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THIS play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600, by Thomas Fisher. It is probable that the hint for it was received from Chaucer's Knight's Tale.
There is an old black letter pamphlet by W. Bettie, called Titana and Theseus, entered at Stationers’ Hall, in 1608 ; but Shakspeare has taken no hints from it. Titania is also the name of the Queen of the Fairies in Decker’s Whore of Babylon, 1607. STEEvens.
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 Spenser's poem had made them great. Johnson.
Johnson's concluding observation on this play, is not conceived with his usual judgment. There is no analogy or resemblance whatever between the Fairies of Spenser, and those of Shakspeare. The Fairies of Spenser, as appears from his description of them in the second book of the Fairy Queen, canto x. were a race of mortals created by Prometheus, of the human size, shape, and affections, and subject to death. But those of Shakspeare, and of common tradition, as Johnson calls them, were a diminutive race of sportful beings, endowed with immortality and supernatural power, totally different from those of Spenser. M. MAsox.
16 WOL. II.
THESE Us, duke of Athens.
SNU G, the joiner.
Bot ToM, the weaver.
SN out, the tinker.
STAR v ELING, the tailor.
3in love with Hermia.
Hippoly TA, queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus.
HERMIA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
HELENA, in love with Demetrius.
QBER on, king of the fairies.
S.*: B, Fairies. s MUs TARD-s EED,
PyRAM us, )
THIS BE, :
WALL, } characters in the interlude, fierformed Moon's HINE, by the Clowns.
Other Fairies, attending their king and queen. Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
SCE.WE, Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
SCENE I.—Athens. A Room in the Palace of THESEus. Enter THESE Us, HIPPoly TA, PHILosTRATE, and Attendants.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
The. Go, Philostrate, Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments ; Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth ; Turn melancholy forth to funerals, The pale companion is not for our pomp. [Ex PHIL. —Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword, And won'thy love, doing thee injuries ; But I will wed thee in another key, With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter EG EU's, HERM IA, LY's ANDER, and DE METRIU's,
JEge. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What’s the news with theef
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint