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But miserable most, to love unlov'd ?
Her. I understand not what you mean by this.
Hel. Ay, do, persever,' counterfeit fad looks, Make mows upon me when I turn my back; Wink at each other; hold the sweet jest up: This fport, well carried; shall be chronicled. If you have any pity, grace, or manners, You would not make me such an argument. 6 But, fare ye well: 'tis partly mine own fault; Which death, or absence, soon shall remedy.
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse:
HEL. O excellent!
Sweet, do not fcorn her so. DEM. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Lys. Thou canst compelno more than she en treat; Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak
prayers. Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do;
s Ay, do, perséver,] Perférer is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly so pronounced. Thus our author, in All's Well that ends well, Aa IV. sc. ii:
fay thou art mine, and ever
My love, as it begins, so shall perséver." Again, in Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia, 1639;
for ever " May they in love and union ftill perséver." STEEVENS. - such an argumeņt.] Such a subject of light merriment.
JOHNSON. So, in the first part of King Henry IV. Ad II. sc. ii.
it would be argument for a week,” &c. STEEVENS. -than her weak prayers.] The old copies read:
-than her weak praise." STEEVENS. Mr. Theobald proposed to read -- prays. A noun thus formed from the verb, 10 pray, is much in our anthor's manner; and the transcriber's car might have been calily deceived by the fimilarity of sounds. MALONE.
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
Dem. I say, I love thee more than he can do.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
No, no, fir:-he will : Seem to break loose; takeon, as you would follow; But yet come not: You are a tame man, go! Lys. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr: vile thing,
let loose; Or I will shake thee from me, like a serpent. Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change
is this, Sweet love?
Lys. Thy love? out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
Hur. Do you not jest?
$ No, no, fir:- he will, &c.] This passage, like almost all those in these plays in which there is a sudden transition, or the sense is hastily broken off, is much corrupted in the old copies. My text [No, no; she'llo-fir,] is formed from the quarto printed by Filher and the first folio. The words 66 hill' are not in the folio, and Sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius, I suppose, would say, No, no ; he'll not have resolution to disengage himself from Here mia.
But turning abrupily to Lysander, he addresles him ironi. cally: "Sir, seem to break loose;" Lc. MALONE.
No critical remedy is nearer at hand, than a supposition that obscure passages are sentences designedly abrupt and imperfe&. – Lysander calls Hermia an • Æthiop." "No, no, fir:" replies Demetrius; i. c. she is none; and then ironically fpeaks to her of Lyfander, as of one whose ftruggle to break loosc is merely a pretended effort. He next addrelles his provocation personally to Lysander.-I have left the text as I found it; only reading (for the sake of metre,) he will, iuftcad of hello STEEVENS.
Yes, 'footh ; and so do you. Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
Dem. I would, I had your bond: for, 1 perceive, A weak bond holds you; l'll not trust your word. Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her
dead? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her fo. Her. What, can you do me greater harm, than
hate ? Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love? Am not I Hermia ? Are not you Lysander? I am as fair now, as I was erewhile. Since night, you lov'd me; yet, since night, you left
Why, then you left me,-0, the gods forbid !-
Ay, by my life;
HER. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!' You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stol'n my love's heart from him?
90 me! you juggler! you cariker-blolom!} Juggler in this line is used as a trisyllable: So again, in K. Henry VI. P. I:
o. She and the dauphin have been juggling." So also tickling, wrestler, and many more. MALONE.
- you canker-blossom!] The canker-blossom is not in this place the blossom of the canker or wild rose, which our author alludes to in Much ado about Nothing, A& J. sc. iii:
“ I had rather be a canker, in a hedge, than a rose in his grace:" but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So, in this play, A& II. sc. iii: "Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds "
Fine, i'faith! Have you no modesty, no maiden shame, No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear Impatient answers from my gentle tongue? Fie, fie; you counterfeit, you puppet, you! Her. Puppet! why so? Ay, that way goes the
Lower! hark, again. Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Curs ;] i. c. Ihrewish or mischievous. Thus in the old proverbial saying: Curst cows have short horns." STEEVENS.
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
Her. Little again ? nothing but low and little? Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ? Let me come to her. Lys.
you gone, you dwarf; You minimnus, of hind'ring knot-grass made; You bead, you acorn.
- how fond I am.] Fond, i. 6. foolish. So, in The Mere chant of Venice:
I do wonder,
• To come abroad with him." STEEVENS. 4 She was a vixen, when she went to school;] Vixen or fixen pri. mitively signifies a female fox. So, in The boke of hunting, that is cleped Mayster of Game; an ancient MS. in the colleâion of Francis Douce, Efqr. Grays Inn: “ The fixen of the Foxe is aflaute onys
She hath venomous biting as a wolfe." "STEEVENS.
of hind'ring knot-grass made ;] It appears that knot.grass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or
in the yer.