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and the folios fore-done.' 'For' in composition is like the German ver-, and has sometimes a negative and sometimes an intensive sense. See note on Hamlet, ii. 1. 103. 360. the screech-owl. Compare Macbeth, ii. 2. 3, 4:

• It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,

Which gives the stern'st good-night.' And see the note on that passage. Theobald pointed out that Marston in his Antonio and Mellida (Second Part, iii. 3) has imitated this speech :

Now barkes the wolfe against the fulle cheekt moon;
Now lyons half-clamd entrals roare for food;
Now croakes the toad, and night crowes screech aloud,
Fluttering 'bout casements of departed soules ;
Now gapes the graves, and through their yawnes let loose

Imprison'd spirits to revisit earth.' And Malone quotes from Spenser's Fairy Queen, i. 5. 30, a passage which may possibly have been in Shakespeare's memory and is certainly parallel to this. The poet is describing Night.

And, all the while she stood upon the ground,
The wakefull dogs did never cease to bay;
As giving warning of th' unwonted sound,
With which her yron wheeles did them affray,
And her darke griesly looke them much dismay:
The messenger of death, the ghastly owle,
With drery skriekes did also her bewray ;

And hungry wolves continually did howle

At her abhorred face, so filthy and so fowle.' 363. Now it is the time of night &c. Steevens quotes from Hamlet, iii. 2. 406:

• 'Tis now the very witching time of night,

When churchyards yawn.' 368. the triple Hecate's team. So in Golding's Ovid, vii. fol. 79 b (ed. 1603):

* By triple Hecats holy Rites.' Compare As You Like It, iii. 2. 2: 'thrice crowned queen of night'; as ruling in heaven, on earth, and in the underworld. See also Drayton, The Man in the Moon, 476-478:

So the great three most powerfull of the rest,
Phoebe, Diana, Hecate, do tell,

Her domination in heauen, in earth and hell.' Hecate is always a disyllable in Shakespeare, except in i Henry VI, iii. 2. 64. See note on King Lear, i. 1. 101 (Clar. Press edition).

370. See iv. 1. 95. 371. frolic, merry. Compare Cotgrave (Fr. Dict.): 'Ioyeux : m. euse: f.


Ioyfull, ioyous, glad, merrie, iocond, blithe, buxome, frolicke, iollie, cheerefull, pleasant, gamesome.' And Gaudir. To be frolicke, liuelie, iollie, pleasant, merrie; gybe, ieast; play the good fellow, make good cheere.'

374. To sweep the dust behind the door, where it would be likely to escape notice. Robin Goodfellow was believed to help good housemaids in their work, and to punish those who were sluttish. Compare Herrick (Hesperides, vol. i. p. 270):

‘Sweep your house: Who doth not so,

Mab will pinch her by the toe.' 375. Johnson suggests that Milton may have had this picture in his thought when he wrote (Il Penseroso, 79),

• Where glowing embers through the room

Teach light to counterfeit a gloom.' 378. as bird from brier. A frequent comparison in the old poets. Steevens quotes from Minot (ed. Ritson), p. 31 :

• That are was blith als brid on brere.' 380. dance it. For .it' used indefinitely as the object of a verb, without any antecedent, see Abbott, § 226. Compare 'daub it'in King Lear, iv. I. 54, and 'outface it,' As You Like It, i. 3. 124.

385. Oberon's speech, which is assigned to him in the quarto editions, is called in the folios • The Song,' and printed in italics. Johnson, who restored it to Oberon, supposes that two songs are lost, one led by Oberon, the other by Titania.

387, 388. The blessing of the bridal bed was one of the ancient ceremonies of marriage. Steevens quotes from Chaucer, The Marchantes Tale (ed. Tyrwhitt), 1. 9693;

• And whan the bed was with the preest yblessed.' Compare also The Romans of Partenay, or Melusine (ed. Skeat), ll. 1009-11:

• Forsoth A Bisshop which that tyme ther was
Signed and blissid the bedde holyly ;

" In nomine dei so said in that place.' 389. create. See note on l. 399 below.

393. the blots of Nature's hand, like the 'vicious mole of nature' (Hamlet, i. 4. 24), were attributed to malignant fairies. 396. prodigious, monstrous, portentous. Compare King John, iii. 1.46:

* Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,

Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks.' 399. consecrate, consecrated, sacred. This form of participle in words derived from the Latin is of frequent occurrence, Compare Sonnet lxxiv. 6:

• When thou reviewest this, thou dost review

The very part was consecrate to thee.'
Similarly we find create,' dedicate,'excommunicate,''incorporate.'

400. take his gait, take his way or course. Compare King Lear, iv. 6. 242: 'Go your gait’; though this is intentionally rustic language. Steevens quotes from Lawrence Minot, p. 50:

• Take thi gate unto Gines,

And grete tham wele thare.'
The phrase is familiar in the dialect of the northern counties.

403, 404. These lines are arranged as by Staunton. In the quartos and folios they stand thus :

• Ever shall in safety rest,

And the owner of it blest.' Delius supposes the relative pronoun 'which,' referring to the palace, to be omitted before Ever.' Rowe reads • Ever shall it safely rest'; and Malone, 'E'er shall it in safety rest.' 413. reprehend, censure, blame. Compare Venus and Adonis, 1065:

• And then she reprehends her mangling eye.' 416. unearned luck, good fortune which we have not deserved.

419. If we 'scape the serpent's tongue, that is, without being hissed. Steevens quotes from Markham's English Arcadia (1607): “But the nymph, after the custom of distrest tragedians, whose first act is entertained with a snaky salutation,' &c.

421. Give me your hands, that is, applaud by clapping. Compare All's Well that Ends Well, v. 3. 340:

• Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.'

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