« ZurückWeiter »
I am a right maid for my cowardice;
Lower! hark, again.
Her. Why, get you gone: Who is 't that hinders you?
Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd:
Her. Little again? nothing but low and little?-
Get you gone, you dwarf;
how fond I am.] Fond, i. e. foolish. So, in The Mer. chant of Venice:
I do wonder,
“ To come abroad with him.” Steevens. 9 She was a vixen, when she went to school;] Vixen, or fixen, primitively signifies a female fox. So, in The Boke of Hunting, that is cleped Mayster of Game; an ancient MS in the collection of Francis Douce, Esq. Gray's Inn: “ The fixen of the Foxe is Assaute onys in the yer. She hath venomous biting as a wolfe.”
You are too officious,
Now she holds me not;
of hind'ring knot-grass made;] It appears that knotgrass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any ani. mal or child.
Beaumont and Fletcher mention this property of it in The Knight of the Burning Pestle:
“ Should they put him into a straight pair of gaskins, 'twere worse than knot-grass, he would never grow after it.” Again, in the Coxcomb:
“ We want a boy extremely for this function, kept under, for a year, with milk and knot-grass.” Daisy-roots were supposed to have the same effect.
That prince of verbose and pedantic coxcombs, Richard Tom. linson, apothecary, in his translation of Renodaus his Dispensatory, 1657, informs us that knot-grass “ is a low reptant hearb, with exile, copious, nodose, and geniculated branches.” Perhaps no hypochondriack is to be found, who might not derive his cure from the perusal of any single chapter in this work. Steevens.
intend -] i. e. pretend. So, in Much Ado about Nothing: “ Intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio."
Steevens. 3 Thou shalt aby it.] To aby is to pay dear for, to suffer. So, - in The Dorunfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
Had I sword and buckler here, “You should ab, these questions." The word has occurred before in this play. See p. 320, line 15. Aguin in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:
- but thou shalt dear aby this blow.” Steevens. Thou shalt aby it.] Aby it, is abide by it; i. e. stand to it, answer to it. So, in Psalm cxxx, v. 3, in Common Prayer: “if thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss : O Lord who may abide it?” Harris.
4 Or thine or mine, &c.) The old copies read-Of thine. The emendation is Mr. Theobald's. I am not sure that the old reading is corrupt.
If the line had run--"Of mine or thine," I should have suspected that the phrase was borrowed from the Latin: Now follow, to try whose right of property,—of meum op tuun,-is the greatest in Helena. Malone.
Dem. Follow? nay, I 'll go with thee, cheek by jole.
[Exeunt Lys, and DEM. Her. You, Mistress, all this coil is ’long of you: Nay, go not back. Hel.
I will not trust you, I; Nor longer stay in your curst company: Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray; My legs are longer though, to run away. [Exit. Her. I am amaz’d, and know not what to say.
[Exit. pursuing HEL. Obe. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak'st, Or else commit'st thy knaveries wilfully.
Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Obe. Thou seest, these lovers seek a place to fight:
5 so did sort,] So happen in the issue. Fohnson. So, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606: never look to have any action sort to your honour."
Steevens. virtuous property,) Salutiferous. So he calls, in The Tempest, poisonous dew, wicked dew. Folinson.
When they next wake, all this derision
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste;
- wend,] i. e. go. So, in The Comedy of Errors :
“ Hopeless and helpless doth Ægeon wend.” Steevens. 8 For night's swift dragons, &c.] So, in Cymbeline, Act II, sc. ii:
“ Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night.'” See my note on this passage, concerning the vigilance imputed to the serpent tribe. Steevens.
This circumstance Shakspeare might have learned from a passage in Golding's translation of Ovid, which he has imitated in The Tempest:
Among the earth-bred brothers you a mortal war did set, “ And brought asleep the dragon fell, whose eyes were never
damned spirits all, That in cross-ways and floods have burial,] The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture bad never been regularly bestowed on their bodies. That the waters were sometimes the place of residence for damned spirits, we learn from the ancient bl. 1. romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date:
“ Let some preest a gospel saye,
“ For doubte of fendes in the flode." Steevens. 1- to their wormy beds -} This periphrasis for the grave has been borrowed by Milton, in his Ode on the Death of a fair Infant: “Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed.” Steevens.
black-brow'd night,] So, in King John:
Obe. But we are spirits of another sort:
ms. But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay: We may effect this business yet ere day. [Exit OBE.
Puck. Up and down, up and down;
3 1 with the morning's love have oft made sport;] Thus all the old copies, and I think, rightly. Pithonus was the husband of Aurora, and Tithonus was no young deity. Thus, in Aurora, a collection of sonnets, by Lord Sterline, 1604:
“ And why should Tithon thus, whose day grows late,
Enjoy the morning's love?”
“ Aurora yet keeps chaste old Tithon's bed;
“ Yet blushes at it when she rises." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. III, c. iii:
“ As faire Aurora rising hastily,
« All night in old Tithonus' frozen bed." Again, in The Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher:
- O, lend me all thy red, “ Thou shame-fac’d morning, when from Tithon's bed
“ Thou risest ever-maiden.” How such a waggish spirit as the King of the Fairies might make sport with an antiquated lover, or his mistress in his absence, may be easily understood. Dr. Johnson reads with all the modern editors : “ I with the morning light,” &c. Steevens.
Will not this passage bear a different explanation? By the morning's love I apprehend Cephalus, the mighty hunter and paramour of Aurora, is intended. The context, “ And, like a forester,” &c. seems to show that the chace was the sport, which Oberon boasts he partook with the morning's love. Holt White.
The connection between Aurora and Cephalus is also pointed out in one of the Poems that form a collection entitled The Phenix Nest, &c. 4to. 1593, p. 95:
“ Aurora now began to rise againe
Young Cephalus," &c. Steevens. 4. Even till the eastern gate, &c.] What the fairy monarch means to inform Puck of, is this. That he was not compelled, like meaner spirits, to vanish at the first appearance of the dawn.