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The. Go, Philoftrate,

Stir up th' Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth :
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,

The pale companion is not for our pomp. [Exit. Phi.
Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my fword;

And won thy love, doing thee injuries:
But I will wed thee in another key,

With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.

Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lyfander and Demetrius.

Ege. Happy be Thefeus, our renowned Duke:
The. Thanks, good Egeus; what's the news with

Ege. Full of vexation, come I with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my confent to marry her.

Stand forth, Lyfander. And, my gracious Duke,
This man hath * witch'd the bofom of my child :
'Thou, thou, Lyfander, thou haft giv'n her rhimes.
And interchang'd love tokens with my child:
Thou haft by moon-light at her window fung,
With feigning voice, verfes of feigning love;
And ftol'n th' impreffion of her fantafie,
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nofegays, fweet-meats, meffengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To ftubborn harfhnefs: And, my gracious Duke,
Be't fo, fhe will not here before your Grace
Confent to marry with Demetrius ;

I beg the antient privilege of Athens,
As the is mine, I may difpofe of her :
Which fhall be either to this gentleman,

*I. II. III. bewitch'd


Or to her death, according to our law, (2)
Immediately provided in that cafe.

The. What fay you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid.
To you your father should be as a God, (3)
One, that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one,
To whom you are but as a form in wax

By him imprinted; and within his pow'r
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lyfander.

The. In himself he is;

But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do intreat your Grace to pardon me :

I know not, by what pow'r I am made bold;

(2) Or to her death, according to our Law,] By a Law of Solon's, Parents had the abfolute power of life and death over their children. So it fuited the poet's purpofe well enough to fuppofe the Athenians had it before.. Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter.


(3) To you your father should be as a God,
One, that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one,
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted; and within his power
To LEAVE the figure disfigure it.] We should read,


To 'LEVE the figure, &c.

i. e. releve, to heighten or add to the beauty of the figure, which is faid to be imprinted by him. 'Tis from the French relever. Thus they fay Tapifferies relevées d'or. In the fame fenfe they ufe enlever, which Maundeville makes English of in this manner-And alle the walles withinne ben covered with gold and fylver, in fyn Plates: and in the Plates ben Stories and Batayles of Knightes ENLEVED. p. 228. Rabelais, with a Strain of buffoon humour, that equals the fober elegance of this paffage in our Poet, calls the small gentry of France Gentilhommes de bas relief. WARBURTON.

I know not why fo harsh a word fhould be admitted with fo little need, a word that, spoken could not be understood, and of which no example can be shown. The fenfe is plain, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or deftroy.

F 2


Nor how it may concern my modefty,

In fuch a prefence here, to plead my thoughts:
But, I beseech your Grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this cafe,
If I refufe to wed Demetrius.

The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the fociety of men.

Therefore, fair Hermia, queftion your defires:
Know of your truth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;

For aye to be in fhady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren fifter all your life,

Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitlefs moon?
Thrice bleffed they, that mafter fo their blood,
To undergo fuch maiden pilgrimage!
But earthlier happy is the rofe diftill'd, (3)
Than that, which withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives and dies, in fingle bleffedness.

Her. So will I grow, fo live, fo die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up

Unto his lordship, to whofe unwish'd yoak
My foul confents not to give Sov'reignty.

The. Take time to paufe: and by the next new


The fealing day betwixt my love and me,
For everlafting bond of fellowship,
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For difobedience to your father's will;
Or elfe to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana's altar to proteft,

For aye, aufterity and fingle life.

Dem. Relent, fweet Hermia; and, Lyfander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.

Lyf. You have her father's love, Demetrius;

Let me have Hermia's; do you marry him.

(3) Thus all the copies, yet earthlier is fo harfh a word, and earthlier happy for happier earthly a mode of fpeech fo unusual, that I wonder none of the Editors have propofed earlier happy. *I. II. Lordship, whofe unwished yoke.


Ege. Scornful Lyfander! true, he hath my love; And what is mine, my love fhall render him. And he is mine, and all my right of her

I do estate unto Demetrius.

Lyf. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well poffeft: my love is more than his :
My fortune's every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius's:

And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia.

Why should not I then profecute my right?
Demetrius (I'll avouch it to his head)
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena;
And won her foul; and the, fweet lady, doats,
Devoutly doats, doats in Idolatry,

Upon this spotted and inconftant man.

The. I must confefs, that I have heard fo much,
And with Demetrius thought t'have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of felf-affairs,

My mind did lofe it. But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you fhall go with me;
I have fome private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look, you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or elfe the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of fingle life.

Come, my Hippolita ; what chear, my love?
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along;

I must employ you in fome business
Against our nuptials, and confer with you
Of fomething nearly that concerns yourselves.

Ege. With duty and defire we follow you. Exeunt.

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Manent Lyfander and Hermia.

Lyf. How now, my love? why is your cheek fo

pale ?

How chance the rofes there do fade fo faft ?

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Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well (4) Beteem them from the tempeft of mine eyes.


Lyf. Ah me, for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or hiftory,

The courfe of true love never did run fmooth;
But, either it was different in blood-

Her. O crofs!-too high to be enthrall'd to low—(5)
Lyf. Or elfe mifgraffed, in refpect of years-
Her. O fpight! too old, to be engag'd to young!
Lyf. Or elfe it ftood upon the choice of friends-
Her. O hell! to chufe love by another's eye!
Lyf. Or if there were a fympathy in choice,
War, death, or fickness did lay fiege to it;
Making it † momentary as a found,
Swift as a fhadow, fhort as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night, (6)

(4) Beteem them word is ufed by Spenfer. * I. II. Eigh me.



give them, bestow upon them. The

For Ah me.

For aught. Hermia was inferted in the Folio 1632, but is now changed for the first reading.

(5) Too high to be enthrall'd to Love-This reading poffeffes all the Editions, but carries no just meaning in it. Nor was Hermia difpleas'd at being in Love, but regrets the Inconveniences, that generally attend the Paffion: Either, the Parties are difproportion'd, in degree of Blood and Quality; or unequal, in refpect of Years; or brought together by the Appointment of Friends, and not by their own Choice. Thefe are the Complaints reprefented by Lyfander; and Hermia, to answer to the firft, as he has done to the other two, muft neceffarily fay; O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low! So the Antithefis is kept up in the Terms; and fo the is made to condole the Difproportion of Blood and Quality in Lovers. THEOBALD.

† I. Momentany. Which is the old and proper word.
(6) Brief as the lightning in the collied Night
That, in a Spleen, unfolds botb Heaven and Earth,
And ere a man bath power to fay, Behold!

The jaws of darkness do devour it up ;] Tho' the word Spleen be here employed odly enough, yet I believe it right. Shakespeare, always hurried on by the grandeur and multitude of his ideas affumes, every now and then, an uncommon licence in the use of his words, Particularly in complex moral modes

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