Imagens das páginas

Are not you he?

“ She was pinch'd and pull'd, the said,
" And he by friers' lanthorn led;
" Tells how the drudging gobliu sweat
“ To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
“ When in one night, ere glimpse of mora,
“ His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn
" That teu day-labourers could not end;

16 Then lies him down the lubbor fiend." A like account of Puck is given by Drayton, in his Nymphidia :

" He meeteth Puck, which most men call

Hobgoblin, and on him doth fall
• This Puck seems but a dreaming dolt,
" Still walking like a ragged colt,
" And oft out of bed doth bolt,

“ Of purpose to deceive us ;
vi And leading us makes us to stray,
“ Long winters' nights out of the way,
" And when we stick in mire and clay,

- He doth with laughter leave us." It will be apparent 10 him that fall compare Drayton's poem with this play, that cither one of the poets copied the other, or, as I rather believe, that there was then some system of the fairy empire generally received, which they both represented as accusately as they could. Whether Drayton or Shakspeare wrote first, I cannot discover. Johnson.

The editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, in 4 vols. 8vo. 1775, supposes Drayton to have been the follower of Shakspeare : for, says he, " Don Quixote (which was not published till 1605, ) is cited in The Nymphidia, whereas we have an edition of A Midfummer Night's Dream in 1600."

In this century some of our poets have been as little scrupulous in adopting the ideas of their predecessors. In Gay's ballad, ins serted in The What d'ye call It, is the following stanza :

6. How can they say that nature

“ Has nothing made in vain ; " Why then beneath thc water

Should hideous rocks remain ? " &c. &c. Compare this with a pallage in Chaucer's Frankelines Talc, Tyrwhitis edit. v. i. 11179, &c.

• In idel, as men lain, ye nothing make,

" But, lord, thise grisly fendly rockes blake," &c. &c. And Mr. Pope is more indebted to the same author for beauties, inserted in his Eloisa to Abelard, than be has been willing to acę knowledge. STEEVENS.



Thou speak'st aright; I am that merry wanderer of the night.


If Drayton wrote The Nymphidia after A Midsummer-Night's Dream had been aded, he could with very little propriety say,

Then since no mufe hath been so bold,
" Or of the later or the ould,
66 Those elvilh secrets to unfold

• Wlich lyc from others reading;
" My adive musc to light shall bring
16 The court of that proud fayry king,
" And tell there of the revelling;
Jove prosper my proceeding."

HOLT WHITE. Don Quixote, though published in Spain in 1605, was probably little known in England till Skelion's tranlation appeared in 1612. Drayton's poem was, I have no doubt, subsequent to that year. The earliest edition of it that I have seen, was printed in 1619.

MALONE. - Sweet Puck:] The epither is by no means superfluous ; as Puck alone was far from being an endearing appellation. It fignified nothing beiter than fiend, or devil. So, the author of Pierce Ploughman puts the pouk for the devil, fol. Ixxxx. B. V. penult. See allo, fol. lxvii. v. 15: " none kelle powke."

It seems to have been an old Gothic word. Puke, puken; Satbanas. Gudin. And, Lexicon Island. TYRWHITT.

In The Bugbears, an ancient MS. comedy in the possession of the Marquis of Lansdowne, I likewise met with this appellation of a fiend :

" Puckes, puckerels, hob howlard, by gorn and Robin Goodfelow." Again, in The Scourge of Venus, or the Wanton Lady, with the rare Birth of Adonis, 1615 :

6. Their bed dotb shake and quaver as they lie,

“ As if it groand to bear the weight of finne;
" The fatal night.crowes at their windowes flee,

" And crie out at the shame they do live in :
" And that they may perceive the heaven's frown,

“ The poukes and goblins pul the coverings down." Again, in Spenser's Epithalamion, 1595:

" Ne let house.fyres, nor lightning's helpelesse harms,

" Ne let the pouke, nor other evil spright,
6. Ne let mischievous witches with their charmes

“ Ne let hobgoblins," &c. Again, in the ninth Book of Golding's Translation of Ovid's Metamorphosis, edit. 1587, p. 126 :

and the countrie where Chymæra, that same pooke, “ Hath goatish bodie," &c. STIEVENS.

[ocr errors]

I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal :
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And, when the drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt,

telling the saddest tale, Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,

3 Puck. Thou speakijt aright; ] I would fill up the verse which I suppose the author left complete :

" I am, thou speak'st aright ; It seems that in the Fairy mythology, Puck, or Hobgoblin, was the trusty servant of Oberon, and always employed to watch or dete& the intrigues of Queen Mab, called by Shakspeare Titania. For in Drayton's Nymphidia, the fame fairies are engaged in the same business. Mab has an amour with Pigwiggen: Oberon being jealous, sends Hobgoblin to catch them, and one of Mab's nymphs opposes him by a spell. JOHNSON.

