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"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,
Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great."



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

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"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."

66- 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

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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. 46 Denay" is often used as a verb, but there is no other instance in which it is converted into a substantive.

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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."

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"-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 origi nal 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.

"-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 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."

46 wax.

x-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 afterwards.

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any FORMAL capacity"-i. e. Any one in his senses-not deranged. So, "a formal man," in the COMEDY OF ERRORS.

"SoWTER will cry"-" Sowter" is used for the name of a dog, which, having found the scent, gives tongue. Fabian afterwards carries on the allusion: "the cur is excellent at faults."

"-Daylight and CHAMPAIGN"-The modern reader is apt to suppose this to be an allusion to the popular French wine; but that was not known in England till a century

after. The meaning is-Daylight and open country do not discover more. 66 Champaign" (spelled champais 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.

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-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: :

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


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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 vulgar Greek.

"we are PREVENTED"-i. e. Anticipated, gone be fore-a use of the word now only retained in the "Common Prayer."

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. SCENE II.

"I had as lief be a BROWNIST"-The sect of the "Brownists" arose in the middle of the reign of Eliza beth, 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.

— his OPPOSITE"-i. e. His adversary, or antagonist. The use of "opposite," in this sense, is very usual in Shakespeare, and other dramatists.

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"-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.

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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.

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- 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.

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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.



ACT IV. SCENE 1.-Hold, Toby! on thy life, I charge thee, hold!


"-this great lubber, the world, will prove a cockney"-The Clown is struck by the affected word vent; and, hearing it from Sebastian, expresses his fear lest the whole world, "this great lubber, the world," should prove a cockney;" i. e. use such ridiculous terms as were employed by cockneys-or, in Johnson's phrase, "that affectation and foppery will overspread the world." This seems clear enough, though some annotators have not found it so, and propose to read, "this lubber the word (meaning the word vent) will turn out cockney dialect."

"-foolish GREEK"-A merry "Greek," or a "foolish Greek," were ancient proverbial expressions applied to boon companions, good fellows, as they were called, who spent their time in riotous mirth.

"a good REPORT after fourteen years' purchase"The meaning obviously is-after the rate of fourteen years' purchase. Twelve years' purchase (as we learn from Sir Th. Childs, the father of the English political economists) was the current rate in England at that time, so this was a high rate; and any money given to fools for a good "report" was buying the commodity of reputation at a high rate-bringing in a poor return.


"DISSEMBLE myself"-i. e. Disguise, divest of likeness-a Latinism.

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"That, that is, is'"-In this speech of the Clown is probably intended a fling" at the jargon of the schools, once so prevalent, in such phrases as "Whatsoever is, is," and "It is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be," etc. The old hermit of Prague was, doubtless, a very admirable logician in his time, and family-physician to King Gorboduc.

"COMPETITORS enter"-Shakespeare uses the word "competitor" synonymously with confederate, not only

here, but in the Two GENTLEMEN OF VERONA-"Myself in counsel his competitor;" and in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST-" And he and his competitors in oath."

"BAY-WINDOWs"-A "bay-window" is the same as what is commonly called a bow-window-a window in a recess, or bay.

"the CLEAR-STORIES"-The folio has cleere stores. which is cleere-stories. A clerestory, or clear-story. is that part of the nave, or choir, of a church, which rises above the aisles, in which an upper tier of windows is usually introduced.

"-a WOODCOCK"-The Clown mentions a "woodcock," because it was proverbial as a foolish bird, and therefore a proper ancestor for a man out of his wits.

"I am for all waters"-A proverbial phrase not yet satisfactorily explained. The meaning, however. appears to be "I can turn my hand to any thing, or assume any character." Florio, in his translation of Montaigne, speaking of Aristotle, says-"He hath an oar in every water, and meddleth with all things." In his "Second Frutes," there is an expression more re sembling the import of that in the text "I am a knight for all saddles." Nash, in his "Lenten Stuffe," (1599.) has almost the language of the Clown:-"He is first broken to the sea in the Herring-man's skiffe or cockboate, where having learned to brooke all waters, and drink as he can out of a tarrie can," etc.

"PROPERTIED me"-i. e. Taken possession of me. as of a man unable to look to himself. The Dauphin, in KING JOHN, has the same use of the word:I am too high born to be propertied,

To be a secondary at control.

"I am SHENT"-i. e. Rebuked, reproved. The word is common in old writers. We meet with it in HAMLET, and in TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.

"-goodman devil"-This is unquestionably a part of some well-known old comic song, alluding to the

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"WHILES you are willing"-i. e. Until. "This word is still so used in the northern counties of England. It is. I think, used in this sense in the preface to the Accidence.'"-JOHNSON.

"having sworn TRUTH"-i. e. Troth, or fidelity. It should be remarked that this was not an actual marriage, but a betrothing, affiancing, or solemn promise of future marriage; anciently distinguished by the name of espousals. This has been established by Mr. Douce, in his "Illustrations of Shakespeare," where the reader will find much curious matter on the subject.


-four negatives make your two affirmatives"— Coleridge thus explains this passage:-"The humour lies in the whispered "No!' and the inviting 'Don't!' with which the maiden's kisses are accompanied, and thence compared to negatives, which by repetition constitute an affirmative."

"—the TRIPLEX"-i. e. Triple time in music—a measure in which each bar divides into three equal parts, and is counted one, two, three.

" at this THROW"-i. e. At this time-a word in use with our poets from Chaucer downwards.

"SCATHFUL grapple"-i. e. Harmful, destructive. "so bloody, and so DEAR"-"Dear" is here used as in HAMLET, (act ii. scene 2)-"my dearest foe." (See note.) It is, in its Old-English use, that which excites the strongest feeling of earnestness, whether it be a feeling of love or hate. It comes from the same root with dearth, or scarceness. The etymological learning of the subject has been discussed by Horne Tooke, in "Diversions of Purley," with much scorn of the Shakespearian editors of the last age.

"-the Egyptian thief at point of death"-An allusion to an affecting incident in the popular old Greek romance, the Ethiopics" of Heliodorus, which an English version, by Thomas Underdowne, had made familiar to the English public, long before this play; the second edition (the date of the first not being known) appearing in 1587. Thyamis, a native of Memphis, and captain of a band of robbers, being deeply enamoured of Chariclea, who had fallen into his hands, and being surprised by a company of banditti, caught her by her tresses with his left hand, and with his right plunged his sword into her heart, to prevent her becoming their victim after his inevitable death.

"-interchangement of your rings"-"In our ancient marriage ceremony, the man received, as well as gave a ring."-STEVENS.

"on thy CASE"-i. e. On thy exterior. The skin of a fox, or of a rabbit, is called its "case.'

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"a PASSY-MEASURES PAVIN"-The commentators have been very prolific in their accounts of those ancient dances, etc., of which Singer has thus given the sub

stance :

"The 'pavin' was a grave Spanish dance. Sir John Hawkins derives it from pavo, (a peacock,) and says that every 'pavin' had its galliard-a lighter kind of

air formed out of the former. Thus, in Middleton's 'More Dissemblers beside Women'

I can dance nothing but ill favour'dly,

A strain or two of passe measures galliard. By which it appears that the passy-measure pavan, and the passy-measure galliard, were only two different measures of one dance. Sir Toby therefore means, by this quaint expression, that the surgeon is a rogue, and a grave solemn coxcomb. In the first act of the play, he has shown himself well acquainted with the various kinds of dance. Shakespeare's characters are always consistent, and even in drunkenness preserve the traits of character which distinguished them when sober."

It looks somewhat as if the character of Sir Toby was drawn from some individual, who stood for the whole class of roystering wags, so graphically embodied in the Knight. It is a touch of personal capricious peculiarity. it SKILLS not much”—i. e. It signifies not mucha common old idiomatic expression.

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Dr. Johnson, after according to this comedy the merit of being "in the graver parts elegant and easy, and in some lighter scenes exquisitely humorous," and conceding both the comic and the moral effect of Malvolio's character, and the truth of that of Ague-cheek, yet protests against the latter, as being "one of natural fatuity," therefore not the proper prey of the satirist, concludes with the decision that the "marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life."

Mr. Hallam, too, speaks of this comedy in one of those colder and fastidious moods of judgment, or of feeling, which occasionally mix with the deep and philosophical admiration he elsewhere expresses for the great dramatist:

"TWELFTH NIGHT, notwithstanding some very beautiful passages, and the humorous absurdity of Malvolio, has not the corruscations of wit and spirit of character that distinguish the excellent comedy (MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING) it seems to have immediately followed, nor is the plot nearly so well constructed. Viola would be more interesting if she had not deliberately, as well as unfairly towards Olivia, determined to win the Duke's heart before she had seen him. The part of Sebastian has all that improbability which belongs to mistaken identity, without the comic effect, for the sake of which that is forgiven in the COMEDY OF ERRORS."-"History of Literature."

In all judgments of the relative merits of works of imagination or of humour, much must be allowed for the peculiar associations of the individual. The delicate fancy, the subdued yet fine feeling of the poetic passages, do not fall within the range of Johnson's perception, or his tastes. Of character and humour he is a true and acute judge, and it is, therefore, surprising that he overlooked the true answer, and one lying deep in moral truth, to his objections to Sir Andrew Ague-cheek's character. Sir Andrew Ague-cheek is not ridiculous from mere fatuity, for such weakness of intellect, though a true picture of it might not be out of place in any representation of life, yet would, if connected with innocence and humility, create no feelings but those of kindness or pity. But when such weakness is associated, as it is here, with vanity and the ambition or affectation of fashionable vice, it becomes a most proper subject for the moral satirist, besides being rich in laughable suggestions.

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