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. And she is mine ; and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius.

Lyf. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, As well possess’d: my love is more than his : My fortune's every way as fairly rank’d, If not with vantage, as Demetrius's : And, which is more than all these boasts can be, I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia. Why should not I then profecute my right? Demetrius (I'll avouch it to his head) Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena ; And won her soul; and the, sweet lady, doats, Devoutly doats, doats in idolatry, Upon this spotted and inconítant man. ?

The. I must confefs, that I have heard so much, And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof; But being aver-full of self-affairs, My mind did lofe ir.—But, Demetrius, come; And come, Egeus ; you shall I have some private schooling for you both. For you, fair Hermia, look, you arm yourself To fit your fancies to your father's will ; Or else the law of Athens yields you up (Which by no means we may extenuate) To death, or to a vow of single life

-Come, my Hippolita ; what chear, my love ?

Demetrius, and Egeus, go along ;
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Of something, nearly that concerns yourselves.
Ege. With duly and desire we follow you.

[Excuit Thef Hip. Ezeus, Dem. and train. Lyf. How now, my love? why is your cheek so

with me;

pale ?


Spotted.] As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked.



How chance the roses there do fade fo faft? · Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well : Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.

Lys. Ah me, * for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
But, either it was different in blood,

Her. O cross !-too high to be enthrallid to low!
Lyf. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years ;-
Her. O spight! too old, to be engag'd to young!
Lyf. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends
Her. O hell! to chuse love by another's eye!

Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it;
Making ito momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,

3 Beteemi tbem-) give them, bestow upon them. The word is used by Spenser. JOHNSON.

The word is used by yet later writers. I meet with it in Tbe Case is alter'd, How ? a dramatic dialogue, 1653.—“I could « beteem her a better match." STEEVENS.

s Too bigb to be int brall'd to love. This reading poffeffes all the editions, but carries no juft meaning in it. Nor was Hermia displeas'd at being in love; but regrets the inconveniencies that generally attend the passion : either, the parties are disproportioned, in degree of blood and quality; or unequal, in respect of years ; or brought together by the appointment of friends, and not by their own choice. These are the complaints represented by Lysander; and Hermia, to answer to the first, as the has done to the other two, must necessarily say ;

O cross !-100 bigb to be inthrall'd to low! So the antithesis is kept up in the terms; and so she is made to condole the disproportion of blood and quality in lovers.

THEOBALD. Sir T. H. adheres to the old reading. Steevens.

6 The old editions read momentany, which is the old and proper word. The modern editors, momentary. JOHNSON,


Brief as the lightning in the collied night,'
That (in a spleen) unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say, Bebuld!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

Her. If then true lovers have been ever crost,
It stands as an edict in deftiny:
Then, let us teach our tryal patience :
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love, as thoughts and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers !
Lyf. A good perfuafion ;--therefore hear me,

* I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
great revenue, and she haih no child:

? Brief as the lightning in the colli:d night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
Andere a man bath power to say, Behold!

The jaws of darkness do dezour it up.] Though the word fplein be here employed oddly enough, yet I believe it right Shakespeare, always hurried on by the grandeur and multitude of his ideas, assumes every now and then, an uncommon licence in the use of his words. Particularly in complex moral modes it is usual with him to employ one, only to express a very few ideas of that number of which it is composed. Thus wanting here to express the ideas of a sudden, or in a trice, he uses the word spleen; which, partially considered, fig. nifying a hatty sudden fit, is enough for him, and he never troubles himse.f about the further or luiler signification of the word. Here, he uses the word fpen for a jud in hafty fit ; so just the concrary, in the Two Gentemen of Verona, he uses fuad in for Spleena ic-- fuden qu'ps. And it muit be owned this sort of conversation adds a force to the diction. WARBURTON.

Brief as the ligbin.rig in tbe collied 11:ht,} colied, i. e. black, smutted with coal, a word still used in the midland counties. So in Ben Jonson's Foetalier:

“ – Thou haft not come thy face enough. Steevens. & I have a widow aunt, &c.] These lines perhaps might more properly be regulated thus:


From Athens is her house remote ' seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only fon.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov'st me then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;
And, in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee,

Her. My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow, !

- By

I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great evinui, and the hath no child,
And the respects me as her only fon;
Her house from Athens is remov'd feven leagues,
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place

JOHNSON 9-remite,-) Remote is the reading of both the quarto's; the folio reads, - remov'd.

· Lyf. -If thou lov'A me then,
Steal forib by father's boule, &c.

Her. My good Lysander,
I fwiar 10 thee by Cupia's Arongest bow,
By, &c. &c.
In that same place thou hast appointed me

Tomorrow truly will I mert wiibiber.] Lysander does but juit propose her running away from her father at midnight, and itraight the is at her oaths that he will meet him at the place of rendezvous. Not one doubt or hesitation, not one condition of assurance for Lysander's constancy. Either Mhe was nauseously coming; or she had before jilted him; and he could not believe her without a thousand oaths. But Shakespeare observed nature at another rate. The speeches are divided wrong, and must be thus rectified ; when Lyfander had proposed her running away with him, the replies,

Her. My good Lyander and is going on, to ask security for his fidelity. This he perceives, and interrupts her with the grant of what he demands.


By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the fimplicity of Venus' doves,
By that, which knitteth fouls, and prospers loves ;
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke ;
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
Lys. Keep promise, love, Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.
Her. God speed, fair Helena! Whither away?

Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay. Demetrius loves ? you, fair ; O happy fair! Your eyes are ' lode-stars, and your tongue's sweet air


Lyf. I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow, &c. By all the vows that ever men have broke

In number more than ever woman SpokeHere she interrupts him in her turn; declares herself satisfied, and consents to meet him in the following words,

Her. - In that same place thou bas oppointed me,

To-morrow truly will I meet with thee. This division of the lines, besides preserving the character, gives the dialogue infinitely more force and spirit. WARBURTON.

This emendation is judicious, but not necessary. I have there. fore given the note without altering the text. The cenfure of men, as oftner perjured than women, seems to make that linc more proper for the lady. JOHNSON.

The quarto reads-your fair. JOHNSON. 3 Your eyes are lode-fiar .) This was a complement not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode ftar is the leading or guiding itar, that is, the pole-ftar. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lade-fione, either because it leads iron, or because it guides the failor. Milton has the same thought in L'Allegro:

Tow'rs and bauliments he fees
Bofom'd hogb in iufted tries,
W'bere perbaps some beauty lies,
Tbe Cynosure of ne:gbb'ring ges.

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