Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Twelfth Night > Act I, scene III
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[Enter SIR TOBY BELCH and MARIA]
SIR TOBY BELCH: What a plague means my niece, to take the death of
her brother thus? I am sure care's an enemy to life.
MARIA: By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier o'
nights: your cousin, my lady, takes great
exceptions to your ill hours.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Why, let her except, before excepted.
MARIA: Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest
limits of order.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Confine! I'll confine myself no finer than I am:
these clothes are good enough to drink in; and so be
these boots too: an they be not, let them hang
themselves in their own straps.
MARIA: That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard
my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish
knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Who, Sir Andrew Aguecheek?
MARIA: Ay, he.
SIR TOBY BELCH: He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria.
MARIA: What's that to the purpose?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.
MARIA: Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these ducats:
he's a very fool and a prodigal.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Fie, that you'll say so! he plays o' the
viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages
word for word without book, and hath all the good
gifts of nature.
MARIA: He hath indeed, almost natural: for besides that
he's a fool, he's a great quarreller: and but that
he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he
hath in quarrelling, 'tis thought among the prudent
he would quickly have the gift of a grave.
SIR TOBY BELCH: By this hand, they are scoundrels and subtractors
that say so of him. Who are they?
MARIA: They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company.
SIR TOBY BELCH: With drinking healths to my niece: I'll drink to
her as long as there is a passage in my throat and
drink in Illyria: he's a coward and a coystrill
that will not drink to my niece till his brains turn
o' the toe like a parish-top. What, wench!
Castiliano vulgo! for here comes Sir Andrew Agueface.
[Enter SIR ANDREW]
SIR ANDREW: Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby Belch!
SIR TOBY BELCH: Sweet Sir Andrew!
SIR ANDREW: Bless you, fair shrew.
MARIA: And you too, sir.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.
SIR ANDREW: What's that?
SIR TOBY BELCH: My niece's chambermaid.
SIR ANDREW: Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
MARIA: My name is Mary, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Good Mistress Mary Accost,--
SIR TOBY BELCH: You mistake, knight; 'accost' is front her, board
her, woo her, assail her.
SIR ANDREW: By my troth, I would not undertake her in this
company. Is that the meaning of 'accost'?
MARIA: Fare you well, gentlemen.
SIR TOBY BELCH: An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou mightst
never draw sword again.
SIR ANDREW: An you part so, mistress, I would I might never
draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have
fools in hand?
MARIA: Sir, I have not you by the hand.
SIR ANDREW: Marry, but you shall have; and here's my hand.
MARIA: Now, sir, 'thought is free:' I pray you, bring
your hand to the buttery-bar and let it drink.
SIR ANDREW: Wherefore, sweet-heart? what's your metaphor?
MARIA: It's dry, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Why, I think so: I am not such an ass but I can
keep my hand dry. But what's your jest?
MARIA: A dry jest, sir.
SIR ANDREW: Are you full of them?
MARIA: Ay, sir, I have them at my fingers' ends: marry,
now I let go your hand, I am barren.
SIR TOBY BELCH: O knight thou lackest a cup of canary: when did I
see thee so put down?
SIR ANDREW: Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary
put me down. Methinks sometimes I have no more wit
than a Christian or an ordinary man has: but I am a
great eater of beef and I believe that does harm to my wit.
SIR TOBY BELCH: No question.
SIR ANDREW: An I thought that, I'ld forswear it. I'll ride home
to-morrow, Sir Toby.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Pourquoi, my dear knight?
SIR ANDREW: What is 'Pourquoi'? do or not do? I would I had
bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in
fencing, dancing and bear-baiting: O, had I but
followed the arts!
SIR TOBY BELCH: Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.
SIR ANDREW: Why, would that have mended my hair?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Past question; for thou seest it will not curl by nature.
SIR ANDREW: But it becomes me well enough, does't not?
SIR TOBY BELCH: Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I
hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs
and spin it off.
SIR ANDREW: Faith, I'll home to-morrow, Sir Toby: your niece
will not be seen; or if she be, it's four to one
she'll none of me: the count himself here hard by woos her.
SIR TOBY BELCH: She'll none o' the count: she'll not match above
her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I
have heard her swear't. Tut, there's life in't,
SIR ANDREW: I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o' the
strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques
and revels sometimes altogether.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Art thou good at these kickshawses, knight?
SIR ANDREW: As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the
degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare
with an old man.
SIR TOBY BELCH: What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?
SIR ANDREW: Faith, I can cut a caper.
SIR TOBY BELCH: And I can cut the mutton to't.
SIR ANDREW: And I think I have the back-trick simply as strong
as any man in Illyria.
SIR TOBY BELCH: Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have
these gifts a curtain before 'em? are they like to
take dust, like Mistress Mall's picture? why dost
thou not go to church in a galliard and come home in
a coranto? My very walk should be a jig; I would not
so much as make water but in a sink-a-pace. What
dost thou mean? Is it a world to hide virtues in?
I did think, by the excellent constitution of thy
leg, it was formed under the star of a galliard.
SIR ANDREW: Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a
flame-coloured stock. Shall we set about some revels?
SIR TOBY BELCH: What shall we do else? were we not born under Taurus?
SIR ANDREW: Taurus! That's sides and heart.
SIR TOBY BELCH: No, sir; it is legs and thighs. Let me see the
caper; ha! higher: ha, ha! excellent!