home contact

Twelfth Night

Please see the bottom of the page for full explanatory notes and helpful resources.

SEBASTIAN I would not by my will have troubled you; 
 But, since you make your pleasure of your pains, 
 I will no further chide you. 
ANTONIO I could not stay behind you: my desire,
 More sharp than filed steel, did spur me forth; 
 And not all love to see you, though so much 
 As might have drawn one to a longer voyage, 
 But jealousy what might befall your travel, 
 Being skilless in these parts; which to a stranger,
 Unguided and unfriended, often prove 10
 Rough and unhospitable: my willing love, 
 The rather by these arguments of fear, 
 Set forth in your pursuit. 
SEBASTIAN My kind Antonio,
 I can no other answer make but thanks, 
 And thanks; and ever thanks. How oft good turns 
 Are shuffled off with such uncurrent pay: 
 But, were my worth as is my conscience firm, 
 You should find better dealing. What's to do?
 Shall we go see the reliques of this town? 
ANTONIO To-morrow, sir: best first go see your lodging. 20 
SEBASTIAN I am not weary, and 'tis long to night: 
 I pray you, let us satisfy our eyes 
 With the memorials and the things of fame
 That do renown this city. 
ANTONIO Would you'ld pardon me; 
 I do not without danger walk these streets: 
 Once, in a sea-fight, 'gainst the count his galleys 
 I did some service; of such note indeed,
 That were I ta'en here it would scarce be answer'd. 
SEBASTIAN Belike you slew great number of his people. 
ANTONIO The offence is not of such a bloody nature; 30
 Albeit the quality of the time and quarrel 
 Might well have given us bloody argument.
 It might have since been answer'd in repaying 
 What we took from them; which, for traffic's sake, 
 Most of our city did: only myself stood out; 
 For which, if I be lapsed in this place, 
 I shall pay dear.
SEBASTIAN Do not then walk too open. 
ANTONIO It doth not fit me. Hold, sir, here's my purse. 
 In the south suburbs, at the Elephant, 
 Is best to lodge: I will bespeak our diet, 40
 Whiles you beguile the time and feed your knowledge
 With viewing of the town: there shall you have me. 
SEBASTIAN Why I your purse? 
ANTONIO Haply your eye shall light upon some toy 
 You have desire to purchase; and your store, 
 I think, is not for idle markets, sir.
SEBASTIAN I'll be your purse-bearer and leave you 
 For an hour. 
ANTONIO To the Elephant. 
SEBASTIAN I do remember. 49

Next: Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 4


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 3

From Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan.

1. by my will, of my own accord.

2. since ... pains, since you find pleasure in the trouble you take; cp. Macb. ii. 3. 65, "The labour we delight in physics pain."

6-9. And not ... parts, and not merely my love of seeing you, though that love was great enough to have led me to make a longer journey than I have undertaken in your behalf, but the dread of what might happen to you in your wanderings, you knowing nothing of this country; jealousy, = anxious doubt about; cp, Marlowe, Dido, Queen of Carthage, ii. 1. 222, "My mother Venus, Jealous of my health."

11-3. my willing ... pursuit, my love eager to serve you (i.e. I in my love being eager to, etc.), spurred on the more by these promptings of fear, set out to follow you.

15, 6. How oft ... pay! How often the payment of kindnesses is escaped by the tender of such worthless coin as mere thanks. I have adopted Abbott's conjecture ("Thanks. How") as seeming the most probable of the many made to supply the hiatus after and ever.

17, 8. But were ... dealing. But, in my case, if my substance, resources, had as solid a foundation as my consciousness of what is due to you, you should receive other payment than mere barren thanks; for worth, cp. Lear, iv. 4. 10, "He that helps him take all my outward worth"; R. J. ii. 6. 32, "They are but beggars who can count their worth." What's to do? What is there to be done? How can we employ our time? For the act. inf. where we generally use the pass., see Abb. § 359.

19. reliques, the antiquities, the "memorials and things of fame" of 1. 23.

20. best first go, it would be better for you to go first.

21. 'tis long to night. There is plenty of time between now and nightfall.

