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SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of Theseus. Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants, R.
The. (c.) Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
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
The. Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
[Exit Philostrate, L.
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
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 :
Stand forth, Lysander;-and, my gracious duke,
To stubborn harshness:-and, my gracious duke,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
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 a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
Her. So is Lysander.
The. In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
In such a presence, here to plead my thoughts:
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
You can endure the livery of a nun,—
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
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 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:
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
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
The. 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 must employ you in some business
[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. Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
The course of true love never did run smooth :
Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
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,
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;
Her. My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow;
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves;
Lys. Keep promise, love: look, here comes Helena
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
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
O, teach me how you look; and with what art
Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such
Her. I give nim curses, yet he gives me love.
Hel. O, that my prayers could such affection move! Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me.