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Called Robin Good-fellow. Are you not he,
That fright the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk; and sometimes labor in the quern,1
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work; and they shall have good luck.
Are not you he?


Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal;
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor cries,3 and falls into a cough;

And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe :
And yexen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.-

But room, Faery; here comes Oberon.

Fai. And here my mistress.-'Would that he were gone!

1 A quern was a hand-mill.

2 Wild apple.

3 Dr. Johnson thought he remembered to have heard this ludicrous exclamation upon a person's seat slipping from under him. He that slips from his chair falls as a tailor squats upon his board. Hanmer thought the passage corrupt, and proposed to read "rails or cries."

4 The old copy reads: "And waxen in their mirth," &c. It seems most probable that we should read, as Dr. Farmer proposed, yexen. To yer is to hiccup, and is so explained in all the old dictionaries.




Enter OBERON, at one door, with his Train, and TITANIA, at another, with hers.

Obe. Il met by moon-light, proud Titania. Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence; I have forsworn his bed and company.

Obe. Tarry, rash wanton.

Am not I thy lord?

Tita. Then I must be thy lady. But I know
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskined mistress, and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded; and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,

Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?

Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night

From Perigenia, whom he ravished?

And make him with fair Ægle break his faith,

With Ariadne, and Antiopa?1

Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy;
And never, since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,

1 See the Life of Theseus in North's Translation of Plutarch. Ægle, Ariadne, and Antiopa, were all, at different times, mistresses to Theseus. The name of Perigune is translated by North Perigouna.

2 Spring seems to be here used for beginning. The spring of day is used for the dawn of day in K. Henry IV. Part II.


As in revenge, have sucked up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Have every pelting1 river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents.
The ox hath therefore stretched his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attained a beard.
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine men's morris is filled up with mud;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable.
The human mortals want their winter here; 3
No night is now with hymn or carol blessed.
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound;
And through this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter. Hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set.
The childing autumn,
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,

The spring, the summer,
angry winter, change

By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes

From our debate, from our dissension.

We are their parents and original.

Obe. Do you amend it, then; it lies in you.
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.5

1 i. e. paltry. The folio reads petty.

2 A rural game, played by making holes in the ground in the angles and sides of a square, and placing stones or other things upon them, according to certain rules. These figures are called nine men's morris, or merrils, because each party playing has nine men: they were generally cut upon turf, and were, consequently, choked up with mud in rainy seasons. 3 Theobald proposed to read "their winter cheer."

4 Autumn producing flowers unseasonably upon those of summer. 5 Page of honor.

Set your heart at rest,

The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order;
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossiped by my side,
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laughed to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following, (her womb then rich with my young squire,)
Would imitate; and sail upon the land,

To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy;
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.


Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay? Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. you will patiently dance in our round,

And see our moon-light revels, go with us;

If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Tita. Not for thy fairy-kingdom.—Fairies,
We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.


[Exeunt TITANIA and her Train. Obe. Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this


Till I torment thee for this injury.—

My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,

And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;

And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.


I remember.

Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou could'st not,) Flying between the cold moon and the earth,

Cupid all armed. A certain aim he took

At a fair vestal,' throned by the west;

And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quenched in the chaste beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial vot'ress passed on,

In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower,-

Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.3

Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee once;
The juice of it, on sleeping eyelids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.

Having once this juice,
I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,

And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.

[Exit PUCK.

The next thing then she waking looks upon.
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,)
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
And ere I take this charm off from her sight,
(As I can take it with another herb,)
I'll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible;
And I will overhear their conference.

1 It is well known that a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in this very beautiful passage. Warburton has attempted to show, that by the mermaid, in the preceding lines, Mary Queen of Scots was intended. It is argued with his usual fanciful ingenuity, but will not bear the test of examination, and has been satisfactorily controverted. It appears to have been no uncommon practice to introduce a compliment to Elizabeth in the body of a play.

2 Exempt from the power of love.

3 The tricolored violet, commonly called pansies, or hearts' ease, is here meant; one or two of its petals are of a purple color. It has other fanciful and expressive names.

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