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Her. Lysander riddles very prettily:

Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gcatle 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!
Lys. 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!

Her. With half that wish the wisher's eyes be press'd!

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Enter PUCK.

Puck. Through the forest have I gone,
But Athenian found I none,
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
Night and silence.-Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised 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.

When thou wakest, let love forbid

Sleep his seat on thy eyelid :

So awake when I am gone;

[They sleep.

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[Exit.

For I must now to Oberon.

Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running.
Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
Dem. I charge thee, hence, and not haunt me thus.
Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so,
Dem. Stay, on thy peril: I alone will go.
Hel. 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 blessed and attractive eyes.

How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears:
If so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;

Exit.

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.

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Lys. [Awaking] 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!

Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so.

What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?

Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.

Lys. 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 sway'd;
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.

Hel. 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,

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In such disdainful manner me to woo.

But fare you well perforce I must confess

I thought you lord of more true gentleness.

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O, that a lady, of one man refused,

Should of another therefore be abused!

[Exit.

Lys. She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there:

And never mayst thou come Lysander nearl

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,

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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 honour Helen and to be her knight !

[Exit.

To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!

Her. [Awaking] Help me, Lysander, help me ! do thy best

Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!

Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
Methought a serpent eat 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.

ACT III.

SCENE I. The wood. Titania lying asleep.

150

[Exit.

Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STAR

Bot. Are we all met?

VELING.

Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous 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 the duke.

Bot. Peter Quince,

Quin. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?

Snout. By'r lakin, a parlous fear.

Star. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

Bot. 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.

Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue and it shall be written in eight and six.

Bot. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion ?
Star. I fear it, I promise you.

Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in-God shield us!—a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to 't.

Snout. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.

Bot. 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 would wish you," or "I would request you," or "I would entreat 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.

Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hardthings; that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for, you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight. 51 Snout. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play? Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.

Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.

Bot. 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.

Quin. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, 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 Thisby, says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.

Snout. You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?

Bot. Some man or other must present Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

Quin. 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 every one according to his cue.

Enter PUCK behind.

Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,

So near the cradle of the fairy queen?

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What, a play toward ! I'll be an auditor;

An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.

Quin. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
Bot. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—
Quin. Odours, odours.

Bot.

-odours savours sweet:

So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear. But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile, And by and by I will to thee appear.

Exit.

Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here. Exit. Flu. Must I speak now?

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Quin. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

Flu. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue
Of colour 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.

Quin. Ninus' tomb," man: why, you must not speak that yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your part at onco, cues and all. Pyramus enter: your cue is past; it is, "never tire.'

Flu. O,-As truc as truest horse, that yet would never tire.

Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.

Bot. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.

Quin. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help!

[Excunt Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, and Starveling. Puck. I follow you, I'll lead you about a round,

Throug og, through bush, through brake, through

brior:

Sometimo 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.

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[Exit.

Bot. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them

to make me afeard.

Re-enter SNOUT.

Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on hee?

Bot. What do you see? you see an ass-head of your own, do you? [Exit Snout.

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