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Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
And won thy love doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.

Enter Egeus, Hermia, LYSANDER, and Deme


The worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

Thes. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;
For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blesséd they that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
But earthly happier is the rose distilled,
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, Ere I will yield my virgin patent up Unto his lordship whose unwishéd yoke My soul consents not to give sovereignty.

Thes. Take time to pause; and by the next new


Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renownéd duke !
Thes. 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,
This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her

rhymes, And interchanged love-tokens with my child : Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stolen the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; messengers Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth : With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's

heart; Turned her obedience, which is due to me, To stubborn harshness :-and, my gracious duke, Be it so she will not here before your grace Consent to marry with Demetrius, I beg the ancient privilege of Athens ; As she is mine, I may dispose of her: Which shall be either to this gentleman, Or to her death; according to our law Immediately provided in that case. Thes. 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 To leave the figure, or disfigure it. Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.

Thes. In himself he is : But in this kind, wanting your father's voice, The other must be held the worthier. Her. I would my father looked but with my

eyes. Thes. Rather your eyes must with his judgment

look. Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me. I know not by what power I am made bold; Nor how it may concern my modesty In such a presence here to plead my thoughts : But I beseech your grace that I may know

(The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship),
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
For aye, austerity and single life.
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia : and, Lysander,

Thy crazéd title to my certain right.

Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.

Ege. Scornful Lysander ! true he hath my love; And what is mine my love shall render him; And she is mine; and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius.

Lys. I am, my lord, as well derived as he ; As well possessed; my love is more than his ; My fortunes every way as fairly ranked, If not with vantage, as Demetrius'; And, which is more than all these boasts can be, I am beloved of beauteous Hermia: Why should not I, then, prosecute my right? Demetrius, I 'll avouch it to his head, Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes, Devoutly does, dotes in idolatry, Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

Thes. 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; And come, Egeus; you shall go with me, I have some private schooling for you both.

Her. My good Lysander ! I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow; By his best arrow with the golden head; By the simplicity of Venus' doves; By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves; And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen, When the false Trojan under sail was seen; By all the vows that ever men have broke, In number more than ever women spoke; In that same place thou hast appointed me, To-morrow truly will I meet with thee. Lys. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes


Enter HELENA. Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away?

Hel. Call you me fair! that fair again unsay. Demetrius loves your fair: 0, happy fair! Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue 's sweet

air More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear, When wheat is


when hawthorn-buds ap


For you,

fair Hermia, look you arm yourself To fit your fancies to your father's will; Or else the law of Athens yields you up (Which by no means we may extenuate) To death, or to a vow of single life. Come, my Hippolyta; what cheer, my love ? Demetrius and Egeus, go along: I must employ you in some business Against our nuptial; and confer with you Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. Ege. With duty and desire we follow you. [Exeunt Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS,

DEMETRIUS, and Train. 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, Could ever hear by tale or history, The course of true love never did run smooth : But either it was different in blood :

Her. O cross ! too high to be enthralled to low! Lys. Or else misgrafféd, in respect of years: Her. O spite! too old to be engaged to young! Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends : Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye!

Lys. Or if there were sympathy in choice, War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it; Making it momentary as a sound, Swift as a shadow, short as any dream; Brief as the lightning in the collied night, That in a spleen unfolds both heaven and earth, And ere a man hath power to say, “ Behold!" The jaws of darkness do devour it

up: 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, Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers. 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 ; And she respects me as her only son. There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee; And to that place the sharp Athenian law

If thou lovest me, then, Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night; And in the wood, a league without the town, Where I did meet thee once with Helena, To do observance to a morn of May, There will I stay for thee.

Sickness is catching; 0, were favour so,
Your's would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I

go; 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, The rest I'll give to be to you translated. 0, teach me how you look; and with what art You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

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

move! 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. Hel. None; but your beauty: 'would that fault

were mine! Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my

Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seemed Athens like a paradise to me:
O, then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turned a heaven into a hell!

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold :
To-morrow night, when Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal),
Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal.

Iler. And in the wood where often you and I

Cannot pursue us.

able 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


Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Py


some measure.

Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet:
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius !
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midniglit.

[Exit Hermia. Lys. I will, my Hermia. Helena, adieu : As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit LYSANDER. Hel. How happy some o'er other some can be ! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so ; He will not know what all but he do know. And as he errs, doting on Hermnia's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities. Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind : Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste; Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste : And therefore is Love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguiled. As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, So the boy Love is perjured everywhere : For ere Demetrius looked on Hermia's eyne, He hailed down oaths that he was only mine; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt. I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight: Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night, Pursue her: and for this intelligence, If I have thanks, it is a dear expense : But herein mean I to enrich my pain, To have his sight thither and back again. [Exit.

Bot. What is Pyramus; a lover, or a tyrant?

Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in

To the rest.—Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split:

“The raging rocks,

And shivering shocks,
Shall break the locks

Of prison-gates :
And Phibbus' car
Shall shine from far,
And make and mar

The foolish fates." This was lofty!—Now name the rest of the players. -- This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.

Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as sınall as you will.

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too. I'll speak in a monstrous little voice: “ Thisne, Thisne !"_"Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!" Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus; and

Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.— Tom Snout, the tinker.

Snout. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father; Snug, the joiner, you the lion's part :and I hope there is a play fitted.

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Enter Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, QUINCE,

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 on to a point.

Quin. Marry, our play is—" The most lament

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