Page images

Ib. coy, coax, caress.

Steevens quotes from Warner's Albion's England,

vi. 30:

* And whilst she coyes his sooty Cheekes, or curles his sweaty top.' And from Golding's Ovid, vii. (fol. 79 b, ed. 1603):

• Their dangling Dew-laps with his hand he coyd vnfearefully. The verb is formed from the adjective, which is itself derived from the French coy or quoy, the representative of the Latin quietus.

15. overflown, flooded and drowned. Compare Titus Andronicus, iii. 1. 230:

• Then must my earth with her continual tears

Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd.' 18. neaf, fist; spelt in the quartos and first folios ‘neafe': corrupted in the later folios to newfe,' newse,' and finally news. In 2 Henry IV, ii. 4. 200, it occurs again: 'Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif.' It is found in Early English in the form “neve' or 'nefe.' See Havelok the Dane, 2405:

• With be neue he robert sette

Biforn pe teth a dint ful strong.' The Old Norse word is hnefi (Swedish näfve; Dan. næve). See Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, s. v. Neive.

19. leave your courtesy; that is, put on your hat, be covered. Compare Love's Labour's Lost, v. I. 103: *I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy: I beseech thee, apparel thy head.'

22. Cobweb. Grey says, “Without doubt it should be Cavalero Peasblossom; as for cavalero Cobweb, he had just been dispatched upon a perilous adventure.'

Ib. I must to the barber's. See iii. 2. 433. 23. marvellous. See note on iii. 1. 2.

27. the tongs and the bones. After this the folios have the stage direction, ' Musicke Tongs, Rurall Musicke.'

31. a great desire to. The same construction is found in Pericles, iv. 1. 44:

• Well, I will go;

But yet I have no desire to it.' Ib. a bottle of hay, a bundle or truss of hay. The common proverb is well known of the search for anything hard to find, that it is like looking for a needle in a bottle of hay. Baret (Alvearie, s. v.) has, “a Bottle of hay. Fasciculus vel manipulus fæni': and again, “To binde vp hay in bottles. Fænum in manipulos vincire & colligare.' Compare Florio (Ital. Dict.): ‘Gregne, sheafes of corne, handfuls of flowers, wads of straw, bottles of hay. And Cotgrave (Fr. Dict.) : Boteau, A bundle, or bottle, as of hay, &c.'

34. Steevens reads 'hoard' as a disyllable, for the sake of the metre which such a reading utterly destroys. Hanmer has 'fetch thee thence' and Sidney

Walker suggested fetch thee the new nuts. But in the distinct enunciation of . fetch thee' the time of a syllable is gained, as in the case of moon's ' (ii. 1. 7), and ‘night's' (iv. I. 95).

37. exposition, for ' disposition.'

39. be all ways away, disperse yourselves in every direction. The quartos and folios have always' variously spelt, which Theobald corrected to all ways.

40. So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle &c. Strictly speaking * woodbine' and 'honeysuckle' are the same, and in consequence various readings and modes of punctuating this passage have been proposed. Warburton suggested,

“So doth the woodbine, the sweet honeysuckle,
Gently entwist the maple ; ivy so

Enrings,' &c. Upton would read “woodrine,' that is, the bark of the wood, instead of 'woodbine'; and Steevens says, “ Were any change necessary, I would not scruple to read weedbind, i. e. smilax.' Johnson thought that 'woodbine' was the plant, and honeysuckle’ the flower, and the same distinction is apparently made in Baret's Alvearie, • Woodbin that beareth the Honiesuckle.' But this last-quoted passage perhaps only indicates that woodbine' was a name for many climbing plants, one of which was the honeysuckle. As a matter of fact it to this day used in Suffolk to denote the large white convolvulus, and Boswell is correct in saying that in many of our counties, the woodbine is still the name for the great convolvulus.' Gifford quotes a very parallel passage from Ben Jonson's Vision of Delight:

• Behold
How the blue bindweed doth itself infold

With honeysuckle !' The word only occurs in two other passages of Shakespeare, viz. in the present play, ii. 1. 251, where it is called “luscious woodbine,' an epithet which is appropriate to the honeysuckle; and in Much Ado about Nothing, iii. 1. 30, where the woodbine coverture' is the same as

• The pleached bower, Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun,

Forbid the sun to enter.' Supported by these instances, Steevens interprets the present passage thus :

So the woodbine, i. e. the sweet honeysuckle, doth gently entwist the barky fingers of the elm, and so does the female ivy enring the same fingers.' But the word ' entwist' seems to describe the mutual action of two climbing plants, twining about each other, and I therefore prefer to consider the woodbine and the honeysuckle as distinct, the former being the convolvulus, rather than to adopt a construction and interpretation which do violence to the reader's intelligence. Mr. R. G. White finds no difficulty, because in


[ocr errors]

America what are called the woodbine and honeysuckle are commonly fourd twining round each other ; but it appears from his description that he calls woodbine what we call honeysuckle, and that the honeysuckle of America is the trumpet honeysuckle, which is not indigenous in this country, and was unknown in Shakespeare's time. It is moreover instructive to observe, as shewing how loosely the word is used, that the term 'woodbine' in America is sometimes applied to the Virginia creeper. See Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms.

Ib. the female ivy, so called because it is as it were married to the elm; as Catullus says of the vine, lxii. 54:

• Ulmo conjuncta marito.' Compare Fairfax's Tasso, iii. 75:

The married Elme fell with his fruitfull vine.'
And Milton, Paradise Lost, v. 215-217:

• Or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she spoused about him twines

Her marriageable arms.' 47. favours, the reading of the first quarto and last folio: the others have • savours.' For · favours' see ii. 1. 12. 50. rounded, encircled. Compare Richard II, iii. 2. 161:

"The hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king.' And Macbeth, iv. I. 88: the round and top of sovereignty.' 53. orient pearls, bright, shining pearls. So The Passionate P:lgrim, 133:

• Bright orient pearl, alack, too timely shaded !' The epithet appears to be originally applied to the pearl and other gems as coming from the orient or east, and to have acquired the general sense of bright and shining from the objects which it most commonly describes. Compare Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 546:

• Ten thousand banners rise into the air,

With orient colours waving.' 54. flowerets', spelt flouriets' in the quartos and folios.

59. her fairy, her chief attendant fairy. See ii. 1. 61. Dyce, here as in the former passage, reads •fairies.' It may be that in ii. 1. 61 Titania gives the order to the fairy who was in immediate attendance, and that Capell is right in supposing the change unnecessary. 65. the other, plural: as in Venus and Adonis, 1102 :

* The birds such pleasure took, That some would sing, some other in their bills

Would bring him mulberries and ripe-red cherries. And The Merchant of Venice, i. 1. 54:

And other of such vinegar aspect." 66. May all, that is, they may all, &c. See v. 1. 69, Abbott, $ 399.


[ocr errors]

72. Dian's bud, if it has a botanical existence at all, may be, as Steevens suggests, the bud of the Agnus castus, or Chaste Tree, of which it is said in Macer's Herball, 'The vertue of this herbe is, that he wyll kepe man and woman chaste. But it is more probably a product of Shakespeare's imagination, which had already endued Cupid's flower,' the heart's ease, with qualities not recognized in botany. Steevens's suggestion is indeed supported by Chaucer ; see The Flower and the Leaf, 472-5:

That is Diane, goddesse of chastite,
And for because that she a maiden is,
In her hond the braunch she beareth this,

That agnus castus men call properly.' Ib. o'er, Thirlby's correction, adopted by Theobald. The quartos and folios have ‘or.

81. Than common sleep ... sense. The quartos and first two folios read sleepe: of all these, fine the sense'; which was further altered in the third and fourth folios to sleep: of all these find the sense'; and by Rowe to

sleep. Of all these fine the sense. The correction is Theobald's, and was made independently by Thirlby, 'these five' being the five sleepers.

