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There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
My good Lysander!
Her. God speed, fair Helena! Whither away! Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
his beft arrow with the golden head; ] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book II:
-arrowes two, and tipt with gold or Icad :
STEEVENS. 3 by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen, ] Shakspeare bad forgot that Theseus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and consequently long before the death of Dido.
Demetrius loves your fair :: O happy fair!
3 Demetrius loves your fair : ) Fair is used again as a substantivo in The Comedy of Errors, Act III. sc. iv:
My decayed fair,
" But what foul hand hath harmd Matilda's fair ? "
" And fold in me the riches of thy fair. Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599 :
" Then tell me, love, shall I have all thy fair! Again, in Greene's Never too Late, 1616 : " Though she were false to Menelaus, yćt her fair made him brook her follies." Again :
" Flora in tawny hid up all her flowers,
" And would not diaper the meads with fair." STEEVENS. 4 Your eyes are lode- stars;] This was a compliment not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode ftar is the leading or guiding ftar, that is, the polc-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone, either because it leads iron, or because it guides the failor. Milton has the same thought in L'Allegro :
" Towers and battlements it fees
" The cynosure of neighboring eyes. "
" Lode-flone to hearts, and lode-stone to all eyes." JOHNSON. So, in The Spanish Tragedy :
" Led by the load si ar of her heavenly looks." Again, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594 :
" The loadstar and the honour of our line.'' STEEVENS.
0, were favour so! ) Favour is feature, countenance. So, in Twelfth Night, A& II. sc. iv :
“ Hath stay'd upon some favour that it loves." STEEVENS. 6. Yours would I catch. ) This emendation is taken from the
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
Her. Í frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
were mine! 9
Oxford edition. The old reading is Your words I catch
JOHNSON Mr. Malone reads * Your words I'd catch." STEEVENS.
The emendation (I'd catch] was made by the editor of the second folio. Sir T. Hanmer reads "Yours would I catch ;" in which he has been followed by the subsequent editors. As the old reading (words) is intelligible, I have adhered to the ancient copies.
MALONE. I have deserted the old copies, only because I am unable to discover how Helena, by catching the words of Hermia, could alla catch her favour, i. c. her beauty. STEEVENS.
to be to you" irandated.] To translate, in our author, sometimes signifies to change, to transforin. So, in Timon i
to present slaves and servanis Translates his rivals."
STEEVENS. 8 His folly, Helena, is no fault of inine. ] The folio, and the quarto printed by Roberts, read His folly, Helena, is none of mine,
JOHNSON. ? None, but your beauty ; 'Would that fault were mine!) I would point this line thus : " None. But your beauty;
Would that fault were mine!"
HENDERSON, Vol. VII,
Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
HER. And in the wood, where often you and I
2 Take confort; he no more snail fee ing face ;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander fee,} Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lives. Hermia is willing 10 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, fince Hermia, whom fhe considers as polseiling it in the supremie degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness. JOHNSON.
- faint primrose-beds -- Whether the epithet faint has reference to the colour or smeli of primroses, let the reader determine.
STEEVENS. Emplying our bofoms of their counsel fwçet;] That is, emptying our bosoms of those secrets upon which we were wont to consult each other with fo sweet a satisfadion. HEATH.
Emptying our bofoms of their counsel swellid;
To feed new friends, and strange companions. This whole scene is ftri&tly in rhyme ; and that it deviates in these two couplets, I am persuaded, is owing to the ignorance of the first, and the inaccuracy of the later editors. I have therefore ventured to restore.
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
the thimes, as I make no doubt but the poet first gave them. Sweet was easily corrupted into swell’d, because that made an artithesis to emptying : and Jirange companions our editors thought was plain English ; but İranger companies, a little quaint and unintelligible. Our author very often uses the substantive, ftranger adjectively; and companies to signify companions : as in Richard II. AX I:
" To tread theaflranger paths of lanishment.". And in Henry V': 6. His companies unletter'd, rude and shallow,"
THEOBALD. Dr. Warburton retains the old reading, and perhaps justifiably ; for a bofom (welld with secrets does not appear as an expreslion un. likely to have been used by our author, who speaks of a stuff' de bofom in Macbeth.
In Lyly's Midas, 1592. is a somewhat similar expresion : "1 am one of tbose whole tongues' are swell?d with silence." Againg, in our author's K. Richard II :
the unseen grief " That swells in lilence in the tortur'd foul." « Of counsels swellid" may mean - - [well'd with counsels.
of and with, in other ancient writers have the same signification. See also, Macbeth --- Note on
"Of Kernes and Gallow-glasies was fupplied." i, e. with them.
In the scenes of K. Richard II. there is likewise a mixture of thime and blank verse. Mr. Tyrwhitt, however, concurs with Theobald.
Though I have thus far defended the old reading, in deference. to the opinion of other criticks I have giveu Theobald's conjeca tures a place in the text. STEEVENS.
I think, sweet, the reading proposed by Theobald, is right.
The latter of Mr. Theobald's emendations is likewise fupported by Slowe's Annales, p. 991. edit. 1615 : “ The prince himself was faine to get upon the high altar, to girt his aforesaid companies with the order of knighthood." Mr. Heath observes, that our author scems to have had the following passage in the 55th Pfalm, (v. 14, 15,) in his thoughts : ou But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and inine own familiar friend. We took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends.":