A line-by-line translation

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Translation Act 2, Scene 5

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW, and FABIAN

SIR TOBY BELCH

Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Come along, Mister Fabian.

FABIAN

Nay, I’ll come. If I lose a scruple of this sport, let me be boiled to death with melancholy.

FABIAN

I'm coming, don't worry. If I miss the tiniest bit of this joke, may I get boiled to death.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly rascallysheep-biter come by some notable shame?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Won't you be glad to see that pretentious, rascally dog get humiliated?

FABIAN

I would exult, man. You know, he brought me out o' favor with my lady about a bear-baiting here.

FABIAN

I'll rejoice, man. You know, he got me in trouble with my lady Olivia once, when I held 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 TOBY BELCH

We'll bring the bear back just to make him angry then, and we'll make a fool of him until he's ruined. Won't we, Sir Andrew?

SIR ANDREW

An we do not, it is pity of our lives.

SIR ANDREW

If we don't, it will be the worst mistake of our lives.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Here comes the little villain.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Here comes the little villain.

Enter MARIA

How now, my metal of India?

How's it going, my golden one?

MARIA

Get you all three into the boxtree. Malvolio’s coming down this walk. He has been yonder i' the sun practisingbehavior 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 ofjesting!

MARIA

All three of you hide in the hedge. Malvolio's coming this way down the path. He's been over there practicing his elegant manner for the past half hour. Watch him closely, if you love mockery, because I know that this letter will turn him into a starry-eyed fool. Now hide, if you love jokes!

They hide

Lie thou there (throwing down a letter), for here comesthe trout that must be caught with tickling.

You lie there now [Maria throws down a letter], for here comes the fish that must be caught by tickling it.

Exit

Enter MALVOLIO

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 anyone else that follows her. What should Ithink on ’t?

MALVOLIO

All is luck, only luck. Maria once told me that Lady Olivia liked me, and I've almost heard Olivia herself say that if she should love a man, he would be someone with my personality. Besides, she treats me with more respect and admiration than anyone else in her service. So what should I think of all this?

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Here’s an overweening rogue!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering so MALVOLIO can't hear] What an arrogant villain!

FABIAN

[aside] O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of him. How he jets under his advanced plumes!

FABIAN

[Whispering] Oh, gimme a break! When he's alone and musing to himself he acts even more like a proud peacock. See how he struts and shows his feathers!

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) 'Slight, I could so beat the rogue!

SIR ANDREW

[Whispering] By God, I'd like to beat him up!

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Peace, I say.

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Quiet, I say.

MALVOLIO

To be Count Malvolio!

MALVOLIO

I could be "Count Malvolio!"

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Ah, rogue!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Ah, that villain!

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) Pistol him, pistol him.

SIR ANDREW

[Whispering] Somebody shoot him, just shoot him.

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Peace, peace!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Quiet, quiet!

MALVOLIO

There is example for ’t. The lady of the Strachy married the yeoman of the wardrobe.

MALVOLIO

There are other instances of such things happening. The Lady Strachy married her wardrobe assistant.

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) Fie on him, Jezebel!

SIR ANDREW

[Whispering] Curse him, wicked Jezebel!

FABIAN

[aside] O, peace! Now he’s deeply in. Look how imagination blows him.

FABIAN

[Whispering] Oh, quiet! Now he's really lost in his imagination. Look how his fantasies puff him up.

MALVOLIO

Having been three months married to her, sitting in my state—

MALVOLIO

Imagine me after three months being married to her, sitting in my majestic chair—

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Oh, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Oh, if only I had a slingshot, to shoot him in the eye!

MALVOLIO

Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown, having come from a daybed, where I have left Olivia sleeping—

MALVOLIO

Calling my servants around me, dressed in my embroidered velvet gown, having just come from the sofa where I've left Olivia sleeping—

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Fire and brimstone!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Bloody hell!

FABIAN

( aside ) O, peace, peace!

FABIAN

hispering] Oh quiet, quiet!

MALVOLIO

And then to have the humor of state, and after a demuretravel of regard, telling them I know my place as I would they should do theirs, to ask for my kinsman Toby—

MALVOLIO

And then to have an expression of great authority, and to gravely survey the room and then tell them that I know my place, and I'd like them to know theirs. I'd ask for my cousin Toby—

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Bolts and shackles!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] My God!

FABIAN

( aside ) O peace, peace, peace! Now, now.

FABIAN

[Whispering] Oh quiet, quiet, quiet! 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, curtsies there to me—

MALVOLIO

Seven of my servants obediently would go to find him. I frown while I wait, and perhaps wind my watch, or play with my—with some rich jewel I'm wearing. Toby approaches me and bows—

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Shall this fellow live?

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Will we let this fellow live?

FABIAN

[aside] Though our silence be drawn from us with cars, yet peace.

FABIAN

[Whispering] We must keep our silence—even though it is hard to, when he's being this offensive. Quiet.

MALVOLIO

I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control—

MALVOLIO

I reach out my hand to him like so, extinguishing my usual smile and replacing it with a severe look of authority—

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) And does not Toby take you a blow o' the lips then?

