Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 2

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   How now! What news from her?
What’s going on? What have you heard from her?


So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
But from her handmaid do return this answer:
25The element itself, till seven years' heat,
Shall not behold her face at ample view,
But like a cloistress, she will veiled walk
And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine—all this to season
30A brother’s dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance.


I’m sorry, but they wouldn’t let me in. But I got the following answer from her handmaid. Olivia’s not going to show her face for the next seven years—not even to the sky itself. Instead, she’ll go around veiled like a nun, and once a day she’ll water her room with tears. She’s doing this out of love for her dead brother, whom she wants to keep fresh in her memory forever.


O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
35Hath killed the flock of all affections else
That live in her, when liver, brain, and heart,
These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and filled
Her sweet perfections with one self king!
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers.
40Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.


Oh, if she loves her brother this much, think how she’ll love me when I finally win her over and make her forget all her other attachments! Her mind and heart will be ruled by one man alone—me! Take me to the garden. I need a beautiful place to sit and think about love.
They exit.