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Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
(A time that lovers' Aights doth still conceal,)
Through Athens' gates have we devis’d to steal.

Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet ::
There my Lysander and myself shall meet:
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow ; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius !
-Keep word, Lysander : we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight. [Exit.
Lys. I will,

my Hermia.—Helena, adieu : As you on him, Demetrius dote on you !

(Exit. Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be ! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so; He will not know what all but he do know. And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities. Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind : Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste ; Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste : And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd. As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, So the boy love is perjur'd every where : For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia's eyne, He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine ; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight: Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night, Pursue her; and for this intelligence If I have thanks, it is a dear expense :

[2] Mr. Heath observes, that our author seems to bave had the following passage in the 55th Psalm, (v. 14, 15,) in his thoughts : " But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and mine own familiar friend. We took sweet counsel together, and alked in the house of God as friends." MALONE

(3) Eync-This plural is common both in Chaucer aod Spenser. STEEVENS.

1

But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither, and back again.

[Exit.

6

SCENE II. The same.

A Room in a Cottage. Enter SNUG, BOTTOM,

Flute, SNOUT, QUINCE, and STARVELING." Quin. Is all your company here?

Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.

Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll : ---Masters, spread yourselves.

Quin. Answer, as I call you.-Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Bot. Ready: Name what part I am for, and proceed.
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
Bot. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant?
Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

Bor. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes ; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest :-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.

[4] In this scene Shakespeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitiods of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in the tiringroom, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors i'rom all possibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thisby, and the Lion, at the same time. JOHNSON

[5] A scrip, Fr. escript, now writted ecrit STEEVENS.

[6] This is very probably a burlesque on the tille-page of Combyses : “A lameptable Tragedie, mixed full of pleasant Mirth,” &c STEEVENS.

[7] When we use this verb at present, we put with before the person for wbose misfortune we profess concera. Anciently it seems to bave been employed with out it. STEEVENS.

“ The raging rocks,
« With shivering shocks,
“ Shall break the locks

“ Of prison-gates :
66 And Phibbus' car
“ Sball shine from far,
. And make and mar

" The foolish fates." This was lofty !-Now name the rest of the players.-This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman ; I have a beard a coming.

Quin. That's all one ; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.”

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice ;-Thisne, Thisne, Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!

Quin. No, no ; you must play Pyramus ;-and, Flute, you Thisby.

Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.-Tom Snout, the tinker.

Snout. Here, Peter Quince.

(8] This passare shows how the want of women on the old stage was supplied If the has not a young man who could perform the part with a face that might pass for teminide, the character was acted in a mask, which was at that time a part of a lacy's dress so much in use, that it did not give any unusual appearance to the scene : and he that would modulate his voice in a female tone, might play the woman very successfully. It is observed in Downes's Roscius Anglicanus, that KyDaxton, one of these counterleit heroines, tooved the passions more strongly than the women that gave since been brought upon tbe stage. Some of the catastrophes of the old comedies, which make lovers marry the wrong women, are, by recollection of the common use of masks, brought nearer to probalility. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson here seems to bave quoted from memory. Downes does not speak of Kyoustou's performance in such unqualified teros His words are : " It has since been disputable, whether any women that succeeded bim, (yuaston,) so seos: bly touched the audience as be." REED 2

Vol. III.

Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father ;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part :-and, I hope, here is a play fitted.

Snug. Have you the lion's part written ? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.'

Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

Bot. Let me play the lion too : I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say, Let him roar again, Let him roar again.

Quin. An (you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.

All. That would hang us every mother's son.

Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.'

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus : for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man i therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in ?

Quin. Why, what you will.

Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.

Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.—But, masters, here are your parts : and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire yon, to con them by to-morrow night ; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moon-light; there will we rehearse : for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and

(9) Sludy is still the cant term used in a theatre for getting any nonsense by rote. Hamlet asks the player if he can " study a speech.".

STEEVENS ( Au means is if So, in Troilues and Cressida : --" He will weep you, an were a man born in April." STEEVENS.

12: Here Bottom again discover a true venive for the stage by his solicitude for propriety of dress, ads deliberation which beard to cboose among many beards, all unnatural. JOHNSON.

our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.

Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely, and courageously. Take pains ; be perfect; adieu.

Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough; Hold, or cut bow-strings.' [Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.-A Wood near Athens. Enter a Fairy at one

door, and Puck at another.

Puck.
HOW now, spirit! whither wander you?
Fai. Over hill, over, dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moone's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs

upon the green: The cowslips tall her pensioners be ;*

[3] This proverbial phrase came originally from the camp. When a rendezvous was appointed, the militia soldiers would frequently make excuse for not keeping word, that their bon-strings were broke, ie their arms unserviceable. Hence when one would give another absolute assurance of meeting him, he woule say proverbially-hold, or cut dow-strings--i e. whether the bow-string held or hroké. For cut is used as a peuter, like the verh fret. As when we say, the string frels, the silk frets, for the passive, it is cut, or fretled.

WARBURTON This interpretation is very ingenious, but somewhat disputable. The excuse made by the militia soldiers is a mere supposition, without proof: and it is well koow that while bows were in use, no arrher ever entered the field without a supply of strings in his pocket; whence originated the proverb, to have two strings to one's bon. STEEVENS.

To meet, rehether bon-strings hold or are cul, is to meet in all events. To cut the bowstring, when bows were in v-e, was probably a common practice of those who bore enmity to the archer. " He hatlı twice or thrice cul Cupid's bonstring, saya Don Pedro in Much Ado about Nothing,) and the little bangman dare not sboot at him." MALONE.

(9) The orbs bere mentioned are circles supposed to be made by the fairies on the round, whose verdure proceeds from the fairies' care to water them. Thus, Drayton :

"They in their courses make that round,
" Io meadoss and in marshes found,

"Of them so called the fairy ground." JOHNSON (5) This was said in consequence of Queen Elizabeth's fashionable establishment op a bank of military courtiers, by the name of peasant!!

They nere some of the bandsonest and tallest young woo, of the best Catuilies and fortune, that could

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