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Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke fay, Let him roar again, let him roar again.

Quin, An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the dutchess and the ladies, that they would Shriek; and that were enough to hang us all,

All. That would hang us every mother's fon. Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more difcretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice fo, that I will roar + you as gently as any fucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a sweet-fac'd man; a proper man, as one fhall fee in a fummer's-day; a most lovely gentle, man-like man; therefore you must needs play Py


Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I beft to play it in?

Quin. Why, what you will,

Bot. I will difcharge it in either your ftraw-coloured beard, your orange-tawney beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow ".


Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-fac'd.-But, maf、

4-you] Omitted in first folio. MALONE.

5 your perfect yellow.] Here Bottom again discovers a true genius for the ftage by his folicitude for propriety of drefs, and his deliberation which beard to chufe among many beards, all unnatural. JOHNSON.

This cuftom of wearing coloured beards, the reader will find more amply explained in Meafure for Mcafure, act iv, fc. 2. vol, ji, p. 137. STEEVENS.

French crowns, &c.] See vol. ii. p. 13. STEEVENS.


ters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and defire you, to con them by to-mor row night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moon light; there will we rehearfe for if we meet in the city, we shall be dog'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time, I will draw a bill of properties +, fuch as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not,

Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obfcenely, and courageoufly. Take pains; be perfect; adieu,

Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.

Bot. Enough; Hold, or cut bow-ftrings +.

[Exeunt, ACT

4 properties, Properties are whatever little articles are wanted in a play for the actors, according to their respective parts, dreffes and fcenes excepted. The perfon who delivers them out is to this day called the property-man.

So, in Albumazar, 1610:

"Furbo, our beards,

"Black patches for our eyes, and other properties." Again, in Weftward-Hoe, 1606:

"I'll go make ready my ruftical properties." STEEVENS, 5 At the dukes oak we meet-hold, or cut bow ftrings."] This proverbial phrafe came originally from the camp. When a rendezvous was appointed, the militia foldiers would frequently make excufe for not keeping word, that their bowftrings were broke, i. e. their arms unferviceable. Hence when one would give another abfolute affurance of meeting him, he would fay proverbially-bold or cut bow-flrings-i. e. whether the bow-ftrings held or broke. For cut is ufed as a neuter, like the verb frets. As when we fay, the firing frets, the filk frets, for the paffive, it is cut or fretted. WARBURTON.

This interpretation is very ingenious, but fomewhat difputable. The excufe made by the militia foldiers is a mere fuppofition,, without proof; and it is well known that while bows were in ufe, no archer ever entered the field without a supply of firings in his pocket; whence originated the proverb, to have two frings to one's bow. In The Country Girl, a comedy by T. B. 1647, is the following threat to a fiddler :


-fiddler, ftrike,

"I'll ftrike you, elfe, and cut your begging bowfirings."

C 4




A Wood.

Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck (or Robin-goodfellow) at another.

Puck. How now, fpirit! whither wander you?
Fai, Over hill, over dale',

Thorough bufh, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moones fphere ';
And I ferve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs 7 upon the green :

So, in The Ball, by Chapman and Shirley, 1639:


have you devices to jeer the rest?


"Luc. All the regiment on 'em, or I'll break my bow


The bowfrings in both thefe inftances may only mean the frings which make part of the bow with which mufical inftruments of feveral kinds are struck. The propriety of the allufion I cannot fatisfactorily explain. STEEVENS.

Hold, or cut cod piece point, is a proverb to be found in Ray's Collection, p. 57. edit. 1737. COLLINS.

s Over bill, over dale, &c.] So Drayton in his Court of Fairy: Thorough brake, thorough brier,


Thorough muck, thorough mire,

Thorough water, thorough fire. JOHNSON.

the icones fphere] Unless we fuppofe this to be the Saxon genitive cafe, (as it is here printed) the metre will be de fective. So, in Spenfer's Faery Queen, B. iii. c. i. ft. 15:

"And eke through feare as white as whales bone." So, in a letter from Gabriel Harvey to Spenfer, 1580: "Have we not God bys wrath, for Goddes wrath, and a thousand of the fame flampe, wherein the corrupte orthography in the mofte, hath been the fole or principal caufe of corrupte profodye in over many?" STEEVENS.

