Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter ORSINO, CURIO, and other lords; Musicians playing
ORSINO, CURIO, and other lords enter with musicians playing for them.
If music be the food of love, play on.
Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again, it had a dying fall.
5Oh, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor. Enough, no more.
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,
10That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
But falls into abatement and low price
Even in a minute. So full of shapes is fancy
15That it alone is high fantastical.
If it’s true that music makes people more in love, keep playing. Give me too much of it, so I’ll get sick of it and stop loving. Play that part again! It sounded sad. Oh, it sounded like a sweet breeze blowing gently over a bank of violets, taking their scent with it. That’s enough. Stop. It doesn’t sound as sweet as it did before. Oh, love is so restless! It makes you want everything, but it makes you sick of things a minute later, no matter how good they are. Love is so vivid and fantastical that nothing compares to it.
Will you go hunt, my lord?
Do you want to go hunting, my lord?
   What, Curio?
Hunting what, Curio?
     The hart.
Why, so I do, the noblest that I have.
Oh, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purged the air of pestilence.
20That instant was I turned into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me.
That’s what I’m doing—only it’s my heart that’s being hunted. Oh, when I first saw Olivia, it seemed like she made the air around her sweeter and purer. In that instant I was transformed into a hart, and my desire for her has hounded me like a pack of vicious dogs.