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At a fair vestal,' throned by the west;
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.2
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound, And maidens call it love-in-idleness.3
Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee once;
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes. [Exit PUCK.
1 It is well known that a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in this very beautiful passage. Warburton has attempted to show, that by the mermaid, in the preceding lines, Mary Queen of Scots was intended. It is argued with his usual fanciful ingenuity, but will not bear the test of examination, and has been satisfactorily controverted. It appears to have been no uncommon practice to introduce a compliment to Elizabeth in the body of a play.
2 Exempt from the power of love.
3 The tricolored violet, commonly called pansies, or hearts' ease, is here meant; one or two of its petals are of a purple color. It has other fanciful and expressive names.
Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him.
Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not. Where is Lysander, and fair Hermia?
The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
Thou told'st me, they were stolen into this wood,
Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;"
Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Hel. And even for that do I love you the more.
Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit ; For I am sick when I do look on thee.
Hel. And I am sick when I look not on you.
Dem. You do impeach 3 your modesty too much
1 Mad, raving. Wud is the synonymous Scotch term.
2 "There is now a dayes a kind of adamant which draweth unto it fleshe, and the same so strongly, that it hath power to knit and tie together two mouthes of contrary persons, and draw the heart of a man out of his bodie without offending any part of him." Certaine Secrete Wonders of Nature, by Edward Fenton, 1569.
3 i. e. bring it into question.
And the ill counsel of a desert place,
Hel. Your virtue is my privilege for that.
Dem. I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Dem. I will not stay thy questions. Let me go;
Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
[Exeunt DEM. and HEL. Obe. Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
1 The greater cowslip.
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove.
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.
SCENE III. Another Part of the Wood.
Enter TITANIA, with her Train.
Tita. Come, now a roundel,' and a fairy song, Then, for the third part of a minute, hence; Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds; Some, war with rear-mice for their leathern wings, To make my small elves coats; and some, keep back The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders At our quaint spirits.3 Sing me now asleep; Then to your offices, and let me rest.
1 Fai. You spotted snakes, with double tongue, Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen;
Newts, and blindworms,5 do no wrong ;
1 The roundel, or round, as its name implies, was a dance in a ring. 2 Bats. 3 Sports. 4 Efts.
CHORUS. Philomel, with melody,
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
2 Fai. Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence.
CHORUS. Philomel, with melody, &c.
1 Fai. Hence, away; now all is well. One, aloof, stand sentinel.
[Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps.
Obe. What thou seest when thou dost wake, [Squeezes the flower on TITANIA's eyelids. Do it for thy true love take. Love, and languish for his sake. Be it ounce, or cat, or bear, Pard, or boar with bristled hair, In thy eye that shall appear When thou wak'st, it is thy dear. Wake, when some vile thing is near.
Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA.
Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way;
Her. Be it so, Lysander; find you out a bed,