Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

If this letter move him not, his legs cannot. I’ll give ’t him.
If this letter doesn’t make him fight, I don’t know what will. I’ll give it to him.

MARIA

You may have very fit occasion for ’t. He is now in some commerce with my lady and will by and by depart.

MARIA

You might have a great opportunity to give it to him right now. He’s conducting some business with my lady, and sooner or later he’ll leave.

SIR TOBY BELCH

155Go, Sir Andrew. Scout me for him at the corner the orchard like a bum-baily. So soon as ever thou seest him, draw, and as thou drawest, swear horrible, for it comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him. Away!

SIR TOBY BELCH

Go, Sir Andrew. Look out for him in the corner of the orchard as if you were a sheriff’s deputy. As soon as you see him, draw your sword, and as you draw it, start swearing horribly. Sometimes a terrible swear word, like a well-shot arrow, makes you look more brave and manly than getting in a fight would. Now go!

SIR ANDREW

Nay, let me alone for swearing.

SIR ANDREW

Don’t worry about me not swearing enough.
Exit
SIR ANDREW exits.

SIR TOBY BELCH

Now will not I deliver his letter, for the behavior of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good capacity and breeding. His employment between his lord and my niece confirms no less. Therefore this letter, being so excellently ignorant, will breed no terror in the youth. He will find it comes from a clodpole. But, sir, I will deliver his challenge by word of mouth, set upon Aguecheek a notable report of valor, and drive the gentleman (as I know his youth will aptly receive it) into a most hideous opinion of his rage, skill, fury, and impetuosity. This will so fright them both that they will kill one another by the look, like cockatrices.

SIR TOBY BELCH

I won’t deliver this letter. The young gentleman’s behavior shows that he’s sensible and has good manners. The fact that he serves as a go-between for his lord and my niece Olivia confirms this. So this letter, which is so incredibly stupid and ignorant, isn’t going to scare him at all. He’ll just think an idiot wrote it. But I’ll deliver Sir Andrew’s challenge by word of mouth, describing Sir Andrew as courageous in battle and convincing the young gentleman that Sir Andrew is furious, impetuous, and a skilled fighter (he’ll believe me because he’s young). This will make them both so afraid that they’ll kill each other just by looking at each other.
Enter OLIVIA, with VIOLA
OLIVIA enters with VIOLA.