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Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Philoftrate, with attendants.
THE SE U S.
NOW, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, oh, methinks, how Now
This old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man’s revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time :
And then the moon like to a silver bow,
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our folemnities.
ThE. Go, Philoftrate, Stir up th’ Athenian youth to merriments; Awake the pert and nimble Spirit of mirth: Turo melancholy forth to funerals, The pale companion is not for our pomp. [Exit. Phi. Hippolita, I woo'd thee with
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 Demetrias.
EGE. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke:
The. 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 witch'd the bosom of my child; Thou, thou, Lyfander, thou haft giv'n her shimes, And interchang'd love tokens with my child : Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stol'n th'impression of her fantasie, With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nasegays, sweet-meats, messengers Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth: With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart, Turr'd her obedience, which is due to me, To stubborn harshness : And, my gracious duke, Be't so, she will not here before your grace Consent to marry with Demetrius;.. I beg the antient 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.
Tue. What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid.
To you your father should be as a god,
One, that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one,
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted; and within his pow'r
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
HER. So is Lysander.
THE. 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 look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
Her. I do intreat your grace to pardon me:
I know not, by what pow'r 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
The worst that may befat me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
The. 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 mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon?
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage!
But earthlier happy is the rose distillid,
Than that, which withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives and dies, in single blessedness.
Her. So will I grow, fo live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, to whose unwilh'd yoak
My soul consents not to give fov'reignty.
The. Take time to pause: and by the next new moon
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 alter 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;
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 deriv'd as he,
As well posseft: my love is more than his :
My fortune's every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius's :
And, which is more than all these boasts can be, :
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia. -
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius (l'll avouch it to his head)
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena ;
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, doats,
Derou!ly doats, doats in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconftant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought t’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.
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 Hippolita ; what chear, my love ?
-Demetrius, and Egeus, go along ;
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptials, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
EGE. With duty and desire we follow you. [Exeunt.
Manent Lysander and Hermia. Lys. How now, my love? why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roles 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 enthrall'd to low
Lys. Or elle misgraffed, in respect of years ago