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But miferable moft, to love unlov'd?
Sweet, do not fcorn her fo. DEM. If the cannot entreat, I can compel.
LYS. Thoucanft compelno more than fhe entreat; Thy threats have no more ftrength, than her weak
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do;
5 Ay, do, perfever,] Perfever is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly fo pronounced. Thus our author, in All's
Well that ends well, A& IV. fc. ii:
fay thou art mine, and ever
"My love, as it begins, fo fhall perfever." Again, in Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia, 1639;
May they in love and union ftill perfever." STEEVENS. 6 -fuch an argument.] Such a fubje&t of light merriment.
So, in the first part of King Henry IV. A& II. sc. ii.
it would be argument for a week, &c. STEEVENS. than her weak prayers.] The old copies read:
than her weak praise. STEEVENS.
Mr. Theobald propofed to read-prays. A noun thus formed from the verb, to pray, is much in our anthor's manner; and the tranfcriber's ear might have been easily deceived by the fimilarity of founds. MALONE.
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
Lyfander, whereto tends all this?
LYS. Away, you Ethiop!
DEM. No, no, fir:-he will Seem to break loofe; 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 ferpent. HER. Why are you grown fo rude? what change is this,
Thy love? out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence! HER. Do you not jeft?
No, no, fir:- he will, &c.] This paffage, like almost all thofe in thefe plays in which there is a fudden tranfition, or the sense is haftily broken off, is much corrupted in the old copies. My text [No, no; he'll-fir,] is formed from the quarto printed by Fisher and the firft folio. The words "he'll" are not in the folio, and Sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius, I fuppofe, would fay, No, no; he'll not have refolution to difengage himself from Hermia. But turning abruptly to Lyfander, he addreffes him ironically: 166 Sir, feem to break loofe;" &c. MALONE.
No critical remedy is nearer at hand, than a fuppofition that obfcure paffages are fentences defignedly abrupt and imperfect. — Lyfander calls Hermia an "Ethiop. "No, no, fir:" replies Demetrius; i. e. fhe is none; and then ironically fpeaks to her of Lyfander, as of one whofe ftruggle to break loofe is merely a pretended effort. He next addrelles his provocation perfonally to Lyfander. I have left the text as I found it; only reading (for the fake of metre,) he will, iuftead of he'll. STEEVENS.
HEL. 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 truft your word. Lys. What, fhould I hurt her, ftrike her, kill her dead?
Yes, 'footh; and so do you.
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her fo.
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 Lyfander?
I am as fair now, as I was erewhile.
Since night, you lov'd me; yet, fince night, you left
Why, then you left me,-O, the gods forbid!In carneft, fhall I say?
Ay, by my life; And never did defire to fee thee more. Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt, Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jeft,
That I do hate thee, and love Helena.
HER. O me! you juggler! you canker-bloffom!" You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And ftol'n my love's heart from him?
90 me! you juggler! you canker-bloom!] Juggler in this line is used as a trifyllable: So again, in K. Henry VI. P. I: "She and the dauphin have been juggling."
So alfo tickling, wrestler, and many more. MALONE.
-you canker-bloffom!] The canker-bloffom is not in this place the bloffom of the canker or wild rofe, which our author alludes to in Much ado about Nothing, A& I. fc. iii :
"I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rofe in his grace:' but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So, in this play, A& II. fc. iii:
Some to kill cankers in the mufk-rofe buds"
Have you no modefty, no maiden fhame,
Now I perceive that fhe hath made compare
HEL. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me: I was never curft; *
I have no gift at all in fhrewishness;
I am a right maid for my cowardice;
Let her not ftrike me: You, perhaps, may think,
Lower! hark, again.
HEL. Good Hermia, do not be fo bitter with
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counfels, never wrong'd you;
I told him of your flealth unto this wood:
To frike me, fpurn me, nay, to kill me too:
HEL. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
Lys. Be not afraid: she shall not harm thee,
DEM. No, fir; fhe fhall not, though you take her
HEL. O, when fhe's angry, fhe is keen and fhrewd: She was a vixen, when fhe went to school;* And, though fhe be but little, fhe is fierce.
HER. Little again? nothing but low and little?Why will you fuffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
Get you gone, you dwarf; You minimus, of hind'ring knot-grafs made;' You bead, you acorn.
3 how fond I am.] Fond, i. e. foolish. So, in The Mer✩ chant of Venice:
I do wonder,
"Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art fo fond
"To come abroad with him." STEEVENS.
4 She was a vixen, when he went to fchool;] Vixen or fixen primitively fignifies a female fox. So, in The boke of hunting, that is eleped Mayfter of Game; an ancient MS. in the collection of Francis Douce, Efqr. Grays Inn: "The fixen of the Foxe is affaute onys in the yer. She hath venomous biting as a wolfe." STEEVENS.
S of hind'ring knot-grafs made;] It appears that knot-grafs was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child.