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All the power this charm doth owe';
For I must now to Oberon.
trius. DEM. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt
me thus. Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me ? do not so. Den. Stay, on thy peril; I alone will go.
[Exit DEMETRIUS. Hel. O, I am out of breath in this fond chase ! The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace *. Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies; For she hath blessed and attractive eyes. How came her eyes so bright ? Not with salt tears : If so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers. No, no, I am as ugly as a bear; For beasts that meet me, run away for fear: Therefore, no marvel, though Demetrius Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
· All the power this charm doth owe :) i. e. all the power it possesses. So, in Othello :
“ Shall never medicine thee to that sweet sleep
“Which thou ow'dst yesterday." STEEVENS.
“ Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid." STEEVENS.
wilt thou DARKLING leave me?] i, e. in the dark. So, in The Two Angry Women of Abington, 1529 : “ — we'll run away with the torch, and leave them to fight darkling.” The word is likewise used by Milton. STEEVENS.
Again, in King Lear: “ And so the candle went out, and we were left darkling." Ruson. 4 - my grace.] My acceptableness, the favour that I can gain.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
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 now * 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. Things growing are not ripe until their season : So I, being young, till now ripe not to reasono; And touching now the point of human skill ?,
* Quarto F. omits now. 5 - Nature shews her art,] The quartos have only–Nature shews art. The folio reads-Nature her shews art,-probably the error of the press for-Nature shews her art, as I have printed it. The editor of the second folio changed her to here. Malone.
I admit the word-here, as a judicious correction of the second folio. Here, means—in the present instance. On this occasion, says Lysander, the work of nature resembles that of art, viz. (as our author expresses it in his Lover's Complaint,) an object glaz'd with crystal.” SteeveNS.
- till now ride not to reason ;] i. e. do not ripen to it. Ripe, in the present instance, is a verb. So, in As You Like It:
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe, and ripe-,' 'STEEVENS.
- TOUCHING now the point of human skill,] i, e. being now at the utmost height of perfection. So, in King Henry VIII. :
Reason becomes the marshal to my willo,
“ I have touchd the highest point of all my greatness."
STEEVENS. 8 Reason becomes the MARSHAL to my will,] That is, My will now follows reason. JOHNSON So, in Macbeth : “ Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going."
STEEVENS. A modern writer (Letters of Literature, Svo. 1785,] contends that Dr. Johnson's explanation is inaccurate. The meaning, says he, is, my will now obeys the command of my reason, not my will follows my reason.
Marshal is a director of an army, of a turney, of a feast. Syılney has used marshal for herald or poursuivant, but improperly."
Of such flimzy materials are many of the hyper-criticisms composed, to which the labours of the editors and commentators on Shakspeare have given rise. Who does not at once perceive, that Dr. Johnson, when lie speaks of the will following reason, uses the word not literally, but metaphorically? " My will follows or obeys the dictates of reason.” Or that, if this were not the case, he would yet be justified by the context, (And leads me —) and by the passage quoted from Macbeth?—The heralds, distinguished by the names of " poursuivants at arms," were likewise called marshals. See Minsheu's Dict. 1617, in v. MALONE.
- leads me to yoUR EYES ; where I o'erlook
Love's stories, WRITTEN IN LOVE'S RICHIEST BOOK.] So, in Romeo and Juliet :
what obscurd in this fair volume lies,
I thought you lord of more true gentleness'.
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 ? Alack, where are you? speak, an if
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*. [Exit.
true gentleness.) Gentleness is equivalent to what, in modern language, we should call the spirit of a gentleman.
PERCY. ? And you —] Instead of you, the first folio readsyet. Mr. Pope first gave the right word from the quarto 1600. STEEVENS.
3 Speak, of all Loves ;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II. Sc. VIII. : to send her your little page, of all loves."
STEEVENS. 4 Either death, or you, I'll find immediately.) Thus the ancient copies, and such was Shakspeare's usage.
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 * convenient 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.
Bor. Peter Quince,
Bor. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never please. First, Pyramus
* Quarto F. marvels. employs either, and other similar words, as monosyllables. So, in King Henry IV. P. II. :
“ Either from the king, or in the present time.” Again, in King Henry V.:
“ Either past, or not arriv'd to pith and puissance." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
“ Either led or driven, as we point the way." Again, in King Richard III. :
Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance —” Again, in Othello :
Either in discourse of thought, or actual deed." So also, Marlowe in his Edward II. 1598 :
Either banish him that was the cause thereof —." The modern editors read-Or death or you, &c. Malone.
s 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 unskilful 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.
6 Enter Quince, &c.] The two quartos 1600, and the folio, read only, Enter the Clowns.