A Midsummer Night's Dream

Select or Print the text

Original text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter Queene of Fairies, and Clowne, and Fairies, and the King
behinde them.

Tita.
Come, sit thee downe vpon this flowry bed,
While I thy amiable cheekes doe coy,
And sticke muske roses in thy sleeke smoothe head,
And kisse thy faire large eares, my gentle ioy.

Clow.
Where's Peaseblossome?

Peas.
Ready.

Clow.
Scratch my head, Pease-blossome. Wher's
Mounsieuer Cobweb.

Cob.
Ready.

Clowne.
Mounsieur Cobweb, good Mounsier get your
weapons in your hand, & kill me a red hipt humble-
Bee, on the top of a thistle; and good Mounsieur bring
mee the hony bag. Doe not fret your selfe too much in the
action, Mounsieur; and good Mounsieur haue a care the
hony bag breake not, I would be loth to haue yon ouer-flowne
with a hony-bag signiour. Where's Mounsieur
Mustardseed?

Mus.
Ready.

Clo.
Giue me your neafe, Mounsieur Mustardseed.
Pray you leaue your courtesie good Mounsieur.

Mus.
What's your will?

Clo.
Nothing good Mounsieur, but to help Caualery
Cobweb to scratch. I must to the Barbers Mounsieur,
for me-thinkes I am maruellous hairy about the face. And
I am such a tender asse, if my haire do but tickle me, I
must scratch.

Tita.
What, wilt thou heare some musicke, my sweet loue.

Clow.
I haue a reasonable good eare in musicke. Let vs haue
the tongs and the bones. Musicke Tongs, Rurall Musicke.

Tita.
Or say sweete Loue, what thou desirest to eat.

Clowne.
Truly a pecke of Prouender; I could munch your
good dry Oates. Me-thinkes I haue a great desire to a bottle
of hay: good hay, sweete hay hath no fellow.

Tita.
I haue a venturous Fairy, / That shall seeke
the Squirrels hoard, / And fetch thee new Nuts.

Clown.
I had rather haue a handfull or two of dried pease.
But I pray you let none of your people stirre me, I haue
an exposition of sleepe come vpon me.

Tyta.
Sleepe thou, and I will winde thee in my arms,
Fairies be gone, and be alwaies away.
So doth the woodbine, the sweet Honisuckle,
Gently entwist; the female Iuy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the Elme.
O how I loue thee! how I dote on thee!
Enter Robin goodfellow and Oberon.

Ob.
Welcome good Robin: / Seest thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I doe begin to pitty.
For meeting her of late behinde the wood,
Seeking sweet sauors for this hatefull foole,
I did vpbraid 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 somtime on the buds,
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearles;
Stood now within the pretty flouriets eyes,
Like teares that did their owne disgrace bewaile.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her,
And she in milde termes beg'd my patience,
I then did aske of her, her changeling childe,
Which straight she gaue me, and her Fairy sent
To beare him to my Bower in Fairy Land.
And now I haue the Boy, I will vndoe
This hatefull imperfection of her eyes.
And gentle Pucke, take this transformed scalpe,
From off the head of this Athenian swaine;
That he awaking when the other doe,
May all to Athens backe againe repaire,
And thinke no more of this nights accidents,
But as the fierce vexation of a dreame.
But first I will release the Fairy Queene.
Be thou as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see.
Dians bud, or Cupids flower,
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now my Titania wake you my sweet Queene.

Tita.
My Oberon, what visions haue I seene!
Me-thought I was enamoured of an Asse.

Ob.
There lies your loue.

Tita.
How came these things to passe?
Oh, how mine eyes doth loath this visage now!

Ob.
Silence a while. Robin take off his head:
Titania, musick call, and strike more dead
Then common sleepe; of all these, fine the sense.

Tita.
Musicke, ho musicke, such as charmeth sleepe. Musick still.

Rob.
When thou wak'st, with thine owne fooles eies peepe

Ob.
Sound musick; come my Queen, take hands with me.
And rocke the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I new in amity,
And will to morrow midnight, solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus house triumphantly,
And blesse it to all faire posterity.
There shall the paires of faithfull Louers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in iollity.

Rob.
Faire King attend, and marke,
I doe heare the morning Larke.

