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To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Vexations of True Love.
For aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow;
By his best arrow with the golden head;
By the simplicity of Venus' doves;
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves :
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke ;-
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
When Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass.
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind :
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste ;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste ;
And therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy love is perjured every where.
The Fairy Puck.
I am that merry wanderer of the night,
I jest to Oberon, and make him sinile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal :
And sometimes lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab ;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometimes for three foot stool mistaketh me.
Fairy Jealousy, and the Efects of it described by Titania.
These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's* spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain,t or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs ; which, falling in the land,
Have every peltingť river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents ;
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
+ A pebbly stream.
I Petty, insignificant, $ Their banks.
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corri
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard ;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain Aock;
The nine men's morris is filled up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable ;*
The human mortals want; their winter here,
No night is now with hymn or carol bless'd :
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose ;
And on old Hyem's chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set : the spring, the summer,
The childingť autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.
Love in Idleness.
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
* The “ nine men's morris” was an old pastime played on the green turf.
+ Autumn bringing forth flowers unnaturally.
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
That very time I saw (but thou could'st not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west ;
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon ;
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden-meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell :
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white ; now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
A Fairy Bank.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses, and with eglantine :
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight.
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes :
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries ;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And, for night-tapers, crop their waxen thighs,
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed, and to arise ;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moon-beams from his sleeping eyes :
Nod to him elves, and do him courtesies.
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sister's vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,—0, and is all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence ?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key ;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet a union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem :
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly :
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
Night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger ;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards.