Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.


Twelfth Night: Act 1, Scene 5


           Enter MARIA and Clown.

      MARIA
  1   Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will
  2   not open my lips so wide as a bristle may enter in
  3   way of thy excuse: my lady will hang thee for thy
  4   absence.

      Clown
  5   Let her hang me: he that is well hanged in this
  6   world needs to fear no colours.
Hangman Noose6. colours: deceptions, with a pun on "collars," hangmen's nooses.


      MARIA
  7   Make that good.
7. Make that good: prove it.


      Clown
  8   He shall see none to fear.
8. He shall see none to fear: (Because he'll be dead.)


      MARIA
  9   A good lenten answer: I can tell thee where that
9. lenten: meager (like food during Lent). Maria means it's a lame joke. 10. I fear no colours: ("colours" are the banner of a military unit).
Feste the Clown painting

 10   saying was born, of  'I fear no colours.'

      Clown
 11   Where, good Mistress Mary?

      MARIA
 12   In the wars; and that may you be bold to say in
 13   your foolery.

      Clown
 14   Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and
 15   those that are fools, let them use their talents.
14-15. Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and their talents those that are fools, let them use their talents:


      MARIA
 16   Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent;
 17   or, to be turned away, is not that as good as a
17. turned away: dismissed, turned off or hanged.

 18   hanging to you?

      Clown
 19   Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage;
19. Many . . . bad marriage: proverbial where hanging means execution or sexual prowess. 20. for turning away, let summer bear it out: i.e., As for being fired, summer would be the ideal season to be homeless.

 20   and, for turning away, let summer bear it out.

      MARIA
 21   You are resolute, then?

      Clown
 22   Not so, neither; but I am resolved on two
 23   points.
23. points: "Points" can also mean "laces used to hold up breeches."


      MARIA
 24   That if one break, the other will hold;
 25   or, if both break, your gaskins fall.
25. gaskins: breeches.


      Clown
 26   Apt, in good faith; very apt. Well, go thy way;
26. Apt, in good faith; very apt: well done, very witty (but the Clown is being ironic). 27-28. if Sir Toby . . . in Illyria: Toby and Maria would make a good match.

 27   if Sir Toby would leave drinking, thou wert as
 28   witty a piece of Eve's flesh as any in Illyria.

      MARIA
 29   Peace, you rogue, no more o' that. Here comes
 30   my lady: make your excuse wisely, you were
 31   best.

           Exit [Maria].

      Clown
 32   Wit, an't be thy will, put me into good fooling!
 33   Those wits, that think they have thee, do very
33. thee: i.e., wit.

 34   oft prove fools; and I, that am sure I lack thee,
34. thee: i.e., wit.

 35   may pass for a wise man: for what says
 36   Quinapalus? 'Better a witty fool, than a foolish
36. Quinapalus: An authority, invented by the clown.

 37   wit.'

           Enter LADY OLIVIA with MALVOLIO
           [and ATTENDANTS].

              — God bless thee, lady!

      OLIVIA
 38   Take the fool away.

      Clown
 39   Do you not hear, fellows? Take away the lady.

      OLIVIA
 40   Go to, you're a dry fool; I'll no more of you:
40. Go to, you're a dry fool: Get outta here, you're a dull fool.

 41   besides, you grow dishonest.
41. dishonest: unreliable, wicked.


      Clown
 42   Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel
42. madonna: A fancy way of saying "My Lady," from the Italian, mia donna.

 43   will amend: for give the dry fool drink, then is
 44   the fool not dry: bid the dishonest man mend
 45   himself; if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if
45. mend: reform.

 46   he cannot, let the botcher mend him. Any thing
46. botcher: mender of shoes or clothes.

 47   that's mended is but patched: virtue that
 48   transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that
 49   amends is but patched with virtue. If that this
 50   simple syllogism will serve, so; if it will not,
50. syllogism: deductive reasoning.

