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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.
SCENE II. 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
if indeed we be such." " — FADGE"— To suit, to agree. Drayton has
With flattery my muse could never fadge.
“- 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,)
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 con. tinually 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 unex. plained 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 virtuons 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 kvave, 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 Catalan"-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 musi. cal 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 commentators.
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.
Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale ?”-It was the custom, on saints' days and other holidays, to eat ginger-cakes and quaff ale, in their honour; and Malvolio, sometimes affecting to be, as Maria says, kind of Puritan," may
" — DILUCULO SURGERE"-Diluculo surgere saluberrimum esl—“'Tis healthiest to rise early.” This wellknown adage Shakespeare found in Lily's “Grammar;" the manual of his age.
"- a stoop of vine"- 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 troo only, but, underneath, the rustic connoisseur read this complimentary inscription—“We three are asses ;" or the more refined and metrical one
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 " — rub your chain with crumbs"_"Stewards formerly wore gold chains, as a mark of distinction, and these chains were cleaned with crumbs. Nash, in his . Have
SCENE IV. With You to Saffron Walden,' (1596,) charges Gabriel
upon some FAVOUR"_"Favour" is often used for Harvey with having stolen a nobleman's steward's chain;' and in Webster's • Dutchess of Malfy," (1623,) feature, or countenance. In her reply, Viola plays up
on the double meaning of the words a little, by your occurs this passage-Yea, and the chippings of the buttery fly after him, to scouer his gold chain.".
“ Too old, by heaven. Let still the woman take"
We learn from Mr. Collier that it was an opinion, con“-A NAYWORD”-i. e. A byeword, says Stevens.
fidently stated by Coleridge, in his lectures, in 1818, Forby (“Vocabulary of East Anglia") defines it,“ "a byeword, a laughing-stock."
(of which only fragments are preserved in his printed
works,) that this passage had a direct application to the “ - an AFFECTIONED ass”-i. e. An affected ass.
circumstances of his own marriage with Anne Hatha. “Affection" for affectation was common at the time.
way, who was so much senior to the Poet. Some of
Shakespeare's biographers had previously enforced this “ – great swaths"-i. e. Great parcels, or heaps. notion, and others have since followed it up; but Cole“Swaths" are the rows of grass left by the scythe of ridge took the opportunity of enlarging eloquently on the mower.
the manner in which young poets have frequently con“ – PENTHESILEA"-"Penthesilea" was a celebrated
nected themselves with women of very ordinary per
sonal and mental attractions, the imagination supplying queen of the Amazons, politely slain, in single combat, by Achilles.
all deficiencies, clothing the object of affection with
grace and beauty, and furnishing her with every accom" — call me cut"_"Cat" (a docked or curtail horse) | plishment.
FREE maids"-. 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 unmarried; 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'Al. legro' of Milton, that it was a common attribute of wo. man, 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 chosle,
This song, I have heard say
Wherefore I sing, and sing I mote certaine
In honour of that blisful maiden fre. "In the 'Speculum Vitæ' of Richard Rolle, (MS..) it is thus applied to the Virgin Mary
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. “Denay" is often used as a verb, but there is no other instance in which it is converted into a substantive.
For our Lorde wolde boren be
That was blessid Marye mayde clene. The force of the word will be best understood by the following examples of its use, from the same poem:
Wherfor God sa is in the Gospelle,
Withoute doute ye sal haue.
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 cleped 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 says
a cyprus, not a bosom, Hides my heart. In the Winter's Tale, Autolycus reckons among his
“ – my METAL of India”-So the original foliomettle. The second folio has netlle, 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 ease, some for delight. " — vind 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 answers, “ 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." 16-10ar.
-Soft”—Malone contends that the word “ Soft” applies to the wax, and is not an exclamation; Stevens shows that the wax used for letters, at this period, was not commonly "soft." There can be no doubt that "soft !” here is to be taken exactly in the same sense as "softly!" and "soft!" used by Malvolio after. wards.
Lawn as white as driven snow,
Cypress black as e'er was crow. In Ben Jonson's Epigrams,' we have solemn cypress' as opposed to 'cobweb-lawn.' It is difficult, and perhaps unnecessary, to decide the question ; for the sentiment is the same, whichever meaning we receive.”KNIGHT.
