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MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.

ACT I.
SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of Theseus.
Enter Theseos, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attend-

ants, R.
The. (c.) Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes ? she lingers my desires,
Like to a step.dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
Hip. (R. c.) Four days will quickly steep themselves

in nights ;
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.

The. Go, Philostrate,
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.

[Exit Philostrate, L.
Hippolyta, I woo'd 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 revelling.
Enter Egeus, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS, L.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke !
The. Thanks, good Egeus; what's the news with thee?

Ege. 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:-

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Stand forth, Lysander ;-and, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child :
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :
Thou bast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigoing love;
And stol'n the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth :
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd 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.

The. What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid :
To you your father should be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as

form in wax, By him imprinted, and within his power To leave the figure, or disfigure it. Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.

The. In himself he is :
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.

Her. 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 befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever 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 mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage :
But earthlier happy is the rose distillid,
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.

The. 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.

Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia;-and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.

Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me bave Hermia's: do you marry him.

Ege. 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.

Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as farly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all these boasts can be
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nadar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

The. I must confess that I have heard so mucb,
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.
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you.

[Exeunt all but Lysander and Hermia, R. Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast!

Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.

Lys. Ab me! for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth :
But, either it was different in blood;

Her. O cross ! too high to be enthrall’d to low !
Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years ;
Her. O spite ! too old to be engag'd to young !
Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends;
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye!

Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it;
Making it momentary 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.

Her. If, then, true lovers have been ever cross'd,
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,
Wisbes, and tears, poor fancy's followers.

Lys. 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 lov'st me then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow 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.

Her. 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 burn'd the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under sail was seen ;
By all the vows that ever men have spoke,
In number more than ever women broke ;-
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
Lys. Keep promise, love : look, here comes Helena

Enter HELENA, R.
Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away?

Hel. Call you me fair? That fair again unsay,
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars ; and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching ; 0, were favour so!
Your's 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 melody
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'll give to be to you translated.
0, teach me how you look; and with what art
You sway the notion of Demetrius' beart.

Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such

skill!
Her. I give nim curses, yet he gives me love.
Hel. 0, that my prayers could such affection move !
Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me.

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