A Midsommer Nights Dreame by William Shakespeare

*** Scanner’s Notes: What this is and isn’t. This was taken from a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio and it is as close as I can come in ASCII to the printed text. The elongated S’s have been changed to small s’s and the conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the
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Scanner’s Notes: What this is and isn’t. This was taken from a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio and it is as close as I can come in ASCII to the printed text.

The elongated S’s have been changed to small s’s and the conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the spelling, punctuation, capitalization as close as possible to the printed text. I have corrected some spelling mistakes (I have put together a spelling dictionary devised from the spellings of the Geneva Bible and Shakespeare’s First Folio and have unified spellings according to this template), typo’s and expanded abbreviations as I have come across them. Everything within brackets [] is what I have added. So if you don’t like that you can delete everything within the brackets if you want a purer Shakespeare.

Another thing that you should be aware of is that there are textual differences between various copies of the first folio. So there may be differences (other than what I have mentioned above) between this and other first folio editions. This is due to the printer’s habit of setting the type and running off a number of copies and then proofing the printed copy and correcting the type and then continuing the printing run. The proof run wasn’t thrown away but incorporated into the printed copies. This is just the way it is. The text I have used was a composite of more than 30 different First Folio editions’ best pages.

If you find any scanning errors, out and out typos, punctuation errors, or if you disagree with my spelling choices please feel free to email me those errors. I wish to make this the best etext possible. My email address for right now are haradda@aol.com and davidr@inconnect.com. I hope that you enjoy this.

David Reed

A Midsommer Nights Dreame

Actus primus.

Enter Theseus, Hippolita, with others.

Theseus. Now faire Hippolita, our nuptiall houre Drawes on apace: foure happy daies bring in Another Moon: but oh, me thinkes, how slow This old Moon wanes; She lingers my desires Like to a Step-dame, or a Dowager,
Long withering out a yong mans reuennew

Hip. Foure daies wil quickly steep the[m]selues in nights Foure nights wil quickly dreame away the time: And then the Moone, like to a siluer bow, Now bent in heauen, shal behold the night Of our solemnities

The. Go Philostrate,
Stirre vp the Athenian youth to merriments, Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth, Turne melancholy forth to Funerals:
The pale companion is not for our pompe, Hippolita, I woo’d thee with my sword,
And wonne thy loue, doing thee iniuries: But I will wed thee in another key,
With pompe, with triumph, and with reuelling. Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, Lysander, 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 childe, my daughter Hermia.

Stand forth Demetrius.

My Noble Lord,
This man hath my consent to marrie her.

Stand forth Lysander.

And my gracious Duke,
This man hath bewitch’d the bosome of my childe: Thou, thou Lysander, thou hast giuen her rimes, And interchang’d loue-tokens with my childe: Thou hast by Moone-light at her window sung, With faining voice, verses of faining loue, And stolne the impression of her fantasie, With bracelets of thy haire, rings, gawdes, conceits, Knackes, trifles, Nose-gaies, sweet meats (messengers Of strong preuailment in vnhardned youth) With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughters heart, Turn’d her obedience (which is due to me) To stubborne harshnesse. And my gracious Duke, Be it so she will not heere before your Grace, Consent to marrie with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient priuiledge 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 prouided in that case

The. What say you Hermia? be aduis’d faire Maide, 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 forme in waxe
By him imprinted: and within his power, To leaue the figure, or disfigure it:
Demetrius is a worthy Gentleman

Her. So is Lysander

The. In himselfe he is.
But in this kinde, wanting your fathers voyce, The other must be held the worthier

Her. I would my father look’d but with my eyes

The. Rather your eies must with his iudgment looke

Her. I do entreat your Grace to pardon me. I know not by what power I am made bold, Nor how it may concerne my modestie
In such a presence heere to pleade 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

The. Either to dye the death, or to abiure For euer the society of men.
Therefore faire Hermia question your desires, Know of your youth, examine well your blood, Whether (if you yeeld not to your fathers choice) You can endure the liuerie of a Nunne,
For aye to be in shady Cloister mew’d, To liue a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymnes to the cold fruitlesse Moone, Thrice blessed they that master so their blood, To vndergo such maiden pilgrimage,
But earthlier happie is the Rose distil’d, Then that which withering on the virgin thorne, Growes, liues, and dies, in single blessednesse

Her. So will I grow, so liue, so die my Lord, Ere I will yeeld my virgin Patent vp
Vnto his Lordship, whose vnwished yoake, My soule consents not to giue soueraignty

The. Take time to pause, and by the next new Moon The sealing day betwixt my loue and me,
For euerlasting bond of fellowship: Vpon that day either prepare to dye,
For disobedience to your fathers will, Or else to wed Demetrius as hee would,
Or on Dianaes Altar to protest
For aie, austerity, and single life

Dem. Relent sweet Hermia, and Lysander, yeelde Thy crazed title to my certaine right

Lys. You haue her fathers loue, Demetrius: Let me haue Hermiaes: do you marry him

Egeus. Scornfull Lysander, true, he hath my Loue; And what is mine, my loue shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her, I do estate vnto Demetrius

Lys. I am my Lord, as well deriu’d as he, As well possest: my loue is more then his: My fortunes euery way as fairely ranck’d (If not with vantage) as Demetrius:
And (which is more then all these boasts can be) I am belou’d of beauteous Hermia.
Why should not I then prosecute my right? Demetrius, Ile auouch it to his head,
Made loue to Nedars daughter, Helena, And won her soule: and she (sweet Ladie) dotes, Deuoutly dotes, dotes in Idolatry,
Vpon this spotted and inconstant man

The. I must confesse, that I haue heard so much, And with Demetrius thought to haue spoke thereof: But being ouer-full of selfe-affaires,
My minde did lose it. But Demetrius come, And come Egeus, you shall go with me,
I haue some priuate schooling for you both. For you faire Hermia, looke you arme your selfe, To fit your fancies to your Fathers will; Or else the Law of Athens yeelds you vp
(Which by no meanes we may extenuate) To death, or to a vow of single life.
Come my Hippolita, what cheare my loue? Demetrius and Egeus go along:
I must imploy you in some businesse Against our nuptiall, and conferre with you Of something, neerely that concernes your selues

Ege. With dutie and desire we follow you.


Manet Lysander and Hermia.

Lys. How now my loue? Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the Roses there do fade so fast? Her. Belike for want of raine, which I could well Beteeme them, from the tempest of mine eyes

Lys. For ought that euer I could reade, Could euer heare by tale or historie,
The course of true loue neuer did run smooth, But either it was different in blood

Her. O crosse! too high to be enthral’d to loue

Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of yeares

Her. O spight! too old to be ingag’d to yong

Lys. Or else it stood vpon the choise of merit

Her. O hell! to choose loue by anothers eie

Lys. Or if there were a simpathie in choise, Warre, death, or sicknesse, did lay siege to it; Making it momentarie, as a sound:
Swift as a shadow, short as any dreame, Briefe as the lightning in the collied night, That (in a spleene) vnfolds both heauen and earth; And ere a man hath power to say, behold, The iawes of darkness do deuoure it vp:
So quicke bright things come to confusion

Her. If then true Louers haue beene euer crost, It stands as an edict in destinie:
Then let vs teach our triall patience, Because it is a customarie crosse,
As due to loue, as thoughts, and dreames, and sighes, Wishes and teares; poore Fancies followers

Lys. A good perswasion; therefore heare me Hermia, I haue a Widdow Aunt, a dowager,
Of great reuennew, and she hath no childe, From Athens is her house remou’d seuen leagues, And she respects me, as her onely sonne: There gentle Hermia, may I marrie thee,
And to that place, the sharpe Athenian Law Cannot pursue vs. If thou lou’st me, then Steale forth thy Fathers house to morrow night: And in the wood, a league without the towne, (Where I did meete thee once with Helena. To do obseruance for a morne of May)
There will I stay for thee

Her. My good Lysander,
I sweare to thee, by Cupids strongest bow, By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicitie of Venus Doues,
By that which knitteth soules, and prospers loue, And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage Queene, When the false Troyan vnder saile was seene, By all the vowes that euer men haue broke, (In number more then euer women spoke)
In that same place thou hast appointed me, To morrow truly will I meete with thee

Lys. Keepe promise loue: looke here comes Helena. Enter Helena.

