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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;
Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love,
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
My mind did lose it.-But, Demetrius, come;
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Ege. With duty, and desire, we follow you.
Her. Belike, for want of rain, which I could well Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.
Lys. Ah me! for aught that I could ever read',
The course of true love never did run smooth;
'Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low1!
Her. If, then, true lovers have been ever cross'd,
8 BETEEM them] To beteem in its common acceptation is to bestow or allow, but Steevens suggests that it here means pour out. To "teem" is certainly to pour out, but that sense is hardly wanted here.
Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,] The folio of 1623 omits "Ah me," and places the adverb "ever," before "I could," instead of after it; thus abandoning the 4to. by Roberts.
O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to Low!] "Low" is printed love in all the old copies. Theobald corrected the obvious mistake, which is also set right in the corr. fo. 1632.
the choice of FRIENDS:] For "friends" of the 4to, the first folio reads, merit; and it is difficult to account for the variation. The corr. fo. 1632 has men. 3 Making it MOMENTANY as a sound,] The folio changes "momentany," into momentary: but "momentany" is the older word, though still in use (as Henley has shown) in Dryden's time. Philip Stubbes, in 1593, preferred momentany to momentary, when in the list of errors of the press, before his "Motive to Good Works," he enumerated the misprinting of momentary, instead of momentany, in the following passage, p. 188 :-"this life is but momentary, short and transitory; no life, indeed, but a shadow of life."
in the COLLIED night,] i.e. In the black, or coaled night.
It stands as an edict in destiny:
As due to love as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Lys. A good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
My good Lysander!
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves,
Lys. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away ?
5 From Athens is her house REMOTE] So the two 4tos. The folio has remov'd.
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers LOVES,] So Fisher's 4to; and, independently of the rhyme, as "souls" is in the plural, probably "loves" was intended to be so too; but Roberts's 4to. and the folio have love, which in the corr. fo. 1632 is altered to "loves."
7 Demetrius loves your FAIR:] i.e. Fairness or beauty. The word “fair” was constantly so used by our old poets.
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
O! teach me how you look, and with what art
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such
Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me.
Hel. None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
8 Your's would I catch,] The old reading in all editions is, "Your words I catch," which I formerly preserved, but I am now convinced that Sir Thomas Hanmer was right in his emendation which is inserted in the text. Helena means, "I would fain catch your favour, or appearance."
His folly, Helena, is NO FAULT of mine.] So Fisher's 4to. Roberts's 4to. and the folio, 1623, read, none for "no fault."
1 Seem'd Athens As a paradise to me:] So Fisher's 4to. The folio, 1623, has like for "as," in which it follows Roberts's 4to. In the next line but one, Fisher's 4to. has, "unto a hell," instead of "into hell."
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be!
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.] This speech is entirely in rhyme excepting this line, and another, three lines above. The question is whether Shakespeare did not mean the whole to be in rhyme? that they might be so, Theobald altered swell'd to "sweet," and strange companions to "stranger companies." As the sense is thus strictly preserved with so little violence, we think that the rhyme ought to be preserved also, especially as the corr. fo. 1632 amends swell'd and companions, though, somewhat to our surprise, no change is made in the epithet strange.
- he is so oFT beguil'd.] The folio, 1623, spoils the line, by reading "he is OFTEN beguil'd."
4 - it is dear RECOMPENSE:] The old reading, "it is a dear expense," may be reconciled to meaning; but the alteration of the corr. fo. 1632 at once claims our acceptance: "it is dear recompense" can mean nothing but the expression of