Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 5

page Act 1 Scene 5 Page 11

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VIOLA

The rudeness that hath appeared in me have I learned from my entertainment. What I am and what I would are as secret as maidenhead. To your ears, divinity. To any other’s, profanation.

VIOLA

If I seemed rude, it’s because of how badly I was treated when I got here. Who I am and what I want are a secret. You’re the only one I can share the secret with. It’s sacred, just for you. It’s not for anyone else to hear.

OLIVIA

Give us the place alone. We will hear this divinity.

OLIVIA

Everyone, please leave us alone for a moment. I’ve got a “sacred” secret to hear.
Exeunt MARIA and attendants
MARIA and attendants exit.
Now, sir, what is your text?
Now, sir, what’s this holy secret you wanted to tell me?

VIOLA

Most sweet lady—

VIOLA

Most sweet lady—

OLIVIA

200A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lies your text?

OLIVIA

Oh, “sweet”! It sounds like a nice and gentle kind of faith. Where’s the passage of holy scripture that you’re basing your sermon on?

VIOLA

In Orsino’s bosom.

VIOLA

In Orsino’s heart.

OLIVIA

In his bosom? In what chapter of his bosom?

OLIVIA

In his heart? In what chapter and verse of his heart?

VIOLA

To answer by the method, in the first of his heart.

VIOLA

The table of contents says it’s in the first chapter of his heart.

OLIVIA

205Oh, I have read it. It is heresy. Have you no more to say?

OLIVIA

Oh, I’ve read that. That’s not holy, it’s heresy. Do you have anything else to say?

VIOLA

Good madam, let me see your face.

VIOLA

Madam, please let me see your face.

OLIVIA

Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? You are now out of your text. But we will draw the curtain and show you the picture. Look you, sir, such a one I was this present. Is ’t not well done?

OLIVIA

Has your lord given you any orders to negotiate with my face? I don’t think so. You’re overstepping your bounds now. But I’ll open the curtain and let you see the picture. Look, sir, this is a portrait of me as I am at this particular moment. It’s pretty well done, isn’t it?