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Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia ;—and, Lysander, How chance the roses there do fade so fast ? yield
HER. Belike for want of rain, which I could well Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Beteem* them from the tempest of mine eyes. Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius; Lys. Ay me!* for aught that I could evert read, Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
Could ever hear by tale or history, EGE. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my love ; The course of true love never did run smooth : b And what is mine my love shall render him ; But, either it was different in blood ;And she is mine ; and all my right of her
HER. O cross ! too high to be enthrall’d to low! * I do estate unto Demetrius.
Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of
years ; Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, HER. O spite ! too old to be engag’d to young! As well possess'd; my love is more than his ;
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends ; $ My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
HER. O hell! to choose love by another's eye ! If not with vantage, as Demetrius”;
Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, And, which is more than all these boasts can be, War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it; I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia :
Making it momentany as a sound, Why should not I then prosecute my right? Swift as a shadow, short as any dream, Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Brief as the lightning in the collieda night, Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
That, in a spleen, (2) unfolds both heaven and earth, And won her soul ; and she, sweet lady, dotes, And ere a man hath power to say,-Behold ! Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up: Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
So quick bright things come to confusion. THE. I must confess that I have heard so much, HER. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd, And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof, It stands as an edict in destiny: But, being over-full of self-affairs,
Then let us teach our trial patience, My mind did lose it.—But, Demetrius, come ;
Because it is a customary cross ; And come, Egeus ; you shall go with me,
As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, I have some private schooling for you both. Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers. For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, To fit your fancies to your father's will ;
Hermia. Or else the law of Athens yields you up
I have a widow aunt, a dowager (Which by no means we may extenuate)
Of great revenue, and she hath no child; To death, or to a vow of single life.
From Athens is her house remote || seven leagues ; Come, my Hippolyta ; what cheer, my love ? And she respects me as her only son. Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee, I must employ you in some business
And to that place the sharp Athenian law Against our nuptial; and confer with you
Cannot pursue us.
If thou lov'st me then, Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night; EGE. With duty and desire, we follow you.
And in the wood, a league without the town, [Exeunt THES., HIP., EGE., Dem., and Train. Where I did meet thee once with Helena, Lys. How now, my love ? Why is your cheek
To do observance to a morn of May,(3) so pale ?
There will I stay for thee.
which I could well
80 loving to my mother
Visit her face too roughly."
“So would I, said the enchanter, glad and faine
Beleeme to you this sword you to defend."
- I never heard
(*) First folio omits, Ay me. (t) First folio, ever I could. (1) Old copies, love.
($) First folio, merit. (1) First folio, remov'd. (1) First folio, for. reads momentary. We have improvidently permitted too many of our old expressions to become obsolete.
d In the collied night,-) In the black or dark night. Collied, literally, is smutted with coal. So, in “The Marriage of Witt and Wisdome," 1579:-" Then let her set a fooles bable on his head, and colling his face."
" And now of a scollar
"-Thou hast not collied thy face enough."
“In maiden meditation, fancy free;-"
My good Lysander ! Before the time I did Lysander see,
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a* hell! By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves ; * Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: And by that fire which burn' the Carthage queen, To-morrow night, when Phæbe doth behold When the false Trojan under sail was seen ; Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass, By all the vows that ever men have broke, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, In number more than ever women spoke ;
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,) In that same place thou hast appointed me, Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal. To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
HER. And in the wood, where often you and I Lys. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie, Helena.
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet : Enter HELENA.
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies. HER. God speed fair Helena! Whither away? Farewell, sweet playfellow, pray thou for us,
HEL. Call you me fair ? that fair again unsay. And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius ! Demetrius loves your fair :: O happy fair! Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight Your eyes are lode-stars ;(4) and your tongue's From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight. sweet air
[Exit HERMIA More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
Lys. I will, my Hermia.--Helena, adieu : When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear. As you on him, Demetrius dotet on you ! Sickness is catching ; 0, were favouro so,
[Exit LYSANDER. Your words I'd catch, fair Hermia, ere I go, Hel. How happy some o'er other-some can be! My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye, Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so ; melody.
He will not know what all but he do know.
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste, HER. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste; HEL. O that my prayers could such affection And therefore is love said to be a child, move !
Because in choice he is so oft; beguild. HER. The more I hate, the more he follows me. As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, HEL. The more I love, the more he hateth me. So the boy love is perjur'd everywhere: HER. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.e For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia's eyne, HEL. None, but your beauty ; would that fault | He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine ;
[face; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, HER. Take comfort, he no more shall see my So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. Lysander and myself will fly this place.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
* And prospers loves ;) This is the reading of the quarto published by Fisher; that by Roberts, and the folio, have love.
O Your fair :) That is, your beauty. See “Love's Labour's Lost," note (@), . 69, and the “Comedy of Errors," note (b), p. 121. The folio reads, you fair.
(*) First folio, into.
(+) First folio, dotes.
(1) First folio, is often.
• 0, were favour 80,-) Favour, in 'Shakespeare sometimes means countenance, features, and occasionally, as here, good graces generally.
d Your words I'd catch, fair Hermia, ere I go,–] The old copies read, “Your words I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go.” The very slight alteration, which gives intelligibility to the line, was first made in the folio, 1632. Helena would catch not only the beauty of her rival's aspect, and the melody of her tones, but her language also. If the lection here proposed is inadmissible, we must adopt that of Hanmer,—“Yours would I catch,” for the old text will never be accepted as the author's. * His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.) Thus, Fisher's quarto;
f And stranger companies.] In the old text the passage runs as follows:
“ And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
To seek new friends and strange companions."
