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سے ہم کن ہے۔اور اس کا انکار کرد و در

- ج کر

, Guilmele, rekony severs

7, rear szinte bi l'escuta de les troider, at Crociare a meno testo edetä, ase. Cristi hiver et laced in some tibay anashirica, siated to the letracyt piti

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CHAPTER 1.

“ An, can I tell
The enchantment that afterwards befel?
Yet it was but a dream : yet such a dream !"

IT remains to be seen, whether the labours of former

commentators have, as some imagine, exhausted all that proper and useful annotation on the works of Shakespeare, which the lapse of two centuries, and the continual change in our language and manners, have rendered necessary.

We shall not here pause to consider those, if any there be, who despise even the most minute illustration of the works of our great dramatist. The merits of those works are beyond the reach of criticism, in the common acceptation of the term, and an unanimous voice has pronounced every thing relating to them and their author, hallowed and sacred. The judgment of time has classed them amongst the noblest productions of human genius, and nothing now remains for us, but to hail them as the immortal

progeny

of an immortal author. But the high privilege to which such an author may lay claim, by no means descends to his editors or commentators; and we predict, that many years must yet elapse, ere that complete inquiry into Shakespeare's language and allusions, without which

B

the spirit of his writings can never be fully understood or appreciated, can be presented to the view of the general reader by means of a commentary. It is with this conviction, that we venture to place the following observations on one of the most remarkable of his plays before the notice of the public.

The very name of A Midsummer Night's Dream has furnished a subject for discussion. The time of action is on the night preceding May-day. Theseus goes out a maying, and when he finds the lovers, he observes :

“ No doubt they rose up early, to observe

The rite of May. “ I am convinced,” says Coleridge, “ that Shakespeare availed himself of the title of this play in his own mind, and worked upon it as a dream throughout." Such was no doubt the case, and may we not conclude, that the first idea of the play was conceived on Midsummer Night? Aubrey, in a passage, which refers perhaps to the character of Bottom the weaver, implies that its original was a constable at Grendon, in Buckinghamshire, and adds, “I thinke it was Midsummer Night, that he, [i.e. Shakespeare,] happened to lye there.” The title doubtlessly refers to the whole piece, and not to any particular part of it. The himself

says :

The poet

“ If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended ;
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend."

In Twelfth Night, Olivia observes of Malvolio's

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