ePub 版

patience 14 well: that same cowardly, giant-like oxbeef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good master Mustard-seed. Tita. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my

bower. The moon, methinks, looks with a watery eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,

Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my lover's tongue, bring him silently.


SCENE II. Another part of the Wood.

Obe. I wonder, if Titania be awak’d;
Then, what it was that next came in her

eye, Which she must dote on in extremity.

Enter Puck.
Here comes my messenger.—How now, mad spirit?
What night-rule 1 now about this haunted grove ?

Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,

14 Mason proposes to read “passing well,' which is plausible if change be necessary. The words are spoken ironically, as it was the prevailing opinion in Shakspeare's time, that mustard excited choler.

Revelry. ? A patch sometimes means a fool, or simpleton; but it was a common contemptuous term, and may be either a corruption of the Italian pazzo, or derived from the patch'd clothes sometimes worn by persons of low condition. Tooke gives a different origin from the Saxon verb pæcan, to deceive by false appear



Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sorto,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene, and entered in a brake:
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's nowl4 I fixed on his head;
Anon, his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimick5 comes: When they him

As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky;
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly:
And, at our stamp, here o’er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their sense, thus weak, lost with their fears, thus

Made senseless things begin to do them wrong:
For briars and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some, sleeves; some, hats; from yielders all things

I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there:
When in that moment (so it came to pass),
Titania wak'd, and straightway lov'd an ass.

3 Barren is dull, unpregnant. Sort is company,

4 A head. The metamorphosis of Bottom might have been suggested by a similar trick played by Dr. Faustus. See his History, c. xliii. The receipt for the process occurs in Albertus Magnus de Secretis : 'Si vis quod caput hominis assimiletur capiti asini, sume de segimine aselli, et unge hominem in capite, et sic apparebit. The book was translated in Shakspeare's time. 5 Actor.

6 The chough is a bird of the daw kind. 7 Sort is company, as above.

[ocr errors]

Obe. This falls out better than I could devise. But hast thou yet latch’d the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Puck. I took him sleeping,—that is finish'd too,
And the Athenian woman by his side;
That, when he wak’d, of force she must be ey’d.

Obe. Stand close; this is the same Athenian.
Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man.

Dem. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so ? Lay breath so bitter on your

bitter foe. Her. Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse; For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse. If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep, And kill me too. The sun was not so true unto the day, As he to me: Would he have stolen away From sleeping Hermia ? I'll believe as soon, This whole earth may be bor’d; and that the moon May through the centre creep, and so displease Her brother's noon-tide with the Antipodes. It cannot be, but thou hast murder'd him; So should a murderer look; so dead, so grim.

Dem. So should the murder'd look; and so should I, Pierc'd through the heart with your stern cruelty : Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear, As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.

Her. What's this to my Lysander? Where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Dem. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
Her. Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv’st me past the

bounds 8 Latch'd or letch'd, licked or smeared over. Lecher, Fr. Steevens says that, in the North, it signifies to infect.

Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him then? Henceforth be never number'd among men! 0! once tell true, tell true, even for


sake; Durst thou have look'd upon him, being awake, And hast thou killd him sleeping ? O brave toucho ! Could not a worm, an'adder, do so much? An adder did it; for with doubler tongue Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung. Dem. You spend your passion on a mispris’d 10

mood: I am not guilty of Lysander's blood; Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. Dem. An if I could, what should I get therefore ?

Her. A privilege, never to see me more.And from thy hated presence part I so: See me no more, whether he be dead or no. [Exit.

Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein: Here, therefore, for a while I will remain. So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe; Which now, in some slight measure it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay.

[Lies down. Obe. What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken

quite, And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight: Of thy misprision must perforce ensue Some true-love turn’d, and not a false turn'd true. Puck. Then fate o'er-rules; that, one man hold

ing troth, A million fail, confounding oath on oath.

9 A touch anciently signified a trick. Ascham has' the shrewd touches of many curst boys.' And in the old story of Howleglas, for at all times he did some mad touch.'

10 « On a mispris'd mood,’i. e. in a mistaken manner. sometimes used licentiously for in.

On was

Obe. About the wood go swifter than the wind, And Helena of Athens look thou find : All fancy-sick 11 she is, and pale of cheer 12 With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear 13 : By some illusion see thou bring her here; I'll charm his eyes, against she do appear.

Puck. I go, I go; look, how I go:
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. [Exit.

Obe. Flower of this purple die,
Hit with Cupid's archery,
Sink in apple of his eye!
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.-
When thou wak’st, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.

Re-enter Puck.
Puck. Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand;
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee;
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Obe. Stand aside: the noise they make,
Will cause Demetrius to awake.

Puck. Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me,

That befall preposterously. 11 Love-sick.

12 Cheer here signifies countenance, from céra, ITAL. signifying the face, visage, sight, or countenance, look or cheere of a man or woman. The old French chere had the same meaning.

13 So in K. Henry VI. we have blood-consuming,' blooddrinking,' and 'blood-sucking sighs.' All alluding to the ancient supposition, that every sigh was indulged at the expense of a drop of blood.

« 上一頁繼續 »