Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Quarto 1, 1600)


A Midsommer nightes dreame.
Goe bring them in, and take your places, Ladies.
Hip. I loue not to see wretchednesse orecharged;
And duery, in his seruice, perishing.
The. Why, gentle sweete, you shall see no such thing.
1885Hip. He sayes, they can doe nothing in this kinde.
The. The kinder we, to giue them thanks, for nothing.
Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake.
And what poore duty cannot doe, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
1890Where I haue come, great Clerkes haue purposed
To greete me, with premeditated welcomes;
Where I haue seene them shiuer and looke pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practiz'd accent in their feares,
1895And in conclusion dumbly haue broke off,
Not paying mee a welcome. Trust me, sweete,
Out of this silence, yet, I pickt a welcome:
And in the modesty of fearefull duty,
I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
1900Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Loue, therefore, and tong-tide simplicity,
In least, speake most, to my capacity.
Philost. So please your Grace, the Prologue is addrest.
Duk. Let him approach.
1905
Enter the Prologue.
Pro. If wee offend, it is with our good will.
That you should thinke, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To shew our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
1910Consider then, we come but in despight.
We doe not come, as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight,
Wee are not here. That you should here repent you,
The Actors are at hand: and, by their showe,
1915You shall know all, that you are like to knowe,
G4
The.