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  • Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Modern)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Modern)

    650Enter Queen of Fairies, with her train.
    Come now, a roundel and a fairy song;
    Then, for the third part of a minute hence,
    Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
    Some war with reremise for their leathern wings,
    655To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
    The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
    At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep,
    Then to your offices, and let me rest.
    Fairies sing.
    6601 Fairy
    You spotted snakes with double tongue,
    Thorny hedgehogs be not seen;
    Newts and blind worms do no wrong,
    Come not near our fairy queen.
    Philomele, with melody,
    665Sing in your sweet lullaby.
    Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby.
    Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
    Come our lovely lady nigh.
    So good night, with lullaby.
    6702 Fairy.
    Weaving spiders, come not here.
    Hence, you long leg'd spinners, hence!
    Beetles black, approach not near.
    Worm nor Snail, do no offence.
    Philomele with melody, etc.
    6751 Fairy
    Hence away, now all is well.
    One aloof stand sentinel.
    She sleeps.
    Enter Oberon.
    What thou seest when thou dost wake
    Do it for thy true love take;
    680Love and languish for his sake.
    Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
    Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
    In thy eye that shall appear,
    When thou wak'st, it is thy dear.
    685Wake when some vile thing is near.
    Enter Lysander and Hermia.
    Fair love, you faint with wandering in the woods,
    And, to speak troth, I have forgot our way.
    We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
    690And tarry for the comfort of the day.
    Be it so, Lysander. Find you out a bed,
    For I upon this bank will rest my head.
    One turf shall serve as pillow for us both,
    One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
    Nay, good Lysander. For my sake, my dear,
    Lie further off yet; do not lie so near.
    O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence.
    Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
    I mean that my heart unto yours is knit,
    700So that but one heart can you make of it.
    Two bosoms interchanged with an oath,
    So then two bosoms and a single troth.
    Then by your side no bed-room me deny,
    For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
    Lysander riddles very prettily.
    Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
    If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
    But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
    Lie further off, in human modesty,
    710Such separation, as may well be said,
    Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid.
    So far be distant, and good night sweet friend.
    Thy love ne're alter till thy sweet life end.
    Amen, amen, to that fair prayer say I,
    715And then end life when I end loyalty.
    Here is my bed; sleep give thee all his rest.
    With half that wish the wisher's eyes be pressed.
    Enter Puck. They sleep.
    Through the Forest have I gone,
    720But Athenian find I none
    On whose eyes I might approve
    This flower's force in stirring love.
    Night and silence. Who is here?
    Weeds of Athens he doth wear.
    725This is he, my master said,
    Despisèd the Athenian maid;
    And here the maiden, sleeping sound
    On the dank and dirty ground.
    Pretty soul, she durst not lie
    730Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
    [Puck anoints Lysander's eyelids with the juice of love-in-idleness.]
    Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
    All the power this charm doth owe:
    When thou wak'st, let love forbid
    Sleep his seat on thy eyelid.
    735So awake when I am gone,
    For I must now to Oberon.
    Exit [Puck].
    Enter Demetrius and Helena running.
    Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius!
    I charge thee, hence and do not haunt me thus!
    O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so.
    Stay on thy peril! I alone will go.
    Exit Demetrius.
    Oh, I am out of breath in this fond chase.
    The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
    745Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'r she lies,
    For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
    How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears.
    If so, my eyes are oftener washed than hers.
    No, no! I am as ugly as a bear,
    750For beasts that meet me run away for fear.
    Therefore, no marvel though Demetrius
    Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
    What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
    Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
    755But who is here? Lysander, on the ground.
    Dead? Or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
    Lysander, if you live, good sir awake.
    And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake!
    Transparent Helena, nature shows her art,
    760That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
    Where is Demetrius? Oh, how fit a word
    Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
    Do not say so Lysander! Say not so.
    What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?
    765Yet Hermia still loves you. Then be content.
    Content with Hermia? No, I do repent
    The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
    Not Hermia, but Helena now I love.
    Who will not change a raven for a dove?
    770The will of man is by his reason swayed,
    And reason says you are the worthier maid.
    Things growing are not ripe until their season;
    So, I being young, till now ripe not to reason.
    And touching now the point of human skill,
    775Reason becomes the marshal to my will,
    And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
    Love's stories, written in love's richest book.
    Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
    When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
    780Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
    That I did never, no, nor never can
    Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
    But you must flout my insufficiency?
    Good troth, you do me wrong! Good-sooth, you do,
    785In such disdainful manner me to woo.
    But, fare you well. Perforce, I must confess,
    I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
    Oh, that a lady of one man refus'd
    Should of another therefore be abused.
    Exit [Helena].
    She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there,
    And never mayst thou come Lysander near.
    For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things
    The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
    Or, as the heresies that men do leave
    795Are hated most of those that did deceive,
    So thou, my surfeit, and my heresy,
    Of all be hated, but the most of me.
    And all my powers address your love and might
    To honor Helen, and to be her knight.
    Exit [Lysander. Hermia awakens].
    Help me Lysander, help me! Do thy best
    To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast.
    Aye me, for pity. What a dream was here?
    Lysander, look how I do quake with fear!
    Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
    805And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
    Lysander? What, removed? Lysander? Lord!
    What, out of hearing? Gone? No sound, no word?
    Alack! Where are you? Speak, and if you hear!
    Speak, of all loves! I sound almost with fear.
    810No? Then I well perceive you are not nigh.
    Either death or you I'll find immediately.
    Exit [Hermia].