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You orphan-heirs of fixed destiny,
of those personages named by Ford in a former scene, where the intended plot against Falstaff is mentioned. It is highly probable, (as a modern editor has observed,) that the performer who had represented Pistol, was afterwards, from necessity, employed among the fairies; and that his name thus crept into the copies. He here represents Puck, a part which in the old quarto is given to Sir Hugh. The introduction of Mrs. Quickly, however, cannot be accounted for in the same manner; for in the first sketch in quarto, she is particularly described as the Queen of the Fairies; à part which our author afterwards allotted to Anne Page. MALONE.
6 You orphan-heirs of fixed destiny,] But why orphan-beirs ? Deftiny, whom they succeeded, was yet in being. Doubtless the poet
“ You ouphen heirs of fixed destiny,". i. e. you elves, who minifter, and succeed in some of the works of destiny. They are called, in this play, both before and afterwards, ouphes'; here ouphen; en being the plural termination of Saxon nouns. For the word is from the Saxon Alpenne, lamiæ, da mones. Or it may be understood to be an adjective, as wooden, woollen, golden, &c. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton corrects orphan to ouphen; and not without plausibility, as the word cuphes occurs both before and afterwards. But, I fancy, in acquiescence to the vulgar doctrine, the address in this line is to a part of the troop, as mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies : orphans in respect of their real parents, and now only dependent on destiny herself. A few lines from Spenser will sufficiently illustrate this passage :
“ The man whom heavens have ordaynd to bee
“ The spouse of Britomart is Arthegall.
" Yet is no Fary horne, ne sib at all
And whilome by false Faries stolen away,
Edit. 1590. B. III. st. 26. FARMER. Dr. Warburton objects to their being heirs to Destiny, who was ftill in being. But Shakspeare, I believe, uses heirs, with his usual laxity, for children. So, to inherit is used in the sense of to polleji.
MALONE. quality.] i. e. fellowfhip. See The Tempeft: “ Ariel, and all his quality." STEEVENS.
Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy o-yes.
shall die :
[Lies down upon his face. Ev A. Where's Bede? 3-Go you, and where you
find a maid, That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,
8 Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy 0-yes.
Pift. Elves, lift your names; silence, you airy toys.] These two lines were certainly intended to rhime together, as the preceding and subsequent couplets do; and accordingly, in the old editions, the final words of each line are printed, oyes and toyes. This, therefore, is a striking instance of the inconvenience, which has arisen from modernizing the orthography of Shakspeare.
Tyrwhitt. 9 Where fires thou find"A unrak'd,] i. e. unmade up, by covering them with fuel, so that they may be found alight in the morning. This phrase is still current in several of our midland counties.
STEEVENS, as bilberry :] The bilberry is the whortleberry. Fairies were always supposed to have a strong averfion to sluttery. Thus, in the old song of Robin Good-Fellow. See Dr. Percy's Reliques, &c. Vol. III:
“ When house or hearth doth sluttish lye,
STEEVENS. 3 Evans. Where's Bede? &c.] Thus the first folio. The quartosPead. It is remarkable that, throughout this metrical business, Sir Hugh appears to drop his Welch pronunciation, though he resúmes it as soon as he speaks in his own character. As Falitaff, however, supposes him to be a Welch Fairy, his peculiarity of utterance must have been preserved on the stage, though it be not diftinguished in the printed copies. STEVENS.
