Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Twelfth Night > Act I, scene II



	[Enter VIOLA, a Captain, and Sailors]

VIOLA: What country, friends, is this?

Captain: This is Illyria, lady.

VIOLA: And what should I do in Illyria?
	My brother he is in Elysium.
	Perchance he is not drown'd: what think you, sailors?

Captain: It is perchance that you yourself were saved.

VIOLA: O my poor brother! and so perchance may he be.

Captain: True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,
	Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
	When you and those poor number saved with you
	Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
	Most provident in peril, bind himself,
	Courage and hope both teaching him the practise,
	To a strong mast that lived upon the sea;
	Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back,
	I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
	So long as I could see.

VIOLA: For saying so, there's gold:
	Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
	Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
	The like of him. Know'st thou this country?

Captain: Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born
	Not three hours' travel from this very place.

VIOLA: Who governs here?

Captain: A noble duke, in nature as in name.

VIOLA: What is the name?

Captain: Orsino.

VIOLA: Orsino! I have heard my father name him:
	He was a bachelor then.

Captain: And so is now, or was so very late;
	For but a month ago I went from hence,
	And then 'twas fresh in murmur,--as, you know,
	What great ones do the less will prattle of,--
	That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.

VIOLA: What's she?

Captain: A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
	That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her
	In the protection of his son, her brother,
	Who shortly also died: for whose dear love,
	They say, she hath abjured the company
	And sight of men.

VIOLA:                   O that I served that lady
	And might not be delivered to the world,
	Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
	What my estate is!

Captain: That were hard to compass;
	Because she will admit no kind of suit,
	No, not the duke's.

VIOLA: There is a fair behavior in thee, captain;
	And though that nature with a beauteous wall
	Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
	I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
	With this thy fair and outward character.
	I prithee, and I'll pay thee bounteously,
	Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
	For such disguise as haply shall become
	The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke:
	Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him:
	It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing
	And speak to him in many sorts of music
	That will allow me very worth his service.
	What else may hap to time I will commit;
	Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.

Captain: Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be:
	When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.

VIOLA: I thank thee: lead me on.

	[Exeunt]




	TWELFTH NIGHT






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