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fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from the fairy's care to water them. Thus Drayton:

They in their courses make that round,
In meadows and in marshes found,

Of them so called the fairy ground. JOHNSON. Thus in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus similes illis spectris, quæ in multis locis, præsertim nocturno tempore, suum, saltatorium orbem cum omnium musarum concentu versare solent.” It appears from the same author, that these dancers always parched up the grass, and therefore it is properly made the office of Puck to refresh it. STEEVENS.

The cowslip was a favourite among the fairies. There is a hint in Drayton of their attention to May morning :

-For the queen a fitting tow'r,
Quoth he, is that fair cowslip flow'r.
In all your train there's not a fay
That ever went to gather May,
But she hath made it in her way,
The tallest there that groweth.

JOHNSON. 11. In their gold coats spots you see ;] Shakspere, in Cymbeline, refers to the same red spots :

“ A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops " I'th' bottom of a cowslip.”

PERCY. Perhaps there is likewise some allusion to the habit of a pensioner. See a note on the second act of the Merry Wives of Windsor.

STEEVENS. 15. And hang a pearl in every cou'slip's ear.] The same thought occurs in an old comedy callid The

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Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600 ; i. e. the same year
in which the first printed copies of this play made
their appearance. An enchanter says,
" 'Twas I that led you through the painted

“ Where the light fairies danc'd upon the flowers,
Hanging on every leaf an orient pearl.'

Steevens. 16.-lob of spirits,] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body, and dulness of mind.

Both lob and lobcock are used as terms of contempt
in The Rival Friends, 1632.
Again, in the interlude of Jacob and Esau, 1568:

* Should find Esau such a lout or a lob:
Again, in the Knight of the Burning Pestle, by
Beaumont and Fletcher: “ There is a pretty tale of a
witch that had the devil's mark about her, that had a
giant to her son, that was called Lob-lye-bye-the-fire.
This being seems to be of kin to the lubbar-fiend of
Milton, as Mr. Warton has remarked in his Observations
on the Faery Queen.

Steevens. 23.-changeling :) i.e. A child got in exchange. A Fairy is now speaking.

REMARKS. So Spenser, B. I. c. 10.

And her base elfin brood there for thee left, “ Such men do changelings call, so callid by fairy theft.

STEEVENS. 29. --Sheen,] Shining, bright, gay. JOHNSON. $o, in Tancred and Guismund, 1592;


66 but

"but why

“ Doth Phæbus' sister sheen despise thy power ?” Again, in the ancient romance of Syr Tryamourly bl. let, no date :

“ He kyssed and toke his leve of the quene,
“ And of other ladies bright and shene."

Steevens. 30. But they do square ;

-] To square

here is to quarrel. The French word contrecarrer has the same import.

JOHNSON. So, in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601 :

let me not seem rude 6 That thus I seem to square

with modesty. -pray let' me go, for he'll begin to square,

Again, in Promos and Cassandra, 1578:

“ Marry she knew you and I were at square,
And lest we fell to blowes, she did prepare."

STEEVENS. It is somewhat whimsical, that the glaziers use the words

square and quarrel as synonymous terms, for a pane of glass.

BLACKSTONE. 34. -Robin Goodfellow: -] This account of Robin Goodfellow corresponds, in every article, with that given of him in Harsenet's Declaration, ch. xx. p. 135: “ And if that the bowle of curd's and creame were not duly set out for Robin Goodfellow, the frier, and Sisse the dairy-maid, why then either the pottage was burnt to next day in the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter would not


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come, or the ale in the fat never would have got
head. But if a pater-noster, or an housle egge were
beturned, or a patch of tythe unpaid—then beware
of bull-beggars, spirits," &c. He is mentioned by
Cartwright as a spirit particularly fond of diconcerting
and disturbing domestick peace and oeconomy.

Saint Francis and Saint Benedight
Blesse this house from wicked wight;
From the night-mare and the goblin,
That is hight goodfellow Robin.
Keep it, &c.
Cartwright's Ordinary, act it. sc. i. v. &

WARȚON. Reginald Scot gives the same account of this frolicksome spirit, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, Lond. 1588. 4to. p. 66. “ Your grandames, maids, were wont to set a bowl of milk for him, for his pains in grinding of malt and mustard, and sweeping the house at midnightthis white bread and bread and milk, was his standing fee.” Steevens,

36. Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern,-] A Quern is a hand-mili, kuerna, mola. Islandic. So in Stanyhurst's translation of the first book of Virgila 1582, quern-stones are mill-stones : “ Theyre corne in quern-stoans they do grind,"

&c. Again, in The More the Merrier, a collection of epi. grams,

1608: “ Which like a querne can grind more in an hour." Çiij




Again, in the old Song of Robin Goodfellow, printed
in the 3d volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient
English Poetry :

“ I grind at mill,
“ Their malt up still," &c, STEEVENS,

no barm ; ] Barme is a name for yeast, yet used in our midland counties, and universally in Ire: land.

STEEVENS. 40. Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,

You do their work. -] To those tradition, ary opinions Milton has reference in L'Allegro:

Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How Fairy Mab the junkets eat ;
She was pinch'd and pull'd she said,
And he by friar's lanthorn led ;
Tell how the drudging goblin sweat
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail had thresh'd the corn,
Which ten day-labourers could not end;

Then liés him down the lubber fiend.
A like account of Puck is given by Drayton, in his
Nymphidia :

He meeteth Puck, which most men call
Hobgoblin, and on him doth fall.-
This Puck seems but a dreaming dolt,
Still walking like a ragged colt,
And oft out of a bed doth bolt,
of purpose lo deceive us ;


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