Internet Shakespeare Editions


Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 King of Fairies, and Robin goodfellow.
    Ob. I wonder if Titania be awak't;
    Then what it was, that next came in her eye,
    Which she must dote on, in extreamitie.
    Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit?
    What nightrule now about this haunted groue?
    Puck. My mistresse 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 Mechanicals,
    That worke for bread, vpon Athenian stalles,
    Were met together to rehearse a play,
    Intended for great Theseus nuptiall day:
    1035The shallowest thickskinne, of that barraine sort,
    Who Pyramus presented, in their sport,
    Forsooke his Scene, and entred in a brake,
    VVhen I did him at this aduantage take:
    An Asses nole I fixed on his head.
    1040Anon his Thisbie must be answered,
    And forth my Minnick comes. When they him spy;
    As wilde geese, that the creeping Fouler eye,
    Or russet pated choughes, many in sort
    (Rysing, and cawing, at the gunnes report)
    1045Seuer themselues, and madly sweepe the sky:
    So, at his sight, away his fellowes fly,
    And at our stampe, here ore and ore, one falles:
    He murther cryes, and helpe from Athens cals.
    Their sense, thus weake, lost with their feares, thus strong,
    1050Made senselesse things begin to doe them wrong.
    For, briers 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 Pyramus translated there:
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    1055When in that moment (so it came to passe)
    Tytania wak't, and straight way lou'd an Asse.
    Ob. This falles out better, then I could deuise.
    But hast thou yet latcht the Athenians eyes,
    With the loue iuice, as I did 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 ey'd.
    Enter Demetrius and Hermia.
    Ob. Stand close: this is the same Athenian.
    1065Rob. This is the woman: but not this the man.
    Demet. 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 ore shooes in blood, plunge in the deepe, & kill mee(to.
    The Sunne was not so true vnto the day,
    As hee to mee. Would hee haue stollen away,
    1075Frow sleeping Hermia? Ile beleeue, as soone,
    This whole earth may be bor'd, 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 murtherer looke; so dead, so grimme.
    Dem. So should the murthered looke, and so should I,
    Pearst through the heart, with your sterne cruelty.
    Yet you, the murtherer, looke as bright, as cleere,
    As yonder Venus, in her glimmering spheare.
    1085Her. Whats this to my Lysander? Where is hee?
    Ah good Demetrius, wilt thou giue him mee?
    Deme. I had rather giue his carcasse to my hounds.
    Her. Out dog, out curre: thou driu'st me past the bounds
    Of maidens patience. Hast thou slaine him then?
    1090Henceforth be neuer numbred among men.
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    O, once tell true: tell true, euen for my sake:
    Durst thou haue lookt vpon him, being awake?
    And hast thou kild him, sleeping? O braue tutch!
    Could not a worme, an Adder do so much?
    1095An Adder did it: For with doubler tongue
    Then thyne (thou serpent) neuer Adder stung.
    Deme. You spende your passion, on a mispris'd mood:
    I am not guilty of Lysanders bloode:
    Nor is he deade, for ought that I can tell.
    1100Her. I pray thee, tell mee then, that he is well.
    De. And if I could, what should I get therefore?
    Her. A priuiledge, neuer to see mee more:
    And from thy hated presence part I: see me no more;
    Whether he be dead or no. Exit.
    1105Deme. There is no following her in this fierce vaine.
    Heere therefore, for a while, I will remaine.
    So sorrowes heauinesse doth heauier growe.
    For debt that bankrout slippe doth sorrow owe:
    Which now in some slight measure it will pay;
    1110If for his tender here I make some stay. Ly doune.
    Ob. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite,
    And laid the loue iuice on some true loues sight.
    Of thy misprision, must perforce ensue
    Some true loue turnd, and not a false turnd true.
    1115Robi. Then fate orerules, 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 blood deare.
    By some illusion see thou bring her here:
    Ile charme his eyes, against she doe appeare.
    Robin. I goe, I goe, looke how I goe.
    Swifter then arrow, from the Tartars bowe.
    1125Ob. Flower of this purple dy,
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Hit with Cupids archery,
    Sinke in apple of his eye,
    When his loue he doth espy,
    Let her shine as gloriously
    1130As the Venus of the sky.
    When thou wak'st, if she be by,
    Begge of her, for remedy.
    Enter Puck.
    Puck. Captaine of our Fairy band,
    1135Helena is heere at hande,
    And the youth, mistooke by mee,
    Pleading for a louers fee.
    Shall wee their fond pageant see?
    Lord, what fooles these mortals bee!
    1140Ob. Stand aside. The noyse, they make,
    Will cause Demetrius to awake.
    Pu. Then will two, at once, wooe one:
    That must needes be sport alone.