24. That do renown .. city. For which this city is famous; cp. H. V. i. 2. 118, "The blood and courage that renowned them." Would ... me, I should be glad if you would excuse me.

25. I do not, almost = I cannot; if I walk these streets it is not without danger that I do so.

26. the count his, on his, used for 's, the sign of the possessive case, see Abb. § 217.

27. of such ... indeed, of so notable a character.

28. it would ... answer'd, I should hardly be able to make any defence that would be accepted.

29. Belike, probably; lit. by like, i.e. likelihood: great number, for the omission of the article, see Abb. § 84.

31, 2. Albeit ... argument, although the circumstances of the time and the nature of the quarrel might have been a pretext for the shedding of blood; for argument, = cause, reason cp. M. W. ii. 2. 256, "My desires had instance and argument to commend themselves": albeit, made up of all-be-it, i.e. all though it be that.

33, 4. It might ... them, requital might since have been made by our restoring what we took from them; cp. K. J. iv. 2. 89, "This must be answered either here or hence": for traffic's sake, in order that commerce between the two countries might not be interrupted; see a similar argument in M. V. 3. 30. 1.

35. stood out, strongly objected to restitution being made; cp. Cor, i. 1. 245, "What, art thou stiff? Stands't out? i.e. do you hold aloof from the enterprise?

36. if I be lapsed, if I should be taken unawares.

37. too open, too much at large, i.e. do not be seen in frequented parts of the town.

38. It doth ... me, it is not well for me to do so.

39. the Elephant, the sign of the inn. "If it were not an anachronism, I should like to suggest that Shakespeare might be thinking of the Elephant and Castle, which is in the 'south suburbs'; but I have been unable to trace that inn further back than the middle of the seventeenth century" (Wright).

40. I will ... diet, I will give orders for our dinner to be prepared for us: is best, it is best; see Abb. § 404.

41, 2. Whiles ... town, while you make the time pass quickly and pleasantly, and add to your knowledge by seeing the different sights of the town: cp. M. N. D. v. 1. 40, "How shall we beguile the lazy time?": whiles, the gen. of 'while,' time, used adverbially, as 'needs,' 'twice' (twies), etc. For viewing of, see Abb. § 93: have me, find me.

43. Why I your purse? Why should I take your purse?

45, 6. and your ... markets, and your supply of money is not sufficiently well filled for a visit to shops abounding in all kinds of pretty trifles; the epithet idle more properly belongs to the trinkets, toys, gauds, that would be bought in such shops.

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1889. Shakespeare Online. 20 Dec. 2010. < >

More to Explore

 Twelfth Night: The Complete Play with Explanatory Notes
 Types of Shakespearean Comedy
 Exploring the Nature of Shakespearean Comedy
 Shakespeare's Second Period: Exploring Twelfth Night

 Twelfth Night: Plot Summary
 Introduction to Shakespeare's Malvolio
 Introduction to Shakespeare's Feste
 Spiritual Grace: An Examination of Viola from Twelfth Night
 The Comic Relief of Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek


Did You Know? ... The Bard's paternal grandfather was Richard Shakespeare (d. 1561), a farmer in Snitterfield, a village four miles northeast of Stratford. There is no record of Richard Shakespeare before 1529, but details about his life after this reveal that he was a tenant farmer, who, on occasion, would be fined for grazing too many cattle on the common grounds and for not attending manor court. Read on...


 Introduction to Shakespeare's Olivia
 Introduction to the Duke in Twelfth Night
 Twelfth Night: Q & A
 How to Pronounce the Names in Twelfth Night
 Shakespeare and Music

 Famous Quotations from Twelfth Night
 Shakespeare's Reputation in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
 Why Study Shakespeare?
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels

 The Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays
 Establishing the Order of the Plays
 How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write?
 Shakespeare Timeline

 Words Shakespeare Invented
 Quotations About William Shakespeare
 Portraits of Shakespeare

 Top 10 Shakespeare Plays
 Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes
 Shakespeare's Blank Verse
 Edward Alleyn (Actor)