From Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan.
1. he says he'll come, Warburton, who is followed by some
edd., takes this to mean, suppose he says he'll come.
2. How ... him? What kind of banquet shall I prepare for
him? What kind of feast will he be likely to appreciate?
What ... him? What present shall I make him? For of = on,
see Abb. § 175.
3. For youth ... borrow'd, for youth (young persons) is more
often won over by gifts than by fair words or promises.
4. I ... loud, i.e, there is a danger of my being overheard.
5. sad and civil, grave and decorous of manner; for sad = grave,
serious, cp. M. A. i. 1. 185, "Speak you this with a sad brow?"
6. with my fortunes, of one in such sorrow as myself.
9. possessed, i.e. by an evil spirit, as frequently in Shakespeare.
11, 2. your ladyship were best, for this ungrammatical remnant
of ancient usage, see Abb. § 230: if he come, in case he should
13. tainted in's wits, diseased in his mind, not quite in his
right senses; for tainted cp. above, iii. 1. 75.
15. If sad ... be, if a sorrowful madness, such as mine, is as
much madness as a merry madness, such as his.
19. I sent ... occasion, I sent for you about a matter of a sad
20. I could be sad, I could easily be sad, though I smile so
20, 1. this does ... cross-gartering, this fashion of cross-gartering prevents a healthy circulation of the blood, and so disposes me to sadness.
21, 2. but what of that, but never mind that, that does not
22, 3. if it please ... all, if it pleases the eyes of her whom it is
intended to please, that is enough for me, for, as the ballad says,
by pleasing her I please all whom I have any wish to please;
Please one ... all, the title and burthen of an old ballad which
may be found in full in Staunton's Shakespeare.
24. how dost thou, how are you? what is your state?
26. Not black ... legs. Not black-hearted, cruel, in my mind,
though, etc.; probably with an allusion to the effect produced
by tight ligatures.
27. It did ... executed, the letter came into my hands, and the
commands contained in it shall be obeyed; Malvolio fancies he
is cleverly putting the idea into such enigmatical language that
Olivia alone will understand the hidden meaning.
28. the sweet Roman hand, the delicate Italian handwriting.
31. comfort thee, have mercy upon you in this delusion of
yours: kiss thy hand, by way of salutation; cp. Oth. ii. 1. 175,
"it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft,
which now again you are most apt to play the sir in," i.e. display
your courtly manners, as Malvolio here fancies he is doing.
34. At your ... daws. What! am I to answer the question
when asked by such as you? yes, I will, for nightingales sometimes answer the notes of jackdaws, and therefore I may without loss of dignity answer the question of a mere servant like
35. with ... boldness, with this fantastic assurance.
44. Heaven restore thee! i.e to your right senses.
50. Am I made? Am I a made woman? see note on. ii. 5. 138
52. very ... madness, attributing to the dog days, the hottest
days of summer, that effect upon men which they sometimes produce upon dogs.
54. I could ... back, it was with the greatest difficulty I could
induce him to return. For the omission of the verb of motion,
see Abb. §§ 30, 41. he attends ... pleasure, he waits to know what
you wish of him.
57. be looked to, be taken care of, as one not fit to take care
58. my people, my servants, retainers, cp. i. 5. 96.
58, 9. I would ... dowry, I would rather lose half my dowry
than that any evil should befal him.
60. do you... now? "do you understand me now? do you
know who I am?" (Wright): no worse man, no meaner person.
61. concurs directly, is entirely in accordance with.
67. consequently, thereafter, in continuation of her instructions; cp. K. J. iv. 2. 240, "Yea, without stop, didst let my heart consent. And consequently thy rude hand to act The deed."
67-9. as, a sad ... forth, telling me, for instance, that I should
wear a serious look, should carry myself with a grave air, be slow
of speech, after the fashion of some person of distinction, and
other things of the same purport; for habit, cp. M. A. iv. 1.
229, "And every lovely organ of her life Shall come apparell'd in
more precious habit."
69. I have limed her, I have caught her by my various attractions as birds are caught by bird-lime; cp. M. A. iii. 1. 104, "She's limed, I warrant you; we have caught her, madam."
71, 2. fellow! not Malvollo, taking the word which Olivia had
used with careless contempt, in the sense more complimentary to
himself of 'companion,' a sense common at the time.
72. after my degree, in accordance with my position as steward;
for after, in this sense, see Abb. § 141.
73. adheres together, coheres, is of a piece: that no ... scruple,
so that not the very smallest particle; with a play upon the
word scruple in its two senses of a minute weight and of a slight
doubt; scruple, " — F. scruple 'a little sharp stone falling
into a man's shoe, and hindering his gate [gait]; also a scruple,
doubt, fear, difficulty, care, trouble of conscience; also a scruple,
a weight amounting unto the third part of a dram;' Cot. — Lat.
scrupulum, acc. of scrupulus, a small sharp stone. Dimin. of
scrupus a sharp stone ..." (Skeat, Ety. Dict.). For the play upon
the word, cp. ii. H. IV. i. 2. 149, "but how I should be your
patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some
dram of a scruple, or indeed a scruple itself."
74. no incredulous ... cirumstance, no utterly unexpected or
dangerous circumstance (can stand in my way); for adjectives
used both actively and passively, see Abb. § 3.
75. What can be said? He breaks off for want of words to
express his complete assurance: Nothing ... hopes, I may say
in a word that nothing can ever happen to interrupt the complete
realization of those hopes which I now see so plainly before me.
78. Which way is he? whereabouts is he?
79. be drawn in little, be represented in the small compass of
this one fellow; cp. Haml. ii. 2. 384, "his picture in little," i.e.
in miniature: Legion, an allusion to Christ's cure of the man
possessed of devils, Mark v. 9, "For he [Christ] said unto him,
Come out of the man thou unclean spirit. And he asked him,
What is thy name? And he answered, My name is Legion: for
we are many."
83. I discard you, I dismiss you from my presence; Malvolio's
affectation of a haughty style in being "opposite with a kinsman": discard, lit. to throw away, get rid of, a useless card, one of no value in the game; cp. i. H. IV, iv. 2. 30, "discarded unjust serving-men": my private, my privacy; another piece of affectation; "in private," i.e. when a person is alone, is common
enough in Shakespeare, but he does not elsewhere use "my
86. how hollow, with what a hollow voice.
86, 7. have a care of him, take care of him; not, as the phrase
more usually means, "beware of him."
89. Go to, pretending to rebuke Maria for jesting at Malvolio's
90. let me alone, leave me to deal with him.
91. defy the devil, an allusion to James iv. 7, "Resist the
devil, and he will flee from thee." he's an ... mankind, cp.
Macb. iii. 1, 69, "and mine eternal jewel [i.e. soul] Given to
the common enemy of man.
94. La you, see for yourself; an exclamation once frequent: at heart, to heart, as we now say.
96. for more ... say, for more money than I can say, i.e. for anything.
100. you move him, excite him.
101. No way but gentleness, the only way of dealing with him
to any purpose is to be gentle with him.
102. and will ... used, refuses to submit to rough treatment.
103. my bawcock! my fine fellow; Fr. beau coq; fine cock; cp.
H. V. iii. 2. 26, "Good bawcock, bate thy rage; use lenity, sweet
104. chuck, another burlesque term of endearment, chicken, of
which word it is a variant.
106. Ay, Biddy ... me, Ritson suggests that these words formed
part of an old song; Malone says that Come, Bid, come, are
words of endearment used by children to chickens and other
106, 7. What, man ... Satan: why, man! it is not suitable for
a man of your dignified character to play at games with Satan,
i.e. to be on familiar terms with him: 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'"...
107, 8. foul collier, the devil is likened by Sir Toby to a collier
because of his blackness. Johnson quotes the proverb, "Like
will to like (as the Devil said to the Collier)."
111. minx, you pert monkey.
