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I wear not motley in my brain. Good madonna, give me leave to prove you a fool.
Oli. Can you do it?
Clo. I must catechise you for it, madonna; Good my mouse of virtue, answer me.
Oli. Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I'll 'bide your proof.
Clo. Good madonna, why mourn'st thou ?
you, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul being in heaven. – Take away the fool, gentlemen.
Oli. What think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he not mend ?
Mal. Yes; and shall do, till the pangs of death-shake him: Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make the better fool.
Clo. God send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the better increasing your folly! Sir Toby will be sworn, that I am no fox; but he will not pass his word for two-pence
that Oli. How say you to that, Malvolio?
Mal. I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal; I saw him put down the other day with an ordinary fool, that has no more brain than a stone. Look you now, he's out of his guard already; unless you laugh and minister occasion to him, he is gagged. I protest, I take these wise men, thạt crow so at these set kind of fools, no better than the fools' zanies.
Oli. O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite. To be generous, guiltless,
you are no fool.
8 - no better than the fools' zanies.] i. e. fools' baubles, which had upon
the top of them the head of a fool, Doyce. VOL. II.
and of free disposition, is to take those things for birdbolts, that you deem cannon-bullets : There is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail ; nor no railing in a known discreet man, though he do nothing but reprove.
Clo. Now Mercury endow thee with leasing, for thou speakest well of fools ! 9
Mar. Madam, there is at the gate a young gentleman, much desires to speak with you.
Oli. From the count Orsino, is it?
Mar. I know not, madam; 'tis a fair young man, and well attended.
Oli. Who of my people hold him in delay ?
Oli. Fetch him off, I pray you; he speaks nothing but madman: Fye on him! [Exit MARIA.] Go you, Malvolio: if it be a suit from the count, I am sick, or not at home; what you will, to dismiss it. [Exit Malvolio.] Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and people dislike it.
Clo. Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest son should be a fool: whose skull Jove cram with brains, for here he comes, one of thy kin, has a most weak pia mater."
Enter Sir TOBY BELCH.
Oli. By mine honour, half drunk. - What is he at the gate, cousin ?
Sir To, A gentleman.
9 Now Mercury endue thee with leasing, for thou speakest well of fools . ] i.e. May Mercury teach thee to lie, since thou liest in favour of fools!
1- a most weak pia mater.] The pia mater is the membrane that immediately covers the substance of the brain.
Sir To. 'Tis a gentleman here - A plague o’these pickle-herrings ! - How now, sot?
Clo. Good Sir Toby, Oli. Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy?
Sir To. Lechery! I defy lechery: There's one at the gate.
Oli. Ay, marry; what is he?
Sir To. Let him be the devil, an he will, I care not: give me faith, say I. Well, it's all one.
[Exit. Oli. What's a drunken man like, fool ?
Clo. Like a drown'd man, a fool, and a madman: one draught above heat” makes him a fool; the second mads him; and a third drowns him.
Oli. Go thou and seek the coroner, and let him sit omy coz; for he's in the third degree of drink, he's drown'd: go, look after him.
Clo. He is but mad yet, madonna; and the fool shall look to the madman.
Mal. Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with
you. I told him you were sick; he takes on him to understand so much, and therefore comes to speak with I told him you were asleep; he seems to have a fore-knowledge of that too, and therefore comes to speak with you. What is to be said to him, lady? he's fortified against any denial.
Oli. Tell him, he shall not speak with me.
Mal. He has been told so; and he says, he'll stand at your door like a sheriff's post®, and be the supporter of a bench, but he'll speak with you,
above heat - ) i. e. above proper heat.
stand at your door like a sheriff's post,] It was the custom for that officer to have large posts set up at his door, as an indication of his office; the original of which was, that the king's proclamation, and other public acts might be affixed thereon, by way of publication.
Oli. What kind of man is he?
Mal. Of very ill manner; he'll speak with you, will you, or no.
Oli. Of what personage, and years, is he?
Mal. Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy; as a squash is before 'tis a peascod, or a codling when 'tis almost an apple:4 'tis with him e'en standing water, between boy and man. He is very well-favoured, and he speaks very shrewishly; one would think, his mother's milk were scarce out of him.
Oli. Let him approach: Call in my gentlewoman.
Oli. Give me my veil : come, 'throw it o'er my face; We'll once more hear Orsino's embassy.
Enter VIOLA. Vio. The honourable lady of the house, which is she? Oli. Speak to me, I shall answer for her: Your will ?
Vio. Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty, - I pray you, tell me, if this be the lady of the house, for I never saw her: I would be loath to cast away my speech; for, besides that it is excellently well penn'd, I have taken great pains to con it. Good beauties, let me sustain no scorn; I am very comptible", even to the least sinister usage.
Oli. Whence came you, sir ?
Vio. I can say little more than I have studied, and that question's out of my part. Good gentle one, give me modest assurance, if you be the lady of the house, that I may proceed in my speech.
4 — or a codling when 'tis almost an apple:) A codling anciently meant an immature apple.
5 I am very comptible,] Comptible for submissive.
Oli. Are you a comedian ?
Vio. No, my profound heart: and yet, by the very fangs of malice, I swear I am not that I play. Are you the lady of the house?
Oli. If I do not usurp myself, I am.
Vio. Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself; for what is yours to bestow, is not yours to re
But this is from my commission: I will on with my speech in your praise, and then shew you the heart of
Oli. Come to what is important in't: I forgive you the praise.
Vio. Alas, I took great pains to study it, and 'tis poetical.
Oli. It is the more like to be feigned; I pray you, keep it in. I heard, you were saucy at my gates; and allowed your approach, rather to wonder at you than to hear
you be not mad, be gone, if you have reason, be brief: ’tis not that time of moon with me, to make one in so skipping a dialogue.
Mar. Will you hoist sail, sir? here lies your way.
Vio. No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little longer. – Some mollification for your giant?, sweet lady. Oli. Tell me your
mind. Vio. I am a messenger.
Oli. Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.
Vio. It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of war, no taxation of homage; I hold the olive in my hand: my words are as full of peace as matter.
6. I am to hull here -] To hull means to drive to and fro upon the water, without sails or rudder.
7 some mollification for your giant,] Ladies, in romance, are guarded by giants, who repel all improper or troublesome advances. Viola may likewise allude to the diminutive size of Maria who is called on subsequent occasions, little villain, youngest wren of nine, &c.