Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folio 1, 1623)


A Midsommer nights Dreame.
155
Two louely berries molded on one stem,
So with two seeming bodies, but one heart,
1240Two 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.
1245Our 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
1250To 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
1255To 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,
1260So 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,
1265Make 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:
1270But 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!
1275Her. 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;
1280I 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.
1285Her. 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.
1290Lys. 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;
1295Out 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
1300A 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?
1305Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as faire now, as I was ere while.
Since night you lou'dme; yet since night you left me.
Why then you left me (O the gods forbid
In earnest, shall I say?
1310Lys. 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.
1315Her. 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,
1320No 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
1325Betweene 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?
1330How 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:
1335I 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.
1340Her. 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,
1345I 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,
1350To 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.
1355Her. 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,
1360She 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.
1365Lys. 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.
N6
Let