Her. God speede faire Helena, whither away? Hel. Cal you me faire? that faire againe vnsay, Demetrius loues you faire: O happie faire! Your eyes are loadstarres, and your tongues sweete ayre More tuneable then Larke to shepheards eare, When wheate is greene, when hauthorne buds appeare, Sicknesse is catching: O were fauor so,
Your words I catch, faire Hermia ere I go, My eare should catch your voice, my eye, your eye, My tongue should catch your tongues sweete melodie, Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, The rest Ile giue to be to you translated. O teach me how you looke, and with what art You sway the motion of Demetrius hart

Her. I frowne vpon him, yet he loues me still

Hel. O that your frownes would teach my smiles such skil

Her. I giue him curses, yet he giues me loue

Hel. O that my prayers could such affection mooue

Her. The more I hate, the more he followes me

Hel. The more I loue, the more he hateth me

Her. His folly Helena is none of mine

Hel. None but your beauty, wold that fault wer mine Her. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face, Lysander and my selfe will flie this place. Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem’d Athens like a Paradise to mee. O then, what graces in my Loue do dwell, That he hath turn’d a heauen into hell

Lys. Helen, to you our mindes we will vnfold, To morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her siluer visage, in the watry glasse,
Decking with liquid pearle, the bladed grasse (A time that Louers flights doth still conceale) Through Athens gates, haue we deuis’d to steale

Her. And in the wood, where often you and I, Vpon faint Primrose beds, were wont to lye, Emptying our bosomes, of their counsell sweld: There my Lysander, and my selfe shall meete, And thence from Athens turne away our eyes To seeke new friends and strange companions, Farwell sweet play-fellow, pray thou for vs, And good lucke grant thee thy Demetrius. Keepe word Lysander we must starue our sight, From louers foode, till morrow deepe midnight.

Exit Hermia.

Lys. I will my Hermia. Helena adieu, As you on him, Demetrius dotes on you.

Exit Lysander.

Hele. How happy some, ore othersome can be? Through Athens I am thought as faire as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinkes not so: He will not know, what all, but he doth know, And as hee erres, doting on Hermias eyes; So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vilde, holding no quantity, Loue can transpose to forme and dignity, Loue lookes not with the eyes, but with the minde, And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blinde. Nor hath loues minde of any iudgement taste: Wings and no eyes, figure, vnheedy haste. And therefore is Loue said to be a childe, Because in choise he is often beguil’d,
As waggish boyes in game themselues forsweare; So the boy Loue is periur’d euery where. For ere Demetrius lookt on Hermias eyne, He hail’d downe oathes that he was onely mine. And when this Haile some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolu’d, and showres of oathes did melt, I will goe tell him of faire Hermias flight: Then to the wood will he, to morrow night Pursue her; and for his intelligence,
If I haue thankes, it is a deere expence: But heerein meane I to enrich my paine,
To haue his sight thither, and backe againe. Enter.

Enter Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Ioyner, Bottome the Weauer, Flute
the bellowes-mender, Snout the Tinker, and Starueling the Taylor.

Quin. Is all our company heere?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man according to the scrip

Qui. Here is the scrowle of euery mans name, which is thought fit through all Athens, to play in our Enterlude before the Duke and the Dutches, on his wedding day at night

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on: then read the names of the Actors: and so grow on to a point

Quin. Marry our play is the most lamentable comedy, and most cruell death of Pyramus and Thisbie

Bot. A very good peece of worke I assure you, and a merry. Now good Peter Quince, call forth your Actors by the scrowle. Masters spread your selues

Quince. Answere as I call you. Nick Bottome the Weauer

Bottome. Ready; name what part I am for, and proceed

Quince. You Nicke Bottome are set downe for Pyramus

Bot. What is Pyramus, a louer, or a tyrant? Quin. A Louer that kills himselfe most gallantly for loue

Bot. That will aske some teares in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience looke to their eies: I will mooue stormes; I will condole in some measure. To the rest yet, my chiefe humour is for a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to teare a Cat in, to make all split the raging Rocks; and shiuering shocks shall break the locks of prison gates, and Phibbus carre shall shine from farre, and make and marre the foolish Fates. This was lofty. Now name the rest of the Players. This is Ercles vaine, a tyrants vaine: a louer is more condoling

Quin. Francis Flute the Bellowes-mender

Flu. Heere Peter Quince

Quin. You must take Thisbie on you

Flut. What is Thisbie, a wandring Knight? Quin. It is the Lady that Pyramus must loue

Flut. Nay faith, let not mee play a woman, I haue a beard comming

Qui. That’s all one, you shall play it in a Maske, and you may speake as small as you will

Bot. And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbie too: Ile speake in a monstrous little voyce; Thisne, Thisne, ah Pyramus my louer deare, thy Thisbie deare, and Lady deare

Quin. No no, you must play Pyramus, and Flute, you Thisby

Bot. Well, proceed

Qu. Robin Starueling the Taylor

Star. Heere Peter Quince

Quince. Robin Starueling, you must play Thisbies mother?
Tom Snowt, the Tinker

Snowt. Heere Peter Quince

Quin. you, Pyramus father; my self, Thisbies father; Snugge the Ioyner, you the Lyons part: and I hope there is a play fitted

Snug. Haue you the Lions part written? pray you if be, giue it me, for I am slow of studie

Quin. You may doe it extemporie, for it is nothing but roaring

Bot. Let mee play the Lyon too, I will roare that I will doe any mans heart good to heare me. I will roare, that I will make the Duke say, Let him roare againe, let him roare againe

Quin. If you should do it too terribly, you would fright the Dutchesse and the Ladies, that they would shrike, and that were enough to hang us all

All. That would hang vs euery mothers sonne

Bottome. I graunt you friends, if that you should fright the Ladies out of their Wittes, they would haue no more discretion but to hang vs: but I will aggrauate my voyce so, that I will roare you as gently as any sucking Doue; I will roare and ’twere any Nightingale

Quin. You can play no part but Piramus, for Piramus is a sweet-fac’d man, a proper man as one shall see in a summers day; a most louely Gentleman-like man, therfore you must needs play Piramus

Bot. Well, I will vndertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?
Quin. Why, what you will

Bot. I will discharge it, in either your straw-colour beard, your orange tawnie beard, your purple in graine beard, or your French-crowne colour’d beard, your perfect yellow

Quin. Some of your French Crownes haue no haire at all, and then you will play bare-fac’d. But masters here are your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by too morrow night: and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the Towne, by Moone-light, there we will rehearse: for if we meete in the Citie, we shalbe dog’d with company, and our deuises knowne. In the meane time, I wil draw a bil of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you faile me not

Bottom. We will meete, and there we may rehearse more obscenely and couragiously. Take paines, be perfect, adieu

Quin. At the Dukes oake we meete

Bot. Enough, hold or cut bow-strings.


Actus Secundus.

Enter a Fairie at one dore, and Robin goodfellow at another.

Rob. How now spirit, whether wander you? Fai. Ouer hil, ouer dale, through bush, through briar, Ouer parke, ouer pale, through flood, through fire, I do wander euerie where, swifter then y Moons sphere; And I serue the Fairy Queene, to dew her orbs vpon the green. The Cowslips tall, her pensioners bee,
In their gold coats, spots you see, Those be Rubies, Fairie fauors,
In those freckles, liue their sauors, I must go seeke some dew drops heere,
And hang a pearle in euery cowslips eare. Farewell thou Lob of spirits, Ile be gon, Our Queene and all her Elues come heere anon

Rob. The King doth keepe his Reuels here to night, Take heed the Queene come not within his sight, For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath A louely boy stolne from an Indian King, She neuer had so sweet a changeling,
And iealous Oberon would haue the childe Knight of his traine, to trace the Forrests wilde. But she (perforce) with-holds the loued boy, Crownes him with flowers, and makes him all her ioy. And now they neuer meete in groue, or greene, By fountaine cleere, or spangled star-light sheene, But they do square, that all their Elues for feare Creepe into Acorne cups and hide them there

Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite, Or else you are that shrew’d and knauish spirit Cal’d Robin Good-fellow. Are you not hee, That frights the maidens of the Villagree, Skim milke, and sometimes labour in the querne, And bootlesse make the breathlesse huswife cherne, And sometime make the drinke to beare no barme, Misleade night-wanderers, laughing at their harme, Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Pucke, You do their worke, and they shall haue good lucke. Are not you he?
Rob. Thou speak’st aright;
I am that merrie wanderer of the night: I iest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likenesse of a silly foale,
And sometime lurke I in a Gossips bole, In very likenesse of a roasted crab:
And when she drinkes, against her lips I bob, And on her withered dewlop poure the Ale. The wisest Aunt telling the saddest tale, Sometime for three-foot stoole, mistaketh me, Then slip I from her bum, downe topples she, And tailour cries, and fals into a coffe. And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe, And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and sweare, A merrier houre was neuer wasted there.
But roome Fairy, heere comes Oberon

Fair. And heere my Mistris:
Would that he were gone.
Enter the King of Fairies at one doore with his traine, and the Queene at
another with hers.

