Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Twelfth Night > Act IV, scene II
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[Enter MARIA and Clown]
MARIA: Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and this beard;
make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate: do
it quickly; I'll call Sir Toby the whilst.
Clown: Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself
in't; and I would I were the first that ever
dissembled in such a gown. I am not tall enough to
become the function well, nor lean enough to be
thought a good student; but to be said an honest man
and a good housekeeper goes as fairly as to say a
careful man and a great scholar. The competitors enter.
[Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA]
SIR TOBY BELCH: Jove bless thee, master Parson.
Clown: Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for, as the old hermit of
Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily
said to a niece of King Gorboduc, 'That that is is;'
so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for,
what is 'that' but 'that,' and 'is' but 'is'?
SIR TOBY BELCH: To him, Sir Topas.
Clown: What, ho, I say! peace in this prison!
SIR TOBY BELCH: The knave counterfeits well; a good knave.
MALVOLIO: [Within] Who calls there?
Clown: Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to my lady.
Clown: Out, hyperbolical fiend! how vexest thou this man!
talkest thou nothing but of ladies?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Well said, Master Parson.
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas, never was man thus wronged: good Sir
Topas, do not think I am mad: they have laid me
here in hideous darkness.
Clown: Fie, thou dishonest Satan! I call thee by the most
modest terms; for I am one of those gentle ones
that will use the devil himself with courtesy:
sayest thou that house is dark?
MALVOLIO: As hell, Sir Topas.
Clown: Why it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes,
and the clearstores toward the south north are as
lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of
MALVOLIO: I am not mad, Sir Topas: I say to you, this house is dark.
Clown: Madman, thou errest: I say, there is no darkness
but ignorance; in which thou art more puzzled than
the Egyptians in their fog.
MALVOLIO: I say, this house is as dark as ignorance, though
ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say, there
was never man thus abused. I am no more mad than you
are: make the trial of it in any constant question.
Clown: What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild fowl?
MALVOLIO: That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a bird.
Clown: What thinkest thou of his opinion?
MALVOLIO: I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve his opinion.
Clown: Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness:
thou shalt hold the opinion of Pythagoras ere I will
allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a woodcock, lest
thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee well.
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas, Sir Topas!
SIR TOBY BELCH: My most exquisite Sir Topas!
Clown: Nay, I am for all waters.
MARIA: Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and
gown: he sees thee not.
SIR TOBY BELCH: To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how
thou findest him: I would we were well rid of this
knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I
would he were, for I am now so far in offence with
my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this
sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.
[Exeunt SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA]
'Hey, Robin, jolly Robin,
Tell me how thy lady does.'
Clown: 'My lady is unkind, perdy.'
Clown: 'Alas, why is she so?'
MALVOLIO: Fool, I say!
Clown: 'She loves another'--Who calls, ha?
MALVOLIO: Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my
hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink and paper:
as I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to
Clown: Master Malvolio?
MALVOLIO: Ay, good fool.
Clown: Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?
MALVOLIO: Fool, there was never a man so notoriously abused: I
am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.
Clown: But as well? then you are mad indeed, if you be no
better in your wits than a fool.
MALVOLIO: They have here propertied me; keep me in darkness,
send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to
face me out of my wits.
Clown: Advise you what you say; the minister is here.
Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore!
endeavour thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain
MALVOLIO: Sir Topas!
Clown: Maintain no words with him, good fellow. Who, I,
sir? not I, sir. God be wi' you, good Sir Topas.
Merry, amen. I will, sir, I will.
MALVOLIO: Fool, fool, fool, I say!
Clown: Alas, sir, be patient. What say you sir? I am
shent for speaking to you.
MALVOLIO: Good fool, help me to some light and some paper: I
tell thee, I am as well in my wits as any man in Illyria.
Clown: Well-a-day that you were, sir
MALVOLIO: By this hand, I am. Good fool, some ink, paper and
light; and convey what I will set down to my lady:
it shall advantage thee more than ever the bearing
of letter did.
Clown: I will help you to't. But tell me true, are you
not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit?
MALVOLIO: Believe me, I am not; I tell thee true.
Clown: Nay, I'll ne'er believe a madman till I see his
brains. I will fetch you light and paper and ink.
MALVOLIO: Fool, I'll requite it in the highest degree: I
prithee, be gone.
I am gone, sir,
And anon, sir,
I'll be with you again,
In a trice,
Like to the old Vice,
Your need to sustain;
Who, with dagger of lath,
In his rage and his wrath,
Cries, ah, ha! to the devil:
Like a mad lad,
Pare thy nails, dad;
Adieu, good man devil.