A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Original text
Act II, Scene I
Enter a Fairie at one doore, and Robin good-fellow
at another.

Rob.
How now spirit, whether wander you?

Fai.
Ouer hil, ouer dale,
through bush, through briar,
Ouer parke, ouer pale,
through flood, through fire,
I do wander euerie where,
swifter then ye Moons sphere;
And I serue the Fairy Queene,
to dew her orbs vpon the green.
The Cowslips tall, her pensioners bee,
In their gold coats, spots you see,
Those be Rubies, Fairie fauors,
In those freckles, liue their sauors,
I must go seeke some dew drops heere,
And hang a pearle in euery cowslips eare.
Farewell thou Lob of spirits, Ile be gon,
Our Queene and all her Elues come heere anon.

Rob.
The King doth keepe his Reuels here to night,
Take heed the Queene come not within his sight,
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A louely boy stolne from an Indian King,
She neuer had so sweet a changeling,
And iealous Oberon would haue the childe
Knight of his traine, to trace the Forrests wilde.
But she (perforce) with-holds the loued boy,
Crownes him with flowers, and makes him all her ioy.
And now they neuer meete in groue, or greene,
By fountaine cleere, or spangled star-light sheene,
But they do square, that all their Elues for feare
Creepe into Acorne cups and hide them there.

Fai.
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrew'd and knauish spirit
Cal'd Robin Good-fellow. Are you not hee,
That frights the maidens of the Villagree,
Skim milke, and sometimes labour in the querne,
And bootlesse make the breathlesse huswife cherne,
And sometime make the drinke to beare no barme,
Misleade night-wanderers, laughing at their harme,
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Pucke,
You do their worke, and they shall haue good lucke.
Are not you he?

Rob.
Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merrie wanderer of the night:
I iest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and beane-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likenesse of a silly foale,
And sometime lurke I in a Gossips bole,
In very likenesse of a roasted crab:
And when she drinkes, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlop poure the Ale.
The wisest Aunt telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stoole, mistaketh me,
Then slip I from her bum, downe topples she,
And tailour cries, and fals into a coffe.
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe,
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and sweare,
A merrier houre was neuer wasted there.
But roome Fairy, heere comes Oberon.

Fair.
And heere my Mistris: / Would that he were gone.
Enter the King of Fairies at one doore with
his traine, and the Queene at another with hers.

Ob.
Ill met by Moone-light. / Proud Tytania.

Qu.
What, iealous Oberon? Fairy skip hence.
I haue forsworne his bed and companie.

Ob.
Tarrie rash Wanton; am not I thy Lord?

Qu.
Then I must be thy Lady: but I know
When thou wast stolne away from Fairy Land,
And in the shape of Corin, sate all day,
Playing on pipes of Corne, and versing loue
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou heere
Come from the farthest steepe of India?
But that forsooth the bouncing Amazon
Your buskin'd Mistresse, and your Warrior loue,
To Theseus must be Wedded; and you come,
To giue their bed ioy and prosperitie.

Ob.
How canst thou thus for shame Tytania,
Glance at my credite, with Hippolita?
Knowing I know thy loue to Theseus?
Didst thou not leade him through the glimmering night
From Peregenia, whom he rauished?
And make him with faire Eagles breake his faith
With Ariadne, and Atiopa?

Que.
These are the forgeries of iealousie,
And neuer since the middle Summers spring
Met we on hil, in dale, forrest, or mead,
By paued fountaine, or by rushie brooke,
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling Winde,
But with thy braules thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the Windes, piping to vs in vaine,
As in reuenge, haue suck'd vp from the sea
Contagious fogges: Which falling in the Land,
Hath euerie petty Riuer made so proud,
That they haue ouer-borne their Continents.
The Oxe hath therefore stretch'd his yoake in vaine,
The Ploughman lost his sweat, and the greene Corne
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard:
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And Crowes are fatted with the murrion flocke,
The nine mens Morris is fild vp with mud,
And the queint Mazes in the wanton greene,
For lacke of tread are vndistinguishable.
The humane mortals want their winter heere,
No night is now with hymne or caroll blest;
Therefore the Moone (the gouernesse of floods)
Pale in her anger, washes all the aire;
That Rheumaticke diseases doe abound.
And through this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter; hoared headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson Rose,
And on old Hyems chinne and Icie crowne,
An odorous Chaplet of sweet Sommer buds
Is as in mockry set. The Spring, the Sommer,
The childing Autumne, angry Winter change
Their wonted Liueries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knowes not which is which;
And this same progeny of euills,
Comes from our debate, from our dissention,
We are their parents and originall.

