A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act I, Scene 1 Athens. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The palace of THESEUS
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants]
- Theseus. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires, 5
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.
- Hippolyta. Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow 10
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
- Theseus. Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth; 15
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.
Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries; 20
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.
[Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS]
- Egeus. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
- Theseus. Thanks, good Egeus: what’s the news with thee? 25
- Egeus. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke, 30
This man hath bewitch’d the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love, 35
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden’d youth:
With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart, 40
Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens, 45
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.
- Theseus. What say you, Hermia? be advised fair maid: 50
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it. 55
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
- Hermia. So is Lysander.
- Theseus. In himself he is;
But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,
The other must be held the worthier. 60
- Hermia. I would my father look’d but with my eyes.
- Theseus. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
- Hermia. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty, 65
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
- Theseus. Either to die the death or to abjure 70
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires;
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father’s choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun, 75
For aye to be in shady cloister mew’d,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage; 80
But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.
- Hermia. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will my virgin patent up 85
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
- Theseus. Take time to pause; and, by the nest new moon—
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship— 90
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father’s will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana’s altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life. 95
- Demetrius. Relent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
- Lysander. You have her father’s love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia’s: do you marry him.
- Egeus. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love, 100
And what is mine my love shall render him.
And she is mine, and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
- Lysander. I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his; 105
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius’;
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right? 110
Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man. 115
- Theseus. I must confess that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me, 120
I have some private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father’s will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up—
Which by no means we may extenuate— 125
To death, or to a vow of single life.
Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my love?
Demetrius and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial and confer with you 130
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
- Egeus. With duty and desire we follow you.
[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? 135
- Hermia. Belike for want of rain, which I could well
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; 140
But, either it was different in blood,—
- Hermia. O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low.
- Lysander. Or else misgraffed in respect of years,—
- Hermia. O spite! too old to be engaged to young.
- Lysander. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends,— 145
- Hermia. O hell! to choose love by another’s eyes.
- 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; 150
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
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. 155
- Hermia. If then true lovers have been ever cross’d,
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, 160
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.
- 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; 165
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,
Steal forth thy father’s house to-morrow night; 170
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.
- Hermia. My good Lysander! 175
I swear to thee, by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen, 180
When the false Troyan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke,
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee. 185
- Lysander. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
- Hermia. God speed fair Helena! whither away?
- Helena. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair! 190
Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go; 195
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I’d give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art 200
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.
- Hermia. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
- Helena. O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
- Hermia. I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
- Helena. O that my prayers could such affection move! 205
- Hermia. The more I hate, the more he follows me.
- Helena. The more I love, the more he hateth me.
- Hermia. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
- Helena. None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
- Hermia. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face; 210
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem’d Athens as a paradise to me:
O, then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn’d a heaven unto a hell! 215
- Lysander. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
A time that lovers’ flights doth still conceal, 220
Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal.
- Hermia. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet; 225
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us;
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight 230
From lovers’ food till morrow deep midnight.
- Lysander. I will, my Hermia.
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you! 235
- Helena. How happy some o’er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know: 240
And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, folding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; 245
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled. 250
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia’s eyne,
He hail’d down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, 255
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight:
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense: 260
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.
Act I, Scene 2 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Athens. QUINCE’S house.
[Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING]
- Quince. Is all our company here? 265
- Bottom. You were best to call them generally, man by man,
according to the scrip.
- Quince. Here is the scroll of every man’s name, which is
thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our
interlude before the duke and the duchess, on his 270
wedding-day at night.
- Bottom. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
on, then read the names of the actors, and so grow
to a point.
- Quince. Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, and 275
most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
- Bottom. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a
merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your
actors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
- Quince. Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver. 280
- Bottom. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
- Quince. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
- Bottom. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
- Quince. A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.
- Bottom. That will ask some tears in the true performing of 285
it: if I do it, let the audience look to their
eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some
measure. To the rest: yet my chief humour is for a
tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to
tear a cat in, to make all split. 290
The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates;
And Phibbus’ car 295
Shall shine from far
And make and mar
The foolish Fates.
This was lofty! Now name the rest of the players.
This is Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein; a lover is 300
- Quince. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
- Flute. Here, Peter Quince.
- Quince. Flute, you must take Thisby on you.
- Flute. What is Thisby? a wandering knight? 305
- Quince. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
- Flute. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.
- Quince. That’s all one: you shall play it in a mask, and
you may speak as small as you will.
- Bottom. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too, I’ll 310
speak in a monstrous little voice. ‘Thisne,
Thisne;’ ‘Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisby dear,
and lady dear!’
- Quince. No, no; you must play Pyramus: and, Flute, you Thisby.
- Bottom. Well, proceed. 315
- Quince. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
- Starveling. Here, Peter Quince.
- Quince. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby’s mother.
Tom Snout, the tinker.
- Snout. Here, Peter Quince. 320
- Quince. You, Pyramus’ father: myself, Thisby’s father:
Snug, the joiner; you, the lion’s part: and, I
hope, here is a play fitted.
- Snug. Have you the lion’s part written? pray you, if it
be, give it me, for I am slow of study. 325
- Quince. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
- Bottom. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will
do any man’s heart good to hear me; I will roar,
that I will make the duke say ‘Let him roar again,
let him roar again.’ 330
- Quince. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright
the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek;
and that were enough to hang us all.
