Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 5

page Act 1 Scene 5 Page 12

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OLIVIA removes her veil
OLIVIA takes off her veil.

VIOLA

Excellently done, if God did all.

VIOLA

It was done excellently, if it’s all-natural, the way God made it.

OLIVIA

'Tis in grain, sir. 'Twill endure wind and weather.

OLIVIA

Oh, it’s all-natural, sir. Wind and rain can’t wash it off.

VIOLA

'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
215Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive
If you will lead these graces to the grave
And leave the world no copy.

VIOLA

That’s true beauty. Mother Nature herself painted your skin so white and your lips so red. My lady, you’d be the cruelest woman alive if you let your beauty die with you, with no children to inherit your good looks for future generations to enjoy.

OLIVIA

O, sir, I will not be so hard-hearted. I will give out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every particle and utensil labeled to my will: as, item, two lips indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth. Were you sent hither to praise me?

OLIVIA

Oh, I’d never be that cruel. I’ll definitely do as you say and leave my beauty for the rest of the world to enjoy. I’ll write out a detailed inventory of my beauty and label every part. For example—item: two lips, ordinary red. Item: two gray eyes, with lids on them. Item: one neck, one chin, and so on. Anyway, were you sent here just to tell me I’m beautiful?

VIOLA

I see you what you are, you are too proud.
225But, if you were the devil, you are fair.
My lord and master loves you. Oh, such love
Could be but recompensed though you were crowned
The nonpareil of beauty.

VIOLA

I see what you’re like. You’re proud. But you’d still be gorgeous even if you were as proud as the devil. My lord loves you. You should return a love as deep as his, even if you’re the most beautiful woman in the world.

OLIVIA

   How does he love me?

OLIVIA

How does he love me?

VIOLA

With adorations, fertile tears,
230With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

VIOLA

He adores you. He cries and groans and sighs.

OLIVIA

Your lord does know my mind. I cannot love him.
Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,
Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth.

OLIVIA

Your lord knows what I think. I can’t love him. I’m sure he’s a very nice man. I know he’s noble, rich, young, and with a fine reputation. People say he’s generous, well educated, and brave, and he’s very attractive.