Act III - Scene I

Olivia's garden.

[Enter Viola, and Feste with a tabor.]

Save thee, friend, and thy music: dost thou live by thy
No, sir, I live by the church.
Art thou a churchman?
No such matter, sir: I do live by the church; for I do live(5)
at my house, and my house doth stand by the church.
So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar, if a beggar
dwell near him; or the church stands by thy tabour, if thy
tabor stand by the church.
You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence is but a(10)
cheveril glove to a good wit: how quickly the wrong side
may be turned outward!
Nay, that's certain; they that dally nicely with words may
quickly make them wanton.
I would, therefore, my sister had had no name, sir.(15)
Why, man?
Why, sir, her name's a word; and to dally with that word
might make my sister wanton. But indeed words are very
rascals, since bonds disgraced them.
Thy reason, man?(20)
Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and
words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with
I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for
Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my conscience,
sir, I do not care for you: if that be to care for nothing,
sir, I would it would make you invisible.
Art not thou the Lady Olivia's fool?
No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: she will(30)
keep no fool, sir, till she be married; and fools are as
like husbands as pilchards are to herrings, the husband's
the bigger: I am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter
of words.
I saw thee late at the Count Orsino's.(35)
Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun;
it shines everywhere. I would be sorry, sir, but the fool
should be as oft with your master as with my mistress: I
think I saw your wisdom there.
Nay, an thou pass upon me, I'll no more with thee.(40)
Hold, there's expenses for thee.
Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee
a beard!
By my troth, I'll tell thee, I am almost sick for one;
[Aside] though I would not have it grow on my chin.(45)
[to Feste] Is thy lady within?

Would not a pair of these have bred, sir?
Yes, being kept together and put to use.
I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to bring
a Cressida to this Troilus.(50)
I understand you, sir; 'tis well begged.
The matter, I hope, is not great, sir, begging but a
beggar: Cressida was a beggar. My lady is within, sir. I
will construe to them whence you come; who you are
and what you would are out of my welkin, I might say(55)
‘element,’ but the word is over-worn.

    [Exit Feste.]  

This fellow's wise enough to play the fool;
And to do that well craves a kind of wit:
He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
The quality of persons, and the time,(60)
And, like the haggard, check at every feather
That comes before his eye. This is a practise
As full of labour as a wise man's art
For folly that he wisely shows, is fit;
But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.(65)

    [Enter Sir Toby and Andrew.]  

Save you, gentleman.
And you, sir.
Dieu vous garde, monsieur.
Et vous aussi; votre serviteur.
I hope, sir, you are; and I am yours.(70)
Will you encounter the house? my niece is desirous
you should enter, if your trade be to her.
I am bound to your niece, sir; I mean, she is the list
of my voyage.
Taste your legs, sir; put them to motion.(75)
My legs do better understand me, sir, than I understand
what you mean by bidding me taste my legs.
I mean, to go, sir, to enter.
I will answer you with gait and entrance. But we are

    [Enter Olivia and Gentlewoman.]  

Most excellent accomplished lady, the heavens rain odours
on you!

[Enter Olivia and Maria.]

That youth's a rare courtier: ‘Rain odours’—well.
My matter hath no voice, lady, but to your own most
pregnant and vouchsafed ear.(85)
‘Odours,’ ‘pregnant,’ and ‘vouchsafed’—I'll get 'em
all three ready.
Let the garden door be shut, and leave me to my
hearing.[Exeunt all but Olivia and Viola]
Give me your hand, sir.(90)

My duty, madam, and most humble service.
What is your name?
Cesario is your servant's name, fair princess.
My servant, sir? 'Twas never merry world,
Since lowly feigning was call'd compliment:(95)
You're servant to the Count Orsino, youth.
And he is yours, and his must needs be yours:
Your servant's servant is your servant, madam.
For him, I think not on him: for his thoughts,
Would they were blanks rather than fill'd with me!(100)
Madam, I come to whet your gentle thoughts
On his behalf.
O, by your leave, I pray you:
I bade you never speak again of him:
But, would you undertake another suit,(105)
I had rather hear you to solicit that
Than music from the spheres.
Dear lady,—
Give me leave, beseech you. I did send,
After the last enchantment you did here,(110)
A ring in chase of you: so did I abuse
Myself, my servant and, I fear me, you:
Under your hard construction must I sit,
To force that on you, in a shameful cunning,
Which you knew none of yours: what might you(115)
Have you not set mine honour at the stake,
And baited it with all the unmuzzled thoughts
That tyrannous heart can think? To one of your
Enough is shown: a cypress, not a bosom,
Hides my heart: so let me hear you speak.
I pity you.
That's a degree to love.
No, not a grize; for 'tis a vulgar proof,(125)
That very oft we pity enemies.
Why, then, methinks 'tis time to smile again.
O, world, how apt the poor are to be proud!
If one should be a prey, how much the better
To fall before the lion than the wolf!(130)
The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.
Be not afraid, good youth, I will not have you:
And yet, when wit and youth is come to harvest,
Your wife is like to reap a proper man:
There lies your way, due west.(135)

[Clock strikes.]

