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To fetch me trifles, and return again,
Ob. How long within this wood intend you stay?
Queen. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moon-light revels, go with us ; If not; sun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Ob. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Queen. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away: We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay,
(Exeunt Queen, and ber train, Ob. Well, go thy way: thou thalt not from this
grove, 'Till I torment thee for this injury.My gentle Puck, come hither; thou remember'it;
site might, without much licentiousness of language, be said to follow a ship that sailed in the direction of the coast; I think there is no sufficient reason for adopting it. The coinage of new words is a violent remedy; not to be ased but in the last necessity.
To bear be jea-maid's musick----] The firk thing observable on these words is, that this action of the mermaid is laid in the same time and place with Cupid's attack upon the vejlal. By the vest al every one knows is meant queen Elizabech. It is very natural and reasonable then to think that the mermaid stands for some eminent personage of her time. And if so, the allegorical covering, in which there is a mixture of fatire and panegyric, will lead us to conclude, that this person was one of whom it had been inconvenient for the author to speak openly, either in praise or dispraile. All this agrees with Mary queen of Scots, and with no other. Q. Elizabeth could not bear Vol: III.
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
to hear her commended; and her successor would not forgive her fatyrist. But the poet has so well marked out every distinguished circumstance of her life and character in this beautiful allegory, as will leave no room to doubt about his secret meaning. She is called a mermaid, 1. to denote her reign over a kingdom situate in the sea, and 2. her beauty, and intemperate luft,
-Ut lurpiter atrum
Definat in piscem mulier formosa supernè. for as Elizabeth for her chastity is called a veftal, this unfortunate lady on a contrary account is called a mermaid. 3. An ancient ftory may be supposed to be here alluded to. The emperor Julian tells us, Epistle 4.1. that the Sirens (which, with all the modern poets, are mermaids) contended for precedency with the Muses, who overcoming them took away their wings. The quarrels between Mary and Elizabeth had the same cause, and the same issue.
on a delphin's back,] This evidently 'marks out that distinguishing circumitance of Mary's fortune, her marriage with the dauphin of France, son of Henry II.
Urtering sucb dulcet and harmonious breath,] This alludes to her great abilities of genius and learning, which rendered her the most accomplished princess of her age. The French writers tell us, that, while she was in that court, the pronounced a Latin oration in the great hall of the Louvre, with so much grace and eloquence, as filled the whole court with admiration.
That the rude fa grew civil at ber fong ;] By the rude fea is meant Scotland encircled with the ocean ; which rose up in arms against the regent, while she was in France. But her return home prefently quieted those disorders: and had not her strange ill conduct afterwards more violently inflamed them, she might have passed her whole life in peace. There is the greater juttnefs and beauty in this image, as the vulgar opinion is, that the mermaid always fings in storms.
And certain pers foot madly from their spheres
To bear the sea-maid's mufick.] Thus concludes the description, with that remarkable circumstance of this unhappy lady's fate, the destruction the brought upon seve
Puck. I remember.
Ob. That very time I saw, (but thou could'ft not) Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all-arm'd: a cercain aim he took,
of the English nobility, whom she drew in to support her caufes This, in the boldeft expression of the sublime, the poet images by Certain far; shcot.ng madly fror their spheres : By which he meant the earls of Northamberland and Westmorland, who fell in her quarrel ; and principally the great duke of Norfolk, whose pro. jected marriage with her was attended with such fatal consequences Here again the reader may observe a peculiar jultness in the imagery. The vulgar opinion being that the mermaid allured men to deftruation by her songs. To which opinion Shakespeare alludes in his Comedy of Errors,
O train me not, fruert mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy fijt r's flood of sears. On the whole, it is the nobleft and justeit allegory.that was ever written. The laying it in fairy land, and cụt of nature, is in the character of the speaker. And on these occasions Shakespeare always excels himself. He is borne away by the magic of his enthusiasm, and hurries his reader aloug with him into these ancient regions of poetry, by that power of verse, which we may well fancy to be like what,
Olim Fauni Valesque canebant. WARBURTON. $ Cupid all-armed:-) Surely, this presents us with a very unclassical image. Where do we read or fie, in ancient books, os monuments, Cupid armed more than with his b wand arrow; and with these we for ever see him armed. And these are all the arms he had occasion for in this present action; a more illustrious one than any, his friends, the classicks, ever brought him upon.The change I make is so small, but the beauty of the thought so great, which this alteration carries with it, that, I think, we are not to hesitate upon it. For what an addition is this to the compliment made upon this virgin queen's celibacy, that it alarmed, the power of love? as if his empire was in danger, when this inperial v.:ress had declared herself for a single lire : so powerful would her great example be in the world. Queen Elizabeth could not but be pleased with our author's address upon this head.
WARBURTON. Al'-armed, does not signify dressed in panoply, but only enforces the word armed, as we might say all-tooted. I am afraid that the general sense of alarmed, by which it is used for put into fear or care by wbatever cause, is later than our authour. JOHNSON.
At a fair vestal, throned by the weft,
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
[Exit. Ob. Having once this juice,
• And maidens call it love in idl nefs.] This is as fine a metamor. phofis as any in Ovid: With a much better moral, intimating that irregular love has only power when people are idle, or not well employed. WARBURTON.
I believe the fingular beauty of this metamorphosis to have been quite accidental, as the poet is of another opinion, in the Taming the Shrew, AI. Sc. 4.
But see, while idly I food looking on,
If I atchjeve not this young modef girl. And Lucentio's was surely a regular and honest passion. It is scarce necessary to mention that love in idleness is a flower. Taylor, the water poet, quibbling on the names of plants, mentions it as follows:
" When paffions are ler loose without a bridle,
l'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.
Because 1 am invisible.] I thought proper here to observe, that, as Oberon and Puck his attendant, may be frequently obferved to speak, when there is no mention of their entering ; they are designed by the poet to be supposed on the stage during the greatest part of the remainder of the play; and to mix, as they please, as spirits, with the other actors ; and embroil the plot, by their interposition, without being seen, or heard, but when to their own purpose. THEOBALD.
2 The one I'll stay : the other stayeth me.) Thus it has been in all the editions hitherto : but Dr. Thirlby ingeniously saw, it must be, as I have corrected in the text. THEOBALD.
-and wode, -} Wood, or mad, wild, rav. ing. Pope. We meet with the word in Chaucer, The Monke's Prologue, 184,
“ What, Mould he study, or make himself wood.". Spenser also uses it, Æglogue III. Marcb,
The elf was so wanton, and so wode. “ The name Woden,” says Verstegan in his Antiqui!es, " fignifies “ fierce or furious, and in like fenfe we still retain it, saying, when “ one is in a great rage, that he is wood, or taketh on, as if he " were wood, D 3