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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    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,
    A Midsommer nights Dreame. 149
    The nine mens Morris is fild vp with mud,
    And the queint Mazes in the wanton greene,
    475For lacke of tread are vndistinguishable.
    The humane mortals want their winter heere,
    No night is now with hymne or caroll blest;
    Therefore the Moone (the gouernesse of floods)
    Pale in her anger, washes all the aire;
    480That Rheumaticke diseases doe abound.
    And through this distemperature, we see
    The seasons alter; hoared headed frosts
    Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson Rose,
    And on old Hyems chinne and Icie crowne,
    485An odorous Chaplet of sweet Sommer buds
    Is as in mockry set. The Spring, the Sommer,
    The childing Autumne, angry Winter change
    Their wonted Liueries, and the mazed world,
    By their increase, now knowes not which is which;
    490And this same progeny of euills,
    Comes from our debate, from our dissention,
    We are their parents and originall.
    Ober. Do you amend it then, it lies in you,
    Why should Titania crosse her Oberon?
    495I do but beg a little changeling boy,
    To be my Henchman.
    Qu. Set your heart at rest,
    The Fairy land buyes not the childe of me,
    His mother was a Votresse of my Order,
    500And in the spiced Indian aire, by night
    Full often hath she gossipt by my side,
    And sat with me on Neptunes yellow sands,
    Marking th'embarked traders on the flood,
    When we haue laught to see the sailes conceiue,
    505And grow big bellied with the wanton winde:
    Which she with pretty and with swimming gate,
    Following (her wombe then rich with my yong squire)
    Would imitate, and saile vpon the Land,
    To fetch me trifles, and returne againe,
    510As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
    But she being mortall, of that boy did die,
    And for her sake I doe reare vp her boy,
    And for her sake I will not part with him.
    Ob. How long within this wood intend you stay?
    515Qu. Perchance till after Theseus wedding day.
    If you will patiently dance in our Round,
    And see our Moone-light reuels, goe with vs;
    If not, shun me and I will spare your haunts.
    Ob. Giue me that boy, and I will goe with thee.
    520Qu. Not for thy Fairy Kingdome. Fairies away:
    We shall chide downe right, if I longer stay. Exeunt.
    Ob. Wel, go thy way: thou shalt not from this groue,
    Till I torment thee for this iniury.
    My gentle Pucke come hither; thou remembrest
    525Since once I sat vpon a promontory,
    And heard a Meare-maide on a Dolphins backe,
    Vttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
    That the rude sea grew ciuill at her song,
    And certaine starres shot madly from their Spheares,
    530To heare the Sea-maids musicke.
    Puc. I remember.
    Ob. That very time I say (but thou couldst not)
    Flying betweene the cold Moone and the earth,
    Cupid all arm'd; a certaine aime he tooke
    535At a faire Vestall, throned by the West,
    And loos'd his loue-shaft smartly from his bow,
    As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts,
    But I might see young Cupids fiery shaft
    Quencht in the chaste beames of the watry Moone;
    540And the imperiall Votresse passed on,
    In maiden meditation, fancy free.
    Yet markt I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
    It fell vpon a little westerne flower;
    Before, milke-white; now purple with loues wound,
    545And maidens call it, Loue in idlenesse.
    Fetch me that flower; the hearb I shew'd thee once,
    The iuyce of it, on sleeping eye-lids laid,
    Will make or man or woman madly dote
    Vpon the next liue creature that it sees.
    550Fetch me this hearbe, and be thou heere againe,
    Ere the Leuiathan can swim a league.
    Pucke. Ile put a girdle about the earth, in forty mi-
    Ober. Hauing once this iuyce,
    555Ile watch Titania, when she is asleepe,
    And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
    The next thing when she waking lookes vpon,
    (Be it on Lyon, Beare, or Wolfe, or Bull,
    On medling Monkey, or on busie Ape)
    560Shee shall pursue it, with the soule of loue.
