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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'd5 the bosom of my child: Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast giv'n her rhymes, And interchang'd love-tokens with my child; Thou hast, by moon-light, at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stol'n the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds,o conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats; messengers Of strong prevailment, in unharden'd youth: With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart; Turn'd her obedience,, which is due to me, To stubborn" harshạess:-And, my gracious duke, harönefs. Be it so she will not here, before your grace, Consent to marry with Demetrius, I beg the ancient privilege of Athens; As she is mine, I may dispose of her: Which shall be either to this gentleman, Or to her death; according to our law,
5 This hath bewitch'd -] The old copies read-This man hath bewitch'd - The emendation was made for the sake of the me. tre, by the editor of the second folio. It is very probable that the compositor caught the word man, from the line above. Malone.
gawds,] i. e. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has thé word frequently. See King Fohn, 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 his. tory of The Battle of Flodden, observes, that a gawd 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.
7 Or to her death; according to our law,] By a law of Solon, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their chil. dren. 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.
The. What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid:
Her. So is Lysander.
In himself he is:
Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
The. Either to die the death,' or to abjure
8 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.
Fohnson 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.
1 Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. Fohnson.
2 For aye -] i, e. for ever. So, in K. Edward II, by Marlowe, 1622:
“ And sit for aye enthronized in heaven.” Steevens.
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
The. Take time to pause: and, by the next new moon,
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia;—and, Lysander, yield
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
3 But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,] Thus all the copies: yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy, for happier earthly, a mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy. Johnson.
It has since been observed, that Mr. Pope did propose earlier. We might read-earthly happy. Earthly happier. Capeli quife msjel. the rose distilld,] So, in Lyly's Midas, 1592: “
You bee all young and faire, endeavour to bee wise and vertuous; that when, like roses, you shall fall from the stalke, you may be gathered, and put to the still.”
This image, however, must have been generally obvious, as in Shakspeare's time, the distillation of rose-water was a com mon process, in all families. Steevens.
whose unwished yoke – ] Thus both the quartos 1600, and the folio 1623. The second folio reads
to whose unwished yoke - Steevens. 5 You have her father's love, Demetrius ;
Let me have Hermid's: do you marry him.] I suspect, that Shakspeare wrote:
Let me have Hermia; do you marry him. Tyrwhitt.
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
[Exeunt THE. Hip. EGE. DEM. and train. 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 Beteem them? from the tempest of mine eyes.
spotted —] As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked.
Fohnson. 7 Beteem them -] Give them, bestow upon them. The word is used by Spenser. Johnson.
“ So would I, said th’enchanter, glad and fain
“ Beteem to you his sword, you to defend.” Fairy Queen. Again, in The Case is Altered. How? Ask Dalio and Milo, 1605:
“ I could beteeme her a better match.”
Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low!'
Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
But I rather think, that to beteem, in this place, signifies (as in the northern counties) to pour out; from tommer, Danish.
Steevens. 8 The course of true love --] This passage seems to have been imitated by Milton. Paradise Lost, B. X.-896. & seq.
Malone. - too high to be enthrall’d to low!] Love-possesses all the editions, but carries no just meaning in it. Nor was Hermia displeased at being in love; but regrets the inconveniences, that generally attend the passion ; either the parties are disproportioned, in degree of blood and quality; or unequal, in respect of years ; or brought together by the appointment of friends, and not by their own choice. These are the complaints, represented by Lysander; and Hermia, to answer to the first, as she has done to the other two, must necessarily say:
O cross ! too high to be enthralld to low! So the antithesis is kept up in the terms; and so she is made to condole the disproportion of blood and quality in lovers.
Theobald. The emendation is fully supported, not only by the tenour of the preceding lines, but by a passage in our author's Venus and Adonis, in which the former predicts that the course of love never shall run smooth:
“ Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend,
momentany as a sound,] Thus the quartos. The first folio reads-momentary. Momentany (says Dr. Johnson) is the old and proper word. Steevens.
that short momentany rage,”—is an expression of Dryden. Henley.
2 Brief as the lightning in the collied night,) Collied, i. e. black, smutted with coal, a word still used in the midland counties.
Y 2 9. The antithesis supports the kept and is confirmed by ms. fol. 10. The old copies read merit" "prienes" is a modern and