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You would not use a gentle lady so; To yow, and swear, and superpraise my parts, When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts. You both are rivals, and love Hermia; And now both rivals to mock Helena: A trim exploit, a manly enterprise, To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes, With your derision! none of noble sorti Would so offend a virgin; and extort A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport. Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so; For you love Hermia: this, you know, I know: And here, with all good will, with all my heart, In Hermia's love I yield you up my part; And yours of Helena to me bequeath, Whom I do love, and will do to my death.
Hel. Never did mockers waste more idle breath. Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none: If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone. My heart with her but, as guest-wise, sojourn'd; And now to Helen is it home return'd, There to remain.
Helen, it is not so.
Dem. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know, Lest, to thy peril, thou abide it dear.2Look where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear. Enter HERMIA.
Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes
Lys. Why should he stay, whom love doth to go? Her. What love could press Lysander from my
Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide. Fair Helena, who more engilds the night Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light. Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee know,
The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so.
Her. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd,+
Have with our neelds created both one flower,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem:
1 Degree, or quality.
Two of the first," like coats in heraldry,
Her. I am amazed at your passionate words:
Her. I understand not what you mean by this. Hel. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks, Make mows upon me when I turn my back ; Wink at each other; hold the sweet jest up: This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled. If you have any pity, grace, or manners, You would not make me such an argument." But, fare ye well: 'tis partly mine own fault; Which death, or absence, soon shall remedy. Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse; My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena! Hel O excellent!
Sweet, do not scorn her so. Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel. Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat; Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak
Helen I love thee; by my life I do :
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.
7 Mr. Douce thus explains this passage: Helen says, 'we had two seeming bodies, but only one heart.' She then exemplifies the position by a simile-we had two of the first, i. e. bodies, like the double coats in heraldry 4 'Is all the counsel that we two have shared,' &c. that belong to man and wife as one person, but which like our single heart, have but one crest. Malone exGregory of Nazianzen's poem on his own life con-plains the heraldric allusion differently, but not so clearly
2 Pay dearly for it, rue it.
3 i. e. circles.
tains some beautiful lines (resembling these) which burst from the heart and speak the pangs of injured and lost friendship. Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory; he was ignorant of the Greek language; but his mother tongue, the language of nature, is the same in Cappadocia as in Britain. Gibbon's Hist. vol. v. p. 17, 8vo. ed.
5 i. e. ingenious, artful. Artificiose, Lat. 6 i. e. needles
8 Make mouths.
9 i. e. such a subject of light merriment.
explains it. The words he'll are not in the folio, and 10 This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thus sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius I suppose would say, no, no, he'll not have the resolution to disengage himself from Hermia. But turning to Lysander, he addresses him ironically: Sir, seem to break loose; &c.
Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love?
Since night you lov'd me; yet since night you left
Why, then you left me,-0, the gods forbid!-
Her. O me, you juggler! you canker-blossom!
Dem. You are too officious,
In her behalf that scorns your services:
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Her. Puppet! why so? Ay, that way goes the Did not you tell me, I should know the man
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Lower! hark, again.
Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
I told him of your stealth unto this wood:
Her. Why, get you gone: Who is't that hinders
Hel. A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid she shall not harm thee, Helena.
Dem. No, sir; she shall not, though you take her
Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd:
By the Athenian garments he had on?
Obe. Thou seest, these lovers seek a place to fight:
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste;
Her. Little again? nothing but low and little ?- And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
1 A worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle.
2 i e. froward, cross, ill-conditioned, or ill-spoken. 3 Foolish.
4 Anciently knot-grass was believed to prevent the growth of children.
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
10 The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who being drowned were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulchre had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies.
11 Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed."--Millos Ode on the Death of a fair Infant.
12 Cephalus, the mighty hunter, and paramour of A§rora, was here probably meant.
13 Oberon here boasts that he was not compelled, like meaner spirits, to vanish at the first dawn.
Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on;
That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
Puck. Ho, ho! ho, ho!! Coward, why com'st
Dem. Abide me, if thou dar'st; for well I wot,
Come hither; I am here. Dem. Nay, then thou mock'st me.
buy this dear.2
If ever I thy face by day-light see:
[Lies down and sleeps.
Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
From these that my poor company detest:-
Thus to make poor females mad.
Her. Never so weary, never so in woe,
On the ground
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
[Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER's eye
In the sight
Of thy former lady's eye
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.3
[Exit PUCK.-DEM. HEL. &c. sleep.
SCENE I. The same. Enter TITANIA and BOT-
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
Bot. Scratch my head, Peas-blossom.-Where's monsieur Cobweb?
Bot. Monsieur Cobweb; good monsieur, get your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur; and, good monbe loath to have you overflown with the honey-bag, sieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would signior. Where's monsieur Mustard-seed? Must. Ready.
Bot. Give me your neif, monsieur Mustard-seed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur. Must. What's your will?