Ober.
Do you amend it then, it lies in you,
Why should Titania crosse her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my Henchman.

Qu.
Set your heart at rest,
The Fairy land buyes not the childe of me,
His mother was a Votresse of my Order,
And in the spiced Indian aire, by night
Full often hath she gossipt by my side,
And sat with me on Neptunes yellow sands,
Marking th'embarked traders on the flood,
When we haue laught to see the sailes conceiue,
And grow big bellied with the wanton winde:
Which she with pretty and with swimming gate,
Following (her wombe then rich with my yong squire)
Would imitate, and saile vpon the Land,
To fetch me trifles, and returne againe,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
But she being mortall, of that boy did die,
And for her sake I doe reare vp her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.

Ob.
How long within this wood intend you stay?

Qu.
Perchance till after Theseus wedding day.
If you will patiently dance in our Round,
And see our Moone-light reuels, goe with vs;
If not, shun me and I will spare your haunts.

Ob.
Giue me that boy, and I will goe with thee.

Qu.
Not for thy Fairy Kingdome. Fairies away:
We shall chide downe right, if I longer stay.
Exeunt.

Ob.
Wel, go thy way: thou shalt not from this groue,
Till I torment thee for this iniury.
My gentle Pucke come hither; thou remembrest
Since once I sat vpon a promontory,
And heard a Meare-maide on a Dolphins backe,
Vttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew ciuill at her song,
And certaine starres shot madly from their Spheares,
To heare the Sea-maids musicke.

Puc.
I remember.

Ob.
That very time I say (but thou couldst not)
Flying betweene the cold Moone and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd; a certaine aime he tooke
At a faire Vestall, throned by the West,
And loos'd his loue-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts,
But I might see young Cupids fiery shaft
Quencht in the chaste beames of the watry Moone;
And the imperiall Votresse passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy free.
Yet markt I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell vpon a little westerne flower;
Before, milke-white; now purple with loues wound,
And maidens call it, Loue in idlenesse.
Fetch me that flower; the hearb I shew'd thee once,
The iuyce of it, on sleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Vpon the next liue creature that it sees.
Fetch me this hearbe, and be thou heere againe,
Ere the Leuiathan can swim a league.

Pucke.
Ile put a girdle about the earth,
in forty minutes.


Ober.
Hauing once this iuyce,
Ile watch Titania, when she is asleepe,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
The next thing when she waking lookes vpon,
(Be it on Lyon, Beare, or Wolfe, or Bull,
On medling Monkey, or on busie Ape)
Shee shall pursue it, with the soule of loue.
And ere I take this charme off from her sight,
(As I can take it with another hearbe)
Ile make her render vp her Page to me.
But who comes heere? I am inuisible,
And I will ouer-heare their conference.
Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.

Deme.
I loue thee not, therefore pursue me not,
Where is Lysander, and faire Hermia?
The one Ile stay, the other stayeth me.
Thou toldst me they were stolne into this wood;
And heere am I, and wood within this wood,
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.

Hel.
You draw me, you hard-hearted Adamant,
But yet you draw not Iron, for my heart
Is true as steele. Leaue you your power to draw,
And I shall haue no power to follow you.

Deme.
Do I entice you? do I speake you faire?
Or rather doe I not in plainest truth,
Tell you I doe not, nor I cannot loue you?

Hel.
And euen for that doe I loue thee the more;
I am your spaniell, and Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawne on you.
Vse me but as your spaniell; spurne me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; onely giue me leaue
(Vnworthy as I am) to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your loue,
(And yet a place of high respect with me)
Then to be vsed as you doe your dogge.

Dem.
Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
For I am sicke when I do looke on thee.

Hel.
And I am sicke when I looke not on you.

Dem.
You doe impeach your modesty too much,
To leaue the Citty, and commit your selfe
Into the hands of one that loues you not,
To trust the opportunity of night,
And the ill counsell of a desert place,
With the rich worth of your virginity.

Hel.
Your vertue is my priuiledge: for that
It is not night when I doe see your face.
Therefore I thinke I am not in the night,
Nor doth this wood lacke worlds of company,
For you in my respect are nll the world.
Then how can it be said I am alone,
When all the world is heere to looke on me?

Dem.
Ile run from thee, and hide me in the brakes,
And leaue thee to the mercy of wilde beasts.

Hel.
The wildest hath not such a heart as you;
Runne when you will, the story shall be chang'd:
Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase;
The Doue pursues the Griffin, the milde Hinde
Makes speed to catch the Tyger. Bootlesse speede,
When cowardise pursues, and valour flies.

