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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 2, Scene 3

           Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and SIR ANDREW.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
  1   Approach, Sir Andrew: not to be abed after
  2   midnight is to be up betimes; and 'diluculo
2. betimes: in good time. diluculo surgere: (The first two words of a Latin maxim which says, To get up at dawn is very healthful.)

  3   surgere,' thou know'st, —

      SIR ANDREW
  4   Nay, my troth, I know not: but I know, to be up
4. by my troth: on my word.

  5   late is to be up late.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
  6   A false conclusion: I hate it as an unfilled can.
6. can: tankard.

  7   To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is
  8   early: so that to go to bed after midnight is to go
  9   to bed betimes. Does not our life consist of the
 10   four elements?
9-10. Does not our life consist of the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fireearth, water, air, and fire.


      SIR ANDREW
 11   Faith, so they say; but I think it rather consists
 12   of eating and drinking.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 13   Thou'rt a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.
13. Thou'rt a scholar: i.e., You're so smart!.

 14   Marian, I say! a stoup of wine!
14. stoup: large drinking cup.


           Enter CLOWN.

      SIR ANDREW
 15   Here comes the fool, i' faith.

      Clown
 16   How now, my hearts! did you never see the picture
 17   of 'we three'?
17. the picture of "we three": a picture of two fools or two asses (It's "we three" because the viewer is the third. The Clown is saying they're fools, too.)


      SIR TOBY BELCH
 18   Welcome, ass. Now let's have a catch.
18. catch: round. (A song in which two or more singers enter at different times, singing the same lyrics.)


      SIR ANDREW
 19   By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast. I
19. breast: breath, singing ability.

 20   had rather than forty shillings I had such a leg,
20. such a leg: (Perhaps the Clown is showing his leg in an elaborate bow.)

 21   and so sweet a breath to sing, as the fool has. In
 22   sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last
22. gracious: delightful, inspired.

 23   night, when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the
 24   Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus: 'twas
23-24. Pigrogromitus . . . Queubus: (The Clown is talking some nonsense that sounds astrological.) 24. equinoctial: equator of the heavens. 26. leman: sweetheart.

 25   very good, i' faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy
 26   leman: hadst it?

      Clown
 27   I did impeticos thy gratillity; for Malvolio's nose
27. impeticos thy gratillity: comic jargon.

 28   is no whipstock: my lady has a white hand, and the
28. whipstock: whip handle.

 29   Myrmidons are no bottle-ale houses.
29. Myrmidons: Achilles' troops. bottle-ale houses: low-class taverns, which sell bottled, rather than draft, ale Stippled engraving by P.W. Tomkins, 1792"this is the best fooling"


      SIR ANDREW
 30   Excellent! why, this is the best fooling, when all
 31   is done. Now, a song.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 32   Come on; there is sixpence for you: let's have a
 33   song.

      SIR ANDREW
 34   There's a testril of me too: if one knight give a —
34. testril: (A "tester" is a coin worth sixpence; Sir Andrew imitates the Clown's invention of the word "gratillity" by changing "tester" into "testril.")


      Clown
 35   Would you have a love-song, or a song of good
 36   life?

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 37   A love-song, a love-song.

      SIR ANDREW
 38   Ay, ay: I care not for good life.
38. good life: virtuous living.


                       Clown Sings.
 39        O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
 40        O, stay and hear; your true love's coming,
 41           That can sing both high and low:
 42        Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
42. Trip: run lightly. sweeting: sweet one.

 43        Journeys end in lovers meeting,
43. in lovers meeting: when lovers meet.

 44           Every wise man's son doth know.

      SIR ANDREW
 45   Excellent good, i' faith.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 46   Good, good.

                       Clown Sings.
 47        What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
 48        Present mirth hath present laughter;
 49           What's to come is still unsure:
49. still: always.

 50        In delay there lies no plenty;
 51        Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
51. sweet and twenty: sweet and twenty times more sweet.

 52           Youth's a stuff will not endure.

      SIR ANDREW
 53   A mellifluous voice, as I am true knight.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 54   A contagious breath.
54. contagious breath: catchy song; also stinking breath.


