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the animation of the perishing man, he is thus reproved by Bryce, the pedlar:- Are you mad? you, that have lived so long in Zetland, to risk the saving of a drowning man? Wot ye not, if you bring him to life again, he will be sure to do you some capital injury?' Sir Walter Scott has a note upon this passage:
"It is remarkable that, in an archipelago where so many persons must be necessarily endangered by the waves, so strange and inhuman a maxim should have engrafted itself upon the minds of a people otherwise kind, moral, and hospitable. But all with whom I have spoken agree that it was almost general in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and was with difficulty weeded out by the sedulous instructions of the clergy, and the rigorous injunctions of the proprietors. There is little doubt it had been originally introduced as an excuse for suffering those who attempted to escape from the wreck to perish unassisted, so that, there being no survivor, she might be considered as lawful plunder.'
"It appears to us, however, if we mistake not the meaning of our text, if you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant,' that the superstition was not confined to the Orkneys, in the time of Shakespeare. Why should Sebastian murder Antonio for his love, if this superstition were not alluded to? Indeed, the answer of Sebastian distinctly refers to the office of humanity which Antonio had rendered him, and appears to glance at the superstition as if he perfectly understood what Antonio meant-'If you will not undo what you have done, that is, kill him whom you have recovered, desire it not.' The vulgar opinion is here reversed.”— KNIGHT.
RECEIVE it so"-i. e. Understand, or take it so, without reference to the ring. Viola follows it up by expressing surprise at what Malvolio had said about the ring, which she had never seen till then.
-the PROPER FALSE" "—" Proper” is here handsome, as in OTHELLO
This Ludovico is a proper man. This adjective is compounded with "false" in the same way that we subsequently have beauteous-evil.
"such as we are made OF, such we be"-The folios read, "For such as we are made, if such we be." I cannot perceive that this gives any satisfactory sense, and have adopted Tyrwhitt's correction-of for if-thus gaining a natural sense, expressed in a phrase of the Poet's manner, as in the TEMPEST-"such stuff as dreams are made of." Knight and Collier, however, retain and defend the old reading, which is said to allow the following sense:-"How easy is it (says Viola) for handsome false men to set their forms in the waxen hearts of women; for which, alas! our frailty is the cause, not ourselves, inasmuch as we are made such as we are, if indeed we be such."
"— FADGE”—To suit, to agree. Drayton hasWith flattery my muse could never fadge. SCENE III.
-DILUCULO SURGERE"-Diluculo surgere saluberrimum est-"'Tis healthiest to rise early." This wellknown adage Shakespeare found in Lily's "Grammar;" the manual of his age.
"-a STOOP of wine"-The word "stoop," says Reed, is derived from the Belgic, and is equivalent to a measure of two quarts.
"the picture of WE THREE"-An allusion to an old print, formerly a favourite ornament of the room-walls of country alehouses. It represented two only, but, underneath, the rustic connoisseur read this complimentary inscription" We three are asses;" or the more refined and metrical one
We three Loggerheads be.
"an excellent BREAST"-" Breast" and voice were of old synonymous, and it is, therefore, not necessary to substitute breath, as some have recommended.
"for thy LEMAN"-The word is spelled lemon in the old copies, and Collier supposes the meaning may be, that Sir Andrew sent the Clown sixpence in return for, or to buy a lemon. But it is clear enough that Sir Andrew sent the sixpence to the Clown's sweetheart. "Leman" has been differently derived-from l'aimant, (Fr.) or, more probably, from the Saxon leof, (dear,) and man. But its sense in Old-English is familiar for a lover, or mistress.
-IMPETICOS thy GRATILLITY"-"This is evidently a touch of the fantastic language which the Clown continually uses. Johnson would read-'I did impetticoat thy gratuity." No doubt we understand it so. But then comes a grave discussion among the commentators, whether the Clown put the sixpence in his own petticoat or gave it to his leman. Dr. Johnson says, with great candour and wisdom-"There is much in this dialogue which I do not understand." And we are content to plead his sanction in not entering upon this recondite question of the petticoat; in leaving unexplained the still more abstruse histories of Pigrogromitus' and the Vapians;' and in giving up the riddle why 'the Myrmidons are no bottle-ale houses.' "-KNIGHT.
-a song of GOOD LIFE"-i. e. A “civil and virtuous song," as it is called in the "Mad Pranks, etc., of Robin Good-fellow," in opposition to a "love-song."