of her fantasy,
Go you, and where you find a maid, Raise up the organs of her fantasy;] The sense of this speech is—that she, who had performed her religious duties, should be secure against the illusion of fancy; and have her sleep, like that of infancy, undisturbed by disordered dreams. This was then the popular opinion, that evil spirits had a power over the fancy; and, by that means, could inspire wicked dreams into those who, on their going to sleep, had not recommended themselves to the protection of heaven. So Shakspeare makes Imogen, on her lying down, say:
“ From fairies, and the tempters of the night,
“ Guard me, befeech ye!". As this is the sense, let us see how the common reading expreffes it;
“ Raise up the organs of her fantasy;". i. e. inflame her imagination with sensual ideas; which is just the contrary to what the poet would have the speaker say. We cannot therefore but conclude he wrote:
“ Rein up the organs of her fantasy;". i. e. curb them, that she be no more disturbed by irregular imaginations, than children in their neep. For he adds immediately :
Sleep fbe as found as careless infancy." So, in The Tempeft:
“ Do not give dalliance
« Too much the rein." And, in Measure for Measure:
“ I give my sensual race the rein.” To give the rein, being just the contrary to rein up. The same thought he has again in Macbeth:
“ Gives way to in repose.” WARBURTON. This is highly plausible; and yet, raise up the organs of her fartaly, may mean, elevate her ideas above Jenjuality, exalt them to ibe noblest contemplation.
Mr. Malone supposes the sense of the paffage, collectively taken, to be as follows.
Go you, and wherever you find a maid asleep, that hath thrice prayed to the deity, though, in consequence of her innocence, the
Quick. About, about;
sleep as foundly as an infant, elevate her fancy, and amuse her tranquil mind with fome delightful vision; but those whom you find asleep, without having previously thought on their sins, and prayed to heaven for forgiveness, pinch, &c. It should be remembered that those persons who feep very foundly, seldom dream. Hence the injunction to “ raise up the organs of her fantasy," “ Sleep she," &c. i. e. though she sleep as found, &c.
The fantasies with which the mind of the virtuous maiden is to be amused, are the reverse of those with which Oberon disturbs Titania in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
“ There sleeps Titania;
• And make her full of hateful fantafies.'
on every sacred room ;] See Chaucer's Cant. Tales, v. 3482, edit. Tyrwhitt.“ On four halves of the hous aboute,” &c.
Malone, 5 In ftate as wholesome,] Wholfome here fignifies integer. He wishes the castle may stand in its present state of perfection, which the following words plainly show;
as in state 'tis fit." WARBURTON. 6 Worthy the owner, and the owner it.] And cannot be the true reading. The context will not allow it; and his court to queen Elizabeth directs us to another :
- as the owner it." For, sure, he had more address than to content himself with wishing a thing to be, which his complaisance must suppose actually was, namely, the worth of the owner. WARBURTON.
Surely this change is unnecessary. The fairy wishes that the castle and its owner, till the day of doom, may be worthy of each other. Queen Elizabeth's worth was not devolvable, as we have seen by the conduct of her foolish successor. The prayer of the fairy is therefore sufficiently reasonable and intelligible without alteration. STEEVENS.
The several chairs of order look you scour
The several chairs of order look you fcour
With juice of balm, &c.] It was an article of our ancient luxury, to rub tables, &c. with aromatic herbs. Pliny informs us, that the Romans did the same, to drive away evil spirits. Steevens. 8 In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white;
Like saphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,] These lines are most miserably corrupted. In the words -Flowers purple, blue, and white-the purple is left uncompared. To remedy this, the editors, who seem to have been sensible of the imperfection of the comparison, read—AND rich embroidery; that is, according to them, as the blue and white flowers are compared to saphire and pearl, the purple is compared to rich embroidery. Thus, inftead of mending one false step, they have made two, by bringing saphire, pearl, and rich embroidery under one predicament. The lines were wrote thus by the poet :
“ In emerald tufts, flowers purfled, blue, and white;
“ Like Japhire, pearl, in rich embroidery." i. e. let there be blue and white flowers worked on the greenfward, like faphire and pearl in rich embroidery. To purfle, is to over-lay with tinsel, gold thread, &c. so our ancestors called a certain lace of this kind of work a purfling-lace. 'Tis from the French pourfiler. So Spenser:
- she was yclad,
Purfled upon, with many a folded plight." The change of and into in in the second verse, is necessary. For flowers worked, or purfled in the grass, were not like faphire and pearl simply, but saphire and pearl in embroidery. How the cor.