112. No, I ... godliness. Ah, I was sure he would not have
anything to do with godliness; said with pretended pity for his
indignant repudiation of their being any necessity for him to say
114. I am ... element, I belong to a higher sphere of existence
than you; see note on iii. 1. 51: hereafter, darkly hinting at the
lofty position to which he is destined, and the treatment they
will receive at his hands when he has attained to it.
118, 9. His very ... device, our stratagem has been so successful that his whole nature is infected with the disease we desired to put upon him; cp. M. A. ii. 3. 126, "He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up," said in the case of the stratagem employed
to make Benedick believe that Beatrice is in love with him.
120, 1. Nay, ... taint, well, but follow him up now and see
what he does, lest our stratagem become known and so be spoilt:
in take air and taint, there is also the idea of infection from unwholesome air; cp. Cymb. i. 2. 1-5, "Sir, I would advise you shift a shirt; the violence of action hath made you reek as a
sacrifice: where air comes out, air comes in; there's none abroad
so wholesome as that you vent."
123. the quieter, all the quieter and more pleasant to live in
when free from his fussy interference.
124. we'll have ... hound, we will see that he is shut up in a dark
room and bound; the treatment formerly employed in the case of
lunatics; cp. A. Y. L. iii. 2. 421, "Love is merely a madness, and,
I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do."
125, 6. we may ... thus, we may in this way follow up our plot
till, etc.: for carry it, cp. H. VIII. i. 2. 134, "he'll carry it so
To make the sceptre his."
126-8. till our ... him, till even our amusement, being so tired
as to be quite out of breath, quite exhausted with its complete
success, lead us, etc.
128, 9. at which ... thee, and then we will bring your device
to the bar of public opinion, for the verdict to be passed upon it,
and will have you crowned (figuratively), as the victors in tournaments were crowned with chaplets.
129. a ... madmen, as a finder, etc., carrying on the metaphor in
verdict, and referring to the inquests held for the 'finding of
madmen,' i.e. for proving men to be mad.
130. More ... morning, here is more matter for such amusement
as befits the first of May, when all kinds of fantastic revelry
were common in England.
132. vinegar and pepper, plenty of tart and angry language.
133 so saucy, so pungent, highly spiced.
134. him, the person challenged, Cesario; dative case, I give
my word to him that, etc.
138. admire, be astonished; cp. Temp. v. 1. 154, "At this
encounter do so much admire That they devour their reason."
140. A good ... law. A good remark, a saving clause that protects you from legal consequences.
143. but thou ... throat, to lie in the throat was worse than to
lie from the lips. Staunton on ii. H. IV. i. 2. 94, quotes from a
curious old Italian treatise on War and the Duello a passage in
which the different gradations of giving the lie are enumerated
as the simple "Thou liest"; then, "Thou liest in the throat";
"Thou liest in the throat like a rogue; Thou liest in the throat
like a rogue as thou art," the last being an insult which could
not be passed by without a challenge to combat. Of course here
the adversative but has no connection with what has gone before,
the sentence being put in this inconsequent way in obedience to
Sir Toby's instructions, iii. 2. 40, 1, "and as many lies as will lie
in thy sheet of paper," etc. , the whole letter being as Fabian says
immediately afterwards "Very brief, and to exceeding good sense-less."
145. and to, and according to.
160. Still you ... law. By not saying 'like a rogue and a villain
as thou art,' you still keep on the safe side of the law; cp. M. A.
ii. 1. 327, "Don Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart. Beat. Yea, my lord: I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care," explained by Schmidt as = "so that care cannot
scent and find it. "
152, 3. He may ... better, it may be that I shall fall in the duel,
and then it will be for Him to have mercy on my soul. But I hope that it will be not I but you who will fall, and therefore need His mercy.
153. and so ... thyself, and therefore, feeling so confident as to
what will be the result of the duel, I advise you to be well
prepared for my attack, which will be one not easily warded off.
154. as thou usest him, according as you treat him: thy friend,
would be the ordinary conclusion to a letter, and Sir Andrew
retains the form, qualifying it by as thou usest him, and adding
the contradictory words and thy sworn enemy.
155. move him not, does not stir him to action.
156. You may ... for't, you will, if you choose to take it, find
a very good opportunity for delivering the letter.
156, 7. is now ... commerce, is now engaged in an interview
with; cp. Haml. iii. 1. 110, "Could beauty, my lord, have
better commerce than with honesty?": by and by, very shortly.
159, 60. scout me ... bum-baily, let me see you watch for him,
lie in wait for him, like a bum-bailiff; cp. The Old Law, iii. 1.
172-4, "you are a bailiff, whose place is to come behind other
men, as it were in the bum of all the rest." Theobald altered
baily into 'bailiff,' but, as Rolfe remarks, the blunder was no
doubt intentional: for me, see Abb. § 220.
161. horrible, horribly; see Abb. § 2.
161-4. for it comes ... him, for it often happens that a terrible,
fierce, oath, accompanied by a boastful and sharp tone of voice,
wins for a man more belief in his valour than he would have
obtained even by proving it in action: to 'twang,' to sound with
a sharp, resonant, noise like that given out by the string of a
string-instrument, is a collateral form of 'tang,' which we had
above, ii. 5. 135, "tang arguments of state." It was by his
oaths that Bobadil in Jonson's Every Man in his Humour obtained his reputation for valour.
165. let me ... swearing, trust me for swearing terribly enough.
167. gives him out, proclaims him, shows him.
168. breeding, education.
169, 70. so ... ignorant, so delightfully, inimitably, foolish.
171, a clodpole, a blockhead, one whose head (brains) is nothing
but a lump of earth; in Lear i. 4. 51, we have the form clot-poll,
which in Cymb. iv. 2. 184, is used contemptuously for the head itself.
172, 3. set upon ... valour, bestow upon, ascribe to, Sir Andrew
a high reputation for valour.
173, 4. as I know ... it, for I know his youth (he who is so
young) will be very ready to believe it: a most hideous opinion,
a most fearful conception.
177. cockatrices, the cockatrice, or basilisk, was an imaginary
animal, with the body of a serpent and the head of a cock, believed to be hatched from a cock's egg by a serpent, and to kill by its looks; cp. R. J. iii. 2. 47, "The death-darting eye
178. give them ... him, leave them to themselves, leave them
alone, till he departs, and then at once follow Cesario.
180. the while, for the time, in the meantime.
182, 3. I have ... out, I have said more than it was well to say
to one whose heart is as hard as a stone, and have been recklessly
prodigal of my honour; 'chary,' careful, cautious, is the adj. of
'care'; for laid out = expended, cp. Cymb. ii. 3. 92, "You lay
out too much pains For purchasing but trouble."
185, 6. But such ... reproof, but it is such a wilful and stubborn
fault that reproof is wasted upon it.
187, 8. With the ... grief, my master's grief continues to express
itself with a force as great as your passionate love.
189. Jewel, was formerly used of any precious ornament, e.g.
of a ring in Cymb. i. 4. 165, of a bracelet, i. 6. 189.
190. it hath ... vex you, it cannot tease you with proffers of
love, as I, its owner, have done.
192, 3. What shall ... give, what is there (i.e. there is nothing)
in the world that you can ask which I shall refuse, provided only
that honour may, when asked, grant it without sacrificing itself?
upon asking, upon the asking, when the request is made.
195. with mine honour, without forfeiting my honour.
196. acquit you, discharge you of that obligation, not ask you
to fulfil it.
198. A fiend ... hell, a fiend, if as handsome and as fascinating
as you, might easily drag my soul down to hell.
201. That defence ... to 't; for the omission of the relative, see
Abb. § 244, and for the repetition of the object, § 243.
