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ACT I.

SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of Theseus.

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Philostrate, and Attendants.

The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, oh, methinks how slow
This old moon wanes ! 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 them-
selves 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 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.
Hippolyta, 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!
[with thee?
The. Thanks, good Egeus: what's the news
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with com-
plaint

Against my child, my daughter Hermia.-
Stand forth, Demetrius.-My noble lord,

This man hath my consent to marry her. Stand forth, Lysander;-and, my gracious duke, [child

This man hath 'witch'd the bosom of my Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,

And interchang'd love-tokens with my child : Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung. With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stol'n th' impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, [sengers

Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; mesOf strong prevailment in unharden'd youth: With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart;

Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness :-and, my gracious
duke,

Be it 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
To whom you are but as a form in wax, [one
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 judg-
ment look.

Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power 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 befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. I must confess that I have heard so
much,
[thereof;
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it.-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 else the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of single life.
Come, my Hippolyta : what cheer, my love?—
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial; and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you.
|[Exeunt Thes., Hip., Ege., Dem., and train.
Lys. How now, my love! Why is your
cheek so pale?

:

How chance the roses there to fade so fast? Her. Belike, for want of rain, which I could well

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, 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 life, [moon.
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless
Thrice blessed they, that master so their
blood,

To undergo such maiden pilgrimage :
But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
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, whose unwished 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;
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
For aye, austerity and single life.
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia :-and,
sander, yield

Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true, he hath my
love;

And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is mine, and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.

Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.
Lys. Ah me! for aught that ever I could
Could ever hear by tale or history, [read,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But, either it was different in blood,-

Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to
low !

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
Ly- That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and

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,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius' ;
And, which is more than all these boasts can
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia :
Why should not I, then, prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made 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.

[be,

Lys. Or else misgraffèd in respect of years,-
Her. O spite! too old to be engag'd to
young!
[friends,-
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's
eye!

Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,

earth,

And ere a man hath power to say,--Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up :
So quick bright things come to confusion.

Her. If, then, true lovers have been ever
It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts, and dreams, and
Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers.
Lys. A good persuasion: therefore, hear
me, Hermia.

[cross'd,
[sighs,

I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child :
From Athens is her house remote seven
leagues;

And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov'st me, then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;

And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.

Her.
My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow;
By his best arrow with the golden head ;
By the simplicity of Venus' doves;
By that which knitteth souls and prospers
loves,
[queen,
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage
When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
Lys. Keep promise, love. Look, here
comes Helena.

Enter Helena.

And thence from Athens turn away our eyes, To seek new friends and stranger companies. Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us; And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius !Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight

From lovers' food till morrow deep midnight. Lys. I will, my Hermia.-[Exit Herm.] Helena, adieu :

As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit. Hel. How happy some, o'er other some

can be!

Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know, what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,

Her. God speed fair Helena ! Whither Love can transpose to form and dignity:

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Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia! ere I go;
My car should catch your voice, my eye your
eye,
[melody;
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'll give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look; and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart!
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
Hel. O that your frowns would teach my
smiles such skill!

Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Hel. O that my prayers could such affection move! [me.

Her. The more I hate, the more he follows Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me. Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. Hel. None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine! [my face; Her. Take comfort: he no more shall see Lysander and myself will fly this place. Before the time I did Lysander see, Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me: O, then, what graces in my love do dwell, That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a hell! Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,) Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal. Her. And in the wood where often you and I Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie, Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, There my Lysander and myself shall meet;

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the

mind;

And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste :
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjur'd every where :
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine:
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.

[Exit.

SCENE II.-Athens. A Room in a Cottage. Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.

Quin. Is all our company here? Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and the duchess on his wedding-day at night.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.

Quin. Marry, our play is-The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.-Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll: Masters, spread yourselves. [the weaver. Quin. Answer, as I call you.-Nick Bottom, Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.

Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant? Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest :-yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.

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This was lofty-Now name the rest of the
players.-
[more condoling.
This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein ;-a lover is
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Fla. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
Fla. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman;
I have a beard coming.

Quin. That's all one: you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice-Thisne, Thisne'-'Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear thy Thisby dear, and Lady dear!'

have no more discretion but to hang us; but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man: therefore, you must needs play Pyramus.

Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?

Quin. Why, what you will.

Bot. I will discharge it in either your strawcolour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown colour beard, your perfect yellow.

Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced. |—But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse : for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogged with company, and our devices known. In the mean time, I will draw a bill of properties, such as cur play wants.. I pray you, fail me not.

Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely, and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.

Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough; hold, or cut bow-strings.
[Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.-A Wood near Athens.

Qain. No, no; you must play Pyramus: Enter a Fairy on one side, and Puck on the

and, Flute, you Thisby.

Bot. Well, proceed.

Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.

Star. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.-Tom Snout, the tinker.

Snout. Here, Peter Quince.

other.

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Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green :
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,

Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father;--Snug, the joiner, you the lion's part-and, I hope, here is a play fitted. Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of! study. [nothing but roaring. Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say. Let him roar again, let him roar again.' Quin. An' you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all. Take heed the queen come not within his sight; All. That would hang us, every mother's For Oberon is passing fell and wrath, Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should Because that she, as her attendant, hath fright the ladies out of their wits, they would A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king;

[son.

In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone :
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here
to-night:

She never had so sweet a changeling:
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild;
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes hini all
her joy:

And now they never meet in grove or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled star-light sheen,
But they do square; that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there.
Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making
quite,

Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Call'd Robin Good-fellow are you not he
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skims milk, and sometimes labours in the
quern,

Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta, [Titania,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmer-
ing night

From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair Æglé break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa?

Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy :
And never, since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our
sport.
[churn; Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Have every pelting river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green

And bootless makes the breathless housewife
And sometime makes the drink to bear no barm;
Misleads night-wanderers, laughing at their

harm?

Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good
Are not you he?
[luck:
Puck.

Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor' cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and
loffe;

And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there,-
But, room, Fairy! here comes Oberon.

corn

Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard :
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine-men's morris is fill'd up with mud;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread are undistinguishable :
The human mortals want their winter here;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest :-
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change

Fai. And here my mistress :-Would that Their wonted liveries: and the 'mazed world, he were gone!

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I have forsworn his bed and company.

Obe. Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?
Tita. Then, I must be thy lady: but I know
When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded; and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

By their increase, now knows not which is
which :

And this same progeny of evils comes
We are their parents and original.
From our debate, from our dissension;

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

Tita.
Set your heart at rest :
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a votaress of my order:
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side;
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming
gait
[squire)

Following, (her womb then rich with my young

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