Ob.
Then my Queene in silence sad,
Trip we after the nights shade;
We the Globe can compasse soone,
Swifter then the wandering Moone.

Tita.
Come my Lord, and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night,
That I sleeping heere was found, Sleepers Lye still.
With these mortals on the ground.
Exeunt.
Winde Hornes. Enter Theseus, Egeus, Hippolita
and all his traine.

Thes.
Goe one of you, finde out the Forrester,
For now our obseruation is perform'd;
And since we haue the vaward of the day,
My Loue shall heare the musicke of my hounds.
Vncouple in the Westerne valley, let them goe;
Dispatch I say, and finde the Forrester.
We will faire Queene, vp to the Mountaines top,
And marke the musicall confusion
Of hounds and eccho in coniunction.

Hip.
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once.
When in a wood of Creete they bayed the Beare
With hounds of Sparta; neuer did I heare
Such gallant chiding. For besides the groues,
The skies, the fountaines, euery region neere,
Seeme all one mutuall cry. I neuer heard
So musicall a discord, such sweet thunder.

Thes.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kinde,
So flew'd, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With eares that sweepe away the morning dew,
Crooke kneed, and dew-lapt, like Thessalian Buls,
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bels,
Each vnder each. A cry more tuneable
Was neuer hallowed to, nor cheer'd with horne,
In Creete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly;
Iudge when you heare.
But soft, what nimphs are these?

Egeus.
My Lord, this is my daughter heere asleepe,
And this Lysander, this Demetrius is,
This Helena, olde Nedars Helena,
I wonder of this being heere together.

The.
No doubt they rose vp early, to obserue
The right of May; and hearing our intent,
Came heere in grace of our solemnity.
But speake Egeus, is not this the day
That Hermia should giue answer of her choice?

Egeus.
It is, my Lord.

Thes.
Goe bid the hunts-men wake them with their hornes.
Hornes and they wake. Shout within,
they all start vp.
Good morrow friends: Saint Valentine is past,
Begin these wood birds but to couple now?

Lys.
Pardon my Lord.

Thes.
I pray you all stand vp.
I know you two are Riuall enemies.
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is is so farre from iealousie,
To sleepe by hate, and feare no enmity.

Lys.
My Lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Halfe sleepe, halfe waking. But as yet, I sweare,
I cannot truly say how I came heere.
But as I thinke (for truly would I speake)
And now I doe bethinke me, so it is;
I came with Hermia hither. Our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be
Without the perill of the Athenian Law.

Ege.
Enough, enough, my Lord: you haue enough;
I beg the Law, the Law, vpon his head:
They would have stolne away, they would Demetrius,
Thereby to haue defeated you and me:
You of your wife, and me of my consent;
Of my consent, that she should be your wife.

Dem.
My Lord, faire Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither, to this wood,
And I in furie hither followed them;
Faire Helena, in fancy followed me.
But my good Lord, I wot not by what power,
(But by some power it is) my loue / To Hermia
(melted as the snow) / Seems to me now
as the remembrance of an idle gaude,
Which in my childehood I did doat vpon:
And all the faith, the vertue of my heart,
The obiect and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is onely Helena. To her, my Lord,
Was I betroth'd, ere I see Hermia,
But like a sickenesse did I loath this food,
But as in health, come to my naturall taste,
Now doe I wish it, loue it, long for it,
And will for euermore be true to it.

Thes.
Faire Louers, you are fortunately met;
Of this discourse we shall heare more anon.
Egeus, I will ouer-beare your will;
For in the Temple, by and by with vs,
These couples shall eternally be knit.
And for the morning now is something worne,
Our purpos'd hunting shall be set aside.
Away, with vs to Athens; three and three,
Wee'll hold a feast in great solemnitie.
Come Hippolita.
Exit Duke and Lords.

Dem.
These things seeme small & vndistinguishable,
Like farre off mountaines turned into Clouds.

Her.
Me-thinks I see these things with parted eye,
When euery things seemes double.

Hel.
So me-thinkes:
And I haue found Demetrius, like a iewell,
Mine owne, and not mine owne.

Dem.
It seemes to mee,
That yet we sleepe, we dreame. Do not you thinke,
The Duke was heere, and bid vs follow him?

Her.
Yea, and my Father.

Hel.
And Hippolita.

