Thursday, November 27, 2014

Shakespeare 5

                                    Queen Mab

There are few words or phrases found in both Blake
and Shakespeare; but here is one in Romeo and Juliet:

"Mercutio's speech (in the adapted prose version)[edit]
"O, then, I see Queen mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lies asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider's web,
The collars of the moonshine's wat'ry beams,
Her whip of cricket's bone; the lash of film;
Her waggoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid:
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court'sies straight,

For Blake time is a creature; look at this picture of a flea:

Blake's Flea
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O’er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as a’ lies asleep,
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plaits the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she—"
— Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, scene IV


We also found Queen Mab in Blake

This from Descriptions of Illustrations to Milton's
L'Allegro and II Penseroso:

  "Then to the Spicy Nut brown Ale
          With Stories told of many a Treat
          How Fairy Mab the junkets eat
          She was pinchd & pulld she said
          And he by Friars Lantern led
          Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat
          To earn his Cream Bowl duly set
          When in one Night e'er glimpse of Morn
          His shadowy Flail had threshd the Corn
          That ten day labourers could not end
          Then crop-full out of door he flings
          E'er the first Cock his Matin rings</!WB>
The Goblin crop full flings out of doors from his Laborious
task dropping his Flail & Cream bowl. yawning & stretching
vanishes into the Sky. In which is seen Queen Mab Eating the
Junkets.  The Sports of the Fairies are seen thro the Cottage
where "She" lays in Bed "pinchd & pulld" by Fairies as they dance
on the Bed the Cieling & the Floor & a Ghost pulls the Bed
Clothes at her Feet.  "He" is seen following the Friars Lantern
towards the Convent"
(Erdman 683)

Shelly wrote a poem about Queen Mab.

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