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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    148A Midsommer nights Dreame.
    mus is a sweet-fac'd man, a proper man as one shall see in
    a summers day; a most louely Gentleman-like man, ther-
    350fore you must needs play Piramus.
    Bot. Well, I will vndertake it. What beard were I
    best to play it in?
    Quin. Why, what you will.
    Bot. I will discharge it, in either your straw-colour
    355beard, your orange tawnie beard, your purple in graine
    beard, or your French-crowne colour'd beard, your per-
    fect yellow.
    Quin. Some of your French Crownes haue no haire
    at all, and then you will play bare-fac'd. But masters here
    360are your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and
    desire you, to con them by too morrow night: and meet
    me in the palace wood, a mile without the Towne, by
    Moone-light, there we will rehearse: for if we meete in
    the Citie, we shalbe dog'd with company, and our deui-
    365ses knowne. In the meane time, I wil draw a bil of pro-
    perties, such as our play wants. I pray you faile me not.
    Bottom. We will meete, and there we may rehearse
    more obscenely and couragiously. Take paines, be per-
    fect, adieu.
    370Quin. At the Dukes oake we meete.
    Bot. Enough, hold or cut bow-strings. Exeunt

    Actus Secundus.

    Enter a Fairie at one doore, and Robin good-
    fellow at another.
    375Rob. How now spirit, whether wander you?
    Fai. Ouer hil, ouer dale, through bush, through briar,
    Ouer parke, ouer pale, through flood, through fire,
    I do wander euerie where, swifter then ye Moons sphere;
    And I serue the Fairy Queene, to dew her orbs vpon the (green.
    380The Cowslips tall, her pensioners bee,
    In their gold coats, spots you see,
    Those be Rubies, Fairie fauors,
    In those freckles, liue their sauors,
    I must go seeke some dew drops heere,
    385And hang a pearle in euery cowslips eare.
    Farewell thou Lob of spirits, Ile be gon,
    Our Queene and all her Elues come heere anon.
    Rob. The King doth keepe his Reuels here to night,
    Take heed the Queene come not within his sight,
    390For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
    Because that she, as her attendant, hath
    A louely boy stolne from an Indian King,
    She neuer had so sweet a changeling,
    And iealous Oberon would haue the childe
    395Knight of his traine, to trace the Forrests wilde.
    But she (perforce) with-holds the loued boy,
    Crownes him with flowers, and makes him all her ioy.
    And now they neuer meete in groue, or greene,
    By fountaine cleere, or spangled star-light sheene,
    400But they do square, that all their Elues for feare
    Creepe into Acorne cups and hide them there.
    Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
    Or else you are that shrew'd and knauish spirit
    Cal'd Robin Good-fellow. Are you not hee,
    405That frights the maidens of the Villagree,
    Skim milke, and sometimes labour in the querne,
    And bootlesse make the breathlesse huswife cherne,
    And sometime make the drinke to beare no barme,
    Misleade night-wanderers, laughing at their harme,
    410Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Pucke,
    You do their worke, and they shall haue good lucke.
    Are not you he?
    Rob. Thou speak'st aright;
    I am that merrie wanderer of the night:
    415I iest to Oberon, and make him smile,
    When I a fat and beane-fed horse beguile,
    Neighing in likenesse of a silly foale,
    And sometime lurke I in a Gossips bole,
    In very likenesse of a roasted crab:
    420And when she drinkes, against her lips I bob,
    And on her withered dewlop poure the Ale.
    The wisest Aunt telling the saddest tale,
    Sometime for three-foot stoole, mistaketh me,
    Then slip I from her bum, downe topples she,
    425And tailour cries, and fals into a coffe.
    And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe,
    And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and sweare,
    A merrier houre vvas neuer wasted there.
    But roome Fairy, heere comes Oberon.
    430Fair. And heere my Mistris:
    Would that he vvere gone.

    Enter the King of Fairies at one doore with his traine,
    and the Queene at another with hers.

    Ob. Ill met by Moone-light.
    435Proud Tytania.
    Qu. What, iealous Oberon? Fairy skip hence.
    I haue forsworne his bed and companie.
    Ob. Tarrie rash Wanton; am not I thy Lord?
    Qu. Then I must be thy Lady: but I know
    440When thou vvast stolne away from Fairy Land,
    And in the shape of Corin, sate all day,
    Playing on pipes of Corne, and versing loue
    To amorous Phillida. Why art thou heere
    Come from the farthest steepe of India?
    445But that forsooth the bouncing Amazon
    Your buskin'd Mistresse, and your Warrior loue,
    To Theseus must be Wedded; and you come,
    To giue their bed ioy and prosperitie.
    Ob. How canst thou thus for shame Tytania,
    450Glance at my credite, vvith Hippolita?
    Knowing I knovv thy loue to Theseus?
    Didst thou not leade him through the glimmering night
    From Peregenia, whom he rauished?
    And make him vvith faire Eagles breake his faith
    455With Ariadne, and Atiopa?
    Que. These are the forgeries of iealousie,
    And neuer since the middle Summers spring
    Met vve on hil, in dale, forrest, or mead,
    By paued fountaine, or by rushie brooke,
    460Or in the beached margent of the sea,
    To dance our ringlets to the whistling Winde,
    But vvith thy braules thou hast disturb'd our sport.
    Therefore the Windes, piping to vs in vaine,
    As in reuenge, haue suck'd vp from the sea
    465Contagious fogges: Which falling in the Land,
    Hath euerie petty Riuer made so proud,
    That they haue ouer-borne their Continents.
    The Oxe hath therefore stretch'd his yoake in vaine,
    The Ploughman lost his sweat, and the greene Corne
    470Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard:
    The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
    And Crowes are fatted vvith the murrion flocke,