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-double tongue,] i. e. Cloven or forked.
Be it ounce,] The ounce is a small tiger, or tiger
Line 327. 0, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;] Lysander in the language of love professes, that as they have one heart, they shall have one bed; this Hermia thinks rather too much, and intreats him to lie further off. Lysander answers,
O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence.
understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy mind. JOHNSON.
Line 328. Love takes the meaning, in love's conference,] In the conversation of those who are assured of each other's kindness, not suspicion, but love takes the meaning. No malevolent interpretation is to be made, but all is to be received in the sense which love can find, and which love can dictate. JOHNSON.
owe:] i. e. Own.
—wilt thou darkling leave me ?] i. e. Leave me in the dark. Thus in King Lear:
"And so the candle went out, and we were left darkling.” my grace.] My acceptableness, the favour that
I can gain.
as a verb.
-till now ripe not to reason;] Ripe is here used
Line 407. Reason becomes the marshal to my will,] That is, My will now follows reason. JOHNSON.
Line 420. -true gentleness;] Gentleness is equivalent to what, in modern language, we should call the spirit of a gentlePERCY.
Line 440. And you- -] Instead of you, the first folio reads yet. Mr. Pope first gave the right word from the quarto 1600. STEEVENS.
Line 444. Speak, of all loves;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author. So Merry Wives of Windsor', Act 2. Sc. 8.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 1.] In the time of Shakspeare, there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very unskilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head. JOHNSON. ladykin, or little Parlous, a word STEEVENS.
Line 13. By'rlakin, a parlous fear.] By our lady, as ifakins is a corruption of by my faith. corrupted from perilous, i. e. dangerous.
Line 24. in eight and six.] Means, it shall be written in
verses of eight and six syllables alternately.
-brake;] i. e. Bush, or thicket.
—juvenal,] Means, a youth.
-cues and all.] A cue is the stage term for the
last words of a speech, from which the next speaker begins.
-to make me afeard.] Afeard is from to fear, by the old form of the language, as an hungered, from to hunger. So adry, for thirsty.
Line 117. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?] It is plain by Bottom's answer, that Snout mentioned an ass's head. Therefore we should read,
Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee? An ass's head? JOHNSON.
The ousel-cock,] i. e. The cock blackbird. STEEV.
gleek,] Joke, or scoff.
-the fiery glow-worm's eyes,] I know not how
Shakspeare, who commonly derived his knowledge of nature from
his own observation, happened to place the glow-worm's light in his eyes, which is only in his tail.
mistress Squash your mother,] A Squash is an unripe peascod. Thus in Twelfth-Night, Act 1. Sc. 5.
my love's tongue,] In the old copies, my lover's tongue, which could not be pronounced as a monosyllable, it was therefore corrected by Mr. Pope, to love.
ACT III. SCENE II.
what night-rule---] Perhaps may mean, what
sort of mid-night revelry is now going forward?
Line 220. patches,] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the same import as we use raggamuffin, or tatterdemalion. JOHNSON.
Line 228. An ass's now I fixed on his head ;] A head. Saxon.
232. choughs,] A chough is a bird of the daw species.
-sort,] Company. So above:
-that barren sort.
236. And at our stamp,] This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never represented stamping, or of a size that should give force to a stamp, nor could they have distinguished of Puck from those of their own companions. I read, And at a stump here o'er and o'er one falls. JOHNSON Line 242.
Some, sleeves; some, hats:] There is the like image in Drayton of queen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin. Some tore a ruff, and some a gown,
'Gainst one another justling ;
They flew about like chaff i' th' wind,
Some could not stay their gloves to find,
There never was such bustling.
Line 249.-latch'd,] Or letch'd, lick'd over, lecher, to lick,
In the North, it signifies to infect.
Line 262. Being o'er shoes in blood,] An allusion to the proverb, Over shoes, over boots.
-so dead,] Our author uses the word in Henry
IV. Part 2. Act 1. Sc. 3.
Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless,
So dull, so dead in look, so woc-begone. STEEVENS.
Line 286. -O brave touch!] Touch in Shakspeare's time was the same with our exploit, or rather stroke. A brave touch, a noble stroke, un grand coup. Mason was very merry, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curst boys, and the small discretion of many lewd schoolmasters. Ascham. JOHNSON. Line 290. mispris'd mood:] Mistaken; so below mispri
sion is mistake.
Line 295. An if I could, &c.] This was the phraseology in Shakspeare's time. Line 316.
-pale of cheer- -] i. e. Her countenance is
Line 348. Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?] Alluding to the ancient practice of having the family crest affixed in badges on the servants' sleeves.
-Taurus' snow,] Taurus is the name of a range
of mountains in Asia.
Line 369. sure for Measure:
seal of bliss!] He has the same image in Mea
But my kisses bring again
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain.
Line 375. join, in souls,] i. e. Join heartily, unite in the same mind. Shakspeare in Henry V. uses an expression not un
For we will hear, note, and believe in heart;
i. e. heartily believe and in Measure for Measure, he talks of electing with special soul.
poor soul's patience,] Harass, torment.
396. My heart with her but as guest-wise, sojourn'd;
And now to Helen it is home return'd,] In the an
cient copies, to her, which Dr. Johnson corrected as above, and illustrates by this passage from Prior,
No matter what beauties I saw in my way,
They were but my visits, but then not my home.
all yon fiery Oes.] I would willingly believe
Line 417. that the poet wrote fiery orbs.
Shakspeare uses O for a circle. So in the prologue to Henry V.
can we crowd
"Within this little 0, the very casques
"That did affright the air at Agincourt?"
artificial gods,] Artificial here means, artful.
434. Have with our neelds, &c.] Neelds is a common contraction of needles in the inland counties at this day. See Gammer Gurton's Needle.
Thus in Pericles:
"Or when she would with sharp neeld wound the cam
Line 467. Ay, do, perséver,] Perséver is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly so pronounced. author in All's well that End's well, Act 4. Sc. 2.
Line 472. such an argument.] Such a subject of light
JOHNSON. -you canker-blossom!] The canker-blossom is
not in this place the blossom of the canker or wild rose, which our author alludes to in Much Ado about Nothing, Act 1, Sc. 6. "I had rather be a canker in a hedge "Than a rose in his grace."
but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So in the famous passage,
“like a worm i' th' bud,
"Feed on her damask cheek."
Line 562. how fond I am.] Fond, i. e. foolish; often used in that sense by our author :-Merchant of Venice, Act 2. Sc. 4. "I do wonder
"Thou naughty gaoler that thou art so fond
"To come abroad with him."
Line 579. of hindring knot-grass made;] It appears that knot-grass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child.
Thus in The Coxcomb:
"We want a boy extremely for this function, kept under, for