Stap my vitals!

Posted by Junius on September 15, 2004

this a sentence much used in Restoration farce and comedy by Congreve an Vanbrugh, and later by Sheridan and others (Byron and Thackeray)

can anybody help with with meaning; I gather 'stap' is either 'stop' or a corruption of 'stuff' and vitals refers to the main bodily organs

any ideas???