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Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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Enter VIOLA, and the FOOL playing with a tabor

VIOLA

Save thee, friend, and thy music. Dost thou live by thytabour?

VIOLA

God bless you, friend, and your music. Do you make your living by playing your drum?

FOOL

No, sir, I live by the church.

FOOL

No, sir, I live by the church.

VIOLA

Art thou a churchman?

VIOLA

Are you a clergyman?

FOOL

No such matter, sir. I do live by the church; for I dolive at my house, and my house doth stand by the church.

FOOL

Not at all, sir. I live by the church because I live in my house, and my house is by the church.

VIOLA

So thou mayst say the king lies by a beggar if a beggardwell near him, or the church stands by thy tabor, if thy tabor stand by the church.

VIOLA

You may as well say then that the king sleeps with a beggar if a beggar lives near him, or that the church stands next to your drum if your drum stands next to the church.

FOOL

You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence is buta cheveril glove to a good wit. How quickly the wrong side may be turned outward!

FOOL

You're right, sir. What a wonder this modern age is! A sentence is like a supple glove for good wit—it can be turned inside out so quickly!

VIOLA

Nay, that’s certain. They that dally nicely with words may quickly make them wanton.

VIOLA

Yes, that's certainly true. Those who play around with words too much can quickly make them changeable and promiscuous.

FOOL

I would therefore my sister had no name, sir.

FOOL

If that's so, then I wish my sister didn't have a name, sir.

VIOLA

Why, man?

VIOLA

Why, man?

FOOL

Why, sir, her name’s a word, and to dally with that word might make my sister wanton. But, indeed, words arevery rascals since bonds disgraced them.

FOOL

Well, sir, her name's a word, and to play around with that word might make my sister promiscuous. But indeed, words have been rascals ever since people started needing written contracts to guarantee them.

VIOLA

Thy reason, man?

VIOLA

What's your reason for that, man?

FOOL

Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words, and words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them.

FOOL

Truly, sir, I can't give you a reason without using words, and since words have become so false and unreliable, I'm hesitant to use them for my proof.

VIOLA

I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for nothing.

VIOLA

I'll bet you're a happy fellow, without a care in the world.

FOOL

Not so, sir, I do care for something. But in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you. If that be to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.

FOOL

Not so, sir, I do care for something. But honestly, sir, I don't care for you. If that means that I care for nothing, sir, then you should become invisible right now—as you're nothing.

VIOLA

Art not thou the Lady Olivia’s fool?

VIOLA

Aren't you the Lady Olivia's fool?

FOOL

No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly. She willkeep no fool, sir, till she be married, and fools are as like husbands as pilchards are to herrings; the husband’s the bigger: I am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter of words.

FOOL

No indeed, sir, the Lady Olivia has no foolishness. She won't keep a fool until she gets married. Fools are to husbands as anchovies are to sardines—husbands are the larger version. I'm not her fool, just her corrupter of words.

VIOLA

I saw thee late at the Count Orsino’s.

VIOLA

I saw you at Duke Orsino's recently.

FOOL

Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun. It shines everywhere. I would be sorry, sir, but the fool should be as oft with your master as with my mistress: Ithink I saw your wisdom there.

FOOL

Foolishness, sir, wanders about the earth like the sun. It's everywhere. I'd be sorry if your master was less acquainted with foolishness than my mistress is. I think I saw you there, you wise man.

VIOLA

Nay, an thou pass upon me, I’ll no more with thee. Hold, there’s expenses for thee.

VIOLA

If you're just going to make fun of me, I want nothing to do with it. But wait, here's a coin for you.

FOOL

Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard!

FOOL

May God, in his next shipment of hair, send you a beard!

VIOLA

By my troth, I’ll tell thee, I am almost sick for one, (aside] though I would not have it grow on my chin. [To fool] Is thy lady within?

VIOLA

Honestly, I'm telling you, I'm dying for one, [To herself] though I don't want it on my own chin—I'm dying for a certain man with a beard. 

[To the FOOL] Is Lady Olivia inside?

FOOL

Would not a pair of these have bred, sir?

FOOL

If I had a pair of these coins, sir, do you think they'd have children?

VIOLA

Yes, being kept together and put to use.

VIOLA

Yes, if they were kept together and invested.

FOOL

I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to bring aCressida to this Troilus.

FOOL

I'd like to play the pimp, sir, and bring these two lovers together.

VIOLA

[giving him money] I understand you, sir. 'Tis well begged.

VIOLA

[Giving him money] I understand you sir. You're pretty good at begging.

FOOL

The matter, I hope, is not great, sir, begging but a beggar. Cressida was a beggar. My lady is within, sir. Iwill construe to them whence you come. Who you are and what you would are out of my welkin, I might say “element,” but the word is overworn.

FOOL

It's no problem for me, sir, as I'm only begging on a beggar's behalf. The famous lover Cressida became a beggar in her old age, they say. My lady is inside, sir. I'll explain where you come from, but who you are and what you want are beyond my knowledge. I'd say I'm "not in my element," but those words are overused.

Exit

VIOLA

This fellow is wise enough to play the fool, And to do that well craves a kind of wit. He must observe their mood on whom he jests, The quality of persons, and the time, And, like the haggard, check at every feather That comes before his eye. This is a practise As full of labor as a wise man’s art, For folly that he wisely shows is fit. But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.

VIOLA

This fellow is wise enough to play the fool, and to do that well you have to be clever. He has to pay attention to the mood and status of the person he's mocking, the time, and must also pursue every target he sees. This is a skill that requires just as much work as any wise man's job, for he plays the fool very wisely. Wise men, on the other hand, ruin their reputation for intelligence when they try to play the fool.

Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, and SIR ANDREW

SIR TOBY BELCH

Save you, gentleman.

SIR TOBY BELCH

God bless you, sir.

VIOLA

And you, sir.

VIOLA

And you, sir.

SIR ANDREW

Dieu vous garde, monsieur.

SIR ANDREW

[Speaking in French] May God protect you, sir.

VIOLA

Et vous aussi. Votre serviteur!

VIOLA

[Speaking in French] And you also. At your service!

SIR ANDREW

I hope, sir, you are, and I am yours.

SIR ANDREW

I hope so, sir, and I am at your service too.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Will you encounter the house? My niece is desirous you should enter, if your trade be to her.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Will you come in the house? My niece wants you to, if your business is with her.

VIOLA

I am bound to your niece, sir. I mean, she is the list of my voyage.

VIOLA

I'm bound for your niece, sir. I mean, she's the destination of my voyage.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Taste your legs, sir. Put them to motion.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Try your legs then sir, and put them in motion.

VIOLA

My legs do better understand me, sir, than I understandwhat you mean by bidding me taste my legs.

VIOLA

My legs stand under me better than I understand you, and what you mean by "try your legs."

SIR TOBY BELCH

I mean, to go, sir, to enter.

SIR TOBY BELCH

I mean to enter the house, sir.

VIOLA

I will answer you with gait and entrance. But we are prevented.

VIOLA

I'll answer you by walking in. But we've been anticipated.

Enter OLIVIA and MARIA

Most excellent accomplished lady, the heavens rain odors on you!

Most excellent accomplished lady, may the heavens rain odors upon you!

SIR ANDREW

( aside ) That youth’s a rare courtier. “Rain odors.” Well.

SIR ANDREW

[To himself] That youth's a classy fellow. "Rain odors." Nice.

VIOLA

My matter hath no voice, lady, but to your own most pregnant and vouchsafed ear.

VIOLA

My message can't be told to anyone, my lady. It's only for your own willing and receptive ears.

SIR ANDREW

[aside] “Odors,” “pregnant,” and “vouchsafed.” I’ll get'em all three all ready.

SIR ANDREW

[To himself) "Odors," "willing," and "receptive." I'll have to remember those.

OLIVIA

Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my hearing.

OLIVIA

Close the garden door and let me be alone to hear this message.

Exeunt SIR TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW, and MARIA

Give me your hand, sir.

Give me your hand, sir.

VIOLA

My duty, madam, and most humble service.

VIOLA

I offer you my obedience, madam, and my most humble service.

OLIVIA

What is your name?

OLIVIA

What is your name?

VIOLA

Cesario is your servant’s name, fair princess.

VIOLA

Cesario is your servant's name, fair princess.

OLIVIA

My servant, sir! 'Twas never merry world Since lowly feigning was call’d compliment. You’re servant to the Count Orsino, youth.

OLIVIA

My servant, sir! The world has gone downhill since false humility started passing for a compliment. You're Duke Orsino's servant, youth, not mine.

VIOLA

And he is yours, and his must needs be yours:Your servant’s servant is your servant, madam.

VIOLA

But he is your servant, so all that he has is yours too. Your servant's servant is your servant, madam.

OLIVIA

For him, I think not on him. For his thoughts,Would they were blanks, rather than fill’d with me.

OLIVIA

As for him, I don't think about him. And as for his thoughts, I wish that they were blank pages instead of filled with pictures of me.

VIOLA

Madam, I come to whet your gentle thoughtsOn his behalf.

VIOLA

Madam, I've come on his behalf to improve your feelings towards him.

OLIVIA

O, by your leave, I pray you, I bade you never speak again of him. But, would you undertake another suit, I had rather hear you to solicit that Than music from the spheres.