Then westward-ho!
Grace and good disposition attend your ladyship.
You'll nothing, madam, to my lord by me?
Stay. I prithee tell me what thou thinkest of me.
That you do think you are not what you are.(140)
If I think so, I think the same of you.
Then think you right: I am not what I am.
I would you were as I would have you be!
Would it be better, madam, than I am?
I wish it might, for now I am your fool.(145)
[Aside.] O what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
In the contempt and anger of his lip!
A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
Than love that would seem hid: love's night is noon.
Cesario, by the roses of the spring,(150)
By maidhood, honour, truth, and everything,
I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
For that I woo thou therefore hast no cause,
But rather reason thus with reason fetter,(155)
Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.
By innocence I swear, and by my youth
I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth,
And that no woman has; nor never none
Shall mistress be of it, save I alone.(160)
And so adieu, good madam: never more
Will I my master's tears to you deplore.
Yet come again; for thou perhaps, mayst move
That heart, which now abhors, to like his love.




  1. This means that the poor who have nothing are likely to be proud of something small. Olivia goes on to say that she would rather be defeated by a worthy opponent—a lion—rather than a cruel one. Her small pride is that Cesario was a worthy opponent. This metaphor should give the audience pause though. In complimenting Cesario and making herself seem hyperbolically regretful, Olivia undermines her claim that she has actually been defeated.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. This line is ironic for two reasons. First, Olivia cannot see that she too is missing a big piece of the story because she is so in love; much like a “guilt of the murderer,” Viola’s disguise is better hid than Olivia’s feelings. Second, Viola’s love for Orsino is not “noon” or very easy to see. The irony in this line is that Olivia is quite right about her own love but misses all of the deeper meanings in her statement.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. This confession and its reception underscore the theme of performance in this play. Viola insists that she is not what she appears to be, but Olivia refuses to accept this reality. Olivia so believes in the performance that she mistakes Viola’s acting for reality.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. This line has two meanings. Olivia hears it as “you are not actually in love with me.” But what Viola actually means is “you do not know that you are a woman in love with a woman.” Viola’s disguise causes her speech to have multiple meanings.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Here, Olivia uses bear-baiting imagery. She imagines that her emotions are chained to a stake and attacked by Cesario’s ferocious thoughts. Olivia uses this violent imagery because she assumes Cesario thinks she is dishonorable because she was so forward with her affections. Remember, Olivia sent an unsolicited ring after Cesario when he first came to woo her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Ptolemy, an ancient Egyptian astrologer, theorized that the planets were set in crystalline spheres that revolved around the Earth. These spheres were thought to ring as they moved in a beautiful sound that only the gods could hear. She would rather hear another suit from Cesario than the gods’ music.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. These lines mean “God save you, sir” “And you as well. I am your servant!” in French. These characters slip into French as a sign of their aristocratic class.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Notice how the line between fool and wise man is blurred once again. Viola claims that a fool needs wisdom to successfully carry out his art. However, she characterizes this life as a type of “play,” meaning the fool is constantly performing his identity. This realization about the fool touches on the theme of performance in this play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Troilus and Cressida is a medieval story told about the Trojan War that Shakespeare turned into a play in 1602. The play tells the story of two Trojan lovers, Troilus and Cressida, who are separated when the Trojan army trades Cressida to the Greeks for one of their soldiers. Cressida is taken by a Greek soldier as a lover, and Troilus is sent into battle with a broken heart.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Lord Pandarus is a character from Homer’s Iliad. While he was only portrayed as an impetuous warrior in the original story, medieval writers transformed his character into a depraved man who scandalously facilitates the affair between Troilus and Cressida.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  11. Feste uses this imagery to beg for more money. Viola gives him two coins, and Feste suggests that these coins should “breed” or reproduce. Because he begs for more money in a clever way, Viola gives him another coin.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. By this, Viola means that she is lovesick for Orsino, and not that she wants a beard of her own. This synecdoche, a metaphor in which a part of something stands in for the whole thing, humorously reiterates Viola’s predicament: her disguise as a man prevents her from expressing her love for a man.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. Olivia believes that love that has been sought for is "good," but love given freely is superior. It is this freely-given love that she offers Cesario, even though Cesario (Viola) has scorned her.

    — Sarah, Owl Eyes Staff