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war, but on a carpet. This is, I believe, the original of the contemptuous term a carpet knight, who was naturally held in scorn by the men of war. JOHNSON.
For a full elucidation of the order of knighthood-vide Anstis's Observations.
Carpet knights, in contempt; and in The Downfal of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601, it is employed for the same purpose: "soldiers come away,
"This Carpet-knight sits carping at our scars."
Line 565. hob, nob,] Corrupted from hab, nab, which signifies, at random.
Line 602. - -I have not seen such a virago,] Virago cannot be properly used here, unless we suppose Sir Toby to mean, I never saw one that had so much the look of woman with the prowess of man. JOHNSON.
Line 635. by the duello.] i. e. By the laws of the duello, which were in Shakspeare's time settled with the utmost nicety.
Line 646. Nay, if you be an undertaker,] The meaning of the word undertaker, is probably this, that Antonio appears to Sir Toby to undertake the quarrel of one of the combatants:—it is unlikely that it should allude to the king's purveyors, called undertakers.
Line 704. o'erflourish'd by the devil.] In the time of Shakspeare, trunks, which are now deposited in lumber-rooms, or other obscure places, were part of the furniture of apartments in which company was received. I have seen more than one of these, as old as the time of our poet. They were richly ornamented on the tops and sides with scroll work, emblematical devices, &c. and were elevated on feet. STEEVENS.
-so do not I.] This, I believe, means, I do not yet believe myself, when, from this accident, I gather hope of my brother's life. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I
Line 14. I am afraid this great lubber- -] That is, affectation and foppery will overspread the world.
Line 18. I pr'ythee, foolish Greek,] Greek, was as much as to say bawd or pander. He understood the Clown to be acting in that office. A bawdy-house was called Corinth, and the fre quenters of it Corinthians, which words occur frequently in Shakspeare, especially in Timon of Athens, and Henry IV.
WARBURTON. Line 23. -get themselves a good report after fourteen years' purchase.] This seems to carry a piece of satire upon monopolies, the crying grievance of that time. The grants generally were for fourteen years; and the petitions being referred to a committee, it was suspected that money gained favourable reports from thence. WARBURTON,
Line 54. In this uncivil and unjust extent- -] Extent is, in law, a writ of execution, whereby goods are seized for the king. It is therefore taken here for violence in general. JOHNSON.
Line 57. This ruffian hath botch'd up;] A coarse expression for made up, as a bad tailor is called a botcher, and to botch is to make clumsily. JOHNSON.
Line 60. He started one poor heart of mine in thee.] I know not whether here be not an ambiguity intended between heart and hart. The sense however is easy enough. He that offends thee attacks one of my hearts; or, as the ancients expressed it, half my heart. JOHNSON.
Line 61. What relish is in this?] How does this taste? What judgment am I to make of it? JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 79. -as to say, a careful man and a great scholar.] This refers to what went before, I am not tall enough to become the function well, nor lean enough to be thought a good student; it is plain then that Shakspeare wrote, as to say a graceful man, i. e. comely. WARBURTON.
Line 85. very wittily said—that, that is, is:] This is a very humorous banter of the rules established in the schools, that all reasonings are ex præcognitis & præconcessis, which lay the foundation of every science in these maxims, whatsoever is, is; and it is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be; with much trifling of the like kind. WARBURTON.
Line 106. it hath bay-windows-] A bay-window is the same as a bow-window; a window in a recess, or bay. The following instance in Cinthia's Revels, by Ben Jonson, 1601, may support the supposition:
-"retiring myself into a bay-window," &c.
Line 119. constant question.] A settled, a determinate, a regular question. JOHNSON. Line 134. Nay, I am for all waters.] A phrase taken from the actor's ability of making the audience cry either with mirth or grief. WARBURTON.
I rather think this expression borrowed from sportsmen, and relating to the qualifications of a complete spaniel.
JOHNSON. A cloak for all kinds of knavery; taken from the Italian proverb, Tu hai mantillo da ogni acqua. SMITH.
-your five wits?] Thus in King Lear: "Bless thy five wits! Tom's a cold."
propertied me;] They have taken possession of me as of a man unable to look to himself.
