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Take thou fome of it, and feek through this grove:
A fweet Athenian lady is in love
With a difdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
But do it, when the next thing he efpies
May be the lady: Thou fhalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with fome care; that he may prove
More fond on her, than the upon her love:
And look thou meet me ere the firft cock crow.
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your fervant fhall do fo.



Another part of the wood.

Enter the Queen of Fairies, with her train.
Queen. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy fong;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence? :



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,
Upward and downward, forth, and back again

To this fide, and to that, and turning round;
Whereof a thoufand brawls he doth compound,
Which he doth teach unto the multitude,
And ever with a turn they must conclude.

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Thus when at first love had them marshalled,
As erft he did the shapeless mafs of things,
He taught them rounds and winding bays to tread,
And about trees to caft themselves in rings:

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.

A roundle;

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Some, to kill cankers in the mufk-rofe buds;
Some, war with rear-mice' for their leathern wings,
To make my fmall elves coats; and fome, keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our quaint fpirits: Sing me now afleep;
Then to your offices, and let me rest.


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:

quaint fports

But Profpero, in The Tempeft, applies quaint to Ariel. JoHNSON.

❝ Our

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First Fairy.

You spotted fnakes, with double tongue,
Thorny hedge-hogs, be not feen;
Newts, and blind-worms, do no wrong;
Come not near our fairy queen;

Philomel, with melody,
Sing in your feet lullaby ;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm, nor fpell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.

Second Fairy.

Weaving fpiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence :
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm, nor fnail, do no offence.


Philomel, with melody, &c.

First Fairy.

Hence, away; now all is well3:
One, aloof, ftand fentinel.

[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.




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Enter Oberon.

Ob. What thou feeft, when thou doft wake,
[Squeezes the flower on her eye-lids.

Do it for thy true love take;
Love, and languifh for his fake:
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wak'ft, it is thy dear;
Wake, when fome vile thing is near.

[Exit Oberon.

Enter Lyfander and Hermia.

Lyf. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;

And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:
We'll reft us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
Her. Be it fo, Lyfander: find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will reft my head.

Lyf. One turf fhall ferve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bofoms, and one troth.

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.

I mean

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


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I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit;
So that but one heart we can make of it:
Two bofoms interchained with an oath;
So then, two bofoms, and a fingle troth.
Then, by your fide no bed-room me deny;
For, lying fo, Hermia, I do not lie.


Her, Lyfander, riddles very prettily:-
Now much befhrew my manners, and my pride,
If Hermia meant to fay, Lyfander ly'd.

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:

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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.


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