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But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
Lye further off; in human modesty
Such feparation, as, may well be faid,
Becomes a virtuous batchelor and a maid:
So far be diftant; and good night, fweet friend:
Thy love ne'er alter, till thy fweet life end!

Lys. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
And then end life, when I end loyalty!
Here is my bed: Sleep give thee all his reft!
Her. With half that with the wifher's eyes be


[They fleep.


Enter Puck.

Puck. Through the foreft have I gone,
But Athenian found I none,
On whofe eyes I might approve
This flower's force in ftirring Love.
Night and filence! who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my mafter faid,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, fleeping.found,
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty foul! fhe durft not lye
Near this lack-love, kill courtesy 9.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe:

9 Near to this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.] Mr. Theobald and fir T. Hanmer, for the fake of the measure, leave out this lack-love. I have only omitted the words to and this. STEEVENS.

The old copy has not to. Might we not therefore adhere to it, and at the fame time preserve the measure, by printing the line thus:

Near this lack-love, this kill-court'fy.

We meet with the fame abbreviation in our author's Venus and Adonis:

"They all strain court'fy, who fhall cope him first."



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When thou wak'ft, let love forbid
Sleep his feat on thy eye-lid.
So awake, when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.


Enter Demetrius and Helena running.
Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, fweet Demetrius.
Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me

Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me1? do not fo.
Dem. Stay on thy peril; I alone will go.

[Exit Demetrius.
Hel. O, I am out of breath, in this fond chace!
The more my prayer, the leffer is my grace 2.
Happy is Hermia, wherefoe'er fhe lies;
For the hath bleffed and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes fo bright? Not with falt tears:
If fo, my eyes are oftner wafh'd than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;

For beafts, that meet me, run away for fear :
Therefore, no marvel though Demetrius
Do, as a monster, fly my prefence thus.
What wicked and diffembling glafs of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's fphery eyne?—
But who is here? Lyfander! on the ground!
Dead? or afleep? I fee no blood, no wound:-
Lyfander, if you live, good fir, awake.

Lyf. And run through fire I will, for thy fweet

Tranfparent Helena! nature here fhews art,
That through thy bofom makes me fee thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? Oh, how fit a word
Is that vile name, to perifh on my sword!



wilt thou darkling leave me?] So, in the Two Angry Women of Abington, 1599: we'll run away with the torch, and leave them to fight darkling." The word is likewise used by Milton. STEEVENS.

my grace.] My acceptableness, the favour that I can gain. JOHNSON.


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Hel. Do not fay fo, Lyfander; fay not fo: What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?

Yet Hermia ftill loves you: then be content.
Lyf. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
3 Not Hermia, but Helena I love :
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reafon fway'd;
And reafon fays, 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 skill4,
Reafon becomes the marfhal to my will ',
And leads me to your eyes; where I o'erlook
Love's ftories, written in love's richest book.

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When, at your hands, did I deferve this fcorn?
Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
But you must flout my infufficiency?

Good troth, you do me wrong, good footh, you do, In fuch difdainful manner me to woo.

But fare you well: perforce I must confefs,
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
Oh, that a lady, of one man refus'd,
Should, of another, therefore be abus'd!

3 Not Hermia, but Helena I love.] The first folio has:
but Helena now I love. MALONE.


4 touching now the point of human skill,] i. e. my fenfes being now at their utmost height of perfection. So, in K. Henry VIII:

"I have touch'd the highest point of all my greatness." STEEVENS.

5 Reafon becomes the marshal to my will,] That is, My will now follows reafon. JOHNSON. So, in Macbeth:

"Thou marshal'ft me the way that I was going."



Lyf. She fees not Hermia :-Hermia, fleep thou there;

And never may'ft thou come Lyfander near!
For, as a furfeit of the sweetest things,
The deepest loathing to the ftomach brings;
Or, as the herefies, that men do leave,
Are hated moft of those they did deceive7;
So thou, my furfeit, and my herefy,
Of all be hated; but the most, of me!
And all my powers, addrefs your love and might,
To honour Helen, and to be her knight! [Ext.
Her. [farting from fleep.] Help me, Lyfander, help
me! do thy best,

To pluck this crawling ferpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity!--what a dream was here?
Lyfander, look, how I do quake with fear:
Methought, a ferpent eat my heart away,
And you fat fmiling at his cruel prey :-
Lyfander! what, remov'd? Lyfander! lord!
What, out of hearing? gone? no found, no word?
Alack, where are you? fpeak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves; I fwoon almoft with fear.
No? then I well perceive you are not nigh:
Or death, or you", I'll find immediately.


6 -true gentleness;] Gentleness is equivalent to what, in modern language, we fhould call the Spirit of a gentleman. PERCY. thofe they did deceive;] The folio reads-that did deceive. MALONE.


8 And you-] Instead of you, the elder folio reads yet. Mr. Pope firft gave the right word from the quarto 16co. STEEVENS.

9 Speak, of all loves ;-] ‹ƒ all loves is an adjuration more than once ufed by our author. So, Merry Wives, &c. act ii. fc. 8: to fend her your little page, of all loves."



1 Or death, or you, &c.] The folio 1623, and the quarto 1600, inftead of the first or, read either. STEEVENS.



The Wood.

2 Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.

The Queen of Fairies lying afleep.

Bot. Are we all met?

Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearfal: This green plot fhall be our ftage, this hawthorn brake our tyring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.

Bot. Peter Quince,

Quin. What fay'ft thou, bully Bottom ?

Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never pleafe. Firft, Pyramus muft draw a fword to kill himfelf; which the ladies cannot abide. How anfwer you that?

Snout. By'rlakin 3, a parlous fear,

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In the time of Shakspeare, there were many companies of players, fometimes five at the fame time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of thefe fome were undoubtedly very unfkilful and very poor, and it is probable that the defign of this fcene 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 afs's head. JOHNSON.

Enter Quince, &c.] The two quartos 1600, and the folio, read only, Enter the Clowns. STEEVENS.

3 By'rlakin, a parlous fear.] By our ladykin, or little lady, as ifakins is a corruption of by my faith. The former is ufed in Prefton's Cambyfes

"The clock hath ftricken vive ich think by laken." Again, in Magnificence, an ancient folio interlude, written by Skelton, and printed by Raftell:

"By our lakin, fyr, not by my will."


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