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Making it momentany as a sound,
Her. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd,
My good Lysander !
- the collied night,] Collied, i. e. black, smutted with com-fancy's followers.] Fancy is love.
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,'
Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay. Demetrius loves your fair:2 () happy fair! Your eyes are lode-stars ;; and your tongue's sweet
air More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear, When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear. Sickness is catching; 0, were favour so !* Your's would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go; My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye, My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody. Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, The rest I'll give to be to you translated.5 O, teach me how you look; and with what art You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles
i- by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,] Shak. speare had forgot that Theseus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and consequently long before the death of Dido.
* Demetrius loves your fair:] Fair is used as a substantive.
3 Your eyes are lode-stars;] This was a compliment not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode-star is the leading or guiding star, that is, the pole-star. 4 0 , were favour so!] Favour is feature, counterance.
s to be to you translated.] To translate, in our author, sometimes signifies to change, to transform,
Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Hel. O, that my prayers could such affection
move! Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me. Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me. Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. Hel. None, but your beauty ; 'Would that fault
were mine! Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
6 Take comfort ; he no more shall see my face ;
Lysander and myself will Ay this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,) Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lines. Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, since Hermia, whom she considers as possessing it in the supreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness. JOHNSON.
Keep word, Lysander; we must starve our sight
[Exit Lys. Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so ; He will not know what all but he do know. And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities. 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 judgement taste; Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste : And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguild. As waggish boys in games themselves forswear, So the boy Love is perjur'd every where : For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia’s eyne, He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight: Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
7 when Phæbe doth behold, &c.
- deep midnight.] Shakspeare has a little forgotten himself. It appears from p. 307, that to-morrow night would be within three nights of the new moon, when there is no moonshine at all, much less at deep midnight. The same oversight occurs in Act III. sc. i. BLACKSTONE.
8- in game - ] Game here signifies sport, jest.
9 Hermia's eyne,] This plural is common both in Chaucer and Spenser.
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
SCENE IỊ. The same. A Room in a Cottage. Enter Snug, Bottom, FLUTE, SNOUT, QUINCE,
Quin. Is all our company here?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.;
Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
i— it is a dear expence:) i. e. it will cost him much, (be a severe constraint on his feelings,) to make even so slight a return for my communication. Steevens.
* In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his know. ledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thisbe, and the Lion, at the same time. Johnson,
3 the scrip.] A scrip, Fr. escript, now written ecrit.