|A Midsummer Night's Dream|
- THESEUS, Duke of Athens.
- EGEUS, Father to Hermia.
- LYSANDER, in love with Hermia.
- DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia.
- PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Revels to Theseus.
- QUINCE, the Carpenter.
- SNUG, the Joiner.
- BOTTOM, the Weaver.
- FLUTE, the Bellows-mender.
- SNOUT, the Tinker.
- STARVELING, the Tailor.
- HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus.
- HERMIA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
- HELENA, in love with Demetrius.
- OBERON, King of the Fairies.
- TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies.
- PUCK, or ROBIN GOODFELLOW, a Fairy.
- PEASBLOSSOM, Fairy.
- COBWEB, Fairy.
- MOTH, Fairy.
- MUSTARDSEED, Fairy.
- PYRAMUS, THISBE, WALL, MOONSHINE, LION } Characters in the Interlude performed by the Clowns.
- Other Fairies attending their King and Queen.
- Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
SCENE: Athens, and a wood not far from it.
SCENE I. Athens. A room in the Palace of THESEUS.
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.]
- Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
- Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
- Another moon; but, oh, methinks, how slow
- This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
- Like to a step-dame or a dowager,
- Long withering out a young man's revenue.
- Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
- Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
- And then the moon, like to a silver bow
- New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
- Of our solemnities.
- Go, Philostrate,
- Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
- Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
- 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;
- But I will wed thee in another key,
- With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
[Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.]
- Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
- Thanks, good Egeus: what's the news with thee?
- 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,
- This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child.
- Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
- And interchang'd love-tokens with my child:
- Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
- With feigning voice, verses of feigning love;
- And stol'n 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;
- Turned 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,—
- 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.
- What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid:
- To you your father should be as a god;
- One that compos'd 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.
- Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
- So is Lysander.
- In himself he is:
- But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
- The other must be held the worthier.
- I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
- Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
- 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
- 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.
- Either to die the death, or to abjure
- 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;
- For aye to be 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:
- But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd
- Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
- Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
- So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
- Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
- Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
- My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
- Take time to pause; and by the next new moon,—
- The sealing-day betwixt my love and me
- For everlasting bond of fellowship,—
- 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.
- Relent, sweet Hermia;—and, Lysander, yield
- Thy crazed title to my certain right.
- You have her father's love, Demetrius;
- Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
- Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
- And what is mine my love shall render him;
- And she is mine; and all my right of her
- I do estate unto Demetrius.
- I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
- As well possess'd; my love is more than his;
- My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
- If not with vantage, as Demetrius's;
- And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
- I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia:
- Why should not I then prosecute my right?
- 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.
- 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;
- 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,—
- 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
- Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
- With duty and desire we follow you.
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, DEMETRIUS, and Train.]
- How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?
- How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
- Belike for want of rain, which I could well
- Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.
- Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,
- Could ever hear by tale or history,
- The course of true love never did run smooth:
- But either it was different in blood,—
- O cross! Too high to be enthrall'd to low!
- Or else misgraffed in respect of years;—
- O spite! Too old to be engag'd to young!
- Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:
- O hell! to choose love by another's eye!
- Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
- War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it,
- Making it momentary as a sound,
- Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
- 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.
- If then true lovers have 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,
- Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers.
- A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Hermia.
- I have a widow aunt, a dowager
- Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
- From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
- And she respects me as her only son.
- 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 tomorrow night;
- And in the wood, a league without the town,
- Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
- To do observance to a morn of May,
- There will I stay for thee.
- My good Lysander!
- 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,
- When the false Trojan 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,
- Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.
- Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
- God speed fair Helena! Whither away?
- Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
- Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!
- 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;
- 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
- You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart!
- I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
- O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
- I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
- O that my prayers could such affection move!
- The more I hate, the more he follows me.
- The more I love, the more he hateth me.
- His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
- None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
- Take comfort; he no more shall see my face;
- 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 hell!
- 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,—
- Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.
- 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:
- 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
- From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
- I will, my Hermia.
- Helena, adieu:
- As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
- 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.
- And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
- So I, admiring of his qualities.
- Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
- Love can transpose to form and dignity.
- Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
- And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
- Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
- Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
- And therefore is love said to be a child,
- Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd.
- As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
- So the boy Love is perjur'd everywhere:
- 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,
- So he dissolv'd, 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:
- But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
- To have his sight thither and back again.
SCENE II. The Same. A Room in a Cottage.
[Enter SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, QUINCE, and STARVELING.]
- Is all our company here?
