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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.
8 He may have 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 profaneness. 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 fort ; 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. [Erit.
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.
9 — 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 out:) The old copy reads-on't. The emendation is Mr. Theobald's. Malone.
2 – wear this Jewel for me,] Jewel does not properly signify a single gem, but any precious ornament or superfluity.
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.
to't: of what nature the wrongs are thou hast done him, I know not; but thy intercepter", full of despight, bloody as the hunter, attends thee at the orchard end: dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly.
Vio. You mistake, sir; I am sure, no man hath any quarrel to me; my remembrance is very free and clear from any image of offence done to any man.
Sir To. You'll find it otherwise, I assure you : therefore, if you hold your life at any price, betake you to your guard; for your opposite hath in him what youth, strength, skill, and wrath, can furnish man withal.
Vio. I pray you, sir, what is he?
Sir To. He is knight, dubbed with unhatch'd rapier, and on carpet consideration *; but he is a
3 — thy inteRCEPTER,] Thus the old copy. Most of the modern editors read-interpreter. STEEVENS.
He is knight, dubbed with unhatch'd rapier, and on carpet consideration ;] That is, he is no soldier by profession, not a knight banneret, dubbed in the field of battle, but, on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on some peaceable occasion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling, not on the ground, as in war, but on a carpet. This is, I believe, the original of the contemptuous term a carpet knight, who was naturally held in scorn by the men of war. Johnson.
In Francis Markham's Booke of Honour, fo. 1625, p. 71, we have the following account of Carpet Knights : “Next unto these (i. e. those he distinguishes by the title of Dunghill or Truck Knights) in degree, but not in qualitie, (for these are truly for the most part vertuous and worthie) is that rank of Knights which are called Carpet Knights, being men who are by the prince's grace and favour made knights at home and in the time of peace by the imposition or laying on of the king's sword, having by some special service done to the common-wealth, or for some other particular virtues made known to the soveraigne, as also for the dig. nitie of their births, and in recompence of noble and famous actions done by their ancestors, deserved this great title and dignitie.” He then enumerates the several orders of men on whom this
devil in private brawl : souls and bodies hath he divorced three; and his incensement at this moment is so implacable, that satisfaction can be none but by pangs of death and sepulchre : hob, nob”, is his word ; give't, or take't.
honour was usually conferred; and adds—" those of the vulgar or common sort are called Carpet Knights, because (for the most part) they receive their honour from the king's hand in the court, and upon carpets, and such like ornaments belonging to the king's state and greatnesse ; which howsoever a curious envie may wrest to an ill sense, yet questionlesse there is no shadow of disgrace belonging unto it, for it is an honour as perfect as any honour whatsoever, and the services and merits for which it is received, as worthy and well deserving both of the king and country, as that which hath wounds and scarres for his witnesse.” Reed.
Greene uses the term-Carpet-knights, in contempt of those of whom he is speaking; and, in The Downfal of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601, it is employed for the same purpose :
“ - soldiers, come away :
“ This Carpet-knight sits carping at our scars.” In Barrett's Alvearie, 1580 : “ – those which do not exercise themselves with some honest affaires, but serve abhominable and filthy idleness, are, as we use to call them, Carpet-knightes." B. ante 0. Again, among Sir John Harrington's Epigrams, b, iv. Ep. 6, Of Merit and Demerit :
“That captaines in those days were not regarded,
“ That only Carpet-knights were well rewarded." The old copy reads-unhatch'd rapier ; but a passage in King Henry IV. Part I, may serve to confirm the reading in the text : “ How came Falstaff's sword so hack’d?_Why, he hack'd it with his dagger." STEEVENS.
“ — with unhatch'd rapier,” The modern editors read-unhack'd. It appears from Cotgrave's Dictionary in v. hacher, [to hack, hew, &c.] that to hatch the hilt of a sword, was a technical term. Perhaps we ought to read—with an hatch'd rapier, i. e. with a rapier, the hilt of which was richly engraved and ornamented. Our author, however, might have used unhatch'd in the sense of unhack'd ; and therefore I have made no change.
Malone. s- hob, nob,] This adverb is corrupted from hap ne hap ; as would ne would, will ne will ; that is, let it happen or not; and signifies at random, at the mercy of chance. See Johnson's Dictionary. So, in Lyly's Euphues and his England, 4to. bl. 1. 1580 : “ Thus Philautus determined, hab nab, to send his letters," &c.