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Critical ApparatusEnter Duke Orsino, Viola as Cesario, Curio, and Editor’s Noteothers
Editor’s Note1

orsino Give me some music. Now good morrow, friends.

Editor’s Note Link 2Now good Cesario, but that piece of song,

pg 134

Editor’s Note3That old and antic song we heard last night.

Editor’s Note4Methought it did relieve my passion much,

Editor’s Note Link 5More than light airs and recollected terms

Editor’s Note Link 6Of these most brisk and giddy-pacèd times.

Link 7Come, but one verse.


curio He is not here, so please your lordship, that should 9sing it.


orsino Who was it?

Editor’s Note11

curio Feste the jester, my lord, a fool that the lady Olivia's Link 12father took much delight in. He is about the house.

Critical Apparatus13

orsino Seek him out, and play the tune the while.

Exit Curio Music plays (To Viola)

14Come hither, boy. If ever thou shalt love,

15In the sweet pangs of it remember me;

16For such as I am, all true lovers are,

Editor’s Note Link 17Unstaid and skittish in all motions else

Editor’s Note Link 18Save in the constant image of the creature

19That is beloved. How dost thou like this tune?

pg 135 Editor’s Note20

viola It gives a very echo to the seat

Editor’s Note Link 21Where love is throned.

orsino Thou dost speak masterly.

Link 22My life upon't, young though thou art thine eye

Editor’s Note23Hath stayed upon some favour that it loves.

Editor’s Note24Hath it not, boy?

viola A little, by your favour.

Editor’s Note25

orsino What kind of woman is't?

viola Of your complexion.


orsino She is not worth thee then. What years, i'faith?


viola About your years, my lord.


orsino Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman take

Editor’s Note29An elder than herself, so wears she to him;

Editor’s Note Link 30So sways she level in her husband's heart.

31For boy, however we do praise ourselves,

Editor’s Note Link 32Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus33More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,

Editor’s Note34Than women's are.

viola I think it well, my lord.

pg 136 35

orsino Then let thy love be younger than thyself,

Editor’s Note Link 36Or thy affection cannot hold the bent;

Editor’s Note37For women are as roses, whose fair flower

38Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.


viola And so they are. Alas that they are so:

40To die even when they to perfection grow.

Critical ApparatusEnter Curio and Feste the clown

orsino (to Feste) O fellow, come, the song we had last night.

Link 42Mark it Cesario, it is old and plain.

Editor’s Note Link 43The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,

Editor’s Note Link 44And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,

Editor’s Note Link 45Do use to chant it. It is silly sooth,

Editor’s Note46And dallies with the innocence of love,

Editor’s Note47Like the old age.


feste Are you ready, sir?

pg 137 Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus49

orsino I prithee sing.

Editor’s NoteMusic
Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 50

feste (sings) Come away, come away death,

Editor’s Note51And in sad cypress let me be laid.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus52Fie away, fie away breath,

53I am slain by a fair cruel maid.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus54My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,

55O prepare it.

Editor’s Note Link 56My part of death no one so true

57Did share it.

58Not a flower, not a flower sweet

Link 59On my black coffin let there be strewn.

Link 60Not a friend, not a friend greet

61My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown.

Critical Apparatus62A thousand thousand sighs to save,

63Lay me O where

64Sad true lover never find my grave,

65To weep there.

pg 138 Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus66

orsino (giving money) There's for thy pains.


feste No pains, sir, I take pleasure in singing, sir.


orsino I'll pay thy pleasure then.


feste Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time or 70another.

Editor’s Note71

orsino Give me now leave to leave thee.

Editor’s Note72

feste Now the melancholy god protect thee, and the tailor Editor’s Note Link 73make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is Editor’s Note Link 74a very opal. I would have men of such constancy put to Editor’s Note75sea, that their business might be everything, and their Editor’s Note Link 76intent everywhere, for that's it that always makes a 77good voyage of nothing. Farewell.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus78

orsino Let all the rest give place.

Exeunt Curio and others

Once more, Cesario,

pg 139

Editor’s Note79Get thee to yon same sovereign cruelty.

Editor’s Note80Tell her my love, more noble than the world,

81Prizes not quantity of dirty lands.

Editor’s Note82The parts that fortune hath bestowed upon her

Editor’s Note83Tell her I hold as giddily as fortune;

Editor’s Note84But 'tis that miracle and queen of gems

Editor’s Note Link 85That nature pranks her in attracts my soul.


viola But if she cannot love you, sir?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus87

orsino I cannot be so answered.

viola Sooth, but you must.

88Say that some lady, as perhaps there is,

Link 89Hath for your love as great a pang of heart

90As you have for Olivia. You cannot love her.

