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And follow you no further : Let me go :
With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid : she shall not harm thee,
Helena. Dem. No, sir; she shall not, though you take
Hel. O, when she's angry, 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 minimus, of hind’ring knot-grass made; You bead, you acorn.
· how fond I am.] Fond, i. e. foolish. So, in The Merchant of Venice:
. I do wonder,
“ To come abroad with him." STEEVENS. 2 She was a vixen, when she went to school ;] Vixen or firen primitively signifies a female fox. So, in The Boke of Hunting, that is cleped Mayster of Game; an ancient MS. in the collection of Francis Douce, Esq. Gray's Inn : “ The fixen of the Foxe is assaute onys in the yer. She hath venomous biting as a wolfe.”
Steevens. 3 — of hind'ring knot-GRASS made ;] It appears that knotgrass was anciently supposed to prevent the growth of any animal or child.
Beaumont and Fletcher mention this property of it in The Knight of the Burning Pestle :
“Should they put him into a straight pair of gaskins, 'twere worse than knot-grass, he would never grow after it.”
Again, in the Coxcomb : “We want a boy extremely for this function, kept under, for
You are too officious,
Now she holds me not ;
Exeunt Lys. and DEM. Her. You, mistress, all this coil is ʼlong of you : Nay, go not back. HEL.
I will not trust you, I; Nor longer stay in your curst company.
a year, with milk and knot-grass." Daisy-roots were supposed to have the same effect.
That prince of verbose and pedantic coxcombs, Richard Tomlinson, apothecary, in his translation of Renodæus his Dispensatory, 1657, informs us that knot-grass " is a low reptant hearb, with exile, copious, nodose, and geniculated branches." Perhaps no hypochondriack is to be found, who might not derive his cure from the perusal of any single chapter in this work. STEEVENS. 4 - intend — ) i. e. pretend. So, in Much Ado : “ Intend a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudio.”
Steevens. 5 – Thou shalt Aby it.] To aby is to pay dear for, to suffer. So, in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601 :
Had I sword and buckler here, “ You should aby these questions." Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599 :
but thou shalt dear aby this blow.” Steevens. “ Thou shalt aby it.” Aby it, is abide by it ; i. e. stand to it, answer to it. So, in Psalm cxxx. v. 3, in Common Prayer: “ If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss : O Lord, who may abide it?” Harris.
6 OR thine or mine, &c.] The old copies read-Of thine. The emendation is Mr. Theobald's. I am not sure that the old reading is corrupt.
If the line had run-"Of mine or thine," I should have suspected that the phrase was borrowed from the Latin :-Now follow, to try whose right of property,---of meum or tuum,- is the greatest in Helena. Malone.
Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray;
[Exit, pursuing Helena. OBE. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak’st, Or else commit'st thy knaveries wilfully p.
Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook. Did not you tell me, I should know the man By the Athenian garments he had * on? And so far blameless proves my enterprize, That I have ’nointed an Athenian's eyes : And so far am I glad it so did sort ?, As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
OBE. Thou seest, these lovers seek a place to fight : Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night; The starry welkin cover thou anon With drooping fog, as black as Acheron ; And lead these testy rivals so astray, As one come not within another's way. Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue, Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong; And sometime rail thou like Demetrius; And from each other look thou lead them thus, Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep : Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye ; Whose liquor hath this virtuous property ®, To take from thence all error, with his might, And make his eye-balls roll with wonted sight.
* First folio omits this speech.
# Quarto R., and folio, hath. 7 – so did sort,] So happen in the issue. Johnson. So, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606; never look to have any action sort to your honour."
STEEVENS. VIRTUOUS property,] Salutiferous. So calls, in The Tempest, poisonous dew, wicked dew. Johnson.
When they next wake, all this derision
there, Troop home to church-yards: damned spirits all, That in cross-ways and floods have burial”,
* So Quarto F.; Quarto R. apply; folio, imply.
Hopeless and helpless doth Ægeon wend.” Steevens. For night's swIFT DRAGONS, &c.] So, in Cymbeline, Act II. Sc. II. :
“ Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night!” See my note on this passage, concerning the vigilance imputed to the serpent tribe. STEEVENS.
This circumstance Shakspeare might have learned from a passage in Golding's translation of Ovid, which he has imitated in The Tempest :
Among the earth-bred brothers you a mortal war did set, “ And brought asleep the dragon fell, whose eyes were never
damned spirits all, That in CROSS-Ways and floods have burial,] The ghosts of self-murderers, who are buried in cross-roads; and of those who being drowned, were condemned (according to the opinion of the ancients) to wander for a hundred years, as the rites of sepulture had never been regularly bestowed on their bodies. That the waters were sometimes the place of residence for damned spirits, we learn from the ancient bl. 1. romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date : “Let some preest
Already to their wormy beds are gone ;
Obe. But we are spirits of another sort:
to their worMY BEDS -] This periphrasis for the grave has been borrowed by Milton, in his Ode on the Death of a Fair Infant :
“ Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed.” Steevens. 4 – black-brow'd night.] So, in King John: Why, here walk I, in the black-brow of night."
Steevens. s I with the MORNING's love have oft made sport ;) Thus all the old copies, and I think, rightly. Tithonus was the husband of Aurora, and Tithonus was no young deity.
Thus, in Aurora, a collection of sonnets, by Lord Sterliné, 1604 :
“ And why should Tithon thus, whose day grows late,
Enjoy the morning's love ? "
“ Aurora yet keeps chaste old Tithon's bed;
“ Yet blushes at it when she rises." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. iii. c. iii. :
“ As faire Aurora rising hastily,
“ All night in old Tithonus" frozen bed.” Again, in The Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher:
0, lend me all thy red,
“ Thou risest ever-maiden? How such a waggish spirit as the King of the Fairies might make sport with an antiquated lover, or his mistress in his absence, may be easily understood. Dr. Johnson reads with all the modern editors : " I with the morning light,” &c. Steevens.
Will not this passage bear a different explanation ? By the morning's love I apprehend Cephalus, the mighty hunter and paramour of Aurora, is intended. The context, And, like a forester,” &c. seems to show that the chace was the sport which Oberon boasts he partook with the morning's love.
Holt White. The connection between Aurora and Cephalus is also pointed out one of the Poems form a collection intitled The Phænix Nest, &c. 4to, 1593, p. 95: