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  • Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Quarto 1, 1600)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1600)

    Enter a Fairie at one doore, and Robin goodfellow
    at another.
    375Robin. How now spirit, whither wander you?
    Fa. Ouer hill, ouer dale, thorough bush, thorough brier,
    Ouer parke, ouer pale, thorough flood, thorough fire:
    I do wander euery where; swifter than the Moons sphere:
    And I serue the Fairy Queene, to dew her orbs vpon the (greene.
    380The cowslippes tall her Pensioners bee,
    In their gold coats, spottes you see:
    Those be Rubies, Fairie fauours:
    In those freckles, liue their sauours.
    I must goe seeke some dew droppes here,
    385And hang a pearle in euery couslippes eare.
    Farewell thou Lobbe of spirits: Ile be gon.
    Our Queene, and all her Elues come here anon.
    Rob. The king doth keepe his Reuels here to night.
    Take heede the Queene come not within his sight.
    390For Oberon is passing fell and wrath:
    Because that she, as her attendant, hath
    A louely boy stollen, from an Indian king:
    She neuer had so sweete a changeling.
    And iealous Oberon would haue the childe,
    395Knight of his traine, to trace the forrests wilde.
    But shee, perforce, withhoulds the loued boy,
    Crownes him with flowers, and makes him all her ioy.
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    And now, they neuer meete in groue, or greene,
    By fountaine cleare, or spangled starlight sheene,
    400But they doe square, that all their Elues, for feare,
    Creepe into acorne cups, and hide them there.
    Fa. Either I mistake your shape, and making, quite,
    Or els you are that shrewde and knauish sprite,
    Call'd Robin goodfellow. Are not you hee,
    405That frights the maidens of the Villageree,
    Skim milke, and sometimes labour in the querne,
    And bootlesse make the breathlesse huswife cherne,
    And sometime make the drinke to beare no barme,
    Misselead nightwanderers, laughing at their harme?
    410Those, that Hobgoblin call you, and sweete Puck,
    You doe their worke, and they shall haue good luck.
    Are not you hee?
    Rob. Thou speakest aright; I am that merry wanderer of (the night.
    415I ieast to Oberon, and make him smile,
    When I a fat and beane-fed horse beguile;
    Neyghing, in likenesse of a filly fole,
    And sometime lurke I in a gossippes bole,
    In very likenesse of a rosted crabbe,
    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 foote stoole, mistaketh mee:
    Then slippe I from her bumme, downe topples she,
    425And tailour cryes, and falles into a coffe;
    And then the whole Quire hould their hippes, and loffe,
    And waxen in their myrth, and neeze, and sweare
    A merrier hower was neuer wasted there.
    But roome Faery: here comes Oberon.
    430Fa. And here, my mistresse. Would that he were gon.
    Enter the King of Fairies, at one doore, with his traine;
    and the Queene, at another, with hers.
    Ob. Ill met by moonelight, proud Tytania.
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Qu. What, Iealous Oberon? Fairy skippe hence.
    I haue forsworne his bedde, and company.
    Ob. Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy Lord?
    Qu. Then I must be thy Lady: but I know
    440When thou hast stollen away from Fairy land,
    And in the shape of Corin, sat all day,
    Playing on pipes of corne, and versing loue,
    To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here
    Come from the farthest steppe of India?
    445But that, forsooth, the bounsing Amason,
    Your buskind mistresse, and your warriour loue,
    To Theseus must be wedded; and you come,
    To giue their bedde, ioy and prosperitie.
    Ob. How canst thou thus, for shame, Tytania,
    450Glaunce at my credit, with Hippolita?
    Knowing, I know thy loue to Theseus.
    Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night,
    From Perigenia, whom he rauished?
    And make him, with faire Eagles, breake his faith
    455With Ariadne, and Antiopa?