 51   what remedy? As there is no true cuckold but
51. cuckold: a man sexually betrayed by his wife.

 52   calamity, so beauty's a flower. The lady bade take
52. As there . . . so beauty's a flower: Calamity is a cuckold because no one can stay married to it forever.
Olivia Unveiling

 53   away the fool; therefore, I say again, take her away.

      OLIVIA
 54   Sir, I bade them take away you.

      Clown
 55   Misprision in the highest degree! Lady, 'Cucullus non
55. misprision: arrest of the wrong person.

 56   facit monachum': that's as much to say as I wear not
55-56. Cucullus . . . monachum: the cowl does not make the monk. 57. motley: multi-colored clothing of fools (The Clown's point is that his thinking isn't foolish.)

 57   motley in my brain. Good madonna, give me leave to
 58   prove you a fool.

      OLIVIA
 59   Can you do it?

      Clown
 60   Dexterously, good madonna.

      OLIVIA
 61   Make your proof.

      Clown
 62   I must catechise you for it, madonna: good
62. catechise: question methodically. 62-63. good my mouse of virtue: my good virtuous mouse.

 63   my mouse of virtue, answer me.

      OLIVIA
 64   Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I'll bide
64. want of other idleness: lack of any other way of wasting time. bide: endure, put up with.

 65   your proof

      Clown
 66   Good madonna, why mournest thou?

      OLIVIA
 67   Good fool, for my brother's death.

      Clown
 68   I think his soul is in hell, madonna.

      OLIVIA
 69   I know his soul is in heaven, fool.

      Clown
 70   The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your
 71   brother's soul being in heaven. Take away the
 72   fool, gentlemen.

      OLIVIA
 73   What think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he
 74   not mend?
74. mend: improve. (Olivia thinks the Clown is becoming more amusing.)


      MALVOLIO
 75   Yes, and shall do till the pangs of death shake
75. Yes: (He thinks the Clown is becoming more foolish.)

 76   him: infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever
76. Infirmity . . . better fool: Sickness and age always make a fool "better" (by making him more foolish).

 77   make the better fool.

      Clown
 78   God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the
 79   better increasing your folly! Sir Toby will be
 80   sworn that I am no fox; but he will not pass his
80. fox: crafty person. pass: pledge.

 81   word for two pence that you are no fool.
81. pence: pennies.


      OLIVIA
 82   How say you to that, Malvolio?

      MALVOLIO
 83   I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a
 84   barren rascal: I saw him put down the other day
 85   with an ordinary fool that has no more brain
85. with an ordinary fool: by a natural fool, idiot.

 86   than a stone. Look you now, he's out of his guard
86. out of his guard: off his game, without a witty reply.

 87   already; unless you laugh and minister occasion to
87. minister occasion: provide openings (for his jests).

 88   him, he is gagged. I protest, I take these wise men,
88. protest: declare.

 89   that crow so at these set kind of fools, no better
89. crow: laugh loudly. set kind of fools: professional fools.

 90   than the fools' zanies.
90. zanies: sidekicks, crew.


      OLIVIA
 91   Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste
91. of: with.

 92   with a distempered appetite. To be generous,
92. distempered: sickly.

 93   guiltless and of free disposition, is to take those
93. free: open-minded.

 94   things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets:
94. bird-bolts: blunt arrows for shooting birds.

 95   there is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do
95. allowed fool: licensed fool, one allowed to say anything.

 96   nothing but rail; nor no railing in a known discreet
96. rail: scold, satirize.

 97   man, though he do nothing but reprove.
96-97. a known discreet man: a man known to have good judgment.


      Clown
 98   Now Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou
98. Mercury: God of guile (insidious cunning, deceit, treachery). endue: endow. leasing: lying. (In other words, as a reward for speaking "well of fools," may Mercury give you the gift of lying).

 99   speakest well of fools!

           Enter MARIA.

      MARIA
100   Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman
101   much desires to speak with you.

      OLIVIA
102   From the Count Orsino, is it?

