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With ears that fweep away the morning dew;'
Judge, when you hear.-But, foft; what nymphs are these?
EGE. My lord, this is my daughter here afleep; And this, Lyfander; this Demetrius is; This Helena, old Nedar's Helena:
I wonder of their being here together.
THE. No doubt, they rofe up early, to obferve The rite of May;' and, hearing our intent,
the fame defeription, has them both in one verfe, ibid. p. 34. a. "This latter was a hounde of Crete, the other was of Spart.' T. WARTON.
So fanded; ] So marked with fmall fpots. JOHNSON. Sandy'd means of a fandy colour, which is one of the true des notements of a blood-hound. STEEVENS.
3 With ears that Sweep away the morning dew; ] So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613:
the fierce Theffalian hounds,
"With their flag ears, ready to fweep the dew
4 I wonder of] The modern editors read-I wonder at, &c. But changes of this kind ought, I conceive, to be made with great caution; for the writings of our author's contemporaries furnish us with abundant proofs that many modes of fpeech, which now feem harsh to our ears, were juftified by the phrafeology of former times. In All's well that ends well, we have:
The rite of May;] The rite of this month was once fo univerfally obferved, that even author's thought their works would obtain a more favourable reception, if published on May -Day. The following is a title-page to a metrical performance by a once celebrated poet, Thomas Churchyard.
Came here in grace of our folemnity.--
That Hermia fhould give anfwer of her choice?
THE. Go, bid the huntfien wake them with their
Horns, and fhout within.
DEMETRIUS, LYSANDer, HERMIA, and HELENA, wake and start up.
THE. Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valentine
Begin thefe wood- birds but to couple now?
Lys. Pardon, my lord.
[He and the reft kneel to THESEUS. I pray you all, ftand up.
I know, you two are rival enemies;
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
Lys. My lord, I fall reply amazedly,
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
"Come bring in Maye with me,
My Maye is fresh and greene;
"A fubjects harte, an humble mind,
"A difcourfe of Rebellion, drawne forth for to
wanton wittes how to kepe their heads on their fhoulders." "Imprinted at London, in Fleteftreat by William Griffith, Anno
Domini 1570. The first of Maye." STEEVENS.
6 -Saint Valentine is paft; ] Alluding to the old faying, that birds begin to couple on St. Valentine's day. STEEVENS.
EGE. Enough, enough, my lord; you have
I beg the law, the law, upon his head.-
You, of your wife; and me, of my confent;
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power.
6 Fair Helena in fancy following me.] Fancy is here taken for love or affection, and is oppofed to fury, as before:
Sight and tears, poor Fancy's followers."
Some now call that which a man takes particular delight in, his Flower-fancier, for a florift, and bird-fancier, for a lover. and feeder of birds, are colloquial words. JOHNSON.
So, in Barnaby Googe's Cupido Conquered, 1563:
"The chyefe of them was Ifmenis,
"Whom beft Diana lov'd,
"And next in place fat Hyale
"Whom Fancye never mov'd."
Again, in Hymen's Triumph, a Mafque by Daniel, 1623: "With all persuasions sought to win her mind
"To fancy him."
"Do not enforce me to accept a man
"I cannot fancy." STEEVENS.
as doth the fnow,] The word doth which feems to have been inadvertently omitted, was fupplied by Mr. Capell. The emendation here made is confirmed by a paffage in K. Henry V:
as doth the melted fnow
Upon the vallies." MALONE.
an idle gawd,] See note on this word, p. 7. STEEVENS.
The object, and the pleasure of mine eye,
Was I betroth'd ere I faw Hermia :?
But, like in fickness, did I loath this food:
THE. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
For in the temple, by and by with us,
And, for the morning now is fomething worn,
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS and train.
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
HER. Methinks, I fee these things with parted eye, When every thing feems double.
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
9 ―ere I saw Hermia:] The old copies read-ere I see—.
like in fickness, ] So, in the next line--" as in health-." The old copies erroneously read-" like a fickness." I owe the prefent correction to Dr. Farmer. STEEVENS.
3 Come, Hippolyta. ] I suppose, for the fake of measure, we should read. "Come my Hippolyta. STEEVENS.
4 And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own. Hermia had obferved that things appeared double to her. Helena replies, fo methinks, and
It feems to me,*
then fubjoins, that Demetrius was like a jewel, her own and not her own. He is here, then, compared to fomething which had the property of appearing to be one thing when it was another. Not the property fure of a jewel: or, if you will, of none but a falfe one, We fhould read:
"And I have found Demetrius like a gemell,
"Mine own, and not mine own."
From Gemellus, a twin. For Demetrius had that night acted two fuch different parts, that he could hardly think them both played by one and the fame Demetrius; but that there were twin Demetriufes like the two Sofias in the farce. From Gemellus comes the French, Gemeau or Jumeau, and in the feminine, Gemelle or Jumelle. So, in Macon's tranflation of The Decameron of Boccace"Il avoit trois filles plus âgees que les males, des quelles les deux qui eftoient jumelles avoient quinze ans." Quatrième Jour. Nov. 3.
This emendation is ingenious enough to deserve to be true.
Dr. Warburton has been accufed of coining the word, gemell: but Drayton has it in the preface to his Baron's Wars. The quadrin doth never double; or to use a word of heraldrie, never bringeth forth gemels." FARMER.
unless they had been all gemels or couplets."
Helena, I think, means to fay, that having found Demetrius unexpectedly, the confidered her property in him as infecure as that which a perfon has in a jewel that he has found by accident; which he knows not whether he fhall retain, aud which therefore may properly enough be called his own and not his own. She does not fay, as Dr. Warburton has reprefented, that Demetrius was like a jewel, but that he had found him, like a jewel, &c.
A kindred thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra:
"His fretted fortunes give him hope and fear
Of what he has, and has not.".
The fame kind of expreffion is found alfo in The Merchant of Venice:
"Where ev'ry fomething, being blent together,
Expreft, and not expreft." MALONE.
See alfo, Mr. Heath's REVISAL, p. 57.
2 It Seems to me,] Thus the folio. The quartos begin this fpeech