Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    A Midsommer nights Dreame.
    O then, what graces in my Loue do dwell,
    220That he hath turn'd a heauen into hell.
    Lys. Helen, to you our mindes we will vnfold,
    To morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
    Her siluer visage, in the watry glasse,
    Decking with liquid pearle, the bladed grasse
    225(A time that Louers flights doth still conceale)
    Through Athens gates, haue we deuis'd to steale.
    Her. And in the wood, where often you and I,
    Vpon faint Primrose beds, were wont to lye,
    Emptying our bosomes, of their counsell sweld:
    230There my Lysander, and my selfe shall meete,
    And thence from Athens turne away our eyes
    To seeke new friends and strange companions,
    Farwell sweet play-fellow, pray thou for vs,
    And good lucke grant thee thy Demetrius.
    235Keepe word Lysander we must starue our sight,
    From louers foode, till morrow deepe midnight.
    Exit Hermia.
    Lys. I will my Hermia. Helena adieu,
    As you on him, Demetrius dotes on you.
    Exit Lysander.
    240Hele. How happy some, ore othersome can be?
    Through Athens I am thought as faire as she.
    But what of that? Demetrius thinkes not so:
    He will not know, what all, but he doth know,
    And as hee erres, doting on Hermias eyes;
    245So I, admiring of his qualities:
    Things base and vilde, holding no quantity,
    Loue can transpose to forme and dignity,
    Loue lookes not with the eyes, but with the minde,
    And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blinde.
    250Nor hath loues minde of any iudgement taste:
    Wings and no eyes, figure, vnheedy haste.
    And therefore is Loue said to be a childe,
    Because in choise he is often beguil'd,
    As waggish boyes in game themselues forsweare;
    255So the boy Loue is periur'd euery where.
    For ere Demetrius lookt on Hermias eyne,
    He hail'd downe oathes that he was onely mine.
    And when this Haile some heat from Hermia felt,
    So he dissolu'd, and showres of oathes did melt,
    260I will goe tell him of faire Hermias flight:
    Then to the wood will he, to morrow night
    Pursue her; and for his intelligence,
    If I haue thankes, it is a deere expence:
    But heerein meane I to enrich my paine,
    265To haue his sight thither, and backe againe.

    Enter Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Ioyner, Bottome the
    Weauer, Flute the bellowes-mender, Snout the Tinker, and
    Starueling the Taylor.

    Quin. Is all our company heere?
    270Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by
    man according to the scrip.
    Qui. Here is the scrowle of euery mans name, which
    is thought fit through all Athens, to play in our Enter-
    lude before the Duke and the Dutches, on his wedding
    275day at night.
    Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
    on: then read the names of the Actors: and so grow on
    to a point.
    Quin. Marry our play is the most lamentable Come-
    280dy, and most cruell death of Pyramus and Thisbie.
    Bot. A very good peece of worke I assure you, and a
    merry. Now good Peter Quince, call forth your Actors
    by the scrowle. Masters spread your selues.
    Quince. Answere as I call you. Nick Bottome the
    Bottome. Ready; name what part I am for, and
    Quince. You Nicke Bottome are set downe for Py-
    290Bot. What is Pyramus, a louer, or a tyrant?
    Quin. A Louer that kills himselfe most gallantly for
    Bot. That will aske some teares in the true perfor-
    ming of it: if I do it, let the audience looke to their eies:
    295I will mooue stormes; I will condole in some measure.
    To the rest yet, my chiefe humour is for a tyrant. I could
    play Ercles rarely, or a part to teare a Cat in, to make all
    split the raging Rocks; and shiuering shocks shall break
    the locks of prison gates, and Phibbus carre shall shine
    300from farre, and make and marre the foolish Fates. This
    was lofty. Now name the rest of the Players. This
    is Ercles vaine, a tyrants vaine: a louer is more condo-
    Quin. Francis Flute the Bellowes-mender.
    305Flu. Heere Peter Quince.
    Quin. You must take Thisbie on you.
    Flut. What is Thisbie, a wandring Knight?
    Quin. It is the Lady that Pyramus must loue.
    Flut. Nay faith, let not mee play a woman, I haue a
    310beard comming.
    Qui. That's all one, you shall play it in a Maske, and
    you may speake as small as you will.
    Bot. And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbie too:
    Ile speake in a monstrous little voyce; Thisne, Thisne, ah
    315Pyramus my louer deare, thy Thisbie deare, and Lady
    Quin. No no, you must play Pyramus, and Flute, you
    Bot. Well, proceed.
    320Qu. Robin Starueling the Taylor.
    Star. Heere Peter Quince.
    Quince. Robin Starueling, you must play Thisbies
    Tom Snowt, the Tinker.
    325Snowt. Heere Peter Quince.
    Quin. You, Pyramus father; my self, Thisbies father;
    Snugge the Ioyner, you the Lyons part: and I hope there
    is a play fitted.
    Snug. Haue you the Lions part written? pray you if
    330be, giue it me, for I am slow of studie.
    Quin. You may doe it extemporie, for it is nothing
    but roaring.
    Bot. Let mee play the Lyon too, I will roare that I
    will doe any mans heart good to heare me. I will roare,
    335that I will make the Duke say, Let him roare againe, let
    him roare againe.
    Quin. If you should doe it too terribly, you would
    fright the Dutchesse and the Ladies, that they would
    shrike, and that were enough to hang vs all.
    340All. That would hang vs euery mothers sonne.
    Bottome. I graunt you friends, if that you should
    fright the Ladies out of their Wittes, they would
    haue no more discretion but to hang vs: but I will ag-
    grauate my voyce so, that I will roare you as gently as
    345any sucking Doue; I will roare and 'twere any Nightin-
    Quin. You can play no part but Piramus, for Pira-