OLIVIA

Oh, please, I beg you, I asked you never speak of him again. But if you would tell me that another man loves me instead, I would rather hear that than angels singing.

VIOLA

Dear lady—

VIOLA

Dear lady—

OLIVIA

Give me leave, beseech you. I did send, After the last enchantment you did here, A ring in chase of you. So did I abuse Myself, my servant, and, I fear me, you: Under your hard construction must I sit, To force that on you, in a shameful cunning Which you knew none of yours. What might you think? Have you not set mine honor at the stake, And baited it with all the unmuzzled thoughts That tyrannous heart can think? To one of your receiving Enough is shown. A cypress, not a bosom, Hides my heart. So, let me hear you speak.

OLIVIA

Please, let me speak. After the magic spell you cast on me last time you were here, I sent that ring to you. With that trick I degraded myself, my servant, and you, I'm afraid. I must then accept your judgment of this act, which you probably condemn—for I forced that ring on you through shameful trickery, and without your consent. What must you think of me? Haven't you tied my honor to a stake like a bear, and let the hounds of your anger attack it? But I've shown my situation clearly enough for someone of your intelligence to understand. My heart's on my sleeve—I can't hide my passion. So let me hear you speak.

VIOLA

I pity you.

VIOLA

I pity you.

OLIVIA

That’s a degree to love.

OLIVIA

That's a step towards love.

VIOLA

No, not a grize. For ’tis a vulgar proofThat very oft we pity enemies.

VIOLA

No, not a step. It's a common experience that we often pity our enemies.

OLIVIA

Why then methinks ’tis time to smile again. O world, how apt the poor are to be proud! If one should be a prey, how much the better To fall before the lion than the wolf!

OLIVIA

Then I think it's time for me to smile again. Oh, how easy it is for the poor to be proud of something they don't have! But if I must be defeated, then better to be defeated by a noble enemy than a lowly one.

A cloud strikes.

The clock upbraids me with the waste of time. Be not afraid, good youth, I will not have you. And yet when wit and youth is come to harvest, Your wife is like to reap a proper man. There lies your way, due west.

See, the clock scolds me for wasting time. Don't worry, youth, I won't keep pursuing you. And when you're older and wiser, your future wife will have a fine handsome husband. There's your way back home, due west.

VIOLA

Then westward ho!Grace and good disposition attend your ladyship!You’ll nothing, madam, to my lord by me?

VIOLA

Then I'm off to the west! I wish you the best of fortune. You don't have a message for the duke?

OLIVIA

Stay, I prithee, tell me what thou thinkest of me.

OLIVIA

Stay, please, and tell me what you really think of me.

VIOLA

That you do think you are not what you are.

VIOLA

I think that you're not who you think you are.

OLIVIA

If I think so, I think the same of you.

OLIVIA

If that's true, then I think the same thing of you.

VIOLA

Then think you right: I am not what I am.

VIOLA

Then you're correct. I am not what I seem to be.

OLIVIA

I would you were as I would have you be!

OLIVIA

I wish you were what I want you to be!

VIOLA

Would it be better, madam, than I am? I wish it might, for now I am your fool.

VIOLA

Would that be better, madam, than me being what I am? I wish that it would, for right now I'm a fool.

OLIVIA

(aside] Oh, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful In the contempt and anger of his lip! A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon Than love that would seem hid. Love’s night is noon. [To VIOLA] Cesario, by the roses of the spring, By maidhood, honor, truth, and everything, I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide. Do not extort thy reasons from this clause, For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause, But rather reason thus with reason fetter. Love sought is good, but given unsought better.

OLIVIA

[To herself] Oh, look how beautiful he is even in his anger and contempt! A murderer's guilt is easier to hide than feelings of love. Midday is like nighttime for love—that's how brightly passion shines.

[To VIOLA]
 Cesario, I swear by the roses of spring, by virginity, by honor, by truth, and by everything, that I love you. I love you so much that neither my wit nor my reason can hide my passion, despite your pride. Don't draw the wrong conclusions from this, though—just because I'm wooing you doesn't mean you shouldn't woo me. Use your better logic and see that love asked for is good, but love freely given is better.

VIOLA

By innocence I swear, and by my youth I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth, And that no woman has, nor never none Shall mistress be of it, save I alone. And so adieu, good madam. Nevermore Will I my master’s tears to you deplore.

VIOLA

And I swear by innocence and by my own youth that I have only one heart and one love to give, and no woman has ever ruled them, and never will—except for myself. And so I'll say farewell, good madam. I'll never again try to make you pity my master's passion.

OLIVIA

Yet come again, for thou perhaps mayst move That heart, which now abhors, to like his love.

OLIVIA

But come again, for you might still convince my heart, which hates him now, to somehow accept his love.

Exeunt

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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.