Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Roger Apfelbaum
Peer Reviewed

Romeo and Juliet (Quarto 2, 1599)


of Romeo and Iuliet.
Fiue times in that, ere once in our fine wits.
Ro. And we meane well in going to this Mask,
But tis no wit to go.
Mer. Why, may one aske?
505Rom. I dreampt a dreame to night.
Mer. And so did I.
Ro. Well what was yours?
Mer. That dreamers often lie.
Ro. In bed asleep while they do dream things true.
510Mer. O then I see Queene Mab hath bin with you:
She is the Fairies midwife, and she comes in shape no bigger thē
an Agot stone, on the forefinger of an Alderman, drawne with
a teeme of little ottamie, ouer mens noses as they lie asleep: her
waggō spokes made of lōg spinners legs: the couer, of the wings
515of Grashoppers, her traces of the smallest spider web, her collors
of the moonshines watry beams, her whip of Crickets bone, the
lash of Philome, her waggoner, a small grey coated Gnat, not
half so big as a round litle worme, prickt from the lazie finger of
520a man. Her Charriot is an emptie Hasel nut, Made by the Ioyner
squirrel or old Grub, time out a mind, the Fairie Coatchmakers:
and in this state she gallops night by night, throgh louers brains,
and then they dreame of loue. On Courtiers knees, that dreame
525on Cursies strait ore Lawyers fingers who strait dreame on fees,
ore Ladies lips who strait one kisses dream, which oft the angrie
Mab with blisters plagues, because their breath with sweete
meates tainted are. Sometime she gallops ore a Courtiers nose,
and then dreames he of smelling out a sute: and sometime comes
530she with a tithpigs tale, tickling a Persons nose as a lies asleepe,
then he dreams of an other Benefice. Sometime she driueth ore
a souldiers neck, and then dreames he of cutting forrain throates,
of breaches, ambuscados, spanish blades: Of healths fiue fadome
535deepe, and then anon drums in his eare, at which he starts and
wakes, and being thus frighted, sweares a praier or two, & sleeps
againe: this is that very Mab that plats the manes of horses in the
night: and bakes the Elklocks in foule sluttish haires, which
once vntangled, much misfortune bodes.
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