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From Perignia, whom he ravished ?3
And make him with fair Æglé break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa?

Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's spring,"
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs ; which falling in the land,
Have every pelting riverò made so proud,
That they have over-borne their continents ::
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard :
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock ; 94

[3] Thus all the editors; but our author who diligently perused Plutarch, and gleaned froin him, where bis subject would admit, knew, from the life of Theseus, that her name was Perygine, (or Perigune,) by whom Theseus had his son Menalippus. She was the daughter of Sinnis, a cruel robber, and tormenter of passengers in the Isthmus. Plutarcb and Athenæus are both express in the circumstance of Theseus' ravishing her. THEOBALD.

Ægle, Ariadne, and Antiopa, were all at different times mistresses to Theseus. See Plutarch.

Theobald cannot be blamed for his emendation; and yet it is well known that our ancient authors, as well as the French and the Italians, were not scrupulously nice about proper names, but almost always corrupted them.

STEEVENS. [1] By the middle summer's spring our auther seems to mean the beginning of middle or mid summer. Spring, for beginning, he uses again in King Henry IV. Part II.

"As flaws congealed in the spring of day :”. which expression has authority from the scripture, St. Luke, i. 78 ; " whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us." STEEVENS. (5] A fountain laid round the edge with stone.

JOHNSON The epithet seems here intended to mean no more than that the beds of these fountains were covered with pebbles, in opposition to those of the rusby brooks which are nozy.

HENLEY. [6] Thus the quartos : the folio reads, petty. Shakespeare has in Lear the same word, low pelting farms. The meaning is plainly, despicable, mean, sorry, wretched; but as it is a word without any reasonable etymology, I should be glad to dismiss it for petty: yet it is undoubtedly, right. We have " petty pelting officer" in Measure for Measure. JOHNSON (7) Borde down the banks that contained them. So, in Lear:

-close pent up guilts,
“ Rive your concealing continents."

JOHNSON. [8] The murrain is tbe plague cattle. STREVENS.

The nine-men's morris is fill'd up with mud ;o
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,'
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable :
The human mortals want their winter here ; e
No night is now with hymn or carol blest :-
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound :3
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose ;
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set :' The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries ; and the 'mazed world,

D

(9). In that part of Warwickshire where Shakespeare was educated, and the neighbouring parts of Northamptonshire, the shepherds and other boys dig up the turf with their knives to represent a sort of imperfect chess-board. It consists of a square, sometimes only a foot diameter, sometimes 3 or 4 yards. Within this is another, every side of which is a parallel to the external square; and these squares are joined by lines drawn from each corner of both squares, and the middle of each line. One party, or player, has wooden pegs, the other stones, which they move in such a manner as to take up each other's men as they are called, and the area of the inner square is called the pound, in which the men taken up are im. pounded. These figures are by the country people called Nine Men's Morris, or Merrils ; and are so called, because each party bas nine men. These figures are always cut upon the green turf or leys, as they are called, or upon the grass at the end of ploughed lands, and in rainy seasons never fail to be choaked up with mud.

JAMES. !!! This alludes to a sport still followed by boys; i. e. what is now called running the figure of eight. STEEVENS.

12] The confusion of seasons bere described, is no more than a poetical account of the weather, which happened in England about the time when this play was first published. For this information I am indebted to chance, which furnished me with a few leaves of an old meteorological history. STEEVENS.

[3] Rheumatic diseases signified in Shakespeare's time, not what we now call rheumatism, but distillations from the head, catarrhs, &c. MALONE.

(4) i. e. this perturbation of the elements. STEEVENS. By distemperature, I imagine is meant, in this place, the perturbed state in which the king and queen had lived for some time past.

MALONE.
[5] This singular image was, I believe, suggested to our poet by Golding's
translation of Ovid, Book II:

“ And lastly, quaking for the colde, stood Winter all forlorne,
" With rugged head as white as dove, and garments all to torne,
“ Forladen with isycles, that dangled up and downe

Upon his gray and hoarie beard, and snowie frozen crown." MAL. [6] The childing autumn is the pregnant autumn, frugifer autumnus. STE.

Childing is an old term of botany, when a small power grows out of a large one; “the childing autumn," therefore means the autumn which unseasonably produces flowers on those of summer. Florists have also a childing daisy, and a childing scabious. HOLT WHITE.

By their increase, now knows not which is which :
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissention ;
We are the parents and original.

Ob. Do you amend it then ; it lies in you:
Why should Titania cross her Oberon ?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.s

Tita. Set your heart at rest,
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot’ress of my order :
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side ;
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood ;
When we have laugh’d to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,
(Following her womb, then rich with my young 'squire,)
Would imitate ; and sail upon the land
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die ;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy:
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.

06. How long within this wood intend you stay?

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round,
And see our moon-light revels,

with us ; If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts. Ob. Give me that boy, and I will go

with thee. Tita. Not for thy kingdom.--Fairies, away : We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.

[Exe. Tita, and her Train. 06. Well, go thy way : thou shalt not from this grove, Till I torment thee for this injury.

go

(?) i. e. By their produce. JOHNS. -The expression is scriptural : “ Then shall the earth bring forth her increase, anu God, even our God, shall give us his blessing.” Psalm Ixvii. MALONE. (8) Page of honour. This office was abolished by queen Elizabeth.

