Puslapio vaizdai

There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the fharp Athenian law
Cannot purfue us: If thou lov'ft me then,
Steal forth thy father's houfe to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do obfervance to a morn of May,
There will I ftay for thee.


My good Lyfander!
I fwear to thee, by Cupid's ftrongest bow;
By his best arrow with the golden head; *
By the fimplicity of Venus' doves;

By that which knitteth fouls, and profpers loves;
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under fail was feen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke;-
In that fame place thou haft appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.


Lys. Keep promife, love: Look, here comes Helena.


HER. God speed, fair Helena! Whither away? HEL. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.

his beft arrow with the golden head; ] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book II:


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arrowes two, and tint with gold or lead:
"Some hurt, accufe a third with horny head.



by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,] Shakspeare had forgot that Thefeus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and consequently long before the death of Dido.



Demetrius loves your fair: 3 O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-ftars; *
are lode-fars; and your tongue's sweet


More tuneable than lark to fhepherd's ear,

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching; O, were favour fo!'
Your's would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;

3 Demetrius loves your fair:] Fair is used again as a substantive in The Comedy of Errors, Ad III. fc. iv:

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"A funny look of his would foon repair."
Again, in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:

"But what foul hand hath harm'd Matilda's fair?"
Again, in A Looking-Glafs for London and England 1598:
"And fold in me the riches of thy fair.

Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:

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"Then tell me, love, fhall I have all thy fair?"

Again, in Greene's Never too Late, 1616: "Though the were falfe to Menelaus, yet her fair made him brook her follies." Again:

"Flora in tawny hid up all her flowers,

"And would not diaper the meads with fair." STEEVENS.
4 Your eyes are lode-ftars;] This was a compliment not unfre-
quent among the old poets. The lode ftar is the leading or guiding
ftar, that is, the pole-ftar. The magnet is, for the fame reason,
called the lode-ftone, either because it leads iron, or because it
guides the failor. Milton has the fame thought in L'Allegro :
"Towers and battlements it fees

"Bofom'd high in tufted trees,
"Where perhaps fome beauty lies,
"The cynofure of neighb'ring eyes.

Davies calls Queen Elizabeth,

Lode-flone to hearts, and lode-ftone to all eyes." JOHNSON.

So, in The Spanish Tragedy:

"Led by the loadftar of her heavenly looks."

Again, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594:

"The loadftar and the honour of our line."


0, were favour fo!] Favour is feature, countenance. So,

in Twelfth Night, A& II. fc. iv:

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thiue eye

"Hath ftay'd upon some favour that it loves." STEEVENS.

6 Yours would I catch.] This emendation is taken from the

My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue fhould catch your tongue's fweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The reft I'll give to be to you tranflated.?

O, teach me how you look; and with what art
You fway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

HER. I frown upon him, yet he loves me ftill. HEL. O, that your frowns would teach my fmiles fuch fkill!

HER. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. HEL. O, that my prayers could fuch affection


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HER. The more I hate, the more he follows me, HEL. The more I love, the more he hateth me. HER. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. HEL. None, but your beauty; 'Would that fault were mine!


Oxford edition. The old reading is


Your words I catch


Mr. Malone reads "Your words I'd catch." STEEVENS. The emendation [I'd catch] was made by the editor of the fecond folio. Sir T. Hanmer reads "Yours would I catch;" in which he has been followed by the fubfequent editors. As the old reading (words) is intelligible, I have adhered to the ancient copies.

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I have deferted the old copies, only because I am unable to difcover how Helena, by catching the words of Hermia, could also catch her favour, i. c. her beauty. STEEVENS.


to be to you translated.] To tranflate, in our author, fometimes fignifies to change, to transform. So, in Timon : "to prefent flaves and fervants

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Tranflates his rivals.'


8 His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.] The folio, and the quarto printed by Roberts, read — His folly, Helena, is none of mine. JOHNSON

9 None, but your beauty; 'Would that fault were mine!] I would point this line thus:

“None.—But your beauty;


Would that fault were mine!"


HER. Take comfort; he no more fhall fee my face;

Lyfander and myfelf will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lyfander fee, *
Seem'd Athens as a paradife to me:
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a hell!

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: To-morrow night when Phoebe doth behold Her filver vifage in the wat'ry glass,

Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grafs, (A time that lovers' flights doth ftill conceal,) Through Athen's gates have we devis'd to steal.

HER. And in the wood, where often you and I Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie, Emptying our bofoms of their counsel fweet; There my Lyfander and myself fhall meet:

2 Take confort; he no more shall fee my face; Lyfander and myself will fly this place.


Before the time I did Lyfander fee, Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of thefe lines. Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her, She therefore bids her not to confider the power of pleafing, as an advantage to be much envied or much defired, fince Hermia, whom fhe confiders as poffeffing it in the fupreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the lofs of happiness. JOHNSON.

3 - - faint primrose-beds - Whether the epithet faint has reference to the colour or fmeli of primrofes, let the reader determine. STEEVENS.

• Emptying our bofoms of their counsel fweet;] That is, emptying our bofoms of thofe fecrets upon which же We were wont to confult each other with fo fweet a fatisfaction. HEATH.

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Emptying our bofoms of their counsel fwell'd;
There my Lyfander and myself shall meet :
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,

To feek new friends, and ftrange companions.] This whole scene is ftri&tly in rhyme; and that it deviates in thefe two couplets, I am perfuaded, is owing to the ignorance of the first, and the inaccuracy of the later editors. I have therefore ventured to restore.

And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To feek new friends and ftranger companies.
Farewel, fweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius! -

the thimes, as I make no doubt but the poet first gave them. Sweet was eafily corrupted into fwell'd, because that made an antithefts to emptying and frange companions our editors thought was plain English; but ranger companies, a little quaint and unintelligible. Our author very often ufes the fubftantive, franger adjectively and companies to fignify companions: as in Richard II. Aă I: To tread the ranger paths of banishment."

And in Henry V:

His companies unletter'd, rude and fallow."


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Dr. Warburton retains the old reading, and perhaps juftifiably; for a bofom fwell'd with fecrets does not appear as an expreffion un likely to have been used by our author, who speaks of a fluff'd bofom in Macbeth.

In Lyly's Midas, 1592. is a fomewhat fimilar expreffion : " I am one of thofe whole tongues are fwell'd with filence." Again,. in our author's K. Richard II:

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the unfeen grief

"That fwells in filence in the tortur'd foul."

Of counfels fwell'd" may mean- fwell'd with counfels.

Of and with, in other ancient writers have the fame fignification. See alfo, Macbeth - Note on

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Of Kernes and Gallow-glaffes was fupplied."

i. e. with them.

In the scenes of K. Richard II. there is likewife a mixture of thime and blank verfe. Mr. Tyrwhitt, however, concurs with. Theobald.

Though I have thus far defended the old reading, in deference. to the opinion of other criticks I have given Theobald's conjec tures a place in the text. STEEVENS.

I think, Sweet, the reading propofed by Theobald, is right. The latter of Mr. Theobald's emendations is likewife fupported by Stowe's Annales, p. 991. edit. 1615: The prince himself was faine to get upon the high altar, to girt his aforefaid companies with the order of knighthood." Mr. Heath obferves, that our author feems to have had the following paffage in the 55th Pfalm, (v. 14, 15,) in his thoughts: "But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and mine own familiar friend. We took Sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends."


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