"They sing a catch"-This "catch" is contained in Ravenscroft's "Deuteromelia," (1609,) where the air is given to the following words:
Hold thy peace, and I pr'y thee hold thy peace,
Thou knave, thou knave! hold thy peace, thou knave. "It appears to be so contrived," says Sir John Hawkins, "that each of the singers calls the other knave in turn.”
"a CATAIAN"-It is not easy to explain this term of reproach, nor is it of much consequence. Stevens supposes it to mean a cheat, or a thief. "Cataian" is found in Davenant's "Love and Honour," in the sense of sharper. Cathay was the old name of China.
"a PEG-A-RAMSEY"-Sir Toby grows more musical as he grows more mellow. His allusions are all to songs and tunes, some not of the most decorous character, on which much learning will be found in the com
COZIERS' catches"-i. e. Botchers' "catches." A "cozier" meant either a tailor or a cobbler. Minshew says that it is a cobbler; but it is, in fact, any person engaged in sewing-from the Fr. coudre.
"-Snick up"-A term of contempt, of which the precise meaning is lost. Stevens would derive it from sneak-up," applied to the Prince (HENRY IV., part i.) by Falstaff, and such may have been its origin; but it became afterwards equivalent to the phrase "Go and hang yourself," or "Go and be hanged."
"Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be gone"In Percy's "Reliques," the ballad from which this line is taken is inserted at length, from the "Golden Garland of Princely Delight." What is subsequently sung by Sir Toby and the Clown is a variation, for their purpose, of parts of the first two stanzas of the ballad.
Out o' TUNE"-So all the old copies; but modern editors read, "Out of time?"-as if it were a question put to Malvolio, in reference to what he had said soon after his entrance. All that Sir Toby means is, that the Clown had sung out of tune. "Sir, ye lie!" is addressed to Malvolio with the purpose of affronting him.
be supposed to have censured this practice as supersti- is a slang term of contempt, often used by the old dra. tious, which the Puritans did.
matic writers. So, in the old comedy of "Gammer Gurton's Needle," (act iii. scene 3,) "Thou slut! thou cut!"
61 upon some FAVOUR"-" Favour" is often used for feature, or countenance. In her reply, Viola plays upon the double meaning of the word-"a little, by your favour."
"Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman take"We learn from Mr. Collier that it was an opinion, confidently stated by Coleridge, in his lectures, in 1818, (of which only fragments are preserved in his printed works,) that this passage had a direct application to the circumstances of his own marriage with Anne Hathaway, who was so much senior to the Poet. Some of Shakespeare's biographers had previously enforced this notion, and others have since followed it up; but Coleridge took the opportunity of enlarging eloquently on the manner in which young poets have frequently connected themselves with women of very ordinary personal and mental attractions, the imagination supplying all deficiencies, clothing the object of affection with grace and beauty, and furnishing her with every accomplishment.
FREE maids"-i. e. "Chaste maids, employed in making lace. This passage has puzzled the commentators. Johnson says, 'free is perhaps vacant, unengaged, easy in mind. Stevens once thought it meant unmar ried; then that it might mean cheerful; and at last concludes that its precise meaning cannot easily be pointed out.' Warton mentions, in his notes on 'L'Allegro' of Milton, that it was a common attribute of woman, coupled mostly with fair; but he did not venture upon an explanation. The following extracts will show
that in our older language free was often used for chasle, pure. Thus Chaucer, in the Prioress's Tale :'
O mother maide, O maide and mother fre.-(Ver. 13397.)
"In the Speculum Vitae' of Richard Rolle, (MS.,) it is thus applied to the Virgin Mary
For our Lorde wolde boren be
Of a weddid woman that was fre,
The force of the word will be best understood by the following examples of its use, from the same poem:— Wherfor God sais in the Gospelle,
Yf two of yow with hert fre, (i. e. pure,)
Accorden togethir with me,
Whatever ye of my fadir eraue,
When he praied to God with hert fre.
"Its occurrence in Spenser, and our old Metrical Romances,' is so frequent, coupled with fair, that I am surprised it had not struck some of the commentators that beauty and chastity were the highest gifts with which the sex could be endowed; but Drayton uses it in his fourth Eclogue:'
A daughter eleped Dowsabel, a maiden fair and free. And Ben Jonson makes part of the praise he lavishes on Lucy, Countess of Bedford
I meant to make her fair, and free, (i. e. chaste,) and wise,
SINGER. "the OLD AGE"-The "old age" is the ages past, the times of simplicity.
"sad CYPRESS"-"There is a doubt whether a coffin of cypress-wood, or a shroud of cypress, be here meant. The sad cypress-tree' was anciently associated, as it is still, with funereal gloom, and was probably used for coffins. The stuff called 'cypress,' (our crape,) which derives its name either from the island of Cyprus, or from the French créspe, was also connected with mournful images. In a subsequent scene of this play, Olivia saysa cyprus, not a bosom, Hides my heart.
In the WINTER'S TALE, Autolycus reckons among his
"A blank, my lord. She never told her love"-Coleridge says, "After the first line the actress ought to make a pause, and then start afresh, from the activity of thought, born of suppressed feelings, and which thought had accumulated during the brief interval, as vital heat under the skin during a dip in cold water."
"-like patience on a monument"-Every reader who is willing to take the obvious sense would take this to mean, that the lady sat smiling at her grief, as Patience is represented in monumental sculpture. But some of the critics have imagined that the comparison is with a figure of Patience smiling at another of Grief, on the same monument. There seems no foundation for this refinement, but if the passage were at all ambiguous it would be cleared up by the use of this figure elsewhere. Thus, in PERICLES, we have
Thou dost look
Like Patience gazing on kings' graves, and smiling
Middleton, in the same age, has
Like one that's forced to smile upon a grief. There is a passage in the beginning of the "Hippolytus" of Euripides, describing Phedra brooding over her secret love, which is singularly like this in thought, and in plaintive sweetness of melody and language. It is of course merely one of the coincidences of genius, for there is no reason to think that the "Hippolytus" could
have been known to Shakespeare: it was reserved for Racine to transfer its spirit into his "Phedre”—the most beautiful production of the modern classic drama. "-bide no DENAY"-i. e. Denial. 66 Denay" is often used as a verb, but there is no other instance in which it is converted into a substantive.
"my METAL of India"-So the original foliomettle. The second folio has nettle, which is followed in many editions. "My metal of India" is, obviously, my heart of gold, my precious girl. My nettle of India is said to be a "zoophyte, called the Urtica Marina, abounding in the Indian seas." We cannot but ask, with Knight, "Was Sir Toby likely to use a common figure, or one so far-fetched? If Shakespeare had wished to call Maria a stinging-nettle, he would have been satisfied with naming the indigenous plant-as he has been in RICHARD II. and HENRY IV.,-without going to the Indian seas."
"how he JETS"-To "jet" is to strut, or swagger; one of the commonest words in writers of the time.
"the lady of the STRACHY"-" There is, doubtless, an allusion here to some popular story not now known; 'Strachy' (printed, or misprinted, in Italic in the original edition) being the name of some noble family, of which one of the female branches had condescended to marry a menial. Possibly that family was the Strozzi of Florence; and the copyist of Shakespeare's MS., not being able to read the word, wrote 'Strachy' for Strozzi, or Strozzy. On the other hand, Knight suggested that 'Strachy' was the strategus, or governor, of some province, whose widow had married below her rank. Warburton's conjecture of Trachy, from Thrace, and Stevens's notion about the starchy, connected with the laundry, are equally untenable. The meaning of Malvolio merely is, that a great lady had married a servant; and whether Strachy' be a corruption, or the real name given in the old story to which Shakespeare referred, is a matter of little consequence."-COLLIER.
"— a STONE-BOW"-A bow used for the purpose of discharging stones.
"a DAY-BED"-"Day-beds," or couches, were a luxury among the rich in Shakespeare's time; and, according to a line of Spenser
Some for untimely case, some for delight.
"-wind up my watch"-Pocket-watches were first brought from Germany about the year 1580, so that in Shakespeare's time they were very uncommon.
"play with my-some rich jewel"-So the old copy, but omitting the dash. Stevens understands "my some rich jewel" to mean, "some rich jewel of my own;" but it is more natural to suppose that Malvolio, having mentioned his watch. then a rarity, wishes to enumerate some other valuable in his possession, and pauses after "or play with my," following it up with the words "some rich jewel;" not being able on the sudden to name any one in particular.
