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excuse.

With hands as pale as milk;

Lay them in gore,

Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.

Tongue, not a word:
Come, trusty sword:

330 Come, blade, my breast imbrue: [Stabs herself.

And, farewell, friends;

Thus Thisby ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu.

[Dies. The. Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead. Dem. Ay, and Wall too.

Bot. [Starting up.] No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company? The. No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no

Never excuse; for when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if be that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably discharged. But, come, your Bergomask: let your epilogue alone.

[A dance. The iron 'tongte of midnight hath told twelve: Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy-time. I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn As much as we this night have overwatch'd.

350 This palpable gross play hath well beguiled The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed. A fortnight hold we this solemnity, In nightly revels and new jollity.

[Exeunt. Enter Puck. Puck. Now the hungry lion roars,

And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,

All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,

360

Puts the wretch that lies in woe

In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night

That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his' sprite,

In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run

By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,

370
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house :
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.

Enter OBERON and TITANIA with their train.
Obe. Through the house give glimmering light,

By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf and fairy sprite

Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,
Sing, and dance it trippingly.

380 Tita. First, rehearse your song by rote,

To each word a warbling note:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,

Will we sing, and bless this place. [Song ana dance., Obe. Now, until the break of day,

Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate.

390
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be;
And the blots of Nature's hand
Shall not in their issue stand;
Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious such as are

Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;

400
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.

[Exeunt Oberon, Titania and train. Puck. If we shadows have offended,

Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.

410
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call :
So, good night unto you all.

420
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

[Exit.

NOTES.

ACT I.

Scene I.

1. The names of Theseus and Hippolyta queen of the Amazons may have been borrowed by Shakespeare from Chaucer's Knight's Tale, although there is nothing else in the play for which he can have been indebted to the same source. But he was no doubt acquainted with the story of Theseus in North's translation of Plutarch's Lives, and hence also he may have taken the Greek names which he uses, Egeus, Lysander, Demetrius, and Philostrate, which all occur in that work. Philostrate however is also the name assumed by Arcite in the Knight's Tale, 1. 1428.

4. She lingers my desires, protracts, delays the accomplishment of my desires. For · linger'in this transitive sense see Richard II, ii. 2. 72:

• Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,

Which false hope lingers in extremity.' And Othello, iv. 2. 231: Unless his abode be lingered here by some accident.'

5. a step-dame, or a dowager, who has a life interest in the property which falls to the heir at her death. Whalley quotes Horace [Epist. i. 1. 21, 22]:

‘ut piger annus Pupillis quos dura premit custodia matrum.' 6. withering out, causing the revenue to dwindle as she herself withers away. For the phrase Steevens quotes from Chapman's Homer, Iliad iv. [528]:

* And there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace.' 10. New-bent. Rowe's reading; the quartos and folios have . Now bent.'

II. solemnities, applied to the festivities on the solemnization of marriage, as in King John, ii. 1. 555, of the marriage of Blanch and the Dauphin :

•Call the Lady Constance: Some speedy messenger bid her repair

To our solennity.' 13. pert, lively; used in a good sense, and not as now as equivalent to something a little less than impudent, saucy. Compare Love's Labour's, Lost, v. 2. 272:

• This pert Biron was out of countenance quite.'

F

Cotgrave (Fr. Dict.) has, 'Godinet: m. ette: f. Prettie, dapper, feat, peart, indifferently handsome. Godinette ; f. A prettie peart lasse; a louing, or louelie girle.' So Milton, Comus, 118:

• And on the tawny sands and shelves

Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves.' It is probably connected with the Fr. appert (whence malapert), for which Cotgrave gives the equivalents ‘Expert, readie, dexter, prompt, actiue, nimble ; feat, handsome, in that he does.' Mr. Wedgwood however connects it with 'perk,''to perk up the head, to prick up the head, or appear lively.' In this sense pert' is used as a verb in Beaumont and Fletcher, Knight of the Burning Pestle, i. 1: Sirrah, didst thou ever see a prettier child ? how it behaves itself, I warrant ye! and speaks and looks, and perts up the head.'

15. companion, fellow. These two words have completely exchanged their meanings in later usage. Companion' is not now used contemptuously as it once was, and as “fellow' frequently is. Compare 2 Henry IV, ii. 4. 132 : •I scorn you, scurvy companion.'

Ib. pomp. See below, note on l. 19.

19. With pomp, with triumph. A triumph was a public exhibition or show, such as was originally used to celebrate a victory. The title of Bacon's 37th Essay is ‘Of Masques and Triumphs, and the two words appear to have been synonymous, for the Essay treats of masques alone. In the same way Milton uses the word. See L'Allegro, 120 :

•Where throngs of knights and barons bold,

In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold.' And Samson Agonistes, 1312 :

• This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,

With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games.' In his note on the latter passage Warton suggests that Milton'applied pomp in the appropriated sense which it bore to the Grecian festivals, where the Trojan, a principal part of the ceremony, was the spectacular procession.' Shakespeare also, in King John, iii. 1. 304, has the word with a trace of its original meaning:

‘Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,

Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?' 20. duke, a title which Shakespeare might have found attached to Theseus in Chaucer. See the Knight's Tale (Cant. Tales, l. 860):

• Whilom as olde stories tellen us,

There was a duk that highte Theseus.' 21. Egeus. Shakespeare for his own purposes makes three syllables of this name.

Ib. what's the news with thee? What has happened to thee? Compare

ji. 2. 272.

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