Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

And will you rent our ancient love afunder,

To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it;
Though I alone do feel the injury.

Her. I am amazed at your passionate words :
I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.

Hel. Have you not set Lyfander, as in scorn,
To follow me, and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
(Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,)
To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates ? and wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection;
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What though I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate;

The true correction of the passage I owe to the friendship and communication of the ingenious Martin Folkes, efq.—Two of the first, second, &c. are terms peculiar in heraldry, to distinguish the different quarterings of conts. THEOBALD,

These are, as Theobald observes, terms peculiar to heraldry; but that observation does not help to explain them. Every branch of a family is called a house; and none but the first of the first honje can bear the arms of the family, without fome distinction. Treo of the firft, therefore, means tavo coats of the firft house, which are properly due but to one. M. MASON.

According to the rules of heraldry, the firfi house only, (e. g. a father who has a fon living, or an elder brother as distinguilhed from a younger,) has a right to bear the family coat. The son's coat is distinguished from the father's by a label; the younger brother's from the elder's by a mullet. The fame crest is common to both. Helena therefore means to say, that the and her friend were as closely united, as much one person, as if they were both of the firft house; as if they both had the privilege dne but to one perfon, (viz. to him of the firit houfe, the right of bearing the family coat without any distinguishing mark. MALONE.

[ocr errors]

But miserable moft, to love ùnlov'd?
This

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

Hel. Ay, do, perséver,counterfeit fad looks,
Make mows 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 fo.
Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.

Lrs. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat; Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak

[ocr errors]

prayers.?

Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do;

for ever

s Ay, do, perséver,] Perfever is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly so pronounced. Thus our author, in All's Well that ends well, Ac IV. sc. ii :

say thou art mine, and ever
“ My love, as it begins, fo shall perséver."
Again, in Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia, 1639:

“ May they in love and union still persever." STEEVENS. 6-such an argument.] Such a subje&t of light merriment.

JOHNSON. So, in the first part of King Henry IV. Ad II. sc. ii.

it would be argument for a week,” &c. Steevens. than her weak prayers.] The old copies read:

than her weak praise." STEEVENS. Mr. Theobald proposed to read-prays. A noun thus formed from the verb, to pray, is much in our author's manner; and the transcriber's ear might have been easily deceived by the similarity of sounds. MALONE,

[ocr errors]

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.
Lrs. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
Dem. Quick, come, -
HER.

Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Lrs. Away, you Ethiop!
DEM.

No, no, sir :-he will
Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow
But yet come not: You are a tame man, go!
Lrs. 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?

Lrs. Thy love? out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine ! hated potion, hence!

Her. Do you not jest?

: No, no, fir:- he will, &c.] This paffage, like almost all those in these plays in which there is a sudden transition, or the sense is haftily broken off, is much corrupted in the old copies. My text [No, no; he'll.-far,] is formed from the quarto printed by Fisher and the first folio. The words “ he'll" are not in the folio, and Sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius, I suppose, would fay, No, no; he'll not have resolution to dijengage himself from Hermia. But turning abruptly to Lysander, he addresses him ironically:-“ Sir, seem to break loose;" &c. Malone.

No critical remedy is nearer at hand, than a supposition that obscure passages are sentences designedly abrupt and imperfect.-Lysander calls Hermia an“ Æthiop." “ No, no, fir:" replies Demetrius ; i. e. She is none; and then ironically speaks to her of Lysander, as of one whose ftruggle to break loose is merely a pretended effort. He next addresses his provocation personally to Lysander.— I have left the text as I found it; only reading (for the fake of metre,) he will, instead of he'll. STEEVENS.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Hel.

Yes, 'footh; and so do you. Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

Dem. I would, I had your bond: for, I perceive, À weak bond holds you ; I'll not trust your word. Lrs. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill 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 lov'd me; yet, since night, you left

me:
Why, then you left me,-0, the gods forbid !
In earnest, shall I say?
Lrs.

Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt,
Bę certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest,
That I do hate thee, and love Helena.

Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!"
You thief of love! what, have you come by night,
And stol’n my love's heart from him?

90 me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!] Juggler in this line is used as a trisyllable : So again, in X. Henry VI. P. I:

“ She and the dauphin have been juggling.
So also tickling, wrestler, and many more. MALONE.

- you canker-bloffom!] The canker-blossom is not in this place the blossom of the canker or wild rose, which our author alludes to in Much ado about Nothing, Act I. sc. iii:

I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So, in this play, Act II. sc. iii: • Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds."

grace:"

HEL.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 urg'd 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 curft ; ?
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,
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

2 --- cærft ;] i. e. Trewish or mischievous.

Thus in the old proverbial saying: “ Carft cow's have short borns.” STEEVE XS.

« PreviousContinue »