- You were best to call them generally, man by man,
- according to the scrip.
- 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 duchess on his wedding-day at night.
- First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on;
- then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
- Marry, our play is—The most lamentable comedy and most
- cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
- 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.
- Answer, as I call you.—Nick Bottom, the weaver.
- Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
- You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
- What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
- A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
- That will ask some tears in the true performing of 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.
- The raging rocks
- And shivering shocks
- Shall break the locks
- Of prison gates:
- And Phibbus' car
- 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 more condoling.
- Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
- Here, Peter Quince.
- Flute, you must take Thisby on you.
- What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
- It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
- Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming.
- That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as
- small as you will.
- An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too:
- I'll speak in a monstrous little voice;—'Thisne, Thisne!'—
- 'Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!'
- No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute, you Thisby.
- Well, proceed.
- Robin Starveling, the tailor.
- Here, Peter Quince.
- Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.—
- Tom Snout, the tinker.
- Here, Peter Quince.
- You, Pyramus' father; myself, Thisby's father;—Snug,
- the joiner, you, the lion's part:—and, I hope, here is a play
- Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it
- me, for I am slow of study.
- You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
- 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.'
- 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.
- That would hang us every mother's son.
- I grant you, friends, if you should fright the 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
- 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.
- Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?
- Why, what you will.
- 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 perfect yellow.
- 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; 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 dogg'd with company, and our
- devices known. In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties,
- such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
- We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely
- and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
- At the duke's oak we meet.
- Enough; hold, or cut bow-strings.
SCENE I. A wood near Athens.
[Enter a FAIRY at One door, and PUCK at another.]
- How now, spirit! whither wander you?
- Over hill, over dale,
- Thorough bush, thorough brier,
- Over park, over pale,
- Thorough flood, thorough fire,
- I do wander everywhere,
- Swifter than the moon's sphere;
- And I serve the fairy queen,
- 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;
- I must go seek some dew-drops here,
- And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
- Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone:
- Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
- The king doth keep his revels here to-night;
- 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, stol'n from an Indian king;
- She never had so sweet a changeling:
- 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,
- 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.
- Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
- Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
- 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;
- 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?
- Thou speak'st aright;
- 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,
- In very likeness of a roasted crab;
- And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
- And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
- The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
- Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
- 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 loffe,
- And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
- A merrier hour was never wasted there.—
- But room, fairy, here comes Oberon.
- And here my mistress.—Would that he were gone!
[Enter OBERON at one door, with his Train, and TITANIA,
- at another, with hers.]
- Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
- What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence;
- I have forsworn his bed and company.
- Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?
- Then I must be thy lady; but I know
- When thou hast stol'n away from fairy-land,
- And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
- Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
- To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
- Come from the farthest steep of India,
- But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
- Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,
- To Theseus must be wedded; and you come
- To give their bed joy and prosperity.
- How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
- Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
- Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
- Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night
- From Perigenia, whom he ravish'd?
- And make him with fair Aegle break his faith,
- With Ariadne and Antiopa?
- These are the forgeries of jealousy:
- 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 on the beached margent of the sea,
- To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
- 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,
- Hath every pelting river made so proud
- 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,
- 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;
- 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
- The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
- Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
- And on old Hyem's thin and icy crown
- An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
- Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
- The childing autumn, angry winter, change
- Their wonted liveries; and the maz'd world,
- By their increase, now knows not which is which:
- And this same progeny of evils comes
- From our debate, from our dissension:
- We are their parents and original.
- 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.
- Set your heart at rest;
- The fairy-land buys not the child of me.
- His mother was a vot'ress of my order:
- And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
- Full often hath she gossip'd by my side;
- 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
- Following,—her womb then rich with my young squire,—
- Would imitate; and sail upon the land,
- To fetch me trifles, and return again,
- As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
- But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
- And for her sake do I rear up her boy:
- And for her sake I will not part with him.
- How long within this wood intend you stay?
- Perchance till after Theseus' wedding-day.
- If you will patiently dance in our round,
- And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
- If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
- Give me that boy and I will go with thee.
- Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away:
- We shall chide downright if I longer stay.
[Exit TITANIA with her Train.]
- Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove
- Till I torment thee for this injury.—
- My gentle Puck, come hither: thou remember'st
- Since once I sat upon a promontory,
- 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.
- I remember.
- 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;
- And loos'd 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,
- 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.
- Fetch me that flower, the herb I showed thee once:
- The juice of it on sleeping eyelids 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
- Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
- I'll put a girdle round about the earth
- In forty minutes.
