Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

yout, &c.

adleness is a flower, Taylor, the water-poet, quibbling on the names of plants, mentions it as follows:

“When passions are let loose without a bridle, “ Then precious time is turn'd to love in idle."

STEEVENS, The flower or violet, cominonly called pansies, or heart's ease, is named love in idleness in Warwickshire, and in Lyte's Herbal. There is a reason why Shakspere says it is, now purple with love's wound,” because two of its petals are of a purple colour.

TOLLET. It is called in other counties the Three coloured violet, the Herb of Trinity, Three faces in a hood, Cuddle me to

STEEVENS. 178. I'll put a girdle round about the earth, &c.] This expression occurs in the Bird in a Cage, 1633 : Perhaps, it is proverbial :

“ And when I have put a girdle 'bout the world,

This purchase will reward me."
Again, in Bussy d'Ambois, by Chapman, 1613 :

“ To put a girdle round about the world."
And in other plays.

STEEVENS. 190. an invisible;] I thought proper here to observe, that as Oberon, and Puck his attendant, may be frequently observed to speak when there is no mention of their entering, they are designed by the poet to be supposed on the stage during the greatest part of the remainder of the play; and to mix, as they please, as spirits, with the other actors;

Eij

and

and embroil the plot, by their interposition, without being seen or heard, but when to their own purpose.

THEOBALD. 196.

-and wood, - -] Wood, or mad, wild, raving.

POPE. We meet with the word in Chaucer, in the character of the Monk, late edit. V. 184. “ What, should he studie, or make himselven

wood919 Spenser also uses it, Æglogue III. March :

“ The elf was so wanton, and so wode." " The name Woden," says Verstegan in his Antiquities, “ signifies fierce or furious ;" and in like sense we still retain it, saying when one is in a great rage, that he is wood, or taketh on, as if he were wood.

STEEVENS. 199. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;

But yet you draw not iron,-] I learn from Edward Fenton's Certaine Secrete Wonders of Nature, bl. let. 1569, that "there is now a dayes a kind of adamant which draweth unto it fleshe, and the same so strongly, that it hath power to knit and tie together, two mouthes of contrary persons, and drawe the heart of a man out of his bodie without offendyng any parte of him."

STEEVENS. 227. Nor doth the wood lack worlds of company ;] The same thought occurs in the 2d Part of King Henry VI.

" A wilderness is populous enough,
« So Suffolk had thy heavenly company."

[ocr errors]

Again, in Marston's Dutch Courtezan, 1605 :

“ So could I live in desert most unknowen,
“ Yourself to me enough were populous."

MALONE. 233. The wildest hath not such a heart as you ] “ Mitius inveni quam te genus omne ferarum.”

[ocr errors]

Ovid.

See Timon of Athens, act iv. sc. 1.

-where he shall find “ The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind."

66

S. W.

255 Where ox-lips] The ex-lip is the greater cowslip. So, in Drayton's Pobyalbion, Song 15. “ To sort these fowers of showe, with other that

were sweet, “ The çowslip then they couch, and th' oxlip for her meet."

STEEVENS. 255. Quite over-canopy'd with luscious woodbine,] Thus all the old editions.

On the margin of one of my folios an unknown hand has written lush woodbine, which, I think is right. This hand I have since discovered to be Theobald's.

JOHNSON Shakspere uses the word lush in The Tempest, act i. “ How lush and lusty the grass looks ? how

STEEVENS. Both lush and luscious are words of the same origin.

HENLEY, Eiij

274.

green"

274.

-a roundel and a fairy song ;] Rounds or roundels are thus described by Sir John Davies, in his Orchestra, 1622 : “ Then first of all he doth demonstrate plain

« The motions seven that are in nature found, Upward and downward, forth and back again

To this side, and to that, and turning round;
“ Whereof a thousand brawls he doth conipound,

“ Which he doth teach unto the multitude,
And ever with a turn they must conclude.

* *

“ Thus when at first love had them marshalled,

" As erst he did the shapeless mass of things, « He taught them rounds and winding hays to tread,

“ And about trees to cast themselves in rings :
“ As the two bears whom the first mover Aings

“ With a short turn about heaven's axletree,
“ In a round dance for ever wheeling be."

REED.

A roundell, rondill, or roundelay, is used to signify a song beginning or ending with the same sentence, redit in orbem.

Puttenham, in his Art of Poctry, 1589, has a chapter On the roundel, or sphere, and produces what he calls, A general resemblance of the roundel to God, the world, and the queen.

STEEVENS. A roundel; that is, as I suppose, a circular dance. Ben Jonson seems to call the rings which such dances are supposed to make in the grass, rondels. Vol. V. Tale of a Tub, p. 23.

« I'll have no rondels, 1, in the queen's paths."

TYRWHITT. 275. Then, for the third part of a minute, hence :] So the old copies. But the queen sets them work, that is, to keep them employed for the remainder of the night; the poet, undoubtedly, intended her 'to say, Dance your round, and sing your song, and then instantly (before the third part of a minute) begone to your respective duties.

THEOBALD. Dr. Warburton reads:

for the third part of the midnight. The persons employed are fairies, to whom the third part of a minute might not be a very short tinie to do such work in. The critick might as well have objected to the epithet tall, which the fairy bestows on the cowslip. But Shakspere, throughout the play, has preserved the proportion of other things in respect of these tiny beings, compared with whose size, a cowslip might be tall, and to whose powers of execution, a minute might be equivalent to an age.

STEEVENS. with rear-mice -] A rere-mouse is a bat, a mouse that rears from the ground by the aid of wings. So, in Albertus l'allenstein, 1640:

-doll
“ Half-spirited souls, wlio strive on rere-mice

wings.”
Again, in Ben Jonson's New-Inn :

-I keep no shades
“Nor shelters, I, for either owls or rere-mice."

STEEVENS.

277.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »