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** In Spenser's “Epithaliam,' (1595:)-
expressio Ne let house fyres, nor lightning's helplesse harms,
is the most
rushing as Again, in the ninth book of Golding's translation of fountain, Ovid's . Metamorphoses,' (1387:)
tain is o and the country where Chymæra, that same pooke,
“ pavedi" Ilath goatish buddie," etc,
paved for We have a New York Americanism, which comes
of Marlow through the Dutch, from the same root-spook: meaning, any fearful and supernatural visitor, though gen. yard's "( erally a ghost. Ben Jouson calls his Robin Good. temperatus fellow, whose occupations are described as resembling Puck's, Pug, in the play of which Pug is the hero, (" The
The Devil is an Ass.") Burton (" Anatomy of Melancholy") soon after speaks of a Puck as a peculiar sort of demon,
Upan like a " Will of the Wisp." It would appear, therefore, Natur to have been already long a familiar name, and not of Beca the Poet's invention. Yet there is a curious coincidence
This “1 between the name and a similar sounding one familiar theologian to the language of our North American Indians, and we have a connected with a similar playful superstition :
King, in we An ingenious attempt has been made by our country. with whid woman, Mrs. E. Oakes Smith, to identify the Puck of The lectu Shakespeare with a noted personage, of similar name, who figures in our aboriginal mythology. Her theory means of is based upon the curious Indian researches of H. R. hath been Schoolcraft, Esq., published some years since in New April: so York. Puck-pa-vis, it seems, is the name of a mytho- having spo logical character who figures in the fictitious lodge- adds-- AI legends of the Algonquins; whose language, now the us much principal tongue among the lake-tribes of the north- and storms west, formerly prevailed, with some variations of dia.
and compe lect, from the St. Lawrence to the Roanoke, at the time the course when those regions were visited by Raleigh, and other are turned contemporaries of Shakespeare, Puck-pa-wis (accord- our harve ing to Schoolcraft) is always represented as "a roving, seed-times jumping, dancing, adventure-hunting character—a kind hath been of harum-scarum merry-Andrew, who performs all sorts
" Contu of feats and pranks." "He figures sometimes alone, but
manuscript frequently has an attendant company of sprites called Puck-wudj-inninees"--an epithet commonly translated
man, whic ** the little vanishers,” or, to render it more clearly,
spearian che (inninee being the diminutive form of the term for man,)
Remarks," the little wild vanishing men of the woods." They
which trang are described as inhabiting rocky ledges and crevices,
the dramati or frequenting rural and romantic points of land on
" Ther ve lakes, bays, and rivers, particularly if they be crowned with pine-trees. They are depicted, in the oral language bue lewe
and many of the Algonquins, as Aitting among thickets, or running
were very with a whoop up the sides of mountains, and over plains.
10 dae of Puck-pa-wis, the chief of the troop, is sometimes de
and soe wa scribed as carrying a magic shell ; sometimes he is toss
dais togetl ing a tiny ball before him. He is always represented
more or le 48 very small, and frequently being invisible--vanishing
and cloud and re-appearing to those whom he visits with his pranks.
There wer (See SCHOOLCRAFT’s “Algic Researches.")
Michelmas " And ‘TAILOR' cries"-" The custom of crying "tai- sodeinly, t lor,' at a sudden fall backwards, I think I remember to Stratford E have observed. He that slips beside his chair falls as a
was; and tailor squats upon his board.” Johnson.
burst dow "— WAXEN in their mirth"-Dr. Farmer's conjecture, that " waxen” is a misprint for yeren, (i, e. hiccup,)
done sodel. makes a broader picture. However, “waxen," as the old plural of war, is also comic enough. They increase their mirth, without new cause, till they sneeze. palling** Neeze" is the antiquated spelling of sneeze, and re- "pelting 1 tained as late as our common version of the Bible.
