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Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, honest gentleman ?
Bot. I pray you commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peas-Blossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
Bot. Good Master Mustard-seed, I know your patience well. That same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many gentlemen of your house. I promise you your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good Master Mustard-seed.
OBERON enters unseen.
Cob. Ready. Bot. Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get up your weapons in your hands, and kill me a red-hipped humble bee on the top of a thistle ; and, good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much with the action, monsieur; and, good monsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be loth to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior.- Where's Monsieur Mustard-seed ?
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 Cavaliero 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.
Tit. What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?
Bot. I have a reasonable ear in music: let us have the tongs and the bones.
Tit. Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.
Bot. Truly a peck 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.
Tit. 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 dried peas :--but, I pray you, let none of your people stir me; I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
Tit. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
(Touching her eyes with a herb.)
* But as the fierce vexation of a dream. This fine stray verse comes looking in among the rest like a stern face through flowers.
Hath such force and blessed power.
Tit. My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Ober. There lies your love.
How came these things to pass ?
Ober. Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head. -
Tit. Music ! ho! music! such as charmeth sleep.
Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark ;
I do hear the morning lark.
Tit. Come, my lord, and in our flight
5 Come from the farthest steep of India.
Shakspeare understood the charm of remoteness in poetry, as he did everything else. Oberon has been dancing on the sunny steeps looking towards Cathay, where the
- Chinese drive Their cany waggons light.
* Sad.-Grave, serious (not melancholy).
THE BRIDAL HOUSE BLESSED BY THE FAIRIES.
Puck. Now the hungry lion roars, 6
And the wolf behowls the moon,
All with weary task fordone.
Whilst the scritch-owl scritching loud,
In remembrance of a shroud.
That the graves all gaping wide,
In the churchway paths to glide :
By the triple Hecate's team,
Enter OBERON and Titania, with their train.
Ober. Through this house give glimmering light,
Tita. First rehearse this song by rote:
SONG AND DANCE.
Ober. Now, until the break of day,
Through the house each fairy stray,
To the best bride-bed will we,
Make no stay:
6“ Now the hungry lion roars:"Upon the songs of Puck and Oberon, Coleridge exclaims, “ Very Anacreon in perfectness, proportion, and spontaneity! So far it is Greek; but then add, O! what wealth, what wild rangings and yet what compression and condensation of English fancy! In truth, there is nothing in Anacreon more perfect than these thirty lines, or half so rich and imaginative. They form a speckless diamond.”—Literary Remains, vol. ii., p. 114.
LOVERS AND MUSIC.
LORENZO and JESSICA, awaiting the return home of PORTIA and NE
RISBA, discourse of music, and then welcome with it the bride and her attendant.
Lor. The moon shines bright. In such a night as this,"