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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

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standing-bed and truckle-bed; 'tis painted about with the
story of the Prodigal, fresh and new. Go, knock and can; he'll
speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee. Knock, I say.
SIMPLE. There's an old woman, a fat woman, gone up into
his chamber; I'll be so bold as stay, sir, till she come down;
I come to speak with her, indeed.
HOST. Ha! a fat woman? The knight may be robb'd. I'll call.
Bully knight! Bully Sir John! Speak from thy lungs
military. Art thou there? It is thine host, thine Ephesian, calls.
FALSTAFF. [Above] How now, mine host?
HOST. Here's a Bohemian-Tartar tarries the coming down of
thy fat woman. Let her descend, bully, let her descend;
my chambers are honourible. Fie, privacy, fie!


FALSTAFF. There was, mine host, an old fat woman even
now with, me; but she's gone.
SIMPLE. Pray you, sir, was't not the wise woman of
FALSTAFF. Ay, marry was it, mussel-shell. What would you
with her?
SIMPLE. My master, sir, my Master Slender, sent to her,
seeing her go thorough the streets, to know, sir, whether one
Nym, sir, that beguil'd him of a chain, had the chain or no.
FALSTAFF. I spake with the old woman about it.
SIMPLE. And what says she, I pray, sir?
FALSTAFF Marry, she says that the very same man that
beguil'd Master Slender of his chain cozen'd him of it.
SIMPLE. I would I could have spoken with the woman
herself; I had other things to have spoken with her too,
from him.
FALSTAFF. What are they? Let us know.
HOST. Ay, come; quick.
SIMPLE. I may not conceal them, sir.
FALSTAFF. Conceal them, or thou diest.
SIMPLE.. Why, sir, they were nothing but about Mistress
Anne Page: to know if it were my master's fortune to
have her or no.
FALSTAFF. 'Tis, 'tis his fortune.
SIMPLE. What sir?
FALSTAFF. To have her, or no. Go; say the woman told me
SIMPLE. May I be bold to say so, sir?
FALSTAFF. Ay, sir, like who more bold?
SIMPLE., I thank your worship; I shall make my master glad
with these tidings. Exit SIMPLE
HOST. Thou art clerkly, thou art clerkly, Sir John. Was
there a wise woman with thee?
FALSTAFF. Ay, that there was, mine host; one that hath
taught me more wit than ever I learn'd before in my life;
and I paid nothing for it neither, but was paid for my


BARDOLPH. Out, alas, sir, cozenage, mere cozenage!
HOST. Where be my horses? Speak well of them, varletto.
BARDOLPH. Run away with the cozeners; for so soon as I
came beyond Eton, they threw me off from behind one of
them, in a slough of mire; and set spurs and away, like
three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses.
HOST. They are gone but to meet the Duke, villain; do not
say they be fled. Germans are honest men.


EVANS. Where is mine host?
HOST. What is the matter, sir?
EVANS. Have a care of your entertainments. There is a friend
of mine come to town tells me there is three
cozen-germans that has cozen'd all the hosts of Readins,
of Maidenhead, of Colebrook, of horses and money. I tell you for
good will, look you; you are wise, and full of gibes and
vlouting-stogs, and 'tis not convenient you should be
cozened. Fare you well. Exit


CAIUS. Vere is mine host de Jarteer?
HOST. Here, Master Doctor, in perplexity and doubtful
CAIUS. I cannot tell vat is dat; but it is tell-a me dat you
make grand preparation for a Duke de Jamany. By my
trot, dere is no duke that the court is know to come; I
tell you for good will. Adieu. Exit
HOST. Hue and cry, villain, go! Assist me, knight; I am
undone. Fly, run, hue and cry, villain; I am undone.
FALSTAFF. I would all the world might be cozen'd, for I have
been cozen'd and beaten too. If it should come to the car
of the court how I have been transformed, and how my
transformation hath been wash'd and cudgell'd, they
would melt me out of my fat, drop by drop, and liquor
fishermen's boots with me; I warrant they would whip me
with their fine wits till I were as crestfall'n as a dried pear.
I never prosper'd since I forswore myself at primero. Well,
if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers,
would repent.


Now! whence come you?
QUICKLY. From the two parties, forsooth.
FALSTAFF. The devil take one party and his dam the other!
And so they shall be both bestowed. I have suffer'd more
for their sakes, more than the villainous inconstancy of
man's disposition is able to bear.
QUICKLY. And have not they suffer'd? Yes, I warrant;
speciously one of them; Mistress Ford, good heart, is beaten
black and blue, that you cannot see a white spot about her.
FALSTAFF. What tell'st thou me of black and blue? I was
beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and
was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brainford. But
that my admirable dexterity of wit, my counterfeiting the
action of an old woman, deliver'd me, the knave constable
had set me i' th' stocks, i' th' common stocks, for a witch.
QUICKLY. Sir, let me speak with you in your chamber; you
shall hear how things go, and, I warrant, to your content.
Here is a letter will say somewhat. Good hearts, what ado
here is to bring you together! Sure, one of you does not
serve heaven well, that you are so cross'd.
FALSTAFF. Come up into my chamber. Exeunt


The Garter Inn


HOST. Master Fenton, talk not to me; my mind is heavy; I
will give over all.
FENTON. Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
And, as I am a gentleman, I'll give the
A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
HOST. I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will, at the least,
keep your counsel.
FENTON. From time to time I have acquainted you
With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page;
Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection,
So far forth as herself might be her chooser,
Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
Of such contents as you will wonder at;
The mirth whereof so larded with my matter
That neither, singly, can be manifested
Without the show of both. Fat Falstaff
Hath a great scene. The image of the jest
I'll show you here at large. Hark, good mine host:
To-night at Heme's oak, just 'twixt twelve and one,
Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen-
The purpose why is here-in which disguise,
While other jests are something rank on foot,
Her father hath commanded her to slip
Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
Immediately to marry; she hath consented.
Now, sir,
Her mother, even strong against that match
And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
That he shall likewise shuffle her away
While other sports are tasking of their minds,
And at the dean'ry, where a priest attends,
Straight marry her. To this her mother's plot
She seemingly obedient likewise hath
Made promise to the doctor. Now thus it rests:
Her father means she shall be all in white;
And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
To take her by the hand and bid her go,
She shall go with him; her mother hath intended
The better to denote her to the doctor-
For they must all be mask'd and vizarded-
That quaint in green she shall be loose enrob'd,
With ribands pendent, flaring 'bout her head;
And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
To pinch her by the hand, and, on that token,
The maid hath given consent to go with him.
HOST. Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
FENTON. Both, my good host, to go along with me.
And here it rests-that you'll procure the vicar
To stay for me at church, 'twixt twelve and one,
And in the lawful name of marrying,
To give our hearts united ceremony.
HOST. Well, husband your device; I'll to the vicar.
Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
FENTON. So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
Besides, I'll make a present recompense. Exeunt



The Garter Inn


FALSTAFF. Prithee, no more prattling; go. I'll, hold. This is
the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd numbers.
Away, go; they say there is divinity in odd numbers, either
in nativity, chance, or death. Away.
QUICKLY. I'll provide you a chain, and I'll do what I can to
get you a pair of horns.
FALSTAFF. Away, I say; time wears; hold up your head, and
mince. Exit MRS. QUICKLY

Enter FORD disguised

How now, Master Brook. Master Brook, the matter will
be known tonight or never. Be you in the Park about
midnight, at Herne's oak, and you shall see wonders.
FORD. Went you not to her yesterday, sir, as you told me
you had appointed?
FALSTAFF. I went to her, Master Brook, as you see, like a
poor old man; but I came from her, Master Brook, like a
poor old woman. That same knave Ford, her husband, hath
the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, Master Brook, that
ever govern'd frenzy. I will tell you-he beat me grievously
in the shape of a woman; for in the shape of man, Master
Brook, I fear not Goliath with a weaver's beam; because
I know also life is a shuttle. I am in haste; go along with
me; I'll. tell you all, Master Brook. Since I pluck'd geese,
play'd truant, and whipp'd top, I knew not what 'twas to
be beaten till lately. Follow me. I'll tell you strange things
of this knave-Ford, on whom to-night I will be revenged,
and I will deliver his wife into your hand. Follow. Strange
things in hand, Master Brook! Follow. Exeunt


Windsor Park


PAGE. Come, come; we'll couch i' th' Castle ditch till we
see the light of our fairies. Remember, son Slender, my daughter.
SLENDER. Ay, forsooth; I have spoke with her, and we have
a nay-word how to know one another. I come to her in
white and cry 'mum'; she cries 'budget,' and by that we
know one another.
SHALLOW. That's good too; but what needs either your mum
or her budget? The white will decipher her well enough.
It hath struck ten o'clock.
PAGE. The night is dark; light and spirits will become it well.
Heaven prosper our sport! No man means evil but the
devil, and we shall know him by his horns. Let's away;
follow me. Exeunt


A street leading to the Park


MRS. PAGE. Master Doctor, my daughter is in green; when
you see your time, take her by the hand, away with her to
the deanery, and dispatch it quickly. Go before into the
Park; we two must go together.
CAIUS. I know vat I have to do; adieu.
MRS. PAGE. Fare you well, sir. [Exit CAIUS] My husband
will not rejoice so much at the abuse of Falstaff as he will
chafe at the doctor's marrying my daughter; but 'tis no
matter; better a little chiding than a great deal of
MRS. FORD. Where is Nan now, and her troop of fairies, and
the Welsh devil, Hugh?
MRS. PAGE. They are all couch'd in a pit hard by Heme's
oak, with obscur'd lights; which, at the very instant of
Falstaff's and our meeting, they will at once display to the
MRS. FORD. That cannot choose but amaze him.
MRS. PAGE. If he be not amaz'd, he will be mock'd; if he be
amaz'd, he will every way be mock'd.
MRS. FORD. We'll betray him finely.
MRS. PAGE. Against such lewdsters and their lechery,
Those that betray them do no treachery.
MRS. FORD. The hour draws on. To the oak, to the oak!


