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The fole drift of my purpose doth extend
And they fhall be themselves.
I'll fetch them, fir. [Exit.
PRO., Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves ;*
2 Ye elves of hills, brooks, ftanding lakes, and groves;] This fpeech Dr. Warburton rightly obferves to be borrowed from Medea's in Ovid: and, it proves, fays Mr. Holt, beyond contradiction, that Shakspeare was perfectly acquainted with the fentiments of the ancients on the fubject of enchantments." The original lines
"Auræque, & venti, montefque, amnefque, lacufque,
Diique omnes nemorum, diique omnes noctis, adefte.” The tranflation of which, by Golding, is by no means literal, and Shakspeare hath closely followed it. FARMER.
Whoever will take the trouble of comparing this whole paffage with Medea's fpeech, as tranflated by Golding, will fee evidently that Shakspeare copied the tranflation, and not the original. The particular expreffions that feem to have made an impreffion on his mind, are printed in Italicks :
"Ye ayres and windes, ye elves of hills, of brookes, of woodęs alone,
Of landing lakes, and of the night, approache ye everych one. "Through help of whom (the crooked bankes much wondering at
I have compelled ftreames to run clear backward to their spring, By charms I make the calm fea rough, and make the rough
"And cover all the fkie with clouds, and chafe them thence
"By charms I raise and lay the windes, and burft the viper's jaw, "And from the bowels of the earth both ftones and trees do draw. "Whole woods and forrefts I remove, I make the mountains shake, "And even the earth itself to groan aud fearfully to quake. "I call up dead men from their graves, and thee, O lightsome
"I darken oft, though beaten brafs abate thy peril foone. "Our forcerie dimmes the morning faire, and darks the fun at
The flaming breath of fierie bulles ye quenched for my fake,
And ye, that on the fands with printless foot.
Is to make midnight mushrooms; that rejoice
"Among the earth-bred brothers you a mortal warre did fet, "And brought affeep the dragon fell, whofe eyes were never fhet.” MALONE.
Ye elves of hills, &c.] Fairies and elves are frequently, in the poets mentioned together, without any diftinction of character that I can recollect. Keysler fays, that alp and alf, which is elf with the Suedes and English, equally figuified a mountain, or a dæmon of the mountains. This feems to have been its original meaning; but Somner's Di&. mentions elves or fairies of the mountains, of the woods, of the fea and fountains, without any diftin&ion between elves and fairies. TOLLET.
3 —— with printless foot
Do chafe the ebbing Neptune,] So Milton, in his Mafque
Thus I fet my printless feet.” STEEVENS.
4 (Weak mafters though ye be,) The meaning of this paffage may be, Though you are but inferior masters of these fupernatural powers-though you poffefs them but in a low degree. Spenfer ufes the fame kind of expreffion in the The Fairy Queen, B. III. cant. 8. ft. 4. "Where the (the witch) was wont her sprights to entertain. The mafters of her art: there was the fain
"To call them all in order to her aid." STEEVENS.
by whofe aid,
(Weak mafters though ye be,) That is; you are powerful auxiliaries, but weak if left to yourselves;-your employment is then to make green ringlets, and midnight muthrooms, and to play the idle pranks mentioned by Ariel in his next fong ;—yet by your aid I have been enabled to invert the courfe of nature We fay proverbially, "Fire is a good fervant but a bad mafier."
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's flout oak
Re-enter ARIEL: after him, ALONSO, with a frantick
A folemn air, and the best comforter
-But this rough magick, &c.] This fpeech of Profpero fets out with a long and diftin&t invocation to the various minifters of his art: yet to what purpose they were invoked does not very diftin&ly appear. Had our author written" All this,' &c. inftead of " But this," &c. the conclufion of the address would have been more pertinent to its beginning. STEEVENS.
6 A folemn air, and the best comforter
To an unfettled fancy, cure thy braius, &c.] Profpero does not defire them to cure their brains. His expreffion is optative, not imperative; and means-May mufic cure thy brains! i. c. fettle them. Mr. Malone reads
"To an unfettled fancy's cure! Thy brains,
"Now ufelefs, boil within thy fcull:"- STEEVENS.
The old copy reads-- fancy. For this emendation I am anfwere able. So, in King John:
My widow's comfort, and my forrow's cure."
Now ufelefs, boil'd within thy fkull! There stand, For you are spell-ftopp'd.
Holy Gonzalo honourable man,
Mine eyes, even fociable to the fhew of thine,
To him thou follow'ft; I will pay thy graces
Profpero begins by pbferving, that the air which had been played was admirably adapted to compofe unfettled minds. then addreffes Gonzalo and the reft, who had just before gone into the circle: "Thy brains, now useless, boil within thy skull," &c. [the foothing ftrain not having yet begun to operate.] Afterwards, perceiving that the mufick begins to have the effect intended, he adds, The charm diffolves apace." Mr. Pope and the fubfequent editors read boil'd. MALONE.
boil'd within thy skull!] So, in A Midsummer Night's
"Lovers and madmen have such feething brains," &c. Again, in The Winter's Tale: "Would any but these boil d brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty, hunt this weather?"
8 - fellowly drops.] I would read, fellow drops. The additi onal fyllable only injures the metre, without enforcing the feafe. Fellowly, however, is an adjective ufe by Tuffer, STEEVENS. 9 the ignorant fumes] i. e. the fumes of ignorance. HEATH>
2 Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebaftian.-Flesh and blood,] Thus
You brother mine, that entertain'd ambition,3 Expell'd remorfe, and nature; who, with Sebastian, (Whofe inward pinches therefore are moft ftrong,) Would here have kill'd your king; I do forgive
Unnatural though thou art!-Their understanding
That now lie foul and muddy. Not one of them,
I will dif-cafe me, and myself present,
ARIEL re-enters, finging, and helps to attire
ARI. Where the bee fucks there fuck 1;
In a cowflip's bell I lie:
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly,
After fummer, merrily:1
Merrily, merrily, fhall I live now,
Under the bloffom that hangs on the bough.
the old copy: Theobald points the paffage in a different manner, and perhaps rightly:
"Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebaftian, flesh and blood."
3 that entertain'd ambition, ] Old copy-entertain.
by the editor of the fecond folio. MALONE.
4-remorfe and nature;] Remorfe is by our author and the contemporary writers generally ufed for pity, or tenderness of heart. Nature is natural affection. MALONE.
5 In a cowflip's bell I lie:] So, in Drayton's Nymphidia: "At midnight, the appointed hour;
And for the queen a fitting bower,