Twelfth Night: Act 1, Scene 3

Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA

      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.1      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
1.3.5      earlier a' nights: Your cousin, my lady, takes   a' of | cousin kinswoman
      great exceptions to your ill hours.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      Why, let her except, before excepted.   except, before excepted >>>
       
      MARIA
      Ay, but you must confine yourself within
      the modest limits of order.   modest moderate | order orderly conduct
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.10      Confine! I'll confine myself no finer than I   I'll confine myself no finer >>>
      am: these clothes are good enough to drink in;
      and so be these boots too: and they be not, let   and if
      them hang themselves in their own straps.
       
      MARIA
      That quaffing and drinking will undo you:
1.3.15      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 BELCH
      Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?   Aguecheek >>>
       
      MARIA
      Ay, he.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.20      He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria.   tall valiant, as in "standing tall"
       
      MARIA
      What's that to the purpose?   that i.e., Aguecheek's height (Maria is being
        sarcastic.)
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      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.   he'll have but a year in all these ducats he'll
         spend all of his money in a year
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.25      Fie, that you'll say so! he plays o' the
      viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four   viol-de-gamboys viola da gamba (Literally,
      languages word for word without book, and   "leg-viol.") | without book from memory
      hath all the good gifts of nature.   good gifts of nature natural abilities
       
      MARIA
      He hath indeed, almost natural: for besides that   natural idiotic, retarded
1.3.30      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   allay the gust decrease the gusto
      in quarrelling, 'tis thought among the prudent he
      would quickly have the gift of a grave.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors   substractors (Sir Toby probably means
1.3.35      that say so of him. Who are they?   "detractors.")
       
      MARIA
      They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly   They that add >>>
      in your company.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      With drinking healths to my niece: I'll drink to
      her as long as there is a passage in my throat and
1.3.40      drink in Illyria: he's a coward and a coystrill that   coystrill knave, punk
      will not drink to my niece till his brains turn o'   turn o' the toe spin | parish-top >>>
      the toe like a parish-top. What, wench! Castiliano   Castiliano vulgo! ?, maybe "Talk nice to him!"
      vulgo! for here comes Sir Andrew Agueface.   Agueface (Toby's mistake for, or mockery of,
        "Aguecheek.")
      Enter SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Sir Toby Belch! How now, Sir Toby
1.3.45      Belch?
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      Sweet Sir Andrew!
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Bless you, fair shrew.  shrew >>>
       
      MARIA
      And you too, sir.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.
       
      SIR ANDREW
1.3.50      What's that?
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      My niece's chambermaid.   chambermaid lady in waiting, companion
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Good Mistress Accost, I desire better
      acquaintance.
       
      MARIA
      My name is Mary, sir.
       
      SIR ANDREW
1.3.55      Good Mistress Mary Accost,—
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      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
1.3.60      Fare you well, gentlemen.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would   An thou let part so if you let her just leave
      thou mightst never draw sword again.   thou mightst never draw sword again.
        i.e., you can't claim to be a real man
      SIR ANDREW
      An you part so, mistress, I would I might
      never draw sword again. Fair lady,
1.3.65      do you think you have fools in hand?
       
      MARIA
      Sir, I have not you by th' hand.
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Marry, but you shall have—and here's
      my hand.
       
      MARIA
      Now, sir, "thought is free": I pray you, bring   "thought is free" i.e., everyone is entitled to her
1.3.70      your hand to the buttery-bar and let it drink.   own opinion >>> | buttery where the butts (casks)
         of wine are kept >>>
      SIR ANDREW
      Wherefore, sweet-heart? what's your
      metaphor?
       
      MARIA
      It's dry, sir.   dry thirsty (And a dry hand signifies impotence.)
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Why, I think so: I am not such an ass but
1.3.75      I can keep my hand dry. But what's your jest?   I can keep my hand dry i.e., I know to come in out
        of the rain.
      MARIA
      A dry jest, sir.   dry jest subtly ironic witticism (as in "dry wit")
        and/or stupid butt of a witticism (as in
      SIR ANDREW   "you are a joke")
      Are you full of them?
       
