34Drums in his ears, at which he starts and wakes,
35And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two
36And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
37That pleats the manes of horses in the night,
38And bakes the elk-locks in foul, sluttish hairs,
39Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.
40This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
41That presses them and learns them first to bear,
42Making them women of good carriage:
43This is she.
1] Mercutio satirically recounts the origin of dreams for the love-lorn Romeo in Act One. A pun on “Queen” (“quean”: prostitute) is probably intended as “Mab” was a conventional name for a promiscuous woman in Shakespeare’s time. Back to Line
3] agate: a colorful mineral; also a Renaissance term for a diminutive person Back to Line