Ob. Ill met by Moone-light.
Proud Tytania

Qu. What, iealous Oberon? Fairy skip hence. I haue forsworne his bed and companie

Ob. Tarrie rash Wanton; am not I thy Lord? Qu. Then I must be thy Lady: but I know When thou wast stolne away from Fairy Land, And in the shape of Corin, sate all day, Playing on pipes of Corne, and versing loue To amorous Phillida. Why art thou heere
Come from the farthest steepe of India? But that forsooth the bouncing Amazon
Your buskin’d Mistresse, and your Warrior loue, To Theseus must be Wedded; and you come, To giue their bed ioy and prosperitie

Ob. How canst thou thus for shame Tytania. Glance at my credite, with Hippolita?
Knowing I know thy loue to Theseus? Didst thou not leade him through the glimmering night From Peregenia, whom he rauished?
And make him with faire Eagles breake his faith With Ariadne, and Antiopa?
Que. These are the forgeries of iealousie, And neuer since the middle Summers spring Met we on hil, in dale, forrest, or mead, By paued fountaine, or by rushie brooke, Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling Winde, But with thy braules thou hast disturb’d our sport. Therefore the Windes, piping to vs in vaine, As in reuenge, haue suck’d vp from the sea Contagious fogges: Which falling in the Land, Hath euerie petty Riuer made so proud,
That they haue ouer-borne their Continents. The Oxe hath therefore stretch’d his yoake in vaine, The Ploughman lost his sweat, and the greene Corne Hath rotted, ere his youth attain’d a beard: The fold stands empty in the drowned field, And Crowes are fatted with the murrion flocke, The nine mens Morris is fild vp with mud, And the queint Mazes in the wanton greene, For lacke of tread are vndistinguishable. The humane mortals want their winter heere, No night is now with hymne or caroll blest; Therefore the Moone (the gouernesse of floods) Pale in her anger, washes all the aire;
That Rheumaticke diseases doe abound. And through this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter; hoared headed Frosts Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson Rose, And on old Hyems chinne and Icie crowne, An odorous Chaplet of sweet Sommer buds
Is as in mockry set. The Spring, the Sommer, The childing Autumne, angry Winter change Their wonted Liueries, and the mazed world, By their increase, now knowes not which is which; And this same progeny of euills,
Comes from our debate, from our dissention, We are their parents and originall

Ober. Do you amend it then, it lies in you, Why should Titania crosse her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy, To be my Henchman

Qu. Set your heart at rest,
The Fairy land buyes not the childe of me, His mother was a Votresse of my Order,
And in the spiced Indian aire, by night Full often hath she gossipt by my side,
And sat with me on Neptunes yellow sands, Marking th’ embarked traders on the flood, When we haue laught to see the sailes conceiue, And grow big bellied with the wanton winde: Which she with pretty and with swimming gate, Following (her wombe then rich with my yong squire) Would imitate, and saile vpon the Land,
To fetch me trifles, and returne againe, As from a voyage, rich with merchandize. But she being mortall, of that boy did die, And for her sake I doe reare vp her boy, And for her sake I will not part with him

Ob. How long within this wood intend you stay? Qu. Perchance till after Theseus wedding day. If you will patiently dance in our Round, And see our Moone-light reuels, goe with vs; If not, shun me and I will spare your haunts

Ob. Giue me that boy, and I will goe with thee

Qu. Not for thy Fairy Kingdome. Fairies away: We shall chide downe right, if I longer stay.


Ob. Wel, go thy way: thou shalt not from this groue, Till I torment thee for this iniury.
My gentle Pucke come hither; thou remembrest Since once I sat vpon a promontory,
And heard a Meare-maide on a Dolphins backe, Vttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, That the rude sea grew ciuill at her song, And certaine starres shot madly from their Spheares, To heare the Sea-maids musicke

Puc. I remember

Ob. That very time I say (but thou couldst not) Flying betweene the cold Moone and the earth, Cupid all arm’d; a certaine aime he tooke At a faire Vestall, throned by the West, And loos’d his loue-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts, But I might see young Cupids fiery shaft Quencht in the chaste beames of the watry Moone; And the imperiall Votresse passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy free.
Yet markt I where the bolt of Cupid fell. It fell vpon a little westerne flower;
Before, milke-white: now purple with loues wound, And maidens call it, Loue in idlenesse.
Fetch me that flower; the hearb I shew’d thee once, The iuyce of it, on sleeping eye-lids laid, Will make or man or woman madly dote
Vpon the next liue creature that it sees. Fetch me this hearbe, and be thou heere againe, Ere the Leuiathan can swim a league

Pucke. Ile put a girdle about the earth, in forty minutes

Ober. Hauing once this iuyce,
Ile watch Titania, when she is asleepe, And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
The next thing when she waking lookes vpon, (Be it on Lyon, Beare, or Wolfe, or Bull, On medling Monkey, or on busie Ape)
Shee shall pursue it, with the soule of loue. And ere I take this charme off from her sight, (As I can take it with another hearbe)
Ile make her render vp her Page to me. But who comes heere? I am inuisible,
And I will ouer-heare their conference. Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.

Deme. I loue thee not, therefore pursue me not, Where is Lysander, and faire Hermia?
The one Ile stay, the other stayeth me. Thou toldst me they were stolne into this wood; And heere am I, and wood within this wood, Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more

Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted Adamant, But yet you draw not Iron, for my heart
Is true as steele. Leaue you your power to draw, And I shall haue no power to follow you

Deme. Do I entice you? do I speake you faire? Or rather doe I not in plainest truth,
Tell you I doe not, nor I cannot loue you? Hel. And euen for that doe I loue thee the more; I am your spaniell, and Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawne on you. Vse me but as your spaniell; spurne me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me; onely giue me leaue (Vnworthy as I am) to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your loue, (And yet a place of high respect with me) Then to be vsed as you doe your dogge

Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, For I am sicke when I do looke on thee

Hel. And I am sicke when I looke not on you

Dem. You doe impeach your modesty too much, To leaue the Citty, and commit your selfe Into the hands of one that loues you not, To trust the opportunity of night.
And the ill counsell of a desert place, With the rich worth of your virginity

Hel. Your vertue is my priuiledge: for that It is not night when I doe see your face. Therefore I thinke I am not in the night, Nor doth this wood lacke 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 heere to looke on me? Dem. Ile run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leaue thee to the mercy of wilde beasts

Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you; Runne when you will, the story shall be chang’d: Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase; The Doue pursues the Griffin, the milde Hinde Makes speed to catch the Tyger. Bootlesse speede, When cowardise pursues, and valour flies

Demet. I will not stay thy questions, let me go; Or if thou follow me, doe not beleeue,
But I shall doe thee mischiefe in the wood

Hel. I, in the Temple, in the Towne, and Field You doe me mischiefe. Fye Demetrius,
Your wrongs doe set a scandall on my sexe: We cannot fight for loue, as men may doe; We should be woo’d, and were not made to wooe. I follow thee, and make a heauen of hell, To die vpon the hand I loue so well.

Ob. Fare thee well Nymph, ere he do leaue this groue, Thou shalt flie him, and he shall seeke thy loue. Hast thou the flower there? Welcome wanderer. Enter Pucke.

Puck. I there it is

Ob. I pray thee giue it me.
I know a banke where the wilde time blowes, Where Oxslips and the nodding Violet growes, Quite ouer-cannoped with luscious woodbine, With sweet muske roses, and with Eglantine; There sleepes Tytania, sometime of the night, Lul’d in these flowers, with dances and delight: And there the snake throwes her enammel’d skinne, Weed wide enough to rap a Fairy in.
And with the iuyce of this Ile streake her eyes, And make her full of hatefull fantasies. Take thou some of it, and seek through this groue; A sweet Athenian Lady is in loue
With a disdainefull youth: annoint his eyes, But doe 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 proue More fond on her, then she vpon her loue; And looke thou meet me ere the first Cocke crow

Pu. Feare not my Lord, your seruant shall do so. Enter.

Enter Queene of Fairies, with her traine.

Queen. Come, now a Roundell, and a Fairy song; Then for the third part of a minute hence, Some to kill Cankers in the muske rose buds, Some warre with Reremise, for their leathern wings. To make my small Elues coates, and some keepe backe The clamorous Owle that nightly hoots and wonders At our queint spirits: Sing me now asleepe, Then to your offices, and let me rest

Fairies Sing. You spotted Snakes with double tongue, Thorny Hedgehogges be not seene,
Newts and blinde wormes do no wrong, Come not neere our Fairy Queene.
Philomele with melodie,
Sing in your sweet Lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby, Neuer harme, nor spell, nor charme,
Come our louely Lady nye,
So good night with Lullaby

2.Fairy. Weauing Spiders come not heere, Hence you long leg’d Spinners, hence:
Beetles blacke approach not neere;
Worme nor Snayle doe no offence.
Philomele with melody, &c

1.Fairy. Hence away, now all is well; One aloofe, stand Centinell.

Shee sleepes.

Enter Oberon.

Ober. What thou seest when thou dost wake, Do it for thy true Loue take:
Loue and languish for his sake.
Be it Ounce, or Catte, or Beare,
Pard, or Boare with bristled haire, In thy eye that shall appeare,
When thou wak’st, it is thy deare,
Wake when some vile thing is neere. Enter Lisander and Hermia.

Lis. Faire loue, you faint with wandring in y woods, And to speake troth I haue forgot our way: Wee’ll rest vs Hermia, If you thinke it good, And tarry for the comfort of the day

Her. Be it so Lysander; finde you out a bed, For I vpon this banke will rest my head

Lys. One turfe shall serue as pillow for vs both, One heart, one bed, two bosomes, and one troth

Her. Nay good Lysander, for my sake my deere Lie further off yet, doe not lie so neere

Lys. O take the sence sweet, of my innocence, Loue takes the meaning, in loues conference, I meane that my heart vnto yours is knit, So that but one heart can you make of it. Two bosomes interchanged with an oath,
So then two bosomes, and a single troth. Then by your side, no bed-roome me deny, For lying so, Hermia, I doe not lye

Her. Lysander riddles very prettily; Now much beshrew my manners and my pride, If Hermia meant to say, Lysander lied.
But gentle friend, for loue and courtesie Lie further off, in humane modesty,
Such separation, as may well be said, Becomes a vertuous batchelour, and a maide, So farre be distant, and good night sweet friend; Thy loue nere alter, till thy sweet life end

Lys. Amen, amen, to that faire prayer, say I, And then end life, when I end loyalty:
Heere is my bed, sleepe giue thee all his rest

Her. With halfe that wish, the wishers eyes be prest. Enter Pucke. They sleepe.

Puck. Through the Forest haue I gone, But Athenian finde I none,
One whose eyes I might approue
This flowers force in stirring loue. Nigh and silence: who is heere?
Weedes of Athens he doth weare:
This is he (my master said)
Despised the Athenian maide:
And heere the maiden sleeping sound, On the danke and durty ground.
Pretty soule, she durst not lye
Neere this lacke-loue, this kill-curtesie. Churle, vpon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charme doth owe: When thou wak’st, let loue forbid
Sleepe his seate on thy eye-lid.
So awake when I am gone:
For I must now to Oberon.

Enter Demetrius and Helena running.

Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweete Demetrius

De. I charge thee hence, and do not haunt me thus

Hel. O wilt thou darkling leaue me? do not so

De. Stay on thy perill, I alone will goe.

Exit Demetrius.

Hel. O I am out of breath, in this fond chace, The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace, Happy is Hermia, wheresoere she lies;
For she hath blessed and attractiue eyes. How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt teares. If so, my eyes are oftner washt then hers. No, no, I am as vgly as a Beare;
For beasts that meete me, runne away for feare, Therefore no maruaile, though Demetrius
Doe as a monster, flie my presence thus. What wicked and dissembling glasse of mine, Made me compare with Hermias sphery eyne? But who is here? Lysander on the ground; Deade or asleepe? I see no bloud, no wound, Lysander, if you liue, good sir awake

Lys. And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake. Transparent Helena, nature her shewes art, That through thy bosome makes me see thy heart. Where is Demetrius? oh how fit a word
Is that vile name, to perish on my sword! Hel. Do not say so Lysander, say not so: What though he loue your Hermia? Lord, what though? Yet Hermia still loues you; then be content

Lys. Content with Hermia? no, I do repent The tedious minutes I with her haue spent. Not Hermia, but Helena now I loue;
Who will not change a Rauen for a Doue? The will of man is by his reason sway’d: And reason saies you are the worthier Maide. Things growing are not ripe vntill their season; So I being yong, till now ripe not to reason, And touching now the point of humane skill, Reason becomes the Marshall to my will.
And leades me to your eyes, where I orelooke Loues stories, written in Loues richest booke

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keene mockery borne? When at your hands did I deserue this scorne? Ist not enough, ist not enough, yong man, That I did neuer, no nor neuer can,
Deserue a sweete looke from Demetrius eye, But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth you do me wrong (good-sooth you do) In such disdainfull manner, me to wooe.
But fare you well; perforce I must confesse, I thought you Lord of more true gentlenesse. Oh, that a Lady of one man refus’d,
Should of another therefore be abus’d. Enter

Lys. She sees not Hermia: Hermia sleepe thou there, And neuer maist thou come Lysander neere; For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomacke brings: Or as the heresies that men do leaue,
Are hated most of those that did deceiue: So thou, my surfeit, and my heresie,
Of all be hated; but the most of me; And all my powers addresse your loue and might, To honour Helen, and to be her Knight.

Her. Helpe me Lysander, helpe me; do thy best To plucke this crawling serpent from my brest. Aye me, for pitty; what a dreame was here? Lysander looke, how I do quake with feare: Me-thought a serpent eate my heart away, And yet sat smiling at his cruell prey.
Lysander, What remoou’d? Lysander, Lord, What, out of hearing, gone? No sound, no word? Alacke where are you? speake and if you heare: Speake of all loues; I sound almost with feare. No, then I well perceiue you are not nye, Either death or you Ile finde immediately. Enter.

Actus Tertius.

Enter the Clownes.

Bot. Are we all met?
Quin. Pat, pat, and here’s a maruailous conuenient place for our rehearsall. This greene plot shall be our stage, this hauthorne brake our tyring house, and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the Duke

Bot. Peter Quince?
Peter. What saist thou, bully Bottome? Bot. There are things in this Comedy of Piramus and Thisby, that will neuer please. First, Piramus must draw a sword to kill himselfe; which the Ladies cannot abide. How answere you that?
Snout. Berlaken, a parlous feare

Star. I beleeue we must leaue the killing out, when all is done

Bot. Not a whit, I haue a deuice to make all well. Write me a Prologue, and let the Prologue seeme to say, we will do no harme with our swords, and that Pyramus is not kill’d indeede: and for the more better assurance, tell them, that I Piramus am not Piramus, but Bottome the Weauer; this will put them out of feare

Quin. Well, we will haue such a Prologue, and it shall be written in eight and sixe

Bot. No, make it two more, let it be written in eight and eight

Snout. Will not the Ladies be afear’d of the Lyon? Star. I feare it, I promise you

Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with your selues, to bring in (God shield vs) a Lyon among Ladies, is a most dreadfull thing. For there is not a more fearefull wilde foule then your Lyon liuing: and wee ought to looke to it

Snout. Therefore another Prologue must tell he is not a Lyon

Bot. Nay, you must name his name, and halfe his face must be seene through the Lyons necke, and he himselfe must speake through, saying thus, or to the same defect; Ladies, or faire Ladies, I would wish you, or I would request you, or I would entreat you, not to feare, not to tremble: my life for yours. If you thinke I come hither as a Lyon, it were pitty 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 him plainly hee is Snug the ioyner

Quin. Well, it shall be so; but there is two hard things, that is, to bring the Moone-light into a chamber: for you know Piramus and Thisby meete by Moonelight

Sn. Doth the Moone shine that night wee play our play?
Bot. A Calender, a Calender, looke in the Almanack, finde out Moone-shine, finde out Moone-shine. Enter Pucke.

Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night

Bot. Why then may you leaue a casement of the great chamber window (where we play) open, and the Moone may shine in at the casement

Quin. I, or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorne, and say he comes to disfigure, or to present the person of Moone-shine. Then there is another thing, we must haue a wall in the great Chamber; for Piramus and Thisby (saies the story) did talke through the chinke of a wall

Sn. You can neuer bring in a wall. What say you Bottome?
Bot. Some man or other must present wall, and let him haue some Plaster, or some Lome, or some rough cast about him, to signifie wall; or let him hold his fingers thus; and through that cranny shall Piramus and Thisby whisper

Quin. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit downe euery mothers sonne, and rehearse your parts. Piramus, you begin; when you haue spoken your speech, enter into that Brake, and so euery one according to his cue.
Enter Robin.

Rob. What hempen home-spuns haue we swaggering here,
So neere the Cradle of the Faierie Queene? What, a Play toward? Ile be an auditor,
An Actor too perhaps, if I see cause

Quin. Speake Piramus: Thisby stand forth

Pir. Thisby, the flowers of odious sauors sweete

Quin. Odours, odours

Pir. Odours sauors sweete,
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby deare. But harke, a voyce: stay thou but here a while, And by and by I will to thee appeare.

Exit. Pir.

Puck. A stranger Piramus, then ere plaid here

This. Must I speake now?
Pet. I marry must you. For you must vnderstand he goes but to see a noyse that he heard, and is to come againe

Thys. Most radiant Piramus, most Lilly white of hue, Of colour like the red rose on triumphant bryer, Most brisky Iuuenall, and eke most louely Iew, As true as truest horse, that yet would neuer tyre, Ile meete thee Piramus, at Ninnies toombe

Pet. Ninus toombe man: why, you must not speake that yet; that you answere to Piramus: you speake all your part at once, cues and all. Piramus enter, your cue is past; it is neuer tyre

Thys. O, as true as truest horse, that yet would neuer tyre:
Pir. If I were faire, Thisby I were onely thine

Pet. O monstrous. O strange. We are hanted; pray masters, flye masters, helpe.

The Clownes all Exit.

Puk. Ile follow you, Ile leade you about a Round, Through bogge, through bush, through brake, through bryer, Sometime a horse Ile be, sometime a hound: A hogge, a headlesse beare, sometime a fire, And neigh, and barke, and grunt, and rore, and burne, Like horse, hound, hog, beare, fire, at euery turne. Enter.

Enter Piramus with the Asse head.

Bot. Why do they run away? This is a knauery of them to make me afeard.
Enter Snowt

Sn. O Bottom, thou art chang’d; What doe I see on thee?
Bot. What do you see? You see an Asse-head of your owne, do you?
Enter Peter Quince.

