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Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Enter Titania, Queen of Fairies, and Bottom with the Critical Apparatusass-head, and fairies: Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed
Critical Apparatus Link 1

titania (to Bottom) Come, sit thee down upon this flow'ry bed,

pg 213

Editor’s Note Link 2  While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,

Editor’s Note Link 3And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,

Link 4  And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

Critical Apparatus5

bottom Where's Peaseblossom?

Editor’s Note6

peaseblossom Ready.

Link 7

bottom Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where's 8Monsieur Cobweb?


cobweb Ready.

Link 10

bottom Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get you your 11weapons in your hand and kill me a red-hipped humble-12bee on the top of a thistle; and, good monsieur, bring 13me the honeybag. Do not fret yourself too much in the Link 14action, monsieur; and, good monsieur, have a care the pg 21415honeybag break not. I would be loath to have you over-Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus16flowen with a honeybag, signor.

Exit Cobweb

17Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?


mustardseed Ready.

Editor’s Note Link 19

bottom Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed. Pray Editor’s Note20you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.


mustardseed What's your will?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus22

bottom Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavaliery Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus23Peaseblossom to scratch. I must to the barber's, mon-Critical Apparatus Link 24sieur, for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the Link 25face; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle Link 26me I must scratch.


titania What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?


bottom I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have Editor’s Note Link 29the tongs and the bones.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Rural music
pg 215 30

titania Or say, sweet love, what thou desir'st to eat.

Link 31

bottom Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your 32good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle Editor’s Note33of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

Critical Apparatus34

titania I have a venturous fairy that shall seek

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 35The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee off new nuts.

Link 36

bottom I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas. 37But I pray you, let none of your people stir me. I have an Editor’s Note38exposition of sleep come upon me.


titania Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus40Fairies, be gone, and be always away. Exeunt Fairies

Editor’s Note Link 41So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle

Editor’s Note Link 42Gently entwist; the female ivy so

pg 216

Link 43Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

44O how I love thee, how I dote on thee!

Critical ApparatusThey sleep. Critical Apparatus Enter Robin Goodfellow and Oberon, meeting

oberon Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?

Editor’s Note46Her dotage now I do begin to pity,

47For meeting her of late behind the wood,

Editor’s Note48Seeking sweet favours for this hateful fool,

Link 49I did upbraid her and fall out with her,

50For she his hairy temples then had rounded

Editor’s Note Link 51With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers,

52And that same dew which sometime on the buds

53Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls

Editor’s Note Link 54Stood now within the pretty flow'rets' eyes,

55Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.

Editor’s Note56When I had at my pleasure taunted her,

pg 217

Link 57And she in mild terms begged my patience,

58I then did ask of her her changeling child,

59Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent

Editor’s Note60To bear him to my bower in fairyland.

61And now I have the boy, I will undo

Editor’s Note62This hateful imperfection of her eyes.

Link 63And, gentle puck, take this transformed scalp

64From off the head of this Athenian swain,

Link 65That he, awaking when the other do,

Link 66May all to Athens back again repair,

67And think no more of this night's accidents

Editor’s Note Link 68But as the fierce vexation of a dream.

69But first I will release the Fairy Queen.

Critical Apparatus He drops the juice on Titania's eyelids

70Be as thou wast wont to be,

71See as thou wast wont to see.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 72Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower

73Hath such force and blessèd power.

pg 218

74Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus75

titania (waking) My Oberon, what visions have I seen!

Link 76Methought I was enamoured of an ass.


oberon There lies your love.

titania How came these things to pass?

78O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!


oberon Silence a while.—Robin, take off this head.—

80Titania, music call, and strike more dead

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus81Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

Critical Apparatus82

titania Music, ho—music such as charmeth sleep.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Still music
Critical Apparatus83

robin (taking the ass-head off Bottom) Now when thou wak'st with thine own fool's eyes peep.

Critical Apparatus84

oberon Sound music.

The music changes

Come, my queen, take hands with me,

pg 219

Editor’s Note Link 85And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Oberon and Titania dance

86Now thou and I are new in amity,

Editor’s Note87And will tomorrow midnight solemnly

Editor’s Note88Dance in Duke Theseus' house, triumphantly,

Editor’s Note89And bless it to all fair prosperity.

Link 90There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be

91Wedded with Theseus, all in jollity.


robin Fairy King, attend and mark.

Link 93I do hear the morning lark.

Editor’s Note94

oberon Then, my queen, in silence sad

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus95Trip we after nightës shade.

Link 96We the globe can compass soon,

Link 97Swifter than the wand'ring moon.


titania Come, my lord, and in our flight

99Tell me how it came this night

pg 220

100That I sleeping here was found

101With these mortals on the ground.

Editor’s Note Exeunt Oberon, Titania, and Robin Critical Apparatus Goodfellow. The sleepers lie still Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Wind horns within. Enter Theseus with Egeus, Hippolyta, and all his train
Editor’s Note102

theseus Go, one of you, find out the forester,

Editor’s Note103For now our observation is performed;

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus104And since we have the vanguard of the day,

Editor’s Note Link 105My love shall hear the music of my hounds.

pg 221

Editor’s Note Link 106Uncouple in the western valley; let them go.

Critical Apparatus107Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.

