Act V

Oil Painting depicting Viola, dressed as Cesario, on the street encountering Olivia, surrounded by others

A Scene from Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare: Act V, Scene i

Act V, Scene 1

Before OLIVIA’s house.

[Enter Clown and FABIAN]

Fabian. Now, as thou lovest me, let me see his letter.2190

Feste. Good Master Fabian, grant me another request.

Fabian. Any thing.

Feste. Do not desire to see this letter.

Fabian. This is, to give a dog, and in recompense desire my
dog again.2195

[Enter DUKE ORSINO, VIOLA, CURIO, and Lords]

Orsino. Belong you to the Lady Olivia, friends?

Feste. Ay, sir; we are some of her trappings.

Orsino. I know thee well; how dost thou, my good fellow?

Feste. Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse 2200
for my friends.

Orsino. Just the contrary; the better for thy friends.

Feste. No, sir, the worse.

Orsino. How can that be?

Feste. Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me; 2205
now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass: so that by
my foes, sir I profit in the knowledge of myself,
and by my friends, I am abused: so that,
conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives
make your two affirmatives why then, the worse for 2210
my friends and the better for my foes.

Orsino. Why, this is excellent.

Feste. By my troth, sir, no; though it please you to be
one of my friends.

Orsino. Thou shalt not be the worse for me: there’s gold.2215

Feste. But that it would be double-dealing, sir, I would
you could make it another.

Orsino. O, you give me ill counsel.

Feste. Put your grace in your pocket, sir, for this once,
and let your flesh and blood obey it.2220

Orsino. Well, I will be so much a sinner, to be a
double-dealer: there’s another.

Feste. Primo, secundo, tertio, is a good play; and the old
saying is, the third pays for all: the triplex,
sir, is a good tripping measure; or the bells of 2225
Saint Bennet, sir, may put you in mind; one, two, three.

Orsino. You can fool no more money out of me at this throw:
if you will let your lady know I am here to speak
with her, and bring her along with you, it may awake
my bounty further.2230

Feste. Marry, sir, lullaby to your bounty till I come
again. I go, sir; but I would not have you to think
that my desire of having is the sin of covetousness:
but, as you say, sir, let your bounty take a nap, I
will awake it anon.2235


Viola. Here comes the man, sir, that did rescue me.

[Enter ANTONIO and Officers]

Orsino. That face of his I do remember well;
Yet, when I saw it last, it was besmear’d 2240
As black as Vulcan in the smoke of war:
A bawbling vessel was he captain of,
For shallow draught and bulk unprizable;
With which such scathful grapple did he make
With the most noble bottom of our fleet, 2245
That very envy and the tongue of loss
Cried fame and honour on him. What’s the matter?

First Officer. Orsino, this is that Antonio
That took the Phoenix and her fraught from Candy;
And this is he that did the Tiger board, 2250
When your young nephew Titus lost his leg:
Here in the streets, desperate of shame and state,
In private brabble did we apprehend him.

Viola. He did me kindness, sir, drew on my side;
But in conclusion put strange speech upon me: 2255
I know not what ’twas but distraction.

Orsino. Notable pirate! thou salt-water thief!
What foolish boldness brought thee to their mercies,
Whom thou, in terms so bloody and so dear,
Hast made thine enemies?2260

Antonio. Orsino, noble sir,
Be pleased that I shake off these names you give me:
Antonio never yet was thief or pirate,
Though I confess, on base and ground enough,
Orsino’s enemy. A witchcraft drew me hither: 2265
That most ingrateful boy there by your side,
From the rude sea’s enraged and foamy mouth
Did I redeem; a wreck past hope he was:
His life I gave him and did thereto add
My love, without retention or restraint, 2270
All his in dedication; for his sake
Did I expose myself, pure for his love,
Into the danger of this adverse town;
Drew to defend him when he was beset:
Where being apprehended, his false cunning, 2275
Not meaning to partake with me in danger,
Taught him to face me out of his acquaintance,
And grew a twenty years removed thing
While one would wink; denied me mine own purse,
Which I had recommended to his use 2280
Not half an hour before.

Viola. How can this be?

Orsino. When came he to this town?

Antonio. To-day, my lord; and for three months before,
No interim, not a minute’s vacancy, 2285
Both day and night did we keep company.

[Enter OLIVIA and Attendants]

Orsino. Here comes the countess: now heaven walks on earth.
But for thee, fellow; fellow, thy words are madness:
Three months this youth hath tended upon me; 2290
But more of that anon. Take him aside.

