Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 5

page Act 1 Scene 5 Page 10

Original Text

Modern Text

OLIVIA

Come to what is important in ’t. I forgive you the praise.

OLIVIA

Get to the point now. I’ll let you get away with skipping the praise.

VIOLA

175Alas, I took great pains to study it, and ’tis poetical.

VIOLA

That’s too bad, because I spent a long time memorizing it, and it’s poetic.

OLIVIA

It is the more like to be feigned. I pray you, keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates and allowed your approach rather to wonder at you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be gone. If you have reason, be brief. 'Tis not that time of moon with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue.

OLIVIA

That means it’s more likely to be fake. Please, keep it to yourself. I heard you were rude when you were standing outside my gate, and that’s the only reason I let you in. I was curious. But I don’t necessarily want to listen to you. If you’re just insane, then get out of here. If you’re in your right mind, get to the point. I’ve got no patience for lunacy at the moment, and I don’t want to waste my time on ridiculous conversations.

MARIA

Will you hoist sail, sir? Here lies your way.

MARIA

Ready to set sail, sir? The door’s right here.

VIOLA

No, good swabber, I am to hull here a little longer. Some mollification for your giant, sweet lady.

VIOLA

No, this boat’s docking here a bit longer, little sailor.—My lady, would you mind asking your giant here to back off a bit?

OLIVIA

185Tell me your mind.

OLIVIA

Tell me what you want.

VIOLA

I am a messenger.

VIOLA

I have a message to deliver.

OLIVIA

Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver, when the courtesy of it is so fearful. Speak your office.

OLIVIA

It must be a message about something horrible, since you deliver it so rudely. Tell me what it’s about.

VIOLA

It alone concerns your ear. I bring no overture of war, no taxation of homage. I hold the olive in my hand. My words are as full of peace as matter.

VIOLA

It’s about you. I’m not bringing any declarations of war or demands for cash. I’m coming in peace.

OLIVIA

Yet you began rudely. What are you? What would you?

OLIVIA

But you began so rudely. Who are you? What do you want?