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OF SHAKSPEARES PLAYS. , 35
look in vain for any traits of charafler. The manners of Hippolita, the Arnazun, aresundisiinguished from those of other females. Theseus, the associate of Hercules, is not engaged in any adilenture worthy of his rank or reputation, nor is he in reality an agent throughout the play. Like King Henry Vlll. he goes out a Maying. He meets the lovers in perplexity, and makes no essort to promore their happiness ; but when supernatural accidents have reconciled them, he joins their company, and concludes his day's entertainment by uttering some miserable puns at an interlude represented by a troop of clowns.." Over the fairy part of the drama he cannot be supposed to have any influence. This part of the fable, indeed, (at least as much of it as relates to the quarrels of Oberon and Titania,) was not of our author's invention. 3 - Through the whole piece, the more
A Midsummer ]Vz'ght's Dream was not entered at Stationers' hall till 08. 8 , 160o , in which year
convex-sation , determine to lisien to a tragedy, which is aeted before them, and to which they make a kind of chorus, by moralizidgxat the end of each act.
it was printed; but is mentioned by Meres in 1598.
From the comedy of Dofsor Dodiswll, Mr. Steevensvhas quoted a line, which the author seems to have borrowed srom Shakspeare : A '
" 'Twas l that led you through the painted meads,
searcher into antiquity, who lived so near the time, is not likely to have been mifiaken in a faft , concerning which he appears to have made particular inquiries. . - i
The passage in queslion , however, in my appreheufion, has been misunderllood. It relates , 1 conceive , not To the death of Spenser, but to the nine Muscs lamenting the decay of learning, in that autl1or's poem entitled The Tears of the Muscs, which was publifhedin 1591 : and hence probably the words , " late deceas'd in beggary." This allufion , ifl am right in my conjefiure , may serve to confirm the date aliigned to A Midszmz7ncr]Vfglzt's Dream.
5. COMEDY or Erxxogs, 1593.
'The only note of time that occurs in this play is found in the following passage: ,
" Am', S. In what part of her body fiands.... France T" , " Dram. S. In her forehead, arm'd and rcverted, making war against the hair." .
knowledge in learning, and not unlkilful or without experience in the service of the warres,) as we need not use many words in his behalf. And therefore as we are of opinion that you will favour him for himselfe and of your own accord , so we do pray you that this letter may increase his credit so far forth with you as that he may not fay-le to be appointed Sherilfe of the county of Corke, unlesle there be to you knowne some iniportansezufe to the eontrary.
" We are perlinded he will so behave himselfe in this particular as you (hall have jull cause to allowe of our recomxnendation, and his good service. And so, " 340.