A line-by-line translation

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Translation Act 1, Scene 5

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Enter MARIA and the FOOL

MARIA

Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will notopen my lips so wide as a bristle may enter in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy absence.

MARIA

No, either tell me where you've been, or I won't say a word in your defense. My lady Olivia will have you hanged for being absent.

FOOL

Let her hang me. He that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colors.

FOOL

Let her hang me then. A well-hanged (and well-hung) man doesn't need to be afraid of anything he sees.

MARIA

Make that good.

MARIA

Explain—and clean up your language.

FOOL

He shall see none to fear.

FOOL

He'll be dead, and so he won't see anything to be afraid of.

MARIA

A good lenten answer. I can tell thee where that sayingwas born, of “I fear no colors.”

MARIA

That's a meager answer. And I can tell you where you got that saying about not being afraid of anything.

FOOL

Where, good Mistress Mary?

FOOL

Where, good Mistress Mary?

MARIA

In the wars. And that may you be bold to say in your foolery.

MARIA

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FOOL

Well, God give them wisdom that have it. And those thatare fools, let them use their talents.

FOOL

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MARIA

Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent. Or tobe turned away, is not that as good as a hanging to you?

MARIA

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FOOL

Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage, and, for turning away, let summer bear it out.

FOOL

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MARIA

You are resolute, then?

MARIA

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FOOL

Not so, neither, but I am resolved on two points.

FOOL

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MARIA

That if one break, the other will hold. Or, if both break, your gaskins fall.

MARIA

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FOOL

Apt, in good faith, very apt. Well, go thy way. If Sir Toby would leave drinking, thou wert as witty a piece ofEve’s flesh as any in Illyria.

FOOL

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MARIA

Peace, you rogue, no more o' that. Here comes my lady.Make your excuse wisely, you were best.

MARIA

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Exit

FOOL

[aside] Wit, an ’t be thy will, put me into good fooling! Those wits, that think they have thee, do very oft prove fools. And I, that am sure I lack thee, may pass for a wise man. For what says Quinapalus? “Better awitty fool, than a foolish wit.”

FOOL

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Enter OLIVIA with MALVOLIO with attendants

God bless thee, lady!

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OLIVIA

Take the fool away.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the lady.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Go to, you’re a dry fool. I’ll no more of you. Besides, you grow dishonest.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel will amend. For give the dry fool drink, then is the fool notdry. Bid the dishonest man mend himself. If he mend, heis no longer dishonest. If he cannot, let the botcher mend him. Anything that’s mended is but patched. Virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin, and sin that amends is but patched with virtue. If that this simple syllogism will serve, so. If it will not, what remedy? As there is no true cuckold but calamity, so beauty’s a flower. The lady bade take away the fool. Therefore, I say again, take her away.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Sir, I bade them take away you.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Misprision in the highest degree! Lady, Cucullus non facit monachum— that’s as much to say as I wear not motley in my brain. Good madonna, give me leave to proveyou a fool.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Can you do it?

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Dexterously, good madonna.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Make your proof.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

I must catechise you for it, madonna. Good my mouse of virtue, answer me.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I’ll bide your proof.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Good madonna, why mournest thou?

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Good fool, for my brother’s death.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

I think his soul is in hell, madonna.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

I know his soul is in heaven, fool.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

What think you of this fool, Malvolio? Doth he not mend?

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

Yes, and shall do till the pangs of death shake him. Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make the better fool.

MALVOLIO

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FOOL

God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the better increasing your folly! Sir Toby will be sworn that I am no fox, but he will not pass his word for two pence thatyou are no fool.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

How say you to that, Malvolio?

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal. I saw him put down the other day with an ordinary fool that has no more brain than a stone. Look you now, he’s out of his guard already. Unless you laughand minister occasion to him, he is gagged. I protest Itake these wise men that crow so at these set kind of fools no better than the fools' zanies.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste witha distempered appetite. To be generous, guiltless, and of free disposition is to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets. There is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail. Nor no railing in a known discreet man, though he do nothing but reprove.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Now Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou speakest well of fools!

FOOL

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Enter MARIA

MARIA

Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman much desires to speak with you.

