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morning, if I live. My lady would not lose him for more than I'll say.
MAL. How now, mistress ?
Sir To. Pr’ythee, hold thy peace; this is not the way: Do you not see, you move him ? let me alone with him.
FAB. No way but gentleness : gently, gently: the fiend is rough, and will not be roughly used.
Sır To. Why, how now, my bawcock ? how dost thou, chuck ?
MAL. Sir ?
Sir To. Ay, Biddy, come with me. What, man! 'tis not for gravity to play at cherry-pit with Satan : Hang him, foul collier !
Mar. Get him to say his prayers; good sir Toby, get him to pray. · Mal. My prayers, minx ?
Mar. No, I warrant you, he will not hear of godliness.
Mal. Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shal
4 Ay, Biddy, come with me.] Come, Bid, come, are words of endearment used by children to chickens and other domestick fowl. An anonymous writer, with little probability, supposes the words in the text to be a quotation from some old song
MALONE. 5 - cherry-pit —] Cherry-pit is pitching cherry-stones into a little hole. Nash, speaking of the paint on ladies' faces, says : “ You may play at cherry-pit in their cheeks.” So, in a comedy called the Isle of Gulls, 1606 : “ – if she were here, I would have a bout at cobnut or cherry-pit.” Again, in The Witch of Edmonton : “ I have lov'd a witch ever since I play'd at cherrypit.”
Hang him, foul Collier!) Collier was, in our author's time, a term of the highest reproach. So great were the impositions practised by the venders of coals, that R. Greene, at the conclusion of his Notable Discovery of Cozenage, 1592, has published what he calls, A Pleasant Discovery of the Cosenage of Colliers. STEEVENS.
The devil is called Collier for his blackness : “ Like Will to like, quoth the Devil to the Collier.” Johnson.
low things : I am not of your element; you shall know more hereafter.
[Erit. Sır To. Is't possible ?
Fab. If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
Sir To. His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man.
Mar. Nay, pursue him now; lest the device take air, and taint.
FAB. Why, we shall make him mad, indeed.
Sir To. Come, we'll have him in a dark room, and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he is mad; we may carry it thus, for our pleasure, and his penance, till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt us to have mercy on him: at which time, we will bring the device to the bar, and crown thee for a finder of madmen. But see, but see.
Enter Sir ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK. FAB. More matter for a May morning ?.
6 a finder of madmen.] This is, I think, an allusion to the witch-finders, who were very busy. JOHNSON.
If there be any doubt whether a culprit is become non compos mentis, after indictment, conviction, or judgment, the matter is tried by a jury; and if he be found either an ideot or lunatick, the lenity of the English law will not permit him, in the first case, to be tried, in the second, to receive judgment, or in the third, to be executed. In other cases also inquests are held for the finding of madmen. Malone.
Finders of madmen must have been those who acted under the writ De lunatico inquirendo ;' in virtue whereof they found the
It does not appear that a finder of madmen was ever a profession, which was most certainly the case with witch-finders.
Ritson. 7 More matter for a MAY MORNING.] It was usual on the first of May to exhibit metrical interludes of the comic kind, as well as the morris-dance, of which a plate is given at the end of The First Part of King Henry IV. with Mr. Tollet's observations on it.
Sir And. Here's the challenge, read it; I warrant, there's vinegar and pepper in't.
Fab. Is't so sawcy?
Sir To. Give me. [Reads.] Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow.
FAB. Good, and valiant.
Sir To. Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind, why I do call thee so, for I will show thee no reason for't.
FAB. A good note: that keeps you from the blow of the law.
Sir To. Thou comest to the lady Olivia, and in my sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy throat, that is not the matter I challenge thee for.
Fab. Very brief, and exceeding good sense-less. Sir To. I will way-lay thee going home; where if it be thy chance to kill me,
FAB. Still you keep o' the windy side of the law: Good.
Sir To. Fare thee well; and God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine * ; but my hope is better, and so look to thyself.
mercy, upon MINE;] We may read~" He may have mercy upon thine, but my hope is better.” Yet the passage may well enough stand without alteration.
It were much to be wished that Shakspeare, in this, and some other
passages, had not ventured so near profuneness. Johnson. The present reading is more humorous than that suggested by Johnson. The man on whose soul he hopes that God will have mercy, is the one that he supposes will fall in the combat: but Sir Andrew hopes to escape unhurt, and to have no present occasion for that blessing.
The same idea occurs in Henry V. where Mrs. Quickly, giving an account of poor Falstaff's dissolution, says: “ Now I, to comfort him, bid him a’ should not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet." M. Mason,
Thy friend, as thou usest him, and thy sworn enemy. ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK.
Sır To. If this letter move him not, his legs cannot: I'll give't him.
Mar. You may have very fit occasion for't ; he is now in some commerce with my lady, and will by and by depart.
Sir To. Go, sir Andrew; scout me for him at the corner of the orchard, like a bum-bailiff: so soon as ever thou seest him, draw; and, as thou drawest, swear horrible'; for it comes to pass oft, that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him. Away.
Sir And. Nay, let me alone for swearing. [E.rit.
Sir To. Now will not I deliver his letter : for the behaviour of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good capacity and breeding; his employment between his lord and my niece confirms no less; therefore this letter, being so excellently ignorant, will breed no terror in the youth, he will find it comes from a clodpole. But, sir, I will deliver his challenge by word of mouth ; set upon Ague-cheek a notable report of valour; and drive the gentleman, (as, I know, his youth will aptly receive it,) into a most hideous opinion of his rage, skill, fury, and impetuosity. This will so fright them both, that they will kill one another by the look, like cockatrices.
Enter Olivia and VIOLA. FAB. Here he comes with your niece: give them way, till he take leave, and presently after him.
swear HORRIBLE:) Adjectives are often used by our author and his contemporaries, adverbially. See vol. x. p. 438.
Sir To. I will meditate the while upon some horrid message for a challenge.
[Exeunt Sir Toby, FABIAN, and Maria. Oui. I have said too much unto a heart of stone, And laid mine honour too unchary out': There's something in me, that reproves my fault ; But such a headstrong potent fault it is, That it but mocks reproof. Vio. With the same 'haviour that your passion
bears, Go on my master's griefs. Oli. Here, wear this jewel for me?, tis my pic
ture ; Refuse it not, it hath no tongue to vex you: And, I beseech you, come again to-morrow. What shall you ask of me, that I'll deny; That honour, sav'd, may upon asking give ? Vio. Nothing but this, your true love for my
master. Oli. How with mine honour may I give him that Which I have given to you? Vio
I will acquit you. Oli. Well, come again to-morrow: Fare thee
well; A fiend, like thee, might bear my soul to hell. [Exit.
Re-enter Sir Toby Belch, and FABIAN.
1- too unchary our:] The old copy reads-on't. The emendation is Mr. Theobald's. Malone.
wear this Jewel for me,] Jewel does not properly signify a single gem, but any precious ornament or superfuity.
Johnson. So, in Markham's Arcadia, 1607 : “ She gave him a very fine jewel, wherein was set a most rich diamond.” See also Mr. T. Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. i. p. 121. Steevens.