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MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.] This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600, by Thomas Fisher. It is probable that the hint for it was received from Chaucer's Knight's Tale.
There is an old black letter pamphlet by W. Bettie, called Titana and Theseus, entered at Stationers' Hall, in 1608 ; but Shakespeare has taken no hints from it. Titania is also the name of the Queen of the Fairies in Decker's Whore of Babylon, 1607.
Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in their various modes are well written, and give the kind of pleasure which the author designed. Fairies in his time were much in fashion; common tradition had made them familiar, and Spenser's poem had made them great.
Johnson's concluding observation on this play, is not conceived with his usual judgment. There is no analogy or resemblance whatever between the Fairies of Spenser, and those of Shakespeare. The Fairies of Spenser, as appears from his description of them in the second book of the Fairy Queen, canto x. were a race of mortals created by Prometheus, of the human size, shape, and af fections, and subject to death. But those of Shakespeare, and of common tradition, as Johnson calls them, were a diminutive race of sportful beings, endowed with immortality and supernatural power, totally different from those of Spenser.
Theseus, duke of Athens.
in love with Hermia.
HIPPOLYTA, queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus. HERMA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander. HELENA, in love with Dernetrius.
Oberon, king of the fairies.
Characters in the interlude, performed Wall,
by the Clowns MOONSHINE, Lion,
Other Fairies, attending their king and queen.
dants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
SCENE, Athens and a Wood not far from it.
SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of TheseUS.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PhilosTRATE, and Attendanis.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
The. Go, Philostrate,
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint