Twelfth Night; or, What You Will (1601)

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

OLIVIA's house.

Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and this beard;
make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate: do
it quickly; I'll call Sir Toby the whilst.

Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself
in't; and I would I were the first that ever
dissembled in such a gown. I am not tall enough to
become the function well, nor lean enough to be
thought a good student; but to be said an honest man
and a good housekeeper goes as fairly as to say a
careful man and a great scholar. The competitors enter.

Sir Toby Belch
Jove bless thee, master Parson.

Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for, as the old hermit of
Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily
said to a niece of King Gorboduc, 'That that is is;'
so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for,
what is 'that' but 'that,' and 'is' but 'is'?

Sir Toby Belch
To him, Sir Topas.

What, ho, I say! peace in this prison!

Sir Toby Belch
The knave counterfeits well; a good knave.

[Within] Who calls there?

Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio
the lunatic.

Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to my lady.

Out, hyperbolical fiend! how vexest thou this man!
talkest thou nothing but of ladies?

Sir Toby Belch
Well said, Master Parson.

Sir Topas, never was man thus wronged: good Sir
Topas, do not think I am mad: they have laid me
here in hideous darkness.

Fie, thou dishonest Satan! I call thee by the most
modest terms; for I am one of those gentle ones
that will use the devil himself with courtesy:
sayest thou that house is dark?

As hell, Sir Topas.

Why it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes,
and the clearstores toward the south north are as
lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of

I am not mad, Sir Topas: I say to you, this house is dark.

Madman, thou errest: I say, there is no darkness
but ignorance; in which thou art more puzzled than
the Egyptians in their fog.

I say, this house is as dark as ignorance, though
ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say, there
was never man thus abused. I am no more mad than you
are: make the trial of it in any constant question.

What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild fowl?

That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a bird.

What thinkest thou of his opinion?

I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve his opinion.

Fare thee well. Remain thou still in darkness:
thou shalt hold the opinion of Pythagoras ere I will
allow of thy wits, and fear to kill a woodcock, lest
thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee well.

Sir Topas, Sir Topas!

Sir Toby Belch
My most exquisite Sir Topas!

Nay, I am for all waters.

Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and
gown: he sees thee not.

Sir Toby Belch
To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how
thou findest him: I would we were well rid of this
knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I
would he were, for I am now so far in offence with
my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this
sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.

'Hey, Robin, jolly Robin,
Tell me how thy lady does.'

'My lady is unkind, perdy.'

'Alas, why is she so?'

Fool, I say!

'She loves another'--Who calls, ha?

Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my
hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink and paper:
as I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to
thee for't.

Master Malvolio?

Ay, good fool.

Alas, sir, how fell you besides your five wits?

Fool, there was never a man so notoriously abused: I
am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.

But as well? then you are mad indeed, if you be no
better in your wits than a fool.

They have here propertied me; keep me in darkness,
send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to
face me out of my wits.

Advise you what you say; the minister is here.
Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore!
endeavour thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain
bibble babble.

Sir Topas!

Maintain no words with him, good fellow. Who, I,
sir? not I, sir. God be wi' you, good Sir Topas.
Merry, amen. I will, sir, I will.

Fool, fool, fool, I say!

Alas, sir, be patient. What say you sir? I am
shent for speaking to you.

Good fool, help me to some light and some paper: I
tell thee, I am as well in my wits as any man in Illyria.

Well-a-day that you were, sir

By this hand, I am. Good fool, some ink, paper and
light; and convey what I will set down to my lady:
it shall advantage thee more than ever the bearing
of letter did.

I will help you to't. But tell me true, are you
not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit?

Believe me, I am not; I tell thee true.

Nay, I'll ne'er believe a madman till I see his
brains. I will fetch you light and paper and ink.

Fool, I'll requite it in the highest degree: I
prithee, be gone.

I am gone, sir,
And anon, sir,
I'll be with you again,
In a trice,
Like to the old Vice,
Your need to sustain;
Who, with dagger of lath,
In his rage and his wrath,
Cries, ah, ha! to the devil:
Like a mad lad,
Pare thy nails, dad;
Adieu, good man devil.


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