- All. That would hang us, every mother’s son.
- Bottom. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the 335
ladies out of their wits, they would have no more
discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my
voice so that I will roar you as gently as any
sucking dove; I will roar you an ’twere any
- Quince. You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a
sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a
summer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man:
therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
- Bottom. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best 345
to play it in?
- Quince. Why, what you will.
- Bottom. I will discharge it in either your straw-colour
beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your 350
- Quince. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and
then you will play bare-faced. But, masters, here
are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request
you and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; 355
and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the
town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse, for if
we meet in the city, we shall be dogged with
company, and our devices known. In the meantime I
will draw a bill of properties, such as our play 360
wants. I pray you, fail me not.
- Bottom. We will meet; and there we may rehearse most
obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect: adieu.
- Quince. At the duke’s oak we meet.
- Bottom. Enough; hold or cut bow-strings. 365
Act II, Scene 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
A wood near Athens.
[Enter, from opposite sides, a Fairy, and PUCK]
- Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you?
- Fairy. Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier, 370
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen, 375
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours: 380
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I’ll be gone:
Our queen and all our elves come here anon.
- Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night: 385
Take heed the queen come not within his sight;
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she as her attendant hath
A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling; 390
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild;
But she perforce withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers and makes him all her joy:
And now they never meet in grove or green, 395
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But, they do square, that all their elves for fear
Creep into acorn-cups and hide them there.
- Fairy. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite 400
Call’d Robin Goodfellow: are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm; 405
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck:
Are not you he?
- Puck. Thou speak’st aright; 410
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip’s bowl, 415
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her wither’d dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; 420
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there. 425
But, room, fairy! here comes Oberon.
- Fairy. And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
[Enter, from one side, OBERON, with his train; from the other, TITANIA, with hers]
- Oberon. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
- Titania. What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence: 430
I have forsworn his bed and company.
- Oberon. Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?
- Titania. Then I must be thy lady: but I know
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day, 435
Playing on pipes of corn and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest Steppe of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin’d mistress and your warrior love, 440
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.
- Oberon. How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus? 445
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair AEgle break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa?
- Titania. These are the forgeries of jealousy: 450
And never, since the middle summer’s spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, 455
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck’d up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
Have every pelting river made so proud 460
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch’d his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain’d a beard;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field, 465
And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
The nine men’s morris is fill’d up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable:
The human mortals want their winter here; 470
No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature we see 475
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer, 480
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension; 485
We are their parents and original.
- Oberon. Do you amend it then; it lies in you:
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman. 490
- Titania. Set your heart at rest:
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a votaress of my order:
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip’d by my side, 495
And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood,
When we have laugh’d to see the sails conceive
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait 500
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; 505
And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.
- Oberon. How long within this wood intend you stay?
- Titania. Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round 510
And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
- Oberon. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
- Titania. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away!
We shall chide downright, if I longer stay. 515
[Exit TITANIA with her train]
- Oberon. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory, 520
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid’s music. 525
- Puck. I remember.
- Oberon. That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west, 530
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on, 535
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness. 540
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again 545
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
- Puck. I’ll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.
- Oberon. Having once this juice, 550
I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape, 555
She shall pursue it with the soul of love:
And ere I take this charm from off her sight,
As I can take it with another herb,
I’ll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible; 560
And I will overhear their conference.
[Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA, following him]
- Demetrius. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
The one I’ll slay, the other slayeth me. 565
Thou told’st me they were stolen unto this wood;
And here am I, and wode within this wood,
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
- Helena. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant; 570
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
Is true as steel: leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.
- Demetrius. Do I entice you? do I speak you fair?
Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth 575
Tell you, I do not, nor I cannot love you?
- Helena. And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me, 580
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love,—
And yet a place of high respect with me,—
Than to be used as you use your dog? 585
- Demetrius. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
For I am sick when I do look on thee.
- Helena. And I am sick when I look not on you.
- Demetrius. You do impeach your modesty too much,
To leave the city and commit yourself 590
Into the hands of one that loves you not;
To trust the opportunity of night
And the ill counsel of a desert place
With the rich worth of your virginity.
- Helena. Your virtue is my privilege: for that 595
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night;
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world:
Then how can it be said I am alone, 600
When all the world is here to look on me?
- Demetrius. I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
- Helena. The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will, the story shall be changed: 605
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger; bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues and valour flies.
- Demetrius. I will not stay thy questions; let me go: 610
Or, if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
- Helena. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex: 615
We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
We should be wood and were not made to woo.
I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well. 620
- Oberon. Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave this grove,
Thou shalt fly him and he shall seek thy love.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer. 625
- Puck. Ay, there it is.
- Oberon. I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, 630
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in: 635
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove:
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes; 640
But do it when the next thing he espies
May be the lady: thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her than she upon her love: 645
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
- Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.
Act II, Scene 2 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Another part of the wood.
[Enter TITANIA, with her train]
- Titania. Come, now a roundel and a fairy song; 650
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders 655
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices and let me rest.
