Comparisons Between the Welsh Tylwyth Teg and Shakespeare's Fairies, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Unknown Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Shakespeare and the Fairies
Title: Comparisons Between the Welsh Tylwyth Teg and Shakespeare's Fairies


But I will now briefly refer to Fairy doings on Nos Wyl Ifan as recorded by England’s greatest poet, and, further on, I shall have more to say of this night.|Shakespeare introduces into his Midsummer Night’s Dream the prevailing opinions respecting Fairies in England, but they are almost identical with those entertained by the people of Wales; so much so are they British in character, that it is no great stretch of the imagination to suppose that he must have derived much of his information from an inhabitant of Wales.  However, in one particular, the poet’s description of the Fairies differs from the more early opinion of them in Wales.  Shakespeare’s Fairies are, to a degree, diminutive; they are not so small in Wales.  But as to their habits in both countries they had much in common.  I will briefly allude to similarities between English and Welsh Fairies, confining my remarks to Fairy music and dancing.| To begin, both danced in rings.  A Fairy says to Puck:—| And I serve the Fairy Queen, To dew her orbs upon the green.| Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II., S I.| And allusion is made in the same play to these circles in these words:—| If you will patiently dance in our round,| And see our moonlight revels, go with us.|Then again Welsh and English Fairies frequented like spots to hold their revels on.|I quote from the same play:—|And now they never meet in grove or green, By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen.|And again:—| And never since the middle summer’s spring,Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,By paved fountain or by rushy brook,Or by the beached,margent of the sea,To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind.|And further the Fairies in both countries meet at night, and hold their Balls throughout the hours of darkness, and separate in early morn. Thus Puck addressing Oberon:—|Fairy King, attend and hark;I do hear the morning lark.| Now until the break of day,Through this house each Fairy stray|Trip away, make no stay, Meet we all at break of day.|In the Welsh tales given of Fairy dances the music is always spoken of as most entrancing, and Shakespeare in felicitous terms gives utterance to the same thought—|Music, lo! music, such as charmeth sleep.


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