      MARIA
103   I know not, madam: 'tis a fair young man, and
104   well attended.
104. well attended: accompanied by a good number of servants, but when the "gentleman" (Viola) appears, he/she is alone.


      OLIVIA
105   Who of my people hold him in delay?

      MARIA
106   Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman.

      OLIVIA
107   Fetch him off, I pray you; he speaks nothing but
107. speaks nothing but madman: talks crazy.

108   madman: fie on him!

           Exit MARIA.

109   Go you, Malvolio: if it be a suit from the count, I
109. suit: request, plea.

110   am sick, or not at home; what you will, to dismiss it.
110. what you will: say whatever you want.


           Exit MALVOLIO.

111   Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and
112   people dislike it.

      Clown
113   Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest
113. us: i.e., fools.

114   son should be a fool; whose skull Jove cram with
113-114. as if thy eldest son should be a fool: as if you wanted your oldest son to go into the fool business. 114. Jove: highest deity of the ancient Romans.

115   brains! for, — here he comes, —

           Enter SIR TOBY BELCH.

116   one of thy kin has a most weak pia mater.
116. pia mater: brain.


      OLIVIA
117   By mine honour, half drunk. What is he at the
117. What: what sort of man.

118   gate, cousin?

      SIR TOBY BELCH
119   A gentleman.

      OLIVIA
120   A gentleman! what gentleman?

      SIR TOBY BELCH
121   'Tis a gentle man here — a plague o' these
122   pickle-herring! How now, sot!
122. Sir Toby Belch drinkinga plague o' these pickle-herring! How now, sot sot: drunkard, fool.


      Clown
123   Good Sir Toby!

      OLIVIA
124   Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early
125   by this lethargy?
125. lethargy: drunken stupor.


      SIR TOBY BELCH
126   Lechery! I defy lechery. There's one at the gate.

      OLIVIA
127   Ay, marry, what is he?

      SIR TOBY BELCH
128   Let him be the devil, an he will, I care not:
128. an he will: if he wants to.

129   give me faith, say I. Well, it's all one.
129. faith: religious faith (to protect him against the devil). Well, it's all one: it doesn't matter, whatever, etc.


           Exit.

      OLIVIA
130   What's a drunken man like, fool?

      Clown
131   Like a drowned man, a fool and a mad man: one
132   draught above heat makes him a fool; the second
131-132. One draught above heat: one drink more than what it takes to make one pleasantly warm.

133   mads him; and a third drowns him.

      OLIVIA
134   Go thou and seek the crowner, and let him sit o'
134. crowner: coroner. sit o': hold an inquest concerning.

135   my coz; for he's in the third degree of drink, he's
135. coz: short for "cousin," which means "kinsman." (Olivia's joke is that because Toby is dead drunk, he's a case for the coroner.)

136   drowned: go, look after him.

      Clown
137   He is but mad yet, madonna; and the fool shall look
138   to the madman.

           Exit CLOWN.
           Enter MALVOLIO.

      MALVOLIO
139   Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with
140   you. I told him you were sick; he takes on him to
141   understand so much, and therefore comes to speak
142   with you. I told him you were asleep; he seems to
143   have a foreknowledge of that too, and therefore
143. therefore: for that very reason.

144   comes to speak with you. What is to be said to him,
145   lady? he's fortified against any denial.

      OLIVIA
146   Tell him he shall not speak with me.

      MALVOLIO
147   Has been told so; and he says, he'll stand at your
148   door like a sheriff's post, and be the supporter to
148. sheriff's post: a post standing at the door of a sheriff's office, used for posting official notices .

149   a bench, but he'll speak with you.

      OLIVIA
150   What kind o' man is he?

      MALVOLIO
151   Why, of mankind.
151. of mankind: human (Malvolio sees nothing special about Viola/Cesario.)


      OLIVIA
152   What manner of man?

      MALVOLIO
153   Of very ill manner; he'll speak with you, will you
154   or no.

