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Called Robin Good-fellow. Are you not he,
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe:
But room, Faery; here comes Oberon.
Fai. And here my mistress.-'Would that he were gone!
1 A quern was a hand-mill.
2 Wild apple.
3 Dr. Johnson thought he remembered to have heard this ludicrous exclamation upon a person's seat slipping from under him. He that slips from his chair falls as a tailor squats upon his board. Hanmer thought the passage corrupt, and proposed to read "rails or cries."
4 The old copy reads: "And waxen in their mirth," &c. It seems most probable that we should read, as Dr. Farmer proposed, yexen. To yer is to hiccup, and is so explained in all the old dictionaries."
Enter OBERON, at one door, with his Train, and TITANIA, at another, with hers.
Obe. Il met by moon-light, proud Titania.
Obe. Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord?
Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
And make him with fair Ægle break his faith,
Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy;
1 See the Life of Theseus in North's Translation of Plutarch. Ægle, Ariadne, and Antiopa, were all, at different times, mistresses to Theseus. The name of Perigune is translated by North Perigouna.
2 Spring seems to be here used for beginning. The spring of day is used for the dawn of day in K. Henry IV. Part II.
As in revenge, have sucked up from the sea
We are their parents and original.
Obe. Do you amend it, then; it lies in you.
1 i. e. paltry. The folio reads petty.
2 A rural game, played by making holes in the ground in the angles and sides of a square, and placing stones or other things upon them, according to certain rules. These figures are called nine men's morris, or merrils, because each party playing has nine men: they were generally cut upon turf, and were, consequently, choked up with mud in rainy seasons. 3 Theobald proposed to read "their winter cheer."
4 Autumn producing flowers unseasonably upon those of summer. 5 Page of honor.
Tita. Set your heart at rest, The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot'ress of my order; And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossiped by my side, And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laughed to see the sails conceive, And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind; Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait Following, (her womb then rich with my young squire,) Would imitate; and sail upon the land, To fetch me trifles, and return again, As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. But she, being mortal, of that boy did die; And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy; And, for her sake, I will not part with him.
Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay? Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moon-light revels, go with us; If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee. Tita. Not for thy fairy-kingdom.-Fairies, away. We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay. [Exeunt TITANIA and her Train. Obe. Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this grove,
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou remember'st
Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou could'st not,) Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all armed. A certain aim he took
At a fair vestal,' throned by the west;
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound,
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes. [Exit PUCK.
1 It is well known that a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in this very beautiful passage. Warburton has attempted to show, that by the mermaid, in the preceding lines, Mary Queen of Scots was intended. It is argued with his usual fanciful ingenuity, but will not bear the test of examination, and has been satisfactorily controverted. It appears to have been no uncommon practice to introduce a compliment to Elizabeth in the body of a play.
2 Exempt from the power of love.
3 The tricolored violet, commonly called pansies, or hearts' ease, is here meant; one or two of its petals are of a purple color. It has other fanciful and expressive names.