Lys.
And he bid vs follow to the Temple.

Dem.
Why then we are awake; lets follow him,
and / by the way let vs recount our dreames.
Exit Louers.
Bottome wakes.

Clo.
When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer.
My next is, most faire Piramus. Hey ho. Peter
Quince? Flute the bellowes-mender? Snout the tinker?
Starueling? Gods my life! Stolne hence, and left me
asleepe: I haue had a most rare vision. I had a
dreame, past the wit of man, to say, what dreame it was. Man
is but an Asse, if he goe about to expound this dreame. Me-thought
I was, there is no man can tell what. Me-thought
I was, and me-thought I had. But man is but a patch'd
foole, if he will offer to say, what me-thought I had. The
eye of man hath not heard, the eare of man hath not seen,
mans hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceiue,
nor his heart to report, what my dreame was. I will get
PeterQuince to write a ballet of this dreame, it shall be
called Bottomes Dreame, because it hath no bottome; and
I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the Duke.
Peraduenture, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing
it at her death.
Exit.
Original text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Quince, Flute, Thisbie, Snout, and Starueling.

Quin.
Haue you sent to Bottomes house? Is he come
home yet?

Staru.
He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt hee is
transported.

This.
If he come not, then the play is mar'd. It goes not
forward, doth it?

Quin.
It is not possible: you haue not a man in all
Athens, able to discharge Piramus but he.

This.
No, hee hath simply the best wit of any handy-craft
man in Athens.

Quin.
Yea, and the best person too, and hee is a very
Paramour, for a sweet voyce.

This.
You must say, Paragon. A Paramour is (God blesse
vs) a thing of nought.
Enter Snug the Ioyner.

Snug.
Masters, the Duke is comming from the Temple, and
there is two or three Lords & Ladies more married. If
our sport had gone forward, we had all bin made men.

This.
O sweet bully Bottome: thus hath he lost sixepence
a day, during his life; he could not haue scaped sixpence
a day. And the Duke had not giuen him sixpence a day for
playing Piramus, Ile be hang'd. He would haue deserued
it. Sixpence a day in Piramus, or nothing.
Enter Bottome.

Bot.
Where are these Lads? Where are these hearts?

Quin.
Bottome, ô most couragious day! O most happie
houre!

Bot.
Masters, I am to discourse wonders; but ask me
not what. For if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I
will tell you euery thing as it fell out.

Qu.
Let vs heare, sweet Bottome.

Bot.
Not a word of me: all that I will tell you, is, that
the Duke hath dined. Get your apparell together, good
strings to your beards, new ribbands to your pumps,
meete presently at the Palace, euery man looke ore his
part: for the short and the long is, our play is preferred:
In any case let Thisby haue cleane linnen: and let not him
that playes the Lion, paire his nailes, for they shall hang out
for the Lions clawes. And most deare Actors, eate no Onions,
nor Garlicke; for wee are to vtter sweete breath, and I doe
not doubt but to heare them say, it is a sweet Comedy. No
more words: away, go away.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act IV, Scene I
Enter Titania, and Bottom, and Fairies; and Oberon
behind them

TITANIA
Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick muskroses in thy sleek, smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

BOTTOM
Where's Peaseblossom?

PEASEBLOSSOM
Ready.

BOTTOM
Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where's
Monsieur Cobweb?

COBWEB
Ready.

BOTTOM
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 mounsieur, 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, signor. Where's Monsieur
Mustardseed?

MUSTARDSEED
Ready.

BOTTOM
Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed.
Pray you, leave your courtesy, good Monsieur.

MUSTARDSEED
What's your will?

BOTTOM
Nothing, good Monsieur, but to help Cavalery
Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's, Monsieur,
for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face. And
I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I
must scratch.

TITANIA
What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

BOTTOM
I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have
the tongs and the bones.

TITANIA
Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

BOTTOM
Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your
good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

TITANIA
I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.

BOTTOM
I had rather have a handful or two of dried pease.
But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me. I have
an exposition of sleep come upon me.

TITANIA
Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies be gone, and be all ways away.
Exeunt Fairies
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!
They sleep. Enter Puck

OBERON
(comes forward)
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 from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her,
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers.
And that same dew which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets' eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her,
And she in mild terms begged 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 Fairyland.
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.
(to Titania)
Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast 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!

