« PreviousContinue »
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it:
Though I alone do feel the injury.
Her. I am amazed at your passionate words:
I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.
Hel. 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 bates? 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 unlov'd?
This you should pity, rather than despise.
Her. I understand not what you mean by this.
Hel. Ay, do perséver, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mows upon me when I turn my back;
Wink at each 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 ye well: 'tis partly mine own fault;
Which death, or absence, soon shall remedy.
Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse;
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!
Hel. O excellent!
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she en-
Thy threats have no more strength, than her weak prayers.
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.
Dem. I say, I love thee more than he can do.
Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
Dem. Quick, come,-
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Lys. Away, you Ethiop!
No, no, sir :-he will Seem to break loose; take on, as you would follow; But yet come not: You are a tame man, go!
Lys. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr: vile thing let loose;
Or I will shake thee from me, like a serpent.
Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change
Lys. Thy love? out, tawny Tartar, out! Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence! Her. Do you not jest? Hel. Yes, 'sooth; and so do Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee. Dem. I would, I had your bond; for, I perceive, A weak bond holds you; I'll not trust your word. Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.
Her. 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.
Why, then you left me,-O, the gods forbid!—
In earnest, shall I say?
Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore, be out of hope, of question, doubt,
Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest,
That I do hate thee, and love Helena.
Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!2 You thief of love! what, have you come by night, And stol'n my love's heart from him?
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!
Her. Puppet! why so? Ay, that way goes the
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures, she hath urg'd her height;
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd 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.
Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me: I was never curst ;3
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's something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
Save, that in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood:
He follow'd you; for love, I follow'd him.
But he hath chid me hence; and threaten'd 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 fond4 I am.
Her. Why, get you gone: Who is't that hinders you?
Hel. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind. Her. What, with Lysander?
With Demetrius. Lys. Be not afraid: she shall not harm thee, Helena.
Dem. No, sir; she shall not, though you take her part.
Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd :
She was a vixen, when she went to school;
And, though she be but little, she is fierce.
Her. Little again? nothing but low and little ?---
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hind'ring knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
You are too officious,
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone; speak not of Helena;
Since night, you lov'd me; yet, since night you left Take not her part: for if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
Now she holds me not;
Now follow, if thou dar'st, to try whose right,
Or thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Dem. Follow? nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by
[Exeunt Lys. and Dem.
Her. You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
Nay, go not back.
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. [Exit.
Her. I am amaz'd, and know not what to say.
[Exit, pursuing Helena.
Obe. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak'st,
Or else commit'st thy knaveries wilfully.
Puck. 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,1
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
Obe. 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,2
To take from thence all error, with his might,
And make his eye-balls 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,3
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 charmed eye release
From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with
Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on;
When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
The villain is much lighter heel'd than I:
I follow'd 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. [Sleeps.
Re-enter Puck and Demetrius.
Puck. Ho, ho ho, ho! Coward, why com'st
Dem. 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?
Come hither; I am here.
Dem. Nay, then thou mock'st me. Thou shalt
buy this dear,
If ever I thy face by day-light see:
fast,Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
To measure out my length on this cold bed.-
By day's approach look to be visited.
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and
Troop home to church-yards: damned spirits all,
That in cross-ways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They wilfully themselves exíle from light,
And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.
Obe. 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 to the eastern gate, all fiery red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams.
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay :
We may effect this business yet ere day.
Puck. Up and down,
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear'd in field and town;
Goblin, lead them up and down.
(1) Happen. (2) Medicinal efficacy. (3) Go.
[Lies down and sleeps. Enter Helena.
Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy hours: shine, comforts, from the east;
That I may back to Athens, by day-light,
From these that my poor company detest :-
And, sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye,
Steal me a while from mine own company. [Sleeps.
Puck. 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.
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
[Squeezing the juice on Lysander's eye.
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;
Nought shall go ill;
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall
be well. [Ex. Puck.---Dem. Hel. &c, sleep.
Fairies, be gone, 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!
Oberon advances. Enter Puck.
Obe. Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
For meeting her of late, behind the wood,
Seeking sweet savours 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 flowrets' eyes,
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her,
And she, in mild terms, begg'd 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 fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
SCENE I-The same. Enter Titania and Bot-This hateful imperfection of her eyes.
tom, Fairies attending; Oberon behind unseen.
Tita. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
Bot. Where's Peas-blossom?
Bot. Scratch my head, Peas-blossom.-Where's monsieur Cobweb?
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed 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;
[Touching her eyes with an herb.
See, as thou wast wont to see:
Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
Tita. My Oberon! What visions have I seen!
Methought, I was enamour'd of an ass.
Obe. There lies your love.
Bot. Monsieur Cobweb; good monsieur, get
your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hip-
ped 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, how mine eyes do loath his visage now!
a honey-bag, signior.-Where's monsieur Mustard-
Bot. Give me your neif,2 monsieur Mustard-seed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur. Must. What's your will?