91You tell her so. Must she not then be answered?


orsino There is no woman's sides

Editor’s Note Link 93Can bide the beating of so strong a passion

94As love doth give my heart; no woman's heart

Editor’s Note Link 95So big, to hold so much. They lack retention.

Editor’s Note96Alas, their love may be called appetite,

Editor’s Note97No motion of the liver, but the palate,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 98That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt.

pg 140

Editor’s Note Link 99But mine is all as hungry as the sea,

100And can digest as much. Make no compare

101Between that love a woman can bear me

Editor’s Note102And that I owe Olivia.


viola Ay, but I know—


orsino What dost thou know?


viola Too well what love women to men may owe.

106In faith, they are as true of heart as we.

107My father had a daughter loved a man

108As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman

Editor’s Note Link 109I should your lordship.

orsino And what's her history?

Editor’s Note Link 110

viola A blank, my lord. She never told her love,

Link 111But let concealment, like a worm i'th' bud,

Editor’s Note Link 112Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought,

Editor’s Note113And with a green and yellow melancholy

Editor’s Note Link 114She sat like patience on a monument,

115Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?

116We men may say more, swear more, but indeed

117Our shows are more than will; for still we prove

118Much in our vows, but little in our love.

Link 119

orsino But died thy sister of her love, my boy?


viola I am all the daughters of my father's house,

pg 141

121And all the brothers too; and yet I know not.

122Sir, shall I to this lady?

orsino Ay, that's the theme,

Editor’s Note123To her in haste, give her this jewel, say

Editor’s Note Link 124My love can give no place, bide no denay.