      MARIA
      Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers' ends.   have . . . at my fingers' ends have at the ready
      Marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.   barren incapable of producing (any more jests)
       
      Exit MARIA
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.80      O knight thou lackest a cup of canary.   canary sweet wine from the Canary Islands
      When did I see thee so put down?   put down mocked, defeated in a battle of wits
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary
      put me down. Methinks sometimes I have no more   put me down make me drunk and stupid
      wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has; but I   Christian i.e., average Joe
1.3.85      am a great eater of beef and I believe that does
      harm to my wit.   beef . . . does harm to my wit A common idea of
        the time, echoed in the modern insult, "meathead."
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      No question.
       
      SIR ANDREW
      An I thought that, I'ld forswear it. I'll   An if | I'ld forswear I would give up | it i.e., eating
      ride home to-morrow, Sir Toby.   beef (Sir Andrew doesn't really think that eating
        beef makes him stupid.)
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.90      Pourquoi, my dear knight?   Pourquoi Why? (French)
       
      SIR ANDREW
      What is "Pourquoi"? do or not do?
      I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues   bestowed given | the tongues foreign languages
      that I have in fencing, dancing and bear-baiting.   bear-baiting >>>
      O, had I but followed the arts!
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.95      Then hadst thou had an excellent head of
      hair.
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Why, would that have mended my hair?   mended improved
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      Past question; for thou seest it will not
      curl by nature.   it will not curl by nature >>>
       
      SIR ANDREW
1.3.100     But it becomes me well enough, does't
      not?
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff;   flax on a distaff >>>
      and I hope to see a huswife take thee   huswife housewife; also hussy, whore
      between her legs and spin it off.   spin it off Loss of hair was a sign of infection
        with a sexually transmitted disease.
      SIR ANDREW
1.3.105     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.   the count himself i.e., Orsino | here hard by nearby
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      She'll none o' the count: she'll not match above   not match above her degree not marry her superior
1.3.110     her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I   estate fortune, social position
      have heard her swear't. Tut, there's life in't, man.   there's life in't i.e.,there's still hope that you can
        win her
      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.   masques masquerades | revels partying
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.115     Art thou good at these kickshawses,   kickshawses trifles, elegant amusements
      knight?
       
      SIR ANDREW
      As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under
      the degree of my betters; and yet I will not   under the degree of my betters except for those who
      compare with an old man.   are better | old man i.e., more experienced man >>>
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.120     What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?   galliard a fast dance with a lot of tricky steps,
        including capers
      SIR ANDREW
      Faith, I can cut a caper.   cut a caper make a lively leap
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      And I can cut the mutton to't.   to't to go with it (Capers were and are used in
        condiments. Also, "mutton" can mean "whore.")
      SIR ANDREW
      And I think I have the back-trick simply   back-trick backward step or kick in the galliard
      as strong as any man in Illyria.
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.125     Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have
      these gifts a curtain before 'em? are they like to
      take dust, like Mistress Mall's picture? why dost   take dust gather dust | Mistress Mall's picture ?,
      thou not go to church in a galliard and come home in   maybe a painting with a protective curtain
      a coranto? My very walk should be a jig; I would not     coranto a running dance
1.3.130     so much as make water but in a sink-a-pace. What   make water pee | sink-a-pace dance like the galliard
      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.   star of astrological sign favorable to
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well   indifferent moderately (Sir Andrew is proudly
1.3.135     in a dun-color'd stock. Shall we set about   modest.) | dun grayish-brownish | stock stocking
      some revels?
       
      SIR TOBY BELCH
      What shall we do else? were we not born
      under Taurus?   Taurus the second sign of the Zodiac
       
      SIR ANDREW
      Taurus! That's sides and heart.   sides and heart (Sir Andrew is wrong.
        Leo governs sides and heart.)
      SIR TOBY BELCH
1.3.140     No, sir; it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee   legs and thighs (Sir Toby is right, but Taurus is
1.3.141     caper; ha! higher: ha, ha! excellent!   more commonly associated with neck and throat,
        appropriate for drinkers.)
     Exeunt