Windsor Park

Enter SIR HUGH EVANS like a satyr, with OTHERS as fairies

EVANS. Trib, trib, fairies; come; and remember your parts.
Be pold, I pray you; follow me into the pit; and when I
give the watch-ords, do as I pid you. Come, come; trib,
trib. Exeunt


Another part of the Park

Enter FALSTAFF disguised as HERNE

FALSTAFF. The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute
draws on. Now the hot-blooded gods assist me!
Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy
horns. O powerful love! that in some respects makes a
beast a man; in some other a man a beast. You were also,
Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda. O omnipotent love!
how near the god drew to the complexion of a goose! A
fault done first in the form of a beast-O Jove, a beastly
fault!-and then another fault in the semblance of a fowl-
think on't, Jove, a foul fault! When gods have hot backs
what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a Windsor
stag; and the fattest, I think, i' th' forest. Send me a cool
rut-time, Jove, or who can blame me to piss my tallow?
Who comes here? my doe?


MRS. FORD. Sir John! Art thou there, my deer, my male deer.
FALSTAFF. My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves, hail
kissing-comfits, and snow eringoes; let there come a tempest
of provocation, I will shelter me here. [Embracing her]
MRS. FORD. Mistress Page is come with me, sweetheart.
FALSTAFF. Divide me like a brib'd buck, each a haunch; I
will keep my sides to myself, my shoulders for the fellow
of this walk, and my horns I bequeath your husbands. Am
I a woodman, ha? Speak I like Heme the Hunter? Why,
now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution.
As I am a true spirit, welcome! [A noise of horns]
MRS. PAGE. Alas, what noise?
MRS. FORD. Heaven forgive our sins!
FALSTAFF. What should this be?
MRS. FORD. } Away, away.
MRS. PAGE. } Away, away. [They run off]
FALSTAFF. I think the devil will not have me damn'd, lest the
oil that's in me should set hell on fire; he would never else
cross me thus.

Enter SIR HUGH EVANS like a satyr, ANNE PAGE as
a fairy, and OTHERS as the Fairy Queen, fairies, and
Hobgoblin; all with tapers

FAIRY QUEEN. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,
Attend your office and your quality.
Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.
PUCK. Elves, list your names; silence, you airy toys.
Cricket, to Windsor chimneys shalt thou leap;
Where fires thou find'st unrak'd, and hearths unswept,
There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry;
Our radiant Queen hates sluts and sluttery.
FALSTAFF. They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die.
I'll wink and couch; no man their works must eye.
[Lies down upon his face]
EVANS. Where's Pede? Go you, and where you find a maid
That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,
Raise up the organs of her fantasy
Sleep she as sound as careless infancy;
But those as sleep and think not on their sins,
Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and shins.
FAIRY QUEEN. About, about;
Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out;
Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room,
That it may stand till the perpetual doom
In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,
Worthy the owner and the owner it.
The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm and every precious flower;
Each fair instalment, coat, and sev'ral crest,
With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!
And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,
Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring;
Th' expressure that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see;
And 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' write
In em'rald tufts, flow'rs purple, blue and white;
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee.
Fairies use flow'rs for their charactery.
Away, disperse; but till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom round about the oak
Of Herne the Hunter let us not forget.
EVANS. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourselves in order set;
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.
But, stay. I smell a man of middle earth.
FALSTAFF. Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he
transform me to a piece of cheese!
PUCK. Vile worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even in thy birth.
FAIRY QUEEN. With trial-fire touch me his finger-end;
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend,
And turn him to no pain; but if he start,
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
PUCK. A trial, come.
EVANS. Come, will this wood take fire?
[They put the tapers to his fingers, and he starts]
FALSTAFF. Oh, oh, oh!
FAIRY QUEEN. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire!
About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme;
And, as you trip, still pinch him to your time.
Fie on sinful fantasy!
Fie on lust and luxury!
Lust is but a bloody fire,
Kindled with unchaste desire,
Fed in heart, whose flames aspire,
As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher.
Pinch him, fairies, mutually;
Pinch him for his villainy;
Pinch him and burn him and turn him about,
Till candles and star-light and moonshine be out.

