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Enter LYSANDER and HELENA. Lys. Why should you think, that I should woo in
scorn? Scorn and derision never come in tears. Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born
In their nativity all truth appears. How can these things in me seem scorn to you, Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true ? Hel. You do advance your cunning more and
more. When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray! These vows are Hermia's. Will you give her o'er ?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh. Your vows, to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
Lys. I had no judgment when to her I swore.
Hei. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
Hel. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia ; I will none: If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
1 i. e. join heartily, unite in the same mind.
My heart with her but as guest-wise sojourned;
Helen, it is not so.
Enter HERMIA. Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes, The ear more quick of apprehension makes; Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense, It pays the hearing double recompense.Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found; Mine ear—I thank it—brought me to thy sound. But why unkindly didst thou leave me so ? Lys. Why should he stay, whom love doth press
to go? Her. What love could press Lysander from my side ?
Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bideFair Helena, who more engilds the night Than all yon fiery oes 2 and eyes of light. Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee
know, The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so ?
Her. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
Hel. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
2 i. e. circles.
Our sex, friendly, 'tis scorning you
Have with our neelds created both one flower,
Her. I am amazed at your passionate words. I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.
Hel. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn, To follow me, and praise my eyes and face ? And made your other love, Demetrius, (Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,) To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare, Precious, celestial ? Wherefore speaks he this To her he hates ? And wherefore doth Lysander Deny your love, so rich within his soul, And tender me, forsooth, affection, But by your setting on, by your consent? What though I be not so in grace as you, So hung upon with love, so fortunate, But miserable most, to love unloved ? This you should pity, rather than despise.
Her. I understand not what you mean by this. Hel. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
1 i. e, needles.
2 Mr. Douce thus explains this passage :-Helen says, “we had two seeming bodies, but only one heart. She then exemplifies the position by a simile—“ we had two of the first, i. e. bodies, like the double coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife as one person, but which, like our single heart, have but one crest." Malone explains the heraldic allusion differently, but not so clearly nor satisfactorily.
Make mows' upon me when I turn my back;
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse.
Hel. O excellent! Her.
Sweet, do not scorn her so. Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat; Thy threats have no more strength than her weak
Dem. I say I love thee more than he can do.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
No, no, he'll—Sir,3 Seem to break loose ; take on 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'
1 Make mouths.
3 This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thus explains it:The words he'U are not in the folio, and sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius, I suppose, would say, No, no, he'll not have the resolution to disengage himself from Hermia. But turning to Lysander, he addresses him ironically: “Sir, seem to break loose," &c.