-a roafted; crab1 i. e. the wild apple of that name. So, in the anonymous play of King Henry V. &c.

$6 Yet we will have in store a crab in the fire,

" With nut-brown alc," &c. Again, in Damon and Pythias, 1582 :

" And sit down in my chaire by my wife fairc Alison,

" And turne a crabbe in the fire," &c. In Summer's Last Will and Teftament, 1600, Christmas is described as —

sitting in a corner, turning crabs, " Or coughing o'er a warmed pot of ale." STĘEVENS. s The wifest aunt, ] Aunt is sometimes used for procuress. In Gascoigne's Glass of Government, 1575, ihe bawd Pandarina is always called aunt. “ These are aunts of Antwerp, which can make twenty marriages in one week for their kinswoman." See Winter's Tale, Ad iv. sc. i. Among Ray's proverbial phrases is the following. " She is one of mine aunts that made inine uncle to go a begging." The wifeft aunt may therefore mean the most sentimental bawd, or, perhaps, the most prosaic old woman. STEEVENS.

The first of these conje&ures is much too wanton and in ju rious to the word aunt, which in this place at least certainly means ng other than an innocent old woman RĮTSON,


And tailor cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and

Toffe ;
And waxen in their inirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, Faery,' here comes Oberon.
FAI. And here my mistress : -'Would that he

were gone!



6 And tailor cries, ] The custom of crying tailor at a sudden fall backwards, I think I remember to have observed. He that flips beside his chair, falls as a tailor squats upon his board. The Ox. ford editor, and Dr. Warburton after him, read and rails or cries, plausibly, but I believe not rightly. Besides, the trick of the fairy is represented as producing rather' merriment than anger.

JOHNSON. This phrase perhaps originated in a pun. Your tail is now on the ground. See Camden's Remaines, 1614: PROVERBS. 16 Between. two ftools the tayle goeth to the ground." MALONE.

hold their hips, and losse; ] So, in Milton's L'Allegro: " And laughter holding both his sides." SIEEVENS. 8 And waxen - - ] And encrease, as the moon waxes. Johns

A feeble sense may be extra&ed from the foregoing words as they stand; but Dr. Farmer observes to me that waxen is probably corrupted from yoxen, or yexen.

Yoxe Saxon. to hiccup. Yyxyn. Singultio. Prompt. Parv. Thus in Chaucer's Reve's Talı, v. 4149 :

" He yoxeth, and he speaketh thurgh the nose." That yex, however, was a familiar word so late as the time of Ainsworth the lexicographer, is clear from his having produced it as a translation of the Latin substantive -- singultus.

The meaning of the passage before us will then be, that thc objeds of Puck's waggery laughed till their laughter ended in a yex or hiccup.

It should be remembered, in support of this conje&ure, that Puck is at present speaking with an affe&ation of ancient phrasco. logy. STEEVENS.

9 But room, Faery, ] Thus the old copies. Some of our modern editors read * But make room, Fairy." The word Fairy, or Faery, was sometimes of threç fyllables, as often in Spenfer.



Enter OBERON, at one door, with his train, and

ΤΙΤΑΝΙΑ, at another, with hers.


OBE. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania.

TITA. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence; I have forsworn his bed and company.

OBE. Tarry, rash wanton; Am not I thy lord ?

TIȚA. Then I must be thy lady: But I know
When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and verfing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India ?

2 Enter Oberon, ] Oberon had been introduced on the stage in 1594, by some other author. In the Stationers' books is entered " The Scottishe story of James the fourthe, Dain at Flodden, intermixed with a pleasant comedic presented by Oberon , King of Fairies." The judicious editor of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, in his Introductory Discourse, (See Vol. IV. p. 161.) observes that Pluto and Proferpina in The Merchant's Tale, appear to have been “ the irue progenitors of Shakspeare's Oberon and Titania."

STEEVENS. 3. Titania, ] As to the Fairy Queen, ( says Mr. Warton in his Observations on Spenser,) confidered apart from the race of fairies, the notion of such an imaginary personage was very common. Chaucer, in his Rime of Sir Thopas, mentions her, together with a Fairy land. 'Again, in the Wif af Bathes Tale, v, 6439:

on lo olde dayes of the king Artour,
" Of which that Bretons speken gret honour;
“ All was this lond fulfilled of faerie;
" The E!f-quene, with hire joly compagnie
" Danced ful oft in many a grene mede:
" This was the old opinion as I rede." STEEVENS.

versing love -] Perhaps Prior was the last who employed this verb: " And Mat mote praise what Topaz verfeth." STĘEVENS.

« AnteriorContinuar »