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Athens. A Room in the Palace of Theseus.



The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how flow This old moon wanes! fhe lingers my desires, Like to a step-dame, or å dowager, Long withering out a young man's revenue.

Hır. Four days will quickly steep themselves in


nights; }

Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow

2 Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,

Long withering out a young man's revenue. ] The authenticity of this reading having been questioned by Dr. Warburton, I shall exemplify it from Chapman's Translation of the 4th Book of Homer, there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace.'

Ut piget annus
Pupillis, quos dura premit cuftodia 'matrum,
Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora." Hor.

MALONE, steep themselves in nights; ] So, in Cymbeline, Ad V. fc. iv.

neither deserve,
" And yet are fleep'd in favours." Steevens.


New bent“ in heaven, 'shall behold the night
Of our folemnities.

Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp. -

Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.

Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!

4 New bent ] The old copies read – Now bent. Correded by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

s With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. By triumph, as Mr. Warton has observed in his late edition of Milton's Poems, p. 56, we are io uuderstand shows, such as masks, revels, &c. So, again in King Henry VI. P. III :

" And now what rests, but that we spend the time
" With fately triumphs, mirthful comick shows,

" Such as befit the pleasures of the court?" Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, 1624 : " Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, playes." Jonson, as the same gentleman observes, in the title of his masque called Love's Triumph through Callipolis, by triumph seems to have meant a grand proceflion; and in one of the stage-dire&ions, it is said, " the triumph is scen far off." MALONE. 6 - our renowned duke!). Thus in Chaucer's Knight's Tale : " Whilom as olde stories tellen us, “ There was a Duk that highte Theseus, « Of Athenes he was lord and governour," &c.

Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his translation of the Tragedies of John Bochas, calls him by the same title, chap. xii. d. 21;

u Duke Theseus had the vi&orye."

The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news

with thee? EGE. Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia. — Stand forth, Demetrius; My noble bord, This man hath my consent to marry her :Stand forth, Lysander; — and, my gracious dake, This hath bewitch'd' the bofom of


child: Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhimes, And interchang'd love-tokens with my child: Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stol'n the impression of her fantasy. With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, ' conceits,


Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, translated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon. So likewife Skelton:

" Not lyke Duke Hamilcar,

" Nor lyke Duke Asdruball." Stany hurst, in his Translation of Virgil, calls Æneas , Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II. 1632, Ajax is ftyled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Nestor , Duke Neltor, &c.

Our version of the Bible exhibits a similar misapplication of a modern title ; for in Daniel iii. 2. Nebuchadonozar, King of Babylon, sends out a summons to the Sheriffs of his provinces.

STEEVENS. ? This hath bewitch'd ] The old copies read — This man hath bewitch'd - The emendation was made for the sake of the me, tre, by the editor of the second folio. It is very probable that the compositor caught the word man from the line above. MALONE.

gawds, ] i. c. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently. See K. John, A& III. sc. V. Again, in Appius and Virginia, 1576 :

" When gain is no grand fier,

" And gaudes not set by," &c. Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:

and in her lap " A sort of paper puppets, gauds and toys." The Rev. Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical history of the Battle of Floddon, observes that a gawd is a child's toy, and



Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in un harden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness:-And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that case. 2
The. What say you, Hermia ? be advis'd, fair

maid: To

you your father should be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinied, and within his power,
To leave the figure, or disfigure it. ?
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lyfander.

In himself he is: But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice, The other must be held the worthier. that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. STEEVENS.

į Or her death ; according to our law, ] By a law of Solon's, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their children. So it suited the poet's purpose well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before. Or perhaps he'neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. WARBURTON.

Immediately provided in that cafe.] Shakspeare is grievously fufpe&ted of having been placed, while a boy, in an attorney's office. The line before us has an undoubted sinack of legal common-place. Poetry disclaims it. STEEVENS.

3. To leave the figure, or disfigure it. ] The sense is, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continuc or destroy.


befall arriver

HER. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgement

Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts:
But I beseech your grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

THE. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of
your youth,
examine well


Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye to be in thady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren fifter all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d, ?

6 For aye

to die the death, ) So, in the Second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon,, 1601 :

". We will, my liege, clse let us die the death." See notes on Measure for Measure, Ad II. sc. iv. STEEVENS. ŞKnow of your youth,'] Bring your youth to the question. ' Cone sider your youth. JOHNSON.

] i. c. for ever. So, in K. Edward II. by Mar. lowe, 1622 :

“ And fit for aye enthronized in heaven." STEEVENS. 9 But carthlier kafp) is the rose diftill’d, ] Thus all the copies • yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happ', for happier earthly, a mode of speech so unusual, that I wondei none of the cditors have proposed carlier happy. JOHNSON.

It has since been observed, that Mr. Pope did propose carlier. We might read carthly happier,

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