Page images

Hip. This is the fillieft stuff that ever I heard.

Tbe. The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, 8 a moon and a lion.

· Enter Lion and Moonshine. Lion. You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do

16 fear “The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, « May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,

" When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar. " Then know that I, as Snug the joiner, am' “ A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam:

[ocr errors]

without warning.] Shakespeare could never write this nonsense: we should read-O REAR without warning. i. e. It is no won. der that walls should be suddenly down when they were as fud. denly up;

-rear'd without warning. WARBURTOR. 8 Here come two noblo beasts in a man and a lion.) I don't think the jest here is either compleat, or right. It is differently pointed in several of the old copies, which, I suspect, may lead us to the true reading, viz.

Here come two noble beasts- in a man and a licn. immediately upon Theseus saying this, Enter Lion and MoonThine. It seems very probable therefore, that our author wrote,

in a moon and a lion, the one having a crescent and a lanthorn before him, and representing the man in the moon; the other in a lion's hide.

9 Then know, that I one Snug the joiner am ;] The folio, 1623,
reads, a lion fell, which not agreeing with the remainder of the
speech, the modern editors have altered it into rio lion fell. Had
they in this instance consulted the quarto, 1600, it would have sez
thein right:

“ Then know that I, as Snug the joyner am
“ A lion fell, nor else no lyons dam.


[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66 For if I should as lion come in strife
“ Into this place, 'twere pity of my life.”

Tbe. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.

Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour.
The. True ; and a goose for his discretion.

Dem. Not so, my lord: for his valour cannot carry his discretion, and the fox carries the goose.

Tbe. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour ; for the goose carries not the fox. It is well : leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon. Moon. “ This lanthorn doth the horned moon

“ present:” Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head.

The. He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference. Moon." This lanthorn doth the horned moon

“ present : “ Myself the man i'ch'moon doth seem to be.”

The. This is the greatest error of all the rest; the man should be put into the lanthorn: how is it elle the man i’the noon?

Deni. He dares not come there for the candle : for you see, it is already in snuff.'

Hip. I am aweary of this moon : would he would change!

Tbe. It appears by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane: but yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time.

Lys. Proceed, Moon.
Moon. All that I have to say, is to tell

to say, is to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon; 1, the man in the moon; this thorn-bush, my thorn-bulh ; and this dog, my dog.

-in snuf.) An equivocation. Snuff signifies both the cinder of a candle, and hafty anger. JOHNSON.


H 2


Dem. Why, all these should be in the lanthorn ; for they are in the moon. But, silence; here comes Thisby.

Enter Tbisbe.
This... This is old Ninny's tomb; where is my

66 love ?"
Lion. « Oh.-" (The Lion roars. Thisbe runs off.
Deń. Well roar'd, Lion.
The. Well run, Thisbe.

Hip. Well shone, Moon.
Truly, the Moon shines with a good grace.

The. Well mous'd, Lion.
Dem. And then came Pyramus.
Lyf. And so the Lion vanish’d.

Enter Pyramus.
Pyr. “ Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny

< beams: “ I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright; “ For by thy gracious, golden, glitcering streams,

" I trust to taste of truest Thisby's sight. " But stay ;-0 spight! “ But mark ;--Poor knight,

" What dreadful dole is here? Eyes, do you

fee? " How can it be?

“ O dainty duck! O dear! “ Thy mantle good, " What, stain'd with blood ?

Approach you furies fell! " O faces ! come, come, " Cut thread and thrum ; Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!" -glittering streams.] The old copies read beams.

STEEVENS. -cut ?? read and thrum.) Thrum is the end or extremity of a weaver's warp; it is popularly used for very coarse yarn. The maids now call a mop yarn a thrum mop. WARNER.


[ocr errors]



Tbe. This passion, and the death of a dear friend would go near to make a man look sad.

Hip. Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
Pyr. “ wherefore, nature, didst thou lions frame?

“ Since lion vile hath here deflour'd my dear : Which is no, no—which was the faireft dame, “ That liv'd, that lov'd, that lik'd, that look'd

" with cheer. « Come tears, confound; “ Out sword, and wound

“ The pap of Pyramus: “ Ay, that left pap, “ Where heart doch hop

« Thus die I, thus, thus, thus. « Now am I dead, « Now am I fled;

My soul is in the sky; Tongue, lose thy light! “ Moon, take thy fight! “ Now die, die, die, die, die.

(Dies. Exit Moonshine. Dem. No die, but an ace for him; for he is but one.

Lys. Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; hę is nothing.

Tbe. With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and prove an ass. S

Hip. How chance the Moonshine is gone, before Thisby come back and finds her lover ?

s and prove an ass.] The character of Theseus in this play is more exalted in his humanity, than his greatness. Though fome fenfible observations on life, and animated descriptions fall from him, as it is said of Jago, you should tafe him more as a sol. dier than as a wit, which is a diftinction he is here striving to deserve, though with little success; as in support of his pretensions he never rises higher than a pun, and frequently links as low as a quibble. STERVENS.

[blocks in formation]

Enter Thise.
The. She will find him by star-light.
Here she comes, and her pallion ends the play.

Hip. Methinks, she should not use a long one for such a Pyramus: I hope, she will be brief.

Dem. A moth will turn the ballance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe, is the better ;s Lys. She hath 'spied him already with those sweet

eyes. Dem. And thus the moans, videlicit.

This. “ Asleep, my love ? “ What, dead, my dove? “ O Pyramus, arise, “ Speak, speak. Quite dumb ? " Dead, dead ? A tomb “ Must cover thy sweet eyes. «. These lilly brows, ? " This cherry nose, “ These yellow cownip cheeks, " Are gone, are gone : “ Lovers, make moan! “ His eyes were green as leeks. « O Gifters three, " Come, come, to me,

5 The frit folio edition makes this speech a little longer, but not better. JOHNSON

6 Arid thus fibi means – -] Thus all the editions have it. It should be, thus the moans, i. e. laments over the dead Pyramus.

THEOBALD. * Tbife lill; lips, this cherry nose ] All Thishy's lamentation, till now, runs in regular shyme and metre. But both, by some accident, are in this fingle instance interrupted. I fufpect the poet wrote ;

These lilly brows,

Tous cherry nie Now black brows being a beauty, lilly brows are as ridiculous as a cberry nose, green eyes, or cowslip cheeks. THEOBALD.

« PreviousContinue »