    And those things do best please mee,
    1145That befall prepost'rously.
    Enter Lysander, and Helena.
    Lys. Why should you think, that I should wooe in scorne?
    Scorne, and derision, neuer come in teares.
    Looke when I vow, I weepe: and vowes so borne,
    1150In their natiuitie all truth appeares.
    How can these things, in mee, seeme scorne to you?
    Bearing the badge of faith to prooue them true.
    Hel. You doe aduance your cunning, more, and more.
    When trueth killes truth, ? diuelish holy fray!
    1155These vowes are Hermias. Will you giue her ore?
    Weigh oath, with oath, and you will nothing waigh.
    Your vowes to her, and mee (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.
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Lys. Demetrius loues her: and he loues not you.
    Deme. O Helen, goddesse, nymph, perfect diuine,
    To what, my loue, shall I compare thine eyne!
    Christall is muddy. O, how ripe, in showe,
    1165Thy lippes, those kissing cherries, tempting growe!
    That pure coniealed white, high Taurus snow,
    Fand with the Easterne winde, turnes to a crowe,
    When thou holdst vp thy hand. O, let me kisse
    This Princesse of pure white, this seale of blisse.
    1170Hel. O spight! O hell! I see, you all are bent
    To set against mee, for your merriment.
    If you were ciuill, and knew curtesie,
    You would not doe mee thus much iniury.
    Can you not hate mee, as I know you doe,
    1175But you must ioyne, in soules, to mocke mee to?
    If you were men, as men you are in showe,
    You would not vse a gentle Lady so;
    To vowe, and sweare, and superpraise my parts,
    When I am sure, you hate mee with your hearts.
    1180You both are Riuals, and loue Hermia:
    And now both Riualles, to mock Helena.
    A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
    To coniure teares vp, in a poore maides eyes,
    With your derision None, of noble sort,
    1185Would so offend a virgine, and extort
    A poore soules patience, all to make you sport.
    Lysand. You are vnkinde, Demetrius: be not so.
    For you loue Hermia: this you know I know.
    And heare, with all good will, with all my heart,
    1190In Hermias loue I yeelde you vp my part:
    And yours of Helena, to mee bequeath:
    Whom I doe loue, and will do till my death.
    Hel. Neuer did mockers waste more idle breath.
    Deme. Lysander, keepe thy Hermia: I will none.
    1195If ere I lou'd her, all that loue is gone.
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    My heart to her, but as guestwise, soiournd:
    And now to Helen, is it home returnd,
    There to remaine.
    Lys. Helen, it is not so.
    1200Deme. Disparage not the faith, thou dost not know;
    Least to thy perill, thou aby it deare.
    Looke where thy loue comes: yonder is thy deare.
    Enter Hermia.
    Her. Darke night, that from the eye, his function takes,
    1205The eare more quicke of apprehension makes.
    Wherein it doth impaire the seeing sense,
    It payes the hearing double recompence.
    Thou art not, by myne eye, Lysander, found:
    Mine eare, I thanke it, brought me to thy sound.
    1210But why, vnkindly, didst thou leaue mee so?
    Lys. Why should he 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 fiery oes, and eyes of light.
    Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee know,
    The hate I bare thee, made mee leaue thee so?
    Her. You speake not as you thinke: It cannot bee.
    Hel. Lo: she is one of this confederacy.
    1220Now I perceiue, they haue conioynd all three,
    To fashion this false sport, in spight of mee.
    Iniurious Hermia, most vngratefull maide,
    Haue you conspir'd, haue you with these contriu'd
    To baite mee, with this foule derision?
    1225Is all the counsell that we two haue shar'd,
    The sisters vowes, the howers that we haue spent,
    When we haue chid the hastie footed time,
    For parting vs; O, is all forgot?
    All schooldaies friendshippe, childhood innocence?
    1230VVee, Hermia, like two artificiall gods,
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    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, voyces, and mindes
    1235Had bin incorporate. So wee grewe together,
    Like to a double cherry, seeming parted;
    But yet an vnion in partition,
    Two louely berries moulded on one stemme:
    So with two seeming bodies, but one heart,
    1240Two of the first life coats in heraldry,
    Due but to one, and crowned with one creast.
    And will you rent our auncient loue asunder,
    To ioyne with men, in scorning your poore friend?
    It is not friendly, tis not maidenly.
    1245Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it;
    Though I alone doe fele the iniury.
    Her. I am amazed at your words:
    I scorne you not. It seemes that you scorne mee.
    Hel. Haue you not set Lysander, as in scorne,
    1250To follow mee, and praise my eyes and face?
    And made your other loue, Demetrius
    (Who euen but now did spurne mee with his foote)
    To call mee goddesse, nymph, diuine, and rare,
    Pretious celestiall? VVherefore speakes he this,
    1255To her he hates? And wherfore doth Lysander
    Deny your loue (so rich within his soule)
    And tender mee (forsooth) affection,
    But by your setting on, by your consent?
    VVhat, 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, counterfait sad lookes:
    1265Make mouthes vpon mee, when I turne my back:
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Winke each at other, holde the sweeete ieast vp.
    This sport well carried, shall bee chronicled.
    If you haue any pitty, grace, or manners,
    You would not make mee such an argument.
    1270But fare ye well: tis partly my owne fault:
    Which death, or absence soone shall remedy.
    Lys. Stay, gentle Helena: heare my excuse,
    My loue, my life, my soule, faire Helena.
    Hel. O excellent!
    1275Herm. Sweete, doe not scorne her so.
    Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compell.
    Lys. Thou canst compell no more, then she intreat.
    Thy threats haue no more strength then her weake praise.
    Helen, I loue thee, by my life I doe:
    1280I sweare by that which I will loose for thee;
    To prooue him false, that saies I loue thee not.
    Dem. I say, I loue thee more then he can do.
    Lys. If thou say so, withdrawe, and prooue it to.
    Dem. Quick come.
    1285Her. Lysander, whereto tends all this?
    Lys. Away, you Ethiop.
    Dem. No, no: heele
    Seeme to breake loose: take on as you would follow;
    But yet come not. You are a tame man, go.
    1290Lys. Hang of thou cat, thou bur: vile thing let loose;
    Or I will shake thee from mee, 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 medcine: ? hated potion hence.
    Her. Doe you not ieast?
    Hel. Yes sooth: and so doe 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.
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    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 mee, 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'd mee; yet since night, you left mee.
    Why then, you left mee (? the gods forbid)
    In earnest, shall I say?
    1310Lys. I, by my life:
    And neuer did desire to see thee more.
    Thefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt:
    Be certaine: nothing truer: tis no ieast,
    That I doe hate thee, and loue Helena.
    1315Her. O mee, you iuggler, you canker blossome,
    You theefe of loue: what, haue you come by night,
    And stolne my loues heart, from him?
    Hel. Fine, I faith.
    Haue you no modesty, no maiden shame,
    1320No touch of bashfulnesse? What, will you teare
    Impatient answeres, from my gentle tongue?
    Fy, fy, you counterfait, 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 preuaild with him.
    And are you growne so high in his esteeme,
    Because I am so dwarfish and so lowe?
    1330How lowe am I, thou painted May-pole? Speake:
    How lowe am I? I am not yet so lowe,
    But that my nailes can reach vnto thine eyes.
    Hel. I pray you, though you mocke me, gentleman,
    Let her not hurt me. I was neuer curst:
    1335I haue no gift at all in shrewishnesse:
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    I am a right maid, for my cowardize:
    Let her not strike mee. 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 mee,
    I euermore did loue you Hermia,
    Did euer keepe your counsels, neuer wrongd you;
    Saue that in loue, vnto Demetrius,
    1345I tould him of your stealth vnto this wood.
    He followed you: for loue, I followed him.
    But he hath chid me hence, and threatned mee
    To strike mee, spurne mee; nay to kill mee to.
    And now, so you will let me quiet goe,
    1350To Athens will I beare my folly backe,
    And follow you no further. Let me goe.
    You see how simple, and how fond I am.
    Herm. Why? get you gon. Who ist that hinders you?
    Hel. A foolish heart, that I leaue here behind.
    1355Her. What, with Lysander?
    Hel. With Demetrius.
    Lys. Be not afraid: she shall not harme thee Helena.
    Deme. No sir: she shall not, though you take her part.
    Hel. O, when she is 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 hut low and little?
    Why will you suffer her to floute me thus?
    Let me come to her.
    1365Lys. Get you gon, you dwarfe;
    You minimus, of hindring knot grasse, made;
    You bead, you acorne
    Deme. You are too officious,
    In her behalfe, that scornes your seruices.
    1370Let her alone: speake not of Helena,
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Take not her part. For if thou dost intend
    Neuer so little shewe of loue to her,
    Thou shalt aby it.
    Lys. Now she holdes me not:
    1375Now follow, if thou dar'st, to try whose right,
    Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
    Deme. Follow? Nay: Ile go with thee, cheeke by iowle.
    Her. You, mistresse, all this coyle is long of you.
    1380Nay: goe not backe.
    Hel. I will not trust you, I,
    Nor longer stay in your curst company.
    Your hands, than mine, are quicker for a fray:
    My legges are longer though, to runne away.
    1385Her. I am amaz'd, and know not what to say. Exeunt.
    Ob. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak'st,
    Or else commitst thy knaueries wilfully.
    Puck. Beleeue mee, king of shadowes, I mistooke.
