A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
Enter the Clownes.

Bot.
Are we all met?

Quin.
Pat, pat, and here's a maruailous conuenient place
for our rehearsall. This greene plot shall be our stage, this
hauthorne brake our tyring house, and we will do it in
action, as we will do it before the Duke.

Bot.
Peter quince?

Peter.
What saist thou, bully Bottome?

Bot.
There are things in this Comedy of Piramus and
Thisby, that will neuer please. First, Piramus must draw
a sword to kill himselfe; which the Ladies cannot abide.
How answere you that?

Snout.
Berlaken, a parlous feare.

Star.
I beleeue we must leaue the killing out,
when all is done.

Bot.
Not a whit, I haue a deuice to make all well.
Write me a Prologue, and let the Prologue seeme to say,
we will do no harme with our swords, and that Pyramus
is not kill'd indeede: and for the more better assurance,
tell them, that I Piramus am not Piramus, but Bottome
the Weauer; this will put them out of feare.

Quin.
Well, we will haue such a Prologue, and it shall
be written in eight and sixe.

Bot.
No, make it two more, let it be written in eight
and eight.

Snout.
Will not the Ladies be afear'd of the Lyon?

Star.
I feare it, I promise you.

Bot.
Masters, you ought to consider with your selues, to
bring in (God shield vs) a Lyon among Ladies, is a most
dreadfull thing. For there is not a more fearefull wilde foule
then your Lyon liuing: and wee ought to looke to it.

Snout.
Therefore another Prologue must tell he is not a
Lyon.

Bot.
Nay, you must name his name, and halfe his face
must be seene through the Lyons necke, and he himselfe
must speake through, saying thus, or to the same defect;
Ladies, or faire Ladies, I would wish you, or I would
request you, or I would entreat you, not to feare, not to
tremble: my life for yours. If you thinke I come hither
as a Lyon, it were pitty 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 him plainly hee is Snug
the ioyner.

Quin.
Well, it shall be so; but there is two hard things,
that is, to bring the Moone-light into a chamber: for you
know Piramus and Thisby meete by Moone-light.

Sn.
Doth the Moone shine that night wee play our play?

Bot.
A Calender, a Calender, looke in the Almanack,
finde out Moone-shine, finde out Moone-shine. Enter Pucke.

Quin.
Yes, it doth shine that night.

Bot.
Why then may you leaue a casement of the
great chamber window (where we play) open, and
the Moone may shine in at the casement.

Quin.
I, or else one must come in with a bush of
thorns and a lanthorne, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
present the person of Moone-shine. Then there is another
thing, we must haue a wall in the great Chamber; for
Piramus and Thisby (saies the story) did talke through the
chinke of a wall.

Sn.
You can neuer bring in a wall. What say you
Bottome?

Bot.
Some man or other must present wall, and let
him haue some Plaster, or some Lome, or some rough cast
about him, to signifie wall; or let him hold his fingers
thus; and through that cranny shall Piramus and Thisby
whisper.

Quin.
If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit downe
euery mothers sonne, and rehearse your parts. Piramus,
you begin; when you haue spoken your speech, enter
into that Brake, and so euery one according to his cue.
Enter Robin.

Rob.
What hempen home-spuns haue we swaggering here,
So neere the Cradle of the Faierie Queene?
What, a Play toward? Ile be an auditor,
An Actor too perhaps, if I see cause.

Quin.
Speake Piramus: Thisby stand forth.

Pir.
Thisby, the flowers of odious sauors sweete.

Quin.
Odours, odours.

Pir.
Odours sauors sweete,
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby deare.
But harke, a voyce: stay thou but here a while,
And by and by I will to thee appeare.
Exit. Pir.

Puck.
A stranger Piramus, then ere plaid here.

This.
Must I speake now?

Pet.
I marry must you. For you must vnderstand he
goes but to see a noyse that he heard, and is to come
againe.

Thys.
Most radiant Piramus, most Lilly white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant bryer,
Most brisky Iuuenall, and eke most louely Iew,
As true as truest horse, that yet would neuer tyre,
Ile meete thee Piramus, at Ninnies toombe.

Pet.
Ninus toombe man: why, you must not speake
that yet; that you answere to Piramus: you speake all
your part at once, cues and all. Piramus enter, your
cue is past; it is neuer tyre.

Thys.
O,
as true as truest horse, that yet would neuer tyre:

Pir.
If I were faire, Thisby I were onely thine.

Pet.
O monstrous. O strange. We are hanted; pray
masters, flye masters, helpe.
The Clownes all Exit.

Puk.
Ile follow you, Ile leade you about a Round,
Through bogge, through bush, through brake, through bryer,
Sometime a horse Ile be, sometime a hound:
A hogge, a headlesse beare, sometime a fire,
And neigh, and barke, and grunt, and rore, and burne,
Like horse, hound, hog, beare, fire, at euery turne.
Exit. Enter Piramus with the Asse head.

Bot.
Why do they run away? This is a knauery of
them to make me afeard.
Enter Snowt.

Sn.
O Bottom, thou art chang'd; What doe I see on
thee?

Bot.
What do you see? You see an Asse-head of your
owne, do you?
Enter Peter Quince.