Bot. Nothing, good monsieur, but to help cavalero Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for, methinks, I am marvellous hairy about the face and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.
Tita. What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?
Bot. I have a reasonable good ear in music: let us have the tongs and the bones.
Tita. Or say, sweet love, what thou desir'st to eat. Bot. Truly, a peck of provender; I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks, I have a great desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
Tita. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
Bot. I had rather have a handful, or two, of dried
wood's Epigrams, or Three Hundred Proverbs.
behaviour of Titania on this occasion seems copied from
1 This exclamation would have been uttered with more propriety by Puck, if he were not now playing an assumed character, which he seems to forget. In the old song printed by Percy, in which all his gambols are related, he concludes every stanza with ho! ho! ho! It was also the established dramatic exclamation given to the devil whenever he appeared on the stage, and attributed to him whenever he appeared in reality. 2 Johnson says, the poet perhaps wrote, thou shalt by this dear; as in another place, thou shalt aby it.' 3 These three last lines are to be found in Hay-has this stage direction: Musicke Tongs, Rurall Music.'
says: Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif.
6 The old rough rustic music of the tongs. The folio
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.'
And since we have the vaward of the day,
OBERON advances. Enter PUCK.
Obe. Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this And mark the musical confusion
Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once,
The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
Ege. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep:
I wonder of their being here together.
The. No doubt, they rose up early, to observe
[Touching her eyes with an herb. That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
See, as thou wast wont to see;
Puck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own
Obe. Sound, music. [Still music.] Come, my
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark;
Obe. Then, my queen, in silence sad,4
1 Steevens says, what Shakspeare seems to mean is this-So the woodbine, i. e. the sweet honeysuckle doth gently entwist the barky fingers of the elm, and so doth the female ivy enring the same fingers.
2 This was the phraseology of the time. So in K. Henry IV. Part I. and unbound the rest, and then came in the other.
3 Dian's bud is the bud of the Agnus Castus, or Chaste Tree. The vertue of this hearbe is, that he will kepe man and woman chaste.' 4 Sad here signiües only grave, serious.
Ege. It is, my lord.
The. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their
Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER,
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
[He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.
Lys. My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
But, as I think, (for truly would I speak,-
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Ege. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
5 i. e. the honours due to the morning of May. So in a former scene-to do observance to a morn of May.' 6 Forepart.
7 Chiding means here the cry of hounds. To chide is used sometimes for to sound, or make a noise, without any reference to scolding.
The flews are the large chaps of a deep-mouthed hound.
9 Sanded means of a sandy colour, which is one of the true denotements of a blood-hound."
10 Fancy is here love or affection, and is opposed to fury. 11 Toy.
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
For in the temple, by and by with us,
And, for the morning now is something worn,
a paramour is,
Quin. Yea, and the best person too: and he is a
Snug. Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married: if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.
Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost Sixpence a-day during his life; he could not have 'scaped sixpence a-day: an the duke had not given him sixpence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd; he would have deserved it: sixpence a-day, in Pyramus, or nothing."
Bot. Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
[Exeunt THE. HIP. EGE. and Train. Dem. These things seem small and undistinguish-happy hour!
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but Her. Methinks, I see these things with parted eye, Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it ask me not what; for, if I tell you, I am no true When every thing seems double. fell out.
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Are you sure
As they go out, BOTTOM awakes. Bot. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer:-my next is, Most fair Pyramus.-Hey, ho!-Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God's my life! stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream,-past the wit of man to say what dream it was: Man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had,-But man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen; man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream; it shall be called Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her [Exit. SCENE II. Athens. A Room in Quince's House. Enter QUINCE, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVE
Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?
Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.
Flu. If he come not, then the play is marred; It goes not forward, doth it?
Quin. It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he. F. No; he hath simply the best wit of any
handicraft man in Athens.
Quin. Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
Bot. Not a word of me. All that I will tell you, is, that the Duke hath dined: Get your apparel together; good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look o'er his part; for, the short and the long is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean linen; and let not him, that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions, nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath; and ĺ do not doubt, but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words; away; go, away. [Exeunt.
SCENE I. The same. An Apartment in the Palace of Theseus. Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords, and Attendants.
Hip. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
And, as imagination bodies forth
Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
1 Helena, perhaps, means to say, that having found Demetrius unexpectedly, she considered her property 3 Steevens says that Preston, the actor and author of in him as insecure as that which a person has in a jewel Cambyses, was meant to be ridiculed here. The queen that he has found by accident, which he knows not having bestowed a pension on him of twenty pounds a whether he shall retain, and which therefore may pro-year for the pleasure she received from his acting in the perly enough be called his own and not his own. War-play of Dido, at Cambridge, in 1564. burton proposed to read gemell, i. e. double; and it has 4 So in the Tempest: also been proposed to read gimmal, which signifies a pouble ring.
2 Theobald conjectured, happily enough, that we should read after death.'
Now useless, boid within thy skull.'
5 i. e. are made of mere imagination.