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Athens. A Room in the Palace of Thefeus.


THE. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how flow This old moon wanes! fhe lingers my defires, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,

Long withering out a young man's revenue."
HIP. Four days will quickly fteep themselves in
nights; 3

Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a filver bow


2 Like to a fep-dame, or a dowager,

Long withering out a young man's revenue.] The authenticity of this reading having been queftioned by Dr. Warburton, I shall exemplify it from Chapman's Tranflation of the 4th Book of Homer. there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace."

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Ut piget annus

Pupillis, quos dura premit cuftodia matrum,

"Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora." HOR.




fteep themselves in nights; ] So, in Cymbeline, A& V. sc. iv.

neither deferve,

"And yet are fleep'd in favours." STEEVENS.

New bent in heaven, 'fhall behold the night
Of our folemnities.

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Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The palé companion is not for our pomp. -
Hippolyta, 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.


EGE. Happy be Thefeus, our renowned duke!"

• New bent

by Mr. Rowe.

The old copies read - Now bent. Corre&ed


With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. By triumph, as Mr. Warton has obferved in his late edition of Milton's Poems, p. 56, we are to understand hows, fuch as masks, revels, &c. So, again in King Henry VI. P. III:

"And now what refts, but that we fpend the time
"With ftately triumphs, mirthful comick shows,
"Such as befit the pleasures of the court?"

Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, 1624: "Now come tidings of weddings, mafkings, mummeries, entertainments, trophies, triumphs, revels, fports, playes." Jonfon, as the fame gentleman obferves, in the title of his mafque called Love's Triumph through Callipolis, by triumph feems to have meant a grand proceflion; and in one of the ftage-directions, it is faid, "the triumph is feen far off." MALONE.


our renowned duke!]. Thus in Chaucer's Knight's Tale : "Whilom as olde ftories tellen us,

"There was a Duk that highte Thefeus,

"Of Athenes he was lord and governour," &c.

Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his tranflation of the Tragedies of John Bochas, calls him by the fame title, chap. xii. 1. 21: "Duke Thefeus had the victorye."

THE. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?

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


Stand forth, Lyfander; and, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd" the bofom of my child:
Thou, thou, Lyfander, thou haft given her rhimes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child:
Thou haft by moon-light at her window fung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love;
And ftol'n the impreffion of her fantasy.
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds,

8 conceits,

Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, tranflated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon.

So likewife Skelton:

"Not lyke Duke Hamilcar,

"Nor lyke Duke Afdruball."

Stany burft, in his Tranflation of Virgil, calls Eneas, Duke Eneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II. 1632, Ajax is ftyled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Neftor, Duke Neftor, &c.

Our verfion of the Bible exhibits a fimilar mifapplication of a modern title; for in Daniel iii. 2. Nebuchadonozar, King of Babylon, sends out a fummons to the Sheriffs of his provinces.

STEEVENS. This man hath

7 This hath bewitch'd-] The old copies read bewitch'd. The emendation was made for the fake of the me

tre, by the editor of the fecond folio. It is very probable that the compofitor caught the word man from the line above.


gawds, i. c. baubles, toys, trifles.

the word frequently. See K. John, A& III. fc. v.

Again, in Appius and Virginia, 1576: "When gain is no grandfier,

And gaudes not fet by," &c.

Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:

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"A fort of paper puppets, gauds and toys."


Our author has

The Rev. Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical hiftory of the Battle of Floddon, obferves that a gawd is a child's toy, and

Knacks, trifles, nofegays, fweet-meats; meffengers
Of ftrong 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 it fo fhe will not here before your grace
Confent to marry with Demetrius,

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As he is mine, I may difpofe of her:
Which fhall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,'
Immediately provided in that cafe.2

THE. What fay you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair

To you your father fhould 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, or disfigure it. 3
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
HER. So is Lyfander.


In himself he is:

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

that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. STEEVENS.

Y Or to her death; according to our law, ] By a law of Solon's, parents had an abfolute power of life and death over their children. So it fuited the poet's purpofe well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before. Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. WARBURTON.'

2 Immediately provided in that cafe.] Shakspeare is grievously fufpe&ted of having been placed, while a boy, in an attorney's office. The line before us has an undoubted fmack of legal common-place. Poetry difclaims it. STEEVENS.

3 To leave the figure, or disfigure it.] The fense is, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.


HER. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes. THE. Rather your eyes muft with his judgement look.

HER. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
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 case,
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 youth,' examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;



aye to be in fhady cloifter 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 rose distill'd, 7


befall avise

to die the death, ] So, in the Second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon,, 1601:

"We will, my liege, elfe let us die the death." See notes on Measure for Measure, Ad II. fc. iv. STEEVENS. 5 Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. fider your youth. JOHNSON.

6 For aye lowe, 1622:

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] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Edward II. by Mar

"And fit for aye enthronized in heaven." STEEVENS. "But earthlier happy is the rofe difill'd,] Thus all the copies. yet earthlier is fo harfh a word, and earthlier happy, for happier earthly, a mode of fpeech fo unufual, that I wonder none of the editors have propofed earlier happy. JOHNSON.

It has fince been obferved, that Mr. Pope did propofe earlier. We might read earthly happier.

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