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fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from the fairy's care to water them. Thus Drayton:
They in their courses make that round,
Of them so called the fairy ground. JOHNSON. Thus in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus similes illis spectris, quæ in multis locis, præsertim nocturno tempore, suum, saltatorium orbem cum omnium musarum concentu versare solent.” It appears from the same author, that these dancers always parched up the grass, and therefore it is properly made the office of Puck to refresh it. STEEVENS.
The cowslip was a favourite among the fairies. There is a hint in Drayton of their attention to May morning :
-For the queen a fitting tow'r,
JOHNSON. 11. In their gold coats spots you see ;] Shakspere, in Cymbeline, refers to the same red spots :
“ A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops " I'th' bottom of a cowslip.”
PERCY. Perhaps there is likewise some allusion to the habit of a pensioner. See a note on the second act of the Merry Wives of Windsor.
STEEVENS. 15. And hang a pearl in every cou'slip's ear.] The same thought occurs in an old comedy callid The
Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600 ; i. e. the same year
Steevens. 16.-lob of spirits,] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body, and dulness of mind.
* Should find Esau such a lout or a lob:”
Steevens. 23.-changeling :) i.e. A child got in exchange. A Fairy is now speaking.
REMARKS. So Spenser, B. I. c. 10.
And her base elfin brood there for thee left, “ Such men do changelings call, so callid by fairy theft.
STEEVENS. 29. --Sheen,] Shining, bright, gay. JOHNSON. $o, in Tancred and Guismund, 1592;
“ Doth Phæbus' sister sheen despise thy power ?” Again, in the ancient romance of Syr Tryamourly bl. let, no date :
“ He kyssed and toke his leve of the quene,
Steevens. 30. But they do square ;
-] To square
here is to quarrel. The French word contrecarrer has the same import.
JOHNSON. So, in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601 :
let me not seem rude 6 That thus I seem to square
with modesty. -pray let' me go, for he'll begin to square,”
“ Marry she knew you and I were at square,
STEEVENS. It is somewhat whimsical, that the glaziers use the words
square and quarrel as synonymous terms, for a pane of glass.
BLACKSTONE. 34. -Robin Goodfellow: -] This account of Robin Goodfellow corresponds, in every article, with that given of him in Harsenet's Declaration, ch. xx. p. 135: “ And if that the bowle of curd's and creame were not duly set out for Robin Goodfellow, the frier, and Sisse the dairy-maid, why then either the pottage was burnt to next day in the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter would not
come, or the ale in the fat never would have got
Saint Francis and Saint Benedight
WARȚON. Reginald Scot gives the same account of this frolicksome spirit, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, Lond. 1588. 4to. p. 66. “ Your grandames, maids, were wont to set a bowl of milk for him, for his pains in grinding of malt and mustard, and sweeping the house at midnightthis white bread and bread and milk, was his standing fee.” Steevens,
36. Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern,-] A Quern is a hand-mili, kuerna, mola. Islandic. So in Stanyhurst's translation of the first book of Virgila 1582, quern-stones are mill-stones : “ Theyre corne in quern-stoans they do grind,"
&c. Again, in The More the Merrier, a collection of epi. grams,
1608: “ Which like a querne can grind more in an hour." Çiij
Again, in the old Song of Robin Goodfellow, printed
“ I grind at mill,
no barm ; ] Barme is a name for yeast, yet used in our midland counties, and universally in Ire: land.
STEEVENS. 40. Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work. -] To those tradition, ary opinions Milton has reference in L'Allegro:
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
Then liés him down the lubber fiend.
He meeteth Puck, which most men call