Exit one

Link 108We will, fair Queen, up to the mountain's top,

Link 109And mark the musical confusion

110Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

Editor’s Note111

hippolyta I was with Hercules and Cadmus once

Editor’s Note Link 112When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear

113With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear

Editor’s Note Link 114Such gallant chiding; for besides the groves,

Editor’s Note115The skies, the fountains, every region near

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus116Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard

pg 222

Editor’s Note Link 117So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

Link 118

theseus My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,

Editor’s Note Link 119So flewed, so sanded; and their heads are hung

Link 120With ears that sweep away the morning dew,

Editor’s Note121Crook-kneed, and dewlapped like Thessalian bulls,

Editor’s Note Link 122Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,

Editor’s Note Link 123Each under each. A cry more tuneable

Link 124Was never holla'd to nor cheered with horn

125In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.

126Judge when you hear. But soft: what nymphs are these?

Critical Apparatus Link 127

egeus My lord, this is my daughter here asleep,

128And this Lysander; this Demetrius is;

129This Helena, old Nedar's Helena.

Link 130I wonder of their being here together.

Link 131

theseus No doubt they rose up early to observe

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus132The rite of May, and, hearing our intent,

Editor’s Note Link 133Came here in grace of our solemnity.

134But speak, Egeus: is not this the day

Link 135That Hermia should give answer of her choice?


egeus It is, my lord.

Link 137

theseus Go bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

Critical Apparatus Exit one pg 223 Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Shout within: 'Wind horns'. The lovers wake. Wind horns. They all start up

Editor’s Note Link 138Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past.

Editor’s Note Link 139Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

Critical Apparatus140

lysander Pardon, my lord.

Critical Apparatus The lovers kneel

theseus I pray you all stand up.

The lovers stand (To Demetrius and Lysander)

Link 141I know you two are rival enemies.

142How comes this gentle concord in the world,

Editor’s Note143That hatred is so far from jealousy

144To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?

Link 145

lysander My lord, I shall reply amazèdly,

pg 224

Editor’s Note146Half sleep, half waking. But as yet, I swear,

147I cannot truly say how I came here,

148But as I think—for truly would I speak,

149And, now I do bethink me, so it is—

150I came with Hermia hither. Our intent

151Was to be gone from Athens where we might,

Editor’s Note Link 152Without the peril of the Athenian law—

Critical Apparatus153

egeus (to Theseus) Enough, enough, my lord, you have enough.

154I beg the law, the law upon his head.—

155They would have stol'n away, they would, Demetrius,

Editor’s Note156Thereby to have defeated you and me—

157You of your wife, and me of my consent,

158Of my consent that she should be your wife.


demetrius (to Theseus) My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,

Link 160Of this their purpose hither to this wood,

161And I in fury hither followed them,

Editor’s Note162Fair Helena in fancy following me.

Editor’s Note163But, my good lord, I wot not by what power—

Critical Apparatus164But by some power it is—my love to Hermia,

165Melted as the snow, seems to me now

Editor’s Note Link 166As the remembrance of an idle gaud

167Which in my childhood I did dote upon,

Editor’s Note168And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,

169The object and the pleasure of mine eye

170Is only Helena. To her, my lord,

Editor’s Note171Was I betrothed ere I see Hermia.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus172But like in sickness did I loathe this food;

pg 225

173But, as in health come to my natural taste,

174Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,

175And will for evermore be true to it.


theseus Fair lovers, you are fortunately met.

177Of this discourse we more will hear anon.—

Editor’s Note178Egeus, I will overbear your will,

179For in the temple by and by with us

180These couples shall eternally be knit.—

Link 181And, for the morning now is something worn,

Link 182Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.

183Away with us to Athens. Three and three,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 184We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.

185Come, Hippolyta.

Critical Apparatus Exit Duke Theseus with Hippolyta, Egeus, and all his train
Editor’s Note186

demetrius These things seem small and undistinguishable,

Link 187Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.

Editor’s Note Link 188

hermia Methinks I see these things with parted eye,

pg 226

189When everything seems double.

helena So methinks,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus190And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus191Mine own and not mine own.

demetrius It seems to me

Link 192That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think

193The Duke was here and bid us follow him?


hermia Yea, and my father.

helena And Hippolyta.


lysander And he did bid us follow to the temple.

Critical Apparatus196

demetrius Why then, we are awake. Let's follow him,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 197And by the way let us recount our dreams.

Critical Apparatus Exeunt the lovers
Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Bottom wakes

bottom When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. Editor’s Note Link 199My next is 'most fair Pyramus'. Heigh-ho. Peter Quince? 200Flute the bellows-mender? Snout the tinker? Starveling? pg 227 Link 201God's my life! Stolen hence, and left me asleep?—I have Editor’s Note Link 202had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit Editor’s Note203of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus204go about to expound this dream. Methought I was— Editor’s Note205there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus206methought I had—but man is but a patched fool if he Editor’s Note207will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man Editor’s Note208hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's 209hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his 210heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus211Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called pg 228212'Bottom's Dream', because it hath no bottom, and I will Editor’s Note213sing it in the latter end of a play, before the Duke. Per-Editor’s Note214adventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus215at her death.


Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
4.1. 0.1 and Bottom] rowe; and Clowne qf
with the ass-head] oxford; not in qf
Editor’s Note–3 Enter … Mustardseed QF give Oberon an entrance at the beginning of this scene (and the king behinde them); this was undoubtedly Shakespeare's first intention and almost all editions follow it. But F also has Oberon enter at l. 44. Like the case of where I have argued cautiously for the theatrical advantages and possibilities from following F with an early entrance for Robin, F's later entrance for Oberon in this scene seems a legitimate theatrical decision and is likely to derive from the promptbook authority F used. It is also, however, parallelled by F's direction at 3.2.344, 'Enter Oberon and Pucke', when they come forward, never having left the stage; if this parallel is significant it would tend to justify the presence of Oberon on-stage from the start of the scene. Oxford points out that Oberon's previous encounter with Titania is structurally parallel to F's form here if Oberon enters at l. 44: in both Titania dismisses her train and falls asleep; Oberon then enters and applies the magic juice. This type of structural parallel is certainly used frequently by Shakespeare throughout his career. In isolating the Titania/Bottom scene from Oberon's gaze it allows their relationship its full innocence (see Introduction, pp. 72–3), less practicable in Q's version which comes closer to making the audience share something prying and voyeuristic in the husband's watching, the cuckold peeping at his wife and her lover. F's Oberon has completed his revenge offstage in the brutal, taunting manifestation of male power and triumph he describes at 4.1.47–62. Q's version displaces the significance of this description through its emphasis on the continued fascination the sight of Bottom and Titania has for Oberon. The play is of course full of silent spectators but Oberon's silence in Q seems unusually gnomic; there is nothing in his subsequent behaviour to define his response to seeing Titania entwined around Bottom. Oberon's first words, 'Welcome, good Robin' (l. 45), however, tend to support Q's staging; 'welcome' is most commonly used by Shakespeare as a word of greeting from a character already on stage to one arriving. The editorial decision is finely balanced; readers or directors can make their choices. The difference between the two versions of the scene is, none the less, substantial. From here to 1. 198 the stage is remarkably full with unnoted sleepers; productions always have the problem of how to accommodate four sleeping lovers alongside Bottom, Titania and her train and, later, Bottom asleep while the stage is occupied by the lovers, Hippolyta, Theseus and his train.
Critical Apparatus
0.2–3 fairies … Mustardseed ] oxford; Faieries: and the king behinde them qf
Critical Apparatus
1 to Bottom] oxford; not in qf
Editor’s Note
2 coy caress (OED v.1 2); the term is from falconry but Jason 'coyed' the 'dangling dewlaps' of bulls he had tamed in Golding's Ovid (7.161)—compare 'dewlapped' at l. 121.
Editor’s Note
3 musk-roses Their third appearance in the wood (compare 2.1.252, 2.2.3).
Critical Apparatus
5, etc. bottom] rowe; Clo. qf
Editor’s Note
6–7 Monsieur For Bottom the fairies become French or Italian gentlemen (see 'Cavaliery', l. 22 and n.).
Critical Apparatus
16 Exit Cobweb] oxford; not in qf
Editor’s Note
16 Exit Cobweb One would expect Titania's obedient fairies to follow Bottom's orders immediately.
Editor’s Note
19 neaf fist
Editor’s Note
20 leave your courtesy stop bowing; Mustardseed is politely respectful, as Titania had ordered (3.1.156 and 166), but Bottom wishes to be friendly and shake his hand. Brooks compares 'remember thy courtesy … apparel thy head' (LLL 5.1.93–4) but it seems unlikely that Mustardseed has a hat to doff and the fairy's action is more likely to parallel the bowing of 3.1.
Critical Apparatus
22 Cavaliery] qf (Caualery)
Editor’s Note
22 Cavaliery cavaliero, a gentleman gallant (from Italian cavaliere)
Critical Apparatus
23 Peaseblossom] rann; Cobwebbe qf
Editor’s Note
23 Peaseblossom Q's Cobweb is a mistake—though attractive for its alliteration—since Cobweb has been sent on a mission and Peaseblossom is already engaged in scratching.
Editor’s Note
23–5 I must … the face It is tempting to find an echo in this passage of the story of Midas whose ass's ears were revealed to all by his barber's uncontrollable urge to gossip.
Critical Apparatus
24 marvellous] q (maruailes)
Editor’s Note
29 the tongs and the bones Tongs were struck with a key; bones (or knackers) were clappers rattled together between the angers. They made crude music, here associated with rustic country music. Inigo Jones included costume designs for 'A Man with Knackers and Bells' and 'A Man with Tongs and Key' for Britannia Triumphans (1637) (see Stephen Orgel and Roy Strong, Inigo Jones: The Theatre of the Stuart Court (1973), figs. 347 and 348, p. 686).
Critical Apparatus
29.1 Rural music] Musicke Tongs, Rurall Musicke f; not in q
Editor’s Note