    Did not you tell mee, I shoud know the man,
    1390By the Athenian garments, he had on?
    And, so farre blamelesse prooues my enterprise,
    That I haue nointed an Athenians eyes:
    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:
    Hy therefore Robin, ouercast the night,
    The starry welkin couer thou anon,
    With drooping fogge as blacke as Acheron,
    And lead these teasty 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 lead them thus;
    1405Till ore their browes, death-counterfaiting, sleepe,
    With leaden legs, and Batty wings doth creepe:
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Then crush this hearbe into Lysanders eye;
    Whose liquor hath this vertuous property,
    To take from thence all errour, with his might,
    1410And make his eyebals roule with wonted sight.
    When they next wake, all this derision
    Shall seeme a dreame, and fruitelesse vision.
    And backe to Athens shall the louers wend,
    With league, whose date, till death shall neuer end.
    1415Whiles I, in this affaire, doe thee imploy,
    Ile to my Queene and beg her Indian boy:
    And then I will her charmed eye release
    From monsters viewe, and all things shall be peace.
    Puck. My Faiery Lord, this must be done with haste.
    1420For nights swift Dragons cut the clouds full fast,
    And yonder shines Auroras harbinger:
    At whose approach, Ghosts, wandring here and there,
    Troope home to Churchyards: damned spirits all,
    That in crosse waies and floods haue buriall,
    1425Already to their wormy beds are gone:
    For feare least day should looke their shames vpon,
    They wilfully themselues exile from light,
    And must for aye consort with black browed night.
    Ober. 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 fiery red,
    Opening on Neptune, with faire blessed beames,
    Turnes, into yellow golde, his salt greene streames.
    1435But notwithstanding, haste, make no delay:
    We may effect this businesse, yet ere day.
    Pu. Vp & down, vp & down, I will lead them vp & down:
    I am feard in field & town. Goblin, lead them vp & downe.
    Here comes one. Enter Lysander.
    Lys Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.
    Rob. Here villaine, drawne & ready. Where art thou?
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    Lys. I will be with thee straight.
    1445Rob. Follow me then to plainer ground.
    Enter Demetrius.
    Deme. Lysander, speake againe.
    Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
    Speake in some bush. Where doest thou hide thy head?
    1450Rob. Thou coward art thou bragging, to the starres,
    Telling the bushes that thou look'st for warres,
    And wilt not come? Come recreant, come thou childe,
    Ile whippe thee with a rodde. He is defil'd,
    That drawes a sword on thee.
    1455De. Yea, art thou there?
    Ro. Follow my voice: weele try no manhood here. Exeūt.
    Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on:
    When I come where he calles, then he is gon.
    The villaine is much lighter heel'd then I;
    1460I followed fast: but faster he did fly;
    That fallen am I in darke vneauen way,
    And here will rest me. Come thou gentle day.
    For if but once, thou shewe me thy gray light,
    Ile finde Demetrius, and reuenge this spight.
    1465Robin, and Demetrius.
    Robi. Ho, ho, ho: Coward, why comst thou not?
    Deme. Abide me, if thou dar'st. For well I wot,
    Thou runst before mee, shifting euery place,
    And dar'st not stand, nor looke me in the face.
    1470Where art thou now?
    Rob. Come hither: I am here.
    De. Nay then thou mockst me. Thou shalt buy this dear,
    If euer I thy face by day light see.
    1475Now, goe thy way. Faintnesse constraineth mee,
    To measure, out my length, on this cold bed:>
    By daies approach looke to be visited.
    Enter Helena.
    Hele. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
    A Midsommer nightes dreame.
    1480Abate thy houres, shine comforts, from the east;
    That I may backe to Athens, by day light,
    From these that my poore company detest:
    And sleepe, that sometimes shuts vp sorrowes eye,
    Steale mee a while from mine owne companie. Sleepe.
    1485Rob. Yet but three? Come one more.
    Two of both kindes makes vp fower.
    Heare shee comes, curst and sadde.
    Cupid is a knauish ladde,
    1490Thus to make poore females madde.
    Her. Neuer so weary, neuer so in woe,
    Bedabbled with the deaw, and torne with briers:
    I can no further crawle, no further goe:
    My legges can keepe no pase with my desires.
    1495Here will I rest mee, till the breake of day:
    Heauens shielde Lysander, if they meane a fray.
    Rob. On the ground, sleepe sound:
    Ile apply your eye, gentle louer, remedy.
    When thou wak'st, thou tak'st
    1500True delight, in the sight, of thy former ladies eye:
    And the country prouerbe knowne,
    That euery man should take his owne,
    In your waking shall be showen.
    Iacke shall haue Iill: nought shall goe ill:
    1505The man shall haue his mare again, & all shall be well.