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What though I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate;
But miserable most, to love unloved ?
This

you should pity rather than despise. Her. I understand not what you mean by this.

Hel. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mows 1 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!
Her.

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

prayers.
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To
prove
him false,

that
says

I love thee not.
Dem. I

say,

I love thee more than he can do. Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and

prove

it too. Dem. Quick, come, Her.

Lysander, whereto tends all this?

1 Wry faces.

Lys. Away, you Ethiop!
Dem.

No, no, he 'll—Sir,
Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow;
But yet come not : you are a tame man; go!
Lys. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr : vile thing,

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!
Out, loathed medicine ! hated potion, hence !

Her. Do you not jest ?
Hel.

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

me :

left me,

Why, then

you -0, the gods forbid !-
In earnest, shall I say?
Lys.

Ay, by my
And never did desire to see thee more.

life :

Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt:
Be certain, nothing truer ; 'tis no jest,
That I do hate thee, and love Helena.

Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom !1 You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stolen

my

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.
Her.

Lower! hark, again.
Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you ;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
He follow'd

you;

for love I follow'd him :
But he hath chid me hence; and threaten'd me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too :
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back,
And follow you no farther. Let me go :
You see how simple and how fond 1 I am.

Her. Why, get you gone. Who is 't that hinders

you?

Hel. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
Her. What, with Lysander ?
Hel.

With Demetrius.
Lys. Be not afraid : she shall not harm thee,

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 ?

1 Foolish.

Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ?
Let me come to her.
Lys.

Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made ; 1
You bead, you acorn.
Dem.

You are too officious,
.n her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone; speak not of Helena;
Take not her part: for if thou dost intend ?
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.3
Lys.

Now she holds me not ;
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
Or thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Dem. Follow ? nay, I 'll go with thee, cheek by
jole.

[Exeunt Lys. and Dem.
Her. You, mistress, all this coil * is ’long of you :
Nay, go not back.
Hel.

I will not trust you, I;
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray;
My legs are longer though, to run away.

[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.

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