Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

..

. Probably board her may mean no more than salute her, speak to her,
&c. Sir Kenelm Digby, in his Treatise of Bodies, 1643. fo. Paris, p. 259,
speaking of a blind man says, “ He would at the first abord of a stranger
as soone as he spoke to him frame a right apprehension of his stature,
bulke, and manner of making." EDITOR.
** Board her, woo her, &c.' •Board' is, in this place, no doubt
the same as abord (i. e. address) as Mr. R. has already explained it;
though he seems not to know that the word is French. It should be
printed bord or borde.

Aborder quelqu'un-to speak to any one. B.

Sir To. Art thou good at these kick-shaws, knight?'

Sir And. As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare with ́an uld man."

and yet I will not compare with an old man. This is intended as a satire on that common vanity of old men, in preferring their owa times, and the past generation, to the present. WARB.

This stroke of pretended satire but ill accords with the character of the foolish knight. Ague-cheek, though willing enough 10 arrogate to himself such experience as is commonly the acquisitiun of age, is yet careful to exempt his person from being compared with its bodily weakness. In short, he would say with Falstaff ;-“I am old in nothing but my under. standing." Sreev.

I will not compare with an old man.: Mr. Steevens's explana. tion stands in need of an explainer, for what can we possibly under. stand when he tells us that Ague-cheek “is yet careful to exempt his person from being compared with its bodily weakness ?" He further observes of Sir Andrew, that he would say, “ I am old in nothing but my understanding,” that is, as Mr. Steevens conceives of it, I am a deep fellow. Be it so : 'and of some men it may be remarked that they are old in every thing but their understanding. Not but that old may here be understood in two several ways : it may mean old, as one who is practised, well-informed ; or old as being weak, worn out. If we interpret the knight's expression in the latter sense, Mr. Steevens's conceit respecting it is lost, and if in the former, the same must be observed of mine. B.

Duke.. Some four, or five, attend him;
All, if you will, for I myself am best,
When least in company.

for I myself am best,

When least in company. Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus." B. .

Clo. I must catechize you for it, Madona; Good my mouse of virtue, answer me.

• My mouse of virtue. What do the Editors understand by this expression ? I fancy they have never asked themselves the meaning

of it. "Mouse, however, is not in this place the little animal infesting houses, &c. but the French mousse which signifies dull, heavy. It is here used substantively, the comma must be taken froni rirtue, and placed at mousse,) . of virtue answer nie' is "of goodness answer me." The sense of the whole will be as follows. “I must catechize you for it. Madona ; my sweet lack-wit, of goodness answer me." This agrees with what he had said immediately before. “ Mistaken in the highest degree"!" By which he would insinuale that the lady is dull: that she is of a heavy wit. In like manner the figurative saying of the French, " esprii mousse, a dullard, or stupid person.” B.

Clo. Now Mercury indue thee with leasing, for thou speak'st well of fools.

Now Mercury indue'thee with leasing, for thou speak'st well of fools ! This is a stupid blunder. We should read, with pleasing, i. e. with eloquence, make thee a gracious and powerful speaker, for Mercury was the god of orators as well as cheats. But the first editors, who did not understand the phrase, indue thee with pleasing, made this foolish correction; more excusable, however, than the last editor's, « bo, when this emendation was pointed out to him, would make one of his own; and so, in bis Oxford edition, reads, with learning; without troubling himself to satisfy the seader how the first editor should blunder in a word so easy to be understood as learning, though they well might in the word pleasing, as it is used in this place. Wand.

I think the present reading more humorous. Muy Alercury teach theo to lie, since thou liese in fuvor of fools. Joux.

• Now Mercury indye thee with leasing Leasing' appears to be the proper word. But leasing siguifies not only lying but easiness, happiness: fit ought to have been written leasen] and the latter is the sense required here. Olivia has pot uttered any lies in favor of fools, on the contrary she has spoken nothing but truth. The Clown tberefore says-May Mercury make thee happy, since thou speakest in praise of fools. Mercury is invoked because he is the giver of peace; and peace is a principal ingredieut in happiness, if not happiness itself. The goddess Felicitas is therefore represented by the ancients with the caduceus of that Deity, (Mercury] in her hand, as emblematical of her power. B.

