Imatges de pÓgina

You minimus of hind'ring knot-grass1 made;
You bead, you acorn.

Dem. You are too officious

In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone; speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,

Thou shalt aby it.3


Now she holds me not.

Now follow if thou dar'st, to try whose right,
Or thine, or mine, is most in Helena.

Dem. Follow?

Nay, I'll go with thee cheek by jole. [Exeunt Lys. and DEм. Her. You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you.

Nay, go not back.


I will not trust you, I;

Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray;
My legs are longer though, to run away.
Her. I am amazed, and know not what to say.


[Exit, pursuing HELENA. Obe. This is thy negligence; still thou mistak'st, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.

Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
By the Athenian garments he had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes;
And so far am I glad it so did sort,


As this their jangling I esteem a sport.

Obe. Thou see'st, these lovers seek a place to fight. Hie, therefore, Robin, overcast the night;

The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog, as black as Acheron;
And lead these testy rivals so astray,
As one come not within another's way.

1 Anciently knot-grass was believed to prevent the growth of children.

2 Pretend.

3 Aby it, for abide it, i. e. pay dearly for it, rue it.

4 Chance, fall out; from sort (French).

Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;

And from each other look thou lead them thus,
Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.
Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye;
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might,
And make his eye-balls roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream, and fruitless vision;
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend
With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I'll to my queen, and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmed eye release

From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste.
For night's swift dragons' cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger,

At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to church-yards. Damned spirits all,
That in cross-ways and floods have burial,2
Already to their wormy beds are gone;

For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They wilfully themselves exile from light,

And must for aye consort with black-browed night.
Obe. But we are spirits of another sort.

I with the Morning's love 3 have oft made sport;
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,

1 So in Cymbeline, Act ii. Sc. 11 :

"Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night."

See note on that passage.

2 The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who, being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies.

3 Cephalus, the mighty hunter, and paramour of Aurora, was here prob ably meant

Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams.1
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
We may effect this business yet ere day.

[Exit OBERON. Puck. Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down. I am feared in field and town; Goblin, lead them up and down. Here comes one.

Enter LYSANder.

Lys. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak

thou now.

Puck. Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where

art thou?

Lys. I will be with thee straight.


Follow me, then,

To plainer ground. [Exit Lys. as following the voice.



Lysander! speak again.

Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?

Speak. In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy


Puck. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars, Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars,

And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come, thou


I'll whip thee with a rod. He is defiled,

That draws a sword on thee.


Yea; art thou there?

Puck. Follow my voice; we'll try no manhood



1 Oberon here boasts that he was not compelled, like meaner spirits, to vanish at the first dawn.

Re-enter LYSANDER.

before me,

and still dares me on;

Lys. He goes
When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
The villain is much lighter heeled than I.

I followed fast, but faster he did fly;
That fallen am I in dark, uneven way,
And here will rest me.

Come, thou gentle day!

[Lies down. For if but once thou show me thy gray light, I'll find Demetrius, and revenge this spite. [Sleeps.

Re-enter PUCK and DEMETrius.

Puck. Ho, ho ho, ho!1

thou not?

Coward, why com'st

Dem. Abide me, if thou dar'st; for well I wot,
Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place;
And dar'st not stand, nor look me in the face.

Where art thou?


Come hither; I am here.

Dem. Nay, then thou mock'st me.

buy this dear,

If ever I thy face by day-light see.

Thou shalt

Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
To measure out my length on this cold bed.—

By day's approach look to be visited.

[Lies down and sleeps.


Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night, Abate thy hours. Shine, comforts, from the east; That I may back to Athens by day-light,

From these that my poor company detest.

1 This exclamation would have been uttered with more propriety by Puck, if he were not now playing an assumed character, which he seems to forget. In the old song printed by Percy, in which all his gambols are related, he concludes every stanza with ho! ho! ho! It was also the established dramatic exclamation given to the devil whenever he appeared on the stage, and attributed to him whenever he appeared in reality.



And, sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.


Puck. Yet but three? Come one more;

Two of both kinds makes up four.

Here she comes, curst and sad.-
Cupid is a knavish lad,

Thus to make poor females mad.


Her. Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew, and torn with briers,

I can no farther crawl, no farther go;

My legs can keep no pace with my desires. Here will I rest me, till the break of day.

Heaven shield Lysander if they mean a fray!

Puck. On the ground

Sleep sound.

I'll apply

To your eye,

Gentle lover, remedy.

[Lies down.

[Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER's eye.

When thou wak'st,

Thou tak❜st

True delight

In the sight

Of thy former lady's eye;

And the country proverb known,

That every man should take his own,

In your waking shall be shown.

Jack shall have Jill;

Nought shall go ill;

The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.1 [Exit Puck.—Dem., Hel., &c. sleep.

1 These three last lines are to be found in Heywood's Epigrams, or Three Hundred Proverbs.

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