Page images


119. so flew'd. The flews of a hound are the large overhanging chaps. Warton quotes from Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, iii. (fol. 33 b, ed. 1603):

And shaggie Rugge with other twaine that had a Sire of Crete,
And Dam of Sparta : Tone of them callde Iolly-boy, a great

And large flewd hound.'
Ib. so sanded, of such a sandy colour.

120. Steevens quotes inaccurately from Heywood's Brazen Age [ii. 2, Works iii. p. 190]:

• The fierce Thessalian hounds
With their flagge eares, ready to sweep the dew

From the moist earth.' 121. dewlapp'd. See ii. 1. 50.

122. match'd in mouth like bells. Compare Markham's Country Contentments, p. 6: If you would have your Kennel for sweetness of cry, then you must compound it of some large dogs, that have deep solemn Mouths, and are swift in spending, which must as it were bear the base in the consort ; then a double number of roaring, and loud-ringing Mouthes, which must bear the counter-tenor; then some hollow plain sweet Mouths, which must bear the mean or middle part; and so with these three parts of Musick, you shall make your cry perfect.'

Ib. mouth, used of the bark of a dog. Compare Venus and Adonis, 695: • Then do they spend their mouths.' And i Henry VI, ii. 4. 12:

• Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth.' 130. I wonder of &c. We should now say 'I wonder at,' but as .at' marks the object of the wonder, so‘of' is used with that in respect of which the wonder is excited. Compare Timon of Athens, iïi. 4. 10: ‘I wonder on’t’; where ‘on't' = of it. So below, l. 135, 'of' = concerning.

131-132. to observe The rite of May. Compare i. 1. 167. The quartos and folios have 'right' for 'rite.' See note on The Tempest, iv. 1. 96 (Clar. Press. ed.). 133. in grace of, in honour of. Compare Hamlet, i. 2. 124:

• In grace whereof,
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day,

But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell.' Id. solemnity. See i. 1. 11. 140. Capell adds the stage-direction, 'He and the rest kneel to Theseus.'

144. To sleep &c. For the omission of as' after .so' see Abbott, § 281, As You Like It, ii. 3. 7, and The Merchant of Venice, iii. 3. 10.

145. amazedly, confusedly ; in a state of astonishment or confusion of mind. Compare the stage direction in The Tempest, v. 1. 215, and Winter's Tale, v. I. 187:

'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. 1, 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 sun.' 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. 115; • 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.' 152. Without, beyond the reach of. Compare The Tempest, v. I. 271:

. 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.'

153. you have enough, that is, you have enough evidence to convict him by his own confession.

159. their stealth, their stealing away. See iii. 2. 310. 162. fancy. See i. 1. 155.

163. I wot not, I know not. See iii. 2. 422. 'Wot' is properly a preterite (A. S. wát, from witan to know), and is used as a present, just as oida 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.'

165. 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.'

166. gawd. See i. 1. 33.
170. saw. So Steevens. The quartos and folios have 'see.'

171. like in sickness. Farmer's correction, adopted by Steevens. The quartos and folios have like a sickness.' I am not satisfied with this Teading, 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. 1. 33, and Coriolanus, ii. 1. 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 ? These words are in the quartos, but are omitted in the folios. The defective metre has been variously supplied.

195. Yea here is the answer to a question framed in the negative, con-trary 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 Do 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.' 207. a patched fool, a motley fool (As You Like It, ii. 7.13), 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 1 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. 107. 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.

14. 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.

17. 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. 16: How now, my hearts !'

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.

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 à représenter.' In Latin the construction would be represented by using the participle in -dus. Compare The Merchant of Venice, i. 1. 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. 1. 59:

“I am to break with thee of some affairs.' 28. right, exactly.

30. 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. 1. 28:

•Let him go, And presently prefer his to Caesar.'


Scene I.

[ocr errors]

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. 170:

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 cxxii. 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.
21. fear, cause or object of fear.
26. constancy, consistency, reality.

27. howsoever, nevertheless, in any case. So in Troilus and Cressida, iii. 3. 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. I10:

• 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. 1. 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 iv. 3. 31 :

• Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper.' Cotgrave has 'Regoubilloner. To make a reare supper, steale an after

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »