Imagens das páginas
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

precious as the portrait of such a woman as "Mistress Mall" would be.

47. A coranto. A brisk French dance. See Note 74, Act ii., "All's Well."

48. Make a leg. 'Make a bow.' See Note 59, Actii., "All's Well."

49. A sink-a-pace. A corruption of cinque-pace, the name of a French dance. See Note 6, Act ii., "Much Ado."

50. Flame-coloured stock. Pope's correction of the Folio's misprint 'dam'd coloured; which others have altered to 'damask-coloured,' and 'dun-coloured.' "Stock was an old form of 'stocking.' See Note 25, Act iii., "Taming of the Shrew."

Act I. Scene IV.

Sir And. Ay, 'tis strong, and it does indifferent well in a flame-coloured stock.50 Shall we set about some revels?

Sir To. What shall we do else? were we not born under Taurus ?51 Sir And.

Taurus! that's sides and heart. 52

51. Born under Taurus. In allusion to the astrological belief that to be born while certain of the heavenly bodies were predominant, influenced the disposition in accordance with the peculiar qualities attributed to each. "Taurus," the Bull, is the second constellation of the zodiac. Sir Toby seems to think that a tendency to joviality and revelry belonged to the influences of "Taurus."

52. That's sides and heart. This refers to the medical astrology appearing in almanacks of former date, even to so late a period as the first quarter of the present nineteenth century; which system associated the affections of particular portions of the human body with the predominance of particular constellations. Taurus was held to affect the neck and throat, therefore



[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

54. Surprise her with discourse of, &c. Shakespeare here, and elsewhere, uses "surprise" with peculiar force of meaning; conveying the effect of 'take by storm,' 'overpower,' 'make conquest of.'

55. Nuncio. Messenger; from the Latin nuncio, to bear tidings, to announce.

56. Rubious. One of those exquisite epithets which it is the privilege of poets to coin. Whether derived from the Latin, rubeus, ruddy, or directly from the gem ruby, or for the sake of its own mellifluous sound, the word proclaims Shakespeare's classical knowledge, his keen eye for beauty, and his delicate ear for poetical music.

57. Shrill and sound. They who alter this to 'shrill in sound' surely impair the full meaning of the sentence. To our thinking, the Duke is intended to say, 'Thy slender voice is like a maiden's

Than in a nuncio 55 of more grave aspect.
Vio. I think not so, my lord.

Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years,
That say thou art a man: Diana's lip

Is not more smooth and rubious; 56 thy small pipe
Is as the maiden's organ, shrill and sound; 57
And all is semblative a woman's part.

I know thy constellation is right apt

For this affair: 58-some four or five attend him;
All, if you will; for I myself am best
When least in company :-prosper well in this,
And thou shalt live as freely as thy lord,
To call his fortunes thine.

I'll do my best

[blocks in formation]

Enter MARIA and Clown.

Mar. Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so wide as a bristle may enter in way of thy excuse: my lady will hang thee for thy absence.

Clo. Let her hang me: he that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colours.60 Mar. Make that good.

Clo. He shall see none to fear.

Mar. A good lenten answer: 61 I can tell thee where that saying was born, of, I fear no colours. Clo. Where, good Mistress Mary ?

Mar. In the wars; and that may you be bold to say in your foolery.

Clo. Well, Heaven give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents.

Mar. Yet you will be hanged for being so long

voice, high in key and at the same time uncracked; and all makes thee appear to be like a woman.' A boy's voice is "shrill," high, of treble quality, but not "sound," or uncracked; while a girl's is of the same shrillness, or high pitch, and yet perlectly "sound," or pure in tone.

58. Thy constellation is right apt for this affair. Another allusion to the astrological belief in auspicious constellatory influences on certain favoured natures.

59. A barful strife! 'An endeavour full of difficulty and self-struggle.'

60. Fear no colours. A phrase then in familiar use; signifying 'fear no threats or danger, under whatever aspect they may approach.' It was originally a military expression; meaning 'fear no foe, under whatever colours he may fight.'

61. A good lenten answer. "Lenten" being used in allusion to the season of Lent, when fasting and abstinence are observed, the word means 'meagre,' 'spare,' 'dry,' 'stinted;' and Maria employs the term, showing that while she seems to praise the Clown's "answer" for being brief,' she really hints that it is 'scant' and 'bare' of wit.

[blocks in formation]


64 fall.

man mend himself; if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he cannot, let the botcher mend him: anything that's mended is but patched: virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but patched with virtue: if that this simple syllogism 70 will serve, so; if it will not, what remedy? As there is no true gull but calamity, so beauty's a flower.-The lady bade take


Oli. Sir, I bade them take away you.

Mar. That if one break, the other will hold; 63 away the fool; therefore, I say again, take her or, if both break, your gaskins Clo. Apt, in good faith; very apt. Well, go thy way; if Sir Toby would leave drinking, thou wert as witty a piece of Eve's flesh as any in Illyria.65

[blocks in formation]

62. For turning away, let summer bear it out. 'As for being turned away, I care not, so that it be in a warm season, when there's less need of shelter.' 63. That if one break, the other will hold. Maria chooses to take the Clown's "two points" in the sense of the tagged strings or laces, by which the upper part of the dress was attached to the lower. See Note 20, Act iii., "Taming of the Shrew." 64. Gaskins. Large wide hose, sometimes called 'gascon hose,' gaskins" being a corruption of 'gascons,'

[ocr errors]

65. As any in Illyria. This sentence is the Clown's sly way of hinting that Sir Toby admires Maria, and that the knight could not do better than renounce his potations and take her to wife.

66. No more o' that. Mistress Maria shows that she has her vulnerable point of attack, as well as Master Feste; and that if she threaten him with his mistress's displeasure for straying from home, he will be able to revenge himself by betraying her good understanding with Sir Toby to her lady.

67. Quinapalus. A name invented by this "witty fool," in satire of those who cite a classical authority upon every occasion. 68. You're a dry fool. Olivia uses the word "dry" in the sense of sapless,' 'witless' (see Note 98, Act v., "Love's Labour's Lost"); the Clown answers it punningly, in the sense of 'thirsty.'

[ocr errors]

69. Madonna. A title of address used to ladies in Italy; 'madam,' or 'my lady.'

70. Syllogism. The Clown's use of this word, which means an argument composed of three propositions, is in keeping with his pretensions to logic and argumentative wisdom he is a

Clo. Misprision71 in the highest degree!— Lady, cucullus non facit monachum ; 72 that's as much to say as,73 I wear not motley in my brain. Good madonna, give me leave to prove you a fool. Oli. Can you do it?



Dexteriously,74 good madonna.
Make your proof.

Clo. I must catechise you for it, madonna: good my mouse of virtue,75 answer me.

Oli. Well, sir, for want of other idleness, I'll 'bide your proof.

Clo. Good madonna, why mournest thou?
Oli. Good fool, for my brother's death.
Clo. I think his soul is in hell, madonna.

Oli. I know his soul is in heaven, fool.

Clo. The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul being in heaven.-Take away the fool, gentlemen.

Oli. What think you of this fool, Malvolio? doth he not mend?

Mal. Yes, and shall do till the pangs of death shake him:76 infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make the better fool.

delightful specimen of light-heartedness, with hit-or-miss talk, whimsicality in fancy, and drollery in utterance; moreover, gifted with a sweet singing-voice and a knowledge of quaint old


71. Misprision. Mistake, misconception. See Note 22, Act iv., "Much Ado."

72. Cucullus non facit monachum. A Latin saying, signifying 'A cowl does not make a monk.' The Clown means to say, that though he wears the motley suit of a professional fool-jester, he is no fool in lack of wit.


[ocr errors]

73. As much to say as. An old form of as much as to say.' 74. Dexteriously. The Folio prints the word thus; and, though some editors have printed it correctly, we retain the old spelling as possibly intended to mark a whimsically facetious pronunciation of the word by the Clown, who deals in this kind of oddity. 75. Good my mouse of virtue. "Mouse was formerly used as a term of endearment or affectionate familiarity. See Note 50, Act v., "Love's Labour's Lost." "Good" was sometimes placed before "my" instead of after it, as good my lord," "good my glass” (see Note 4, Act iv., "Love's Labour's Lost"); giving a playful or earnest effect to the mode of address, as the case may be. Here, this style of construction has a doubly good effect it gives an Italian air to the Clown's words, in harmony with his calling Olivia "Madonna;" for the Italians frequently say, 'Cara mia signora,' 'dear my lady,' or even ‘cara signora mia,' 'dear lady mine,' instead of 'mia cara signora,' 'my dear lady."

76. Till the pangs of death shake him. Malvolio's bitterness

Clo. Heaven send you, sir, a speedy infirmity, for the better increasing your folly! Sir Toby will be sworn that I am no fox; but he will not pass his word for twopence that you are no fool. Oli. How say you to that, Malvolio?

Mal. I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal: I saw him put down the other day with an ordinary fool, that has no more brain than a stone. Look you now, he's out of his guard already; unless you laugh and minister occasion to him, he is gagged. I protest, I take these wise men, that crow so at these set kind of fools,77 no better than the fools' zanies.78

[blocks in formation]

Oli. Who of my people hold him in delay ?82 Mar. Sir Toby, madam, your kinsman. Oli. Fetch him off, I pray you: he speaks nothing but madman: fie on him! [Exit MARIA.] Go you, Malvolio: if it be a suit from the count, I am sick, or not at home: what you will, to dismiss it. [Exit MALVOLIO.] Now you see, sir, how your fooling grows old, and people dislike it.

Clo. Thou hast spoke for us, madonna, as if thy eldest son should be a fool,-whose skull Jove cram with brains! for here he comes, one of thy kin, has a most weak pia mater.83

[blocks in formation]

of severity on the fool's whimsicalities well serves to characterise him at the very outset.

77. I take these wise men, that crow so at these, &c. "Take" is here used for account,' so that if the latter word were used instead of "take," "no better" would follow consecutively after "wise men," without needing the "to be" which is now elliptically understood before "no better." "These" is used in this passage according to Shakespeare's mode of employing it when instancing a generality. See Note 69, Act ii., "Measure for Measure."

78. Fools' zanies. Fools' mimics, imitators of fools; fools at second-hand. Several citations from contemporary writers have been adduced to show that "zany," both as verb and noun, was used in the sense of to ape or mimic, to be a buffoon imitator.

79. Bird-bolts. Short, thick, blunt arrows; used for shooting rooks and other birds with. Their use was permitted to fools, as weapons with which they could do little hurt. See Note 7, Act i., "Much Ado."

80. An allowed fool. A licensed jester; a fool whose profession gives him warrant to say anything, however galling. See Note 118, Act v., "Love's Labour's Lost."

81. Leasing. Lying. Mercury, being the god of eloquence and of cheating, is invoked by the Clown to endow Olivia with the gift of specious oratory, since she has just been showing how well she can advocate the cause of fools, by a fair argument. Feste thinks that if his lady mistress can speak so well for his brethren with even a truthful plea, how much more could she say for them were she to use sophistry and warped reasoning.

82. In delay. In detention. It will be observed that here the word "delay" has the additional sense of 'withholding,' 'checking,' as well as of 'deferring,' which we pointed out in

Note 26, Act iv., "All's Well." Not only is Viola's approach delayed, but she is held back and detained.

83. Pia mater. The thin membrane that covers the brain. See Note 46, Act iv., "Love's Labour's Lost." This sentence is elliptical; 'who' being understood before "has."

84. A plague o' these pickle-herrings. The Folio omits the s after "herrings;" but "these" makes it probable that the word is in the plural, unless intended for a drunken utterance. However this may be, the exclamation is admirably written; conveying the effect of a hiccup in all its repulsive strength, yet maintained by dint of humorous expression within the range of comedy delineation. There is also a possibility that Sir Toby's ejaculation may have reference to this expression as a nickname; for in No. 47 of the "Spectator" we find a passage that thus explains the term :-"There is a set of merry drolls, whom the common people of all countries admire;-those circumforaneous wits, whom every nation calls by the name of that dish of meat which it loves best. In Holland they are termed pickled herrings; in France, Jean Potages; in Italy, maccaronies; and in Great Britain, jack-puddings." Thus, Sir Toby, asked what sort of gentleman the youth at the gate is, intends to describe him scoffingly, while a reminiscence of his last-eaten provocative to drink disturbs him in the shape of a hiccup. 85. How now, sot! Although Shakespeare uses sot elsewhere for 'fool' (see Note 5, Act iii., "Merry Wives of Windsor"), yet here the humour consists in making the drunken man address the Clown as a drunkard; and he does so again in the last scene.

[ocr errors]


86. Well, it's all one. It would be difficult to match this brief appearance of a man morning-fuddled, so wonderfully depicted, if we observe the very few words he utters, together with their perfect significance in characterisation.

« AnteriorContinuar »