" the " - PERIGENIA, whom he ravished"-Her true name is that whe seems to have been Perigone. North, in his Trans
* Then lation of Plutarch,” (1579.) calls her Perigouna. This
that part last would have suited Shakespeare's verse as well as ** Perigenia," and perhaps he did not procure the name
Northampt from North's ". Plutarch."
the turf w " — the MIDDLE SUMMER'S SPRING"-The " spring" fect chess. is the beginning; as the spring of the day-a common
a foot in
parts of te
try; for the
voble poein, the “* Vanity of Human Wishes," attempted pleased th to revive it
the right Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate.
that Shak "Speak, or all loves"—" Of all loves" is a pleasing and has a ndjaration used by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Bottom, a it may be found in OTHELLO.
Coventry, ACT III.-Scene I.
on the me
bourhood. – in tight and sıx"—i. e. In alternate verse of eight and six syllables.
to be infor "- a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing"There is an odd coincidence between this passage and
a cue, tecl a real occurrence at the Scottish court, in 1594. Prince
speech, fro Henry, the oldest son of James the First, was christened "A hog. in August, in that year. While the king and queen
“Robin Go were at dinner, a triumphal chariot, with several alle. reprinted gorical personages on it, was drawn in "by a black. moore. This chariot should have been drawn in by a lyon, but because his presence might have brought some
And in the fear to the nearest, or that the sight of the lighted tracttorches might have commoved his tameness, it was thought meet that the Moore should supply that roome."
"— tell them plainly he is Snug, the joiner"-" This passage will suggest to our readers Sir Walter Scott's cock,” in S description of the pageant at Kenilworth, when Lam- and not a bourne, not knowing his part, tore off his vizard, and
known as swore, Cogs-bones! he was none of Arion or Orion Birds," i. 2 either, but honest Mike Lambourne, that had been
edges of t1 drinking her majesty's health from morning till mid- yellow,". night, and was come to bid her heartily welcome to
tawney." Kenilworth Castle.' But a circumstance of this nature "PLAISactually happened upon the queen's visit to Kenilworth, variety of n in 1575 ; and is recorded in the Merry Passages and Jests,' compiled by Sir Nicholas Lestrange, and lately of the cha published by the Camden Society, from the Harleian song, or va MS.:— There was a spectacle presented to Queen Eliz
" — I cail abeth upon the water, and, among others, Harry Goldingham was to represent Arion upon the dolphin's back, gird. Bote
of what he but finding his voice to be very hoarse and unpleasant when he came to perform it, he tears off his disguise "Be kind and swears he was none of Arion, not he, but even happily con honest Harry Goldingham; which blunt discovery li the spirited
“ The og
and Hippolyta, in the hunting-scene, in the fourth act, and indicating a familiarity with its primitive Latin which is as heroical and spirited as the other is full of meaning luscious tenderness :-—" The reading of this play is like wandering in a grove by moonlight; the descriptions heraldry was part of the familiar learning of all, and
like coats in heraldry"-In the Poet's day. breathe a sweetness like odours thrown from the beds
this of flowers. Titania's exhortation to the fairies to wait
doubtless needed no illustration. But passage
modern heralds and commentators differ as to the alluupon Bottom is remarkable for a certain cloying sweetness, in the repetition of the rhymes. The sounds of
sion. Mr. Douce's solution of it is, perhaps, the best:the lute and of the trumpet are not more distinct than
" Helen says, 'we had two seeming bodies, but only
one heart.' She then exemplifies the position by a the poetry of this passage, and of the conversation between Theseus and Hippolyta.”
simile— we had two of the first, (i. e. bodies,) like the
double coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife, - light them at the fiery glow-worm's Eyes". as one person, but which, like one single heart, have Shakespeare was certainly a much truer lover of nature, but one crest.'" and therefore a much better naturalist, than Dr. JohnBon, who indeed professed to despise such studies; but
* No, no, sir"-There is some difference of the text the critic has, nevertheless, ventured in this instance to
here. The quartos, differing only in their metrical arbe severe upon the Poet:-'I know not how Shake rangement, havespeare, who commonly derived his knowledge of nature
No, no, he'll
Seem to break loose ; take on, as you would follow. from his own observation, happened to place the glowworm's light in his eyes, which is only in his tail.'
