Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Mary Queen of Scots.

 Mary Magdalene (St.).Marybuds. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Mary Queen of Scots.
Shakespeare being under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth, and knowing her jealousy, would not, of course, praise openly her rival queen; but in the Midsummer Night’s Dream, composed in 1592, that is, five years after the execution of Mary, he wrote these exquisite lines:—   1
“Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid (1) on a dolphin’s back (2)
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea (3) grew civil at her song;
And certain stars (4) shot madly from their spheres (5),
To hear the sea-maid’s music.”
Act ii. 1.
        (1) Mermaid and sea-maid, that is, Mary; (2) on the dolphin’s back, she married the Dolphin or Dauphin of France; (3) the rude sea grew civil, the Scotch rebels; (4) certain stars, the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Westmoreland, and the Duke of Norfolk; (5) shot madly from their spheres, that is, revolted from Queen Elizabeth, bewitched by the sea-maid’s sweetness.

 Mary Magdalene (St.).Marybuds. 


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.