Puslapio vaizdai

Keep word, Lyfander: we must starve our fight From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.


[Exit HERM.

LYS. I will, my Hermia. — - Helena, adieu: As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit Lys.

HEL. How happy fome, o'er other fome, can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as fhe.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not fo;
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he érrs, doting on Hermin's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.

Things bafe and vile, holding no quantity, '
Love can tranfpofe to form and dignity.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment tafle;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy hafle:
And therefore is love faid to be a child,
Because in choice he is fo oft beguil'd.
As waggifh boys in game themfelves forfwear,
So the boy love is perjur'd every where:
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,"
He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine;

when Phabe doth behold, &c.

deep midnight.] Shakspeare has a little forgotten himself. It appears from p. 5. that to-morrow night would be within three nights of the new moon, when there is no moonshine at all, much less at deep midnight. The fame overfight occurs in A& III. fc. i. BLACKSTONE.

holding no quantity,] Quality feems a word more fuitable to the fenfe than quantity, but either may ferve. JOHNSON. Quantity is our author's word. So, in Hamlet, A& III. fc. ii : "And women's fear and love hold quantity STEEVENS. in game-] Game here fignifies not contentious play, but Sport, jeft. So Spenfer:


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'twixt earnest, and 'twixt game." JOHNSON. 7 --- Hermia's eyne,] This plural is common both in Chaucer

And when this hail fome heat from Hermia felt,
So he diffolv'd, and fhowers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence

If I have thanks, it is a dear expence:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his fight thither, and back again.


The fame. A Room in a Cottage.



QUIN. Is all our company here?

and Spenfer. So, in Chaucer's Chara&er of the Prioreffe, Tyrwhitt's

edit. v. 152:

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Again, in Spenfer's Faery Queen, B. I. c. 4. ft. 9:


"While flashing beams do dare his feeble eyen.'

this hail


Thus all the editions, except the quarto, 1600, printed by Roberts, which reads inftead of this hail, his hail.



it is a dear expence :] i. e. it will coft him much, (be a fevere constraint on his feelings,) to make even fo flight a return for my communication.


* In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, fuch as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the ftage. The fame Bottom, who feems bred in a tiring-room, has another hiftrionical paffion. He is for engroffing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all poffibility of diftin&tion. He is therefore defirous to play Pyramus, Thibe, and the Lion, at the fame time. JOHNSON.

BOT. You were beft to call them generally, man by man, according to the fcrip.


QUIN. Here is the fcroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchefs, on his wedding-day at night.

BOT. Firft, good Peter Quince, fay what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and fo grow to a point. 3


QUIN. Marry, our play is-The moft lamentable comedy, and moft cruel death of Pyramus and Thilby.


the fcrip.] A ferip, Fr. efcript, now written écrit. So, Chaucer, in Troilus and Creffida, 1. 2. 1130 :

"Scripe nor bil."

Again, in Heywood's, If you know not me you know Nobody, 1606, P II:

"I'll take thy own word without fcrip or scroll." Holinfhed likewife ufes the word. STEEVINS.

3 grow to a point.] Dr. Warburton reads


go on; but grow

is ufed, in allufion to his name, Quince. JOHNSON. To grow to a point, I believe, has no reference to the name of Quince. I meet with the fame kind of expreffion in Wily Beguiled : "As yet we are grown to no conclufion."

Again, in The Arraignment of Paris, 1584:

"Our reafons will be infinite, I trow,

Unless unto fome other point we grow."


And fo grow on to a point.] The fenfe, in my opinion, hath been hitherto mistaken; and inflead of a point, a fubftantive, I would read appoint a verb, that is, appoint what part each actor is to perform, which is the real cafe. Quince firft tells them the name of the play, then calls the a&ors by their names, and after that, tells each of them what part is fet down for him to act.

Perhaps, however, only the particle a may be inferted by the printer, and Shakspeare wrote to point, i. e. to appoint. The word occurs in that fenfe in a poem by N. B. 1614, called I Would and I Would Not, flanza iii:


"To point the captains every one their fight." WARNER. The most lamentable comedy, &c.] This is very probably a burlesque on the title page of Cambyfes: A lamentable Tragedie, mixed full of pleafant Mirth, containing, The Life of Cambifes King of Percia, &c. By Thomas Prefton, bl. 1. no date.

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BOT. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. - Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the fcroll: Mafters, spread yourselves. •

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QUIN. Answer, as I call you. Nick Bottom,

the weaver.

BOT. Ready: Name what part I am for, and proceed.

QUIN. You, Nick Bottom, are fet down for Pyramus.

BOT. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant? QUIN. A lover, that kills himself moft gallantly for love.

BOT. That will afk fome tears in the true performing of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move ftorms, I will condole in. fome measure. 7 To the reft: Yet my chief

On the registers of the Stationers' company, however, appears "the boke of Perymus and Thefbye," 1562. Perhaps Shakspeare copied fome part of his interlude from it. STEEVENS.

A poem entitled Pyramus and Thisbe, by D. Gale, was published in 4to. in 1597; but this, I believe, was pofterior to The MidJummer-Night's Dream. MALONE.

A very good piece of work, and a merry.] This is defigned as a ridicule on the titles of our ancient moralities and interludes. Thus Skelton's Magnificence is called "a goodly interlude and a mery." STEEvens.



fpread yourselves.] i. e. ftand feparately, not in a group, but fo that you may be diftin&ly feen, and called over. STEEVENS. I will condole in fome measure.] When we ufe this verb at prefent, we put with before the perfon for whofe misfortune we profefs concern. Anciently it feems to have been employed without it. So, in A Pennyworth of good Counfell, an ancient ballad:

"Thus to the wall

"I may condole."

Again, in The Three Merry Coblers, another old fong

"Poor weather beaten foles,

"Whose cafe the body condoles." STEEVENS.

humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely,


or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split,

"The raging rocks,
"With fhivering fhocks,"
"Shall break the locks
"Of prifon-gates:
"And Phibbus' car,

Shall fhine from far,
"And make and mar

." The foolifh fates."


This was lofty!-Now name the rest of the players.This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

QUIN. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender,"

7 I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in,] In the old comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611, there is a character called Tearcat, who says: "I am called, by those who have feen my valour, Tear-cat." In an anonymous piece called Hiftriomaflix, or The Player Whipt, 1610, in fix a&s, a parcel of foldiers drag a company of players on the ftage, and the captain fays: "Sirrah, this is you that would rend and tear a cat upon a ftage," &c. Again, in The Ile of Gulls, a comedy by J. Day, 1606: I had rather hear two fuch jefts, than a whole play of fuch Tear-cat thunderclaps."



to make all split.] This is to be conne&ed with the previous part of the fpeech; not with the fubfequent rhymes. It was the defcription of a bully. In the fecond a& of The Scornful Lady, we meet with "two roaring boys of Rome, that made all split."


I meet with the fame expreffion in The Widow's Tears, by Chapman, 1612; Her wit I muft employ upon this bufinefs to prepare my next encounter, but in fuch a fashion as fhall make all split.'


9 With Shivering flocks,] The old copy reads "And fhivering," &c. The emendation is Dr. Farmer's. STEEVENS.


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the bellows-mender.] In Ben Jonfon's Mafque of Pan's Anniversary, &c. a man of the fame profeffion is introduced. have been told that a bellows-mender was one who had the care of organs, regals, &c. STEEVENS.

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