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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 fister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon,
Thrice blessed they, that master fo their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage :
But earthlier happy is the rose distillid?,
Than that, which withering on the virgin-thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blefsedness.

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, 4 to whose unwish'd yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty:
The. Take time to pauley; and, by the next new

(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;

9—to die the death-) See notes on Measure for Measure, act II. sc.


STEEVENS. · Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. JOHNSON. 2 For aye,] i. £. for ever.

STEEVENS. 3 But earthlier happy is the rose distilld,] Thus all the copies : yet earthlier is so haríh a word, and earthlier happy, for bappier 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 carlier. We might read, earthly bappier. STBEVENS.

This is a thought in which Shakspeare seems to have much delighted. We ineet with it more than once in his Sonnets. Sce 5th, 6th, and 54th Sonnets. MALONE.

to whose unwish'd yoke] Thus the modern editors ; the particle to is wanting in the old copies. STEEVENS.

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,

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.

Lyf. 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 6.

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

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. 6 Spotted] As spotless is innocent, fo spotted is wicked.


To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or elfé the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of fingle life.-
Come, my Hippolita ; 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 Thef. Hip. Egeus, Dem, and train. Lyf. How now, my love? Why is your cheek so


pale ?

How chance the roses there to fade so fast ?

Her. Belike, for want of rain ; which I could well ? Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.

Lyf. 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 low ?!



7 Beteem them-] Give them, bestow upon them. The word is used by Spenser. Johnson,

“ So would I, said th' enchanter, glad and fain

Beteem to you his sword, you to defend.” Faery Queen. Again, in The Case is Altered. Hoiv? Ask Dalio and Milo, 1005:

" I could betreme her a better match." But I rather think that to betrem in this place fignifies (as in the northern counties) to pour out; from tommer, Danili. Steevens.

8 The course of true love &c.] This passage seems to have been imitated by Milton. Paradise Loft, B. 10.- -896. Malone.

9 Too bigh to be enthratld to love.) This reading possesses all the editions, but carries no just meaning in it. Nor was Hermia displeas'd at being in love; but regrets the inconveniencies that generally attend the passion : either, the parties are disproportioned, in degree of blood and quality; or unequal, in respect of years; or brought together by the appointment of friends, and not by their own choice. These are the complaints represented by Lysander ; and Hermia, to answer to the first, as the has done to the other two, muft necessarily say:

O cross!

Lyf. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years ;
Her. O spight! too old to be engag’d to young!
Lyf. Or elle it stood upon the choice of friends :
Her. O hell! to chuse love by another's eve!

Lyf. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay fiege to it;
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the colly'd 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;

O crofs !~too high to be enthrall'd to low! So the antithesis is kept up in the terms ; and fo fhe is made to condole the disproportion of blood and quality in lovers.

THEOBALD. Sir T. H. adheres to the old reading. STEEVENS.

8 The old editions read momentany, which is the old and pro. per word. The modern editors, momentary. JOHNSON. The first folio has not momentany

but momentary

MALONE. 9 Brief as the lightning in the colly'd night,

That, in a spleen, unfolds both beaven and earth,
Andere a man hath power to say, Bebold!

The jaws of darkness do devour it up :) Though the word /pleen be here employed oddly enough, yet I believe it right. Shakspeare, always hurried on by the grandeur and multitude of his ideas, assumnes every now and then, an uncommon licence in the use of his words. Particularly in complex moral modes it is usual with himn to employ one, only to express a very few ideas of that number of which it is coinposed. Thus wanting here to express the ideas --of a sudden, or--a trice, he uses the word spleen ; which, partially confidered, fig. nifying a hasty sudden fit, is enough for him, and he never trou. bles himself about the further or fuller lignification of the word. Here, he uses the word fplcen for a fudden bally fit; fo just the contrary, in the Two Ġentiemen of Verona, he uses fulden for Splenetic fudden quips. And it must be owned this sort of conversation adds a force to the diction. WARBURTON,

Brief as the lightning in the colly'd night,] colly'd, i. e. black, fmutted with coal, a word ftill used in the midland counties. So, in Ben Johnson's Poetajter :

4 - Thou hast not collicd thy face enough," STEEVENS.


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 tryal patience, Because it is a customary cross; As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and fighs, Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers. Lyf. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me,

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.

Her. My good Lysander !
I fwear to thee, by Cupid's strongst bow';

And "I have a widow aunt, &c.] These lines perhaps might more properly be regulated thus :

I have a widow aunt, a dowager
of great revenue, and she hath no child,
And Me respects me as her only fon ;
Her house from Athens is remov'd

feven leagues,
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,

And to that place-JOHNSON. - remote,-) Remote is the reading of both the quartos; the folio has,

remov'd. STEVENS. From Athens is her house remote feven leagues.] Remov'd, which is the reading of the folio, was, I believe, the author's word. He uses it again in Hamlet, før remote: • He wafts you to a more removed ground." MALONE.

3 Lyf. If thou lov'l me tben,
Steal forth thy father's boufe, &c.

Her. My good Lysander !
I swear to thee by Cupid's fironger bow,
By, &c. &c.


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