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BER. What shall be done to him?
1 LORD. Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my condition, and what credit I have with the duke.
1 SOLD. Well, that's set down. You shall demand of him, whether one Captain Dumain be i' the camp, a Frenchman; what his reputation is with the duke, what his valour, honesty, and expertness in wars; or whether he thinks, it were not possible, with well-weighing sums of gold, to corrupt him to a revolt. What say you to this? what do you know of it?
PAR. I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of the intergatories*: Demand them singly. 1 SOLD. Do you know this captain Dumain?
PAR. I know him: he was a botcher's 'prentice in Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the sheriff's fool with child; a dumb innocent, that could not say him, nay. [Dumain lifts up his hand in anger.
"Here, sir, receive this military cassock, it has seen service." This military cassock has, I fear, some military hangbys." STEEVENS.
my CONDITION,] i. e. my disposition and character. See vol. vi. p. 371. MALONE.
4-intergatories:] i. e. interrogatories. REED.
5 -the SHERIFF'S FOOL-] We are not to suppose that this was a fool kept by the sheriff for his diversion. The custody of all ideots, &c. possessed of landed property, belonged to the King, who was intitled to the income of their lands, but obliged to find them with necessaries. This prerogative, when there was a large estate in the case, was generally granted to some court-favourite, or other person who made suit for and had interest enough to obtain it, which was called begging a fool. But where the land was of inconsiderable value, the natural was maintained out of the profits, by the sheriff, who accounted for them to the crown. As for those unhappy creatures who had neither possessions nor relations, they seem to have been considered as a species of property, being sold or given with as little ceremony, treated as capriciously,
BER. Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know, his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls 7.
1 SOLD. Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp?
PAR. Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy. 1 LORD. Nay, look not so upon me; we shall hear of your lordship anon.
1 SOLD. What is his reputation with the duke?
and very often, it is to be feared, left to perish as miserably, as dogs or cats. RITSON.
a dumb INNOCENT, that could not say him, nay.] Innocent does not here signify a person without guilt or blame: but means, in the good-natured language of our ancestors, an ideot or natural fool. Agreeably to this sense of the word is the following entry of a burial in the parish register of Charlewood, in Surrey : "Thomas Sole, an innocent about the age of fifty years and upwards, buried 19th September, 1605." WHALLEY.
Doll Common, in The Alchemist, being asked for her opinion of the Widow Pliant, observes that she is―" a good dull innocent." Again, in I Would and I Would Not, a poem, by B. N. 1614:
"I would I were an innocent, a foole,
"That can do nothing else but laugh or crie, "And eate fat meate, and never go to schoole, "And be in love, but with an apple-pie ;
"Weare a pide coate, a cockes combe, and a bell,
Mr. Douce observes to me, that the term-innocent, was originally French.
See also a note on Ford's 'Tis Pity She's A Whore, new edition of Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, vol. viii. p. 24. STEEVENS. though I know, his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.] In Lucian's Contemplantes, Mercury makes Charon remark a man that was killed by the falling of a tile upon his head, whilst he was in the act of putting off an engagement to the next day :-καὶ μεταξὺ λέγοντος, ἀπὸ τὸ τέγες κεραμὶς ἐπιπέσοῦσα, ἐκ διδ ̓ ὅτου κινήσαντος, ἀπέκτεινεν αυτόν. See the life of Pyrrhus in Plutarch. Pyrrhus was killed by a tile. S. W.
- your LORDSHIP-] The old copy has Lord. In the MSS. of our author's age they scarcely ever wrote Lordship at full length. MALONE.
PAR. The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer of mine; and writ to me this other day, to turn him out o' the band: I think, I have his letter in my pocket.
1 SOLD. Marry, we'll search.
PAR. In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there, or it is upon a file, with the duke's other letters, in my tent.
1 SOLD. Here 'tis; here's a paper? Shall I read it to you?
PAR. I do not know, if it be it, or no.
BER. Our interpreter does it well.
1 LORD. Excellently.
1 SOLD. Dian. The count's a fool, and full of gold,
PAR. That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one count Rousillon, a foolish idle boy, but, for all that, very ruttish I pray you, sir, put it up again.
