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Theseus, Duke of Athens.
Egeus, Father 10 Hermia.
Lysander, in love with Hermia.
Demetrius, in love with Hermia.
Philostrate, Master of the Sports to Theseus.
Quince, the Carpenter.
Snug, the Joiner.
Bottom, the Weaver,
Flute, the Bellows-mender.
Snowt, the Tinker.
Starveling, the Taylor.
Hippolita, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus,
Hermia, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
Helena, in love with Demetrius,

Oberon, King of the Fairies.
Titania, Queen of the Fairies.
Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a Fairy,


Charaflers in the Interlude performed Moonshine,

by the Clowns. Lyon, Other Fairies attending their King and Queen : Attendanis

Oil Theseus and Hippolita. SCENE, Athens, and a Wood not far from it.


* The enumeration of persons was first made by Mr. Rowe.


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The ? Palace of Theseus in Athens.
Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Philoftrates with attendants.

The. Now, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in

? This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600, by Thomas Fisher. It is probable that the hint for it was received from Chaucer's Knight's Tale. Thence it is, that our author speaks of Theseus as duke of Athens. The tale begins thus :

66 Whilom as old stories tellen us,
16 There was a Duk that highte Theseus,
56 Of Athenes he was lord ånd governour, &c."

Late edit, v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his translation of the Tragedies of John Bochas, calls him by the same title, chap. xii. l. 21.

" Duke Theseus had the victorye.” Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, transated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon: So likewise Skelton :

" Not lyke Duke Hamilcar,

Nor lyke Duke Afdruball.?! Stanyhurst, in his translation or Virgil, calls Eneas, Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, 2d Part, 1632, Ajax is styled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Nestor, Duke Neitor, &c.

There is an old black-letter'd pamphlet by W. Bettie, called Titana and Thefeus, entered at Stationers' Hall, in 1608 ; but Shakspeare has taken no hinıs from it. Titania is also the name of the Queen of Fairies in Decker's W bore of Babylon, 1607.



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Another moon : but, oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! fhe lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue !.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in

nights; Four nights will quickly dream away the time; And then the moon, like to a silver bow * New bent in heaven, shall behold the night Of our folemnities.

The. Go, Philostrate, Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments; Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth; Turn melancholy forth to funerals, The pale companion is not for our pomp. [Exit Phi. Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my sword, And won thy love, doing thee injuries; But I will wed thee in another key, With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.

Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius, Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke! The. Thanks, good Egeus : What's the news with

thee? Ege. Full of vexation, come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia.Stand forth, Demetrius ;– My noble lord, This man hath my consent to marry her :Stand forth, Lysander;-and my gracious duke,

3 Long WITHERING OUT a young man's revenue.] So, in Chap. man's Translation of the 4th B. of Homer : " - there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace."

Ut piger annus
Pupillis, quos dura premit custodia matrum,
Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora. Hor.

MALONE. 4 New bent in heaven-] The old copies read Now bent.-Mr. Rowe made the change. MALONE,


This man hath switch'd the bosom of my child:
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhimes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigned love;
And stol’n the impreslion of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds', conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unhạrden'd youth :
With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness :- And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her :
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death ; according to our law ?,
Immediately provided in that case.

The. What say you, Hermia? be advis’d, fáir maid :
To you your father should be as a god ';



s-cvitch'd-] The old copies read bewitch'd. JOHNSON.

6-gawds-) i, e. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently. See K. John, act III. sc. v. Again, in Apius and Virginia, 1575:

5. When gain is no grandfier,

And gaudes not set by, &c.” And, in Drayton's Mooncalf :

and in her lap

“ A sort of paper puppets, gauds and toys.". The rev. Mr. Lambe in his notes on the ancient metrical history of the Battle of Floddon, observes that a gawd is a child's toy, and that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. STEEVENS.

? Or to her death; according to our law,] By a law of Solon's, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their children. So it suited the poet's purpose well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before.- Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. WARBURTON.

* To you your father should be as a god,
One who compos'd your beauties; yea, and one,

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One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman,

Her. So is Lysander,

The. In himself he is :
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes,
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment

Her. I do intreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts :
But I beseech your grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his porver

TO LEAVE the figure, or disfigure it.]
We should read :

TO'LEVE the figure, &c. i.e. releve, to heighten or to add to the beauty of the figure, which is said to be imprinted by him. 'Tis from the French relever. Thus they say, Tapisseries rcler'ies d'or. In the same sense they use enlever, which Maundeville makes English of in this manner.“ And all the walles withinne ben covered with gold and sylver, in fyn plates; and in the plates ben fories and batayles of Knyghtes ENLEVED." p. 328. Rabelais, with a strain of buffoon humour, that equals the sober elegance of this passage in our poet, calls the sinall geutry of France, “ Gentilhommes de bas relict."

WARBURTON. I know not why so harsh a word should be admitted with so lit. tle need; a word that, spoken, could not be understood, and of which no example can be shown. The sense is plain, you ocue to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.




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