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Line 174. board her,-] A sea phrase, meaning here, address her, make up to her.
Line 190. It's dry, Sir.] What is the jest of dry hand, I know not any better than Sir Andrew. It may possibly mean, a hand with no money in it; or, according to the rules of physiognomy, she may intend to insinuate, that it is not a lover's hand, a moist band being vulgarly accounted a sign of an amorous constitution. JOHNSON.
Line 216. -it will not curl by nature.] In former copies,— thou seest, it will not COOL MY nature.] read, it will not CURL BY nature. The joke is evident. WARBURTON.
Line 236. —and yet I will not compare with an old man.] This stroke of pretended satire but ill accords with the character of the foolish knight. Ague-cheek, though willing enough to arrogate to himself such experience as is commonly the acquisition of age, is yet careful to exempt his person from comparison with its bodily weakness. In short, he would say what Falstaff says,I am old in nothing but my understanding. STEEVENS.
like mistress Mall's picture?] This is probably an allusion to a very notorious character in those days, named Moll Cutpurse; for a long account of whom, the reader is referred to Dodsley's old plays.
Line 255. flame-coloured stock.] The old copy reads-a dam'd colour'd stock. Stockings were in Shakspeare time called stocks. The same solicitude concerning the furniture of the legs makes a part of master Stephen's character in Every Man in his Humour:
I think my leg would show well in a silk hose.
Line 259. Taurus? that's sides and heart.] Alluding to the medical astrology still preserved in almanacks, which refers the affections of particular parts of the body to the predominance of particular constellations. JOHNSON,
ACT I. SCENE IV.
-a woman's part.] That is, thy proper part in a play would be a woman's. Women were then personated by boys.
ACT I. SCENE V.
-lenten answer :- -] A lean, or, as we now
Line 316. call it, a dry answer.
Line 328. —and for turning away, let summer bear it out.] This seems to be a pun from the nearness in the pronunciation of turning away and turning of whey. STEEVENS.
Line 345. Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.-] Hall, in his Chronicle, speaking of the death of Sir Thomas More, says, that he knows not whether to call him a foolish wise man, or a wise foolish man. JOHNSON.
-Madonna,- -] i. e. Mistress.
408. Now Mercury endue thee with LEASING, for thou speakest 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. WARBURTON.
I think the present reading humorous. May Mercury teach thee to lie, since thou liest in favour of fools. JOHNSON. Line 426. -pia mater.] The pia mater is a membrane which covers the brain.
Line 431. 'Tis a gentleman Here- -] He had before said it was a gentleman. He was asked what gentleman? and he makes this reply; which, it is plain, is corrupt, and should be read thus, 'Tis a gentleman-HEIR.
i. e. some lady's eldest son just come out of the nursery; for this was the appearance Viola made in men's clothes. See the character Malvolio draws of him presently after. WARBURTON.
Can any thing be plainer than that Sir Toby was going to describe the gentleman, but was interrupted by the effects of his pickle herring? I would print it as an imperfect sentence. Mr. Edwards has the same observation. STEEVENS,
Line 443. —above heat-] i. e. Above the state of being hot in a proper degree. STEEVENS.
Line 460. stand at your door like a sheriff's post,—] It was the custom for that officer to have large posts set up at his door, as an indication of his office. The original of which was, that the king's proclamations, and other public acts, might be af
fixed thereon by way of publication, So Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour :
To the lord Chancellor's tomb, or the Shrives posts.
WARBURTON. Line 490. -I am very comptible,] Comptible for ready to call to account.
WARBURTON. Viola seems to mean just the contrary. She begs she may not be treated with scorn, because she is very submissive, even to lighter marks of reprehension.
Steevens. Line 516. - skipping) Wild, frolicksome, mad.
JOHNSON. 521. Some mollification for your giant.] Ladies, in romance, are guarded by giants, who repel all improper or troublesome advances. Viola seeing the waiting-maid so eager to oppose her message, intreats Olivia to pacify her giant. JOHNSON. Line 523. Oli. Tell me your mind.
Vio. I am a messenger.] Viola growing troublesome, Olivia would dismiss her, and therefore cuts her short with this command, Tell me your mind. The other taking advantage of the ambiguity of the word mind, which signifies either business or inclinations, replies as if she had used it in the latter sense, I am a messenger.
WARBURTON. Line 556. -Look you, Sir, such a one as I was this present ; is't not well done ? ] This is nonesense. The change of was to wcur, I think, clears all 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 tomorrow; 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 't is an excellent face. 'Tis in grain, &c. replies Olivia.
WARBURTON. I am not satisfied with this emendation. She says, I was this present, instead of saying I om; because she had once shewn herself, and personates the beholder, who is afterwards to make the relation.
STEEVENS. Line 560. -blent,
-] i.e. Blended.
Line 564. If you will lead these graces to the
And leave the world no copy.] How much more elegantly is this thought expressed by Shakspeare, than by Beaumont and Fletcher in their Philaster?
I grieve such virtue should be laid in earth
Line 572. toried furniture.
STEEVENS. praise me?] i. e. To appraise me as inven
Line 580. With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.] This line is worthy of Dryden's Almanzor, and is said in mockery of amorous hyperboles. STEEVENS.
cantons- -] i. e. Cantos.
598. Holla your name to the reverberate hills,] I have corrected, reverberant. THEOBALD. Mr. Upton well observes, that Shakspeare frequently uses the adjective passive, actively. Theobald's emendation is therefore unnecessary. Ben Jonson in one of his plays mentions,―reverberate glass. STEEVENS.
Line 640. Mine eye, &c.] I believe the meaning is; I am not mistress of my own actions, I am afraid that my eyes betray JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I,
Line 15. —to express myself.] That is, to reveal myself.
·27. with such estimable wonder,] These words Dr. Warburton calls an interpolation of the players; but what did the players gain by it? they may be sometimes guilty of a joke without the concurrence of the poet, but they never lengthen a speech only to make it longer. Shakspeare often confounds the active and passive adjectives. Estimable wonder is esteeming wonder, or wonder and esteem. The meaning is, that he could not venture to think so highly as others of his sister. JOHNSON.
ACT II, SCENE II.
Line 69. her eyes had lost her tongue,] We say a man loses his company when they go one way and he another.
Olivia's tongue lost her eyes; her tongue was talking of the Duke, and her eyes gazing on his messenger. JOHNSON.
Line 77. the pregnant enemy-] Is, I believe, the dexterous fiend, or enemy of mankind. JOHNSON.
Line 78. How easy is it, for the proper false
In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!] Viola has been condemning those who disguise themselves, because Olivia had fallen in love with a specious appearance. How easy is it, she adds, for those who are at once proper (i. e. fair in their appearance) and false, i. e. deceitful, to make an impression on the hearts of women?—The proper false is certainly a less elegant expression than the fair deceiver, but seems to mean the same thing. A proper man, was the ancient phrase for a handsome man. The proper false may be yet explained another way. Shakspeare generally uses proper for peculiar. So in Othello: defunct and proper satisfaction."
The proper false will then mean those who are peculiarly false, either through premeditation or art. To set their forms means, to plant their images, i. e. to make an impression on their easy minds. STEEVENS.
Line 81. For, such as we are made of, such we be.] So in The Tempest:
"As dreams are made of."
Line 82. How will this fadge?] To fadge, is to suit, to
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 101. I think, it rather consists of eating and drinking.] A ridicule on the medical theory of that time, which supposed health to consist in the just temperament and balance of these elements in the human frame. WARBURTON.
-a stoop of wine!] i. e. A measure of wine.
110. By my troth the fool has an excellent breast.] That is, he has an excellent voice.
Ben Jonson uses the word breast in the same manner, in his Masque of Gypsies, p. 623, edit. 1692. In an old play called the