[The Fairies sing]
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; 660
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby: 665
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.
Weaving spiders, come not here; 670
Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
Philomel, with melody, &c.
- Fairy. Hence, away! now all is well: 675
One aloof stand sentinel.
[Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps]
[Enter OBERON and squeezes the flower on TITANIA’s eyelids]
- Oberon. What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true-love take, 680
Love and languish for his sake:
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wakest, it is thy dear: 685
Wake when some vile thing is near.
[Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA]
- Lysander. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way: 690
We’ll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
- Hermia. Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed;
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
- Lysander. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both; 695
One heart, one bed, two bosoms and one troth.
- Hermia. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.
- Lysander. O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love’s conference. 700
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit
So that but one heart we can make of it;
Two bosoms interchained with an oath;
So then two bosoms and a single troth.
Then by your side no bed-room me deny; 705
For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
- Hermia. Lysander riddles very prettily:
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy 710
Lie further off; in human modesty,
Such separation as may well be said
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
So far be distant; and, good night, sweet friend:
Thy love ne’er alter till thy sweet life end! 715
- Lysander. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
And then end life when I end loyalty!
Here is my bed: sleep give thee all his rest!
- Hermia. With half that wish the wisher’s eyes be press’d!
- Puck. Through the forest have I gone.
But Athenian found I none,
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower’s force in stirring love. 725
Night and silence.—Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound, 730
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe. 735
When thou wakest, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.
[Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running]
- Helena. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
- Demetrius. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
- Helena. O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.
- Demetrius. Stay, on thy peril: I alone will go. 745
- Helena. O, I am out of breath in this fond chase!
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe’er she lies;
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes. 750
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears:
If so, my eyes are oftener wash’d than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me run away for fear:
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius 755
Do, as a monster fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia’s sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!
Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound. 760
Lysander if you live, good sir, awake.
- Lysander. [Awaking] And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word 765
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
- Helena. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so
What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.
- Lysander. Content with Hermia! No; I do repent 770
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia but Helena I love:
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway’d;
And reason says you are the worthier maid. 775
Things growing are not ripe until their season
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o’erlook 780
Love’s stories written in love’s richest book.
- Helena. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is’t not enough, is’t not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can, 785
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius’ eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well: perforce I must confess 790
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady, of one man refused.
Should of another therefore be abused!
- Lysander. She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there: 795
And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as tie heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive, 800
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honour Helen and to be her knight!
- Hermia. [Awaking] Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
Methought a serpent eat my heart away, 810
And you sat smiling at his cruel pray.
Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord!
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?
Alack, where are you speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear. 815
No? then I well perceive you all not nigh
Either death or you I’ll find immediately.
Act III, Scene 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.
[Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING]
- Bottom. Are we all met? 820
- Quince. Pat, pat; and here’s a marvellous convenient place
for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our
stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house; and we
will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.
- Bottom. Peter Quince,— 825
- Quince. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
- Bottom. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must
draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies
cannot abide. How answer you that? 830
- Snout. By’r lakin, a parlous fear.
- Starveling. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
- Bottom. Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to
say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that 835
Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more
better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them
out of fear.
- Quince. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be 840
written in eight and six.
- Bottom. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
- Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
- Starveling. I fear it, I promise you.
- Bottom. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to 845
bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies, is a
most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful
wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to
look to ‘t.
- Snout. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion. 850
- Bottom. Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must
be seen through the lion’s neck: and he himself
must speak through, saying thus, or to the same
defect,—’Ladies,’—or ‘Fair-ladies—I would wish
You,’—or ‘I would request you,’—or ‘I would 855
entreat you,—not to fear, not to tremble: my life
for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it
were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I am a
man as other men are;’ and there indeed let him name
his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner. 860
- Quince. Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things;
that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for,
you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight.
- Snout. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
- Bottom. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find 865
out moonshine, find out moonshine.
- Quince. Yes, it doth shine that night.
- Bottom. Why, then may you leave a casement of the great
chamber window, where we play, open, and the moon
may shine in at the casement. 870
- Quince. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is
another thing: we must have a wall in the great
chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story, did 875
talk through the chink of a wall.
- Snout. You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
- Bottom. Some man or other must present Wall: and let him
have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast
about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his 880
fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus
and Thisby whisper.
- Quince. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts.
Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your 885
speech, enter into that brake: and so every one
according to his cue.
[Enter PUCK behind]
- Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen? 890
What, a play toward! I’ll be an auditor;
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
- Quince. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
- Bottom. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—
- Quince. Odours, odours. 895
- Bottom. —odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
- Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e’er played here.
- Flute. Must I speak now?
- Quince. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes
but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again. 905
- Flute. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I’ll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny’s tomb. 910
- Quince. ‘Ninus’ tomb,’ man: why, you must not speak that
yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your
part at once, cues and all Pyramus enter: your cue
is past; it is, ‘never tire.’
- Flute. O,—As true as truest horse, that yet would 915
[Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass’s head]
- Bottom. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
- Quince. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray,
masters! fly, masters! Help! 920
[Exeunt QUINCE, SNUG, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING]
- Puck. I’ll follow you, I’ll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire; 925
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
- Bottom. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to
make me afeard. 930
- Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
- Bottom. What do you see? you see an asshead of your own, do
- Quince. Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art
- Bottom. I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; 940
to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
from this place, do what they can: I will walk up
and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
I am not afraid.
