is the rose distill'd Than that which withering on the virgin thorn Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness."
[Illustration: Queen Elizabeth listening to the Play]
The tributes to the "maiden pilgrimage" and "single blessedness" win from the Queen's countenance a glow which age has had no power to diminish. The highway to favour with the Virgin Queen, as every courtier and every writer knows, lies through praises of her voluntary state of celibacy.
Thus threatened, Hermia is urged by Lysander to a clandestine marriage:--
"If thou lov'st me then, Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night, And in the wood, a league without the town, Where I did meet thee once with Helena To do observance to a morn of May, There will I stay for thee."
"In the wood, a league without the town To do observance to a morn of May." ]
Hermia, hearing these words, feels her heart leap with joy. She tries to answer soberly, in the same measure used by her lover; bu