29.1 Rural music Titania's next line might seem to deny Bottom his music but F's SD for music from the tongs, if not bones, is likely to have promptbook authority, the 'Rurall Musicke' obviously accompanying the tongs. The whole scene is built up out of a brilliant series of contrasting musics (the 'still music' of 82.1, the dance music of 85.1 and the horns of 101.3 and 137.2), each of which is powerfully and resonantly symbolic; Bottom's rough music is the first. Granville Barker, who placed it after the fairies' exit at l. 40, commented on 'the pleasing, fantastic irony in little Titania and her monster being lulled to sleep by the distant sound of the tongs and the bones; it would make a properly dramatic contrast to the 'still music' for which she calls a moment later, her hand in Oberon's again. A producer might, without offence, venture on the effect. (But Oberon, by the way, had better stop the noise with a disgusted gesture before he begins to speak)' (p. 110).
Editor’s Note
33 hay The word suggests an opportunity for the actor to bray like an ass.
hath no fellow is unmatched (Dent F181.1)
Critical Apparatus
34–5] Divided as in hanmer; divided in q1 at hoard,
Critical Apparatus
35 thee off] oxford; thee qf; thee thence hanmer
Editor’s Note
35 thee off ll. 34–5 are incorrectly divided in Q1 and turned into three short lines in Q2, F; they are also metrically defective. Hanmer's emendation, 'thee thence', was widely accepted but Oxford points out that Shakespeare never uses 'fetch thence'; its solution, 'fetch thee off', underlines the need for a venturous fairy since 'fetch off could mean 'bring out of a difficulty, deliver, rescue' (OED v. 16a).
Editor’s Note
38 exposition of Bottom means 'disposition to'.
Critical Apparatus
40 always] qf (alwaies); all ways theobald
Critical Apparatus
40 Exeunt Fairies] capell; not in qf
Editor’s Note
40 always Theobald's emendation, usually accepted, has Titania sending the fairies off in all different directions; it seems more likely she is ordering them to go away and stay away so that she can be alone with Bottom.
Editor’s Note
41 woodbine bindweed or convolvulus (compare 2.1.251 and n.); Wells (p. 152) quotes Martin Gardner, The Ambidextrous Universe (1967, p. 65), 'The honeysuckle … always twines in a left-handed helix. The bindweed family … always twines in a right-handed helix … When plants of opposite handedness coil round each other, they produce a hopeless tangle. The mixed-up violent left-right embrace of the bindweed and honeysuckle … has long fascinated English poets'.
Editor’s Note
42–3 the female … elm The conventional proverb places the wife as a vine embracing the husband as elm (Tilley V61, 'The vine embraces the elm', Psalms 128:3, Golding's Ovid 14.755–63, all derived from practical viniculture) is altered here (see Peter Demetz, 'The Elm and the Vine: Notes Toward the History of a Marriage Topos', PMLA 73 (1958), pp. 521–32). Shakespeare uses the traditional version in Errors 2.2.177, 'Thou art an elm, my husband; I a vine' and contrasts it with 'Usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss' (l.181). Titania becomes ivy here perhaps because the love is adulterous (though Bottom is the usurper and hence should be the ivy in the pattern suggested by Errors).
Critical Apparatus
44.1 They sleep] capell; not in qf
Critical Apparatus
44.2 and Oberon meeting] oxford; and Oberon f; not in q; Oberon approaches Enter Pug. cox
Editor’s Note
46 dotage foolish loving
Editor’s Note
48 favours flowers as love-tokens
hateful fool Oberon's terms are surprisingly strong, his hatred for Bottom, who has, at least to some extent, usurped his position as husband, surfacing in his speech. But his attempt to demean Bottom, as in his elaborate image of the disgrace of the flowers that crown him (l. 55), is rarely effective for an audience which tends to find the physical presence of Bottom sufficient to offset Oberon's anger.
Editor’s Note
51 With … flowers Compare Golding's Ovid, 'with a crown of fresh and fragrant flowers' (2.33) and Spenser, Shepheardes Calendar, 'fragrant flowers … dewed with teares' (December, ll. 109, 112) and 'the kindlye dewe drops from the higher tree, | And wets the little plants' (November, 11. 31–2). Titania's decorating Bottom with a 'coronet' transforms her treatment of the changeling: according to Robin, she 'Crowns him with flowers' (2.1.27).
Editor’s Note
54 flow'rets' 'Flouret] a diminutive for a little floure' (E.K.'s gloss to November, l. 83, in Spenser's Shepheardes Calendar).
Editor’s Note
56–7 When … patience Oberon's view of the correct relation of husband and wife is reasserted brutally in the contrast between his taunting and her meek submission as much as in his success in being given the changeling. Unlike their on-stage quarrel in 2.1, this time it is Oberon who has taken the opportunity to speak at length, taunting her 'at my pleasure' (l. 56). His sadism is offset by her drug-induced mildness and our realization that the spell has made her give up so easily the boy of whose significance she spoke so movingly in 2.1.
Editor’s Note
60 my bower Contrasted with Titania's (3.1.187 and 3.2.7 and n.).
Editor’s Note
62 hateful Titania's distorted vision that has led to her love for Bottom is hateful to Oberon, as he had predicted at 2.1.258 ('hateful fantasies'); compare l. 48 above and her recognition, when she is behaving with due submissiveness to her lord, that she now 'loathe[s]' Bottom (l. 78)
