Изображения страниц

· Sir To. O knight, thou lack'st a cup of canary : When did I see thee so put down ?

Sir And. Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary put me down : Methinks, sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian, or an ordinary man has : but I am a great eater of beef, and, I believe, that does harm to my wit.

Sir To. No question. Sir And. An I thought that, I'd forswear it. I'll ride home to-morrow, sir Toby.

Sir To. Pourquoy, my dear knight ? .

Sir And. What is pourquoy? do or not do? I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues, that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting: O, had I but followed the arts !

Sir To. Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.

Sir And. Why, would that have mended my hair ?

Sir To. Past question; for thou seest, it will not curl by nature'

Sir And. But it becomes me well enough, does't not ?

Sir To. Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs, and spin it off.

Sir And. 'Faith, I'll home to-morrow, Sir Toby: your niece will not be seen; or, if she be, it's four to one she'll none of me: the count himself, here hard by, woos her.

Sir To. She'll none o' the count; she'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have heard her swear it. Tut, there's life in't, man.

9 - it will not Curl by nature.] The old copy reads—“ cool my nature.” The emendation was made by Theobald.


Sir And. I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o’the strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether.

Sir To. Art thou good at these kick-shaws, knight ?

Sir And. As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare with an old man'.

Sir To. What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?

Sir And. 'Faith, I can cut a caper.
Sir To. And I can cut the mutton to't.

Sir And. And, I think, I have the back-trick, simply as strong as any man in Illyria.

Sir To. Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have these gifts a curtain before them? are they like to take dust, like mistress Mall's picture??

9 — and yet I will not compare with an old man.] This is intended as a satire on that common vanity of old men, in preferring their own times, and the past generation, to the present.

WARBURTON. This stroke of pretended satire but ill accords with the character of the foolish knight. Ague-cheek, though willing enough to arrogate to himself such experience as is commonly the acquisition of age, is yet careful to exempt his person from being compared with its bodily weakness. In short, he would say with Falstaff :—“I an old in nothing but my understanding."

Steevens. 1- mistress Mall's picture ?7 The real name of the woman whom I suppose to have been meant by Sir Toby, was Mary Frith. The appellation by which she was generally known, was Mall Cutpurse. She was at once an hermaphrodite, a prostitute, a bawd, a bully, a thief, a receiver of stolen goods, &c. On the books of the Stationers' Company, August 1610, is entered A Booke called the Madde Prancks of Merry Mall of the Bankside, with her Walks in Man's Apparel, and to what Purpose. Written by John Day.” Middleton and Decker wrote a comedy, of which she is the heroine. In this, they have given a very flattering representation of her, as they observe in their preface, that “it is the excellency of a writer, to leave things better than he finds them.”

why dost thou not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very walk should be

The title of this piece is—The Roaring Girl, or Moll Cutpurse; as it hath been lately acted on the Fortune Stage, by the Prince his Players, 1611. The Frontispiece to it contains a full length of her in man's clothes, smoaking tobacco. Nathaniel Field, in his Amends for Ladies, (another comedy, 1618,) gives the following character of her:

- Hence lewd impudent,
“ I know not what to term thee; man or woman;
“ For nature, shaming to acknowledge thee
“ For either, hath produc'd thee to the world
" Without a sex : Some say, that thou art woman;
“ Others, a man : to many thou art both
Woman and man; but I think rather neither;

“ Or, man, or horse, as Centaurs old were feign'd.” · A life of this woman was likewise published, 12mo. in 1662, with her portrait before it in a male habit : an ape, a lion, and an eagle by her. As this extraordinary personage appears to have partook of both sexes, the curtain which Sir Toby mentions would not have been unnecessarily drawn before such a picture of her as might have been exhibited in an age, of which neither too much delicacy or decency was the characteristick. Steevens.

In our author's time, I believe, curtains were frequently hung before pictures of any value. So, in Vittoria Corombona, a tragedy, by Webster, 1612: * I yet but draw the curtain ;-now to your picture."

