Twelfth Night - Act 1, scene 2
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 1, scene 2
On the Adriatic seacoast, Viola, who has been saved from a shipwreck in which her brother may have drowned, hears about Orsino and Olivia. She wishes to join Olivia’s household, but is told that Olivia will admit no one into her presence. Viola decides to disguise herself as a boy so that she can join Orsino’s male retinue.Enter Viola, a Captain, and Sailors.
VIOLA 0044 What country, friends, is this?
CAPTAIN 0045 This is Illyria, lady.
0046 And what should I do in Illyria?
0048 5 Perchance he is not drowned.—What think you,
0050 It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
0051 O, my poor brother! And so perchance may he be.
0052 True, madam. And to comfort you with chance,
0053 10 Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
0054 When you and those poor number saved with you
0055 Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
0056 Most provident in peril, bind himself
0057 (Courage and hope both teaching him the practice)
0058 15 To a strong mast that lived upon the sea,
0059 Where, like ⌜Arion⌝ on the dolphin’s back,
0060 I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
0061 So long as I could see.
VIOLA, ⌜giving him money⌝ 0062 For saying so, there’s gold.
0063 20 Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
0064 Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
0065 The like of him. Know’st thou this country?
0066 Ay, madam, well, for I was bred and born
0067 Not three hours’ travel from this very place.
VIOLA 0068 25Who governs here?
0069 A noble duke, in nature as in name.
VIOLA 0070 What is his name?
CAPTAIN 0071 Orsino.
0072 Orsino. I have heard my father name him.
0073 30 He was a bachelor then.
0074 And so is now, or was so very late;
0075 For but a month ago I went from hence,
0077 What great ones do the less will prattle of)
0078 35 That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
VIOLA 0079 What’s she?
0080 A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
0081 That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her
0082 In the protection of his son, her brother,
0083 40 Who shortly also died, for whose dear love,
0084 They say, she hath abjured the sight
0085 And company of men.
VIOLA 0086 O, that I served that lady,
0087 And might not be delivered to the world
0088 45 Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
0089 What my estate is.
CAPTAIN 0090 That were hard to compass
0091 Because she will admit no kind of suit,
0092 No, not the Duke’s.
0093 50 There is a fair behavior in thee, captain,
0094 And though that nature with a beauteous wall
0095 Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
0096 I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
0097 With this thy fair and outward character.
0098 55 I prithee—and I’ll pay thee bounteously—
0099 Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
0100 For such disguise as haply shall become
0101 The form of my intent. I’ll serve this duke.
0102 Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him.
0103 60 It may be worth thy pains, for I can sing
0104 And speak to him in many sorts of music
0105 That will allow me very worth his service.
0106 What else may hap, to time I will commit.
0107 Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.
0108 65 Be you his eunuch, and your mute I’ll be.
VIOLA 0110 I thank thee. Lead me on.