Editor’s Note
68 vexation affliction; Foakes compares Ecclesiastes 2: 17, 'all is vanity and vexation of spirit'.
Critical Apparatus
69.1 He … eyelids ] after capell; not in qf
Critical Apparatus
72 o'er] theobald (conj. Thirlby); or qf
Editor’s Note
72 Dian's bud Oberon's restorative drug is never precisely identified; suggestions include (a) Artemisia vulgaris (Ryden, p. 76) also known as Mugwort (Artemis was one of Diana's names); though it was mostly used as a cure for women's diseases and menstrual pains, it was commonly used at midsummer festivals and its other name, St John's plant, explicitly links it to St John's eve, another name for midsummer night; (b) Vitex agnus-castus or the vitex tree (which in The Flower and the Leaf, a poem then included in editions of Chaucer, is carried by 'Diana, the goddesse of chastitie … for because she a maiden is' (ll. 473–4)), though since the reason it was used by 'Athenian Matrons … desirous to keepe themselves chaste' was that it dried up 'the seed of generation' (Gerard, p. 1388) it does not seem helpful in the context of marriage; (c) an amalgam of white water-lily (used against lustful desires), euphrasia (known as eyebright, recommended by Gerard for taking away 'the darkness and dimness of the eyes', p. 663), and spurge (two of these euphorbias are also known as Virgin Mary's Nipple which, like all euphorbias, produces a milky juice; it was only collected on St John's eve (= midsummer night)); see Marion Cohen '"Dian's Bud" in A Midsummer Night's Dream, IV i 72', N&Q 228 (1983), pp. 118–20 and Charlotte F. Otten, ' "Dian's Bud' in A Midsummer Night's Dream IV.i.72', N&Q 233 (1988), p. 466. What is far more important than a precise botanical identification is the transition here from the power of Cupid and Venus to the dominance of Diana—see Introduction, pp. 32–3.
Critical Apparatus
75 waking] wells (wakes); not in qf; She rises fairy q
Editor’s Note
75 My Oberon Compare Hippolyta's 'my Theseus' at 5.1.1.
Critical Apparatus
81 sleep … five ] theobald (conj. Thirlby); sleepe: of all these, fine qf
Editor’s Note
81 five the four lovers and Bottom
Critical Apparatus
82 ho] q2, f; howe q1
Critical Apparatus
82.1 Still music] theobald; Musick still f; not in q
Editor’s Note
82.1 Still music F's Musick still cannot be an instruction to the music to stop (it has not yet started). 'Still music' is associated with the supernatural and sleep at, for example, the entrance of Hymen in As You Like It In Two Noble Kinsmen still music is played by recorders. J. S. Manifold (The Music in English Drama (1956), pp. 97–8) argues that still music was always soft recorder music, but see also Christopher Welch, Six Lectures on the Recorder (Oxford, 1911), p. 131 n. 2 for a more sceptical view.
Critical Apparatus
83 taking … Bottom ] wilson (subs.); not in qf; he puls off his asses head cox
Critical Apparatus
84 The music changes] oxford (conj. Wilson); not in qf
Editor’s Note
85 rock The earth itself becomes the sleepers' cradle and the Fairies' power to make the earth and weather destructive through their dissension is, in Oberon's single word 'rock', transformed into a benign, soothing natural magic swaying the ground.
Critical Apparatus
85.1 Oberon … dance ] wilson (subs.); not in qf
Editor’s Note
85.1 The dance moves the play powerfully towards a new movement of reunion and reconciliation, symbolizing the newly orthodox harmony and hierarchy between Oberon and Titania, husband and wife, king and queen, and the play's new sense of chastity as marriage rather than virginity. Sir John Davies's poem Orchestra (written 1594), the greatest Elizabethan expression of the power of the dance, describes marriage and dance:
  • If they whom sacred Love hath linked in one,
  • Do as they dance, in all their course of life,
  • Never shall burning grief nor bitter moan,
  • Nor factious difference, nor unkind strife,
  • Arise betwixt the husband and the wife.
  • For whether forth or back, or round he go,
  • As the man doth, so must the woman do.
(stanza 111, in Poems, ed. Robert Krueger (Oxford, 1975, pp. 119–20). As usual the orthodoxy of female compliance in the pattern of order is emphasized.
Editor’s Note
87 solemnly with serious festive ceremonies
Editor’s Note
88 triumphantly as at a triumph (compare 1.1.19, 'with pomp, with triumph, and with revelling')
Editor’s Note
89 prosperity As promised at 2.1.73.
Editor’s Note
94 sad sober
Critical Apparatus
95 nightes] oxford; nights q1; the nights q2, f
Editor’s Note
95 nightës Compare 2.1.7 and n.
Editor’s Note
101.1–4 There is no gap between the exit of Oberon and Titania and the entrance of Theseus and Hippolyta, a fact which has suggested to some critics that the two pairs of roles could not be doubled (see, most recently, T. J. King, Casting Shakespeare's Plays (Cambridge, 1992), Tables 46 and 47), but Peter Brook's production showed that the actors simply by turning upstage and then walking back downstage can define the metamorphosis perfectly easily, indeed magically.
Critical Apparatus
101.2 The … still ] Sleepers Lye still f (after l. 100); not in q
Critical Apparatus
101.3 Wind horns within] f (Winde Homes); Winde horne q1 (after l. 101.4, traine)
