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SCINE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of
THESEUS. Enter Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, Philostrate, and
DER, and DEMETRIUS. 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.
Or on Diana's altar to protest, Stand forth, Demetrius.—My noble lord,
For aye, austerity and single life. This man hath my consent to marry her.
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia ;-and, Lysander, Stand forth, Lysander ;-and, my gracious duke,
yield This man hath betwitch'd the bosom of my child : Thy crazed title to my certain right. Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius; And interchang'd love-tokens with my child : Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him. Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my With feigning voice, verses of feigning love;
love, And stol'n the impression of her fantasy
And what is mine my love shall render him;
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart; As well possess'd; my love is more than his ; Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d, To stubborn harshness.—And, my gracious duke, (If not with vantage,) as Demetrius'; Be it so, she will not here, before your grace, And, which is more than all these boasts can be, Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia. I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
Why should not I then prosecute my right? As she is mine, I may dispose of her,
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head, Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, Or to her death, according to our law
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes, Immediately provided in that case.
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry, The. What say you, Hermia ? be advis'd, fair | Upon this spotted and inconstant man. maid.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much, To you your father should be as a god;
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof; One that compos'd your beauties ; yea, and one But, being over-full of self-affairs, To whom you are but as a form in wax,
My mind did lose it.—But, Demetrius, come; By him imprinted, and within his power
And come, Egeus: you shall go with me, To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
I have some private schooling for you both.Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself Her. So is Lysander.
To fit your fancies to your father's will,
Or else the law of Athens yields you up
To death, or to a vow of single life.Her. I would, my father look'd but with my Come, my Hippolyta : what cheer, my love ?eyes!
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along: The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment | I must employ you in some business look.
Against our nuptial, and confer with you Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me. Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. I know not by what power I am made bold,
Ege. With duty, and desire, we follow you. Nor how it may concern my modesty,
(Exeunt Thes., HiP., EGE., Dem., and train. In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts; Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek But I beseech your grace, that I may know
so pale ? The worst that may befal me in this case,
How chance the roses there do fade so fast ! If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
Her. Belike, for want of rain, which I could well The. Either to die the death, or to abjure Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes. For ever the society of men.
Lys. Ah me! for aught that I could ever read, Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires; Could ever hear by tale or history, Know of your youth, examine well your blood, The course of true love never did run smooth; Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice, But, either it was different in blood, You can endure the livery of a nun,
Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low' For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd,
Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years ;To live a barren sister all your life,
Her. O spite! too old to be engag'd to young! Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon. Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood, Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eyes! To undergo such maiden pilgrimage ;
Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, But earthly happier is the rose distillid,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth, Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
And ere a man hath power to say,-behold! My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
The jaws of darkness do devour it up: The. Take time to pause : and by the next new So quick bright things come to confusion. moon,
Her. If, then, true lovers have been ever crossid, The sealing-day betwixt my love and me
It stands as an edict in destiny: For everlasting bond of fellowship,
Then, let us teach our trial patience, Upon that day either prepare to die,
Because it is a customary cross, For disobedience to your father's will,
As due to love as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs, Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers.
Lys. A good persuasion : therefore, hear me,
great revenue, and she hath no child :
If thou lov'st me, then,
My good Lysander!
Enter HELENA. Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away? Hel. Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!
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.-
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold. Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and To-morrow night when Phæbe doth behold proceed. Her silver visage in the wat’ry glass,
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
Pyramus. (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,)
Bot. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant ! Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal. Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallant for
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I love. Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Bot. That will ask some tears in the true perEmptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, forming of it: if I do it, let the audience look to There my Lysander and myself shall meet; their eyes; I will move storms; I will condole in And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes, some measure. To the rest :--yet my chief humour To seek new friends and strange companies. is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part Farewell
, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us, to tear a cat in, to make all split. And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius ! Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
“The raging rocks, From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
And shivering shocks, [Erit HERMIA.
* Shall break the locks Lys. I will, my Hermia.—Helena, adieu :
“Of prison-gates : As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
And Phibbus' car [Exit LYSANDER.
Shall shine from far, Hel. How happy some, o’er other some, can be!
* And make and mar Through Athens I am thought as fair as she;
“ The foolish fates." But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so; He will not know what all but he do know; This was lofty!—Now name the rest of the players. And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
-This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is So I, admiring of his qualities.
more condoling. Things base and vil'd, holding no quantity,
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight? Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste :
Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman : I And therefore is love said to be a child,
have a beard coming. Because in choice he is so oft beguild.
Quin. That's all one. You shall play it in a As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, mask, and you may speak as small as you will. So the boy love is perjur'd every where ;
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne, too. I'll speak in a monstrous little voice :-* Thisne, He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine; Thisne—Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear! thy Thisby And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, dear, and lady dear!" So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus, and, I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight;
Flute, you Thisby. Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Bot. Well, proceed. Pursue her; and for this intelligence
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor. If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
Star. Here, Peter Quince. But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's To have his sight thither, and back again. [Exit. mother.— Tom Snout, the tinker.
Snout. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's SCENE II.—The Same. A Room in a Cottage. father.-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part;Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout,
and, I hope, here is a play fitted. and STARVELING.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray
you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study. Quin. Is all our company here?
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing Bol. You were best to call them generally, man but roaring. by man, according to the scrip.
Bot. Let me play the lion too. I will roar, that Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, I will do any man's heart good to hear me: I will which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in roar, that I will make the duke say, “Let him roar our interlude before the duke and duchess on his again : let him roar again.". wedding-day at night.
Quin. An you should do it too terribly, you Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they treats on; then read the names of the actors, and would shriek; and that were enough to hang us so grow to a point.
all. Quin. Marry, our play is—The most lament- All. That would hang us, every mother's son. able comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should Thisby.
fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have Bol. A very good piece of work, I assure you, no more discretion but to hang us, but I will aggraand a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth vate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as your actors by the scroll. Masters, spread your- | any sucking dove : I will roar you an 'twere any selves.
nightingale. Quin. Answer, as I call you.—Nick Bottom, the Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus; for
Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as
one shall see in a summer's day, a most lovely, you, request you, and desire you, to con them by gentlemanlike man; therefore, you must needs play to-morrow night, and meet me in the palace wood, Pyramus.
a mile without the town, by moon-light: there will Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were we rehearse ; for if we meet in the city, we shall be I best to play it in ?
dog'd with company, and our devices known. In Quin. Why, what you will.
the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw- as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not. colour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple- Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, more obscenely, and courageously. Take pains ; your perfect yellow.
be perfect; adieu. Quin. Some of your French crowns have no Quin. At the duke's oak we meet. hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.—But Bot. Enough, hold, or cut bow-strings. inasters, here are your parts; and I am to entreat