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A noble duke, in nature,
What is his name?
And so is now,
O, that I served that lady:
That were hard to compass;
Vio. There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain; And though that nature with a beauteous wall Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee I will believe, thou hast a mind that suits With this thy fair and outward character. I pray thee, and I'll pay thee bounteously, Conceal me what I am; and be my aid For such disguise as, haply, shall become The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke; Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him,
It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing,
Cap. Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be; When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see!
Vio. I thank thee: Lead me on. [Exeunt.
Enter Sir Toby Belch, and MARIA. Sir To. What a plague means my niece, to take the death of her brother thus ? I am sure, care's an
enemy to life.
Mar. By my troth, sir Toby, you must come in earlier o’nights ; your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.
Sir To. Why, let her except before excepted.
Mar. Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of order.
Sir To. 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.
Mar. 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 To. Who? Sir Andrew Ague-cheek?
* That will allow me..] To allow is to approve.
Sir To. He's as tall a mano as any's in Illyria.
Mar. Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these, ducats; he's a very fool, and a prodigal.
Sir To. Fye, that you'll say so! he plays o' the viol-de-gambo, and speaks three or four languages word for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of nature.
Mar. 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 To. By this hand, they are scoundrels, and substractors, that say so of him. Who are they?
Mar. They that add moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company
Sir To. 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 coystril, that will not drink to my niece, till his brains turn o’ the toe like a parish-top. What, wench? Castiliano vulgo;9 for here comes Sir Andrew Ague-face.
Enter Sir ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK.
Sir And. Sir Toby Belch! how now, sir Toby Belch?
as tall a man -]. Tall means stout, courageous.
like a parish-top:] A large top was formerly kept in every village, to be whipped in frosty weather, that the peasants may be kept warm by exercise, and out of mischief, while they could not work.
9Castiliano rulyo;] a cant term, perhaps expressive of contempt.
Sir To. Sweet sir Andrew!
Sir And. Good mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
Mar. My name is Mary, sir.
Sir To. You mistake, knight: accost, is, front her, board her, woò her, assail her.
Sir And. By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is' that the meaning of accost?
Mar. Fare you well, gentlemen.
Sir To. An thou let part so, sir Andrew, 'would thou might'st never draw sword again.
Sir And. An you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have fools in hand?
Mar. Sir, I have not you by the hand. Sir And. Marry, but you shall have; and here's Mar. Now, sir, thought is 'free: I pray you, bring your hand to the buttery-bar, and let it drink.
Sir And. Wherefore, sweet heart? what's your metaphor?
Mar. It's dry, sir.
Sir And.' Why; I think so; I am not such an ass, but I can keep my hand dry. But what's your jest?
Mař. A dry jest, sir.
Mar. Ay, sir; I have them at my fingers' ends: marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.'
Sir To. O knight, thou lack'st a cup of canary: When did I see thee so put down?
Sir And. 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 To. No question.
Sir And. An I thought that, I'd forswear it. I'll ride home to-morrow, sir Toby.
Sir To. Pourquoy, my dear knight?
Sir And. What is pourquoy? do or not do? I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues, that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting: 0, had I but followed the arts !
Sir To. Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.
Sir And. Why, would that have mended my hair?
Sir To. Past question; for thou seest, it will not curl by nature.
Sir And. But it becomes me well enough, does't not?
Sir To. 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 And. 'Faith, ’Ill 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, wooes her.
Sir To. She'll none o’the count; she'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have heard her swear it. Tut, there's life in't,
Sir And. 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.