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Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek

so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well Beteemo them from the tempest of mine eyes.

Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But, either it was different in blood;

Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low!
Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years;
Her. O spite! too old to be engaged to young!
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye!

Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it;
Making it momentany 10 as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied 1 night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say,-Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it

up; So quick bright things come to confusion.

Her. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd, It stands as an edíct in destiny: Then let us teach our trial patience, Because it is a customary cross;

9 Bestow, give, afford, or deign to allow. The word is used by Spenser:

So would I, said the Enchanter, glad and fain

Beteem to you his sword, you to defend.' Thus also in Hamlet, Act i. Sc. 2:

* That he might not beteeme the winds of heaven

Visit her face too roughly.' 10 Momentary.

" Blackened, as with smut, coal, &c.; figuratively, darkened. See Othello, Act ii. Sc. 3.


As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's 12 followers.
Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me,

I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child :
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues ;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us: If thou lov'st me then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

My good Lysander ! I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow; By his best arrow with the golden head; By the simplicity of Venus' doves; By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves; And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen 13, When the false Trojan under sail was seen; By all the vows that ever men have broke, In number more than ever women spoke; In that same place thou hast appointed me, To-morrow truly will I meet with thee. Lys. Keep promise, love: Look, here comes, Helena.

Enter HELENA. Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away? Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay. 12 Fancy is love. So afterwards in this play:

• Fair Helena in fancy following me.' And again in the celebrated passage applied to Q. Elizabeth :

• In maiden meditation fancy-free.' 13 Shakspeare forgot that Theseus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and consequently long before the death of Dido.

Demetrius loves your fair 14 : 0 happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars 15; and your tongue's

sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching; 0, were favour 16 so!
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet me-

lody, Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, The rest I'll give to be to you translated 17. 0, teach me how you look; and with what art You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles

such skill! Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Hel. O, that my prayers could such affection

move! 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! Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my


Lysander and myself will fly this place.-
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me:

14 Fair for fairness, beauty. Very common in writers of Shakspeare's age.

15 The lode-star is the leading or guiding star, that is the polar star. The magnet is for the same reason called the lodestone. The reader will remember Milton's beauty :

* The cynosure of neighb'ring eyes. 16 Countenance, feature. 17 i. e. changed, transformed.

O then,



love do dwell, That he hath turn'd a heaven unto hell !

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold : To-morrow night when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass (A time that lovers’ Alights doth still conceal), Through Athens' gates have we devis’d to steal. Her. And in the wood, where often


and I Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie, Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, There my Lysander and myself shall meet : And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes, To seek new friends and stranger companies. Farewell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us, And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius ! Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.

[Exit HERM. Lys. I will, my Hermia.--Helena, adieu: As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit LYSANDER. Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so; He will not know what all but he do know. And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities. Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind; Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste; Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste: And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguild.

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As waggish boys in game 18 themselves forwear,
So the boy love is perjur'd every where:
For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia's eyne 19,
He haild down oaths, that he was only mine:
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight;
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again. [Exit.


SCENE II. The same. A Room in a Cottage.

and STARVELING?. Quin. Is all our company

here? Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point. Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable

19 Eyes. 1 In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first appears upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thin? *he Lion, at the same time.

18 Sport.

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