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And loos'd his love-fhaft fmartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts:
But I might fee young Cupid's fiery fhaft
Quench'd in the chafte beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial votrefs paffed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,-

Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound-
And maidens call it, love-in-idlenefs.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I fhew'd thee once;
The juice of it, on fleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly doat
Upon the next live creature that it fees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can fwim a league.

And maidens call it, love-in-idleness.] This is as fine a metamorphofis as any in Ovid: With a much better moral, intimating that irregular love has only power when people are idle, or not well employed. WARBURTON.

I believe the fingular beauty of this metamorphofis to have been quite accidental, as the poet is of another opinion, in the Taming the Shrew, act i. fc. 4:

But fee, while idly I ftood looking on,
"I found th' effect of love in idleness;
"And now in plainnefs I confefs to thee,
"Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio,
"If I atchieve not this young modeft girl."

And Lucentio's was furely a regular and honeft paffion. It is scarce necessary to mention that love in idlencfs is a flower. Taylor, the water poet, quibbling on the names of plants, mentions it as follows:

"When paffions are let loose without a bridle,
"Then precious time is turn'd to love in idle."


The flower or violet, commonly called panfies, or heart's cafe, is named love in idlenes in Warwickshire, and in Lyte's Herbal. There is a reason why Shakspeare fays it is, "now purple with love's wound," because one or two of its petals are of a purple colour. ToLLET.

It is called in other counties the Three coloured violet, the Herb of Trinity, Three faces in a hood, Cuddle me to you, &c. STEEVENS.


Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes.

Ob. Having once this juice,
I'll watch Titania when fhe is afleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
The next thing when the waking looks upon,
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on bufy ape)
She fhall purfue it with the foul of love.
And ere I take this charm off from her fight,
(As I can take it with another herb)
I'll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible7;
And I will over-hear their conference.

Enter Demetrius, Helena following him. Dem. I love thee not, therefore purfue me not. Where is Lyfander, and fair Hermia? The one I'll flay, the other flayeth me". Thou told'ft me, they were ftoln unto this wood, And here am I, and wood within this wood?


I'll put a girdle round about the earth &c.] This expreffion occurs in the Bird in a Cage, 1633:

Perhaps, it is proverbial:

"And when I have put a girdle 'bout the world, "This purchase will reward me.' Again, in Buffy d'Ambois, by Chapman, 1613:


"To put a girdle round about the world." And in other plays: STEEVENS.


I am invifible;] I thought proper here to obferve, that, as Oberon and Puck his attendant, may be frequently ob ferved to fpeak, when there is no mention of their entering, they are defigned by the poet to be fuppofed on the stage during the greatest part of the remainder of the play; and to mix, as they pleafe, as fpirits, with the other actors; and embroil the plot, by their interpolition, without being fcen, or heard, but when to their own purpose. THEOBALD.

The one I'll stay: the other flayeth me.] Thus it has been in all the editions hitherto: but Dr. Thirlby ingenioufly faw it muft be, as I have corrected in the text.


and wode,

ing. POPE.


Wood, or mad, wild, rav.


Because I cannot meet my Hermia.


Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant ;
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
Is true as steel: Leave you your power to draw,
And I fhall have no power to follow you.

Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Or, rather, do I not in plaineft truth
Tell you-I do not, nor I cannot love you?
Hel. And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, fpurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lofe me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow
What worfer place can I beg in your love,
(And yet a place of high refpect with me)
Than to be ufed as you use your dog?

Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit ; For I am fick, when I do look on thee.

Hel. And I am fick, when I look not on you.

Dem. You do impeach your modefty too much, To leave the city, and commit yourself Into the hands of one that loves you not;

We meet with the word in Chaucer, in the character of the Monke, late edit. v. 184:

"What, fhould he ftudie, or make himfelven wood?” Spenfer alfo ufes it, glogue III. March:

"The elf was fo wanton, and fo wvode.”

"The name Woden," fays Verftegan in his Antiquities, "figni fies fierce or furious; and in like fenfe we ftill retain it, faying when one is in a great rage, that he is vood, or taketh on, as if he were good." STEEVENS.

You draw me you hard hearted adamant;

But yet you draw not iron-]

I learn from Edward Fenton's Certaine Secrete Wonders of Nature, bl. 1. 1569, that-" there is now a dayes a kind of ada


mant which draweth unto it flefhe, and the fame so strong ❝ly, that it hath power to knit and tie together, two mouthes " of contrary perfons, and drawe the heart of a man out of his "bodie without offendyng any parte of him." STEEVENS.




To truft the opportunity of night,
And the ill counfel of a defert place,
With the rich worth of your virginity.


Hel. Your virtue is my privilege for that".
It is not night, when I do fee your face 3,
Therefore I think I am not in the night:
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company*;
For you, in my refpect, are all the world:
Then how can it be faid, I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?

Dem. I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.

Hel. The wildeft hath not fuch a heart as you. Run when you will, the ftory fhall be chang'd: Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase; The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind Makes speed to catch the tyger: Bootlefs fpeed! When cowardice pursues, and valour flies.

Dem. I will not ftay thy queftions; let me go: Or, if thou follow me, do not believe But I fhall do thee mischief in the wood.

2 Your virtue is my privilege: For that, &c.] This line feems to be wrong pointed. I would read-Your virtue is my privilege for that, i. e. for leaving the city, &c. TYRWHITT.


-for that

It is not night, when I do fee your face, &c.]

This paffage is paraphrafed from two lines of an ancient poet: Tu nocte vel atra


"Lumen, et in folis tu mihi turba locis." JOHNSON. 4 Nor doth the wood lack worlds of company;] The fame thought occurs in the ad Part of K. Hen. VI:

"A wilderness is populous enough,
"So Suffolk had thy heavenly company.'

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Again, in Marfton's Dutch Courtezan, 1605:

"So could I live in defert most unknowen, "Yourself to me enough were populous." MALONE. 5 The wildeft hath not fuch a heart as you.] "Mitius inveni quam te genus omne ferarum.” Ovid. See Timon of Athens,

act iv. fc. I.


where he fhall find

"The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind.” S.W.


Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field, You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius! Your wrongs do fet a fcandal on my fex: We cannot fight for love, as men may do; We fhou'd be woo'd, and were not made to woo. I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love fo well.

[Exeunt. Ob. Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave this grove,

Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.— Haft thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.

Re-enter Puck.

Puck. Ay, there it is.

Ob. I pray thee, give it me.


I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows;
"Quite over-canopy'd with luscious woodbine,
With sweet mufk-roses, and with eglantine:
There fleeps Titania, fome time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the fnake throws her enamel'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful.fantafies.

6 Where oxlips] The oxlip is the greater corflip. So, in Drayton's Polyolbion, Song 15:

"To fort thefe flowers of fhowe, with other that were fweet, "The cowflip then they couch, and th' oxlip for her meet." STEEVENS.

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7 Quite over-canopy'd with luscious woodbine,] Thus all the old editions.

On the margin of one of my folios an unknown hand has written lush woodbine, which, I think is right.

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This hand I have fince discovered to be Theobald's. JOHNSON.
Shakspeare uses the word lub in The Tempeft, act II:

"How lub and lufty the grafs looks? how green?

E 2


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