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And in the Romance of Richard Coer de Lion, 4326 (printed in Weber's Metrical Romances, vol. ii):

‘He is no man he is a pouke.’

The Icelandic piłki is the same word, and in Friesland the kobold or domestic spirit is called Puk. In Devonshire, pixy is the name for a fairy, and in Worcestershire we are told that the peasants are sometimes poake ledden, that is, misled by a mischievous spirit called Poake. “Pouk-laden' is also given in Hartshorne's Shropshire Glossary. Keightley was of opinion that Shakespeare was the first to confound Puck with the house-spirit or Robin Goodfellow, but it is evident that in popular belief the same mischief-loving qualities which belong to Puck were attributed to Robin Goodfellow long before the time of Shakespeare. Tyndale, in his Obedience of a Christian Man (Parker Soc. ed. p. 321) says, “The pope is kin to Robin Goodfellow, which sweepeth the house, washeth the dishes, and purgeth all, by night; but when day cometh, there is nothing found clean.” And again, in his Exposition of the Ist Epistle of St. John (Parker Soc. ed. p. 139), “By reason whereof the scripture . . . is become a maze unto them, in which they wander as in a mist, or (as we say) led by Robin Goodfellow, that they cannot come to the right way, no, though they turn their caps.’ The great source of information with regard to popular beliefs in fairies and spirits is Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, first published in 1584. Of Robin Goodfellow he says (Book iv. ch. Io), ‘In deede your grandams maides were woont to set a boll of milke before him (Incubus) and his cousine Robin good-fellow, for grinding of malt or mustard, and sweeping the house at midnight: and you haue also heard that he would chafe exceedingly, if the maid or good-wife of the house, hauing compassion of his nakednes, laid anie clothes for him, beesides his messe of white bread and milke, which was his standing fee. For in that case he saith; What haue we here 2 Hemton hamten, here will I neuer more tread nor Stampen.” Again (Bk. vii. ch. I 5), ‘It is a common


saieing; A lion feareth no bugs. But in our childhood our mothers maids haue so terrified vs with an ouglie diuell hauing hornes on his head, fier in his mouth, and a taile in his breech, eies like a bason, fanges like a dog, clawes like a beare, a skin like a Niger, and a voice roring like a lion, whereby we start and are afraid when we heare one crie Bough : and they haue SO fraied us with bull beggers, spirits, witches, vrchens, elues, hags, fairies, satyrs, pans, faunes, Sylens, kit with the canSticke, tritons, centaurs, dwarfes, giants, imps, calcars, coniurors, nymphes, changlings, Incubus, Robin good-fellowe, the spoorne, the mare, the man in the Oke, the hell waine, the fierdrake, the puckle, Tom thombe, hob gobblin, Tom tumbler, boneles, and such other bugs, that we are afraid of our owne shadowes: in so much as some neuer feare the diuell, but in a darke night; and then a polled sheepe is a perillous beast, and manie times is taken for our fathers soule, speciallie in a churchyard, where a right hardie man heretofore scant durst passe by night, but his haire would stand vpright.’ See also in the same book A Discourse vpon diuels and spirits, c. 21. Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy (Part I. Sec. 2. Mem. I. Subs. 2) discusses the nature of spirits, and among other points the important question whether they are mortal. One of his divisions is as follows: “Terrestrial devils are those lares, genii, faunes, satyrs, wood-nymphs, foliots, fairies, Robin Goodfellows, Trulli, &c., which as they are most conversant with men, SO they do them most harm . . . Some put our fairies into this rank, which have been in former time adored with much Superstition, with sweeping their houses, and setting of a pail of clean water, good victuals, and the like; and then they should not be pinched, but find money in their shoes, and be fortunate in their enterprises. These are they that dance on heaths and greens, as Lavater thinks with Trithemius, and as Olaus Magnus adds, leave that green circle, which we commonly find in plain fields, which others hold to proceed from a meteor falling, or some accidental rankness of the ground; So nature sports herself . . . . Paracelsus reckons up many places in Germany, where they do usually walk in little coats, some two foot long. A bigger kind there is of them, called with us hobgoblins, and Robin Goodfellows, that would, in those superstitious times, grind corn for a mess of milk, cut wood, or do any manner of drudgery work . . . And so likewise those which Mizaldus calls Ambulones, that walk about midnight on great heaths and desert places, which (saith Lavater) draw men out of the way, and lead them all night a by-way, or quite bar them of their way. These have several names in several places; we commonly call them pucks.” To the same effect writes Harsnet in his Declaration of Popish Imposture (p. 134), a book quoted in the Notes to King Lear: “And if that the bowle of curds, & creame were not duly set out for Robin good-fellow the Frier, & Sisse the dairy-maide, to meete at hinch pinch, and laugh not, when the good wife was a bed, why then, either the pottage was burnt to next day in the pot, or the cheese would not curdle, or the butter would not come, or the ale in the fat would neuer haue good head.” The ‘walking fire' in Lear, which Edgar takes for the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet is but one of the forms in which Robin appears. In the black-letter ballad of The Merry Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, which is reprinted by Mr. Halliwell (Phillipps) in his Introduction to a Midsummer Night's Dream, is the following stanza (p. 36): “Sometimes he’d counterfeit a voyce, And travellers call astray, Sometimes a walking fire he'd be, And lead them from their way.” Another ballad, printed in Percy's Reliques (vol. iii. book 2), which relates ‘The Merry Pranks of Robin Goodfellow,' may be consulted by those who wish to pursue the subject further. See also Drayton, Nymphidia, 282 &c., Milton, L’Allegro, Ioo—I 14, and an essay by Mr. Thoms on the Folklore of Shakespeare. It has been suggested that the device employed by Oberon to enchant Titania, by anointing her eyelids with the juice of a flower, may have been borrowed by Shakespeare from the Spanish Romance of Diana by George of Montemayor. But apart from the difficulty which arises from the fact that no English translation of this romance is known before that published by Yong in 1598, there is no necessity to suppose that Shakespeare was indebted to any one for what must have been a familiar element in all incantations at a time when a belief in witchcraft was common. Percy (Reliques, vol. iii. book 2, end) quotes a receipt by the celebrated astrologer Dr. Dee for “An unguent to annoynt under the Eyelids, and upon the Eyelids eveninge and morninge: but especially when you call,” that is, upon the fairies. It consisted of a decoction of various flowers. Dr. Farmer observed to Malone that in the lines spoken by Pyramus ‘Approach, ye furies fell,’ &c., and in those of Thisbe's Speech, “O sisters three, Come, come to me, With hands as pale as milk,” Shakespeare intended to ridicule a passage in Damon and Pythias, by Richard Edwards, 1582: ‘Ye furies, all at once On me your torments trie . . . Gripe me, you greedy griefs, And present pangues of death, You sisters three, with cruel handes With speed come stop my breath !’

