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O! once tell true, tell true, even for my
sake. Durst thou have looked upon him, being awake, And hast thou killed him sleeping ? O brave touch!1 Could not a worm, an adder, do so much? An adder did it; for with doubler tongue Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
Dem. You spend your passion on a misprised ? mood. I am not guilty of Lysander's blood; Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. Dem. An if I could, what should I get therefore?
Her. A privilege, never to see me more.And from thy hated presence part I s0,See me no more, whether he be dead or no. [Exit.
Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein ; Here, therefore, for a while I will remain. So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier
grow, For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe;
in some slight measure, it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay.
[Lies down. Obe. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken
quite, And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight. Of thy misprision must perforce ensue Some true-love turned, and not a false turned true. Puck. Then fate o'errules; that, one man holding
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
Obe. About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find.
All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer 3
With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear.4
By some illusion see thou bring her here;
l'il charm his eyes, against she doth appear.
Puck. I go, I go; look, how I go ;
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. [Exit.
1 A touch anciently signified a trick.
2 « On a misprised mood,” i. e. in a mistaken manner.
3 Cheer here signifies countenance, from cera (Ital.).
4 Alluding to the ancient supposition, that every sigh was indulged at the expense of a drop of blood.
Obe. Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid's archery,
Sink in apple of his eye!
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.-
When thou wak’st, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
Puck. Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand;
And the youth mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Obe. Stand aside; the noise they make,
Will cause Demetrius to awake.
Puck. Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me,
That befall preposterously.
Enter LYSANDER and HELENA.
Lys. Why should you think, that I should woo in
Scorn and derision never come in tears.
Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born
In their nativity all truth appears.
Flow can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true ?
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. Your vows, 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.
Hel. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
Lys. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
Dem. [Awaking.] O Helen, goddess, nymph, per-
fect divine !
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne ?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus's snow,
Fanned with the eastern wind, turns to a crow,
When thou hold’st up thy hand. O let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss !
Hel. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me,
If you were civil, and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls? to mock me too?
you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so;
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia ;
And now both rivals to mock Helena-
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes,
With your derision! None of noble sort
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 loved her, all that love is gone.
1 i. e. join heartily, unite in the same mind.
My heart with her but as guest-wise sojourned ;
And now to Helen is it home returned,
There to remain.
Helen, it is not so.
Dem. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest, to thy peril, thou abide it dear. —
Look where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.
Enter HERMIA. Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes, The ear more quick of apprehension makes; Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense, It
pays the hearing double recompense. Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found; Mine ear—I thank it—brought me to thy sound. But why unkindly didst thou leave me so ? Lys. Why should he stay, whom love doth press
to go? Her. What love could press Lysander from my side?
Lys. Lysander's love, that would not let him bideFair Helena, who more engilds the night Than all yon fiery oes? and eyes of light. Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee
know, The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so ?
Her. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
Hel. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoined, all three,
To fashion this false sport in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid !
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bate me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,—0, and is all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence ?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
i Pay dearly for it, rue it.
2 i. e, circles.
3 i. e. ingenious, artful-artificiose (Lat.).
Have with our neelds created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted;
But yet a union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly.
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it;
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 yol,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved ?
This you should pity, rather than despise.
Her. I understand not what you mean by this.
Hel. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
1 i. e. needles.
2 Mr. Douce thus explains this passage:–Helen says, he had two seeming bodies, but only one heart." She then exemplifies he position by a simile—“ we had two of the first, i. e. bodies, like the da ble coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife as one person, but w. ich, like our single heart, have but one crest.” Malone explains the hel dic allusion differently, but not so clearly nor satisfactorily.