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Queen. Out of this wood do not defire to go; Thou fhalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. I am a fpirit, of no common rate;

The fummer ftill doth tend upon my state,
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee;
And they fhall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And fing, while thou on preffed flowers doft fleep:
And I will purge thy mortal groffness fo,
That thou shalt like an airy fpirit go.-
Peafe-bloffom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustard-feed!
Enter four Fairies.

1 Fair. Ready. 2 Fair. And I.

3 Fair. And I.


4 Fair. And I: Where fhall we go ?

Queen. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks, and dewberries",
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags fteal from the humble-bees,
And, for night tapers, crop their waxen thighs,
And light them at the fiery glow-worin's eyes,
To have my love to bed, and to arise;

And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moon-beams from his fleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtefies.

6 - Where Shall we go?] Perhaps this question fhould be propofed by the four fairies together. STEEVENS.

7 Dewberries,] Dewberries strictly and properly are the fruit of one of the fpecies of wild bramble called the creeping or the leffer bramble: but as they stand here among the more delicate fruits, they must be understood to mean raspberries, which are also of the bramble kind. HAWKINS.

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the fiery glow-worm's eyes,] I know not how Shakefpeare, who commonly derived his knowledge of nature from his own obfervation, happened to place the glow-worm's light in his eyes, which is only in his tail. JoHNSON.



1 Fair.

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Bot. I cry your worship's mercy heartily.-I befeech, your worship's name.

Cob. Cobweb.

Bot. I fhall defire you of more acquaintance', good mafter Cobweb: If I cut my finger, I fhall make bold with you. Your name, honeft gentleman ? Peafe. Peafe-bloffom.

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Bot. I pray you, commend me to miftrefs Squash* your mother, and to mafter Peafcod, your father. Good mafter Peafe-bloffom, I fhall defire you of more acquaintance too. -Your name, I beseech you, fir. Muf. Mustard-feed.

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Bot. Good mafter Muftard-feed, I know your pa

bail!] Out of the four fairies, only three address themselves to Bottom. If this falutation be given to the fecond fairy, the repetition of the fame word will ferve for the other two. STEEVENS.

I fhall defire you of more acquaintance,] This line has been very unneceffarily altered. The fame mode of expreffion occurs in Lufty Juventus, a morality, 1561:

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I fhall defire you of better acquaintance.' Such phrafeology was very common to many of our ancient writers. So, again in the Dutchefs of Suffolk, 1631: "Befeech my prince of pardon."

Again, in An Humourous Day's Mirth, 1599:

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"I do defire you of more acquaintance." Again, in The Travels of 3 English Brothers, 1607: "I must entreat thee of forbearance, Zariph.'

Again, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621:

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"craving you of more acquaintance." STEEVENS. mistress Squash your mother, A fquafh is an immature peafcod. So, in Twelfth Night, act I. fc. 5


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-as a fquafb is before 'tis a peafcod." STEEVENS. -patience,] The Oxford edition reads, I know your parentage well. I believe the correction is right. JOHNSON. Parentage was not eafily corrupted to patience. I fancy, the true word is paffions, fufferings. FARMER.

By patience is meant, ftanding fill in a mustard pot to be eaten with the beef, on which it was a conftant attendant. COLLINS.

tience well; that fame cowardly, giant-like, ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise you your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I defire you, more acquaintance, good mafter Muftard-feed.

Queen. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower. The moon, methinks, looks with a watry eye; And when the weeps, weeps every little flower, Lamenting fome enforced chastity.

Tie up my love's tongue, bring him filently.


Enter Oberon.


Ob. I wonder, if Titania be awak'd;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which the muft doat on in extremity.

Enter Puck.

Here comes my meffenger. How now, mad fpirit?
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.

Near to her clofe and confecrated bower,
While the was in her dull and fleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,


my love's tongue-] The old copies read:

my lover's tongue



5 what night-rule] Night-rule in this place fhould feem to mean, what frolick of the night, what revelry is going forward? So, in Tom Tyler and his Wife, 1598:

Again :

"Marry here is good rule!"

