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SCENE, the Duke's Palace in Athens.
Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Philostrate, with attendants.
OW, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! The lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time:
And then the moon, like to a filver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
The. Go, Philoftrate,
Stir up th’ 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. [Exit Phi.
Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries :
But I will wed thee in another key,
with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke!
Ibe. Thanks, good Égeus; 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 lord, This man hath my consent to marry her. Stand forth, Lysander. - And, my gracious Duke, This man hath witch'd the bosom of my child : Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast giv’n her rhimes, And interchang'd love-tokens with my child : Thou haft by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love ; And stoli’n th'impression of her fantasie, With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats ; (messengers Of strong prevailment in unhardend 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't 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.
The. What lay 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 imprinted; and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it :
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lyfander.
The. In himself he is ;
But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do intreat your Grace to pardon me:
I know not, by what pow'r 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
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 your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choices
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye to be in shady cloister mew’dg
To live a barren Gifter all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless, moon?
Thrice blessed they, that matter so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage!
But earthlier happy is the role distilld;
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord;
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoak
My soul consents not to give Soy’reignty.
The. Take time to pause; and by the next new moon,
(The sealing day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship)
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else to wed Demetriusz: as he would ;
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
For age, austerity and single life.
Dem. Relent, (weet Hermia; and, Lysander, yield
Thý crazed title to my certain right.
Lyf. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's; do you marry him.
Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my love ;
And what is mine, my love shall render him.
And she is mine, and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
Lyf. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well poffeft: my love is more than his :
My fortune's ev'ry way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius :
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia.
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius (I'll avouch it to his head)
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena ;
And won her soul; and the, sweet lady, doats,
Devoutly doats, doats in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought t' have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come ;
And come, Egeus ; you shall go with me;
I have fome private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look, you arm your self
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of fingle life.
Come, my Hippolita; what cheer, my love?
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along;
I must employ you in lome buliness
Against our nuptials, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns your selves,
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you. [Exeunt.
Manent Lyfander and Hermia.
1.5%. How now, my love? why is your cheek so pale?
How chance, the roses there do fade so fast ?
Her'. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well Bcteem them from the tempeft of mine eyes.
Lyf. Hermia, for ought that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But, either, it was different in blood
Her. O crofs ! -- too high, to be enthrall’d to low !-- (1)
Lyf. Or elle misgraffed, in respect of years --
Her. O spight! too old, to be engag'd to young!
Lyf. Or elle it stood upon the choice of friends
Her. O hell! to chuse love by another's eye!
Lyf. Or if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or Gickness did lay siege to it;
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any drcam,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That (in a fpleen) unfolds both heav'n and earth;
And ere a man hath power to say, Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up
So quick bright things come to confusion.
Her. If then true lovers have been ever croft,
(1) Too high, to be enthrall d to Love.] This Reading poffefses all the Editions, but carries no just meaning in it. Nor was Hermia displeas'd at being in Love; but regretts the Inconveniences, that generally attend the Palton : Either, the Parties are disproportion'd, in degree of Blood and Quality; or unequal, in respect of Years; or brought together by the Appointment of Friends, and not by their own Choice. These are the Complaints represented by Lyfander'; and Hermia, to answer to the first, as she has done to the other two, muft necessarily say ;
O Cross! -- too high, to be enthrall d 'to low! So the Antithefis is kept up in the Terms; and so he is made to condole the Disproportion of Blood and Quality in Lovers. And This is one of the Curses, that Fenus, on seeing Adonis dead, prophefies shall always attend Love,in our Author's Poem, callid, VENUS and ADON IS
Since thou art dead, lo! here I prophefe,
Sorrow on Love hereafter fall attend;
It shall be waited on with Jealoufie ;
Find sweet Beginning, but unfav'ry End:
Ni'er settled equally, to high, or low ;
That all Love's Pleasures fall not match his Woe.
And so the Young Prince complains, in the Winter's Tale :
You are married ?
Flo. We are not, Sir, ror are We like to be :
The Stars, I see, will kiss the Vallies firft:
The Odds for high and low's alike.