1. Hermia and Helena (c.1818). Washington Allston (American, 1779-1843). Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

    Hermia and Helena were two childhood friends from Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their friendship was so close that they shared all the same tastes and predilections; they even loved the same man. In Act III of the play, Helena describes their similarities and says,

    So we grew together,
    Like to a double cherry:
    seeming parted,
    But yet a union in partition,
    Two lovely berriesĀ 
    moulded on one stem.

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    My dear friends Helena describes me like this, our similarities and says: So we grew together, Like to a double cherry:...
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