Olivia. What would my lord, but that he may not have,
Wherein Olivia may seem serviceable?
Cesario, you do not keep promise with me.

Viola. Madam!2295

Orsino. Gracious Olivia,—

Olivia. What do you say, Cesario? Good my lord,—

Viola. My lord would speak; my duty hushes me.

Olivia. If it be aught to the old tune, my lord,
It is as fat and fulsome to mine ear 2300
As howling after music.

Orsino. Still so cruel?

Olivia. Still so constant, lord.

Orsino. What, to perverseness? you uncivil lady,
To whose ingrate and unauspicious altars 2305
My soul the faithfull’st offerings hath breathed out
That e’er devotion tender’d! What shall I do?

Olivia. Even what it please my lord, that shall become him.

Orsino. Why should I not, had I the heart to do it,
Like to the Egyptian thief at point of death, 2310
Kill what I love?—a savage jealousy
That sometimes savours nobly. But hear me this:
Since you to non-regardance cast my faith,
And that I partly know the instrument
That screws me from my true place in your favour, 2315
Live you the marble-breasted tyrant still;
But this your minion, whom I know you love,
And whom, by heaven I swear, I tender dearly,
Him will I tear out of that cruel eye,
Where he sits crowned in his master’s spite. 2320
Come, boy, with me; my thoughts are ripe in mischief:
I’ll sacrifice the lamb that I do love,
To spite a raven’s heart within a dove.

Viola. And I, most jocund, apt and willingly,
To do you rest, a thousand deaths would die.2325

Olivia. Where goes Cesario?

Viola. After him I love
More than I love these eyes, more than my life,
More, by all mores, than e’er I shall love wife.
If I do feign, you witnesses above 2330
Punish my life for tainting of my love!

Olivia. Ay me, detested! how am I beguiled!

Viola. Who does beguile you? who does do you wrong?

Olivia. Hast thou forgot thyself? is it so long?
Call forth the holy father.2335

Orsino. Come, away!

Olivia. Whither, my lord? Cesario, husband, stay.

Orsino. Husband!

Olivia. Ay, husband: can he that deny?

Orsino. Her husband, sirrah!2340

Viola. No, my lord, not I.

Olivia. Alas, it is the baseness of thy fear
That makes thee strangle thy propriety:
Fear not, Cesario; take thy fortunes up;
Be that thou know’st thou art, and then thou art 2345
As great as that thou fear’st.
[Enter Priest]
O, welcome, father!
Father, I charge thee, by thy reverence,
Here to unfold, though lately we intended 2350
To keep in darkness what occasion now
Reveals before ’tis ripe, what thou dost know
Hath newly pass’d between this youth and me.

Priest. A contract of eternal bond of love,
Confirm’d by mutual joinder of your hands, 2355
Attested by the holy close of lips,
Strengthen’d by interchangement of your rings;
And all the ceremony of this compact
Seal’d in my function, by my testimony:
Since when, my watch hath told me, toward my grave 2360
I have travell’d but two hours.

Orsino. O thou dissembling cub! what wilt thou be
When time hath sow’d a grizzle on thy case?
Or will not else thy craft so quickly grow,
That thine own trip shall be thine overthrow? 2365
Farewell, and take her; but direct thy feet
Where thou and I henceforth may never meet.

Viola. My lord, I do protest—

Olivia. O, do not swear!
Hold little faith, though thou hast too much fear.2370


Sir Andrew Aguecheek. For the love of God, a surgeon! Send one presently
to Sir Toby.

Olivia. What’s the matter?

Sir Andrew Aguecheek. He has broke my head across and has given Sir Toby2375
a bloody coxcomb too: for the love of God, your
help! I had rather than forty pound I were at home.

Olivia. Who has done this, Sir Andrew?

Sir Andrew Aguecheek. The count’s gentleman, one Cesario: we took him for
a coward, but he’s the very devil incardinate.2380

Orsino. My gentleman, Cesario?

Sir Andrew Aguecheek. ‘Od’s lifelings, here he is! You broke my head for
nothing; and that that I did, I was set on to do’t
by Sir Toby.

Viola. Why do you speak to me? I never hurt you: 2385
You drew your sword upon me without cause;
But I bespoke you fair, and hurt you not.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek. If a bloody coxcomb be a hurt, you have hurt me: I
think you set nothing by a bloody coxcomb.
[Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and Clown] 2390
Here comes Sir Toby halting; you shall hear more:
but if he had not been in drink, he would have
tickled you othergates than he did.

