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“ And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall;9
“Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain: “ Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall,
“ And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain: “Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade, 1
“He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast; “And, Thisby tarrying in mulberry shade,
“ His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
couplet; and as no rhyme is left to name, we must conclude, either a verse is slipt out, which cannot now be retrieved ; or, by a transposition of the words, as I have placed them, the poet intended a triplet. Theobald.
Hight, in old English, signifies—is called. I think it more probable that a line, following the words-by night, has been lost.
Malone. - her mantle she did fall :) Thus all the old copies. The modern editors read~" she let fall,” unnecessarily. To fall in this instance is a verb active. So, in The Tempest, Act II, sc. i:
“ And when I rear my hand, do you the like,
“ To fall it on Gonzalo." Steevens. 1 Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,] Mr. Upton rightly observes that Shakspeare, in this line, ridicules the affectation of beginning many words with the same letter. He might have remarked the same of
“ The raging rocks
“ And shivering shocks.” Gascoigne, contemporary with our poet, remarks and blames the same affectation. Fohnson. It is also ridiculed by Sidney, in his Astrophel and Stella, 15:
“ You that do Dictionaries' method bring
“ Into your rimes, running in rattling rowes.” But this alliteration seems to have reached the height of its fashion in the reign of Henry VIII. The following stanza is quoted from a poem, On the Fall and evil Success of Rebellion, written in 1537, by Wilfride Holme:
“Loe, leprous lurdeins, lubricke in loquacitie,
Repriving your Roy so renowned and radiant." In Tusser's Husbandry, p. 104, there is a poem of which every word begins with a T; and in the old play entitled: The Historie of the Two valiant Knights, Syr Clyomon Knight of the Golden Sheeld, Sonne to the King of Denmark; and Clamydes the White Knight, Son
« Let lion, moon-shine, wall, and lovers twain,
[Exeunt Prol. This. Lion, and Moon. The. I wonder, if the lion be to speak.
Dem. No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.
Wall. “ In this same interlude, it doth befall, “ That I, one Snout by name, present a wall: “ And such a wall, as I would have you think, “ That had in it a cranny'd hole, or chink, “Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, “ Did whisper often very secretly. “This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone, doth show “ That I am that same wall; the truth is so: “ And this the cranny is, a right and sinister, “Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.”
The. Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
Dem. It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.3
The. Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!
to the King of Suavia, 1599, is another remarkable instance of al. literation: “Bringing my bark to Denmark here, to bide the bitter
broyle “ And beating blowes of billows high,” &c. Steevens. 2 And this the cranny is,] So, in Golding's Ovid, 1567: “The wall that parted house from house had riuen therein a
crany “Which shronke at making of the wall. This fault not markt “Of many hundred yeares before (what doth not loue espie) “ These louers first of all found out, and made a way thereby “ To talk to gither secretly, and through the same did goe “ Their louing whisperings verie light and safely to and fro."
Ritson. 3 It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.] Demetrius is represented as a punster: I believe the passage should be read: This is the wittiest partition, that ever I heard in discourse. Alluding to the many stupid partitions in the argumentative writings of the time. Shakspeare himself, as well as his contemporaries, uses discourse for reasoning; and he here avails himself of the double sense; as he had done before in the word, partition. Farmer.
Enter PYRAMUS. Pyr. “O grim-look'd night! O night, with hue so
black! «O night, which ever art, when day is not! “O night, () night, alack, alack, alack,
“I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot! “ And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
“That stand'st between her father's ground and mine; “ Thou wall, O wall, O) sweet and lovely wall, “Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.
[Wall holds up his fingers. “ Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
“ But what see I? No Thisby do I see. “O wicked wall,4 through whom I see no bliss;
“Curst be thy stones, for thus deceiving me!"
The. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
Pyr. No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you :-Yonder she comes.
Enter THISBE. This. “() wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
“ For parting my fair Pyramus and me: “ My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones;
“Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.”5 Pyr. “I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
“ To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. “Thisby!”
This. “My love! thou art my love, I think.”
• O wicked wall, &c.] So, in Chaucer's Legend of Thisbe : “ Thus would thei saine, alas! thou wicked wal,” &c.
Steevens. knit up in thee.] Thus the folio. The quarto reads-knit now again. Steevens..
6 And, like Limander, &c.] Limander and Helen, are spoken by the blundering player, for Leander and Hero. Shafalus and Procrus, for Cephalus and Procris. Fohnson.
Pyr. “O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.” This. “I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all."? Pyr. “Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straight
This. “ Tide life, tide death, I come without delay.”
Wall. “ Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so; “ And, being done, thus wall away doth go."
[Exeunt Wall, Pyr. and This. The. Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.
Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning. 9
Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
The. The best in this kind are but shadows: and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion. 1
7 I kiss the walls hole, not your lips at all.] So, Golding's Ovid: “When night drew nere, they bade adew, and eche gave
kisses sweete “Unto the parget on their side, the which did never mete.”
Ritson. 8 Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?] So, Golding's Ovid: “They did agree at Ninus tomb to meete without the towne.”
Ritson. 9 Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning.] This alludes to the proverb, “Walls have ears." A wall between almost any two neighbours would soon be down, were it to exercise this faculty without previous warning. Farmer.
The old copies read-moral, instead of mural. Mr. Theobald made the correction. Malone.
1 Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion.]. The old copies read--a man, &c. Steevens.
I don't think the jest here is either complete or right. It is differently pointed in several of the old copies, which, I suspect, may lead us to the true reading, viz:
Here come two noble beasts-in a man and a lion. immediately upon Theseus saying this, enter Lion and Moon. shine. Is seems very probable, therefore, that our author wrote:
in a mocn and a lion. the one having a crescent and a lanthorn before him, and repre. senting the man in the moon; the other in a lion's hide. Theobald,
Enter Lion and Moonshine. Lion. “ You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
“ The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, 6 May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,
“When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar. “ Then know, that I, one Snug the joiner, am “ A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam: « For if I should as lion come in strife “Into this place, 'twere pity on my life.”
The. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience. Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I
Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour.
Dem. Not so, my lord: for his valour cannot carry his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
Mr. Theobald reads-a moon and a lion, and the emendation was adopted by the subscquent editors; but, I think, without ne. cessity. The conceit is furnished by the person who represents the lion, and enters covered with the hide of that beast; and The. seus only means to say, that the man who represented the moon, and came in at the same time, with a lantern in his hand, and a bush of thorns at his back, was as much a beast as he who per. formed the part of the lion. Malone.
Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion. I cannot help supposing that we should have it, a moon-calf. The old copies read--a man; possibly man was the marginal interpretation of moon-calf; and, being more intelligible, got into the text.
The man in the moon was no new character on the stage, and is here introduced in ridicule of such exhibitions. Ben Jonson in one of his masques, called News from the New World in the Moon, makes his Factor doubt of the person who brings the intelligence: “I must see his dog at his girdle, and the bush of thorns at his back, ere I believe it." -" Those (replies one of the heralds) are stale ensigns o' the stage.” Farmer. 2 Then know, that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lian fell, nor else no lion's dam:] That is, that I am Snug the joiner; and neither a lion, nor a lion's dam, Dr. Johnson has justly observed in a note on All's well that ends well, that nor in the phraseology of our author's time often related to two members of a sentence, though only expressed in the latter. So, in the play just mentioned:
contempt nor bitterness • Were in his pride or sharpness." The reading of the text is that of the folio. The quartos read wthat I as Snug the joiner, &c. Malone,