      SIR ANDREW
 55   Very sweet and contagious, i' faith.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 56   To hear by the nose, it is dulcet in contagion.
56. To . . . contagion: i.e., If the song could be heard via the nose, it would be sweetly stinking. 57. welkin: heavens.

 57   But shall we make the welkin dance indeed?
 58   shall we rouse the night-owl in a catch that
 59   will draw three souls out of one weaver?
59. draw three souls out of one weaver:English Hymn Singers.

 60   shall we do that?

      SIR ANDREW
 61   An you love me, let's do't: I am dog at a catch.
61. An: If. dog at: very good at.


      Clown
 62   By'r lady, sir, and some dogs will catch well.
Clown with Sir Andrew and Sir Toby62. By'r lady: By Our Lady, i.e., well said, you're so right, etc. some dogs will catch well some dogs will, and some won't;.
63. knave: rascal, upstart, cheat.


      SIR ANDREW
 63   Most certain. Let our catch be, 'Thou knave.'

      Clown
 64   'Hold thy peace, thou knave,' knight? I shall be
64. Hold thy peace: Be quiet, Shut up. Besides "Hold thy peace, thou knave," the only other words of the catch are, "and I prithee hold thy peace."

 65   constrained in't to call thee knave, knight.

      SIR ANDREW
 66   'Tis not the first time I have constrained one
 67   to call me knave. Begin, fool: it begins 'Hold
66-67. 'Tis . . . knave: (Sir Andrew means he has challenged men to duels by daring them to call him a knave, but what it sounds like is that he has done such stupid things that people have had to call him knave).

 68   thy peace.'

      Clown
 69   I shall never begin if I hold my peace.

      SIR ANDREW
 70   Good, i' faith. Come, begin.

           Catch sung.
Catch sung: (Here we hear two drunks and a fool sing a round in which each one tells the next one that he is a knave and should shut up.)

           Enter MARIA.

      MARIA
 71   What a caterwauling do you keep here! If my
71. keep: keep up. Like "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall," "Thou knave" can go on and on and on.

 72   lady have not called up her steward Malvolio
 73   and bid him turn you out of doors, never trust
 74   me.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 75   My lady's a Cataian, we are politicians,
75-76. My lady's a Cataian, we are politicians,/ Malvolio's a Peg-a-Ramsey: 76-77. 'Three merry men be we': A fragment of an old song.

 76   Malvolio's a Peg-a-Ramsey, and 'Three
 77   merry men be we.' Am not I consanguineous?
 78   am I not of her blood? Tillyvally. Lady!
78. Tillyvally: nonsense, fiddle-faddle.


           [Sings.]

 79   'There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady, lady!'
79. 'There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady, lady!': Another fragment from another old song.


      Clown
 80   Beshrew me, the knight's in admirable fooling.
80. Beshrew me: A mild oath, like "Dang me."


      SIR ANDREW
 81   Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed, and
81. be disposed: is in the mood.

 82   so do I too: he does it with a better grace, but I
 83   do it more natural.
83. natural: naturally. But a "natural" is an idiot, so Sir Andrew has once again made fun of himself without realizing it.


      SIR TOBY BELCH [Sings]
 84   'O, the twelfth day of December,' —
84. 'O, the twelfth day of December': Another fragment from an old song.


      MARIA
 85   For the love o' God, peace!
85. peace!: quiet!.


           Enter MALVOLIO.

      MALVOLIO
 86   My masters, are you mad? or what are you?
 87   Have ye no wit, manners, nor honesty, but
87. honesty: decency.

 88   to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?
88. tinkers: Tinkers were reputed to be foul-mouthed drunkards.

 89   Do ye make an alehouse of my lady's house,
 90   that ye squeak out your coziers' catches without
90. coziers': cobblers'.

 91   any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no
91. mitigation or remorse: lowering (of your voice) out of regard for others.

 92   respect of place, persons, nor time in you?