203. thy intercepter, he who is lying in wait for you, sc. Sir
Andrew: despite, malice, wrath: attends thee, is waiting
204. dismount thy tuck, unsheath your rapier; according to
Schmidt, the expression is from the removing of cannon from
their carriages, a word which Wright points out is used in the
affected language of Osric for the hangers or straps by which the
rapier was attached to the sword belt, Haml. v. 2. 158, "three
of the carriages in faith are very dear to fancy, very responsive
to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit":
tuck, a small rapier, "an Italian word, but borrowed through
the French. ... Ital. stocco, 'a truncheon, a tuck, a short sword,' Florio" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.): yare, dexterous, ready; a word frequent in Shakespeare, who also uses the adverb 'yarely,'
Temp. i. 1. 4; A. C. ii. 2. 216.
205. deadly, fatal in his skill.
207. to me, with me.
207, 8. my remembrance ... man, my memory is quite clear of
any wrong done by me to any man; the metaphor is from a looking-glass.
210. if you ... price, if you at all value your life.
211. your opposite, your antagonist; as in iii. 2. 57.
212. withal, with; when used as a preposition always in
Shakespeare at the end of the sentence.
214, 5. He is knight ... consideration, "he is no soldier by profession, not a knight banneret, dubbed in the field of battle, but on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on some peaceable
occasion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling, not on the
ground, as in war, but on a carpet. This, I believe, the origin of
the contemptuous term a carpet knight, who was naturally held
in contempt by the men of war" (Johnson). On carpet consideration seems, however, to mean in consideration of services in the drawing-room, the squiring of dames, to which Bertram
refers in A. W. ii. 1. 30-3, "I shall stay here" (i.e. at court,
while other young lords have gone to the war), "the forehorse to
a smock, Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry. Till honour
be bought up and no sword worn but one to dance with":
dubb'd, to 'dub' is to confer knighthood by a stroke on the
shoulder; the origin of the word is doubtful: unhatch'd, if the
right reading, is probably the same as 'unhacked,' a sword worn
in peace, more for ornament than for use, and so not hacked
as one used in battle would be; Dyce follows Pope in reading
216. three, for the transposition of the adj., see Abb. § 419.
216-8. and his ... sepulchre, and his wrath at this moment is
so unappeasable that nothing short of your death can satisfy him;
by his big words Sir Toby is trying to frighten Cesario.
218. Hob, nob. "The same as Habbe or Nabbe, have or not
have, hit or miss. 'The citizens in their rage ... shot Habbe or Nabbe at random.' Holinshed" (Staunton).
219. give 't or take 't, either kill me or be killed yourself.
221. conduct, escort; cp. K. J. i. 1. 29; H. V. i. 2. 297.
222. put quarrels ... others, force quarrels on, etc.
222, 3. to taste, to make trial of; "cp. T. C. i. 3. 337, where
the metaphor is kept up: 'For here the Trojans taste our
dear'st repute With their finest palate'" (Wright): of that quirk,
of that capricious humour; cp. Per, iv. 6. 8, "she has me her
quirks, reasons"; orig. a cavil, subtle question.
224. his indignation ... injury, his wrath has its origin in some
very sufficient injury done to him, some injury fully justifying
his demand for satisfaction.
225, 6. give ... desire, meet him in combat as he desires.
226-8. unless ... him, unless you are prepared to give me that
satisfaction in combat which you might as safely give him.
228. strip ... naked, i.e. to fight with me.
229. for meddle ... you, for mix yourself up in this matter, by
fighting one or other of us, you must, or for the future give up
the wearing of a sword and confess yourself a coward.
231. This is ... strange, this behaviour of yours is equally rude
and unintelligible to me.
232. this courteous office, this civility: to know, to ascertain,
inquire; cp. Oth. v. 1. 117, "Go, know of Cassio where he
233. 4. it is ... purpose, whatever my ofifence may be, it is in
some way due to negligence, not at all to intention.
238, 9. even to ... arbitrement, to such a degree that nothing
less than mortal combat can decide the matter.
242. Nothing ... valour, judging by his appearance there is
nothing in him that would lead you to expect such a terrible
fellow as you will find him when you make trial of his valour.
248. much bound, greatly obliged.
249. with sir ... knight, with the priest to the altar than with
the knight to the battle; see note on iv. 2. 2.