Demet.
I will not stay thy questions, let me go;
Or if thou follow me, doe not beleeue,
But I shall doe thee mischiefe in the wood.

Hel.
I, in the Temple, in the Towne, and Field
You doe me mischiefe. Fye Demetrius,
Your wrongs doe set a scandall on my sexe:
We cannot fight for loue, as men may doe;
We should be woo'd, and were not made to wooe.

I follow thee, and make a heauen of hell,
To die vpon the hand I loue so well.
Exit.

Ob.
Fare thee well Nymph, ere he do leaue this groue,
Thou shalt flie him, and he shall seeke thy loue.
Enter Pucke.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome wanderer.

Puck.
I, there it is.

Ob.
I pray thee giue it me.
I know a banke where the wilde time blowes,
Where Oxslips and the nodding Violet growes,
Quite ouer-cannoped with luscious woodbine,
With sweet muske roses, and with Eglantine;
There sleepes Tytania, sometime of the night,
Lul'd in these flowers, with dances and delight:
And there the snake throwes her enammel'd skinne,
Weed wide enough to rap a Fairy in.
And with the iuyce of this Ile streake her eyes,
And make her full of hatefull fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this groue;
A sweet Athenian Lady is in loue
With a disdainefull youth: annoint his eyes,
But doe 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 proue
More fond on her, then she vpon her loue;
And looke thou meet me ere the first Cocke crow.

Pu.
Feare not my Lord, your seruant shall do so.
Exit.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Queene of Fairies, with her traine.

Queen.
Come, now a Roundell, and a Fairy song;
Then for the third part of a minute hence,
Some to kill Cankers in the muske rose buds,
Some warre with Reremise, for their leathern wings,
To make my small Elues coates, and some keepe backe
The clamorous Owle that nightly hoots and wonders
At our queint spirits: Sing me now asleepe,
Then to your offices, and let me rest.
Fairies Sing.
You spotted Snakes with double tongue,
Thorny Hedgehogges be not seene,
Newts and blinde wormes do no wrong,
Come not neere our Fairy Queene.
Philomele with melodie,
Sing in your sweet Lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby,
Neuer harme,
nor spell, nor charme,
Come our louely Lady nye,
So good night with Lullaby.

2. Fairy.
Weauing Spiders come not heere,
Hence you long leg'd Spinners, hence:
Beetles blacke approach not neere;
Worme nor Snayle doe no offence.
Philomele with melody, &c.

1. Fairy.
Hence away, now all is well;
One aloofe, stand Centinell.
Shee sleepes.
Enter Oberon.

Ober.
What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Doe it for thy true Loue take:
Loue and languish for his sake.
Be it Ounce, or Catte, or Beare,
Pard, or Boare with bristled haire,
In thy eye that shall appeare,
When thou wak'st, it is thy deare,
Wake when some vile thing is neere.
Enter Lisander and Hermia.

Lis.
Faire loue, you faint with wandring in ye woods,
And to speake troth I haue forgot our way:
Wee'll rest vs Hermia, if you thinke it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

Her.
Be it so Lysander; finde you out a bed,
For I vpon this banke will rest my head.

Lys.
One turfe shall serue as pillow for vs both,
One heart, one bed, two bosomes, and one troth.

Her.
Nay good Lysander, for my sake my deere
Lie further off yet, doe not lie so neere.

Lys.
O take the sence sweet, of my innocence,
Loue takes the meaning, in loues conference,
I meane that my heart vnto yours is knit,
So that but one heart can you make of it.
Two bosomes interchanged with an oath,
So then two bosomes, and a single troth.
Then by your side, no bed-roome me deny,
For lying so, Hermia, I doe not lye.

Her.
Lysander riddles very prettily;
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say, Lysander lied.
But gentle friend, for loue and courtesie
Lie further off, in humane modesty,
Such separation, as may well be said,
Becomes a vertuous batchelour, and a maide,
So farre be distant, and good night sweet friend;
Thy loue nere alter, till thy sweet life end.

Lys.
Amen, amen, to that faire prayer, say I,
And then end life, when I end loyalty:
Heere is my bed, sleepe giue thee all his rest.

Her.
With halfe that wish, the wishers eyes be prest.
They sleepe.
Enter Pucke.

Puck.
Through the Forest haue I gone,
But Athenian finde I none,
One whose eyes I might approue
This flowers force in stirring loue.
Night and silence: who is heere?
Weedes of Athens he doth weare:
This is he (my master said)
Despised the Athenian maide:
And heere the maiden sleeping sound,
On the danke and durty ground.
Pretty soule, she durst not lye
Neere this lacke-loue, this kill-curtesie.
Churle, vpon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charme doth owe:
When thou wak'st, let loue forbid
Sleepe his seate on thy eye-lid.
So awake when I am gone:
For I must now to Oberon.
Exit.
Enter Demetrius and Helena running.

