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MAL. If not, let me see thee a servant still. OLI. Why, this is very midsummer madness".
SER. Madam, the young gentleman of the count Orsino's is returned; I could hardly entreat him back: he attends your ladyship's pleasure.
OLI. I'll come to him. [Exit Servant.] Good Maria, let this fellow be looked to. Where's my cousin Toby? Let some of my people have a special care of him; I would not have him miscarry for the half of my dowry.
Exeunt OLIVIA and MARIA. MAL. Oh, ho! do you come near me now? no worse man than sir Toby to look to me? This concurs directly with the letter; she sends him on purpose, that I may appear stubborn to him; for she incites me to that in the letter. Cast thy humble slough, says she ;-be opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants,-let thy tongue tang9 with arguments of state, put thyself into the trick of singularity; -and, consequently, sets down the manner how; as, a sad face, a reverend carriage, a slow tongue, in the habit of some sir of note, and so forth. I have limed her1; but it is Jove's doing,
7 - midsummer madness.] Hot weather often hurts the brain, which is, I suppose, alluded to here. JOHNSON.
"'Tis midsummer moon with you," is a proverb in Ray's Collection; signifying, you are mad. STEEVENS.
-be OPPOSITE with a kinsman,] Opposite, here, as in mar. y other places, means-adverse, hostile. MALONE.
So, in King Lear:
"Thou wast not bound to answer
"An unknown opposite." STEEvens.
let thy tongue TANG, &c.] Here the old copy readslanger; but it should be-tang, as I have corrected it from the letter which Malvolio reads in a former scene.
The second folio reads-tang. TYRWHITT.
I I have limed her;] I have entangled or caught her, as a bird is caught with birdlime. JOHNSON.
and Jove make me thankful! And, when she went away now, Let this fellow be looked to: Fellow 2! not Malvolio, nor after my degree, but fellow. Why, every thing adheres together; that no dram of a scruple, no scruple of a scruple, no obstacle, no incredulous or unsafe circumstance,-What can be said? Nothing, that can be, can come between me and the full prospect of my hopes. Well, Jove, not I, is the doer of this, and he is to be thanked.
Re-enter MARIA, with Sir TOBY BELCH, and Fabian.
SIR TO. Which way is he, in the name of sanctity? If all the devils in hell be drawn in little, and Legion himself possessed him, yet I'll speak to him.
FAB. Here he is, here he is :-How is't with you, sir? how is't with you, man?
MAL. Go off; I discard you; let me enjoy my private; go off.
MAR. Lo, how hollow the fiend speaks within him! did not I tell you ?-Sir Toby, my lady prays you to have a care of him.
MAL. Ah, ha! does she so?
SIR TO. Go to, go to; peace, peace, we must deal gently with him; let me alone. How do you, Malvolio? how is't with you? What, man! defy the devil: consider, he's an enemy to mankind3.
MAL. Do you know what you say?
MAR. La you, an you speak ill of the devil, how he takes it at heart! Pray God, he be not bewitched! FAB. Carry his water to the wise woman.
MAR. Marry, and it shall be done to-morrow
2 Fellow!] This word, which originally signified companion, was not yet totally degraded to its present meaning; and Malvolio takes it in the favourable sense. JOHNSON.
enemy to mankind.] So, in Macbeth :
mine eternal jewel,
"Given to the common enemy of man," &c. STEEVens.
morning, if I live. My lady would not lose him for more than I'll say.
MAL. How now, mistress?
MAR. O lord!
SIR TO. Pr'ythee, hold thy peace; this is not the way: Do you not see, you move him? let me alone with him.
FAB. No way but gentleness: gently, gently: the fiend is rough, and will not be roughly used. SIR TO. Why, how now, my bawcock? how dost thou, chuck?
SIR TO. Ay, Biddy, come with me 1. What, man! 'tis not for gravity to play at cherry-pit3 with Satan Hang him, foul collier!
MAR. Get him to say his prayers; good sir Toby, get him to pray.
MAL. My prayers, minx ?
MAR. No, I warrant you, he will not hear of godliness.