250. my mettle, my disposition, nature; the same word as
'metal,' the latter spelling being employed with the word in its
literal, the former in its figurative, sense.
252, firago. Sir Toby's pronunciation of 'virago,' a shrewish,
hot-tempered, scolding, woman: a pass, an exchange of thrusts:
rapiers ... all, with our rapiers sheathed.
253, 4. he gives ... inevitable, he puts in the stoccado with such
a deadly precision that it is impossible for one to parry it: stuck,
a corruption of 'stoccado' or 'stoccata,' an Italian term for a
particular kind of thrust; cp. Haml. iv. 7. 162, "If he by chance
escape your venom'd stuck. "
254, 5. and on ... on, and when you meet him with the proper
parry, he hits you with as much certainty as that with which
your feet touch the ground in walking.
256. Sophy, see note on ii. 5. 162.
257. meddle with him, have anything to do with him in the
way of quarrel.
258. he will ... pacified, now that you have once challenged
him, he refuses to be appeased without the matter being decided
261. so ... fence, so skilful with his weapon.
262. Let him ... slip, if he will only let the matter pass without
264. motion, proposition, suggestion: make ... on't, appear
brave and determined.
266. I'll ride ... you. I will make use of your horse just as I
make use of you. Sir Toby having got the horse to give to
Cesario by way of peace-offering, intends to keep it for himself.
267. to take ... quarrel, as a means of making up the quarrel;
cp. A. Y. L. v. 4. 104, "I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel"; T. A. iv. 3. 92, "to take up a matter of brawl." The metaphor is from taking up a dropped stitch in knitting,
etc., and so making the fabric whole again.
269. He is as ... him, he (Cesario) has just the same apprehension of him (Sir Andrew).
270. as if ... heels, as though he were pursued by a bear; the ferocity of bears is frequently referred to by Shakespeare.
271. he will fight, he is determined to fight.
272-4. for's oath's ...of; because he has sworn to do so, not on
account of any injury you have done him; for, as to that, he finds
on second thoughts that it is a matter of no importance: for the
... vow, in order to afford him the means of upholding, acting
up to, his vow.
277. how much ... man, how far I am from being a man.
278. Give ground, give way, fall back.
280. one bout, one exchange of thrusts: bout, "properly a turn, turning, bending ... Dan. bugt a bend, turn" ... (Skeat, Ety. Dict.): so we say 'take a turn' at anything.
281. the duello, in accordance with the laws, observances, of
duelling; which were laid down in various treatises, chiefly
Italian, with the greatest minuteness.
281, 2. as he ... soldier, on his character as, pledging himself
by his honour as, etc.
284. he keep, that he may keep; subjunctive.
287. I take ... me, I will be responsible for it, will undertake to
answer for his offence.
288. If you ... you, if on the other hand it is you who are the
first offender, I on his behalf defy you, challenge you to combat.
290. for his love, out of love for him: his, obj. genitive.
291. Than you ... will, than anything he has boasted he will
do to you, if he has so boasted.
292. if you ... you, if you be one who takes up the quarrels of
others, one who offers himself as ready to fight in behalf of one
of the two parties, I am ready to meet you: in the only other
passage in which Shakespeare uses "undertaker," Oth. iv. 1. 224, "let me be his undertaker" the word means one who undertakes to put a man out of the way, to murder him.
294. anon, immediately; "- A.S. on an lit. in one moment
..." (Skeat, Ety. Dict.).
296, 7. for that ... word, as for the promise I made you through
Sir Toby, I will heep my word, i.e. send you my horse, Capilet.
298. reins well, readily obeys the rein; has 'a good mouth,'
as we say.
299. thy office, i.e. of arresting him.
300. at the suit, on the petition made by Orsino before the
court; 'at the suit of' so and so, is the form of words used by a
bailiff when arresting a debtor.
