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a cohcrcnt and symmctrical plot and a definite purpose; but, while it
moves toward a final result of absolutc order, it presupposes intermediary
progress through a realm of motley shapes and fantastic vision. Its per.
sons are creatures of the fancy, and all cffort to make them solidly actual, .
to set them firmly upon the carth, and to accept them as rcalitics of com
mon lisc, is labor ill-bestowed.

The German Shakspcrcan commentator Ulrici - who commonly has
an excess of thcory and errs by explaining too much-has made certain.
obscrvations upon this comcdy which arc cxccptionally helpful toward a
clear view of Shaksperc's drift. “It is the comic vicw of things," says
this writer, " that forms the basis of the whole piece. ... ... Not
mcrely in particular cases do thc maddest tricks of accident, as well as of
human caprice, perversity, and folly, destroy cach other in turn, but,
generally, the principal pursuits and provinces of life are made to parody
and paralyze each other. . . . . The particular modification of the
general comic vicw, which results from this ironical parodying of all the
domains of lisc, at once determines and gives expression to thic special.
ground-idca which first reduces the wholc into organic unity. Life is
throughout regarded in thc liglit of a midsummer night's drcam. ..i.
Lisc appears in travesty..... The mind scems to have lost its selle
consciousness, while all the other facultics, such as sceling and fancy,
wit and humor, arc allowed the fullest scope and license...... Gen.
crally the characters are drawn in keeping with the pervading idea, with
a few finc touches, and without depth of shadc, in a vanishing chiaro.
oscuro. . . . . Every character is pervaded by and represents the
general idea, that the individual, in and by hinisclf, is as nothing, and
without importance except as a moment in the development of the
wholc."

To body forth the form of things is, in this case, manifestly, a difficult task : and yet the truc course is obvious. Actors who yield themselves to the spirit of whim, and drist along with it, using a delicate method : and avoiding insistence upon prosy rcalism, will succeed with this picce -provided, also, that their audience can bc fanciful, and can accept the performance, not as a comedy of ordinary life, but as a vision seen in a i dream. The play is full of intimations that this was Shaksperc's mood. Even Botlom, the consummate Power of unconscious humor, is at his height of significance in his moment of suprenic illusion : "I have had a drcam,-past the wit of man to say what dream it was:-Jan is but an ass if he go about to expound this drcam. Mcthought I was—there is no man can tell what. Mcthought I was, and mcthought I had — But man is but a patched sool if he will offer to say what mcthought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the car of man hath not scen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his hcart to report, what my . drcam was." The whole philosophy of the subject, comically stated,'. ::

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is herc. A scrious statement of it is in the words of the poet Camp. bel:

.. Well may slccp present us fictions,

Since our wnking moments icom
With such fanciful convictions

As make life itself a drcam."

Various actors in the past-although“ A Midsummer Night's Dream" • has not had grcat currency upon thc stagc, at any period, whcthcr in

England or Amcrica—have laid a marked stress upon the character of
Bollom. Samuel Phelps, upon thc London stage, was cstcemcd excellent

in it. He acted the part in his own production of the Dream, at Sad. :: lcr's Wells, and he again acted it in 1870 at the Queen's Thcatre, in Long - Acrc-now demolished. On the American stage, William E. Burton was

accountcd wonderfully good in it. "As Mr. Burton renders the character," says Richard Grant White, 'its traits arc brought out with a delicate and masterly hand; its humor is exquisite." And Mr. William L. Kocsc, in his carcful and very serviccable biography of Burton, makes equally cordial rcférence to this achicvcment of the grcat comedian : “ How striking it was in sustained individuality, and how fincly cxcmplificd was the potential vanity of Botlom! What pleased us greatly was thc vcin of engaging raillcry which ran through the delivery of his speeches to the fairics." Burton produced the Dream at his own thcatre, in 1854, withi such wcalth of finc scenery as in those days was accounted prodigious. Thc most notable impersonation of Bottom that has been given licre since Burton's time was, probably, that of the late George L. Fox-alrcady men. tioncd in this prcface. Self-conceit, as the essence of thc character, was thoroughly well understood and cxpressed by him. He worc thc ass's hensi, but hic dici not know that he was wearing it ; and when, afterward, the vaguc scnsc of it came upon him for an instant, lic put it by as somcthing inconceivable and intolerablc. His “Not a word of me!!'-spoken to the other hard-handed men of Athens, after his return to them out of thic cnchanted “palace wood "-was, perhaps, his fincst single point. Certainly it expressed to the utmost the colossal self-love and swelling pomposity of this miracle of bland and opaque sapicncc. But Fox was stronger in pantomimc than in a consistent character of sustaincd comedy, The essential need of acting, in a portrayal of this play, is whimsicality~ but it must be whimsicality cxalted by poctry.

{ WILLIAM WINTER. 16

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TUESEUS, Duke of Athens....

MR. LEE,

Josers HOLLAND.

CHARLES FISHER
EGEUS, father to HERMIA ...............
LYSANDER, in love with HERMIA ......

Oris SKINSER.
.............
DEMETRIUS, beloved of HELENA .......

Joux DREW.
PHILOSTRATE, master of the sports to THESEUS ...

ECCESE ORMOND.
Quince, the carpenter, also representing PROLOGUE......

CHARLES LECLERCQ.
SYUG, the joiner, who represents also Lios ..........

FREDERICK Boxd.
Borro., the weaver, who likewise represents PYRAMUS

MR. Hilson ......

JAMES LEWIS.
FLUTE, the bellows-mender, who also represents THISBE.....

WILLIAM GILBERT.
SNOUT, the linker, representing Wall in the interlude .....

MR. Placide......

Joux Wood,
STARVELING, the tailor; also representing in the interlude MOONsuine.!.

EDWARD WILKs.
IIIPPOLITA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to THESEUS........ Mrs. StickXEY.......... PUEBE RUSSELL
HELENA.......

.. ADA REMAX.
HERMIA....

Mrs. IIACKETT....

VIRGINIA DREHER.
OREROX, King of the fairies.....

MR. RICHINGS .... .J ALICE Iloon.
TITANIA, Queen of the fairies ...,

Mrs. SHARPE ..........

EFFIE SHAYXOX.
A fairy attending on TITANIA ......

LIZZUE Sr. QUENTIX.
Puck, or ROBI GOODFELLOW, a fairy attending on Oberon ........ MRS. Hilson..

Bijou FERNANDEZ.
PEAS-BLOSSOM, )

(AUGUSTE SOulke.
COBWEB,

MAMIE O'BRIEX.
Sfairies at the command of TITANIA .....
MOTH,

| Axxe O'BRIEX.
MUSTARD-SEED, )

MASTER YORER,
Misses. Sears, CO RON,

COOKE, CUSHMAN, Vis-
Other fairies attending OBERON and Tita

LAIRE, FERRELL, HEIM,
BowxE, PAGE, WHAR.

Tox, STACY, and GAUNT.
I Misses LEE, BERXER, CAL-

LARD, CONLEY, RAD-
Attendants upon THESEUS and HIPPOLYTA..

CLIFF, COLLERD, and
QUANTAIS; Messrs. Re.
VELL, REGLID, MURPHY,
IRETOx, and FIXXEY,

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A

Midsommer nights

dreame. Asithath beenesundry times puba lickely ałted, by the Right honouras ble, the Lord Chamberlainc his

feresants.
Written by William Shakespeare.

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Imprinted at London, for Thomas Fisher, and are to
be lowde ac his choppe, at dac Signe of the White Hart,

in Flecteforecte. 2600.

(The above is a facsimile of the title page of a reprint of the first Quarto

Edition of the play.)

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