During this song they pinch FALSTAFF. DOCTOR
CAIUS comes one way, and steals away a fairy in
green; SLENDER another way, and takes off a fairy in
white; and FENTON steals away ANNE PAGE. A noise
of hunting is heard within. All the fairies run away.
FALSTAFF pulls off his buck's head, and rises


PAGE. Nay, do not fly; I think we have watch'd you now.
Will none but Heme the Hunter serve your turn?
MRS. PAGE. I pray you, come, hold up the jest no higher.
Now, good Sir John, how like you Windsor wives?
See you these, husband? Do not these fair yokes
Become the forest better than the town?
FORD. Now, sir, who's a cuckold now? Master Brook,
Falstaff's a knave, a cuckoldly knave; here are his horns,
Master Brook; and, Master Brook, he hath enjoyed nothing of
Ford's but his buck-basket, his cudgel, and twenty pounds
of money, which must be paid to Master Brook; his horses
are arrested for it, Master Brook.
MRS. FORD. Sir John, we have had ill luck; we could never
meet. I will never take you for my love again; but I will
always count you my deer.
FALSTAFF. I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.
FORD. Ay, and an ox too; both the proofs are extant.
FALSTAFF. And these are not fairies? I was three or four
times in the thought they were not fairies; and yet the
guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers,
drove the grossness of the foppery into a receiv'd belief,
in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they
were fairies. See now how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent
when 'tis upon ill employment.
EVANS. Sir John Falstaff, serve Got, and leave your desires,
and fairies will not pinse you.
FORD. Well said, fairy Hugh.
EVANS. And leave you your jealousies too, I pray you.
FORD. I will never mistrust my wife again, till thou art able
to woo her in good English.
FALSTAFF. Have I laid my brain in the sun, and dried it, that
it wants matter to prevent so gross, o'er-reaching as this?
Am I ridden with a Welsh goat too? Shall I have a cox-comb
of frieze? 'Tis time I were chok'd with a piece of
toasted cheese.
EVANS. Seese is not good to give putter; your belly is all
FALSTAFF. 'Seese' and 'putter'! Have I liv'd to stand at the
taunt of one that makes fritters of English? This is enough
to be the decay of lust and late-walking through the realm.
MRS. PAGE. Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would
have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and
shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell,
that ever the devil could have made you our delight?
FORD. What, a hodge-pudding? a bag of flax?
MRS. PAGE. A puff'd man?
PAGE. Old, cold, wither'd, and of intolerable entrails?
FORD. And one that is as slanderous as Satan?
PAGE. And as poor as Job?
FORD. And as wicked as his wife?
EVANS. And given to fornications, and to taverns, and sack,
and wine, and metheglins, and to drinkings, and swearings,
and starings, pribbles and prabbles?
FALSTAFF. Well, I am your theme; you have the start of me;
I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel;
ignorance itself is a plummet o'er me; use me as you will.
FORD. Marry, sir, we'll bring you to Windsor, to one Master
Brook, that you have cozen'd of money, to whom you
should have been a pander. Over and above that you have
suffer'd, I think to repay that money will be a biting
PAGE. Yet be cheerful, knight; thou shalt eat a posset
tonight at my house, where I will desire thee to laugh at my
wife, that now laughs at thee. Tell her Master Slender hath
married her daughter.
MRS. PAGE. [Aside] Doctors doubt that; if Anne Page be
my daughter, she is, by this, Doctor Caius' wife.


SLENDER. Whoa, ho, ho, father Page!
PAGE. Son, how now! how now, son! Have you dispatch'd'?
SLENDER. Dispatch'd! I'll make the best in Gloucestershire
know on't; would I were hang'd, la, else!
PAGE. Of what, son?
SLENDER. I came yonder at Eton to marry Mistress Anne
Page, and she's a great lubberly boy. If it had not been i'
th' church, I would have swing'd him, or he should have
swing'd me. If I did not think it had been Anne Page,
would I might never stir!-and 'tis a postmaster's boy.
PAGE. Upon my life, then, you took the wrong.
SLENDER. What need you tell me that? I think so, when I
took a boy for a girl. If I had been married to him, for all
he was in woman's apparel, I would not have had him.
PAGE. Why, this is your own folly. Did not I tell you how
you should know my daughter by her garments?
SLENDER. I went to her in white and cried 'mum' and she
cried 'budget' as Anne and I had appointed; and yet it was
not Anne, but a postmaster's boy.
MRS. PAGE. Good George, be not angry. I knew of your
purpose; turn'd my daughter into green; and, indeed, she
is now with the Doctor at the dean'ry, and there married.


CAIUS. Vere is Mistress Page? By gar, I am cozened; I ha'
married un garcon, a boy; un paysan, by gar, a boy; it is
not Anne Page; by gar, I am cozened.
MRS. PAGE. Why, did you take her in green?
CAIUS. Ay, be gar, and 'tis a boy; be gar, I'll raise all
Windsor. Exit CAIUS
FORD. This is strange. Who hath got the right Anne?
PAGE. My heart misgives me; here comes Master Fenton.


