of the wardrobe.
SIR ANDREW: Fie on him, Jezebel!
FABIAN: O, peace! now he's deeply in: look how
imagination blows him.
MALVOLIO: Having been three months married to her, sitting in
SIR TOBY BELCH: O, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!
MALVOLIO: Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet
gown; having come from a day-bed, where I have left
SIR TOBY BELCH: Fire and brimstone!
FABIAN: O, peace, peace!
MALVOLIO: And then to have the humour of state; and after a
demure travel of regard, telling them I know my
place as I would they should do theirs, to for my
SIR TOBY BELCH: Bolts and shackles!
FABIAN: O peace, peace, peace! now, now.
MALVOLIO: Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make
out for him: I frown the while; and perchance wind
up watch, or play with my--some rich jewel. Toby
approaches; courtesies there to me,--
SIR TOBY BELCH: Shall this fellow live?
FABIAN: Though our silence be drawn from us with cars, yet peace.
MALVOLIO: I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar
smile with an austere regard of control,--
SIR TOBY BELCH: And does not Toby take you a blow o' the lips then?
MALVOLIO: Saying, 'Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on
your niece give me this prerogative of speech,'--
SIR TOBY BELCH: What, what?
MALVOLIO: 'You must amend your drunkenness.'
SIR TOBY BELCH: Out, scab!
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 'twas 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 BELCH: O, peace! and the spirit of humour 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: 'tis my lady. To whom should this be?
FABIAN: This wins him, liver and all.
Jove knows I love: But who?
Lips, do not move;
No man must know.
'No man must know.' What follows? the numbers
altered! 'No man must know:' if this should be
SIR TOBY BELCH: Marry, hang thee, brock!
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 BELCH: 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 dressed him!
SIR TOBY BELCH: And with what wing the staniel cheques 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,
SIR TOBY BELCH: 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 BELCH: 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
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.
'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 wished to see thee ever
cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art
made, if thou desirest 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,
Daylight and champaign 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-gartered;
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-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting
on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a
'Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou
entertainest 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.
FABIAN: I will not give my part of this sport for a pension
of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.
SIR TOBY BELCH: I could marry this wench for this device.
SIR ANDREW: So could I too.
SIR TOBY BELCH: And ask no other dowry with her but such another jest.
SIR ANDREW: Nor I neither.
FABIAN: Here comes my noble gull-catcher.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Wilt thou set thy foot o' my neck?
SIR ANDREW: Or o' mine either?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Shall I play my freedom at traytrip, and become thy
SIR ANDREW: I' faith, or I either?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Why, thou hast put him in such a dream, that when
the image of it leaves him he must run mad.
MARIA: Nay, but say true; does it work upon him?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Like aqua-vitae with a midwife.
MARIA: If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark
his first approach before my lady: he will come to
her in yellow stockings, and 'tis a colour she
abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests;
and he will smile upon her, which will now be so
unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a
melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him
into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow
SIR TOBY BELCH: To the gates of Tartar, thou most excellent devil of wit!
SIR ANDREW: I'll make one too.