- Having once this juice,
- 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,—
- 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;
- And I will overhear their conference.
[Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him.]
- I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
- Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
- The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
- Thou told'st me they were stol'n into this wood,
- And here am I, and wode within this wood,
- Because I cannot meet with Hermia.
- Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
- You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;
- 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.
- Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
- Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth
- Tell you I do not, nor I cannot love you?
- 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,
- 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?
- Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
- For I am sick when I do look on thee.
- And I am sick when I look not on you.
- You do impeach your modesty too much,
- To leave the city, and commit yourself
- 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.
- Your virtue is my privilege for that.
- 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
- When all the world is here to look on me?
- I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes,
- And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
- The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
- Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd;
- 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.
- I will not stay thy questions; let me go:
- Or, if thou follow me, do not believe
- But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
- Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
- You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
- Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex:
- We cannot fight for love as men may do:
- We should be woo'd, 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.
[Exeunt DEMETRIUS and HELENA.]
- 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.
- Ay, there it is.
- I pray thee give it me.
- I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
- Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows;
- Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
- With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
- There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
- Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight;
- And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
- Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
- 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;
- 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:
- And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
- Fear not, my lord; your servant shall do so.
SCENE II. Another part of the wood.
[Enter TITANIA, with her Train.]
- Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
- Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
- Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds;
- Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
- To make my small elves coats; and some keep back
- The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots and wonders
- At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
- Then to your offices, and let me rest.
- You spotted snakes, with double tongue,
- Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
- 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:
- Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
- Come our lovely lady nigh;
- So good-night, with lullaby.
- Weaving spiders, come not here;
- Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence;
- Beetles black, approach not near;
- Worm nor snail do no offence.
- Philomel with melody, &c.
- FIRST FAIRY
- Hence away; now all is well.
- One, aloof, stand sentinel.
[Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps.]
- What thou seest when thou dost wake,
- [Squeezes the flower on TITANIA'S eyelids.]
- Do it for thy true-love take;
- 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 wak'st, it is thy dear;
- Wake when some vile thing is near.
[Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA.]
- Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
- And, to speak troth, I have forgot our way;
- We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
- And tarry for the comfort of the day.
- Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed,
- For I upon this bank will rest my head.
- One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
- One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
- Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
- Lie farther off yet, do not lie so near.
- O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;
- Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
- 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;
- For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
- 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
- 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!
- 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!
- With half that wish the wisher's eyes be pressed!
- Through the forest have I gone,
- But Athenian found I none,
- On whose eyes I might approve
- This flower's force in stirring love.
- 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,
- 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;
- When thou wak'st 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.]
- Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
- I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
- O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.
- Stay on thy peril; I alone will go.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.
- 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
- Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
- 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.
- Content with Hermia? No: I do repent
- 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.
- 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
- Love's stories, written in love's richest book.
- 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
- 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,
- I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
- O, that a lady of one man refus'd
- Should of another therefore be abus'd!
- She sees not Hermia:—Hermia, sleep thou there;
- And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
- For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things
- The deepest loathing to the stomach brings;
- Or, as the heresies that men do leave
- Are hated most of those they did deceive;
- 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!
- 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,
- And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.—
- 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.
- No?—then I well perceive you are not nigh:
- Either death or you I'll find immediately.
SCENE I. The Wood. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
[Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.]
- Are we all met?
- 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.
- Peter Quince,—
- What sayest thou, bully 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?
- By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
- I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
- 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 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.
- Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be
- written in eight and six.
- No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
- Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
- I fear it, I promise you.
- Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to 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 it.
- Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
- A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out
- moonshine, find out moonshine.
- Yes, it doth shine that night.
- 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.
- Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a
- lantern, 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 talk through the chink of a wall.
- You can never bring in a wall.—What say you, 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 fingers thus, and through that
- cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
- 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 speech, enter into that brake; and so
- every one according to his cue.
[Enter PUCK behind.]
- What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here,
- So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
- What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
- An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
- Speak, Pyramus.—Thisby, stand forth.
- 'Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,'
- Odours, odours.
- '—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.'
- A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here!
- Must I speak now?
- Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand he goes
- but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
- '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 would never tire,
- I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.'
- 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
[Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.]
- O,'—As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.'
- 'If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine:—'
- O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters!
- fly, masters! Help!
- 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;
- And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
- Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
- Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them to make
- me afeard.
- O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on thee?
- What do you see? you see an ass-head of your own, do you?
- Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.
- I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; 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.
- What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
- 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;—
- 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?
- I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again;
- Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note.
- 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.
- Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for
- that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and 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
- Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
- Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of
- this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
- 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;
- 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
- That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.—
- Peasblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!
[Enter Four Fairies.]
- And I.
- And I.
- Where shall we go?
- Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
- Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
- 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,
- 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.
- Hail, mortal!
- I cry your worships mercy, heartily.—I beseech your
- worship's name.
- I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb. If I
- cut my finger, I shall make bold with you.—Your name, honest
- I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and
- to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peasblossom, I
- shall desire you of more acquaintance too.—Your name, I beseech
- you, sir?
- 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 hath made my
- eyes water ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance, good
- Master Mustardseed.
- 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 enforcèd chastity.
- Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.
SCENE II. Another part of the wood.
- I wonder if Titania be awak'd;
- Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
- Which she must dote on in extremity.
Here comes my messenger.—How now, mad spirit?
- What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
- 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,
- Were met together to rehearse a play
- Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
- The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort
- Who Pyramus presented in their sport,
- Forsook his scene and enter'd in a brake;
- When I did him at this advantage take,
- An ass's nowl I fixèd 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,
- 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;
- He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
- Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears, thus strong,
- Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
- For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
- Some sleeves, some hats: from yielders all things catch.
- I led them on in this distracted fear,
- And left sweet Pyramus translated there:
- When in that moment,—so it came to pass,—
- Titania wak'd, and straightway lov'd an ass.
- 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?
- I took him sleeping,—that is finish'd too,—
- And the Athenian woman by his side;
- That, when he wak'd, of force she must be ey'd.
[Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA.]
- Stand close; this is the same Athenian.
- This is the woman, but not this the man.
- O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
- Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
- 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,
- 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 stol'n away
- From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon
- This whole earth may be bor'd; and that the moon
- May through the centre creep and so displease
- Her brother's noontide with the antipodes.
- It cannot be but thou hast murder'd him;
- So should a murderer look; so dead, so grim.
- So should the murder'd look; and so should I,
- Pierc'd through the heart with your stern cruelty:
- Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
- As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
- What's this to my Lysander? where is he?
- Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
- I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
- Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv'st me past the bounds
- Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
- Henceforth be never number'd among men!
- Oh! 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
- Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
- You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood:
- I am not guilty of Lysander's blood;
- Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
- I pray thee, tell me, then, that he is well.
- An if I could, what should I get therefore?
- 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.
- 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,
- If for his tender here I make some stay.
- 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
- Some true love turn'd, and not a false turn'd true.
- Then fate o'er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
- A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
- About the wood go, swifter than the wind,
- And Helena of Athens look thou find:
- 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.
- I go, I go; look how I go,—
- Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.
- Flower of this purple dye,
- Hit with Cupid's archery,
- Sink in apple of his eye!
- When his love he doth espy,
- Let her shine as gloriously
- As the Venus of the sky.—
- When thou wak'st, if she be by,
- Beg of her for remedy.
- Captain of our fairy band,
- Helena is here at hand,
- And the youth mistook by me
- Pleading for a lover's fee;
- Shall we their fond pageant see?
- Lord, what fools these mortals be!
- Stand aside: the noise they make
- Will cause Demetrius to awake.
- Then will two at once woo one,—
- That must needs be sport alone;
- And those things do best please me
- That befall preposterously.
[Enter LYSANDER and HELENA.]
- Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
- 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?
- 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,
- Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
- I had no judgment when to her I swore.
- Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
- Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
- O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
- 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
- When thou hold'st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
- This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
- O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
- To set against me for your merriment.
- If you were civil, and knew courtesy,
- 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;
- 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,
- 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.
- You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
- 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.
- Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
- Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:
- If e'er I lov'd 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,
- There to remain.
- Helen, it is not so.
- 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.
- 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:—
- 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?
- Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?
- What love could press Lysander from my side?
- Lysander's love, that would not let him bide,—
- Fair Helena,—who more engilds the night
- Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light.
- Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee know
- The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so?
- You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
- 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!
- Have you conspir'd, have you with these contriv'd,
- To bait me with this foul derision?
- Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd,
- The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
- When we have chid the hasty-footed time
- For parting us,—O, is 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,
- Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
- As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
- Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
- Like to a double cherry, seeming parted;
- But yet a union in partition,
- 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,
- 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.
- I am amazed at your passionate words:
- I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.
- 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,—
- 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,
- But by your setting on, by your consent?
- What though I be not so in grace as you,
- So hung upon with love, so fortunate;
- But miserable most, to love unlov'd?
- This you should pity rather than despise.
- I understand not what you mean by this.
- Ay, do persever, counterfeit sad looks,
- Make mows upon me when I turn my back;
- Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
- This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
- 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.
- Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse;
- My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!
- O excellent!
- Sweet, do not scorn her so.
- If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
- Thou canst compel no more than she entreat;
- 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.
- I say I love thee more than he can do.
- If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
- Quick, come,—
- Lysander, whereto tends all this?
- Away, you Ethiope!
- No, no, sir:—he will
- Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow:
- But yet come not. You are a tame man; go!
- Hang off, thou cat, thou burr: vile thing, let loose,
- Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
- Why are you grown so rude? what change is this,
- Sweet love?
- Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
- Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
- Do you not jest?
- Yes, sooth; and so do you.
- Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
- I would I had your bond; for I perceive
- A weak bond holds you; I'll not trust your word.
- What! should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
- Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.
- 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 lov'd me; yet since night you left me:
- Why then, you left me,—O, the gods forbid!—
- In earnest, shall I say?
- Ay, by my life;
- And never did desire to see thee more.
- Therefore be out of hope, of question, doubt,
- Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest
- That I do hate thee and love Helena.
- O me! you juggler! you cankerblossom!
- You thief of love! What! have you come by night,
- And stol'n my love's heart from him?
- Fine, i' faith!
- Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
- No touch of bashfulness? What! will you tear
- Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
- Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
- Puppet! why so? Ay, that way goes the game.
- Now I perceive that she hath made compare
- Between our statures; she hath urg'd her height;
- And with her personage, her tall personage,
- 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
- But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
- 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;
- Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
- Because she is something lower than myself,
- That I can match her.
- Lower! hark, again.
- Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
- 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;
- 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 farther. Let me go:
- You see how simple and how fond I am.
- Why, get you gone: who is't that hinders you?
- A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
- What! with Lysander?
- With Demetrius.
- Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
- No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
- 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.
- Little again! nothing but low and little!—
- Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
- Let me come to her.
- Get you gone, you dwarf;
- You minimus, of hind'ring knot-grass made;
- You bead, you acorn.
- 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
- Never so little show of love to her,
- Thou shalt aby it.
- Now she holds me not;
- Now follow, if thou dar'st, to try whose right,
- Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
- Follow! nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jole.
[Exeunt LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS.]
- You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
- Nay, go not back.
- I will not trust you, I;
- Nor longer stay in your curst company.
- Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray;
- My legs are longer though, to run away.
- I am amaz'd, and know not what to say.
[Exit, pursuing HELENA.]
- This is thy negligence: still thou mistak'st,
- Or else commit'st thy knaveries willfully.
- Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
- Did not you tell me I should know the man
- By the Athenian garments he 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.
- Thou seest 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
- 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,
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
- 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 cross-ways and floods have burial,
- Already to their wormy beds are gone;
- For fear lest day should look their shames upon
- They wilfully exile themselves from light,
- And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.
- But we are spirits of another sort:
- 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.
- But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
- We may effect this business yet ere day.
- Up and down, up and down;
- I will lead them up and down:
- I am fear'd in field and town.
- Goblin, lead them up and down.
- Here comes one.
- Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now.
- Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where art thou?
- I will be with thee straight.
- Follow me, then,
- To plainer ground.
[Exit LYSANDER as following the voice.]
- Lysander! speak again.
- Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
- Speak. In some bush? where dost thou hide thy head?
- Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
- 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.
- Yea, art thou there?
- Follow my voice; we'll try no manhood here.
- He goes before me, and still dares me on;
- When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
- The villain is much lighter heeled than I:
- I follow'd fast, but faster he did fly;
- That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
- And here will rest me. Come, thou gentle day!
- [Lies down.]
- For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
- I'll find Demetrius, and revenge this spite.
[Re-enter PUCK and DEMETRIUS.]
- Ho, ho, ho, ho! Coward, why com'st thou not?
- Abide me, if thou dar'st; for well I wot
- Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place;
- And dar'st not stand, nor look me in the face.
- Where art thou?
- Come hither; I am here.
- 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.—
- By day's approach look to be visited.
[Lies down and sleeps.]
- O weary night, O long and tedious night,
- Abate thy hours! Shine comforts from the east,
- 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.
- Yet but three? Come one more;
- Two of both kinds makes up four.
- Here she comes, curst and sad:—
- Cupid is a knavish lad,
- Thus to make poor females mad.
- 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.
- Here will I rest me till the break of day.
- Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!
- On the ground
- Sleep sound:
- I'll apply
- To your eye,
- Gentle lover, remedy.
[Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER'S eye.]
- When thou wak'st,
- Thou tak'st
- True delight
- In the sight
- Of thy former lady's eye:
- And the country proverb known,
- 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.
[Exit PUCK.—DEMETRIUS, HELENA &c, sleep.]
SCENE I. The Wood.
[Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH,
- MUSTARDSEED, and other FAIRIES attending; OBERON behind, unseen.]
- 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.
- Where's Peasblossom?
- Scratch my head, Peasblossom.—
- Where's Monsieur Cobweb?
- Monsieur Cobweb; good monsieur, get you your weapons in
- your hand and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a
- thistle; and, good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not
- fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur; and, good
- monsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be
- loath to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior.—
- Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?
- Give me your neif, Monsieur Mustardseed.
- Pray you, leave your curtsy, good monsieur.
- What's your will?
- Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavalero 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.
- What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?
- I have a reasonable good ear in music; let us have the
- tongs and the bones.
- Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.
- 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.
- I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
- The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
- 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.
- Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
- Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.
- 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!
[OBERON advances. Enter PUCK.]
- Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?
- Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
- For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
- Seeking sweet favours for this hateful fool,
- I did upbraid her and fall out with her:
- For she his hairy temples then had rounded
- With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
- And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
- Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
- Stood now within the pretty flow'rets' eyes,
- Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
- When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her,
- 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
- 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,
- 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;
- [Touching her eyes with an herb.]
- See as thou was wont to see.
- Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
- Hath such force and blessed power.
- Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
- My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
- Methought I was enamour'd of an ass.
- There lies your love.
- How came these things to pass?
- O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
- Silence awhile.—Robin, take off this head.
- Titania, music call; and strike more dead
- Than common sleep, of all these five, the sense.
- Music, ho! music; such as charmeth sleep.
- Now when thou wak'st, with thine own fool's eyes peep.
- Sound, music. [Still 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,
- And bless it to all fair prosperity:
- There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
- Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
- Fairy king, attend and mark;
- I do hear the morning lark.
- Then, my queen, in silence sad,
- Trip we after night's shade.
- We the globe can compass soon,
- Swifter than the wand'ring moon.
- Come, my lord; and in our flight,
- Tell me how it came this night
- That I sleeping here was found
- With these mortals on the ground.
[Exeunt. Horns sound within.]
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and Train.]
- 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,—
- Uncouple in the western valley; go:—
- Despatch, I say, and find the forester.—
[Exit an ATTENDANT.]
- We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
- And mark the musical confusion
- Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
- 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,
- The skies, the fountains, every region near
- Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
- So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
- My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
- So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung
- With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
- Crook-knee'd and dew-lap'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,
- In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
- Judge when you hear.—But, soft, what nymphs are these?
- My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
- And this Lysander; this Demetrius is;
- This Helena, old Nedar's Helena:
- I wonder of their being here together.
- No doubt they rose up early to observe
- The rite of May; and, hearing our intent,
- Came here in grace of our solemnity.—
- But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
- That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
- It is, my lord.
- Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
[Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER,HERMIA, and HELENA awake and start up.]
- Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;
- Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
- Pardon, my lord.
[He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.]
- I pray you all, stand up.
- I know you two are rival enemies;
- How comes this gentle concord in the world,
- That hatred is so far from jealousy
- To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?
- My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
- Half 'sleep, half waking; but as yet, I swear,
- I cannot truly say how I came here:
- But, as I think,—for truly would I speak—
- And now I do bethink me, so it is,—
- I came with Hermia hither: our intent
- Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be,
- Without the peril of the Athenian law.
- Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough;
- I beg the law, the law upon his head.—
- They would have stol'n away, they would, Demetrius,
- Thereby to have defeated you and me:
- You of your wife, and me of my consent,—
- Of my consent that she should be your wife.
- 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,
- 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 gawd
- 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:
- But, like a 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.
- Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
- 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,
- Our purpos'd hunting shall be set aside.—
- Away with us to Athens, three and three,
- We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.—
- Come, Hippolyta.
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and Train.]
- These things seem small and undistinguishable,
- Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
- Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
- When every thing seems double.
- So methinks:
- And I have found Demetrius like a jewel.