The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,—
- Titania. [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed? 950
- Bottom. [Sings]
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay;— 955
for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish
a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry
‘cuckoo’ never so?
- Titania. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note; 960
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
- Bottom. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and 965
love keep little company together now-a-days; the
more the pity that some honest neighbours will not
make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
- Titania. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
- Bottom. Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out 970
of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
- Titania. Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state; 975
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so 980
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!
[Enter PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED]
- Peaseblossom. Ready.
- Cobweb. And I. 985
- Moth. And I.
- Mustardseed. And I.
- All. Where shall we go?
- Titania. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; 990
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm’s eyes, 995
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
- Peaseblossom. Hail, mortal! 1000
- Cobweb. Hail!
- Moth. Hail!
- Mustardseed. Hail!
- Bottom. I cry your worship’s mercy, heartily: I beseech your
worship’s name. 1005
- Cobweb. Cobweb.
- Bottom. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with
you. Your name, honest gentleman?
- Peaseblossom. Peaseblossom. 1010
- Bottom. I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
- Mustardseed. Mustardseed. 1015
- Bottom. Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well:
that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise
you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now. I
desire your more acquaintance, good Master 1020
- Titania. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity. 1025
Tie up my love’s tongue bring him silently.
Act III, Scene 2 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Another part of the wood.
- Oberon. I wonder if Titania be awaked;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye, 1030
Which she must dote on in extremity.
Here comes my messenger.
How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule now about this haunted grove? 1035
- Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls, 1040
Were met together to rehearse a play
Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial-day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene and enter’d in a brake 1045
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass’s nole I fixed on his head:
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye, 1050
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly;
And, at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls; 1055
He murder cries and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch; 1060
Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all
I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there:
When in that moment, so it came to pass, 1065
Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
- Oberon. This falls out better than I could devise.
But hast thou yet latch’d the Athenian’s eyes
With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?
- Puck. I took him sleeping,—that is finish’d too,— 1070
And the Athenian woman by his side:
That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.
[Enter HERMIA and DEMETRIUS]
- Oberon. Stand close: this is the same Athenian.
- Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man. 1075
- Demetrius. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
- Hermia. Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse,
For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse,
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, 1080
Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day
As he to me: would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon 1085
This whole earth may be bored and that the moon
May through the centre creep and so displease
Her brother’s noontide with Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murder’d him;
So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim. 1090
- Demetrius. So should the murder’d look, and so should I,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty:
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
- Hermia. What’s this to my Lysander? where is he? 1095
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
- Demetrius. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
- Hermia. Out, dog! out, cur! thou drivest me past the bounds
Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never number’d among men! 1100
O, once tell true, tell true, even for my sake!
Durst thou have look’d upon him being awake,
And hast thou kill’d him sleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue 1105
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
- Demetrius. You spend your passion on a misprised mood:
I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood;
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
- Hermia. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. 1110
- Demetrius. An if I could, what should I get therefore?
- Hermia. A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part I so:
See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
- Demetrius. There is no following her in this fierce vein:
Here therefore for a while I will remain.
So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe:
Which now in some slight measure it will pay, 1120
If for his tender here I make some stay.
[Lies down and sleeps]
- Oberon. What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite
And laid the love-juice on some true-love’s sight:
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue 1125
Some true love turn’d and not a false turn’d true.
- Puck. Then fate o’er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
- Oberon. About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find: 1130
All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer,
With sighs of love, that costs the fresh blood dear:
By some illusion see thou bring her here:
I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
- Puck. I go, I go; look how I go, 1135
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.
- Oberon. Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid’s archery,
Sink in apple of his eye. 1140
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
When thou wakest, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy. 1145
- Puck. Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand;
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee. 1150
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
- Oberon. Stand aside: the noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.
- Puck. Then will two at once woo one; 1155
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me
That befal preposterously.
[Enter LYSANDER and HELENA]
- Lysander. Why should you think that I should woo in scorn? 1160
Scorn and derision never come in tears:
Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
In their nativity all truth appears.
How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true? 1165
- Helena. You do advance your cunning more and more.
When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
These vows are Hermia’s: will you give her o’er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh:
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales, 1170
Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
- Lysander. I had no judgment when to her I swore.
- Helena. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.
- Lysander. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
- Demetrius. [Awaking] O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! 1175
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
Fann’d with the eastern wind, turns to a crow 1180
When thou hold’st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
- Helena. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment:
If you we re civil and knew courtesy, 1185
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so; 1190
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
And now both rivals, to mock Helena:
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise, 1195
To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
With your derision! none of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin, and extort
A poor soul’s patience, all to make you sport.
- Lysander. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so; 1200
For you love Hermia; this you know I know:
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part;
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
Whom I do love and will do till my death. 1205
- Helena. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
- Demetrius. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:
If e’er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn’d,
And now to Helen is it home return’d, 1210
There to remain.
- Lysander. Helen, it is not so.
- Demetrius. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear. 1215
- Hermia. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense. 1220
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
- Lysander. Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
- Hermia. What love could press Lysander from my side? 1225
- Lysander. Lysander’s love, that would not let him bide,
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light.
Why seek’st thou me? could not this make thee know,
The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so? 1230
- Hermia. You speak not as you think: it cannot be.
- Helena. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin’d all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid! 1235
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time 1240
For parting us,—O, is it all forgot?
All school-days’ friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, 1245
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition; 1250
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder, 1255
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, ’tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
- Hermia. I am amazed at your passionate words. 1260
I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
- Helena. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot, 1265
To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection, 1270
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What thought I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved?
This you should pity rather than despise. 1275
- Hermia. I understand not what you mean by this.
- Helena. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled. 1280
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare ye well: ’tis partly my own fault;
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
- Lysander. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse: 1285
My love, my life my soul, fair Helena!
- Helena. O excellent!
- Hermia. Sweet, do not scorn her so.
- Demetrius. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
- Lysander. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat: 1290
Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To prove him false that says I love thee not.
- Demetrius. I say I love thee more than he can do. 1295
- Lysander. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
- Demetrius. Quick, come!
- Hermia. Lysander, whereto tends all this?
- Lysander. Away, you Ethiope!
- Demetrius. No, no; he’ll 1300
Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!
- Lysander. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!
- Hermia. Why are you grown so rude? what change is this? 1305
- Lysander. Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
- Hermia. Do you not jest?
- Helena. Yes, sooth; and so do you. 1310
- Lysander. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
- Demetrius. I would I had your bond, for I perceive
A weak bond holds you: I’ll not trust your word.
- Lysander. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so. 1315
- Hermia. What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love!
Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left 1320
Why, then you left me—O, the gods forbid!—
In earnest, shall I say?
- Lysander. Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more. 1325
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
Be certain, nothing truer; ’tis no jest
That I do hate thee and love Helena.
- Hermia. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!
You thief of love! what, have you come by night 1330
And stolen my love’s heart from him?
- Helena. Fine, i’faith!
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue? 1335
Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
- Hermia. Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
And with her personage, her tall personage, 1340
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail’d with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem;
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low 1345
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
- Helena. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me: I was never curst;
I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
I am a right maid for my cowardice: 1350
Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
Because she is something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
- Hermia. Lower! hark, again.
- Helena. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me. 1355
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong’d you;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
He follow’d you; for love I follow’d him; 1360
But he hath chid me hence and threaten’d me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back
And follow you no further: let me go: 1365
You see how simple and how fond I am.
- Hermia. Why, get you gone: who is’t that hinders you?
- Helena. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
- Hermia. What, with Lysander?
- Helena. With Demetrius. 1370
- Lysander. Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
- Demetrius. No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
- Helena. O, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And though she be but little, she is fierce. 1375
- Hermia. ‘Little’ again! nothing but ‘low’ and ‘little’!
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
- Lysander. Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; 1380
You bead, you acorn.
- Demetrius. You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend 1385
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
- Lysander. Now she holds me not;
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena. 1390
- Demetrius. Follow! nay, I’ll go with thee, cheek by jole.
[Exeunt LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS]
- Hermia. You, mistress, all this coil is ‘long of you:
Nay, go not back.
- Helena. I will not trust you, I, 1395
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though, to run away.
- Hermia. I am amazed, and know not what to say. 1400
- Oberon. This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest,
Or else committ’st thy knaveries wilfully.
- Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man 1405
By the Athenian garment be had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have ‘nointed an Athenian’s eyes;
And so far am I glad it so did sort
As this their jangling I esteem a sport. 1410
- Oberon. Thou see’st these lovers seek a place to fight:
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
And lead these testy rivals so astray 1415
As one come not within another’s way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
And from each other look thou lead them thus, 1420
Till o’er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep:
Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye;
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might, 1425
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision,
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
With league whose date till death shall never end. 1430
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmed eye release
From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.
- Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste, 1435
For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial, 1440
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully themselves exile from light
And must for aye consort with black-brow’d night.
- Oberon. But we are spirits of another sort: 1445
I with the morning’s love have oft made sport,
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams. 1450
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
We may effect this business yet ere day.
- Puck. Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down: 1455
I am fear’d in field and town:
Goblin, lead them up and down.
Here comes one.
- Lysander. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now. 1460
- Puck. Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where art thou?
- Lysander. I will be with thee straight.
- Puck. Follow me, then,
To plainer ground.
[Exit LYSANDER, as following the voice]
- Demetrius. Lysander! speak again:
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?
- Puck. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars, 1470
Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars,
And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come, thou child;
I’ll whip thee with a rod: he is defiled
That draws a sword on thee.
- Demetrius. Yea, art thou there? 1475
- Puck. Follow my voice: we’ll try no manhood here.
- Lysander. He goes before me and still dares me on:
When I come where he calls, then he is gone. 1480
The villain is much lighter-heel’d than I:
I follow’d fast, but faster he did fly;
That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
And here will rest me.
[Lies down] 1485
Come, thou gentle day!
For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
[Re-enter PUCK and DEMETRIUS]
- Puck. Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why comest thou not?
- Demetrius. Abide me, if thou darest; for well I wot
Thou runn’st before me, shifting every place,
And darest not stand, nor look me in the face.
