Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter MARIA and the FOOL

MARIA

Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so wide as a bristle may enter in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy absence.

MARIA

No. Either tell me where you’ve been, or I won’t make any excuses for you to Lady Olivia. Lady Olivia will have you executed for not showing up.

FOOL

Let her hang me. He that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colors.

FOOL

So let her execute me. Anyone who’s executed doesn’t have to be afraid of anything he sees.

MARIA

Make that good.

MARIA

How do you know?

FOOL

He shall see none to fear.

FOOL

Well, he’ll be dead, so he won’t see anything.

MARIA

A good lenten answer. I can tell thee where that saying was born, of “I fear no colors.”

MARIA

That’s a lame answer. By the way, I know where you get all your brave talk about not being afraid of anything.

FOOL

10Where, good Mistress Mary?

FOOL

Where, good Miss Mary?

MARIA

In the wars. And that may you be bold to say in your foolery.

MARIA

From soldiers. But you’ll never see the front lines. It’s easy for you to talk about bravery, working as a fool in this palace.

FOOL

Well, God give them wisdom that have it. And those that are fools, let them use their talents.

FOOL

Well, we all have our special gifts. Some people are born wise; those of us who were meant to be fools should do what they do best.

MARIA

15Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent. Or to be turned away, is not that as good as a hanging to you?

MARIA

But still, she’s going to kill you for being gone so long. Or at least fire you. And wouldn’t that be as bad for you as being killed?