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Mal. Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shallow things: I am not of your element ; you shall know more hereafter:
(Exit. Sir To. Is't poffible?
Fab. If this were play'd upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
Sir To. His very genius hath taken the infection of the de. vice, man.
Mar. Nay, pursue him now; left the device take air, and taint.
Fab. Why, we shall make him mad, indeed.
Sir To. Come, we'll have him in a dark room, and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he is mad; we may carry it thus, for our pleasure, and his penance, till our very paftime, tired out of breath, prompt us to have mercy on him :- at which time, we will bring the device to the bar, and crown thee for a finder of madmen. But see, but fee.
Enter SIR. ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK. Fab. More matter for a May morning.9
Sir And. Here's the challenge, read it; I warrant, there's vinegar and pepper in't.
Fab. Is't fo fawcy?
Sir To. Give me. [reads.] Youth, whatforver thou art, shou arı but a fcurvy fellow.
Fab. & This is, I think, an allusion to the wilcb-finders, who were very busy.
JOHNSON. If there he any doubt whether a culprit is become non compos mentis, after indictment, conviction, or judgement, the matter is tried by a jury; and if he be found either an ideot or lunarick, the lenity of the English law will not permit him, in the first cafe, to be tried, in the second, to receive judgement, or in the third, to be executed. In other cases also inquests are held for the finding of madmen. MALONE.
Finders of madmex must have been those who acted under the writ De lunatico inquirendo; in virtue whereof they found the man med. It does
appear that a fender of madmen was ever a profeffion, which was most: certainly the cafe with witcb-finders. RITSON.
9 It was usual on the first of May to exhibit metrical interludes of the comic kind, as well as the morris-dance, of which a plate is given at the end of the First Part of King Henry IV. with Mr. Tollet's observations on it.
Fab. Good, and valiant.
Sir To. Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind, why I do call thee fo, for I will show thee no reafon for's.
Fab. A good note: that keeps you from the blow of the law,
Sir To. Thou comeft to the lady Olivia, and in my fight the uses thee kindly: but ihou lieft in thy throat, that is not the matter I challenge thee for:
Fab. Very brief, and exceeding good senfe-less.
Sir To. I will way lay thee going home; where if it be thy chance to kill me,
Sir To. Fare thee well; And God have mercy upon one of
mercy upon mine ; * but my hope is beta ter, and fo look to thyself. Thy friend, as thou uses him, and thy sworn enemy, ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK.
Sir To. If this letter move him not, his legs cannot : I'll give't him.
Mar. You may have very fit occafion for't; he is now in some commerce with my lady, and will by and by depart.
Sir To. Go, fir Andrew ; scout me for him at the corner of the orchard, like a bum-bailiff: so soon as ever thou feest him, draw; and, as thou draw'ft, swear horrible : 3 for it comes to pass oft, that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twang'd off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earn'd him. Away. Sir And. Nay, let me alone for swearing. [Exit.
Sir 2 We may readHe may bave mercy upon thine, but my bope is better. Yet the passage may well enough stand without alteration.
It were much to be wished that Shakspeare, in this, and fome other passages, had not ventured so near profaneness. Jounson.
The present reading is more humourous than that suggested by Johnson. The man on whose soul he hopes that God will have mercy, is the one that he fupposes will fall in the combat: but Sir Andrew hopes to escape onhurt, and co have no present occafion for that blefling.
The same idea occurs in Henry V. where Mrs. Quickly, giving an account of poor Falstaff's dissolution, says: “ Now, I, to comfort him, bidi kim not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet,” M. Mason.
3. Adjectives are often used by our author and his contemporaries, ade verbially. MALONI.
Sir To. Now will not I deliver his letter : for the beha. yiour of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good capacity and breeding ; his employment between his lord and my niece confirms no less; therefore this letter, being fo excellently ignorant, will breed no terror in the youth, he will find it comes from a clodpole. But, fir, I will deliver his challenge by word of mouth ; set upon Ague-cheek a notable report of valour; and drive the gentleman, (as, I know, his youth will aptly receive it,) into a moft hideous opinion of his rage, skill, fury, and impetuosity. This will so fright them both, that they will kill one another by the look, like cockatrices.
Enter Olivia and VIOLA. Fab. Here he comes with your niece : give them way, till he take leave, and presently after him.
Sir To. I will meditate the while upon some horrid message for a challenge.
(Exeunt Sir Toby, FABIAN, and MARIA Oli, I have said too much unto a heart of stone, And laid mine honour too unchary out; There's something in me, that reproves my fault; But such a headstrong potent fault it is, That it but mocks reproof.
Vio. With the same 'haviour that your passion bears,
Oli. Here, wear this jewel for me, 'tis my picture;
I will acquit you.
