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And will you rent our ancient love afunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
Her. I am amazed at your passionate words :
Hel. Have you not set Lyfander, as in scorn,
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.
But miserable moft, to love ùnlov'd?
you fhould pity, rather than despise.
Hel. Ay, do, perséver,counterfeit fad looks,
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse;
Hel. O excellent !
Sweet, do not scorn her fo.
Lrs. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat; Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do;
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
“ 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,
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
Dem. I say, I love thee more than he can do.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
No, no, sir :-he will
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.
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
Ay, by my life;
Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!"
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.”
- 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."
Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Lower! hark, again.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
2 --- cærft ;] i. e. Trewish or mischievous.
Thus in the old proverbial saying: “ Carft cow's have short borns.” STEEVE XS.