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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 ; 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 you, 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 sball be dogg’d with company, and

[9] Study is still the cant term used in a theatre for getting any nonsense by rote. Hamlet asks the player if be cap “ study a speech.” STEEVENS.

[1] An means as if. So, in Troilus and Cressida :-“ He will weep you, an 'were a man born in April." STEEVENS.

[2] Here Bottom again discovers a true genius for the stage by his solicitude for propriety of dress, and his deliberation which beard to choose among many beards, all unnatural. JOHNSON.

our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bil 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."



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

door, and Puck at another.

Puck. HOW now, spirit! whither wander


? 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, i. e. their arms unserviceable. Hence when one would give another absolute assurance of meeting him, he would say proverbially-hold, or cut bow-strings-i. e. whether the bow-string held or broke. For cut is used as a neuter, like the verb fret. As when we say, the string frets, the silk frets, for the passive, it is cut, or fretted. 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 known that while bows were in use, no archer ever entered the field without a supply of strings in his pocket; whence originated the proverb, to have two strings to one's bom. STEEVENS.

To meet, whether bow-strings hold or are cut, is to meet in all events. To cut the bowstring, when bows were in use, was probably a common practice of those 'who bore enmity to the archer. “He hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's bowstring, (says Don Pedro in Much Ado about Nothing,) and the little hangman dare not shoot at him." MALONE

[4] The orbs here mentioned are circles supposed to be made by the fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from the fairies' 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. [5] This was said in consequence of Queen Elizabeth's fashionable establishment of a band of military courtiers, by the name of pensioners. They were some of the handsomest and tallest young men, of the best families and fortune, that could

In their gold coats spots you sée ;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours :
I must go seek some dew-drops here,

And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits, i'll be gone ;)
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night;
Take heed, the queen come not within his sight.
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A lovely boy, stol’n from an Indian king ;
She never had so sweet a changeling :8
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild :
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy :
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled star-light sheen,
But they do square ;' that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there.

Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Callid Robin Good-fellow :' are you not he,

be found. Hence, says Mrs Quickly, in The Merry Wives, "--and yet there has been earls, nay, which is more, pensioners." They gave the modes of dress and diversions.-They accompanied the Queen in her progress to Cambridge, where they held staff-torches at a play on Sunday evening, in King's College Chapel.

T. WARTON. (6) Shakspeare, in Cymbeline, refers to the same red spots :

" A mole cinque-spotied like the crimson drops

l' the bottom of u cowslip." PERCY. [7] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body and dulness of mind. JOHNSON.

(8] Changeling is commonly used for the child supposed to be left by the fairies, but here for a child taken away. JOHNSON.

It is here properly used, and in its common acceptation ; i. e. for a child got in exchange. A fairy is now speaking. RITSON.

[9] Sheen, shining, bright, gay. To square here is to quarrel. The French word contrecarrer has the same meaning: JOHNSON

It is somewhat whimsical, that the glasiers use the words square and quarrel as synonymous terms for a pane of glass. BLACKSTONE.

[1] This account of Robin Good-fellow corresponds, in every article, with that given of him in Harsenet's Declaration, ch. xx. p. 143. " And if that the bowle of curds and creame were not duly set out for Robin Good-fellow, the frier, and Sisse, the dairy-maid, why then either the pottage was burst to next day in the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter would not come, or the ale in the fat never would have good head. But if a Peeter-penny, or an housle-eege were behind, or

That fright the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk ; and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless house wife churn ;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm ;'
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck :
Are not you he?

Puck. Thou speak'st aright;'
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal :
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab ;6
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor cries, and falls into a cough;?
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe ;

a patch of tythe uopaid,--theo 'ware of bull-beggars, spirits,” &c. He is mentioned by Cartwrigbt as a spirit particularly fond of disconcerting and disturbing domestic peace and economy. T. WARTON.

[2) A Quern is a hand-mill, kuerda, mola, Islandic. STEEVENS.

lai Barme is a name for yeast, yet used in our midland counties, and universally in Ireland, STEEVENS. [4] To those traditionary opinions Milton has reference in L'Allegro: and a like

, that shall compare Drayton's poem with this play, that either one of the poets copied the other, or, as rather believe, that there was then some system of the fairy empire generally received, which they both represented as accurately as they could. Whether Drayton or Shakespeare wrote first, I cannot discover.

JOHNSON - sweet Puck]-The epithet is by no means superfluous ; as Puck alone was far from being an endearing appellation. It signified nothing better than fiend or devil. It seems to have been an old Gothic word. Puke, puken; Sathanas, Gudm. And. Lericon Island. TYRWHITT.

[5] It seems that in the fairy mythology, Puck, or Hobgoblin, was the servant of Oberon, and always employed to watch or detect the intrigues of Queen Mab, called by Shakespeare, Titania. For in Drayton's Nymphidia, the same fairies are engaged in the same business. Mab has an amour with Pigwiggin; Oberon beîng jealous, sends Hobgoblin to catch them, and one of Mab's nymphs opposes him by a spell. JOHNSON (6) i. e.

name. EEVENS. The custom of crying tailor at a sudden fall backwards, I think I remember to have observed. He that slips beside his chair falls as a tailor squats on his board. JOHNSON

And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
-But room, Faery, here comes Oberon.
Fai. And here my mistress :—'Would that he were

gone !


Enter OBERON, at one door, with his train, and TITANIA,

at another, with her's. Ob. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania.

Tita. What, jealous Oberon ?-Fairy, skip hence ; I have forsworn his bed and company.

Ob. Tarry, rash wanton ; Am not I thy lord ?

Tita. Then I must be thy lady: But I know
When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn,' and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India ?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded ; and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Ob. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night

[8] The word Fairy, or Faery, was sometimes of three syllables, as often in Spenser. JOHNSON

As to the Fairy Queen, (says Mr. Warton, in his Observations on Spenser,) considered apart from the race of fairies, Chaucer, in his Rime of Sir Tropas, mentions her, together with a Fairy land. Again, in the The iVif of Batnes Tale, v. 6439 :

“ In old days of the king Artour,
" of which that Bretons spoken gret honour;
"All was this lond fulfilled of faerie;
“ The Elf-quene, with hire joly compagnie
“ Danced ful oft in many a grene mede:

This was the old opinion as I rede." STEEVENS. (1) Richard Brathwaite, (Strappado for the Devil, 1615,) has a poem addressed “To the queen of harvest, &c. much honoured by the reed, corn-pipe, and whistle :" and it must be remembered, that the shepherd boys of Chaucer's time, bad

...many a floite and litling horne, “ And pipés made of greene corné." RITSON. [2] The glimmering night is the night faintly illuminated with stars.


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