Pet.
Blesse thee Bottome, blesse thee; thou art
translated.
Exit.

Bot.
I see their knauery; this is to make an asse of me,
to fright me if they could; but I will not stirre from this
place, do what they can. I will walke vp and downe here,
and I will sing that they shall heare I am not afraid.
The Woosell cocke, so blacke of hew,
With Orenge-tawny bill.
The Throstle, with his note so true,
The Wren and little quill.

Tyta.
What Angell wakes me from my flowry bed?

Bot.
The Finch, the Sparrow, and the Larke,
The plainsong Cuckow gray;
Whose note full many a man doth marke,
And dares not answere, nay.
For indeede, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
Who would giue a bird the lye, though he cry Cuckow,
neuer so?

Tyta.
I pray thee gentle mortall, sing againe,
Mine eare is much enamored of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape.
And thy faire vertues force (perforce) doth moue me.
On the first view to say, to sweare I loue thee.

Bot.
Me-thinkes mistresse, you should haue little reason
for that: and yet to say the truth, reason and loue keepe
little company together, now-adayes. The more the pittie,
that some honest neighbours will not make them friends.
Nay, I can gleeke vpon occasion.

Tyta.
Thou art as wise, as thou art beautifull.

Bot.
Not so neither: but if I had wit enough to get
out of this wood, I haue enough to serue mine owne turne.

Tyta.
Out of this wood, do not desire to goe,
Thou shalt remaine here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate:
The Summer still doth tend vpon my state,
And I doe loue thee; therefore goe with me,
Ile giue thee Fairies to attend on thee;
And they shall fetch thee Iewels from the deepe,
And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleepe:
And I will purge thy mortall grossenesse so,
That thou shalt like an airie spirit go.
Enter Pease-blossome, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseede,
and foure Fairies.

Fai.
Ready;
and I,
and I,
and I,
Where shall we go?

Tita.
Be kinde and curteous to this Gentleman,
Hop in his walkes, and gambole in his eies,
Feede him with Apricocks, and Dewberries,
With purple Grapes, greene Figs, and Mulberries,
The honie-bags steale from the humble Bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighes,
And light them at the fierie-Glow-wormes eyes,
To haue my loue to bed, and to arise:
And plucke the wings from painted Butterflies,
To fan the Moone-beames from his sleeping eies.
Nod to him Elues, and doe him curtesies.

1. Fai.
Haile mortall, haile.


2. Fai.
Haile.

3. Fai.
Haile.

Bot.
I cry your worships mercy hartily; I beseech
your worships name.

Cob.
Cobweb.

Bot.
I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
Master Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold
with you. Your name honest Gentleman?

Pease.
Pease blossome.

Bot.
I pray you commend mee to mistresse Squash,
your mother, and to master Peascod your father. Good
master Pease-blossome, I shal desire of you more acquaintance
Your name I beseech you sir?

Mus.
Mustard-seede.

Bot.
Good master Mustard seede, I know your
patience well: that same cowardly gyant-like Oxe beefe
hath deuoured many a gentleman of your house. I
promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water
ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good Master
Mustard-seede.

Tita.
Come waite vpon him, lead him to my bower.
The Moone me-thinks, lookes with a watrie eie,
And when she weepes, weepe euerie little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastitie.
Tye vp my louers tongue, bring him silently.
Exit.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Enter King of Pharies, solus.

Ob.
I wonder if Titania be awak't;
Then what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on, in extremitie.
Here comes my messenger:
Enter Pucke.
how now mad spirit,
What night-rule now about this gaunted groue?

Puck.
My Mistris with a monster is in loue,
Neere to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hower,
A crew of patches, rude Mcehanicals,
That worke for bread vpon Athenian stals,
Were met together to rehearse a Play,
Intended for great Theseus nuptiall day:
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Piramus presented, in their sport,
Forsooke his Scene, and entred in a brake,
When I did him at this aduantage take,
An Asses nole I fixed on his head.
Anon his Thisbie must be answered,
And forth my Mimmick comes: when they him spie,
As Wilde-geese, that the creeping Fowler eye,
Or russed-pated choughes, many in sort
(Rising and cawing at the guns report)
Seuer themselues, and madly sweepe the skye:
So at his sight, away his fellowes flye,
And at our stampe, here ore and ore one fals;
He murther cries, and helpe from Athens cals.
Their sense thus weake, lost with their feares thus strong,
Made senselesse things begin to do them wrong.
For briars and thornes at their apparell snatch,
Some sleeues, some hats, from yeelders all things catch,
I led them on in this distracted feare,
And left sweete Piramus translated there:
When in that moment (so it came to passe)
Tytania waked, and straightway lou'd an Asse.

Ob.
This fals out better then I could deuise:
But hast thou yet lacht the Athenians eyes,
With the loue iuyce, as I bid thee doe?

Rob.
I tooke him sleeping (that is finisht to)
And the Athenian woman by his side,
That when he wak't, of force she must be eyde.
Enter Demetrius and Hermia.

Ob.
Stand close, this is the same Athenian.

Rob.
This is the woman, but not this the man.

