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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;
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;
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.
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 I could ever 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 enthrall'd to low1!
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 eyes!
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 quick bright things come to confusion.

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.

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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 remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov'st me, then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night,
And in the wood, a league without the town,
(Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May)
There will I stay for thee.



My good Lysander!
I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus' doves,

By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke;
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.

Lys. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away ?
Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair': O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars, and your tongue's sweet air

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.
Sickness is catching; O! were favour so,
Your's would I catch, fair Hermia; ere I go,
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'll give to be to you translated.

O! teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

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. O, that my prayers could such affection move!
Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me.

Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me.
Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

Hel. None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
Her. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;

Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me':
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven into hell!

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal)
Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.

Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet;

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."


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And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies'.
Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius !—
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight. [Exit HERM.
Lys. I will, my Hermia.-Helena, adieu:
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit Lys.

Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she;
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know;
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd3.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy love is perjur'd every where;
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight;
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is dear recompense 4.

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

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