1 SOLD. Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour. PAR. My meaning in't, I protest, was very horest in the behalf of the maid: for I knew the young count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy; who is a whale to virginity, and devours up all the fry it finds.
BER. Damnable, both sides rogue !
9 Dian. The count's a fool, and full of gold,] After this line there is apparently a line lost, there being no rhyme that corresponds to gold. JOHNSON.
I believe this line is incomplete. The poet might have written : Dian. The count's a fool, and full of golden store—or ore;" and this addition rhymes with the following alternate verses.
May we not suppose the former part of the letter to have been prose, as the concluding words are? The sonnet intervenes. Malvolio, is partly prose,
The feigned letter from Olivia to partly verse. MALONE.
1 SOLD. When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it ;
After he scores, he never pays the score: Half won, is match well made; match, and well make it1;
He ne'er pays after debts, take it before;
Half won, is match well made; MATCH, and well make it ;] This line has no meaning that I can find. I read, with a very slight alteration : "Half won is match well made; watch, and well make it." That is, "a match well made is half won; watch, and make it well."
This is, in my opinion, not all the error. The lines are misplaced, and should be read thus:
"Half won is match well made; watch, and well make it ; "When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it. "After he scores, he never pays the score:
"He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before,
That is, take his money, and leave him to himself. When the players had lost the second line, they tried to make a connection out of the rest. Part is apparently in couplets, and the whole was probably uniform. JOHNSON.
Perhaps we should read :
"Half won is match well made, match, an' we'll make it." i. e. if we mean to make any match of it at all. STEEVENS. There is no need of change. The meaning is, "A match well made, is half won; make your match, therefore, but make it well.” M. MASON.
The verses having been designed by Parolles as a caution to Diana, after informing her that Bertram is both rich and faithless, he admonishes her not to yield up her virtue to his oaths, but his gold; and having enforced this advice by an adage, recommends her to comply with his importunity, provided half the sum for which she shall stipulate be previously paid her :-" Half won is match well made; match, and well make it." HENLEY.
Gain half of what he offers, and you are well off; if you yield to him, make your bargain secure. MALONE.
Men are to MELL with, boys are NOT to kiss:] The meaning of the word mell, from meler, French, is obvious.
So, in Ane Very Excellent and Delectabill Treatise, intitulit Philotus, &c. 1603:
For count of this, the count's a fool, I know it, Who pays before, but not when he does owe it. Thine, as he vow'd to thee in thine ear, PAROLLES.
BER. He shall be whipped through the army, with this rhyme in his forehead.
2 LORD. This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold linguist, and the armipotent soldier.
BER. I could endure any thing before but a cat, and now he's a cat to me.
1 SOLD. I perceive, sir, by the general's looks3, we shall be fain to hang you.
"But he na husband is to mee;
'That never had na melling."
"Na melling, mistress? will you then
Deny the marriage of that man?'
Again, in The Corpus Christi Play, acted at Coventry. MSS. Cott. Vesp. viii. p. 122:
And fayr yonge qwene herby doth dwelle,
"Both frech and gay upon to loke,
"And a tall man with her doth melle,
"The way into hyr chawmer ryght evyn he toke." The argument of this piece is The Woman Taken in Adultery. STEEVENS.
"Men are to mell with, boys are NOT to kiss." Mr. Theobald and the subsequent editors read-“ boys are but to kiss." I do not see any need of change, nor do I believe that any opposition was intended between the words mell and kiss. Parolles wishes to recommend himself to Diana, and for that purpose advises her to grant her favours to men, and not to boys. He himself calls his letter "An Advertisement to Diana to take heed of the Allurement of one Count Rousillon, a foolish idle boy."
To mell is used by our author's contemporaries in the sense of meddling, without the indecent idea which Mr. Theobald supposed to be couched under the word in this place. So, in Hall's Satires, 1597:
"Hence, ye profane; mell not with holy things." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. iv. c. i. :
"With holy father fits not with such things to mell."
MALONE. 3 - by THE general's looks,] The old copy has-“ by your.” 2 G