Puslapio vaizdai

May all to Athens back again repair ;
And think no more of this night's accidents,
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.

Be, as thou waft wont to be;

[Touching her eyes with an herb.

See, as thou waft wont to see :

Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower"

Hath fuch force and bleffed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
TITA. My Oberon! what vifions have I feen!
Methought, I was enamour'd of an afs.

OBE. There lies your love.


How came these things to pafs?

O, how mine eyes do loath this vifage now!
OBE. Silence, a while.-Robin, take off this

Titania, mufick call; and frike more dead
Than common fleep, of all thefe five the fense."

TITA. Mulick, ho! mufick; fuch as charmeth fleep. PUCK. Now, when thou wak'ft, with thine own fool's eyes peep.

OBE. Sound, mufick. [Still mufick. ] Come, my queen, take hands with me,

And rock the ground whereon these fleepers be.

-] The old copies read


6 Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower. Cupid's. Corre&ed by Dr. Thirlby. The herb now employed is ftyled Diana's bud, because it is applyed as an antidote to that charm which had conftrained Titania to dote on Bottom with the foul of love." MALONE.


Dian's bud, is the bud of the Agnus Caftus, or Chafe Tree. C26 pid's flower, is the Viola tricolor, or Love in Idleness. STEEVENS. —of all these five the fenfe.] The old copies read thefe fire; but this most certainly is corrupt. My emendation needs no justification. The five, that lay afleep on the ftage were Demetrius, Lyfander, Hermia, Helena, and Bottom. Dr. Thirlby likewise communicated this very corre&ion. THEOBALD.


Now thou and I are new in amity;
And will, to-morrow midnight, folemnly,
Dance in duke Thefeus' houfe triumphantly,
And blefs it to all fair pofterity:"

There fhall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Thefeus, all in jollity.

PUCK. Fairy king, attend, and mark;
I do hear the morning lark.

OBE. Then, my queen, in filence fad,
Trip we after the night's fhade:9

& Dance in duke Thefeus' houfe triumphantly,

i. c.

And blefs it to all fair pofterity:] We fhould read:
to all far pofterity."


to the remoteft pofterity. WARBURTON.

Fair pofterity is the right reading.

In the concluding fong, where Oberon bleffes the nuptial bed, part of his benediction is, that the pofterity of Thefeus shall

be fair:

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"Shall upon their children be." M. MASON.

to all fair profperity:] I have preferred this, which is the reading of the firft and beft quarto, printed by Fisher, to that of the other quarto and the folio, (pofterity,) induced by the following lines in a former fcene:

your warrior love

"To Thefens must be wedded, and you come

"To give their bed joy and profperity." MALONE.

9 Then, my queen, in filence fad,

Trip we after the night's fhade:] Sad fignifies only grave, fober; and is opposed to their dances and revels, which were now ended at the finging of the morning lark. So, in The Winter's Tale, A& IV: " My father and the gentlemen are in fad talk." grave or ferious. WARBURTON.


A ftatute 3 Henry VII. c. xiv. directs certain offences committed in the king's palace, to be tried by twelve fad men of the king's houfhold. BLACKSTONE.

We the globe can compass foon,
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.

TITA. Come, my lord; and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night,

That I fleeping here was found,

With thefe mortals, on the ground.


[Horns found within.


THE. Go, one of you, find out the forefter ;For now our obfervation is perform'd:3 And fince we have the vaward of the day,ʻ My love shall hear the mufick of my hounds.


our obfervation is perform'd:] The honours due to the morning of May. I know not why Shakspeare calls this play A Midfummer Night's-Dream, when he fo carefully informs us that it happened on the night preceding May day. JOHNSON.

The title of this play feems no more intended, to denote the precife time of the action, than that of The Winter's Tale; which we fiud, was at the feafon of fheep-fhearing. FARMER.

The fame phrafe has been used in a former fcene:

"Io do obfervance to a morn of May."

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I imagine that the title of this play was fuggefted by the time it was first introduced on the ftage, which was probably at Midfumмет. "A Dream for the entertainment of a Midfummer-night.' Twelfth Night and The Winter's Tale had probably their titles from a fimilar circumftance.



