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But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
Lys. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
Puck. Through the foreft have I gone,
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."
When thou wak'ft, let love forbid
Enter Demetrius and Helena running.
Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me1? do not fo.
For beafts, that meet me, run away for fear :
Lyf. And run through fire I will, for thy fweet
Tranfparent Helena! nature here fhews art,
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.
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.
Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
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,
3 Not Hermia, but Helena I love.] The first folio has:
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!
To pluck this crawling ferpent from my breast!
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.
ACT III. SCENE II.
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,
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."