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SIR TO. O, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!
MAL. Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown; having come from a daybed, where I left Olivia sleeping:
SIR TO. Fire and brimstone!
FAB. O, peace, peace!
MAL. And then to have the humour of state: and after a demure travel of regard,-telling them, I know my place, as I would they should do theirs, to ask for my kinsman Toby:
SIR TO. Bolts and shackles !
FAB. O, peace, peace, peace! now, now.
MAL. Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make out for him: I frown the while; and, perchance, wind up my watch', or play with my
8 stone-bow,] That is, a cross-bow, a bow which shoots stones. JOHNSON.
This instrument is mentioned again in Marston's Dutch Courtesan, 1605" whoever will hit the mark of profit, must, like those who shoot in stone-bows, wink with one eye." Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King:
"children will shortly take him
"For a wall, and set their stone-bows in his forehead." STEEVENS.
come from a DAY-BED,] i. e. a couch. Spenser, in the first canto of the third book of his Fairy Queen, has dropped a stroke of satire on this lazy fashion:
"So was that chamber clad in goodly wize, "And round about it many beds were dight, "As whilome was the antique worldes guize, "Some for untimely ease, some for delight." STEEVENS. Estifania, in Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, Act I. says, in answer to Perez:
This place will fit our talk; 'tis fitter far, sir; "Above there are day-beds, and such temptations "I dare not trust, sir." REED,
1 - wind up my WATCH,] In our author's time watches were very uncommon. When Guy Faux was taken, it was urged as a circumstance of suspicion that a watch was found upon him.
some rich jewel2. Toby approaches; court'sies there to me 3:
Again, in an ancient MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy, written between the years 1610 and 1611: Like one that has a watche of curious making; "Thinking to be more cunning than the workman, "Never gives over tamp'ring with the wheels, ""Till either spring be weaken'd, balance bow'd, "Or some wrong pin put in, and so spoils all." In the Antipodes, a comedy, 1638, are the following passages; - your project against "The multiplicity of pocket-watches." Again :
when every puny clerk can carry "The time o' th' day in his breeches." Again, in The Alchemist:
"And I had lent my watch last night to one
"That dines to-day at the sheriff's." STEEVENS. Pocket-watches were brought from Germany into England, about the year 1580. MALONE.
or play with my some rich jewel.] Thus the old copy. The modern editors omit my. MALONE.
"Or play with my some rich jewel." MALONE.
The reading of the old copy, however quaint and affected, may signify-" and play with some rich jewel of my own," some ornament appended to my person." He is entertaining himself with ideas of future magnificence. STEEVENS.
3 - COURT'SIES there to me:] From this passage one might suspect that the manner of paying respect, which is now confined to females, was equally used by the other sex. It is probable, however, that the word court'sy was employed to express acts of civility and reverence by either men or women indiscriminately. In an extract from the Black Book of Warwick, Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, p. 4, it is said, "The pulpett being sett at the nether end of the Earle of Warwick's tombe in the said quier, the table was placed where the altar had bene. At the coming into the quier my lord made lowe curtesie to the French king's armes." Again, in the Book of Kervynge and Sewynge, printed by Wynkyn de Worde, sign. A. 1111.:" And whan your Soverayne is set, loke your towell be about your necke, then make your soverayne curtesy, then uncover your brede and set it by the salte, and laye your napkyn, knyfe, and spone afore hym, then kneel on your knee," &c. These directions are to male servants. Lord Herbert of Cherbury, in his Life, speaking of dancing, recommends that accomplishment to youth, "that he may know how to come in and go out of a room where
SIR TO. Shall this fellow live?
FAB. Though our silence be drawn from us with cars, yet peace.
company is, how to make courtesies handsomely, according to the several degrees of persons he shall encounter." REED.
4 Though our silence be drawn from us with CARS,] i. e. though it is the greatest pain to us to keep silence. WARBURTON.
I believe the true reading is: "Though our silence be drawn from us with carts, yet peace." In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of the Clowns says: "I have a mistress, but who that is, a team of horses shall not pluck from me." So, in this play: "Oxen and wainropes will not bring them together."
The old reading is cars, as I have printed it. It is well known that cars and carts have the same meaning.
A somewhat similar passage occurs in the old play of King Leir, 1605: ten teame of horses shall not draw me away, till I have full and whole possession."
King. I, but one teame and a cart will serve the turne."
