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5. And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and fwear, A merrier hour was never wafted there.
But make room, Fairy, here comes Oberon. Fai. And here my miftrefs-Would, that we were gone!
Enter Oberon King of Faires at one door with his train, and the Queen at another with hers.
Ob. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania. Queen. What, jealous Oberon? Fairies, skip hence, I have forfworn his bed and company.
Ob. Tarry, rafh Wanton; am not I thy lord?
Queen. Then I must be thy lady; but I know,
Ob. How can't thou thus for fhame, Titania,
Knowing, I know thy love to Thefeus?
Didit thou not lead him through the glimmering night.
burton after him, read and rails or cries, plaufibly, but I believe not rightly. Befides, the trick of the fairy is reprefented as producing rather merriment than
* I. II. III. IV. But room Fairy. The word Fairy or Faery, was fometimes of three fyllables, as often in Spenfer.
6 Die thou not lead him through the glimmering night.] 5 And waxen] And encrcafe, We should read, as the moon waxes.
From Periguné, whom he ravished; 7
And make him with fair Egle break his faith,
Queen. These are the forgeries of jealousie:
Didit theu not lead him glimmering through the night. The meaning is, She conducted him in the appearance of fire through the dark night. WARB. 7 From Perigenia, whom he ravifh'd:] Thus all the Editors, but our Author, who diligently perus'd Plutarch, and glean'd from him, where his fubj 2 would admit, knew, from te Life of Thefeus, that her Name was Perigyne; (or Perigune) by whom Thefeus had his Son Melanippus. She was the Daughter of Sinnis, a cruel Robber, and Tormentor of Paffengers in the Ifthmus. Plutarch and Athenæus are both exprefs in the Circumftance of Thefeus ravishing her. THEOBALD.
8 And never fince the middle Summer's Spring, &c.] There are not many paffages in Shakespear which one can be certain he has borrowed from the Ancients; but this is one of the few that, I think, will admit of no dif. pute. Our Author's admirable defcription of the miferies of the Country being plainly an imitation of that which Ovid draws, as confequent on the grief
of Ceres, for the loss of her daughter.
Nefcit adhuc ubi fit: terras tamen
increpat omnes : Ingratafque vocat, nec frugum munere dignas.
Ergo illic fæva vertentia
Fregit aratra manu parilique ira
ta co on S
Ruricclefque boves letho dedit: arvaque jufit
Fallere depofitum vitiataque femina fecit.
Fertilitas terræ latum vulgata per
Sparjajacet. Primis fegetes mo-
THE middle jummer's Spring.] We fhould read THAT. For it appears to have been fome years fince the quarrel firft began.
9 Paved Fountain. A Fountain laid round the edge with Rone.
1 The Winds piping. So Mil
While rocking winds are piping
As in revenge, have fuck'd up from the fea
* II. III. IV: Petty. 2 Pelting river. Shakespear has in Lear the fame word, low pelting farms. The meaning is plainly, defpicable, mean, forry, wretched; but as it is a word without any reafonable etymo
cumftance of their happiness that they wanted Winter. This is an idle blunder of the Editor's. Shakespear without ques tion wrote,
The human mortals want their • winter HERYED.
logy, I fhould be glad to difmifs. e. praised, celebrated. The it for petty, yet it is undoubtedly right. We have petty pelting Officer in Meafure for Mcafure.
3 Overborn their continents.] Born down the banks that contained them. So in Lear,
word is obfolete: But used both by Chaucer and Spencer in this fignification,
Tho' worldeft thou learne to CA-
And HERY with HYMNES thy
Spenc. Cal. Feb. The following line confirms the emendation.
No night is now with Hymn or
and the propriety of the fentiment is evident. For the wine ter is the feafon of rural rejoicing, as the gloominess of it and its vacancy from country labours give them the inclination and op portunity for mirth; and the fruits, now gathered in, the
No night is now with hymn or carol bleft; Therefore the moon, the governefs of floods, Pale in her anger, washes all the air;
But, principally, fince the coming of Christianity this feafon, in commemoration of the birth of Chrift, has been particularly devoted to feftivity. And to this custom, notwithstanding the impropriety, Hymn or Carrol bleft certainly alludes. Mr. Theobald fays, be fhould undoubtedly have advanced this conjecture unto the text, but that Shakespear feems rather fond of hallow'd. Rather than what? hallowed is not fynonymous to heryed but to bleft. What was he thinking of? The ambiguity of the English word bleft confounded him, which fignifies either prais'd or fanctified.
WARBURTON. After all the endeavours of the Editors this paffage ftill remains to me unintelligible. I cannot fee why Winter is, in the general confufion of the year now deforibed, more wanted than any other feafon. Dr. Warburton obferves that he alludes to our practice of finging carols in December; but though Shakepear is no great chronologer in his dramas, I think he has never fo mingled true and falfe religion, as to give us reafon for believing that he would make
the moon incenfed for the omiflion of our carols. I therefore imagine him to have meant hea then rites of adoration. This is not all the difficulty. Titania's account of this calamity is not fufficiently confequential. Men find no winter, therefore they fing no hymns, the moon provoked by this omiffion alters the feafons: That is the alteration of the feafons produces the alteration of the feafons. I am far from fuppofing that Shakespear might not fometimes think confufedly, and therefore am not fure that the paffage is corrupted. If we should read,
And human mortals want their
Yet will not this licence of alteration much mend the narrative; the cause and the effect are still confounded. Let us carry critical temerity a little further. Scaliger tranfpofed the lines of Virgil's Gallus. Why may not the fame experiment be ventured upon Shakespear.
The human mortals want their wonted year, The feafons alter; hoary-beaded frofis
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimLon rofe;
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy
An od'rous chaplet of fweet fummer buds
Is, as in mock'ry, fet. The Spring,
That rheumatick difeafes do abound.
Ob. Do you amend it then, it lies in you.
Queen. Set your heart at reft,
The fairy-land buys not the child of me.
The childing autumn, angry win
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
By their increafe, now knows not which is which.
No night is now with hymn or
carol bleft; Therefore the moon, the governefs of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the
And thorough this diftemperature, we fee
That rheumatick difeafes do abound.
And this fame progeny of evil