Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night
William Shakespeare
2:21 h Novels Lvl 9.84
Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) falls in love with the Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.

Twelfth Night

or, What You Will

by
William Shakespeare


Dramatis Personæ

ORSINO, Duke of Illyria.
VALENTINE, Gentleman attending on the Duke
CURIO, Gentleman attending on the Duke
VIOLA, in love with the Duke.
SEBASTIAN, a young Gentleman, twin brother to Viola.
A SEA CAPTAIN, friend to Viola
ANTONIO, a Sea Captain, friend to Sebastian.
OLIVIA, a rich Countess.
MARIA, Olivia’s Woman.
SIR TOBY BELCH, Uncle of Olivia.
SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK.
MALVOLIO, Steward to Olivia.
FABIAN, Servant to Olivia.
CLOWN, Servant to Olivia.
PRIEST
Lords, Sailors, Officers, Musicians, and other Attendants.

Scene: A City in Illyria; and the Sea-Coast near It.


Act I.

Scene I.
An Apartment in the Duke’s Palace

Enter Orsino, Duke of Illyria, Curio, and other Lords; Musicians attending.

DUKE.
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again, it had a dying fall;
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour. Enough; no more;
’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,
That notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soever,
But falls into abatement and low price
Even in a minute! So full of shapes is fancy,
That it alone is high fantastical.

CURIO.
Will you go hunt, my lord?

DUKE.
What, Curio?

CURIO.
The hart.

DUKE.
Why so I do, the noblest that I have.
O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purg’d the air of pestilence;
That instant was I turn’d into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E’er since pursue me. How now? what news from her?

Enter Valentine.

VALENTINE.
So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
But from her handmaid do return this answer:
The element itself, till seven years’ heat,
Shall not behold her face at ample view;
But like a cloistress she will veiled walk,
And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine: all this to season
A brother’s dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance.

DUKE.
O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
Hath kill’d the flock of all affections else
That live in her; when liver, brain, and heart,
These sovereign thrones, are all supplied and fill’d
Her sweet perfections with one self king!
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers,
Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.

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