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Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Unto his lordship, whofe unwifhed yoke
THE. Take time to paufe: and, by the next new
(The fealing-day betwixt my love and me,
the rofe diftill'd,] So, in Lyly's Midas, 1592: bee all young and faire, endeauour to bee wife and vertuous; that when, like rofes, you fhall fall from the stalke, you may be gathered, and put to the fill."
This image however, must have been generally obvious, as in Shakspeare's time the diftillation of rofe water was a common procefs in all families. STEEVENS.
This is a thought in which Shakspeare feems to have much delighted. We meet with it more than once in his Sonnets. See 5th, 6th, and 54th Sonnet. MALONE.
whofe unwifhed yoke ] Thus both the quartos ́ 1600, and the folio 1623. The fecond folio reads
to whofe unwished yoke
Dele to, and for unwish'd, r. unwished. Though I have been in general extremely careful not to admit into my text any of the innovations made by the editor of the fecond folio, from ignorance of our poet's language or metre, my caution was here over-watched; and I printed the above lines as exhibited by that and all the fubfequent editors, of which the reader was apprized in a note. The old copies fhould have been adhered to, in which they appear thus: "Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
"Unto his lordship, whofe unwithed yoke
i. e. to give fovereignty to. See various inftances of this kind of phrafeology in a note on Cymbeline, fcene the laft. The change was certainly made by the editor of the fecond folio from his ignorance of Shakspeare's phrafeology. MALONE.
I have adopted the prefent elliptical reading, because it not only renders the line fmoother, but ferves to exclude the difgufting recurrence of the prepofition to; and yet if the authority of the firft folio had not been fupported by the quartos, &c. I fhould have preferred the more regular phrafeology of the folio 1632. STEEVENS.
For everlasting bond of fellowship, )
For aye, aufterity and fingle life.
DEM. Relent, fweet Hermia;-And, Lyfander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.' EGE. Scornful Lyfander! true, he hath my love; And what is mine, my love fhall render him; And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do eftate unto Demetrius.
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, As well poffefs'd; my love is more than his; My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all thefe boafts can be,
Why fhould not I then profecute my right?
Upon this spotted and inconftant man.
THE. I must confefs, that I have heard fo much, And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof; 9 You have her father's love, Demetrius ;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him. ] I fufpe& that Shakspeare wrote:
"Let me have Hermia; do you marry him."
·Spotted — ] As Spotless is innocent, fo fpotied is wicked.
But, being over-full of felf-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
I have fome private schooling for you both.—
I muft employ you in fome bufinefs
[Exeunt THES. HIP. EGE. DEM. and train. Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek fo pale?
How chance the roses there do fade fo faft?
HER. Belike, for want of rain; which I could
Beteem them from the tempeft of mine eyes. "
Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read, Could ever hear by tale or hiftory,
The courfe of true love 3 never did run smooth:
2 Beteem them -] Give them, beftow upon them. The word is used by Spenfer. JOHNSON.
"So would I, faid th' enchanter, glad and fain
" Beteem to you his fword, you to defend." Faery Queen. Again, in The Cafe is Altered. How? Afk Dalio and Milo, 1605:
"I could be teeme her a better match."
But I rather think that to beteem, in this place, fignifies (as in the northern counties) to pour out; from tömmer, Danish.
3 The courfe of true love This paffage seems to have been imitated by Milton. Paradife Loft, B. X. 896. & feqq.
But, either it was different in blood;
HER. Ocrofs! too high to be enthrall'd to low!* Lys. Or elfe mifgraffed, in refpect of years; HER. O fpite! too old to be engag'd to young! Lys. Or else it ftood upon the choice of friends: HER. O hell! to choose love by another's eye! Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, War, death, or fickness did lay siege to it; Making it momentany as a found, ' Swift as a fhadow, fhort as any dream; Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
too high to be enthrall'd to low!] Love poffeffes all the editions, but carries no juft 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 difproportioned, in degree of blood and quality; or unequal, in refpe&t 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 say:
O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!
So the antithefis is kept up in the terms; and fo fhe is made to condole the difproportion of blood and quality in lovers.
The emendation is fully fupported, not only by the tenour of the preceding lines, but by a paffage in our author's Venus and Adonis, in which the former predi&s that the course of love never fhall run fmooth :
"Sorrow on love hereafter fhall attend,
"Ne'er fettled equally, too high, or low," &c. MALONE. 5. momentany as a found,] Thus the quartos. The firft folio reads - momentary. Momentany (fays Dr. Johnson) is the old and proper word. STEEVENS.
that short momentany rage,"
is an expreffion of Dryden. HENLEY.
6 Brief as the lightning in the collied night,] Collied, i. e. black, fmutted with coal, a word ftill used in the midland counties. So, in Ben Jonson's Poetafter:
Thou haft not collied thy face enough." STEEVENST
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
HER. If then true lovers have been ever crofs'd, It stands as an edict in deftiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a cuftomary crofs;
As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and fighs, Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers.
LYS. A good perfuafion; therefore, hear me,
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
great revenue, and fhe hath no child: From Athens is her house remote feven leagues; And the respects me as her only fon.
7 That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth, And ere a man hath power to fay,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up: ] Though the word Spleen be here employed oddly enough, yet I believe it right. Shakspeare, 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 it is ufual with him to employ one, only to exprefs a very few ideas of that number of which it is compofed. Thus wanting here to exprefs the ideas
of a fudden, or — in a trice, he ufes the word Spleen; which, partially confidered, fignifying a hafty sudden fit, is enough for him, and he never troubles himfelf about the further or fuller fignification of the word. Here, he ufes the word Spleen for a fudden hafty fit; fo juft the contrary, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, he ufes fudden for fplenetic: "fudden quips." And it must be owned this fort of converfation adds a force to the diction.
fancy's followers. ] Fancy is love. So afterwards in this
Fair Helena in fancy following me." STEEVENS.
9 From Athens is her houfe remote feven leagues, Remote is the reading of both the quartos; the folio has remov'd.