- Mine own, and not mine own.
- It seems to me
- That yet we sleep, we dream.—Do not you think
- The duke was here, and bid us follow him?
- Yea, and my father.
- And Hippolyta.
- And he did bid us follow to the temple.
- Why, then, we are awake: let's follow him;
- And by the way let us recount our dreams.
[As they go out, BOTTOM awakes.]
- 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,
- stol'n 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 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 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 sing it at her death.
SCENE II. Athens. A Room in QUINCE'S House.
[Enter QUINCE, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.]
- Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?
- He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.
- If he come not, then the play is marred; it goes not
- forward, doth it?
- It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens
- able to discharge Pyramus but he.
- No; he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in
- Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour
- for a sweet voice.
- You must say paragon: a paramour is, God bless us, a thing of
- 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 men.
- 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; he would have deserved it: sixpence a-day in
- Pyramus, or nothing.
- Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
- Bottom!—O most courageous day! O most happy hour!
- Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not
- what; for if I tell you, I am not true Athenian. I will tell you
- everything, right as it fell out.
- Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
- Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is, that 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 over his part; for the short and the long
- is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean
- linen; and let not him that plays the lion pare his nails, for
- they shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors,
- eat no onions nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath; and
- I do not doubt but to hear them say it is a sweet comedy. No more
- words: away! go; away!
SCENE I. Athens. An Apartment in the Palace of THESEUS.
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords, and Attendants.]
- 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
- 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
- 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,
- Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
- The poet's eye, in a 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
- 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;
- Or in the night, imagining some fear,
- How easy is a bush supposed a bear?
- But all the story of the night told over,
- And all their minds transfigur'd so together,
- More witnesseth than fancy's images,
- And grows to something of great constancy;
- But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
[Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA.]
- Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.—
- Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love
- Accompany your hearts!
- More than to us
- Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
- Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
- To wear away this long age of three hours
- 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.
- Here, mighty Theseus.
- Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?
- What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
- The lazy time, if not with some delight?
- There is a brief how many sports are ripe;
- Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[Giving a paper.]
- '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,
- 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
- When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
- 'The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
- Of learning, late deceas'd in beggary.'
- That is some satire, keen and critical,
- 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!
- That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
- How shall we find the concord of this discord?
- 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,
- 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 rehears'd, I must confess,
- Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
- The passion of loud laughter never shed.
- What are they that do play it?
- Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
- Which never labour'd in their minds till now;
- And now have toil'd their unbreath'd memories
- With this same play against your nuptial.
- And we will hear it.
- No, my noble lord,
- It is not for you: I have heard it over,
- 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.
- I will hear that play;
- For never anything can be amiss
- When simpleness and duty tender it.
- Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.
- I love not to see wretchedness o'er-charged,
- And duty in his service perishing.
- Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
- He says they can do nothing in this kind.
- The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
- Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:
- 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,
- Make periods in the midst of sentences,
- Throttle their practis'd 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;
- 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.
- So please your grace, the prologue is address'd.
- Let him approach.
[Flourish of trumpets. Enter PROLOGUE.]
- '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.
- We do not come, as minding to content 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,'
- This fellow doth not stand upon points.
- 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.
- Indeed he hath played on this prologue like a child
- on a recorder; a sound, but not in government.
- His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impaired, but all
- disordered. Who is next?
[Enter PYRAMUS and THISBE, WALL, MOONSHINE, and LION, as in dumb
- Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
- 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;
- 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
- To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
- This grisly beast, which by name Lion hight,
- The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
- Did scare away, or rather did affright;
- And as she fled, her mantle she did fall;
- 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 his boiling bloody breast;
- 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.]
- I wonder if the lion be to speak.
- No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.
- 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
- 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:
- And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
- Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
- Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
- It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
- discourse, my lord.
- Pyramus draws near the wall; silence.
- 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,
- 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.
[WALL holds up his fingers.]
Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
- But what see what see I? No Thisby do I see.
- O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss,
- Curs'd be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
- The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
- 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.
- 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.
- I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
- To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
- My love! thou art my love, I think.
- Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
- And like Limander am I trusty still.
- And I like Helen, till the fates me kill.
- Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
- As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
- O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.
- I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.
- Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?
- 'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.
- Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so;
- And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.
[Exeunt WALL, PYRAMUS and THISBE.]
- Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.
- No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear
- without warning.
- This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
- The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst
- are no worse, if imagination amend them.
- It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
- If we imagine no worse of them than they of
- themselves, they may pass for excellent men.
- Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion.
[Enter LION and MOONSHINE.]
- You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
- The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
- May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,
- 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.
- A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
- The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.
- This lion is a very fox for his valour.
- True; and a goose for his discretion.
- Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry his
- discretion, and the fox carries the goose.
- 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.
- This lanthorn doth the horned moon present:
- He should have worn the horns on his head.
- He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within
- the circumference.
- This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
- Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.
- This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man should be
- put into the lantern. How is it else the man i' the moon?
- He dares not come there for the candle: for, you
- see, it is already in snuff.
- I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!
- 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.
- Proceed, moon.
- All that I have to say, is to tell you that the lantern
- is the moon; I, the man i' the moon; this thorn-bush, my
- thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
- Why, all these should be in the lantern; for all
- these are in the moon. But silence; here comes Thisbe.
- This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?
[The LION roars.—THISBE runs off.]
- Well roared, lion.
- Well run, Thisbe.
- Well shone, moon.—Truly, the moon shines with a good grace.
[The LION tears THISBE'S Mantle, and exit.]
- Well moused, lion.
- And so comes Pyramus.
- And then the lion vanishes.
- Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
- I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright:
- For, by thy gracious golden, glittering streams,
- I trust to take of truest Thisby's sight.
- But stay;—O spite!
- But mark,—poor knight,
- What dreadful dole is here!
- Eyes, do you see?
- How can it be?
- O dainty duck! O dear!
- Thy mantle good,
- What! stained with blood?
- Approach, ye furies fell!
- O fates! come, come;
- Cut thread and thrum;
- Quail, rush, conclude, and quell!
- This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go
- near to make a man look sad.
- Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
- 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
- That liv'd, that lov'd, that lik'd, that look'd with cheer.
- Come, tears, confound;
- Out, sword, and wound
- The pap of Pyramus:
- Ay, that left pap,
- Where heart doth hop:—
- Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
- Now am I dead,
- Now am I fled;
- My soul is in the sky:
- Tongue, lose thy light!
- Moon, take thy flight!
- Now die, die, die, die, die.
[Dies. Exit MOONSHINE.]
- No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
- Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing.
- With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover and prove an ass.
- How chance moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes
- back and finds her lover?
- She will find him by starlight.—Here she comes; and
- her passion ends the play.
- Methinks she should not use a long one for such a
- Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
- A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which
- Thisbe, is the better.
- She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
- And thus she moans, videlicet.—
- Asleep, my love?
- What, dead, my dove?
- O Pyramus, arise,
- Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
- Dead, dead? A tomb
- Must cover thy sweet eyes.
- These lily lips,
- This cherry nose,
- These yellow cowslip cheeks,
- Are gone, are gone:
- Lovers, make moan!
- His eyes were green as leeks.
- O Sisters Three,
- Come, come to me,
- With hands as pale as milk;
- Lay them in gore,
- Since you have shore
- With shears his thread of silk.
- Tongue, not a word:—
- Come, trusty sword;
- Come, blade, my breast imbrue;
- And farewell, friends:—
- Thus Thisby ends;
- Adieu, adieu, adieu.
- Moonshine and lion are left to bury the dead.
- Ay, and wall too.
- No, I 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?
- No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
- excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all dead there
- need none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it had played
- Pyramus, and hang'd himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have
- been a fine tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably
- discharged. But come, your Bergomask; let your epilogue alone.
[Here a dance of Clowns.]
- The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:—
- 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 beguil'd
- The heavy gait of night.—Sweet friends, to bed.—
- A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
- In nightly revels and new jollity.
- Now the hungry lion roars,
- And the wolf behowls the moon;
- Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
- All with weary task fordone.
- Now the wasted brands do glow,
- Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
- 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 its sprite,
- 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,
- 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.]
- Through the house give glimmering light,
- By the dead and drowsy fire:
- Every elf and fairy sprite
- Hop as light as bird from brier:
- And this ditty, after me,
- Sing and dance it trippingly.
- 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.
[Song and Dance.]
- 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;
- 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
- 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.—
- With this field-dew consecrate,
- Every fairy take his gate;
- And each several chamber bless,
- Through this palace, with sweet peace;
- E'er shall it in safety rest,
- And the owner of it blest.
- Trip away:
- Make no stay:
- Meet me all by break of day.
[Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and Train.]
- If we shadows have offended,
- 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,
- 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,
- 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.
|A Midsummer Night's Dream|