Basics

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Genders
  • : 1
  • : 2
Age Ranges
  • Adult
  • Mature Adult
Style
Period
Time/Place
Illyria, sixteenth-century
Act/Scene
Act 1 Scene 3

Scene Context

At the beginning of the scene, Maria is gently admonishing Sir Toby for his late night revelry but

Scene Text

SIR TOBY.

What a plague means my niece, to take the death of her brother thus? I am sure care's an enemy to

life.

MARIA.

By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o' nights; your cousin, my lady, takes great

exceptions to your ill hours.

SIR TOBY.

Why, let her except, before excepted.

MARIA.

Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of order.

SIR TOBY.

Confine? I'll confine myself no finer than I am: these clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be

these boots too; an they be not, let them hang themselves in their own straps.

MARIA.

That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish

knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer.

SIR TOBY.

Who? Sir Andrew Ague-cheek?

MARIA.

Ay, he.

SIR TOBY.

He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria.

MARIA.

What's that to the purpose?

SIR TOBY.

Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.

MARIA.

Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these ducats; he's a very fool, and a prodigal.

SIR TOBY.

Fye that you'll say so! he plays o' the viol-de-gambo, and speaks three or four languages

word for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of nature.

MARIA.

He hath indeed,—almost natural: for, besides that he's a fool, he's a great quarreller; and, but that

he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he hath in quarrelling, 'tis thought among the prudent

he would quickly have the gift of a grave.

SIR TOBY.

By this hand, they are scoundrels and subtractors that say so of him. Who are they?

MARIA.

They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company.

SIR TOBY.

With drinking healths to my niece; I'll drink to her as long as there is a passage in my throat and

drink in Illyria. He's a coward and a coystril that will not drink to my niece till his brains turn o'

the toe like a parish-top. What, wench! Castiliano-vulgo! for here comes Sir Andrew Ague-face.

[Enter SIR ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK.]

AGUE-CHEEK.

Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby Belch!

SIR TOBY.

Sweet Sir Andrew?

SIR ANDREW.

Bless you, fair shrew.

MARIA.

And you too, sir.

SIR TOBY.

Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.

SIR ANDREW.

What's that?

SIR TOBY.

My niece's chamber-maid.

SIR ANDREW.

Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.

MARIA.

My name is Mary, sir.

SIR ANDREW.

Good Mistress Mary Accost,—

SIR TOBY.

You mistake, knight: accost is, front her, board her, woo her, assail her.

SIR ANDREW.

By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company.

Is that the meaning of accost?

MARIA.

Fare you well, gentlemen.

SIR TOBY.

An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou mightst never draw sword again.

SIR ANDREW.

An you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have

fools in hand?

MARIA.

Sir, I have not you by the hand.

SIR ANDREW.

Marry, but you shall have; and here's my hand.

MARIA.

Now, sir, thought is free. I pray you, bring your hand to the buttery-bar and let it drink.

SIR ANDREW.

Wherefore, sweetheart? what's your metaphor?

MARIA.

It's dry, sir.

SIR ANDREW.

Why, I think so; I am not such an ass but I can keep my hand dry. But what's your jest?

MARIA.

A dry jest, sir.

SIR ANDREW.

Are you full of them?

MARIA.

Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers' ends: marry, now I let go your hand I am barren.

[Exit MARIA.]

SIR TOBY.

O knight, thou lack'st a cup of canary: When did I see thee so put down?

SIR ANDREW.

Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary put me down. Methinks sometimes I have no more wit

than a Christian or an ordinary man has; but I am great eater of beef, and, I believe, that does harm

to my wit.

SIR TOBY.

No question.

SIR ANDREW.

An I thought that, I'd forswear it. I'll ride home to-morrow, Sir Toby.

SIR TOBY.

Pourquoy, my dear knight?

SIR ANDREW.

What is pourquoy? do or not do? I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in

fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting. Oh, had I but followed the arts!

SIR TOBY.

Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.

SIR ANDREW.

Why, would that have mended my hair?

SIR TOBY.

Past question; for thou seest it will not curl by nature.

SIR ANDREW.

But it becomes me well enough, does't not?

SIR TOBY.

Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a houswife take thee between her legs

and spin it off.

SIR ANDREW.

Faith, I'll home to-morrow, Sir Toby; your niece will not be seen; or, if she be, it's four to one

she'll none of me; the count himself here hard by woos her.

SIR TOBY.

She'll none o' the Count; she'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have

heard her swear't. Tut, there's life in't, man.

SIR ANDREW.

I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o' the strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques and

revels sometimes altogether.

SIR TOBY.

Art thou good at these kick-shaws, knight?

SIR ANDREW.

As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare

with an old man.

SIR TOBY.

What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?

SIR ANDREW.

Faith, I can cut a caper.

SIR TOBY.

And I can cut the mutton to't.

SIR ANDREW.

And, I think, I have the back-trick simply as strong as any man in Illyria.

SIR TOBY.

Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have these gifts a curtain before them? are they like to

take dust, like Mistress Mall's picture? why dost thou not go to church in a galliard and come home in

a coranto? My very walk should be a jig; I would not so much as make water but in a sink-a-pace. What

dost thou mean? is it a world to hide virtues in? I did think, by the excellent constitution of thy

leg, it was formed under the star of a galliard.

SIR ANDREW.

Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well in flame-colour'd stock. Shall we set about some revels?

SIR TOBY.

What shall we do else? were we not born under Taurus?

SIR ANDREW.

Taurus? that's sides and heart.

SIR TOBY.

No, sir; it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper: ha, higher: ha, ha!—excellent!

Williams Shakespeare Twelfth Night Act 1 sc.3

[Full text is available on Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/1526/pg1526.html