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Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!
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 game.

Now I perceive that she hath made compare 290
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;
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 is something lower than myself,
That I can match her.


Lower! hark, again.

Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.

I evermore did love you, Hermia,

Her. You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
Nay, go not back.
I will not trust you, I, 340
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though, to run away. Erit.
Her. I am amaz'd, and know not what to say.



Obe. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak'st,
Or else committ'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,
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, 360
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:

Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you; Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye;
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 bear my folly back.
And follow you no further: let me go:
You see how simple and how fond I am.
Her. Why, get you gone.

hinders you?


Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might,
And make his eyeballs 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,
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;
Who is 't that 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

Hel. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
Her. What! with Lysander?
With Demetrius. 320
Lys. Be not afraid she shall not harm thee,

Dem. No, sir; she shall not, though you take
her part.

Hel. O! when she's angry, she is keen and

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

Why will you suffer her to flout me thus ?
Let me come to her.

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I with the morning's love have oft made sport;
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till 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, up and down;
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear'd in field and town;
Goblin, lead them up and down.

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Puck. Here, villain! drawn and ready. Where Here will I rest me till the break of day.
art thou?
Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!
Lies down and sleeps.

Lys. I will be with thee straight.

To plainer ground.


Follow me, then,


On the ground

Sleep sound:

Exit LYSANDER as following the voice.


Lysander speak again : Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled? Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide

thy head?

Puck. Thou coward! art thou bragging to
the stars,

Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars,
And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come,

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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.

Lies down.
Come, thou gentle day!
For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
I'll find Demetrius and revenge this spite. 420

Re-enter PUCK and DEMETRIUS. Puck. Ho! ho! ho! Coward, why com'st thou not?

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 now?


I'll apply

To your eye,

Gentle lover, remedy.


Squeezes the juice on LYSANDER's eyes.

When thou wak'st,

Thou tak'st

True delight

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.


SCENE I.-A Wood.



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Bot. Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a thistle ; Come hither: I am here.and, good mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Dem. Nay, then, thou mock'st me. Thou shalt Do not fret yourself too much in the action, buy this dear, mounsieur; and, good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not: I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior. Where's Mounsieur Mustard-seed?

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Re-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 daylight,

From these that my poor company detest:
And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.

Lies down and sleeps.
Puck. Yet but three? Come one more;
Two of both kinds make up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad :
Cupid is a knavish lad,

Thus to make poor females mad.

Re-enter HERMIA.


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Her. Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers, hath no fellow.
I can no further crawl, no further go;
My legs can keep no pace
with my desires.

Tita. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.

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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 flowerets' 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
This hateful imperfection of her eyes :
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;

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.


Tita. How came these things to pass? O! how mine eyes do loathe his visage now. Obe. Silence awhile. 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. Music. Puck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own fool's eyes peep.

Obe. Sound, 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 prosperity:
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.
Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade;


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The. Go, one of you, find out the forester;
For now our observation is perform'd;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go :
Dispatch, 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 gallant chiding; for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry. I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian

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
are these?


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The. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER, HERMIA, and HELENA, wake and start up. Good morrow, friends. Saint 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 two are 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, 150 I cannot 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, Without the peril of the Athenian law

Ege. Enough, enough, my lord; you have | if he will offer to say what methought I had. enough:

I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
They would have stol'n away; they would,


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

Of this their purpose hither, to this wood;
And I in fury hither follow'd them,
Fair Helena in fancy 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 gaud
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 loathe 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: 180
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.
Come, Hippolyta.

Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and Train. Dem. These things seem small and undistinguishable,


Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
Her. Methinks I see these things with parted

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And Hippolyta. 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.


Exeunt. Bot. Araking. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer: my next is, 'Most fair Pyramus.' Heigh-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 I was, and methought I had, but man is but a patched fool

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. 224

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Flute. 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! go; away! Exeunt. 47

SCENE I.-Athens.


An Apartment in the Palace of THESEUS.

Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords, and Attendants.

Hip. "Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.

The. More strange than true: I never may believe

These antick 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:

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is the madman; the lover, all as frantic, 10
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 heaven;

And, as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen

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?
Phil. A play there is, my lord, some ten words


Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But 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 lord, 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?
Phil. 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

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing|With this same play, against your nuptial.

A local habitation and a name.

Such tricks hath strong imagination,
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, But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.


Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!

More than to us


Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
The. Come now; what masques, what dances
shall we have,

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?
Call Philostrate.


Here, mighty Theseus.

The. Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?


What masque, what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
Phil. There is a brief how many sports are ripe;
Make choice of which your highness will see first.
Gives a paper.
The. The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
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


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;
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,
To do you service.


The. I will hear that play; For never any thing can be amiss, When simpleness and duty tender it. Go, bring them in and take your places, ladies. Exit PHILOSTRATE. Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd,

And duty in his service perishing.

The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.

Hip. He says they can do nothing in this kind.

The. The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.

Our sport shall be to take what they mistake: 90
And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.

Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence yet I pick'd a welcome; 100
And in the modesty of fearful duty

I read as much as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.


Phil. So please your grace, the Prologue is address'd.

The. Let him approach.

Flourish of trumpets.

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