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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 out-sleep the coming morn,
As much as we this night have overwatch'd.
This palpable gross play hath well beguil'd
The heavy gait* of night-Sweet friends, to bed.-
A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
In nightly revels, and new jollity.
Puck. Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordonet.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
Puts the wretch, that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecat's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolick; not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent, with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
Enter Oberon and Titania, with their Train.
Obe. Through this house give glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf, and fairy sprite,
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,
Sing and dance it trippingly.
Tita. First rehearse this song by rote:
To each word a warbling note,
Hand in and, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
SONG AND DANCE.
Obe. Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue, there create,
Ever shall be fortunate.
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be:
And the blots of nature's hand
Shall not in their issue stand;
Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious*, such as are
Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.-
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gaitt;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace with sweet peace:
E'er shall it in safety rest,
And the owner of it blest.
Make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.
[Exeunt Oberon, Titania, and Train.
Puck. If we shadows have offended,
Think but this (and all is mended),
That you have but slumber'd here,
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I'm an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends, ere long:
Else the Puck a liar call.
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in their various modes are well written, and give the kind of pleasure which the author designed. Fairies in his time were much in fashion; common tradition had made them familiar, and Spencer's poem had made them great. JOHNSON.