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Tita. Set your heart at rest, The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot'ress of my order; And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossiped by my side, And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laughed to see the sails conceive, And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind; Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait Following, (her womb then rich with my young squire,) Would imitate; and sail upon the land, To fetch me trifles, and return again, As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. But she, being mortal, of that boy did die; And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy; And, for her sake, I will not part with him.
Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay? Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moon-light revels, go with us; If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee. Tita. Not for thy fairy-kingdom.-Fairies, away. We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay. [Exeunt TITANIA and her Train. Obe. Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this
Till I torment thee for this injury.—
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou remember'st
Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou could'st not,) Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all armed. A certain aim he took
At a fair vestal,' throned by the west;
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.2
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound,
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
1 It is well known that a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in this very beautiful passage. Warburton has attempted to show, that by the mermaid, in the preceding lines, Mary Queen of Scots was intended. It is argued with his usual fanciful ingenuity, but will not bear the test of examination, and has been satisfactorily controverted. It appears to have been no uncommon practice to introduce a compliment to Elizabeth in the body of a play.
2 Exempt from the power of love.
3 The tricolored violet, commonly called pansies, or hearts' ease, is here meant; one or two of its petals are of a purple color. It has other fanciful and expressive names.
Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him.
Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Thou told'st me, they were stolen into this wood,
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;
Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Hel. And even for that do I love you the more.
What worser place can I beg in your love,
Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit ; For I am sick when I do look on thee.
Hel. And I am sick when I look not on you.
1 Mad, raving. Wud is the synonymous Scotch term.
2 "There is now a dayes a kind of adamant which draweth unto it fleshe, and the same so strongly, that it hath power to knit and tie together two mouthes of contrary persons, and draw the heart of a man out of his bodie without offending any part of him." Certaine Secrete Wonders of Nature, by Edward Fenton, 1569.
3 i. e. bring it into question.
And the ill counsel of a desert place,
Dem. I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Dem. I will not stay thy questions. Let me go;
Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
[Exeunt DEM. and HEL.
Ere he do leave this
Obe. Fare thee well, nymph.
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
1 The greater cowslip.
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove.
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.
SCENE III. Another Part of the Wood.
Enter TITANIA, with her Train.
Tita. Come, now a roundel,' and a fairy song, Then, for the third part of a minute, hence; Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds; Some, war with rear-mice2 for their leathern wings, To make my small elves coats; and some, keep back The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders At our quaint spirits.3 Sing me now asleep; Then to your offices, and let me rest.
1 Fai. You spotted snakes, with double tongue, Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen;
Newts, and blindworms,5 do no wrong;
1 The roundel, or round, as its name implies, was a dance in a ring. 2 Bats. 3 Sports. 4 Efts.