Imatges de pÓgina
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What my estate is.1

Cap.

That were hard to compass;

Because she will admit no kind of suit,

No, not the duke's.

Vio. There is a fair behavior in thee, captain:
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee

I will believe, thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
I pr'ythee, (and I'll pay thee bounteously)
Conceal me what I am; and be my aid
For such disguise, as, haply, shall become
The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke:
Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him;
It may
be worth thy pains; for I can sing,
And speak to him in many sorts of music,
That will allow 2 me very worth his service.
What else may hap, to time I will commit;
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.

Cap. Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be: When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see! Vio. I thank thee. Lead me on. [Exeunt.

1 'I wish I might not be made public to the world, with regard to the state of my birth and fortune, till I have gained a ripe opportunity for my design.' -Johnson.

2 Approve.

SCENE III.

A room in Olivia's house.

Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA.

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

Mar. By my troth, sir Toby, you must come in earlier o' nights: your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.

Sir To. Why, let her except before excepted.1 Mar. Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of order.

Sir To. 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.

Mar. 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 To. Who? Sir Andrew Ague-cheek?

Mar. Ay, he.

Sir To. He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria. Mar. What's that to the purpose?

Sir To. Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.

1 A ludicrous use of the formal law phrase.

2 Stout, courageous.

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

Sir To. Fie, that you'll say so! he plays o' the viol-de-gamboys,1 and speaks three or four languages word for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of nature.

Mar. 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 To. By this hand, they are scoundrels and substractors that say so of him. Who are they? Mar. They that add moreover, he 's drunk nightly in your company.

Sir To. With drinking healths to my niece: I'll drink to her, as long as there's 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.

A fashionable musical instrument in our author's time. 2 A coward-cock.

A large top was formerly kept in every village, to be whipped in frosty weather, that the peasants might be kept warm by exercise, and out of mischief, while they could not work.

• Probably a cant term, expressive of jollity or contempt.

Enter SIR ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK.

Sir An. Sir Toby Belch! How now, sir Toby Belch?

Sir To. Sweet sir Andrew!

Sir An. Bless you, fair shrew.

Mar. And you too, sir.

Sir To. Accost, sir Andrew, accost.

Sir An. What's that?

Sir To. My niece's chamber-maid.

Sir An. Good mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.

Mar. My name is Mary, sir.

Sir An. Good mistress Mary Accost,

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

Sir An. By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of accost? Mar. Fare you well, gentlemen.

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

Sir An. An you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have fools in hand ?

Mar. Sir, I have not you by the hand.

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

Mar. Now, sir, thought is free: I pray you, bring your hand to the buttery-bar,1 and let it drink.

1 To the door of the pantry.

Sir An. Wherefore, sweetheart? what's your

metaphor ?

Mar. It's dry, sir.

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

Mar. A dry jest, sir.

Sir An. Are you full of them?

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

[Exit Maria. Sir To. O knight, thou lackest a cup of canary. When did I see thee so put down?

Sir An. 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 a great eater of beef, and, I believe, that does harm to my wit.

:

Sir To. No question.

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

Sir To. Pourquoy, my dear knight?

Sir An. 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. O, had I but followed the arts!

Sir To. Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.

Sir An. Why, would that have mended my hair? Sir To. Past question; for thou seest, it will not curl by nature.

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