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Mab

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The “fairiesʹ midwife”—i.e. employed by the fairies as midwife of dreams (to deliver man’s brain of dreams). Thus when Romeo says, “I dreamed a dream to-night,” Mercutio replies, “Oh, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.” Sir Walter Scott follows in the same track: “I have a friend who is peculiarly favoured with the visits of Queen Mab,” meaning with dreams (The Antiquary). When Mab is calledqueen,” it does not mean sovereign, for Titanʹia was Oberon’s wife, but simply female; both midwives and monthly nurses were anciently called queens or queans. Quén or cwén in Saxon means neither more nor less than woman; so “elf-queen,” and the Danish ellequinde, mean female elf, and notqueen of the elves.” Excellent descriptions of “Mistress Mab” are given by Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, i. 4), by Ben Jonson, by Herrick, and by Drayton in Nymphidea. (Mab, Welsh, a baby.)

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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M (initial of manslaughter)
M
M
M
M
M or N
M.B. Waistcoat
M.D
M.P
MS., manuscript; MSS., manuscripts;
Mab
MacAlpin
MacFarlane’s Geese
MacFlecknoe
MacGirdie’s Mare
MacGregor
MacIntyre (Captain Hector)
MacIvor (Fergus)
MacPherson
MacTab
MacTurk (Captain Mungo or Hector)

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