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Of this their purpose hither, to this wood;
The. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
5 Fair Helena in fancy following me.] Fancy is here taken for love or affection, and is opposed to fury, as before :
Sighs and tears, poor Fancy's followers." Some now call that which a man takes particular delight in, his
fancy. Flower-fancier, for a florist, and bird fancier, for a lover and feeder of birds, are colloquial words. Johnson. So, in Barnaby Googe's Cupido Conquered, 1563:
“ The chyefe of them was Ismenis,
“ Whom best Diana lov’d,
“Whom Fancye never mov'd.”
“With all persuasions sought to win her mind
“ To fancy him.” Again:
- Do not enforce me to accept a man
as doth the snow,] The word doth, which seems to have been inadvertently omitted, was supplied by Mr. Capel. The emendation here made is confirmed by a passage in K. Henry V:
as doth the melted snow “Upon the vallies.” Malone.
an idle gawd,] See note on this word, p. 243. Steevens. ere I saw Hermia:] The old copies read-ere I see .
Steevens. like in sickness,] So, in the next line—" as in health —.” The old copies erroneously read~" like a sickness.” I owe the present correction to Dr: Farmer. Steevens.
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Dem. These things seem small, and undistinguishable, Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
Her. Methinks, I see these things with parted eye,
1 Come, Hippolyta.] I suppose, for the sake of measure, we should readCome my Hippolyta.” Steevens. 2 And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.) Hermia had observed that things appeared double to her. Helena replies, so methinks; and then subjoins, that Demetrius was like a jewel, her own and not her own.
He is here, then, compared to something which had the property of appearing to be one thing when it was another. Not the property sure of a jewel; or, if you will, of none but a false one.
We should read :
Mine own and not mine own. From Gemellus, a twin. For Demetrius had that night acted two such different parts, that she could hardly think them both played by one and the same Demetrius; but that there were twin Demetriuses like the two Sosias in the farce. From Ge. mellus comes the French Gemeau or Furneau, and in the feminine, Gemelle or Fumelle: So, in Maçon's translation of The Decameron of Boccace : « Il avoit trois filles plus âgées que les mas. les, des quelles les deux qui estoient jumelles avoient quinze ans.” Quatrieme Four. Nov. 3. Warburton. This emendation is ingenious enough to deserve to be true.
Johnson Dr. Warburton has been accused of coining the word gemell; but Drayton has it in the preface to his Barons' Wars: “The quadrin doth never double; or to use a word of heraldrie, never bringeth forth gemels." Farmer. Again:
- unless they had been all gemels or couplets.” Steevens.
It seems to me, 3
Her. Yea; and my father.
Dem. Why then, we are awake: let 's follow him: And, by the way, let us recount our dreams. [Exeunt.
Helena, I think, means to say, that having found Demetrius unexpectedly, she considered her property in him as insecure as that which a person has in a jewel that he has found by accident ; which he knows not whether he shall retain, and which therefore may properly enough be called his own and not his own. She does not say, as Dr. Warburton has represented, that Demetrius was like a jewel, but that she had found him, like a jewel, &c. A kindred thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra :
“Of what he has, and has not." The same kind of expression is found also in The Merchant of Venice:
“ Where ev'ry something, being blent together,
“ Exprest, and not exprest.” Malone.
3 It seems to me,] Thus tlie folio. The quartos begin this speech as follows:
Are you sure That we are awake? I had once injudiciously restored these words; but they add no weight to the sense of the passage, and create such a defect in the measure as is best remedied by their omission. Steevens.
Are you sure
That we are awake?] Sure is here used as a dissyllable: so sire, fire, hour, &c. The word now [That we are now awake?] seems to be wanting, to complete the metre of the next line.
Malone. I cannot accede to a belief that sure was ever employed as a dissyllable, much less at the end of a verse. Fire (anciently spelt fier) and hour (anciently spelt hower) might be dissyllabically used, because the duplicate vowels in each of them were readily separated in pronunciation. Our author might have written:
“ But are you sure
“ That we are now awake? -" Having exhibited this passage, however, only in my note on the hemistich that follows it, I have little solicitude for its reformation. Steevens.
As they go out, Bottom awakes. Bot. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer:~my next is, Most fair Pyramus. -Hey, ho!Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God's my life! stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream,ếpast the wit of man to say what dream it was: Man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had,—But man is but a patched fool,4 if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of mans hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen; man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.6
patched fool,] That is, a fool in a particoloured coat.
Fohnson. 5 The eye of man, &c.] He is here blundering upon the scriptural passage of “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things,” &c. 1 Cor. ii, 9. Douce.
6 - I shall sing it at her death.] At whose death? In Bottom's speech there is no mention of any she-creature, to whom this relative can be coupled. I make not the least scruple but Bottom, for the sake of a jest, and to render his voluntary, as we may call it, the more gracious and extraordinary, said:-I shall sing it after death. He, as Pyramus, is killed upon the scene; and so might promise to rise again at the conclusion of the interlude, and give the Duke his dream by way of song. The source of the corruption of the text is very obvious. The fin after being sunk by the vulgar pronunciation, the copyist might write it from the sound,-a'ter; which the wise editors not understanding, concluded, two words were erroneously got together; so, splitting them, and clapping in an h, produced the present reading at her. Theobald.
Theobald might have quoted the following passage in The Tempest in support of his emendation. “This is a very scuivy tune (says Trinculo) for a man to sing at his funeral.”-Yet I believe the text is right. Malone.
at her death.] He may mean the death of Thisbe, which his head might be at present full of; and yet I cannot but prefer the happy conjecture of Mr. Theobald to my own attempt at explanation. Steevens.
Athens. A room in Quince's House.
Enter QUINCE, FLUTE, Snout, and STARVELING.
Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?
Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.
Flu. If he come not, then the play is marred; It goes not forward, doth it?
Quin. It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens, able to discharge Pyramus, but he.
Flu. No; he hath simply the best wit of any handy. craft man in Athens.
Quin. Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour, for a sweet voice.
Flu. You must say, paragon: a paramour is, God bless us, a thing of nought.?
Enter Snug. Snug. Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married: if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men. 8
Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a-day during his life; he could not have 'scaped sixpence a-day: an the duke had not given him sixpence
- a thing of nought.] This Mr. Theobald changes with great pomp to a thing of naught; i. e. a good for nothing thing.
Fohnson. A thing of nought may be the true reading. So, in Hamlet:
«Ham. The king is a thing-
“ Ham. Of nothing." See the note on this passage.
Paramour being a word which Flute did not understand, he may design to say that it had no meaning, i. e. was a thing of nought.
Mr. M. Mason, however, is of a different opinion. “ The ejaculation (says he) God bless us! proves that Flute imagined he was saying a naughty word.” Steevens.
- made men.] In the same sense as in The Tempest:
any monster in England makes a man.” Johnson.