Page images

“I speak amazedly; and it becomes My marvel and my message.’ 146. Half sleep, half waking. Some editors regard ‘sleep’ and “waking’ as adjectives, and print the former ‘’sleep’ = asleep. Dr. Schmidt, in his Shakespeare Lexicon, p. 1419, col. I, gives this as an instance of the same termination applying to two words, so that ‘sleep and waking' = sleeping and waking. He quotes, as a possibly parallel case, Troilus and Cressida, V. 8. 7: “Even with the vail and darking of the sum.' In this case however “vail’ may be a substantive formed from a verb, of which there are may instances in Shakespeare. I am inclined to think that both ‘sleep’ and “waking' are here substantives, and are loosely connected with the verb ‘reply’; just as we find in Merry Wives of Windsor, iii. 2. 69, ‘He speaks holiday’; Twelfth Night, i. 5. II 5; ‘He speaks nothing but madman’; King John, ii. 1. 462, “He speaks plain cannon fire,’ and as the folios read in As You Like It, iii. 2. 226, ‘Speak sad brow and true maid.’ I52. Without, beyond the reach of. Compare The Tempest, v. 1. 27 I : ‘And deal in her command without her power’; that is, exercise the moon's influence to a greater extent than she has the power to use it. Dyce reads the sentence as incomplete, ‘Where we might, Without the peril of the Athenian law—’ The first quarto has only a comma at ‘law,” but we cannot lay much stress upon this. The second quarto and the folios read “where we might be,” but ‘where we might’ is simply ‘wheresoever we might.” I53. you have enough, that is, you have enough evidence to convict him by his own confession. I59. their stealth, their stealing away. See iii. 2. 310. H62. fancy. See i. F. I55. I63. I wot not, I know not. See iii. 2. 422. ‘Wot' is properly a preterite (A. S. wait, from witan to know), and is used as a present, just as oióa in Greek and novi in Latin. And not only is it used as a present in sense, but it is inflected like a present tense, for we find the third person singular ‘wots or ‘wotteth.’ I65. Melted as the snow. Pope, for the sake of the metre, read “Is melted as the snow'; Capell, ‘Melted as doth the snow.' Staunton conjectured, ‘All melted as the snow.’ I66. gawd. See i, I. 33. I70. Saw. So Steevans. The quartos and folios have ‘see.” I 71. like in sickness. Farmer's correction, adopted by Steevens. The quartos and folios have ‘like a sickness.’ I am not satisfied with this reading, and the repetition of ‘But' inclines me to suspect that there is a further corruption.

181. for, because. Compare Sonnet liv. 9 : “But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade.” Ib, worn, exhausted, consumed, wasted; used of time, as in v. I. 33, and Coriolanus, ii. I. 77: ‘You wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and a fosset-seller.’ 190, like a jewel, as one finds a jewel which does not belong to him. Warburton conjectured ‘gemell” (from Lat. gemellus, a twin, because Demetrius had that night acted two such different parts), which was not too absurd to be adopted by Theobald and commended by Johnson. Demetrius is not compared to a jewel, but the finding of him to the finding of a jewel. 191–192. Are you sure That we are awake 2 These words are in the quartos, but are omitted in the folios. The defective metre has been variously supplied. 195. Pea here is the answer to a question framed in the negative, contrary to the rule laid down by Sir Thomas More, according to which it should be ‘yes.” 199. The quartos have no stage direction. The folios give “Bottom wakes.’ 202. God’s my life. This exclamation is put into the mouth of Dogberry in Much Ado about Nothing, iv. 2.72 : “God’s my life, where’s the sexton?” 205. go about, endeavour. Compare Lucrece, 412: ‘Who, like a foul usurper, went about From this fair throne to heave the owner out.” 2O7. a patched fool, a motley fool (As You Like It, ii. 7. I 3), a pied ninny (The Tempest, iii. 2. 71); so called from the parti-coloured dress worn by jesters. See note on ‘patch," iii. 2. 9. 208. Douce has pointed out that this is Bottom's blundering version of I Corinthians ii. 9. 215. at her death; that is, at Thisbe's death : for though Thisbe is not mentioned, Bottom's head is full of the play. Theobald conjectured after death,’ which is certainly ingenious and may be right.

Scene II.

4. transported, transformed, transfigured ; in Starveling's language this is equivalent to “translated' in iii. i. Io's. Dr. Schmidt takes the word to be seriously used, in the sense of removed from this world to the next, killed (euphemistically), as in Measure for Measure, iv. 3. 72 :

“And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.”

5-6, it goes not forward, does not go on, take place. So in As You Like It, i. 2, 193: “We will make it our suit to the duke that the wrestling might not go forward.’ And Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. 4, 13: “But let our plot go forward.”

