Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, and Philostrate, with others.
Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, and Lysander and Demetrius.
All but Hermia and Lysander exit.
Enter Quince the carpenter, and Snug the joiner, andBottom the weaver, and Flute the bellows-mender, andSnout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor.
Enter a Fairy at one door and Robin Goodfellow atanother.
Enter Oberon the King of Fairies at one door, with histrain, and Titania the Queen at another, with hers.
Titania and her fairies exit.
Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.
Robin gives him the flower.
He gives Robin part of the flower.
Enter Titania, Queen of Fairies, with her train.
who anoints Titania’s eyelids with thenectar.
Enter Lysander and Hermia.
He anoints Lysander’s eyelidswith the nectar.
Enter Demetrius and Helena, running.
With Titania still asleep onstage, enter the Clowns,Bottom, Quince, Snout, Starveling, Snug, and Flute.
Enter Robin invisible to those onstage.
Enter Robin, and Bottom as Pyramus with theass-head.
Quince, Flute, Snout, Snug, and Starveling exit.
Enter four Fairies: Peaseblossom, Cobweb,Mote, and Mustardseed.
Enter Oberon, King of Fairies.
Enter Demetrius and Hermia.
He lies down and falls asleep.
, applying the nectar to Demetrius’ eyes
Enter Lysander and Helena.
She takes hold of Lysander.
Demetrius and Lysander exit.
He gives a flower to Robin.
Enter Robin and Demetrius.
She lies down and sleeps.
She lies down and sleeps.
Robin applies the nectar to Lysander’s eyes.
With the four lovers still asleep onstage, enterTitania, Queen of Fairies, and Bottom and Fairies,and Oberon, the King, behind them unseen by thoseonstage.
Bottom and Titania sleep.
He applies the nectar to her eyes.
, removing the ass-head from Bottom
Titania and Oberon dance.
Oberon, Robin, and Titania exit.
Enter Theseus and all his train,Hippolyta, Egeus.
Shout within. Wind horns.
Demetrius, Helena, Hermia, and Lysander kneel.
Theseus and his train,including Hippolyta and Egeus, exit.
Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.
Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, and Philostrate, Lords, andAttendants.
Enter Lovers: Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.
Enter Pyramus (Bottom), and Thisbe (Flute), andWall (Snout), and Moonshine (Starveling), and Lion(Snug), and Prologue (Quince).
Lion, Thisbe, Moonshine, and Prologue exit.
Enter Lion (Snug) and Moonshine (Starveling).
Thisbe runs off,dropping her mantle.
Dance, and the players exit.
Enter Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of Fairies,with all their train.
Oberon leads the Fairies in song and dance.
I would my father looked but with my eyes.
I do entreat your Grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your Grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship whose unwishèd yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.
O cross! Too high to be enthralled to low.
O spite! Too old to be engaged to young.
O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!
If then true lovers have been ever crossed,
It stands as an edict in destiny.
Then let us teach our trial patience
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.
My good Lysander,
I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke
(In number more than ever women spoke),
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.
Godspeed, fair Helena. Whither away?
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
The more I hate, the more he follows me.
His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
Take comfort: he no more shall see my face.
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see
Seemed Athens as a paradise to me.
O, then, what graces in my love do dwell
That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell!
And in the wood where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet,
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow. Pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius.—
Keep word, Lysander. We must starve our sight
From lovers’ food till morrow deep midnight.
Be it so, Lysander. Find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
Nay, good Lysander. For my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet. Do not lie so near.
Lysander riddles very prettily.
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy,
Lie further off in human modesty.
Such separation, as may well be said,
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid.
So far be distant; and good night, sweet friend.
Thy love ne’er alter till thy sweet life end!
With half that wish the wisher’s eyes be pressed!
Help me, Lysander, help me! Do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast.
Ay me, for pity! What a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear.
Methought a serpent ate my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
Lysander! What, removed? Lysander, lord!
What, out of hearing? Gone? No sound, no word?
Alack, where are you? Speak, an if you hear.
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.—
No? Then I well perceive you are not nigh.
Either death or you I’ll find immediately.
Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse,
For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day
As he to me. Would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon
This whole Earth may be bored, and that the moon
May through the center creep and so displease
Her brother’s noontide with th’ Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murdered him.
So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.
What’s this to my Lysander? Where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou driv’st me past the bounds
Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never numbered among men.
O, once tell true! Tell true, even for my sake!
Durst thou have looked upon him, being awake?
And hast thou killed him sleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it, for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part I so.
See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
What love could press Lysander from my side?
You speak not as you think. It cannot be.
I am amazèd at your words.
I scorn you not. It seems that you scorn me.
I understand not what you mean by this.
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me? Wherefore? O me, what news, my love?
Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left
Why, then, you left me—O, the gods forbid!—
In earnest, shall I say?
O me! You juggler, you cankerblossom,
You thief of love! What, have you come by night
And stol’n my love’s heart from him?
Puppet? Why so? Ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures; she hath urged her height,
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? Speak!
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
Why, get you gone. Who is ’t that hinders you?
Little again? Nothing but low and little?
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
You, mistress, all this coil is long of you.
Nay, go not back.
I am amazed and know not what to say.
Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
I can no further crawl, no further go.
My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
Here will I rest me till the break of day.
Heavens shield Lysander if they mean a fray!
Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When everything seems double.
You have her father’s love, Demetrius.
Let me have Hermia’s. Do you marry him.
I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possessed. My love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly ranked
(If not with vantage) as Demetrius’;
And (which is more than all these boasts can be)
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
But either it was different in blood—
Or else misgraffèd in respect of years—
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends—
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And, ere a man hath power to say Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up.
So quick bright things come to confusion.
A good persuasion. Therefore, hear me, Hermia:
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me, then
Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night,
And in the wood a league without the town
(Where I did meet thee once with Helena
To do observance to a morn of May),
There will I stay for thee.
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
Tomorrow night when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat’ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass
(A time that lovers’ flights doth still conceal),
Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal.
I will, my Hermia.
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
Fair love, you faint with wand’ring in the wood.
And, to speak troth, I have forgot our way.
We’ll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love’s conference.
I mean that my heart unto yours is knit,
So that but one heart we can make of it;
Two bosoms interchainèd with an oath—
So then two bosoms and a single troth.
Then by your side no bed-room me deny,
For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
Amen, amen to that fair prayer, say I,
And then end life when I end loyalty!
Here is my bed. Sleep give thee all his rest!
And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
Content with Hermia? No, I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia, but Helena I love.
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason swayed,
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season;
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason.
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o’erlook
Love’s stories written in love’s richest book.
She sees not Hermia.—Hermia, sleep thou there,
And never mayst thou come Lysander near.
For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive,
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honor Helen and to be her knight.
Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
Scorn and derision never come in tears.
Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
In their nativity all truth appears.
How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?
I had no judgment when to her I swore.
Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so,
For you love Hermia; this you know I know.
And here with all goodwill, with all my heart,
In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part.
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
Whom I do love and will do till my death.
Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?
Lysander’s love, that would not let him bide,
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light.
Why seek’st thou me? Could not this make thee
The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
Stay, gentle Helena. Hear my excuse,
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena.
Thou canst compel no more than she entreat.
Thy threats have no more strength than her weak
Helen, I love thee. By my life, I do.
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To prove him false that says I love thee not.
If thou say so, withdraw and prove it too.
Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
Thy love? Out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathèd med’cine! O, hated potion, hence!
Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
What? Should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so.
Ay, by my life,
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt.
Be certain, nothing truer, ’tis no jest
That I do hate thee and love Helena.
Be not afraid. She shall not harm thee, Helena.
Get you gone, you dwarf,
You minimus of hind’ring knotgrass made,
You bead, you acorn—
Now she holds me not.
Now follow, if thou dar’st, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.
I will be with thee straight.
He goes before me and still dares me on.
When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
The villain is much lighter-heeled than I.
I followed fast, but faster he did fly,
That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
And here will rest me. Come, thou gentle day,
For if but once thou show me thy gray light,
I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
My lord, I shall reply amazèdly,
Half sleep, half waking. But as yet, I swear,
I cannot truly say how I came here.
But, as I think—for truly would I speak,
And now I do bethink me, so it is:
I came with Hermia hither. Our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,
Without the peril of the Athenian law—
And he did bid us follow to the temple.
More than to us
Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt;
he knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is
not enough to speak, but to speak true.
This lion is a very fox for his valor.
And so the lion vanished.
Less than an ace, man, for he is dead, he is
She hath spied him already with those
Call you me fair? That fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!
Your eyes are lodestars and your tongue’s sweet air
More tunable than lark to shepherd’s ear
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching. O, were favor so!
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go.
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye;
My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I’d give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart!
O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such
O, that my prayers could such affection move!
The more I love, the more he hateth me.
None but your beauty. Would that fault were mine!
How happy some o’er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so.
He will not know what all but he do know.
And, as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind;
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste.
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured everywhere.
For, ere Demetrius looked on Hermia’s eyne,
He hailed down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and show’rs of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight.
Then to the wood will he tomorrow night
Pursue her. And, for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense.
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.
You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.
And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel, and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me I will fawn on you.
Use me but as your spaniel: spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave
(Unworthy as I am) to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love
(And yet a place of high respect with me)
Than to be usèd as you use your dog?
And I am sick when I look not on you.
Your virtue is my privilege. For that
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night.
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you, in my respect, are all the world.
Then, how can it be said I am alone
When all the world is here to look on me?
The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will. The story shall be changed:
Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger. Bootless speed
When cowardice pursues and valor flies!
Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.
We cannot fight for love as men may do.
We should be wooed and were not made to woo.
I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell
To die upon the hand I love so well.
Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so.
O, I am out of breath in this fond chase.
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe’er she lies,
For she hath blessèd and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears.
If so, my eyes are oftener washed than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear,
For beasts that meet me run away for fear.
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
Do as a monster fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia’s sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander, on the ground!
Dead or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.—
Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.
Do not say so. Lysander, say not so.
What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what
Yet Hermia still loves you. Then be content.
Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is ’t not enough, is ’t not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius’ eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well. Perforce I must confess
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady of one man refused
Should of another therefore be abused!
