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THESE US, Duke of Athens.
Egeus, an Athenian Lord.
LYSANDER, in love with Hermia.
DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia.
QUINCE, the Carpenter.
SNUG, the Joiner.
Bottom, the Weaver.
Flute, the Bellows-mender.
Snowt, the Tinker.
STARVELING, the Tailor.
PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Revels to Theseus.
HIPPOLITA, Princess of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus.
HERMIA, Daughter to Egeus, in love with LYSANDER.
HELENA, in love with DemETRIUS.
Oberon, King of the Fairies.
TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies.
Puck, or ROBIN-GOODFELLOW, a Fairy.
PE AS E BLOSSOM,
Other Fairies attending on the King and Queen.
SCENE Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
M I D S U M M E R-N I G H T's
Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Philoftrate, with attendants.
THE SE U s.
O W, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon : but o, methinks, how now
This old moon wanes ! fhe 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 heaven, shall behold the night
Of our folemnities.
Tbe. Go, Pbilostrate,
Stir up th' 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.
Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries :
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling:
Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
The. Thanks, good Egeus; what's the news with thee?
Ege. Full of vexation, come I with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lyfander. And, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child :
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast giv'n her rhimes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :
Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigned love,
And stoľn th' impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness. And, my gracious duke,
Be't so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her :
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death, according to our law,
Immediately provided in that case.
The. What say you, Hermia? be advis’d, fair maid.
To you your father should be as a god;
One that compos’d your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted; and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it:
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
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 eyes.
The. Rather, your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do intreat your grace to pardon me:
I know not by what pow'r I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts :
But I beseech your grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, not yielding 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 life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage !
But earthlier happy is the rose distillid,
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up,
Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
The. Take time to pause, and by the next new moon,
(The sealing day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship)
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would ;