8. discharge. See i. 2.84. I4, a thing of naught. So the second and later folios. The quartos and first folio have “a thing of nought.' The two words “naught,' signifying worthlessness, good-for-nothingness, and ‘nought nothing, are etymologically the same, but the different senses they have acquired are distinguished in the spelling. I7. we had all been made men, our fortunes had all been made. Compare The Tempest, ii. 2. 31 : “There would this monster make a man; any strange beast there makes a man.’ And Twelfth Night, ii. 5. 168: “Go to, thou art made, if thou desirest to be so.” * 22. Sixpence a day. Steevens supposes that Shakespeare may allude to Some actor, who, like Preston the author of Cambyses, was pensioned for his abilities on the stage. Ib. in Pyramus, in the part of Pyramus. Compare Twelfth Night, i. 5. 168: ‘’Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man’; that is, he is in the condition of standing water. 23. where are these hearts? these good fellows. So in Twelfth Night, ii. 3. I6: “How now, my hearts 1’ 24. courageous. It is not worth while to guess what Quince intended to say. He used the first long word that occurred to him without reference to its meaning, a practice which is not yet altogether extinct. t 26. I am to discourse wonders. We should now say “I have to discourse,' a form of phrase corresponding with, if not borrowed from, the French idiom. Dr. Abbott (Shakespearian Grammar, § 405) quotes from Florio's translation of Montaigne, p. 3: ‘That ancient Painter who being to represent the griefe of the bystanders &c., where the original is “ayant a représenter.’ In Latin the construction would be represented by using the participle in -dus. Compare The Merchant of Venice, i. I. 5: “But how I caught it, found it, or came by it, What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born, I am to learn.” And Two Gentlemen of Verona, iii. I. 59: ‘I am to break with thee of some affairs.” 28. right, exactly. 3o, good strings to your beards, to tie the false beards on with. Steevens thought these strings were something ornamental, but there appears to be no ground for supposing this. 34. preferred, offered for acceptance; if Bottom’s words have a meaning, which is not always certain. Compare Julius Caesar, iii. I. 28 : ‘Let him go, And presently prefer his suit to Caesar.’

A C T V.
Scene I.

2. may, can. Compare The Merchant of Venice, i. 3. 7: ‘May you stead me?’ that is, can you assist me? 3. toys, trifles. Compare Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3. I 7o: ‘And critic Timon laugh at idle toys.” 4. such seething brains, such hot boiling brains, full of wild imaginations. Compare Winter's Tale, iii. 3. 64: ‘Would any but these boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt this weather?” Delius quotes from Macbeth, ii. I. 39 : ‘A false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain.” 5. that apprehend &c., that slightly catch at, as it were, or conceive the idea of more than reason can ever fully grasp or contain. 8. compact, formed, composed ; literally, fastened or knit together. Compare Venus and Adonis, 149: ‘Love is a spirit all compact of fire.’ And Psalm czXii. 3: ‘Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together.’ 11. a brow of Egypt, a swarthy brow, like a gipsy's. So in Othello, iii. 4. 56, ‘Egyptian' is used for gipsy: * That handkerchief Did an Egyptian to my mother give; She was a charmer, and could almost read The thoughts of people.’ 14. bodies forth, gives them a bodily existence. 2.I. fear, cause or object of fear. 26. constancy, consistency, reality. 27. howsoever, nevertheless, in any case. So in Troilus and Cressida, iii. . 297: “If tomorrow be a fair day, by eleven o’clock it will go one way or other: howsoever, he shall pay for me ere he has me.” Ib. admirable, to be wondered at. So ‘admired is used in Macbeth, iii. 4. I IO : ‘You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting, With most admired disorder.’ .* 30. More (joy) than to us &c. 31. Wait in, unnecessarily changed to ‘wait on ” by Rowe. See note on ii. I. 85. 34. our after supper, or rear-supper ; not the time after supper, as it is usually explained, but a banquet so called which was taken after the meal. So in Richard III, iv. 3. 3 I : ‘Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper.’ Cotgrave has ‘Regoubilloner. To make a reare supper, steale an after supper; banquet late anights.' And Palsgrave (Lesclaircissement de la langue Francoyse) gives “Rere supper—bancquet.’ 38. Philostrate, the master of the revels. See i. 1. II. So the quartos: the folios have “Egeus.’ Probably the same actor played both parts. 39. abridgement, an entertainment to make the time pass quickly. Used in Hamlet, ii. 2. 439, in a double sense, the entry of the players cutting short Hamlet’s talk: “For look, where my abridgement comes.’ Steevens quotes from Gawin Douglas's prologue to his translation of the fifth book of the Aeneid: ‘Ful mony myrry abaytmentis followis heir’; where “abaitment’ is clearly the same as the French “esbatement,” which Cotgrave defines “A sporting, playing, dallying, ieasting, recreation.’ 4I. the lazy time, which moves so slowly, and in which we are idle. 42. a brief, a short statement, containing the programme of the performance. Compare Antony and Cleopatra, v. 2. I 38: ‘This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels, I am possessed of.” Cotgrave (Fr. Dict.) has : ‘Bref. . . A breefe, note, short writing.” Ib. ripe, ready for representation. So the first quarto. The second quarto and folios read “rife, a mere misprint. 44. In the folios the reading from the brief is given to Lysander and the comments to Theseus. There is no such distinction in the quartos. Ib. The battle with the Centaurs. Told by Nestor in the twelfth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses. The version by Theseus was different, for Nestor purposely omitted all mention of Hercules. 48. The death of Orpheus is told by Ovid, Metamorphoses, xi. 52. The thrice three Muses, &c. Warton suggested ‘ that Shakespeare here, perhaps, alluded to Spenser's poem, entitled The Tears of the Muses, on the neglect and contempt of learning. This piece first appeared in quarto with others, I 591. It was supposed by Knight that the death of Greene may be here referred to, which took place in 1592. 54. critical, censorious; as Iago says of himself in Othello, ii. I. I2O: ‘For I am nothing, if not critical.’ 55. not sorting with, or agreeing with, not befitting. So 3 Henry VI, v. 5. 26: “His currish riddles sort not with this place.” 56. See note on i. 2. II. 59. Pope settled the difficulty in this line by omitting it altogether. Warburton read ‘a wondrous strange shew.’ Many other solutions have been proposed, none of them absolutely satisfactory; as ‘strange black snow' (Upton), “strong snow' (Mason), “seething snow’ (Collier MS.), “swarthy snow' (Staunton), “staining snow' (Nicholson), “sable snow.” (Elze), “windrestraining Snow’ (Wetherell), and finally Sir Philip Perring has suggested

« PreviousContinue »