A line-by-line translation

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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Enter SIR TOBY BELCH, SIR ANDREW, and FABIAN

SIR ANDREW

No, faith, I’ll not stay a jot longer.

SIR ANDREW

No, really, I won't stay a moment longer.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Thy reason, dear venom, give thy reason.

SIR TOBY BELCH

What's your reason for leaving, my bitter friend?

FABIAN

You must needs yield your reason, Sir Andrew.

FABIAN

Yes, you must tell us your reason, Sir Andrew.

SIR ANDREW

Marry, I saw your niece do more favors to the Count’s servingman than ever she bestowed upon me. I saw’t i'theorchard.

SIR ANDREW

Well, I saw your niece Olivia treating the Duke's messenger better than she has ever treated me. I saw it in the garden.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Did she see thee the while, old boy? Tell me that.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Did she see you at the time though, old boy? Tell me that.

SIR ANDREW

As plain as I see you now.

SIR ANDREW

Yes, she saw me as plainly as I see you now.

FABIAN

This was a great argument of love in her toward you.

FABIAN

Then that was proof that she loves you.

SIR ANDREW

'Slight, will you make an ass o' me?

SIR ANDREW

What, are trying to make a fool of me?

FABIAN

I will prove it legitimate, sir, upon the oaths of judgment and reason.

FABIAN

I'll prove it to be true, sir, with judgment and logic.

SIR TOBY BELCH

And they have been grand-jurymen since before Noah was a sailor.

SIR TOBY BELCH

And judgment and logic have been wise jury members since the time of Noah's ark.

FABIAN

She did show favor to the youth in your sight only to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valor, to put fire in your heart and brimstone in your liver. You should then have accosted her, and with some excellent jests, fire-new from the mint, you should have banged the youth into dumbness. This was looked for at your hand, and this was balked. The double gilt of this opportunity you let time wash off, and you are now sailed into the north of my lady’s opinion, where you will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman’s beard, unless you do redeem it by some laudable attempt either of valor or policy.

FABIAN

She treated the youth so well while you were watching to exasperate and anger you, to wake up your meekly sleeping boldness, to fire up your passions. You should have approached her that minute, whipped out some excellent jokes you invented right there on the spot, and humiliated the youth into silence. That was the opening she gave you, but you missed it. This was a golden opportunity for you, but you let it slip away, and now you've sailed out of the warmth of my lady's good opinion. You'll stay there like an icicle in a sailor's beard unless you can redeem yourself to her through some noble act of bravery or politics.

SIR ANDREW

An ’t be any way, it must be with valor, for policy I hate. I had as lief be a Brownist as a politician.

SIR ANDREW

If I have to do something, it must be something brave, for I hate politics. I'd rather be a heretic than a politician.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Why, then, build me thy fortunes upon the basis of valor. Challenge me the count’s youth to fight with him. Hurt him in eleven places. My niece shall take note of it, and assure thyself, there is no love-broker in the world can more prevail in man’s commendation with woman than report of valor.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Well then, improve your fortunes through your bravery. Challenge the duke's young servant to a fight. Hurt him in eleven places. My niece will notice this, and let me assure you, no matchmaker in the world can win you a woman's love like a reputation for bravery can.

FABIAN

There is no way but this, Sir Andrew.

FABIAN

This is the only way, Sir Andrew.

SIR ANDREW

Will either of you bear me a challenge to him?

SIR ANDREW

Will either of you deliver the message of my challenge to him?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Go, write it in a martial hand. Be curst and brief. Itis no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and full of invention. Taunt him with the license of ink. If thou “thou”-est him some thrice, it shall not be amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, althoughthe sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware in England, set 'em down. Go, about it. Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter. About it.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Go and write it down, in fierce handwriting. Be rude and brief. It doesn't need to be witty, as long as it's eloquent and original. Taunt him with all the possibilities of writing. Refer to him familiarly three times at least, which will insult his pride as a nobleman. As many lies as you can fit on a piece of paper—even if the paper's as big as a royal bed—write 'em all down. Go, get started now. Even if you're using an ordinary pen, you can still fill it with bitter, venomous ink. Now go ahead.

SIR ANDREW

Where shall I find you?

SIR ANDREW

Where will I find you when I'm done?

SIR TOBY BELCH

We’ll call thee at the cubiculo. Go.

SIR TOBY BELCH

We'll meet you in the little room. Now go.

Exit SIR ANDREW

FABIAN

This is a dear manikin to you, Sir Toby.

FABIAN

This knight is a beloved puppet to you, Sir Toby.

SIR TOBY BELCH

I have been dear to him, lad, some two thousand strong,or so.

SIR TOBY BELCH

And I've been a beloved expense to him, as he's spent two thousand or so of his ducats on me.

FABIAN

We shall have a rare letter from him: but you’ll not deliver ’t?

FABIAN

His letter's sure to be a work of art. But you won't deliver it, will you?

SIR TOBY BELCH

Never trust me, then. And by all means stir on the youth to an answer. I think oxen and wainropes cannot hale them together. For Andrew, if he were opened and you find so much blood in his liver as will clog the foot of a flea, I’ll eat the rest of the anatomy.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Never trust me again if I don't. And by all means encourage the youth to answer the knight's challenge. An oxcart couldn't haul them close enough together to fight. As for Andrew, if you dissected him and found enough red blood in his liver for even a flea to notice, I'd eat the rest of his body. He's a coward through and through.

FABIAN

And his opposite, the youth, bears in his visage no great presage of cruelty.

FABIAN

And his opponent, the youth, doesn't seem to have much aggression in his face either.

Enter MARIA

SIR TOBY BELCH

Look where the youngest wren of nine comes.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Look, here comes the smallest bird of all.

MARIA

If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourself into stitches, follow me. Yond gull Malvolio is turned heathen, a very renegado. For there is no Christian thatmeans to be saved by believing rightly can ever believesuch impossible passages of grossness. He’s in yellow stockings.

MARIA

If you want to have a laughing fit, and really laugh until you split your sides, then follow me. That gullible Malvolio must have renounced Christianity, for no Christian who intends to go to heaven by his faith could ever believe the absurd, exaggerated things like we put in that letter. He's wearing yellow stockings.

SIR TOBY BELCH

And cross-gartered?

SIR TOBY BELCH

With crossed laces?

MARIA

Most villanously, like a pedant that keeps a school i' the church. I have dogged him, like his murderer. He does obey every point of the letter that I dropped to betray him. He does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies. You have not seen such a thing as ’tis. I can hardly forbear hurling things at him. I know my lady will strike him. If she do, he’ll smile and take ’t for a great favor.

MARIA

Yes, and they look awful—like an unfashionable village schoolteacher. I've been stalking him like a murderer, and he's followed every instruction I gave in that letter I dropped. He smiles so much that his face has more lines in it than a map of the Indies. You've never seen anything like this. I can hardly keep from throwing things at him. I know my lady will get so annoyed she'll hit him eventually, and when she does, he'll just smile and imagine that she's flattering him.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Come, bring us, bring us where he is.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Come, bring us, bring us where he is.

Exeunt

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.