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well: that same 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 desire you of more acquaintance, good master Mustard-seed.
Tita. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon, methinks, looks with a watery eye;
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Another part of the Wood.
Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.
what night-rule – ] Night-rule in this place should seem to mean, what frolick of the night, what revelry is going forward? So, in Tom Tyler and his wife, 1661:
“Marry, here is good rule. Again :
why how now strife ! here is pretty rule!” It appears, from the old song of Robin Goodfellow, in the third volume of Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, that it was the office of this waggish spirit “ to viewe (or superintend] the night-sports.” Steevens.
patches,] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the same import as we use raggamuffi«, or tatterleinalion. Fobnson.
Puck calls the players, " a crew of patches." A common opprobrious term, which probably took its rise from Patch, Cardinal Wolsey's fool. In the western counties, cross-patch is still used for perverse, ill-natur'd fool. T. Warion.
The name was rather taken from the patch!d or pied coats wom. by the fools or jesters of those times.
Were met together to rehearse a play,
So, in The Tempest :
what a pied ninny's this?" Again, in Preston's Cambyses :
“ Hob and Lob, ah ye country patches .!” Again, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584:
“ It is simplicitie, that patch." Steevens. I should suppose patch to be merely a corruption of the Italian pazzo, which signifies properly a fool. So, in The Merchant of Venice, Act II, sc. v, Shylock says of Launcelot: The patch is kind enough ;-after having just called him, that fool of Hagar's off-spring. Tyrwhitt. - barren sort,] Barren, is dull, unpregnant. So, in Hamlet:
some quantity of barren spectators,” &c. Sort is company. Steevens.
4 .An ass's nowl I fixed on his head;] A head. Saxon. Johnson. So Chaucer, in The History of Beryn, 1524:
“ No sothly, quoth the steward, it lieth all in thy noll,
“ Both wit and wysdom,” &c. Again, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584: « One thumps me on the neck, and another strikes me on the
nole." Steevens. The following receipt, for the process tried on Bottom, occurs in Albertus Magnus, de Secretis: "Si vis quod caput hominis assimiletur capiti asini, sume de segmine aselli, & unge hominem in capite, & sic apparebit.” There was a translation of this book in Shakspeare's time. Douce.
The metamorphosis of Bottom's head, might have been suggested by a similar trick played by Dr. Faustus. See his His. tory, chap. xliii. Steevens.
mimick—] Minnocé is the reading of the old quarto, and I believe right. Minnekin, now mins, 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 quartos, for the other reads-minnick. Steevens.
Mimmick is the reading of the folio. The quarto printed by Fisher has-minnick; that by Roberts, minnock: both evidently
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,?
corruptions. The line has been explained as it related to Thisbe; but it does not relate to her, but to Pyramus. Bottom had just been playing that part, and had retired into a brake; (according to Quince's direction: “When you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake.") “ Anon his Thisbe must be an. swered, And forth my mimick (i. e. my actor) comes." In this there seems no difficulty.
Mimick is used as synonymous to actor, by Decker, in his Guls Hornebooke, 1609: “ Draw what troop you can from the stage after you; the mimicks are beholden to you for allowing them elbow room.” Again, in his Satiromastix, 1602: “ Thou [B. Jonson] hast forgot how thou ambled'st in a leather pilch by a play-waggon in the highway, and took'st mad Feronymo's part, to get service amongst the mimicks.” Malone.
choughs,] The chough is a bird of the daw kind. It is mentioned also in Macbeth:
“By magot-pies, and choughs, and rooks,” &c. Steevens. sort,] Company. So above:
that barren sort;" and in Waller:
“ A sort of lusty shepherds strive.” Fohnson. So, in Chapman's May Day, 1611:
though we neuer lead any other company than a sort of quart-pots.” Steevens.
8 And, at our stamp,] This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never represented stamping, or of a size that should give force to a stamp; nor could they have distinguished the stamps. of Puck from those of their own companions. I read:
And, at a stump bere o’er and o’er one falls. So Drayton :
“ A pain he in his head-piece feels,
Against a stubbed tree he reels,
“ Alas, his brain was dizzy.-
Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets,
“ And through the bushes scrambles,
“ Among the briers and brambles." Johnson... i
Their sense, thus weak, lost with their fears, thus strong,
Obe. This falls out better than I could devise.
Puck. I took him sleeping that is finish'd too,
Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA.
Dem. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Her. Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse; For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
I adhere to the old reading. The stamp of a fairy might be efficacious, though not loud; neither is it necessary to suppose, when supernatural beings are spoken of, that the size of the agent determines the force of the action. That fairies did stamp to some purpose, may be known from the following passage in Olaus Magnus, de Gentibus Septentrionalibus :-_“ Vero saltum adeo profunde in terram impresserant, ut locus insigni adore orbiculariter peresus, non parit arenti redivivum cespite gramen." Shakspeare's own authority, however, is most decisive. See the conclusion of the first scene of the fourth Act:
“ Come, my queen, take hand with me,
Steedens. Some, sleeves; some, bats : ] There is the like image in Drayton, of queen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin:
“ Some tore a ruff, and some a gown,
“ 'Gainst one another justling;
“ There never was such bustling.” Fohnson. latch’d-] Or letch'd, lick'd over, lecker, to lick, Fr.
Hanmer. In the North, it signifies to infect. Steevens.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Dem. So should the murder'd look; and so should I,
Her. What 's this to my Lysander? where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
Dem. I had rather give his carcase to my hounds. Her. Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv'st me past the
2 Being o'er shoes in blood,] An allusion to the proverb, Over sboes, over boots. Fohnson. So, in Macbeth:
- I am in blood
- noon-tide with the Antipoles.} Dr. Warburton would read -i th' antipodes, which Mr. Edwards ridicules without mercy. The alteration is certainly not necessary; but it is not so unlucky as he imagined. Shirley has the same expression in his Andromana:
“ To be a whore, is more unknown to her,
“ Than what is done in the antipodes.” In for among is frequent in old language. Farmer.
The familiarity of the general idea, is shown by the following passage in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
And dwell one month with the Antipodes.” Steevens. - so dead,] All the old copies read so dead; in my copy of it, some reader has altered dead to dread. Johnson.
Dead seems to be the right word, and our author again uses it in King Henry IV, P. II, Act I, sc. :
“ Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
“ So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone.” Steevens. So also, in Greene's Dorastus and Fawnia: “-if thou marry in age, thy wife's fresh colours will breed in thee dead thoughts and suspicion.” Malone.