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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; As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers ?. Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me,
My good Lysander !
* First folio, for. FANCY's followers.] Fancy is love. So afterwards in this play :
“Fair Helena in fancy following me.” Steevens.
“ The noblest nymphes that ever were alive,
Malone. 8 From Athens is her house Remote seven leagues ;] Remote is the reading of both the quartos; the folio has—remov'd.
Steevens. his best ARROW with the golden head ;] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, book ü. :
arrowes two, tipt with gold or lead : “Some hurt, accuse a third with horny head.” STEEVENS.
By the simplicity of Venus' doves;
Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,) Shakspeare had forgot that Theseus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and consequently long before the death of Dido.
STEEVENS. · Demetrius loves your fair :) Fair is used again as a substantive in The Comedy of Errors, Act III. Sc. IV.:
My decayed fair,
A sunny look of his would soon repair."
“ But what foul hand hath arm’d Matilda's fair ?” Again, in A Looking-Glass for London and England, 1598:
* And fold in me the riches of thy fair.” Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599 :
“ Then tell me, love, shall I have all thy fair?" Again, in Greene's Never Too Late, 1616: “ Though she were false to Menelaus, yet her fair made him brook her follies.” Again :
Flora in tawny hid up all her flowers,
STEEVEXS. 3 Your eyes are lode-STARS ;] This was a complement not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode-star is the leading or guiding star, that is, the pole-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone, either because it leads iron, or because it guides the sailor. Milton has the same thought in L'Allegro:
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
HER. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
such skill! Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. HEL. 0, 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.
“ Towers and battlements it sees
“ The cynosure of neighb'ring eyes."
JOHNSON. So, in the Spanish Tragedy:
“ Led by the loadstar of her heavenly looks." Again, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594 :
The loadstar and the honour of our line." Steevens.
(), were favour so!] Favour is feature, countenance. So, in Twelfth-Night, Act II. Sc. IV.:
Steevens. s Yours would I catch) This emendation is taken from the Oxford edition. The old reading is—“Your words I catch.”
Johnson. 6 - to be to you TRANSLATED.) To translate, in our author, sometimes signifies to change, to transform. So, in Timon:
to present slaves and servants “ Translates his rivals." Steevens.
Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine?
were mine 8! Her. Take comfort ; he no more shall see my
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold :
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I Upon faint primrose-beds 'were wont to lie, Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet ? :
Quarto F. as. 7 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. 8 None, but your beauty; 'Would that fault were mine!] I would point this line thus : “None.- But your beauty ;-'Would that fault were mine!"
HENDERSON. 9 Take comfort ; he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,] Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lines. Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, since Hermia, whom she considers as possessing it in the supreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness.
JOHNSON. FAINT primrose-beds -] Whether the epithet faint has reference to the colour or smell of primroses, let the reader determine. STEEVENS.
2 Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet ;] That is, emptying our bosoms of those secrets upon which we were wont to consult each other with so sweet a satisfaction. HEATH.
There my Lysander and myself shall meet:
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel swell d; “ There my Lysander and myself shall meet : “ And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
“ To seek new friends, and strange companions." This whole scene is strictly in rhyme; and that it deviates in these two couplets, I am persuaded, is owing to the ignorance of the first, and the inaccuracy of the later editors. I have therefore ventured to restore the rhymes, as I make no doubt but the poet first gave them. Sweet was easily corrupted into swelld, because that made an antithesis to emptying : and strange companions our editors thought was plain English ; but stranger companies, a little quaint and unintelligible. Our author very often uses the substantive, stranger, adjectively; and companies to signify companions : as in Richard" II. Act I. :
“ To tread the stranger paths of banishment.” And in Henry V.: “ His companies unletter'd, rude and shallow."
Theobald. Dr. Warburton retains the old reading, and perhaps justifiably; for a bosom swelled with secrets does not appear as an expression unlikely to have been used by our author, who speaks of a stuff"d bosom in Macbeth.
In Lyly's Midas, 1592, is a somewhat similar expression : “ I am one of those whose tongues are swell’d with silence.” Again, in our author's King Richard II. :
the unseen grief “ That swells in silence in the tortur'd soul." “Of counsels swell’d” may mean—swell’d with counsels.
Of and with, in other ancient writers have the same signification. See also, Macbeth-Note on
“ Of Kernes and Gallow-glasses was supplied." i. e. with them.
In the scenes of King Richard II. there is likewise a mixture of rhyme and blank yerse. 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 conjectures a place in the text. Steevens.
I think, sweet, the reading proposed by Theobald, is right.
The latter of Mr. Theobald's emendations is likewise supported by Stowe's Annales, p. 291, edit. 1615 : “ The prince himself was faine to get upon the high altar, to girt his aforesaid companies with the order of knighthood." Mr. Heath observes, that our author seems to have had the following passage in the 55th Psalm, (v. 14, 15,) in his thoughts : « But it was even thou,