"-why how now ftrife! here is pretty rule!" It appears, from the old fong of Robin Goodfellow, in the third volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, that it was the office of this waggifh fpirit" to viewe the night-fports." STEEVENS.

6 patches,] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the fame import as we ufe raggamuffin, or tatterdemalion. JOHNSON. F 2


That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Thefeus' nuptial day.
The fhalloweft thick-fkin of that barren fort,
Who Pyramus prefented, in their sport
Forfook his fcene, and enter'd in a brake :
When I did him at this advantage take,
An afs's "nowl I fixed on his head;

Anon, his Thisby muft be answered,


And forth my minnock comes: When they him


As wild geefe, that the creeping fowler eye,

Puck calls the players, "a crew of patches." A common op... probrious term, which probably took its rife from Patch, cardinal Wolfey's fool. In the western counties, cross-patch is still used for perverfe, ill-natur'd fool. WARTON.

The name was rather taken from the patch'd or pye coats worn by the fools or jefters of those times.

So, in the Tempeft:

what a py'd Ninny's this?" Again, in Prefton's Cambyfes:

"Hob and Lob, ah ye country patches! Again, in the Three Ladies of London, 1584:

"It is fimplicitie, that Patch." STEEVENS.

I should fuppofe patch to be merely a corruption of the Italian pazzo, which fignifies properly a fool. So, in the Merchant of Venice, act II. fc. v. Shylock fays of Launcelot: The patch is kind enough;-after having juft called him, that fool of Hagar's offspring. TYRWHITT.

i now?] A head. Saxon. JOHNSON.

So, Chaucer, in The Hiftory of Bėryn, 2524:

"No fothly, quoth the fteward, it lieth all in thy noll, "Both wit and wyldom, &c."

Again, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584:

"One thumps me on the neck, and another strikes me on the nole." STEEVENS.

minnock-] This is the reading of the old quarto, and I believe right. Minnekin, now minx, is a nice trifling girl. Minnock is apparently a word of contempt. JOHNSON.

The folio reads mimmick; perhaps for mimick, a word more familiar than that exhibited by one of the 4tos, for the other reads, minnick. STEEVENS.

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Or ruffet-pated choughs, many in fort,
Rifing and cawing at the gun's report

Sever themselves, and madly fweep the fky;
So, at his fight, away his fellows fly :

And, at our stamp ', here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their fenfe, thus weak, loft with their fears, thus ftrong,

-fort,] Company. So above:

and in Waller :

"that barren fort;"

"A fort of lufty Shepherds ftrive." JOHNSON. So, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611:

"though we never lead any other company than a fort of "" STEEVENS. quart-pots.

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And, at our ftamp,-] This feems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never reprefented ftamping, or of a fize that should give force to a ftamp, nor could they have distinguished the stamps of Puck from thofe of their own companions. I read:

And at a ftump here o'er and o'er one falls.

So, Drayton:

"A pain he in his head-piece feels,


Againft a stubbed tree he reels,

"And up went poor hobgoblin's heels &
"Alas, his brain was dizzy.
"At length upon his feet he gets,
Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets,
"And as again he forward fets,

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And through the bushes ferambles, "A ftump doth trip him in his pace, "Down fell poor Hob upon his face, "And lamentably tore his cafe,

"Among the briers and brambles." JOHNSON.

I adhere to the old reading. The ftamp of a fairy might be efficacious though not loud; neither is it neceflary to fuppofe, when fupernatural beings are fpoken of, that the fize of the agent determines the force of the action. That fairies did ftamp to fome purpose, may be known from the following paffage in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus.Vero faltum adeo profundè in terram imprefferant, ut locus infigni ardore orbiculariter perefus, non parit arenti redivivum cefpite gramen.' Shakespeare's own authority, however, is moft decifive. See the conclufion of the first scene of the fourth act:

Come, my queen, take hand with me,

"And rock the ground whereon these fleepers be."

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