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heavens had been pleased, 'would we had so ended! but, you, sir, altered that; for, some hour before you took me from the breach of the sea, was my sister drowned.
ANT. Alas, the day!
SEB. A lady, sir, though it was said she much resembled me, was yet of many accounted beautiful: but, though I could not, with such estimable wonder, overfar believe that, yet thus far I will boldly publish her, she bore a mind that envy could not but call fair: she is drowned already, sir, with salt water, though I seem to drown her remembrance again with more.
ANT. Pardon me, sir, your bad entertainment. SEB. O, good Antonio, forgive me your trouble. ANT. If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant.
SEB. If you will not undo what you have done,
the breach of the sea,] i. e. what we now call the breaking of the sea. In Pericles it is styled-" the rupture of the sea." STEEVENS.
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.
Thus Milton uses unexpressive notes, for unexpressible, in his Hymn on the Nativity. MALONE.
she is drowned already, sir, with salt water,] There is a resemblance between this and another false thought in Hamlet:
“Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
that is, kill him whom you have recovered, desire it not. Fare ye well at once: my bosom is full of kindness; and I am yet so near the manners of my mother, that upon the least occasion more, mine eyes will tell tales of me. I am bound to the count Orsino's court: farewell. [Exit.
ANT. The gentleness of all the gods go with thee!
I have many enemies in Orsino's court,
Enter VIOLA; MALVOLIO following.
MAL. Were not you even now with the countess Olivia?
VIO. Even now, sir; on a moderate pace I have since arrived but hither.
MAL. She returns this ring to you, sir; you might have saved me my pains, to have taken it away yourself. She adds moreover, that you should put your lord into a desperate assurance she will none of him: And one thing more; that you be never so hardy to come again in his affairs, unless it be to report your lord's taking of this. Receive it so.R
7 I am yet so near the manners of my mother,] So, in King Henry V. Act IV. sc. vi:
"And all my mother came into my eyes." MALONE.
Receive it so.] One of the modern editors reads, with some probability, receive it, sir. But the present reading is sufficiently intelligible. MALONE.
VIO. She took the ring of me; I'll none of it." MAL. Come, sir, you peevishly threw it to her; and her will is, it should be so returned: if it be worth stooping for, there it lies in your eye; if not, be it his that finds it.
[Exit. Vio. I left no ring with her: What means this lady?
Fortune forbid, my outside have not charm'd her!
"Receive it so," is, understand it so. Thus, in the third Act of this play, Olivia says to Viola:
"To one of your receiving
• She took the ring of me; I'll none of it.] This passage has been hitherto thus pointed; which renders it, as it appears to me, quite unintelligible. The following punctuation:
She took the ring of me!-I'll none of it,
was suggested by an ingenious friend, and certainly renders the line less exceptionable: yet I cannot but think there is some corruption in the text. Had our author intended such a mode of speech, he would probably have written :
She took a ring of me!-I'll none of it.
Malvolio's answer seems to intimate that Viola had said she had not given any ring. We ought, therefore, perhaps to read: She took no ring of me !-I'll none of it.
So afterwards: "I left no ring with her." Viola expressly denies her having given Olivia any ring. How then can she assert, as she is made to do by the old regulation of the passage, that the lady had received one from her?
Since I wrote the above, it has occurred to me that the latter part of the line may have been corrupt, as well as the former: our author might have written:
She took this ring of me!-She'll none of it!
So before: "-he left this ring;—tell him, I'll none of it." And afterwards: "None of my lord's ring!"-Viola may be supposed to repeat the substance of what Malvolio has said. Our author is seldom studious on such occasions to use the very words he had before employed. MALONE.
I do not perceive the necessity of the change recommended. Viola finding the ring sent after her, accompanied by a fiction, is prepared to meet it with another. This lady, as Dr. Johnson has observed, is an excellent schemer; she is never at a loss, or taken unprepared. STEEVENS.
She made good view of me; indeed, so much, That, sure,' methought, her eyes had lost her tongue,2
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion
That, sure,] Sure, which is wanting in the old copy, was added, to complete the metre, by the editor of the second folio. Sure, in the present instance, is not very likely to have been the word omitted in the first copy, being found in the next line but one. MALONE.
- 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 lost her eyes; her tongue was talking of the duke, and her eyes gazing on his messenger. JOHNSON.
It rather means that the very fixed and eager view she took of Viola, perverted the use of her tongue, and made her talk distractedly. This construction of the verb-lost, is also much in Shakspeare's manner. Douce.
the pregnant enemy - Is, I believe, the dexterous fiend, or enemy of mankind. JOHNSON.
Pregnant is certainly dexterous, or ready. So, in Hamlet : "How pregnant sometimes his replies are!" STEEVENS.
How easy is it, for the proper-false
In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!] This is obscure. The meaning is, how easy is disguise to women! how easily does their own falsehood, contained in their waxen 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 wê be,
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we. JOHNSON.
Alas, our frailty" is the cause, not we;
I am not certain that this explanation is just. 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 easy 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 hand
"This Ludovico is a proper man." Othello.
To set their forms, means, to plant their images, i. e. to make an impression on their easy minds. Mr. Tyrwhitt concurs with me in this interpretation. STEEVENS.
This passage, according to Johnson's explanation of it, is so severe a satire upon women, that it is unnatural to suppose that Shakspeare should put it in the mouth of one of the sex, especially a young one. Nor do I think that the words can possibly express the sense which he contends for. Steevens's explanation appears to be the true one. The word proper certainly means handsome; and Viola's reflection, how easy it was for those who are handsome and deceitful to make an impression on the waxen hearts of women, is a natural sentiment for a girl to utter who was herself in love. An expression similar to that of proper-false, occurs afterwards in this very play, where Antonio
"Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous-evil
"Are empty trunks o'er flourished by the devil."
Mr. Steevens's explanation is undoubtedly the true one. So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
Again, in Measure for Measure:
66 men have marble, women waxen minds,
Nay, call us ten times frail,
"For we are soft as our complexions are,
our frailty-] The old copy reads-O frailty.