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But miserable most, to love unlov'd ?
This you should pity, rather than despise.
HER. I understand not what

you mean by this.
HEL. Ay, do, persever, ' counterseit fad looks,
Make mows upon me when I turn my back;
Wink at each other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried; shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But, fare ye well: 'tis partly mine own fault;
Which death, or absence, foon shall remedy.

Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse:
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!

HEL. O excellent!

Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Lys. Thou canst compelno more than she en treat;
Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak


Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do;


5 Ay, do, persever,] Perférer is the reading of all the old copies. The word was formerly so pronounced. Thus our author, in All's Well that ends well, Ac IV. fc. ii:

fay thou art mine, and ever " My love, as it begins, so shall perséver." Again, in Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia, 1639;

for ever May they in love and union ftill perséver." STEEVENS. - such an argument.] Such a subje&i of light merriment.

JOHNSON. So, in the first part of King Henry IV. Ad II. sc. ii. "-, it would be argument for a week, &c. STEEVENS. than her weak prayers. The old copies read:

'than her weak praile.' STEEVENS. Mr. Theobald proposed 10 read - prays. A noun thus formed from the verb, to pray, is much in our anthor's manner; and the transcriber's car might have been easily deceived by the fimilarity of sounds. MALONE.


I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To prove him false, that says I love thee not.

Dem. I say, I love thee more than he can do.
Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
DEM. Quick, come,

Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Lys. Away, you Ethiop!

No, no, fir:-he will: Seem to break loose; takeon, 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! hated potion, hence!

Her. Do you not jest?

S No, no, fir:- he will, &c.] This passage, like almost all thofe in these plays in which there is a sudden transition, or the sense is hastily broken off, is much corrupted in the old copies, My text (No, no; she'll.-for,] is formed from the quarto printed by Filher and the first folio. The words " hillare not in the folio, and Sir is not in the quarto. Demetrius, I suppose, would say, No, no; he'll not have refolution to disengage himself from Here mia.

But turning abruptly to Lysander, he addresses him ironi. cally: “vo

.-. Sir, seem to break loose;" Lic. MALONE. No critical remedy is nearer at hand, than a supposition that obscure passages are sentences designedly abrupt and imperfc&. Lysander calls Hermia an " Æthiop. "No, no, fir:" replies Demetrius; i. c. she is none; and then ironically fpeaks to her of Lysander, as of one whose struggle to break loose is merely a pretended effort. He next addrefies his provocation personally to Lysander. I have left the text as I found it; only reading (for the fake of metre,) he will, juscad of he'll. STEEVENS.


Yes, 'sooth; and so do you. Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

Dem. I would, I had your bond: for, 1 perceive, A weak bond holds you; l'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 fo. · 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 you Lysander? I am as fair now, as I was erewhile. Since night, you lov'd me; yet, fince night, you left


Why, then you left me,-0, the gods forbid !
In carnest, thall 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-blossom!' You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stol'n my love's heart from him ?

90 me! you juggler! you carker-blossom!} Juggler in this line is used as a trisyllable: So again, in K. Henry VI. P. I:

" She and the dauphin have been juggling.". So also tickling, wrefller, and many more. MALONE.

you canker-blossom!] The canker-blossom is not in this place the bloflom of the canker or wild rose, which our author alludes to in Muck ado about Nothing, A& J. sc. iii:

“ I had rather be a canker, in a hedge, than a rose in his grace:" but a worm that preys on the leaves or buds of fowers, always beginning in the middle. So, in this play, A& II. sc. iii: "Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds"



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, forfooth, she hath prevail'd with him.And are you grown so high in his esteem, Because I am fo dwarfish, and so low? How low am I, thou painted maypole ? speak; How low am I? I am not yet so low, But that my 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 my cowardice; Let her not strike me: You, perhaps, may think, Because she's something lower than myself, That I can match her. HER.

Lower! hark, again. Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with


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

cursi;] i. c. Ihrewish or mischievous. Thus in the old proverbial saying: Curst cows have short horns." STEEVENS.


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 further: Let me go;
You see how fimple and how fond I am.
HER. Why, get you gone: Who is't that hinders

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, fir; she shall not, though you take her

part. Hel. 0, when she'sangry, 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.

Get you gone, you dwarf; You miniinus, of hind'ring knot-grass made;' You bead, you acorn.


how fond I am.] Fond, i. c. foolish. So, in The Mere chant of Venice:

I do wonder,
". Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond

" To come abroad with him." STEEVENS. 4 She was a vixen, when she went to school ;] Vizen or fixen primitively fignifies a female fox. So, in The boke of hunting, that is cleped Mayster of Game; an ancient MS. in the colleâion of Francis Douce, Esqr. Grays Inn : “ The fixen of the Foxe is aflaute onys in the yer. She hath venomous biting as a wolfe." 'STEEVENS.

s of hind'ring knot-grass made; ] It appears that knot.grass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child,

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