      SIR TOBY BELCH
 93   We did keep time, sir, in our catches. Sneck up!
93. Sneck up!: Go hang!.


      MALVOLIO
 94   Sir Toby, I must be round with you. My lady
94. round: blunt, up-front.

 95   bade me tell you, that, though she harbours
95. bade: ordered. harbours you: gives you a place to stay.

 96   you as her kinsman, she's nothing allied to
96. nothing allied to: no kin to.

 97   your disorders. If you can separate yourself
 98   and your misdemeanors, you are welcome
 99   to the house; if not, an it would please you
99. an: if.

100   to take leave of her, she is very willing to bid
101   you farewell.

      SIR TOBY BELCH [Sings.]
102   'Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be gone.'
102. "Farewell . . . ": This and the following sung lines are from a sentimental ballad, Corydon's Farewell to Phillis.


      MARIA
103   Nay, good Sir Toby.

      Clown [Sings.]
104   'His eyes do show his days are almost done.'

      MALVOLIO
105   Is't even so?

      SIR TOBY BELCH [Sings.]
106   'But I will never die.'

      Clown
107   Sir Toby, there you lie.

      MALVOLIO
108   This is much credit to you.
108. credit: honor. Malvolio is being heavily ironic.


      SIR TOBY BELCH [Sings.]
109   'Shall I bid him go?'

      Clown [Sings.]
110   'What an if you do?'
110. an if: if.


      SIR TOBY BELCH [Sings.]
111   'Shall I bid him go, and spare not?'

      Clown [Sings.]
112   'O no, no, no, no, you dare not.'

      SIR TOBY BELCH
113   [To Clown.] Out o' tune, sir: ye lie.
113. ye lie: you're lying (because I certainly do dare to tell Malvolio where to go).

114   [To Malvolio.]Art any more than a steward?
115   Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous,
116   there shall be no more cakes and ale?
116. cakes and ale: i.e., party food and drink.


      Clown
117   Yes, by Saint Anne, and ginger shall be
117. Saint Anne: mother of the the Virgin. (Puritans objected to her cult.) ginger: commonly used to spice ale.

118   hot i' the mouth too.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
119   Thou'rt i' the right. Go, sir, rub your chain
119. rub: to polish it. chain: i.e., the decorative chain that Malvolio wears as a badge of his office as steward to Olivia.

120   with crumbs. A stoup of wine, Maria!

      MALVOLIO
121   Mistress Mary, if you prized my lady's favour
122   at any thing more than contempt, you would
123   not give means for this uncivil rule: she shall
123. give means for this uncivil rule: i.e., provide the wine that lubricates this rowdy behavior. (Sir Toby has just called for wine, and Malvolio is outraged that Maria is serving it.)

124   know of it, by this hand.

           Exit.

      MARIA
125   Go shake your ears.
125. Go shake your ears: Since they are long ass's ears, they are shakeable.


      SIR ANDREW
126   'Twere as good a deed as to drink when a man's
127   a-hungry, to challenge him the field, and then to
127. to challenge him the field: to challenge him to a duel.

128   break promise with him and make a fool of him.
128. break promise with him: i.e., not show up at the duel.


      SIR TOBY BELCH
129   Do't, knight: I'll write thee a challenge: or I'll
130   deliver thy indignation to him by word of mouth.

      MARIA
131   Sweet Sir Toby, be patient for tonight: since
132   the youth of the count's was today with thy lady,
133   she is much out of quiet. For Monsieur Malvolio,
133. much out of quiet: upset, distracted.

134   let me alone with him: if I do not gull him into a
134. let me alone with him: leave him to me. gull: trick.

135   nayword, and make him a common recreation,
135. nayword: byword (for an ass). common recreation: general laughingstock.

136   do not think I have wit enough to lie straight in
137   my bed: I know I can do it.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
138   Possess us, possess us; tell us something of
138. Possess us: Inform us, tell us your plan.

139   him.

      MARIA
140   Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of puritan.

      SIR ANDREW
141   O, if I thought that I'ld beat him like a dog!

