LYSANDER & HERMIA

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1, 128-179

“How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?”

Arden 3 | Sukanta Chaudhuri, ed. | 2017 (129-133)

Source
Arden 3
| Sukanta Chaudhuri ed. | 2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

LYSANDER:
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood –                                135

HERMIA:
O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

LYSANDER:
A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?                         180

 

Words and Pronunciation
Arden 3 | 2017

Words

how chance: how does it happen, why is it (Chaudhuri)

belike: probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems (SW)

beteem: allow, permit, let, grant (SW)

aught: anything [with negative word] nothing (SW)

ay me: alas (Chaudhuri)

blood: birth, family, rank (Chaudhuri); blood relationship, kinship (SW); nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage (SW)

cross: pain, affliction (Chaudhuri); trial, affliction, trouble (SW)

misgrafted: wrongly grafted, like a plant; ill-matched (Chaudhuri); misgraffed: badly matched, ill-grafted, unsuited (SW)

in respect of: with respect to (Leung)

spite: annoyance, vexation, irritation (SW); malice, ill-will, hatred (SW)

friends: kinsfolk, relations ((OED n.3) Chaudhuri); friend: relative, relation, kinsman (SW)

sympathy: affinity (OED n. 1); here, mutual love (Chaudhuri):

momentany: a word then current, of slightly earlier origin than ‘momentary’. ‘Momentary’ was growing commoner by the early sixteenth century, hence the deliberate or inadvertent change in F. (Chaudhuri); momentary, transitory, fleeting (SW)

collied: coal-black (Chaudhuri); clouded, blackened, muddled (SW); blackened, darkened, murky (SW)

spleen: outburst, fit of passion (OED n. 7a) (Chaudhuri); impulse, caprice, whim (SW)

unfolds: lays open, reveals (Chaudhuri); displays, reveals, shows (SW)

confusion: destruction (Chaudhuri); destruction, overthrow, ruin (SW); calamity, disaster, catastrophe (SW)

ever: always (Chaudhuri)

crossed: thwarted (Chaudhuri)

edict in destiny: judgement of fate (Chaudhuri)

trial: trouble, misfortune (Chaudhuri)

customary: according to Chaudhuri, OED adj. in a non legal sense: “1. Law. Designating a system of landholding by manorial or other custom, typically requiring the tenant to render services (service n.1 10a) periodically to his or her lord; esp. in customary tenure. Also: designating land held by this system (esp. in customary land, customary estate); designating a feudal tenant holding land of this type (esp. in customary tenant, customary holder). Cf. copyhold n. 1a, base adj. 6a. Now historical.”

due to: (1) caused by; (2) owed to, as an offering or tribute (Chaudhuri)

fancy’s followers: accompaniments or consequences of love (Chaudhuri)

persuasion: argument, used jocularly. Hermia had advocated patience, while Lysander now proposes action. (Chaudhuri); argument, inducement, reason (SW); conviction, principle, opinion (SW); belief, impression, understanding (SW)

dowager: A woman whose husband is dead and who is in the enjoyment of some title or some property that has come to her from him. Often added to the title so enjoyed, as princess-dowager, queen-dowager, dowager-duchess, dowager-queen, dowager-lady, etc. (OED)

remote: distant, removed (Leung)

leagues: A league (commonly used in poetical contexts) is usually taken as three miles. (Chaudhuri)

respects: (1) regards, considers (OED v. 4b); (2) values (Chaudhuri)

sharp: harsh, severe (Chaudhuri)

forth: out of (Blake, 5.4.2) (Chaudhuri)

without: outside (Chaudhuri)

do observance to: observe the rites of (Chaudhuri)

golden head: induces love, and the leaden arrow flight from love (Met. 1.468–71; Golding, 1.567–8) (Chaudhuri)

simplicity: innocence. Doves were proverbially ‘simple’ as having no gall (Dent, D573, D574). (Chaudhuri)

Venus’ doves: Doves draw Venus’ chariot in Met. 14.597 (Golding, 14.680) and, alongside swans, in many other sources. They are said to be sacred to Venus in Aelian, De animalium natura 10.33. See VA 153, 1190; Luc 58; Chaudhuri, ‘Venus’. (Chaudhuri)

Trojan under sail: i.e. sailing away from Carthage, abandoning Dido. In Aen. 4.586–8 but not Chaucer’s Legend of Dido (LGW) or Marlowe’s Dido, it is the sight of Aeneas’ departing sails that leads Dido to immolate herself (Brooks). (Chaudhuri)

appointed me: arranged or agreed with me (Chaudhuri)

god speed:  God grant you success; may you prosper. Perhaps also a play on speed: Helena attempts to withdraw swiftly on seeing Hermia with Lysander (hence Whither away?). (Chaudhuri)

Pronunciation

revenue: line 158 – revènue or rèvenue; either works according to Chaudhuri

Assonance
Arden 3 | 2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

LYSANDER:
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood –                                135

HERMIA:
O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

LYSANDER:
A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?                         180

Alliteration
Arden 3 | 2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

LYSANDER:
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood –                                135

HERMIA:
O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

LYSANDER:
A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?                         180

Consonance
Arden 3 |  2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

LYSANDER:
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood –                                135

HERMIA:
O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

LYSANDER:
A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?                         180

 

Thoughts
Arden 3 | 2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

LYSANDER:
1. How now, my love? 2. Why is your cheek so pale?
3. How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
1. Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER:
1. Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
(b) But either it was different in blood –                             135

HERMIA:
1. O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
(c) Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
1. O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
(d) Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
1. O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
(e) Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
(f) So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
1. If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
2. Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

LYSANDER:
1. A good persuasion; (b) therefore hear me, Hermia.
2. I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
3. From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
4. There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. 5. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
(b) And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-1. My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
1. Keep promise, love. 2. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
1. God speed, fair Helena. 2. Whither away?                         180

Pronunciation

revenue: line 158 – revènue or rèvenue; either works according to Chaudhuri

Pacing
Arden 3 |  2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

LYSANDER:
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood –                                135

HERMIA:
O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

LYSANDER:
A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?                         180

 

Beats
Arden 3 | 2017

(Exeunt [all but] Lysander and Hermia.)

Beat 1: Lysander needs Hermia to? Hermia needs Lysander to


LYSANDER:
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA:
Belike for want of rain, which I could well                       130
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

Beat 2:


LYSANDER:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood –                                135

HERMIA:
O cross, too high to be enthralled to low!

LYSANDER:
Or else misgrafted in respect of years –

HERMIA:
O spite, too old to be engaged to young!

LYSANDER:
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends –

HERMIA:
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!                       140

LYSANDER:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night                         145
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold’,
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

HERMIA:
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,                    150
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.                       155

Beat 3:


LYSANDER:
A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager,
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.                            160
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov’st me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,                  165
Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA:
————————-My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,                        170
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke                      175
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER:
Keep promise, love. ————————–

Beat 4:


LYSANDER:
———————Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

HERMIA:
God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?                         180

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