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Take thou fome of it, and feek through this grove:
Another part of the wood.
Enter the Queen of Fairies, with her train.
a roundel and a fairy fong;] Rounds or roundels were like the prefent country dances, and are thus defcribed by Sir John Davies, in his Orchestra, 1622:
Then first of all he doth demonftrate plain
The motions feven that are in nature found,
To this fide, and to that, and turning round;
Thus when at first love had them marshalled,
As the two bears whom the first mover flings
With a fhort turn about heaven's axle tree,
In a round dance for ever wheeling be. EDITOr. A roundel, rondill, or roundelay, is used to fignify a fong beginning or ending with the fame fentence, redit in orbem.
Puttenham, in his art of Poetry, 1589, has a chapter On the roundel, or sphere, and produces what he calls A general refemblance of the roundel to God, the world, and the queen. STEEVENS.
Some, to kill cankers in the mufk-rofe buds;
A roundel; that is, as I fuppofe, a circular dance. Ben Jonfon feems to call the rings which fuch dances are fuppofed to make in the grafs, rondels. Vol. v. Tale of a Tub, p. 23: I'll have no rondels, I, in the queen's paths."
TYRWHITT. So, in The Boke of the Governour by Sir Thomas Elyot, 1537: "In stede of thefe we have now bafe daunces, bargenettes, pavyons, turgions, and roundes.' STEEVENS.
9 Then, for the third part of a minute, bence:] So the old copies. But the queen fets them work, that is to keep them employed for the remainder of the night; the poet, undoubtedly, intended her to fay, Dance your round, and fing your fong, and then instantly (before the third part of a minute) begone to your respective duties. THEOBALD.
Dr. Warburton reads ;
-for the third part of the midnight.
The perfons employed are fairies, to whom the third part of a minute might not be a very fhort time to do fuch work in. The critick might as well have objected to the epithet tall, which the fairy beftows on the cowflip. But Shakspeare, throughout the play, has preferved the proportion of other things in refpect of thefe tiny beings, compared with whofe fize, a cowflip might be tall, and to whose powers of execution, a minute might be equivalent to an age. STEEVENS
with rear-mice] A rere-moufe is a bat, a moufe that rears from the ground by the aid of wings. So, in Albertus WallenStein, 1640:
"Half-fpirited fouls, who ftrive on rere-mice wings." Again, in Ben Jonson's New Inn:
I keep no fhades
"Nor fhelters, I, for either owls or rere-mice."
quaint fpirits:] For this Dr. Warburton reads against all authority:
But Profpero, in The Tempeft, applies quaint to Ariel. JoHNSON.
You spotted fnakes, with double tongue,
Philomel, with melody,
Weaving fpiders, come not here;
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence :
Philomel, with melody, &c.
Hence, away; now all is well3:
[Exeunt Fairies. The Queen fleeps.
"Our quaint Spirits." Dr. Johnson is right in the word, and Dr. Warburton in the interpretation. A Spirit was sometimes ufed for a sport. In Decker's play, If it be not good, the Devil is in It, the king of Naples fays to the devil Ruffman, disguised in the character of Shalcan:
"Now Shalcan, fome new fpirit? Ruff. A thousand wenches ftark-naked to play at leap-frog." Omnes. O rare fight! FARMER.
3 Hence, away, &c.] This, according to all the editions, is made part of the fong; but I think without fufficient reafon, as it pears to be spoken after the fong is over. In the quarto 1600, it is given to the 2d Fairy; but the other divifion is better.
Ob. What thou feeft, when thou doft wake,
Do it for thy true love take;
Enter Lyfander and Hermia.
Lyf. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:
Lyf. One turf fhall ferve as pillow for us both;
Her. Nay, good Lyfander; for my fake, my dear, Lye further off yet, do not lye so near.
Lyf. O, take the fenfe, fweet, of my innocences; Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.
Be it ounce,] The ounce is a fmall tiger, or tiger-cat.
5 O take the fenfe, fweet, of my innocence; Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.] Here, by fome mifchance or other, innocence and conference have been jumbled into one another's places, and thereby deprived a very fenfible reply of all kind of meaning. Restore each to its right place, and the fenfe will be this;-when he had interpreted his words to an evil meaning, he replies:
O take the fenfe, fect, of my conference; i. e. judge of my meaning by the drift of my whole fpeech, and E 4
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit;
Her, Lyfander, riddles very prettily:-
do not pervert the fenfe of an ambiguous word to a meaning quite foreign to the difcourfe. Befides, fays he :
Love takes the meaning, in love's innocence.
i. e. The innocence of your love may teach you to discover the innocence of mine. These are the fentiments, which were quite loft in this aukward tranfpofition. WARBURTON.
I am by no means convinced of the neceffity of this alteration. Lyfander in the language of love profeffes, that as they have one heart, they fhall have one bed; this Hermia thinks rather too much, and intreats him to lye further off. Lyfander answers: O take the fenfe, feet, of my innocence. understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning. Let no fufpicion of ill enter thy mind:
Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.
In the converfation of those who are affured of each other's kindnefs, not fufpicion but love takes the meaning. No malevolent interpretation is to be made, but all is to be received in the fenfe which love can find, and which love can dictate. JOHNSON.
The latter line is certainly intelligible as Dr. Johnfon has explained it; but, I think, it requires a flight alteration to make it connect well with the former. I would read:
Love take the meaning in love's conference. That is, Let love take the meaning. TYRWHITT.
6 - we can make of it;] The folio, instead of we can, reads can you.
interchained] Thus the quarto; the folio interchanged.
Now much befbrew, &c] This word, of which the etymology is not exactly known, implies a finister wish, and means the fame as if he had faid "now ill befall my manners, &c." It is used by Heywood in his Iron Age, 1632:
"Befbrew your amorous rhetorick,"
Well, Paris, I befbrew you, with my heart." STEEVENS. See Minfhew's etymology of it, which feems to be an imprecation or wish of fuch evil to one, as the venomous biting of the fbrew-mouse. TOLLET.