    Quee. These are the forgeries of iealousie:
    And neuer, since the middle Sommers spring,
    Met we on hill, in dale, forrest, or meade,
    By paued fountaine, or by rushie brooke,
    460Or in the beached margent of the Sea,
    To daunce our ringlets to the whistling winde,
    But with thy brawles thou hast disturbd our sport.
    Therefore the windes, pyping to vs in vaine,
    As in reuenge, haue suckt vp, from the Sea,
    465Contagious fogges: which, falling in the land,
    Hath euery pelting riuer made so proude,
    That they haue ouerborne their Continents.
    The Oxe hath therefore stretcht his yoake in vaine,
    The Ploughman lost his sweat, and the greene corne
    470Hath rotted, ere his youth attainde a bearde:
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    The fold stands empty, in the drowned field,
    And crowes are fatted with the murrion flocke.
    The nine mens Morris is fild vp with mudde:
    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 carroll blest.
    Therefore the Moone (the gouernesse of floods)
    Pale in her anger, washes all the aire;
    480That Rheumaticke diseases doe abound.
    And, thorough this distemperature, wee see
    The seasons alter: hoary headed frosts
    Fall in the fresh lappe of the Crymson rose,
    And on old Hyems chinne and Icy crowne,
    485An odorous Chaplet of sweete Sommer buddes
    Is, as in mockery, set. The Spring, the Sommer,
    The childing Autumne, angry Winter change
    Their wonted Liueries: and the mazed worlde,
    By their increase, now knowes not which is which:
    490And this same progeny of euils,
    Comes from our debate, from our dissention:
    We are their Parents and originall.
    Oberon. Doe you amend it then: it lyes in you.
    Why should Titania crosse her Oberon?
    495I doe but begge a little Changeling boy,
    To be my Henchman.
    Queene. Set your heart at rest.
    The Faiery Land buies not the childe of mee,
    His mother was a Votresse of my order:
    500And in the spiced Indian ayer, 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 conceaue,
    505And grow bigge bellied, with the wanton winde:
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Which she, with prettie, and with swimming gate,
    Following (her wombe then rich with my young squire)
    Would imitate, and saile vpon the land,
    To fetch me trifles, and returne againe,
    510As from a voyage, rich with marchandise.
    But she, being mortall, of that boy did dye,
    And, for her sake, doe I reare vp her boy:
    And, for her sake, I will not part with him.
    Ob. How long, within this wood, entend you stay?
    515Quee. Perchaunce, till after Theseus wedding day.
    If you will patiently daunce in our Round,
    And see our Moonelight Reuelles, goe with vs:
    If not, shunne me, and I will spare your haunts.
    Ob. Giue mee that boy, and I will goe with thee.
    520Quee. Not for thy Fairy kingdome. Fairies away.
    We shall chide downeright, if I longer stay. Exeunt.
    Ob. Well: goe 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 Mearemaide, on a Dolphins backe,
    Vttering such dulcet and hermonious breath,
    That the rude sea grewe ciuill at her song,
    And cettaine starres shot madly from their Spheares,
    530To heare the Sea-maids musicke.
    Puck. I remember.
    Ob. That very time, I saw (but thou could'st not)
    Flying betweene the colde Moone and the earth,
    Cupid, all arm'd: a certaine aime he tooke
    535At a faire Vestall, throned by west,
    And loos'd his loue-shaft smartly, from his bowe,
    As it should pearce a hundred thousand hearts:
    But, I might see young Cupids fiery shaft
    Quencht in the chast beames of the watry Moone:
    540And the imperiall Votresse passed on,
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    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 mee that flowre: the herbe I shewed thee once.
    The iewce of it, on sleeping eyeliddes laide,
    Will make or man or woman madly dote,
    Vpon the next liue creature that it sees.
    550Fetch mee this herbe, and be thou here againe
    Ere the Leuiathan can swimme a league.
    Pu. Ile put a girdle, roūd about the earth, in forty minutes.
    Oberon. Hauing once this iuice,
    555Ile watch Titania, when she is a sleepe,
    And droppe the liquor of it, in her eyes:
    The next thing then she, waking, lookes vpon
    (Be it on Lyon, Beare, or Wolfe, or Bull,
    On medling Monky, or on busie Ape)
    560She shall pursue it, with the soule of Loue.
    And ere I take this charme, from of her sight
    (As I can take it with another herbe)
    Ile make her render vp her Page, to mee.
    But, who comes here? I am inuisible,
    565And I will ouerheare 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 vnto this wood:
    And here am I, and wodde, within this wood:
    Because I cannot meete my Hermia.
    Hence, get the gone, and follow mee no more.
    Hel. You draw mee, you hard hearted Adamant:
    575But yet you draw not Iron. For my heart
    Is true as steele. Leaue you your power to draw,
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    And I shall haue no power to follow you.
    Deme. Doe I entise you? Doe I speake you faire?
    Or rather doe I not in plainest truthe,
    580Tell you I doe not, not I cannot loue you?
    Hele. And euen, for that, do I loue you, the more:
    I am your Spaniell: and, Demetrius,
    The more you beat mee, I will fawne on you.
    Vse me but as your Spaniell: spurne me, strike mee,
    585Neglect mee, loose me: onely giue me leaue
    (Vnworthie as I am) to follow you.
    What worser place can I begge, in your loue
    (And yet, a place of high respect with mee)
    Then to be vsed as you vse your dogge.
    590Deme. Tempt not, too much, the hatred of my spirit.
    For I am sick, when I do looke on thee.
    Hele. And I am sick, when I looke not on you.
    Deme. You doe impeach your modestie too much,
    To leaue the citie, and commit your selfe,
    595Into the hands of one that loues you not,
    To trust the opportunitie of night,
    And the ill counsell of a desert place,
    With the rich worth of your virginitie.
    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.
    For you, in my respect, are all the world.
    Then, how can it be saide, I am alone,
    605When all the world is here, to looke on mee?
    Deme. Ile runne from thee, and hide me in the brakes,
    And leaue thee to the mercy of wilde beastes.
    Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
    Runne when you will: The story shall be chaung'd:
    610Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase:
    The Doue pursues the Griffon: the milde Hinde
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Makes speede to catch the Tigre. Bootelesse speede,
    When cowardise pursues, and valour flies.
    Demet. I will not stay thy questions. Let me goe:
    615Or if thou followe mee, do not beleeue,
    But I shall doe thee mischiefe, in the wood.
    Hel. I, in the Temple, in the towne, the fielde,
    You doe me mischiefe. Fy Demetrius.
    Your wrongs doe set a scandall on my sex:
    620We cannot fight for loue, as men may doe:
    We should be woo'd, and were not made to wooe.
    Ile follow thee and make a heauen of hell,
    To dy vpon the hand I loue so well.
    Ob. Fare thee well Nymph. Ere he do leaue this groue,
    625Thou shalt fly 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 mee.
    630I know a banke where the wilde time blowes,
    Where Oxlips, and the nodding Violet growes,
    Quite ouercanopi'd with lushious woodbine,
    With sweete muske roses, and with Eglantine:
    There sleepes Tytania, sometime of the night,
    635Luld in these flowers, with daunces and delight:
    And there the snake throwes her enammeld skinne,
    Weed wide enough to wrappe a Fairy in.
    And, with the iuyce of this, Ile streake her eyes,
    And make her full of hatefull phantasies.
    640Take thou some of it, and seeke through this groue:
    A sweete Athenian Lady is in loue,
    With a disdainefull youth: annoint his eyes.
    But doe it, when the next thing he espies,
    May be the Ladie. Thou shalt know the man,
    645By the Athenian garments he hath on.
    Effect it with some care; that he may prooue
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    More fond on her, then she vpon her loue:
    And looke thou meete me ere the first Cocke crowe.
    Pu. Feare not my Lord: your seruant shall do so. Exeunt.