How now, Master Fenton!
ANNE. Pardon, good father. Good my mother, pardon.
PAGE. Now, Mistress, how chance you went not with Master
MRS. PAGE. Why went you not with Master Doctor, maid?
FENTON. You do amaze her. Hear the truth of it.
You would have married her most shamefully,
Where there was no proportion held in love.
The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
Are now so sure that nothing can dissolve us.
Th' offence is holy that she hath committed;
And this deceit loses the name of craft,
Of disobedience, or unduteous title,
Since therein she doth evitate and shun
A thousand irreligious cursed hours,
Which forced marriage would have brought upon her.
FORD. Stand not amaz'd; here is no remedy.
In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state;
Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.
FALSTAFF. I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand
to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanc'd.
PAGE. Well, what remedy? Fenton, heaven give thee joy!
What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
FALSTAFF. When night-dogs run, all sorts of deer are chas'd.
MRS. PAGE. Well, I will muse no further. Master Fenton,
Heaven give you many, many merry days!
Good husband, let us every one go home,
And laugh this sport o'er by a country fire;
Sir John and all.
FORD. Let it be so. Sir John,
To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word;
For he, to-night, shall lie with Mistress Ford. Exeunt





by William Shakespeare


THESEUS, Duke of Athens
EGEUS, father to Hermia
LYSANDER, in love with Hermia
DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia
PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Revels to Theseus
QUINCE, a carpenter
SNUG, a joiner
BOTTOM, a weaver
FLUTE, a bellows-mender
SNOUT, a tinker
STARVELING, a tailor

HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, bethrothed to Theseus
HERMIA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander
HELENA, in love with Demetrius

OBERON, King of the Fairies
TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies
COBWEB, fairy
MOTH, fairy


Other Fairies attending their King and Queen
Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta


Athens and a wood near it

Athens. The palace of THESEUS


THESEUS. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
HIPPOLYTA. 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 solemnities.
THESEUS. Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp. Exit PHILOSTRATE
Hippolyta, I woo'd 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, and his daughter HERMIA, LYSANDER,

EGEUS. Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke!
THESEUS. Thanks, good Egeus; what's the news with thee?
EGEUS. 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 bewitch'd the bosom of my child.
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child;
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love,
And stol'n 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 filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn'd 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.
THESEUS. 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 power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
HERMIA. So is Lysander.
THESEUS. In himself he is;
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
HERMIA. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
THESEUS. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
HERMIA. 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 worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
THESEUS. 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 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 distill'd
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
HERMIA. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
THESEUS. 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 altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.
DEMETRIUS. Relent, sweet Hermia; and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
LYSANDER. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's; do you marry him.
EGEUS. 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.
LYSANDER. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
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, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
THESEUS. 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.
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.
EGEUS. With duty and desire we follow you.
Exeunt all but LYSANDER and HERMIA
LYSANDER. How now, my love! Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
HERMIA. Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.
LYSANDER. Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood-
HERMIA. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low.
LYSANDER. Or else misgraffed in respect of years-
HERMIA. O spite! too old to be engag'd to young.
LYSANDER. Or else it stood upon the choice of friends-
HERMIA. O hell! to choose love by another's eyes.
LYSANDER. Or, if there were a 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.
HERMIA. If then true lovers have ever cross'd,
It stands as an edict 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.
LYSANDER. 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
Cannot pursue us. 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.
HERMIA. 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 burn'd the Carthage Queen,
When the false Troyan 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.
LYSANDER. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.


HERMIA. God speed fair Helena! Whither away?
HELENA. Call you me fair? That fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching; O, were favour so,
Yours 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'd give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart!
HERMIA. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
HELENA. O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
HERMIA. I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
HELENA. O that my prayers could such affection move!
HERMIA. The more I hate, the more he follows me.
HELENA. The more I love, the more he hateth me.
HERMIA. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
HELENA. None, but your beauty; would that fault were mine!
HERMIA. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me.
O, then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a hell!
LYSANDER. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,
Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.
HERMIA. And in the wood where often you and I
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 midnight.
LYSANDER. I will, my Hermia. [Exit HERMIA] Helena, adieu;
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you. Exit
HELENA. 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 Hermia'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 wing'd 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 beguil'd.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjur'd everywhere;
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and show'rs 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

