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"Mer. O, then I see, Queen Mabhath been with you. (10) She is the Fancy's midwife, and she comes In shape no bigger than an agat-stone On the fore-finger of an alderman; Drawn with a team of little atomies, Athwart mens' noses as they lie asleep: Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs; The cover, of the wings of grashoppers ; The traces, of the smallest spider's web; The collars, of the moonshine's watry beams; Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film ; Her waggoner a small grey-coated gnat, Not half so big as a round little worm, Prickt from the lazy finger of a maid. Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut, Made by the joiner squirrel, or old gruh, Time out of mind the fairies' coach-makers : And in this state she gallops, night by night, Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love:
(10) 0, then I foe, Queen Mab bath been with you : She is ebe fairies midwife.] Thus begins that admirable speech upon, the effects of the imagination in dreams. But, Queen Mab the fairies midwife? What is the then Queen of? Why, the fairies. What! and their midwife too ? Sure, this is a wonderful condescenfion in her Royal Highness. But this is not the greatest of the abfurdities. The fairies' midwife? But let us see upon what occasion
she is introduced, and under what quality. Why, as a Being that -has great power over human imaginations. But then according to the laws of common sense, if the has any title given her, must not that title have reference to the employment she is put upon ? First, then, she is called Queen: which is very pertinent; for that desigos her-power: then ske is called the fairies midwife; but what has that to do with the point in hand ? If we would think that Sbakel.. peare wrote sense, we must say, he wrote -tbe Fancy's midwife.: and this is a title the most à propos in the world, as it introduces all that is said afterwards of her vagaries. Besides, it exactly quadsates with these lines :
I talk of dreams;
Begot of nothing but vain fantasie. These dreams are begot upon fantafie, and Mab is the midwife to bring them forth. And. Fancy's midwife is a phrase altogether in the manner of our Author,
On courtiers' knees, that dream on curtfies strait :
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
Rom. Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace ;
Mer. True, I talk of dreams;
(11) Of breaches, ambuscadaes, Spanish blades, of healths five fathom deep ;] As the generality of the terms, coupled here, have a reference to the wars, some ingenious persons have conjectured that our Poet wrote ;
of delves five fathoms deep ;i.e. Trenches; places delu’d, or dug down. But, with fubmiffion, I conceive the text to be fincere as it is; and alludes to drinking deep to a miftress's health. I find the like expresion in Woftward-boe, a comedy wrote in our Author's time.
Troth, Sir, my master and Sir Goslin are guzzling; they are dab. bling together fathom deep. The knight has drunk so much bealtb to the gentleman yonder on his knees, that he hath almoft lost the use of his legs.
Begot of nothing, but vain phantasy ;
Ben. This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves s Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
Rom. I fear, too early; for my mind misgives,
[They march about the Stage, and Exeunt.
SCENE changes to a Hall in Capulet's Houfe.
Enter Servants, with Napkins, i Serv.
7 Here's Potpan, that he helps not to take
away ; he shift a trencher! he scrape a trencher!
2 Serv. When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's hands, and they unwash'd too, 'tis a foul thing.
i Serv. Away with the joint-stools, remove the courtcup-board, look to the plate: good thou, save me a piece of march-pane; and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone, and Nell. Antony, and Potpan
2 Serv. Ay, boy, ready.
i Serv. You are look'd for, call'd for, ak'd for, and fought for, in the great chamber.
2 Serv. We cannot be here and there too ; cheerly, boys; be brik a while, and the longer liver take all.
[Exeunt. Vol. VIIL
Enter all the Guests and Ladies, with the makers. 1 Cap. Welcome, gentlemen. Ladies, that have your
feet Unplagu'd with corns, we'll have a bout with you. Ah me, my mistresses, which of
all Will now deny to dance ? She that makes dainty, I'll swear, hath corns; am I come near you now?, Welcome, all, gentlemen ; I've seen the day That I have worn a visor, and could tell.. A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear, Such as would please : 'tis gone ; 'tis gone; 'tis gone!
[Mufick plans, and they dance, More light, ye knaves, and turn the tables And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot. Ah, Sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well. Nay, fit; nay, fit, good cousin Capulet, For you and I are past our dancing days: How long is’t now since last yourself and I Were in a maik ? 2 Cap. By’r lady, thirty years.
i Cat. What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much ; 'Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio, Come Pentecoft as quickly, as it will, Some five and twenty years, and then we mask'd.
2 Cap. 'Tis more, 'tis more ; his son is elder, Sir : His fon is thirty
i Cap. Will you tell me that? His son was but a ward two years ago.
Rom. What lady's that, which doth enrich the hand Of yonder knight? Serv. I know not, Sir.
Rom. O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright; Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night, Like a rich jewel in an Athop's ear: Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So News a snowy dove trooping with crows, As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make happy my rude hand.
Lid my heart love till now? forswear it, fight ;
13b. This by his voice should be a Montague.
Cap. Why, how now, kinsman, wherefore storm you fo?
Tyb. Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe:
Cap. Young Romeo, is't ?
Cap. Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone;
Tyb. It fits, when such a villain is a guest.
Cap. He shall be endur'd.
Tyb. Why, uncle, 'tis a shame.
Cap. Go to, go to, You are a sawcy boy is't fo, indeed ? This trick may chance to feathe you; I know what. You must contrary me! Marry, 'tis time. Well said, my
hearts : You are a princox, go :-Be quiet, or (more light, more light, for shame) I'll make you quiet-What? cheerly, my hearts.