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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter King of Pharies, solus.
    Ob. I wonder if Titania be awak't;
    Then what it was that next came in her eye,
    Which she must dote on, in extremitie.
    1025Enter Pucke.
    Here comes my messenger: how now mad spirit,
    What night-rule now about this gaunted groue?
    Puck. My Mistris with a monster is in loue,
    Neere to her close and consecrated bower,
    1030While she was in her dull and sleeping hower,
    A crew of patches, rude Mcehanicals,
    That worke for bread vpon Athenian stals,
    Were met together to rehearse a Play,
    Intended for great Theseus nuptiall day:
    1035The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
    Who Piramus presented, in their sport,
    Forsooke his Scene, and entred in a brake,
    When I did him at this aduantage take,
    An Asses nole I fixed on his head.
    1040Anon his Thisbie must be answered,
    And forth my Mimmick comes: when they him spie,
    As Wilde-geese, that the creeping Fowler eye,
    Or russed-pated choughes, many in sort
    (Rising and cawing at the guns report)
    1045Seuer themselues, and madly sweepe the skye:
    So at his sight, away his fellowes flye,
    And at our stampe, here ore and ore one fals;
    He murther cries, and helpe from Athens cals.
    Their sense thus weake, lost with their feares thus strong,
    1050Made senselesse things begin to do them wrong.
    For briars and thornes at their apparell snatch,
    Some sleeues, some hats, from yeelders all things catch,
    I led them on in this distracted feare,
    And left sweete Piramus translated there:
    1055When in that moment (so it came to passe)
    Tytania waked, and straightway lou'd an Asse.
    Ob. This fals out better then I could deuise:
    But hast thou yet lacht the Athenians eyes,
    With the loue iuyce, as I bid thee doe?
    1060Rob. I tooke him sleeping (that is finisht to)
    And the Athenian woman by his side,
    That when he wak't, of force she must be eyde.
    Enter Demetrius and Hermia.
    Ob. Stand close, this is the same Athenian.
    1065Rob. This is the woman, but not this the man.
    Dem. O why rebuke you him that loues you so?
    Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
    Her. Now I but chide, but I should vse thee worse.
    For thou (I feare) hast giuen me cause to curse,
    1070If thou hast slaine Lysander in his sleepe,
    Being oreshooes in bloud, plunge in the deepe, and kill
    me too:
    The Sunne was not so true vnto the day,
    As he to me. Would he haue stollen away,
    1075From sleeping Hermia? Ile beleeue as soone
    This whole earth may be bord, and that the Moone
    May through the Center creepe, and so displease
    Her brothers noonetide, with th' Antipodes.
    It cannot be but thou hast murdred him,
    1080So should a mutrherer looke, so dead, so grim.
    Dem. So should the murderer looke, and so should I,
    Pierst through the heart with your stearne cruelty:
    Yet you the murderer looks as bright as cleare,
    As yonder Venus in her glimmering spheare.
    1085Her. What's this to my Lysander? where is he?
    Ah good Demetrius, wilt thou giue him me?
    Dem. I'de rather giue his carkasse to my hounds.
    Her. Out dog, out cur, thou driu'st me past the bounds
    Of maidens patience. Hast thou slaine him then?
    1090Henceforth be neuer numbred among men.
    Oh, once tell true, euen for my sake,
    Durst thou a lookt vpon him, being awake?
    And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O braue tutch:
    Could not a worme, an Adder do so much?
    1095An Adder did it: for with doubler tongue
    Then thine (thou serpent) neuer Adder stung.
    Dem. You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood,
    I am not guiltie of Lysanders blood:
    Nor is he dead for ought that I can tell.
    1100Her. I pray thee tell me then that he is well.
    Dem. And if I could, what should I get therefore?
    Her. A priuiledge, neuer to see me more;
    And from thy hated presence part I: see me no more
    Whether he be dead or no. Exit.
    1105Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vaine,
    Here therefore for a while I will remaine.
    So sorrowes heauinesse doth heauier grow:
    For debt that bankrout slip doth sorrow owe,
    Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
    N5 If
    154A Midsommer nights Dreame.
    1110If for his tender here I make some stay. Lie downe.
    Ob. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite
    And laid the loue iuyce on some true loues sight:
    Of thy misprision, must perforce ensue
    Some true loue turn'd, and not a false turn'd true.
    1115Rob. Then fate ore-rules, that one man holding troth,
    A million faile, confounding oath on oath.
    Ob. About the wood, goe swifter then the winde,
    And Helena of Athens looke thou finde.
    All fancy sicke she is, and pale of cheere,
    1120With sighes of loue, that costs the fresh bloud deare.
    By some illusion see thou bring her heere,
    Ile charme his eyes against she doth appeare.
    Robin. I go, I go, looke how I goe,
    Swifter then arrow from the Tartars bowe. Exit.
    1125Ob. Flower of this purple die,
    Hit with Cupids archery,
    Sinke in apple of his eye,
    When his loue he doth espie,
    Let her shine as gloriously
    1130As the Venus of the sky.
    When thou wak'st if she be by,
    Beg of her for remedy.
    Enter Pucke.
    Puck. Captaine of our Fairy band,
    1135Helena is heere at hand,
    And the youth, mistooke by me,
    Pleading for a Louers fee.
    Shall we their fond Pageant see?
    Lord, what fooles these mortals be!
    1140Ob. Stand aside: the noyse they make,
    Will cause Demetrius to awake.
    Puck. Then will two at once wooe one,
    That must needs be sport alone:
    And those things doe best please me,
    1145That befall preposterously.
    Enter Lysander and Helena.
    Lys. Why should you think yt I should wooe in scorn?
    Scorne and derision neuer comes in teares:
    Looke when I vow I weepe; and vowes so borne,
    1150In their natiuity all truth appeares.
    How can these things in me, seeme scorne to you?
    Bearing the badge of faith to proue them true.
    Hel. You doe aduance your cunning more & more,
    When truth kils truth, O diuelish holy fray!
    1155These vowes are Hermias. Will you giue her ore?
    Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
    Your vowes to her, and me, (put in two scales)
    Will euen weigh, and both as light as tales.
    Lys. I had no iudgement, when to her I swore.
    1160Hel. Nor none in my minde, now you giue her ore.
    Lys. Demetrius loues her, and he loues not you. Awa.
    Dem. O Helen, goddesse, nimph, perfect, diuine,
    To what my, loue, shall I compare thine eyne!
    Christall is muddy, O how ripe in show,
    1165Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
    That pure congealed white, high Tauruss now,
    Fan'd with the Easterne winde, turnes to a crow,
    When thou holdst vp thy hand. O let me kisse
    This Princesse of pure white, this seale of blisse.
    1170Hell. O spight! O hell! I see you are all bent
    To set against me, for your merriment:
    If you were ciuill, and knew curtesie,
    You would not doe me thus much iniury.
    Can you not hate me, as I know you doe,
    1175But you must ioyne in soules to mocke me to?
    If you are men, as men you are in show,
    You would not vse a gentle Lady so;
    To vow, and sweare, and superpraise my parts,
    When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
    1180You both are Riuals, and loue Hermia;
    And now both Riuals to mocke Helena.
    A trim exploit, a manly enterprize,
    To coniure teares vp in a poore maids eyes,
    With your derision; none of noble sort,
    1185Would so offend a Virgin, and extort
    A poore soules patience, all to make you sport.
    Lysa. You are vnkind Demetrius; be not so,
    For you loue Hermia; this you know I know;
    And here with all good will, with all my heart,
    1190In Hermias loue I yeeld you vp my part;
    And yours of Helena, to me bequeath,
    Whom I do loue, and will do to my death.
    Hel. Neuer did mockers wast more idle breth.
    Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia, I will none:
    1195If ere I lou'd her, all that loue is gone.
    My heart to her, but as guest-wise soiourn'd,
    And now to Helen it is home return'd,
    There to remaine.
    Lys. It is not so.
    1200De. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
    Lest to thy perill thou abide it deare.
    Looke where thy Loue comes, yonder is thy deare.
    Enter Hermia.
    Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
    1205The eare more quicke of apprehension makes,
    Wherein it doth impaire the seeing sense,
    It paies the hearing double recompence.
    Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander found,
    Mine eare (I thanke it) brought me to that sound.
    1210But why vnkindly didst thou leaue me so?
    Lysan. Why should hee stay whom Loue doth presse (to go?
    Her. What loue could presse Lysander from my side?
    Lys. Lysanders loue (that would not let him bide)
    Faire Helena; who more engilds the night,
    1215Then all yon fierie oes, and eies of light.
    Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee know,
    The hate I bare thee, made me leaue thee so?
    Her. You speake not as you thinke; it cannot be.
    Hel. Loe, she is one of this confederacy,
    1220Now I perceiue they haue conioyn'd all three,
    To fashion this false sport in spight of me.
    Iniurous Hermia, most vngratefull maid,
    Haue you conspir'd, haue you with these contriu'd
    To baite me, with this foule derision?
    1225Is all the counsell that we two haue shar'd,
    The sisters vowes, the houres that we haue spent,
    When wee haue chid the hasty footed time,
    For parting vs; O, is all forgot?
    All schooledaies friendship, child-hood innocence?
    1230We Hermia, like two Artificiall gods,
    Haue with our needles, created both one flower,
    Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
    Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
    As if our hands, our sides, voices, and mindes
    1235Had beene incorporate. So we grew together,
    Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
    But yet a vnion in partition,
    A Midsommer nights Dreame. 155
    Two louely berries molded on one stem,
    So with two seeming bodies, but one heart,
    1240Two of the first life coats in Heraldry,
    Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
    And will you rent our ancient loue asunder,
    To ioyne with men in scorning your poore friend?
    It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly.
    1245Our sexe as well as I, may chide you for it,
    Though I alone doe feele the iniurie.
    Her. I am amazed at your passionate words,
    I scorne you not; It seemes that you scorne me.
    Hel. Haue you not set Lysander, as in scorne
    1250To follow me, and praise my eies and face?
    And made your other loue, Demetrius
    (Who euen but now did spurne me with his foote)
    To call me goddesse, nimph, diuine, and rare,
    Precious, celestiall? Wherefore speakes he this
    1255To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
    Denie your loue (so rich within his soule)
    And tender me (forsooth) affection,
    But by your setting on, by your consent?
    What though I be not so in grace as you,
    1260So hung vpon with loue, so fortunate?
    (But miserable most, to loue vnlou'd)
    This you should pittie, rather then despise.
    Her. I vnderstand not what you meane by this.
    Hel. I, doe, perseuer, counterfeit sad lookes,
    1265Make mouthes vpon me when I turne my backe,
    Winke each at other, hold the sweete iest vp:
    This sport well carried, shall be chronicled.
    If you haue any pittie, grace, or manners,
    You would not make me such an argument:
    1270But fare ye well, 'tis partly mine owne fault,
    Which death or absence soone shall remedie.
    Lys. Stay gentle Helena, heare my excuse,
    My loue, my life, my soule, faire Helena.
    Hel. O excellent!
    1275Her. Sweete, do not scorne her so.
    Dem. If she cannot entreate, I can compell.
    Lys. Thou canst compell, no more then she entreate.
    Thy threats haue no more strength then her weak praise.
    Helen, I loue thee, by my life I doe;
    1280I sweare by that which I will lose for thee,
    To proue him false, that saies I loue thee not.
    Dem. I say, I loue thee more then he can do.
    Lys. If thou say so, with-draw and proue it too.
    Dem. Quick, come.
    1285Her. Lysander, whereto tends all this?
    Lys. Away, you Ethiope.
    Dem. No, no, Sir, seeme to breake loose;
    Take on as you would follow,
    But yet come not: you are a tame man, go.
    1290Lys. Hang off thou cat, thou bur; vile thing let loose,
    Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
    Her. Why are you growne so rude?
    What change is this sweete Loue?
    Lys. Thy loue? out tawny Tartar, out;
    1295Out loathed medicine; O hated poison hence.
    Her. Do you not iest?
    Hel. Yes sooth, and so do you.
    Lys. Demetrius: I will keepe my word with thee.
    Dem. I would I had your bond: for I perceiue
    1300A weake bond holds you; Ile not trust your word.
    Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
    Although I hate her, Ile not harme her so.
    Her. What, can you do me greater harme then hate?
    Hate me, wherefore? O me, what newes my Loue?
    1305Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
    I am as faire now, as I was ere while.
    Since night you lou'dme; yet since night you left me.
    Why then you left me (O the gods forbid
    In earnest, shall I say?
    1310Lys. I, by my life;
    And neuer did desire to see thee more.
    Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
    Be certaine, nothing truer: 'tis no iest,
    That I doe hate thee, and loue Helena.
    1315Her. O me, you iugler, you canker blossome,
    You theefe of loue; What, haue you come by night,
    And stolne my loues heart from him?
    Hel. Fine yfaith:
    Haue you no modesty, no maiden shame,
    1320No touch of bashfulnesse? What, will you teare
    Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
    Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you.
    Her. Puppet? why so? I, that way goes the game.
    Now I perceiue that she hath made compare
    1325Betweene our statures, she hath vrg'd her height,
    And with her personage, her tall personage,
    Her height (forsooth) she hath preuail'd with him.
    And are you growne so high in his esteeme,
    Because I am so dwarfish, and so low?
    1330How low am I, thou painted May-pole? Speake,
    How low am I? I am not yet so low,
    But that my nailes can reach vnto thine eyes.
    Hel. I pray you though you mocke me, gentlemen,
    Let her not hurt me; I was neuer curst:
    1335I haue no gift at all in shrewishnesse;
    I am a right maide for my cowardize;
    Let her not strike me: you perhaps may thinke,
    Because she is something lower then my selfe,
    That I can match her.
    1340Her. Lower? harke againe.
    Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me,
    I euermore did loue you Hermia,
    Did euer keepe your counsels, neuer wronged you,
    Saue that in loue vnto Demetrius,
    1345I told him of your stealth vnto this wood.
    He followed you, for loue I followed him,
    But he hath chid me hence, and threatned me
    To strike me, spurne me, nay to kill me too;
    And now, so you will let me quiet go,
    1350To Athens will I beare my folly backe,
    And follow you no further. Let me go.
    You see how simple, and how fond I am.
    Her. Why get you gone: who ist that hinders you?
    Hel. A foolish heart, that I leaue here behinde.
    1355Her. What, with Lysander?
    Her. With Demetrius.
    Lys. Be not afraid, she shall not harme thee Helena.
    Dem. No sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
    Hel. O when she's angry, she is keene and shrewd,
    1360She was a vixen when she went to schoole,
    And though she be but little, she is fierce.
    Her. Little againe? Nothing but low and little?
    Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
    Let me come to her.
    1365Lys. Get you gone you dwarfe,
    You minimus, of hindring knot-grasse made,
    You bead, you acorne.
    Dem. You are too officious,
    In her behalfe that scornes your seruices.
    N6 Let
    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
    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,
    A Midsommer nights Dreame. 157
    And the Country Prouerb knowne,
    That euery man should take his owne,
    In your waking shall be showne.
    Iacke shall haue Iill, nought shall goe ill.
    1505The man shall haue his Mare againe, and all shall bee
    They sleepe all the Act.