You do advance your cunning more and more.
When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray!
These vows are Hermia’s. Will you give her o’er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.
O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment.
If you were civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so,
To vow and swear and superpraise my parts,
When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals and love Hermia,
And now both rivals to mock Helena.
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
With your derision! None of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin and extort
A poor soul’s patience, all to make you sport.
Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoined all three
To fashion this false sport in spite of me.—
Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid,
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived,
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us—O, is all forgot?
All schooldays’ friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have 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 minds
Had been incorporate. So we grew together
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition,
Two lovely berries molded on one stem;
So with two seeming bodies but one heart,
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crownèd with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly; ’tis not maidenly.
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face,
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love (so rich within his soul)
And tender me, forsooth, affection,
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What though I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved?
This you should pity rather than despise.
Ay, do. Persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,
Wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up.
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare you well. ’Tis partly my own fault,
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
Yes, sooth, and so do you.
Fine, i’ faith.
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
I pray you, though you mock me,gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me. I was never curst;
I have no gift at all in shrewishness.
I am a right maid for my cowardice.
Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
Because she is something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wronged you—
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
He followed you; for love, I followed him.
But he hath chid me hence and threatened me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too.
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back
And follow you no further. Let me go.
You see how simple and how fond I am.
A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
O, when she is angry, she is keen and shrewd.
She was a vixen when she went to school,
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
I will not trust you, I,
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray.
My legs are longer though, to run away.
O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy hours! Shine, comforts, from the east,
That I may back to Athens by daylight
From these that my poor company detest.
And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own and not mine own.
Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazèd title to my certain right.
I love thee not; therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
The one I’ll stay; the other stayeth me.
Thou told’st me they were stol’n unto this wood,
And here am I, and wood within this wood
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Or rather do I not in plainest truth
Tell you I do not, nor I cannot love you?
Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
For I am sick when I do look on thee.
You do impeach your modesty too much
To leave the city and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not,
To trust the opportunity of night
And the ill counsel of a desert place
With the rich worth of your virginity.
I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
I will not stay thy questions. Let me go,
Or if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
Stay, on thy peril. I alone will go.
O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe!
So should the murdered look, and so should I,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
You spend your passion on a misprised mood.
I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood,
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
An if I could, what should I get therefor?
There is no following her in this fierce vein.
Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.
So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrout sleep doth sorrow owe,
Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.
O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealèd white, high Taurus’ snow,
Fanned with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
When thou hold’st up thy hand. O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.
If e’er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned,
And now to Helen is it home returned,
There to remain.
Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear.
Look where thy love comes. Yonder is thy dear.
If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
I say I love thee more than he can do.
No, no. He’ll
Seem to break loose. Take on as you
But yet come not. You are a tame man, go!
I would I had your bond. For I perceive
A weak bond holds you. I’ll not trust your word.
No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone. Speak not of Helena.
Take not her part. For if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
Follow? Nay, I’ll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
Lysander, speak again.
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy
Abide me, if thou dar’st, for well I wot
Thou runn’st before me, shifting every place,
And dar’st not stand nor look me in the face.
Where art thou now?
Nay, then, thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this
If ever I thy face by daylight see.
Now go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
To measure out my length on this cold bed.
By day’s approach look to be visited.
My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood,
And I in fury hither followed them,
Fair Helena in fancy following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power
(But by some power it is) my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud
Which in my childhood I did dote upon,
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betrothed ere I saw Hermia.
But like a sickness did I loathe this food.
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will forevermore be true to it.
These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.
Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The Duke was here and bid us follow him?
Why, then, we are awake. Let’s follow him,
And by the way let us recount our dreams.
No wonder, my lord. One lion may when
many asses do.
It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
discourse, my lord.
No remedy, my lord, when walls are so
willful to hear without warning.
The very best at a beast, my lord, that e’er I
Not so, my lord, for his valor cannot carry
his discretion, and the fox carries the goose.
He should have worn the horns on his
He dares not come there for the candle,
for you see, it is already in snuff.
Why, all these should be in the lanthorn,
for all these are in the moon. But silence. Here
No die, but an ace for him, for he is but
A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus,
which Thisbe, is the better: he for a man, God
warrant us; she for a woman, God bless us.
And thus she means, videlicet—
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in
Another moon. But, O, methinks how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires
Like to a stepdame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man’s revenue.
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.
Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword
And won thy love doing thee injuries,
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.
Thanks, good Egeus. What’s the news with thee?
What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid.
To you, your father should be as a god,
One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
In himself he is,
But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Either to die the death, or to abjure
Forever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether (if you yield not to your father’s choice)
You can endure the livery of a nun,
For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessèd they that master so their blood
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage,
But earthlier happy is the rose distilled
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.
Take time to pause, and by the next new moon
(The sealing day betwixt my love and me
For everlasting bond of fellowship),
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father’s will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,
Or on Diana’s altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.
I must confess that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being overfull of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it.—But, Demetrius, come,
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me.
I have some private schooling for you both.—
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father’s will,
Or else the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death or to a vow of single life.—
Come, my Hippolyta. What cheer, my love?—
Demetrius and Egeus, go along.
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Go, one of you, find out the Forester.
For now our observation is performed,
And, since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go.
Dispatch, I say, and find the Forester.
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain’s top
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flewed, so sanded; and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-kneed, and dewlapped like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tunable
Was never holloed to, nor cheered with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
Judge when you hear.—But soft! What nymphs are
No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace of our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus. Is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past.
Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?
I pray you all, stand up.
I know you two are rival enemies.
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy
To sleep by hate and fear no enmity?
Fair lovers, you are fortunately met.
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.—
Egeus, I will overbear your will,
For in the temple by and by, with us,
These couples shall eternally be knit.—
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens. Three and three,
We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.
More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold:
That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy.
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
Here come the lovers full of joy and mirth.—
Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!
Come now, what masques, what dances shall we
To wear away this long age of three hours
Between our after-supper and bedtime?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Say what abridgment have you for this evening,
What masque, what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time if not with some delight?
The battle with the Centaurs, to be sungBy an Athenian eunuch to the harp.
We’ll none of that. That have I told my love
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.
That is an old device, and it was played
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
The thrice-three Muses mourning for the deathOf learning, late deceased in beggary.
That is some satire, keen and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
A tedious brief scene of young PyramusAnd his love Thisbe, very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?
That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow!
How shall we find the concord of this discord?
What are they that do play it?
I will hear that play,
For never anything can be amiss
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in—and take your places, ladies.
Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be to take what they mistake;
And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposèd
To greet me with premeditated welcomes,
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practiced accent in their fears,
And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence yet I picked a welcome,
And in the modesty of fearful duty,
I read as much as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.
This fellow doth not stand upon points.
His speech was like a tangled chain—nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
I wonder if the lion be to speak.
Would you desire lime and hair to speak
Pyramus draws near the wall. Silence.
The wall, methinks, being sensible, should
Now is the wall down between the two
The best in this kind are but shadows, and
the worst are no worse, if imagination amend
If we imagine no worse of them than they of
themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here
come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.
A very gentle beast, and of a good
True, and a goose for his discretion.
His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his
valor, for the goose carries not the fox. It is well.
Leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the
He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible
within the circumference.
This is the greatest error of all the rest; the
man should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else
the man i’ th’ moon?
It appears by his small light of discretion that
he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all reason,
we must stay the time.
This passion, and the death of a dear friend,
would go near to make a man look sad.
With the help of a surgeon he might yet
recover and yet prove an ass.
She will find him by starlight.
Here she comes, and her passion ends the play.
Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the
No epilogue, I pray you. For your play needs
no excuse. Never excuse. For when the players are
all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if
he that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged
himself in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine
tragedy; and so it is, truly, and very notably discharged.
But, come, your Bergomask. Let your
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed! ’Tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatched.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity
In nightly revels and new jollity.
queen of the Amazons
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear
With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear
Such gallant chiding, for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
’Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy’s images
And grows to something of great constancy,
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
I love not to see wretchedness o’ercharged,
And duty in his service perishing.
He says they can do nothing in this kind.
Indeed he hath played on this prologue like
a child on a recorder—a sound, but not in
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
It must be your imagination, then, and not
I am aweary of this moon. Would he would
Well shone, Moon. Truly, the Moon shines
with a good grace.
Beshrew my heart but I pity the man.
How chance Moonshine is gone before
Thisbe comes back and finds her lover?
Methinks she should not use a long one for
such a Pyramus. I hope she will be brief.
Happy be Theseus, our renownèd duke!
Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.—
Stand forth, Demetrius.—My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.—
Stand forth, Lysander.—And, my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.—
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes
And interchanged love tokens with my child.
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung
With feigning voice verses of feigning love
And stol’n the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats—messengers
Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth.
With cunning hast thou filched my daughter’s heart,
Turned her obedience (which is due to me)
To stubborn harshness.—And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your Grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:
As she is mine, I may dispose of her,
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.
Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love;
And what is mine my love shall render him.
And she is mine, and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
With duty and desire we follow you.
My lord, this is my daughter here asleep,
And this Lysander; this Demetrius is,
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena.
I wonder of their being here together.
Enough, enough!—My lord, you have enough.
I beg the law, the law upon his head.
They would have stol’n away.—They would,
Thereby to have defeated you and me:
You of your wife and me of my consent,
Of my consent that she should be your wife.
master of the revels to Theseus
There is a brief how many sports are ripe.
Make choice of which your Highness will see first.
A play there is, my lord, some ten words long
(Which is as brief as I have known a play),
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious; for in all the play,
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And tragical, my noble lord, it is.
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself,
Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.
Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
Which never labored in their minds till now,
And now have toiled their unbreathed memories
With this same play, against your nuptial.
No, my noble lord,
It is not for you. I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world,
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretched and conned with cruel pain
To do you service.
So please your Grace, the Prologue is addressed.
You were best to call them generally, man by
man, according to the scrip.
First, good Peter Quince, say what the play
treats on, then read the names of the actors, and so
grow to a point.
A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a
merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your
actors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
Ready. Name what part I am for, and
What is Pyramus—a lover or a tyrant?
That will ask some tears in the true performing
of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their
eyes. I will move storms; I will condole in some
measure. To the rest.—Yet my chief humor is for a
tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a
cat in, to make all split:The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates.
And Phibbus’ car
Shall shine from far
And make and mar
The foolish Fates.
This was lofty. Now name the rest of the players.
This is Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein. A lover is more
An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too.
I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice: Thisne,Thisne!—Ah Pyramus, my lover dear! Thy Thisbedear and lady dear!
Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will
do any man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar that
I will make the Duke say Let him roar again. Lethim roar again!
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
I grant you, friends, if you should fright the
ladies out of their wits, they would have no more
discretion but to hang us. But I will aggravate my
voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking
dove. I will roar you an ’twere any nightingale.
Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I
best to play it in?
I will discharge it in either your straw-color
beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
beard, or your French-crown-color beard,
your perfit yellow.
We will meet, and there we may rehearse
most obscenely and courageously. Take pains. Be
Enough. Hold, or cut bowstrings.
There are things in this comedy of Pyramus
and Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus
must draw a sword to kill himself, which the ladies
cannot abide. How answer you that?
Not a whit! I have a device to make all well.
Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to
say we will do no harm with our swords, and that
Pyramus is not killed indeed. And, for the more
better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver. This will put them
out of fear.
No, make it two more. Let it be written in
eight and eight.
Masters, you ought to consider with yourself,
to bring in (God shield us!) a lion among ladies is a
most dreadful thing. For there is not a more fearful
wildfowl than your lion living, and we ought to look
Nay, you must name his name, and half his
face must be seen through the lion’s neck, and he
himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the
same defect: Ladies, or Fair ladies, I wouldwish you, or I would request you, or I wouldentreat you not to fear, not to tremble! My life for
yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were
pity of my life. No, I am no such thing. I am a man as
other men are. And there indeed let him name his
name and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac.
Find out moonshine, find out moonshine.
Why, then, may you leave a casement of the
great chamber window, where we play, open, and
the moon may shine in at the casement.
Some man or other must present Wall. And
let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some
roughcast about him to signify wall, or let him
hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall
Pyramus and Thisbe whisper.
Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet—
…odors savors sweet.
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.—
But hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
If I were fair, fair Thisbe, I were only thine.
Why do they run away? This is a knavery of
them to make me afeard.
What do you see? You see an ass-head of your
own, do you?
I see their knavery. This is to make an ass of
me, to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
from this place, do what they can. I will walk up
and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
I am not afraid.The ouzel cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill—
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plainsong cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark
And dares not answer nay—for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a
bird? Who would give a bird the lie though he cry
cuckoo never so?
Methinks, mistress, you should have little
reason for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason
and love keep little company together nowadays.
The more the pity that some honest neighbors will
not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon
Not so neither; but if I had wit enough to get
out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own
I cry your Worships mercy, heartily.—I beseech
your Worship’s name.
I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
Master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall make
bold with you.—Your name, honest gentleman?
I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash,
your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father.
Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of
more acquaintance, too.—Your name, I beseech
Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience
well. That same cowardly, giantlike ox-beef
hath devoured many a gentleman of your house. I
promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes
water ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance,
good Master Mustardseed.
Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where’s
Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get you
your weapons in your hand and kill me a red-hipped
humble-bee on the top of a thistle, and, good
monsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret
yourself too much in the action, monsieur, and,
good monsieur, have a care the honey-bag break
not; I would be loath to have you overflown with a
honey-bag, signior. Where’s Monsieur
Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed.
Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.
Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavalery
Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber’s,
monsieur, for methinks I am marvels hairy about
the face. And I am such a tender ass, if my hair do
but tickle me, I must scratch.
I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s
have the tongs and the bones.
Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch
your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire
to a bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no
I had rather have a handful or two of dried
peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people stir
me; I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
When my cue comes, call me,
and I will answer. My next is Most fair Pyramus.
Hey-ho! Peter Quince! Flute the bellows-mender!
Snout the tinker! Starveling! God’s my life! Stolen
hence and left me asleep! I have had a most rare
vision. I have had a dream past the wit of man to say
what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about
to expound this dream. Methought I was—there
is no man can tell what. Methought I was and
methought I had—but man is but a patchedfool if
he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of
man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen,
man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to
conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream
was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this
dream. It shall be called Bottom’s Dream because
it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the
latter end of a play, before the Duke. Peradventure,
to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her
Where are these lads? Where are these
Masters, I am to discourse wonders. But ask
me not what; for, if I tell you, I am not true
Athenian. I will tell you everything right as it fell
Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is that
the Duke hath dined. Get your apparel together,
good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your
pumps. Meet presently at the palace. Every man
look o’er his part. For the short and the long is, our
play is preferred. In any case, let Thisbe have clean
linen, and let not him that plays the lion pare his
nails, for they shall hang out for the lion’s claws.
And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, for
we are to utter sweet breath, and I do not doubt but
to hear them say it is a sweet comedy. No more
words. Away! Go, away!
O grim-looked night! O night with hue so black!
O night, which ever art when day is not!
O night! O night! Alack, alack, alack!
I fear my Thisbe’s promise is forgot.
And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
That stand’st between her father’s ground and
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink to blink through with mine
Thanks, courteous wall. Jove shield thee well for
But what see I? No Thisbe do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss,
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceivingme is Thisbe’s cue. She is to enter now, and I am
to spy her through the wall. You shall see it will fall
pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.
I see a voice! Now will I to the chink
To spy an I can hear my Thisbe’s face.
Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace,
And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.
Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?
Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams.
I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright,
For by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
I trust to take of truest Thisbe sight.—
But stay! O spite!
But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here!
Eyes, do you see!
How can it be!
O dainty duck! O dear!
Thy mantle good—
What, stained with blood?
Approach, ye Furies fell!
O Fates, come, come,
Cut thread and thrum,
Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
O, wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame,
Since lion vile hath here deflowered my dear,
Which is—no, no—which was the fairest dame
That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked with
Come, tears, confound!
Out, sword, and wound
The pap of Pyramus;
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop.
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead;
Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky.
Tongue, lose thy light!
Moon, take thy flight!
Now die, die, die, die, die.
No, I assure you, the wall is down that
parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the
Epilogue or to hear a Bergomask dance between
two of our company?
Here is the scroll of every man’s name which
is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our
interlude before the Duke and the Duchess on his
wedding day at night.
Marry, our play is The most lamentablecomedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
A lover that kills himself most gallant for love.
Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.
It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
That’s all one. You shall play it in a mask, and
you may speak as small as you will.
No, no, you must play Pyramus—and, Flute,
Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe’s
mother.—Tom Snout, the tinker.
You, Pyramus’ father.—Myself, Thisbe’s
father.—Snug the joiner, you the lion’s part.—
And I hope here is a play fitted.
You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but
An you should do it too terribly, you would
fright the Duchess and the ladies that they would
shriek, and that were enough to hang us all.
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
You can play no part but Pyramus, for Pyramus
is a sweet-faced man, a proper man as one
shall see in a summer’s day, a most lovely gentlemanlike
man. Therefore you must needs play
Some of your French crowns have no hair at
all, and then you will play barefaced. But, masters,
here are your parts, and I am
to entreat you, request you, and desire you to con
them by tomorrow night and meet me in the palace
wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight. There
will we rehearse, for if we meet in the city, we shall
be dogged with company and our devices known. In
the meantime I will draw a bill of properties such as
our play wants. I pray you fail me not.
At the Duke’s Oak we meet.
Pat, pat. And here’s a marvels convenient
place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be
our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house,
and we will do it in action as we will do it before
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
Well, we will have such a prologue, and it shall
be written in eight and six.
Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard
things: that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber,
for you know Pyramus and Thisbe meet by
Yes, it doth shine that night.
Ay, or else one must come in with a bush of
thorns and a lantern and say he comes to disfigure
or to present the person of Moonshine. Then there
is another thing: we must have a wall in the great
chamber, for Pyramus and Thisbe, says the story,
did talk through the chink of a wall.
If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus,
you begin. When you have spoken your
speech, enter into that brake, and so everyone
according to his cue.
Speak, Pyramus.—Thisbe, stand forth.
Ay, marry, must you, for you must understand
he goes but to see a noise that he heard and is to
Ninus’ tomb, man! Why, you must not
speak that yet. That you answer to Pyramus. You
speak all your part at once, cues and all.—Pyramus,
enter. Your cue is past. It is never tire.
O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted. Pray,
masters, fly, masters! Help!
Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art
Have you sent to Bottom’s house? Is he come
It is not possible. You have not a man in all
Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.
Yea, and the best person too, and he is a very
paramour for a sweet voice.
Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy
Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
If we offend, it is with our goodwill.
That you should think we come not to offend,
But with goodwill. To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider, then, we come but in despite.
We do not come, as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight
We are not here. That you should here repent
The actors are at hand, and, by their show,
You shall know all that you are like to know.
Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show.
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know.
This beauteous lady Thisbe is certain.
This man with lime and roughcast doth present
Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers
And through Wall’s chink, poor souls, they are
To whisper, at the which let no man wonder.
This man, with lantern, dog, and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moonshine, for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
To meet at Ninus’ tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast (which Lion hight by name)
The trusty Thisbe coming first by night
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisbe’s mantle slain.
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast.
And Thisbe, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
At large discourse, while here they do remain.
What is Thisbe—a wand’ring knight?
Nay, faith, let not me play a woman. I have a
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
I’ll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny’s tomb.
As true as truest horse, that yet would nevertire.
If he come not, then the play is marred. It goes
not forward, doth it?
No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraftman
You must say paragon. A paramour is (God
bless us) a thing of naught.
O, sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost six
pence a day during his life. He could not have
’scaped six pence a day. An the Duke had not given
him six pence a day for playing Pyramus, I’ll be
hanged. He would have deserved it. Six pence a day
in Pyramus, or nothing!
O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans
For parting my fair Pyramus and me.
My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
My love! Thou art my love, I think.
And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.
’Tide life, ’tide death, I come without delay.
This is old Ninny’s tomb. Where is my love?
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Pyramus, arise!
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead? Dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These lily lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks
Are gone, are gone!
Lovers, make moan;
His eyes were green as leeks.
O Sisters Three,
Come, come to me
With hands as pale as milk.
Lay them in gore,
Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.
Tongue, not a word!
Come, trusty sword,
Come, blade, my breast imbrue!Thisbe stabs herself.
And farewell, friends.
Thus Thisbe ends.
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
By ’r lakin, a parlous fear.
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not
Doth the moon shine that night we play our
You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on
In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
And such a wall as I would have you think
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe,
Did whisper often, very secretly.
This loam, this roughcast, and this stone doth show
That I am that same wall. The truth is so.
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
Thus have I, Wall, my part dischargèd so,
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.
Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it
be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
Masters, the Duke is coming from the temple,
and there is two or three lords and ladies more
married. If our sport had gone forward, we had all
been made men.
You ladies, you whose gentle hearts do fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on
May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, as Snug the joiner, am
A lion fell, nor else no lion’s dam;
For if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, ’twere pity on my life.
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
I believe we must leave the killing out,
when all is done.
I fear it, I promise you.
He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he
This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present.
This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present.
Myself the man i’ th’ moon do seem to be.
All that I have to say is to tell
you that the lanthorn is the moon, I the man i’ th’
moon, this thornbush my thornbush, and this dog
king of the Fairies
Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord?
How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering
From Perigouna, whom he ravishèd,
And make him with fair Aegles break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa?
Do you amend it, then. It lies in you.
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy
To be my henchman.
How long within this wood intend you stay?
Give me that boy and I will go with thee.
Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this grove
Till I torment thee for this injury.—
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememb’rest
Since once I sat upon a promontory
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.
That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all armed. A certain aim he took
At a fair vestal thronèd by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts.
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quenched in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon,
And the imperial vot’ress passèd on
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee once.
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb, and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
Having once this juice,
I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she, waking, looks upon
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape)
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
And ere I take this charm from off her sight
(As I can take it with another herb),
I’ll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible,
And I will overhear their conference.
Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this grove,
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
I pray thee give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet muskroses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.
And there the snake throws her enameled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove.
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth. Anoint his eyes,
But do it when the next thing he espies
May be the lady. Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her than she upon her love.
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true love take.
Love and languish for his sake.
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wak’st, it is thy dear.
Wake when some vile thing is near.
I wonder if Titania be awaked;
Then what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.
Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit?
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
This falls out better than I could devise.
But hast thou yet latched the Athenian’s eyes
With the love juice, as I did bid thee do?
Stand close. This is the same Athenian.
What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite
And laid the love juice on some true-love’s sight.
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
Some true-love turned, and not a false turned true.
About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find.
All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer
With sighs of love that costs the fresh blood dear.
By some illusion see thou bring her here.
I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid’s archery,
Sink in apple of his eye.
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.—
When thou wak’st, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
Stand aside. The noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.
This is thy negligence. Still thou mistak’st,
Or else committ’st thy knaveries willfully.
Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight.
Hie, therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
And lead these testy rivals so astray
As one come not within another’s way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue;
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong.
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius.
And from each other look thou lead them thus,
Till o’er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.
Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye,
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision.
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmèd eye release
From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.
But we are spirits of another sort.
I with the Morning’s love have oft made sport
And, like a forester, the groves may tread
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessèd beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams.
But notwithstanding, haste! Make no delay.
We may effect this business yet ere day.
Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favors for this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her.
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flouriets’ eyes,
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her,
And she in mild terms begged my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child,
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in Fairyland.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes.
And, gentle Puck, take this transformèd scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain,
That he, awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night’s accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the Fairy Queen.Be as thou wast wont to be.
See as thou wast wont to see.
Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower
Hath such force and blessèd power.
Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.
Silence awhile.—Robin, take off this head.—
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will tomorrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity.
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
Then, my queen, in silence sad
Trip we after night’s shade.
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wand’ring moon.
Through the house give glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire.
Every elf and fairy sprite,
Hop as light as bird from brier,
And this ditty after me,
Sing and dance it trippingly.
Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessèd be,
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate.
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be,
And the blots of Nature’s hand
Shall not in their issue stand.
Never mole, harelip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despisèd in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.
With this field-dew consecrate
Every fairy take his gait,
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace.
And the owner of it blest,
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away. Make no stay.
Meet me all by break of day.
queen of the Fairies
What, jealous Oberon? Fairies skip hence.
I have forsworn his bed and company.
Then I must be thy lady. But I know
When thou hast stolen away from Fairyland
And in the shape of Corin sat all day
Playing on pipes of corn and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India,
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskined mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity?
These are the forgeries of jealousy;
And never, since the middle summer’s spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By pavèd fountain or by rushy brook,
Or in the beachèd margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge have sucked up from the sea
Contagious fogs, which, falling in the land,
Hath every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents.
The ox hath therefore stretched his yoke in vain,
The plowman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attained a beard.
The fold stands empty in the drownèd field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock.
The nine-men’s-morris is filled up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable.
The human mortals want their winter here.
No night is now with hymn or carol blessed.
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound.
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazèd world
By their increase now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.
