Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ib. blind-worms, also called slow-worms, are used in the witches' caldron in Macbeth, iv. 1. 16:

• Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting.' 13. Philomel, or Philomela, the daughter of Pandion, was transformed into a nightingale and lamented her sad fate in the plaintive notes of the bird which bears her name. Compare Lucrece, 1079:

By this, lamenting Philomel had ended

The well-tuned warble of her nightly sorrow.' Her story is told in Ovid, Metam. vi.

21. spinners. Compare Mercutio's description of Queen Mab, Romeo and Juliet, i. 4. 59:

* Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs.' 25–26. These lines in the early editions are printed as part of the fairies' song. 28. true love, possibly a corruption. In Icelandic trá-lofa is to betroth.

30. ounce; Felis uncia, an animal resembling the leopard, but much smaller.

Ib. cat must here be the wild cat.

31. Pard, panther or leopard. See notes on As You Like It, ii. 7. 150, and The Tempest, iv. I. 257.

36. troth, truth. Compare Coriolanus, iv. 5. 198: 'He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth on't. And Cymbeline, v. 5. 274:

Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth.' 42. one troth, one faith or trust, pledged to each other in betrothal. Compare Cymbeline, i. 1. 96:

I will remain The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth.' 49. interchained. So the quartos. The folios have ` interchanged.' 45. take the sense, sweet, of my innocence, understand my innocent meaning.

46. takes the meaning, understands aright, takes the true meaning. • Take' is opposed to 'mistake' in v. 1. 90.

54. beshrew is used in asseverations to give emphasis, or as here for a mild oath, a ‘mischief on,' evil befall. See v. I. 279, and compare Sonnet cxxxiii. 1:

• Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan!' Shrew ’is used in the same way in Winter's Tale, i. 2. 281: 'Shrew my heart.' See note on ‘shrewd' in As You Like It, v. 4. 165. In the early copies of Hamlet (ii. 1. 113) it is spelt 'beshrow,' which no doubt represents the pronunciation of the word.

Ib. my manners, here, my ill manners or want of manners.

57. human. The quartos and early folios have "humane,' but the meaning is the same.

68. approve, prove, test, try. Compare Winter's Tale, iv. 2. 31: ‘Kings

[ocr errors]

are no less unhappy, their issue not being gracious, than they are in losing them, when they have approved their virtues.' And i Henry IV, iv. 1.9:

• Nay, task me to my word; approve me, lord.' 57-60. in human modesty ... distant. The sense is clear though the syntax is imperfect. Delius connects as may well be said' within human modesty,' but the construction is rather • in human modesty (let there be) such separation &c.,' and 'So far be distant' is merely a repetition of the same thing. 71. Weeds.

See ii. 1. 256. 75. dank, damp, wet. Compare Romeo and Juliet, ii. 3. 6:

• Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,

The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry.' 77. To mend the metre Theobald read .Near to this kill-courtesie.' Steevens omits only the second this.' Malone, reading “ Near'as a disyllable, makes a line of ten syllables.

78. Churl, a peasant, boor (A. S. ceorl); and hence one of rough and rude manners. 79. owe, own, possess. Compare The Tempest, i. 2. 407:

• This is no mortal business, nor no sound

That the earth owes.' 86. darkling, in the dark. See King Lear, i. 4. 237: 'So, out went the candle and we were left darkling.' And Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 15. 10:

[ocr errors]

Burn the great sphere thou movest in! darkling stand

The varying shore of the world.'
Milton borrowed the word in Paradise Lost, iii. 39 :

"As the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid

Tunes her nocturnal note.' 88. fond, foolish, with perhaps something of the other meaning which the word now has. See ïi. I. 266.

89. my grace, the favour I obtain.
97. as a monster, in apposition to my presence.'

99. sphery, starlike. “Sphere ’ is used by Shakespeare to denote first the orbit in which a star moves, and then the star itself. Compare A Lover's Complaint, 23:

' As they did battery to the spheres intend.' Ib. eyne. See i. 1. 242.

104. Nature shows art. The quartos read ‘Nature shewes art'; the first folio Nature her shewes art' which was altered in the later folios to • Nature here shews art,' and by Malone to ‘Nature shews her art.'

109. what though? what then? what matters it? See note on As You Like It, iii. 3. 41 (Clar. Press ed.).

[ocr errors]

6

118. ripe not, grow not ripe, ripen not. So in As You Like It, ii. 7. 26:

* And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe.' 119. touching now the point of Inuman skill, having reached the height of discernment possible to man.

120. My will, or desire, is guided by reason.

122. love's richest book. Compare the description of the County Paris in Romeo and Juliet, i. 3. 86:

"And what obscured in this fair volume lies

Find written in the margent of his eyes.' 128. flout, mock. See iii. 2. 327, and Macbeth, i. 2. 49:

Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky

And fan our people cold.'
Compare Coriolanus ii. 3. 168:
Third Cit.

Certainly
He fouted us downright.
First Cit. No, 'tis his kind of speech : he did not mock us.'
129. troth. See above, 1. 36.

Ib, good sooth, in honest truth (A. S. sóð). Compare Merchant of Venice, ii. 6. 42:

“They in themselves, good sooth, are too too light.' The full phrase is ‘in good sooth,' as in As You Like It, iii. 2. 410 : ‘But, in good sooth, are you he that hangs the verses on the trees, wherein Rosalind is so admired?' 150. prey, here used for the act of preying, as in Macbeth, iii. 2. 53:

• Good things of day begin to droop and drowse ;

Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse.' 153. an if=if, as in The Tempest, v. I. 117:

• This must crave, An if this be at all, a most strange story.' The quartos and folios read and if' as usual.

