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'A MIDSUMMER-Night's Dream' was first printed in sition were required to exhibit the power of the English: 1600. In that year there appeared two editions of the language for purposes of poetry, that compositiou would play ;-the one published by Thomas Fisher, a book- be the Midsummer-Night's Dream.' This wonderful seller; the other by James Roberts, a printer. The model, which, at the time it appeared, must have heen differences between these two editions are very slight. the commencement of a great poetical revolution,The play was not reprinted after 1600, till it was col- and which has never ceased to influence our higher lected into the folio of 1623 ; and the text in that edi-poetry from Fletcher to Shelley,-was, according to tion differs in few instances from that of the quartos. Malone, the work of “ the genius of Shakspeare, even

Malone has assigned the composition of ' A Midsum- in its minority." iner-Night's Dream' to the year 1594. We are not

« This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard,” says disposed to dissent from this; but we entirely object to Hippolyta, when Wall has “discharged" his part. the reasons upon wbich Malone attempts to show that The answer of Theseus is full of instruction :—“The it was one of our author's "earliest attempts in comedy." best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no It appears to us a misapplication of the received mean- worse if imagination amend them." It was in this ing of words, to talk of “the warmth of a youthful and humble spirit that the great poet judged of his own lively imagination" with reference to 'A Midsummer- matchless performances. He felt the utter inadequacy Night's Dream' and the Shakspere of thirty. Of all of his art, and indeed of any art, to produce its due the dramas of Shakspere there is none more entirely effect upon the mind, unless the imagination, to which harmonious than · A Midsummer-Night's Dream.' All it addressed itself, was ready to convert the shadows The incidents, all the characters, are in perfect subordi- which it presented into living forms of truth and beauty. nation to the will of the poet. “Throughout the whole "I am convinced," says Coleridge, “that Shakspeare piece," says Malone, “the more exalted characters are availed himself of the title of this play in his own subservient to the interests of those beneath thein." | mind, and worked upon it as a dream throughout." Precisely so. An unpractised author-one who had The poet says so, in express words :not “a youthful and lively imagination" under perfect

“ If we shadows have offended, control—when he had got hold of the Theseus and

Think but this (and all is mended), Hippolyta of the heroic ages, would have made them

That you have but slumber'd here,

While these visions did appear. ultra-heroical. They would have commanded events,

Aud this weak and idle theme, instead of moving with the supernatural influence

No more yielding but a dream, around them in harmony and proportion. An immature

Gentles, do not reprehend." poet, again, if the marvellous creation of Oberon and But to understand this dream—to have all its gay, Titania and Puck could havt entered into such a mind, and soft, and harmonious colours impressed upon the would have laboured to make the power of the fairies vision—to bear all the golden cadences of its poesyproduce some strange and striking events. But the to feel the perfect congruity of all its parts, and thus exquisite beauty of Shakspere's conception is, that, to receive it as a truth-we must not suppose that it under the supernatural influence, “the human mortals" will enter the mind amidst the lethargic slumbers of move precisely according to their respective natures the imagination. We must receive itand habits. Demetrius and Lysander are impatient

As youthful poets dream and revengeful ;-Helena is dignified and affectionate,

On summer eves by haunted stream." with a spice of female error;-Hermia is somewhat vain To offer an analysis of this subtle and ethereal drama and shrewish. And then Bottom ! Who but the most would, we believe, be as unsatisfactory as the attempts skilful artist could have given us such a character? to associate it with the realities of the stage. With Of him Malone says, “Shakspeare would naturally scarcely an exception, the proper understanding of the copy those manners first with which he was first ac. other plays of Shakspere may be assisted by connecting quainted. The ambition of a theatrical candidate for the apparently separate parts of the action, and by deapplause he has happily ridiculed in Bottom the veloping and reconciling what seems obscure aud weaver,A theatrical candidate for applause! Why, anomalous in the features of the characters. But to Bottom the weaver is the representative of the whole follow out the caprices and illusions of the loves of human race.