Set your heart at rest:
The Fairyland buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot’ress of my order,
And in the spicèd Indian air by night
Full often hath she gossiped by my side
And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands,
Marking th’ embarkèd traders on the flood,
When we have laughed to see the sails conceive
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,
Following (her womb then rich with my young
Would imitate and sail upon the land
To fetch me trifles and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die,
And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.
Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding day.
If you will patiently dance in our round
And see our moonlight revels, go with us.
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away.
We shall chide downright if I longer stay.
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence—
Some to kill cankers in the muskrose buds,
Some war with reremice for their leathern wings
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep.
Then to your offices and let me rest.
What angel wakes me from my flow’ry bed?
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.
Mine ear is much enamored of thy note,
So is mine eye enthrallèd to thy shape,
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Out of this wood do not desire to go.
Thou shalt remain here whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate.
The summer still doth tend upon my state,
And I do love thee. Therefore go with me.
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep
And sing while thou on pressèd flowers dost sleep.
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.—
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed!
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glowworms’ eyes
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
Come, wait upon him. Lead him to my bower.
The moon, methinks, looks with a wat’ry eye,
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforcèd chastity.
Tie up my lover’s tongue. Bring him silently.
Come, sit thee down upon this flow’ry bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick muskroses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?
Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.
I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel’s hoard and fetch thee new nuts.
Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.—
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!
My Oberon, what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamored of an ass.
How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
Music, ho, music such as charmeth sleep!
Come, my lord, and in our flight
Tell me how it came this night
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.
First rehearse your song by rote,
To each word a warbling note.
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing and bless this place.
a “puck,” or hobgoblin, in Oberon’s service
How now, spirit? Whither wander you?
The King doth keep his revels here tonight.
Take heed the Queen come not within his sight,
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath
Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A lovely boy stolen from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling.
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild.
But she perforce withholds the lovèd boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her
And now they never meet in grove or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But they do square, that all their elves for fear
Creep into acorn cups and hide them there.
Thou speakest aright.
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal.
And sometime lurk I in a gossip’s bowl
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And Tailor! cries, and falls into a cough,
And then the whole choir hold their hips and loffe
And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, fairy. Here comes Oberon.
I’ll put a girdle round about the Earth
In forty minutes.
Fear not, my lord. Your servant shall do so.
Through the forest have I gone,
But Athenian found I none
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower’s force in stirring love.He sees Lysander.
Night and silence! Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear.
This is he my master said
Despisèd the Athenian maid.
And here the maiden, sleeping sound
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul, she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.—
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe.He anoints Lysander’s eyelidswith the nectar.
When thou wak’st, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid.
So, awake when I am gone,
For I must now to Oberon.
What hempen homespuns have we swagg’ring here
So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?
What, a play toward? I’ll be an auditor—
An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
A stranger Pyramus than e’er played here.
I’ll follow you. I’ll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake,
Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire,
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play
Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented in their sport,
Forsook his scene and entered in a brake.
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass’s noll I fixèd on his head.
Anon his Thisbe must be answerèd,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
So at his sight away his fellows fly,
And, at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls.
He Murder cries and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch,
Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things
I led them on in this distracted fear
And left sweet Pyramus translated there.
When in that moment, so it came to pass,
Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
I took him sleeping—that is finished, too—
And the Athenian woman by his side,
That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.
This is the woman, but not this the man.
Then fate o’errules, that, one man holding troth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
I go, I go, look how I go,
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.
Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Then will two at once woo one.
That must needs be sport alone.
And those things do best please me
That befall prepost’rously.
Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
By the Athenian garments he had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise
That I have ’nointed an Athenian’s eyes;
And so far am I glad it so did sort,
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger,
At whose approach, ghosts wand’ring here and
Troop home to churchyards. Damnèd spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone.
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully themselves exile from light
And must for aye consort with black-browed night.
Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down.
I am feared in field and town.
Goblin, lead them up and down.Here comes one.
Here, villain, drawn and ready. Where art thou?
Follow me, then, to
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
I’ll whip thee with a rod. He is defiled
That draws a sword on thee.
Follow my voice. We’ll try no manhood here.
Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why com’st thou not?
Yet but three? Come one more.
Two of both kinds makes up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad.
Cupid is a knavish lad
Thus to make poor females mad.
On the ground
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.Robin applies the nectar to Lysander’s eyes.
When thou wak’st,
In the sight
Of thy former lady’s eye.
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown.
Jack shall have Jill;
Naught shall go ill;The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be
Now, when thou wak’st, with thine own fool’s eyes
Fairy king, attend and mark.
I do hear the morning lark.
Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon,
Whilst the heavy plowman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite
In the church-way paths to glide.
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic. Not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallowed house.
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearnèd luck
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
in the service of Titania
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire;
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere.
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favors;
In those freckles live their savors.I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits. I’ll be gone.
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
Skim milk, and sometimes labor in the quern
And bootless make the breathless huswife churn,
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm,
Mislead night wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
Are not you he?
And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
|fairies attending upon Titania
|Lords and Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta
|Other Fairies in the trains of Titania and Oberon
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.
Weaving spiders, come not here.
Hence, you long-legged spinners, hence.
Beetles black, approach not near.
Worm nor snail, do no offence.