Pet. Blesse thee Bottome, blesse thee; thou art translated. Enter.

Bot. I see their knauery; this is to make an asse of me, to fright me if they could; but I will not stirre from this place, do what they can. I will walke vp and downe here, and I will sing that they shall heare I am not afraid. The Woosell cocke, so blacke of hew,
With Orenge-tawny bill.
The Throstle, with his note so true, The Wren and little quill

Tyta. What Angell wakes me from my flowry bed? Bot. The Finch, the Sparrow, and the Larke, The plainsong Cuckow gray;
Whose note full many a man doth marke, And dares not answere, nay.
For indeede, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird? Who would giue a bird the lye, though he cry Cuckow, neuer so?
Tyta. I pray thee gentle mortall, sing againe, Mine eare is much enamored of thy note;
On the first view to say, to sweare I loue thee. So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape.
And thy faire vertues force (perforce) doth moue me

Bot. Me-thinkes mistresse, you should haue little reason for that: and yet to say the truth, reason and loue keepe little company together, nowadayes. The more the pittie, that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleeke vpon occasion

Tyta. Thou art as wise, as thou art beautifull

Bot. Not so neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I haue enough to serue mine owne turne

Tyta. Out of this wood, do not desire to goe, Thou shalt remaine here, whether thou wilt or no. I am a spirit of no common rate:
The Summer still doth tend vpon my state, And I doe loue thee; therefore goe with me, Ile giue thee Fairies to attend on thee; And they shall fetch thee Iewels from the deepe, And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleepe: And I will purge thy mortall grossenesse so, That thou shalt like an airie spirit go. Enter Pease-blossome, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseede, and foure Fairies.

Fai. Ready; and I, and I, and I, Where shall we go? Tita. Be kinde and curteous to this Gentleman, Hop in his walkes, and gambole in his eies, Feede him with Apricocks, and Dewberries, With purple Grapes, greene Figs, and Mulberries, The honie-bags steale from the humble Bees, And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighes, And light them at the fierie-Glow-wormes eyes, To haue my loue to bed, and to arise:
And plucke the wings from painted Butterflies, To fan the Moone-beames from his sleeping eies. Nod to him Elues, and doe him curtesies

1.Fai. Haile mortall, haile

2.Fai. Haile

3.Fai. Haile

Bot. I cry your worships mercy hartily; I beseech your worships name

Cob. Cobweb

Bot. 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?
Pease. Pease Blossome

Bot. I pray you commend me to mistresse Squash, your mother, and to master Peascod your father. Good master Pease-blossome, I shal desire of you more acquaintance to. Your name I beseech you sir?
Mus. Mustard-seede

Peas. Pease-blossome

Bot. Good master Mustard seede, I know your patience well: that same cowardly gyant-like Oxe beefe hath deuoured many a gentleman of your house. I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good Master Mustard-seede

Tita. Come waite vpon him, lead him to my bower. The Moone me-thinks, lookes with a watrie eie, And when she weepes, weepe euerie little flower, Lamenting some enforced chastitie.
Tye vp my louers tongue, bring him silently. Enter.

Enter King of Pharies, solus.

Ob. I wonder if Titania be awak’t;
Then what it was that next came in her eye, Which she must dote on, in extremitie.
Enter Pucke.

Here comes my messenger: how now mad spirit, What night-rule now about this haunted groue? Puck. My Mistris with a monster is in loue, Neere to her close and consecrated bower, While she was in her dull and sleeping hower, A crew of patches, rude Mechanicals,
That worke for bread vpon Athenian stals, Were met together to rehearse a Play,
Intended for great Theseus nuptiall day: The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort, Who Piramus presented, in their sport,
Forsooke his Scene, and entred in a brake, When I did him at this aduantage take,
An Asses nole I fixed on his head.
Anon his Thisbie must be answered,
And forth my Mimmick comes: when they him spie, As Wilde-geese, that the creeping Fowler eye, Or russed-pated choughes, many in sort
(Rising and cawing at the guns report) Seuer themselues, and madly sweepe the skye: So at his sight, away his fellowes flye, And at our stampe, here ore and ore one fals; He murther cries, and helpe from Athens cals. Their sense thus weake, lost with their feares thus strong, Made senslesse things begin to do them wrong. For briars and thornes at their apparell snatch, Some sleeues, some hats, from yeelders all things catch, I led them on in this distracted feare,
And left sweete Piramus translated there: When in that moment (so it came to passe) Tytania waked, and straightway lou’d an Asse

Ob. This fals out better then I could deuise: But hast thou yet lacht the Athenians eyes, With the loue iuyce, as I bid thee doe?
Rob. I tooke him sleeping (that is finisht to) And the Athenian woman by his side,
That when he wak’t, of force she must be eyde. Enter Demetrius and Hermia.

Ob. Stand close, this is the same Athenian

Rob. This is the woman, but not this the man

Dem. O why rebuke you him that loues you so? Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe

Her. Now I but chide, but I should vse thee worse. For thou (I feare) hast giuen me cause to curse, If thou hast slaine Lysander in his sleepe, Being oreshooes in bloud, plunge in the deepe, and kill me too:
The Sunne was not so true vnto the day, As he to me. Would he haue stollen away, From sleeping Hermia? Ile beleeue as soone This whole earth may be bord, and that the Moone May through the Center creepe, and so displease Her brothers noonetide, with th’Antipodes. It cannot be but thou hast murdred him,
So should a murtherer looke, so dead, so grim

Dem. So should the murderer looke, and so should I, Pierst through the heart with your stearne cruelty: Yet you the murderer lookes as bright as cleare, As yonder Venus in her glimmering spheare

Her. What’s this to my Lysander? where is he? Ah good Demetrius, wilt thou giue him me? Dem. I’de rather giue his carkasse to my hounds

Her. Out dog, out cur, thou driu’st me past the bounds Of maidens patience. Hast thou slaine him then? Henceforth be neuer numbred among men.
Oh, once tell true, euen for my sake, Durst thou a lookt vpon him, being awake? And hast thou kill’d him sleeping? O braue tutch: Could not a worme, an Adder do so much?
An Adder did it: for with doubler tongue Then thine (thou serpent) neuer Adder stung

Dem. You spend your passion on a mispris’d mood, I am not guiltie of Lysanders blood:
Nor is he dead for ought that I can tell

Her. I pray thee tell me then that he is well

Dem. And if I could, what should I get therefore? Her. A priuiledge, neuer to see me more; And from thy hated presence part I: see me no more Whether he be dead or no.

Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vaine, Here therefore for a while I will remaine. So sorrowes heauinesse doth heauier grow: For debt that bankrout slip doth sorrow owe, Which now in some slight measure it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay.

Lie downe.

Ob. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite And laid the loue iuyce on some true loues sight: Of thy misprision, must perforce ensue
Some true loue turn’d, and not a false turn’d true

Rob. Then fate ore-rules, that one man holding troth, A million faile, confounding oath on oath

Ob. About the wood, goe swifter then the winde, And Helena of Athens looke thou finde.
All fancy sicke she is, and pale of cheere, With sighes of loue, that costs the fresh bloud deare. By some illusion see thou bring her heere, Ile charme his eyes against she doth appeare

Robin. I go, I go, looke how I goe, Swifter then arrow from the Tartars bowe. Enter.

Ob. Flower of this purple die,
Hit with Cupids archery,
Sinke in apple of his eye,
When his loue he doth espie,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
When thou wak’st if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
Enter Pucke.

Puck. Captaine of our Fairy band,
Helena is heere at hand,
And the youth, mistooke by me,
Pleading for a Louers fee.
Shall we their fond Pageant see?
Lord, what fooles these mortals be! Ob. Stand aside: the noyse they make,
Will cause Demetrius to awake

Puck. Then will two at once wooe one, That must needs be sport alone:
And those things doe best please me, That befall preposterously.
Enter Lysander and Helena.

Lys. Why should you think y I should wooe in scorn? Scorne and derision neuer comes in teares: Looke when I vow I weepe; and vowes so borne, In their natiuity all truth appeares.
How can these things in me, seeme scorne to you? Bearing the badge of faith to proue them true

Hel. You doe aduance your cunning more & more, When truth kils truth, O diuelish holy fray! These vowes are Hermias. Will you giue her ore? Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh. Your vowes to her, and me, (put in two scales) Will euen weigh, and both as light as tales

Lys. I had no iudgement, when to her I swore

Hel. Nor none in my minde, now you giue her ore

Lys. Demetrius loues her, and he loues not you.


