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There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
My good Lyfander!
Lys. Keep promife, love: Look, here comes Helena.
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 tiņt with gold or lead:
by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,] Shakspeare had forgot that Thefeus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and confequently long before the death of Dido.
Demetrius loves your fair: 3 O happy fair!
More tuneable than lark to fhepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
3 Demetrius loves your fair: ] Fair is used again as a substantivé in The Comedy of Errors, Ad III. fc. iv:
"A funny look of his would foon repair." Again, in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
"But what foul hand hath harm'd Matilda's fair?" Again, in A Looking-Glafs 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, fhall I have all thy fair?" Again, in Greene's Never too Late, 1616: "Though he were falfe to Menelaus, yet her fair made him brook her follies."
"Flora in tawny hid up all her flowers,
diaper the meads with fair." STEEVENS.
"And would not 4Your eyes are lode-ftars;] This was a compliment not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode ftar is the leading or guiding ftar, that is, the pole-ftar. The magnet is, for the fame reason, called the lode-ftone, either because it leads iron, or because it guides the failor. Milton has the fame thought in L'Allegro : "Towers and battlements it fees
Bofom'd high in tufted trees,
"Where perhaps fome beauty lies,
Davies calls Queen Elizabeth,
"Lode-flone to hearts, and lode-ftone to all eyes." JOHNSON.
So, in The Spanish Tragedy:
"Led by the loadftar of her heavenly looks."
Again, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594:
"The loadftar and the honour of our line." STEEVENS.
0, were favour fo!] Favour is feature, countenance.
in Twelfth Night, A& II. fc. iv:
"Hath stay'd upon fome favour that it loves." STEEVENS.
6 Yours would I catch.] This emendation is taken from the
My ear fhould catch your voice, my eye your eye,
HER. I frown upon him, yet he loves me ftill. HEL. O, that your frowns would teach my fmiles fuch fkill!
HER. I give him curfes, yet he gives me love. HEL. O, that my prayers could fuch affection move!
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. HEL. None, but your beauty; 'Would that fault
were mine! 9
Your words I catch
Mr. Malone reads "Your words I'd catch." The emendation [I'd catch] was made by the editor of the fecond 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.
I have deferted the old copies, only because I am unable to difcover how Helena, by catching the words of Hermia, could also catch her favour, i. c. her beauty. STEEVENS.
7- to be to you tranflated.] To tranflate, in our author, fometimes fignifies to change, to transform. So, in Timon: "to prefent flaves and fervants
Tranflates his rivals.".
His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.] 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:
But your beauty; Would that fault were mine!"
HER. Take comfort; he no more fhall fee my face;
Lyfander and myfelf will fly this place. -
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: To-morrow night when Phoebe doth behold Her filver vifage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,) Through Athen's gates have we devis'd to steal. . HER. And in the wood, where often you and I Upon faint primrofe-beds were wont to lie, Emptying our bofoms of their counfel fweet; There my Lyfander and myself thall meet:
2 Take confort; he no more shall fee my face; Lyfander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lyfander fee, Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of thefe lines. Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to confider the power of pleafing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, fince Hermia, whom fhe confiders as poffeffing it in the fupreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the lofs of happiness. JOHNSON.
3 faint primrofe-beds - Whether the epithet faint has reference to the colour or fmeli of primrofes, let the reader determine. STEEVENS.
Emptying our befoms of their connfel fweet;] That is, emptying our bofoms of thole fecrets upon which we were wont to confult each other with fo fweet a fatisfaction. HEATH..
Emptying our bofoms of their counsel (well'd;
There my Lyfander and myself shall meet :
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
This whole scene
To feek new friends, and frange companions.
is ftri&ly in rhyme; and that it deviates in thefe two couplets, I am perfuaded, is owing to the ignorance of the firft, and the inaccuracy of the later editors. I have therefore ventured to restore
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
the thimes, as I make no doubt but the poet firft gave them. was cafily corrupted into fwell'd, because that made an antithefts to emptying and frange companions our editors thought was plain English; but franger companies, a little quaint and unintelligible. Our author very often ufes the fubftantive, Aranger adjectively and companies to fignify companions: as in Richard ÏI. Aă I: To tread the franger paths of banishment."
And in Henry V:
"His companies unletter'd, rude and fhallow."
Dr. Warburton retains the old reading, and perhaps juftifiably; for a bofom fwell'd with fecrets does not appear as an expreflion un likely to have been used by our author, who speaks of a fluff & bofom in Macbeth.
In Lyly's Midas, 1592. is a fomewhat fimilar expression σε 1 am one of those whole tongues are fwell'd with filence." Again,. in our author's K. Richard II:
Of counfels fwell'd" may mean fwell'd with counfels.
Of and with, in other ancient writers have the fame fignification. See alfo, Macbeth Note on
Of Kernes and Gallow-glaffes was supplied."
i. e. with them.
In the scenes of K. Richard II. there is likewife a mixture of thime and blank verfe. 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 given Theobald's conjec tures a place in the text. STEEVENS.
I think, weet, the reading propofed by Theobald, is right. The latter of Mr. Theobald's emendations is likewife fupported by Stowe's Annales, p. 991. edit. 1615: The prince himself was faine to get upon the high altar, to girt his aforefaid companies with the order of knighthood." Mr. Heath obferves, that our author feems to have had the following paffage in the 55th Pfalm, (v. 14, 15,) in his thoughts: "But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and mine own familiar friend. We took fweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends."