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Make mows' upon me when I turn my back;
have any pity, grace, or manners,
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse.
Hel. O excellent !
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Dem. I say I love thee more than he can do.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
No, no, he'll—Sir,3
You are a tame man, go!
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
Lys. Thy love! Out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine! Hated potion, hence'
1 Make mouths
3 This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thus explains it:-The words he'll are not in the følio, 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.
Her. Do you not jest?
Yes, 'sooth; and so do you. Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
Dem. I would I had your bond; for, I perceive, A weak bond holds you. I'll not trust your word. Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her
dead ? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so
Her. What, can you do me greater harm than hate? Hate me! Wherefore? O me! What news, my love? Am not I Hermia ? Are not
Are not you Lysander ?
Ay, by my life;
Her. O me, you juggler! you canker-blossom !1
Fine, i’faith! Have you no modesty, no maiden shame, No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear Impatient answers from my gentle tongue ? Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you ! Her. Puppet! Why so ? Why so ? Ay, that way goes
the game. Now I perceive that she hath made compare Between our statures ; she hath urged her height, And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed with him.-And are you grown so high in his esteem, Because I am so dwarfish, and so low? How low am I, thou painted maypole ? Speak;
1 A worm that preys on the leaves or buds of flowers.
How low am I? I am not yet so low,
Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Lower! Hark, again. Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me. I evermore did love you, Hermia, Did ever keep your counsels, never wronged you ; Save that, in love unto Demetrius, I told him of your stealth unto this wood. He followed you ; for love, I followed him. But he hath chid me hence, and threatened me To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too: And now, so you will let me quiet go, To Athens will I bear my folly back, And follow you no farther. Let me go: You see how simple and how fond? I am.
Her. Why, get you gone. Who is't that hinders
Hel. A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid ; she shall not harm thee,
Helena. Dem. No, sir; she shall not, though you take her
part. Hel. 0, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd. She was a vixen, when she went to school; And, though she be but little, she is fierce.
Her. Little again ? Nothing but low and little ? Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ? Let me come to her. Lys.
you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus of hindring knot-grass? made ;
Dem. You are too officious
Now she holds me not.
[Exeunt Lys. and Dem. Her. You, mistress, all this coil is ’long of you. Nay, go not back. Hel.
I will not trust you, I; Nor longer stay in your curst company. Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray; My legs are longer though, to run away. [Exit. Her. I am amazed, and know not what to say.
[Exit, pursuing HELENA. Obe. This is thy negligence; still thou mistak’st, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.
Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Obe. Thou see'st, these lovers seek a place to fight.
1 Anciently knot-grass was believed to prevent the growth of children 2 Pretend. 3 Aby it, for abide it, i. e. pay dearly for it, rue it. 4 Chance, fall out; from sort (French).
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste.
Obe. But we are spirits of another sort.
1 So in Cymbeline, Act ii. Sc. 11:
“Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night.” See note on that passage.
2 The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who, being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies.
3 Cephalus, the mighty hunter, and paramour of Aurora, was here prob ably meant