Line 171. Maintain no words with him,] Here the Clown in the dark acts two persons, and counterfeits, by variation of voice, a dialogue between himself and Sir Topas.-I will, Sir, I will, is spoken after a pause, as if, in the mean time, Sir Topas had whispered.
Line 176. I am shent, &c.] i. e. I am blamed.
185. tell me true, are you not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit ?] If he was not mad, what did he counterfeit by declaring that he was not mad? The fool, who meant to insult him, I think, asks, are you mad, or do you but counterfeit? That is, you look like a madman, you talk like a madman: Is you madness real, or have you any secret design in it? This, to a man in poor Malvolio's state, was a severe taunt.
Line 196. Like to the old vice,] Vice was the fool of the old moralities. Some traces of this character are still preserved in puppet-shows, and by country mummers. JOHNSON. Line 203. Adieu, goodman drivel,] This last line has neither
rhyme nor meaning. I cannot but suspect that the fool translates Malvolio's name, and says,
Adieu, goodman mean-evil.
Dr. Farmer supposes that this line was part of an old catch.
Line 209. Yet there he was; and there I found this credit, That he did range, &c.] i. e. I found it justified, credibly vouched. Whether the word credit will easily carry this meaning, I am doubtful. The expression seems obscure; and though I have not disturbed the text, I very much suspect that the poet wrote;
-and there I found this credent. Credit, for account, information. Line 215. discourse for reason.
Instance is example.
Line 218. To any other trust,] To any other belief, or confidence, to any other fixed opinion. JOHNSON.
chantry-] i. e. Chupel.
234. Whiles- -] Is until. This word is still so used in the northern counties. It is, I think, used in this sense in the preface to the Accidence. JOHNSON.
Almost throughout the old copies of Shakspeare, whiles is given us instead of while. Mr. Rowe, the first reformer of his orthography, made the change. STEEVENS.
truth,] Truth here means, fidelity.
all instance, all discourse ;] Instance, for sense; WARBURTON. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Line 21. conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives,] Though I do not discover much ratiocination in the Clown's discourse, yet, methinks, I can find some glimpse of a meaning in his observation, that the conclusion is as kisses, For, says he, if four negatives make two affirmatives, the conclusion is as kisses: that is, the conclusion follows by the conjunction of two negatives, which, by kissing and embracing, coalesce into one, and make an affirmative. What the four
negatives are I do not know. I read, So that conclusions be as kisses. JOHNSON.
Line 38. —or the bells of St. Bennet, Sir, may put you in mind;] When in this play he mentioned the bed of Ware, he recollected that the scene was in Illyria, and added in England; but his sense of the same impropriety could not restrain him from the bells of St. Bennet. JOHNSON.
-] i. e. Mischievous.
desperate of shame, and state,] Inattentive to his character or his condition, like a desperate man. JOHNSON. Line 113. —as fat and fulsome-] We should read, as flat. WARBURTON.
Fat means dull; so we say a fatheaded fellow; fat likewise means gross, and is sometimes used for obscene. JOHNSON.
Line 123. Why should I not, had I the heart to do it,
Like to the Egyptian thief, at point of death
Kill what I love:] In this simile, a particular story is presupposed; which ought to be known to shew the justness. and propriety of the comparison. It is taken from Heliodorus's Ethiopics, to which our author was indebted for the allusion. This Egyptian thief was Thyamis, who was a native of Memphis, and at the head of a band of robbers. Theagenes and Chariclea falling into their hands, Thyamis fell desperately in love with the lady, and would have married her. Soon after, a stronger body of robbers coming down upon Thyamis's party, he was in such fears for his mistress, that he had her shut into a cave with his treasure. It was customary with those barbarians, when they despaired of their own safety, first to make away with those whom they held dear, and desired for companions in the next life. Thyamis, therefore, benetted round with his enemies, raging with love, jealousy, and anger, went to his cave; and calling aloud in the Egyptian tongue, so soon as he heard himself answered towards the cave's mouth by a Grecian, making to the person by the direction of her voice, he caught her by the hair with his left hand, and (supposing her to be Chariclea) with his right hand plunged his sword into her breast. THEOBALD. case?] Case is a word used contemptuously JOHNSON.
Line 178. for skin.