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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, whofe unwifhed yoke
My foul confents not to give fovereignty.

THE. Take time to paufe: and, by the next new


(The fealing-day betwixt my love and me,

. You

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 unwifhed yoke." STEEVENS.

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 "My foul confents not to give fovereignty."

i. e. to give fovereignty to. See various inftances of this kind of phrafeology in a note on Cymbeline, fcene the last. 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,)
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For difobedience to your father's will;
Or else 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.

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 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 fhe, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,

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 Spotted is wicked.


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 fchooling 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 Hippolyta; What cheer, my love? → Demetrius, and Egeus, go along:

I muft employ you in fome bufinefs Againft our nuptial; and confer with you Of fomething nearly that concerns yourselves. EGE. With duty, and defire, we follow you. [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 well

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 course of true love never did run fmooth:

2 Beteem them ] Give them, bestow upon them. The word is used by Spenfer. JOHNSON.

"So would I, said th' enchanter, glad and fain

"Beteem to you his fword, you to defend." Faery Queen, How? Afk Dalio and Milo, 1605:

Again, in The Cafe is Altered.

"I could beteeme 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 course of true love This paffage feems to have been imitated by Milton. Paradife Loft, B. X. 896. & feqq.


But, either it was different in blood;

HER. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!*
Lys. Or elfe mifgraffed, in respect 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 fympathy in choice,
War, death, or fickness did lay fiege to it;
Making it momentany as a found,

Swift as a fhadow, fhort as any dream ;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,

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too high to be enthrall'd to low!] Love- poffeffes all the editions, but carries no juft meaning in it. Nor was Hermia dif pleas'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. These 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 predicts that the courfe of love never fhall run fmooth :

"Sorrow on love hereafter fhall attend,

"Ne'er fettled equally, too high, or low," &c. MALONE.

momentany as a found,] Thus the quartos. The fift folio reads momentary. Momentany (fays Dr. Johnson) is the old and proper word. STEEVENS.

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6 Brief as the lightning in the collied night,] Collied, i. e. black, fmutted with coal, a word ftill ufed in the midland counties. in Ben Jonfon's Poetafter:


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Thou haft not collied thy face enough." STEEVENST

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That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to fay, — Behold!
The jaws of darknefs do devour it up: 7
So quick bright things come to confufion.

HER. If then true lovers have been ever crofs'd, It ftands as an edict in deftiny:

Then let us teach our trial patience,

Because it is a cuftomary cross;

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

Of 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 Jay, - Behold!

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 fudden fit, is enough for him, and he never troubles himself about the further or fuller fignification of the word. Here, he ufes the word Spleen for a fudden hafty fit; fo just the contrary, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, he ufes fudden for splenetic: "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

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9 From Athens is her house remote feven leagues, Remote is the reading of both the quartos; the folio has

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