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Athens. A Room in the Palace of Thefeus.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.
THE. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how flow This old moon wanes! fhe lingers my defires, Like to a ftep-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue. *
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
2 Like to a fep-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.] The authenticity of this reading having been queftioned by Dr. Warburton, I shall exemplify it from Chapman's Tranflation of the 4th Book of Homer. there the goodly plant lies withering out his grace."
Ut piget annus
Pupillis, quos dura premit cuftodia matrum,
"Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora." HOR.
fteep themselves in nights; ] So, in Cymbeline, A& V. fc. iv.
"And yet are fleep'd in favours." STEEVENS.
New bent in heaven, 'shall behold the night
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my fword,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
EGE. Happy be Thefeus, our renowned duke!"
• New bent
by Mr. Rowe.
The old copies read Now bent. Corre&ed
S With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. By triumph, as Mr. Warton has obferved in his late edition of Milton's Poems, p. 56, we are to understand hows, fuch as mafks, revels, &c. So, again in King Henry VI. P. III:
"And now what refts, but that we fpend the time
Again, in the preface to Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, 1624: "Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, trophies, triumphs, revels, fports, playes." Jonfon, as the fame gentleman obferves, in the title of his mafque called Love's Triumph through Callipolis, by triumph feems to have meant a grand proceflion; and in one of the ftage-directions, it is faid, triumph is feen far off." MALONE.
our renowned duke!]. Thus in Chaucer's Knight's Tale : "Whilom as olde ftories tellen us,
"There was a Duk that highte Thefeus,
"Of Athenes he was lord and governour," &c.
Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 861. Lidgate too, the monk of Bury, in his tranflation of the Tragedies of John Bochas, calls him by the fame title, chap. xii. 1. 21: "Duke Thefeus had the victorye."
THE. Thanks, good Egeus: 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,
Stand forth, Lyfander; and, my gracious duke,
Creon, in the tragedy of Jocasta, tranflated from Euripides in 1566, is called Duke Creon.
So likewife Skelton:
"Not lyke Duke Hamilcar,
"Nor lyke Duke Afdruball."’
Stany burft, in his Tranflation of Virgil, calls Eneas, Duke Eneas; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II. 1632, Ajax is ftyled Duke Ajax, Palamedes, Duke Palamedes, and Neftor, Duke Neftor, &c.
Our verfion of the Bible exhibits a fimilar mifapplication of a modern title; for in Daniel iii. 2. Nebuchadonozar, King of Babylon, fends out a fummons to the Sheriffs of his provinces.
7 This hath bewitch'd-] The old còpies read This man hath bewitch'd. The emendation was made for the fake of the metre, by the editor of the fecond folio. It is very probable that the compofitor caught the word man from the line above.
gawds, i. e. baubles, toys, trifles.
the word frequently. See K. John, A& III. fc. v.
And gaudes not fet by," &c.
Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf:
and in her lap
"A fort of paper puppets, gands and toys."
Our author has
The Rev. Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical hiftory of the Battle of Floddon, obferves that a gawd is a child's toy, and
Knacks, trifles, nofegays, fweet-meats; meffengers
To ftubborn harshness:-And, my gracious duke,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
THE. What fay you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair
To you your father fhould be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
HER. So is Lylander.
In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
that the children in the North call their play-things gowdys, and their baby-house a gowdy-house. STEEVENS.
Or to her death; according to our law, ] By a law of Solon's, parents had an abfolute power of life and death over their children. So it fuited the poet's purpose well enough, to fuppofe the AtheOr perhaps he'nejther thought nor knew any WARBURTON.'
nians had it before.
thing of the matter.
2 Immediately provided in that cafe.] Shakspeare is grievously fufpected of having been placed, while a boy, in an attorney's office. The line before us has an undoubted fmack of legal common-place. Poetry disclaims it. STEEVENS.
3 To leave the figure, or disfigure it. ] The fenfe is, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.
HER. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
HER. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
The worft that may befal me in this cafe,
THE. Either to die the death,
For ever the fociety of men.
or to abjure
Therefore, fair Hermia, queftion your defires,
6 to be in thady cloifter mew'd, To live a barren fifter all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd, 7
to die the death, ] So, in the Second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon,, 1601 :
"We will, my liege, elfe let us die the death."
See notes on Meafure for Meafure, Act II. fc. iv. STEEVENS. 5 Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the queftion. Confider your youth. JOHNSON.
6 For aye
] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Edward II. by Mar
"And fit for aye enthronized in heaven." STEEVENS. "But earthlier happy is the rofe difill'd, ] Thus all the copies · yet earthlier is fo harfh a word, and earthlier happy, for happier earthly, a mode of fpeech fo unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have propofed earlier happy. JOHNSON.
It has fince been obferved, that Mr. Pope did propose earlier. We might read earthly happier.