. Well, come again to-morrow: Fare thee well; A fiend, like thee, might bear my soul to hell. [Exit
Re-enter Sir Toby Belch, and FABIAN. Sir To. Gentleman, God save thee.
Vio 3 Jewel does not properly signify a single gem, but any precious orasmént or superfuity. JOHNSON,
fir. Sir To. That defence thou haft, betake thec to't : of what nature the wrongs are thou hast done him, I know not; but thy intercepter, full of despight, bloody as the hunter, attends thee at the orchard end : dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly.
bio. You mistake, sir ; I am sure, no man hath any quarrel to me; my remembrance is very free and clear from any image of offence done to any man.
Sir To. You'll find it otherwise, I assure you : therefore, if you hold your life at any price, betake you to your guard; for your opposite hath in him what youth, strength, kill, and wrath, can furnilh man withal. Vio. I
pray you, sir, what is he? Sir To. He is knight, dubb'd with unhack'd 4 rapier, and on carpet consideration ;s but he is a devil in private brawl:
souls 4 The modern editors read-unback'd. It appears from Cotgrave's Dictionary in v. bacber, (to hack, hew, &c.] that to batch the hilt of a sword, was a technical term. - -Perhaps we ought to read with an barcb'd rapier, i.e, with a rapier, the hilt of which was richly engraved and ornamented. Our author, however, might have used unbatch'd in the sense of unback'd ; and therefore I have made no change. MALONE.
s That is, he is no toldier by profession, not a knight banneret, dubbed in the field of battle, but, on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on some peaceable occafion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling, not on the ground, as in war, but on a carpet. This is, I believe, the original of the contemptuous term a carpet knigbt, who was naturally held in scorn by the men of war. JOHNSON.
In Francis Markbam's Bocke of Honour, fo. 1625, p. 71, we have the following account of Carpet Knights.' « Next unto these (i. e. those he distinguishes by the title of Dunghill or Truck Knights) in degree, but not in qualitie, (for these are truly for the most part vertuous and worthie) is that rank of Knights which are called Carpet Knights, being men who are by the prince's grace and favour made knights at home and in the time of peace by the imposition or laying on of the king's sword, having by some special service done to the commonwealth, or for some other particular virtues made known to the foveraigne, as also for the dignitie of their births, and in recompence of noble and famous actions done by their an, cestors, deserved this great title and dignitie.” He then enumerates the several orders of men on whom this honour was usually conferred ; and adds" those of the vulgar or common sort are called Carpet Knights, because (for the most part) they receive their honour from the king's
hand in the court, and upon carpets, and such like ornaments belonging to the king's ftate and greatnesse ; which bowsoever a curious envie may wrest to an
fouls and bodies hath he divorced thee ; and his incensement at this moment is fo implacable, that fatisfaction can be none but by pangs of death and sepulchre : hob, nob,7 is his word; give't, or take't.
Vio. I will return again into the house, and desire fome conduct of the lady. I am no fighter. I have heard of some kind of men, that put quarrels purposely on others, to taste their valour : belike, this is a man of that quirk.
Sir To. Sir, no ; his indignation derives itself out of a very competent injury ; therefore, get you on, and give him his desire. Back you fall not to the house, unless you dertake that with me, which with as much safety you might answer him : therefore, on, or strip yourfelf ftark naked; for meddle8 you muft, that's certain, or forswear to wear iron about you
Vie. This is as uncivil, as ftrange. I be feech you, do me this courteous office, as to know of the knight what my offence to him is; it is fomething of my negligence, nothing of my purpose.
Sir To. I will do so. Signior Fabian, ftay you by this gentleman till my return.
[Exit Sır. TOBY. Vio. Pray you, fir, do you know of this matter?
Fab. I knaw, the knight is incensed against you, even to a mortal arbitrement; but nothing of the circumitance more..
Vig. I beseech you, what manner of man is he?
Fab. Nothing of that wonderful promise, to read him by his form, as you are like to find him in the proof of his vas lour. He is, indeed, fir, the most skilful, bloody, and fatal
opposite ill Jerse, yet questionlesse there is no Mhadow of disgrace belonging unto it, for it is an honour as perfect as any honour whatsoever, and the services and merits for which it is received, as worthy and well deserving both of the king and country, as that which hath wounds and scarres for his wit. gefic." REED. Greene uses
the term Carpet - knigbes in contempt of those of whom he is speaking. STIEVINS.
This adverb is corrupted from bap ne b.p; as would ne would, will ne will; that is, let it happen or not; and signifies at random, at the mercy, of chance See Johnson's Dictionary. STEEVINS.
Is not this the origin of our bub nob, or challenge to drink a glass of winc at dinner? M. MASON. * Is here perhaps uled in the same fense as the French mêlée.