Dem.
O why rebuke you him that loues you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

Her.
Now I but chide, but I should vse thee worse.
For thou (I feare) hast giuen me cause to curse,
If thou hast slaine Lysander in his sleepe,
Being oreshooes in bloud, plunge in the deepe,
and kill me too:
The Sunne was not so true vnto the day,
As he to me. Would he haue stollen away,
From sleeping Hermia? Ile beleeue as soone
This whole earth may be bord, and that the Moone
May through the Center creepe, and so displease
Her brothers noonetide, with th' Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murdred him,
So should a mutrherer looke, so dead, so grim.

Dem.
So should the murderer looke, and so should I,
Pierst through the heart with your stearne cruelty:
Yet you the murderer looks as bright as cleare,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering spheare.

Her.
What's this to my Lysander? where is he?
Ah good Demetrius, wilt thou giue him me?

Dem.
I'de rather giue his carkasse to my hounds.

Her.
Out dog, out cur, thou driu'st me past the bounds
Of maidens patience. Hast thou slaine him then?
Henceforth be neuer numbred among men.
Oh, once tell true, euen for my sake,
Durst thou a lookt vpon him, being awake?
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O braue tutch:
Could not a worme, an Adder do so much?
An Adder did it: for with doubler tongue
Then thine (thou serpent) neuer Adder stung.

Dem.
You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood,
I am not guiltie of Lysanders blood:
Nor is he dead for ought that I can tell.

Her.
I pray thee tell me then that he is well.

Dem.
And if I could, what should I get therefore?

Her.
A priuiledge, neuer to see me more;
And from thy hated presence part I:
see me no more / Whether he be dead or no.
Exit.

Dem.
There is no following her in this fierce vaine,
Here therefore for a while I will remaine.
So sorrowes heauinesse doth heauier grow:
For debt that bankrout slip doth sorrow owe,
Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.
Lie downe.

Ob.
What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite
And laid the loue iuyce on some true loues sight:
Of thy misprision, must perforce ensue
Some true loue turn'd, and not a false turn'd true.

Rob.
Then fate ore-rules, that one man holding troth,
A million faile, confounding oath on oath.

Ob.
About the wood, goe swifter then the winde,
And Helena of Athens looke thou finde.
All fancy sicke she is, and pale of cheere,
With sighes of loue, that costs the fresh bloud deare.
By some illusion see thou bring her heere,
Ile charme his eyes against she doth appeare.

Robin.
I go, I go, looke how I goe,
Swifter then arrow from the Tartars bowe.
Exit.

Ob.
Flower of this purple die,
Hit with Cupids archery,
Sinke in apple of his eye,
When his loue he doth espie,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
When thou wak'st if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
Enter Pucke.

Puck.
Captaine of our Fairy band,
Helena is heere at hand,
And the youth, mistooke by me,
Pleading for a Louers fee.
Shall we their fond Pageant see?
Lord, what fooles these mortals be!

Ob.
Stand aside: the noyse they make,
Will cause Demetrius to awake.

Puck.
Then will two at once wooe one,
That must needs be sport alone:
And those things doe best please me,
That befall preposterously.
Enter Lysander and Helena.

Lys.
Why should you think yt I should wooe in scorn?
Scorne and derision neuer comes in teares:
Looke when I vow I weepe; and vowes so borne,
In their natiuity all truth appeares.
How can these things in me, seeme scorne to you?
Bearing the badge of faith to proue them true.

Hel.
You doe aduance your cunning more & more,
When truth kils truth, O diuelish holy fray!
These vowes are Hermias. Will you giue her ore?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
Your vowes to her, and me, (put in two scales)
Will euen weigh, and both as light as tales.

Lys.
I had no iudgement, when to her I swore.

Hel.
Nor none in my minde, now you giue her ore.

Lys.
Demetrius loues her, and he loues not you.

Dem.
Awa.
O Helen, goddesse, nimph, perfect, diuine,
To what my, loue, shall I compare thine eyne!
Christall is muddy, O how ripe in show,
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Tauruss now,
Fan'd with the Easterne winde, turnes to a crow,
When thou holdst vp thy hand. O let me kisse
This Princesse of pure white, this seale of blisse.

Hell.
O spight! O hell! I see you are all bent
To set against me, for your merriment:
If you were ciuill, and knew curtesie,
You would not doe me thus much iniury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you doe,
But you must ioyne in soules to mocke me to?
If you are men, as men you are in show,
You would not vse a gentle Lady so;
To vow, and sweare, and superpraise my parts,
When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
You both are Riuals, and loue Hermia;
And now both Riuals to mocke Helena.
A trim exploit, a manly enterprize,
To coniure teares vp in a poore maids eyes,
With your derision; none of noble sort,
Would so offend a Virgin, and extort
A poore soules patience, all to make you sport.

Lysa.
You are vnkind Demetrius; be not so,
For you loue Hermia; this you know I know;
And here with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermias loue I yeeld you vp my part;
And yours of Helena, to me bequeath,
Whom I do loue, and will do to my death.

Hel.
Neuer did mockers wast more idle breth.

Dem.
Lysander, keep thy Hermia, I will none:
If ere I lou'd her, all that loue is gone.
My heart to her, but as guest-wise soiourn'd,
And now to Helen it is home return'd,
There to remaine.

Lys.
It is not so.

