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4 You orphan-heirs of fixed destiny,
Fal. They're fairies ; he, that speaks to them, shall
I'll wink and couch ; no man their works must eye.
[Lies down upon his face. Eva. Where's Pede? -Go you, and where you
find a maid, That, ere she neep, hath thrice her prayers said,
+ You ORPHAN-heirs of fixed deftiny,) But why orphan-beirs ? Destiny, whom they succeeded, was yet in being. Doubtlefs the poet wrote,
You OUPHEN heirs of fixed destiny, i. e. you elves, who minister, and succeed in some of the works of destiny. They are called, in this play, both before and afterwards, ouphes ; here ouphen ; en being the plural termination of Saxon nouns. For the word is from the Saxon Alpenne, lumie, dæmones. Or it may be understood to be an adjective, as wooden, woollen, golden, &c. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton corrects orphan to ouphen ; and not without plausibility, as the word ouphes occurs both before and afterward. But, I fancy, in acquiescence to the vulgar doctrine, the address in this line is to a part of the troop, as mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies : orphans in respect of their real parents, and now only dependent on destiny herself. A few lines from Spenser will sufficiently illustrate this passage :
" The man whom heavens have ordaynd to bee
“ The spouse of Britomart is Arthegall.
“ Yet is no Fary borne, ne sib at all,
" And whilome by false Faries itolen away,
Edit. 1590. B. 3. St. 26.
5 Rein up the organs of her fantasy;
Worthy S RAISE up the organs of her fantasy;} The sense of this speech is—that the, who had performed her religious duties, Mould be secure against the illusion of fancy; and have her sleep, like that of infancy, undisturbed by disordered dreams. This was then the popular opinion, that evil spirits had a power over the fancy; and, by that means, could inspire wicked dreams into those who, on their going to sleep, had not recommended themselves to the protection of heaven. So Shakespeare makes one, on his lying down, say,
From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
Protect us heaven! As this is the sense, let us see how the common reading expresses it;
Raise up the organs of her fantasy; i. e. inflame her imagination with sentual ideas; which is just the contrary to what the poet would have the speaker say. Ws cannot therefore but conclude he wrote,
REIN up the organs of her fantasy ; i. e. curb them, that the be no more disturbed by irregular imaginations, than children in their sleep. For, he adds immediately,
Sleep lhe as found as careless infancy. So in the Tempeft:
" Give not dalliance too much the REIN." And in Measure for Measure :
“ I give my sensual race the rein." To give the rein, being just the contrary to rein up. The same thought he has again in Macbeth:
Merciful powers !
“ Gives way to in repose.” WARBURTON. • In ftate as wholsome,-) The Oxford editor, not knowing the meaning of viheljome, has altered it to,
In file as wkoljem,
7 Worthy the owner, as the owner it. The several chairs of order look you scour With juice of balm, and every precious flower: Each fair instalment coat, and several crest, With loyal blazon, evermore be blest! And nightly, meadow-fairies, look, you sing, Like to the garter-compass, in a ring : The expressure that it bears, green let it be, More fertile-fresh than all the field to see ; And, Hony Soit Qui Mal y Pense, write, : In emerald-tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white; ; and so has made the with a most absurd one. For the site or situation must needs be what it is, till the general deftruction. But wholfom here fignifies integer. He withes the castle may stand in its present state of perfection, which the following words plainly shew,
as in flate 'tis fit. WARBURTON. · Worthy the owner, and the owner it.] And cannot be the true reading. The context will not allow it ; and his court to queen Elizabeth directs us to another,
AS the owner it. For, sure he had more address than to content himself with wishing a thing to be, which his complaisance must suppose actually was, namely, the worth of the owner. 8 In emerald-tufts, flowers PURPLE, blue, and white;
Like saphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,] These lines are moft miserably corrupted. In the words-Flowers purple, blu?, and white — the purple is left uncompared. To remedy this, the editors, who seem to have been sensible of the imperfection of the comparison, read, and rich embroidery; that is, according to them, as the blue and white flowers are compared to saphire and pearl, the purple is compared to rich embroidery. Thus instead of mending one false step they have made two, by bringing Saphire, pearl, and rich embroidery under one predicament. The lines were wrote thus by the poet :
In emrald-tuffs, flowers PURPLED, blue, and white;
Like faphire, pearl, in rich embroidery, i. e. let there be blue and white flowers worked on the greensword, like saphire and pearl in rich embroidery. To purjie, is to over-lay with tinsel, gold thread, &c. so our anceitors called a certain lace of this kind of work a purfling-luce. "Tis from the French pourfiler. So Spenser :
she was yclad,
Like saphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Fal. Heavens defend me from that Welch fairy, left he transform me to a piece of cheese! Eva. Vile worm, thou waft o'er-look'd even in thy
[They burn him with their tapers, and pinch him. Come, will this wood take fire.
Fal. Oh, oh, oh!
The change of and into in, in the second verse, is necessary. For flowers worked, or purfled in the grass, were not like faphire and pearl simply, but saphire and pearl in embroidery. How the corrupt reading and was introduced into the text, we have shewn above. WARBURTON.
charaktery.) For the matter with which they make letters. JOHNSON.
of middle earth.] Spirits are supposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground, men therefore are in a middle station. JOHNSON.
2 With trial-fire, &c.] So Beaumont and Fletcher, in Tbe. Faithful Shepherdeys:
“ In this fame his finger thrust,
About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhime :
Eva. 3 It is right, indeed, he is full of leacheries and iniquity.
Fie on sinful phantasy !
Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,
Pinch him, fairies, mutually ;
Pinch him for his villainy:
'Till candles, and star-light, and moon-shine be out. 5 During this song, they pinch kim. Doctor Caius comes
one way, and steals away a fairy in green ; Slender another way, and he takes away a fairy in white; and Fenton comes, and steals away Mrs. Anne Page. A noise of hunting is made within. All the fairies run away. Falsaff pulls off bis buck's head, and rises.
3 Eva. It is right, indeed, -] This fhort speech, which is very much in character for Sir Hugh, I have inserted from the old quartos.
THEOBALD. Luft is but a bloody fire,] So the old copies. I once thought it should be read,
Luft is but a cloudy fire, but Sir T. Hanmer reads with less violence,
Luft is but i' the blood a fire. JOHNSON. Either emendation is unneceflary. A bloody fire, means a fire in the blood. In The Second Part of Hen. IV, Act 4. the fame expression occurs :
" Led on by bloody youth,” &c. i. e. fanguine youth. Steevens.
s During this fong,–] This direction I thought proper to insert from the old quartos. THEOBALD.