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Sir, 19

Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she en

treat : Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak

prayers. Helen, I love thee; by my life I do: I swear by that which I will lose for thee, 'To prove him false, that


I love thee not. Dem. I


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 Ethiope ! Dem.

No, no, he'll Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow; But yet come not: You are a tame man, go! Lys. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing,

let loose, Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent. Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change

is this, Sweet love?

Lys. Thy love ? out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine ! O hated poison, hence !

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.

19 This arrangement of the text is Malone's, who thus explaing 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 reso. lution to disengage himself from Hermia. But turning to lysan: der, he addresses him ironically: “Sir, seem to break 'cose." de

Her. What! can you do me greater harm than

hate ? Hate me! wherefore? O me! what means my love ? Am not I Hermia ? Are not you Lysander ? I am as fair now as I was erewhile. Since night you lov’d me; yet since night you left



Why, then you left me, – 0, the gods forbid !
In earnest shall I say?

Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt ;
Be certain, nothing truer : ’tis no jest,
That I do hate thee, and love Helena.
Her. O me

- you juggler! you canker-blog

! 20 You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stol’n my love's heart from him ? Hel.

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 ? Ay, that way goes the

game. Now I perceive that she hath made compare Between our statures : she hath urg'd her height, And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd 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 ;

20 The canker is a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of Aowers, always beginning in the middle. So before, in this play! Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds."


How low ain I ? I am not yet so low,
But that


nails can reach unto thine eyes. Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me: I was never curst; I have no gift at all in shrewishness ; I am a right maid for


cowardice: Let her not strike me : You, perhaps, may think, Because she is something lower than myself, That I can match her. Her.

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 wrong'd you ;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood :
He follow'd you ; for love I follow'd him :
But he hath chid me hence; and threaten'd me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me tou :
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back,
And follow you no further : Let me go :
You see how simple and how fond I am.
Her. Why, get you gone : Who is't that hin.

ders you ?
Hel. A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
Her. What! with Lysander ?

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 :

? That is, froward, cross, ill-conditioned, or ill-spoken.

Sae 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.

Get you gone, you dwarf!
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made ; ?>
You bead, you acorn!

You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services :
Let her alone ; speak not of Helena;
Take not her part: for if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.23

Now she holds me not ;
Now follow, if thou dar’st, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Dem. Follow ? nay, I'll go with thee cheek by

[Excunt Lys, and Dem. Her. You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you : 24 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.

[Erit. Her. I am amaz’d, and know not what to say.

[Exit, pursuing HELENA.


22 Knot-grass, it seems, was anciently supposed to stop the growth of those to whom it was applied. Thus, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, Act ii. sc. 2: “ The child's a fatherless child, and say they should put him into a strait pair of gaskins, 'twere worse than knot-grass ; he would never grow after it.” “0, who can tell the hidden power of herbs, and might of magic spell!” Knot-grass is a low, creeping herb. 23 That is, pay dearly for it, rue it.

See note 14. 24 Is owing to you, is caused by you.

5 Curst is shrewish, sviteful, not cursed, as readers are apt to suppose


Obe. This is thy negligence : still thou mis.

tak'st, Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.

Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. Did not you tell me I should know the man By the Athenian garments he had on? And so far blameless proves my enterprise, That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes : And so far am I glad it so did sort, As this their jangling I esteem a sport. Obe. Thou seest, these lovers seek a place to

fight : Hie, therefore, Robin, overcast the night ; The starry welkin cover thou anon With drooping fog, as black as Acheron ; And lead these testy rivals so astray, As one come not within another's way. Like to Lysander sometiine frame thy tongue, Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong ; And sometime rail thou like Demetrius : And from each other look thou lead them thus, Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep : Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye ; Whose liquor hath this virtuous property, To take from thence all error with his might, And make his eye-balls roll with wonted sight. When they next wake, all this derision Shall seem a dream, and fruitless vision ; And back to Athens shall the lovers wend, With league whose date till death shall never end. Whiles I in this affair do thee employ, I'll to my queen, and beg her Indian boy ; And then I will her charmed eye release From monster's view, and all things shall be peace

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