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The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase“, now knows not which is which :
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissention;
We are their parents and original.

OBE. Do you amend it then; it lies in you;
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman".

“ White-beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps

“ Against thy majesty ;-" Steevens. Thinne is nearer to chinne (the spelling of the old copies) than chill), and therefore, I think, more likely to have been the author's word. Malone.

3 The childing autumn,) Is the pregnant autumn, frugifer autumnus. So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613 :

Fifty in number childed all one night.” Again, in his Golden Age, 1611:

I childed in a cave remote and silent.” Again, in his Silver Age, 1613 :

“ And at one instant he shall child two issues." There is a rose called the childing rose. STEEVENS.

Again, in Tasso's Godfrey of Bulloigne, by Fairfax, b. xviii. st. 26:

“ An hundreth plants beside (even in his sight)

Childed an hundreth nymphes so great, so dight.” Childing is an old term in botany, when a small flower grows out of a large one : “ the childing autumn,” therefore means the autumn which unseasonably produces flowers on those of summer. Florists have also a childing daisy, and a childing scabious. Holt White.

4 By their INCREASE,] That is, By their produce. Johnson. So, in our author's 97th Sonnet :

“ The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,

Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime." The latter expression is scriptural : “ Then shall the earth bring forth her increase, and God, even our God, shall give us his blessing.” Psalm lxvii. Malone.

s – henchman.) Page of honour. This office was abolished by Queen Elizabeth. Grey.

This office might be abolished at court, but probably remained

you humble

-he said grace

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Set your heart at rest, The fairy land buys not the child of me. in the city. Glapthorne, in his comedy called Wit in a Constable, 1640, has this passage :

I will teach his hench-boys,
“Serjeants, and trumpeters to act, and save

“ The city all that charges." So, again :

" When she was lady may’ress, and

“ As her trim hench-boys." Again, in Ben Jonson's Christmas Masque: as well as any of the sheriff's hench-boys.

Skinner derives the word from Hine A. S. quasi domesticus famulus. Spelman from Hengstman, equi curator, inokomos.

Steevens. In a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury dated 11th of December, 1565, it is said : “ Her Highness (i. e. Queen Elizabeth) hathe of late, whereat some do muche marvell, dissolved the auncient office of Henchemen." (Lodge's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 358.) On this passage Mr. Lodge observes that Henchmen were tain number of youths, the sons of gentlemen, who stood or walked near the person of the monarch on all public occasions. They are mentioned in the sumptuary statutes of the 4th of Edward the Fourth, and 24th of Henry VIII. and a patent is preserved in the Federa, vol. xv. 242, whereby Edward VI. gives to William Bukley, M. A. “ propter gravitatem morum et doctrinæ abundantiam, officium docendi, erudiendi, atque instituendi adolescentulos vocatos Henchmen ; ” with a salary of 401. per annum. Henchmen, or Heinsmen, is a German word, as Blount informs us in his Glossographia, signifying a domestick, whence our ancient term hind, a servant in the house of a farmer. Dr. Percy, in a note on the Earl of Northumberland's household-book, with less probability, derives the appellation from their custom of standing by the side, or Haunch, of their Lord. Reed.

Upon the establishment of the household of Edward IV. were “henxmen six enfants, or more, as it pleyseth the king, eatinge in the halle,” &c. There was also “a maister of the henxmen, to shewe them the schoole of nurture, and learne them to ride, to wear their harnesse ; to have all curtesiemto teach them all languages, and other virtues, as harping, pipynge, singing, dauncing, with honest behavioure of temperaunce and patyence.” MŠ. Harl. 293.

“ At the funeral of Henry VIII. nine henchmen attended with Sir Francis Bryan, master of the henchmen."

Strype's Eccl. Mem. v. 2. App. n. 1. TYRWHITT.

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His mother was a vot'ress of my order:
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side:
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton windo;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,
(Following, her womb, then rich with my young


Henchman.Quasi haunch-man. One that goes behind another. Pedisequus. Blackstone.

