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Her. O spite! too old to be engag'd to young!
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends a ;
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye!
Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,

War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it;
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
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,-Behold!

The jaws of darkness do deveur it up:

So quick bright things come to confusion.
HER. If then true lovers have been ever crossd,

It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross ;
As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,

Wishes, and tears, poor fancy'se followers.
Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Hermia.

I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child;

From Athens is her house remov'd' seven leagues ; • Friends. So the quartos. In the folio we find

" Or else it stood upon the choice of merit." The alteration in the folio was certainly not an accidental one; but we hesitate to adopt the reading, the meaning of which is more recondite than that of friends. The " choice of merit" is opposed to the " sympathy in choice;"—the merit of the suitor recommends itself to “ another's eye,” but not to the person beloved.

Momentary. So the folio of 1623; the quartos read momentany, which Johnson says is the old and proper word. Momentany has certainly a more antique sound than momentary; but they were each indifferently used by the writers of Shakspere's time. We prefer the reading of the folio, because momentary occurs in four other passages in our poet's dramas; and this is a solitary example of the use of momentany, and that only in the quartos. The reading of the folio is invariably momentary.

Collied—black, smutted. This is a word still in use in the Staffordshire collieries. Shakspere found it there, and transplanted it into the region of poetry.

In a spleen—in a sudden fit of passion or caprice. • Fancy's followers—the followers of Love. Fancy is here used in the same sense as in the exquisite song in • The Merchant of Venice:'

“ Tell me where is fancy bred." The word is repeated with the same meaning three times in this play: in Act II., Scene 2–

“ In maiden meditation, fancy-free;"— in Act III., Scene 2–

“All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer;"and in Act IV., Scene 1

“ Fair Helena in fancy following me." * Remov'd—the reading of the folio. In the quartos we find remote. The reading of the folio is supported by several parallel passages; as in Hamlet,

" It wafts you to a more removed ground;"

And she respects me as her only son.
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 Mays,

There will I stay for thee.

My good Lysander!
I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow;
By his best arrow with the golden head;
By the simplicity of Venus' doves ;
By that which knitteth souls, 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.


HER. God speed fair Helena! Whither away?
Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.

Demetrius loves your faira: O happy fair!
Your eyes are load-stars *; and your tongue's sweet air
More tunable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching; 0, were favourb so,
(Your words I catch,) fair Hermia, ere I go,

and in' As You Like It'_“Your accent is somewhat finer than you could purchase in so removed a dwelling." Milton has in . Il Penseroso,

“ Some still removed place will fit." Upon this line Warton observes, “ Removed is the ancient English participle passive for the Latin remote." Fair_used as a substantive for beauty. As in The Comedy of Errors,'

“ My decayed fair

A sunny look of his would soon repair." This is the reading of the quartos. In the folio we have “ you fair.” • Favour-features--appearance-outward qualities. In Cymbeline' we find

" I have surely seen him;

His favour is familiar to me;" in · Measure for Measure," " Surely, sir, a good favour you have;" and in Hamlet,' “ Tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come."

• The reading of all the old editions is, Your words I catch. The substitution of Yours would I catch was made by Hanmer. We leave the text as in the old editions. It is in the repetition of

My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I 'll give to be to you translated.
0, teach me how you look; and with what art

You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
HER. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
HEL. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
HER. I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
HEL. O, that my prayers could such affection move!
HER. The more I hate, the more he follows me.
HEL. The more I love, the more he hateth me.
HER. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine a.
HEL. None. But your beauty; would that fault were mine!
HER. Take comfort; he no more shall see my face ;

Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seemd Athens like a paradise to me:
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,

That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a hellb!
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold :

To-morrow night, when Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,)

Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.
HER. And in the wood, where often you and I

Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet:
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies

the word fair that Helena catches the words of Hermia; but she would also catch her voice, her intonation, and her expression, as well as her words. We do not think, as Mr. Halliwell thinks, that the reading of the second folio helps the matter :-“ Your words I'd catch.” * This is the reading of the quarto printed by Fisher. That by Roberts, and the folio, read

“ His folly, Helena, is none of mine."
Unto a hell. So Fisher's quarto. The others, into hell.
• In the original editions we have the following reading:-

"And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms, of their counsel suelld,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet,
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes

To seek new friends and strange companions." It will be observed that the whole dialogue is in rhyme; and the introduction, therefore, of four lines of blank verse has a harsh effect. The emendations were made by Theobald; and they are

[Exit HER.


Farewell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius !
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight

From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
Lys. I will, my Hermia.--Helena, adieu :

As you on him, Demetrius dote on you !
Hel. How happy some o'er other some can be !

Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so ;
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Things base and vild a, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft b beguil'd.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy love is perjur'd everywhere:
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine ;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense :
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.


certainly ingenious and unforced. Companies for companions has an example in · Henry V.;'

“ His companies unletterd, rude, and shallow." We cannot carry our reverence for the old texts so far as to exclude such an evident improvement.

- Vild—vile. The word repeatedly occurs in Shakspere, as in Spenser; and when it does so occur we are scarcely justified in substituting the vile of the modern editors.

So oft, in the quartos. The folio, often.

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SCENE II.—The same.. A Room in a Cottage.


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Quin. Is all our company here?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all

Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and the duchess, on his wed.

ding-day at night. Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the

names of the actors; and so grow on to a point. Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death

of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.–Now, good Peter

Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll : Masters, spread yourselves.
Quin. Answer, as I call you.—Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
Bor. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant?
Quix. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: If I do it, let the

audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some
measure. To the rest :

-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.

“The raging rocks,

And shivering shocks,
Shall break the locks

Of prison-gates;
And Phibbus' car
Shall shine from far,
And make and mar

The foolish fates."
This was lofty!—Now name the rest of the players. This is Ercles' vein",
a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

• Scrip-script—a written paper. Bills of exchange are called by Locke" scrips of paper;" and the term is still known upon the Stock Exchange.

Bottom and Sly both speak of a theatrical representation as they would of a piece of cloth or a pair of shoes. Sly says of the play, “ 'T is a very excellent piece of work."

Ercles-Hercules-was one of the roaring heroes of the rude drama which preceded Shakspere. In Greene's Groat's-worth of Wit' (1592), a player says, " The twelve labours of Hercules have I terribly thundered on the stage." There is a passage in Heywood's ' Apology for Actors' which strikingly exhibits the Hercules of the drama for the multitude, -" fighting with Hydra, murdering Geryon, slaughtering Diomed, wounding the Stymphalides, killing the Centaurs," &c., &c.

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