      OLIVIA
155   Of what personage and years is he?
155. personage: appearance.


      MALVOLIO
156   Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough
157   for a boy; as a squash is before 'tis a peascod, or
157. squash: unripe pea pod. peascod: pea pod.

158   a codling when 'tis almost an apple: 'tis with him
158. codling: unripe apple.

159   in standing water, between boy and man. He is
159. in standing water: at the turn of the tide.

160   very well-favoured and he speaks very shrewishly.
160. well-favoured: good-looking. shrewishly: sharply.

161   One would think his mother's milk were scarce
162   out of him.

      OLIVIA
163   Let him approach: call in my gentlewoman.

      MALVOLIO
164   Gentlewoman, my lady calls.

           Exit.
           Enter MARIA.

      OLIVIA
165   Give me my veil: come, throw it o'er my face.
166   We'll once more hear Orsino's embassy.

           Enter VIOLA.

      VIOLA
167   The honourable lady of the house, which is she?

      OLIVIA
168   Speak to me; I shall answer for her.
169   Your will?

      VIOLA
170   Most radiant, exquisite and unmatchable beauty, —
171   I pray you, tell me if this be the lady of the house,
172   for I never saw her: I would be loath to cast away
172. I would be loath to cast away: I would hate to waste.

173   my speech, for besides that it is excellently well
174   penned, I have taken great pains to con it. Good
174. con: memorize.

175   beauties, let me sustain no scorn; I am very
176   comptible, even to the least sinister usage.
176. comptible: sensitive. the least sinister usage: the slightest disrespect.


      OLIVIA
177   Whence came you, sir?
177. Whence: from what family or country? (Olivia is taking a personal interest in this young gentleman.)


      VIOLA
178   I can say little more than I have studied, and that
179   question's out of my part. Good gentle one, give me
179. out of my part: not part of the role I'm supposed to play.

180   modest assurance if you be the lady of the house,
180. modest: serious, sincere.

181   that I may proceed in my speech.

      OLIVIA
182   Are you a comedian?
182. comedian: actor.


      VIOLA
183   No, my profound heart: and yet, by the very fangs
183. profound: very wise.

184   of malice I swear, I am not that I play. Are you
185   the lady of the house?

      OLIVIA
186   If I do not usurp myself, I am.
186. usurp: wrongly take the place of.


      VIOLA
187   Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp
188   yourself; for what is yours to bestow is not
188. what is yours to bestow: i.e., love.

189   yours to reserve. But this is from my commission;
189. reserve: Cesario/Viola with Oliviakeep back. from my commission: outside the limits of my instructions.

190   I will on with my speech in your praise, and then
191   show you the heart of my message.

      OLIVIA
192   Come to what is important in't: I forgive you the
192. forgive: excuse from a duty.

193   praise.

      VIOLA
194   Alas, I took great pains to study it, and 'tis poetical.

      OLIVIA
195   It is the more like to be feigned: I pray you,
195. feigned: pretended, insincere.

196   keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates,
196. keep it in: keep it to yourself.

197   and allowed your approach rather to wonder at
197. approach: i.e., this interview with me.

198   you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be
199   gone; if you have reason, be brief: 'tis not that
198-199. If you be not mad, be gone:199. reason: rationality, sanity. 200. time of moon: Moon phases. make one in: take part in.

200   time of moon with me to make one in so
201   skipping a dialogue.
201. skipping: flighty, helter-skelter.


      MARIA
202   Will you hoist sail, sir? here lies your way.
202. Here lies your way: i.e., You can go out this way. (Maria is probably pointing to the door.)


      VIOLA
203   No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little
203. swabber: ship's petty officer, in charge of keeping the decks clean. hull: drift with sails furled.

204   longer. Some mollification for your giant, sweet
204. Some mollification for your giant: i.e., call off your guardian giant. (Maria is tiny.)

205   lady. Tell me your mind: I am a messenger.

