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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:
To you, your father should be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.8
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.

In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.

Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts:
But I beseech your grace, that I may

The worst that may befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. Either to die the death,' or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye? to be in shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,


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:
But earthlier happy" is the rose distill’d, 3 earihly happir
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.

The. Take time to pause: and, by the next new moon,
(The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship)
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would:
Or, on Diana's altar to protest,
For aye, austerity and single life.

Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia;—and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.

Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.5

Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.

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,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia.
Why should not I, then, prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I 'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it.-But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me;
I have some private schooling for you

For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or else, the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of single life.-
Come, my Hippolyta; What cheer, my love?
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial; and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you.

[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.


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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,
Could ever hear, by tale or history,
The course of true love8 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 engag'd to young!
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends: men
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 as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,

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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,
“ Ne'er settled equally, too high, or low,” &c. Malone.

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

arbitrary substitution


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