His confidence in his own power is Demetrius and Lysander,-of Helena and Hermia ;equally profound, whether ne exclaims, “ Let me play to reduce to prosaic description the consequence of the the lion too;" or whether he sings alone, " that they jealousies of Oberon and Titania ;—to trace the Fairy shall hear I am not afraid;" or whether, conscious that Queen under the most fantastic of deceptions, where lie is surrounded with spirits, he cries out, with his grace and vulgarity blend together like the Cupids and voice of authority, “ Where's Peas-blossom?" In Chimeras of Raphael's Arabesques ;—aud, finally, to every situation Bottom is the same,the same per- go along with the scene till the illusions disappearsonification of that self-love which the simple cannot till the lovers are happy, and “sweet bully Bottom " conceal, and the wise can with difficulty suppress. is reduced to an ass of human dimensions;—such an Lastly, in the whole rhythmical structure of the versi- attempt as this would be worse even than unreverential fication, the poet has put forth all his strength. We criticism. No,—the Midsummer-Night's Dream' venture to offer an opinion that, if any single compo- | must be left to its own influences.




THESEUS, Duke of Athens.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1.

Egeus, father to Hermia.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1.

LYSANDER, in love with Hermia.
appears, Act I. se. l. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 1.

Act V. sc. 1.
DEMETRIUS, in lore with Hermia.
Appears, Act I. se. 1. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2.

Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1.
PHILOSTRATE, master of the revels to Theseus.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1.

QUINCE, the carpenter.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2.

SNUG, the joiner.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2.

Borrox, the weaver.
A pears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. l; sc. 2.

FLUTE, the bellows-mender.
Appears, Aet I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. l. Act IV. sc.2.

SNOUT, the tinker.
Appears, Act I. se. 2. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2.

STARVELING, the tailor.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act III. sc. I. Act IV. sc. 2.

HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to

Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. I.
Hermia, daughter to Egens, in love with Lysander,
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc.3. Act III. sc. 2. Act

Act V. sc. I.
Helena, in love with Demetrius.
Appears, Act I. sc. I. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act Ill. sc. .

Act IV. . 1. Act V. se. 1.

OBERON, king of the fairies.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 1

Act V. sc. 2.
TITANIA, queen of the fairies.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2: se. 3. Act III. sc. l. Act IT. sc. I.

Act V. sc. 2.
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, a fairy.
Appears, Act II. sc. !; $c. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2

Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 2.

Appear, Act III. sc. l. Act IV. sc. 1.
Pyramus, Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, Lion, characters
in the Interlude performed by the Clowns.

Appear, Act V. sc. I.
Other Fairies attending their King and Queen.

Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.



SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of The. Thanks, gond Egeus : What's the news witt Theseus.

thee? Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PIILOstrate, and

Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint

Against my chilil, my daughter Hermia.

Stand forth, Demetrius : My noble lord,
The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour This man hath my consent to marry her.--
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in

Stand forth, Lysander :-and, my gracious duke, Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how slow

This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child: The old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires,

Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,

And interchang'd love-tokens with my child: Long withering out a young man's revenue.

Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung, Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; nights;

And stol'n the impression of her fantasy Foo nights will quickly dream away the time; With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, And then the moon, like to a silver bow

Knacks, titles, nosegays, sweetmeats; messengers New bent in heaven, shall behold the night

Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth : Of our solemnities.

With cunning bast thou filch'd my daughter's heart; The. Go, Philostrate,

Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me, Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;

To stubborn harshness :- And, my gracious duke, Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;

Be it so she will not here before your grace
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,

Consent to marry with Demetrius,
The pale companion is not for our pomp. [Exit Phil. I beg the ancient privilege of Athens ;
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,

As she is mine, I may dispose of her :
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;

Which shall be either to this gentleinan, Bat I will wed thee in another key,

Or to her death; according to our law, With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. Immediately provided in that case. Enter Egeus, HERMIA, LYSander, and DEMETRIUS. The. What say you, Hermia? Be advis'd, fair

maid: Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke !

To you your father should be as a god; • The word duke vas a corruption of the Latin dut, which one that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one was indiscriminately applied to any military chief, Chaucer To whom you are but as a form in wax, has duke Theseus --Gower, duke Spartacus,-Stanyhurst, duke Auicas. The word is also so used in our translation of the Bible. By him imprinted, and witr in his power


To leave the figure, or disfigure it.

Or else the law of Athens yields you up Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

(Which by no means we may extenuate) Her. So is Lysander.

To death, or to a vow of single life.
In himself he is :

Come, my Hippolyta : What cheer, my love ?
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,

Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :
The other must be held the worthier.

I must employ you in some business
Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes. Against our nuptial; and confer with you
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look. Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.

Ege. With duty and desire, we follow you.
I know not by what power I am made bold,

[Excunt Thes., Hip., EGE., Dem., and train. Nor how it may concern my modesty,

Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek so paie i In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts :

How chance the roses there do fade so fast ? But I beseech your grace that I may know

Her. Belike for want of rain ; which I could well The worst that may befall me in this case,

Beteem” them from the tempest of mine eyes. If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read, The. Either to die the death, or to abjure

Could ever hear by tale or history, For ever the society of men.

The course of true love never did run smooth : Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,

But, either it was different in blood ;Know of your youth, examine well your blood,

Her. O cross! too high to be enthralld to low! Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,

Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years ;You can endure the livery of a nun;

Her. O spite! too old to be engag'd to young! For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd,

Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends ;To live a barren sister all your life,

Hler. O hell! to choose love by another's eye! Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon. Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, Thrice blessed they that master so their blood,

War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it; To undergo such maiden pilgrimage :

Making it momentary as a sound, But earthly happier is the rose distillid,

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream, Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn, Brief as the lightning in the collied night, Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth, Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, And ere a man hath power to say,– Behold! Ere I will yield my virgin patent up

The jaws of darkness do devour it up: Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke

So quick bright things come to confusion, My soul consents not to give sovereignty.

Her. If then true lovers have been ever cross U, The. Take time to pause; and, by the next new moon, It stands as an edict in destiny: (The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,

Then let uz teach our trial patience, For everlasting bond of fellowship,)

Because it is a customary cross ; Upon that day either prepare to die,

As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, For disobedience to your father's will;

Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers.d Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would;

Lys. A good persuasion ; therefore, hear mc,

Hermia Or on Diana's altar to protest,

I have a widow aunt, a dowager For aye, austerity and single life.

Of great revenue, and she hath no child; Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia :- And, Lysander, yield From Athens is her house remov d seven leagues ; Thy crazed title to my certain right,

And she respects me as her only son. Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;

There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee; Let me have Hermia's : do you marry him.

And to that place the sharp Athenian law Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my love; Cannot pursue us : If thou lov'st me then, And what is mine my love shall render him;

Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night; And she is mine; and all my right of her

And in the wood, a league without the town, I do estate unto Demetrius.

Where I did meet thee once with Helena, Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,

To do observance to a morn of May, As well possess d; my love is more than his ,

There will I stay for thee. My fortunes every way as fairly rankd,


My good Lysander!
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';

I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow;
And, which is more than all these boasts can be, By his best arrow with the golden head;
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia :

By the simplicity of Venus' doves ;
Why should not I then prosecute my right?

By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves, Demetrius, I 'll avouch it to his head,

And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen, Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,

When the false Trojan under sail was seen; And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,

By all the vows that ever men have broke, Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,

In number more than ever women spoke; Upon this spottedd and inconstant man.

In that same place thou hast

ppointed me,
The. I must confess that I have heard so much, To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof; Lys. Keep promise, love: Look, bere comes Helena
But, being over-full of self-affairs,

My mind liil lose it.—But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall

Her. God speed fair Helena! Whit er away! go I have some private schooling for you both.

Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay. For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself

Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair! your fancies to your father's will;

Your eyes are load-stars ;' and your tongue's sweet air * Beteem-pour forth.

Collied-black. smutted. A Earthly happier-niore happy in an earthly sense.