      OLIVIA
206   Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when
207   the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.
207. courtesy of: introduction to. fearful: frightening. office: business.


      VIOLA
208   It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of
208. overture: declaration.

209   war, no taxation of homage: I hold the olive in my
209. taxation of homage: demand for tribute. olive: i.e., olive branch of peace. 210. olive: i.e., olive branch of peace. matter: important meaning.

210   hand; my words are as full of peace as matter.

      OLIVIA
211   Yet you began rudely. What are you? what
212   would you?

      VIOLA
213   The rudeness that hath appeared in me have I
214   learned from my entertainment. What I am,
214. entertainment: (rude) reception (by your people).

215   and what I would, are as secret as maidenhead;
215. maidenhead: virginity, the hymen.

216   to your ears, divinity, to any other's, profanation.

      OLIVIA
217   Give us the place alone: we will hear this divinity.

           Exeunt MARIA and Attendants.

218   Now, sir, what is your text?
218. your text: gospel passage upon which you will preach (Olivia mockingly takes "divinity" to mean "a sermon.").


      VIOLA
219   Most sweet lady, —

      OLIVIA
220   A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it.
220. comfortable: full of comfort.

221   Where lies your text?

      VIOLA
222   In Orsino's bosom.

      OLIVIA
223   In his bosom! In what chapter of his bosom?

      VIOLA
224   To answer by the method, in the first
224. by the method: following the usual way (of beginning a sermon).

225   of his heart.

      OLIVIA
226   O, I have read it: it is heresy. Have you
227   no more to say?

      VIOLA
228   Good madam, let me see your face.

      OLIVIA
229   Have you any commission from your lord to
230   negotiate with my face? You are now out of
231   your text; but we will draw the curtain and show
230-231. out of your text: wandering away from your topic.

232   you the picture. Look you, sir, such a one I was
233   this present.
Olivia by Edmund Leighton, 1888233. this present: at the present time.


           [Unveiling.]

234   Is't not well done?

      VIOLA
235   Excellently done, if God did all.
235. if God did all: (Cesario/Viola is hinting that Olivia might be using a lot of make-up.)


      OLIVIA
236   'Tis in grain, sir; 'twill endure wind and
236. in grain: i.e., not painted on.

237   weather.

      VIOLA
238   'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
238. blent: blended.

239   Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on:
239. cunning: skillful.

240   Lady, you are the cruell'st she alive,
240. she: woman.

241   If you will lead these graces to the grave
241-242. If . . . And leave the world no copy: Olivia is cruel if she lets her beauty (her "graces") die..

242   And leave the world no copy.

      OLIVIA
243   O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted; I will give
244   out divers schedules of my beauty: it shall be
244. divers: several. schedules: itemized lists (such a list is also a "copy"). 245. particle and utensil: i.e., every little thing.

245   inventoried, and every particle and utensil
246   labelled to my will: as, item, two lips,
246. labelled to my will: added as a codicil to my will.

247   indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids
247. indifferent: more or less.

248   to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth.
249   Were you sent hither to praise me?
249. praise: (puns on "appraise").


      VIOLA
250   I see you what you are, you are too proud;
251   But, if you were the devil, you are fair.
Beautiful Olivia looking over her shoulder251. if: even if. the devil: i.e., the proudest creature that ever lived.
253. but recompensed: only fairly repaid. 254. nonpareil: one without an equal .

252   My lord and master loves you: O, such love
253   Could be but recompensed, though you were crown'd
254   The nonpareil of beauty!

      OLIVIA
254                                           How does he love me?

      VIOLA
255   With adorations, fertile tears,
255. fertile: ever-growing.

256   With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

      OLIVIA
257   Your lord does know my mind; I cannot love him:
258   Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
258. suppose: believe as a fact.

259   Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;
259. Of great estate: wealthy and important. stainless: unstained. 260. In voices well divulged: well spoken of. free: generous. dimension and the shape of nature: physique.

