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About this text

  • Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Suzanne Westfall
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-465-3

    Copyright Suzanne Westfall. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Suzanne Westfall
    Not Peer Reviewed

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

    156A Midsommer nights Dreame.
    1370Let her alone, speake not of Helena,
    Take not her part. For if thou dost intend
    Neuer so little shew of loue to her,
    Thou shalt abide it.
    Lys. Now she holds me not,
    1375Now follow if thou dar'st, to try whose right,
    Of thine or mine is most in Helena.
    Dem. Follow? Nay, Ile goe with thee cheeke by
    iowle. Exit Lysander and Demetrius.
    Her. You Mistris, all this coyle is long of you.
    1380Nay, goe not backe.
    Hel. I will not trust you I,
    Nor longer stay in your curst companie.
    Your hands then mine, are quicker for a fray,
    My legs are longer though to runne away.

    1385Enter Oberon and Pucke.
    Ob. This is thy negligence, still thou mistak'st,
    Or else committ'st thy knaueries willingly.
    Puck. Beleeue me, King of shadowes, I mistooke,
    Did not you tell me, I should know the man,
    1390By the Athenian garments he hath on?
    And so farre blamelesse proues my enterprize,
    That I haue nointed an Athenians eies,
    And so farre am I glad, it so did sort,
    As this their iangling I esteeme a sport.
    1395Ob. Thou seest these Louers seeke a place to fight,
    Hie therefore Robin, ouercast the night,
    The starrie Welkin couer thou anon,
    With drooping fogge as blacke as Acheron,
    And lead these testie Riuals so astray,
    1400As one come not within anothers way.
    Like to Lysander, sometime frame thy tongue,
    Then stirre Demetrius vp with bitter wrong;
    And sometime raile thou like Demetrius;
    And from each other looke thou leade them thus,
    1405Till ore their browes, death-counterfeiting, sleepe
    With leaden legs, and Battie-wings doth creepe:
    Then crush this hearbe into Lysanders eie,
    Whose liquor hath this vertuous propertie,
    To take from thence all error, with his might,
    1410And make his eie-bals role with wonted sight.
    When they next wake, all this derision
    Shall seeme a dreame, and fruitlesse vision,
    And backe to Athens shall the Louers wend
    With league, whose date till death shall neuer end.
    1415Whiles I in this affaire do thee imply,
    Ile to my Queene, and beg her Indian Boy;
    And then I will her charmed eie release
    From monsters view, and all things shall be peace.
    Puck. My Fairie Lord, this must be done with haste,
    1420For night-swift Dragons cut the Clouds full fast,
    And yonder shines Auroras harbinger;
    At whose approach Ghosts wandring here and there,
    Troope home to Church-yards; damned spirits all,
    That in crosse-waies and flouds haue buriall,
    1425Alreadie to their wormie beds are gone;
    For feare least day should looke their shames vpon,
    They wilfully themselues dxile from light,
    And must for aye consort with blacke browd night.
    Ob. But we are spirits of another sort:
    1430I, with the mornings loue haue oft made sport,
    And like a Forrester, the groues may tread,
    Euen till the Easterne gate all fierie red,
    Opening on Neptune, with faire blessed beames,
    Turnes into yellow gold, his salt greene streames.
    1435But notwithstanding haste, make no delay:
    We may effect this businesse, yet ere day.
    Puck. Vp and downe, vp and downe, I will leade
    them vp and downe: I am fear'd in field and towne.
    Goblin, lead them vp and downe: here comes one.
    1440Enter Lysander.
    Lys. Where art thou, proud Demetrius?
    Speake thou now.
    Rob. Here villaine, drawne & readie. Where art thou?
    Lys. I will be with thee straight.
    1445Rob. Follow me then to plainer ground.
    Enter Demetrius.
    Dem. Lysander, speake againe;
    Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
    Speake in some bush: Where dost thou hide thy head?
    1450Rob. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
    Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars,
    And wilt not come? Come recreant, come thou childe,
    Ile whip thee with a rod. He is defil'd
    That drawes a sword on thee.
    1455Dem. Yea, art thou there?
    Ro. Follow my voice, we'l try no manhood here. Exit.
    Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on,
    When I come where he cals, then he's gone.
    The villaine is much lighter heel'd then I:
    1460I followed fast, but faster he did flye; shifting places.
    That fallen am I in darke vneuen way,
    And here wil rest me. Come thou gentle day: lye down.
    For if but once thou shew me thy gray light,
    Ile finde Demetrius, and reuenge this spight.
    1465Enter Robin and Demetrius.
    Rob. Ho, ho, ho; coward, why com'st thou not?
    Dem. Abide me, if thou dar'st. For well I wot,
    Thou runst before me, shifting euery place,
    And dar'st not stand, nor looke me in the face.
    1470Where art thou?
    Rob. Come hither, I am here.
    Dem. Nay then thou mock'st me; thou shalt buy this
    deere,
    If euer I thy face by day-light see.
    1475Now goe thy way: faintnesse constraineth me,
    To measure out my length on this cold bed,
    By daies approach looke to be visited.
    Enter Helena.
    Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
    1480Abate thy houres, shine comforts from the East,
    That I may backe to Athens by day-light,
    From these that my poore companie detest;
    And sleepe that sometime shuts vp sorrowes eie,
    Steale me a while from mine owne companie. Sleepe.
    1485Rob. Yet but three? Come one more,
    Two of both kindes makes vp foure.
    Here she comes, curst and sad,
    Cupid is a knauish lad,
    Enter Hermia.
    1490Thus to make poore females mad.
    Her. Neuer so wearie, neuer so in woe,
    Bedabbled with the dew, and torne with briars,
    I can no further crawle, no further goe;
    My legs can keepe no pace with my desires.
    1495Here will I rest me till the breake of day,
    Heauens shield Lysander, if they meane a fray.
    Rob. On the ground sleepe sound,
    Ile apply your eie gentle louer, remedy.
    When thou wak'st, thou tak'st
    1500True delight in the sight of thy former Ladies eye,
    And