MARIA

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OLIVIA

From the Count Orsino, is it?

OLIVIA

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MARIA

I know not, madam. 'Tis a fair young man, and well attended.

MARIA

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OLIVIA

Who of my people hold him in delay?

OLIVIA

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MARIA

Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.

MARIA

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OLIVIA

Fetch him off, I pray you. He speaks nothing but madman.Fie on him!

OLIVIA

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Exit MARIA

Go you, Malvolio. If it be a suit from the count, I am sick, or not at home. What you will, to dismiss it.

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Exit MALVOLIO

Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and people dislike it.

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FOOL

Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest son should be a fool, whose skull Jove cram with brains, for—here he comes—one of thy kin has a most weak pia mater.

FOOL

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Enter SIR TOBY BELCH

OLIVIA

By mine honor, half-drunk. What is he at the gate, cousin?

OLIVIA

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SIR TOBY BELCH

A gentleman.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Lorem ipsum

OLIVIA

A gentleman? What gentleman?

OLIVIA

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SIR TOBY BELCH

'Tis a gentleman here— a plague o' these pickle herring! How now, sot!

SIR TOBY BELCH

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FOOL

Good Sir Toby!

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy?

OLIVIA

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SIR TOBY BELCH

Lechery! I defy lechery. There’s one at the gate.

SIR TOBY BELCH

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OLIVIA

Ay, marry, what is he?

OLIVIA

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SIR TOBY BELCH

Let him be the devil, an he will, I care not. Give me faith, say I. Well, it’s all one.

SIR TOBY BELCH

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Exit

OLIVIA

What’s a drunken man like, fool?

OLIVIA

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FOOL

Like a drowned man, a fool and a madman. One draught above heat makes him a fool, the second mads him, and a third drowns him.

FOOL

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OLIVIA

Go thou and seek the crowner, and let him sit o' my coz. For he’s in the third degree of drink, he’s drowned. Go look after him.

OLIVIA

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FOOL

He is but mad yet, madonna, and the fool shall look to the madman.

FOOL

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Exit

Enter MALVOLIO

MALVOLIO

Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with you.I told him you were sick. He takes on him to understandso much, and therefore comes to speak with you. I told him you were asleep. He seems to have a foreknowledge ofthat too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is to be said to him, lady? He’s fortified against any denial.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

Tell him he shall not speak with me.

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

He's been told so, and he says he’ll stand at your door like a sheriff’s post, and be the supporter to a bench, but he’ll speak with you.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

What kind o' man is he?

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

Why, of mankind.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

What manner of man?

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

Of very ill manner. He’ll speak with you, will you or no.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

Of what personage and years is he?

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy, as a squash is before ’tis a peascod, or a codling when ’tis almost an apple. 'Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man. He is very well-favored, andhe speaks very shrewishly. One would think his mother’smilk were scarce out of him.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

Let him approach. Call in my gentlewoman.

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

Gentlewoman, my lady calls.

MALVOLIO

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Exit

Enter MARIA

OLIVIA

Give me my veil. Come, throw it o'er my face. [OLIVIA puts on a veil] We’ll once more hear Orsino’s embassy.

OLIVIA

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Enter VIOLA, with attendants

VIOLA

The honorable lady of the house, which is she?

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Speak to me. I shall answer for her. Your will?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

Most radiant, exquisite and unmatchable beauty—I pray you, tell me if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her. I would be loath to cast away my speech, for besides that it is excellently well penned, I have taken great pains to con it. Good beauties, let me sustain no scorn. I am very comptible, even to the leastsinister usage.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Whence came you, sir?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

I can say little more than I have studied, and that question’s out of my part. Good gentle one, give me modest assurance if you be the lady of the house, that Imay proceed in my speech.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Are you a comedian?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

No, my profound heart. And yet, by the very fangs of malice I swear, I am not that I play. Are you the lady of the house?

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

If I do not usurp myself, I am.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself, for what is yours to bestow is not yours to reserve. Butthis is from my commission. I will on with my speech inyour praise and then show you the heart of my message.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Come to what is important in ’t. I forgive you the praise.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

Alas, I took great pains to study it, and ’tis poetical.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

It is the more like to be feigned. I pray you, keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates and allowed your approach rather to wonder at you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be gone. If you have reason, be brief. 'Tis not that time of moon with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue.

OLIVIA

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MARIA

Will you hoist sail, sir? Here lies your way.

MARIA

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VIOLA

No, good swabber, I am to hull here a little longer. Some mollification for your giant, sweet lady.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Tell me your mind.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

I am a messenger.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when thecourtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of war,no taxation of homage. I hold the olive in my hand . My words are as full of peace as matter.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Yet you began rudely. What are you? What would you?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

The rudeness that hath appeared in me have I learned from my entertainment. What I am and what I would are assecret as maidenhead. To your ears, divinity. To any other’s, profanation.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Give us the place alone. We will hear this divinity.

OLIVIA

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Exeunt MARIA and attendants

Now, sir, what is your text?

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VIOLA

Most sweet lady—

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lies your text?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

In Orsino’s bosom.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

In his bosom? In what chapter of his bosom?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Oh, I have read it. It is heresy. Have you no more to say?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

Good madam, let me see your face.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? You are now out of your text. But we will draw the curtain and show you the picture. Look you, sir, such a one I was this present. Is ’t not well done?

OLIVIA

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OLIVIA removes her veil

VIOLA

Excellently done, if God did all.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

'Tis in grain, sir. 'Twill endure wind and weather.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on. Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive If you will lead these graces to the grave And leave the world no copy.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted. I will give out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every particle and utensil labeled to my will: as, item, two lips indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise me?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

I see you what you are, you are too proud. But, if you were the devil, you are fair. My lord and master loves you. Oh, such love Could be but recompensed though you were crowned The nonpareil of beauty.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

How does he love me?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

With adorations, fertile tears, With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Your lord does know my mind. I cannot love him. Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble, Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth. In voices well divulged, free, learned, and valiant; And in dimension and the shape of nature A gracious person. But yet I cannot love him; He might have took his answer long ago.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

If I did love you in my master’s flame, With such a suffering, such a deadly life, In your denial I would find no sense; I would not understand it.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Why, what would you?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

Make me a willow cabin at your gate And call upon my soul within the house. Write loyal cantons of contemned love And sing them loud even in the dead of night. Halloo your name to the reverberate hills And make the babbling gossip of the air Cry out “Olivia!” Oh, you should not rest Between the elements of air and earth, But you should pity me.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

You might do much.What is your parentage?

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

Above my fortunes, yet my state is well.I am a gentleman.

VIOLA

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OLIVIA

Get you to your lord. I cannot love him. Let him send no more— Unless perchance you come to me again To tell me how he takes it. Fare you well. I thank you for your pains. Spend this for me.

OLIVIA

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VIOLA

I am no fee’d post, lady. Keep your purse. My master, not myself, lacks recompense. Love make his heart of flint that you shall love, And let your fervor, like my master’s, be Placed in contempt. Farewell, fair cruelty.

VIOLA

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Exit

OLIVIA

“What is your parentage?” “Above my fortunes, yet my state is well. I am a gentleman.” I’ll be sworn thou art; Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions, and spirit, Do give thee fivefold blazon. Not too fast! Soft, soft! Unless the master were the man. How now? Even so quickly may one catch the plague? Methinks I feel this youth’s perfections With an invisible and subtle stealth To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.— What ho, Malvolio!

OLIVIA

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Enter MALVOLIO

MALVOLIO

Here, madam, at your service.

MALVOLIO

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OLIVIA

Run after that same peevish messenger, The county’s man. He left this ring behind him, Would I or not. Tell him I’ll none of it. [OLIVIA hands him a ring] Desire him not to flatter with his lord, Nor hold him up with hopes. I am not for him. If that the youth will come this way tomorrow, I’ll give him reasons for ’t. Hie thee, Malvolio.

OLIVIA

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MALVOLIO

Madam, I will.

MALVOLIO

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Exit

OLIVIA

I do I know not what and fear to find Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind. Fate, show thy force. Ourselves we do not owe. What is decreed must be, and be this so.

OLIVIA

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Exit

Twelfth night
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.