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ACT I. SCENE I.
Athens. A Room in the Palace of THESEUS.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and
Attendants. The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how slow This old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager, Long withering out a young man's revenue. Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in
nights”; Four nights * will quickly dream away the time; And then the moon, like to a silver bow
* Quarto R. daies. ? Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long WITHERING out a young man's revenue.] The authenticity of this reading having been questioned by Dr. Warburton, I shall exemplify it from Chapman's translation of the 4th book of Homer; “ – there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace."
Steevens. Ut piget annus “ Pupillis, quos dura premit custodia matrum, “ Sic mihi tarda fuunt ingrataque tempora.'
Malone. steep themselves in nights ;] So, in Cymbeline, Act V. Sc. IV.:
New bent * in heaven, shall behold the night
EGE. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke !
4 New bent-] The old copies read-Now bent. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
s With pomp, with TRIUMPH, and with revelling.] By triumph, as Mr. Warton has observed in his late editions of Milton's Poems, p. 56, we are to understand shows, such as masks, revels, &c. So, again, in King Henry VI. P. III. :
“ And now what rests, but that we spend the time
“ Such as befit the pleasures of the court ? ' Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621: “ Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, playes." Jonson, as the same gentleman observes, in the title of his masque called Love's Triumph through Callipolis, by triumph seems to have meant a grand procession ; and in one of the stage-directions, it is said, “ the triumph is seen far off.” MALONE.
Thus also, (and more satisfactorily,) in the Duke of Anjou's Entertainment at Antwerp, 1581 : “ Yet notwithstanding, their triumphes [those of the Romans have so borne the bell above all the rest, that the word triumphing, which cometh thereof, hath beene applied to all high, great, and statelie dooings.”
STEEVENS. our renowned DUKE!] Thus, in Chaucer's Knight's Tale :
Whilom as olde stories tellen us,
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news
with thee ? Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia.Stand forth, Demetrius ;-My noble lord, This man hath my consent to marry her :Stand forth, Lysander;—and, my gracious duke, This hath bewitch'd' the bosom of my child : “ Of Athenes he was lord and governour," &c.
Mr. Tyrwhilt's edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his translation of the Tragedies of John Bochas, calls him by the same title, ch. xii. I. 21 :
“ Duke Theseus had the victorye." Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, translated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon. So likewise Skelton :
“ Not like Duke Hamilcar,
“ Nor like Duke Asdruball.” Stanyhurst, in his translation of Virgil, calls Æneas, Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II. 1632, Ajax is styled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Nestor, Duke Nestor, &c.
Our version of the Bible exhibits a similar misapplication of a modern title; for in Daniel iii. 2, Nebuchadonozar, King of Babylon, sends out a summons to the Sheriffs of his provinces.
Sreevens. See also the 1st Book of The Chronicles, ch. i. v. 51, & seqq. a list of the Dukes of Edom. HARRIS.
Duke in our old language was used as dux, for a leader. The word is thus employed by Nicholls, in his translation of Thucydides, 1550, which was corrected in its progress by the learned Sir John Cheke, who would not have suffered a barbarism to remain. Boswell.
7 This hath bewitch'd - ] The old copies read— This man hath bewitch'd . The emendation was made for the sake of the metre, by the editor of the second folio. It is very probable that the compositor caught the word man from the line above.
MALONE. As the reading, “ This man hath bewitch'd,” is found in all the old copies, and as the two quartos were printed in the same year, abounding in variations, and probably sent forth by persons who were wishing to outrun each other at the press, it is surely improbable that they should chance upon the same error. A redundant syllable, at the commencement of a verse, perpetually VOL. V.
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
occurs in our old dramatists. See the Essay upon Shakspeare's Versification. Boswell.
8 - gawds,] i. e. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently. See King John, Act III. Sc. V. Again, in Appius and Virginia, 1576:
“When gain is no grandsier,
“ And gaudes not set by,” &c. Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:
and in her lap “ A sort of paper puppets, gauds and toys." The Rev. Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical history of The Battle of Flodden, observes that a gnwd is a child's toy, and that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. STEEVENS.
9 Or to her death ; according to our law,] By a law of Solon's, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their children. So it suited the poet's purpose well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before.—Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. WARBURTON.
* Immediately provided in that case.] Shakspeare is grievously suspected of having been placed, while a boy, in an attorney's office. The line before us has an undoubted smack of legal common-place. Poetry disclaims it. STEEVENS.
The. What say you, Hermia ? be advis'd, fair
Her. So is Lysander.
In himself he is :
Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
· TO LEAVE the figure, or DISFIGURE it.] The sense is,---you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy. Johnson.
to die the death,] So, in the second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :
“ We will, my liege, else let us die the death." See notes on Measure for Measure, Act II. Sc. IV. Steevens.
• Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. Johnson.