Puslapio vaizdai

That yet we fleep, we dream. Do not you think, The duke was here, and bid us follow him?

HER. Yea; and my father.


And Hippolyta.

Lys. And he did bid us follow to the temple. DEM. Why then, we are awake: let's follow


And, by the way, let us recount our dreams.

As they go out, BOTTOM awakes.


BOT. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer-my next is, Moft fair Pyramus.--Hey, ho!-Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout the tinker! Starveling! God's my life! ftolen hence, and left me afleep! I have had a most rare vifion. I have had a dream,-past the wit of man to fay what dream it was: Man is but an afs, if

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I had once injudiciously reftored thefe words; but they add no weight to the fense of the paffage, and create fuch a defe&t in the measure as is beft remedied by their omiffion. STEEVENS.

Are you fure That we are awake?] Sure is here used as a diffyllable: so fire, fire, hour, &c. The word now [That we are now awake?] feems to be wanting, to complete the metre of the next line. MALONE. I cannot accede to a belief that fure was ever employed as a diffyllable, much lefs at the end of a verse. Fire (anciently fpelt fier) and hour (anciently spelt hower) might be diffyllabically ufed, becaufe the duplicate vowels in each of them were readily feparated in pronunciation.

Our author might have written

But are you fure

"That we are now awake?—"

Having exhibited this paffage, however, only in my note on the hemiftich that follows it, I have little folicitude for its reformation.


he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had,-But man is but a patch'd fool,' if he will offer to fay what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not feen; man's hand is not able to tafle, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince

to write a ballad of this dream: it fhall be call'd Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will fing it in the latter end of å play, before the duke: Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I fall fing it at her death."



-patch'd fool,] That is, a fool in a particolour'd coat.


The eye of man, &c.] He is here blundering upon the fcriptural paffage of " Eye hath not feen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things," &c. 1. Cor. ii. 9.


' the latter end of the play, before the duke:] i. e. the play in which he was to perform. The old copies read-" a play. I have not fcrupled to place the prefent emendation, which is Mr. Ritfon's, in the text. STEEVENS.


-I fhall fing it at her death. ] At whofe death? In Bottom's fpeech there is no mention of any fhe-creature, to whom this relative can be coupled. I make not the leaft fcruple but Bottom, for the fake of a jeft, and to render his voluntary, as we may call it, the more gracious and extraordinary, faid;--I fhall fing it after death. He, as Pyramus, is kill'd upon the fcene; and fo might promise to rise again at the conclufion of the interlude, and give the duke his dream by way of fong. The fource of the corruption of the text is very obvious. The f in after being funk by the vulgar pronunciation, the copyift might write it from the found,-a'ter which the wife editors not understanding, concluded, two words were erroneoufly got together; fo, splitting them, and clapping in an h, produced the prefent reading-at her. THEOBALD.

Theobald might have quoted the following paffage in The Tempest in fupport of his emendation. "This is a very fcurvy tune (fays Trinculo.) for a man to fing at his funeral."-Yet I believe the text is right. MALONE.

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Athens. A Room in Quince's House.


QUIN. Have you fent to Bottom's houfe? is he come home yet?

STAR. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.

FLU. If he come not, then the play is marr'd; It goes not forward, doth it?

QUIN. It is not poffible: you have not a man in all Athens, able to discharge Pyramus, but he. FLU. No; he hath fimply the best wit of any handycraft man in Athens.

QUIN. Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour, for a fweet voice.

FLU. You must fay, paragon: a paramour is, God blefs us! a thing of nought."

at her death.] He may mean the death of Thisbe, which his head might be at prefent full of; and yet I cannot but prefer the happy conje&ure of Mr. Theobald to my own attempt at explanation. STEEVENS.

-a thing of nought.] This Mr. Theobald changes with great pomp to a thing of naught; i. c. a good for nothing thing.


A thing of nought may be the true reading. So, in Hamlet :

Ham. The king is a thing

"Guil. A thing my lord?

Ham. Of nothing."

See the note on this paffage.


Paramour being a word which Flute did not understand, he may defign to say that it had no meaning, i. e. was a thing of nought. Mr. M. Mason, however, is of a different opinion. ejaculation, (fays he) God bless us! proves that Flute imagined he was faying a naughty word." STEEVENS.

Enter SNUG.

SNUG. Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married: if our fport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

FLU. O fweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he loft fix-pence a-day during his life; he could not have 'fcaped fix-pence a-day: an the duke had not given him fix-pence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd; he would have deferv'd it: fix-pence aday, in Pyramus, or nothing.


BOT. Where are thefe lads? where are thefe hearts?


QUIN. Bottom!-O moft courageous day! O most happy hour!

BOT. Mafters, I am to difcourfe wonders: but afk me not what; for, if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.

QUIN. Let us hear, fweet Bottom.

BOT. Not a word of me. All that I will tell you, is, that the duke hath dined: Get your apparel to


made men. t.] In the fame sense as in The Tempeft, “ any monster in England makes a man. JOHNSON.


fixpence a day, in Pyramus, or nothing.] Shakspeare has already ridiculed the title-page of Cambyfes by Thomas Prefton; and here he feems to allude to him, or fome other perfon who, like him, had been penfioned for his dramatic abilities. Prefton a&ted a part in John Ritwife's play of Dido before queen Elizabeth at Cambridge, in 1564; and the queen was fo well pleafed, that the bestowed on him a penfion of twenty pounds a year, which is little more than a filling a day. STEEVENS.


gether; good frings to your beards, new ribbons to your pumps; meet prefently at the palace; every man look o'er his part; for, the fhort and the long is, our play is preferr'd. In any cafe, let 1 hifby have clean linen; and let not him, that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they fhall hang out for the lion's claws. And, moft dear actors, cat no onions, nor garlick, for we are to utter fweet breath, and I do not doubt but to hear them fay, it is a fweet comedy. No more words; away; go, away.


[ Excunt.

good frings to your beards, i. e. to prevent the false beards, which they were to wear, from falling off. MALONE.

As no falfe beard could be worn, without a ligature to faften it on, (and a flender one would fuffice,) the caution of Bottom, confidered in fuch a light, is fuperfluous. I fufpe& therefore that the good firings recommended by him, were ornamental, or employed to give an air of novelty to the countenances of the performers. Thus, in Meafure for Measure, where the natural beard is unquestionably fpoken of, the Duke, intent on disfiguring the head of Ragozine, fays O, death's a great disguiser; and you may add to it. Shave the head, and tie the beard." STEEVENS.


our play is preferr'd.] This word is not to be understood in its most common acceptation here, as if their play was chosen in preference to the others; (for that appears afterwards not to be the fact; but means, that it was given in among others for the duke's option. So, in Julius Cæfar Decius, fays,

"Where is Metellus Cimber? let him go

And prefently prefer his fuit to Cæfar.'


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