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Hel. 0, I am out of breath, in this fond chace! The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er the lies; For she hath blessed, and attractive eyes. How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears: If so, my eyes are oftner wash'd than hers. No, no, I am as ugly as a bear; For beasts that meet me, run away for fear : Therefore, no marvel, though Demetrius Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus. What wicked and dissembling glass of mine Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne? But who is here ? Lyfander! on the ground! Dead? or alleep? I see no blood, no wound:Lylander, if you live, good sir, awake. Lys. And run through fire I will, for thy sweet sake.
[Waking. Transparent Helena! Nature here shows art,' That through thy bosom makes me fee thy heart, Where is Demetrius? O how fit a word Is that vile name, to perish on my sword!
Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so: What though he love your Hermia ? Lord, what
Again, in King Lear: 66 And so the candle went out, and we were lefi darkling. Ritson. my grace.) My acceptableness, the favour that I can gain,
JOHNSON. Nature here ) shews art, ] Thus the quartos. The folio reads--Nature her shews art, --perhaps an error of the press forNature fhews hcr art. The editor of the fecond folio changed her
MALONE. I admit the word here, as a judicious corre&ion of the second folio, Here, means -- in the present instance. On this occafiori, says Lyfander, the work of nature reseinbles that of art, viz. (as our a vilior expresses it in his Lover's Complaint, ) an object " glazed with cryftal,
Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.
Lys. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent The tedious minutes I with her have spent. Not Hermia, but Helena I love: Who will not change a raven for a dove? The will of man is by his reason sway'd; And reason fays you are the worthier maid. Things growing are not ripe until their season: So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason; And touching now the point of human skill,' Reason becomes the marshal to my will, *
till nou ripe not to reason ; ) i. e. do not ripen to it. Ripe, in the present instance, is a verb. So, in As you like it: 1. And so, from hour to hour, we ripe, and ripe -,
-touching now the point of human skill,] i. e. my senses being now at the utmoit height of perfe&ion. So, in King Henry VIII: ". I have touch'd the highest point of all my greatness.
STEEVENS. 4 Reason becomes the marshal to my will, ] That is, My will now follows reason. JOHNSO So, in Macbeth : 6. Thou marshal's me the way that I was going."
STEEVENS. A modern writer [Letters, of Literature, 8vo. 1785,] contends that Dr. Johnson's explanation is inaccurate. The meaning, says he, is, so my will now obeys the command of my reason, not my will follows my reason. Marshal is a dire&or of an army, of a lurney, of a feast. Sydney has used marsi.al for herald or poursuivant, but improperly.
Of such flimzy materials are many of the hyper-criticisms composed, to which the labours of the editors and commentators on Shakspeare have given rise. Who does not at once perceive, that Dr. Johnson, when he speaks of the 'will following sealon, uses the word not literally, but ineiaphorically? - My will follows or obeys the di&tates of reason.' Or that, if this were no! the case, he would yet be justified by the context, ( And leads me--) and by the passage quoted from Macbeth ? The heralds, distinguished by the naines of u poursuivants at arms, were likewise called marshalsa See Minshcu's Dict. 1617, in v. MALONE.
And leads me to your eyes; where I o'erlook
HEL. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
do thy beit,
what obfcur'd in this fair volume lies,
true gentleness. ] Gentleness is equivalent to what, in modern language, we should call the spirit of a gentleman, l'Erçy.
Ah me, for pity! - what a dream was here?
4 And you—] Instead of you, the first folio reads--yet. Mr. Pope first gave the right word from the quarto 1600. STEEVENS.
s Speak, of all loves ;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ad II. sc. viii: to send her your little page, of all loves."
STEEVENS. 6 Either death, or you, I'll find immediately. ] Thus the ancient copies, and such was Shakspeare's usage. He frequently employs either, and other similar words, as monosyllables. So, in King Henry IV. P. II.
". Either from the king, or in the present time." Again, in K. Henry V.
“Either paft, or not arriv'd to pith and puissance." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
66 Either led or driven, as we point the way." Again, in K. Richard 111.
" Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance,-. Again, in Othelio:
so Either in discourse of thought, or adual deed." So also, Marlowe in his Edward Il. 1598 :
6. Either banish him that was the cause thereof." The modern editors read-Or death or you, &c. MALONE,
A C T III. S CE N E 1.6
The same. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
Enter Quince,” Snuu, Bottom, FLUTE, SNOUT,
Bot. Are we all met?
Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal : This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.
Bot. Peter Quince,
Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer
that? SNOUT. By’rlakin, a parlous fear.
6 In the time of Shakspeare there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very unskilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head. JOHNSON
7 Enier Quince, &c.] The two quartos 1600, and the folio, read only, Enter the Clowns. STEEVENS.
8 By’rlakin, a parlous fear. ] By our ladykin, or little lady, as ifakins is a corruption of by my faith. The former is used in Preston's Cambyfes :
4. The clock hath Atricken vive, ich think, by laken."