Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

O time, thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie.

[Exit.

SCENE III,

A Room in OLIVIA's House.

Enter Sir Toby BELch, and Sir ANDREW AGUE

CHEEK.

Sir To. Approach, sir Andrew : not to be a-bed after midnight, is to be up betimes; and diluculo surgere , thou know'st,

Sir And. Nay, by my troth, I know not: but I know, to be up late, is to be up late.

Sir To. A false conclusion; I hate it as an unfilled can: To be up after midnight, and to go to bed then, is early; so that, to go to bed after midnight, is to go to bed betimes. Do not our lives consist of the four elements ?

Sir And. 'Faith, so they say; but, I think, it rather consists of eating and drinking '.

8

diluculo surgere,]

Saluberrimum est. This adage our author found in Lilly's Grammar, p. 51. MALONE.

9 — Do not our lives consist of the four elements ?] So, in our author's 45th Sonnet:

“My life being made of four, with two alone

“ Sinks down to death," &c. So also, in King Henry V.: “ He is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him.” Malone. Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :

I am fire and air ; my other elements
“ I give to baser life.” Steevens.

- I think, it rather consists of eating and drinking.] A ridicule on the medical theory of that time, which supposed health to consist in the just temperament and balance of the four elements in the human frame. WARBURTON. Homer, Iliad ix. concurs in opinion with Sir Andrew :

strength consists in spirits and in blood,
“ And those are ow'd to generous wine and food."

STEEVENS.
VOL. XI.

2 C

Sir To. Thou art a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.-Marian, I say !--a stoop of wine !

Enter Clown.
SIR AND. Here comes the fool, i' faith.

Clo. How now, my hearts? Did you never see the picture of we three : ?

Sir To. Welcome, ass. Now let's have a catch.

Sir And. By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast 4. I had rather than forty shillings I had

2

- a stoop-) A stoop, cadus à stoppa, Belgis, stoop. Ray's Proverbs, p. 111. In Hexham's Low Dutch Dictionary, 1660, a gallon is explained by een kanne van twee stoopen. A stoop, however, seems to have been something more than half a gallon. In A Catalogue 'of the Rarities in the Anatomy Hall at Leyden, printed there, 4to. 1701, is “ The bladder of a man containing four stoop (which is something above two English gallons) of water." 'Reed.

Did you never see the picture of we THREE ?] An allusion to an old print, sometimes pasted on the wall of a country ale-house, representing two, but under which the spectator reads

« We three are asses." I believe Shakspeare had in his thoughts a common sign, in which two wooden heads are exhibited, with this inscription under it; “ We three loggerheads be." The spectator or reader is supposed to make the third. The Clown means to insinuate, that Sir Toby and Sir Andrew had as good a title to the pame of fool as himself. Malone.

By my troth, the fool has an excellent BREAST.) Breast, voice. Breath has been here proposed : but many instances may be brought to justify the old reading beyond a doubt. In the statutes of Stoke-College, founded by Archbishop Parker, 1535, Strype's Parker, p. 9: “ Which said queristers, after their breasts are changed,” &c. that is, after their voices are broken. In Fiddes's Life of Wolsey, Append. p. 128 : “Singing-men wellbreasted.” In Tusser's Husbandrie, p. 155, edit. P. Short :

“ The better brest, the lesser rest,

“To serve the queer now there now heere." Tusser, in this piece, called The Author's Life, tells us, that he was a choir-boy in the collegiate chapel of Wallingford Castle ; and that, on account of the excellence of his voice, he was successively removed to various choirs. T. Warton.

such a leg; and so sweet a breath to sing, as the fool has. In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night, when thou spokest of Pigrogomitus, of the Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus; 'twas very good, i' faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy leman; Hadst it"?

B. Jonson uses the word breast in the same manner, in his Masque of Gypsies, p. 623, edit. 1692. In an old play called The Four P's, written by J. Heywood, 1569, is this passage:

Poticary. I pray you, tell me, can you sing?
Pedler. Sir, I have some sight in singing.

· Poticary. But is your breast any thing sweet?

" Pedler. Whatever my breast be, my voice is meet.” I suppose this cant term to have been current among the musicians of the age. All professions have in some degree their jargon; and the remoter they are from liberal science, and the less consequential to the general interests of life, the more they strive to hide themselves behind affected terms and barbarous phraseology. Steevens.

s I sent thee sixpence for thy leman; Hadst it?] The old copy reads_lemon. But the Clown was neither pantler, nor butler. The poet's word was certainly mistaken by the ignorance of the printer. I have restored leman, i. e. I sent thee sixpence to spend on thy mistress. THEOBALD.

I receive Theobald's emendation, because it throws a light on the obscurity of the following speech.

