Act IV

Oil painting of Olivia, seated, and Viola dressed as a man, standing.  Olivia is holding Viola's hand and looking desperately up at her, while Viola has an expression of doubt and looks away from Olivia.

Viola and the Countess, 1859

Act IV, Scene 1

Before OLIVIA’s house.

[Enter SEBASTIAN and Clown]

Feste. Will you make me believe that I am not sent for you?

Sebastian. Go to, go to, thou art a foolish fellow:
Let me be clear of thee.1955

Feste. Well held out, i’ faith! No, I do not know you; nor
I am not sent to you by my lady, to bid you come
speak with her; nor your name is not Master Cesario;
nor this is not my nose neither. Nothing that is so is so.

Sebastian. I prithee, vent thy folly somewhere else: Thou 1960
know’st not me.

Feste. Vent my folly! he has heard that word of some
great man and now applies it to a fool. Vent my
folly! I am afraid this great lubber, the world,
will prove a cockney. I prithee now, ungird thy 1965
strangeness and tell me what I shall vent to my
lady: shall I vent to her that thou art coming?

Sebastian. I prithee, foolish Greek, depart from me: There’s
money for thee: if you tarry longer, I shall give
worse payment.1970

Feste. By my troth, thou hast an open hand. These wise men
that give fools money get themselves a good
report—after fourteen years’ purchase.


Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Now, sir, have I met you again? there’s for you.1975

Sebastian. Why, there’s for thee, and there, and there. Are all
the people mad?

Sir Toby Belch. Hold, sir, or I’ll throw your dagger o’er the house.

Feste. This will I tell my lady straight: I would not be
in some of your coats for two pence.1980


Sir Toby Belch. Come on, sir; hold.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Nay, let him alone: I’ll go another way to work
with him; I’ll have an action of battery against
him, if there be any law in Illyria: though I 1985
struck him first, yet it’s no matter for that.

Sebastian. Let go thy hand.

Sir Toby Belch. Come, sir, I will not let you go. Come, my young
soldier, put up your iron: you are well fleshed; come on.

Sebastian. I will be free from thee. What wouldst thou now? If 1990
thou darest tempt me further, draw thy sword.

Sir Toby Belch. What, what? Nay, then I must have an ounce or two
of this malapert blood from you.

[Enter OLIVIA]

Olivia. Hold, Toby; on thy life I charge thee, hold!1995

Sir Toby Belch. Madam!

Olivia. Will it be ever thus? Ungracious wretch,
Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves,
Where manners ne’er were preach’d! out of my sight!
Be not offended, dear Cesario. 2000
Rudesby, be gone!
I prithee, gentle friend,
Let thy fair wisdom, not thy passion, sway
In this uncivil and thou unjust extent 2005
Against thy peace. Go with me to my house,
And hear thou there how many fruitless pranks
This ruffian hath botch’d up, that thou thereby
Mayst smile at this: thou shalt not choose but go:
Do not deny. Beshrew his soul for me, 2010
He started one poor heart of mine in thee.

Sebastian. What relish is in this? how runs the stream?
Or I am mad, or else this is a dream:
Let fancy still my sense in Lethe steep;
If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!2015

Olivia. Nay, come, I prithee; would thou’ldst be ruled by me!

Sebastian. Madam, I will.

Olivia. O, say so, and so be!



Act IV, Scene 2

OLIVIA’s house.

[Enter MARIA and Clown]

Maria. 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.


Feste. Well, I’ll put it on, and I will dissemble myself 2025
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 2030
careful man and a great scholar. The competitors enter.


Sir Toby Belch. Jove bless thee, master Parson.

Feste. Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for, as the old hermit of
Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily 2035
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.

Feste. What, ho, I say! peace in this prison!2040

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

Malvolio. [Within] Who calls there?

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

Malvolio. Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to my lady.2045

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

Sir Toby Belch. Well said, Master Parson.

Malvolio. Sir Topas, never was man thus wronged: good Sir
Topas, do not think I am mad: they have laid me 2050
here in hideous darkness.

Feste. 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?2055

Malvolio. As hell, Sir Topas.

Feste. 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

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

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

Malvolio. I say, this house is as dark as ignorance, though 2065
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.

Feste. What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild fowl?

Malvolio. That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a bird.2070

Feste. What thinkest thou of his opinion?

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

Feste. 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 2075
thou dispossess the soul of thy grandam. Fare thee well.

Malvolio. Sir Topas, Sir Topas!

Sir Toby Belch. My most exquisite Sir Topas!

Feste. Nay, I am for all waters.

Maria. Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and 2080
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 2085
my niece that I cannot pursue with any safety this
sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.


Feste. [Singing]
‘Hey, Robin, jolly Robin, 2090
Tell me how thy lady does.’

Malvolio. Fool!

Feste. ‘My lady is unkind, perdy.’

Malvolio. Fool!

Feste. ‘Alas, why is she so?’2095

Malvolio. Fool, I say!

Feste. ‘She loves another’—Who calls, ha?

Malvolio. 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 2100
thee for’t.

Feste. Master Malvolio?

Malvolio. Ay, good fool.

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

Malvolio. Fool, there was never a man so notoriously abused: I 2105
am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.

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

Malvolio. They have here propertied me; keep me in darkness,
send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to 2110
face me out of my wits.

Feste. 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.2115

Malvolio. Sir Topas!

Feste. 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.

Malvolio. Fool, fool, fool, I say!2120

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

Malvolio. 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.

Feste. Well-a-day that you were, sir2125

Malvolio. 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.

Feste. I will help you to’t. But tell me true, are you 2130
not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit?

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

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

Malvolio. Fool, I’ll requite it in the highest degree: I 2135
prithee, be gone.

Feste. [Singing]
I am gone, sir,
And anon, sir,
I’ll be with you again, 2140
In a trice,
Like to the old Vice,
Your need to sustain;
Who, with dagger of lath,
In his rage and his wrath, 2145
Cries, ah, ha! to the devil:
Like a mad lad,
Pare thy nails, dad;
Adieu, good man devil.



Act IV, Scene 3

OLIVIA’s garden.


Sebastian. This is the air; that is the glorious sun;
This pearl she gave me, I do feel’t and see’t;
And though ’tis wonder that enwraps me thus,
Yet ’tis not madness. Where’s Antonio, then? 2155
I could not find him at the Elephant:
Yet there he was; and there I found this credit,
That he did range the town to seek me out.
His counsel now might do me golden service;
For though my soul disputes well with my sense, 2160
That this may be some error, but no madness,
Yet doth this accident and flood of fortune
So far exceed all instance, all discourse,
That I am ready to distrust mine eyes
And wrangle with my reason that persuades me 2165
To any other trust but that I am mad
Or else the lady’s mad; yet, if ’twere so,
She could not sway her house, command her followers,
Take and give back affairs and their dispatch
With such a smooth, discreet and stable bearing 2170
As I perceive she does: there’s something in’t
That is deceiveable. But here the lady comes.

[Enter OLIVIA and Priest]

Olivia. Blame not this haste of mine. If you mean well,
Now go with me and with this holy man 2175
Into the chantry by: there, before him,
And underneath that consecrated roof,
Plight me the full assurance of your faith;
That my most jealous and too doubtful soul
May live at peace. He shall conceal it 2180
Whiles you are willing it shall come to note,
What time we will our celebration keep
According to my birth. What do you say?

Sebastian. I’ll follow this good man, and go with you;
And, having sworn truth, ever will be true.2185

Olivia. Then lead the way, good father; and heavens so shine,
That they may fairly note this act of mine!