Athens. QUINCE'S house


QUINCE. Is all our company here?
BOTTOM. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according
to the scrip.
QUINCE. 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 the Duchess on his wedding-day at night.
BOTTOM. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then
read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
QUINCE. Marry, our play is 'The most Lamentable Comedy and most
Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisby.'
BOTTOM. 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.
QUINCE. Answer, as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
BOTTOM. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
QUINCE. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
BOTTOM. What is Pyramus? A lover, or a tyrant?
QUINCE. A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.
BOTTOM. 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 some measure. 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.
QUINCE. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
FLUTE. Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE. Flute, you must take Thisby on you.
FLUTE. What is Thisby? A wand'ring knight?
QUINCE. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
FLUTE. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming.
QUINCE. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may
speak as small as you will.
BOTTOM. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too.
I'll speak in a monstrous little voice: 'Thisne, Thisne!'
[Then speaking small] 'Ah Pyramus, my lover dear! Thy
Thisby dear, and lady dear!'
QUINCE. No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute, you Thisby.
BOTTOM. Well, proceed.
QUINCE. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
STARVELING. Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.
Tom Snout, the tinker.
SNOUT. Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE. You, Pyramus' father; myself, Thisby's father; Snug, the
joiner, you, the lion's part. And, I hope, here is a play fitted.
SNUG. Have you the lion's part written? Pray you, if it be, give it
me, for I am slow of study.
QUINCE. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
BOTTOM. Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will do any
man's heart good to hear me; I will roar that I will make the
Duke say 'Let him roar again, let him roar again.'
QUINCE. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the
Duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were
enough to hang us all.
ALL. That would hang us, every mother's son.
BOTTOM. I grant you, friends, if you should fright the ladies out
of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us;
but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently
as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
QUINCE. You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a
sweet-fac'd man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's
day; a most lovely gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs
play Pyramus.
BOTTOM. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play
it in?
QUINCE. Why, what you will.
BOTTOM. I will discharge it in either your straw-colour beard, your
orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your
French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.
QUINCE. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then
you will play bare-fac'd. But, masters, here are your parts; and
I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by
to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without
the town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse; for if we meet in
the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known.
In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties, such as our
play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
BOTTOM. We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and
courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
QUINCE. At the Duke's oak we meet.
BOTTOM. Enough; hold, or cut bow-strings. Exeunt


A wood near Athens

Enter a FAIRY at One door, and PUCK at another

PUCK. How now, spirit! whither wander you?
FAIRY. Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours.

I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone.
Our Queen and all her elves come here anon.
PUCK. The King doth keep his revels here to-night;
Take heed the Queen come not within his sight;
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she as her attendant hath
A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king.
She never had so sweet a changeling;
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild;
But she perforce withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy.
And now they never meet in grove or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But they do square, that all their elves for fear
Creep into acorn cups and hide them there.
FAIRY. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call'd Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn,
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm,
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
Are not you he?
PUCK. Thou speakest aright:
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal;
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And 'tailor' cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, fairy, here comes Oberon.
FAIRY. And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!

Enter OBERON at one door, with his TRAIN, and TITANIA,
at another, with hers

OBERON. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
TITANIA. What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence;
I have forsworn his bed and company.
OBERON. Tarry, rash wanton; am not I thy lord?
TITANIA. Then I must be thy lady; but I know
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India,
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity?
OBERON. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigouna, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair Aegles break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa?
TITANIA. These are the forgeries of jealousy;
And never, since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Hath every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents.
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable.
The human mortals want their winter here;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest;
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound.
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.
OBERON. Do you amend it, then; it lies in you.
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy
To be my henchman.
TITANIA. Set your heart at rest;
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order;
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side;
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking th' embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following- her womb then rich with my young squire-
Would imitate, and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And for her sake do I rear up her boy;
And for her sake I will not part with him.
OBERON. How long within this wood intend you stay?
TITANIA. Perchance till after Theseus' wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round,
And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
OBERON. Give me that boy and I will go with thee.
TITANIA. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away.
We shall chide downright if I longer stay.
Exit TITANIA with her train
OBERON. Well, go thy way; thou shalt not from this grove
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememb'rest
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid's music.
PUCK. I remember.
OBERON. That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth
Cupid, all arm'd; a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west,
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon;
And the imperial vot'ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flow'r, the herb I showed thee once.
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb, and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
PUCK. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes. Exit PUCK
OBERON. Having once this juice,
I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes;
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
And ere I take this charm from off her sight,
As I can take it with another herb,
I'll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible;
And I will overhear their conference.

Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him

DEMETRIUS. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
Thou told'st me they were stol'n unto this wood,
And here am I, and wood within this wood,
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
HELENA. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.
DEMETRIUS. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth
Tell you I do not nor I cannot love you?
HELENA. And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you.
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love,
And yet a place of high respect with me,
Than to be used as you use your dog?
DEMETRIUS. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
For I am sick when I do look on thee.
HELENA. And I am sick when I look not on you.
DEMETRIUS. You do impeach your modesty too much
To leave the city and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not;
To trust the opportunity of night,
And the ill counsel of a desert place,
With the rich worth of your virginity.
HELENA. Your virtue is my privilege for that:
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night;
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you, in my respect, are all the world.
Then how can it be said I am alone
When all the world is here to look on me?
DEMETRIUS. I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
HELENA. The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will; the story shall be chang'd:
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger- bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues and valour flies.
DEMETRIUS. I will not stay thy questions; let me go;
Or, if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
HELENA. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.
We cannot fight for love as men may do;
We should be woo'd, and were not made to woo.
I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well. Exit HELENA
OBERON. Fare thee well, nymph; ere he do leave this grove,
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.

