Page images
PDF
EPUB

Theseus, Duke of Athens.
Egeus, Father to Hermia.
Lyfanders, } in love with Hermia.
Philoftrate, Master of the Revels to Theseus.
Quince, the Carpenter.
Snug, the Joiner.
Bottom, the Weaver.
Flute, the Bellows-mender.
Snout, the Tinker.
Starveling, the Tailor.
Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to The-

feus.
Hermia, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
Helena, in love with Demetrius.
Oberon, King of the Fairies.
Titania, Queen of the Fairies.
Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a Fairy.
Peaseblossom,
Cobweb,

Fairies.
Moth,
Mustard seed,
Pyramus,
Tbisbe,

Charakters in the Interlude
Moonshine, ,

performed by the Clowns. Lion,

Other Fairies attending their King and Queen.

Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
SCENE, Athens, and a Wood not far from it.

Wall,

* The enumeration of persons was first made by Mr. Rowe.

STEEVENS.

D R E A

M.

A C Τ Ι.

SCENE I.

Athens. A Room in the Palace of Theseus.

Enter Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, Philostrate, and

Attendants.

The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how slow This old moon wanes! The lingers my desires, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager, Long withering out a young man’s revenue.” Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in

nights; Four nights will quickly dream away the time; And then the moon, like to a silver bow

* Like to a ftep-dame, or a dowager,

Long withering out a young man's revenue.) The authenticity of this reading having been questioned by Dr. Warburton, I shall exemplify it from Chapman's Translation of the 4th Book of Homer : - there the goodly plant lies witbering out his grace.”

STEEVENS. Ut piget annus Pupillis, quos dura premit cuftodia matrum, Sic mibi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora.” Hor.

MALONE. 3 steep themselves in nights;] So, in Cymbeline, AA V. sc. iv,

neither deserve,
“ And yet are feep'd in favours." STEVENS,

.

[ocr errors]

New bent " in heaven, shall behold the night
Ófgi-folemnities.

Go, Philostrate,
Ştir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.-

[Exit PHILOSTRATE,
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.'

Enter Egeus, Hermia, LYSANDER, and Demetrius,

Eçe. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke !6

4 New bent -] The old copies read-Now bent. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.] By triumph, as Mr. Warton has observed in his late edition of Milion's Poems, p. 56, we are to understand shows, such as masks, revels, &c. So, again in King Henry VI. P. III :

“ And now what rests, but that we spend the time
" With stately triumphs, mirthful comick Mows,

“ Such as befit the pleasures of the court ?".
Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, 1624:
" Now come tidings of weddings, malkings, mummeries, enter.
tainments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, playes." Jonson, as
the same gentleman observes, in the title of his masque called Love's
Triumph through Callipolis, by triumph seems to have meant a grand
procession; and in one of the stage-directions, it is said, “ the tri.
umph is seen far off.” Malone.

our renoruned duke!) Thus in Chaucer's Knight's Tale:
“ Whilom as olde stories tellen us,
“ There was a Duk that highte Theseus,
( Of Atherics he was lord and governour,” &c.

Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 861.
Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his tranNation of the Tragedies
of John Bochas, calls him by the same title, chap. xii, 1. 21 :
« Duke Theseus had the victorye."

The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news

with thee? Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia.Stand forth, Demetrius ;-My noble lord, This man hath my consent to marry her :Stand forth, Lysander ;-and, my gracious duke, This hath bewitch'd' the bosom of my child : Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhimes, And interchang'd love-tokens with my child: Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stol'n the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,

Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, translated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon, So likewise Skelton :

“ Not lyke Duke Hamilcar,

“ Nor lyke Duke Asdruball.” Stanyhurst, in his Translation of Virgil, calls Æneas, Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II. 1632, Ajax is styled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Neftor, Duke Neftor, &c.

Our version of the Bible exhibits a similar misapplication of a modern title ; for in Daniel iii. 2. Nebuchadonozar, King of Babylon, fends out a fummons to the Sheriffs of his provinces.

Steevens. ? This hath bewitch'd-] The old copies read-This man hath bewitch'd - The emendation was made for the sake of the metre, by the editor of the second folio. It is very probable that the compositor caught the word man from the line above. Malone. 8

gawds,] i. e. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently. See K. John, A& III. sc. v. Again, in Appius and Virginia, 1576:

“ When gain is no grandfier,

And gaudes not set by," &c. Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:

and in her lap “ A sort of paper puppets, gands and toys." The Rev. Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical history of the Battle of Floddon, observes that a gaud is a child's toy, and

Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats ; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness :-And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens ;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,9
Immediately provided in that case.”
Tue. What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair

maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.'
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.
The.

In himself he is :
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier,

that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. Steevens.

9 Or to her death; according to our law,] By a law of Solon's, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their children. So it suited the poet's purpose well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before. Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. WARBURTON.

? Immediately provided in that cafe.] Shakspeare is grievously suspected of having been placed, while a boy, in an attorney's office. The line before us has an undoubted smack of legal common-place. Poetry disclaims it. Steevens.

3 To leave the figure, or disfigure it.] The sense is, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.

JOHNSON,

« PreviousContinue »