Parts of this are from a previous post of mine, but I thought it might be a good place to start and then we can move from there. So here we go:
In The beginning of the Sorceress thread Michael Scott said:
“Shakespeare was one of the hardest parts to write. When he quotes something, he's quoting from one of the plays (lots of clues there), and when he creates the creatures in the car yard, they too are all drawn from his works. Now, if only someone had the patience to identify the creatures and link them to the bard's works, there are some great clues there...”
So here we have it:
From P. 286 of the Sorceress we know that Shakespeare conjured up:
The Serpent of the Nile, spotted snake with double tongue, thorny hedgehogs, newts, blind worms, toads (ugly and venomous).
In A Midsummer Nights Dream there is a scene where Titania is talking to her faerie legion and asks them to sing her to sleep. So one of her fellow faeries sings, “You Spotted Snakes with Double Tongue, Thorny Hedgehogs, be not seen, Newts and Blind Worms, do no wrong.”
What I understand so far is that newts refer to water lizards, and newts, blind worms and spiders were all considered to be poisonous.
And for another Midsummer (possible) reference in The Magician Dee mentions knowing the Amazons, and Hippolyta who is the Queen of the Amazons is a significant minor character in Midsummer.
So is this a good place to start or should I post all of what I have found so far (even though I am sure there is a ton more)? But I do have As You Like It, MacBeth, and (thank you Sparticle) Hamlet. Plus assorted bits of other things…
Yeah Fumm, I love that line too!