Dem. O Helen, goddesse, nimph, perfect, diuine, To what, my loue, shall I compare thine eyne! Christall is muddy, O how ripe in show,
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow! That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow, Fan’d with the Easterne winde, turnes to a crow, When thou holdst vp thy hand. O let me kisse This Princesse of pure white, this seale of blisse

Hell. O spight! O hell! I see you are all bent To set against me, for your merriment:
If you were ciuill, and knew curtesie, You would not doe me thus much iniury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you doe, But you must ioyne in soules to mocke me to? If you are men, as men you are in show,
You would not vse a gentle Lady so; To vow, and sweare, and superpraise my parts, When I am sure you hate me with your hearts. You both are Riuals, and loue Hermia;
And now both Riuals to mocke Helena. A trim exploit, a manly enterprize,
To coniure teares vp in a poore maids eyes, With your derision; none of noble sort,
Would so offend a Virgin, and extort A poore soules patience, all to make you sport, Lysa. You are vnkind Demetrius; be not so, For you loue Hermia; this you know I know; And here with all good will, with all my heart, In Hermias loue I yeeld you vp my part;
And yours of Helena, To me bequeath, Whom I do loue, and will do to my death

Hel. Neuer did mockers wast more idle breth

Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia, I will none: If ere I lou’d her, all that loue is gone. My heart to her, but as guest-wise soiourn’d, And now to Helen it is home return’d,
There to remaine

Lys. It is not so

De. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know, Lest to thy perill thou abide it deare.
Looke where thy Loue comes, yonder is thy deare. Enter Hermia.

Her. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes, The eare more quicke of apprehension makes, Wherein it doth impaire the seeing sense, It paies the hearing double recompence.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander found, Mine eare (I thanke it) brought me to that sound. But why vnkindly didst thou leaue me so? Lysan. Why should hee stay whom Loue doth presse to go? Her. What loue could presse Lysander from my side? Lys. Lysanders loue (that would not let him bide) Faire Helena; who more engilds the night, Then all yon fierie oes, and eies of light. Why seek’st thou me? Could not this make thee know, The hate I bare thee, made me leaue thee so? Her. You speake not as you thinke; it cannot be

Hel. Loe, she is one of this confederacy, Now I perceiue they haue conioyn’d all three, To fashion this false sport in spight of me. Iniurous Hermia, most vngratefull maid,
Haue you conspir’d, haue you with these contriu’d To baite me, with this foule derision?
Is all the counsell that we two haue shar’d, The sisters vowes, the houres that we haue spent, When wee haue chid the hasty footed time, For parting vs; O, is all forgot?
All schooledaies friendship, child-hood innocence? We Hermia, like two Artificiall gods,
Haue 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 mindes Had beene incorporate. So we grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet a vnion in partition,
Two louely berries molded on one stem, So with two seeming bodies, but one heart, Two of the first life coats in Heraldry, Due but to one and crowned with one crest. And will you rent our ancient loue asunder, To ioyne with men in scorning your poore friend? It is not friendly, ’tis not maidenly.
Our sexe as well as I, may chide you for it, Though I alone doe feele the iniurie

Her. I am amazed at your passionate words, I scorne you not; It seemes that you scorne me

Hel. Haue you not set Lysander, as in scorne To follow me, and praise my eies and face? And made your other loue, Demetrius
(Who euen but now did spurne me with his foote) To call me goddesse, nimph, diuine, and rare, Precious, celestiall? Wherefore speakes he this To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander Denie your loue (so rich within his soule) 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 vpon with loue, so fortunate?
(But miserable most, to loue vnlou’d) This you should pittie, rather then despise

Her. I vnderstand not what you meane by this

Hel. I, doe, perseuer, counterfeit sad lookes, Make mouthes vpon me when I turne my backe, Winke each at other, hold the sweete iest vp: This sport well carried, shall be chronicled. If you haue any pittie, grace, or manners, You would not make me such an argument:
But fare ye well, ’tis partly mine owne fault, Which death or absence soone shall remedie

Lys. Stay gentle Helena, heare my excuse, My loue, my life, my soule, faire Helena

Hel. O excellent!
Her. Sweete, do not scorne her so

Dem. If she cannot entreate, I can compell

Lys. Thou canst compell, no more then she entreate. Thy threats haue no more strength then her weak praise. Helen, I loue thee, by my life I doe;
I sweare by that which I will lose for thee, To proue him false, that saies I loue thee not

Dem. I say, I loue thee more then he can do

Lys. If thou say so, withdraw and proue it too

Dem. Quick, come

Her. Lysander, whereto tends all this? Lys. Away, you Ethiope

Dem. No, no, Sir, seeme to breake loose; Take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go

Lys. Hang off thou cat, thou bur; vile thing let loose, Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent

Her. Why are you growne so rude?
What change is this sweete Loue?
Lys. Thy loue? out tawny Tartar, out; Out loathed medicine; O hated poison hence

Her. Do you not iest?
Hel. Yes sooth, and so do you

Lys. Demetrius: I will keepe my word with thee

Dem. I would I had your bond: for I perceiue A weake bond holds you; Ile not trust your word

Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead? Although I hate her, Ile not harme her so

Her. What, can you do me greater harme then hate? Hate me, wherefore? O me, what newes my Loue? Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as faire now, as I was ere while. Since night you lou’d me: yet since night you left me. Why then you left me (O the gods forbid) In earnest, shall I say?
Lys. I, by my life;
And neuer did desire to see thee more. Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt; Be certaine, nothing truer: ’tis no iest, That I do hate thee, and loue Helena

Her. O me, you iugler, you canker blossome, You theefe of loue; What, haue you come by night, And stolne my loues heart from him?
Hel. Fine yfaith:
Haue you no modesty, no maiden shame, No touch of bashfulnesse? What, will you teare Impatient answers from my gentle tongue? Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you

Her. Puppet? why so? I, that way goes the game. Now I perceiue that she hath made compare Betweene our statures, she hath vrg’d her height, And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height (forsooth) she hath preuail’d with him. And are you growne so high in his esteeme, Because I am so dwarfish, and so low?
How low am I, thou painted May-pole? Speake, How low am I? I am not yet so low,
But that my nailes can reach vnto thine eyes

Hel. I pray you though you mocke me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me; I was neuer curst:
I haue no gift at all in shrewishnesse; I am a right maide for my cowardize;
Let her not strike me: you perhaps may thinke, Because she is something lower then my selfe, That I can match her

Her. Lower? harke againe

Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me, I euermore did loue you Hermia,
Did euer keepe your counsels, neuer wronged you, Saue that in loue vnto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth vnto this wood. He followed you, for loue I followed him, But he hath chid me hence, and threatned me To strike me, spurne me, nay to kill me too; And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I beare my folly backe, And follow you no further. Let me go.
You see how simple, and how fond I am

Her. Why get you gone: who ist that hinders you? Hel. A foolish heart, that I leaue here behinde

Her. What, with Lysander?
Her. With Demetrius

Lys. Be not afraid, she shall not harme thee Helena

Dem. No sir, she shall not, though you take her part

Hel. O when she’s angry, she is keene and shrewd, She was a vixen when she went to schoole, And though she be but little, she is fierce

Her. Little againe? Nothing but low and little? Why will you suffer her to flout me thus? Let me come to her

Lys. Get you gone you dwarfe,
You minimus, of hindring knot-grasse made, You bead, you acorne

Dem. You are too officious,
In her behalfe that scornes your seruices. Let her alone, speake not of Helena,
Take not her part. For if thou dost intend Neuer so little shew of loue to her,
Thou shalt abide it

Lys. Now she holds me not,
Now follow if thou dar’st, to try whose right, Of thine or mine is most in Helena

Dem. Follow? Nay, Ile goe with thee cheeke by iowle.

Exit Lysander and Demetrius.

Her. You Mistris, all this coyle is long of you. Nay, goe not backe

Hel. I will not trust you I,
Nor longer stay in your curst companie. Your hands then mine, are quicker for a fray, My legs are longer though to runne away. Enter Oberon and Pucke.

Ob. This is thy negligence, still thou mistak’st, Or else committ’st thy knaueries willingly

Puck. Beleeue me, King of shadowes, I mistooke, Did not you tell me, I should know the man, By the Athenian garments he hath on?
And so farre blamelesse proues my enterprize, That I haue nointed an Athenians eies,
And so farre am I glad, it so did sort, As this their iangling I esteeme a sport

Ob. Thou seest these Louers seeke a place to fight, Hie therefore Robin, ouercast the night, The starrie Welkin couer thou anon,
With drooping fogge as blacke as Acheron, And lead these testie Riuals so astray,
As one come not within anothers way. Like to Lysander, sometime frame thy tongue, Then stirre Demetrius vp with bitter wrong; And sometime raile thou like Demetrius;
And from each other looke thou leade them thus, Till ore their browes, death-counterfeiting, sleepe With leaden legs, and Battie-wings doth creepe: Then crush this hearbe into Lysanders eie, Whose liquor hath this vertuous propertie, To take from thence all error, with his might, and make his eie-bals role with wonted sight. When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seeme a dreame, and fruitless vision, And backe to Athens shall the Louers wend With league, whose date till death shall neuer end. Whiles I in this affaire do thee imploy, Ile to my Queene, and beg her Indian Boy; And then I will her charmed eie release
From monsters view, and all things shall be peace

Puck. My Fairie Lord, this must be done with haste, For night-swift Dragons cut the Clouds full fast, And yonder shines Auroras harbinger;
At whose approach Ghosts wandring here and there, Troope home to Church-yards; damned spirits all, That in crosse-waies and flouds haue buriall, Alreadie to their wormie beds are gone;
For feare least day should looke their shames vpon, They wilfully themselues exile from light, And must for aye consort with blacke browd night

Ob. But we are spirits of another sort: I, with the mornings loue haue oft made sport, And like a Forrester, the groues may tread, Euen till the Easterne gate all fierie red, Opening on Neptune, With faire blessed beames, Turnes into yellow gold, his salt greene streames. But not withstanding haste, make no delay: We may effect this businesse, yet ere day

Puck. Vp and downe, vp and downe, I will leade them vp and downe: I am fear’d in field and towne. Goblin, lead them vp and downe: here comes one. Enter Lysander.