TITANIA
(wakes)
My Oberon, what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamoured of an ass.

OBERON
There lies your love.

TITANIA
How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

OBERON
Silence awhile! Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call, and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

TITANIA
Music, ho! Music such as charmeth sleep.

PUCK
(to Bottom, removing the ass's head)
Now when thou wakest with thine own fool's eyes peep.

OBERON
Sound, music! (Music) Come, my Queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
They dance
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will tomorrow 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.

PUCK
Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.

OBERON
Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after night's shade.
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.

TITANIA
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 Oberon, Titania, and Puck
Horns sound. Enter Theseus with Hippolyta, Egeus,
and all his train

THESEUS
Go, one of you; find out the forester;
For now our observation is performed.
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go.
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
Exit an Attendant
We will, fair Queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

HIPPOLYTA
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear
With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear
Such gallant chiding, for besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

THESEUS
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind;
So flewed, so sanded; and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-kneed, and dewlapped like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never hallooed to nor cheered with horn
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
Judge when you hear.
He sees the sleepers
But soft, what nymphs are these?

EGEUS
My lord, this is my daughter here asleep,
And this Lysander; this Demetrius is,
This Helena – old Nedar's Helena.
I wonder of their being here together.

THESEUS
No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent
Came here in grace of our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus: is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

EGEUS
It is, my lord.

THESEUS
Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
Horns sound; the lovers wake; shout within; the
lovers start up
Good morrow, friends – Saint Valentine is past!
Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?

LYSANDER
Pardon, my lord.

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?

LYSANDER
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 do I bethink me, so it is:
I came with Hermia hither. Our intent
Was to be gone from Athens where we might
Without the peril of the Athenian law...

EGEUS
Enough, enough – my lord, you have enough!
I beg the law, the law upon his head.
They would have stolen away, they would, Demetrius,
Thereby to have defeated you and me –
You of your wife, and me of my consent –
Of my consent that she should be your wife.

DEMETRIUS
My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood,
And I in fury hither followed 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 gaud
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 betrothed ere I saw Hermia;
But like in sickness did I loathe this food.
But, as in health come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.

THESEUS
Fair lovers, you are fortunately met.
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 purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens. Three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, Hippolyta.
Exit Theseus with Hippolyta, Egeus, and his train

DEMETRIUS
These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.

HERMIA
Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When everything seems double.

HELENA
So methinks,
And I have found Demetrius, like a jewel,
Mine own and not mine own.

DEMETRIUS
Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The Duke was here, and bid us follow him?

HERMIA
Yea, and my father.

HELENA
And Hippolyta.

LYSANDER
And he did bid us follow to the temple.

DEMETRIUS
Why, then, we are awake. Let's follow him,
And by the way let's recount our dreams.
Exeunt Demetrius, Helena, Lysander, and Hermia
Bottom wakes

BOTTOM
When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer.
My next is ‘ Most fair Pyramus.’ Heigh ho! Peter
Quince! Flute the bellows-mender! Snout the tinker!
Starveling! God's my life – stolen 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.
Exit
Modern text
Act IV, Scene II
Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling

QUINCE
Have you sent to Bottom's house? Is he come
home yet?

STARVELING
He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is
transported.

FLUTE
If he come not, then the play is marred. It goes not
forward. Doth it?

QUINCE
It is not possible. You have not a man in all
Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.

FLUTE
No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft
man in Athens.

QUINCE
Yea and the best person, too; and he is a very
paramour for a sweet voice.

FLUTE
You must say ‘ paragon.’ A paramour is – God bless
us – a thing of naught.
Enter Snug the joiner

SNUG
Masters, the Duke is coming from the temple, and
there is two or three lords and ladies more married. If
our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

FLUTE
O, sweet Bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence
a day during his life. He could not have scaped sixpence
a day. An the Duke had not given him sixpence a day for
playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged. He would have deserved
it. Sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing.
Enter Bottom

BOTTOM
Where are these lads? Where are these hearts?

QUINCE
Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy
hour!

BOTTOM
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!

QUINCE
Let us hear, sweet Bottom!

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 o'er his
part. For the short and the long is, our play is preferred.
In any case, let Thisbe 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 garlic; 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!
Exeunt Bottom and his fellows
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL