Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Quarto 1, 1600)

A Midsommer nightes dreame.
1770or nothing.
Enter Bottom.
Bot. Where are these lads? Where are these harts?
Quin. Bottom, ? most couragious day! O most happy
1775Bott. Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but aske me
not what. For if I tell you, I am not true Athenian. I will
tell you euery thing right as it fell out.
Quin. Let vs heare, sweete Bottom.
Bot. Not a word of mee. All that I will tell you, is, that
1780the Duke hath dined. Get your apparrell together, good
strings to your beardes, new ribands to your pumpes,
meete presently at the palace, euery man looke ore his part.
For, the short and the long is, our play is preferd. In any
case let Thisby haue cleane linnen: and let not him, that
1785plaies the Lyon, pare his nailes: for they shall hang out
for the Lyons clawes. And most deare Actors, eate no O-
nions nor garlicke: for we are to vtter sweete breath: and
I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweete Comedy.
No more wordes. Away, go away.
Enter Theseus, Hyppolita, and Philostrate.
Hip. Tis strange, my Theseus, that these louers speake of.
The. More straunge then true. I neuer may beleeue
1795These antique fables, nor these Fairy toyes.
Louers, and mad men haue such seething braines,
Such shaping phantasies, that apprehend more,
Then coole reason euer comprehends. The lunatick,
The louer, and the Poet are of imagination all compact.
One sees more diuels, then vast hell can holde:
That is the mad man. The louer, all as frantick,
Sees Helens beauty in a brow of AEgypt.
The Poets eye, in a fine frenzy, rolling, doth glance
1805From heauen to earth, from earth to heauen. And as
Imagination bodies forth the formes of things