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This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Ague-cheek is drawn with great propriety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life. Johnson.
} Gentlemen, attending on the Duke. Sir Toby BELCH, Uncle to Olivia. Sir ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK, a foolish knight, pretending
WOMEN. OLIVIA, Lady of great Beauty and Fortune, beloved by
the Duke. Viola, in love with the Duke. MARIA, Olivia's Woman.
Priest, Sailors, Officers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, a City on the coast of Illyria.
WHAT YOU WILL.
ACT I, SCENE I.
The Duke's Palace. Enter Duke, Curio, and Lords.
Of what validity and pitch soever;".
Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord ?
Cur. The hart.
20 Methought, she purg'd the air of pestilence; That instant was I turn'd into a hart; And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds, E'er since pursue me.—How now? what news from
Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted, But from her handmaid do return this answer: The element itself, till seven years hence, Shall not behold her face at ample view ; But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk, And water once a day her chamber round 30 With eye-offending brine : all this, to season A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh, And lasting, in her sad remembrance.
Duke. O, she, that hath a heart of that fine frame, To pay
this debt of love but to a brother,
These sovereign thrones, are all supply'd, and fill'd (Her sweet perfections), with one self-same king !Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;
41 Love thoughts lie rich, when canopy'd with bowers.
The Street. Enter VIOLA, a Captain, and Sailors.
Vio. And what should I do in Illyria ?
sailors? Cap. It is perchance, that you yourself were sav'd. Vio. O my poor brother! and so, perchance, may
he be. Cap. True, madam : and, to comfort you witlt
chance, Assure yourself, after our ship did split, When you, and that poor
number say'd with you, Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother, Most provident in peril, bind himself (Courage and hope both teaching him the practice) To a strong mast, that liv'd upon the sea; Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back, I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves, So long as I could see.
Vio. "For saying so, there's gold:
60 Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope, Whereto thy speech serves for authority, The like of him. Know'st thou this country,
Cap. Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born, Not three hours travel from this very place.
Vio, Who governs here?
Vio. Orsino ! I have heard my father name him : He was a bachelor then.
71 Cap. And so is now, or was so very late : For but a month ago I went from hence'; And then 'twas fresh in murmur (as, you know, What great ones do, the less will prattle of), That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.
Vio. What's she?
Cap. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count
l'io. O, that I serv'd that lady ;
Cap. That were hard to compass;