De.
Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest to thy perill thou abide it deare.
Looke where thy Loue comes, yonder is thy deare.
Enter Hermia.

Her.
Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The eare more quicke of apprehension makes,
Wherein it doth impaire the seeing sense,
It paies the hearing double recompence.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander found,
Mine eare (I thanke it) brought me to that sound.
But why vnkindly didst thou leaue me so?

Lysan.
Why should hee stay whom Loue doth presse (to go?

Her.
What loue could presse Lysander from my side?

Lys.
Lysanders loue (that would not let him bide)
Faire Helena; who more engilds the night,
Then all yon fierie oes, and eies of light.
Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee know,
The hate I bare thee, made me leaue thee so?

Her.
You speake not as you thinke; it cannot be.

Hel.
Loe, she is one of this confederacy,
Now I perceiue they haue conioyn'd all three,
To fashion this false sport in spight of me.
Iniurous Hermia, most vngratefull maid,
Haue you conspir'd, haue you with these contriu'd
To baite me, with this foule derision?
Is all the counsell that we two haue shar'd,
The sisters vowes, the houres that we haue spent,
When wee haue chid the hasty footed time,
For parting vs; O, is all forgot?
All schooledaies friendship, child-hood innocence?
We Hermia, like two Artificiall gods,
Haue 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 mindes
Had beene incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet a vnion in partition,
Two louely berries molded on one stem,
So with two seeming bodies, but one heart,
Two of the first life coats in Heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient loue asunder,
To ioyne with men in scorning your poore friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly.
Our sexe as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone doe feele the iniurie.

Her.
I am amazed at your passionate words,
I scorne you not; It seemes that you scorne me.

Hel.
Haue you not set Lysander, as in scorne
To follow me, and praise my eies and face?
And made your other loue, Demetrius
(Who euen but now did spurne me with his foote)
To call me goddesse, nimph, diuine, and rare,
Precious, celestiall? Wherefore speakes he this
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
Denie your loue (so rich within his soule)
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 vpon with loue, so fortunate?
(But miserable most, to loue vnlou'd)
This you should pittie, rather then despise.

Her.
I vnderstand not what you meane by this.

Hel.
I, doe, perseuer, counterfeit sad lookes,
Make mouthes vpon me when I turne my backe,
Winke each at other, hold the sweete iest vp:
This sport well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you haue any pittie, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument:
But fare ye well, 'tis partly mine owne fault,
Which death or absence soone shall remedie.

Lys.
Stay gentle Helena, heare my excuse,
My loue, my life, my soule, faire Helena.

Hel.
O excellent!

Her.
Sweete, do not scorne her so.

Dem.
If she cannot entreate, I can compell.

Lys.
Thou canst compell, no more then she entreate.
Thy threats haue no more strength then her weak praise.
Helen, I loue thee, by my life I doe;
I sweare by that which I will lose for thee,
To proue him false, that saies I loue thee not.

Dem.
I say, I loue thee more then he can do.

Lys.
If thou say so, with-draw and proue it too.

Dem.
Quick, come.

Her.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?

Lys.
Away, you Ethiope.

Dem.
No, no, Sir,
seeme to breake loose; / Take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go.

Lys.
Hang off thou cat, thou bur; vile thing let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.

Her.
Why are you growne so rude? / What change is this
sweete Loue?

Lys.
Thy loue? out tawny Tartar, out;
Out loathed medicine; O hated poison hence.

Her.
Do you not iest?

Hel.
Yes sooth, and so do you.

Lys.
Demetrius: I will keepe my word with thee.

Dem.
I would I had your bond: for I perceiue
A weake bond holds you; Ile not trust your word.

Lys.
What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, Ile not harme her so.

Her.
What, can you do me greater harme then hate?
Hate me, wherefore? O me, what newes my Loue?
Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as faire now, as I was ere while.
Since night you lou'd me; yet since night you left me.
Why then you left me (O the gods forbid
In earnest, shall I say?

Lys.
I, by my life;
And neuer did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
Be certaine, nothing truer: 'tis no iest,
That I doe hate thee, and loue Helena.

Her.
O me, you iugler, you canker blossome,
You theefe of loue; What, haue you come by night,
And stolne my loues heart from him?

Hel.
Fine yfaith:
Haue you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulnesse? What, will you teare
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you.

Her.
Puppet? why so? I, that way goes the game.
Now I perceiue that she hath made compare
Betweene our statures, she hath vrg'd her height,
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height (forsooth) she hath preuail'd with him.
And are you growne so high in his esteeme,
Because I am so dwarfish, and so low?
How low am I, thou painted May-pole? Speake,
How low am I? I am not yet so low,
But that my nailes can reach vnto thine eyes.

Hel.
I pray you though you mocke me, gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me; I was neuer curst:
I haue no gift at all in shrewishnesse;
I am a right maide for my cowardize;
Let her not strike me: you perhaps may thinke,
Because she is something lower then my selfe,
That I can match her.

Her.
Lower? harke againe.

Hel.
Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me,
I euermore did loue you Hermia,
Did euer keepe your counsels, neuer wronged you,
Saue that in loue vnto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth vnto this wood.
He followed you, for loue I followed him,
But he hath chid me hence, and threatned me
To strike me, spurne me, nay to kill me too;
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I beare my folly backe,
And follow you no further. Let me go.
You see how simple, and how fond I am.

