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THE BRIDAL HOUSE BLESSED BY THE FAIRIES.
Puck. Now the hungry lion roars,6
All with weary task fordone.
Whilst the scritch-owl scritching loud,
In remembrance of a shroud.
That the graves all gaping wide,
In the churchway paths to glide:
By the triple Hecate's team,
I am sent, with broom before,
Enter OBERON and TITANIA, with their train.
Ober. Through this house give glimmering light
Every elf and fairy sprite,
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty after me
Sing and dance it trippingly.
Tita. First rehearse this song by rote:
To each word a warbling note,
SONG AND DANCE
Ober. Now, until the break of day,
6" Now the hungry lion roars:"-Upon the songs of Puck and Oberon, Coleridge exclaims, "Very Anacreon in perfectness, proportion, and spontaneity! So far it is Greek; but then add, O! what wealth, what wild rangings and yet what compressior and condensation of English fancy! In truth, there is nothing in Anacreon more perfect than these thirty lines, or half so ricl. and imaginative. They form a speckless diamond.”—Literary Remains, vol. ii., p. 114.
LOVERS AND MUSIC.
LORENZO and JESSICA, awaiting the return home of PORTIA and NERISSA, discourse of music, and then welcome with it the bride and her attendant.
Lor. The moon shines bright. In such a night as this,"
And they did make no noise,-in such a night
In such a night Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew; And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,9 And ran dismay'd away.
And in such a night Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well; Stealing her soul with many vows of faith, And ne'er a true one.
Jes. I would out-night you, did nobody come;
Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
Lor. A friend! what friend? your name, I pray you, friend?
Step. Stephano is my name; and I bring word
My mistress will, before the break of day,
Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
Lor. Who comes with her?
Step. None but a holy hermit and her maid
Lor. Sweet soul, let 's in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter; why should we go in?
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon the bank!
Sit, Jessica: look, how the floor of heaven
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims;
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn;
Jes. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
A race of youthful and unhanded colts,
Fetching mad bounds,-bellowing and neighing loud,
If they but hear, perchance, a trumpet sound,
Let no such man be trusted.-Mark the music.
* Patines (Pátine, Paténe, Ital.) have been generally understood to mean plates of gold or silver used in the Catholic service. A new and interesting commentator, however (the Rev. Mr. Hunter), is of opinion that the proper word is patterns.
Enter PORTIA and Nerissa, at a distance.
Por. That light we see is burning in my hall;
Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle
Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house
Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
How many things by season, season'd are,
Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
Dear lady, welcome home, 13
7" In such a night as this," &c.-All the stories here alluded to,-Troilus and Cressida, Pyramus and Thisbe, Dido and Æneas, Jason and Medea, are in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. It is pleasant to see our great poet so full of his predecessor. He cannot help, however, inventing particulars not to be found in his original.
8 And sigh'd his soul, &c.
"The day go'th fast, and after that came eve,
He looketh forth by hedge, by tree, by greve (grove),
Clarke's Chaucer, vol. ii., p. 151. "And saw the lion's shadow."-Thisbe in Chaucer does not see