Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:
If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd,
And now to Helen is it home return'd,
There to remain.
Lys.

Helen, it is not so.
Dem. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.

Re-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 sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense.

180 Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found; Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy 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 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 ?

190 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 conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision ?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time

200 For parting us,-0, is all forgot ? All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence ?

210

220

We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
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 an 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.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
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 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 unloved ?
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:

230

240

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

251 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; he'll ...
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 !

261 Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change is this ? Sweet love,

Lys. Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathed medicine ! hated potion, 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.

270
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 me:
Why, then you left me—0, the gods forbid !
In earnest, shall I say?
Lys.

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; 'tis no jest

280 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 stolen 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

290 Between our statures; she hath urged 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;

300 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 is 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.

310
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. 320 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;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
Dem.

You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend

330

« PreviousContinue »