Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Seeking sweet favours } for this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her, and fall out with her:
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flourets' eyes,
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her,
And she, in mild terms, begg'd my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy ser
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes.
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain ;
That he awaking when the other do,

To this custom the conduct of Olivia (Sec Twelfth Night, fc. ult.) bears sufficient teftimony:

“ A contract of eternal bond of love, &c.

Strengthen’d by interchangement of your rings." STEVENS, 3 — faveet savours - ] Thas Roberts's quarto and the first folio. Fisher's quarto reads-favours; which, taken in the sense of ornaments, such as are worn at weddings, may be right. Steevens.

-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 enamel'd eyes.” STEEVENS. s That he awaking when the other do,] Such is the reading of the old copies, and such was the phrafeology 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 other."

Again, in King Henry IV. P. II: “ For the other, Sir John, let me fee,” &c.

So, in the epifle 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 other.MALONE,

May all to Athens back again repair;
And think no more of this night's accidents,
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
Be, as thou wast wont to be ;

[Toucbing ber eyes with an berb. .
See, as thou wast wont to fee :
Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower

Hath such force and blessed power. Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.

TITA. My Oberon! what visions have I seen! Methought, I was enamour'd of an ass.

OBE. There lies your love.
TITA.

How came these things to pass ?
O, how mine eyes do loath this visage now!
Obe. Silence, a while.--Robin, take off this

head. Titania, mufick call; and strike more dead Than common Neep, of all these five the sense.?

Tita.Musick,ho! mufick ; such as charmeth sleep. Puck. Now, when thou wak’st, with thine own

fool's eyes peep. Obe. Sound, mufick. [Still musick.] Come, my

queen, take hands with me, And rock the ground whereon these Ncepers be.

6 Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower -] The old copies readmor Cupid's. Corrected by Dr. Thirlby. The herb now employed is styled Diana's bud, because it is applyed as an antidote to that charm which had constrained Titania to dote on Bottom with “ the soul of love" Malone.

Dian's bud, is the bud of the Agnus Caftus, or Chafle Tree. Cupid's fiower, is the l'iola tricolor, or Love in Idleness. STEEVENS.

of all these five the sense.) The old copies read—these fine ; but this most certainly is corrupt. My emendation needs no justification. The five, that lay asleep on the stage were Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia, Helena, and Bottom.—Dr. Thirlby likewise communicated this very correction, THEOBALD.

7

Now thou and I are new in amity;
And will, to-morrow midnight, solemnly,
Dance in duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair posterity : 8
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

Puck. Fairy king, attend, and mark;
I do hear the morning lark.

Obe. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade:9

[ocr errors]

8 Dance in duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair pofterity :) We should read:

to all far pofterity."
i. e. to the remoteft pofterity. WARBURTON.

Fair pofterity is the right reading.

In the concluding song, where Oberon blesses the nuptial bed, part of his benediction is, that the posterity of Theseus mall be fair:

And the blots of nature's hand
Shall not in their issue stand;
Never mole, bare-lip, nor fear,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are

Delpifed in nativity,
Shall upon their children be." M. Mason.

to all fair prosperity :) I have preferred this, which is the reading of the firit and best quarto, printed by Fisher, to that of the other quarto and the folio, (pofterity,) induced by the following lines in a former scene :

your warrior love
" To Theseus must be wedded, and you come

“ To give their bed joy and prosperity." MALONE. 9 Then, my queen, in filence sad,

Trip we after the night's shade :] Sad signifies only grave, fober; and is opposed to their dances and revels, which were now ended at the finging of the morning lark. So, in The Winter's Tale, A& IV: “My father and the gentlemen are in fad talk.For grave or serious. WARBURTON.

A statute 3 Henry VII. c. xiv. directs certain offences committed in the king's palace, to be tried by twelve sad men of the king's houthold. BLACKSTONE.

[ocr errors]

We the globe can compass foon,
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.

TITA. Come, my lord; and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night,
That I neeping here was found,
With these mortals, on the ground. [Exeunt.

[Horns found within.

Enter Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, Eceus, and train.

The. Go, one of you, find out the forester ;For now our observation is perform’d: 3 And since we have the vaward of the day, My love shall hear the musick of my hounds.

3

our observation is perform’d:] The honours due to the morning of May. I know not why Shakspeare calls this play A Midsummer Night's Dream, when he so carefully informs us that it happened on the night preceding May day. Johnson.

The title of this play seems no more intended, to denote the precise time of the action, than that of The Winter's Tale; which we find, was at the season of sheep-lhearing. FARMER. The same phrase has been used in a former scene :

“ To do observance to a morn of May.” I imagine that the title of this play was suggested by the time it was first introduced on the stage, which was probably at Midsuminer. “A Dream for the entertainment of a Midsummer-night." Twelfth Night and The Winter's Tale had probably their titles from a similar circumstance. MALONE.

In Twelfth Night, Act III. sc. iv. Olivia observes of Malvolio's seeming frenzy, that it “ is a very Midsummer madness.” That time of the year we may therefore suppose was anciently thought productive of mental vagaries resembling the scheme of Shakspeare's Play. To this circumstance it might have owed its title.

STEEVENS. - the vaward of the day,] Vaward is compounded of van and ward, the forepart. In Knolles's History of the Turks, the word vayvod is used in the same sense, Edinburgh Magazine, for Nov. 1786. STEEVENS,

4

Uncouple in the western valley; go:-
Despatch, I say, and find the forefter. -
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bears
With hounds of Sparta : never did I hear
Such gallant chiding;' for, besides the groves,

s - they bay'd the bear -] Thus all the old copies. And thus in Chaucer's Knightes Tale, v. 2020. Tyrwhitt's edit :

“ The hunte ystrangled with the wild beres.Bearbaiting was likewise once a diversion esteemed proper for royal personages, even of the softer sex. While the princess Elizabeth remained at Hatfield House, under the custody of Sir Thomas Pope, she was visited by queen Mary. The next morning they were entertained with a grand exhibition of bearbasing, with which their bighnesses were right well content. See Life of Sir Thomas Pope, cited by Warton in his Hiftory of English Poetry, Vol. II. P. 391. Steevens.

In The Winter's Tale Antigonus is destroyed by a bear, who is chaced by hunters. See also our poet's Venus and Adonis :

« For now the hears it is no gentle chase,
“ But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud."

MALONE. Holished, with whose histories our poet was well acquainted, says “ the beare is a beast commonlie hunted in the East countric." See Vol. I. p. 206; and in p. 226, he says, “ Alexander at vacant time hunted the tiger, the pard, the bore, and the beare." Pliny, Plutareh, &c. mention bear-hunting. Turberville, in his Book of Hunting, has two chapters on hunting the bear. As the persons mentioned by the poet are foreigners of the heroic strain, he might perhaps think it nobler sport for them to hunt the bear than the boar. Shakspeare must have read the Knight's Tale in Chaucer, wherein are mentioned Theseus's “ white alandes (grey-hounds) to huntin at the lyon, or the wild bere.” Toller.

6 -- such gallant chiding ;] Chiding in this instance means only found. So, in K. Henry Viil:

“ As doth a rock against the chiding flood."

« PreviousContinue »