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A trim exploit, a manly enterprize,
poor soul's patience,' all to make you sport.
Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not fo;
of Helena to mne bequeath,
HEL. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
Dem. Lysander, keep thy Herrnia; 1.will none:
3. A trim exploit, a manly enterprize, &c.] This is written much in the manner and spirit of Juno's reproach to Venus in the fourth book of the Æneid:
Egregiam vero laudem & fpolia ampla refertis,
Tuque puerque tuus; magnum & memorabile nomen, " Una dolo divûm fi fæmina vida duorum eft.
STEEVENS. none, of noble fort,] Sort is here used for degree or qualiiy. So, in the old ballad of Jane Shore:
Long time I lived in the court,
And now to Helen it is home return'd, ] The ancient copies read --" to her." Dr. Johnson made the corre&ion, and exemplified the sentiment by the followiug passage from Prior:
1. No matter what beauties I saw in my way;
" This is my home of love ; if I have rang d,
There to remain.
Helen, it is not fo.
HER. Dark night, that from the eye his function
takes, The ear more quick of apprehension makes; Wherein it doth impair the feeing sense, It pays the hearing double recompence:Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found; Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy found. But why unkindly did'st thou leave me fo? Løs. Why should he stay, whom love doth press
to go? HER. What love could press Lysander from my
fide? Lys. Lyfander's love, that would not let him bide, Fair 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 bare thee made me leave thee fo?
7 all yon fiery oes-] Shakspeare uses O for a circle. So, in the prologue to K. Henry V.
can we crowd
" That did affright the air at Agincourt?" Again, in The Parthencia Sacra, 1633 :
the purple canopy of the carth, powder'd over and belet with filver oes, or rather an azure vault," &c. STEEVENS.
D'Ewess Journal of Queen Elizabeth's Parliaments, p. 650, mentions a patent to make spangles and oes of gold; and I think haberdashers call small curtain rings, O's, as being circular. Tolle?.
Her. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
Hel. Lo, she is one of this confederacy! Now I perceive they have conjoin'd, all three, To fashion this falle sport in spite of me. Injurious llermia! most ungrateful maid ! Have you conspir’d, have you with these contriv'd To bait me with this foul derision? Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd, The sisters' vows, ' the hours that we have spent, When we liave chid the hasty-footed time For parting us, --O, and is all forgot?' All school-days friendship, childhood innocence? We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, Have with our neelds 3 created both one flower,
& The fifiers vows,] We might read more elegantly,— The fifter vows, and a íew lines lower,--All school-day friendship. The latter emendation was made by Mr. Pope; but changes merely for the sake of elegance ought to be admitted with great caution.
MALONE. 9 For parting us,--0, and is all forgot?] The first folio omits the word -- and. I have received it from the folio 1632. Mr. Malone reads---10w. STEEVENS.
The editor of the second folio, to complete the metre, introduced the word and ;--- 0, and is all fargot?” It stands so aukwardly, that I am persuaded it was not the author's word. MALONE.
0, and is all forgot?] Mr. Gibbon observes, that in a poem of Gregory Nazianzen on his own life, are some beautiful jines which burst' from the heart, and speak the pangs of injured and lost friendship, resembling these. He adds." Shakspeare had never read the poems of Gregory Nazianzen: he was ignorant of the Greek language ; but his mother tongue, the language of nas. ture, is the same in Cappadocia and in Britain."
Gibbon's Hift. Vol. XIII. p. 277. REED. artificial gods,] Artificial is ingenious, artful.
STEEVENS. 3. Have with our neelds, &c.] Most of our modern editors, with the old copies, have-needles; but the word was probably written by Shakspeare necids, ( a common contradion in the inland counties at this day) otherwise the verse will be inharmonious. Scc Gammer Gurton's Needle.
Both on one sampler, fitting on one cushion,
Again, in fir Arthur Gorges' translation of Lucan, 1614:
• Thus Cato spake, whose feeling words
" Like pricking neelds, or points of swords," &c. Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582:
on neeld-wrought carpets."
" The cambrick," &c. Again, ibid.
" Deep clerks she dumbs, and with her neele composes
" Nature's own shape. In the age of Shakspeare many contraâions were used. Ben Jonson has wher for whether in the prologue to his Sad Shepherd ; and in the earl of Sterline's Darius is Sport for support, and twards for towards.
Of the evisceration and extension of words, however, T. Churchyard affords the most numerous and glaring initances ; for he has not scrupled even to give us rune instead of ruin, and miest instead of mist, when he wants rhimes to foon, and crieft. STEEVENS.
In the old editions of these plays many words of two syllables are printed at length, though intended to be pronounced as one. Thus Spirit is almost always so written, though often used as a monofyllable; and whether, though intended often to be contraded, is always, I think, improperly,) written at length. MALONE. 4 Two of the firft, like coats in heraldry, .
Due but to one, and crowned with one creft.] The old copies read-life coats, &c. 3TEEVENS,
And will you rent our ancient love afunder,
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.
Hej. Have you not fet 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 fpeaks 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;
The true corredion of ihe passage I owe to the friendship and communication of the ingenious Martin Folkes, clg.---.Two of the firft, second, &c. are terms peculiar in heraldry, to distinguish the different quarterings of coats. THEOBALD.
These are, as Theobald observes, terms peculiar to heraldry; but that observation does not help to explain them.--Every branch of a family is called a house; and none but the first of the first house can bear the arms of the family, without some distinction. of the first, therefore, means two coats of the firft house, which are properly due but to one. M. MASON.
According to the rules of heraldry, the first house only, (e. g. a father who has a son living, or an elder brother as distinguished from a younger,) has a right to bear the family coat. The son's coat is distinguished from the father's by a label; the younger brother's from the elder's by a mullet. The same crest is common to both. Helena therefore means to say, that she and her friend were as closely united, as much one person, as if they were both of the first house; as if they both had the privilege duc but to one perfon, (viz. to him of the first house,) the right of bearing the family coat without any distinguishing mark. MALONE,