Y. Upon the establishment of the household of Edward IV. were henrmen six enfants, or more, as it pleyseth the king, eatinge in the hulle, kc. There was also a maister of the henomen, to shenve them the schoole of nurture, and learnt them to Tide, to wear their harnesse ; to have all curtesie--to teach them all languages, and other virtues, as harping, pipynge, singing, dauncing, with honest behavioure of temperauace and patyence." Ms. Harl. 293. TYRWHITT. Vol. III.

B

-My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.?

[9]

-thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back,
Ultering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,

To hear the sea-maid's music.] The first thing observable on these words is, that this action of the mermaid is laid in the same time and place with Cupid's attack upon the vestal. By the vestal every one knows is meant Queen Elizabeth. It is very natural and reasonable then to think, that the mermaid stands for some eminent personage of her time. And if so, the allegorical covering, in which there is a mixture of satire and panegyric, will lead us to conclude, that this person was one of whom it had been inconvenient for the author to speak openly, either in praise or dispraise. All this agrees with Mary queen of Scots, and with no other. 'Queen Elizabeth could not bear to hear her commended; and her successor would not forgive her satyrist. But the poet has so well marked out every distinguishing circumstance of her life and character in this beautiful allegory, as will leave no room to doubt about his secret meaning. She is called, mermaid, 1. to denote her reign over a kingdom situate in the sea, and 2. her beauty, and intemperate lust :

-Ut turpiter atrum “ Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne. For as Elizabeth for her chastity is called a vestal, this unfortunate lady on a contrary account is called a mermaid. 3. An ancient story may be supposed to be here alluded to. The emperor Julian tells us, Epis. 41, that the Syrens (which, with all the modern poets, are mermaids) contended for precedency with the Muses, who, overcoming them, took away their wings. The quarrels between Mary and Elizabeth bad the same cause, and the same issue.

ona dolphin's back,] This evidently marks out that distinguishing cir. cumstance of Mary's fortune, her marriage with the dauphin of France, son of Henry II.

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,] This alludes to her great abilities of genius and learning, which rendered her the most accomplished princess of her age. The French writers tell us, that, while she was iu that court, she pronounced a Latin oration in the great hall of the Louvre, with so much grace and eloquence, as filled the whole court with admiration.

That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;] By the rude sea is meant Scotland encircled with the ocean; which rose up in arms against the regent, while she was in France. But her return home presently quieted those disorders; and had not her strange ill conduct afterwards more violently inflamed them, she might have passed her whole life in peace. There is the greater beauty in this image, as the vulgar opinion is, that the mermaid always sings in storms.

And certain stars shot madly from their spheres

To hear the sea-maid's music.). This concludes the description, with that remarkable circumstance of this unhappy lady's fate, the destruction she brought upon several of the English pobility, whom she drew in to support her cause. Tibis, in the boldest expression of the sublime, the poet images by certain stars shooting madly from their spheres : By which be meant the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, who fell in her quarrel; and principally the great duke of

Puck. I remember.
Ob. That very time I saw, (but thou couldst not)
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west ;
And loos’d his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon;
And the imperial vot’ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.'
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell :

Norfolk, whose projected marriage with her was attended with such fatal consequences. Here again the reader may observe a peculiar justness in the imagery. The vulgar opinion being that the mermaid allured men to destruction by her songs. To which opinion Shakespeare alludes in his Comedy of Errors:

“O train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,

To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears." On the whole, it is the noblest and justest allegory that was ever written. The laying it in fairy land, and out of nature, is in the character of the speaker. And on these occasions Shakespeare always excels himself. He is borne away by the magic of his enthusiasm, and hurries his reader along with him into these ancient regions of poetry, by that power of verse, which we may well fancy to be like what,

-Olim fauoi vatesque carebant." WARBURTON. Every rearier may be induced to wish that the foregoing allusion, pointed out by 20 acute a critic as Dr. Warburton, should remain uncontroverted; and yet I cannot dissemble my doubts concerning it.--Why is the thrice-married Queen of Scotland styled a Sea-maid ? and is it probable that Shakespeare (who understood his own political as well as poetical interest) should have ventured such a panegyric on this ill-fated Princess, during the reign of ber riva! Elizabeth ? If it was unintelligible to his audience, it was thrown away; if obvious, there was danger of offence to ber Majesty.

“ A star dis-orb'd,” however, (See Troilus and Cressida,) is one of our author's favourite images : and he has no where else so happily expressed it as in Antony and Cleopatra :

-the good stars that were my former guides, Have empty left their orbs, and shot their fires

“ Into th' abysm of bell." To these remarks may be added others of a like tendency, which I met with in The Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786.-" That a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in the expression of the fair Vestal throned in the West, seems to be generally allowed; but how far Shakespeare designed, under the image of the Mermaid, to figure Mary Queen of Scots, is more doubtful. If by the rude sea grewv civil at her song, is meant, as Dr. Warburton supposes, that the tumults of Scotland were appeased by her address, the observation is not true; for that sea was in a storm during the whole of Mary's reign. Neither is the figure just, if by the stars shooting madlyfrom their spheres to hear the sea-maid's music, the poet alluded to the fate of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, and particularly of the Duke of Norfolk, wh projected rriage with Mary was the occasion of his ruin. It would have been absurd and irreconcileable to the good sense of the poet, to have represented a pobleman aspiring to marry a Queen, by the image of a star shooting or descending from its sphere." STEEVENS.

(!) i e. exempt from the power of love. STEEVENS.

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