Oli. Look you, sir, such a one I was this present : Is't not well done?

-Look you, sir, such a one I was this present : is't not well done ? This is nonsense. The change of was to wear, I think, clears alt up, and gives the expression an air of gallantry. Viola presses to see Olivia's face ; The other at length pulls off her veil, and says; We will draw the curtain, and shew you the picture. I wear this complexion to-day, I may wear another to morrow; jocularly intimating, that she painted. The other, vext at the jest, says, “ Excellently done, if God did all." Perhaps, it may be true, what you say in jest; otherwise 'tis an excellent face. Tis is grain, &c. replies Olivia. WARB.

I am not satisfied with this emendation. She says, I was this present, instead of saying I am; because she has once shewn herself, and persoRates the beholder, who is afterwards to make the relation. Steev. I do not think that “ pregnant” in this place signifies dexterous, but great, powerful, full of consequence. The pregnant enemy' is Cupid, and not the Prince of Hell, as Dr. Johnsou seems to think. B.

Look you, Sir, such a one I was this present : Is't not well done ?

Such a one I was this present,' is nonsense, as Dr. Warburton observes. A single letter added, however, will set all right, I read,

"Such a one I was, this presents, meanivg, -" Such an one as I was when your lord saw ine, this presents, or shews you," (unveiling.)

Vio. She took the ring of me, I'll none of it. She took the ring of me, I'll none of it. Surely here is an evident corruption. We should read, without doubt, .

She took mo ring of me ;-~-~ I'll none of it. So afterwards:"I leti noring with her."- Viola expressly denies having g ven Olivia any ring. How then can she assert, as she is made to do in the oid copy, that the lady had received one from her?

This passage, as it stands at present, (as an ingenious friend observes to me) might be reodered less exceptionable, by a different punctuation :

She took the ring of me I'll none of it. I am, howover, still of opinion that the text is corrupt, and ought to be corrected as above. Had our author intended such a mode of speech, he would, I think, have written,

She took a ring ot' me!-I'll none of it. Mal. She took the ring of me.' This should be printed with a note of interrogation. She took the ring of me?' i. e. “Does she say she took the ring of me? However, I will none of it.” By making the circumstance of the ring a question-an illative question, as I would call it, f" what am I to understand by this: what am I to infer from it ?"] the sense is sufficiently clear. B.

Vio. She made good view of me ; indeed, so much, That, sure, wethought her eyes had lost her tongue, For she did speak in starts distractedly.

her eyes had lost her tongue. We say a man loses his company when they go one way and he goes another. So Olivia's tongue lust her eyes; her tongue was talking of the duke, and her eyes gazing on his messenger. Joun.

• Her eyes had lost her tongue.' Dr. Johnson's explanation is harsh, and certainly wrong. To lose or loze had anciently the sense of to puzzle. Viola says that · Olivia's eyes had lost or los'd her tongue,' i. c. that by gazing on her (Viola) she had become puzzled, confounded, perplexed in her utterance ; in a word, that she spoke by starts, and distractedly. B.

Vio. Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness, Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.

the pregnant enemy-] Is, I believe, the dexterous fiend, or enemy of mankind, John,

Pregnant is certainly dexterous, or ready, So in Hamlet : " How prege nant sometimes his replies are.". STEEV.

[ocr errors]

· Vio. How easy is it, for the proper false . In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!

- How easy is it, for the proper false

In-women's waren hearts to set their forms! This is obscure. The meaning is, how easy is disguise to women; how easily does their own fals hood, ontained in their waren changeable hearts, enable them to assume deceitful appearances! The two next lines are perhaps transposed, and should be read thus :

For such as we are made, if such we be,

Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we. John. I am not certain that this explanation is just. Viola has been condemping them who disguise themselves, because Olivia had fallen in love with the specious appearance. How easy is it, she adds, for those who are at once proper (i. e. fair in their appearance) and false (i. c. deceitful) to make an impression on the hearts of women! - The proper false is certainly a less elegant expression than the false dereider, but seems to mean the same thing. A proper man, was the ancient phrase for a handsome mun. STEEV.

• The proper false.' What there is so very clegant in the expression a false deceiver,' Mr. Steevens alone can tell. • Proper false, however, must mean, not a false deceiver, but on the contrary a real, an actual deceiver. It is the latin proprius-real, genuine. Jobison has wholly mistaken the sense. B.

Sir And. In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night, wlien thou spok'st of Pigrogromitus, of the Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus; 'twas very good, i'faith. I sent thee six-pence for thy leman; Had'st it?

- I sent thee sitpence for thy lemon, hadst it ? But the Clown was neither pantler, nor butler. The poet's word was certainly mistaken by the ignorance of the printer. I have restored leman, i. e. I send thee sixpence to spend on thy mistress. THECB.

I receive Theobald's emendation, because I think it throws a light on the obscurity of the following speech.

Leman is frequently used by the ancient writers, and Spenser in particular. So again, in The Noble Soldier, 1634:

“Fright him as he's embracing his new lemun." The money was given him for his leman, i. e. bis mistress. He says he did impeiicoat the gratuity, i. e. he gave it to his petticoat companion; for (says he) Malvolio's nose is no whipstock, i, e. Malvolio may smell out our connection, but bis suspicion will not prove the instrument of our punishment. My mistress has a white hand, and the myrmidons ure no bottle-ale houses, i. e..my mistress is handsome, but the houses kept by officers of justice are no places to make merry and entertain ber at. Such may be the meaning of this whimsical speech. A whipstock is, I believe, the handle of a whip, round which a strap of leather is usually twisted, and is somctimes put for the whip itself. So, in Albumazar, 1616 :

- out, Carier.

I “ Hence, dirty whipstock.--~" Sreev, • I sent thee six pence for thy leinon.' 'Lemon' is certainly wropy. The Clown replies to Sir Andrew, that he accepted the reward which the Knight had bestowed on him for the account be had given of-Pigrogromitus, &c. I therefore rean, • I sent thee six pence, for thy lemnia,'i, e. for thy story. Lemma is, properly, an argument or proposition assumed: and the word is used by Sir Andrew for story or tale. The tenor of the speech, as well as the reply to it, will shew that this is the right reading. B.

. Clo. I did impeticoat thy gratuity; for Malvolio's nose is no whip-stock : My lady has a white hand and the Myrmidons are no bottle-ale hoụses. ,

I diú impeticus, &c. This, Sir T. Hanmer tells us, is the same with im. pocket thy gratuity. He is undoubtedly right; but we must read, I did! impeticuát thy yrätuity. The fools were kept in long coats, to which the allusion is made. There is yet much in this dialogue which I do not understand. Jonn. The old copy reads--" I did impeticos thy gratillity.”. Mal. .

I did impeticos,' &c. It may not be amiss to premise, that in the present scene there are niany quaint and far-fetch'd expressions; and that it is the business of an editor, in endeavouring to elucidate obscu. rities, to keep as near as possible, in the change he proposes to make, to the original reading : but always with a particular attention to the context, and to the sense and spirit of his author. Instead then of impetticoat thy, gratuity' as set down in the modern editions, and which is wholly arbitrary, I would read : “I did impetree thy cosa, thy gracility,”[thegratility of the old copy directs to this latter word.] Impetree is formed of the latin impetro, or rather of the french impetrer: the particular meaning of which is to gain by entreaty, but here used in the general sense of to get, to receive Cosa is the Italian for a thing, & trifle; and gracility (slenderness) is employell, by license, for a skender donation. We now say, where a poorness or slenderness of spirit is shewn, this is a very slender gift. But we will now consider the whole. “ ( sent thee six pence for thy story," says Sir Andrew. “ had'st it?" to which the Clown makes answer, “I did get the trifle, I did receive thy slender donation." 'To maintain the pleasantry of the dialogue, --ibis, his reply, is put into pompous and affected language, not very likely to be understood by the knight; who (wbile his gift is held in contempt) supposes it to be an acknowledgment of his kindness.

Without such reading and explication the fantasticalness of the characters will be lost. It may be further remarked that the first thy having been omitted through the carelessness either of the transcriber or compositor, und ' cose' being joined from a like inattention to impetree, impetrecose, the word approaches very nearly both in appearance and sound to impeticos, as received by the later editors, . Gratility,' as I have before observed, naturally points out to us gracility. The mistake was easily made by succeeding printers, but it

« AnteriorContinuar »