Certainly both in this play and in the tragical comedy of Appius and Virginia, printed in 1575, may be found doggrel no better than that which he puts into the mouth of Bottom. See for example the speech of Judge Appius to Claudius, beginning,

‘The furies fell of Limbo lake My princely days do short, &c.’ It is also worth while to notice that the song quoted in Romeo and Juliet, iv. 5. 128, “When griping grief the heart doth wound &c.,’ is by the author of Damon and Pythias,

In Mr. Collier's Annals of the Stage (ii. 30–36) is related a curious story of a charge made against the Bishop of Lincoln by one John Spencer for having had a play performed in his house in London on Sunday, September 27, 1631. From what follows it appears that the play in question was A Midsummer Night's Dream, but there is evidently something wrong about the story, for the 27th of September in the year 1631 was on a Tuesday. Taking it however for what it is worth, the document from which Mr. Collier quotes, which purports to be an order of the Archbishop’s Court, decrees, * that Mr. Wilson, because he was a speciall plotter and contriver of this business, and did in such a brutishe manner acte the same with an Asses head, and therefore hee shall, upport Tuisday next, from 6 of the clocke in the morning till six of the clocke at night, sitt in the Porters Lodge at my Lords Bishopps House, with his feete in the stocks, and attyred with his asse head, and a bottle of hay sett before him, and this Subscription on his breast:

* Good people I have played the beast,
And brought ill things to passe:
I was a man, but thus have made
My selfe a silly Asse.’

After the Restoration we find in 1661 a play called The Merry conceited Humors of Bottom the Weaver, in which Theseus and his court are left out altogether, and nothing remains but the fairies and the clowns. It had perhaps been played privately after the suppression of the theatres. On the 29th of September 1662, Mr. Pepys having endured a period of abstinence from drink and play-going, in accordance with a vow which came to an end on that day, rewarded his constancy by going to the King's Theatre, where, he says, ‘we saw “Midsummer's Night's Dream,” which I had never Seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.” Mr. Pepys was perhaps a little difficult to please, and his critical judgement was not final. The Tempest is the most innocent play he

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