260   In voices well divulged, free, learn'd and valiant;
261   And in dimension and the shape of nature
262   A gracious person: but yet I cannot love him;
262. gracious person: pleasing figure of a man.

263   He might have took his answer long ago.

      VIOLA
264   If I did love you in my master's flame,
264. in my master's flame: with my master's passion.

265   With such a suffering, such a deadly life,
265. deadly life: death in life.

266   In your denial I would find no sense;
267   I would not understand it.

      OLIVIA
267                                             Why, what would you?

      VIOLA
268   Make me a willow cabin at your gate,
268. willow: (Willow was a symbol of unrequited love.)

269   And call upon my soul within the house;
269. my soul: i.e., Olivia.

270   Write loyal cantons of contemned love
270. cantons: cantos, songs. contemned: rejected.

271   And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
272   Halloo your name to the reverberate hills
272. reverberate: resounding.

273   And make the babbling gossip of the air
273. the babbling gossip of the air: echo.

274   Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest
275   Between the elements of air and earth,
275. Between the elements of air and earth: i.e., anywhere.

276   But you should pity me!
276. But you should pity me: until you came to pity me.


      OLIVIA
276                                        You might do much.
277   What is your parentage?

      VIOLA
278   Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
278. Above: better than. my fortunes: what I happen to be at the moment. my state is well: i.e., I'm satisfied with my present position.

279   I am a gentleman.

      OLIVIA
279                              Get you to your lord;
280   I cannot love him: let him send no more;
281   Unless, perchance, you come to me again,
282   To tell me how he takes it. Fare you well:
283   I thank you for your pains: spend this for me.
283. Spend this for me: (She offers Cesario/Viola a tip.)


      VIOLA
284   I am no fee'd post, lady; keep your purse:
284. fee'd post: paid messenger.

285   My master, not myself, lacks recompense.
286   Love make his heart of flint that you shall love;
286. Love make his heart of flint that you shall love: May Love make the man with whom you fall in love have a heart of flint.

287   And let your fervor, like my master's, be
288   Placed in contempt! Farewell, fair cruelty.
288. fair cruelty: beautiful cruel one.


           Exit.

      OLIVIA
English Coat of Arms

289   'What is your parentage?'
290   'Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
291   I am a gentleman.' I'll be sworn thou art;
292   Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions and spirit,
292. tongue: manner of speaking.

293   Do give thee five-fold blazon: not too fast: soft, soft!
293. five-fold blazon: Soft: hold on, go slowly.

294   Unless the master were the man. How now!
294. the man: the man-servant of the master. Viola considering Orsino 295. the plague: i.e., love-sickness.

295   Even so quickly may one catch the plague?
296   Methinks I feel this youth's perfections
297   With an invisible and subtle stealth
298   To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.
299   What ho, Malvolio!

           Enter MALVOLIO.

      MALVOLIO
299                                   Here, madam, at your service.

      OLIVIA
300   Run after that same peevish messenger,
301   The County's man: he left this ring behind him,
301. County's: Count's, i.e., Duke Orsino's.

302   Would I or not: tell him I'll none of it.
302. Would I or not: whether I wanted it or not (Olivia's lying; Viola left no ring). 303. flatter with his lord: i.e., flatter Orsino with the idea that he still has a chance to win Olivia's love.

303   Desire him not to flatter with his lord,
304   Nor hold him up with hopes; I am not for him:
305   If that the youth will come this way tomorrow,
306   I'll give him reasons for't: hie thee, Malvolio.
306. reasons for't: i.e., reasons why she cannot love.


      MALVOLIO
307   Madam, I will.

           Exit.

      OLIVIA
308   I do I know not what, and fear to find
309   Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind.
309. flatterer: seducer, tempter.

310   Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
310. owe: own.

311   What is decreed must be, and be this so.
311. be this so: (She hopes that love between herself and the young gentleman is one of those things that fate has decreed.)


           Exit.