Where art thou now? 1495
- Puck. Come hither: I am here.
- Demetrius. Nay, then, thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this dear,
If ever I thy face by daylight see:
Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
To measure out my length on this cold bed. 1500
By day’s approach look to be visited.
[Lies down and sleeps]
- Helena. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy hour! Shine comforts from the east, 1505
That I may back to Athens by daylight,
From these that my poor company detest:
And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.
[Lies down and sleeps]
- Puck. Yet but three? Come one more;
Two of both kinds make up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad:
Cupid is a knavish lad,
Thus to make poor females mad. 1515
- Hermia. Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
I can no further crawl, no further go;
My legs can keep no pace with my desires. 1520
Here will I rest me till the break of day.
Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!
[Lies down and sleeps]
- Puck. On the ground
Sleep sound: 1525
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
[Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER’s eyes]
When thou wakest, 1530
In the sight
Of thy former lady’s eye:
And the country proverb known, 1535
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown:
Jack shall have Jill;
Nought shall go ill;
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well. 1540
Act IV, Scene 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The same. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA
lying asleep. [p][Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH,] [p]MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending; OBERON [p]behind unseen]
- Titania. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
- Bottom. Where’s Peaseblossom? 1550
- Peaseblossom. Ready.
- Bottom. Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where’s Mounsieur Cobweb?
- Cobweb. Ready.
- Bottom. Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your
weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped 1555
humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good
mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret
yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,
good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;
I would be loath to have you overflown with a 1560
honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?
- Mustardseed. Ready.
- Bottom. Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you,
leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.
- Mustardseed. What’s your Will? 1565
- Bottom. Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb
to scratch. I must to the barber’s, monsieur; for
methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I
am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me,
I must scratch. 1570
- Titania. What, wilt thou hear some music,
my sweet love?
- Bottom. I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have
the tongs and the bones.
- Titania. Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat. 1575
- Bottom. Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good
dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
- Titania. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel’s hoard, and fetch thee new nuts. 1580
- Bottom. I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I
have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
- Titania. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away. 1585
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee! 1590
- Oberon. [Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.
See’st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity: 1595
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers; 1600
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets’ eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her 1605
And she in mild terms begg’d my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo 1610
This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That, he awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair 1615
And think no more of this night’s accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see: 1620
Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
- Titania. My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour’d of an ass. 1625
- Oberon. There lies your love.
- Titania. How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
- Oberon. Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call; and strike more dead 1630
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
- Titania. Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!
- Puck. Now, when thou wakest, with thine
own fool’s eyes peep. 1635
- Oberon. Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly, 1640
And bless it to all fair prosperity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
- Puck. Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark. 1645
- Oberon. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night’s shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.
- Titania. Come, my lord, and in our flight 1650
Tell me how it came this night
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.
[Horns winded within]
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train]
- Theseus. Go, one of you, find out the forester;
For now our observation is perform’d;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds. 1660
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go:
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
[Exit an Attendant]
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain’s top,
And mark the musical confusion 1665
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
- Hippolyta. I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay’d the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves, 1670
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem’d all one mutual cry: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
- Theseus. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew’d, so sanded, and their heads are hung 1675
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee’d, and dew-lapp’d like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match’d in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla’d to, nor cheer’d with horn, 1680
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?
- Egeus. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena: 1685
I wonder of their being here together.
- Theseus. No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus; is not this the day 1690
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
- Egeus. It is, my lord.
- Theseus. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
[Horns and shout within. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS,]
HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up] 1695
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
- Lysander. Pardon, my lord.
- Theseus. I pray you all, stand up.
I know you two are rival enemies: 1700
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?
- Lysander. My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear, 1705
I cannot truly say how I came here;
But, as I think,—for truly would I speak,
And now do I bethink me, so it is,—
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might, 1710
Without the peril of the Athenian law.
- Egeus. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,
Thereby to have defeated you and me, 1715
You of your wife and me of my consent,
Of my consent that she should be your wife.
- Demetrius. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood;
And I in fury hither follow’d them, 1720
Fair Helena in fancy following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,—
But by some power it is,—my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud 1725
Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betroth’d ere I saw Hermia: 1730
But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.
- Theseus. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met: 1735
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit:
And, for the morning now is something worn, 1740
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens; three and three,
We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train]
- Demetrius. These things seem small and undistinguishable,
- Hermia. Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When every thing seems double.
- Helena. So methinks:
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel, 1750
Mine own, and not mine own.
- Demetrius. Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The duke was here, and bid us follow him? 1755
- Hermia. Yea; and my father.
- Helena. And Hippolyta.
- Lysander. And he did bid us follow to the temple.
- Demetrius. Why, then, we are awake: let’s follow him
And by the way let us recount our dreams. 1760
- Bottom. [Awaking] When my cue comes, call me, and I will
answer: my next is, ‘Most fair Pyramus.’ Heigh-ho!
Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout,
the tinker! Starveling! God’s my life, stolen 1765
hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare
vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go
about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there
is no man can tell what. Methought I was,—and 1770
methought I had,—but man is but a patched fool, if
he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye
of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream 1775
was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of
this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream,
because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the
latter end of a play, before the duke:
peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall 1780
sing it at her death.
