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Mar. Thou might'st have done this without thy beard, and gown; he sees thee not.
Sir To. To him in thine own voice, and bring me word how thou findest him: I would, we were well rid of this knavery. If he may be conveniently delivered, I would he were; for I am now so far in offence with my niece, that I cannot pursue with any safety this sport to the upshot. Come by and by to my chamber.
[Exeunt Sir To. and Mar. Clo. Hey Robin, jolly Robin, 3 Tell me how thy lady does.
the word water, not to those adopted either by Johnson or Warburton. The Clown is complimented by Sir Toby, for personating Sir Topas so exquisitely; to which he replies, that he can put on all colours, alluding to the word Topaz, which is the name of a jewel, and was also that of the Curate. M. Mason.
Mr. Henley has adopted the same idea; and adds, that “the Clown in his reply plays upon the name of Topas, and intimates that he could sustain as well the character of any other person, let him be called by what gem he might.” Steevens. 3 Hey Robin, jolly Robin,] This song should certainly begin:
“ Hey, jolly Robin, tell to me
“ How does thy lady do?-
“ Alas, why is she so ?" Farmer. This ingenious emendation is now superseded by the proper readings of the old song itself, which is now printed from what appears the most ancient of Dr. Harrington's poetical MSS.The first stanza appears to be defective, and it should seem that a line is wanting, unless the four first words were lengthened in the tune. Percy. The song, thus published, runs as follows:
“ A Robyn,
“ Jolly Robyn,
" And thou shalt knowe of myn.
“ Alack! why is so?
“ And yet she will say no." &c. &c. See Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, fourth edit. Vol. I, p. 194.
I hope to be excused if I add, that I do not immediately per. ceive how the copy of a song so metrically imperfect as the fore. going, can be permitted to extinguish the emendation proposed by Dr. Farmer. Steevens.
This song seems to be alluded to in the following passage of The Merchandises of Popish Priests, 4to. 1629, sign. F 2:
Mal. Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink, and paper; as I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to thee for 't.
Clo. Master Malvolio!
Mal. Fool, there was never man so notoriously abused: I am as well in my wits, fool, as thou art.
Clo. But as well? then you are mad, indeed, if you be no better in your wits than a fool.
Mal. They have here propertied me;5 keep me in darkness, send ministers to me, asses, and do all they can to face me out of my wits.
Clo. Advise you what you say; the minister is here.-Malvolio, Malvolio, thy wits the heavens restore! endeavour thyself to sleep, and leave thy vain bibble babble.
Mal. Sir Topas,
“ There is no one so lively and jolly as St. Mathurine. I can best describe you this arch singer, by such common phrase as we use of him
whom we see very lively and pleasantly disposed, we say this, His bead is full of jolly Robbins.” Reed.
- your five wits ?] Thus the five senses were anciently called. So, in King Lear, Edgar says:
“ Bless thy five wits.! Tom 's a cold." Again, in the old Morality of Every Man: “ And remember, beaute, fyve wittes, strength, and dyscrecyon.” Steevens.
The wits, Dr. Johnson some where observes, were reckoned five, in analogy to the five senses. From Stephen Hawes's poem called Graunde Amoure, ch. xxiv, edit. 1554, it appears that the five wits were—"common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, and memory.” Wit in our author's time was the general term for the intellectual power. Malone.
- propertied me;] They have taken possession of me, as of a man unable to look to himself. Johnson:
Clo. Maintain no words with him, 6 good fellowWho, I, sir? not I, sir. God b' wi' you, good sir Topas.—Marry, amen.— I will, sir, I will.
Mal. Fool, fool, fool, I say,
Clo. Alas, sir, be patient. What say you, sir? I am shent? for speaking to you.
Mal. Good fool, help me to some light, an paper; I tell thee, I am as well in my wits, as any man in Illyria.
Clo. Well-a-day,—that you were, sir!
Mal. By this hand, I am: Good fool, some ink, paper, and light, and convey what I will set down to my lady; it shall advantage thee more than ever the bearing of letter did.
Clo. I will help you to 't. But tell me true, are you not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit? 8
6 Maintain no words with him,] Here the Clown in the dark acts two persons, and counterfeits, by variation of voice, a dialogue between himself and Sir Topas. I will, sir, I will, is spoken after a pause, as if, in the mean time, Sir Topas had whispered. Fohnson.
7 I am shent &c.] i. e. scolded, reproved. So in Ascham's Report and Discourse : “ A wonderfull follie in a great man him. selfe, and some piece of miserie in a whole commonwealth, where fooles chiefly and flatterers may speake freely what they will; and wise men, and good men shall commonly be sbent if they speak what they should.” See also note on Hamlet, Act III, sc. ii. Reed.
tell me true, are you not mad indeed? or do you but counterfeit?] If he was not mad, what did he counterfeit by declar. ing that he was not mad? The fool, who meant to insult him, I think, asks, are you mad, or do you but counterfeit? That is, you look like a madman, you talk like a madman. Is your madness real, or have you any secret design in it? This, to a man in poor Malvolio's state, was a severe taunt. Johnson.
The meaning of this passage appears to me to be this. Mal. volio had assured the Clown that he was as well in his senses as any man in Illyria; and the Clown in reply, asks him this provoking question: "Is it true that you are really not mad ?” that is, that you are really in your right senses, or do you only pretend to be so? M. Mason.
Dr. Johnson, in my apprehension, misinterprets the words, « - do you but counterfeit?” They surely mean, do you but counterfeit madness,” or, in other words, assume the appearance of a madman, though not one.” Our author ought, I think, to have written, either, “ - are you mad indeed, or do
Mal. Believe me, I am not; I tell thee true.
Clo. Nay, I 'll ne'er believe a madman, till I see his brains. I will fetch you light, and paper, and ink.
Mal. Fool, I 'll requite it in the highest degree: I pr'ythee, be gone. Clo.
I am gone sir,
And anon, sir,
In a trice,
Like to the old vice,
Who with dagger of lath
Cries, ah, ha! to the devil:
Adieu, goodman drivel. 1
you but counterfeit?" or else, "- are you not not mad indeed, and do you but counterfeit?” But I do not suspect any corruption; for the last I have no doubt was what he meant, though he has not expressed his meaning accurately. He is often careless in such minute matters. Mr. Mason's interpretation removes the difficulty; but, considering the words that immediately precede, is very harsh, and appears to be inadmissible. Malone.
9. Like to the old vice,] The vice was the fool of the old moralities. Some traces of this character are still preseved in puppet-shows, and by country mummers. Fohnson.
This character was always acted in a mask; it probably had its name from the old French word vis, for which they now use visage, though they still retain it in vis à vis, which is, literally, face to face. Steevens.
1 Adieu, goodman drivel.] This last line has neither rhyme nor meaning. I cannot but suspect that the fool translates Mal. volio's name, and says :
Adieu, goodman mean-evil. Johnson. We have here another old catch; apparently, I think, not of Shakspeare. I am therefore willing to receive the common reading of the last line:
Adieu, goodman drivel. The name of Malvolio seems to have been formed by an acci. dental transposition in the word, Malivolo.
I know not whether a part of the preceding line should not be thrown into a question, “
pare thy nails, dad?” In Henry V, we again meet with "this roaring devil i' th’ old play; every one may pare bis nails with a wooden dagger.”
Seb. This is the air; that is the glorious sun;
In the old translation of the Menæchmi, 1595, Menæchmus says to Peniculus : “ Away, filthie mad drivell, away! I will talk no longer with thee.” As I cannot suppose the author of this ballad designed that devil should be the corresponding rhyme to devil, I read with Dr. Farmer, drivel. Steevens.
I believe, with Johnson, that this is an allusion to Malvolio's name, but not in his reading, which destroys the metre. We should read
Adieu, good mean-evil: that is, good Malvolio, literally translated. M. Mason.
The last two lines of this song have, I think, been misunder. stood. They are not addressed in the first instance to Malvolio, but are quoted by the Clown, as the words, ab, ba! are, as the usual address in the old Moralities to the Devil. I do not there. fore suspect any corruption in the words “ goodman Devil.” We have in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “No man means evil but the devil;” and in Much Ado about Nothing, “God's a good man.”
The compound, good-man, is again used adjectively, and as a word of contempt, in King Lear: “ Part” (says Edmund to Kent and the Steward). “With you, (replies Kent,) good-man boy, if you please.”
The reason why the Vice exhorts the Devil to pare his nails, is, because the Devil was supposed from choice to keep his nails always unpared, and therefore to pare them was an affront. So, in Camden's Remaines, 1615:
“ I will follow mine own minde and mine old trade;
Malone. 2 Yet there be was; and there I found this credit,
That he did range &c.] i. e. I found it justified, credibly vouched. Whether the word credit will easily carry this meaning, I am doubtful. The expression seems obscure; and though