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Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
8 Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work,] To these traditionary opinions Milton has reference in L'Allegro:
“ Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
“ Then lies him down the lubber fiend.” A like account of Puck is given by Drayton, in his Nymphidia :
“He meeteth Puck, which most men call
“Of purpose to deceive us ;
“ He doth with laughter leave us.” It will be apparent to him that shall compare Drayton's poem with this play, that either one of the poets copied the other, or, as I rather believe, that there was then some system of the fairy empire generally received, which they both represented as accurately as they could. Whether Drayton or Shakspeare wrote first, I cannot discover. Johnson.
Gervase of Tilbury, speaking of the Portunus, a species of dæmon, says :-“ Cum inter ambiguas noctis tenebras Angli solitarii equitant, Portunus nonnunquam invisus equitanti se copulat, et cum diutius comitatur euntem, tandem loris arreptis equum in lutum ad manum ducit, in quo dum infixus volutatur, Portunus exiens cachinnum facit, et sic hujuscemodi ludibrio humanam simplicitatem deridet." See also Mr. Tyrwhitt on v. 6441, of the Cant. Tales of Chaucer.
The same learned editor supposes Drayton to have been the follower of Shakspeare; for, says he, “ Don Quixote (which was not published till 1605) is cited in the Nymphidia, whereas we have an edition of A Midsummer-Night's Dream in 1600.”
Are not you he ?
Thou speak'st aright';
In this century some of our poets have been as little scrupulous in adopting the ideas of their predecessors. In Gay's ballad, inserted in The What D’ye Call It, is the following stanza:
“ How can they say that nature
“ Has nothing made in vain; “ Why then beneath the water
“ Should hideous rocks remain ? " &c. &c. Compare this with a passage in Chaucer's Frankeleines Tale, Tyrwhitt's edit. v. i. 11, 179, &c.
“ In idel, as men sain, ye nothing make,
“ But, lord, thise grisly fendly rockes blake," &c. &c. And Mr. Pope is more indebted to the same author for beauties inserted in his Eloisa to Abelard, than he has been willing to acknowledge. STEEVENS.
· If Drayton wrote the Nymphidia after A Midsummer-Night's Dream had been acted, he could with very little propriety say:
“ Then since no muse hath been so bold,
“ Which lye from others reading;
“ Jove prosper my proceeding." Holt White. Don Quixote, though published in Spain in 1605, was probably little known in England till Skelton's translation appeared in 1612. Drayton's poem was, I have no doubt, subsequent to that year. The earliest edition of it that I have seen, was printed in 1619.
A copy of certain poems of this author, The Batail of Agincourt, Nymphidia, &c. published in 1627, which is in the collection of my friend Mr. Bindley, puts this matter beyond a doubt ; for in one of the blank leaves before the book, the author has written as follows: “ To the noble knight, my most honored ftrend, Sir Henry Willoughby, one of the selected patrons of thes my latest poems, from his servant, Mi. Drayton.” MALONE.
“ – sweet Puck.” The epithet is by no means superfluous; as Puck alone was far from being an endearing appellation. It signified nothing better than fiend, or devil. So, the author of Pierce Ploughman puts the pouk for the devil, fol. lxxxx. B. v. penult. See also, fol. lxvii. v. 15: “none helle powke.”
It seems to have been an old Gothic word. Puke, puken; Sathanas, Gudm. And. Lexicon Island. TYRWHITT.
In The Bugbears, an ancient MS. comedy in the possession of
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
“ Puckes, puckerels, hob howlard by gorn and Robin Goodfelow."
Again, in The Scourge of Venus, or the Wanton Lady, with the rare Birth of Adonis, 1615 :
“ Their bed doth shake and quaver as they lie,
“ As if it groan’d to bear the weight of sinne;
“ And cry out at the shame they do live in :
“ The poukes and goblins pul the coverings down." Again, in Spenser's Epithalamion, 1595 :
“ Ne let house-fyres, nor lightning's helpelesse harms,
“Ne let the pouke, nor other evil spright,
“ Ne let hobgoblins,” &c. Again, in the ninth book of Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, edit. 1587, p. 126 :
"— and the countrie where Chymæra, that same pooke,
“ Hath goatish bodie,” &c. STEEVENS. 9 Puck. Thou speak’st aright ;] I would fill up the verse which I suppose the author left complete:
I am, thou speak’st aright; It seems that in the fairy mythology, Puck, or Hobgoblin, was the trusty servant of Oberon, and always employed to watch or detect the intrigues of Queen M&b, called by Shakspeare, Titania. For in Drayton's Nymphidia, the same fairies are engaged in the same business. Mab has an amour with Pigwiggen: Oberon being jealous, sends Hobgoblin to catch them, and one of Mab's nymphs opposes him by a spell. Johnson.
