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Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as at paradise to me:
O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn’d a heaven unto hell !

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold :
To-morrow night wlien Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat’ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,)
Through Athens' gates have we devis’d to steal.

Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet ;
There my Lysander and myself shall meet :
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius !-
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight'.

[Exit Herm. Lys. I will, my Hermia.- Helena, adieu : As you on him, Demetrius dote on you! [Exit Lys.

6 Take comfort; he no more shall see my face ;

Lysander and myself will fly this place.

Before the time I did Lysander see,] Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lines. Herinia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, since Hermia, whom she considers as possessing it in the supreme degree, has found 10 other effect of it than the loss of happiness. Johnson.

+ “Like a paradise "-MALONE.
7. when Phæbe doth behold, &c.

- deep midnight.] Shakspeare has a little forgotten himself. It appears from p. 283, that to-morrow night would be within three nights of the new moon, when there is no moon-shine at all, much less at deep midnight. The same oversight occurs in Act III. sc. i. BLACKSTONE.

Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so ; He will not know what all but he do know. And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities. Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind : And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste ; Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste: And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguild. As waggish boys in game 8 themselves forswear, So the boy Love is perjur'd every where: For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne', He bail'd down oaths, that he was only mine; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight: Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night, Pursue her; and for this intelligence If I have thanks, it is a dear expence': But herein mean I to enrich my pain, To have his sight thither, and back again. [Exit.

8 — in game - ] Game here signifies sport, jest.

9- Hermia's egne,] This plural is common both in Chaucer and Spenser.

1- it is a dear expence :) i. e. it will cost him much, (be a severe constraint on his feelings,) to make even so slight a return for my communication. Steevens.

SCENE II.

The same. A Room in a Cottage.

Enter Snug, Bottom, FLUTE, Snout, QUINCE, and

STARVELING ? Quin. Is all our company here?

Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip'.

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on ; then read the names of the actors; and so grow. to a point.

Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.- Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll : Masters, spread yourselves".

Quin. Answer as I call you.—Nick Bottom, the weaver.

Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

? In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thisbe, and the Lion, at the same time. Johnson.

— the scrip.] A scrip, Fr. escrip, now written écrit.
- spread yourselves.] i. e. stand separately, not in a group.

Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
Bot. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant ?
Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes ; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest :-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.

“ The raging rocks,
“ With shivering shocks t,
“Shall break the locks

“Of prison gates :
“ And Phibbus' car
“Shall shine from far,
“And make and mar

“ The foolish fates." This was lofty!-Now nanie the rest of the players.This is Ereles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming

Quin. That's all one ; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too : I'll speak in a monstrous little voice ;- Thisne, Thisne, -Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear.

Quin. No, no ; you must play Pyramus, and, Flute, you Thisby.

+ “And shivering shocks." Malone.

Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.—Tom Snout, the tinker.

Snout. Here, Peter Quince. Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father ; -Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part :-and, I hope, here is a play fitted.

Snug. Have you the lion's part written ? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study .

Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring

Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say, Let him roar again, Let him roar again.

Quin. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.

All. That would hang lis every mother's son.

Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus : for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man ; therefore you must needs play Pyramus,

5- slow of study.] Study, Mr. Steevens says, is still the cant term used in a theatre for getting any nonsense by rote; but Mr. Malone says it is not more a cant term than any other word of art, nor is it applied necessarily to nonsense. Malone asserts, that Steevens made the above remark to vex Garrick, with whom he had quarrelled.

6 — an 'twere —] An means as if.

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