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our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.

Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely, and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.

Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough ; Hold, or cut bow-strings. [Exeunt.


SCENE I. A Wood near Athens. Enier a Fuiry at one

door, and Puck at another.

HOW now, spirit! whither wander you?
Fai. Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moone's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green ::
The cowslips tall her pensioners be ;'

(3) This proverbial phrase came originally from the camp. When a rendezvous was appointed, the militia soldiers would frequently make excuse for not keeping word, that their bow-strings were broke, i. e. their arms unserviceable. Hence

hen one would give another absolute assurance of meeting him, he would say proverbially-hold, or cut dow-strings-j. e. whether the bow-string held or broke. For cut is used as a neuter, like the verb fret. As when we say, the string frets the silk frets, for the passive, it is cut, or fretted. WARBURTON.

This interpretation is very ingenious, but somewhat disputable. The excuse made by the militia soldiers is a mere supposition, without proof; and it is well known that wbile bons were in use, to archer ever entered the field without a supply of strings in his pocket: whence origigated the proverb, to have two strings to one's bon. STEEVENS.

To meet, whether bon-strings hold or are cut, is to meet in all events. To cut the bowstring, when bows were in use, was probably a common practice of those who bore enmity to the archer. “He hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's bowstring, (says Don Pedro in Much Ado about Nothing.) and the little hangman dare not shoot at him." MALONE.

(4) The orbs here mentioned are circles supposed to be made by the fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from the fairies' care to water them. Thus, Drayton.

They in their courses make that round, “lo meadows and in marshes found,

" or tbem so called the fairy ground." JOHNSON. [5] This was said in consequence of Queen Elizabeth's fashionable establishment ol a band of military courtiers, by the name of pensioners. They were some of the han<Isomest and tallest young men, of the best fi:inilies and fortune, that could

who borstring, when bow.strings hold or

In their gold coats spots you see ;8
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours :
I must go seek some dew-drops here,

And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits, I'll be gone ;)
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-nigbt; Take heed, the queen come not within his sight. For Oberon is passing fell and wrath, Because that she, as her attendant, hath A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king ; She never had so sweet a changeling :: 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 star-light sheen, But they do square ;' 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 Good-fellow :' are you not he,

be found. Hence, says Mrs Quickly, in The Merry IVives, "--and yet there has been earls, pay, which is more, pensioners." They gave the modes of dress and diversions. They accompanied the Queen in her progress to Carbridge, where tbey held staff-torches at a play on Sunday evening, in King's College Chapel.

T. WARTON. hakspeare, in Cymbeline, refers to the same red spots :

A mole cinque-spolied like the crimson drops

"r the bottom of a conslip." PERCY. [7] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body and dulness of mind. JOHNSON.

(8) Changeling is commonly used for the child supposed to be left by the fairies but here for a child taken away. JOHNSON.

It is here properly used, and in its common acceptation: i. e. for a child got in eachange. A fairy is now speaking. RITSON

(9) Sheen, shining, bright, gay. To square here is to quarrel. The French word contrecarrer has the same meaning. JOHNSON.

It is soincwhat whimsical, that the glasiers use the words square and quarrel as synonymous terms for a pape of glass. BLACKSTONE.

M This account of Robin Good-fellow corresponds, in every article, with that given of him in Harsenets Declaration, cb. xx. p. 143. "And if that the bowle of curds and creame were not duly set out for Robin Good-fellow, the frier, and Sisse, the dairy-maid, why then either the pottage was burnt to next day in the pot, or the cbeeses would uot curdle, or the butter would not come, or the ale in the fat never would have good head. But if a Peeter-penny, or an housle-egge were behind, 98

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That fright 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 ;:
Mislead right-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 smilc,
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 ;6
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap 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 patch of tythe uppaid,--then 'ware of bull-beggars, spirits," &c. He is mentioned by Cartwright as a spirit particularly fond of disconcerting and disturbing domestic peace and economy. T. WARTON

(2) A Quern is a hand-mill, kuerna, mola, Islandic. STEEVEXS.

[21 Barme is a name for yeast, yet used in our midland counties, and universally in Ireland. STEEVENS.

4) To those traditionary opinions Milton has reference in L'Allegro: aad a like account of Puck is given by Drayton, in his Nymphidia.--It will be apparent to him bat shall compare Drayton's poem with this play, that either one of the poets copied the other, or, as I rather believe, that there was then some system of the fairy empire generally received, which they both represented as accurately as they could. Whether Drayton or Shakespeare wrote first, I cannot discover.

