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The worst that may befall me in this case,
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires;
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me
For aye austerity and single life.
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia; and, Lysander, vield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius ;
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
Lys. How now, my love! Why is your cheek
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
The course of true love never did run smooth;
Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low.
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eyes.
So quick bright things come to confusion.
Her. If then true lovers have been ever cross'd,
Then let us teach our trial patience,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Lys. A good persuasion: therefore, hear me,
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
And, which is more than all these boasts can be, To do observance to a morn of May,
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
The. I must confess that I have heard so much, And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
I must employ you in some business
There will I stay for thee.
My good Lysander!
I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow,
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, 190
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Hel. O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill.
Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Hel. O that my prayers could such affection
Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me. Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me. Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. 200 Hel. None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
Her. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
O! then, what graces in my love do dwell,
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold. To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you! Exit.
To have his sight thither and back again. Exit.
SCENE II.-The Same. A Room in QUINCE'S House.
Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.
Quin. Is all our company here? Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.
Quin. 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 duchess on his wedding-day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors, and so grow to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. 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.
Quin. Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
Bot. 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, let him roar again.'
Quin. 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.
All. That would hang us, every mother's son. 80 Bot. I grant you friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us; but F will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
Quin. 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 Pyramus. 91
Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?
Quin. Why, what you will.
Bot. I will discharge it in either your strawcolour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crowncolour beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced. But, masters, here are your parts; and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow 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. pray you, fail me not.
Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
SCENE I-A Wood near Athens.
Enter a Fairy and PUCK from opposite sides.
Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you?
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
Swifter than the moone's sphere;
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
Take heed the queen come not within his sight;
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;
Thou speak'st aright;
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
Fai. And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
Enter OBERON from one side, with his Train, and TITANIA from the other, with hers.
Obe. Il met by moonlight, proud Titania. Tita. What! jealous Oberon. Fairies, skip hence:
I have forsworn his bed and company.
Obe. Tarry, rash wanton! am not I thy lord? Tita. Then I must be thy lady; but I know When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land, 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 furthest steppe of India? But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon, Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
Obe. How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy: And never, since the middle summer's spring, Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead, By paved fountain, or by rushy brook, Or in the beached margent of the sea, To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport. Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea Contagious fogs; which falling in the land Have every pelting river made so proud, That they have overborne their continents: The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard: The fold stands empty in the drowned field, And crows are fatted with the murrain flock, The nine men's morris is fill'd 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 blest : 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 mazed 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.
Obe. 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.
Obe. That very time I saw, but thou could'st not, Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all arm'd a certain aim he took At a fair vestal throned by the west, And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts; But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon, And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
Tita. Set your heart at rest; The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a votaress of my order. And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side, And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laugh'd 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 squire.-
Would imitate, and sail upon the land,
Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him. Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not. Where is Lysander and fair Hermia? The one I'll slay, the other slayeth 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. Hel. 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.
Dem. Do I entice you? do I speak you fair?
Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
For I am sick when I do look on thee.
Hel. And I am sick when I look not on you. Dem. 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.
Hel. Your virtue is my privilege for that 220 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? Dem. I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you. Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd; 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 valour flies!
Dem. 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.
Hel. 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 woo'd and were not made to woo. Exit DEMETRIUS. I'll follow thee and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love so well.
Obe. Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering 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. Her. Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed, For I upon this bank will rest my head.