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Lys. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr: vile thing,

let loose; Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent. Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change

is this, Sweet love?

Lys. Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!

Her. Do you not jest?
Yes, 'sooth: and so do

you. Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

Dem. I would, I had your bond; for, I perceive, A weak bond holds you; I'll not trust your word. Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her

dead? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so. Her. What, can you do me greater harm than

hate? Hate me! wherefore ? O me! what

news, my love? Am not I Hermia ? Are not you Lysander? I am as fair now as was erewhile. Since night you lov'd me; yet since night you left

me: Why, then

you left me,–0, the gods forbid !-
In earnest shall I

Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt,
Be certain nothing truer; 'tis no jest,
That I do hate thee, and love Helena.

Her. O me, you juggler! you canker-blossom 26 ! You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stoln my love's heart from him?

26 A worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers, always beginning in the middle. So before in this play: *Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds.'



Fine, i’faith! Have you no modesty, no maiden shame, No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear Impatient answers from my gentle tongue ? Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet you!

Her. Puppet! why so? Ay,that way goes the game. Now I perceive that she hath made compare Between our statures, she hath urg'd her height; And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.And are you grown so high in his esteem, Because I am so dwarfish, and so low? How low am I, thou painted maypole ? speak; How low am I? I am not yet so low, But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me: I was never curst 27; I have no gift at all in shrewishness; I am a right maid for my cowardice; Let her not strike me: You, perhaps, may think, Because she's something lower than myself, That I can match her. Her.

Lower! hark, again. Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me. I evermore did love

you, Hermia, Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong’d you; Save that, in love unto Demetrius, I told him of your stealth unto this wood: He follow'd you; for love, I follow'd him. But he hath chid me hence: and threatend me To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too: And now, so you will let me quiet go, To Athens will I bear my folly back, And follow you no further: Let me go: You see how simple and how fond28 I am.

2 i. e. froward, cross, ill-conditioned, or ill-spoken. 28 Foolish.

Her. Why, get you gone: Who is't that hinders

Hel. A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
Her. What! with Lysander ?

With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid: she shall not harm thee, Helená. Dem. No,sir; she shall not, though you take her

part. Hel. 7, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd: She was a vixen, when she went to school; And, though she be but little, she is fierce.

Her. Little again ? nothing but low and little !-Why will


suffer her to flout me thus? Let me come to her. Lys.

Get you gone, you dwarf; You minimus of hind'ring knot-grass 29 made; You bead,

you acorn. Dem.

You are too officious,
In her behalf that scorns your

services :
Let her alone; speak not of Helena;
Take not her part: for if thou dost intend 3
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it 31

Now she holds me not;
Now follow if thou dar’st, to try whose right
Or thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Dem. Follow? nay, I'll go with thee cheek by

[Exeunt Lys. and Dem. Her. You, mistress, all this coil is ’long of you: Nay, go not back. Hel.

I will not trust you, I; Nor longer stay in your curst company.


29 Anciently knot-grass was believed to prevent the growth of children.

30 Pretend.
31 Aby it, for abide it, i. e. pay dearly for it, rue it.

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far am

Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray;
My legs are longer though, to run away. [Exit.
Her. I am amaz’d, and know not what to say.

[Exit, pursuing HELENA. Obe. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak'st, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.

Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. Did not


I should know the man
By the Athenian garments he had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have ’nointed an Athenian's eyes :

I glad it so did sort 32,
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.

Obe. Thou seest, these lovers seek a place to fight: Hie, therefore, Robin, overcast the night; The starry welkin cover thou anon With drooping fog, as black as Acheron; And lead these testy rivals so astray, As one come not within another's

way. Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue, Then stir Demetrius


with bitter wrong; And sometime rail thou like Demetrius : And from each other look thou lead them thus, Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep: Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye: Whose liquor hath this virtuous property, To take from thence all error with his might, And make his eye-balls roll with wonted sight. When they next wake, all this derision Shall seem a dream, and fruitless vision; And back to Athens shall the lovers wend 33 With league whose date till death shall never end. Whiles I in this affair do thee employ, I'll to my queen, and beg her Indian boy;

32 Chance, fall out, from sort, French.

33 Go.

beds 36

And then I will her charmed


release From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.

Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste; For night's swift dragons 34 cut the clouds full fast, And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger; At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there, Troop home to church-yards: damned spirits all, That in cross-ways and floods have burial 35, Already to their wormy are gone; For fear lest day should look their shames upon, They wilfully themselves exile from light, And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.

Obe. But we are spirits of another sort:
I with the Morning's love 37 have oft made sport;
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams 38.
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
effect this business yet ere day.

Puck. Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear'd in field and town;

Goblin, lead them up and down. Here comes one. 34 So in Cymbeline, Act ii. Sc. 11 :

•Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night.' See note on that passage.

35 The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in crossroads; and of those who being drowned were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies.

36 Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed.'-Milton's Ode on the Death of a fair Infant.

37 Cephalus, the mighty hunter, and paramour of Aurora, was here probably meant.

38 Oberon here boasts that he was not compelled, like meaner spirits, to vanish at the first dawn.

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