Hel.
Stay, though thou kill me, sweete Demetrius.

De.
I charge thee hence, and do not haunt me thus.

Hel.
O wilt thou darkling leaue me? do not so.

De.
Stay on thy perill, I alone will goe.
Exit Demetrius.

Hel.
O I am out of breath, in this fond chace,
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace,
Happy is Hermia, wheresoere she lies;
For she hath blessed and attractiue eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt teares.
If so, my eyes are oftner washt then hers.
No, no, I am as vgly as a Beare;
For beasts that meete me, runne away for feare,
Therefore no maruaile, though Demetrius
Doe as a monster, flie my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glasse of mine,
Made me compare with Hermias sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander on the ground;
Deade or asleepe? I see no bloud, no wound,
Lysander, if you liue, good sir awake.

Lys.
And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena, nature her shewes art,
That through thy bosome makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? oh how fit a word
Is that vile name, to perish on my sword!

Hel.
Do not say so Lysander, say not so:
What though he loue your Hermia? Lord, what though?
Yet Hermia still loues you; then be content.

Lys.
Content with Hermia? No, I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her haue spent.
Not Hermia, but Helena now I loue;
Who will not change a Rauen for a Doue?
The will of man is by his reason sway'd:
And reason saies you are the worthier Maide.
Things growing are not ripe vntill their season;
So I being yong, till now ripe not to reason,
And touching now the point of humane skill,
Reason becomes the Marshall to my will,
And leades me to your eyes, where I orelooke
Loues stories, written in Loues richest booke.

Hel.
Wherefore was I to this keene mockery borne?
When at your hands did I deserue this scorne?
Ist not enough, ist not enough, yong man,
That I did neuer, no nor neuer can,
Deserue a sweete looke from Demetrius eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth you do me wrong (good-sooth you do)
In such disdainfull manner, me to wooe.
But fare you well; perforce I must confesse,
I thought you Lord of more true gentlenesse.
Oh, that a Lady of one man refus'd,
Should of another therefore be abus'd.
Exit.

Lys.
She sees not Hermia: Hermia sleepe thou there,
And neuer maist thou come Lysander neere;
For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomacke brings:
Or as the heresies that men do leaue,
Are hated most of those that did deceiue:
So thou, my surfeit, and my heresie,
Of all be hated; but the most of me;
And all my powers addresse your loue and might,
To honour Helen, and to be her Knight.
Exit.

Her.
Helpe me Lysander, helpe me; do thy best
To plucke this crawling serpent from my brest.
Aye me, for pitty; what a dreame was here?
Lysander looke, how I do quake with feare:
Me-thought a serpent eate my heart away,
And yet sat smiling at his cruell prey.
Lysander, what remoou'd? Lysander, Lord,
What, out of hearing, gone? No sound, no word?
Alacke where are you? speake and if you heare:
Speake of all loues; I sound almost with feare.
No, then I well perceiue you are not nye,
Either death or you Ile finde immediately.
Exit.
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck (Robin Goodfellow)
at another

PUCK
How now, spirit; whither wander you?

FAIRY
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough briar,
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 dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone.
Our Queen and all our elves come here anon.

PUCK
The King doth keep his revels here tonight.
Take heed the Queen come not within his sight,
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath
Because that she as her attendant hath
A lovely boy stolen from an Indian king.
She never had so sweet a changeling,
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.

FAIRY
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called 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?

PUCK
Thou speakest 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 choir hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, Fairy: here comes Oberon.

FAIRY
And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
Enter Oberon, the King of Fairies, at one door, with
his train; and Titania, the Queen, at another with hers

OBERON
Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania!

TITANIA
What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence.
I have forsworn his bed and company.

OBERON
Tarry, rash wanton! Am not I thy lord?

TITANIA
Then I must be thy lady. But I know
When thou hast stolen away from Fairyland
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 step of India
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskined mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded? – and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

OBERON
How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished,
And make him with fair Aegles break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa?

TITANIA
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 in the beached margent of the sea
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge have sucked up from the sea
Contagious fogs which, falling in the land,
Have every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents.
The ox hath therefore stretched his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attained a beard.
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrion flock.
The nine men's morris is filled up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable.
The human mortals want their winter cheer.
No night is now with hymn or carol blessed.
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
Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is as in mockery set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world
By their increase now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evils
Comes from our debate, from our dissension.
We are their parents and original.

