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 3, Scene 1

Clown with Tabour from mural Roskilde Cathedral 1464 Enter VIOLA, and Clown: They don't enter together; Viola goes to Olivia's and happens to meet the Clown. tabour: small drum. 1. live by: earn your living with.
           Enter VIOLA, and Clown with a tabour.

  1   Save thee, friend, and thy music: dost thou live by
  2   thy tabour?

  3   No, sir, I live by the church.

  4   Art thou a churchman?
4. churchman: member of the clergy.

  5   No such matter, sir: I do live by the church; for
  6   I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by
  7   the church.

  8   So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar,
8. lies by: sleeps with and is situated near.

  9   if a beggar dwell near him; or, the church stands
 10   by thy tabour, if thy tabour stand by the church.
9-10. stands by: is supported by. 10. stand by: is located near.

 11   You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence
11. sentence: saying.

 12   is but a cheveril glove to a good wit: how quickly
12. cheveril: kidskin, which is soft and pliable.

 13   the wrong side may be turned outward!

 14   Nay, that's certain; they that dally nicely with
14. dally nicely: play subtly.

 15   words may quickly make them wanton.
15. wanton: uncontrollable.

 16   I would, therefore, my sister had had no name, sir.

 17   Why, man?

 18   Why, sir, her name's a word; and to dally with that
 19   word might make my sister wanton. But indeed words
19. wanton: promiscuous. 19-20. But indeed words are very rascals since bonds disgraced them. The Clown means that a man's word used to be his bond, but now everything has to be written down in a legally binding bond. Thus words are in disgrace, as though they were prisoners wearing bonds (manacles) on their legs.

 20   are very rascals since bonds disgraced them.

 21   Thy reason, man?

 22   Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words;
 23   and words are grown so false, I am loath to
 24   prove reason with them.

 25   I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest
 26   for nothing.
25-26. thou . . . carest for nothing: i.e., you are carefree and don't care what you say.

 27   Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my
 28   conscience, sir, I do not care for you: if that be
27-28. in my conscience, sir: i.e., to let you in on my real opinion. 27-30. Not so, sir . . . invisible: The Clown's comeback in fool-logic is that he does care for something, so if he does not care for Viola/Cesario, that makes her/him not something, but nothing.

 29   to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make
 30   you invisible.

 31   Art not thou the Lady Olivia's fool?

 32   No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: she
 33   will keep no fool, sir, till she be married; and
 34   fools are as like husbands as pilchards are to
34. pilchards: small fish, very like herrings.

 35   herrings; the husband's the bigger: I am indeed not
 36   her fool, but her corrupter of words.

 37   I saw thee late at the Count Orsino's.
37. late: recently.

 38   Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun,
38. the orb: the earth, around which the sun turns.

 39   it shines every where. I would be sorry, sir, but
39. but: unless. The Clown feels he has a duty to spread his foolishness around.

 40   the fool should be as oft with your master as with
 41   my mistress: I think I saw your wisdom there.
41. your wisdom: An ironic variation on "your honor."

 42   Nay, an thou pass upon me, I'll no more with thee.
42. an: if. pass upon me: (verbally) fence with me.

 43   Hold, there's expenses for thee.
43. Hold: Take this—She gives the Clown a coin. expenses: spending money.

 44   Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send
 45   thee a beard!
44. commodity: shipment. 44-45. Now  . . . beard!: This is the Clown's way of saying "bless you" for Viola/Cesario's tip.

 46   By my troth, I'll tell thee, I am almost sick for
 47   one — [aside] though I would not have it grow
47. one: a beard—code for a man—i.e., Orsino.

 48   on my chin. — Is thy lady within?

 49   Would not a pair of these have bred, sir?
49. pair of these: i.e., two coins. bred: made babies. (The Clown is wittly asking for another coin.)

 50   Yes, being kept together and put to use.
50. Yes . . . use Coin with Queen Elizabeth's face'Viola is matching the Clown's wit.

 51   I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to
51. Pandarus: The go-between in the famous love affair between Troilus and Cressida. this Troilus: this coin, the Clown has in his hand.

 52   bring a Cressida to this Troilus.

 53   I understand you, sir; 'tis well begged.
53. 'tis well begged: Viola/Cesario, impressed with the clown's wit, may give him another coin.

 54   The matter, I hope, is not great, sir — begging but
54. matter: request. 54-55. begging but a beggar: i.e., I have only begged a little for a little. 55. Cressida was a beggar:

 55   a beggar: Cressida was a beggar. My lady is
 56   within, sir. I will construe to them whence you
56. construe: explain.

 57   come; who you are and what you would are out
57. what you would: what you want.

 58   of my welkin — I might say 'element,' but the word
58. welkin: sky. "Element" can mean "welkin," but in the phrase "out of my element" it means "knowledge" or "experience." As a self-proclaimed "corrupter of words," the Clown always likes to be original.

 59   is over-worn.


 60   This fellow is wise enough to play the fool;
60. play the fool: He's not a natural fool—a half-wit.

 61   And to do that well craves a kind of wit:
61. craves: requires. wit: intelligence, wisdom.

 62   He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
 63   The quality of persons, and the time,
63. quality: character.

 64   And, like the haggard, cheque at every feather
 65   That comes before his eye. This is a practise
64-65. And . . . his eye: 65. practise: skilled profession, as in law "practice."

 66   As full of labour as a wise man's art
 67   For folly that he wisely shows is fit;
67. folly . . . fit: foolery that he intelligently displays is skillfully adapted to his audience. 68. folly-fall'n: fallen into real folly. taint: spoil.

 68   But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.

           Enter SIR TOBY BELCH,
           and SIR ANDREW.

 69   Save you, gentleman.

 70   And you, sir.

 71   Dieu vous garde, monsieur.
71. Dieu  . . . monsieur.: God keep you, sir.

 72   Et vous aussi; votre serviteur.
72. Et  . . . serviteur.: And you, too; your servant. (Sir Andrew is trying to make an impression with his French, but now he has reached his limit.)

 73   I hope, sir, you are; and I am yours.

 74   Will you encounter the house? my niece is desirous
74. encounter: a playfully elaborate word for "enter."

 75   you should enter, if your trade be to her.
75. trade: business.

 76   I am bound to your niece, sir; I mean, she is the
 77   list of my voyage.
77. list: destination.

 78   Taste your legs, sir; put them to motion.
78. Taste: try, test. (Sir Toby is again being playfully elaborate.)

 79   My legs do better understand me, sir, than I understand
 80   what you mean by bidding me taste my legs.

 81   I mean, to go, sir, to enter.

 82   I will answer you with gait and entrance. But we
82. gait and entrance: A play on Toby's "go" and "enter." prevented: anticipated. (Because Olivia is coming out, they won't have to go in.)

 83   are prevented.

           Enter OLIVIA and GENTLEWOMAN [MARIA].

 84   Most excellent accomplished lady, the heavens rain
 85   odours on you!

 86   That youth's a rare courtier: 'Rain odours;' well.
86. rare: excellent and unique.

 87   My matter hath no voice, to your own most pregnant
87. hath no voice: must not be spoken. pregnant: receptive.

 88   and vouchsafed ear.
88. vouchsafed: securely offered; proffered. (Cesario/Viola wants Olivia to listen carefully, and he/she wants to talk to Olivia alone.)

 89   'Odours,' 'pregnant' and 'vouchsafed:' I'll get 'em
 90   all three all ready.
90. all ready: (Sir Andrew now has three new words ready to use whenever he should try make an impression.)

 91   Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my
 92   hearing. [Exeunt all but Olivia and Viola.] Give
92. hearing: As in "court hearing"; Olivia knows that Cesario/Viola has come to speak on behalf of Orsino.

 93   me your hand, sir.

 94   My duty, madam, and most humble service.

 95   What is your name?

 96   Cesario is your servant's name, fair princess.

 97   My servant, sir! 'Twas never merry world
 98   Since lowly feigning was call'd compliment:
97-98. 'Twas never merry world / Since: Things have never been as good since. 98. lowly feigning: pretended humbleness. was call'd: began to be called. compliment: courtesy, politeness.

 99   You're servant to the Count Orsino, youth.

100   And he is yours, and his must needs be yours:
101   Your servant's servant is your servant, madam.

102   For him, I think not on him: for his thoughts,
102. For: as for, concerning.

103   Would they were blanks, rather than fill'd with
104   me!

105   Madam, I come to whet your gentle thoughts
106   On his behalf.

106                         O, by your leave, I pray you,
106. by your leave, I pray you: with your permission, please, but Olivia is saying it the way we now say "Please EXCUSE me!").

