Twelfth Night; or, What You Will (1601)

Online Critical Edition in Progress - Version 1.b.
Date variant: 1599
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Act III, Scene 2

OLIVIA's house.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
No, faith, I'll not stay a jot longer.

Sir Toby Belch
Thy reason, dear venom, give thy reason.

You must needs yield your reason, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Marry, I saw your niece do more favours to the
count's serving-man than ever she bestowed upon me;
I saw't i' the orchard.

Sir Toby Belch
Did she see thee the while, old boy? tell me that.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
As plain as I see you now.

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

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
'Slight, will you make an ass o' me?

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

Sir Toby Belch
And they have been grand-jury-men since before Noah
was a sailor.

She did show favour to the youth in your sight only
to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valour, 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 valour or policy.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
An't be any way, it must be with valour; for policy
I hate: I had as lief be a Brownist as a

Sir Toby Belch
Why, then, build me thy fortunes upon the basis of
valour. 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 valour.

There is no way but this, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Will either of you bear me a challenge to him?

Sir Toby Belch
Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief;
it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and fun
of invention: taunt him with the licence of ink:
if thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be
amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of
paper, although the 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 Andrew Aguecheek
Where shall I find you?

Sir Toby Belch
We'll call thee at the cubiculo: go.

This is a dear manikin to you, Sir Toby.

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

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

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.

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

Sir Toby Belch
Look, where the youngest wren of nine comes.

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, that means to be saved by believing
rightly, can ever believe such impossible passages
of grossness. He's in yellow stockings.

Sir Toby Belch
And cross-gartered?

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 favour.

Sir Toby Belch
Come, bring us, bring us where he is.


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