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Her. Do you not jest?
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 loved me; yet since night you left
Why, then you left me,—0, the gods forbid !
Ay, by my life;
'Tis no jest, That I do hate thee, and love Helena.
Her. O me, you juggler! you canker-blossom! 1 You thief of love! What, have you come by night, And stolen my love's heart from him? Hel.
Fine, i’faith! Have
you no modesty, no maiden shame,
her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed 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;
1 A worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers.
How low am I? I am not yet so low,
Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Lower! Hark, again.
told him of your stealth unto this wood.
With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid ; she shall not harm thee,
Helena. Dem. No, sir; she shall not, though you take her
part. Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd. She was a vixen, when she went to school; And, though she be but little, she is fierce.
Her. Little again ? Nothing but low and little ?-Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ? Let me come to her. Lys.
Get you gone, you dwarf;
1 i. e. froward, cross.
You minimus of hindring knot-grass made;
Dem. You are too officious
Now she holds me not.
[Exeunt Lys. and DEM.
I will not trust you, I ;
[Exit, pursuing HELENA. Obe. This is thy negligence; still thou mistak’st, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.
Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Obe. Thou see'st, these lovers seek a place to fight.
1 Anciently knot-grass was believed to prevent the growth of children.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste.
Obe. But we are spirits of another sort.
1 So in Cymbeline, Act ii. Sc. 11:
“Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night.” See note on that passage.
2 The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who, being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies.
3 Cephalus, the mighty hunter, and paramour of Aurora, was here prob ably meant
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Goblin, lead them up and down.
Lys. Where art thou, proud Demetrius ? Speak
thou now. Puck. Here, villain ; drawn and ready. Where
art thou ? Lys. I will be with thee straight. Puck.
Follow me, then, To plainer ground. [Exit Lys. as following the voice.
Lysander ! speak again. Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled? Speak. In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy
Yea; art thou there? Puck. Follow my voice; we'll try no manhood here.
1 Oberon here boasts that he was not compelled, like meaner spirits, to vanish at the first dawn.