The folios give the passage thus:Well, then, let us correct the Poet, and make Titania
No, no, sir, seem to break loose. describe the glow-worm with a hatred of all metaphor- The last seems preferable in sense. And light them at the fiery glow-worm's lail.
hated Poison"-One of the quartos has potion We fear this will not do. It reminds us of the attempt of a very eminent naturalist to unite science and poetry
for “ poison,” which is preferred in some of the later
editions. in verses which he called the . Pleasures of Ornithology,' of which union the following is a specimen :
“— of hindering KNOT-GRASS made”-It appears The morning wakes, as from the lofty elm
that “knot-grass" was anciently supposed to prevent The cuckoo sends the monotone. Yet he,
the growth of any animal or child. Beaumont and Polygamous, ne'er knows what pleasures wait
Fletcher mention this property of it in the “ Knight of On pure monogamy.
the Burning Pestle:”—“Should they put him into a We may be wrong, but we would rather have Bottom's
straight pair of gaskins, 'twere worse than knot-grass: plain-song cuckoo gray
he would never grow after it.” than these hard words."-Knight.
" That prince of verbose and pedantic coxcombs, “ – mistress SQUASH"-"Squash," as elsewhere men
Richard Tomlinson, apothecary, in his translation of Lioned, then meant an immature peascod.
* Renodæus his Dispensatory,' (1657,) informs us that knot-grass is a low reptant hearb, with exile, copious,
nodose, and geniculated branches.' Perhaps no hypoSCENE II.
chondriac is to be found, who might not derive his “What NIGHT-RULE now"-Stevens and Douce pro cure from the perusal of any single chapter in this nounce rule, in this compound form, and in misrule,
work."-STEVENS. to be a corruption of revel. But misrule evidently means misgovernment; and " night-rule" is therefore
- in your curst company"- Many a modern reader well explained by Nares, in his excellent “Glossary,"
may take this phrase as answering to the participle
cursed, and will of course be shocked by its vulgar pro“such conduct as generally rules in the night."
fanity in a lady's mouth and a poetic scene. But the "A crew of PATCHES”-i. e. Fools-perhaps so called word “curst," as used here and elsewhere by Shakefrom their patched or parti-coloured coats.
speare, had then the very common sense, now antiquated, - in SORT”-i.e Company. It is used in the same
of ill-tempered, malicious, shrewish. Puck so uses it sense just before.
of Helena, when he describes her as coming “curst and
sad" from her ill-treatment. Latch'd the Athenian's eyes"-"Or letch'd, lick'd over: from lecher, (Fr.,) to lick.” Thus all the “ – night's swift Dragons"— The chariot of night annotators. But we have latch, in MACBETH, for calch. was drawn by “ dragons," on account of their watchful. I rather think, with Nares, (“ Glossary,”) that it here ness. They were the serpents, whose “ eyes were too means caught, or entrapped with delusion.
never shut.” In Milton's " Il Penseroso,". "- brave TOUCH"-A “touch” anciently signified a
Cynthia checks her dragon yoke. trick. Ascham has—“the shrewd touches of many " — damned spirits”-i. e. The ghosts of self-mur. curst boys." . And in the old story of Howleglas—" for derers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who, at all times he did seme mad touch."
being drowned, were condemned (according to the “ — ABY it dear”—To "aby" appears to be a form
opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, of abide, (though some have derived it from buy;) and
as the rites of sepulture had never been bestowed on
their bodies. means not merely to stay, but to stay to answer, or suffer for any thing. Thus in the old play, “Ferrex and Por
“I with the morning's love have oft made sport"rex".
Stevens and Holt White have found room for much myThou, Porrex, thou shalt dearly 'by the same.
thological and poetical discussion on the question whether “ – is all forgot”—Gibbon points out in a poem Oberon meant to laugh at Tithonus, the old husband of of Gregory Nazianzen (a Greek father of the fourth Aurora, or sport “ like a forester" with young Cephalus century) on his own life, some beautiful lines, which the morning's love. burst from the heart, and speak the pangs of injured
- the eastern gate, all fiery-red”—This splendid and lost friendship, resembling these. He adds“Shakespeare had never read the poems of Gregory
passage was perhaps suggested by some lines in Chau. Nazianzen: he was ignorant of the Greek language;
cer's " Knight's Tale :" —
The besy larke, the messager of day, but his mother tongue, the language of nature, is the
Salewith in hire song the morwe gray; same in Cappadocia as in Britain.”
And firy Phebus riseth up so bright,
That all the orient laugheth of the sight, " — ARTIFICIAL gods"-" Artificial" is used actively,
And with his stremes drieth in the greves as artist or artificer-like-a sense not found elsewhere,
The silver dropes, hanging on the leves.
“ Ho! ho! ho!"- This is Puck's exclamation in the " – music! such as charmeth sleep"-After these ballads and tracts relating to him, especially in “Robin words, in the folio, (1623,) we have the stage-direction, Good-fellow, his Mad Pranks and Merry Jests," (1628,) Music still ;" which (says Collier) means, probably, where it often occurs, when the Goblin is peculiarly that the music was to cease before Puck spoke; as Obe. pleased at the success of any of his tricks.
ron afterwards exclaims, “ Sound, music !" when it was “_and all shall be well'"- This is the “country
to be renewed. The other editors change it to " still proverb" Puck alludes to before. It is to be found
music,” or low and quiet strains, which was more among John Heywood's “ Epigrams, or Three Hundred probably the intention. Proverbs.”
“ – to all fair PROSPERITY”—The two earliest edi
tions differ in this word, a very slight alteration of let" — DEM., Hel., etc., sleep”—The old stage-direction
ters giving two very different senses, and both characin the folio is, “ They sleep all the Act;" meaning that teristic. We give the substance of the editorial arguthey are supposed to continue asleep during the inter
ment on each side, preferring our reading for the reason val between the third and fourth acts ; and they are still
assigned by Malone, but allowing that the argument is sleeping at the opening of the fourth act, until they are
nearly as strong on the other side. suddenly roused by the horns of Theseus's huntsmen.
“In the concluding song, where Oberon blesses the
nuptial bed, part of his benediction is, that the posterity ACT IV.-Scene I.
of Theseus shall be fair :
And the blots of nature's hand "- do cor"-i. e. Stroke, or caress.
Shall not in their issue stand ;
Never mole, hare-lip, nor scar, Give me your neif”-i. e. Fist. Ben Jonson has
Nor mark prodigious, such as are it neuf, in his “ Poetáster.” Pistol also uses it in Hen
Despised in nativity, RY IV. It is still a north-country word.
Shall upon their children be." M. Mason.
"I have preferred .fair prosperity,' which is the “— Cavalery COBWEB"—Without doubt (says Grey) || reading of the first and best quarto, to that of the other it should be cavalero Peas-blossom. As for cavalero "Cobweb ” he had just been despatched upon a perilous ing lines, in a former scene :
quarto and the folio, (posterity,) induced by the followadventure.
your warrior love
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come - the Tongs and the BONES"-Such music seems to
To give their bed joy and prosperity." have been played at this desire from Bottom; for the
MALONE. folio has, Music; tongs-rural music," as a stage-di
"- in silence sad"-"Sad" here signifies grave, rection.
