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SIR AND. Sir Toby Belch! how now, Sir Toby Belch!

SIR TO. Sweet Sir Andrew !
SIR AND. Bless


fair shrew.
Mar. And you too, sir.
SIR TO. Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.'
SIR AND. What's that?
Sir To. My niece's chamber-maid.

SIR And. Good mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.

MAR. My name is Mary, sir.
Sir And. Good Mistress Mary Accost,

Sir To. You mistake, knight: accost, is, front her, board her, woo her, assail her.



* Accost, sir Andrew, accost.) To accost, had a signification in our author's time that the word now seems to have lost. In the second part of The English Dictionary, by H. C. 1655, in which the reader “ who is desirous of a more refined and elegant speech,” is furnished with hard words, “ to draw near,” is explained thus : “ To accost, appropriate, appropinquate." See also Cotgrave's Dict. in verb. accoster. MALONE.

board her,] “ I hinted that bourd was the better reading. Mr. Steevens supposed it should then be bourd with her; but to the authorities which I have quoted for that reading in Jonson, Catiline, Act I. sc. iv. we may add the following: “ I'll bourd him straight; how now Cornelio?”

All Fools, Act V. sc. i. “ He brings in a parasite that flowteth, and bourdeth them thus."

Nash's Lenten Stuff, 1599. “ I can bourd when I see occasion.”

'Tis Pity she's a Whore, p. 38. WHALLEY. I am still unconvinced that board (the naval term) is not the proper reading. It is sufficiently familiar to our author in other places. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II. sc. i:


SIR And. By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of accost?

Mar. Fare you well, gentlemen.

Sir To, An thou let part so, sir Andrew, 'would thou might'st never draw sword again.

SIR AND. An you part so, mistress, I would I might never draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have fools in hand ?

MAR. Sir, I have not you by the hand.
SIR AND. Marry, but you shall have; and here's

my hand.


Mar. Now, sir, thought is free: I pray you, bring your hand to the buttery-bar, and let it drink. SIR AND. Wherefore, sweet heart? what's

your metaphor ?

unless he knew some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.

“ Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck,” &c. &c. STEEVENS.

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. 253, speaking of a blind man, says: “ He would at the first aboard of a stranger, as soone as he spoke to him, frame a right apprehension of his stature, bulke, and manner of making.” REED.

To board is certainly to accost, or address. So, in the History of Celestina the Faire, 1596: "-whereat Alderine somewhat displeased for she would verie faine have knowne who he was, boorded him thus.” Ritson. 6 Fair lady, do you

think you have fools in hand !Mar. Now, sir, thought is free :) There is the same pleasantry in Lyly's Euphues, 1581 : “ None (quoth she) can judge of wit but they that have it ; why then (quoth he) 'doest thou think me a fool Thought is free, my Lord, quoth she.”



MAR. It's dry, sir."

SIR AND. Why, I think so; I am not such an ass, but I can keep my hand dry. But what's your jest?

MAR. A dry jest, sir.
SiR AND. Are you full of them?

Mar. Ay, sir; I have them at my fingers' ends: marry, now I let go your hand, I am barren.

[Exit MARIA. Sir To. O knight, thou lack’st a cup of

canary: When did I see thee so put down?

SIR AND. Never in your life, I think; unless you see canary put me down : Methinks, sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian, or an ordinary man has : but I am a great eater of beef, and, I believe, that does harm to my wit. .

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 hand being vulgarly accounted a sign of an amorous constitution. JOHNSON.

So, in Monsieur D’Olive, 1606: “ But to say you had a dull eye, a sharp nose (the visible marks of a shrew); a dry hand, which is the sign of a bad liver, as he said you were, being toward a husband too ; this was intolerable.”

Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635: “ Of all dry-fisted knights, I cannot abide that he should touch me.” Again, in Westward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1606: “Let her marry a man of a melancholy complexion, she shall not be much troubled by him. My husband has a hand as dry as his brains,” &c. The Chief Justice likewise, in The Second Part of K. Henry IV. enumerates a dry hand among the characteristicks of debility and age. Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, Charmian says: “-if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.” All these passages will serve to confirm Dr. Johnson's latter supposition. STEEVENS.


Sir To. No question. SIR AND. An I thought that, I'd forswear it. I'll ride home to-morrow, sir Toby.

Sir To. Pourquoy, my dear knight?

SIR AND. What is pourquoy? do or not do? I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues, that I have in fencing, dancing, and bear-baiting: O, had I but followed the arts !

Sir To. Then hadst thou had an excellent head of hair.

SIR AND. Why, would that have mended my hair?

Sir To. Past question; for thou seest, it will not curl by nature.“

SIR AND. But it becomes me well enough, does't not?

SIR To. Excellent; it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs, and spin it off.

Sir And. 'Faith, I'll home to-morrow, Sir Toby: your niece will not be seen; or, if she be, it's four to one she'll none of me: the count himself, here hard by, wooes her.

SIR To. She'll none o' the count; she'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have heard her swear it. Tut, there's life in't,


SIR And. I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o'the strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether.

- it will not curl by nature.) The old copy reads-coob my nature. The emendation was made by Theobald. STEEVENS.

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 old man."

Sir To. What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?

SIR AND. 'Faith, I can cut a caper.
SIR TO. And I can cut the mutton to't.

SIR AND. And, I think, I have the back-trick, simply as strong as any man in Illyria.

Sir To. Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have these gifts a curtain before them ? are they like to take dust, like mistress Mall's picture?"




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 own times, and the past generation, to the present.

WARBURTON. 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 being compared with its bodily weakness. In short, he would say with Falstaff:-“ I am old in nothing but my understanding."

Steevens. mistress Mall's picture?] The real name of the woman whom I suppose to have been meant by Sir Toby, was Mary Frith. The appellation by which she was generally known, was Mall Cutpurse. She was at once an hermaphrodite, a prostitute, a bawd, a bully, a thief, a receiver of stolen goods, &c. &c. On the books of the Stationers' Company, August 1610, is entered—“A Booke called the Madde Prancks of Merry Mall of the Bankside, with her Walks in Man's Apparel, and to what Purpose. Written by John Day.” Middleton and Decker wrote a comedy, of which she is the heroine. In this, they have given a very Aattering representation of her, as they observe in their preface, that “it is the excellency of a writer, to leave things better than he finds them.”


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