7 To dew her orbs upon the green :] For orbs Dr.Gray is inclined to fubftitute herbs. The orbs here mentioned are the circles fup


The cowflips tall her penfioners be R;
9 In their gold coats fpots you fee;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,

In those freckles live their favours:
I must go feek fome dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowflip's ear'.
Farewel, thou lob of fpirits, I'll be gone;


Our queen and all her elves come here anon,

Puck. pofed to be made by the fairies on the ground, whofe verdure pro ceeds from the fairy's care to water them. Thus Drayton: They in their courfes make that round,

In meadows and in marshes found,

Of them fo called the fairy ground. JOHNSON.

Thus in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus "—fimiles illis fpetris, quæ in multis locis, præfertim nocturno tempore, fuum, faltatorium orbem cum omnium mufarum concentu veríare folent." It appears from the fame author, that these dancers always parched up the grafs, and therefore it is properly made the office of Puck to refresh it. STEEVENS.

The cowflip was a favourite among the fairies. hint in Drayton of their attention to May morning: For the queen a fitting tov'r,

Quoth he, is that fair cowflip flow'r.-
In all your train there's not a fay
That ever went to gather May,

But he hath made it in her way,

The tallest there that groeth. JOHNSON.

There is a

In their gold coats Spots you fee;] Shakspeare, in Cymbeline, refers to the fame red fpots:

"A mole cinquc-fpotted, like the crimson drops

"I' th' bottom of a cowflip." PERCY.

Perhaps there is likewife fome allufion to the habit of a penfioner. See a note on the fecond act of the Merry Wives of Windfor, fc. ii. STEEVENS.

And bang a pearl in every cowflip's car.] The fame thought occurs in an old comedy call'd the Wisdom of Door Dodypoll, 1600; i. e. the fame year in which the first printed copies of this play made their appearance. An enchanter fays:

" 'Twas I that led you through the painted meads "Where the light fairies danc'd upon the flowers, "Hanging on every leaf an orient pearl." STEEVENS. 2lob of spirits,] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body and dulness of mind. JOHNSON.


Puck, The king doth keep his revels here to night; Take heed, the queen come not within his fight, For Oberon is paffing fell and wrath, Because that fhe, as her attendant, hath A lovely boy, ftol'n from an Indian king; She never had fo fweet a changeling'; And jealous Oberon would have the child Knight of his train, to trace the forefts wild: But the, per-force, withholds the loved boy, Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy: And now they never meet in grove, or green, By fountain clear, or fpangled ftar-light theen+, But they do fquare'; that all their elves, for fear, Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there.


Both lob and lobcock are used as terms of contempt in The Rival Friends, 1632..

Again, in the interlude of Jacob and Efau, 1568: "Should find Efau fuch a lout or a lob."

Again, in the Knight of the Burning Pefile, by Beaumont and Fletcher: "There is a pretty tale of a witch that had the devil's mark about her, that had a giant to her fon, that was called Lob-lye-by-the fire." This being feems to be of kin to the lubbar fiend of Milton, as Mr. Warton has remarked in his Obfervations on the Faery Queen. STEEVENS.

3 -changeling:] Changeling is commonly used for the child fuppofed to be left by the fairies, but here for the child taken away. JOHNSON.

It is here properly ufed, and in its common acceptation; that is for a child got in exchange. A Fairy is now fpeaking. REMARKS. So Spenfer, b. i. c. 10.

And her base elfin brood there for thee left,

Such men do changelings call, fo call'd by fairy theft.

4-Sheen,] Shining, bright, gay. JOHNSON.

So, in Tancred and Guifmund, 1592:

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but why

"Doth Phoebus' fifter Sheen defpife thy power?" Again, in the ancient romance of Syr Tryamoure, bl. 1. no date: "He kyffed and toke his leve of the quene, "And of other ladies bright and bene."


5 But they do fquare;] To (quare here is to quarrel. The French word contrecarrer has the fame import. JOHNSON.


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