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Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and

And ere a man hath power to say,—Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

Her. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd,
It stands as an edíct in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross;
As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers,
Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me,

I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child;
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues ;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us: If thou lov'st me then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

My good Lysander !
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow;
By his best arrow with a golden head;
By the simplicity of Venus' doves;
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves ;
? — momentany as a sound,] i. e. momentary.

- 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,'
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.
Lys. Keep promise, love: Look, here comes

Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away?

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

such skill!

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,

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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

Lysander and myself will fly this place.-
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me:
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto hell!

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night when Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat’ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,)
Through Athens' gates have we devis’d to steal.

Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet;
There my Lysander and myself shall meet :
And thence, from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius ! -

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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
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.?

Lys. I will, my Hermia.-Helena adieu :
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[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
If I have thanks, it is a dear expence:?
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither, and back again.


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.

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