Orsino. How now, gentleman! how is’t with you?

Sir Toby Belch. That’s all one: has hurt me, and there’s the end 2395
on’t. Sot, didst see Dick surgeon, sot?

Feste. O, he’s drunk, Sir Toby, an hour agone; his eyes
were set at eight i’ the morning.

Sir Toby Belch. Then he’s a rogue, and a passy measures panyn: I
hate a drunken rogue.2400

Olivia. Away with him! Who hath made this havoc with them?

Sir Andrew Aguecheek. I’ll help you, Sir Toby, because well be dressed together.

Sir Toby Belch. Will you help? an ass-head and a coxcomb and a
knave, a thin-faced knave, a gull!

Olivia. Get him to bed, and let his hurt be look’d to.2405



Sebastian. I am sorry, madam, I have hurt your kinsman:
But, had it been the brother of my blood,
I must have done no less with wit and safety. 2410
You throw a strange regard upon me, and by that
I do perceive it hath offended you:
Pardon me, sweet one, even for the vows
We made each other but so late ago.

Orsino. One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons, 2415
A natural perspective, that is and is not!

Sebastian. Antonio, O my dear Antonio!
How have the hours rack’d and tortured me,
Since I have lost thee!

Antonio. Sebastian are you?2420

Sebastian. Fear’st thou that, Antonio?

Antonio. How have you made division of yourself?
An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin
Than these two creatures. Which is Sebastian?

Olivia. Most wonderful!2425

Sebastian. Do I stand there? I never had a brother;
Nor can there be that deity in my nature,
Of here and every where. I had a sister,
Whom the blind waves and surges have devour’d.
Of charity, what kin are you to me? 2430
What countryman? what name? what parentage?

Viola. Of Messaline: Sebastian was my father;
Such a Sebastian was my brother too,
So went he suited to his watery tomb:
If spirits can assume both form and suit 2435
You come to fright us.

Sebastian. A spirit I am indeed;
But am in that dimension grossly clad
Which from the womb I did participate.
Were you a woman, as the rest goes even, 2440
I should my tears let fall upon your cheek,
And say ‘Thrice-welcome, drowned Viola!’

Viola. My father had a mole upon his brow.

Sebastian. And so had mine.

Viola. And died that day when Viola from her birth 2445
Had number’d thirteen years.

Sebastian. O, that record is lively in my soul!
He finished indeed his mortal act
That day that made my sister thirteen years.

Viola. If nothing lets to make us happy both 2450
But this my masculine usurp’d attire,
Do not embrace me till each circumstance
Of place, time, fortune, do cohere and jump
That I am Viola: which to confirm,
I’ll bring you to a captain in this town, 2455
Where lie my maiden weeds; by whose gentle help
I was preserved to serve this noble count.
All the occurrence of my fortune since
Hath been between this lady and this lord.

Sebastian. [To OLIVIA] So comes it, lady, you have been mistook: 2460
But nature to her bias drew in that.
You would have been contracted to a maid;
Nor are you therein, by my life, deceived,
You are betroth’d both to a maid and man.

Orsino. Be not amazed; right noble is his blood. 2465
If this be so, as yet the glass seems true,
I shall have share in this most happy wreck.
Boy, thou hast said to me a thousand times
Thou never shouldst love woman like to me.2470

Viola. And all those sayings will I overswear;
And those swearings keep as true in soul
As doth that orbed continent the fire
That severs day from night.

Orsino. Give me thy hand; 2475
And let me see thee in thy woman’s weeds.

Viola. The captain that did bring me first on shore
Hath my maid’s garments: he upon some action
Is now in durance, at Malvolio’s suit,
A gentleman, and follower of my lady’s.2480

Olivia. He shall enlarge him: fetch Malvolio hither:
And yet, alas, now I remember me,
They say, poor gentleman, he’s much distract.
[Re-enter Clown with a letter, and FABIAN]
A most extracting frenzy of mine own 2485
From my remembrance clearly banish’d his.
How does he, sirrah?

Feste. Truly, madam, he holds Belzebub at the staves’s end as
well as a man in his case may do: has here writ a
letter to you; I should have given’t you to-day 2490
morning, but as a madman’s epistles are no gospels,
so it skills not much when they are delivered.

Olivia. Open’t, and read it.

Feste. Look then to be well edified when the fool delivers
the madman. 2495
‘By the Lord, madam,’—

Olivia. How now! art thou mad?

