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To live a barren sister all your life,
HER. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
s For Aye -] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Edward II. by Marlowe, 1622 : “ And sit for aye enthronized in heaven."
Steevens. 6 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. Steevens. Mr. Capell proposed to read earthly happier. Boswell.
- the rose distillid." 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 common process in all families. Steevens.
This is a thought in which Shakspeare seems to have much delighted. We meet with it more than once in his Sonnets. As in his fifth Sonnet :
“ - Flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,
“ Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet." So, in the fifty-fourth Sonnet :
“ The canker buds have full as deep a dye,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly,
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
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.
whose unwished yoke -] Thus both the quartos 1600, and the folio 1623. The second folio reads
to whose unwished yoke —,” Steevens. Dele to, and for unwish'd r. unwished. Though I have been in general extremely careful not to admit into my text any of the innovations made by the editor of the second folio, from ignorance of our poet's language or metre, my caution was here over-watched; and I printed the above lines as exhibited by that and all the subsequent editors, of which the reader was apprized in a note. The old copies should have been adhered to, in which they appear thus :
“Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.” i. e. to give sovereignty to. See various instances of this kind of phraseology in a note on Cymbeline, scene the last. The change was certainly made by the editor of the second folio, from his ignorance of Shakspeare's phraseology. Malone,
I have adopted the present elliptical reading, because it not only renders the line smoother, but serves to exclude the disgusting recurrence of the preposition—to; and yet if the authority of the first folio had not been supported by the quartos, &c. I should have preferred the more regular phraseology of the folio 1632.
STEEVENS. 8 You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's : do you marry him.] I suspect that Shakspeare wrote:
Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my love ;
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
“Let me have Hermia ; do you marry him." TYRWHITT. So, in K. Lear: “ Let pride which she calls plainness marry her.”
STEEVENS. 9 — spotted — ] As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked.
EGE. With duty, and desire, we follow you.
[Ereunt Thes. 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.
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 enthralld to low%! Beteem them -] Give them, bestow upon
them. The word is used by Spenser. Johnson.
So would I, said th’ enchanter, glad and fain
“ Beleem to you his sword, you to defend." Fairy Queen. Again, in The Case is Alter'd. How? Ask Dalio and Milo, 1605 :
“ I could beteeme her a better match." But I rather think that to beteem, in this place, signifies (as in the northern counties) to pour out ; from toinmer, Danish.
Steevens. ? The course of true love - ] This passage seems to have been imitated by Milton, Paradise Lost, b. x.-896, & seqq. MALONE.
3 - too high to be enthrallid to Low !) Love-possesses all the editions, but carries no just meaning in it. Nor was Hermia displeas’d 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 enthrall’d 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 :
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 * : 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', 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 quartos ; first folio, merit. “ 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.
s Brief as the lightning in the collied night,] Collied, i. e. black, smutted with coal, a word still used in the midland counties. So, in Ben Jonson's Poetaster:
- Thou hast not collied thy face enough.” Steevens. 6 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 :) Though the word spleen be here employed oddly enough, yet I believe it right. Shakspeare, always hurried on by the grandeur and multitude of his ideas, assumes every now and then, an uncommon licence in the use of his words. Particularly in complex moral modes it is usual with him to employ one, only to express a very few ideas of that number of which it is composed. Thus wanting here to express the ideas—of a sudden, or-in a trice, he uses the word spleen ; which, partially considered, signifying a hasty sudden fit, is enough for him, and he never troubles himself about the further or fuller signification of the word. Here, he uses the word spleen for a sudden hasty fit: so just the contrary, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, he uses sudden for splenetic: “ sudden quips.” And it must be owned this sort of conversation adds a force to the diction. WARBURTON.