Leman is frequently used by the ancient writers, and Spenser in particular. So again, in The Noble Soldier, 1634 :

“ Fright him as he's embracing his new leman.The money was given him for his leman, i. e. his mistress. We have still “ Leman-street,” in Goodman's fields. He says he did impeticoat the gratuity, i. e. he gave it to his petticoat companion ; for (says he) "Malvolio's nose is no whipstock,” i. e. Malvolio may smell out our connection, but his suspicion will not prore the instrument of our punishment. “My mistress has a white hand, and the myrmidons are no bottle-ale houses," i. e. my mistress is handsome, but the houses kept by officers of justice are no places to make merry and entertain her at. Such may be the meaning of this whimsical speech. A whipstock is, I believe, the handle of a whip, round which a strap of leather is usually twisted, and is sometimes put for the whip itself. So, in Albumazar, 1615 :

out, Carter, “ Hence dirty whipstock" Again, in The Two Angry Women of Abingdon, 1599 :

C1o. I did impeticos thy gratillity 6; for Malvo. lio's nose is no whipstock: My lady has a white hand, and the Myrmidons are no bottle-ale houses.

Sir And. Excellent ! Why, this is the best fooling, when all is done. Now, a song.

Sir To. Come on; there is six-pence for you : let's have a song.

SIR And. There's a testril of me too : if one knight give a

Člo. Would you have a love-song, or a song of good life ? ?

[ocr errors]

the coach-man sit!
“ His duty is before you to stand,

Having a lusty whipstock in his hand."
This word occurs again in Jeronymo, 1605 :

“ Bought you a whistle and a whipstock too." STEVENS. 6 I did impeticos thy GRATILLITY;} This, Sir T. Hanmer tells us, is the same with impocket thy gratuity. He is undoubtedly right; but we must read—“I did impeticoat thy gratuity." The fools were kept in long coats, to which the allusion is made. There is yet much in this dialogue which I do not understand.

Johnson. I cannot think it was meant to be understood. The greater part of this scene is mere gracious fooling. Boswell.

Figure 12, in the plate of the Morris-dancers, at the end of K. Henry IV. Part I. sufficiently proves that petticoats were not always a part of the dress of fools or jesters, though they were of ideots, for a reason which I avoid to offer. Steevens.

It is a very gross mistake to imagine that this character was habited like an ideot. Neither he nor Touchstone, though they wear a particoloured dress, has either corcomb or bauble, nor is by any means to be confounded with the Fool in King Lear, nor even, I think, with the one in All's Well That Ends Well.–A Dissertation on the Fools of Shakspeare, a character he has most judiciously varied and discriminated, would be a valuable addition to the notes on his plays. Ritson. For that valuable addition we are now indebted to Mr. Douce.

Boswell. The old copy reads—“ I did impeticos thy gratillity." The meaning, I think, is, “ I did impetticoat or impocket thy gratuity;" but the reading of the old copy should not, in my opinion, be here disturbed. The Clown uses the same kind of fantastick language elsewhere in this scene. Neither Pigrogromitus, nor the Vapians would object to it. MALONE.

7- of Good Life?] I do not suppose that by a song of

Sir To. A love-song, a love-song.
Sir And. Ay, ay; I care not for good life.

SONG.
Clo. O mistress mine, where are you roaming ?

O, stay and hear; your true love's coming,

That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers' meeting,

Every wise man's son doth know.
Sir And. Excellent good, i'faith!
Sir To. Good, good.
Clo. What is love ? 'tis not hereafter;

Present mirth hath present laughter;

What's to come, is still unsure :
In delay there lies no plenty
Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twentyo,

Youth's a stuff will not endure.

8

good life, the Clown means a song of a moral turn ; though Sir Andrew answers to it in that signification. “ Good life," I believe, is “ harmless mirth and jollity.” It may be a Gallicism: we call a jolly fellow a bon vivant. Steevens.

From the opposition of the words in the Clown's question, I incline to think that “good life" is here used in its usual acceptation. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, these words are used for a virtuous character: “Defend your reputation, or farewell to your good life for ever.”

MALONE. 8 In Delay there lies no plenty ;) No man will ever be worth much, who delays the advantages offered by the present hour, in hopes that the future will offer more. So, in K. Richard III. Act IV. Sc. III. :

Delay leads impotent and snail-pac'd beggary.” Again, in K. Henry VI. Part I. :

“Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends." Again, in a Scots proverb : “ After a delay comes a let.” See Kelly's Collection, p. 52. STEEVENS.

9 Then come kiss me, sweet-AND-TWENTY,] This line is obscure ; we might read :

“Come, a kiss then, sweet and twenty.”

« AnteriorContinuar »