Twelfth Night essay features Samuel Taylor Colleridge's famous critique based on his legendary and influential Shakespeare notes and lectures
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Twelfth Night Essay

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Twelfth Night essay features Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous critique based on his legendary and influential Shakespeare notes and lectures.

Act i. sc. i. Duke's speech:—

—so full of shapes is fancy,
That it alone is high fantastical.

WARBURTON'S alteration of is into in is needless. 'Fancy' may very well be interpreted 'exclusive affection,' or 'passionate preference.' Thus, bird-fanciers, gentlemen of the fancy, that is, amateurs of boxing, &c. The play of assimilation,—the meaning one sense chiefly, and yet keep-ing both senses in view, is perfectly Shakspearian.

Act. ii. sc. 3. 'Sir Andrew's speech:—

An explanatory note on Pigrogromitus would have been more acceptable than Theobald's grand discovery that 'lemon' ought to be 'leman.'

Ib. Sir Toby's speech: (Warburton's note on the Peripatetic philosophy.)

Shall we rouse the night-owl in a catch, that will draw three souls out of one weaver?

O genuine, and inimitable (at least I hope so) Warburton! This note of thine, if but one in five millions, would be half a one too much.

Ib. sc. 4.

Duke: My life upon't, young though thou art, thine eye
Hath stay'd upon some favour that it loves;
Hath it not, boy? Vio. A little, by your favour.
Duke. What kind of woman is't?

And yet Viola was to have been presented to Orsino as a eunuch!—Act i. sc. 2. Viola's speech. Either she forgot this, or else she had altered her plan.


Vio. A blank, my lord : she never told her love!— But let concealment, &c.

After the first line, (of which the last five words should be spoken with, and drop down in, a deep sigh) the actress ought to make a pause; and then start afresh, from the activity of thought, born of suppressed feelings, and which thought had accumulated during the brief interval, as vital heat under the skin during a dip in cold water.

Ib. sc. 5.

Fabian. Though our silence be drawn from us by cars, yet peace.

Perhaps, 'cables.' Act iii. sc. i.

Clown. A sentence is but a aheveril glove to a good wit. (Theo-bald's note.)

Theobald's etymology of 'cheveril' is, of course, quite right;—but he is mistaken in supposing that there were no such things as gloves of chicken-skin. They were at one time a main article in chirocosmetics.

Act v. sc. i. Clown's speech:—

So that, conclusions to he as kisses, if your four negatives matt your two affirmatives, why, then, the worse for my friends, and the better for my foes.

(Warburton reads 'conclusion to be asked, is.')

Surely Warburton could never have wooed by kisses and won, or he would not have flounder-flatted so just and humorous, nor less pleasing than humorous, an image into so profound a nihility. In the name of love and wonder, do not four kisses make a double affirmative? The humour lies in the whispered 'No!' and the inviting 'Don't!' with which the maiden's kisses are accompanied, and thence compared to negatives, which by repetition constitute an affirmative.

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