1- a roasted CRAB ;] i. e, a wild apple of that name. So, in the anonymous play of King Henry V. &c. :
“Yet we will have in store a crab in the fire,
“ With nut-brown ale,” &c. Again, in Damon and Pythias, 1582 :
“ And sit down in my chaire by my wife fair Alison,
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
loffe 4; And waxen” in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
In Summer's Last Will and Testament, 1600, Christmas is described as —
“ sitting in a corner, turning crabs,
“ Or coughing o'er a warmed pot of ale.” Steevens. 2 The wisest AUNT,] Aunt is sometimes used for procuress. In Gascoigne's Glass of Government, 1575, the bawd Pandarina is always called aunt. “These are aunts of Antwerp, which can make twenty marriages in one week for their kinswoman.” See Winter's Tale, Act IV. Sc. I. Among Ray's proverbial phrases is the following : “ She is one of mine aunts that made mine uncle to go a begging.” The wisest aunt may therefore mean the most sentimental bawd, or perhaps, the most prosaic old woman.
STEEvens. The first of these conjectures is much too wanton and injurious to the word aunt, which in this place at least certainly means no other than an innocent old woman. Ritson.
3 And TAILOR cries, 7 The custom of crying tailor at a sudden fall backwards, I think I remember to have observed. He that slips beside his chair, falls as a tailor squats upon his board. The Oxford editor, and Dr. Warburton after him, read and rails or cries, plausibly, but I believe not rightly. Besides, the trick of the fairy is represented as producing rather merriment than anger.
JOHNSON. 4 — hold their hips, and loffe ;] So, in Milton's L'Allegro: . “ And laughter holding both his sides." STEEVENS. 5 And WAXEN -] And encrease, as the moon waxes.
Johnson. A feeble sense may be extracted from the foregoing words as they stand; but Dr. Farmer observes to me that waren is probably corrupted from yoxen, or yexen. Yoxe Saxon, to hiccup. Yyxyn. Singultio. Prompt. Parv. Thus in Chaucer's Reve's Tale, v. 4149 :
“ He yoxeth, and he speaketh thurgh the nose.”
A merrier hour was never wasted there.-
Enter Oberon?, at one door, with his train, and
TITANIA ®, at another, with hers.
Again, in the preface to XII. Mery Jestes of the Wyddow Edyth,
“ Beside the cough, a bloudy flyx,
“ And cuir among a deadly yex.” Again, in Philemon Holland's translation of the 27th book of Pliny, chap. v.: “ — and also they do stay the excessive yer or hocket.”
That yer, however, was a familiar word so late as the time of Ainsworth the lexicographer, is clear from his having produced it as a translation of the Latin substantive-singultus.
The meaning of the passage before us will then be, that the objects of Puck’s waggery laughed till their laughter ended in a yer or hiccup.
It should be remembered, in support of this conjecture, that Puck is at present speaking with an affectation of ancient phraseology. STEEVENS.
But room, Faery,] Thus the old copies. Some of our modern editors read “ But make room, Fairy.” The word Fairy, or Faery, was sometimes of three syllables, as often in Spenser. JOHNSON.
7 Enter OBERON,] Oberon had been introduced on the stage in 1594, by some other author. In the Stationers' books is entered “The Scottishe Story of James the Fourthe, slain at Flodden, intermixed with a pleasant Comedie presented by Oberon, King of Fairies.” The judicious editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, in his Introductory Discourse, (See vol. iv. p. 161,) observes that Pluto and Proserpina in the Merchant's Tale, appear to have been “ the true progenitors of Oberon and Titania." STEEVENS.
8 Titania, ] “ As to the Fairy Queen, (says Mr. Warton, in his Observations on Spenser,) considered apart from the race of fairies, Chaucer, in his Rime of Sir Thopas, mentions her, to