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That were hard to compass;

Because she will admit no kind of suit,

No, not the duke's.

VIO. There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain; And though that nature with a beauteous wall Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee

I will believe, thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
I pray thee, and I'll pay thee bounteously,

Conceal me what I am; and be my aid
For such disguise as, haply, shall become
The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke;3
Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him,*
It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing,



— I'll serve this duke ;] Viola is an excellent schemer, never at a loss; if she cannot serve the lady, she will serve the duke. JOHNSON.

Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him,] This plan of Viola's was not pursued, as it would have been inconsistent with the plot of the play. She was presented to the duke as a page, but not as a eunuch. M. MASON.

The use of Evirati, in the same manner as at present, seems to have been well known at the time this play was written, about 1600. BURNEY.

When the practice of castration (which originated certainly in the east) was first adopted, solely for the purpose of improving the voice, I have not been able to learn. The first regular opera, as Dr. Burney observes to me, was performed at Florence in 1600: "till about 1635, musical dramas were only performed ocsasionally in the palaces of princes, and consequently before that time eunuchs could not abound. The first eunuch that was suffered to sing in the Pope's chapel, was in the year 1600."

So early, however, as 1604, eunuchs are mentioned by one of our poet's contemporaries, as excelling in singing:

"Yes, I can sing, fool, if you'll bear the burthen; and I can play upon instruments scurvily, as gentlemen do. O that I had been gelded! I should then have been a fat fool for a chamber, a squeaking fool for a tavern, and a private fool for all the ladies." The Malcontent, by J. Marston, 1604. MALONE.

And speak to him in many sorts of musick,
That will allow me very worth his service.5
What else may hap, to time I will commit;
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.

CAP. Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be: When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see! VIO. I thank thee: Lead me on.



A Room in Olivia's House.

Enter Sir TOBY BELCH, and MARIA.

SIR TO. What a plague means my niece, to take the death of her brother thus? I am sure, care's an enemy to life.

MAR. By my troth, sir Toby, you must come in earlier o'nights; your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.

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SIR TO. Why, let her except before excepted.

MAR. Ay, but you must confine yourself within the modest limits of order.

SIR TO. Confine? I'll confine myself no finer than I am these clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too; an they be not, let them hang themselves in their own straps.

• That will allow me-] To allow is to approve. So, in King Lear, Act II. sc. iv:



if your sweet sway

"Allow obedience


let her except before excepted. A ludicrous use of the formal law phrase. FARMER.

MAR. That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish knight, that you brought in one night here, to be her wooer.

SIR TO. Who? Sir Andrew Ague-cheek?

MAR. Ay, he.

SIR TO. He's as tall a man' as any's in Illyria. MAR. What's that to the purpose?

SIR TO. Why, he has three thousand ducats a year.

MAR. Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these ducats; he's a very fool, and a prodigal.

SIR TO. Fye, that you'll say so! he plays o' the viol-de-gambo, and speaks three or four languages


as tall a man-] Tall means stout, courageous. So, in Wily Beguiled:



Ay, and he is a tall fellow, and a man of his hands too."

"If he do not prove himself as tall a man as he."


-viol-de-gambo,] The viol-de-gambo seems, in our author's time, to have been a very fashionable instrument. In The Return from Parnassus, 1606, it is mentioned, with its proper derivation:

"Her viol-de-gambo is her best content,

"For 'twixt her legs she holds her instrument."

So, in the Induction to the Mal-content, 1604:


come sit between my legs here.


"No indeed, cousin; the audience will then take me for a viol-de-gambo, and think that you play upon me."

In the old dramatic writers, frequent mention is made of a case of viols, consisting of a viol-de-gambo, the tenor and the treble.

See Sir John Hawkins's Hist. of Musick, Vol. IV. p. 32, n. 338, wherein is a description of a case more properly termed a chest of viols. STEEVENS.

word for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of nature.

MAR. He hath, indeed,-almost natural: for, besides that he's a fool, he's a great quarreller; and, but that he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he hath in quarrelling, 'tis thought among the prudent, he would quickly have the gift of a grave.

SIR TO. By this hand, they are scoundrels, and substractors, that say so of him. Who are they? MAR. They that add moreover, he's drunk nightly in your company.

SIR TO. With drinking healths to my niece; I'll drink to her, as long as there is a passage in my throat, and drink in Illyria: He's a coward, and a coystril,' that will not drink to my niece, till his brains turn o' the toe like a parish-top.2 What,

• He hath indeed,—almost natural:] Mr. Upton proposes to regulate this passage differently:


He hath indeed, all, most natural.


a coystril,] i. e. a coward cock. It may, however, be a keystril, or a bastard hawk; a kind of stone-hawk. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:


as dear

"As ever coystril bought so little sport." STEEVens.

A coystril is a paltry groom, one only fit to carry arms, but not to use them. So, in Holinshed's Description of England, Vol. I. p. 162: "Costerels, or bearers of the armes of barons or knights." Vol. III. p. 248: " So that a knight with his esquire and coistrell with his two horses." P. 272: "women lackies, and coisterels, are considered as the unwarlike attendants on an army." So again, in p. 127, and 217 of his History of Scotland. For its etymology, see Coustille and Coustillier in Cotgrave's Dictionary. TOLLET.


like a parish-top.] This is one of the customs now laid aside. A large top was formerly kept in every village, to be whipped in frosty weather, that the peasants may be kept warm by exercise, and out of mischief, while they could not

wench? Castiliano vulgo ;3 for here comes Sir Andrew Ague-face.

work. The same comparison is brought forward in the Night Walker of Fletcher:

"And dances like a town-top, and reels and hobbles."


"To sleep like a town-top," is a proverbial expression. A top is said to sleep, when it turns round with great velocity, and makes a smooth humming noise. BLACKSTONE.

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Castiliano vulgo;] We should read volto. In English, put on your Castilian countenance; that is, your grave, solemn looks. WARBURTON.

Castiliano vulgo;] I meet with the word Castilian and Castilians in several of the old comedies. It is difficult to assign any peculiar propriety to it, unless it was adopted immediately after the defeat of the Armada, and became a cant term capriciously expressive of jollity or contempt. The Host, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, calls Caius a Castilian-king Urinal; and in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, one of the characters says: "Ha! my Castilian dialogues!" In an old comedy called Look about you, 1600, it is joined with another toper's exclamation very frequent in Shakspeare:

"And Rivo will he cry, and Castile too." So again, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1633: Hey, Rivo Castiliano, man's a man."

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Again, in The Stately Moral of the Three Lords of London, 1590: "Three Cavaliero's Častilianos here," &c.

Cotgrave, however, informs us, that Castille not only signifies the noblest part of Spain, but contention, debate, brabling, altercation. Ils sont en Castille. There is a jarre betwixt them; and prendre la Castille pour autruy: To undertake another man's quarrel. STEEVENS.

Mr. Steevens has not attempted to explain vulgo, nor perhaps can the proper explanation be given, unless some incidental application of it may be found in connection with Castiliano, where the context defines its meaning. Sir Toby here, having just declared that he would persist in drinking the health of his niece, as long as there was a passage in his throat, and drink in Illyria, at the sight of Sir Andrew, demands of Maria, with a banter, Castiliano vulgo. What this was, may be probably inferred from a speech in The Shoemaker's Holiday, 4to. 1610: "Away, firke, scower thy throat, thou shalt wash it with Gastilian licuor."


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