Imatges de pÓgina

Long withering out a young man's revenue.

HIP. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;

And then the moon, like to a silver bow

New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.


Go, Philostrate,

Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword',
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,

With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling".



EGE. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke¢!

THE. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?
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 mand hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child :

New bent. The two quartos of 1600, and the folio of 1623, read "now bent." New was supplied by Rowe. We believe that now was the original word, but used in the sense of new, both the words having an etymological affinity. In the same manner, we have, in All's Well that Ends Well,' Act II., Scene 3

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This, in many editions, has been changed to "new-born brief;" certainly without necessity. In the present case the corrected reading must, we apprehend, be received; for now could not be restored without producing an ambiguity. Now, we believe, cannot refer to the state of the moon when Theseus is speaking. The new moon will be bent like the "silver bow;" the "old moon" is surely not of the form to which the new moon gives the name-crescent.

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See Two Gentlemen of Verona,' Illustrations of Act V.

• Our renowned duke. In a note upon the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, where we find a list of "the dukes of Edom," the editor of the Pictorial Bible' says, "Duke is rather an awkward title to assign to the chiefs of Edom. The original word is aluph, which would perhaps be best rendered by the general and indefinite title 'prince."" At the time of the translation of the Bible, duke was used in this general and indefinite sense. The word, as pointed out by Gibbon, was a corruption of the Latin dux, which was indiscriminately applied to any military chief. Chaucer has duke Theseus,-Gower, duke Spartacus,-Stanyhurst, duke Eneas. The "awkward title" was a word in general use; and therefore Steevens is not justified in calling it a misapplication of a modern title.”


This man. So the old copies. In modern editions man is omitted; and the emphatic repetition of Egeus is in consequence destroyed.

Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight 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, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; 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 harshness :-And, my gracious duke,
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,
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.
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 know
The worst that may befall 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,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:

But earthly happiera is the rose distill'd,
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.
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.

Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,


As well possess'd; my love is more than his;

Earthly happier-more happy in an earthly sense. The reading of all the old copies is earthlier happy, and this has been generally followed, although Pope and Johnson proposed earlier happy, and Steevens earthly happy. We have no doubt that Capell's reading, which we have adopted, is the true one; and that the old reading arose out of one of the commonest of typographical errors. The orthography of the folio is earthlier happie;—if the comparative had not been used, it would have been earthlie happie; and it is easy to see, therefore, that the r has been transposed.


Lordship-authority. The word dominion in our present translation of the Bible (Romans, ch. vi.) is lordship in Wickliffe's translation.

This is one of those elliptical expressions which frequently occur in our poet. The editor of the second folio, who was not scrupulous in adapting Shakspere's language to the changes of a quarter of a century, printed the lines

"Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke," &c.

The to must be understood after sovereignty. In the same manner, the particle on must be understood in a passage in Cymbeline:'


"Whom heavens, in justice, (both on her and hers,)

Have laid most heavy hand." (on.)

The same elliptical construction occurs in Othello's speech to the Senate:"What conjurations and what mighty magic

I won his daughter." (with.)

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 both.
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 THES., HIP., EGE, DEM., and train.

Lrs. 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 Ia could read2,
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 enthrall'd to lowe!
Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years;-

Spotted-stained, impure; the opposite of spotless. b Beteem-pour forth.

The folio omits the "Eigh me!" of the quartos.
Ever I, in the folio. I could ever, in the quartos.
The quartos and the folio, read-

"O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to love."

Theobald altered love to low; and the antithesis, which is kept up through the subsequent lines, ustifies the change:-high-low; old—young.

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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 quick bright things come to confusion. HER. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd, It stands as an edict in destiny:

Then let us teach our trial patience,

Because it is a customary cross;

As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers.

Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager

Of great revenue, and she hath no child;

From Athens is her house remov'df seven leagues;

Friends. So the quartos. In the folio we find

"Or else it stood upon the choice of merit."

The alteration in the folio was certainly not an accidental one; but we hesitate to adopt the reading, the meaning of which is more recondite than that of friends. The "choice of merit" is opposed to the "sympathy in choice;"-the merit of the suitor recommends itself to "another's eye," but not to the person beloved.

Momentary. So the folio of 1623; the quartos read momentany, which Johnson says is the old and proper word. Momentany has certainly a more antique sound than momentary; but they were each indifferently used by the writers of Shakspere's time. We prefer the reading of the folio, because momentary occurs in four other passages in our poet's dramas; and this is a solitary example of the use of momentany, and that only in the quartos. The reading of the folio is invariably momentary.

• Collied-black, smutted. This is a word still in use in the Staffordshire collieries. Shakspere found it there, and transplanted it into the region of poetry.


In a spleen-in a sudden fit of passion or caprice.

Fancy's followers-the followers of Love. Fancy is here used in the same sense as in the exquisite song in The Merchant of Venice:'

"Tell me where is fancy bred."

The word is repeated with the same meaning three times in this play: in Act II., Scene 2"In maiden meditation, fancy-free;"—

in Act III., Scene 2

"All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer;”—

and in Act IV., Scene 1—

"Fair Helena in fancy following me."

Remov'd-the reading of the folio. In the quartos we find remote. The reading of the folio is supported by several parallel passages; as in Hamlet,

"It wafts you to a more removed ground;"

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