303. no Jot, not in the least: your favour, your appearance;
"'In beauty,' says Bacon in his 43rd Essay, 'that of favour is
more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion
more than that of favour.' The word is now lost to us in that
sense; but we still use favoured with well, ill, and perhaps other
qualifying terms, for featured or looking; as in Gen. xli. 4, —
'The ill-favoured and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-
favoured and fat kine'" ... (Craik, Engl. of Shakespeare § 54).
304. have no sea-cap, i.e. are not dressed as a sailor. Wright points out that the sailor's cap of the period, according to Fairolt in Halliwell's folio edition, was of fur, or lined with fur.
306. This comes ... you, this is the result of, etc.: for with, in
this sense, see Abb. § 193.
307. I shall answer it, I shall have to meet the charge.
308, 9. now my ... purse, now that my circumstances compel
me to, etc. It grieves me, for the frequency of impersonal verbs
in Shakespeare, see Abb. § 297.
311. amazed, bewildered what to do.
312. be of comfort, be comforted, do not distress yourself: of
comfort, of the nature, quality, of comfort; cp. Temp. i. 2. 495,
"Be of comfort; my father's of a better nature, sir, than he
appears by speech."
316. For ... kindness, in return for the friendliness.
317. part, partly; cp. Oth. v. 2. 296, "This wretch hath part
confessed his villany."
318. Out of ... ability, from the slender and poor means at my
319. my having, my possessions; cp. W. T. iv. 4. 740, "of
what having"; A. Y. L. iii. 2. 396, "your having in beard":
see Abb. § 5.
321. my coffer, my treasure, what I have in my purse; lit. a
chest: deny me now, refuse me your assistance.
322,3. Is't possible ... persuasion? Is it possible that the
services I have rendered you need to be enforced by arguments
in order to persuade you to help me? my misery, a man in so
wretched a position as mine; abst. for concr.
324. Lest that, for the conjunctional affix, see Abb. § 287:
unsound, unworthy, wanting in nobleness of character.
327. know, recognize.
329. Than lying ... drunkenness, the folios omit the comma
after babbling, and Rowe reads 'lying vainness, babbling drunkenness'; but though, as Wright objects, there is no climax or sequence in the four substantives, there seems to me a cumulative
force which is lost by adopting Rowe's conjecture.
330, 1. Or any... blood, or any vicious taint that dwells in,
and is powerful enough to corrupt, our weak natures: heavens
themselves! He appeals to the very heavens in his astonishment
at Cesario's want of loyalty towards him.
334. I snatch'd ... death, I saved when almost dead; I brought
alive to shore when almost swallowed up by the waves.
335-7. Relieved ... devotion, helped him in his distress with
such pure, unselfish love, and paid to his person, which seemed
to give promise of worth deserving such reverence, the devotion
which one would pay to the image of a saint; the words relieved
... love, seem merely an amplification of the previous line, though
it has been suspected that a line is lost after love.
338. away, come away.
339. But ... god, but 0, what a miserable idol, a mere graven
image, does that prove which I took for a god; cp. Temp. v. 1.
296, 7, "What a thrice-double ass Was I, to take this drunkard
for a god, And worship this dull fool!"
340. Thou hast ... shame, you have cast a slur upon good looks;
cp. Cymb. iii. 4. 63-6, "So thou, Posthumus, wilt lay the leaven
on all proper men; Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjured
From thy great fail," and H. V. ii. 2. 138-40.
341, 2. In nature ... unkind, in nature the only blemish, worthy
of the name, is a blemish of the mind; the only real deformity
is unnatural hardness of heart; with a play upon the word
343, 4. Virtue ... devil, virtue and beauty are convertible terms; but those who are beauteous in person and yet evil in mind are but as empty trunks whose elaborate decoration is the work of the devil; an allusion to the finely carved trunks, chests, which in Shakespeare's time were used as pieces of furniture.
Malone hyphens the word beauteous-evil; cp. "the proper
false," ii. 2. 26: o'er-flourished, covered with flourishes, carvings
in ornamental designs; not "varnished," as Schmidt explains.
