Imatges de pÓgina

rehearse for if we meet in the city we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties such as our play wants. I pray you fail me not.

BOT. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely and courageous

ly. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.

QUIN. At the duke's oak we meet.

BOT. Enough. Hold, or cut bow-strings a.

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:-"When a party

Capell says, this is a proverbial expression derived from the days of archery:was made at butts, assurance of meeting was given in the words of that phrase."

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Enter a Fairy on one side, and PUCK on the other.

PUCK. How now, spirit! whither wander you?

FAI. Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar",

Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,

I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;

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And I serve the fairy queen,

To dew her orbs a upon the green:
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,

In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lobe of spirits, I'll be gone;
Our queen
and all her elves come here anon.
PUCK. The king doth keep his revels here to-night;
Take heed, the queen come not within his sight,
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,

Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A lovely boy stol'n from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changelingd:
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild :
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,

Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy:
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But they do square; that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there.
FAI. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Call'd Robin Goodfellow; are you not he,
That frights the maidens of the villagery;

Orbs. The fairy rings, as they are popularly called; which, however explained by philosophy, will always have a poetical charm connected with the beautiful superstition that the night-tripping fairies have, on these verdant circles, danced their merry roundels. It was the Fairy's office to dew these orbs, which had been parched under the fairy-feet in the moonlight revels.

Pensioners. These courtiers, whom Mrs. Quickly put above earls ('Merry Wives of Windsor,' Act II., Scene 2), were Queen Elizabeth's favourite attendants. They were the handsomest men of the first families,-tall, as the cowslip was to the fairy, and shining in their spotted gold costs like that flower under an April sun.

• Lob-looby, lubber, lubbard.

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d Changeling-a child procured in exchange.

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Square-to quarrel. It is difficult to understand how to square, which, in the ordinary sense, is to agree, should mean to disagree. And yet there is no doubt that the word was used in this sense. Holinshed has "Falling at square with her husband." In Much Ado about Nothing,' Beatrice says, "Is there no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?" Mr. Richardson, after explaining the usual meaning of this verb, adds, " To square is also, con. sequently, to broaden; to set out broadly, in a position or attitude of offence or defence-(se quarrer)." The word is thus used in the language of pugilism. There is more of our old dialect in flash terms than is generally supposed.

Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the querna;
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm b;
Mislead night wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck :
Are not you he?


Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;

And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor cries, and falls into a cough;

And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe,
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze,

and swear

A merrier hour was never wasted there.

But room, Fairy, here comes Oberon.

FAI. And here my mistress :-Would that he were gone!

SCENE II.-Enter OBERON, on one side, with his train, and TITANIA,
on the other, with hers.

OBE. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania".
TITA. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence;
I have forsworn his bed and company.
OBE. Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord?
TITA. Then I must be thy lady: But I know
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn 10, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love,

To Theseus must be wedded; and you come

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Barm-yeast. Holland, in his translation of Pliny, speaks of "the froth, or barm, that riseth from these ales or beers."

To give their bed joy and prosperity.

OBE. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,

Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,

Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?

Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night

From Perigenia, whom he ravished?

And make him with fair Æglé break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa?

TITA. These are the forgeries of jealousy:

And never, since the middle summer's spring",
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore, the winds, piping to us in vain",
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Have every pelting river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard:
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud 2;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable;
The human mortals want; their winter heref,

* Middle summer's spring. The spring is the beginning-as the spring of the day, a common expression in our early writers. The middle summer is the midsummer.

Paved fountain-a fountain, or clear stream, rushing over pebbles,-certainly not an artificially paved fountain, as Johnson has supposed. The paved fountain is contrasted with the rushy brook. The epithet paved is used in the same sense as in the "pearl-paved ford" of Drayton, the "pebble-paved channel" of Marlowe, and the "coral-paven bed" of Milton.

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Pelting petty, contemptible. See note on "pelting farm," in 'Richard II.,' Act II., Scene Pelting is the reading of the quarto; the folio has petty.

d Continents-banks. A continent is that which contains.

• Human mortals. This beautiful expression has been supposed to indicate the difference be tween mankind and fairykind in the following manner-that they were each mortal, but that the less spiritual beings were distinguished as human. Upon this assertion of Steevens, Ritson and Reed enter into fierce controversy. Chapman, in his Homer, has an inversion of the phrase, "mortal humans;" and we suppose that, in the same way, whether Titania were, or were not, subject to death, she employed the language of poetry in speaking of "human mortals," without reference to the conditions of fairy existence.

1 Their winter here. The emendation proposed by Theobald, their winter cheer, is very plausible. The original reading is

"The humane mortals want their winter heere."

Johnson says here means in this country, and their winter signifies their winter evening sports.

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