Page images
PDF
EPUB

Hel. You do advance your cunning more and more.

When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray! These vows are Hermia's; Will you give her o'er?

Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh :
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,

Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
Lys. I had no judgment, when to her I swore.
Hel. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
Lys. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
Dem. awaking.] O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine !

To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow 20!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus' snow,
Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow,
When thou hold'st up thy hand: 0, let me kiss

This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss !
HEL. O, spite ! O, hell! I see you are all bent

To set against me, for your merriment.
If you were civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join, in souls, to mock me too?
If you were a men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so.
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
And now both rivals, to mock Helena:
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes
With your derision! None of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin ; and extort

A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.
Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so ;

For you love Hermia: this, you know, I know:
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia's love I yield you up my part;
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,

Whom I do love, and will do to my death.
HEL. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:

If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

• Were, in the quartos. The folio, are.

My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd;
And now to Helen it is home return'd,

There to remain.
Lys.

Helena, it is not so.
Dem. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,

Lest, to thy peril, thou aby b it dear.-
Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.

Enter HERMIA.

Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,

The ear more quick of apprehension makes ;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sepse,
It pays the hearing double recompense :
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thyo sound.

But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
Lys. Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?
HER. What love could press Lysander from my side ?
Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide;

Fair Helena; who more engilds the night
Than all yon fiery oes d and eyes of light.
Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee know,

The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so ?
HER. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
HEL. Lo, she is one of this confederacy !

Now I perceive they have conjoin'd, all three,
To fashion this-false sport in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid !
Have you conspir'd, have you with these contrir'd
To bait me with this foul derision ?
Is all the counsel that we two have shard,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have cbid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,--0, and is all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence ? ?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,

b

* Helen is only found in Fisher's quarto.
Aby, in Fisher's quarto. In the other copies, abide.

Thy. The folio, that. & Oes-circles.

• And was inserted in the second folio. It lends something to the pathetic simplicity of the sentiment.

Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted;
But yet a union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem:
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart,
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest 22.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 't is 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 Lysander, 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;
But miserable most, to love unlov'd!

This you should pity, rather than despise.
HER. I understand not what you mean by this !
HEL. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,

Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
Wink each at 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: 't is 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 so.

Like. The original copies have life.

Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat ;

Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak prayers 4. -
Helen, I love thee; by my life I do;
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.
Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
DEM. Quick, come, -
HER.

Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Lys. Away, you Ethiope!
DEM.

No, no, sirb:-
Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow;

But yet come not: You are a tame man, go!
Lys. 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?
Lys. Thy love? out, tawny Tartar, out!

Out, loathed medicine ! O, hated poison, hence !
HER. Do you not jest?
HEL.

Yes, 'sooth; and so do you.
Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
DEM. I would I had your bond; for I perceive

A weak bond holds you; I 'll not trust your word.
Lys. 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?

Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, of doubt,
Be certain, nothing truer, 't is 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,

Lys.

* Prayers. In the old copies, praise.

This is the reading of the folio.
Poison. Fisher's quarto has potion.

And stol'n my love's heart from him?
HEL.

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 curst a ;
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
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back,
And follow you no further: Let me go :

You see how simple and how fond I am.
HER. Why, get you gone: Who is 't that hinders you?
HEL. A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
HER. What, with Lysander ?
HEL.

With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid: she shall not harm thee, Helena. DEM. No, sir; she shall not, though you take her part. HEL. 0, when she 's angry, she is keen and shrewd :

Curst-sbrewish.

« PreviousContinue »