Act IV, Scene 2 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Athens. QUINCE’S house.
[Enter QUINCE, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING]
- Quince. Have you sent to Bottom’s house? is he come home yet?
- Starveling. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is 1785
- Flute. If he come not, then the play is marred: it goes
not forward, doth it?
- Quince. It is not possible: you have not a man in all
Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he. 1790
- Flute. No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft
man in Athens.
- Quince. Yea and the best person too; and he is a very
paramour for a sweet voice.
- Flute. You must say ‘paragon:’ a paramour is, God bless us, 1795
a thing of naught.
- Snug. Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and
there is two or three lords and ladies more married:
if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made 1800
- Flute. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a
day during his life; he could not have ‘scaped
sixpence a day: an the duke had not given him
sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, I’ll be hanged; 1805
he would have deserved it: sixpence a day in
Pyramus, or nothing.
- Bottom. Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
- Quince. Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy hour! 1810
- Bottom. Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not
what; for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I
will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.
- Quince. Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
- Bottom. Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is, that 1815
the duke hath dined. Get your apparel together,
good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your
pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look
o’er his part; for the short and the long is, our
play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have 1820
clean linen; and let not him that plays the lion
pair his nails, for they shall hang out for the
lion’s claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions
nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I
do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet 1825
comedy. No more words: away! go, away!
Act V, Scene 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Athens. The palace of THESEUS.
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords and] [p]Attendants]
- Hippolyta. ‘Tis strange my Theseus, that these 1830
lovers speak of.
- Theseus. More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend 1835
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic, 1840
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen 1845
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy; 1850
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
- Hippolyta. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy’s images 1855
And grows to something of great constancy;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
- Theseus. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
[Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA]
Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love 1860
Accompany your hearts!
- Lysander. More than to us
Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
- Theseus. Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
To wear away this long age of three hours 1865
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Call Philostrate. 1870
- Philostrate. Here, mighty Theseus.
- Theseus. Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
- Philostrate. There is a brief how many sports are ripe: 1875
Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[Giving a paper]
- Theseus. [Reads] ‘The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.’
We’ll none of that: that have I told my love, 1880
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
‘The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.’
That is an old device; and it was play’d 1885
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
‘The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of Learning, late deceased in beggary.’
That is some satire, keen and critical, 1890
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
‘A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.’
Merry and tragical! tedious and brief! 1895
That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?
- Philostrate. A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long, 1900
Which makes it tedious; for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted:
And tragical, my noble lord, it is;
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess, 1905
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.
- Theseus. What are they that do play it?
- Philostrate. Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
Which never labour’d in their minds till now, 1910
And now have toil’d their unbreathed memories
With this same play, against your nuptial.
- Theseus. And we will hear it.
- Philostrate. No, my noble lord;
It is not for you: I have heard it over, 1915
And it is nothing, nothing in the world;
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretch’d and conn’d with cruel pain,
To do you service.
- Theseus. I will hear that play; 1920
For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.
- Hippolyta. I love not to see wretchedness o’er charged 1925
And duty in his service perishing.
- Theseus. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
- Hippolyta. He says they can do nothing in this kind.
- Theseus. The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be to take what they mistake: 1930
And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale, 1935
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practised accent in their fears
And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence yet I pick’d a welcome; 1940
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity. 1945
- Philostrate. So please your grace, the Prologue is address’d.
- Theseus. Let him approach.
[Flourish of trumpets]
[Enter QUINCE for the Prologue]
- Quince. If we offend, it is with our good will.
That you should think, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then we come but in despite. 1955
We do not come as minding to contest you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight
We are not here. That you should here repent you,
The actors are at hand and by their show
You shall know all that you are like to know. 1960
- Theseus. This fellow doth not stand upon points.
- Lysander. He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt; he knows
not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not
enough to speak, but to speak true.
- Hippolyta. Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child 1965
on a recorder; a sound, but not in government.
- Theseus. His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
[Enter Pyramus and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, and Lion]
- Quince. Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show; 1970
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
This beauteous lady Thisby is certain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder; 1975
And through Wall’s chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.
This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn 1980
To meet at Ninus’ tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall, 1985
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisby’s mantle slain:
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach’d is boiling bloody breast; 1990
And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
At large discourse, while here they do remain.
[Exeunt Prologue, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine]
- Theseus. I wonder if the lion be to speak.
- Demetrius. No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.
- Snout. In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
And such a wall, as I would have you think, 2000
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
That I am that same wall; the truth is so: 2005
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
- Theseus. Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
- Demetrius. It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
discourse, my lord. 2010
- Theseus. Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!
- Bottom. O grim-look’d night! O night with hue so black!
O night, which ever art when day is not!
O night, O night! alack, alack, alack, 2015
I fear my Thisby’s promise is forgot!
And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
That stand’st between her father’s ground and mine!
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne! 2020
[Wall holds up his fingers]
Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me! 2025
- Theseus. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
- Bottom. No, in truth, sir, he should not. ‘Deceiving me’
is Thisby’s cue: she is to enter now, and I am to
spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will
fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes. 2030
- Flute. [as Thisbe] O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee. 2035
- Bottom. I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby’s face. Thisby!
- Flute. [as Thisbe] My love thou art, my love I think.
