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Twelfth Night - Act 2, scene 4
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Navigate this workTwelfth Night - Act 2, scene 4
Act 2, scene 4
Orsino asks for a song to relieve his love-longing. In conversation about the capacities for love in men and in women, Viola expresses her love for Orsino through a story about “Cesario’s sister.” Orsino becomes curious about this sister’s fate, but then turns back to his own longings and sends Cesario once again to visit Olivia.Enter ⌜Orsino,⌝ Viola, Curio, and others.
0891 Give me some music. ⌜Music plays.⌝ Now, good
0892 morrow, friends.—
0893 Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song,
0894 That old and antique song we heard last night.
0895 5 Methought it did relieve my passion much,
0896 More than light airs and recollected terms
0897 Of these most brisk and giddy-pacèd times.
0898 Come, but one verse.
CURIO 0899 He is not here, so please your Lordship, that
0900 10 should sing it.
ORSINO 0901 Who was it?
CURIO 0902 Feste the jester, my lord, a Fool that the Lady
0903 Olivia’s father took much delight in. He is about
0904 the house.
0905 15 Seek him out ⌜Curio exits,⌝ and play the tune the
0906 while.Music plays.
0907 ⌜To Viola.⌝ Come hither, boy. If ever thou shalt love,
0908 In the sweet pangs of it remember me,
0909 For such as I am, all true lovers are,
0910 20 Unstaid and skittish in all motions else
0911 Save in the constant image of the creature
0912 That is beloved. How dost thou like this tune?
0913 It gives a very echo to the seat
0914 Where love is throned.
ORSINO 0915 25 Thou dost speak masterly.
0916 My life upon ’t, young though thou art, thine eye
0917 Hath stayed upon some favor that it loves.
0918 Hath it not, boy?
VIOLA 0919 A little, by your favor.
0920 30 What kind of woman is ’t?
VIOLA 0921 Of your complexion.
0922 She is not worth thee, then. What years, i’ faith?
VIOLA 0923 About your years, my lord.
0924 Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman take
0925 35 An elder than herself. So wears she to him;
0926 So sways she level in her husband’s heart.
0927 For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
0928 Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
0929 More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
0930 40 Than women’s are.
VIOLA 0931 I think it well, my lord.
0932 Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
0933 Or thy affection cannot hold the bent.
0934 For women are as roses, whose fair flower,
0935 45 Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.
0936 And so they are. Alas, that they are so,
0937 To die even when they to perfection grow!
Enter Curio and ⌜Feste, the Fool.⌝
0938 O, fellow, come, the song we had last night.—
0939 Mark it, Cesario. It is old and plain;
0940 50 The spinsters and the knitters in the sun
0941 And the free maids that weave their thread with
0943 Do use to chant it. It is silly sooth,
0944 And dallies with the innocence of love
0945 55 Like the old age.
FOOL 0946 Are you ready, sir?
ORSINO 0947 Ay, prithee, sing.Music.
0948 Come away, come away, death,
0949 And in sad cypress let me be laid.
0950 60 ⌜Fly⌝ away, ⌜fly⌝ away, breath,
0951 I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
0952 My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
0953 O, prepare it!
0954 My part of death, no one so true
0955 65 Did share it.
0956 Not a flower, not a flower sweet
0957 On my black coffin let there be strown;
0958 Not a friend, not a friend greet
0959 My poor corpse where my bones shall be thrown.
0960 70 A thousand thousand sighs to save,
0961 Lay me, O, where
0962 Sad true lover never find my grave
0963 To weep there.
ORSINO, ⌜giving money⌝ 0964 There’s for thy pains.
FOOL 0965 75No pains, sir. I take pleasure in singing, sir.
ORSINO 0966 I’ll pay thy pleasure, then.
FOOL 0967 Truly sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or
ORSINO 0969 Give me now leave to leave thee.
FOOL 0970 80Now the melancholy god protect thee and the
0971 tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy
0972 mind is a very opal. I would have men of such
0973 constancy put to sea, that their business might be
0974 everything and their intent everywhere, for that’s it
0975 85 that always makes a good voyage of nothing.
0976 Farewell.He exits.
0977 Let all the rest give place.
⌜All but Orsino and Viola exit.⌝
0978 Once more, Cesario,
p. 730979 Get thee to yond same sovereign cruelty.
0980 90 Tell her my love, more noble than the world,
0981 Prizes not quantity of dirty lands.
0982 The parts that Fortune hath bestowed upon her,
0983 Tell her, I hold as giddily as Fortune.
0984 But ’tis that miracle and queen of gems
0985 95 That nature pranks her in attracts my soul.
VIOLA 0986 But if she cannot love you, sir—
0987 ⌜I⌝ cannot be so answered.
VIOLA 0988 Sooth, but you must.
0989 Say that some lady, as perhaps there is,
0990 100 Hath for your love as great a pang of heart
0991 As you have for Olivia. You cannot love her;
0992 You tell her so. Must she not then be answered?
ORSINO 0993 There is no woman’s sides
0994 Can bide the beating of so strong a passion
0995 105 As love doth give my heart; no woman’s heart
0996 So big, to hold so much; they lack retention.
0997 Alas, their love may be called appetite,
0998 No motion of the liver but the palate,
0999 That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt;
1000 110 But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
1001 And can digest as much. Make no compare
1002 Between that love a woman can bear me
1003 And that I owe Olivia.
VIOLA 1004 Ay, but I know—
ORSINO 1005 115What dost thou know?
1006 Too well what love women to men may owe.
1007 In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
1008 My father had a daughter loved a man
1009 As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
1010 120 I should your Lordship.
ORSINO 1011 And what’s her history?
1012 A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
1013 But let concealment, like a worm i’ th’ bud,
1014 Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought,
1015 125 And with a green and yellow melancholy
1016 She sat like Patience on a monument,
1017 Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
1018 We men may say more, swear more, but indeed
1019 Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
1020 130 Much in our vows but little in our love.
1021 But died thy sister of her love, my boy?
1022 I am all the daughters of my father’s house,
1023 And all the brothers, too—and yet I know not.
1024 Sir, shall I to this lady?
ORSINO 1025 135 Ay, that’s the theme.
1026 To her in haste. Give her this jewel. Say
1027 My love can give no place, bide no denay.
⌜He hands her a jewel and⌝ they exit.