Re-enter PUCK

Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
PUCK. Ay, there it is.
OBERON. I pray thee give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine;
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in;
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove:
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth; anoint his eyes;
But do it when the next thing he espies
May be the lady. Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her than she upon her love.
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
PUCK. Fear not, my lord; your servant shall do so. Exeunt

Another part of the wood

Enter TITANIA, with her train

TITANIA. Come now, a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence:
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds;
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats; and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices, and let me rest.


FIRST FAIRY. You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy Queen.
CHORUS. Philomel with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Never harm
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.
SECOND FAIRY. Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence.
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail do no offence.
CHORUS. Philomel with melody, etc. [TITANIA Sleeps]
FIRST FAIRY. Hence away; now all is well.
One aloof stand sentinel. Exeunt FAIRIES

Enter OBERON and squeezes the flower on TITANIA'S eyelids

OBERON. What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true-love take;
Love and languish for his sake.
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wak'st, it is thy dear.
Wake when some vile thing is near. Exit


LYSANDER. Fair love, you faint with wand'ring in the wood;
And, to speak troth, I have forgot our way;
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
HERMIA. Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
LYSANDER. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
HERMIA. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet; do not lie so near.
LYSANDER. O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
I mean that my heart unto yours is knit,
So that but one heart we can make of it;
Two bosoms interchained with an oath,
So then two bosoms and a single troth.
Then by your side no bed-room me deny,
For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
HERMIA. Lysander riddles very prettily.
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied!
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
Lie further off, in human modesty;
Such separation as may well be said
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
So far be distant; and good night, sweet friend.
Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end!
LYSANDER. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer say I;
And then end life when I end loyalty!
Here is my bed; sleep give thee all his rest!
HERMIA. With half that wish the wisher's eyes be press'd!
[They sleep]

Enter PUCK

PUCK. Through the forest have I gone,
But Athenian found I none
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
Night and silence- Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe:
When thou wak'st let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid.
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon. Exit

Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running

HELENA. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
DEMETRIUS. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
HELENA. O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so.
DEMETRIUS. Stay on thy peril; I alone will go. Exit
HELENA. O, I am out of breath in this fond chase!
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies,
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears;
If so, my eyes are oft'ner wash'd than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear,
For beasts that meet me run away for fear;
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!
Dead, or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.
LYSANDER. [Waking] And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
HELENA. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so.
What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you; then be content.
LYSANDER. Content with Hermia! No: I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia but Helena I love:
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway'd,
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season;
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will,
And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
Love's stories, written in Love's richest book.
HELENA. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well; perforce I must confess
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady of one man refus'd
Should of another therefore be abus'd! Exit
LYSANDER. She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there;
And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive,
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honour Helen, and to be her knight! Exit
HERMIA. [Starting] Help me, Lysander, help me; do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast.
Ay me, for pity! What a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear.
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
Lysander! What, remov'd? Lysander! lord!
What, out of hearing gone? No sound, no word?
Alack, where are you? Speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
No? Then I well perceive you are not nigh.
Either death or you I'll find immediately. Exit


The wood. TITANIA lying asleep


BOTTOM. Are we all met?
QUINCE. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our
rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn
brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will
do it before the Duke.
BOTTOM. Peter Quince!
QUINCE. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
BOTTOM. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that
will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill
himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?
SNOUT. By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
STARVELING. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is
BOTTOM. Not a whit; I have a device to make all well. Write me a
prologue; and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm
with our swords, and that Pyramus is not kill'd indeed; and for
the more better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus am not
Pyramus but Bottom the weaver. This will put them out of fear.
QUINCE. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written
in eight and six.
BOTTOM. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
SNOUT. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
STARVELING. I fear it, I promise you.
BOTTOM. Masters, you ought to consider with yourself to bring in-
God shield us!- a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing; for
there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and
we ought to look to't.
SNOUT. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
BOTTOM. Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen
through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through,
saying thus, or to the same defect: 'Ladies,' or 'Fair ladies, I
would wish you' or 'I would request you' or 'I would entreat you
not to fear, not to tremble. My life for yours! If you think I
come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such
thing; I am a man as other men are.' And there, indeed, let him
name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
QUINCE. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things- that
is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for, you know, Pyramus
and Thisby meet by moonlight.
SNOUT. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
BOTTOM. A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanack; find out
moonshine, find out moonshine.
QUINCE. Yes, it doth shine that night.
BOTTOM. Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber
window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the
QUINCE. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a
lantern, and say he comes to disfigure or to present the person
of Moonshine. Then there is another thing: we must have a wall in
the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby, says the story, did
talk through the chink of a wall.
SNOUT. You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
BOTTOM. Some man or other must present Wall; and let him have some
plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify
wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny
shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
QUINCE. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every
mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin; when
you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and so every
one according to his cue.

