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Oli. From the count Orsino, is it?
Mar. I know not, madam; 'tis a fair young man, and well attended.
Oli. Who of my people hold him in delay?
Oli. Fetch him off, I pray you; he speaks nothing but madman: Fie on him! [Exit MARIA.] Go you, Malvolio; if it be a suit from the count, I am sick, or not at home; what you will to dismiss it. [Exit Malvolio.] Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and people dislike it.
Clo. Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest son should be a fool: whose skull Jove cram with brains, for here he comes, one of thy kin, has a most weak pia mater8.
Enter Sir Toby Belch. Oli. By mine honour, half drunk..What is he at the gate, cousin ?
Sir To. A gentleman.
Sir To. 'Tis a gentleman here—A plague o’these pickle-herrings !-How now, sot?
Clo. Good Sir Toby,
Oli. Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy?
Sir To. Lechery! I defy lechery : There's one at the gate.
Oli. Ay, marry; what is he?
Sir To. Let him be the devil, an he will, I care not: give me faith, say I. Well, it's all one. (Exit.
Oli. What's a drunken man like, fool ?
Clo. Like a drown'd man, a fool, and a madman: one draught above heat makes him a fool; the second mads him; and a third drowns him.
8 The membrane that covers the brain. VOL. I.
Oli. Go thou and seek the coroner, and let him sit o' my coz; for he's in the third degree of drink; he's drown'd; go, look after him.
Clo. He is but mad yet, madonna; and the fool shall look to the madman.
[Exit Clown. Re-enter Malvolio. Mal. Madam, yond' young fellow swears he will speak with you. I told him you were sick; he takes on him to understand so much, and therefore comes to speak with you: I told him you were asleep; he seems to have a foreknowledge of that too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is to be said to him, lady? he's fortified against any denial.
Oli. Tell him, he shall not speak with me. Mal. He has been told so: and he says, he'll stand at your door like a sheriff's posto, and be the supporter of a bench, but he'll speak with you.
Oli. What kind of man is he?
Mal. Of very ill manner; he'll speak with you, will you or no.
Oli. Of what personage and years is he?
Mal. Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy; as a squash is before 'tis a peascod, or a codling 10 when 'tis almost an apple: 'tis with him e’en standing water, between boy and man. He is very well favoured, and he speaks very shrew
9 The sheriffs formerly had painted posts set up at their doors on which proclamations, &c. were affixed.
10 A codling (according to Mr. Gifford), means an involucrum or kell, and was used by our old writers for that early state of vegetation, when the fruit, after shaking off the blossom, began to assume a globular and determinate shape. Mr. Nares says, a codling was a young raw apple, fit for nothing without dressing, and that it is so named because it was chiefly eaten when coddled or scalded ; codlings being particularly so used when unripe. Florio interprets * Mele cotte, quodlings, boiled apples.'
ishly; one would think, his mother's milk were
Oli. Let him approach: Call in my gentlewoman.
Oli. Speak to me, I shall answer for her: Your will ?
Vio. Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty,-I pray you, tell me, if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her: I would be loath to cast away my speech; for, besides that it is excellently well penn’d, I have taken great pains to con it. Good beauties, let me sustain no scorn; I am very comptible 11, even to the least sinister usage.
Oli. Whence came you, sir?
Vio. I can say little more than I have studied, and that question's out of my part. Good gentle one, give me modest assurance, if you be the lady of the house, that I may proceed in my speech.
Oli. Are you a comedian ?
Vio. No, my profound heart: and yet, by the very fangs of malice, I swear, I am not that I play. Are you the lady of the house?
Oli. If I do not usurp myself, I am.
Vio. Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself; for what is yours to bestow, is not yours to reserve. But this is from my commission: I will on with my speech in your praise, and then shew you the heart of my message.
Oli. Come to what is important in't: I forgive you the praise.
Vio. Alas, I took great pains to study it, and 'tis poetical.
Oli. It is the more like to be feigned; I pray you, keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates; and allowed your approach, rather to wonder at you than to hear you. If you be not mad 12, be gone; if you have reason, be brief: 'tis not that time of moon with me, to make one in so skipping 13 a dialogue.
Mar. Will you hoist sail, sir ? here lies your way.
Vio. No, good swabber: I am to hull 14 here a little longer.—Some mollification for your giant 15, sweet lady.
Oli. Tell me your mind.
Oli. Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.
Vio. It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of war, no taxation of homage; I hold the olive in my hand: my words are as full of peace as matter.
Oli. Yet you began rudely. What are you? what would you ?
Vio. The rudeness, that hath appear'd in me, have I learn’d from my entertainment. What I am, and
12 The sense seems to require that we should read — if you be mad, begone.' For the words be mad in the first part of the sentence are opposed to reason in the second.
13 i. e. wild, frolick, mad.
14 To hull means to drive to and fro upon the water without sails or rudder. .
15 Ladies in romance are guarded by giants. Viola seeing the waiting-maid so eager to oppose her message entreats Olivia to pacify her giant. There is also a pleasant allusion to the diminative size of Maria, who is subsequently called little villain, youngest wren of nine, &c. It should be recollected that the female parts were played by boys.
what I would, are as secret as maidenhead: to your ears, divinity; to any other's, profanation.
Oli. Give us the place alone; we will hear this divinity. [Exit MARIA.] Now, sir, what is your text?
Vio. Most sweet lady,
Oli. A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lies your text.
Vio. In Orsino's bosom?
Vio. To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.
Oli. 0, I have read it; it is heresy. Have you no more to say ?
Vio. Good madam, let me see your face.
Oli. Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? you are now out of your text: but we will draw the curtain, and shew you the picture. Look you, sir, such a one as I was, this presents 16 :-Is't not well done? [Unveiling.
Vio. Excellently done, if God did all.
Oli. 'Tis in grain, sir; 'twill endure wind and weather.
Vio. 'Tis beauty truly blent 17, whose red and white Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on: Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive, If you will lead these graces to the grave, And leave the world no copy 18.
16 The old copy reads, “Look you, sir, such a one as I was this present.' M. Mason proposed to read Look you, sir, such as once I was, this presents. The simple emendation in the text, wbich I have ventured upon, makes it intelligible. We may by the slight transposition of a word make it explain itself: “Look you, sir, such a one I was, as this presents.'
17 Blended, mixed together.
18 Shakspeare has a similar thought repeated in his third, ninth, eleventh, and thinteenth sonnets.