Her.
Why get you gone: who ist that hinders you?

Hel.
A foolish heart, that I leaue here behinde.

Her.
What, with Lysander?

Her.
With Demetrius.

Lys.
Be not afraid, she shall not harme thee Helena.

Dem.
No sir, she shall not, though you take her part.

Hel.
O when she's angry, she is keene and shrewd,
She was a vixen when she went to schoole,
And though she be but little, she is fierce.

Her.
Little againe? Nothing but low and little?
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.

Lys.
Get you gone you dwarfe,
You minimus, of hindring knot-grasse made,
You bead, you acorne.

Dem.
You are too officious,
In her behalfe that scornes your seruices.
Let her alone, speake not of Helena,
Take not her part. For if thou dost intend
Neuer so little shew of loue to her,
Thou shalt abide it.

Lys.
Now she holds me not,
Now follow if thou dar'st, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine is most in Helena.

Dem.
Follow? Nay, Ile goe with thee cheeke by iowle.
Exit Lysander and Demetrius.

Her.
You Mistris, all this coyle is long of you.
Nay, goe not backe.

Hel.
I will not trust you I,
Nor longer stay in your curst companie.
Your hands then mine, are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though to runne away.
Enter Oberon and Pucke.

Ob.
This is thy negligence, still thou mistak'st,
Or else committ'st thy knaueries willingly.

Puck.
Beleeue me, King of shadowes, I mistooke,
Did not you tell me, I should know the man,
By the Athenian garments he hath on?
And so farre blamelesse proues my enterprize,
That I haue nointed an Athenians eies,
And so farre am I glad, it so did sort,
As this their iangling I esteeme a sport.

Ob.
Thou seest these Louers seeke a place to fight,
Hie therefore Robin, ouercast the night,
The starrie Welkin couer thou anon,
With drooping fogge as blacke as Acheron,
And lead these testie Riuals so astray,
As one come not within anothers way.
Like to Lysander, sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stirre Demetrius vp with bitter wrong;
And sometime raile thou like Demetrius;
And from each other looke thou leade them thus,
Till ore their browes, death-counterfeiting, sleepe
With leaden legs, and Battie-wings doth creepe:
Then crush this hearbe into Lysanders eie,
Whose liquor hath this vertuous propertie,
To take from thence all error, with his might,
And make his eie-bals role with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seeme a dreame, and fruitlesse vision,
And backe to Athens shall the Louers wend
With league, whose date till death shall neuer end.
Whiles I in this affaire do thee imply,
Ile to my Queene, and beg her Indian Boy;
And then I will her charmed eie release
From monsters view, and all things shall be peace.

Puck.
My Fairie Lord, this must be done with haste,
For night-swift Dragons cut the Clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Auroras harbinger;
At whose approach Ghosts wandring here and there,
Troope home to Church-yards; damned spirits all,
That in crosse-waies and flouds haue buriall,
Alreadie to their wormie beds are gone;
For feare least day should looke their shames vpon,
They wilfully themselues dxile from light,
And must for aye consort with blacke browd night.

Ob.
But we are spirits of another sort:
I, with the mornings loue haue oft made sport,
And like a Forrester, the groues may tread,
Euen till the Easterne gate all fierie red,
Opening on Neptune, with faire blessed beames,
Turnes into yellow gold, his salt greene streames.
But notwithstanding haste, make no delay:
We may effect this businesse, yet ere day.

Puck.
Vp and downe, vp and downe,
I will leade them vp and downe:
I am fear'd in field and towne.
Goblin, lead them vp and downe:
here comes one.
Enter Lysander.

Lys.
Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speake thou now.

Rob.

Here villaine, drawne & readie. Where art thou?

Lys.
I will be with thee straight.

Rob.
Follow me then
to plainer ground.
Enter Demetrius.

Dem.
Lysander, speake againe;
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
Speake in some bush: Where dost thou hide thy head?

Rob.
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 childe,
Ile whip thee with a rod. He is defil'd
That drawes a sword on thee.

Dem.
Yea, art thou there?

Ro.
Follow my voice, we'l try no manhood here.
Exit.


Lys.
He goes before me, and still dares me on,
When I come where he cals, then he's gone.
The villaine is much lighter heel'd then I:
I followed fast, but faster he did flye; shifting places.
That fallen am I in darke vneuen way,
And here wil rest me. Come thou gentle day: lye down.
For if but once thou shew me thy gray light,
Ile finde Demetrius, and reuenge this spight.
Enter Robin and Demetrius.

Rob.
Ho, ho, ho; coward, why com'st thou not?

Dem.
Abide me, if thou dar'st. For well I wot,
Thou runst before me, shifting euery place,
And dar'st not stand, nor looke me in the face.
Where art thou?

Rob.
Come hither, I am here.

Dem.
Nay then thou mock'st me; thou shalt buy this deere,
If euer I thy face by day-light see.
Now goe thy way: faintnesse constraineth me,
To measure out my length on this cold bed,
By daies approach looke to be visited.
Enter Helena.