Enter PUCK behind

PUCK. What hempen homespuns have we swagg'ring here,
So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
QUINCE. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
BOTTOM. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet-
QUINCE. 'Odious'- odorous!
BOTTOM. -odours savours sweet;
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear. Exit
PUCK. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here! Exit
FLUTE. Must I speak now?
QUINCE. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes but to
see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
FLUTE. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse, that would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
QUINCE. 'Ninus' tomb,' man! Why, you must not speak that yet; that
you answer to Pyramus. You speak all your part at once, cues, and
all. Pyramus enter: your cue is past; it is 'never tire.'
FLUTE. O- As true as truest horse, that y et would never tire.

Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head

BOTTOM. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
QUINCE. O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted. Pray, masters! fly,
masters! Help!
Exeunt all but BOTTOM and PUCK
PUCK. I'll follow you; I'll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier;
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
BOTTOM. Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them to make me

Re-enter SNOUT

SNOUT. O Bottom, thou art chang'd! What do I see on thee?
BOTTOM. What do you see? You see an ass-head of your own, do you?

Re-enter QUINCE

QUINCE. Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art translated.
BOTTOM. I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to
fright me, if they could. But I will not stir from this place, do
what they can; I will walk up and down here, and will sing, that
they shall hear I am not afraid. [Sings]

The ousel cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill.

TITANIA. What angel wakes me from my flow'ry bed?
BOTTOM. [Sings]
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo grey,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay-
for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
Who would give a bird the he, though he cry 'cuckoo' never so?
TITANIA. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.
Mine ear is much enamoured of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me,
On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee.
BOTTOM. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that.
And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company
together now-a-days. The more the pity that some honest
neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon
TITANIA. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
BOTTOM. Not so, neither; but if I had wit enough to get out of this
wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
TITANIA. Out of this wood do not desire to go;
Thou shalt remain here whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee; therefore, go with me.
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee;
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!


MOTH. And I.
ALL. Where shall we go?
TITANIA. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs,
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
PEASEBLOSSOM. Hail, mortal!
MOTH. Hail!
BOTTOM. I cry your worships mercy, heartily; I beseech your
worship's name.
COBWEB. Cobweb.
BOTTOM. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your
name, honest gentleman?
PEASEBLOSSOM. Peaseblossom.
BOTTOM. I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and
to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall
desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you,
MUSTARDSEED. Mustardseed.
BOTTOM. Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well. That
same cowardly giant-like ox-beef hath devour'd many a gentleman
of your house. I promise you your kindred hath made my eyes water
ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
TITANIA. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon, methinks, looks with a wat'ry eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower;
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently. Exeunt

Another part of the wood


OBERON. I wonder if Titania be awak'd;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.

Enter PUCK

Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
PUCK. My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene and ent'red in a brake;
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's nole I fixed on his head.
Anon his Thisby must be answered,
And forth my mimic 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 strong,
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong,
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch.
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.
OBERON. This falls out better than I could devise.
But hast thou yet latch'd 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.


OBERON. Stand close; this is the same Athenian.
PUCK. This is the woman, but not this the man.
DEMETRIUS. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
HERMIA. Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse,
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 stolen 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 noontide with th' Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murd'red him;
So should a murderer look- so dead, so grim.
DEMETRIUS. So should the murdered 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.
HERMIA. What's this to my Lysander? Where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
DEMETRIUS. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
HERMIA. Out, dog! out, cur! Thou driv'st me past the bounds
Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never numb'red among men!
O, once tell true; tell true, even for my sake!
Durst thou have look'd upon him being awake,
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
DEMETRIUS. You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood:
I am not guilty of Lysander's blood;
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
HERMIA. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
DEMETRIUS. An if I could, what should I get therefore?
HERMIA. A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part I so;
See me no more whether he be dead or no. Exit
DEMETRIUS. 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]
OBERON. 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 true.
PUCK. Then fate o'er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
OBERON. About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find;
All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer,
With sighs of love that costs 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
OBERON. 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 remedy.

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!
OBERON. 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 befall prepost'rously.


LYSANDER. 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?
HELENA. 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.
LYSANDER. I hod no judgment when to her I swore.
HELENA. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
LYSANDER. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
DEMETRIUS. [Awaking] O Helen, 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 eastern 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!
HELENA. O spite! O 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 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
Would so offend a virgin, and extort
A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.
LYSANDER. 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 till my death.
HELENA. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
DEMETRIUS. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none.
If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd,
And now to Helen is it home return'd,
There to remain.
LYSANDER. Helen, it is not so.
DEMETRIUS. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
Look where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.


HERMIA. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
LYSANDER. Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?
HERMIA. What love could press Lysander from my side?
LYSANDER. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide-
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light.
Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee know
The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so?
HERMIA. You speak not as you think; it cannot be.
HELENA. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
To fashion this false sport in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid!
Have you conspir'd, have you with these contriv'd,
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us- O, is all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key;
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stern;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly;
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
HERMIA. I am amazed at your passionate words;
I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.
HELENA. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection,
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What though I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unlov'd?
This you should pity rather than despise.
HERMIA. I understand not what you mean by this.
HELENA. Ay, do- persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,
Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up;
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,

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