85. rock the ground, like a cradle.

86. are new in amity, are again friends. It is difficult to say whether 'new' is here an adjective or adverb. Probably the latter, as in Hamlet, ii, 2. 510:

Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work.'
For “amity' (Fr. amitié) see The Merchant of Venice, iii. 2. 30:

•There may as well be amity and life

'Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.' 89. prosperity. So the first quarto. The other early copies have posterity,' which Monck Mason defends by referring to Oberon's blessing in v. 1. 410 &c. But see ii. 1. 73.

94. sad, grave, serious. See iii. 2. 237.

95. nighi's, a disyllable, as ‘moon's' in ii. 1. 7, and earth's' in The Tempest, iv. 1. 110:

• Earth's increase, foison plenty.' The first quarto reads "nights,' the second quarto and the folios "the night's.'

103. our observation. The observance to a morn of May' spoken of in i. 1. 167. See below, l. 131.

104. the vaward, the vanguard (Fr. avantgarde), or advanced guard of an army, and hence, the early part of the day. In this metaphorical sense it occurs in 2 Henry IV, i. 2. 199: 'And we that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too.' For the literal meaning see Henry V, iv. 3. 130:

My lord, most humbly on my knee I beg
The leading of the vaward.'

108. We will, fair queen, up &c. See iii. 2. 433.

112. they bay'd the bear. Hanmer substituted .boar' for 'bear'; but the references to bear' and 'bear-hunting' in Shakespeare are sufficiently numerous to justify the old reading, without going into the naturalist's question whether there are bears in Crete. See for instance Venus and Adonis, 884:

• For now she knows it is no gentle chase,

But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud.' Besides, according to Pliny (viii. 83), there were neither bears nor boars in the island. We may therefore leave the natural history to adjust itself, as well as the chronology which brings Cadmus with Hercules and Hippolyta into the hunting field together. To bay,' which signifies to bark, or bark at, is used technically for 'to bring to bay,' that is, to drive the animal pursued to turn upon his pursuers. Compare Julius Cæsar, iii. 1. 204: .Here wast thou bay'd, brave hart.' And as 'graft' is a corruption of graff,' and 'hoist' of 'hoise,' so 'bait' may be a corruption of .bay.' Cotgrave has • Abbay: m. a barking, or baying of a dogge': and · Aux derniers abbois. At his last gaspe, or, breathing his last; also, put to his last shifts, driuen to vse his last helpes : A metaphor from hunting; wherein a Stag is sayd, Rendre les abbois, when wearie of running, he turnes vpon the hounds, and holds them at, or puts them to, a bay.'

113. hounds of Sparta. The Spartan hounds were celebrated for their swiftness and quickness of scent. Compare Virgil, Georgics, iii. 405 :

• Veloces Sparta catulos acremque Molossum

Pasce sero pingui.' And see Sophocles, Ajax, 8; Callimachus, Dian. 94. Compare also the description of Actæon's dogs in Ovid's Metamorphoses, iii. (Golding's translation, ed. 1603, fol. 33 a): • His Hounds espyde him where he was, and Blackfoote first of all And Stalker speciall good of sent began aloud to call.

This latter was a hound of Crete, the other was of Spart.' And Gorges' translation of Lucan's Pharsalia, iv. p. 144:

* And therewithall in cooples clogges

His Spartane, and his Cretan dogges.' 114. Chiding, used of noise simply, as in As You Like It, ii. 1.7:

As the icy fang And churlish chiding of the winter's wind'; where however the word has also somewhat of the sense of rebuke or scolding. Compare i Henry IV, iii. 1. 45:

Clipp'd in with the sea That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales'; that is, dashes noisily against. So Henry VIII, iii. 2. 197: As doth a rock against the chiding flood.'

« PreviousContinue »