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rehearse : for if we meet in the city we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties 6
such as our play wants. I pray you fail me not. Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely and courageous
ly. Take pains; be perfect; adieu. Quin. At the duke's oak we meet. Bot. Enough. Hold, or cut bow-strings a.
• Capell says, this is a proverbial expression derived from the days of archery:—“When a party was made at butts, assurance of meeting was given in the words of that phrase."
Enter a Fairy on one side, and Puck on the other.
Thorough bush, thorough briar',
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
And I serve the fairy queen,
In those freckles live their savours :
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
Take heed, the queen come not within his sight,
Creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there.
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
• Orbs. The fairy rings, as they are popularly called; which, however explained by philosophy, will always have a poetical charm connected with the beautiful superstition that the night-tripping fairies have, on these verdant circles, danced their merry roundels. It was the Fairy's office to dew these orbs, which had been parched under the fairy-feet in the moonlight revels.
Pensioners. These courtiers, whom Mrs. Quickly put above earls ( Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II., Scene 2), were Queen Elizabeth's favourite attendants. They were the handsomest men of the first families,-tall, as the cowslip was to the fairy, and shining in their spotted gold coats like that flower under an April sun. • Lob-looby, lubber, lubbard.
Changeling—a child procured in exchange. • Square-to quarrel. It is difficult to understand how to square, which, in the ordinary sense, is to agree, should mean to disagree. And yet there is no doubt that the word was used in this sense. Holinshed has “ Falling at square with her husband.” In 'Much Ado about Nothing;' Beatrice says,
“ Is there no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?" Mr. Richardson, after explaining the usual meaning of this verb, adds, “ To square is also, con. sequently, to broaden; to set out broadly, in a position or attitude of offence or defence-(se quarrer).” The word is thus used in the language of pugilism. There is more of our old dialect in flash terms than is generally supposed.
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the querna ;
Are not you he?
Thou speak'st aright;
neeze, and swear A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, Fairy, here comes Oberon.
SCENE II.-Enter OBERON, on one side, with his train, and TITANIA,
on the other, with hers.
I have forsworn his bed and company.
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
To Theseus must be wedded ; and you come · Quern-a bandmill; from the Anglo-Saxon, cwyrn. • Barm-yeast. Holland, in his translation of Pliny, speaks of " the froth, or barm, that riseth from these ales or beers."
To give their bed joy and prosperity.
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa?
And never, since the middle summer's springa,
The human mortalse want; their winter heref; · Middle summer's spring. The spring is the beginning as the spring of the day, a common expression in our early writers. The middle summer is the midsummer.
Paved fountain-a fountain, or clear stream, rushing over pebbles,-certainly not an artificially paved fountain, as Johnson has supposed. The paved fountain is contrasted with the rushy brook. The epithet paved is used in the same sense as in the "pearl-paved ford" of Drayton, the "pebble-paved channel" of Marlowe, and the “ coral-paven bed" of Milton.
• Pelting—petty, contemptible. See note on “ pelting farm,” in 'Richard II., Act II., Scene 1. Pelting is the reading of the quarto; the folio has petty.
. Continents—banks. A continent is that which contains.
• Human mortals. This beautiful expression has been supposed to indicate the difference be. tween mankind and fairykind in the following manner-that they were each mortal, but that the less spiritual beings were distinguished as human. Upon this assertion of Steevens, Ritson and Reed enter into fierce controversy. Chapman, in his Homer, has an inversion of the phrase, “ mortal humans;" and we suppose that, in the same way, whether Titania were, or were not, subject to death, she employed the language of poetry in speaking of “ human mortals," without reference to the conditions of fairy existence.
'Their winter here. The emendation proposed by Theobald, their winter cheer, is very plausible. The original reading is
" The humane mortals want their winter heere." Johnson says here means in this country, and their winter signifies their winter evening sports.