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Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
It is almost morning;
Gra. Let it be so. The first intergatory, That
Nerissa shall be sworn on, is,
should wish it dark,
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
The Knight's Tale, in Chaucer, is supposed by Steevens to have been the prototype, whence Shakspeare derived the leading features of this play: the same writer conjectures that the doggerel verses of Bottom and his associates are nothing more than an extract from the boke of Perymus and Thesbye,' printed in 1562; while Mr. Capell thinks our author indebted to a fantastical poem of Drayton, called Nymphidia, or the Court of Fairy, for his notions of those aërial beings.
The title of this drama was probably suggested (like Twelfth Night and The Winter's Tale) by the season of the year at which it was first represented : no other ground, indeed, can be assigned for the name which it has received, since the action is distinctly pointed out as occurring on the night preceding May-day.
Of the Midsummer Night's Dream there are two editions in quarto; ope printed for Thomas Fisher, the other for James Roberts, both in 1600. Neither of these editions deserve much praise for correctness Fisher is sometimes preferable ; but Roberts was fol lowed, though not without some variations, by Heming and Condell, and they by all the folios that succeede them.
• Wild and fanciful as this play is,' says Dr. John