In a spleen-in a sudden fit of passion or caprice. b hardship-authority.

d Fancy's followers-the followers of Love. • This is one of those elliptical expressions which frequently e Fair-used as a substantive for beauty. occur in our poet: to must be understood after sorereignty.

The load-star is the north star, hy which sailors steered theu 4 Spotted-stained, impure; tbe opposite of spotless.

urse in the early days of navigation.

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More tunable than lark to shepherd's ear,

Pursue her; and for this intelligence When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.

If I have thanks, it is a dear expense : Sckness is catching; 0, were favour" so,

But herein mean I to enrich my pain, (Ivar Foris I catch.) fair Hermia, ere I go,

To have his sight thither and back again. [Erit My ear stwuld catch your voice, my eye your eye, My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.

SCENE II.- The same. A Room in a Cottage. Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, Tue rest I 'll give to be to you translated.

Enter Snug, BOTTOM, FLUTE, Snout, Quince, and

O, teach me how you look; and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

Quin. Is all our company here?
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles man, according to the scrip.“ such skill!

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interHel. O, that my prayers could such affection move! lude before the duke and the duchess on his weddingHer. The more I hate, the more he follows me. day at night. He. The more I love, the more he hateth me.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so Hel. None. But your beauty; would that fault were grow on to a point. mine!

Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby face;

Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a Lysander and myself will fly this place.

merry.–Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors Belore the time I did Lysander see,

by the scroll: Masters, spread yourselves. Seemd Athens like a paradise to me:

Quin. Answer, as I call you.—Nick Bottom, the O tben, what graces in my love do dwell, That he hath turn d a heaven unto a hell!

Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proLys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: ceed. Tomorrow night, when Phæbe doth behold

Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Ha silver visage in the wat'ry glass,

Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant ? Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,

Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,)

love. Through Athens' gates have we devis d to steal.

Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing Her. And in the wood, where often you and I of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I l'pon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,

will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,

the rest :-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could There my Lysander and myself shall meet :

play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,

all split. To seek Dew friends and stranger companies.

“ The raging rocks, Farexell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,

And shivering shocks, And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius ! —

Shall break the locks keep word, Lysander : we must starve our sight

Of prison-gates ; From losers' food, till morrow deep midnight. Ex. Her.

And Phibbus' car Lys. I will, my Hermia.--Helena, adieu :

Shall shine from far, As you on bim, Demetrius dote on you!

[ Exit Lys.

And make and mar Hel. How happy some o'er other some can be !

The foolish fates." Throazh Athens I am thought as fair as she.

This was lofty !--Now name the rest of the players.-Bat what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;

This is Ercles'b vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more He will not know what all but he do know.

condoling: And as be errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,

Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender. So I, asimiring of his qualities.

Flu. Here, Peter Quince. Tiings base and vild, holding no quantity,

Quin. You must take Thisby on you. Love can transpose to form and dignity.

Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight? Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.

Flu. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;

a beard coming. Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste :

Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, And therefore is love said to be a child,

and you may speak as small as you will. Beranse in choice he is so oft beguiid.

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby As sazrish boys in game themselves forswear, too: I 'll speak in a monstrous little voice; -“ Thisne, So the boy love is perjur'd everywhere :

Thisne,—Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,

dear! and lady dear!" He haild down oaths, that he was only mine;

Quin. No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt.

you, Thisby. So he dissols 'd, and showers of oaths did melt.

Bot. Well, proceed. I will go tell l of fair Hermia's flight:

Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor. Tien to the wood will he, to-morrow night,

Star. Here, Peter Quince. Feste-eatures, appearance, outward qualities.


a Scrip-script-a written paper. It is in the repetition of the word fair that Heleua catches Ercles---Hercules-was one of the roaring heroes of the rude the suds of Hermia ; but she would also catch her voice, her drama which preceded Shakspere. tonatira, and her expression, as well as her words.

• In Shakspere's time the parts of women were personated by • Csapaxies for companias has an example in 'Henry V.:- men and boys. The objection of Flute, that he had "a beard ** His ompanies unletter'd, rude, and shallow."

coming," was doubtless a common objection; and i he remedy was equally common-"You shall pay it in a mask."

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