Critical ApparatusExeunt severally

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus Orsino] not in f
as Cesario] not in f
Editor’s Note others These must include a musician or musicians to play the tune of Feste's song at l. 13, and probably to accompany him when he sings it.
Editor’s Note
1 Give me some music … good morrow Orsino asks for music even before wishing his court good morning, so the musician(s) should probably respond at once rather than wailing until l. 13.
Editor’s Note
2 but just (i.e. let us hear that). Presumably Orsino is inviting his favourite Cesario to listen to the song with him rather than asking him to sing it. See Introduction, p. 75.
Editor’s Note
3 antic quaint (the stress is on the first syllable)
Editor’s Note
4 passion suffering
Editor’s Note
5 airs Orsino draws a contrast between old and antic songs, i.e. folk songs, and fashionable 'art songs' which were appearing at this time in such collections as Dowland's First Book of Songs or Airs (1597).
recollected terms studied, artificial phrases. For recollect, compare Pericles Sc. 5.91–2, 'And from their wat'ry empire recollect | All that may men approve or men detect', where 'recollect' means 'gather and store up in memory'. If the musicians have played from the start of the scene, this phrase may criticize what they are actually playing.
Editor’s Note
6 giddy-pacèd whirling in confusion (OED a. 2)
Editor’s Note
11–12 a fool … delight in This characterizes feste as an 'old-timer', a member of the old count's generation, and so the right man to sing old and antic songs.
Critical Apparatus
13 Exit Curio] pope; not in f
Editor’s Note
17 Unstaid unstable
skittish frivolous
motions emotions (the word 'emotion' does not occur in Shakespeare)
Editor’s Note
18–19 in the constant image … beloved in faithfully contemplating the image of the loved one
Editor’s Note
18 constant From Latin constans, constant basically means 'consistent, holding firm', but when Shakespeare uses it in contexts involving love, it also carries the implication 'true' or 'faithful': compare Cymbeline 5.6.450, where Innogen is celebrated as 'this most constant wife', and Sonnet 105.5–6: 'Kind is my love today, tomorrow kind, | Still constant in a wondrous excellence.'
Editor’s Note
20–1 gives … throned reflects exactly the feelings of the heart (because the heart was thought to be the seat of love; compare 1.1.34–8)
Editor’s Note
21 masterly expertly
Editor’s Note
23 stayed upon some favour fixed upon some face
Editor’s Note
24 by your favour by your leave (with a pun on 'a face like yours')
Editor’s Note
25 complexion colouring (or 'temperament')
Editor’s Note
29 wears she to him she adapts herself to him (as clothes do to the wearer); perhaps related to the proverb 'Win it and wear it' (Tilley W408)
Editor’s Note
30 sways she level she exerts a consistent influence. Sways is a pun: (a) 'holds sway' (b) 'swings in perfect balance'. Compare 1 Henry IV 3.2.12–17: 'Could such inordinate and low desires … hold their level with thy princely heart?'
Editor’s Note
32 fancies affections (used in the sense of giddy and unfirm emotions which 'fancy' often implies in Shakespeare: see note to 1.1.14–15)
Critical Apparatus
33 worn] f; won hanmer
Editor’s Note
33 worn worn out. Hanmer and other editors emend to 'won', following the catch-phrase 'lost and won'. But that phrase itself is the surest evidence that worn is correct: Shakespeare leads the audience to expect 'won' after lost and, and then shocks them with the image of love wearing out and decaying. Worn is perfectly attuned to Orsino's particular style, as in his lingering over and relishing the dying fall in his opening speech.
Editor’s Note
34 think believe
Editor’s Note
36 hold the bent remain at full stretch, remain taut and true (an image from archery)
Editor’s Note
37–40 For women are as roses … perfection grow These four lines are a poignant statement of the price of perfection—that at just (even) the very moment when women, like roses, are fully revealed (displayed) and most perfect, they begin to decline. In emphasizing that perfection is defined by its very vulnerability, Shakespeare may have been influenced by Daniel's Delia: 'Look, Delia, how w'esteem the half-blown rose, | The image of thy blush, and summer's honour, … No sooner spreads her glory in the air, | But straight her wide-blown pomp comes to decline. | She then is scorned, that late adorned the fair; | So fade the roses of those cheeks of thine' (sonnet 39, 1–2, 5–8, quoted from the revised 1601 edition, which is closer to Shakespeare's wording here than the 1592 original).
Critical Apparatus
40.1 Feste the] not in f
Editor’s Note
43 spinsters women spinning. But by 1617, according to OED, it was also used, as now, to denote unmarried women. Both senses are probably present in this line, where the women sit spinning and knitting in the sun; compare the Nurse suckling juliet while 'Sitting in the sun under the dove-house wall' (Romeo 1.3.29).
Editor’s Note
44 free carefree
weave their thread with bones make lace with bone bobbins
Editor’s Note
45 Do use are accustomed (Abbott 303)
silly sooth simple truth. Silly is here used in an archaic sense, from Middle English seely, meaning 'unsophisticated' or 'rustic' (OED a. 3). Compare Cymbeline 5.5.86: 'a fourth man, in a seely [f: silly] habit'. The general point is that the song tells older, simpler truths about love.
Editor’s Note
46 dallies with lingers lovingly on
Editor’s Note
47 old age golden age of pastoral poetry, an ideal world of positive values
Critical Apparatus
49 I prithee sing] f; Ay, prithee sing theobald 1740
Editor’s Note
49 I prithee sing F's I prethee sing could also be modernized, as by Theobald, to 'Ay, prithee sing'.
Editor’s Note
49.1 Music F's direction here implies that the accompaniment is not played by the singer himself. There are various possibilities. In Peter Gill's 1974 RSC production, for instance, the musicians accompanied Feste on lute and violin; but as the song proceeded, Feste imposed his own rougher tempo, beaten out on his tabor (see, asserting, as it were, what was old and plain against their more formal recollected terms (l. 5).
Critical Apparatus
50 feste (sings)] The Song. f
Editor’s Note
50–65 The words of this song may or may not be by Shakespeare. No contemporary setting survives; but see the Appendix.