154. of all loves ! by everything that is loving I entreat you. See Merry Wives of Windsor, ii. 2. 119: ‘But Mistress Page would desire you to send her your little page, of all loves.' In Othello, iii. 1. 13, where the folios read ' for loues sake,' the quarto has 'of all loves.'

Id. swoon. Spelt 'swoune' in the earliest quarto; ‘sound' in the first folio, and swound' in the rest.

156. Eilher, a monosyllable. See ii. 1. 32.

ACT III.

Scene I.

2. Pat, pat, just, exactly. Compare King Lear, i. 2. 146: 'And pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old comedy.'

Id. marvellous. The first quarto reads ‘marvailes,' as in iv. 1. 23, probably to represent the vulgar pronunciation. In the same manner wonders' is found for 'wondrous' in More's Utopia (ed. Arber), p. 136: “And when they have gotten it, they be wonders glad thereof.' Again, p. 141: ‘Engines for warre they deuyse and inuent wonders wittelye.'

4. hawthorn brake, thicket of hawthorns. See ii. 1. 227, and compare Milton, Comus, 147:

* Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees.' Ib. our tiring-house, or dressing room.

7. bully, a term of familiarity addressed by his companions to a jolly blustering fellow. So the Host to Falstaff, in Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 3.6:

Discard, bully Hercules; cashier.' Again, 1. 11; Said I well, bully Hector?' It occurs besides only in Henry V., and probably was a slang word which had come into use not long before 1600. Florio (Ital. Dict.) gives, • Bullo, a swaggerer, a swash-buckler.'

12. By’r lakin, by our ladykin, or little lady. The same abbreviation is found in The Tempest, iii. 3. I:

• By'r lakin, I can go no further, sir.' It occurs in a fuller form in Skelton's Magnyfycence, 1. 1830 (i. 285):

• By our lakyn, syr, I haue ben a hawkyng for the wylde swan.' In the first quarto it is spelt. Berlakin ': in the second and in the folios • Berlaken.'

Ib. parlous, perilous, dangerous. See As You Like It, iii. 2. 45: Thou art in a parlous state, shepherd.'

13. when all is done, after all. So Much Ado about Nothing, ii. 3. 63; Twelfth Night, ii. 3. 31: •Excellent! why, this is the best fooling, when all is done.' And Macbeth, iii. 4. 67:

• When all's done, You look but on a stool.' 15. Not a whit. As has been remarked in the note to As You Like It, iii. 2. 42 (Clar. Press ed.), this is a redundant expression, since ‘not' itself is a contraction of nawiht or nawhit.

16. seem to say. Compare Launcelot's language in The Merchant of Venice, ii. 4. II : 'An it shall please you break up this, it shall seem to signify.'

18. more better. This double comparative was common in Shakespeare's

time, and is suitable to Bottom as being rather exaggerated language, and not because it was thought ungrammatical. Compare the Tempest, i. 2. 19,

• Nor that I am more better

Than Prospero 22. in eight and six, that is, in alternate verses of eight and six syllables each; the common ballad metre.

25. afеard, afraid : though here used as a provincialism appropriate to rustics, the word was otherwise in good use. Compare The Merchant of Venice, ii. 7. 29:

· And yet to be afeard of my deserving

Were but a weak disabling of myself.' 26. I promise you, I assure you. See line 179, and The Merchant of Venice, iii. 5. 3: “Therefore, I promise ye, I fear you.'

27. you ought to consider with yourselves. In the folios there is only a comma instead of a colon here, and the construction in this case is ‘you ought to consider with yourselves (that) to bring in &c.'

28. It appears from a pamphlet quoted by Malone in his note on this passage (reprinted in Somers' Tracts, ii. 179) that at the christening of Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I, in 1594, a triumphal chariot was brought in while the King and Queen were at dinner, drawn by a blackmoor. This chariot, which should have been drawne in by a lyon, (but because his presence might have brought some feare to the nearest, or that the sight of the lights and torches might have commoved his tameness) it was thought meete that the Moor should supply that room.'

35. defect, for “effect.' Bottom's blunders are generally very intelligible.

39. it were pity of my life, it were a sad thing for my life, that is, for me. See v. I. 221. It would seem that in this expression of my life' is either all but superfluous or else a separate exclamation, as in The Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 1. 40: Ha! o’my life, if I were young again, this sword should end it.' The phrase occurs again in Measure for Measure, ii. 1. 77: 'It is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house. And in the same play, ii. 3. 42, compare ''Tis pity of him,' =it is a sad thing for him.

41. Malone quotes from a collection of stories (made by Sir Nicholas L'Estrange, according to a note of Sir F. Madden's] entitled Merry Passages and Jeasts (MS. Harl. 6395, fol, 366); “There was a spectacle presented to Q: Elizabeth vpon the water, and amongst others, Harr. Golding: was to represent Arion vpon the Dolphin's backe, but finding his voice to be very hoarse and vnpleasant when he came to performe it, he teares of his Disguise, and swears he was none of Arion not he, but eene honest Har. Goldingham ; which blunt discoverie pleasd the Queene better, then if it had gone thorough in the right way; yet he could order his voice to an instrument exceeding well. The reader of Kenilworth will remember that Scott has transferred this story to 'honest Mike Lambourne.'

« PreviousContinue »