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Mar. Sweet sir Toby, be patient for to-night. Since the youth of the count's was to-day with my lady, she is much out of quiet. For monsieur Malvolio, let me alone with him: if I do not gull him into a nayword2, and make him a common recreation, do not think I have wit enough to lie straight in my bed. I know, I can do it.
Sir To. Possess us, possess us: tell us something of him.
Mar. Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of Puritan. Sir And. O! if I thought that, I'd beat him like a dog. Sir To. What, for being a Puritan! thy exquisite reason, dear knight!
Sir And. I have no exquisite reason for't, but I have reason good enough.
Mar. The devil a Puritan that he is, or any thing constantly, but a time pleaser; an affectioned ass3, that cons state without book, and utters it by great swaths: the best persuaded of himself; so crammed, as he thinks, with excellences, that it is his ground of faith, that all that look on him love him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find notable cause to work.
Sir To. What wilt thou do?
Mar. I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure of his
2 - a NAYWORD,] i. e. a byeword, says Steevens. Lexicographers quote no other instances of its use, but from Shakespeare. In the old copies it is printed 66 an ayword," and perhaps that is the true reading, the meaning being “an everlasting word:" "ay" is ever. In "The Merry Wives of Windsor," however, it stands"nayword" in the folios.
an AFFECTIONED ass,] i. e. An affected ass. In "Love's Labour's Lost," Vol. ii. p. 345 & 365, we have "affection" used for affectation; and the sense was common at the time.
and utters it by great SWATHS:] The word swath occurs again in the same sense in "Troilus and Cressida," A. v. sc. 5; but there, in the old copies, it is spelt swath; here, "swarth." In the " Promptorium Parvulorum,” as quoted by Todd, a swath is “a line of grass or corn cut down by the mowers." It is as much as a mower can cut down by the sweep of his scythe.
eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find himself most feelingly personated. I can write very like my lady, your niece; on a forgotten matter we can hardly make distinction of our hands.
Sir To. Excellent! I smell a device.
Sir To. He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop, that they come from my niece, and that she is in love with him.
Mar. My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour. Sir And. And your horse, now, would make him an
Mar. Ass I doubt not.
Sir And. O! 'twill be admirable.
Mar. Sport royal, I warrant you: I know, my physic will work with him. I will plant you two, and let the fool make a third, where he shall find the letter: observe his construction of it. For this night, to bed, and dream on the event. Farewell.
Sir To. Good night, Penthesilea.
Sir And. Before me, she's a good wench.
Sir To. She's a beagle, true-bred, and one that adores me what o' that?
Sir And. I was adored once too.
Sir To. Let's to bed, knight.-Thou hadst need send for more money.
Sir And. If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way out.
Sir To. Send for money, knight: if thou hast her not i' the end, call me cut".
call me CUT.] "Cut" was a common term of contempt, and seems equivalent to Falstaff's "call me horse," in "Henry the Fourth," pt. i.; for cut and horse were synonymous. We meet with the phrase "call me cut" in H. Medwell's Interlude of "Nature," written before 1500:
"Yf thou se him not take his own way,
Call me cut, when thou metest me another day."
"Cut" (as Steevens suggests) was probably abbreviated from curtal, a horse whose tail has been docked; and hence the frequent opposition, in old comic writers, of cut and longtail.
Sir And. If I do not, never trust me; take it how you will.
Sir To. Come, come: I'll go burn some sack, 'tis too late to go to bed now. Come, knight; come, knight.
A Room in the DUKE's Palace.
Enter DUKE, VIOLA, CURIO, and others.
Duke. Give me some music.-Now, good morrow, friends.
Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song,
Cur. He is not here, so please your lordship, that should sing it.
Duke. Who was it?
Cur. Feste, the jester, my lord; a fool, that the lady Olivia's father took much delight in. He is about the house.
Duke. Seek him out, and play the tune the while.
Vio. It gives a very echo to the seat
Thou dost speak masterly.
My life upon't, young though thou art, thine eye
Of your complexion. Duke. She is not worth thee, then. What years, i' faith?
Vio. About your years, my lord.
Duke. Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman take
An elder than herself; so wears she to him,
I think it well, my lord.
Vio. And so they are: alas! that they are so;
Re-enter CURIO, and Clown.
Duke. O, fellow! come, the song we had last night.— Mark it, Cesario; it is old, and plain:
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
upon some FAVOUR that it loves ;] 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."
7 - sooner lost and WORN,] Johnson would read won for "worn," adopting the alteration of Hanmer. It is "worne" in the old copies; and although an easy misprint for wonne, which would probably have been so spelt in the first folio, we are not warranted in introducing it into the text when " worn affords a clear sense : "lost and worn" means lost and worn out; and Malone needlessly cites various passages to show that "worn" had this sense.
And the free maids, that weave their thread with
Do use to chaunt it: it is silly sooth,
Clo. Are you ready, sir?
Come away, come away, death,
My part of death no one so true
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O! where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
Duke. There's for thy pains.
Clo. No pains, sir: I take pleasure in singing, sir. Duke. I'll pay thy pleasure then.
Clo. Truly, sir, and pleasure will be paid, one time. or another.
8 Like the OLD AGE.] "The old age,' times of simplicity."
9 FLY away, FLY away, breath ;] The old reading is, literatim,
Fye away, fie away breath;" which may possibly be strained into a meaning, but it is much more likely to be a mere misprint.
says Johnson," is the ages past, the