Critical Apparatus
101.3–4 with Egeus, Hippolyta] f; not in q
Editor’s Note
101.3–4 Wind … train Theseus was particularly fond of hunting. In Chaucer he 'for to hunten is so desirus, | And namely at the grete hert in May, | That in his bed ther daweth hym no day | That he nys clad, and redy for to ryde | With hunte and horn and houndes hym bisyde' (Chaucer, 'The Knight's Tale', ll. 1674–8). For Chaucer's Theseus, hunting is his pleasure now the war is over: 'For after Mars he serveth now Dyane' (l. 1682). The hunt is strongly associated with Diana as huntress and goddess of chastity and links to the new view of chastity the play is beginning to take, see Introduction, p. 33.
Editor’s Note
101.3 Wind blow. Granville Barker recommends that 'the winding of horns … should be quite elaborately symphonic. This is Shakespeare's picturing of sunrise' (p. 110); that might smack of Mendelssohn, though there is, of course, much elaborate and brilliant Elizabethan music for brass consort. The horns are an instrument clearly associated with Diana, goddess of the hunt, now clearly in the ascendant in the play's theomachia.
Editor’s Note
102 forester See 3.2.390 and n.; Theseus' use of a word that Oberon has used to describe himself suggests to Patrick Stewart, who played Oberon in the RSC's 1977 production, 'a shimmering sense of these two figures, Theseus and Oberon, having contact in the forest—that there has been a time when Oberon, as a forester, has met and associated with Theseus' (quoted Warren, p. 25).
Editor’s Note
103 observation observance of the rites of May (compare 1.1.167)
Critical Apparatus
104 vanguard] qf (vaward)
Editor’s Note
104 vanguard the foremost part of the army, here applied to the early part of the day
Editor’s Note
105 the music of my hounds The Elizabethan concern for the music of the pack's cry is described in Gervase Markham, Country Contentments (1615): 'If you would have your kennel for sweetness of cry, then you must compound it of some large dogs, that have deep, solemn mouths and are swift in spending, which must (as it were) bear the bass in the consort; then a double number of roaring and loud ringing mouths, which must bear the countertenor; then some hollow, plain, sweet mouths, which must bear the mean or middle part; and so with these three parts of music you shall make your cry perfect' (p. 7). Markham emphasizes that the mixture is not simply to make sure the cry is musical but also because 'these hounds thus mixed do run just and even together and not hang off loose one from another … and if amongst these you cast in a couple or two of small slinging beagles, which as small trebles may warble amongst them, the cry will be a great deal the sweeter' (pp. 7–8). He goes on to make other recommendations for the loudness or depth of the cry.
Editor’s Note
106 Uncouple Hounds were leashed in pairs and unfastened for the beginning of the hunt.
Critical Apparatus
107 Exit one] dyce (subs.); not in qf
Editor’s Note
111 with Hercules North associated Theseus and Hercules in an expedition against the Amazons (see n. to 2.1.80); Cadmus was the legendary founder of Thebes and has no classical link with Theseus or Hippolyta.
Editor’s Note
112–13 Crete … Sparta Both famous for their hounds (Golding's Ovid has a pair of hounds 'that had a sire of Crete, | And dam of Sparta', 3.267–8). Theseus is linked to Crete as the location of the labyrinth of the Minotaur which he killed.
Editor’s Note
112 bayed drove to bay with barking hounds
bear Hanmer's proposed emendation to 'boar' links this to the Calydonian boar which Theseus hunted (in North and Golding) and which Shakespeare calls 'the boar of Thessaly' in Antony 4.14.2. But bears were hunted by Adonis (Venus 883–4). Shakespeare is unlikely to have been particular about the precise location of bears for hunting. Both animals have already been mentioned in the play ('bear, | Pard, or boar', 2.2.36–7).
Editor’s Note
114 chiding yelping
Editor’s Note
115 fountains echoing fountains, an odd concept, occur in Propertius' Elegies 20.49–50 (Theobald); Laneham describes the 'pastime delectabl' of the hunting which was part of Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenilworth in 1575, including its spectacular mixture of sounds: 'the earning of the hoounds in continuauns of their crie,… the blasting of hornz, the halloing & hewing of the huntsmen, with the excellent Echoz between whilez from the woods and waters in valleiz resounding' (A Letter, p. 17).
Critical Apparatus
116 Seemed] f2; Seeme qf
Editor’s Note
116 mutual common
Editor’s Note
117 So … discord The creation of harmony from disharmony, concordia discors, is wondered at by Theseus at 5.1.60, 'How shall we find the concord of this discord?'
Editor’s Note
119 flewed with large hanging chaps; one of Jason's hounds in Golding's Ovid was a 'large flewed hound' (3.269)
sanded sandy-coloured
Editor’s Note
121 dewlapped … bulls Brooks points out that in Golding (7.161) Jason has tamed bulls and 'Their dangling dewlaps with his hand he coyed' as, at the beginning of this scene, Titania 'coyed' the cheeks of her tame animal, Bottom (4.1.2). But the dewlaps have also metamorphosed from the 'withered dewlap' of the old woman Robin tricks (2.1.50).