      SIR TOBY BELCH
142   What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason,
142. puritan: puritan; also of the Puritan party in the Anglican church. (Maybe Sir Andrew has a prejudice against the religious Puritans, but he's probably just shooting his mouth off.) exquisite: amusingly clever.

143   dear knight?

      SIR ANDREW
144   I have no exquisite reason for't, but I have reason
145   good enough.

      MARIA
146   The devil a puritan that he is, or any thing
146. The dev'l a puritan that he is: i.e., Like hell he's a puritan. 147. time-pleaser: suck-up. affectioned: affected.

147   constantly, but a time-pleaser; an affectioned ass,
148   that cons state without book and utters it by great
148. cons state without book: memorizes the sayings of great men. 148-149.utters it by great swarths: spews it out in huge chunks. 149. the best persuaded of himself: having such a high opinion of himself. 151. grounds of faith: fundamental belief.

149   swarths: the best persuaded of himself, so
150   crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is
151   his grounds of faith that all that look on him love
152   him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find
153   notable cause to work.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
154   What wilt thou do?

      MARIA
155   I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of
156   love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape
155-156. obscure epistles of love: ambiguously worded love-letters.

157   of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure
158   of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find
158. complexion: general appearance.

159   himself most feelingly personated. I can write very
159. most feelingly personated: exactly represented.

160   like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we
160. a forgotten matter: i.e., anything written so long ago that they can't remember who wrote it. 161. our hands: our handwriting.

161   can hardly make distinction of our hands.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
162   Excellent! I smell a device.
162. device: trick, plot.


      SIR ANDREW
163   I have't in my nose too.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
164   He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop,
165   that they come from my niece, and that she's in
166   love with him.

      MARIA
167   My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour.

      SIR ANDREW
168   And your horse now would make him an ass.

      MARIA
169   Ass, I doubt not.
169. Ass, I doubt not: Maria has no doubt that both Malvolio and Sir Andrew meet the definition of an ass.


      SIR ANDREW
170   O, 'twill be admirable!

      MARIA
171   Sport royal, I warrant you: I know my physic
171. physic: medicine, especially the kind that causes vomiting, etc.

172   will work with him. I will plant you two, and
173   let the fool make a third, where he shall find
173. let . . . third: (The Clown has left, so Fabian, not the Clown, joins Toby and Andrew in observing Malvolio.) 174. construction: interpretation. 175. event: the outcome (of the trick to be played on.

174   the letter: observe his construction of it. For
175   this night, to bed, and dream on the event.
176   Farewell.

           Exit.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
177   Good night, Penthesilea.
177. Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons. (Sir Toby is making an affectionate joke. Penthesila was large and fierce; Maria is small, but just as fierce.)


      SIR ANDREW
178   Before me, she's a good wench.
178. Before me: i.e., on my soul.


      SIR TOBY BELCH
179   She's a beagle, true-bred, and one that adores
179. a beagle, true-bred: i.e., a good companion and hunter, just like a purebred beagle. 180. What o' that?: (Sir Toby seems puzzled by Maria's affection for him.)

180   me. What o' that?

      SIR ANDREW
181   I was adored once too.
181. I was adored once too: (Poor Sir Andrew!).


      SIR TOBY BELCH
182   Let's to bed, knight. Thou hadst need send for
183   more money.

      SIR ANDREW
184   If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way
184. recover: win.

185   out.
184-185. a foul way out: stuck in the mud and off course. (Sir Andrew needs Olivia's money.)


      SIR TOBY BELCH
186   Send for money, knight: if thou hast her not i'
187   the end, call me cut.
187. cut: A term of abuse, perhaps derived from the use of "cut" to refer to a poor quality horse, one that has had its tail docked or been gelded.


      SIR ANDREW
188   If I do not, never trust me, take it how you will.

      SIR TOBY BELCH
189   Come, come, I'll go burn some sack; 'tis too late
189. burn: warm up. sack: a Spanish wine.

190   to go to bed now: come, knight; come, knight.

           Exeunt.