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SCENE.-THE PALACE OF THESEUS, AT ATHENS. At the rise

of the curtain, to melodious strains, certain nobles are discovered in various groups about the scene. PHILOSTRATE, with some ladics of the Amason Court, are at the R. They all bow profoundly as THESEUS and HIPPOLITA enter, conversing, from L., and come forward, c.

The. Now, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace ; four happy days bring in
Another moon : but, oh, mcthinks, how slow
This old moon wancs ! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.

Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights ;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in hcaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities,
The.

Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.

[Exit PHILOSTRATE. Hippolita, I woo'd thce with my sword, And won thy love, doing thee injuries ;

But I will wcd thce in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.

[Hc lcads her to a lounge at R., where the women of her

court surround her. He reclincs beside her. Music, which is interrupted by entrance of EGEUS and HERMIA

from L. LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS follow. Ege. Happy bc Thescus, our renowned duke !

[11c knocls. The others also kneel, but rise immediately. The. Thanks, good Egcus. What's the news with thee?

Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hernia :
Stand forth, Demetrius. [He rises.] My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander :-and, my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child:

[He crosses to LYSANDER.
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhynies,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :
Thou hast by moonlight at hier window sung,
With reigning voice, verscs of feigning love;
With cunning last thou filch'd my daughter's heart ;
Turn's her obcdicnce, which is duc to me,
To stubborn harshness. [Returning to Theseus.) And, my

gracious duke,
Be it so, she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I bcg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be cither to this gentleman,
Or to her death ; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that.case.

The. What say you, Hermia ? be advis'd, fair maid :
To you your father should be as a god;
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.
The.

In himself he is.
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would my father look'd but with my cyes !
The. Rather, your eyes must with his judgment look.

Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon inc. [Knceling.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence herc, to plead my thoughts :
But I bescech your grace that I may know
The worst that may bcfal me in this case,
If I refuse to wcd Demetrius.

The. (Rising. ] Either to die thc dcath, or to abjure For over the society of men. (Advancing to hcr, as she rises. Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires, Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice, You can endure the livery of a nun; For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd, To live a barren sister all your lisc, Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon. Thrice blessed they that master so their blood, To undergo such maiden pilgrimage : But earthly happier is thc rose distill'd, Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn, Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.

Hor. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, Ere I will yield niy maiden heart and vow* Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke My soul consents not to give sovereignty. The. Take time to pausc; and, by the next new moon,

[Returning to HIPPOLITA. (The scaling.day betwixt my lovc and me, For everlasting bond of fellowship,) Upon that day cither prepare to dic, For disobedience to your father's will ; Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would ; Or on Diana's altar to protest, For aye, austerity and single life.

[Sits and converses with HIPPOLITA. Dem. Relent, sweet Herinia; and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.

Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius ;
Let mc have Hermia's : do you marry lin.

Egi. Scornful Lysander | truc, he hath my love ;
And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is minc; and all my right of her
I do estate unto Denictrius.

[LYSANDER passes Egeus and addresses THESEUS.
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am bclov'd of beautcous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Madc love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

The, I must confess that I have hcard so much,
And with Denictrius thought to have spoke thereof,
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it.

[Rises and comes forward.

But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus ; you shall go with me,
I have some private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or clsc thc law of Athens yields you up
To death, or to a vow of single lise.
Comc, my Hippolita;
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial; and conser with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.

Ege. With duty and desire, we follow you.
[Excunt THESEUS, HIPPOLITA, EGEUS, DEMETRIUS,

and Court, R.

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