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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 canit thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ?
Didlt thou not lead him through the glimmering

night"
From Perigenia, whom he ravished ? '
And make him with fair Ægle break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa?

Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's spring.

-] The

4 Didx thou not load him through the glimmering night glimmering night is the night faintly illuminated by stars. In Macbeth Qur author says : " The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day."

STEEVENS. s From Perigenia, whom he ravished? ] Thus all the editors, but our author who diligently perus'd Plutarch, and glean'd from him, where his subje& would admit, knew, from the life of Theseus, that her name was Perygine, (or Perigune,) by whom Theseus had his son Melanippus. She was the daughter of Sinnis, a cruel robber, and iormenter of passengers in the Inhmus. Plutarch and Athenæus are both express in the circumstance of Theseus ravishing her. THEOBALD.

In North's translation of Plutarch (Life of Theseus ) this lady is called Perigouna. The alteration was probably intentional, for the sake of harmony. Her real name was Perigune. MALONE.

Æglé, 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 nicc about proper names, but almost always corrupted them. Steevens.

6 And never, fnce the middle summer's spring, &c.] By the middle Summer's Spring, our author seems to mean the beginning of middle

Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, ' or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margents 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,

or mid summer. Spring, for beginning, he uses again in King Henry IV. P. II:

" As flaws congealed in the spring of day:" which expression has authority from the scripturc, St. Luke, i. 78 ;

whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us.' Again, in the romance of Kyng Appolyn of Thyre, 1510 :

" -- arose in a mornynge at the Sprynge of the day,” &c. Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. III. c. x:

" He wooed her till day-spring he espyde." STEEVENS. So Holinshed, p. 494 : - "the morowe after about the spring of the daie"

MALONL. The middle Summer's spring, is, I apprehend, the season when trees put forth their second, or as they are frequently called their midsummer shoots. Thus, Evelyn in his Silva : “ Cut off all the fide boughs, and especially at midsummer, if you spy them breaking out." And again,

6. Where the rows and brush lie longer than midsummer, unbound, or made up, you endanger the loss of the fecond Spring.” Henley. ? Paved fountain,] A fountain laid round the edge with stone.

JOHNSON. Perhaps paved at the bottom. So, Lord Bacon in his Essay ox Gardens : " As for the other kind of fountaine, which we may call a bathing-poole, it may admit much curiosity and beauty. As that the bottom be finely paved .. the sides likewise," &c.

STEEVENS, 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 oozy. The fame expression is used by Sylvester in a similar seose:

By some cleare river's lillie-paved side.” Henley, 8 Or on the beached margent -] The old copies read Or in. Correded by Mr. Pope. MALONE.

the winds, piping -] So, Milton :
While rocking winds, are piping loud." JOHNSON,

9

As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea.
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land,
Have every pelting river o made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents :
The ox liath therefore ftretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard : 3
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock; *

And Gawin Douglas, in his Translation of the Eneid, p. 69. 1710. fol. Edinb.

" The soft piping wind calling to se." The Gloffographer observes, " we say a piping wind, when an Ordinary gale blows, and the wind is neither too loud nor too calm."

Holt WHITE. 9

- pelting river --] Thus the quartos : the folio reads petto. Shakspeare 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 glad to dismiss it for petiy : yet it is undoubtedly right. We have " petty pelting officer" in Measure for Measure. Johnson. So, in Gascoigne's Glass of Government, 1575: " Doway is a pelting town pack'd full of poor

scholars." This word is always used as a term of contempt. So, again, in Lyly's Midas, 1592 : " attire never used but of old women and pelting priests." STEEVENS.

overborne their continents : ] Born down the banks that contain them. So, in Lear :

close pent up guilts,
" Rive your concealing continents!JOHNSON.

and the green corn Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard : ) So, in our author's 12th Sonnet :

" And summer's green all girded up in fheaves,
« Borge on the bier with white and briftly beard."

MALONE. murrain flock;] The mirrain is the plague in cattle. It is here used by Shakspeare as an adje&ive! as a substantive by others :

fends him as a murrain
“ To strike our herds ; or as a worser plague,
ss Your people to destroy."

Heywood's Silver Age, 1613. STEEVENS.

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The nine-men's morris is fill'd up with mud;'

į The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud; ] In that part of Warwickshire where Shakspeare was educated, and the neighbour. ing parts of Northamptonshire, tlie shepherds and other boys dig up the turf with their knives to represent a sort of imperfed chessboard. It consists of a Square, sometimes only a foot diameter, fometimes three or four yards. Within this is another square, every Lide of which is parallel to the external square; and these squares are joined by lines drawn from each corner of both squares, and the middle of each line. One party, or player, has wooden pegs, the other stones, which they move in such a manner as to take up each other's men as they are called, and the area of the inner square is called the Pound, in which the men taken up are impounded. These figures are by the country people called Nine Men's Morris, or Merrils; and are so called, because each party has nine inen. These figures are always cut upon the green turf or leys, as they are called, or upon the grass at the end of ploughed lands, and in rainy seasons never fail to be choaked up with mud. JAMES.

See Peck on Milton's Masque, 115, Vol. I. p. 135. Steevens.

Nine mens' morris is a game ftill play'd by the shepherds, cowkeepers, &c. in the midland counties, as follows :

A figure is made on the ground (like this which I have drawn) by cutting out the turf ; and two persons take cach nine stones, which they place by turns in the angles, and afterwards move alternately, as at chess or draughts. He who can place three in a

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And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable :
The human mortals 6 want their winter here ;3

5

straight line, may then take off any one of his adversary's, where he pleases, till one, having lost all his men, loses the game.

ALCHORNE. In Cotgrave's Diflionary, under the article Merelles, is the fol. lowing explanation. " Le Jeu des Merelles. The boyish game called Merils, or fivepenny morris ; played here most commonly with stones, but in France with pawns, or men made on purpose, and termed merelles." The pawns or figures of men used in the game might originally be black, and hence called morris, or merelles, as we yet term a black cherry a morello, and a small black cherry a merry, perhaps from 11aurus a Moor, or rather from morum a mulberry. Tollet.

The jeu de merelles was also a table-game. A representation of two Monkies engaged at this amusement, may be seen in a German edition of Petrarch de remedio utriusque fortunæ, B. I. chap. 26. The cuts to this book were done in 1590. Douce.

the quaint mazes in the wanton green, ] This alludes to a fport still followed by boys ; i. c. what is now called running the ígure of eight. STEFVENS.

6 The human mortals ] Shakspeare might have, employed this epithet, which, at first sight, appears redundant, to mark the difference between men and fairies. Fairies were not human, but they were yet subje&t to mortality. It appears from the Romance of Sir Huon of Bordeaux, that Oberon himself was mortal.

STEEVENS. ". This however (says Mr. Ritson,) does not by any means appear to be the case. Oberon, Titania, and Puck, never dye; the inferior agents must necessarily be supposed to enjoy the same privilege; and the ingenious commentator may rely upon it, that the oldest woman in England never heard of the death of a Fairy, Human mortals is, notwithstanding, evidently put in opposition to fairies who partook of a middle nature between men and spirits." It is a misfortune as well to the commentators, as to the readers of Shakspeare, that so much of their time is obliged to be employed in explaining and contradi&ing unfounded conje&ures and affertions. Spenser, in bis Faery Queen, B. II. c. x. says, (I use the words of Mr. Warton; Observations on Spenser, Vol. I. p. 55.) “ That man was first made by Prometheus, was called Elfe, who wandering over the world, at length arrived at the gardens of Adonis, where he found a female whom he called Fay. - The issue of Elfe

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