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This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Ague-cheek is drawn with great propriety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life. JOHNSON.

Dramatis Personae,


ORSINO, Duke of Illyria.

SEBASTIAN, a young Gentleman, Brother to Viola.
ANTONIO, a Sea-Captain, Friend to Sebastian.



Gentlemen, attending on the Duke.

Sir TOBY BELCH, Uncle to Olivia.

Sir ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK, a foolish knight, prétending

to Olivia.

A Sea-Captain, Friend to Viola.

FABIAN, Servant to Olivia.

MALVOLIO, a fantastical Steward to Olivia.

Clown, Servant to Olivia.


OLIVIA, a Lady of great Beauty and Fortune, beloved by

the Duke.

VIOLA, in love with the Duke.

MARIA, Olivia's Woman.

Priest, Sailors, Officers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, a City on the Coast of Illyria.





The Duke's Palace. Enter Duke, CURIO, and Lords.


If musick 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 south,
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.

Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord?

Duke. What, Curio?

Cur. The hart.

Duke. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have:
O, when my 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?


Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted, But from her handmaid do return this answer: The element itself, till seven years hence, 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, Το 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 supply'd, and fill'd (Her sweet perfections), with one self-same king!Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;


Love thoughts lie rich, when canopy'd with bowers.



The Street. Enter VIOLA, a Captain, and Sailors.

Vio. What country, friends, is this?

Cap. This is Illyria, lady.

Vio. And what should I do in Illyria? My brother he is in Elysium.

Perchance, he is not drown'd:-What think you, sailors ?

Cap. It is perchance, that you yourself were sav'd. Vio. O my poor brother! and so, perchance, may he be.

Cap. True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,

Assure yourself, after our ship did split,

When you, and that poor number sav'd with you,
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself

(Courage and hope both teaching him the practice)
To a strong mast, that liv'd upon the sea;
Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back,

I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves,
So long as I could see.


Vio. For saying so, there's gold : Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope, Whereto thy speech serves for authority,


The like of him. Know'st thou this country ?
Cap. Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born,

Not three hours travel from this very place.

Vio. Who governs here?

Cap. A noble duke in nature, as in name.
Vio. What is his name?

Cap. Orsino.

Vio. Orsino! I have heard my father name him: He was a bachelor then.

Cap. And so is now, or was so very late :

For but a month ago I went from hence';

And then 'twas fresh in murmur (as, you know,
What great ones do, the less will prattle of),

That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.

Vio. What's she?


Cap. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count That dy'd some twelve-month since; then leaving


In the protection of his son, her brother,

Who shortly also dy'd: for whose dear love,

They say, she hath abjur'd the sight

And company of men.

Vio. O, that I serv'd that lady;

And might not be deliver'd to the world,
'Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
What my estate is!

Cap. That were hard to compass;




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