The learned commentator might have given his etymology some support from the following passage in King Henry IV. P. II. Act IV. Sc. IV.:

“ O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
“Which ever in the haunch of winter sings

“The lifting up of day.” Steevens.
And grow BIG-Bellied, with the wanton wind ;] Dryden, in
his translation of the 1st book of Homer's Iliad (and Pope after
him) were perhaps indebted to the foregoing passage :

winds suffic'd the sail
“ The bellying canvas strutted with the gale." Dryden.

indulgent gales
Supply'd by Phæbus, fill the swelling sails,
“ The milk-white canvas bellying as they blow.” Pope.

Why the wind was termed wanton we may learn from Othello:

“ The bawdy wind that kisseth all it meets." Again, in The Merchant of Venice:

“ Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind.” MALONE. ? Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,

Following (her womb, then rich with my young 'squire,)

Would imitate -] Perhaps the parenthesis should begin sooner ; as I think Mr. Kenrick observes :

(Following her womb, then rich with my young 'squire.)" So, in Trulla's combat with Hudibras :

She press'd so home, “ That he retired, and follow'd's bum." And Dryden says of his Spanish Friar, “ his great belly walks in state before him, and his gouty legs come limping after it."


passage, thus printed, appears to me ridiculous. Every

Would imitate; and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy :
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.

Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay?

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moon-light revels, go with us; If not; shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

OBE. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.

Tita. Not for thy fairy kingdom.--Fairies, away®: We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.

[Exeunt TITANIA, and her train. OBE. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this

grove, Till I torment thee for this injury.— My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st Since once I sat upon a promontory, And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, That the rude sea grew civil at her song; And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, To hear the sea-maid's musick '.

woman who walks forward must follow her womb. The absurdity is avoided by leaving the word -- following out of the parenthesis. Warburton's grammatical objection has no foundation.

M. Mason. 8 Not for thy kingdom.-Fairies, away :) The ancient copies read :

“ Not for thy fairy kingdom.-Fairies, away." By the advice of Dr. Farmer I have omitted the useless adjective fairy, as it spoils the metre; Fairies, the following substantive, being apparently used, in an earlier instance, as a trisyllable. STEEVENS.

Thou rememberist
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,



I remember.
OBE. That very time I saw, (but thou could'st

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,

To hear the sea-maid's musick.] The first thing observable on these words is, that this action of the mermaid is laid in the same time and place with Cupid's attack upon the vestal. By the vestal every one knows is meant Queen Elizabeth. It is very natural and reasonable then to think that the mermaid stands for some eminent personage of her time. And if so, the allegorical covering, in which there is a mixture of satire and panegyric, will lead us to conclude that this person was one of whom it had been inconvenient for the author to speak openly, either in praise or dispraise. All this agrees with Mary Queen of Scots, and with no other. Queen Elizabeth could not bear to hear her commended; and her successor would not forgive her satirist. But the poet has so well marked out every distinguished circumstance of her life and character in this beautiful allegory, as will leave no room to doubt about his secret meaning. She is called a mermaid, 1. To denote her reign over a kingdom situate in the sea, and 2. her beauty, and intemperate lust :

Ut turpiter atrum “ Desinat in piscem mulier formosa supernè." for as Elizabeth for her chastity is called a vestal, this unfortunate lady on a contrary account is called a mermaid. 3. An ancient story may be supposed to be here alluded to. The emperor Julian tells us, Epistle 41, that the Sirens (which, with all the modern poets, are mermaids,) contended for precedency with the muses, who, overcoming them, took away their wings. The quarrels between Mary and Elizabeth had the same cause, and the same issue.

on a dolphin's back.” This evidently marks out that distinguishing circumstance of Mary's fortune, her marriage with the dauphin of France, son of Henry II.

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath.” This alludes to her great abilities of genius and learning, which rendered her the most accomplished princess of her age. The French writers tell us, that, while she was in that court, she pronounced a Latin oration in the great hall of the Louvre, with so much grace and eloquence, as filled the whole court with admiration.

“ That the rude sea grew civil at her song." By the rude sea is meant Scotland encircled with the ocean ; which rose up in arms against the regent, while she was in France. But her return home presently quieted those disorders : and had not her

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