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To trust the opportunity of night,
Hel. Your virtue is my privilege for that. '
in my respect, are all the world : Then how can it be said, I am alone, When all the world is here to look on me? Dem. I'll run from thee, and hide me in the
brakes, And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you. Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd: Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chale; The dove pursues che griffin; the mild hind Makes speed to catch the tiger: Bootless speed ! When cowardice pursues, and valour flies.
- for that.) i. c. For leaving the city, &c. TYRWHITT. 4 It is not night, when I do fee your face, &c.] This passage is paraphrased from two lines of an ancient poet (Tibullus] :
Tu noctc vel atra " Lumen, & in folis tu mihi turba locis." JOHNSON. As the works of King David might be more familiar to Shakspcare than Roman poetry, perhaps on the present accafion, the eleventh verse of the 13th Psalm, was in his thoughts. “ Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thce, but the night is as clear as the day." STEEVENS.
5 Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company :] The same thought occurs in K. Henry VI. P. II:
- A wilderness is populous enough,
".. So Suffolk had thy heavenly company." MALONE. 6 The wildest hath not such a heart as you.]
5. Mitius inveni quam te genus omne ferarum." Ovid. See Timon of Athens, Aa IV. sc. i:
where he fall find 66 The unkindcit beasts more kinder than mankind." S. W.
Dem. I will not stay thy questions; ' let me go: Or, if thou follow me, do not believe But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field, You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius! Your wrongs do fet a fcandal on my sex: We cannot fight for love, as men may do; We should be woo'd, and were not made to woo. I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love fo well. 8
[ Exeunt Dem. and Hel. Obe. Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
Puck. Ay, there it is.
I pray thee, give it me, I know a bank whereon' the wild thyme blows, Where ox-lips and the nodding violet' grows;
7 I will not lay thy questions ;] Though Helena certainly puts a few insignificant questions to Demetrius, I cannot but think our author wrote question, i. e, discourse, conversation. So, in As 90% like it : " I met the duke yesterday, and had much question with him." STEEVENS.
8 To die upon the hand, &c.) To die upon, &c. in our author's language, I believe, means "to die by the hand.” So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
" I'll die on him that says so, but yourself." STEEVENS.
whereon -] The old copy reads - where. Mr. Malone supposes where to be used as a diffyllable; but offers no example of such a pronunciation. STEEVENS.
1 Where ox-lips -] The oxlip is the greater cowsip. So, in Drayton's Polyolbion, Song XV :
“ To fort these flowers of thowe, with other that were sweet, “ The cowlip then they couch, and th' oxlip for her meet.
STEEVENS. the nodding violet -) i. c. that declines its head, like a drowsy person. STEBYENS.
Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,
servant shall do so.
[ Exeunt. & Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,] All the old editions dead - luscious woodbine.
On the margin of one of my folios an unkuown hand has written lush woodbine, which, I think, is right. This hand I have since discovered to be Theobald's. JOHNSON.
Lush is clearly preferable in point of sense, and absolutely necefsary in point of inetre. Oberon is speaking in rhime; but woodbine, as hitherto accented upon the first syllable, cannot pofsibly correfpond with eglantine. The substitution of lush will restore the passage to its original harmony, and the author's idea. Ritson.
I have inserted lush in the text, as it is a word already used by Shakspeare in The Tempeft, A& II :
“ How lush and lusty the grass looks? how green?" Both lush and luscious (says Mr. Henley) are words of the same origin.
Dr. Farmer, however, would omit the word quite, as a useless cxpletive, and read
O'er-canopied with luscious woodbine." STEVENS.
I de fire no furer evidence lo prove that the broad Scotch pronunciation. once prevailed in England, than such a rhyme as the first of these words affords to the second.
Another part of the Wood.
Enter TITANIA with her train.
Tila. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy song;' Then, for the third part of a minute, hence:3
a roundel, and a fairy song;] Rounds, or roundels, were like. the present country dances, and are thus described by Sir John Davies, in his Orchestra, 1622 :
" Then first of all he doth demonstrate plain
16 The motions leven that are in nature found,
! To this side, and to that, and turning round;
" Which he doth teach unto the multitude,
“ Thus wlien at firft love had them marshalled,
16 As erst he did the shapeless mass of things,
" With a short turn about heaven's axle-tree,
" In a round dance for ever wheeling be." RIED. A roundel, rondill, or roundelay, is sometimes used to signify a song beginning or ending with the same sentence ; redit in orbem.
Puttenham, in his Art of Poetry, 1589, has a chapter On the goundel, or sphere, and produces what he calls A general resemblanco of the roundel to God, the world, and the quecń. STEEVENS.
A roundel is, as I suppose, a circular dance. Ben Jonson seems to call the rings which such dances are supposed to make in the grass, rondels. Vol. V. Tale of a Tub, p. 23: 66 I'll have no rondels, I, in the quċen's paths."
TYRWHITT. So, in The Boke of the Governout by Sir Thomas Elyot, 1537: co in stede of these we have now basc daunces, bargenettes, pavyons, turgions, and roundes." STEEVENS.
3 Then, for the third part of a minutë, hence :) Dr. Warburtos reads
- for the third part of tho midnight --'
To make my
Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds ; Some, war with rear-mice' for their leathern wings,
small elves coats; and some, keep back Theclamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders At our quaint spirits : 6 Sing me now asleep; Then to your offices, and let me rest.
But the persons employed are Fairies, to whom the third part of a minute might not be a very short time to do such work in. The critick might as well have objeded to the epithet tall, which the fairy bestows on the cowslip. But Shakspeare, throughout the play, has preserved the proportioa of other things in refpe& of these iiny beings, compared with whose fize, a cowslip might be tall, and to whose powers of execution, a minute might be equivalent to an age.
STEEVENS. in the musk-rose buds; ] What is at present called the Musk Rose, was a Hower unknown to English botanists in the time of Shakspeare. About fifty years ago it was brought into this country from Spain. STEEVENS. with rear-mice
-] A rere-mouse is a bat, a mouse that rears itself from the ground by the aid of wings. So, in Albertus Wallenstein, 1640 :
" Hall-fpirited souls, who strive on rere-mice wings." Again, in Ben Jonson's New Inn:
I keep no shades • Nor shelters, I, for either owls or rere-mice. Again, in Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphosis, B. IV. edit. 1587, p. 58. b:
" And we in English language bats or teremice call the same." Gawin Douglas, in his Prologue to Maphæus's 13th book' of the Æncid, also applies the epithet leathern to the wings of the Bat:
66 Up gois the bat with her pelit leddern flicht." STEEVENS.
quaint Spirits:) For this Dr. Warburton reads against all authority:
-- quaint sports." But Prospero, in The Tempeft, applies quaint to Ariel. JOHNSO
“ Our quaint spirits." Dr. Johnson is right in the word, and Dr. Warburtop in the interpretation. A spirit was sometimes used for a sport. In Decker's play, If it be, not good, the Devil is in It, the king of Naples says to the devil Ruffman, disguised in the chara&er of Shalcan: " Now Shalcan, some new Spirit? Ruff. A thousand wenches ftark-naked to play at leap-frog. Omnes. O rare fight!” FARMER.