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Such phraseology was very common to many of our ancient writers. So, in An Humourous Day's Mirth, 1599 :
“ I do desire you of more acquaintance." Again, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621: - craving you of more acquaintance."
Steevens. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good master Cobweb; If I cut my finger 1 shall make bold with you.] In The Mayde's Metamorphosis, a comedy, by Lilly, there is a dialogue between some foresters and à troop of fairies, very similar to the present.
“ Mopso. I pray you, sir, what might I call you? “ i Fai. My name is Penny.
Mopso. I am sorry I cannot purse you. “ Frisco. I pray you, sir, what might I call you ? 's 2 Fai. My name is Cricket. " Fris. I would I were a chimney for your
sake." The Maid's Metamorphosis was not printed till 1600, but was probably written some years before.
MALONE. -mistress Squash, your mother,] A squasi is an immature peáscod. So, in Twelft Night, acti. “—as a squash is before 'tis a peascod.”
STEEVENS. 193. -patience] By patience is meant, standing still in a mustard pot to be eaten with the beef, on which it was a constant attendant. COLLINS. 203.
-my love's tongue--] The old copies. read :
-my lover's tongue
STEEVENS. 208. What night-rule- -) Night-rule in this place should seem to mean, what frolick of the night, what revelry is going forward ?
It appears, from the old song of Robin Goodfellow, in the third volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, that it was the office of this waggish spirit “ to viewe the night-sports."
STEEVENS. 212. patches, -] Puck calls the players,
a crew of patches.” A common opprobrious term, which probably took its rise from Patch, cardinal Wolsey's fool. In the western counties, cross-patch is still used for perverse, ill-natur'd fool. WARTON.
The name was rather taken from the patch'd or pyed coats worn by the fools or jesters of those times. So, in the Tempest :
“—what a py'd Ninny's this?" Again, in Preston's Cambyses :
“ Hob and Lob, ah ye country patches !" Again, in the Three Ladies of London, 1984 : “ It is simplicitie, that Patch." STEEVENS,
--nowle) A head. Saxon, JOHNSON, So, Chaucer, in The History of Beryx, 1524 : “No sothly, quoth the steward, it lieth all in thy
noll, “ Both wit and wysdom,” &c. Again, in the Three Ladies of London, 1584 : “ One thumps me on the neck, another strikes me on the role.”
-minnock-] This is the reading of the old quarto, and I believe right. Minnekin, now minx, is a nice trifling girl. Minnock is apparently a word of contempt.
JOHNSON. The folio reads mimmick ; perhaps for mimick, a word more familiar than that exhibited by one of the quartos, for the other reads, minnick.
mimick comes. The line has been explained as if it related to Thisbe, but it does not relate to her, bụt to Pyramus. Bottom had just been playing that part, and had retired into the brake. “ Anon his Thisbe must be answered, And forth my mimick (i. e, my actor) comes.” In this there seems no difficulty,
Mimick is used as synonymous to allor, by Decker, in his Guls's Hornebooke, 1609 : “ Draw what troope you can from the stage after you: the mimicks are beholden to you for allowing them elbow-room." Again, in his Satiromastix, 1602 : “ Thou [B. Jonson] hast forgot how thou amblest in a leather pilch by a play-waggon in the highway, and took'st mad Jeronymo's part, to get service amongst the mimicks.”
-sort,] Company. So above :
that barren sort;" and in Waller:
“ A sort of lusty shepherd's strive." JOHNSON. So, in Chapman's May-day, 1611 :
"-though we never lead
than a sort of quart pots."
STEEVENS. 228. And, at our stamp,-) This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies never represented stamping, or of a size that should give force to a stamp; nor could they have distinguished the stamps of Puck from those of their own companions. I read :
And at a stump here o'er and o'er one falls.
“ A pain he in his head-piece feels,
“ Alas, his brain is dizzy.-
" And through the bushes scrambles,
“ Among the briers and brambles." JOHNSON I adhere to the old reading. The stamp of a fairy might be efficacious though not loud ; neither is it necessary to suppose, when supernatural beings are spoken of, that the size of the agent determines the force of the action. That fairies stamped to some purpose, may be known from the following psssage in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus." Vero saltem adeo profundè in terram impresserant, ut locus
insigni ardore orbiculariter peresus, non parit arenti redivivum cespite gramen." Shakspere's own au. thority, however, is most decisive. See the conclu. sion of the first scene of the fourth act:
“ Come, my queen, take hand with me,
STEEVENS, Honest Reginald Scott, says “ Our grandams maides were wont to set a boll of milke before Incu. bus and his cousine Robin Good fellow, for grinding of malt or mustard, and sweeping the house at mid. night: and that he would chafe exceedingly, if the maid or good wife of the house, having compassion of his nakedness, laid aside clothes for him, besides his messe of white bread and milk, which was his standing fee. For in that case he saith ; What have we here? Hemton, hanıten, here will I never more tread nor stampen." Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1984,
REMARKS. 233. Some, sleeves; some, hats : -] There is the like image in Drayton of queen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin :
“ Some tore a ruff, and some e gown,
“ 'Gainst one another justling ;
“ There never was such bustling.” JOHNSON 239. -latch'd-] Or letch'd, lick'd over, lecher, to lick, French.