Page images

Tita. Out of this wood do not desire to go;

Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit, of no common rate ;
The summer still doth tend upon my state,
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee;
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep:
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so,
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.—
Peas-blossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustard-seeda!

Enter PEAS-BLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD-SEED, and four Fairies. 1 Fai. Ready. 2 FAI.

And I. 3 FAI.

And I. 4 FAI.

And I. ALL.

Where shall we gob?
TITA. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;

Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes ;
Feed him with apricocks, and dewberries;
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And, for night-tapers, crop their waxen thighs,
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes 19,
To have my love to bed, and to arise ;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes :

Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies, 1 Far. Hail, mortal! 2 FAI. Hail ! 3 Fai. Hail ! 4 Far. Hail! Bot. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily.--I beseech your worship's name. COB. Cobweb. Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good master Cobweb: If I cut

my finger, I shall make bold with you.--Your name, honest gentleman ? • This line looks like a stage-direction in the quartos, and we find no trace of it in the folio, except as a portion of the stage-direction, thus:-"Enter Peas-blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed, and four Fairies." If the Fairies are separate persons from Peas-blossom and his fellows, we ought to restore the stage-direction, as we have done. But we believe that the Fairies are not separate persons, although it is scarcely necessary to disturb the customary arrangement.

Steevens omitted the " And I” of the fourth Fairy, and gave her the “Where shall we go?" Dewberries. This delicate wild-fruit is perfectly well known to all who have lived in the country; but one of the commentators tells us dewberries are gooseberries, and another raspberries.

[ocr errors]

Peas. Peas-blossom.
Bot. I pray you, commend me to mistress Squash, your mother, and to master

Peas-cod, your father. Good master Peas-blossom, I shall desire you of

more acquaintance too.—Your name, I beseech you, sir ? Mus. Mustard-seed. Bot. Good master Mustard-seed, I know your patience a well : that same

cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now.

I desire you more acquaintance, good master Mustard-seed. Tita. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.

The moon, methinks, looks with a watery eye ;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,

Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.


SCENE II.-Another part of the Wood.

OBE. I wonder, if Titania be awak'd;

Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.

Enter Puck.
Here comes my messenger.—How now, mad spirit?

What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.

Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene, and enter'd in a brake:
When I did him at this advantage take,

• The patience of the family of Mustard in being devoured by the ox-beef is one of those brief touches of wit, so common in Shakspere, which take him far out of the range of ordinary writers. But his critics love commonplace; and therefore Hanmer would read parentage, -- Farmer, passions,--and Mason, passing. Reed then solemnly pronounces “no change is necessary;* and so half a page of the variorum Shakspere is filled.

Night-rule-night-revel. The old spelling of reuel became rule ; and by this corruption we obtained, says Douce, “ the lord of mis-rule."

An ass's nowla I fixed on his head;
Anon, his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes: When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky;
So at his sight away his fellows fly:
And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls ;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong,
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some, sleeves; some, hats; from yielders all things catch.
I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there :
When in that moment (so it came to pass)

Titania wak'd, and straightway lov'd an ass.
OBE. This falls out better than I could devise.

But hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes

With the love-juice, as I bid thee do?
Puck. I took him sleeping,—that is finish'd too,

And the Athenian woman by his side ;
That when he wak'd of force she must be ey'd.


OBE. Stand close; this is the same Athenian.
Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man.
DEM. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so ?

Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
HER. Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse ;

For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day,
As he to me: Would he have stolen away

Noul-noll-head. • Mimic-actor. Mimmick is the reading of the folio; minnock, and min nick, are found in the quartos.

Latch'd—licked o'er, according to Hanmer. A correspondent suggests, and we agree with him, that the common meaning of fastened (i. e., by a charm) is more applicable. Oberon says, (p. 460, Act III., Scene 2)

" And then I will her charmed eye release."

From sleeping Hermia? I 'll believe as soon,
This whole earth may be bor'd; and that the moon
May through the centre creep, and so displease
Her brother's noontide with the Antipodes.
It cannot be, but thou hast murder'd him ;

So should a murderer look; so dead, so grim.
Dem. So should the murder'd look; and so should I,

Pierc'd through the heart with your stern cruelty :
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,

As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
HER. What 's this to my Lysander? where is he?

Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me ?
Dem. I'd rather give his carcase to my hounds.
HER. Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv'st me past the bounds

Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him then ?
Henceforth be never number'd among men!
Oh, once tell true, tell true a, even for my sake ;
Durst thou have look'd upon him, being awake,
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O, brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue

Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
Dem. You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood :

I am not guilty of Lysander's blood;

Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
HER. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
Dem. An if I could, what should I get therefore ?
HER. A privilege never to see me more.-

And from thy hated presence part I sob:

See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein :

Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.
So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrout sleep doth sorrow owe ;
Which now, in some slight measure, it will pay,

If for his tender here I make some stay.
OBE. What hast thou done ? thou hast mistaken quite,

And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight :
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
Some true-love turn'd, and not a false turn'd true.


[Lies down.

• The repetition of tell true is only found in Fisher's quarto.
In the original copies the text stands thus:-

" And from thy hated presence part I: See me no more

Whether he be dead or no."

Puck. Then fate o'er-rules; that one man holding troth,

A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
OBE. About the wood go swifter than the wind,

And Helena of Athens look thou find :
All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer a
With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear.
By some illusion see thou bring her here;

I 'll charm his eyes against she doth appear.
Puck. I go, I go; look, how I go;

Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.
OBE. Flower of this purple die,

Hit with Cupid's archery,
Sink in apple of his eye!
When his love he doth espy
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
When thou wak'st, if she be by
Beg of her for remedy.


Re-enter Puck.

Puck. Captain of our fairy band,

Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee;
Shall we their fond pageant see?

Lord, what fools these mortals be!
OBE. Stand aside : the noise they make

Will cause Demetrius to awake.
Puck. Then will two at once woo one-

That must needs be sport aloneb;
And those things do best please me,
That befall preposterously.


Lys. Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?

Scorn and derision never come in tears.
Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,

In their nativity all truth appears.
How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?

Cheer-face. From the old French chère.

Sport alone-sport entirely-pure sport.

« PreviousContinue »