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] And doesn't Toby give you a punch in the mouth then?

MALVOLIO

Saying, “Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on your niece give me this prerogative of speech—”

MALVOLIO

And I say, "Cousin Toby, since fortune has allowed me to marry your niece, I have the right to say this—"

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) What, what?

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] What, what?

MALVOLIO

“You must amend your drunkenness.”

MALVOLIO

"You must give up your drinking."

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Out, scab!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Out of here, you scab!

FABIAN

( aside ) Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.

FABIAN

[Whispering] No, be patient, or we'll ruin our plan.

MALVOLIO

“Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight—”

MALVOLIO

"And another thing—you're wasting your valuable time with that foolish knight—"

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) That’s me, I warrant you.

SIR ANDREW

[Whispering]That's me, I'm sure.

MALVOLIO

“One Sir Andrew—”

MALVOLIO

"That Sir Andrew—"

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) I knew ’twas I, for many do call me fool.

SIR ANDREW

[Whispering] I knew it was me, for I've often been called foolish.

MALVOLIO

( seeing the letter ) What employment have we here?

MALVOLIO

[Seeing the letter] And what do we have here?

FABIAN

( aside ) Now is the woodcock near the gin.

FABIAN

[Whispering] Now the bird approaches the snare.

SIR TOBY BELCH

[aside] O, peace! And the spirit of humors intimate reading aloud to him!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Oh, quiet! I hope the mood strikes him to read it out loud!

MALVOLIO

[picking up the letter] By my life, this is my lady’s hand these be her very C’s, her U’s and her T’s and thusmakes she her great P’s. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.

MALVOLIO

[Picking up the letter] By God, this is my lady's handwriting—these are her C's, her U's, and her T's, and this is how she makes her big P's. It's her handwriting, without question.

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) Her C’s, her U’s and her T’s. Why that?

SIR ANDREW

[Whispering] Her C's, her U's, and her T's. Why only mention those?

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?

MALVOLIO

[Reading] "To my beloved, who doesn't know of my love, I send this letter and my good wishes"—And it's phrased just how she would speak! Excuse me for breaking your seal, wax. But wait! This wax is stamped with an image of Lucrece, which Olivia uses for her seal. This letter is from my lady. But who is it written to?

FABIAN

( aside ) This wins him, liver and all.

FABIAN

[Whispering] This is winning him over, heart and all.

MALVOLIO

[reads] “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 thee, Malvolio?

MALVOLIO

[Reading]
"God knows that I love,
But who!
Lips, do not speak;
No man must know."
"No man must know." But what's next? The poem's meter changes. "No man must know." What if she's writing about you, Malvolio?

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Marry, hang thee, brock!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Damn, go hang yourself, you badger!

MALVOLIO

[reads] “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.”

MALVOLIO

[Reading]
"I may command the one I love,
But silence, like a knife,
Cuts my heart with a bloodless wound.
M.O.A.I. rules my life."

FABIAN

( aside ) A fustian riddle!

FABIAN

[Whispering] An elaborate riddle!

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Excellent wench, say I.

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Such a clever girl, I say.

MALVOLIO

“M.O.A.I. doth sway my life.” Nay, but first, let me see, let me see, let me see.

MALVOLIO

"M.O.A.I. rules my life." No, but first, let me see, let me see, let me see.

FABIAN

( aside ) What dish o' poison has she dressed him!

FABIAN

[Whispering] What a dish of poison she's prepared for him!

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) And with what wing the staniel checks at it!

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] And see how eagerly he goes to eat 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.I.—

MALVOLIO

"I may command the one I love." Well, she may command me. I am her servant, and she is my lady. This much is easy for anyone to figure out. There's no difficulty here. But the end—what do those letters mean? If only I could make them refer to me—wait! M.O.A.I.—

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) O, ay, make up that.—He is now at a cold scent.

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Oh, yes, notice that. The trail's gone cold for him.

FABIAN

[aside] Sowter will cry upon ’t for all this, though it be as rank as a fox.

FABIAN

[Whispering] He'll pick up the scent eventually, no matter how much it smells of a prank.

MALVOLIO

“M”—Malvolio. “M”—why, that begins my name.

MALVOLIO

"M"—Malvolio. "M"—why, that's the first letter of my name.

FABIAN

[aside] Did not I say he would work it out? The cur is excellent at faults.

FABIAN

[Whispering] Didn't I say he would figure it out? This dog is excellent at tracking.

MALVOLIO

“M.” But then there is no consonancy in the sequel. That suffers under probation. “A” should follow but “O” does.

MALVOLIO

"M." But then the next letter doesn't agree with my name. This theory doesn't stand up to the test. "A" should be next, but instead it's "O."

FABIAN

( aside ) And “O” shall end, I hope.

FABIAN

[Whispering] And this will all end in an "O" as well, I hope—the "O" of a hangman's noose.

SIR TOBY BELCH

( aside ) Ay, or I’ll cudgel him and make him cry “O!”

SIR TOBY BELCH

[Whispering] Yes, or else I'll beat him with a club and make him yell "O!"

MALVOLIO

And then “I” comes behind.

MALVOLIO

And then an "I" comes last.

FABIAN

[aside] Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see more detraction at your heels than fortunes before you.

FABIAN

[Whispering] Yes, and if you had an "I" in the back of your head, you might see more trouble behind you than good luck before you.

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. [reads] “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 desir’st to be so; if not, let me see theea steward still, the fellow of servants, and not worthyto touch Fortune’s fingers. Farewell. She that would alter services with thee, The Fortunate Unhappy” 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 donot now fool myself, to let imagination jade me, for every reason excites to this, that my lady loves me. Shedid commend my yellow stockings of late, she did praisemy 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 yeta postscript. [reads] “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.

MALVOLIO

"M.O.A.I." The hidden meaning of this part isn't like the other one, but if I force it a little, it too could refer to me—for every one of these letters is in my name. Wait, there's some more prose now.
[Reading]
"If this should fall into your hands, consider it well. By birth I am ranked above you, but don't be afraid of my greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Your fate welcomes you. Accept it with your body and spirit. And, to prepare yourself for the upper-class life you will have soon, cast aside your lowly outer self and become a new, fresh person. Be rude to your companions, and be mean to servants. Talk loudly and often about politics, and make a habit of being unique and eccentric. The woman who sighs with love for you advises you to do this. Remember who it was who complimented your yellow stockings, and asked to see you always wearing crossed laces going up your legs. Remember her, I say. Now go. You are assured of becoming a gentleman, if you want to be. If not, just keep acting like a steward, a companion of servants, and not worthy to grasp the greatness before you. Farewell. Signed, one who would switch places with you and be your servant,
The Fortunate Unfortunate"

Daylight in an open field couldn't be clearer than this. This is obvious. I will act proud, I will study politics, I will insult Sir Toby, I will rid myself of lower-class acquaintances, and I will act exactly as she asked me to. I'm not fooling myself now, or letting my imagination trick me—reason points to the inevitable conclusion that my lady Olivia loves me. She did compliment my yellow stockings lately, and she did praise my crossed laces, and in this she has proven that she loves me. I thank my lucky stars. I'm so happy. I will act just as she wanted—I'll be proud and aloof, and put on my yellow stockings and crossed laces as quickly as I can. May God and my lucky stars be praised! And here's more, a postscript.
[Reading]
"You have probably figured out who I am. If you accept my love, then let me know by smiling. Your smiles look good on you. So please smile whenever you're in my presence, my dear sweetheart."

Thank you God! I will smile for her. I'll do everything she wants me to.

Exit

FABIAN

I will not give my part of this sport for a pension of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.

FABIAN

I wouldn't have missed this entertainment for a pension of thousands, to be paid by the Shah of Persia.

SIR TOBY BELCH

I could marry this wench for this device.

SIR TOBY BELCH

I could marry that Maria for coming up with this scheme.

SIR ANDREW

So could I too.

SIR ANDREW

So could I.

SIR TOBY BELCH

And ask no other dowry with her but such another jest.

SIR TOBY BELCH

And I wouldn't ask for any bridal dowry except for her to come up with another joke like this.

SIR ANDREW

Nor I neither.

SIR ANDREW

Neither would I.

Enter MARIA

FABIAN

Here comes my noble gull-catcher.

FABIAN

Here comes my noble fool-catcher.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Wilt thou set thy foot o' my neck?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Should I kiss your feet?

SIR ANDREW

Or o' mine either?

SIR ANDREW

Or should I?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Shall I play my freedom at tray-trip, and become thy bondslave?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Should I gamble away my freedom at dice, and become your slave?

SIR ANDREW

I' faith, or I either?

SIR ANDREW

Or should I?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Why, thou hast put him in such a dream that when the image of it leaves him he must run mad.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Why, you've sent Malvolio into such a fantasy that he'll go mad when he learns the truth.

MARIA

Nay, but say true, does it work upon him?

MARIA

No, tell me the truth, did he fall for my letter?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Like aqua vitae with a midwife.

SIR TOBY BELCH

He swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

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 color she abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests. And he will smileupon her, which will now be so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a melancholy as she i s, that it cannot but turn him into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow me.

MARIA

If you want to see the real results of this joke, then watch him when he first approaches my lady. He'll come to her in yellow stockings—a color she hates—and with crossed laces on his legs—a fashion she despises. And he'll smile constantly at her, which will go completely against her current mood, as she seems addicted to melancholy lately. All of it together will surely make her notice him and scorn him. If you want to see this, follow me.

SIR TOBY BELCH

To the gates of Tartar, thou most excellent devil of wit!

SIR TOBY BELCH

I'll follow you to the deepest gates of Hell, you witty devil!

SIR ANDREW

I’ll make one too.

SIR ANDREW

I'll join the group too.

Exeunt

Twelfth night
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Twelfth Night Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 673 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 16,605 quotes covering 673 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.