Editor’s Note
122 matched … bells See l. 105 and n.
Editor’s Note
123 cry pack
tuneable melodious
Critical Apparatus
127 this is] q2, f; this q1
Critical Apparatus
132 rite] pope; right qf
Editor’s Note
132 The rite of May Compare Lysander's description of the wood at 1.1.165–7.
Editor’s Note
133 in … solemnity in honour of our marriage ceremony
Critical Apparatus
137.1 Exit one] oxford; not in qf
Critical Apparatus
137.2 Shout … up] This edition; Shoute within: they all start vp. Winde hornes. q; Homes and they wake. Shout within, they all start vp f
Editor’s Note
137.2–3 It is clear that the SDs in Q and F refer to two different off-stage events, a shout and the sound of horns. The shout which must have preceded the horns is, I have assumed, Theseus' order relayed to the huntsmen who are the horn-players. Equally clearly, F envisages two different on-stage events: the lovers wake and then start up. I have produced an SD which combines these four events in to a sequence which may appear too logical: the off-stage order wakes the lovers who then leap up, startled, at the sound of the horns. The lovers, of course, have no idea that they have all four fallen asleep so close to each other; their amazement is as much at finding each other there as at the sight of the court out hunting.
Editor’s Note
138–9 Birds were traditionally held to choose their mates on St Valentine's Day, 14 February. See Tilley S66. While this suggests the tradition of St Valentine's Day inaugurating a permanent relationship, as the lovers may assume, there is the tradition of St Valentine's Day marking a mock-betrothal, a marriage for a day with the partners chosen by lots (Laroque, pp. 105–7), and the tradition of a woman being obliged to take as her valentine the first man she sees, a practice with strong resonances for A Midsummer Night's Dream (see, for example, though later, Mrs Pepys keeping her hands over her eyes to make sure she did not see the painters working in the house (Pepys's Diary, iii. 28–9 and x. 377–8)). St Valentine's Day was always an opportunity for festivities with strong sexual overtones. See also Ophelia's song, suggesting that the festival gave women a rare degree of power to take a sexual initiative (Hamlet 4.5.47–65).
Editor’s Note
139 couple (a) join in marriage (OED v. 3), as the lovers will go on to do; (b) have sexual intercourse (OED v. 4, quoting this passage), as the lovers may appear to have been doing over-night in the wood, following common practice on St Valentine's Day; (c) to join in pairs like dogs (OED v. 1; compare Theseus' use of 'uncouple' at l. 106)
Critical Apparatus
140 The lovers kneel] capell (subs.); not in qf
Critical Apparatus
140.1–141 The … Lysander] oxford; not in qf
Editor’s Note
143 jealousy mistrust
Editor’s Note
146 sleep Probably an aphetic form of 'asleep' though it might be a noun (Wright compares 'He speaks plain cannon', King John 2.1.463).
Editor’s Note
152 Without beyond the reach of
Critical Apparatus
153, 159 to Theseus] oxford; not in qf
Editor’s Note
156 defeated defrauded, cheated
Editor’s Note
162 fancy love
Editor’s Note
163 wot know
Critical Apparatus
164–6] Divided as in pope; q1 divides at love | … snow)
Editor’s Note
166 idle gaud worthless ornament (compare 1.1.33)
Editor’s Note
168 all … heart Demetrius identifies his fidelity, newly found, as the particular quality, 'virtue', of his heart.
Editor’s Note
171 see saw; an archaic past tense (compare Shallow in 2 Henry IV 3.2.28–9, 'I see him break Scoggin's head')
Critical Apparatus
172 But‸] q2, f; ⁓, q1
in sickness] steevens-reed 1793 (proposed, according to Halliwell, in 'The Student', Oxford, 1750); a sickness qf
Editor’s Note
172 But … sickness QF's reading is only defensible if, as Capell argued, 'a sickness' stands for 'a sick man' (a Shakespearian form of abstract for concrete, though this one is unknown). Oxford's emendation is simple and probable and avoids the need to emend 'But' in l. 173.
Editor’s Note
178 Egeus… your will Theseus asserts his power over Egeus (and also over Athenian law) with generosity but also with a full awareness of his power, not least to add to the glory of his own wedding-day.
Critical Apparatus
184–5] Divided as in q2; one line in q1
Editor’s Note
184 solemnity Compare 1.1.11, 4.1.87, 5.1.361–2.
Critical Apparatus
185.1–2 Exit … train] f (Exit Duke and Lords.); not in q1; Exit. q2
Editor’s Note
186 undistinguishable At 2.1.100 Titania has spoken of the overgrown mazes that have become 'undistinguishable'; now the word is taken over by Demetrius, after the mazes the lovers have trod in the wood, to describe 'these things'. But are 'these things' the experiences in the wood or the strangeness of the encounter with Theseus and the new relationships in the waking, dawn world? Hermia uses the same phrase at l. 188. 'Undistinguishable', an awkward mouthful of a word for an actor, appears to have been coined by Shakespeare (first recorded use in OED, next recorded use is by Milton in 1645); he uses it in no other play (a point Adrian Poole drew to my attention). The lovers' wonder here (ll. 186–97), in its beautifully tentative language, produced from Britten the finest passage of his opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream (1960).
