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OBSERVATIONS

ON THE ffable and Composition of THE

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

Tuis play was entered at Stationers' Hall, O&. 8. 1600, by Thomas Fisher. It is probable that the hint for it was received from Chaucer's Knight's Tale. Thence it is, that our author speaks of Theseus as duke of Athens. The tale begins thus :

" Whilom as olde stories tellen us,
“ There was a Duk that highte Theseus,
“ Of Athenes he was lord and governour, &c."

Late 'edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his translation of the Tragedies of John Bochas, calls him by the same title, chap. xij. 1. 21.

Duke Theseus had the victorye." Creon, in the tragedy of focasta, translated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon ; So likewise Skelton :

“ Not lyke Duke Hamilcar,

“ Nor lyke Duke Asdruball." Stanyhurst, in his translation of Virgil, calls Æneas, Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, 2d Part, 1632, Ajax is styled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Nestor, Duke Nestor, &c. STEEVENS.

Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in their vae rious modes are well written, and give the kind of pleasure

which the author designed. Fairies in his time were much in fashion ; common tradition had made them familiar, and Spenser's poem had made them great. Johnson.

1

Dramatis perfonae,

MEN,
THESEUS, Duke of Athens.
EGEUS, Father to Hermia.
LYSANDER, in love with Flermia.
DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia.
PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Sports to Theseus.
QUINCE, the Carpenter,
SNUG, the Joiner.
BOTTOM, the Weaver,
FLUTE, the Bellows-Mender.
SNOUT, the Tinker,
STARVELING,

6, the Taylor,

WOMEN,
HIPPOLITA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus,
Hermia, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
HELENA, in love with Demetrius.

Attendants,
OBERON, King of the Fairies.
TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies.
Puck, or Robin-GOODFELLOW, a Fairy.
PEASE BLOSSOM,
COBWEB,

Fairies
MOTH,
MUSTARD-SEED,
PYRAMUS,
THISBE,

Characters in the Interlude performed hy
WALL,

the Clowns.
MOONSHINE,
Lyon,
Qiher Fairies attending their King and Queen: Attendants on

Theseus and Hippolitą.
SCENE, Athens, and a Wuod not far from it,

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Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove :
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
But do it, when the next thing he espies
May be the lady: Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care; that he may prove 270
More fond on her, than she upon

her love :
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

Another Part of the Wood. Enter the Queen of Fairies,

with her Train.

Queen. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy song ;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence:
Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds;
Some, war with rear-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats; and some, keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our quaint spirits : Sing me now asleep ; 280
Then to your offices, and let me rest.

First Fairy.
You spotted snakes, with double tongue,

Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen ;

Newts, and blind-worms, do no wrong ;

Come not near our fairy queen :

Chorus.

Philomel, with melody,

Sing in your sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby:

Never harm, nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.

290

Second Fairy

Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence:
Beetles black, approach not near;

Worn, nor snail, do no offence,

Chorus.

Philomel, with melody, &c.

First Fairy.
Hence, away ; now all is well:
One, aloof, stand sentinel.

[Exeunt Fairies, The Queen sloos.

Enter OBERON.

Ob. What thou seest, when thou dost wake,

(Squeezes the Flower on her Eye-lids. Do it for thy true love take;

300 Love,

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Love, and languish for his sake :
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wak'st, it is thy dear;
Wake, when some vile thing is near.

Exit OBERON.

Enter LYSANDER, and HERMIA.
Lys. Fair Love, you faint with wandering in the

wood;
And, to speak troth, I have forgot our way:
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

310 Her. Be it so, Lysander : find you out a bed, For I upon this bank will rest my head.

Lys. One turf shall serve aś pillow for us both; One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

Her. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear, Lye further off yet, do not lye so near.

Lys. O, take the sense, sweet of my innocence ;
Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.
I mean that my heart unto yours is knit;
So that but one heart we can make of it:
Two bosoms interchained with an oath ;
So then, two bosoms, and a single troth.
Then, by your side no bed-room me deny';
For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.

Her. Lysander, riddles very prettily -
Now much beshrew my manners, and my pride,

320

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