MAL. Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shal
4 Ay, Biddy, come with me.] Come, Bid, come, are words of endearment used by children to chickens and other domestick fowl. An anonymous writer, with little probability, supposes the words in the text to be a quotation from some old song. MALONE. 5-cherry-pit] Cherry-pit is pitching cherry-stones into a little hole. Nash, speaking of the paint on ladies' faces, says: "You may play at cherry-pit in their cheeks." So, in a comedy called the Isle of Gulls, 1606: if she were here, I would have a bout at cobnut or cherry-pit." Again, in The Witch of Edmonton : "I have lov'd a witch ever since I play'd at cherrypit." STEEVENS.
6 Hang him, foul COLLIER!] Collier was, in our author's time, a term of the highest reproach. So great were the impositions practised by the venders of coals, that R. Greene, at the conclusion of his Notable Discovery of Cozenage, 1592, has published what he calls, A Pleasant Discovery of the Cosenage of Colliers. STEEVENS.
The devil is called Collier for his blackness: "Like Will to like, quoth the Devil to the Collier." JOHNSON.
low things I am not of your element; you shall know more hereafter.
SIR TO. Is't possible?
FAB. If this were played upon a stage now, could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
SIR TO. His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man.
MAR. Nay, pursue him now; lest the device take air, and taint.
FAB. Why, we shall make him mad, indeed.
SIR TO. Come, we'll have him in a dark room, and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he is mad; we may carry it thus, for our pleasure, and his penance, till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt us to have mercy on him: at which time, we will bring the device to the bar, and crown thee for a finder of madmen 6. But see, but see.
Enter Sir ANDREW AGUE-cheek,
FAB. More matter for a May morning".
6 -a finder of madmen.] This is, I think, an allusion to the witch-finders, who were very busy. JOHNSON.
If there be any doubt whether a culprit is become non compos mentis, after indictment, conviction, or judgment, the matter is tried by a jury; and if he be found either an ideot or lunatick, the lenity of the English law will not permit him, in the first case, to be tried, in the second, to receive judgment, or in the third, to be executed. In other cases also inquests are held for the finding of madmen. MALOne.
Finders of madmen must have been those who acted under the writ De lunatico inquirendo;' in virtue whereof they found the man mad. It does not appear that a finder of madmen was ever a profession, which was most certainly the case with witch-finders.
7 More matter for a MAY MORNING.] It was usual on the first of May to exhibit metrical interludes of the comic kind, as well as the morris-dance, of which a plate is given at the end of The First Part of King Henry IV. with Mr. Tollet's observations on it.
SIR AND. Here's the challenge, read it; I warrant, there's vinegar and pepper in't. FAB. Is't so sawcy?
SIR AND. Ay, is it, I warrant him: do but read. SIR TO. Give me. [Reads.] Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow.
FAB. Good, and valiant.
SIR TO. Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind, why I do call thee so, for I will show thee no reason for't.
FAB. A good note: that keeps you from the blow of the law.
SIR TO. Thou comest to the lady Olivia, and in my sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy throat, that is not the matter I challenge thee for.
FAB. Very brief, and exceeding good sense-less. SIR TO. I will way-lay thee going home; where if it be thy chance to kill me,
SIR TO. Thou killest me like a rogue and a villain. FAB. Still you keep o' the windy side of the law: Good.
SIR TO. Fare thee well; and God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine; but my hope is better, and so look to thyself.
• He may have mercy upon MINE;] We may readmay have mercy upon thine, but my hope is better." Yet the passage may well enough stand without alteration.
It were much to be wished that Shakspeare, in this, and some other passages, had not ventured so near profaneness. JOHNSON. The present reading is more humorous than that suggested by Johnson. The man on whose soul he hopes that God will have mercy, is the one that he supposes will fall in the combat: but Sir Andrew hopes to escape unhurt, and to have no present occasion for that blessing.
The same idea occurs in Henry V. where Mrs. Quickly, giving an account of poor Falstaff's dissolution, says: "Now I, to comfort him, bid him a' should not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet." M. MASON.