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Enter LYSANDER and HELENA. Lys. Why should you think, that I should woo

in scorn?
Scorn and derision never come in tears :
Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born

In their nativity all truth appears.
How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true ?

Hel. You do advance your cunning more and


When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray! These vows are Hermia's; Will you give her o'er ?

Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh: Your vows, to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.

Lys. I had no judgment when to her I swore.
Hel. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
Lys. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
Dem. Cawaking.] 0 Helen, goddess, nymph, per-

fect divine !
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus's snow,
Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow,
When thou hold’st up thy hand : O let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal 14 of bliss !

Hel. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me,


If you were civil, and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.

14 So in Antony and Cleopatra :

My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal, And plighter of high hearts.'

me with

not hate me, as I know


do, But

you must join, in souls 15, to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so;
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When, I am sure, you



hearts. You both are rivals, and love Hermia; And now both rivals, to mock Helena : A trim exploit, a manly enterprise, To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes, With your

derision! none of noble sort 16 Would so offend a virgin; and extort A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.

Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;

you love Hermia: this, you know, I know:
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part;
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
Whom I do love, and will do to my death.

Hel. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none: If e'er I lov’d her, all that love is gone. My heart with her but, as guest-wise, sojourn’d; And now to Helen is it home return'd, There to remain. Lys.

Helen, it is not so. Dem. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know, Lest, to thy peril, thou abide it dear 17.Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.

Enter HERMIA. Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function

takes, The ear more quick of apprehension makes;

15 i. e. join heartily, unite in the same mind.

16 Degree, or quality. 17 Pay dearly for it, rue it. VOL. II.


Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense:
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;

ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound. But why unkindly didst thou leave me so? Lys. Why should he stay, whom love doth press

to go? Her. What love could press Lysander from my side?

Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide. Fair Helena, who more engilds the night Than all yon fiery oes 18 and eyes of light. Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee

know, The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so.

Her. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.

Hel. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three,
To fashion this false sport in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid !
Have you conspir’d, have you with these contriy'd
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd 19,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,—0, and is all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial 20 gods,
Have with our neelds 21 created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,

18 i. e. circles.
19 · Is all the counsel that we two have shared,' &c.

Gregory of Nazianzen's poem on his own life contains some beautiful lines (resembling these) which burst from the heart and speak the pangs of injured and lost friendship. Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory; he was ignorant of the Greek language; but his mother tongue, the language of nature, is the same in Cappadocia as in Britain.'— Gibbon's Hist. vol. v. p. 17, 8vo. ed.

20 i, e, ingenious, artful. Artificiose, Lat. 21 i. e, needles.

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for it;

Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we'grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted;
But yet a union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem:
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first 29, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
And will

you rent our ancient love asunder, To join with men in scorning your poor

friend? It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly: Our sex, as well as I, may


you Though I alone do feel the injury.

Her. I am amazed at your passionate words: I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.

Hel. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn, To follow me, and praise my eyes and face? And made your other love, Demetrius (Who even but now did spurn me with his foot), To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare, Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander Deny your love, so rich within his soul, And tender me, forsooth, affection; But by your setting on, by your consent? What though I be not so in grace as you, So hung upon with love, so fortunate; But miserable most, to love unlov’d? This you should pity, rather than despise.

22 Mr. Douce thus explains this passage : Helen says, had two seeming bodies, but only one heart. She then exemplifies the position by a simile-'we had two of the first, i.e. bodies, like the double coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife as one person, but which like our single heart, have but one crest.' Malone explains the heraldic allusion differently, but not so clearly nor satisfactorily.



Her. I understand not what you mean by this.

Hel. Ay, do, perséver, counterfeit sad looks, Make mows

upon me when I turn my back;
Wink at each other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.

have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument 24.
But, fare ye well : 'tis partly mine own fault;
Which death, or absence, soon shall remedy.

Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse;
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!

Hel. O excellent!

Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she en-

treat; Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak

Helen, I love thee; by my life I do:
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,

prove him false, that says I love thee not. Dem. I


I love thee more than he can do. Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and


it too. Dem. Quick, come, Her.

Lysander, whereto tends all this? Lys. Away, you Ethiop! Dem.

No, no, he'll—Sir 25, Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow; But yet come not: You are a tame man, go!

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23 Make mouths. See vol. i. p. 46, note 1. 24 i. e, such a subject of light merriment.

25 This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thus explains it. The words he'll are not in the folio, and sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius I suppose would say, no, no, he'll not have the resolution to disengage himself from Hermia. But turning to Lysander, he addresses him ironically: Sir, seem to break loose;' &c.

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