|ACT I SCENE IV||DUKE ORSINO’S PALACE.|
|[Enter VALENTINE and VIOLA in man’s attire]|
|VALENTINE||If the duke continue these favours towards you,|
|Cesario, you are like to be much advanced: he hath|
|known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.|
|VIOLA||You either fear his humour or my negligence, that|
|you call in question the continuance of his love:|
|is he inconstant, sir, in his favours?|
|VALENTINE||No, believe me.|
|VIOLA||I thank you. Here comes the count.|
|[Enter DUKE ORSINO, CURIO, and Attendants]|
|DUKE ORSINO||Who saw Cesario, ho?|
|VIOLA||On your attendance, my lord; here.||10|
|DUKE ORSINO||Stand you a while aloof, Cesario,|
|Thou know’st no less but all; I have unclasp’d|
|To thee the book even of my secret soul:|
|Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her;|
|Be not denied access, stand at her doors,|
|And tell them, there thy fixed foot shall grow|
|Till thou have audience.|
|VIOLA||Sure, my noble lord,|
|If she be so abandon’d to her sorrow|
|As it is spoke, she never will admit me.|
|DUKE ORSINO||Be clamorous and leap all civil bounds||20|
|Rather than make unprofited return.|
|VIOLA||Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?|
|DUKE ORSINO||O, then unfold the passion of my love,|
|Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith:|
|It shall become thee well to act my woes;|
|She will attend it better in thy youth|
|Than in a nuncio’s of more grave aspect.|
|VIOLA||I think not so, my lord.|
|DUKE ORSINO||Dear lad, believe it;|
|For they shall yet belie thy happy years,|
|That say thou art a man: Diana’s lip||30|
|Is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe|
|Is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound,|
|And all is semblative a woman’s part.|
|I know thy constellation is right apt|
|For this affair. Some four or five attend him;|
|All, if you will; for I myself am best|
|When least in company. Prosper well in this,|
|And thou shalt live as freely as thy lord,|
|To call his fortunes thine.|
|VIOLA||I’ll do my best|
|To woo your lady:|
|yet, a barful strife!||40|
|Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.|
Next: Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 5
Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 4
From Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan.
2. you are like … advanced, there is every prospect of his raising you to a high office about him.
4. his humour, his caprice: call in question, seem to doubt.
8. the count. See note on i. 2. 25.
10. On your … here. I am here waiting to serve you; your is objective, in attendance on you.
11. aloof, from “A prep, + Loof, luff, weather-gage, windward direction; perhaps immediately from Du. loef, in te loef, to windward” … (Murray’s Eng. Dict).
12. no less but all, no less than all, the whole truth of the matter; for but instead of ‘than,’ see Abb. § 127.
12, 3. I have … soul, I have revealed to you the inmost secrets of my soul, those which I have concealed from every one else; cp. i. H. IV. i. 3. 188, “I will unclasp a secret book”; T. C. iv. 6. 60, “unclasp the tables of their thoughts.”
14. address … her, direct your steps to her house; ‘dress’ ultimately from the Lat. directus, straight.
15. Be not … access, refuse to take any denial from her, insist upon being allowed to see her.
16. thy fixed … grow, there you will plant your foot immovably: have, subjunctive.
18. so … sorrow, so utterly given up to, so completely preoccupied by, her sorrow.
19. As it is spoke, as people say; for spoke, the curtailed form of the past participle, see Abb. § 343.
20. leap … hounds, overleap all the limits of courtesy.
21. Rather … return, rather than return without having gained something from her, some answer, information.
22. Say, suppose.
24. Surprise … faith; take her by surprise, and so get the better of her, by pouring out the story of my passionate and faithful love for her; for surprise, in this sense, cp. Temp. iii. 1. 93, “So glad of this as they I cannot be Who am surprised withal”; W. T. iii. 1. 10, “And the ear-deafening voice o’ the oracle … so surprised my sense”; dear, in the sense of ‘heart- felt,’ is common in Shakespeare.
26. She will … youth, she will listen to it better from one so young as you are; for attend, trans., see Abb. § 200.
27. a nuncio, an ambassador, especially a papal ambassador; Lat. nuntius, a messenger.
29. yet, even up to this time: happy years, the careless, happy, years of youth.
31. rubious, red as a ruby; one of Shakespeare’s coinages: small pipe, i.e. windpipe; cp. K. J. v. 7. 23, “This pale faint swan Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death. And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings His soul and body to their lasting rest,” where ‘the organ-pipe of frailty’ means the windpipe of one who is well near worn out.
32. shrill and sound, shrill like a boy’s treble and yet uncracked. In boys the voice cracks at the age of puberty, but the Duke, though not admitting that Caesario had reached manhood, seems surprised that in a lad (as he supposes her to be) of such an age the voice should still retain its treble note and not yet have cracked.
33. And all … part, and everything about you resembles a woman’s part in a play; those parts being played by boys; cp. A. C. v. 2. 220, T. G. iv. 4. 165. semblative, like; not found elsewhere in Shakespeare.
34. thy constellation … apt. See note on i. 3. 117.
35. Some … him, let some four or five go with him as an escort.
36, 7. am best … company, who am happiest, most at my ease, when I am most alone.
37-9. Prosper … thine, if you succeed in this matter, you shall be as free to use my wealth as I am; for the transposition of freely, see Abb. § 419a.
40. a barful strife, this is a contest in which, if I succeed, I place a barrier to my own happiness: cp. Blanch’s speech, K. J. iii. 1. 328-35.
41. Whoe’er … wife, though compelled to make love for him to Olivia, it is he whom I desire to wed; on who for ‘whom,’ see Abb. § 274.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1889.