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Home > Twelfth Night > ACT I - SCENE II. The sea-coast.

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ACT I - SCENE II. The sea-coast.
Enter VIOLA, a Captain, and Sailors

VIOLA
1    What country, friends, is this?
Captain
2    This is Illyria, lady.
VIOLA
3    And what should I do in Illyria?
4    My brother he is in Elysium.
5    Perchance he is not drown'd: what think you, sailors?
Captain
6    It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
VIOLA
7    O my poor brother! and so perchance may he be.
Captain
8    True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,
9    Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
10   When you and those poor number saved with you
11   Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
12   Most provident in peril, bind himself,
13   Courage and hope both teaching him the practise,
14   To a strong mast that lived upon the sea;
15   Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back,
16   I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
17   So long as I could see.
VIOLA
18   For saying so, there's gold:
19   Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
20   Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
21   The like of him. Know'st thou this country?
Captain
22   Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born
23   Not three hours' travel from this very place.
VIOLA
24   Who governs here?
Captain
25   A noble duke, in nature as in name.
VIOLA
26   What is the name?
Captain
27   Orsino.
VIOLA
28   Orsino! I have heard my father name him:
29   He was a bachelor then.
Captain
30   And so is now, or was so very late;
31   For but a month ago I went from hence,
32   And then 'twas fresh in murmur,--as, you know,
33   What great ones do the less will prattle of,--
34   That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
VIOLA
35   What's she?
Captain
36   A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
37   That died some twelvemonth since, then leaving her
38   In the protection of his son, her brother,
39   Who shortly also died: for whose dear love,
40   They say, she hath abjured the company
41   And sight of men.
VIOLA
42   O that I served that lady
43   And might not be delivered to the world,
44   Till I had made mine own occasion mellow,
45   What my estate is!
Captain
46   That were hard to compass;
47   Because she will admit no kind of suit,
48   No, not the duke's.
VIOLA
49   There is a fair behavior in thee, captain;
50   And though that nature with a beauteous wall
51   Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee
52   I will believe thou hast a mind that suits
53   With this thy fair and outward character.
54   I prithee, and I'll pay thee bounteously,
55   Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
56   For such disguise as haply shall become
57   The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke:
58   Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him:
59   It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing
60   And speak to him in many sorts of music
61   That will allow me very worth his service.
62   What else may hap to time I will commit;
63   Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.
Captain
64   Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be:
65   When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.
VIOLA
66   I thank thee: lead me on.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IACT I, SCENE III (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I

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