" — thy mind is a very OPAL"—An“ opal" is a stone of various colours, according to the light in which it is
The Clown wishes the duke to have his dress made to correspond with his mind. " A blank, my lord. She never told her love"-Cole.
" 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
Extremity out of art.
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 where is no reason to think that the “ Hippolytus” could
- the NUMBER's altered”-i. e. The “number" of after. The meaning is—Daylight and open country do the metrical feet is altered.
not discover more. Champaign" (spelled champain " — BROCK”-i. e. Badger.
in the old editions) was a common word for a wide ex
panse of country. " — the stannYEL”—“Stannyel” signifies a species of hark.
POINT-DEVICE"-i. e. Exactly, with the utmost
nicety. “The phrase (says Douce) has been supplied " — any FORMAL capacity"-i. e. Any one in his from the labours of the needle. Poinct, in the French senses—not deranged. So, “a formal man," in the language, denotes a stitch ; devise, any thing invented, COMEDY OF ERRORS.
disposed, or arranged. Point-devisé was, therefore, a Sowter will cry"—"Sowter" is used for the name particular sort of patterned lace, worked with the needle; of a dog, which, having found the scent, gives tongue.
and the term point-lace is still familiar to every female." Fabian afterwards carries on the allusion : "the cur is It is incorrect to write point-de-vice, as is usually done. excellent at faults."
"— at TRAY-TRIP"_“Tray-trip," or trey-trip, seems, "— Daylight and Champaign”—The modern reader is by various quotations, to have been a game at which apt to suppose this to be an allusion to the popular French dice were employed. By “play my freedom," Sir wine; but that was not known in England till a century Toby means, stake his freedom.
bound to Olivia, who is the limit (or list) of her expedition.
"Taste your legs"-"Taste" was used by the Elizabethan poets for try. The use of the word was not limited to taste by the palate. In Chapman's “Odyssey" we have,
He now begap To laste the bow. This sense of the word, as in many other instances, has in its old age dropped out of good society, and become a slang phrase. It is odd enough that it appears, from a passage in Aristophanes, to have been also slang or vul
ACT III.-SCENE 1. - LIES by a beggar”-i. e. Sojourns, dwells. "- a CHEVERIL glove”-i. e. A kid glove, an easyfilting 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 :
great penurye Thou suffer shalt, and as a beggar dye. “ – 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
" — we are PREVENTED"-i. e. Anticipated, gone before—a use of the word now only retained in the * Common Prayer."
- your most PREGNANT and vouchsafed ear"-. 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 ATHENS
for every grise of fortune.
SCENE II. “— 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 “ – the belief that he's mad”—The excess of vanity fashion until after the Restoration.
among the most ordinary moral phenomena of insani"- if thou thou'st him" - Shakespeare is thought plausible argument in favour of Olivia's judgment, and
ty, so much so that it would not be difficult to make a to have had Lord Coke in his mind, whose virulent abuse of Sir Walter Raleigh, on his trial, was conveyed
to maintain that Malvolio was really out of his senses. in a series of thous. His resentment against the flagrant
It would form an amusing sequel to the Hamlet controconduct of the attorney-general, on this occasion, was
versy, and might, if it did nothing more, be made fruit
ful in moral instruction. probably heightened by the contemptuous manner in which he spoke of players, in his charge at Norwich, “ – a FINDER Of MADMEN"-" Finders of madmen' and the severity he was always willing to exert against must bave been those who acted under the writ De Luthem."-THEOBALD and StevenS.
natico Inquirendo; in virtue whereof they found the I have preserved the substance of the disquisitions of man mad."'-Ritsos. the older critics on this point, as a curious specimen of
" - a BUM-BAILLE"-This was the old jocose pronuningenious error. We now know that this comedy was writen before Sir Walter's trial; but, besides, it is not
ciation, as it is printed in the old copies, and is so still. at all likely that here should be any allusion to a law
There is no reason for altering it to bum-bailif, as has
been done by Malone and others. yer's invective: it merely refers to the usages of the duello, and of the men of punctilio who challenged by " — too unchary on't"—i. e. On the heart of stone: rule.
“bestowed my honour too incautiously on a heart of - his opposite”-i. e. His adversary, or antagonist. The use of “ opposite,” in this sense, is very usual " — Dismount thy TUCK; be YARE”—“Tuck" is in Shakespeare, and other dramatists.
rapier, and “yare” nimble. " — the nero map, with the augmentation of the In
UNHAtch'd rapier, and on CARPET consideradies" —"A clear allusion (says Stevens) to a 'map' en- tion”---According to most commentators, an “unhatched graved for Linschoten's Voyages,' an English translation rapier” is an unhacked rapier, (from the French hacher.) of which was published in 1598. This map is multi- But Mr. Dyce has proved that to hatch meant the decolineal in the extreme, and is the first in which the East. rating of weapons by inlaying them with gold or silver, ern Islands are included."
and cannot have the sense given to it by most of the
editors. He would, therefore, read “unhacked rapier." SCENE III.
The words “carpet consideration" refer to the dubbing “ – thanks, and ever THANKS”—The folio has, “ And of what were called carpet-knights, as distinguished thanks: ever oft good turns”—which Collier and Knight from knights who had the honour conferred upon them both retain ; the former with the colon transposed thus,
on the field of battle. Such knights, of whom King “And thanks, and ever:" the latter without alteration. James made hundreds, were the constant subjects of The probability of an accidental omission of the third ridicule by authors of the time. * thanks" is so great, and the sense gained by inserting
" — Hob, nob”—“Hob nob” is a corruption of hap or it so satisfactory, that I have not hesitated to adopt Malone's reading
ne hap-i. e. “let it happen or not happen;" and is
equivalent to “come what may." " — my worth"- _“Worth" is used for wealth, in the same sense that we still say, colloquially, a man is
" — sir priest, than sir knight”—This expression toorth so much.
was probably proverbial, and arose out of the habit in
olden times of calling a priest “sir," as well as a knight. SCENE IV.
Thus, we have in this play " Sir Topas," and elsewhere - bestow of him”—This was the language of the
“Sir Hugh." time, though Stevens calls it a "vulgar corruption" for “ on him." It was the form of expression among
" — such a FIRAGO"-"No doubt, (as Johnson ob
serves) Sir Toby means to indicate by 'firago,' that the highest classes.
though Viola looked like a woman, she possessed manly " — SAD, and civil”-i. e. Grave, and decorous. prowess. Virago is often used for a female warrior, “ – not Black in my mind" — There was an old bal
but it is spelled · firago' in the old editions, perhaps with
allusion to the word devil, in the preceding part of the lad-tune called “Black and Yellow," and to this Malvolio
sentence." Thus Collier, and others; but may not the seems to allude.
word be one of Shakespeare's coinage, to express what "- kiss thy hand so oft”—This fantastical custom we now call a fire-eater ? is taken notice of by Barnaby Rice, in “Faults, and Nothing but Faults." (1606:)" And these · Flowers
"- an UNDERTAKER"-"Undertakers' were persons of Courtesie,' as they are full of affectation, so are they employed by the king's purveyors to take up provisions no less formal in their speeches, full of fustian phrases, for the royal household, and were, no doubt, exceedingly many times delivering such sentences as do betray and odious. But still, I think, the speaker intends a quibble ; lay open their masters' ignorance; and they are so fre- the simple meaning of the word being, one who underquent with the kisse on the hand,' that word shall not takes, or takes up the quarrel or business of another."passe their mouths till they have clapt their fingers over
Ritson. their lippes.”
- lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness"-Col" — FELLOW"-"Fellow," at this period, was used
lier holds that “lying” and “babbling" are not to be for companion, as well as in its derogatory sense. The taken as substantives, but as participial adjectives; and actors constantly called each other • fellows.” In the
that the line should be read thus:Winter's Tale, Antigonus speaks of the lords present
Than lying vainness, babbling drunkenness. as his " noble fellows."
“ – empty TRUNKS”—“Trunks," which are now fur“-play at CHERRY-PIT”—The game of "cherry-pit” niture for the bed, dressing, or lumber-chamber, were, was played by pitching cherry-stones into a hole. in Shakespeare's time, appertainments to parlours, and " - in a dark room, and bound"-Chains and dark
other company-rooms; were mounted upon feet, and ness were the universal prescription for lunatics, in the
richly ornamented on the top, at the ends, and along time of Shakespeare. There was a third remedy, to
the sides, with scroll-work, and emblematical devices which Rosalind alludes in As You Like IT:—"Love is
of all kinds. a madness, and deserves as well a dark house and a " — 80 do not I”-i. e. I do not believe myself, bewhip as madmen do."
cause I dare not hope that my brother is still living.