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Bot. Monsieur Cobweb; good monsieur, get your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hip'd hunible-bee on the top of a thistle ; and, good monfieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur; and, good monsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be loth to have you over-flown with a honey-bag, signior.- Where's monsieur Mustardseed? Must. Ready.
Bot. Give me your neif, monsieur Mustard seed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.
Must. What's your will?
Bot. Nothing, good monsieur, but to help cavalero Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for, methinks, I am marvellous hairy about the face: and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch. TITA. What, wilt thou hear some musick, my
sweet love? Bor. I have a reasonable good ear in musick: let us have the tongs? and the bones.
4 over-flown — ] It should be overflow'd; but it appears from a rhyme in another play that the mistake was our author's.
MALONE. I perceive no mistake. Overflown is the participle passive. See Johnson's Dict. STEEVENS.
- neif,] i. e. fift. So, in K. Henry IV, A& II. sc. x:
“ Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif.” Grey.
— cavalero Cobweb-] Without doubt it should be Cavalero Peas-blossom; as for cavalero Cobweb, he had just been dispatched upon a perilous adventure. Grey.
- the tongs-] The old ruftic musick of the tongs and key, The folio has this stage direction.-" Muficke Tongs, Rurall Mufieke.”
Tita. Or, fay, sweet love, what thou desir'fit to
eat. Bor. Truly, a péck of provender; I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks, I have a great desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
TITA. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
Bot. I had rather have a handful, or two, of
8 The squirrels hoard,] Hoard is here employed as a diffyllable.
STEVENS. 9 — and be all ways away.] i. e. disperse yourselves, and scout out severally, in your watch, that danger approach us from no quarter. THÉOBALD.
The old copies read“ be always." Corrected by Mr. Theobald. MALONE. Mr. Upton reads :
“ And be away-away.” Johnson. Mr. Heath would read and be always i' th' way. Steevens. ? So doth the woodbine, the sweet honeysuckle,
Gently entwift,—the female ivy fo
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.] What does the woodbine entwift? The honey-fuckle. But the woodbine and honey fuckle were, till now, but two names for one and the same plant. Florio, in his Italian Dictionary, interprets Madre Selva by woodbine or honnie-suckle. Ve must therefore find a support for the woodbine as well as for the ivy. Which is done by reading the lines thus :
“ So doth the woodbine, the sweet honey-suckle,
“ Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.”
OBERON advances. Enler Puck. OBE. Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this
sweet fight? Her dotage now I do begin to pity. For meeting her of late, behind the wood,
Were any change necessary, I should not scruple to read the weedbind, i. e. smilax : a plant that twists round every other that grows in its way. STEEVENS.
In lord Bacon's Nat. Hift. Experiment 496, it is observed that there are two kinds of “ honeysuckles, both the woodbine and the trefoil." i. e. the first is a plant that winds about trees, and the other is a three-leaved grass. Perhaps these are meant in Dr. Farmer's quotation. The distinction, however, may serve to shew why Shakspeare and other authors frequently added woodbine to honey-fuckle, when they mean the plant and not the grass. TOLLBT.
The interpretation of either Dr. Johnson or Mr. Steevens removes all difficulty. The following passage in Sicily and Naples, or The Fatal Union, 1640, in which the honeysuckle is spoken of as the flower, and the woodbine as the plant, adds some support to Dr. Johnson's exposition :
" -- as fit a gift
• The amorous woodbine's offspring." But Minshieu in v. Woodbinde, supposes them the fame : “ Alio nomine nobis Anglis Honysuckle dictus.” If Dr. Johnson's explanation be right, there should be no point after woodbine, honeysuckle, or enrings. Malone.
2 — the female iry —] Shakspeare calls it female ivy, because it always requires some support, which is poetically called its hufband. So Milton :
“ — led the vine
« Platanusque cælebs “ Evincet ulmos.” Hor. STEEVENS. Though the ivy here represents the female, there is, notwithftanding, an evident reference in the words enrings and fingers, to the ring of the marriage rite. Henley.
In our ancient marriage ceremony, (or rather, perhaps, contract,) the woman gave the man a ring, as well as received one from him.
Seeking sweet favours 3 for this hateful fool,
To this custom the conduct of Olivia (Sec Twelfth Night, sc. ult.) bears sufficient teftimony :
“ A contract of eternal bond of love, &c.
“ Strengthen’d by interchangement of your rings." STEEVENS. 3 — sweet savours ] Thas Roberts's quarto and the firft folio. Fisher's quarto reads-favours; which, taken in the sense of ornaments, such as are worn at weddings, may be right. Steevens.
4 flourets' eyes,] The eye of a flower is the technical term for its center. Thus Milton, in his Lycidas, v. 139:
“ Throw hither all your quaint enameld eyes." STEEVENS. s That he awaking when the other do,] Such is the reading of the old copies, and such was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age; though the modern editors have departed from it.—So, in King Henry IV. P. I: “ — and unbound the rest, and then came in the
Again, in King Henry IV. P. II: “ For the other, Sir John, let me fee,” &c.
So, in the epistle prefixed to Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil, by Thomas Nashe, 4to. 1592 : “ I hope they will give me leave to think there be fooles of that art, as well as of all siber.” MALONE,