"her great P's."-" In the direction of the letter, which Malvolio reads, (says Stevens,) there is neither a C nor a P to be found." To this Ritson ingeniously "From the usual custom of Shakespeare's age, we may easily suppose the whole direction to have run thus: To the Unknown belov'd, this, and my good wishes,' with Care Present."
after. The meaning is-Daylight and open country do not discover more. 66 Champaign" (spelled champain in the old editions) was a common word for a wide expanse of country.
"POINT-DEVICE"-i. e. Exactly, with the utmost nicety. "The phrase (says Douce) has been supplied from the labours of the needle. Poinct, in the French language, denotes a stitch; devisé, any thing invented, disposed, or arranged. Point-devisé was, therefore, a particular sort of patterned lace, worked with the needle; and the term point-lace is still familiar to every female." It is incorrect to write point-de-vice, as is usually done.
"-at TRAY-TRIP"-"Tray-trip," or trey-trip, seems, by various quotations, to have been a game at which dice were employed. By "play my freedom," Sir Toby means, stake his freedom.
"LIES by a beggar"-i. e. Sojourns, dwells. "-a CHEVERIL glove"-i. e. A kid glove, an easyfitting glove. So, in ROMEO AND JULIET-"a wit of cheveril."
"Would not a pair of these have bred"-Meaning a couple of pieces of money, instead of one only, which Viola had given him.
"Cressida was a beggar"-In the "Testament of Cresseyde," a continuation of Chaucer's "Troilus and Cresside," by Rob. Henryson, Cressida is represented, according to the romantic narrative of these lovers, as punished with disease and beggary for her perfidy :
"-CONSTER"-With Knight, I have retained in the text the old mode of spelling this word as it was pronounced, instead of construe. All the old poets so spelled the word, when used in this sense; and it lasted thus till Pope's time, in whose letters it may be found. In colloquial use, this sound is still retained by schoolboys and their teachers.
"-like the HAGGARD"-A "haggard" is a wild or untrained hawk, which flies at all birds, without distinction.
"-wise men's folly fall'n quite taints their wit"This is the old reading, which Heath thus explains:"But wise men's folly, when once it is fallen into extravagance, overpowers their discretion." Malone, with others, reads
But wise men, folly-fallen, quite taint their wit. "the LIST of my voyage"-Viola follows up Sir Toby's figure of a trading-voyage, and says that she is
bound to Olivia, who is the limit (or list) of her expedi tion.
your most PREGNANT and vouchsafed ear"-i. e. Ready, or prepared ear; as, in MEASURE FOR MEASURE, we have pregnant and unpregnant, for ready and unready.
"a CYPRUS, not a bosom"-Meaning, that her heart may be as easily seen as if it were covered only with a "cyprus," or crape veil, and not with flesh and blood.
"-a GRISE"-i. e. A step-from the French grez. The word occurs, also, in TIMON OF ATHENSfor every grise of fortune.
"I had as lief be a BROWNIST"-The sect of the "Brownists" arose in the middle of the reign of Elizabeth, and was so called from Robert Brown, its founder. He died in 1630. The sect was ridiculed during a long
period, and to laugh at a Brownist did not go out of fashion until after the Restoration.
"if thou THOU'ST him"-" Shakespeare is thought to have had Lord Coke in his mind, whose virulent abuse of Sir Walter Raleigh, on his trial, was conveyed in a series of thous. His resentment against the flagrant conduct of the attorney-general, on this occasion, was probably heightened by the contemptuous manner in which he spoke of players, in his charge at Norwich, and the severity he was always willing to exert against them."-THEOBALD and STEVENS.
I have preserved the substance of the disquisitions of the older critics on this point, as a curious specimen of ingenious error. We now know that this comedy was writen before Sir Walter's trial; but, besides, it is not at all likely that here should be any allusion to a lawyer's invective: it merely refers to the usages of the duello, and of the men of punctilio who challenged by rule.
"thanks, and ever THANKS"-The folio has, "And thanks: ever oft good turns"-which Collier and Knight both retain; the former with the colon transposed thus, And thanks, and ever:" the latter without alteration. The probability of an accidental omission of the third "thanks" is so great, and the sense gained by inserting it so satisfactory, that I have not hesitated to adopt Malone's reading.
"my WORTH"-"Worth" is used for wealth, in the same sense that we still say, colloquially, a man is worth so much.
- bestow or him"-This was the language of the time, though Stevens calls it a 'vulgar corruption" for "on him." It was the form of expression among the highest classes.
"SAD, and CIVIL"-i. e. Grave, and decorous. "—not BLACK in my mind"-There was an old ballad-tune called "Black and Yellow," and to this Malvolio seems to allude.
-kiss thy hand so oft"-This fantastical custom is taken notice of by Barnaby Rice, in "Faults, and Nothing but Faults," (1606 :)" And these Flowers of Courtesie,' as they are full of affectation, so are they no less formal in their speeches, full of fustian phrases, many times delivering such sentences as do betray and lay open their masters' ignorance; and they are 'so frequent with the kisse on the hand,' that word shall not passe their mouths till they have clapt their fingers over their lippes."
"— FELLOW"—"Fellow," at this period, was used for companion, as well as in its derogatory sense. The actors constantly called each other "fellows." In the WINTER'S TALE, Antigonus speaks of the lords present as his "noble fellows."
"— play at CHERRY-PIT"-The game of " cherry-pit" was played by pitching cherry-stones into a hole.
"-in a dark room, and bound"-Chains and darkness were the universal prescription for lunatics, in the time of Shakespeare. There was a third remedy, to which Rosalind alludes in As YOU LIKE IT:-"Love is a madness, and deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do."
"the belief that he's mad"-The excess of vanity is among the most ordinary moral phenomena of insanity, so much so that it would not be difficult to make a plausible argument in favour of Olivia's judgment, and to maintain that Malvolio was really out of his senses. It would form an amusing sequel to the Hamlet controversy, and might, if it did nothing more, be made fruitful in moral instruction.
"a FINDER of MADMEN"-... 'Finders of madmen' must have been those who acted under the writ De Lunatico Inquirendo; in virtue whereof they found the man mad."-RITSON.
"— a BUM-BAILIE"-This was the old jocose pronunciation, as it is printed in the old copies, and is so still. There is no reason for altering it to bum-bailiff, as has been done by Malone and others.
"-too unchary oN'T"-i. e. On the heart of stone: "bestowed my honour too incautiously on a heart of
· Dismount thy TUCK; be YARE"-"Tuck" is rapier, and "yare" nimble.
"UNHATCH'D rapier, and on CARPET consideration"-According to most commentators, an "unhatched rapier" is an unhacked rapier, (from the French hacher.) But Mr. Dyce has proved that to hatch meant the decorating of weapons by inlaying them with gold or silver, and cannot have the sense given to it by most of the editors. He would, therefore, read "unhacked rapier." The words "carpet consideration" refer to the dubbing of what were called carpet-knights, as distinguished from knights who had the honour conferred upon them on the field of battle. Such knights, of whom King James made hundreds, were the constant subjects of ridicule by authors of the time.
"-Hob, nob"-"Hob nob" is a corruption of hap or ne hap-i. e. "let it happen or not happen;" and is equivalent to "come what may."
"-sir priest, than sir knight"-This expression was probably proverbial, and arose out of the habit in olden times of calling a priest "sir," as well as a knight. Thus, we have in this play Sir Topas," and elsewhere "Sir Hugh."
"such a FIRAGO"-"No doubt, (as Johnson observes) Sir Toby means to indicate by 'firago,' that though Viola looked like a woman, she possessed manly prowess. Virago is often used for a female warrior, but it is spelled firago' in the old editions, perhaps with allusion to the word devil, in the preceding part of the sentence." Thus Collier, and others; but may not the word be one of Shakespeare's coinage, to express what we now call a fire-eater?
"an UNDERTAKER”—“ Undertakers' were persons employed by the king's purveyors to take up provisions for the royal household, and were, no doubt, exceedingly odious. But still, I think, the speaker intends a quibble; the simple meaning of the word being, one who undertakes, or takes up the quarrel or business of another.". RITSON.
-lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness"—Collier holds that "lying" and "babbling" are not to be taken as substantives, but as participial adjectives; and that the line should be read thus:
Than lying vainness, babbling drunkenness.
-empty TRUNKS"-" Trunks," which are now furniture for the bed, dressing, or lumber-chamber, were. in Shakespeare's time, appertainments to parlours, and other company-rooms; were mounted upon feet, and richly ornamented on the top, at the ends, and along the sides, with scroll-work, and emblematical devices of all kinds.
-so do not I"-i. e. I do not believe myself, because I dare not hope that my brother is still living.