Lys. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speake thou now

Rob. Here villaine, drawne & readie. Where art thou? Lys. I will be with thee straight

Rob. Follow me then to plainer ground. Enter Demetrius.

Dem. Lysander, speake againe;
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled? Speake in some bush: Where dost thou hide thy head? Rob. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars, Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars, And wilt not come? Come recreant, come thou childe, Ile whip thee with a rod. He is defil’d
That drawes a sword on thee

Dem. Yea, art thou there?
Ro. Follow my voice, we’l try no manhood here. Enter.

Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on, When I come where he cals, then he’s gone. The Villaine is much lighter heel’d then I: I followed fast, but faster he did flye;

shifting places.

That fallen am I in darke vneuen way, And here wil rest me. Come thou gentle day:

lye down.

For if but once thou shew me thy gray light, Ile finde Demetrius, and reuenge this spight. Enter Robin and Demetrius.

Rob. Ho, ho, ho; coward, why com’st thou not? Dem. Abide me, if thou dar’st. For well I wot, Thou runst before me, shifting euery place, And dar’st not stand, nor looke me in the face. Where art thou?
Rob. Come hither, I am here

Dem. Nay then thou mock’st me; thou shalt buy this deere,
If euer I thy face by day-light see. Now goe thy way: faintnesse constraineth me, To measure out my length on this cold bed, By daies approach looke to be visited.
Enter Helena.

Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night, Abate thy houres, shine comforts from the East, That I may backe to Athens by day-light, From these that my poore companie detest; And sleepe that sometime shuts vp sorrowes eie, Steale me a while from mine owne companie.


Rob. Yet but three? Come one more,
Two of both kindes makes vp foure.
Here she comes, curst and sad,
Cupid is a knauish lad,
Enter Hermia.

Thus to make poore females mad

Her. Neuer so wearie, neuer so in woe, Bedabbled with the dew, and torne with briars, I can no further crawle, no further goe; My legs can keepe no pace with my desires. Here will I rest me till the breake of day, Heauens shield Lysander, if they meane a fray

Rob. On the ground sleepe sound,
Ile apply your eie gentle louer, remedy. When thou wak’st, thou tak’st
True delight in the sight of thy former Ladies eye, And the Country Prouerb knowne,
That euery man should take his owne, In your waking shall be showne.
Iacke shall haue Iill, nought shall goe ill. The man shall haue his Mare againe, and all shall bee well.

They sleepe all the Act.

Actus Quartus.

Enter Queene of Fairies, and Clowne, and Fairies, and the King behinde

Tita. Come, sit thee downe vpon this flowry bed, While I thy amiable cheekes doe coy,
And sticke muske roses in thy sleeke smoothe head, And kisse thy faire large eares, my gentle ioy

Clow. Where’s Peaseblossome?
Peas. Ready

Clow. Scratch my head, Pease-blossome. Wher’s Mounsieuer Cobweb

Cob. Ready

Clowne. Mounsieur Cobweb, good Mounsier get your weapons in your hand, & kill me a red hipt humble-Bee, on the top of a thistle; and good Mounsieur bring mee the hony bag. Doe not fret your selfe too much in the action, Mounsieur; and good mounsieur haue a care the hony bag breake not, I would be loth to haue you ouerflowne with a hony-bag signiour. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?
Mus. Ready

Clo. Giue me your neafe, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you leaue your courtesie good Mounsieur

Mus. What’s your will?
Clo. Nothing good Mounsieur, but to help Caualery Cobweb to scratch. I must to the Barbers Mounsieur, for me-thinkes I am maruellous hairy about the face. And I am such a tender asse, if my haire do but tickle me, I must scratch

Tita. What, wilt thou heare some musicke, my sweet loue

Clow. I haue a reasonable good eare in musicke. Let vs haue the tongs and the bones.

Musicke Tongs, Rurall Musicke.

Tita. Or say sweete Loue, what thou desirest to eat

Clowne. Truly a pecke of Prouender; I could munch your good dry Oates. Me-thinkes I haue a great desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweete hay hath no fellow

Tita. I haue a venturous Fairy,
That shall seeke the Squirrels hoard, And fetch thee new Nuts

Clown. I had rather haue a handfull or two of dried pease. But I pray you let none of your people stirre me, I haue an exposition of sleepe come vpon me

Tyta. Sleepe thou, and I will winde thee in my arms, Fairies be gone, and be alwaies away.
So doth the woodbine, the sweet Honisuckle, Gently entwist; the female Iuy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the Elme. O how I loue thee! how I dote on thee!
Enter Robin goodfellow and Oberon.

Ob. Welcome good Robin:
Seest thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I doe begin to pitty. For meeting her of late behinde the wood, Seeking sweet sauours for this hatefull foole, I did vpbraid her, and fall out with her. For she his hairy temples then had rounded, With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers. And that same dew which somtime on the buds, Was wont to swell like round and orient pearles; Stood now within the pretty flouriets eyes, Like teares that did their owne disgrace bewaile. When I had at my pleasure taunted her,
And she in milde termes beg’d my patience, I then did aske of her, her changeling childe, Which straight she gaue me, and her fairy sent To beare him to my Bower in Fairy Land.
And now I haue the Boy, I will vndoe This hatefull imperfection of her eyes.
And gentle Pucke, take this transformed scalpe, From off the head of this Athenian swaine; That he awaking when the other doe,
May all to Athens backe againe repaire, And thinke no more of this nights accidents, But as the fierce vexation of dreame.
But first I will release the Fairy Queene. Be thou as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see.
Dians bud, or Cupids flower,
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now my Titania wake you my sweet Queene

Tita. My Oberon, what visions haue I seene! Me-thought I was enamoured of an asse

Ob. There lies your loue

Tita. How came these things to passe? Oh, how mine eyes doth loath this visage now! Ob. Silence a while. Robin take off his head: Titania, musick call, and strike more dead Then common sleepe; of all these, fine the sense

Tita. Musicke, ho musicke, such as charmeth sleepe.

Musick still.

Rob. When thou wak’st, with thine owne fooles eies peepe

Ob. Sound musick; come my Queen, take hands with me And rocke the ground whereon these sleepers be. Now thou and I new in amity,
And will to morrow midnight, solemnly Dance in Duke Theseus house triumphantly, And blesse it to all faire posterity.
There shall the paires of faithfull Louers be Wedded, with Theseus, all in iollity

Rob. Faire King attend, and marke,
I doe heare the morning Larke,
Ob. Then my Queene in silence sad, Trip we after the nights shade;
We the Globe can compasse soone,
Swifter then the wandering Moone

Tita. Come my Lord, and in our flight, Tell me how it came this night,
That I sleeping heere was found,

Sleepers Lye still.

With these mortals on the ground.


Winde Hornes.

Enter Theseus, Egeus, Hippolita and all his traine.

Thes. Goe one of you, finde out the Forrester, For now our obseruation is perform’d;
And since we haue the vaward of the day, My Loue shall heare the musicke of my hounds. Vncouple in the Westerne valley, let them goe; Dispatch I say, and finde the Forrester. We will faire Queene, vp to the Mountains top, And marke the musicall confusion
Of hounds and eccho in coniunction

Hip. I was with Hercules and Cadmus once. When in a wood of Creete they bayed the Beare With hounds of Sparta; neuer did I heare Such gallant chiding. For besides the groues, The skies, the fountaines, euery region neere, Seeme all one mutuall cry. I neuer heard So musicall a discord, such sweet thunder

Thes. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kinde, So flew’d, so sanded, and their heads are hung With eares that sweepe away the morning dew, Crooke kneed, and dew-lapt, like Thessalian Buls, Slow in pursuit, but match’d in mouth like bels, Each vnder each. A cry more tuneable
Was neuer hallowed to, nor cheer’d with horne, In Creete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly;
Iudge when you heare. But soft, what nimphs are these? Egeus. My Lord, this is my daughter heere asleepe, And this Lysander, this Demetrius is,
This Helena, olde Nedars Helena,
I wonder of this being heere together

The. No doubt they rose vp early, to obserue The right of May; and hearing our intent, Came heere in grace of our solemnity.
But speake Egeus, is not this the day That Hermia should giue answer of her choice? Egeus. It is, my Lord

Thes. Goe bid the hunts-men wake them with their hornes.

