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“ These lily brows,
“ This cherry nose, 8
“ Are gone, are gone:
“ Lovers, make moan!
“O sisters three,
“Come, come to me,
“ Lay them in gore,
“ Since you have shore
: These lily brows,
reads: “ These lily lips," &c. Steevens. All Thisbe's lamentation, till now, runs in regular rhyme and metre. But both, by some accident, are in this single instance interrupted. I suspect the poet wrote:
These lily brows,
This cherry nose. Now black brows being a beauty, lily brows are as ridiculous as a cherry nose, green eyes, or cowslip cheeks. Theobald.
Theobald's emendation is supported by the following passage in As you like it:
“'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair.” And by another, in The Winter's Tale:
not for because
“ Become some women best.” Ritson. Lily lips are changed to lily brows for the sake of the rhyme, but this cannot be right: Thisbe has before celebrated her Pyramus, as
“ Lilly-white of hue." It should be:
These lips lilly,
This nose cherry. This mode of position adds not a little to the burlesque of the passage. Farmer.
We meet with somewhat like this passage in George Peele's Old Wives Tale, 1595:
“Her corall lippes, her crimson chinne.—Thou art a flouting knave. Her corall lippes her crimson chinne !" Steevens.
9 His eyes were green as leeks.] Thus also the nurse in Romeo and Juliet, speaking of Paris, says:
an eagle, madam, “ Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye.” See note on this passage. Steevens.
“ Tongue, not a word:
“Come, trusty sword;
" And farewel, friends ;
“Thus Thisbe ends: “ Adieu, adieu, adieu.”
[Dres. The. Moonshine and lion are left to bury the dead. Dem. Ay, and wall too.
Bot. No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance,beween two of our company? The. No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs
Never excuse; for when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it had play'd Pyramus, and hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your epilogue alone.
[Here a dance of Clowns. The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve: Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time. I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn, As much as we this night have overwatch'd. This palpable-gross play hath well beguild The heavy gait3 of night.—Sweet friends, to bed.
-a Bergomask dance,] Sir Thomas Hanmer observes, in his Glossary, that this is a dance after the manner of the peasants of Bergomasco, a country in Italy, belonging to the Venetians. All the buffoons in Italy affect to imitate the ridiculous jargon of that people; and from thence it became also a custom to imitate their manner of dancing. Steevens.
2 — our company?] At the conclusion of Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush, there seems to be a sneer at this char. acter of Bottom; but I do not very clearly perceive its drift. The beggars have resolved to embark for England, and exercise their profession there. One of them adds:
we have a course ; “ The spirit of Bottom, is grown bottomless." This may mean, that either the publick grew indifferent to bad actors, to plays in general, or to characters, the humour of which consisted in blunders. Steevens.
- heavy gait -] i. e. slow passage, progress. So, in Love's Labour Lost: “You must send the ass upon the horse, for he is slow-gaited.” In another play we have "heavy-gaited toads."
A fortnight hold we this solemnity;
And the wolf behowls the moon;
All with weary task fordone.
- Now the hungry lion roars, &c.] It has been justly observed, by an anonymous writer, that among this assemblage of familiar circumstances attending midnight, either in England or its neighbouring kingdoms, Shakspeare would never have thought of in. termixing the exotick idea of the hungry lion roaring, which can be heard no nearer than in the deserts of Africa, if he had not read in the 104th Psalm: Thou makest darkness that it may be night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do move; the lions roaring after their prey, do seek their meat from God." Malone.
Shakspeare might have found the midnight roar of the Lion associated with the
howl of the Wolf, in Phaer's translation of the following lines in the seventh Æneid:
• Hinc exaudiri gemitus iræque leonum
ac formæ magnorum ululare luporum.” I do not, however, perceive the justness of the foregoing anonymous writer's observation. Puck, who could “encircle the earth in forty minutes,” like his fairy mistress, might have snuffed "the spiced Indian air;" and consequently an image, foreign to Europeans, might have been obvious to him. He, therefore, was at liberty to
“ Talk as familiarly of roaring lions,
“ As maids of fifteen do of puppy-dogs.". Our poet, however inattentive to little proprieties, has some. times introduced his wild beasts in regions where they are never found. Thus in Arden, a forest in French Flanders, we hear of a lioness; and a bear destroys Antigonus in Bohemia. Steevens.
5 And the wolf behowls the moon;] In the old copies: “And the wolf beholds the moon.” As it is the design of these lines to characterize the animals, as they present themselves at the hour of midnight; and as the wolf is not justly characterized by saying he beholds the moon, which other beasts of prey, then awake, do; and as the sounds these animals, make at that season, seem also intended to be represented, I make no question but the poet wrote:
« And the wolf behowls the moon." For so the wolf is exactly characterized, it being his peculiar property to howl at the moon. (Behowl, as bemoan, beseem, and an hundred others.) Warburton.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud, Puts the wretch, that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shroud.
So, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, where the whole passage seems to be copied from this of our author:
“ Now barks the wolfe against the full-cheek'd moon,
“Imprison'd spirits to revisit earth.” Theobald. The alteration is better than the original reading; but perhaps the author meant only to say, that the wolf gazes at the moon.
Fohnson. I think, “ Now the wolf behowls the moon,” was the original text. The allusion is frequently met with in the works of our author and his contemporaries. “ 'Tis like the howling of Irishwolves against the moon,” says he in his As you like it; and Mas. singer, in his New Way to pay old Debts, makes an usurer feel only—
as the moon is mov'd " When wolves with hunger pin’d, howl at her brightness."
Farmer. The word beholds was, in the time of Shakspeare, frequently written behoulds, (as, I suppose, it was then pronounced) which probably occasioned the mistake.
It is observable, that in the passage of Lodge's Rosalynda, 1592, which Shakspeare seems to have had in his thoughts, when he wrote, in As you like it :-"'Tis like the howling of Irish wolves against the moon:"-the expression is found, that Marston has used instead of behowls. “ In courting Phebe, thou barkest with the wolves of Syria against the moon."
These lines also in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I, c. V, st. 30, which Shakspeare might have remembered, add support to the emendation now made.
“ And all the while she [Night] stood upon the ground,
- fordone. ] i, e. overcome. So Spenser, Fairy Queen, B. I, c. x, st. 33:
“ And many souls in dolour had foredone." Again, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607:
- fore-wearied with striving, and fore-done with the tyran. nous rage of her enemy."
Now it is the time of night,
That the graves, all gaping wide,
In the church-way paths to glide:
By the triple Hecate's team,
Following darkness like a dream,
the dust behind the door. 8
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Hop as light as bird from brier; 1
Again, in the ancient metrical romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton, bl. I. no date:
“But by the other day at none;
“ These two dragons were foredone.” Steevens. 7 Now it is the time of night, &c.] So, in Hamlet:
“ 'Tis now the very witching time of night,
Steevens. 8 I am sent, with broom, before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.] Cleanliness is always necessary to invite the residence and the favour of the fairies:
“ These make our girls their slutt'ry rue,
“ The house for cleanly sweeping." Drayton. Fohnson. To sweep the dust behind the door, is a common expression, and a common practice in large old houses, where the doors of halls and galleries are thrown backward, and seldom or ever shut.
Fariner. 9 Through this house give glimmering light,] Milton perhaps had this picture in his thought:
“ And glowing embers through the room
“ Teach light to counterfeit a gloom.” Il Penseroso. So, Drayton:
“ Hence shadows, seeming idle shapes
“ As hope of pastime hastes them.” hink it should be read:
“Through this house in glimmering light.” Johnson,