Page images
PDF
EPUB

Lys. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both; One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

Her. Nay, good Lysander ; for my fake, my dear, Lye further off yet, do not lye fo near.

Lyf. O take the senso, sweet, of my innocence;' Love takes the meaning in love's conference. I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit ; So that but one heart we can + make of it:

3 O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;

Lave takes the meaning, in love's conference. ] Here, by some mischance or other, innocence and conference have been jumbled into one another's places, and thereby deprived a very sensible reply of all kind of meaning: Restore each to its right place and the sense will be this ;-when the had interpreted his words to an evil meaning, he replies,

O take the sense, fwett, of my conference; į. e. judge of my meaning by the drift of my whole speech, and do not pervert the sense of an ambiguous word to a meaning quite foreign to the discourse. Besides, says he,

Love takes the meaning, in love's innocence. i.e. The innocence of your love may teach you to discover the innocence of mine. These are the sentiments, which were quite loft in this aukward transposition. WARBURTON.

I am by no means convinced of the neceffity of this alteration. Lysander in the language of love professes, that as they have one heart, they shall have one bed; this Hermia thinks rather too much, and intreats him to lye further off Lyfander answers,

O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence. understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy mind.

Love takes the meaning, in love's conference. In the conversation of those who are assured of each other's kind. ness, not suspicion, but love takes the meaning. No malevolent interpretation is to be made, but all is to be received in the sense which love can find, and which love can dictate. JOHNSON.

The latter line is certainly intelligible as Mr. Johnson has explained it; but, i think, it requires a flight alteration to make it connect well with the former. I would read, Love take the meaning in love's conference.

Observ. & Conject. printed at Oxford, 1766. -we can make of it:] The folio, instead of we can, reads çan you. STEEVENS.

Two

:}

Two bosoms interchained with an oath ;
So then, two bosoms, and a single troth :
Then, by your side no bed-room me deny;
For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lye.

Her. Lysander, riddles very prettily :-
Now much beshrew my manners, and my pride,
If Herinia meant to say, Lysander ly’d.
But, gentle friend, for love and curtesy,
Lye further off, in human modesty.
Such feparation, as, may well be said,
Becomes a virtuous batchelor and a maid,
So far be distant, and good night, sweet friend :
Thy love ne'er alter, till thy sweet life end !

Lys. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer say I ;
And then end life, when I end loyalty !
Here is my bed : Sleep give thee all his rest!
Her. With half that wish the wisher's eyes be
press'd !

They seep. Enter Puck. Puck. Through the forest have I gone, But Athenian found I none, On whose eyes I might approve This Aower's force in stirring love ; Night and silence ! who is here? Weeds of Athens he doch wear ; This is he my master said, Despised the Athenian maid. And here the maiden Neeping sound On the dank and dirty ground. Pretty soul ! she durft not lye Near to this lack-love, this kill-curtesy.s Churl upon thy eyes, I throw All the power this charm doth owe:

* Near in this lack-love, this kill-curtesy. ] Mr. Theobald and fir T. Hanmer, for the sake of the measure, leave out this lack-love.

STEEVENS.

When thou wak'st, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eye-lid.
So awake, when I am gone ;
For I must now to Oberon.

[Exit.
Enter Demetrius and Helena running.
Hel. Stay, tho' thou kill me, sweet Demetrius !
Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me

thus. Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so. Dem. Stay, on thy peril; 1 alone will go.

(Exit Demetrius. Hel. O, I am out of breath in this fond chace! 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 oftner 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, tho' Demetrius Do (as a monster) fly my presence thus. What wicked, and dissembling glass of mine Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne? But who is here ? Lysander ! on the ground: Dead or asleep? I see no blood, no wound ! Lysander, if you live, good fir, awake. Lyf. And run thro' fire I will, for thy sweet sake.

(Waking. Transparent Helena! Nature shews art, That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart. Where is Demetrius ? Oh, how fit a word Is that vite name, to perish on my sword !

Hel. Do not say fo, Lysander ; say not fo; What tho' he love your Hermia? Lord, what tho'?

my grace.) My acceptableness, the favour that I can gaia. JOHNSON.

Yet

}

Yet Hermia still loves you : then be contept.

Lyf. 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 fway'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 reason ;
And, touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will,'
And leads me to your eyes ; where I o'erlook
Love's stories, written in love's richest book.

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When, at your hands, did I deserve this fcorn?
Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius'

eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good croth, you do me wrong, good footh, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo :
But fare you well. Perforce I must confefs,
I thought you lord of more true gentleness;8
Oh, that a lady, of one man refus'd,
Should, of another, therefore be abus'd! (Exit.

Lys. She sees not Hermia :--Hermia, Neep thou

[ocr errors]

there ;

And never may'st thou come Lysander near !
For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things,
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings ;
Or, as the heresies, that men do leave,
Are hated most of those they did deceive ;

7 Reason becomes the marshal to my will,] That is, My will now follows reason. JOHNSON.

8 true gentleness ;] Gentleness is equivalent to what, in modern language, we should call the spirit of a gensleman. PERCY.

So

So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And all my powers address your love and might
To honour Helen, and to be her knight! [Exit.
Her. Starting from feep.) Help me, Lysander, help

me ! do thy beft,
To pluck this crawling serpent from

my

breast!
Ay me, for picy !--- what a dream was here?
Lysander, look, how I do quake with fear:
Me-thought, a serpent eat my heart away ;
And you' fat 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 you hear;
Speak, of all loves;' I swoon almost, with fear.
Nor-then I well perceive, you are not nigh:
Or death, or you, I'll find immediately. [Exit.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

. And you) Instead of you, the first folio reads

s yet. Mr. Pope first gave the right word from the quarto 1600. Steevens.

Speak, of all loves ;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author. So Merry Wives, &c. Ac II. Sc. 8. -to send her your little page, of all loves."

STEEVENS. * Or death, or you, &c.] The folio 1623, and the quarto 1600, instead of the first or, read either. STEEVENS.

ACT

« PreviousContinue »