- Bottom. Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace;
And, like Limander, am I trusty still. 2040
- Flute. [as Thisbe] And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
- Bottom. Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
- Flute. [as Thisbe] As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
- Bottom. O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!
- Flute. [as Thisbe] I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all. 2045
- Bottom. Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?
- Flute. [as Thisbe] ‘Tide life, ‘tide death, I come without delay.
[Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe]
- Snout. [as Wall] Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go. 2050
- Theseus. Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.
- Demetrius. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear
- Hippolyta. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard. 2055
- Theseus. The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst
are no worse, if imagination amend them.
- Hippolyta. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
- Theseus. If we imagine no worse of them than they of
themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here 2060
come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.
[Enter Lion and Moonshine]
- Snug. [as Lion] You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now perchance both quake and tremble here, 2065
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lion-fell, nor else no lion’s dam;
For, if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, ’twere pity on my life. 2070
- Theseus. A very gentle beast, of a good conscience.
- Demetrius. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e’er I saw.
- Lysander. This lion is a very fox for his valour.
- Theseus. True; and a goose for his discretion.
- Demetrius. Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry his 2075
discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
- Theseus. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour;
for the goose carries not the fox. It is well:
leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.
- Starveling. [as Moonshine] This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;— 2080
- Demetrius. He should have worn the horns on his head.
- Theseus. He is no crescent, and his horns are
invisible within the circumference.
- Starveling. [as Moonshine] This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
Myself the man i’ the moon do seem to be. 2085
- Theseus. This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man
should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the
man i’ the moon?
- Demetrius. He dares not come there for the candle; for, you
see, it is already in snuff. 2090
- Hippolyta. I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!
- Theseus. It appears, by his small light of discretion, that
he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all
reason, we must stay the time.
- Lysander. Proceed, Moon. 2095
- Starveling. [as Moonshine] All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the
lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this
thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
- Demetrius. Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for all
these are in the moon. But, silence! here comes Thisbe. 2100
- Flute. [as Thisbe] This is old Ninny’s tomb. Where is my love?
- Snug. [as Lion] [Roaring] Oh—
[Thisbe runs off]
- Demetrius. Well roared, Lion. 2105
- Theseus. Well run, Thisbe.
- Hippolyta. Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a
[The Lion shakes Thisbe’s mantle, and exit]
- Theseus. Well moused, Lion. 2110
- Lysander. And so the lion vanished.
- Demetrius. And then came Pyramus.
- Bottom. Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright; 2115
For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.
But stay, O spite!
But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here! 2120
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be?
O dainty duck! O dear!
Thy mantle good,
What, stain’d with blood! 2125
Approach, ye Furies fell!
O Fates, come, come,
Cut thread and thrum;
Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
- Theseus. This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would 2130
go near to make a man look sad.
- Hippolyta. Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
- Bottom. O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
Since lion vile hath here deflower’d my dear:
Which is—no, no—which was the fairest dame 2135
That lived, that loved, that liked, that look’d
Come, tears, confound;
Out, sword, and wound
The pap of Pyramus; 2140
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop:
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead, 2145
Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky:
Tongue, lose thy light;
Moon take thy flight:
[Exit Moonshine] 2150
Now die, die, die, die, die.
- Demetrius. No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
- Lysander. Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing.
- Theseus. With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and 2155
prove an ass.
- Hippolyta. How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes
back and finds her lover?
- Theseus. She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
her passion ends the play. 2160
- Hippolyta. Methinks she should not use a long one for such a
Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
- Demetrius. A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which
Thisbe, is the better; he for a man, God warrant us; 2165
she for a woman, God bless us.
- Lysander. She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
- Demetrius. And thus she means, videlicet:—
- Flute. [as Thisbe] Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove? 2170
O Pyramus, arise!
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These My lips, 2175
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,
Are gone, are gone:
Lovers, make moan:
His eyes were green as leeks. 2180
O Sisters Three,
Come, come to me,
With hands as pale as milk;
Lay them in gore,
Since you have shore 2185
With shears his thread of silk.
Tongue, not a word:
Come, trusty sword;
Come, blade, my breast imbrue:
[Stabs herself] 2190
And, farewell, friends;
Thus Thisby ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
- Theseus. Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead. 2195
- Demetrius. Ay, and Wall too.
- Bottom. [Starting up] No assure you; the wall is down that
parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the
epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two
of our company? 2200
- Theseus. No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all
dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he
that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself
in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine 2205
tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably
discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve: 2210
Lovers, to bed; ’tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatch’d.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed. 2215
A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
In nightly revels and new jollity.
- Puck. Now the hungry lion roars, 2220
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud, 2225
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite, 2230
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream, 2235
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow’d house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
[Enter OBERON and TITANIA with their train]
- Oberon. Through the house give gathering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf and fairy sprite
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me, 2245
Sing, and dance it trippingly.
- Titania. First, rehearse your song by rote
To each word a warbling note:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place. 2250
[Song and dance]
- Oberon. Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be; 2255
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate.
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be;
And the blots of Nature’s hand 2260
Shall not in their issue stand;
Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be. 2265
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest 2270
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.
[Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and train]
- Puck. If we shadows have offended, 2275
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream, 2280
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue, 2285
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.