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Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
(Exit HERM. Lys. I will, my Hermia. — Helena, adieu : As you on-hiin, Demetrius dote on you!
( Exit Lys. Hel. How happy fome, o'er other some, can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as file. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not fo; He will not know what all but he do know. And as he érrs, doting on Hermin's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities. Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind: Nor hath love's mind of any judgment talle; Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste: And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd. As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, So the boy love is perjur'd every where: For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne, He hail'd down oaths, that lie was only mine;
when Phabe. doth behold, &c.
deep midnight.] Shakspeare has a little forgotten himself. It appears from p. 5. that to-morrow night would be within three nights of the new moon, when there is no moondhine at all, much less at deep midnight. The same oversight occurs in A& III. sc. i.
BLACKSTONE. holding no quantity,) Quality seems a word more fuit. able to the sense than quantity, but either may serve. JOHNSON. Quantity is our author's word. So, in Hamlet, Ad Ill. sc. ij : " And women's fear and love hold quantity STEEVENS.
in game - Game here signifies not contentious play, but Sport, jeft. So Spenser :
'twixt earnest, and 'twixt game." JOHNSON. Hemia's eyne,) This plural is common both in Chaucer
And when this hail' fome heat from Hermia felé,
S C Ε Ν Ε ΙΙ.
The same. A Room in a Cottage.
Enter SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, Snout, Quince,
and STARVELING. *
Quin. Is all our company here?
and Spenser. So, in Chaucer's Charader of the Priorese, Tyrwhitt's edit. y. 152 :
hir egen grey as glass." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I. c. 4. ft. 9: " While flashing beams do dare his feeble cen."
STEEVENS. this hail --] Thus all the editions, except the quarto, 1600, printed by Roberts, which reads instead of this hail, his hail. STEEVENS.
it is a dear expence :] i. c. it will cost him much, (be a severe constraint on his feclings,) to make even so light a return for my communication. STEEVENS.
? In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal ador, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upou the stage. The fame Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another bistrionical passion. He is for en. grofling every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all poflibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thile, and the Lion, 20 the same time. Johnson.
Bor. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.
Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable comedy, * and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thilby.
the scrip.) A forip, Fr. fcript, now writtca écrit. So, Chaucer, in Troilus and Crefida, l. 2. 1130 :
Scripe nor bil.” Again, in Heywood's, If you know not me you know Nobody, 1606, P II:
" I'll take thy own word without scrip, or scroll." Holinshed likewise uses the word. STEEVINS.
grow to a point.) Dr. Warburton reads -- go on; but grow is used, in allusion to his name, Quince. JOHNSON.
To grow 10 a point, I believe, has no reference to the name of Quince. I meet with the same kind of expression in Wily Beguiled :
" As yet we are grown to no conclulion." Again, in The Arraignment of Paris, 1584 :
1. Our reasons will be infinite, I trow,
". Unless unto some other point we grow." STEEVENS. And to grow on to a point.) Thc sense, in my opinion, hath been hitherto miltaken ; and instead of a point, a subftantive, I would read appoint a verb, that is, appoint what part each a&or is to perform, which is the real case. Quince first tells them the name of the play, then calls the aâors by their names, and after that, tells each of them what part is set down for him to ad.
Perhaps, however, only the particle a inay be inserted by the printer, and Shakspeare wrote to point, i. e. to appoiot. The word occurs in that sense in a poem by N. B. 1614, called I Would and I would Not, flanza iii :
“ To point the captains every one their fight." WARNER.
The moji lamentable comedy, &c.] This is very probably a burlesque on the title page of Cambyses : « A lamentable Tragedie, mixed full of pleasant Mirth, containing, The Life of Cambifes King of Percia, &c. By Thomas Preston, bl. 1. no date.
and a merry
Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you,
'-Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll: Masters, spread yourfelves.
Quin. Answer, as I call you. — Nick Bottom, the weaver. Bot. Ready: Name what part I am for, and
proceed. QUIN. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
QUIN. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
Bot. That will ask some tears in the true perforining of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. ? To the rest :
On the registers of the Stationers' company, however, appears “ the boke of Perymus and Thesbye,'' 1562. Perhaps Shakspeare copied some part of his interlude from it. STEEVENS.
A poem entitled Pyramus and Thisbe, by D. Gale, was published in 4to. in 1597 ; but this, I believe, was posterior ļo The Midsummer-Night's Dream. MALONE.
s A very good piece of work, and a merry.] This is designed as a ridicule on the titles of our ancient moralities and interludes. Thus Skelton's Magnificence is called “a goodly interlude and a mery." STEEVENS.
spread yourselves.] i. e. fand separately, not in a group, but so that you may be distindly seen, and called over. STEEVENS.
- I will condole in some measure.] When we use this verb at present, 'we put with before the person for whose misfortune we profess coaceru. Anciently it seems to have been employed without it. So, in a Pennyworth of good Counsell, an ancient ballad:
66 Thus to the wall
" I may condole."
56 Poor weather beaten soles,
humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in,’ to make all split,
" The raging rocks,
“ Of prison-gates :
" The foolish fates.'
This was lofty!-Now name the rest of the players.This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender, 7 I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in,] In the old comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611, there is a chara&ter called Tearcat, who says : "I am called, by those who have seen my valour, Tear.cat." In an anonymous piece called Histriomastix, or The Player Whipt, 1610, in fix ads, a parcel of soldiers drag a company of players on the stage, and the captain says : " Sirrah, this is you that would rend and tear a cat upon a ftage," &c. Again, in The life of Gulls, a comedy by J. Day, 1606 : “I had rather hear two such jests, than a whole play of such lear-cat thunderclaps.'
STEEVENS. to make all split.] This is to be conneâed with the previous part of the speech; not with the subsequent rhymes. It was the description of a bully. In the second ađ of The Scornful Lady, we meet with “ two roaring.boys of Rome, that made all split."
FARMER. I meet with the me expression in The Widow's Tears, by Chapman, 1612 : “ Her wit I must employ upon this business to prepare my next encounter, but in such a fashion as fhall make all split."
MALONE. 9 With shivering Mocks,] The old copy reads 16 And shiver. ing," &c. The emendation is Dr. Farmer's. STEEVENS.
the bellows-mender.] In Ben Jonson's Masque of Pan's Anniversary, &c. a man of the same profession is introduced. I have been told that a bellows-mender was one who had the care of organs, regals, &c. STEEVENS.