William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V
Enter Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew, and Fabian
Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly rascally sheep-biter come by some notable shame?
I would exult, man: you know, he brought me out o' favour with my lady about a bear-baiting here.
To anger him we'll have the bear again; and we will fool him black and blue: shall we not, Sir Andrew?
Get ye all three into the box-tree: Malvolio's coming down this walk: he has been yonder i' the sun practising behavior to his own shadow this half hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for I know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him. Close, in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,
Throws down a letter
'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria once told me she did affect me: and I have heard herself come thus near, that, should she fancy, it should be one of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a more exalted respect than any one else that follows her. What should I think on't?
O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of him: how he jets under his advanced plumes!
Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown; having come from a day-bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping,—
And then to have the humour of state; and after a demure travel of regard, telling them I know my place as I would they should do theirs, to for my kinsman Toby,—
Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make out for him: I frown the while; and perchance wind up watch, or play with my—some rich jewel. Toby approaches; courtesies there to me,—
I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control,—
Saying, 'Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on your niece give me this prerogative of speech,'—
Taking up the letter
By my life, this is my lady's hand these be her very C's, her U's and her T's and thus makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.
“To the unknown beloved, this, and my good wishes:” Her very phrases! By your leave, wax. Soft! and the impressure her Lucrece, with which she uses to seal: 'tis my lady. To whom should this be?
“Jove knows I love: But who? Lips, do not move, no man must know.” No man must know. What follows? The numbers altered! “No man must know—” if this should be thee, Malvolio?
I may command where I adore;
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:
M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.
“I may command where I adore.” Why, she may command me: I serve her; she is my lady. Why, this is evident to any formal capacity; there is no obstruction in this: and the end,—what should that alphabetical position portend? If I could make that resemble something in me,—Softly! M, O, A, I,—
M,—but then there is no consonancy in the sequel; that suffers under probation A should follow but O does.
Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see more detraction at your heels than fortunes before you.
M, O, A, I; this simulation is not as the former: and yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for every one of these letters are in my name. Soft! here follows prose.
If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. Thy Fates open their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them; and, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be, cast thy humble slough and appear fresh. Be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; let thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into the trick of singularity: she thus advises thee that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art made, if thou desirest to be so; if not, let me see thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and not worthy to touch Fortune's fingers. Farewell.
She that would alter services with thee,
Daylight and champaign discovers not more: this is open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be point-devise the very man. I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered; and in this she manifests herself to my love, and with a kind of injunction drives me to these habits of her liking. I thank my stars I am happy. I will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a postscript.
Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling; thy smiles become thee well; therefore in my presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.
Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do everything that thou wilt have me.
Why, thou hast put him in such a dream, that when the image of it leaves him he must run mad.
If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark his first approach before my lady: he will come to her in yellow stockings, and 'tis a colour she abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests; and he will smile upon her, which will now be so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow me.