Bot. Nothing, good monsieur, but to help cavalero Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for, methinks, I am marvellous hairy about the face: and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.
Tita. What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?
Bot. I have a reasonable good ear in music: let us have the tongs and the bones.
Tita. Of, say, sweet love, what thou desir'st to eat. Bot. 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 fellow.
Tita. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
Bot. 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
Tita. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
How came these things to pass?
Obe. Silence, a while.--Robin, take off this head.---
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep, of all these five the sense.
Tita. Music, ho! music; such as charmeth sleep.
Puck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own
fool's eyes peep.
Obe. Sound, music. [Still music.] 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, to-morrow midnight, solemnly,
Dance in duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair posterity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark;
I do hear the morning lark.
Obe. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.
Tita. 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. [Exeunt.
[Horns sound within.
Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and train.
The. Go, one of you, find out the forester ;-.
For now our observation is perform'd :
And since we have the vayward' of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.—
Uncouple in the western valley; go:
Despatch, 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.
Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such galiant chiding;2 for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry: never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan
So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lap'd like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge, when you hear.-But, soft; what nymphs
Ege. 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.
The. 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?
Ege. It is, my lord.
The. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with
Horns, and shout within. Demetrius, Lysander,
Hermia, and Helena, wake and start up.
The. Good-morrow, friends. St. Valentine is past;
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
Lys. Pardon, my lord.
[He and the rest kneel to Theseus.
I pray you all, stand up.
I know, you are two 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?
Lys. My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half 'sleep, half waking: But as yet, I swear,
I can 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 be
Without the peril of the Athenian law.
Ege. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough;
I beg the law, the law, upon his head.—
They would have stol'n away, they would, Deme-
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.
Dem. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither, to this wood;
And I in fury hither follow'd them;
Fair Helena in fancy4 following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power
(But by some power it is,) my love to Hermia,
Melted as doth the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gawd,5
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 betroth'd ere I saw Hermia:
But, like in sickness, did I loath this food :
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now do I wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.
The. 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 purpos'd hunting shall be set aside.-
Away, with us, to Athens: Three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.—
[Exeunt The. Hyp. Ege, and train. Dem. These things seem small, and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
Her. Methinks, I see these things with parted eye, When every thing seems double.
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.
Dem. That yet we sleep, we dream.-Do not you think, The duke was here, and bid us follow him? Hel. And Hippolyta.
Her. Yea; and my father.
Lys. And he did bid us follow to the temple. Dem. Why then, we are awake: let's follow him; And, by the way, let us recount our dreams. [Exe.
As they go out, Bottom awakes.
Bot. 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 was, and methought I had,-But man is but a patched fool, 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 death. [Exit.
A room in Quince's Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and
Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?
Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.
Flu. If he come not, then the play is marred; It goes not forward, doth it?
Quin. It is not possible: you have not a man in
all Athens, able to discharge Pyramus, but he. Flu. No; he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in Athens.
Quin. Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice.
Flu. You must say, paragon: a paramour is, God bless us, a thing of nought.
Snug. 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.
Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a-day during his life; he could not have 'scaped sixpence a-day: an the duke had not given him sixpence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged; he would have deserved it: sixpence a-day, in Pyramus, or nothing.
Bot. Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
Quin. Bottom!-O most courageous day! O most happy hour!
Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not what; for, if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.
Quin. Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
Bot. 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 Thisby 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; [Exeunt. go, away.
SCENE I-The same. An apartment in the
Palace of Theseus. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta,
Philostrate, Lords, and Attendants.
Hip. "Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers
The. 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:1
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;
(1) Are made of mere imagination. (2) Stability.
(3) Pastime. (4) Short account.
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 suppos'd a bear!
Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigur'd so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy;2
But, howsoever, strange, and admirable.
Enter Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.
The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.-
Joy, gentle friends! joy, and fresh days of love,
More than to us
Accompany your hearts!
Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed.
The. Come now; what masks, what dances shall
To wear away this long age of three hours,
Between our after-supper, and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Here, mighty Theseus.
The. Say, what abridgement3 have you for this
What mask? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
Philost. There is a brief,4 how many sports are
Make choice of which your highness will see first. [Giving a paper.
The. [Reads.] The battle with the Centaurs, to
By 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 play'd
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceas'd in beggary.
That is some satire, keen, and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,
And his love Thisbe: very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?
That is, hot ice, and wonderous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?
Philost. A play there is, my lord, some ten words
Which is as brief as I have known a play:
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 ford, it is;
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw rehears'd, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.
The. What are they, that do play it?
Philost. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens
Which never labour'd in their minds till now;
And now have toil'd their unbreath'd' memories
With this same play, against your nuptial.
The. And we will hear it.
No, my noble lord,
It is not for you: I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world;