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Obe. Sound, musick. [Still musick.] Come, my

queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity;
And will, to-morrow midnight, solemnly,
Dance in duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity":
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

Puck. Fairy king, attend, and mark ;
I do hear the morning lark.

OBE. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade?
i Dance in duke Theseus' house triumphantly,

And bless it to all fair PROSPERITY :) I have preferred this, which is the reading of the first and best quarto, printed by Fisher, to that of the other quarto and the folio, (posterity,) induced by the following lines in a former scene :

your warrior love
“ To Theseus must be wedded, and you come

To give their bed joy and prosperity.Malone. “ – to all fair posterity " We should read :

to all

far posterity.” i. e. to the remotest posterity. WARBURTON.

Fair posterity is the right reading.

In the concluding song, where Oberon blesses the nuptial bed, part of his benediction is, that the posterity of Theseus shall be fair :

“ And the blots of nature's hand
“ Shall not in their issue stand;
“ Never mole, hare-lip, nor scar,
“ Nor mark prodigious, such as are

Despised in nativity,

upon their children be.” M. Mason. 2 Then, my queen, in silence sad,

Trip we after the night's shade :] Sad signifies only grave, sober ; and is opposed to their dances and revels, which were now ended at the singing of the morning lark. So, in The Winter's Tale, Act IV.: “My father and the gentlemen are in sad talk.” For grave or serious. WARBURTON.

Á statute 3 Henry VII. c. xiv. directs certain offences committed in the king's palace, to be tried by twelve sad men of the king's houshold. BLACKSTONE.

We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.

Tita. Come, my lord; and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night,
That I sleeping here was found,
With these mortals, on the ground. [Exeunt.

[Horns sound within. Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train.

The. Go, one of you, find out the forester ;-
For now our observation is perform’d':
And since we have the vaward of the day *,
My love shall hear the musick of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; go*:-
Despatch, I say, and find the forester.-
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,

* Thus the quartos; the folio, let them go. 3 - our observation is perform'd :) The honours due to the morning of May. I know not why Shakspeare calls this play A Midsummer-Night's Dream, when he so carefully informs us that it happened on the night preceding May day. Johnson.

The title of this play seems no more intended, to denote the precise time of the action, than that of The Winter's Tale; which we find, was at the season of sheep-shearing. FARMER. The same phrase has been used in a former scene :

“ To do observance to a morn of May.” I imagine that the title of this play was suggested by the time it was first introduced on the stage, which was probably at Midsummer. “A Dream for the entertainment of a Midsummernight." Twelfth-Night and The Winter's Tale had probably their titles from a similar circumstance. Malone.

In Twelfth-Night, Act III. Sc. IV. Olivia observes of Malvolio's seeming frenzy, that it " is a very Midsummer madness.” That time of the year we may therefore suppose was anciently thought productive of mental vagaries resembling the scheme of Shakspeare's play. To this circumstance it might have owed its title.

STEVENS. the vaward of the day,] Vaward is compounded of van and ward, the forepart. In Knolles's History of the Turks, the word vayvod is used in the same sense. Edinburgh Magazine, for Nov. 1786. Steevens.

And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bears
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chidingo: for, besides the groves,


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they bay'd the bear -] Thus all the old copies. And thus in Chaucer's Knightes Tale, v. 2020, Tyrwhitt's edit. :

“ The hunte ystrangled with the wild beres.Bearbaiting was likewise once a diversion esteemed proper for royal personages, even of the softer sex. While the princess Elizabeth remained at Hatfield House, under the custody of Sir Thomas Pope, she was visited by Queen Mary. The next morning they were entertained with a grand exhibition of bearbaiting, “ with which their highnesses were right well content. See Life of Sir Thomas Pope, cited by Warton in his History of English Poetry, vol. ii. p. 391. Steevens.

In The Winter's Tale Antigonus is destroyed by a bear, who is chased by hunters. See also our poet's Venus and Adonis :

For now she hears it is no gentle chace,
“ But the blunt boar, rough bear, or lion proud.”