In Twelfth Night, A& III. fc. iv. Olivia obferves of Malvolio's feeming frenzy, that it is a very Midfummer madness." time of the year we may therefore fuppofe was anciently thought productive of mental vagaries refembling the fcheme of Shakspeare's Play. To this circumftance it might have owed its title.



the vaward of the day,] Vaward is compounded of van and ward, the forepart. In Knolles's Hiftory of the Turks, the word vayvod is ufed in the fame fenfe. Edinburgh Magazine, for Nov, 1786. STEEVENS.

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Uncouple in the weflern valley; go:-
Despatch, I fay, and find the forefter.-
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the mufical confufion

Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

HIP. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once, When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear' With hounds of Sparta : never did I hear Such gallant chiding; for, befides the groves,

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they bay'd the bear

] Thus all the old copies. And thus in Chaucer's Knightes Tale, v. 2020. Tyrwhitt's edit: "The hunte yftrangled with the wild beres."

Bearbaiting was likewife once a diverfion efteemed proper for

While the princefs Elizathe custody of Sir Thomas The next morning they

royal perfonages, even of the fofter sex. beth remained at Hatfield Houfe, under Pope, he was vifited by queen Mary. were entertained with a grand exhibition of bearbaiting, with which their highneffes were right well content. See Life of Sir Thomas Pope, cited by Warton in his Hiflory of English Poetry, Vol. II. P. 391. STEEVENS.

In The Winter's Tale Antigonus is deftroyed by a bear, who is chaced by hunters. See alfo our poet's Venus and Adonis: "For now he hears it is no gentle chase,

But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud."


Holinfhed, with whofe hiftories our poet was well acquainted, fays the beare is a beaft commonlie hunted in the Eaft countrie." See Vol. I. p. 206; and in p. 226, he fays, Alexander at vacant time hunted the tiger, the pard, the bore, and the beare." Pliny, Plutarch, &c. mention bear-hunting. Turberville, in his Book of Hunting, has two chapters on hunting the bear. As the perfons mentioned by the poet are foreigners of the heroic ftrain, he might perhaps think it nobler fport for them to hunt the bear than the boar. Shakspeare must have read the Knight's Tale in Chaucer, wherein are mentioned Thefeus's "white alandes [grey-hounds] to huntin at the lyon, or the wild bere." TOLLET.

6 -fuch gallant chiding; ] Chiding in this inftance means only found. So, in K. Henry VIII:

"As doth a rock against the chiding flood."


The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
So mufical a difcord, fuch fweet thunder.

THE. My hounds are bred" out of the Spartan kind,

So flew'd, fo fanded; and their heads are hung

Again, in Humour out of Breath, a comedy, by John Day, 1608: is - -I take great pride

"To hear foft mufick, and thy fhrill voice chide."

Again, in the 22d chapter of Drayton's Polyolbion:

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drums and trumpets chide." STEEVENS.

7 The kies, the fountains, ] Inftead of fountains, Mr. Heath would tead -mountains. The change had been propofed to Mr. Theobald, who has well fupported the old reading, by obferving that Virgil and other poets have made rivers, lakes, &c. refponfive to found: "Tum vero exoritur clamor, ripæque lacusque

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Refponfant circa, & cœlum tonat omne tumultu."


8 Seem'd all one mutual cry:] The old copies concur in reading -feem; but, as Hippolyta is fpeaking of time paft, I have adopted Mr. Rowe's correction. STEEVENS.

9 My hounds are bred, &c.] This paffage has been imitated by Lee in his Theodofius:

"Then through the woods we chac'd the foaming boar,
With hounds that open'd like Theffalian bulis;
Like tygers flew'd, and fanded as the fhore,

"With ears and chefts that dafh'd the morning dew."


So flew'd,] Sir T. Hanmer juftly remarks, that flews are the large chaps of a deep-mouth'd hound. Arthur Golding ufes this word in his tranflation of Ovid's Metamorphofis, finished 1567, book with which Shakspeare appears to have been well acquainted. The poet is defcribing Adxon's hounds, B. III. p. 34. b. 1575. Two of them, like our author's, were of Spartan kind; bred from a Spartan bitch and a Cietan dog:

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with other twaine, that had a fyre of Crete,

"And dam of Sparta: tone of them called Jollyboy, a

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Shakspeare mentions Cretan hounds (with Spartan) afterwards in this speech of Thefeus. And Ovid's tranflator, Golding, in



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