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What though I be not so in grace as you,
you should pity rather than despise. Her. I understand not what you mean by this.
Hel. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
have any pity, grace, or manners,
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse ;
Hel. O excellent!
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat: Thy threats have no more strength than her weak
I love thee not.
I love thee more than he can do. Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and
it too. Dem. Quick, come, Her.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
1 Wry faces.
Lys. Away, you Ethiop!
No, no, he 'll—Sir,
let loose; Or I will shake thee from me, like a serpent. Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change
is this, Sweet love?
Lys. Thy love? out, tawny Tartar, out!
Her. Do you not jest ?
Yes, sooth; and so do you. Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
Dem. I would, I had your bond; for, I perceive, A weak bond holds you ; I'll not trust your word. Lys. What should I hurt her, strike her, kiil her
dead ? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so. Her. What, can you do me greater harm than
hate ? Hate me! wherefore ? O me! what news, my love? Am not I Hermia ? Are not you Lysander ? I am as fair now, as I was erewhile. Since night you loved me, yet since night you left
you -0, the gods forbid !-
Ay, by my
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt:
Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom !1 You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stolen
love's heart from him ? Hel.
Fine, i' faith! Have you no modesty, no maiden shame, No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear Impatient answers from my gentle tongue ? Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you ! Her. Puppet! why so ? Ay, that way goes the
game. Now I perceive that she hath made compare Between our statures ; she hath urged her height; And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.And are you grown so high in his esteem, Because I am so dwarfish and so low ? How low am I, thou painted maypole ? speak ; How low am I? I am not yet so low, But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me. I was never curst ; 2 I have no gift at all in shrewishness ; I am a right maid for my cowardice; Let her not strike me : you, perhaps, may think, Because she's something lower than myself,
' A worm that preys on the buds of flowers. 2 Shrewish or mischievous.
That I can match her.
Lower! hark, again.
for love I follow'd him :
Her. Why, get you gone. Who is 't that hinders
Hel. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
Helena. Dem. No, sir, she shall not, though you take her
part. Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and
shrewd : She was a vixen when she went to school; And, though she be but little, she is fierce.
Her. Little again ? nothing but low and little ?
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ?
Get you gone, you dwarf;
You are too officious,
Now she holds me not ;
[Exeunt Lys. and Dem.
I will not trust you, I;
[Erit. Her. am amazed, and know not what to say.
[Exit, pursuing Heiena. Obe. This is thy negligence : still thou mistakest, Or else commit'st thy knaveries wilfully.
Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
*Knot-grass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child.
9 Pretend. 3 Pay dearly for it.
4 Confusion, tumnlt.