Editor’s Note
50 Come away Come here quickly. Compare Prospero's summoning of Ariel at Tempest 1.2.188: 'Come away, servant'.
Editor’s Note
51 cypress This must refer to a black coffin of cypress wood, not to the material which Olivia mentions at 3.1.119, since in l. 54 the corpse's shroud is said to be white. The cypress, like the yew of l. 54, is a tree associated with churchyards and with mourning.
Critical Apparatus
52 Fie … fie] f; Fly … fly rowe
Editor’s Note
52 Fie away Be off! Hotson (p. 144) points out that this expression is common in Elizabethan English, citing for instance John Florio's glossing 'O' as 'an interjection of … reproving, as … fie, away' (A World of Words (1598), p. 242). It is therefore unnecessary to emend to 'Fly away', as many editors have done.
Critical Apparatus
54–7 My shroud … share it] As pope; two lines in f. divided after 'prepare it'
Editor’s Note
54 yew yew twigs, strewn over the shrouded corpse
Editor’s Note
56–7 My part of death … share it no one so faithful has ever received his allotted portion, death
Critical Apparatus
62–5 A thousand … weep there] As pope; two lines in f, divided after 'where'
Critical Apparatus
66 giving money] collier 1858; not in f
Editor’s Note
66 There's for thy pains The natural deduction from the line is that Orsino gives Feste money; but in Robin Phillips's production at Stratford, Ontario in 1980, Orsino presented Feste with the song-book from which he had been singing, to Feste's delight.
Orsino's phrase sets off a sequence of word-play on pains/pleasure and on paying for pleasures. First, in l. 67, Feste's I take pleasure in singing perhaps contains a professional artist's rebuke to an employer who thinks art is something to be bought and sold—which does not prevent Feste from taking the money, as always. Then, when Orsino says that he will pay thy pleasure (l. 68), Feste plays upon various proverbs about pain (rather than payment) following pleasure (Tilley P408, 412, 413, 419, 420).
Editor’s Note
71 to leave to dismiss
Editor’s Note
72 melancholy god Saturn. Perhaps Feste invokes him because Orsino is not in the mood to listen to jests, or (especially in view of what follows) to accuse Orsino of moodiness in ordering Feste to sing one moment and dismissing him the next.
Editor’s Note
73 changeable taffeta silk whose colour changes with the light and the angle of view. This seems to have been a standard description or trade name, since the theatrical impresario Philip Henslowe twice refers to 'changeable taffeta' in his diary, on 23 October 1594 and 9 December 1602 (Henslowe's Diary, pp. 259, 221).
Editor’s Note
74 opal an iridescent gemstone (hence an image of changeability and inconstancy, and perhaps specifically of a lover's changeability, for according to Leslie Hotson 'the opal is Venus's stone' (Shakespeare's Motley (1952), p. 120))
Editor’s Note
75 sea (another image of the changeable; compare 1.1.10–14)
Editor’s Note
75–6 their business … everywhere drawing upon another proverbial expression: 'he that is everywhere is nowhere' (Tilley E194)
Editor’s Note
76–7 that's it … of nothing that attitude of mind sees value in purposeless activity. Feste's caustic irony increases during this speech: he takes the professional fool's licence to criticize very far, accusing Orsino of changeability and inconstancy.
Critical Apparatus
78 Exeunt Curio and others] capell (subs.); not in f
Editor’s Note
78 give place leave
Editor’s Note
79 sovereign cruelty (a) supremely cruel lady (b) (Orsino's) cruel sovereign
Editor’s Note
80 the world society in general (which values possessions)
Editor’s Note
82 parts possessions and status
Editor’s Note
83 giddily lightly (because fortune was traditionally fickle)
Editor’s Note
84 miracle and queen of gems i.e. Olivia's beauty (or more generally, Olivia herself—what nature has made her—as opposed to the possessions that fortune has given her)
Editor’s Note
85 pranks her in adorns her with. Compare Winter's Tale 4.4.9–10: 'me, poor lowly maid, | Most goddess-like pranked up.'
Critical Apparatus
87 I] hanmer; It f
Editor’s Note
87 Sooth in truth
Editor’s Note
93 bide withstand
Editor’s Note
95 retention the power to retain (a medical expression meaning 'the body's power to retain its contents' (OED 1a and b)
Editor’s Note
96 appetite i.e. without depth of feeling
Editor’s Note
97 motion impulse, or perhaps emotion in general, as at l. 17. OED lists these two meanings under one heading (sb. 9).
liver (the seat of the passions; compare 1.1.36–7)
palate (the organ of taste, easily sated)
Critical Apparatus
98 suffer] f; suffers rowe
Editor’s Note
98 cloyment … revolt Orsino criticizes women for indulging appetite to the point of cloyment (satiety) and revolt (revulsion, sickening), which is exactly what he wanted the music to do for him in the opening speech of the play. According to OED, cloyment is a Shakespearian coinage, and revolt is its only example of the word used in this sense (sb.1 2c); both are also the only Shakespearian usages in this sense.
Editor’s Note
99 as hungry as the sea Orsino re-employs the image he used at 1.1.11.
Editor’s Note
102, 105 owe have for
Editor’s Note
109 history story
Editor’s Note
110–24 A blank … no denay For the psychological implications of these lines, and some theatrical ways of realizing them, see Introduction, pp. 37–9.
Editor’s Note
112 damask pink and white, like a damask rose, so called because it reputedly came originally from Damascus. Compare As You Like It 3.5.121–4: 'There was a pretty redness in his lip, | … 'Twas just the difference | Betwixt the constant red and mingled damask.'
Editor’s Note
113 green and yellow pale and sallow. Perhaps a reference to 'green sickness' or chlorosis, 'an anaemic sickness of young women' taken 'as a sign of a girl's love-sickness, or of vague desire, for a man' (Eric Partridge, Shakespeare's Bawdy (revised edn., 1968), p. 117).
Editor’s Note
114–15 She sat … grief Viola compares her imaginary sister to a figure on a memorial statue symbolizing patience and smiling.
117 Our shows … will our outward displays have more substance than our passions
still always
Editor’s Note
123 jewel piece of jewellery, probably a ring
Editor’s Note
124 can give … denay cannot ebb, or tolerate denial
Critical Apparatus
124.1 severally] oxford; not in f
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