Hel.
O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy houres, shine comforts from the East,
That I may backe to Athens by day-light,
From these that my poore companie detest;
And sleepe that sometime shuts vp sorrowes eie,
Steale me a while from mine owne companie.
Sleepe.

Rob.
Yet but three? Come one more,
Two of both kindes makes vp foure.
Here she comes, curst and sad,
Cupid is a knauish lad,
Thus to make poore females mad.
Enter Hermia.

Her.
Neuer so wearie, neuer so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew, and torne with briars,
I can no further crawle, no further goe;
My legs can keepe no pace with my desires.
Here will I rest me till the breake of day,
Heauens shield Lysander, if they meane a fray.

Rob.
On the ground
sleepe sound,
Ile apply
your eie
gentle louer, remedy.

When thou wak'st,
thou tak'st
True delight
in the sight
of thy former Ladies eye,
And the Country Prouerb knowne,
That euery man should take his owne,
In your waking shall be showne.
Iacke shall haue Iill,
nought shall goe ill.
The man shall haue his Mare againe, and all shall bee well.
They sleepe all the Act.
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
Enter the clowns: Bottom, Quince, Snout, Starveling,
Flute, and Snug

BOTTOM
Are we all met?

QUINCE
Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place
for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this
hawthorn brake our tiring-house, and we will do it in
action as we will do it before the Duke.

BOTTOM
Peter Quince!

QUINCE
What sayest thou, Bully Bottom?

BOTTOM
There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw
a sword to kill himself, which the ladies cannot abide.
How answer you that?

SNOUT
By 'r lakin, a parlous fear!

STARVELING
I believe we must leave the killing out,
when all is done.

BOTTOM
Not a whit. I have a device to make all well.
Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to say
we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus
is not killed indeed; and for the more better assurance,
tell them that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but Bottom
the weaver. This will put them out of fear.

QUINCE
Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall
be written in eight and six.

BOTTOM
No, make it two more: let it be written in eight
and eight.

SNOUT
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

STARVELING
I fear it, I promise you.

BOTTOM
Masters, you ought to consider with yourself, to
bring in – God shield us – a lion among ladies is a most
dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wildfowl
than your lion living; and we ought look to't.

SNOUT
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a
lion.

BOTTOM
Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
must be seen through the lion's neck, and he himself
must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect:
‘ Ladies ’, or ‘ Fair ladies – I would wish you ’, or ‘ I would
request you ’, or ‘ I would 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.

QUINCE
Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things:
that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber – for, you
know, Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.

SNOUT
Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

BOTTOM
A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac –
find out moonshine, find out moonshine!

QUINCE
Yes, it doth shine that night.

BOTTOM
Why, then, may you leave a casement of the
Great Chamber window – where we play – open, and
the moon may shine in at the casement.

QUINCE
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 Thisbe, says the story, did talk through the
chink of a wall.

SNOUT
You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
Bottom?

BOTTOM
Some man or other must present Wall; and let
him have some plaster, or some loam, or some roughcast
about him to signify Wall; and let him hold his fingers
thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisbe
whisper.

QUINCE
If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down
every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus,
you begin. When you have spoken your speech, enter
into that brake; and so everyone according to his cue.
Enter Puck

PUCK
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.

QUINCE
Speak, Pyramus! Thisbe, stand forth!

BOTTOM as Pyramus
Thisbe, the flowers of odious savours sweet –

QUINCE
Odours – odours!

BOTTOM as Pyramus
...odours savours sweet.
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.
But hark, a voice. Stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
Exit

PUCK
A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.
Exit

FLUTE
Must I speak now?

QUINCE
Ay, marry must you; for you must understand he
goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come
again.

FLUTE as Thisbe
Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant briar,
Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb –

QUINCE
‘ Ninus' tomb ’, man! – Why, you must not speak
that yet. That you answer to Pyramus. You speak all
your part at once, cues and all. Pyramus, enter – your
cue is past. It is ‘ never tire.’

FLUTE
O!
( as Thisbe)
As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
Enter Puck, and Bottom with an ass's head

BOTTOM as Pyramus
If I were fair, fair Thisbe, I were only thine.

QUINCE
O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted! Pray,
masters! Fly, masters! Help!
Exeunt Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, and Starveling

PUCK
I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
Thorough bog, thorough bush, thorough brake, thorough briar,
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.
Exit

BOTTOM
Why do they run away? This is a knavery of
them to make me afeard.
Enter Snout

SNOUT
O Bottom, thou art changed. What do I see on
thee?

BOTTOM
What do you see? You see an ass head of your
own, do you?
Exit Snout
Enter Quince

QUINCE
Bless thee, Bottom! Bless thee! Thou art
translated!
Exit

BOTTOM
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.
(sings) The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill.

TITANIA
(wakes)
What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

BOTTOM
(sings)
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plainsong cuckoo grey,
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?

TITANIA
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again!
Mine ear is much enamoured 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.

BOTTOM
Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep
little company together nowadays – the more the pity
that some honest neighbours will not make them friends.
– Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.

TITANIA
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

BOTTOM
Not so, neither; but if I had wit enough to get
out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

TITANIA
Out of this wood do not desire to go!
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate.
The summer still doth tend upon my state,
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.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed!
Enter the four Fairies

PEASEBLOSSOM
Ready!

COBWEB
And I!

MOTH
And I!

MUSTARDSEED
And I!

ALL Fairies
Where shall we go?

TITANIA
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-worms' 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.

PEASEBLOSSOM
Hail, mortal!

COBWEB
Hail!

MOTH
Hail!

MUSTARDSEED
Hail!

BOTTOM
I cry your worships mercy, heartily. I beseech
your worship's name.

COBWEB
Cobweb.

BOTTOM
I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
Master Cobweb – if I cut my finger I shall make bold
with you! – Your name, honest gentleman?

PEASEBLOSSOM
Peaseblossom.

BOTTOM
I pray you commend me to Mistress Squash,
your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance,
too. – Your name, I beseech you, sir?

MUSTARDSEED
Mustardseed.

BOTTOM
Good Master Mustardseed, I know your
patience well. That same cowardly, giantlike Oxbeef
hath devoured many a gentleman of your house. I
promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water
ere now. I desire your more acquaintance, good Master
Mustardseed.

TITANIA
Come, wait upon him. Lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my lover's tongue; bring him silently.
Exit Titania with Bottom and the Fairies
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Oberon, King of Fairies

OBERON
I wonder if Titania be awaked;
Then what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on, in extremity.
Here comes my messenger.
Enter Puck
How now, mad spirit?
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?

PUCK
My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
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 entered in a brake,
When I did him at this advantage take.
An ass's nole I fixed on his head.
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy –
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
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 briars 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 waked, and straightway loved an ass.

OBERON
This falls out better than I could devise!
But hast thou yet latched the Athenian's eyes
With the love juice, as I did bid thee do?

PUCK
I took him sleeping – that is finished too;
And the Athenian woman by his side,
That when he waked of force she must be eyed.
Enter Demetrius and Hermia

OBERON
Stand close. This is the same Athenian.

PUCK
This is the woman, but not this the man.

DEMETRIUS
O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

HERMIA
Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse,
For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o'ershoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day
As he to me. Would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon
This whole earth may be bored, 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 murdered him.
So should a murderer look; so dead, so grim.

DEMETRIUS
So should the murdered look, and so should I,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.

HERMIA
What's this to my Lysander? Where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

DEMETRIUS
I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.

HERMIA
Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou drivest me past the bounds
Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him then?
Henceforth be never numbered among men.
O, once tell true – tell true, even for my sake.
Durst thou have looked upon him being awake?
And hast thou killed 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.

DEMETRIUS
You spend your passion on a misprised mood.
I am not guilty of Lysander's blood.
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

HERMIA
I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

DEMETRIUS
An if I could, what should I get therefore?

HERMIA
A privilege never to see me more;
And from thy hated presence part I so.
See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
Exit

DEMETRIUS
There is no following her in this fierce vein.
Here therefore for a while I will remain.
So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe,
Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.
He lies down and sleeps

OBERON
What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite,
And laid the love juice on some true love's sight.
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
Some true love turned, and not a false turned true.

PUCK
Then fate o'errules, that, one man holding truth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.

OBERON
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.

PUCK
I go, I go – look how I go –
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.
Exit

OBERON
Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid's archery,
Sink in apple of his eye.
He squeezes the flower on Demetrius's eyes
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
When thou wakest, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
Enter Puck

PUCK
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!

OBERON
Stand aside. The noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.

PUCK
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

LYSANDER
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?

HELENA
You do advance your cunning more and more.
When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
These vows are Hermia's. Will you give her o'er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.

LYSANDER
I had no judgement when to her I swore.

HELENA
Nor none in my mind now you give her o'er.

LYSANDER
Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.

DEMETRIUS
(wakes)
O Helena, 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,
Fanned with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
When thou holdest up thy hand. O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!

HELENA
O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment.
If you 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.

LYSANDER
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.

HELENA
Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

DEMETRIUS
Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.
If e'er I loved her all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guestwise sojourned,
And now to Helen is it home returned,
There to remain.

LYSANDER
Helen, it is not so.

DEMETRIUS
Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear.
Look where thy love comes: yonder is thy dear.
Enter Hermia

HERMIA
Dark night that from the eye his function takes
The ear more quick of apprehension makes.
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense
It pays the hearing double recompense.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear – I thank it – brought me to thy sound.
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?

LYSANDER
Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?

HERMIA
What love could press Lysander from my side?

LYSANDER
Lysander's love, that would not let him bide:
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light,
Why seekest thou me? Could not this make thee know
The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?

HERMIA
You speak not as you think. It cannot be.

HELENA
Lo, she is one of this confederacy.
Now I perceive they have conjoined all three
To fashion this false sport in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid,
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared –
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us – O, is all forgot?
All schooldays' 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 an 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.

HERMIA
I am amazed at your passionate words.
I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.

HELENA
Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius –
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot –
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 unloved:
This you should pity rather than despise.

HERMIA
I understand not what you mean by this.

HELENA
Ay, do! Persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,
Wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up.
This sport well carried shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare ye well. 'Tis partly my own fault,
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.

LYSANDER
Stay, gentle Helena, hear my excuse,
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!

HELENA
O excellent!

HERMIA
(to Lysander)
Sweet, do not scorn her so.

DEMETRIUS
If she cannot entreat, I can compel.

LYSANDER
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.

DEMETRIUS
I say I love thee more than he can do.

LYSANDER
If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.

DEMETRIUS
Quick, come.

HERMIA
Lysander, whereto tends all this?

LYSANDER
Away, you Ethiope!

DEMETRIUS
No, no. He'll
Seem to break loose, take on as he would follow,
But yet come not. (To Lysander) You are a tame man, go.

LYSANDER
Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.

HERMIA
Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
Sweet love?

LYSANDER
Thy love? – out, tawny Tartar, out;
Out, loathed medicine! O hated potion, hence!

HERMIA
Do you not jest?

HELENA
Yes, sooth, and so do you.

LYSANDER
Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

DEMETRIUS
I would I had your bond; for I perceive
A weak bond holds you. I'll not trust your word.

LYSANDER
What? Should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.

HERMIA
What? Can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me? Wherefore? O me, what news, my love?
Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me.
Why then, you left me – O, the gods forbid! –
In earnest, shall I say?

LYSANDER
Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt,
Be certain. Nothing truer – 'tis no jest
That I do hate thee and love Helena.

HERMIA
O me, you juggler, you canker-blossom,
You thief of love! What, have you come by night
And stolen my love's heart from him?

HELENA
Fine, i'faith.
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you!

HERMIA
Puppet? Why so? – Ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures. She hath urged her height,
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed 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.

HELENA
I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me. I was never curst.
I have no gift at all in shrewishness.
I am a right maid for my cowardice!
Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think
Because she is something lower than myself
That I can match her....

HERMIA
Lower? Hark, again!

HELENA
Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia;
Did ever keep your counsels, never wronged you,
Save that in love unto Demetrius
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
He followed you. For love I followed him.
But he hath chid me hence, and threatened me
To strike me, spurn me – nay, to kill me too.
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back
And follow you no further. Let me go.
You see how simple and how fond I am.

HERMIA
Why, get you gone! Who is't that hinders you?

HELENA
A foolish heart that I leave here behind.

HERMIA
What, with Lysander?

HELENA
With Demetrius.

LYSANDER
Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.

DEMETRIUS
No, sir, She shall not, though you take her part.

HELENA
O, when she is angry she is keen and shrewd.
She was a vixen when she went to school,
And though she be but little, she is fierce.

HERMIA
Little again? Nothing but low and little?
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.

LYSANDER
Get you gone, you dwarf,
You minimus of hindering knot-grass made,
You bead, you acorn.

DEMETRIUS
You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone. Speak not of Helena,
Take not her part; for if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.

LYSANDER
Now she holds me not.
Now follow – if thou darest – to try whose right
Of thine or mine is most in Helena.

DEMETRIUS
Follow? Nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
Exeunt Demetrius and Lysander

HERMIA
You, mistress – all this coil is 'long of you.
Nay – go not back.

HELENA
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!
Exit

HERMIA
I am amazed, and know not what to say!
Exit
Oberon and Puck come forward

OBERON
This is thy negligence. Still thou mistakest,
Or else committest thy knaveries wilfully.

PUCK
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.

OBERON
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.

PUCK
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 crossways and floods have burial
Already to their wormy beds are gone.
For fear lest day should look their shames upon
They wilfully themselves exile from light,
And must for aye consort with black-browed night.

OBERON
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.
Exit

PUCK
Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down.
I am feared in field and town.
Goblin, lead them up and down.
Here comes one.
Enter Lysander

LYSANDER
Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.

PUCK
(in Demetrius's voice)
Here, villain, drawn and ready! Where art thou?

LYSANDER
I will be with thee straight.

PUCK
(in Demetrius's voice)
Follow me then
To plainer ground.
Exit Lysander
Enter Demetrius

DEMETRIUS
Lysander, speak again.
Thou runaway, thou coward – art thou fled?
Speak. In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?

PUCK
(in Lysander's voice)
Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
Telling the bushes that thou lookest for wars,
And wilt not come? Come, recreant. Come, thou child,
I'll whip thee with a rod. He is defiled
That draws a sword on thee.

DEMETRIUS
Yea, art thou there?

PUCK
(in Lysander's voice)
Follow my voice. We'll try no manhood here.
Exeunt Puck and Demetrius
Enter Lysander

LYSANDER
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 followed fast, but faster he did fly,
That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
And here will rest me. (He lies down) Come, thou gentle day,
For if but once thou show me thy grey light
I'll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
He sleeps
Enter Puck and Demetrius

PUCK
(in Lysander's voice)
Ho, ho, ho, coward! Why comest thou not?

DEMETRIUS
Abide me if thou darest, for well I wot
Thou runnest before me, shifting every place,
And darest not stand nor look me in the face.
Where art thou now?

PUCK
(in Lysander's voice)
Come hither; I am here.

DEMETRIUS
Nay, then thou mockest 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.
He lies down and sleeps
Enter Helena

HELENA
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.
She lies down and sleeps

PUCK
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.
Enter Hermia

HERMIA
Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew, and torn with briars –
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.
She lies down and sleeps

PUCK
On the ground
Sleep sound.
I'll apply
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
He squeezes the juice on Lysander's eyes
When thou wakest,
Thou takest
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;
Naught shall go ill.
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.
Exit
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL