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ORSINO, Duke of Illyria.
SEBASTIAN, a young Gentleman, Brother to Viola.
VALENTINE,Gentlemen attending on the Duke.
Lords, Priests, Sailors, Officers, Musicians, and other Attendants.
SCENE. A City in Illyria, and the Sea-coast near it.
WHAT YOU WILL.
SCENE I. An Apartment in the Duke's Palace.
Enter DUKE, CURIO, Lords; Musicians attending.
Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord?
1 The old copies read sound: the emendation is Pope's. Rowe had changed it to wind. In Sidney's Arcadia, 1590, we have "more sweet than a gentle south-west wind, which comes creeping over flowery fields." 2 Value.
3 Fantastical to the height. This is the usual reading; but may it not have been originally written, "hight (i. e. called) fantastical"?
Duke. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have:
O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me.-How now? what news from her?
Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted, But from her handmaid do return this answer: The element itself, till seven years heat,1 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 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,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
Hath 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 self3 king!— Away before me to sweet beds of flowers; Love-thoughts lie rich, when canopied with bowers. [Exeunt
SCENE II. The Sea-coast.
Enter VIOLA, Captain, and Sailors.
Vio. What country, friends, is this?
Vio. And what should I do in Illyria?
1 This passage is obscure: perhaps the meaning is, seven summers.
2 So in Sidney's Arcadia-"the flock of unspeakable virtues.”
3 Self king signifies self-same king.
My brother he is in Elysium.
Perchance he is not drowned :-What think you,
Cap. It is perchance that you yourself were saved. Vio. O my poor brother! and so, perchance, may
Cap. True, madam: and, to comfort you with chance,
Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
When you, and that poor number saved with you,
(Courage and hope both teaching him the practice)
I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves,
For saying so, there's gold
Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
The like of him. Know'st thou this country?
Vio. Who governs here?
A noble duke, in nature,
What is his name?
Vio. Orsino! I have heard my father name him: He was a bachelor then.
And so is now,
Or was so very late for but a month.
Ago I went from hence; and then 'twas fresh
The love of fair Olivia.
Cap. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count That died some twelvemonth since; then leaving her In the protection of his son, her brother,
Who shortly also died: for whose dear love
O that I served that lady;
And might not be delivered to the world,
That were hard to compass;
Because she will admit no kind of suit,
Vio. There is a fair behavior in thee, captain;
And speak to him in many sorts of music,
Cap. Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be :
1 i. e. "I wish I might not be made public to the world, with regard to the state of my birth and fortune, till I have gained a ripe opportunity for my design." Johnson remarks that "Viola seems to have formed a deep design with very little premeditation." In the novel upon which the play is founded, the duke being driven upon the isle of Cyprus, by a tempest, Silla, the daughter of the governor, falls in love with him, and on his departure goes in pursuit of him. All this Shakspeare knew, and probably intended to tell in some future scene, but afterwards forgot it. Viola, in Act ii. Sc. 4, plainly alludes to her having been secretly in love with the duke; but it would have been inconsistent with her delicacy to have made an open confession of it to the captain.
2 This plan of Viola's was not pursued, as it would have been inconsistent with the plot of the play. She was presented as a page.