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Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA. Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the
wood; And to speak troth, I have forgot our way; We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
Her. Be it so, Lysander, find you out a bed, For I upon this bank will rest my head.
Lys. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both ; One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth. Her. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my
dear, Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.
Lys. O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;" Love takes the meaning, in love's conference. I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit; So that but one heart we can make of it: Two bosoms interchained with an oath; So then, two bosoms, and a single troth. Then, by your side no bed-room me deny ; For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
Her. Lysander riddles very prettily :Now much beshrews my manners and my pride, If Hermia meant to say, Lysander lied. But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy Lie further off; in human modesty Such separation, as, may well be said, Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid : So far be distant; and good night, sweet friend : Thy love ne’er alter, till thy sweet life end!
? O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence ;] Understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning
3 Now much beshrew, &c.] This word, of which the etymo. logy is not exactly known, implies a sinster wish, and means the same as if she had said “now ill be fall my manners,” &c.
Lys. Amen, Amen, to that fair prayer, say I; And then end life, when I end loyalty ! Here is my bed : Sleep give thee all his rest! Her. With half that wish the wisher's eyes be
Puck. Through the forest have I gone,
But Athenian found I none,
Enter DEMETRIUS and Helena, running.
Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Deme-
4 All the power this charm doth owe:) i. e. all the power it possesses.
Do, as a med and distin llermia's
Hel. O, wilt thou darkling) leave me? do not so.
[Waking. Transparent Helena! Nature here shows art, That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart. Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word Is that vile name, to perish on my sword ?
Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so: What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what
though? Yet Hermia still loves you : then be content.
Lys. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent The tedious minutes I with her have spent. Not Hermia, but Helena I love: Who will not change a raven for a dove? The will of man is by his reason sway'd : And reason says you are the worthier maid. s u ilt thou darkling -] i. e. in the dark.
: my grace.] My acceptableness, the favour that I can gain.
Things growing are not ripe until their scason :
do. In such disdainful manner me to woo. But fare you well : perforce I must confess, I thought you lord of more true gentleness. O, that a lady, of one man refus'd, Should, of another, therefore be abus'd! (Exit. Lys. She sees not Hermia :-Hermia, sleep thou
there; And never may'st thou come Lysander near! For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things The deepest loathing to the stomach brings; Or, as the heresies, that men do leave, Are hated most of those they did deceive; So thou, my surfeit, and my heresy, Of all be hated; but the most of me! And all my powers, address your love and might, To honour Helen, and to be her knight! (Exit.
i till now ripe not to reason ;] i. e. do not ripen to it. Ripe, in the present instance, is a verb.
-- touching now the point of human skill,] i. e. my senses being now at the utmost height of perfection.
9 Reason becomes the marshal to my will,] That is, my will now follows reason.
Hér. (starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me!
do thy best, To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast ! Ah me, for pity !-what a dream was here? Lysander, look, how I do quake with fear! Methought a serpent eat my heart away, And you sat smiling at his cruel prey :Lysander ! what, remov’d? Lysander ! lord ! What, out of hearing ? gone? no sound, no word i Alack, where are you? speak, an if you hear ; Speak, of all loves ;' I swoon almost with fear. No?-then I well perceive you are not nigh: Either death, or you, I'll find immediately. [Erit.
· ACT III. SCENE I. The same. The Queen of Fairies
lying asleep. Enter Quince, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT,
and STARVELING. Bot. Are we all met?
Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convé nient place for our rehearsal ; This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring-house ; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.
2 Speak, of all loves ;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author.
3 In the time of Shakspeare there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very un. skilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations, Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head. JOHNSON.