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“ Now am I dead,
“ Moon take thy flight!
[Dies.-Exit Moonshine. Dem. No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but
Lys. Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing
The. With the help of a surgeon, he might yet recover,
and Hip. How chance moonshine is gone, before Thisbe comes back and finds her lover?
The. She will find him by star-light.—Here she comes; and her passion ends the play.
prove an ass 25.
Enter THISBE. Hip. Methinks, she should not use a long one, for such a Pyramus: I hope, she will be brief.
Dem. A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe, is the better.
Lys. She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes. Dem. And thus she moans 26, videlicet.
This. “ Asleep, my love
“ What, dead, my dove? 25 The character of Theseus throughout this play is more exalted in its humanity than in its greatness. Though some sensible observations on life and animated descriptions fall from him, as it is said of Iago, “You shall taste him more as a soldier than as a wit;' which is a distinction he is here striving to deserve, though with little success; as in support of his pretensions he never rises higher than a pun, and frequently sinks as low as a quibble.
26 The old copies read means, which had anciently the same signification as moans. Theobald made the alteration.
“O Pyramus, arise,
Speak, speak. Quite dumb? “ Dead, dead? A tomb “ Must cover thy sweet eyes.
“ These lily brows 27,
“ This cherry nose, “ These yellow cowslip cheeks,
“ Are gone, are gone :
Lovers, make moan! “ His eyes were green as leeks.
“ O sisters three,
“ Come, come, to me, “ With hands as pale as milk;
Lay them in gore, " Since
you have shore
Tongue, not a word:
“ And farewell, friends ;
“ Thus Thisby ends : “Adieu, adieu, adieu."
[Dies. The. Moonshine and lion are left to bury the dead. Dem. Ay, and wall too.
Bot. No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Burgomask dance 28, between two of our company?
The. No epilogue, I pray you: for your play needs no excuse. Never excuse; for when the
27 The old copies read lips instead of brows. The alteration was made for the sake of the rhyme by Theobald.
28 A rustic dance framed in imitation of the people of Bergamasco (a province in the state of Venice), who are ridiculed as being more clownish in their manners and dialect than other people of Italy. The lingua rustica of the buffoons, in the old Italian comedies, is an imitation of their jargon.
players are all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it, had play'd Pyramus, and hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your epilogue alone. [Here a dance of Clowns. The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time. I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn, As much as we this night have overwatch'd. This palpable-gross play hath well beguild The heavy gait 29 of night.--Sweet friends, to bed.A fortnight hold we this solemnity In nightly revels, and new jollity. [Exeunt.
And the wolf behowls the moon;
All with weary task fordone.
Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
In remembrance of a shroud.
That the graves all gaping wide,
In the church-way paths to glide:
By the triple Hecat's team,
Following darkness like a dream,
1 Overcome. VOL. II.
Now are frolic; not a mouse
the dust behind the door?. Enter OBERON and TITANIA, with their Train. Obe. Through this house give glimmering lights,
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Hop as light as bird from brier;
Tita. First, rehearse this song by rote:
SONG AND DANCE.
Which by us shall blessed be * ; · Cleanliness is always necessary to invite the residence or favour of the Fairies. So Drayton, in his Nymphidia :
* These make our girls their sluttery rue,
The house for cleanly sweeping.' To sweep the dust behind the door is a common expression, for to sweep the dust from behind the door, a necessary monition in large old houses, where the doors of halls and galleries are thrown backward and seldom shut. 3 Milton perhaps had this picture in his thoughts :
• And glowing embers through the room
Teach night to counterfeit a gloom.' 4. This ceremony was in old times used at all marriages. Mr. Douce has given the formula from the Manual for the use of Salisbury. We may observe on this strange ceremony, that the purity of modern times stands not in need of these holy aspersions to lull the senses and dissipate the illusions of the devil.
And the issue, there create,
their children be.
Make no stay;
[Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and Train.
The married couple would no doubt rejoice when the benediction was ended. In the French romance of Melusine, the Bishop who marries her to Raymondin blesses the nuptial bed. The ceremony is there represented in a very ancient cut. The good prelate is sprinkling the parties with holy water. Sometimes, during the benediction, the married couple only sat on the bed; but they generally received a portion of the consecrated bread and wine. It is recorded in France, that, on frequent occasions, the priest was improperly detained till midnight, whilst the wedding guests rioted in the luxuries of the table, and made use of language that was extremely offensive to the clergy, and injurious to the salvation of the parties. It was therefore ordained, in the year 1577, that the ceremony of blessing the nuptial bed should for the future be performed in the day-time, or at least before supper, and in the presence of the bride and bridegroom, and of their nearest relations only. 5 Portentous.
Way, course. 7 The same superstitious kind of benediction occurs in Chaucer's Millere's Tale, vol. i. p. 105, 1. 22. Whittingham's Edits