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On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
Night and silence! who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he,

my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the

this charm doth owe9 :
When thou wak’st, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eye-lid 10.
So awake, when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.

Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running.
Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me

thus. Hel. 0, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so. Dem. Stay, on thy peril; I alone will go.

Hel. 0, I am out of breath in this fond chase!
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace 11.
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies;
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears :
If so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me, run away for fear :

9 Possess.
10 So in Macbeth :

Sleep shall neither night nor day

Hang upon his pent-house lid.' 11 i. e. the lesser my acceptableness, the favour I can gain,

Therefore, no marvel, though Demetrius
Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
But who is here!-Lysander! on the ground!
Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound:-
Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.
Lys. And run through fire I will, for thy sweet

Transparent Helena; Nature shows her art 12,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? 0, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!

Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so: What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what

though? Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.

Lys. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia, but Helena I love:
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway’d;
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season :
So I, being young, till now ripe

13 not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will,
And leads me to your eyes; where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.

12 The quartos have only — Nature shews art.' The first folio— Nature her shews art.' The second folio changes her to here. Malone thought we should read, Nature shews her art.' Steevens explains the passage thus : Here means in the present instance.

On this occasion, says Lysander, the work of Nature resembles that of art, viz. (as our author expresses it in his Lover's Complaint) an object 'glazed with crystal.' I have adopted Malone's emendation,

13 i. e. do not ripen to it.

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born? When, at your hands, did I deserve this scorn? Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man, That I did never, no, nor never can, Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye, But you must flout my insufficiency? Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do, In such disdainful manner me to woo. But fare you well: perforce I must confess, I thought you lord of more true gentleness. 0, that a lady, of one man refus’d, Should, of another, therefore be abus'd! [Exit. Lys. She sees not Hermia !--Hermia, sleep thou

there; And never mayst thou come Lysander near! For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things The deepest loathing to the stomach brings; Or, as the heresies, that men do leave, Are hated most of those they did deceive; So thou, my surfeit, and my heresy, Of all be hated; but the most of me! And all my powers, address your love and might, To honour Helen, and to be her knight! [Exit. Her. (starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me!

do thy best, To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast! Ah me, for pity!—what a dream was here? Lysander, look, how I do quake with fear: Methought a serpent eat my heart away, And you sat smiling at his cruel prey :Lysander! what, remov'd? Lysander! lord! What, out of hearing? gone ? no sound, no word ? Alack, where are you? speak, an if Speak, of all loves 14; I swoon almost with fear. No?—then I well perceive you are not nigh: Either death, or you, I'll find immediately. [Exit.

14 By all that is dear. See vol. i. p. 219, note 12.

you hear;



The same. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep. Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT,

and STARVELING. Bot. Are we all met?

Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal: This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.

Bot. Peter Quince,
Quin. What say'st thou, bully Bottom?

Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide.

How answer


that? Snout. By’rlakin', a parlous? fear.

Star. I believe, we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

Bot. Not a whit; I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue: and let the prologue seem to say, we will do no harm with our swords; and that Pyramus is not killed indeed: and, for the more better assurance, tell them, that I Pyramus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: This will put them out of fear.

Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six 3.

1 i.e. by our ladykin or little lady, as ifakins, is a corruption of by my faith. ? Corrupted from perilous; but used for alarming, amazing.

in alternate verses of eight and six syllables.

3 That


Bot. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion ? Star. I fear it, I promise you.

Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves : to bring in, God shield us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful 4 wild-fowl than your lion, living; and we ought to look to it.

Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell, he is not a lion.

Bot. Nay; you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect, -Ladies, or fair ladies, I would wish you, or, I would request you, or, I would entreat you, not to fear, not to tremble: my life for yours.


think I come hither as a lion, it pity of my life: No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are:-and there, indeed, let him name his name; and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner

Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moon-light into a chamber: for you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moon-light.

4 Terrible.

5 Shakspeare may here allude to an incident said to have occurred in his time, which is recorded in a collection of anecdotes, stories, &c. entitled 'Mery Passages and Jeasts,' MS. Harl. 6395.: 'There was a spectacle presented to Queen Elizabeth upon the water, and among others Harry Goldingham was to represent Arion upon the Dolphin's backe; but finding his voice to be verye hoarse and unpleasant when he came to perform it, he tears off his disguise, and swears he was none of Arion, not he, but even honest Harry Goldingham ; which blunt discoverie pleased the queen better than if he had gone through in the right way :-yet he could order his voice to an instrument exceeding well.



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