107   I bade you never speak again of him:
108   But, would you undertake another suit,
108. another suit: a different request, Cesario.

109   I had rather hear you to solicit that
110   Than music from the spheres.

110                                                      Dear lady, —

111   Give me leave, beseech you. I did send,
111. Give me leave, beseech you: i.e., Let me talk, I'm asking you. 112. enchantment you did: spell you cast.

112   After the last enchantment you did here,
113   A ring in chase of you: so did I abuse
114   Myself, my servant and, I fear me, you:
113-114. Viola/Cesario and Oliviaso did I abuse . . . you:. 115. Under your hard construction must I sit: I must submit to your harsh judgment. 116. that: i.e., the ring.

115   Under your hard construction must I sit,
116   To force that on you, in a shameful cunning,
117   Which you knew none of yours: what might you think?
118   Have you not set mine honour at the stake
119   And baited it with all the unmuzzled thoughts
120   That tyrannous heart can think? To one of your receiving
120. tyrannous: sadistic. receiving: understanding, intelligence. 121. cypress: a nearly transparent black fabric also, a cyrpress branch associated with death. (Olivia can't hide her feelings, and they are killing her.)

121   Enough is shown: a cypress, not a bosom,
122   Hideth my heart. So, let me hear you speak.

123   I pity you.

123                     That's a degree to love.
123. degree: step or stage.

124   No, not a grize; for 'tis a vulgar proof,
124. grize: single step. vulgar proof: common experience.

125   That very oft we pity enemies.

126   Why, then, methinks 'tis time to smile again.
127   O, world, how apt the poor are to be proud!
127. how apt the poor are to be proud: i.e., how likely are those who have nothing to (try to) be proud of something. lion: i.e., a noble adversary, such as Cesario/Viola. (Is Olivia really making herself feel better?)

128   If one should be a prey, how much the better
129   To fall before the lion than the wolf!

           Clock strikes.

130   The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.
131   Be not afraid, good youth, I will not have you:
131. have you: claim you for a husband.

132   And yet, when wit and youth is come to harvest,
132. when wit and youth is come to harvest: i.e., when you grow to be a man. 133. proper: handsome, worthy. 133. due west: where the sun sets. In other words, "get out of my sight."

133   Your were is alike to reap a proper man:
134   There lies your way, due west.

134                                                     Then westward-ho!
134. westward-ho!: Cesario/Viola is outta there.

135   Grace and good disposition attend your ladyship!
135. good disposition: tranquillity.

136   You'll nothing, madam, to my lord by me?
136. You'll nothing to my lord by me?: You have no message I can take to my lord, Orsino?.

137   Stay!
138   I prithee, tell me what thou thinkest of me.
138. thou: Thou is more familiar, and therefore more pleading, than the "you" that Olivia has been using.

139   That you do think you are not what you are.

140   If I think so, I think the same of you.

141   Then think you right: I am not what I am.

142   I would you were as I would have you be!

143   Would it be better, madam, than I am?
144   I wish it might, for now I am your fool.
144. Oliviafor now I am your fool:

145. a deal: a great deal.

145   O, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
146   In the contempt and anger of his lip!
147   A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
148   Than love that would seem hid: love's night is noon.
149   Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
150   By maidhood, honour, truth and every thing,
151   I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
151. maugre: despite.

152   Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
152. Nor wit nor reason: neither wisdom nor reason.

153   Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
153. Do . . . clause: Do not force the conclusion that you have no cause to love me because I have wooed you.

154   For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause,
155   But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
155. But rather reason thus with reason fetter: Instead, chain your reasoning to the following wisdom. 156. Love sought is good, but given unsought better:Viola with Olivia

156   Love sought is good, but given unsought better.

157   By innocence I swear, and by my youth
158   I have one heart, one bosom and one truth,
159   And that no woman has; nor never none
160   Shall mistress be of it, save I alone.
161   And so adieu, good madam: never more
162   Will I my master's tears to you deplore.
161-162. never more will I my master's tears to you deplore: Never will I again attempt to arouse your pity for Orsino.

163   Yet come again; for thou perhaps mayst move
163. move: convince, influence.

164   That heart, which now abhors, to like his love.
164. That heart: i.e., Olivia's own heart. abhors: i.e., abhors Orsino's love.