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Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
The folio reads--mimmick ; perhaps for mimick, a word more familiar than that exhibited by one of the quartos, for the other reads-minnick. STEEVENS.
Mimmick is the reading of the folio. The quarto printed by Fisher has-minnick; that by Roberts, minnock: both evidently corruptions. The line has been explained as if it related to Thisbo; but it does not relate to her, but to Pyramus. Bottom had just been playing that part, and had retired into a brake; (according to Quince's direction: 6 When you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake.") " Auon his Thishe must be answered, And forih my mimick fi. e. my ador) comes.” In this there seeins no difficulty.
Mlimick is used as synouymous to actor, by Decker, in his Guls Hornebooke, 1609: " Draw what troop you can from the stage after you; the mimicks are beholden to you for allowing them elbow room.” Again, in his Saliromajtix, 1602 : " Thou [ B. Jonson] haft forgot how thou ambled'st in a lea pilch by a play-waggon in the highway, and took'st mad Jeronymo's part, to get service amongst the mimicks." MALONE.
choughs,] The ckough is a bird of the daw kind. It is mentioned also in Macbeth:
" By magót-pies, and choughs, and rooks,” &c. STRIVENS. - fort,] Company. So above:
that barren sort;". and in Waller:
" A fort of lusly shepherds frivo," JOHNSON. So, in Chapman's May-day, 1611:
though we neuer lead any other company than a fort of quart-pots." STEEVENS.
9 And, at our fiamp,] This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never represented ftamping, or of a fize that should give force to, a stamp, nor could they have distinguished the stamps of Puck from those of their own companions. I read:
And at a stump here o'er and o'er one falls." So Drayton :
" A pain he in his kea il-piece feels,
Against a stubbed tree he reels,
Their sense, thus weak, lost with their fears, thus
strong, Made senseless things begin to do them wrong: For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch; $ome, fleeves; some, hats : * from yielders all things
" And up went poor Hobgoblin's heels:
56 Alas, his brain was dizzy.-
66 And through the bushes scrambles,
Among the briers and brumbles." Johnson, I adhere to the old reading. The stamp of a fairy might be efficacious though not loud; neither is it necessary to suppose, when supernatural beings are spoken of, that the lize of the agent determines the force of the aäion. That fairies did stamp to some purpose, may be known from the following passage in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus. • Vero faltum adeo profunde in terram impresserant, ut locus insigni ardore orbiculariter peresus, non parit arenii redivivum cespite gramen. Shakspeare's owo authority however, is most decisive. See the conclusion of the first scene of the fourth ađ :
Come, my queen, take hand with me,
STEEVENS. Honest Reginald Scott, says, " Our grandams maides were wont to sett a' boll of milke before Incubus, and his cousin Robin Good-fellow, for grinding of malt or mustard, and sweeping the house at midnight: and that he would chafe exceedingly, if the maid or good wife of the house, having compaffion of his naked. nes, laid anie clothes for him becfides his messe of white bread and milke, which was his standing fee. For in that case he faith, What have we here? Hemton, hamten, here will I never more tread nor flampen." Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, p. 85.
RITSON. ? Some, Neeves; some hats : ] There is the like image in Drayton, of quçen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin: " Some tore a ruff, and some a gown,
'Gainst one another juftling;
I led them on in this distracted fear,
Obe. This falls out better than I could devise. But hast thou yet latch'd' the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do ?
Puck. I took him sleeping, -thatis finish'd too, And the Athenian woman by his fide; That, when he wak’d, of force she must be ey’d,
Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA.
OLE. Stand close; this is the fame Athenian.
him that loves you fo? Lay breath fo bitter on your bitter foe. HER. Now I but chide, but I should use thee
worse; For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse, If thou hast slain Lysander in his fleep, Being o'er shoes in blood," plunge in the deep, And kill me too.
6c They flew about like chaff i' th wind,
" There never was such bustling." JOHNSON,
HANMER. In the North, it signifies to infe&t. STEEVENS.
Being o'er shoes in blood,] An allusion to the proverb, Over shoes, pver boots. JOHNSON. So in, Macbeth :
I am in blood
The sun was not so true unto the day, As he to me: Would he have stol'n away From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon, This whole earth may be bor’d; and that the moon May through the center creep, and so displease Her brother's noon-tide with the Antipodes. It cannot be, but thou hast murder'd him; So should a murderer look; so dead,6 so grim. DEM. So should the murder'd look; and so
should I, Pierc'd through the heart with
stern cruelty: Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear, As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
HER. What's this to my Lysander ? where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
noon-tide with the Antipodes.] Dr. Warburton would read-i th' antipodes, which . Mr. Edwards ridicules without mercy. The alteration is certainly not necessary, but it is not so unlucky, as he imagined. Shirley has the same expreflion in bis Andromana :
" To be a whore, is more unknown to her,
" Then what is done in the antipodes." In for among is frequent in old language. FARMER.
The familiarity of the general idea, is shown by the following passage in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
" And dwell one month with the Antipodes." Again, in K. Richard II: " While we were wandring with the Antipodes."
STEBVENS. 6 - so dead, ] All the old copies read -- so dead; in my copy of it, some reader has altered dead to dread. JOHNSON.
Dead seems to be the right word, and our author again uses it in K. Henry IV. P. II. Ad 1. sc. iii :
“ Even such a man, so faint, só fpiritless,
" So dull, so dead in look, so woc-begone." STEEVENS. So also, in Greene's Dorastus and Fawnia: " --- if thou marry in age, thy wife's fresh colours will breed in thee dead thoughts and suspicior." MALONI.
DEM. I had rather give his carcase to my hounds.
mood : 9 I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood; Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
HER. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
Durft thou have look'd upon him, being awake,
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping?] She means, Hast thou kill'd him sleeping, whom, when awake, thou didst not dare to look upon ? MALONE.
O brave touch!] Touch in Shakspeare's time was the same with our exploit, or rather stroke. A brave touch, a noble stroke, un grand coup. Mason was very merry, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curft loys, and the small difcreiion of many lewd schoolmasters." Ascham. Johnson.
A touch anciently signified a trick. In the old black letier story of Howleglas, it is always used in that sense : for at all tiines he did some mad touch." STEEVENS. 9 mispris'd mood: ] Miftaken; so below misprifion is mistake.
JOHNSON Mood is anger, or perhaps rather in this place, capricious fancy.
MALONE. I rather conceive that -- on a misprizid mood" is put for—" in a mispriz'd mood," i. e. " in a mistaken manner. The preponi. tion-on, is licentiously used by ancient authors. When Mark Antony says that Auguftus Cæsar" dealt on lieutenantry,” he does not mean that he dealt his blows on lieutenants," but that he " dealt in them;" i. e. achieved his vidories by their condua.