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And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild :
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her

joy :
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But they do square;a that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there.
Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making

quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Call’d Robin Goodfellow; are you not he,
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern ;
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm ;o
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck :
Are not you

he? Puck. Thou speak’st aright; I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon, and make him smile, When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likeness of a filly foal : And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl, In very likeness of a roasted crab; And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob, And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale. The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale, Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; Then slip I from her bum, down topples she, And “ Tailor” cries, and falls into a cough; And then the whole quire hold their hips and loffe, a Square--to quarrel.

b Quern-a handmill. . Barm-yeast.

And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, Fairy, here comes Oberon.
Fai. And here my mistress :—Would that he were

gone! SCENE II.-Enter OBERON, on one side, with his

train, and TITANIA, on the other, with hers. Obe. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence; I have forsworn his bed and company.

Obe. Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord ?

Tita. Then I must be thy lady: But I know
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India ?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded; and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished ?
And make him with fair Æglé break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa ?

Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy :
And never, since the middle summer's spring, a
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,

a Middle summer's spring. The spring is the beginning.--as the spring of the day, a common expression in our early writers. The middle summer is the midsummer.

b Paved fountain-a fountain, or clear stream, rushing over pebbles ; certainly not an artificially paved fountain.

Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Therefore, the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Have every pelting a river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents :b
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard :
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine men's morris is fill’d up with mud ;C
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable;
The human mortalsd want; their winter here, e
No night is now with hymn or carol bless'd :-
Therefore, the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound :
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,

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a Pelting-petty, contemptible. b Continents-banks. A continent is that which contains. • Upon the green turf of their commons the shepherds and ploughmen of England were wont to cut a rude series of lines, upon which they arranged eighteen stones, divided between two players, who moved them alternately, as at chess or draughts, till the game was finished by one of the players having all his pieces taken or impounded. This was the nine men's morris.

d Human mortals. Chapman, in his 'Homer,' has an inversion of the phrase "mortal humans.

The human mortals want. Their winter is here-is comealthough the season is the latter summer, or autumn; and in consequence the hymns and carols which gladdened the nights of a seasonable winter are wanting to this premature one.

9

An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set : The spring, the summer,
The childing a autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which :
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.

Obe. Do you amend it then: it lies in you :
Why should Titania cross her Oberon ?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.c
Tita.

Set your heart at rest,
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order :
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side;
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking th' embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind :
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,
Following (her womb then rich with my young squire),
Would imitate; and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy :
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.

Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay ? Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If

you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moonlight revels, go with us; If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee. & Childing-producing.

b Increase-produce. • Henchman--a page; originally a horseman.

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Tita. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away: We shall chide downright, if I longer stay.

(Exeunt TITANIA and her train. Obe. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this

grove,
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And beard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
Puck.

I remember.
Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou couldst not,)
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd; a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west;
And loos’d his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower, --
Before, milk-white; now, purple with love's wound, -
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I show'd thee once;
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb: and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

Puck. I 'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.

[Exit Puck. Obe.

Having once this juice,

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