If I were to suggest a word in the place of cars, which I think is a corruption, it should be cables. It may be worth remarking, perhaps, that the leading ideas of Malvolio, in his humour of state, bear a strong resemblance to those of Alnaschar, in The Arabian Nights' Entertainments. Some of the expressions too are very similar. TYRWHITT.
Many Arabian fictions had found their way into obscure Latin and French books, and from thence into English ones, long before any professed version of The Arabian Nights' Entertainments had appeared. I meet with a story similar to that of Alnaschar, in The Dialoges of Creatures Moralysed, bl. 1. no date, but probably printed abroad: "It is but foly to hope to moche of vanyteys. Whereof it is tolde in fablys that a lady uppon a tyme delyuered to her mayden a galon of mylke to sell at a cite. And by the waye as she sate and restid her by a dyche side, she began to thinke yt with ye money of the mylke she wolde bye an henne, the which shulde bring forth chekyns, and whan they were growyn to hennys she wolde sell them and by piggis, and eschaunge them into shepe, and the shepe into oxen; and so whan she was come to richesse she sholde be maried right worshipfully vnto some worthy man, and thus she reioycid. And whan she was thus meruelously comfortid, & rauished inwardely in her secrete solace thinkynge with howe great ioye she shuld be ledde towarde the churche with her husbond on horsebacke, she sayde to her self: Goo wee, goo wee. Sodaynelye she smote the grounde with her fote, myndynge to spurre the horse; but her
MAL. I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control:
SIR TO. And does not Toby take you a blow o' the lips then?
MAL. Saying, Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on your niece, give me this prerogative of speech :
SIR TO. What, what?
MAL. You must amend your drunkenness.
FAB. Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.
MAL. Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight;
SIR AND. That's me, I warrant you.
MAL. One Sir Andrew:
SIR AND. I knew, 'twas I; for many do call me fool.
MAL. What employment have we here 3 ? [Taking up the letter. FAB. Now is the woodcock near the gin. SIR TO. O, peace! and the spirit of humours intimate reading aloud to him!
MAL. By my life, this is my lady's hand: these be her very C's, her U's, and her T's; and thus makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.
fote slypped and she fell in the dyche, and there laye all her mylke; and so she was farre from her purpose, and neuer had that she hopid to haue." Dial. 100, LL. ii. b. STEEVENS.
5 What employment have we here?] A phrase of that time, equivalent to our common speech-"What's to do here?"
her great P's.] In the direction of the letter which Malvolio reads, there is neither a C, nor a P, to be found.
I am afraid some very coarse and vulgar appellations are meant to be alluded to by these capital letters. BLACKSTONE.
SIR AND. Her C's, her U's, and her T's: Why that ?
MAL. [reads] To the unknown beloved, this, and my good wishes: her very phrases!--By your leave, wax.-Soft!-and the impressure her Lucrece,
This was perhaps an oversight in Shakspeare; or rather, for the sake of the allusion hinted at in the preceding note, he chose not to attend to the words of the direction. It is remarkable, that in the repetition of the passages in letters, which have been produced in a former part of a play, he very often makes his characters deviate from the words before used, though they have the paper itself in their hands, and though they appear to recite, not the substance, but the very words. So, in All's Well That Ends Well, Act V. Helen says:
here's your letter; This it says:
yet in Act III. Sc. II. she reads this very letter aloud; and there
From the usual custom of Shakspeare'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." RITSON. 7- By your leave, wax.-SOFT!] It was the custom in our poet's time to seal letters with soft wax, which retained its softness for a good while. The wax used at present would have been hardened long before Malvolio picked up this letter. See Your Five Gallants, a comedy, by Middleton: "Fetch a pennyworth of soft wax to seal letters." So, Falstaff, in K. Henry IV. Part II. : " I have him already tempering between my finger and my thumb, and shortly will I seal with him." MALONE.
I do not suppose that-Soft! has any reference to the wax; but is merely an exclamation equivalent to Softly! i. e. be not in too much haste. Thus, in The Merchant of Venice, Act IV. Sc. I.: Soft! no haste." Again, in Troilus and Cressida "Farewell. Yet soft!"
I may also observe, that though it was anciently the custom (as it still is) to seal certain legal instruments with soft and pliable wax, familiar letters (of which I have seen specimens from the time of K. Henry VI. to K. James I.) were secured with wax as glossy and firm as that employed in the present year. STEEVENS.