OBERON
Do you amend it, then! It lies in you.
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy
To be my henchman.

TITANIA
Set your heart at rest.
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a votaress of my order,
And in the spiced Indian air by night
Full often hath she gossiped by my side,
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands
Marking th' embarked traders on the flood,
When we have laughed 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.

OBERON
How long within this wood intend you stay?

TITANIA
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.

OBERON
Give me that boy and I will go with thee.

TITANIA
Not for thy fairy kingdom! Fairies, away.
We shall chide downright if I longer stay.
Exit Titania with her train

OBERON
Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this grove
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory
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?

PUCK
I remember.

OBERON
That very time I saw – but thou couldst not –
Flying between the cold moon and the earth
Cupid all armed. A certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his loveshaft smartly from his bow
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quenched in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet marked 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.

PUCK
I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes!
Exit

OBERON
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

DEMETRIUS
I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander, and fair Hermia?
The one I'll slay; the other slayeth me.
Thou toldest me they were stolen unto this wood,
And here am I, and wood within this wood
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more!

HELENA
You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!
But yet you draw not iron: for my heart
Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.

DEMETRIUS
Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Or rather do I not in plainest truth
Tell you I do not nor I cannot love you?

HELENA
And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me I will fawn on you.
Use me but as your spaniel: spurn me, strike me,
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?

DEMETRIUS
Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
For I am sick when I do look on thee.

HELENA
And I am sick when I look not on you.

DEMETRIUS
You do impeach your modesty too much,
To leave the city and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not;
To trust the opportunity of night
And the ill counsel of a desert place
With the rich worth of your virginity.

HELENA
Your virtue is my privilege. For that
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?

DEMETRIUS
I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.

HELENA
The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will. The story shall be changed:
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger – bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues, and valour flies.

DEMETRIUS
I will not stay thy questions. Let me go;
Or if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.

HELENA
Ay – in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius,
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.
We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
We should be wooed, and were not made to woo.
Exit Demetrius
I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.
Exit Helena

OBERON
Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this grove
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
Enter Puck
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.

PUCK
Ay, there it is.

OBERON
I pray thee give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet muskroses and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.
And there the snake throws her enamelled 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.

PUCK
Fear not, my lord; your servant shall do so.
Exeunt Oberon and Puck
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Enter Titania, Queen of Fairies, with her train

TITANIA
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song,
Then for the third part of a minute hence:
Some to kill cankers in the muskrose buds,
Some war with reremice 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.
Fairies sing

FIRST FAIRY
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.

CHORUS
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.

FIRST FAIRY
Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you longlegged spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near,
Worm nor snail, do no offence.

CHORUS
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.
Titania sleeps

SECOND FAIRY
Hence, away! Now all is well.
One aloof stand sentinel!
Exeunt Fairies
Enter Oberon
He squeezes the flower on Titania's eyes

OBERON
What thou seest when thou dost wake,
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 wakest, it is thy dear.
Wake when some vile thing is near!
Exit
Enter Lysander and Hermia

LYSANDER
Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And – to speak truth – I have forgot our way.
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

HERMIA
Be it so, Lysander; find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.

LYSANDER
One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

HERMIA
Nay, good Lysander, for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet; do not lie so near.

LYSANDER
O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love's conference –
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.

HERMIA
Lysander riddles very prettily.
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
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.

LYSANDER
Amen, amen, to that fair prayer say I,
And then end life when I end loyalty.
Here is my bed: sleep give thee all his rest.

HERMIA
With half that wish the wisher's eyes be pressed.
They sleep
Enter Puck

PUCK
Through the forest have I gone,
But Athenian found I none
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
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.
He squeezes the flower on Lysander's eyes
When thou wakest let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid.
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.
Exit
Enter Demetrius and Helena, running

HELENA
Stay though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius!

DEMETRIUS
I charge thee hence; and do not haunt me thus.

HELENA
O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so!

DEMETRIUS
Stay, on thy peril. I alone will go.
Exit

HELENA
O, I am out of breath in this fond chase.
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies,
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears –
If so, my eyes are oftener washed 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!

LYSANDER
(wakes)
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!

HELENA
Do not say so, Lysander; say not so.
What though he love your Hermia, lord, what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you. Then be content.

LYSANDER
Content with Hermia? No, I do repent
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 swayed,
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.

HELENA
Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is't not enough, is't not enough young man
That I did never – no, nor never can –
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 refused
Should of another therefore be abused!
Exit

LYSANDER
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.
Exit

HERMIA
(wakes)
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 ate 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.
Exit
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL