Imágenes de páginas

To have my love to bed, and to arise ;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moon-beams from his sleeping eyes;
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

1. Fai. Hail, mortal!
2. FAI. Hail !
3. Fal. Hail!
4. Fai. Hail !

Bot. I cry your worships mercy, heartily.--I
beseech, your worship’s name.
COB. Cobweb.
Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance,"

sye of it.

The blunder is not in Shakspeare, but in those who have conArued too literally a poetical expreflion. It appears


line of his writings that he had studied with attention the book of nature, and was an accurate observer of any obje& that fell within his notice. He must have known that the light of the glow-worm was feated in the tail; but surely a poet is justified in calling the luminous part of a glow-worm the eye. It is a liberty we take in plain prose; for the point of greatest brightness in a furnace is commonly called the

Dr. Johnson might have arraigoed him with equal propriety for sending his fairies to light their tapers at the fire of the glow-worm, which in Hamlet he terms uneffe&ual:

“ The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,

"And 'gins to palę his uneffe&ual fire." M. Mason. 6 Hail, mortal! ] The old copies readhail, mortal, hail! The second hail was clearly intended for another of the fairies, so as that cach of them should address Bottom, The regulation now adopted was proposed by Mr. Steevens, MALONE.

7. I shall desire you of more acquaintance,] This line has been very unnecessarily altered. The same mode of expression occurs in Lusly Juventus, a morality :

" I shall desire you of better acquaintance." Such phraseology was very common to many of our ancient writers. So, in An Humorous Day's Mirth, 1599:

" I do desire you of more acquaintance." Again, in Golding's Version of the 14th Book of Ovid's Meta, morphofs :

good master Cobweb : If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, honeft gentleman! 8

PEAS. Peas-blossom.

Bot. I pray you, commend me to mistress Squash, your mother, 9 and to master Peascod, your father. Good nailer Peas-blossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech

you, Gir?

Mus. Mustard-feed.
Bot. Good master Mustard-seed, I know your


he praid “ Him earnestly, with careful voice, of furthrance and of

aid. Again, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621 :

craving you of more acquaintance." Steevens. The alleration in the modern editions was made on the authority of the bift folio, which reads in the next fpeech but one —-.“ I shall desire of you more acquaintance." But the old reading is undoubtedly the true one. So, io Spenser's Faery Qucen, B. II. c. ix: • If it be 1, of pardon I you praye.

MALONE. good master Cobweb: If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. ---Your name, honest gentleman?] In The Mayde's Metamore phosis, a comedy by Lyly, there is a dialogue between some foresters and a troop of fairies, very similar to the present:

Mopso. I pray, fir, what might I call you?
66 1. Fai. My name is Penny.
" Mop. I am sorry I cannot purse you,

Frisco. I pray you, fir, what might I call you?
2. Fai. My name is Cricket.

" Fris. I would I were a chimney for your fake." The Maid's Metamorphosis was not printed till 1600, but was probably written fome years before. Mr. Warton says, (History of English Poetry, vol. II. p. 393.) that Lyly's last play appeared in 1597. MALONE.

mistress Squash, your mother, ] A squash is an immature pealcod. So, in Twelfth Night, A& I. sc. v:

as a squash is, before 'tis a peascod. STEIVENS.



patience ? well: that same cowardly, giant-like, ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good master Mustard-feed. TITA. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my

bower. The moon, methinks, looks with a wat'ry eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,

Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my love's tongue, ' bring him filently.

[ Exeunt.

pareniage well.

patience - ] The Oxford edition reads - I know your

I believe the corre&ion is right. JOHNSON. Parentage was not easily corrupted to patience. I fancy, the truc word is, passions, sufferings.

There is an ancient satirical Poem eptitled.-6. The Poor Man's Paffions, [i. c. sufferings, ] or Poverty's patience." Patience and Passions are so alike in sound, that a careless transcriber or compositor might casily have substituted the former word for the latter.

FARMER. These words are fpoken ironicalls. According to the opinion prevailing in our author's time, mustard was supposed to excite to choler, See note on Taming of the Shrew, AX 1V. sc. iii. REED. Perhaps we should read " I know you passing well.

M. MASON. my love's tongue, ] The old copies read tongue." STEEVENS.

Our poet has again used lover as a monosyllable in Twelfth Night :

". Sad true lover never find iny grave." MALONE. In the passage quoted from Twelfth Night, as true lover” is evidenily a mistake for -- true love, a phrase which occurs in the very scene before us :

16 And laid the love-juice on some true love's fight." Lover, in both the foregoing instances, I mult therefore suppose to have been a printer's blunder for love, and have therefore continued Mr. Pope's emendation in the lext. How is lover to be pronounced as a monofyllable? STEEVEN).


my lover's


Another part of the Wood,

Enter. OBERON,

OBE. I wonder, if Titania be awak'd;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dotę on in extremity.

Enter Puck.

Here comes my messenger.--How now, mad spirit? What night-rule* now about this haunted grove?

Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love, Near to her close and confecrated bower, While she was in her dull and sleeping hour, A crew of patches, ! rude mechanicals, That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,


what night-rule – ] Night-rule in this place should seem to mean, what frolick of the vight, what revelry is going forward ? So, in Tom Tyler and his wife, 1661:

" Marry, here is good rule!" Again :

why how now ftrise! here is pretty rule!" It appears, from the old song of Robin Goodfellow, in the third volume of Dr. Percy's Retiques of Ancient English Poetry, that it was the office of this waggish fpirit " to viewe (or superintend] the night-sports." STEEVENS.

patches, ] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the same import as we usc raggamuffin, or tatterdemalion. JOHNSON.

Puck calls the players, " a crew of patches." A common opprobrious term, which probably took its rise from Patch cardinal Wolsey's fool. In the western countries, cross-patch is still used for perverso, ill-natur'd fool. T. WARTON.

The name was rather taken from the patch'd or pyed coats worp by the fools or jefters of those times,

[ocr errors]

Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren fort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forfook his scene, and enter'd in a brake:
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's now! I fixed on his head;?
Anon, his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth


mimick comes: When they him fpya As wild geefe that the creeping fowler eye,



So, in The Tempefl:

what a py'd ninuy's this?" Again, in Preston's Cambyses:

in Hob and Lob, ah ye country patches ! ". Again, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584 :

os It is fimplicitie, that patch. STEEVENS. I should suppose patch to be merely a corruption of the Italian pazzo, which fignifies properly a fool. So', in The Merchant of Venice, Ad II. sc. v. Shylock says of Launcelot: The patch is kind enough; - after having juft called him, that fool of Hagar's offSpring. TYRWHITT.

barren fort, ] Barren is dull, unpregnant. So, in Hamlet: " fome quantity of barren fpe&ators, " &c. Sort is company.

STEEVENS. 7 An ass's nowl I fixed on his head;] A head. Saxon.

JOHNSON So, Chaucer, in The History of Beryn, 1594:

" No fothly, quotli the steward, it lieth all in thy noll,

. Both wit and wysdon,” &c. Again, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584: 46 One thumps me on the neck, and another strikes me on the nole."

STLEVENS. The following receipt for the process tried on Bottom, occurs in Albertus Magnus de Secretis : « Si vis quod caput hominis affimiletur capiti asini, sumé de segirnine aselli, & unge hominem in capite, & fic apparebit. " There was a translation of this book in Shakspeare's time. DOUCE.

mimick -] Minnock is the reading of the old quarto, and I believe right. Minnekin, now minx, is a nice trifling girl. Minnocke is apparently a word of contempt. JOHNSON,

« AnteriorContinuar »