A line-by-line translation

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Translation Act 2, Scene 4

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Enter ORSINO, VIOLA, CURIO, and others

ORSINO

Give me some music. ( music plays ) 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.

ORSINO

Give me some music. [Music plays] Now, good morning, friends.

[To VIOLA] 
 Now, good Cesario, have them play that old-fashioned song we heard last night. It helped ease my passion and made me feel better, more than the silly songs and memorized words of these fast-paced modern times. Come, have them sing just one verse at least.

CURIO

He is not here, so please your lordship, that should sing it.

CURIO

Forgive me, my lord, but the man who should sing it isn't here.

ORSINO

Who was it?

ORSINO

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CURIO

Feste, the jester, my lord, a fool that the lady Olivia’s father took much delight in. He is about the house.

CURIO

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ORSINO

Seek him out, and play the tune the while.

ORSINO

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Exit CURIO. Music plays

( t o VIOLA ) 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?

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VIOLA

It gives a very echo to the seatWhere Love is throned.

VIOLA

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ORSINO

Thou dost speak masterly. My life upon ’t, young though thou art, thine eye Hath stay’d upon some favor that it loves. Hath it not, boy?

ORSINO

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VIOLA

A little, by your favor.

VIOLA

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ORSINO

What kind of woman is’t?

ORSINO

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VIOLA

Of your complexion.

VIOLA

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ORSINO

She is not worth thee, then. What years, i' faith?

ORSINO

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VIOLA

About your years, my lord.

VIOLA

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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.

ORSINO

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VIOLA

I think it well, my lord.

VIOLA

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ORSINO

Then let thy love be younger than thyself, Or thy affection cannot hold the bent. For women are as roses, whose fair flowerBeing once displayed, doth fall that very hour.

ORSINO

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VIOLA

And so they are. Alas, that they are so, To die even when they to perfection grow!

VIOLA

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Enter CURIO and FOOL

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.

ORSINO

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FOOL

Are you ready, sir?

FOOL

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ORSINO

Ay; prithee, sing.

ORSINO

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Music

FOOL

(sings) 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!

FOOL

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ORSINO

(giving money) There’s for thy pains.

ORSINO

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FOOL

No pains, sir. I take pleasure in singing, sir.

FOOL

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ORSINO

I’ll pay thy pleasure then.

ORSINO

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FOOL

Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or another.

FOOL

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ORSINO

Give me now leave to leave thee.

ORSINO

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FOOL

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 everything and their intent everywhere, for that’s it that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell.

FOOL

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Exit

ORSINO

Let all the rest give place.

ORSINO

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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 bestowed 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.

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VIOLA

But if she cannot love you, sir?

VIOLA

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ORSINO

I cannot be so answer’d.

ORSINO

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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 answered?

VIOLA

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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 called 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.

ORSINO

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VIOLA

Ay, but I know—

VIOLA

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ORSINO

What dost thou know?

ORSINO

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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.

VIOLA

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ORSINO

And what’s her history?

ORSINO

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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.

VIOLA

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ORSINO

But died thy sister of her love, my boy?

ORSINO

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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?

VIOLA

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ORSINO

Ay, that’s the theme.To her in haste. Give her this jewel. SayMy love can give no place, bide no denay. (he hands her a jewel)

ORSINO

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Exeunt

Twelfth night
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