Editor’s Note
188 parted divided, with the eyes out of focus
Critical Apparatus
190 found] q2, f; fonnd q1
Editor’s Note
190 like a jewel Demetrius is like a jewel she has found: she claims him unsure whether he may belong to someone else.
Critical Apparatus
191 It] f; Are you sure | That we are awake? It q
Editor’s Note
191 Mine … me F's excision of Q's 'Are you sure | That we are awake?' restores the corrupt metre. Editors have emended Q's sentence to the same end (e.g. 'That we are yet awake' or 'That we are well awake') but F's omission still needs explanation. Compositorial excision is unlikely since the line is far from nonsensical. F's authority, probably prompt-book, must have cut the line. Oxford suggests, a little extravagantly, that Q1'S sentence 'bears all the hallmarks of a first shot abandoned currente calamo'; I think it unlikely that Shakespeare's first drafts were unmetrical.
Critical Apparatus
196–7] As in rowe 1714; prose in qf
Critical Apparatus
197 let us] q2, f; lets q1
Editor’s Note
197 And … dreams Recounting dreams, as the lovers do both to each other and, later, to Theseus and Hippolyta, is for many theorists a crucial part of the transforming experience of dreaming: 'Intimates who tell each other their dreams seek, I believe, to enhance their self-conceptions by making each other witnesses of aspects of themselves which have not become assimilated into their waking selves but which are, they hope, emergent' (Charles Rycroft, The Innocence of Dreams (1979), p. 56).
Critical Apparatus
197.1 Exeunt the lovers] f (Exit Louers.); Exit. q2; not in q1
Critical Apparatus
197.2 Bottom wakes] f; not in q; After a while Bottome wakes cox
Editor’s Note
197.2 Bottom wakes Cox's SD, 'After a while Bottome wakes', suggests the necessary pause before the audience is allowed to realise that there is one sleeper still left on stage.
Editor’s Note
199 Heigh-ho A yawn with a hint of an ass's 'hee-haw' (Wells).
Editor’s Note
202 vision Used by Oberon at 3.2.371, Titania at 4.1.75 and, in the epilogue, by Robin at 5.1.417; see Introduction, pp. 3–21.
Editor’s Note
203 Compare Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess, 'Me mette so ynly swete a sweven [dream], | So wonderful, that never yit | Y trowe no man had the wyt | To konne wel my sweven rede' (ll. 276–9, suggested by David G. Hale, 'Bottom's Dream and Chaucer', SQ 36 (1985), PP. 219–20).
Critical Apparatus
204 to expound] q2, f; expound q1
Editor’s Note
204 go about should try
Editor’s Note
205 Methought I was In Reinhardt's outdoor production in Oxford in 1933 this passage 'began with a nervous groping, to see if the long snout and the long ears were still there; then a quickening of gesture, a nervous laughter; a sudden cut to silence; a fifty-yard run to the pond; a look at the reflection in the water; a scream of relief; and a jubilant dance off through the trees towards Athens' (Styan, Reinhardt, p. 59); the same business was preserved in his film version in 1935.
Critical Apparatus
206 a patched fool] f; patcht a foole q
Editor’s Note
206–8 but man … I had Possibly a distant echo of 2 Corinthians 12: 1–6, esp, v. 4: 'How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter'.
Editor’s Note
207 a patched fool a fool wearing motley or parti-coloured coat. Cardinal Wolsey's fool was named Patch. The Italian word 'pazzo' is defined by Florio as 'a fool, a patch, a mad-man' in Queen Anna's New World of Words (1611). Q1's reading, 'patent a foole' is possible: 'a fool clumsily put together'.
Editor’s Note
208–11 The eye … was A corruption of 1 Corinthians 2: 9–10: 'the eye hath not seen, and the ear hath not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit: For the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God' (Bishops' Bible, 1568). In the Geneva Bible (1557) and other early English Bibles, the final phrase reads 'yea, the bottom of God's secrets'; Thomas B. Stroup has suggested over-emphatically that the final phrase is the source of Bottom's name ('Bottom's Name and His Epiphany', SQ 29 (1978), pp. 79–82; see also Robert F. Willson, jr., 'God's Secrets and Bottom's Name: A Reply', SQ 30 (1979), pp. 407–8 for a sensible response). The passage here would certainly have summoned up the following verse in the Bible as a distant echo and hence possibly the phrase as it had appeared in earlier Bibles; see also on Bottom's vision, Introduction, pp. 82–4. Bottom and company are prone to confuse the senses; compare 3.1.85, 5.1.191–2.
Critical Apparatus
211 ballad] qf (Ballet)
Editor’s Note
211 ballad A topical narrative set to a popular tune, printed as a broadsheet, and widely sold as a means of communicating new songs and tabloid-style news stories (compare Autolycus's ballads in Winter's Tale 4.4.260–306).
Editor’s Note
213 hath no bottom (a) has no foundation in reality (b) is unfathomably profound—but see also n. to ll. 208–11 above (c) has no yarn out of which it could be woven (see n. to 1.2.16)
Editor’s Note
214 a play 'our play' is a possible emendation but Bottom's mind is still confused
Critical Apparatus
215 Exit] q2, f; not in q1
Editor’s Note
215 her death presumably Thisbe's
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