Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

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


A Midsommer nights Dreame.
149
The nine mens Morris is fild vp with mud,
And the queint Mazes in the wanton greene,
475For lacke of tread are vndistinguishable.
The humane mortals want their winter heere,
No night is now with hymne or caroll blest;
Therefore the Moone (the gouernesse of floods)
Pale in her anger, washes all the aire;
480That Rheumaticke diseases doe abound.
And through this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter; hoared headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson Rose,
And on old Hyems chinne and Icie crowne,
485An odorous Chaplet of sweet Sommer buds
Is as in mockry set. The Spring, the Sommer,
The childing Autumne, angry Winter change
Their wonted Liueries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knowes not which is which;
490And this same progeny of euills,
Comes from our debate, from our dissention,
We are their parents and originall.
Ober. Do you amend it then, it lies in you,
Why should Titania crosse her Oberon?
495I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my Henchman.
Qu. Set your heart at rest,
The Fairy land buyes not the childe of me,
His mother was a Votresse of my Order,
500And in the spiced Indian aire, by night
Full often hath she gossipt by my side,
And sat with me on Neptunes yellow sands,
Marking th'embarked traders on the flood,
When we haue laught to see the sailes conceiue,
505And grow big bellied with the wanton winde:
Which she with pretty and with swimming gate,
Following (her wombe then rich with my yong squire)
Would imitate, and saile vpon the Land,
To fetch me trifles, and returne againe,
510As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
But she being mortall, of that boy did die,
And for her sake I doe reare vp her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.
Ob. How long within this wood intend you stay?
515Qu. Perchance till after Theseus wedding day.
If you will patiently dance in our Round,
And see our Moone-light reuels, goe with vs;
If not, shun me and I will spare your haunts.
Ob. Giue me that boy, and I will goe with thee.
520Qu. Not for thy Fairy Kingdome. Fairies away:
We shall chide downe right, if I longer stay.
Exeunt.
Ob. Wel, go thy way: thou shalt not from this groue,
Till I torment thee for this iniury.
My gentle Pucke come hither; thou remembrest
525Since once I sat vpon a promontory,
And heard a Meare-maide on a Dolphins backe,
Vttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew ciuill at her song,
And certaine starres shot madly from their Spheares,
530To heare the Sea-maids musicke.
Puc. I remember.
Ob. That very time I say (but thou couldst not)
Flying betweene the cold Moone and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd; a certaine aime he tooke
535At a faire Vestall, throned by the West,
And loos'd his loue-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts,
But I might see young Cupids fiery shaft
Quencht in the chaste beames of the watry Moone;
540And the imperiall Votresse passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy free.
Yet markt I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell vpon a little westerne flower;
Before, milke-white; now purple with loues wound,
545And maidens call it, Loue in idlenesse.
Fetch me that flower; the hearb I shew'd thee once,
The iuyce of it, on sleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Vpon the next liue creature that it sees.
550Fetch me this hearbe, and be thou heere againe,
Ere the Leuiathan can swim a league.
Pucke. Ile put a girdle about the earth, in forty mi-
nutes.
Ober. Hauing once this iuyce,
555Ile watch Titania, when she is asleepe,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
The next thing when she waking lookes vpon,
(Be it on Lyon, Beare, or Wolfe, or Bull,
On medling Monkey, or on busie Ape)
560Shee shall pursue it, with the soule of loue.
And ere I take this charme off from her sight,
(As I can take it with another hearbe)
Ile make her render vp her Page to me.
But who comes heere? I am inuisible,
565And I will ouer-heare their conference.

Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.

Deme. I loue thee not, therefore pursue me not,
Where is Lysander, and faire Hermia?
The one Ile stay, the other stayeth me.
570Thou toldst me they were stolne into this wood;
And heere am I, and wood within this wood,
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted Adamant,
575But yet you draw not Iron, for my heart
Is true as steele. Leaue you your power to draw,
And I shall haue no power to follow you.
Deme. Do I entice you? do I speake you faire?
Or rather doe I not in plainest truth,
580Tell you I doe not, nor I cannot loue you?
Hel. And euen for that doe I loue thee the more;
I am your spaniell, and Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawne on you.
Vse me but as your spaniell; spurne me, strike me,
585Neglect me, lose me; onely giue me leaue
(Vnworthy as I am) to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your loue,
(And yet a place of high respect with me)
Then to be vsed as you doe your dogge.
590Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
For I am sicke when I do looke on thee.
Hel. And I am sicke when I looke not on you.
Dem. You doe impeach your modesty too much,
To leaue the Citty, and commit your selfe
595Into the hands of one that loues you not,
To trust the opportunity of night,
And the ill counsell of a desert place,
With the rich worth of your virginity.
Hel. Your vertue is my priuiledge: for that
600It is not night when I doe see your face.
Therefore I thinke I am not in the night,
Nor doth this wood lacke worlds of company,
N3
For