Abbildungen der Seite


Athens. A room in the Palace of Theseus.



The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, oh! methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue. 1

Hin. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;a
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.-

[Exit Philos.

1 Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,

Long withering out a young man's revenue.] The authenticity of this reading baving been questioned, by Dr. Warburton, I shall exemplify it from Chapman's translation of the 4th Book of Homer: there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace.”

Ut piget annus
Pupillis, quos

dura premit custodia matrum,
Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora.Hor. Malone.
steep themselves in nights;] So, in Cymbeline, Act V,

neither deserve,
And yet are steep'd in favours.” Steevens.

sc. iv.

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. 3
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke !4
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?

3 With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. ] By triumph, as Mr. Warton has observed in his late edition of Milton's Poems, p. 56, we are to understand shows, such as masks, revels, &c. So again, in King Henry VI, P. III:

“ And now what rests, but that we spend the time
“ With stately triumphs, mirthful comick shows,

“ Such as befit the pleasures of the court?" Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1624: “ Now come tidings of wedilings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, playes.” Jonson, as the same gentleman observes, in the title of his masque called Love's Triumph through Callipolis, by triumph seems to have meant a grand procession; and, in one of the stage-directions, it is said, “the triumph is seen far oil.” Malone.

Thus also, (and more satisfactorily) in the Duke of Anjou's En. tertainment at Antwerp, 1581: “yet notwithstanding, their tri. umphes (those of the Romans] have so borne the bell above all the rest, that the word triumphing, which commeth thereof, hath beene applied to all high, great, and statelie dooings.Steevens.

our renowned duke!] Thus, in Chaucer's Knight's Tale: “ Whilom as olde stories tellen us, “ There was a Duk that highte Theseus, “ Of Athenes he was lord and governour,” &c.

Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his translation of the Tragedies of Jolin Bochas, calls him by the same title, ch. xii, 1. 21:

** Duke Theseus had the victorye.” Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, translated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon. So likewise Skelton:

“ Not like Duke Hamilcar,

« Nor like Duke Asdruball." Stanyhurst, in his Translation of Virgil, calls Æneas, Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II, 1632, Ajax is styled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Nestor, Duke Nestor, &c.

Our version of the Bible exbibits a similar misapplication of a modern title ; for in Daniel, iii. 2, Nebuchadonozar, King of Babylon, sends out a summons to the Sheriffs of his provinces.

Steevens. See also the 1st Book of The Chronicles, ch. i, v. 51, & seqq. a list of the Dukes of Edom. Harris.

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 hath bewitch'as the bosom of my child:
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast giv'n her rhymes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child;
Thou hast, by moon-light, 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, sweet-meats; messengers
Of strong prevailment, in unharden’d youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turnd 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,?

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

5 This hath bewitch'd-] The old copies read-This man hath bewitch'd - Thé emendation was made for the sake of the me. tre, by the editor of the second folio. It is very probable that the compositor caught the word man, from the line above. Malone.

-gawds,] i. e. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently. See King John, Act III, sc. v. Again, in Appius and Virginia, 1576:

“ When gain is no grandsier,

“ And gaudes not set by,” &c. Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:

and in her lap “ A sort of paper puppets, gauds and toys.” The Rev. Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical his. tory of The Battle of Flodden, observes, that a gawd is a child's toy, and, that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. Steevens.

7 Or to her death; according to our law,] By a law of Solon, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their children. So it suited the poet's purpose well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before.-Or, perhaps, he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. Warburton.


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

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.8
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 befal 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,


8 To leave the figure, or disfigure it.] The sense is, you owe to your father a being, which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.

Fohnson. to die the death,] So, in the second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:

“ We will, my liege, else let us die the death.See notes on Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. iv. Steevens.

1 Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. Fohnson.

2 For aye -] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Edward II, by Marlowe, 1622:

“ And sit for aye enthronized in heaven.” Steevena.

To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d, 3
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 une have Hermia's: do you marry him.5

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,

3 But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,] Thus all the copies: yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy, for happier earthly, a'mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy. Johnson.

It has since been observed, that Mr. Pope did propose earlier. We might read-earthly happy.

the rose distill’d] So, in Lyly's Midas, 1592: “ – You bee all young and faire, endeavour to bee wise and vertuous; that when, like roses, you shall fall from the stalke, you may be gathered, and put to the still.

This image, however, must have been generally obvious, as in Shakspeare's time, the distillation of rose-water was a common process, in all families. Steevens.

whose unwished yoke -] Thus both the quartos 1600, and the folio 1623. The second folio reads

to whose unwished yoke Steevens. 5 You have her father's love, Demetrius ;

Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.] I suspect, that Shakspeare wrote:

Let me have Hermia; do you marry him. Tyrwhitt.


« ZurückWeiter »