JOHNSON. sweet Puck-The epithet is by no means superfluous; as Puck alone was far from being an endearing appellation. It signified nothing better than fiend or devil. It seems to have been an old Gothic word. Puke, puken; Sathanas, Gudm. And. Lericon Islant. TYRWHITT.

(5) It seems that in the fairy mythology, Puck, or Hobgoblin, was the servant of Oberon, and always employed to watch or detect the intrigues of Queen Mab, called by Shakespeare, Tiiania. For in Drayton's Nymphidia, the same fairies are engaged in the same business. Mab has an amour with Pigwiggin; Oberon being jealous, sends Hobgoblin to catch them, and one of Mab's nymphs opposes him by a spell. JOHNSON

O i. e. a wild apple of that name. STEEVENS. 171 The custom of crying tailor at a sudden fall backwards. I think I remember to have observed. He that slips beside his chair falls as a tailor squats on his board. JOHNSON


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

gone !


Enter OBERON, at one dour, with his train, and TITANIA,

at another, with her's. Ob. Di met by moon-light, proud Titania.

Tita. What, jealous Oberon ?-Fairy, skip bence ; I have forgworn his bed and company.

Ob. Tarry, rash wanton ; Am not I thy lord ?

Tita. Then I must be thy lady: But I know
When thou hast stol'n 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.

Ob. 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

[8] The word Fairy, or Faery, was sometimes of three syllables, as often in Spenser. JOHNSON

As to the Fairy Queen, (says Mr. Warton, in his Observations on Spenser, ) considered apart from the race of fairies, Chaucer, in his Rime of Sir Thopos, mentions her, together with a Fairy land. Again, in the The Wif of Bathes Tale, v. 6439:

“ ID old days of the king Artour,
e or which' that Bretons spoken gret honour;
* All was this lond fulfilled of faerie;
* The Elf-quene, with hire joly compagnie

Danced ful oft in many a grene mede:

“ This was the old opinion as I rede." STEEVENS. (1) Richard Brathwaite, (Strappado for the Devil, 1615,) has a poem addressed . To the queen of harvest, &c. much honoured by the reed, corn-pipe, and whistle ;'* and it must be remembered, that the shepherd boys of Chaucer's time, had

* ................many å flote and litling horne,

“ And pipes made of greene corné." RITSON, (2) The glimmering night is the night faintly illuminated with stars.


From Perignia, whom he ravished ?3
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,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
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 river made so proud,
That they have over-borne their continents :)
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;8

that her name was where his subject would who diligently perused


T31 Thus all the editors; but our author who diligently perused Plutarch, and gleaned from him, where his subject would admit, kdew, from the life of Theseus. that her name was Perygine, (or Perigune,) by whom Theseus had his son Menalippus. She was the daughter of Sinnis, a cruel robber, and tormenter of passengers in the Isthmus. Plutarcb and Athenæus are both express in the circumstance of Theseus' ravishing her. THEOBALD.

Ægle, Ariadne, and Antiopa, were all at different times mistresses to Theseus. See Plutarch.

Theobald cannot be blamed for his emendation; and yet it is well known that our ancient authors, as well as the French and the Italians, were not scrupulously * nice about proper names, but almost always corrupted them.

STEEVENS. [4] By the middle summer's spring our author seems to mean the beginning of middle or mid summer. Spring, for beginning, he uses again in King Henry IP Part II.

“As flaws congealed in the spring of day :" which expression has authority from the scripture, St. Luke, i. 78: " whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us." STEEVENS. 15] A fountain Jaid round the edge with stone. JOHNSON.

The epithet seems here intended to mean no more than that the beds of these fountains were covered with pebbles, in opposition to those of the rushy brooks which are cozy. HENLEY.

[6] Thus the quartos: the folio reads, petty. Shakespeare has in Lear the same word, low pelting farms. The meaning is plainly, despicable, mean, sorry, wretched; but as it is a word without any reasonable etymology, I should be giad to dismiss it for petty: yet it is undoubtedly right. We have " petty pelting officer" in Measure for Measure. JOHNSON. (7) Borde down the banks that contained them. So, in Lear:

close pent up guilts, “ Rive your concealing continents." JOHNSON [8] The murrain is the plague of cattle. STEEVENS.


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