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What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Hel. Do not say so, Lysander ; say not so: What though he love your Hermia ? Lord, what
though ? Yet Hermia still loves you : then be content.
Lys. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent The tedious minutes I with her have spent. Not Hermia, but Helena now * I love : Who will not change a raven for a dove ? The will of man is by his reason sway'd ; And reason says you are the worthier maid. Things growing are not ripe until their season : So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason And touching now the point of human skill ?,
* Quarto F. omits now. 5 - Nature shews her art,] The quartos have only–Nature shews art. The folio reads-Nature her shews art,-probably the error of the press for-Nature shews her art, as I have printed it. The editor of the second folio changed her to here. Malone.
I admit the word-here, as a judicious correction of the second folio. Here, means—in the present instance. On this occasion, says Lysander, the work of nature resembles that of art, viz. (as our author expresses it in his Lover's Complaint,) an object "glaz’d with crystal.” Steevens.
- till now Ripe not to reason ;] i. e. do not ripen to it. Ripe, in the present instance, is a verb. So, in As You Like It:
“ And so, from hour to hour, we ripe, and ripe--.' 'Steevens. 7
-TOUCHING now the point of human skill,] i. e. my senses being now at the utmost height of perfection. So, in King Henry VIII. : VOL, V.
Reason becomes the marshal to my willo,
you must flout my insufficiency? Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
such disdainful manner me to woo. But fare you well : perforce I must confess,
he, is, “
* I have touch'd the highest point of all my greatness."
STEEVENS. 8 Reason becomes the MARSHAL to my will,] That is, My will now follows reason. JOHNSON. So, in Macbeth : “ Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going."
STEEVENS. A modern writer (Letters of Literature, Svo. 1785,] contends that Dr. Johnson's explanation is inaccurate. The meaning, says
my will now obeys the command of my reason, not my will follows my reason.
Marshal is a director of an army, of a turney, of a feast. Sydney has used marshal for herald or poursuivant, but improperly."
Of such flimzy materials are many of the hyper-criticisms composed, to which the labours of the editors and commentators on Shakspeare have given rise. Who does not at once perceive, that Dr. Johnson, when he speaks of the will following reason, uses the word not literally, but metaphorically? " My will follows or obeys the dictates of reason.". Or that, if this were not the case, he would yet be justified by the context, (And leads me -) and by the passage quoted from Macbeth?—The heralds, distinguished by the names of " poursuivants at arms,” were likewise called marshals. See Minsheu's Dict. 1617, in v. MALONE. 9 — leads me to YOUR EYES; where I o'erlook
Love's stories, WRITTEN IN LOVE'S RICHEST BOOK.] So, in Romeo and Juliet :
what obscur'd in this fair volume lies,
I thought you lord of more true gentleness'.
do thy best, To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast ! Ah me, for pity!-what a dream was here? Lysander, look, how I do quake with fear : Methought a serpent eat my heart away, And yousat smiling at his cruel prey :Lysander ! what, remov'd ? Lysander, lord ! What, out of hearing ? gone ? no sound, no word ? Alack, where are you? speak, an if you hear; Speak, of all loves ' ; I swoon almost with fear. No ?-then I well perceive you are not nigh: Either death, or you, I'll find immediately. [Exit.
! - true gentleness.) Gentleness is equivalent to what, in modern language, we should call the spirit of a gentleman.
Percy. * And you – ] Instead of you, the first folio reads—yet. Mr. Pope first gave the right word from the quarto 1600. Steevens.
3 Speak, or all loves;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II. Sc. VIII. : to send her your little page, of all loves."
Steevens. * EITHER death, or you, I'll find immediately.) Thus the ancient copies, and such was Shakspeare's usage. He frequently ACT III. SCENE P.
The Same. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
Enter Quinceo, Snug, Bottom, FLUTE, Swout,
and STARVELING. Bot. Are we all met ?
Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous * convenient place for our rehearsal : This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.
Bor. Peter Quince,
Bor. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never please. First, Pyramus
* Quarto F. marvels. employs either, and other similar words, as monosyllables. So, in King Henry IV. P. II. :
“ Either from the king, or in the present time.” Again, in King Henry V.:
“ Either past, or not arrivd to pith and puissance." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
“ Either led or driven, as we point the way." Again, in King Richard III. :
“ Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance—," Again, in Othello :
“ Either in discourse of thought, or actual deed." So also, Marlowe in his Edward II. 1598 :
“ Either banish him that was the cause thereof." The modern editors read-Or death or you, &c. MALONE.
s In the time of Shakspeare there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very unskilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head. Johnson.
6 Enter Quince, &c.] The two quartos 1600, and the folio, read only, Enter the Clowns. STEEVENS.
must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that ?
Svout. By’rlakin, a parlous fear?.
Star. I believe, we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Bot. Not a whit; I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue: and let the prologue seem to say, we will do no harm with our swords ; and that Pyramus is not killed indeed: and, for the more better assurance, tell them, that I Pyramus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: This will put them out of fear.
Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue ; and it shall be written in eight and six 8.
Bor. No, make it two more; let it be written in
Bor. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves : to bring in, God shield us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing '; for there is not a
7. BY'RLAKIN, a Parlous fear.] By our ladykin, or little lady, as ifakins is a corruption of by my faith. The former is used in Preston's Cambyses :
“The clock hath stricken vive, ich think, by laken." Again, in Magnificence, an interlude, written by Skelton, and printed by Rastell :
By our lakin, syr, not by my will."
“ Quid Syrtes, aut Scylla mihi ? quid vasta Charybdis
in eight and six.] i. e. in alternate verses of eight and six syllables. MALONE.
9 — God shield us ! alion among ladies, is a most dreadfulthing.] There is an odd coincidence between what our author has here