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The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almoft Fairy time.
I fear we fhall out-fleep the coming morn,
As much as we this night have over-watch'd.
This palpable grofs play hath well beguil'd
The heavy gate of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this folemnity,
In nightly revel and new jollity.
SCENE III. Enter Puck.
Puck. Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf be-howls the moon :
Whilft the heavy ploughman fnoars,
All with weary task fore-done.
Now the wafted brands do glow,
Whilft the fcritch-owl, fcritching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a fhrowd.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his fpright,
In the church-way paths to glide;
And we Fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the fun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolick; not a mouse
Shall difturb this hallowed house.
I am fent with broom before
To sweep the duft behind the door.
Enter King and Queen of Fairies, with her train. Ob. Through the houfe give glimmering light, By the dead and drowfie fire,
Every elf and fairy fprite,
Hop as light as bird from brier,
And this ditty after me
Sing, and dance it trippingly.
Queen. First rehearse this fong by roat,
To each word a warbling note.
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we fing and bless this place.
The SON G.
Now until the break of day,
Through this boufe each Fairy firay.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us fhall blessed be:
And the iffue there create,
Ever fhall be fortunate;
So fhall all the couples three,
Ever true in loving be:
And the blot's of nature's band
Shall not in their iffue ftand;
Never mole, bare-lip, nor fear,
Nor mark prodigious, fuch as are
Defpifed in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.
With this field-dew confecrate,
Every Fairy take his gate,
And each feveral chamber blefs,
Through this palace, with fweet peaces
Ever fhall it fafely reft,
And the owner of't be bleft.
Trip away then, make no ftay;
Meet me all by break of day.
Puck. If we fhadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended;
That you have but flumber'd here,
While thefe vifions did appear.
And this weak and idle theam,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend }
If you pardon, we will mend.
And as I am honeft Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'fcape the ferpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long:
Elfe the Puck a liar call.
So, good night unto you all!
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin fhall restore amends.
DUKE of Milan, Father to Silvia.
VALENTINE, the two Gentlemen.
ANTHONIO, Father to Protheus.
THURIO, a foolish Rival to Valentine.
EGLAMORE, Agent for Silvia in her Escape.
HOST, where Julia lodges.
OUT-LAWS with Valentine.*
SPEED, a clownish Servant to Valentine.
LAUNCE, the like to Protheus.
PANTHION, Servant to Anthonio.
JULIA, beloved of Protheus.
SILVIA, beloved of Valentine.
LUCETTA, Waiting-woman to Julia.
The SCENE fometimes in Verona, fometimes in Milan, and towards the latter end on the Frontiers of Mantua,
Gentlemen of Verona.
Enter Valentine and Protheus.
EASE to perfuade, my loving Protheus;
Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits;
We'rt not affection chains thy tender days
To the tweet glances of thy honour'd love,
I rather would intreat thy company,
To fee the wonders of the world abroad,
Than (living dully fluggardiz'd at home)
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
But fince thou lov'ft, love ftill, and thrive therein,
Ev'n as I would when I to love begin!
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? fweet Valentine, adieu;
Think on thy Protheus, when thou haply feeft
Some rare note-worthy object in thy travel
Wifh me partaker in thy happiness,
When thou doft meet good hap; and in thy danger,
If ever danger do environ thee,
Commend thy grievance to my holy prayers;
For I will be thy bead's-man, Valentine.
Val. And on a love-book
*It may very well be doubted whether Shakespear had any other hand in this play than the enlivening it with fome Speeches and lines rawn in here and there, which are cafiy diflinguish'd, as being of different flamp from the rest.