Act III - Scene II

Olivia's house.

[Enter Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Fabian.]

No, faith, I'll not stay a jot longer.
Thy reason, dear venom; give thy reason.
You must needs yield your reason, Sir Andrew.
Marry, I saw your niece do more favours to the
Count's serving-man than ever she bestowed upon me; I(5)
saw't i' the orchard.
Did she see thee the while, old boy? tell me that.
As plain as I see you now.
This was a great argument of love in her toward you.
'Slight, will you make an ass o' me?(10)
I will prove it legitimate, sir, upon the oaths of judgment
and reason.
And they have been grand-jurymen since before Noah
was a sailor.
She did show favour to the youth in your sight only to(15)
exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valour, to put fire
in your heart and brimstone in your liver. You should then
have accosted her; and with some excellent jests, fire-new
from the mint, you should have banged the youth into
dumbness. This was looked for at your hand, and this(20)
was balked: the double gilt of this opportunity you let
time wash off, and you are now sailed into the north of
my lady's opinion; where you will hang like an icicle on
a Dutchman's beard, unless you do redeem it by some
laudable attempt either of valour or policy.(25)
And't be any way, it must be with valour; for
policy I hate: I had as lief be a Brownist as a politician.
Why, then, build me thy fortunes upon the basis of
valour. Challenge me the Count's youth to fight with him;
hurt him in eleven places; my niece shall take note of it;(30)
and assure thyself, there is no love-broker in the world
can more prevail in man's commendation with woman
than report of valour.
There is no way but this, Sir Andrew.
Will either of you bear me a challenge to him?(35)
Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief;
it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and full of
invention: taunt him with the licence of ink: if thou
‘thou'st’ him some thrice, it shall not be amiss; and as
many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the(40)
sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware in England,
set 'em down: go about it. Let there be gall enough in
thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter.
About it.
Where shall I find you?(45)
We'll call thee at the cubiculo. Go.

[Exit Sir Andrew.]

This is a dear manakin to you, Sir Toby.
I have been dear to him, lad, some two thousand strong, or so.
We shall have a rare letter from him: but you'll not(50)
Never trust me, then; and by all means stir on the
youth to an answer. I think oxen and wainropes cannot
hale them together. For Andrew, if he were opened, and
you find so much blood in his liver as will clog the foot(55)
of a flea, I'll eat the rest of the anatomy.
And his opposite, the youth, bears in his visage no
great presage of cruelty.

[Enter Maria.]

Look, where the youngest wren of nine comes.
If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into(60)
stitches, follow me. Yond gull Malvolio is turned heathen,
a very renegado; for there is no Christian, that means to be
saved by believing rightly, can ever believe such impossible
passages of grossness. He's in yellow stockings.
And cross-gartered?(65)
Most villainously; like a pedant that keeps a school
i' the church. I have dogged him, like his murderer. He does
obey every point of the letter that I dropped to betray him:
he does smile his face into more lines than is in the new
map with the augmentation of the Indies: you have not seen(70)
such a thing as 'tis; I can hardly forbear hurling things at
him. I know my lady will strike him: if she do, he'll smile
and take't for a great favour.
Come, bring us, bring us where he is.



  1. Sir Toby is punning on the word "gall," which in this context refers to the substance used in the making of ink. However, the word "gall" also means bitterness or disagreeableness. Sir Toby makes another joke on the term goose-pen. A goose-pen was a quill used for writing. However, Toby uses the term to insult Andrew—the goose was symbolic of foolishness.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. This insult suggests that there is very little blood in Andrew’s liver—only enough to “clog the foot of a [tiny] flea.” In Early Modern England, someone with a colorless liver was thought to be a coward. Toby suggests here that there will never actually be a fight between Cesario and Andrew because Andrew is a coward.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. By this, Sir Toby means that he has gotten a lot of money out of Sir Andrew. This line tells the audience why Toby and Andrew convince Sir Andrew to fight Cesario: they want him to stay in Illyria so they can continue using his money.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. By “manakin” Fabian means a dear puppet. After Sir Andrew has left the stage Toby and Fabian make it very clear that they are using Andrew for his money.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. This is an archaic way to say “bedchamber” or refer to one’s sleeping quarters. It was primarily used in ancient Rome to refer to the quarters of high-status families.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Fabian and Toby tell Sir Andrew to “write” his challenge in a “martial hand” because writing is the best way that he can express his anger. Just as other characters in the play have used writing as a way to express love, Andrew will use writing to declare war against Cesario. Writing is shown again as the means by which characters express their strongest emotions.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. The liver was thought to house romantic feelings in the Early Modern conception of the body. Fabian uses this imagery to spur Andrew to action.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Fabian wrongly interprets Olivia’s actions in order to convince Sir Andrew to remain in Illyria. Toby and Andrew have been using Sir Andrew’s money to drink, so they trick him into continuing to fight for Olivia in order to keep using his money.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. "Stitch" in this context means to stab, as with a sharp implement or sharp feeling of pain. This meaning spawned most of our understanding of the word now including stitching in sewing, and stitching in medicine. Maria uses this metaphor to suggest that the sight they are about to see is so funny that it will make them laugh so hard they will be in pain as if they have been stabbed. Laughter was thought to be caused by the spleen, the organ thought to generate passion.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff