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Enter LYSANDER and HELENA. Lys. Why should you think, that I should woo
I weep; and vows so born
Hel. You do advance your cunning more and
When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray! These vows are Hermia's; Will you give her o'er ? Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh:
to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
Lys. I had no judgment when to her I swore.
all are bent To set against me,
merriment. If you were civil, and knew courtesy, You would not do me thus much injury.
14 So in Antony and Cleopatra :
My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal,
in a poor
not hate me, as I know you do, But
you must join, in souls 15, to mock me too?
hearts. You both are rivals, and love Hermia; And now both rivals, to ock Helena : A trim exploit, a manly enterprise, To conjure tears
eyes, With your
derision! none of noble sort 16 Would so offend a virgin; and extort A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.
Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so; For you love Hermia: this, you know, I know: And here, with all good will, with all my heart, In Hermia's love I yield you up my part; And yours of Helena to me bequeath, Whom I do love, and will do to my death.
Hel. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none: If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone. My heart with her but, as guest-wise, sojourn’d; And now to Helen is it home return’d, There to remain. Lys.
Helen, it is not so.
15 i. e. join heartily, unite in the same mind.
16 Degree, or quality. 17 Pay dearly for it, rue it. VOL. II.
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
to go? Her.What love could press Lysander from my side?
Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide. Fair Helena, who more engilds the night Than all yon fiery oes eyes
of light. Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee
know, The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so.
Her. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
Hel. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
18 i. e. circles.
Gregory of Nazianzen's poem on his own life contains some beautiful lines (resembling these) which burst from the heart and speak the pangs of injured and lost friendship. Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory; he was ignorant of the Greek language; but his mother tongue, the language of nature, is the same in Cappadocia as in Britain.'—Gibbon's Hist. vol. v. p. 17, 8vo. ed.
20 i, e. ingenious, artful. Artificiose, Lat. 21 i. e, needles.
Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
you rent our ancient love asunder, To join with men in scorning your poor
friend? It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly: Our sex, as well as I, may
you Though I alone do feel the injury.
Her. I am amazed at your passionate words: I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.
Hel. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn, To follow me, and praise my eyes and face? And made your other love, Demetrius (Who even but now did spurn me with his foot), To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare, Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander Deny your love, so rich within his soul, And tender me, forsooth, affection; But by your setting on, by your consent? What though I be not so in grace as you, So hung upon with love, so fortunate; But miserable most, to love unlov’d? This you should pity, rather than despise.
22 Mr. Douce thus explains this passage : Helen says, had two seeming bodies, but only one heart. She then exemplifies the position by a simile-'we had two of the first, i.e. bodies, like the double coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife as one person, but which like our single heart, have but one crest.' Malone explains the heraldic allusion differently, but not so clearly nor satisfactorily.
Her. I understand not what you mean by this.
Hel. Ay, do, perséver, counterfeit sad looks, Make mows upon me when I turn my
have any pity, grace, or manners,
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse;
Hel. () excellent!
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
treat; Thy threats hav no more strength, than her weak
I love thee not.
I love thee more than he can do. Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too. Dem. Quick, come,Her.
Lysander, whereto tends all this? Lys. Away, you Ethiop! Dem.
No, no, he'll—Sir 25, Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow; But yet come not: You are a tame man, go!
23 Make mouths. See vol. i. p. 46, note 1. 24 i. e, such a subject of light merriment.
25 This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thus explains it. The words he'll are not in the folio, and sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius I suppose would say, no, no, he'll not have the resolution to disengage himself from Hermia. But turning to Lysander, he addresses him ironically: Sir, seem to break loose ;' &c.