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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.

My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow;
By his best arrow with the golden head;
By the fimplicity of Venus' doves;
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves;
And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under fail was seen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke;-
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
Lys. Keep promise, love: Look, here comes




Her. God speed, fair Helena! Whither away! Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.

his beft arrow with the golden head; ] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book II:

-arrowes two, and tipt with gold or Icad :
• Some hurt, accuse a third with horny head.

STEEVENS. 3 by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen, ] Shakspeare bad forgot that Theseus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and consequently long before the death of Dido.


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Demetrius loves your fair :: O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-llars; * and your tongue's sweet

More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching; 0, were favour so!'
Your's would I catch,' fair Hermia, ere I go;

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3 Demetrius loves your fair : ) Fair is used again as a substantivo in The Comedy of Errors, Act III. sc. iv:

My decayed fair,
" A sunny look of his would soon repair."
Again, in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :

" But what foul hand hath harmd Matilda's fair ? "
Again, in A Looking-Glass for London and England 1598 :

" And fold in me the riches of thy fair. Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599 :

" Then tell me, love, shall I have all thy fair! Again, in Greene's Never too Late, 1616 : " Though she were false to Menelaus, yćt her fair made him brook her follies." Again :

" Flora in tawny hid up all her flowers,

" And would not diaper the meads with fair." STEEVENS. 4 Your eyes are lode- stars;] This was a compliment not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode ftar is the leading or guiding ftar, that is, the polc-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone, either because it leads iron, or because it guides the failor. Milton has the same thought in L'Allegro :

" Towers and battlements it fees
" Bofom'd high in tufted trees,
" Where perhaps some beauty lies ,

" The cynosure of neighboring eyes. "
Davies calls Queen Elizabeth,

" Lode-flone to hearts, and lode-stone to all eyes." JOHNSON. So, in The Spanish Tragedy :

" Led by the load si ar of her heavenly looks." Again, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594 :

" The loadstar and the honour of our line.'' STEEVENS.

0, were favour so! ) Favour is feature, countenance. So, in Twelfth Night, A& II. sc. iv :

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“ Hath stay'd upon some favour that it loves." STEEVENS. 6. Yours would I catch. ) This emendation is taken from the

My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
Mytongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'll give to be to you translated.?
0, teach me how you look; and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

Her. Í frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
Hel. O, that your frowns would teach


such skill!
Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
Hel. O, that my prayers could such affection

Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me;
HEL. The more I love, the more he hateth me.
Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. 8
Hel. None, but your beauty; 'Would that fault

were mine! 9

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Oxford edition. The old reading is Your words I catch

JOHNSON Mr. Malone reads * Your words I'd catch." STEEVENS.

The emendation (I'd catch] was made by the editor of the second folio. Sir T. Hanmer reads "Yours would I catch ;" in which he has been followed by the subsequent editors. As the old reading (words) is intelligible, I have adhered to the ancient copies.

MALONE. I have deserted the old copies, only because I am unable to discover how Helena, by catching the words of Hermia, could alla catch her favour, i. c. her beauty. STEEVENS.

to be to you" irandated.] To translate, in our author, sometimes signifies to change, to transforin. So, in Timon i

to present slaves and servanis Translates his rivals."

STEEVENS. 8 His folly, Helena, is no fault of inine. ] The folio, and the quarto printed by Roberts, read His folly, Helena, is none of mine,

JOHNSON. ? None, but your beauty ; 'Would that fault were mine!) I would point this line thus : " None. But your beauty;

Would that fault were mine!"



Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my

Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see, *
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me:
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a hell!

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night when Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
(A time that lovers' flights doch still conceal,)
Through Athen's gates have we devis'd to steal.

HER. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds 3 were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet;
There my Lysander and myself thall meet:



2 Take confort; he no more snail fee ing face ;

Lysander and myself will fly this place.

Before the time I did Lysander fee,} Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lives. Hermia is willing 10 comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, fince Hermia, whom fhe considers as polseiling it in the supremie degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness. JOHNSON.

- faint primrose-beds -- Whether the epithet faint has reference to the colour or smeli of primroses, let the reader determine.

STEEVENS. Emplying our bofoms of their counsel fwçet;] That is, emptying our bosoms of those secrets upon which we were wont to consult each other with fo sweet a satisfadion. HEATH.

Emptying our bofoms of their counsel swellid;
There my Lifander and myself thall meet :
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,

To feed new friends, and strange companions. This whole scene is ftri&tly in rhyme ; and that it deviates in these two couplets, I am persuaded, is owing to the ignorance of the first, and the inaccuracy of the later editors. I have therefore ventured to restore.

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And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To feek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewel, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant tliee thy Demetrius! -

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the thimes, as I make no doubt but the poet first gave them. Sweet was easily corrupted into swell’d, because that made an artithesis to emptying : and Jirange companions our editors thought was plain English ; but İranger companies, a little quaint and unintelligible. Our author very often uses the substantive, ftranger adjectively; and companies to signify companions : as in Richard II. AX I:

" To tread theaflranger paths of lanishment.". And in Henry V': 6. His companies unletter'd, rude and shallow,"

THEOBALD. Dr. Warburton retains the old reading, and perhaps justifiably ; for a bofom (welld with secrets does not appear as an expreslion un. likely to have been used by our author, who speaks of a stuff' de bofom in Macbeth.

In Lyly's Midas, 1592. is a somewhat similar expresion : "1 am one of tbose whole tongues' are swell?d with silence." Againg, in our author's K. Richard II :

the unseen grief " That swells in lilence in the tortur'd foul." « Of counsels swellid" may mean - - [well'd with counsels.

of and with, in other ancient writers have the same signification. See also, Macbeth --- Note on

"Of Kernes and Gallow-glasies was fupplied." i, e. with them.

In the scenes of K. Richard II. there is likewise a mixture of thime and blank verse. Mr. Tyrwhitt, however, concurs with Theobald.

Though I have thus far defended the old reading, in deference. to the opinion of other criticks I have giveu Theobald's conjeca tures a place in the text. STEEVENS.

I think, sweet, the reading proposed by Theobald, is right.

The latter of Mr. Theobald's emendations is likewise fupported by Slowe's Annales, p. 991. edit. 1615 : “ The prince himself was faine to get upon the high altar, to girt his aforesaid companies with the order of knighthood." Mr. Heath observes, that our author scems to have had the following passage in the 55th Pfalm, (v. 14, 15,) in his thoughts : ou But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and inine own familiar friend. We took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends.":


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