Here in the Forest still lives Shakspeare's Puck, a veritable being, who causes the Forest colts to stray, carrying out word for word Shakspeare's description, - From 'The New Forest: its History and its Scenery' by John R. Wise (1863).
"I am that merry wanderer of the night,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal."
(Midsummer Night's Dream, Act ii., Sc. 1.)
This tricksy fairy, so the Forest peasant to this hour firmly believes, inhabits the bogs, and draws people into them, making merry, and laughing at their misfortunes, fulfilling his own roundelay -
"Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down;
I am feared in field and town,
Goblin, lead them up and down."
(Midsummer Night's Dream, Act iv., Sc. 2.)
Only those who are eldest born are exempt from his spell. The proverb of "as ragged as a colt Pixey" is everywhere to be heard, and at which Drayton seems to hint in his Court of Faerie:-
"This Puck seems but a dreaming dolt,
Still walking like a ragged colt."
Posted by Rhiannon
2nd April 2016ce