Page images
PDF
EPUB

It fell upon a little western Aower,-
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound, -
And maidens call it, love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I show'd thee once ;
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again,
Ere the leviatban can swim a league.

Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth la forty minutes.

[Exit Ob. Having once this juice. I'll watch Titania when she is asleep, And drop the liquor of it in her eyes : The next thing then she waking looks upon, (Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,) She shall pursue it with the soul of love. And ere I take this charm off from her sight, As I can take it, with another herb) l'll make her render

up
her page

to me. But who comes here? I am invisible ;) And I will over-hear their conference.

Enter DEMETRIUS, Helena following him.
Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander and fair Hermia ?
The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
Thou told'st me, they were stol'n into this wood,
And here am I, and wood' within this wood,
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.

Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant ;
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart

[2] The flower or violet, commonly called pansies, or heart's ease, is named love-in-idleness in Warwickshire, and in Lyte's Herbal. There is a reason why Shakespeare says it is “ now purple with love's wound," because one or two of its petals are of a purple colour. TOLLET.

(3] I thought proper bere to observe, that, as Oberon and Puck his attendant may be frequently observed to speak, when there is no mention of their entering: they are designed by the poet to be supposed on the stage during the greatest part or the remainder of the play; and to mix, as they please, as spirits, with the other actors; and embroil the plot, by their interposition, without being seen, or heard, but when to their own purpose. THEOBALD.

[4] Wood, or mad, wild, raving. POPE.

Is true as steel : Leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.

Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair ?
Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth
Tell you-I do not, nor I cannot love

you u ? Hel. And even for that do I love

you

the more.
I am your spaniel ; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me ; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you..
What worser place can I beg in your love,
(And yet a place of high respect with me)
Than to be used as you use your dog?

Dem. Tempt not so much the hatred of my spirit ;
For I am sick, when I do look on thee.

Hel. And I am sick, when I look not on you.

Dem. You do impeach your modesty too much,
To leave the city, and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not ;
To trust the opportunity of night,
And the ill counsel of a desert place,
With the rich worth of your virginity.

Hel. Your virtue is my privilege for that.
It is not night, when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night :S
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company ;
For you, in my respect, are all the world :
Then how can it be said, I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?

Dem. I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.

Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you. Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd; Apollo Alies, and Daphne holds the chase ; The dove pursues the griffin ; the mild hind' Makes speed to catch the tiger : Bootless speed ! When cowardice pursues, and valour flies. (5] This passage is paraphrased from two lines of an ancient poet (Tibullus)

“ Lumen, et in solis tu mihi turba locis." As the works of King David might be more familiar to Shakespeare than Roman poetry, perhaps, on the present occasion, the flth verse of the 139th Psalm was in his thoughts : " Yea, the darkness is oo darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day." STEEVENS.

Tu nocte vel atra

JOHNSON.

Dem. I will not stay thy questions ; let me go :
Or, if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.

Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fye, Demetrius !
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex:
We cannot fight for love, as many men do ;
We should be woo'd, and were not made to woo.
I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.

[Exeunt Dem. and Hec. Ob. Fare thee well, nymph : ere he do leave this

grove,
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.

Re-enter Puck.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.

Puck. Ay, there it is.
06. I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows ;
Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine :
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight ;
And there the snake throws her enameli'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in :
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove :
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes ;
But do it, when the next thing he espies
May be the lady : Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care ; that he

may prove More fond on her, than she

upon

her love : And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow. Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.

[Exeunt.

[5] The ozlip is the greater cowslip. STEEVENS.

[6]-the man--had on.) I desire no surer evidence to prove that the broad Scotch pronunciation once prevailed in England, than such a rhyme as the first of these words affords to the second. STEEVENS.

SCENE III.
Another part of the wood. Enter TITANIA, with her Train.

Tita. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy song ;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence ;'
Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds ;
Some, war with rear-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats ; and some, keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our quaint spirits : Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices, and let me rest.

SONG.

1.
1 Fai. You spotted snakes, with double tongue,

Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen ;
Newts, and blind-worms, do no wrong ;*

Come not near our fairy queen :
Chorus. Philomel, with melody,

Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby:

Never harm, nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.

II.
2 Fai. Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence :
Beetles black, approach not near ;

Worm, nor snail, do no offence.
Chorus. Philomel, with melody, &c.

[7] A roundel is a dance in a ring. GRAY

18) Dr. Warburton reads :-for the third part of the midnight. But the persons employed are fairies, to whom the third part of a minute might not be a very short time to do such work in. The critic might as well bave objected to the epithet tall, which the fairy bestows on the cowslip. But Shakespeare, through the play, bas preserved the proportion of other things in respect of these tiny beings, compared with whose size, a cowslip might be tall, and to whose powers of execution, a minute might be equivalent to an age.

STEEVENS. [9] A rere-mouse is a bat, a mouse that raises itself from the ground by the aid of wings. STEEVENS.

[1] By both these terms, I suppose, our author means forked ; as the tongues of snakes are sometimes represented in ancient tapestry and paintings, and, it may be added, are so in nature. STEEVENS.

[2] The next is the eft, the blind-worm is the Cæcilia or slow-worm. They are both ingredients in the cauldron of Macbeth. See Macbeth Act IV. sc. i.

STEEVENS

1 Fai. Hence, away ; now all is well :
One, aloof, stand centinel.

[Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps.

Enter OBERON.
Obe. What thou seest, when thou dost awake,

[Squeezes the flower on TITANIA's eye-lids.
Do it for thy true love take i
Love, and languish for his sake :
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou' wak'st, it is thy dear;
Wake, when some vile thing is near. [Exit.

Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA.
Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;

And to speak troth, I have forgot our way ; We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,

And tarry for the comfort of the day.

Her. Be it so, Lysander : find you out a bed, For I upon

this bank will rest my head.
Lys. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

Her. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.
Lys. O, take the sense, sweet, of my

innocence ; Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.”

mean, that my heart unto yours is knit;
So that but one heart can we make of it:
Two bosoms interchained with an oath ;
So then, two bosoms, and a single troth.
Then, by your side no bed-room me deny
For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.

Her. Lysander riddles very prettily :-
Now much beshrew my manners, and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say, Lysander lied.

[2] The ounce is a small tiger, or tiger-cat. JOHNSON [3] The idea is exactly similar to that of St. Paul : “ Love thinketh no evil.”

HENLEY. [4] This word, of wbich the etymology is not exactly known, implies a sinistes wish, and means the same as if she had said " now ill befall my manners," &c.

STEEVENS. See Minsheu's etymology of it, which seems to be an imprecation or wish of such evil to one, as the venomous biting of the shrew-mouse. TOLLET.

« PreviousContinue »