    And ere I take this charme off from her sight,
    (As I can take it with another hearbe)
    Ile make her render vp her Page to me.
    But who comes heere? I am inuisible,
    565And I will ouer-heare their conference.
    Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.
    Deme. I loue thee not, therefore pursue me not,
    Where is Lysander, and faire Hermia?
    The one Ile stay, the other stayeth me.
    570Thou toldst me they were stolne into this wood;
    And heere am I, and wood within this wood,
    Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
    Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
    Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted Adamant,
    575But yet you draw not Iron, for my heart
    Is true as steele. Leaue you your power to draw,
    And I shall haue no power to follow you.
    Deme. Do I entice you? do I speake you faire?
    Or rather doe I not in plainest truth,
    580Tell you I doe not, nor I cannot loue you?
    Hel. And euen for that doe I loue thee the more;
    I am your spaniell, and Demetrius,
    The more you beat me, I will fawne on you.
    Vse me but as your spaniell; spurne me, strike me,
    585Neglect me, lose me; onely giue me leaue
    (Vnworthy as I am) to follow you.
    What worser place can I beg in your loue,
    (And yet a place of high respect with me)
    Then to be vsed as you doe your dogge.
    590Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
    For I am sicke when I do looke on thee.
    Hel. And I am sicke when I looke not on you.
    Dem. You doe impeach your modesty too much,
    To leaue the Citty, and commit your selfe
    595Into the hands of one that loues you not,
    To trust the opportunity of night,
    And the ill counsell of a desert place,
    With the rich worth of your virginity.
    Hel. Your vertue is my priuiledge: for that
    600It is not night when I doe see your face.
    Therefore I thinke I am not in the night,
    Nor doth this wood lacke worlds of company,
    N3 For
    150A Midsommer nights Dreame.
    For you in my respect are nll the world.
    Then how can it be said I am alone,
    605When all the world is heere to looke on me?
    Dem. Ile run from thee, and hide me in the brakes,
    And leaue thee to the mercy of wilde beasts.
    Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you;
    Runne when you will, the story shall be chang'd:
    610Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase;
    The Doue pursues the Griffin, the milde Hinde
    Makes speed to catch the Tyger. Bootlesse speede,
    When cowardise pursues, and valour flies.
    Demet. I will not stay thy questions, let me go;
    615Or if thou follow me, doe not beleeue,
    But I shall doe thee mischiefe in the wood.
    Hel. I, in the Temple, in the Towne, and Field
    You doe me mischiefe. Fye Demetrius,
    Your wrongs doe set a scandall on my sexe:
    620We cannot fight for loue, as men may doe;
    We should be woo'd, and were not made to wooe.
    I follow thee, and make a heauen of hell,
    To die vpon the hand I loue so well. Exit.
    Ob. Fare thee well Nymph, ere he do leaue this groue,
    625Thou shalt flie him, and he shall seeke thy loue.
    Hast thou the flower there? Welcome wanderer.
    Enter Pucke.
    Puck. I, there it is.
    Ob. I pray thee giue it me.
    630I know a banke where the wilde time blowes,
    Where Oxslips and the nodding Violet growes,
    Quite ouer-cannoped with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet muske roses, and with Eglantine;
    There sleepes Tytania, sometime of the night,
    635Lul'd in these flowers, with dances and delight:
    And there the snake throwes her enammel'd skinne,
    Weed wide enough to rap a Fairy in.
    And with the iuyce of this Ile streake her eyes,
    And make her full of hatefull fantasies.
    640Take thou some of it, and seek through this groue;
    A sweet Athenian Lady is in loue
    With a disdainefull youth: annoint his eyes,
    But doe it when the next thing he espies,
    May be the Lady. Thou shalt know the man,
    645By the Athenian garments he hath on.
    Effect it with some care, that he may proue
    More fond on her, then she vpon her loue;
    And looke thou meet me ere the first Cocke crow.
    Pu. Feare not my Lord, your seruant shall do so. Exit.