347, 8. Methinks ... I. His words appear to be born of such
strong feeling that the man believes what he says, viz., that he
knew me before and rescued me from the sea; but I do not
believe with him, i.e. I know that his belief is a mistaken one.
Most editors seem to follow Johnson in explaining so do not I to
mean that Viola does not believe herself when, from this accident,
she gathers hope of Sebastian's being alive. For the former
portion of the sentence, cp. a somewhat similar thought in Temp.
I. 2. 99-103.
349, 50. Prove true ... you! May you, imagination (i.e. what I
imagine), prove a reality, namely, that Antonio takes me for my
brother; for the subjunctive in the subordinate sentence, see
Abb. § 368.
351, 2. well whisper ... saws. Said in ridicule of Antonio's
moralizing and Viola's soliloquizing; let us show that we also can
talk in adages, be sententious: for whisper, used transitively, cp.
R. II. ii. 4. 11, "And lean-look'd prophets whisper fearful
change"; ii. H. IV. iv. 5. 3, "Unless some dull and favourable
hand Will whisper music to my weary spirit."
353, 4. I my ... glass, this is generally taken to mean that Viola
sees the living image of her brother as often as she looks in a
mirror; it seems to me to mean rather 'I know my brother to be
mirrored to the life in my person, in myself who am the glass'; cp.
Haml, iii. 1. 161, "The glass of fashion," said of Hamlet, whose
person reflected the highest fashion: for living, see Abb. § 249.
354-6. even such ... ornament, in appearance my brother was
exactly (even such and so) like me, and he always used to dress
in this fashion, in such colours, and with such ornaments about
him: such = so like, is made more emphatic in identity by so:
went, cp. M. A. v. 1. 96, "Go anticly"; v. 1. 203, "What a
pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose, and
leaves off his wit."
357. For ... imitate, for I have purposely dressed myself in
imitation of him; said in order to account for her being so persistently taken for her brother: if it prove, i.e. so; for the omission of which word, see Abb. § 64.
358. Tempests ... love! Tempests, which are usually so unkind, are kind, and waves, by their nature salt, are fresh in their love, i.e. have, in giving up my brother, forgone their ordinary
359, 60. A very ... hare, a very dishonourable, mean-spirited,
boy, and more of a coward than even a hare, that most timid of
360, 1. leaving... necessity, doing nothing to help him in his
troubles, and even denying all knowledge of him: for his cowardship, as for his cowardice; though as cowardship, = cowardice,
does not occur elsewhere in Shakespeare, it is probably to be
taken here as a title conferred by Sir Toby upon Viola; see note
on vi. 1. 35.
363. a most ... it, one who seems positively to worship cowardice.
364. 'Slid, God's lid, i.e. eyelid; so ''sblood,' ''slife,' etc., for
God's blood, God's life, etc. I'll after, I'll go after.
368. I dare ... yet. I dare make any wager that nothing will
come of it, i.e. that each will be so afraid of the other that there
will be no fighting.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night Or What You Will. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1889. Shakespeare Online. 20 Dec. 2010. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/twn_3_4.html >
Did You Know? ... From great classical authors like Ovid and Seneca, to English historians like Holinshed, Shakespeare's greatest influences were the works of other great writers. With the exception of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost and The Tempest, which are wholly original stories, Shakespeare borrowed his plots, down to fine detail. Read on...
Points to Ponder ... "In this play we have to consider two distinct stories, that of Viola
and that of Malvolio.
The former, the plot, is written in verse; the characters are refined,
and the whole theme is love, passionate, like the Duke's for Olivia,
and Olivia's for Viola; self-sacrificing, like Viola's for the Duke; or
immediate, like Sebastian's for Olivia. The other element, the underplot, is a prose parody of the plot, and
a contrast to it. The characters belong to a lower rank, and their
humour is the rollicking jollity of the "alehouse." It is the story of
the scheme of Maria, aided by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and the clown,
to punish Malvolio's domineering conduct by bringing his ambitious
love to a ridiculous conclusion." J. Lees. (From his edition of Twelfth Night. Allman & Son.)