Malone. Holinshed, with whose histories our poet was well acquainted, says, “ the beare is a beast commonlie hunted in the East countrie.” See vol. i. p. 206; and in p. 226, he says,

Alexander at vacant time hunted the tiger, the pard, the bore, and the beare." Pliny, Plutarch, &c. mention bear-hunting. Turberville, in his Book of Hunting, has two chapters on hunting the bear. As the persons mentioned by the poet are foreigners of the heroic strain, he might perhaps think it nobler sport for them to hunt the bear than the boar. Shakspeare must have read the Knight's Tale in Chaucer, wherein are mentioned Theseus's “white alandes (grey-hounds] to huntin at the lyon, or the wild bere." Tollet.

such gallant chiding :] Chiding in this instance means only sound. So, in King Henry VIII. :

As doth a rock against the chiding flood.” Again, in Humour out of Breath, a comedy, by John Day, 1608 :

I take great pride To hear soft musick, and thy shrill voice chide.Again, in the 22d chapter of Drayton's Polyolbion :

drums and trumpets chide.This use of the word was not obsolete in the age of Milton, who says, in his Smectymnuus: • I may one day hope to have ye


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The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry®: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
THE. My hounds are bredo out of the Spartan

kind, So flew'd', so sanded?; and their heads are hung again in a still time, when there shall be no chiding. Not in these noises.” See edit. 1753, p. 118. Steevens.

7 The skies, the FOUNTAINS,] Instead of fountains, Mr. Heath would read-mountains. The change had been proposed to Mr. Theobald, who has well supported the old reading, by observing that Virgil and other poets have made rivers, lakes, &c. responsive to sound :

“ Tum vero exoritur clamor, ripæque lacusque
Responsant circa, et cælum tonat omne tumultu.”

MALONE. 8 Seem'd all one mutual cry :) The old copies concur in reading-seem ; but, as Hippolyta is speaking of time past, I have adopted Mr. Rowe's correction (from the second folio]. STEEVENS.

9 My hounds are bred, &c.] So, in Jonson's Entertainment at Althrope :

“ The bow was Phæbus, and the horn
“ By Orion often worn:

“ The dog of Sparta breed, and good —.” This

passage has been imitated by Lee, in his Theodosius :
Then through the woods we chac'd the foaming boar,
“ With hounds that opened like Thessalian bulls;
“ Like tigers flew'd, and sanded as the shore,
“With ears and chests that dash'd the morning dew.”

MALONE. So Flew'd,] Sir T. Hanmer justly remarks, that flews are the large chaps of a deep-mouth'd hound. Arthur Golding uses this word in his translation of Ovid's Metamorphosis, finished 1567, a book with which Shakspeare appears to have been well acquainted. The poet is describing Actæon's hounds, b. iii. p. 34, b. 1575. Two of them, like our author's, were of Spartan kind; bred from a Spartan bitch and a Cretan dog :

with other twaine, that had a syre of Crete, “ And dam of Sparta : tone of them called Jollyboy, a great

“ And large-flew'd hound.” Shakspeare mentions Cretan hounds (with Spartan) afterwards in this speech of Theseus. And Ovid’s translator, Golding, in the same description, has them both in one verse, ibid. p. 34, a : “ This latter was a hounde of Crete, the other was of Spart."





With ears that sweep away the morning dew
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lap'd like Thessalian bulls ;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla’d to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly :
Judge, when you hear.—But, soft ; what nymphs

are these ?
Ege. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena :
I wonder of their being here together.

THE. No doubt, they rose up early, to observe The rite of May '; and, hearing our intent,

2 So sanded ;) So marked with small spots. Johnson.

Sanded means of a sandy colour, which is one of the true denotements of a blood-hound. STEEVENS.

3 With ears that sweep away the morning dew;] So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613 :

- the fierce Thessalian hounds,
“ With their fag ears, ready to sweep

the dew “ From their moist breasts." Sreevens. 4 I wonder or -] The modern editors read—I wonder at, &c. But changes of this kind ought, I conceive, to be made with great · caution ; for the writings of our author's contemporaries furnish us with abundant proofs that many modes of speech, which now seem harsh to our ears, were justified by the phraseology of former times. In All's Well that Ends Well, we have:

-thou dislik'st

Of virtue, for the name.” Malone. 5 — they rose up early, to observe

The Rite of May;] The rite of this month was once so universally observed, that even authors thought their works would obtain a more favourable reception, if published on May-Day. The following is a title-page to a metrical performance by a once celebrated poet, Thomas Churchyard :

Come bring in Maye with me,

“My Maye is fresh and greene;
“ A subiectes harte, an humble mind,

“ To serue a mayden Queene.” “ A discourse of Rebellion, drawne forth for to warne the wanton wittes how to kepe their heads on their shoulders."

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