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night,
SCENE II.—The same. A Room in Quince's house. Enter SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT,
QUINCE, and STARVELING.(5) QUIN. Is all our
(*) First folio, his. a It is a dear expense :) Steevens supposes this to mean it will cost him much (be a severe constraint on his feelings), to make even so slight a return for my communication.” Is not the meaning rather, that, as to gratify her lover with this intelligence she makes the most painful sacrifice of her feelings, his thanks, even if obtained, are dearly bought? Mr. Collier's MS. annotator reads,
“If I have thanks, it is dear recompense;" which cannot be right, since Helena expressly tells us her recompense will be,
“ To have his sight thither and back again.” b Enter QUINCE, &c.] In the old stage direction, “Enter Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Joyner, Bottom the Weaver, Flute the Bellows-mender, Snout the Tinker, and Starveling the Taylor."
Bot. You were best to call them generally, Flu. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman ; I man by man, according to the scrip.
have a beard coming. Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, Quin. That's all one ; you shall play it in a which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play mask, and you may speak as small as you will. in our interlude before the duke and the duchess, Bor. An I may hide my face, let me play on his wedding-day at night.
Thisbe too : I'll speak in a monstrous little voice; Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the - Thisne, Thisne, - Ah, Pyramus, my lover play treats on; then read the names of the actors; dear ;-thy Thisbe dear ! and—lady dear ! and so grow* to a point.“
Quin. No, no, you must play Pyramus ; and, Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lament- Flute, you Thisbe. able comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Bot. Well, proceed. Thisbe.(6)
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor. Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, Star. Here, Peter Quince. and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe's your actors by the scroll: Masters, spread your- mother. - Tom Snout, the tinker. selves.
SNOUT. Here, Peter Quince. Quin. Answer, as I call you.-Nick Bottom, Quin. You, Pyramus' father; myself, Thisbe's the weaver.
father ;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part: Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and and, I hope, here* is a play fitted. proceed.
SNUG. Have you the lion's part written ? pray Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study. Pyramus.
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is Bot. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant ? nothing but roaring.
QUIN. A lover that kills himself most gallantt Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, for love.
that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; Bot. That will ask some tears in the true per- I will roar, that I will make the duke say, Let forming of it. If I do it, let the audience look him roar again, let him roar again. to their eyes; I will move storms; I will condole QUIN. Ant you should do it too terribly, you in some measure. To the rest yet, my chief would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, would shriek; and that were enough to hang us or a part to tear a cat in, to make all splito the all. raging rocks; and shivering shocks shall break ALL. That would hang us, every mother's the locks of prison-gates, and Phibbus' car shall shine from far, and make and mar the foolish Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fates. This was lofty !—Now name the rest of the fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have players.— This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein ; a no more discretion but to hang us; but I will lover is more condoling.
aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as QUIN. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender. gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you ţ an't Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
were any nightingale. Quin. Flute,} you must take Thisbe on you. Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus : for Flu. What is Thisbe ? a wandering knight? Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man as Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely,
(*) First folio, grow on. (1) First folio, gallantly.
(1) First folio omits Flute.
"Our reasons will be infinite I trow,
The Arraignment of Paris, 1584. b To the rest yet,-) So the old copies. The modern editors place a colon after rest, "To the rest : yet my chief humour," &c.; à deviation which originated perhaps in unconsciousness of one of the senses Shakespeare attributes to the word yet. "To the rest yet," is simply "To the rest now," or, as he shortly after repeats it, “Now, name the rest of the players."
c I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in,-) Hercules and his labours formed a popular subject of entertainment on the early English stage. The player in Greene's "Groat'sworth of Wit," 1592, recounts to Roberto how he had “terribly thundered” the Twelve Labours of Hercules.
He could probably, too, have enumerated among his performances a part to tear a cat in, for this allusion was evidently to an incident familiar to
(*) First folio, there.
(1) First folio, I. (1) First folio omits, you. the auditory. In "Histriomastix, or the Player Whipt," an anonymous production published in 1610, some soldiers drag in a company of players; and the captain addresses one of them with, "Sirrah, this is you that would rend and tear a cat upon the stage," &c. And in "The Roaring Girl," 1611, one of the characters is called Tear-cat.
The expression, to make all split, is thought to be of nautical extraction; it is met with in many of the old dramas :-"Two roaring boys of Rome, that made all splil."-Beaumont and Fletcher's "Scornful Lady," Act II. Sc. 3. Again in Chapman's play of “The Widow's Tears:"-" Her wit I must employ upon this business to prepare my next encounter, but in such a fashion as shall make all split.".
d The foolish fates.] The chief humour of Bottom's "lofty" rant consists in the speaker's barbarous disregard of sense and rhythm; yet, notwithstanding this, and that the whole is printed as prose, carefully punctuated to be unintelligible in all the old copies, modern editors will persist in presenting it in good set doggrel rhyme.
gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs them by to-morrow night, and meet me in the play Pyramus.
palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonBot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard light; there will we* rehearse : for if we meet in were I best to play it in?
the city we shall be dogg'd with company, and our Quin. Why, what you will.
devices known. In the mean time I will draw a Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw- bill of properties such as our play wants. I pray colour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your you, fail me not. purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown- Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse colour* beard, your perfect yellow.
most t obscenely and courageously. Take pains; Quin. Some of your French crowns have no be perfect; adieu. hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.- Quin. At the duke's oak we meet. But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to Bot. Enough. Hold, or cut bow-strings.(7) intreat you, request you, and desire you, to con