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SCENE I. Athens.
A Room in the Palace of Theseus.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.
Theseus. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon. But, O, methinks how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
Hip. 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
Now bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!!
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart;
To stubborn harshness;-And, my gracious duke,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
The. What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid.
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
1 Duke, in our old language, was used for a leader or chief, as the Latin dur.
2 The old copies read, "This man hath bewitched."
3 Baubles, toys, trifles.
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
In himself he is.
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
Her. I would my father looked 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,
For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon.
Than that, which, withering on the virgin thorn,
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
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship,)
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 ;
Lys. I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Upon this spotted1 and inconstant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come,
I must employ you in some business
1 As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked.
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you.
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, DEMETRIUS, and Train.
Lys. How now, my love!
Why is your cheek
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well Beteem1 them from the tempest of mine eyes.
Lys. Ah me! For aught that ever I could read, Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth!
Her. O cross! too high to be enthralled to low!
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
So quick bright things come to confusion.
Her. If then true lovers have been ever crossed,
It stands as an edíct 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, Her
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
great revenue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
1 Bestow, or, according to Steevens, pour out.
3 Blackened, as with smut, coal.