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Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook bis scene, and enter'd in a brake:
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's now!2 I fixed on his head;
Anon, his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic3 comes : when they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky;
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly:
And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their sense, thus weak, lost with their fears, thus

Made senseless things begin to do them wrong:
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some, sleeves ; some, hats : from yielders all things

I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there :
When in that moment (so it came to pass,)
Titania wak’d, and straightway lov'd an ass.

Obe. This falls out better than I could devise. But hast thou yet latch'd4 the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Puck. I took him sleeping that is finish'd too,
And the Athenian woman by his side;
That, when he wak'd, of force she must be ey'd.

Enter Demetrius and Hermia.
Obe. Stand close; this is the same Athenian.
Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man.
Dem. O why rebuke you him that loves you so?

(1) Stupid company. (2) Head. (3) Actor. (4) Infected.

Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
Her. Now I but chide, but I should use thee

For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day,
As he to me: Would he have stol'n away
From sleeping Hermia ? I'll believe as soon,
This whole earth may be bor'd; and that the moon
May through the centre creep, and so displease
Her brother's noon-tide with the Antipodes.
It cannot be, but thou hast murder'd him;
So should a murderer look ; so dead, so grim.
Dem. So should the murder'd look; and so

should I, Pierc'd through the heart with your stern cruelty : Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear, As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.

Her. What's this to my Lysander? where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Dem. I had rather give his carcase to my hounds. Her. Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv'st me past

the bounds of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him then ? Henceforth be never number'd among men ! 0! once tell true, tell true, even for my sake; Durst thou have look'd upon him, being awake, And hast thou kill'd bim sleeping ? O brave touch ;! Could not a worm, an adder, do so much ? An adder did it: for with a doubler tongue Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung. Dem. You spend your passion on a mispris'd2

mood: I am not guilty of Lysander's blood; Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell. Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

(1) Exploit. (2) Mistaken.

Dern. And if I could, what should I get there

fore? Her. A privilege, never to see me more.And from thy hated presence part I so: See me no more, whether he be dead or 10. (Exit. Dem. There is no following her in this fierce

vein: Here, therefore, for a while I will remain. So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe; Which now, in some slight measure it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay.

Lies down. Obe. What hast thou done thou hast mistaken

quite, And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight: Of thy misprision must perforce ensue Some true-love turn’d, and not a false turn'd trug. Puck. Then fate o'er-rules; that, one man hold.

ing troth, A million fail, confounding oath on oath.

Obe. About the wood go swifter than the wind, And Helena of Athens look thou find : All fancy-sickl she is, and pale of cheer2 With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear: By some illusion see thou bring her here; I'll charm his eyes, against she do appear.

Puck. I go, I go; look, how I go;
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. (Exit.

Obe. Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid's archery,
Sink in apple of his eye?
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
When thou wak'st, if she be by,
Beg of her for reniedy.

(1) Love-sick. (2) Countenance.

Re-enter Puck.
Puck. Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand;
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee;
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Obe. Stand aside: the noise they make,
Will cause Demetrius to awake.

Puck. Then will two at once, woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me,
That befal preposterously.

Enter Lysander and Helena.
Lys. Why should you think, that I should woo

in scorn? Scorn and derision never come in tears : Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,

In their nativity all truth appears. How can these things in me seem scorn to you, Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true? Hel. You do advance your cunning more and

more. When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray! These vows are Hermia's; Will you give her o'er?

Weigh oath with oath and you will nothing weigh: Your vows, to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.

Lys. I had no judgment, when to her I swore. Hel. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her


Lys. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you. Dem. [Awaking.] O Helena, goddess, nymph,

perfect, divine ! To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne? Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow! That pure congealed white, high Taurus' snow, Fann'd with the castern wind, turns to a crow,

When thou hold'st up thy hand : O let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss !

Hèl. O spite ! 0 hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me, for your merriment.
If you were civil, and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join, in souls,1 to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so;
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia ;
And now both rivals, to mock Helena :
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes,
With your derision! none, of noble sort,2
Would so offend a virgin; and extort
A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.

Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so; For you love Hermia; this, you know, I know And here, with all good will, with all my heart, In Hermia's love I yield you up my part; And yours of Helena to me bequeath, Whom I do love, and will do to my death.

Hel. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none : If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone. My heart with her, but as guestwise, sojourn'd; And now to Helena is it home return'd, There to remain. Lys.

Helen, it is not so. Dem. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know, Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.3Look, where thy love comes.; yonder is thy dear.

Enter Hermia. Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function

takes, (1) Heartily. (2) Degree. (3) Pay dearly for it.

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