Feste. No, madam, I do but read madness: an your ladyship
will have it as it ought to be, you must allow Vox.2500

Olivia. Prithee, read i’ thy right wits.

Feste. So I do, madonna; but to read his right wits is to
read thus: therefore perpend, my princess, and give ear.

Olivia. Read it you, sirrah.


Fabian. [Reads] ‘By the Lord, madam, you wrong me, and the
world shall know it: though you have put me into
darkness and given your drunken cousin rule over
me, yet have I the benefit of my senses as well as
your ladyship. I have your own letter that induced 2510
me to the semblance I put on; with the which I doubt
not but to do myself much right, or you much shame.
Think of me as you please. I leave my duty a little
unthought of and speak out of my injury.

Olivia. Did he write this?

Feste. Ay, madam.

Orsino. This savours not much of distraction.

Olivia. See him deliver’d, Fabian; bring him hither.
[Exit FABIAN] 2520
My lord so please you, these things further
thought on,
To think me as well a sister as a wife,
One day shall crown the alliance on’t, so please you,
Here at my house and at my proper cost.2525

Orsino. Madam, I am most apt to embrace your offer.
Your master quits you; and for your service done him,
So much against the mettle of your sex,
So far beneath your soft and tender breeding, 2530
And since you call’d me master for so long,
Here is my hand: you shall from this time be
Your master’s mistress.

Olivia. A sister! you are she.

[Re-enter FABIAN, with MALVOLIO]

Orsino. Is this the madman?

Olivia. Ay, my lord, this same.
How now, Malvolio!

Malvolio. Madam, you have done me wrong,
Notorious wrong.2540

Olivia. Have I, Malvolio? no.

Malvolio. Lady, you have. Pray you, peruse that letter.
You must not now deny it is your hand:
Write from it, if you can, in hand or phrase;
Or say ’tis not your seal, nor your invention: 2545
You can say none of this: well, grant it then
And tell me, in the modesty of honour,
Why you have given me such clear lights of favour,
Bade me come smiling and cross-garter’d to you,
To put on yellow stockings and to frown 2550
Upon Sir Toby and the lighter people;
And, acting this in an obedient hope,
Why have you suffer’d me to be imprison’d,
Kept in a dark house, visited by the priest,
And made the most notorious geck and gull 2555
That e’er invention play’d on? tell me why.

Olivia. Alas, Malvolio, this is not my writing,
Though, I confess, much like the character
But out of question ’tis Maria’s hand.
And now I do bethink me, it was she 2560
First told me thou wast mad; then camest in smiling,
And in such forms which here were presupposed
Upon thee in the letter. Prithee, be content:
This practise hath most shrewdly pass’d upon thee;
But when we know the grounds and authors of it, 2565
Thou shalt be both the plaintiff and the judge
Of thine own cause.

Fabian. Good madam, hear me speak,
And let no quarrel nor no brawl to come
Taint the condition of this present hour, 2570
Which I have wonder’d at. In hope it shall not,
Most freely I confess, myself and Toby
Set this device against Malvolio here,
Upon some stubborn and uncourteous parts
We had conceived against him: Maria writ 2575
The letter at Sir Toby’s great importance;
In recompense whereof he hath married her.
How with a sportful malice it was follow’d,
May rather pluck on laughter than revenge;
If that the injuries be justly weigh’d 2580
That have on both sides pass’d.

Olivia. Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!

Feste. Why, ‘some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them.’ I was
one, sir, in this interlude; one Sir Topas, sir; but 2585
that’s all one. ‘By the Lord, fool, I am not mad.’
But do you remember? ‘Madam, why laugh you at such
a barren rascal? an you smile not, he’s gagged:’
and thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

Malvolio. I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you.2590


Olivia. He hath been most notoriously abused.

Orsino. Pursue him and entreat him to a peace:
He hath not told us of the captain yet:
When that is known and golden time convents, 2595
A solemn combination shall be made
Of our dear souls. Meantime, sweet sister,
We will not part from hence. Cesario, come;
For so you shall be, while you are a man;
But when in other habits you are seen, 2600
Orsino’s mistress and his fancy’s queen.

[Exeunt all, except Clown]

Feste. [Sings]
When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, 2605
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, &c.
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate, 2610
For the rain, &c.
But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, &c.
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain, &c. 2615
But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, &c.
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain, &c.
A great while ago the world begun, 2620
With hey, ho, &c.
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.