MALONE. · Mary Frith was born in 1584, and died in 1659. In a MS. letter in the British Museum, from John Chamberlain to Mr. Carleton, dated Feb. 11, 1611-12, the following account is given of this woman's doing penance : “ This last Sunday Moll Cutpurse, a notorious baggage that used to go in man's apparel, and challenged the field of diverse gallants, was brought to the same place, (St. Paul's Cross,) where she wept bitterly, and seemed very penitent; but it is since doubted she was maudlin drunk, being discovered to have tippeld of three quarts of sack before she came to her penance. She had the daintiest preacher or ghostly father that ever I saw in the pulpit, one Radcliffe of Brazen-Nose College in Oxford, a likelier man to have led the revels in some inn of court, than to be where he was. But the best is, he did extreme badly, and so wearied the audience, that the best part went away, and the rest tarried rather to hear Moll Cutpurse than him." Malone. · See a further account of this woman in Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, edit. 1780, vol. vi. p. 1. vol. xii. p. 398. Reed,

a jig ; I would not so much as make water, but in a sink-a-pace? What dost thou mean? is it a world to hide virtues in ? I did think, by the excellent constitution of thy leg, it was formed under the star of a galliard.

Sir And. Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a flame-coloured stock '. Shall we set about some revels ?

Sir To. What shall we do else ? were we not born under Taurus ?

Sir Ann. Taurus ? that's sides and heart *.

It is for the sake of correcting a mistake of Dr. Grey, that I observe this is the character alluded to in the second of the following lines : and not Mary Carleton, the German Princess, as he has very erroneously and unaccountably imagined :

“ A bold virago stout and tall,
“ As Joan of France, or English Mall.'

· Hudibras, P. I. c. iii. The latter of these lines is borrowed by Swift in his Baucis and Philemon. Ritson.

2 – a SINK-A-PACE.] i. e. a cinque-pace; the name of a dance, the measures whereof are regulated by the number five. The word occurs elsewhere in our author. SIR J. HAWKINS.

So, in Sir John Harrington's Anatomie of the Metamorphosed Ajax : “ – the last verse disordered their mouthes, and was like a tricke of xvii in a sinkapace." STEEVENS.

3 — FLAME-coloured stock.] The old copy reads—"a damned coloured stock.” Stockings were in Shakspeare's time called stocks. So, in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601 :

" Or would my silk stock should lose his gloss else." Again, in one of Heywood's Epigrams, 1562 :

“ Thy upper stocks, be they stuft with silke or flocks,

“Never become thee like a nether paire of stocks.The same solicitude concerning the furniture of the legs makes part of master Stephen's character in Every Man in his Humour: “I think my leg would show well in a silk hose."

STEEVENS. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. MALONE.

4 Taurus ? that's sides and heart.] Alluding to the medical astrology still preserved in almanacks, which refers the affections of particular parts of the body to the predominance of particular constellations. Johnson.

Sir To. No, sir; it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper : ha! higher: ha, ha!-excellent !



A Room in the Duke's Palace.

Enter VALENTINE, and Viola in man's attire.

VAL. If the duke continue these favours towards you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanced ; he hath known you but three days, and already you are no stranger.

Vio. You either fear his humour, or my negligence, that you call in question the continuance of his love: Is he inconstant, sir, in his favours ? VAL. No, believe me.

Enter Duke, Curio, and Attendants.
Vio. I thank you. Here comes the count.
Duke. Who saw Cesario, ho ?
V10. On your attendance, my lord; here...

Duke. Stand you awhile aloof.–Cesario,
Thou know'st no less but all ; I have unclasp'd
To thee the book even of my secret soul" :
Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her;
Be not deny'd access, stand at her doors,
And tell them, there thy fixed foot shall grow,
Till thou have audience.

s I have unclasP'D

To thee the Book even of my secret soul :) So, in The First Part of K. Henry IV.:

“And now I will unclasp a secret book.Steevens. Our author is fond of this metaphor. So, in Troilus and Cressida, vol. viii. p. 384:

“ That give a coasting welcome ere it comes,
“ And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
“ To every ticklish reader.” Boswell.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »