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ACT I.....SCENE I.
Athens. A room in the Palace of Theseus.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PhiloSTRATE, and
The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Hin. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;a
1 Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.] The authenticity of this reading baving 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.”
dura premit custodia matrum,
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
3 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 to understand shows, such as masks, revels, &c. So again, in King Henry VI, P. III:
“ And now what rests, but that we spend the time
“ Such as befit the pleasures of the court?" Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1624: “ Now come tidings of wedilings, 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 procession; and, in one of the stage-directions, it is said, “the triumph is seen far oil.” Malone.
Thus also, (and more satisfactorily) in the Duke of Anjou's En. tertainment at Antwerp, 1581: “yet notwithstanding, their tri. umphes (those of the Romans] have so borne the bell above all the rest, that the word triumphing, which commeth thereof, hath beene applied to all high, great, and statelie dooings.” Steevens.
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.
Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his translation of the Tragedies of Jolin Bochas, calls him by the same title, ch. xii, 1. 21:
** Duke Theseus had the victorye.” Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, translated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon. So likewise Skelton:
“ Not like Duke Hamilcar,
« Nor like Duke Asdruball." Stanyhurst, in his Translation of Virgil, calls Æneas, Duke Æneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II, 1632, Ajax is styled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Nestor, Duke Nestor, &c.
Our version of the Bible exbibits 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. See also the 1st Book of The Chronicles, ch. i, v. 51, & seqq. a list of the Dukes of Edom. Harris.
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
5 This hath bewitch'd-] The old copies read-This man hath bewitch'd - Thé 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. e. baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently. See King John, Act III, sc. v. Again, in Appius and Virginia, 1576:
“ When gain is no grandsier,
“ 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 his. tory of The Battle of Flodden, observes, that a gawd is a child's toy, and, that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. Steevens.
7 Or to her death; according to our law,] By a law of Solon, 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 case.
The. What say you, Hermia? be advis’d, fair maid:
Her. So is Lysander.
In himself he is:
Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
The. Either to die the death,' or to abjure
8 To leave the figure, or disfigure it.] The sense is, you owe to your father a being, which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.
Fohnson. to die the death,] So, in the second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
“ We will, my liege, else let us die the death.” See notes on Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. iv. Steevens.
1 Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. Fohnson.
2 For aye -] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Edward II, by Marlowe, 1622:
“ And sit for aye enthronized in heaven.” Steevena.
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
The. Take time to pause: and, by the next new moon,
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia ;-and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
3 But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,] Thus all the copies: yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy, for happier earthly, a'mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy. Johnson.
It has since been observed, that Mr. Pope did propose earlier. We might read-earthly happy.
the rose distill’d] So, in Lyly's Midas, 1592: “ – You bee all young and faire, endeavour to bee wise and vertuous; that when, like roses, you shall fall from the stalke, you may be gathered, and put to the still.”
This image, however, must have been generally obvious, as in Shakspeare's time, the distillation of rose-water was a common process, in all families. Steevens.
whose unwished yoke -] Thus both the quartos 1600, and the folio 1623. The second folio reads
to whose unwished yoke Steevens. 5 You have her father's love, Demetrius ;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.] I suspect, that Shakspeare wrote:
Let me have Hermia; do you marry him. Tyrwhitt.