sober; and is opposed to the dances and revels, which "Enrings the barky fingers of the elm”—“According were now ended at the singing of the morning-lark. to Stevens, the sweet honeysuckle' is an explanation A statute of Henry VII. directs certain offences, comof what the Poet means by the “woodbine,' which mitted in the king's palace, to be tried by twelve "sad" name was sometimes applied to the ivy. The • honey.
men of the household. suckle' doth entwist' —ihe • female ivy enrings'—' the
these mortals on the ground"—Here the folio barky fingers of the elm.' Upon this interpretation, the has the stage-direction, “Sleepers lie still:" meaning lines would be thus printed :
that they were not to be disturbed by the horns. So doth the woodbine, the sweet honeysuckle, Gently entwist—the female ivy so
“ – now our OBSERVATION is perform'd”—The “obEnrings the barky fingers of the elm.
servation” here spoken of is that alluded to by LysanThis is certainly very different from the usual Shake-der, in the first act:spearian construction. Nor is our Poet fond of exple
Where I did meet thee once with Helena, tives. If the ‘elm' is the only plant entwisted and en
To do observance to a morn of May. ringed, we have only one image. But if the woodbine' Stubbs, in his “Anatomie of Abuses," (1585,) thus is not meant to be indentical with the · honeysuckle,' we speaks of the general spirit of revelry which at this seahave two images, each distinct and each beautiful. Gif son took possession of the community, in his day:ford pointed out the true meaning of the passage, in his " Against May, Whit-Sunday, or some other time of note upon a parallel passage in Ben Jonson :
the year, every parish, town, and village, assemble behold!
themselves together, both men, women and children, How the blue bindweed doth itself enfold
old and young, even all indifferently; and either going With honeysuckle, and both these intwine
all together, or dividing themselves into companies, they Themselves with bryony and jessamine.
go some to the woods and groves, some to the hills and In many of our counties (says Gifford) the woodbine is
mountains, some to one place, some to another, where still the name for the great convolvulus."
they spend all the night in pleasant pastimes; and in the With this exposition of Gifford and Knight, Mr. Nares, a high authority, (“Glossary," word Woodbine,) con
morning they return, bringing with them birch-boughs
and branches of trees, to deck their assemblies withal." But, agreeing with them in rejecting the punc
Marvellous as it may seem, all this innocent hilarity tuation and understanding of the “sweet honeysuckle"
appears to be so much heathenism to Stubbs. as a mere expletive phrase, I yet doubt their botanical ex
Chaucer, in his “ Knight's Tale,” (froin which Shakeplanation. I think it certain that the distinction intended
speare is supposed to have derived his Theseus and is that well known in the Poet's age, between the wood
Hippolyta,) has some beautiful lines in reference to the bine, as the plant itself, and the honeysuckle as its flower. rites of May :Baret, in his Dictionary, (1580,) so defines them—“The
Thus passeth yere by yere, and day by day, woodbine that beareth the honeysuckle;" and some
Till it fell ones, in a morne of May, years later we find the distinction used in dramatic po
That Emilie, that fayrer was to sene etry. In the “Fatal Union,” (1640,) we have
Than is the lilie upon his stalke grene,
And fresher than the May with tloures newe, a honeysuckle,
(For with the rose colour strof hire hewe; The amorous woodbine's offspring.
I wot which was the tiner of hem two)
Ere it was day, as she was wont to do, “Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower"-" Dian's bud" is
She was arisen, and all redy dight, the bud of the agnus castus, or chaste-tree. In “ Macer's
For May wol have no slogardie a-night. Herbal,” by Lynacre, it is said—“ The virtue of this
The seson pricketh every gentil herte, hearbe is, that it will keep man and woman chaste."
And maketh him out of his slepe to starte,
And sayth, “ Arise, and do thine observance." “ Cupid's flower" is that on which the “ bolt of Cupid fell"-—the viola tri-colour, love-in-idleness, or heari's “ – the VAWARD of the day”-i. e. The early part of
the day; the van-ward.