Hornes and they wake.

Shout within, they all start vp.

Thes. Good morrow friends: Saint Valentine is past, Begin these wood birds but to couple now? Lys. Pardon my Lord

Thes. I pray you all stand vp.
I know you two are Riuall enemies.
How comes this gentle concord in the world, That hatred is so farre from iealousie,
To sleepe by hate, and feare no enmity

Lys. My Lord, I shall reply amazedly, Halfe sleepe, halfe waking. but as yet, I sweare, I cannot truly say how I came heere.
But as I thinke (for truly would I speake) And now I doe bethinke me, so it is;
I came with Hermia hither. Our intent Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be Without the perill of the Athenian Law

Ege. Enough, enough, my Lord: you haue enough; I beg the Law, the Law, vpon his head:
They would have stolne away, they would Demetrius, Thereby to haue defeated you and me:
You of your wife, and me of my consent; Of my consent, that she should be your wife

Dem. My Lord, faire Helen told me of their stealth, Of this their purpose hither, to this wood, And I in furie hither followed them;
Faire Helena, in fancy followed me. But my good Lord, I wot not by what not by what power, (But by some power it is) my loue
To Hermia (melted as the snow)
Seems to me now as the remembrance of an idle gaude, Which in my childehood I did doat vpon:
And all the faith, the vertue of my heart, The obiect and the pleasure of mine eye, Is onely Helena. To her, my Lord,
Was I betroth’d, ere I see Hermia,
But like a sickenesse did I loath this food, But as in health, come to my naturall taste, Now doe I wish it, loue it, long for it, And will for euermore be true to it

Thes. Faire Louers, you are fortunately met; Of this discourse we shall heare more anon. Egeus, I will ouer-beare your will;
For in the Temple, by and by with vs, These couples shall eternally be knit.
And for the morning now is something worne, Our purpos’d hunting shall be set aside. Away, with vs to Athens; three and three, Wee’ll hold a feast in great solemnitie. Come Hippolita.

Exit Duke and Lords.

Dem. These things seeme small & vndistinguishable, Like farre off mountaines turned into Clouds

Her. Me-thinks I see these things with parted eye, When euery thing seemes double

Hel. So me-thinkes:
And I haue found Demetrius, like a iewell, Mine owne, and not mine owne

Dem. It seemes to mee,
That yet we sleepe, we dreame. Do not you thinke, The Duke was heere, and bid vs follow him? Her. Yea, and my Father

Hel. And Hippolita

Lys. And he bid vs follow to the Temple

Dem. Why then we are awake; lets follow him, and by the way let vs recount our dreames.

Bottome wakes.

Exit Louers.

Clo. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is, most faire Piramus. Hey ho. Peter Quince? Flute the bellowes-mender? Snout the tinker? Starueling? Gods my life! Stolne hence, and left me asleepe: I haue had a most rare vision. I had a dreame, past the wit of man, to say, what dreame it was. Man is but an Asse, if he goe about to expound this dreame. Me-thought I was, there is no man can tell what. Me-thought I was, and me-thought I had. But man is but a patch’d foole, if he will offer to say, what me-thought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the eare of man hath not seen, mans hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceiue, nor his heart to report, what my dreame was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballet of this dreame, it shall be called Bottomes Dreame, because it hath no bottome; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the Duke. Peraduenture, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.

Enter Quince, Flute, Thisbie, Snout, and Starueling.

Quin. Haue you sent to Bottomes house? Is he come home yet?
Staru. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt hee is transported

This. If he come not, then the play is mar’d. It goes not forward, doth it?
Quin. It is not possible: you haue not a man in all Athens, able to discharge Piramus but he

This. No, hee hath simply the best wit of any handycraft man in Athens

Quin. Yea, and the best person too, and hee is a very Paramour, for a sweet voyce

This. You must say, Paragon. A Paramour is (God blesse vs) a thing of nought.
Enter Snug the Ioyner.

Snug. Masters, the Duke is comming from the Temple, and there is two or three Lords & Ladies more married. If our sport had gone forward, we had all bin made men

This. O sweet bully Bottome: thus hath he lost sixepence a day, during his life; he could not haue scaped sixpence a day. And the Duke had not giuen him sixpence a day for playing Piramus, Ile be hang’d. He would haue deserued it. Sixpence a day in Piramus, or nothing. Enter Bottome.

Bot. Where are these Lads? Where are these hearts? Quin. Bottome, o most couragious day! O most happie houre!
Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders; but ask me not what. For if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you euery thing as it fell out

Qu. Let vs heare, sweet Bottome

Bot. Not a word of me: all that I will tell you, is, that the Duke hath dined. Get your apparell together, good strings to your beards, new ribbands to your pumps, meete presently at the Palace, euery man looke ore his part: for the short and the long is, our play is preferred: In any case let Thisby haue cleane linnen: and let not him that playes the Lion, paire his nailes, for they shall hang out for the Lions clawes. And most deare Actors, eate no Onions, nor Garlicke; for wee are to vtter sweete breath, and I doe not doubt but to heare them say, it is a sweet Comedy. No more words: away, go away.


Actus Quintus.

Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Egeus and his Lords.

Hip. ‘Tis strange my Theseus, y these louers speake of

The. More strange then true. I neuer may beleeue These anticke fables, nor these Fairy toyes, Louers and mad men haue such seething braines, Such shaping phantasies, that apprehend more Then coole reason euer comprehends.
The Lunaticke, the Louer, and the Poet, Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more diuels then vaste hell can hold; That is the mad man. The Louer, all as franticke, Sees Helens beauty in a brow of Egipt.
The Poets eye in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance From heauen to earth, from earth to heauen. And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things Vnknowne; the Poets pen turnes them to shapes, And giues to aire nothing, a locall habitation, And a name. Such tricks hath strong imagination, That if it would but apprehend some ioy, It comprehends some bringer of that ioy. Or in the night, imagining some feare,
Howe easie is a bush suppos’d a Beare? Hip. But all the storie of the night told ouer, And all their minds transfigur’d so together, More witnesseth than fancies images,
And growes to something of great constancie; But howsoeuer, strange, and admirable.
Enter louers, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.

The. Heere come the louers, full of ioy and mirth: Ioy, gentle friends, ioy and fresh dayes Of loue accompany your hearts

Lys. More then to vs, waite in your royall walkes, your boord, your bed

The. Come now, what maskes, what dances shall we haue,
To weare away this long age of three houres, Between our after supper, and bed-time?
Where is our vsuall manager of mirth? What Reuels are in hand? Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing houre? Call Egeus

Ege. Heere mighty Theseus

The. Say, what abridgement haue you for this euening? What maske? What musicke? How shall we beguile The lazie time, if not with some delight? Ege. There is a breefe how many sports are rife: Make choise of which your Highnesse will see first

Lis. The battell with the Centaurs to be sung By an Athenian Eunuch, to the Harpe

The. Wee’l none of that. That haue I told my Loue In glory of my kinsman Hercules

Lis. The riot of the tipsie Bachanals, Tearing the Thracian singer, in their rage? The. That is an old deuice, and it was plaid When I from Thebes came last a Conqueror

Lis. The thrice three Muses, mourning for the death of learning, late deceast in beggerie

The. That is some Satire keene and criticall, Not sorting with a nuptiall ceremonie

Lis. A tedious breefe Scene of yong Piramus, And his loue Thisby; very tragicall mirth

The. Merry and tragicall? Tedious, and briefe? That is, hot ice, and wondrous strange snow. How shall wee finde the concord of this discord?
Ege. A play there is, my Lord, some ten words long, Which is as breefe, as I haue knowne a play; But by ten words, my Lord, it is too long; Which makes it tedious. For in all the play, There is not one word apt, one Player fitted. And tragicall my noble Lord it is: for Piramus Therein doth kill himselfe. Which when I saw Rehearst, I must confesse, made mine eyes water: But more merrie teares, the passion of loud laughter Neuer shed

Thes. What are they that do play it? Ege. Hard handed men, that worke in Athens heere, Which neuer labour’d in their mindes till now; And now haue toyled their vnbreathed memories With this same play, against your nuptiall

The. And we will heare it

Hip. No my noble Lord, it is not for you. I haue heard It ouer, and it is nothing, nothing in the world; Vnless you can finde sport in their intents, Extreamely stretched, and cond with cruell paine, To doe you seruice

Thes. I will heare that play. For neuer any thing Can be amisse, when simplenesse and duty tender it. Goe bring them in, and take your places, Ladies

Hip. I loue not to see wretchednesse orecharged; And duty in his seruice perishing

Thes. Why gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing

Hip. He saies, they can doe nothing in this kinde

Thes. The kinder we, to giue them thanks for nothing Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake; And what poore duty cannot doe, noble respect Takes it in might, not merit.
Where I haue come, great Clearkes haue purposed To greete me with premeditated welcomes; Where I haue seene them shiuer and looke pale, Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practiz’d accent in their feares, And in conclusion, dumbly haue broke off, Not paying me a welcome. Trust me sweete, Out of this silence yet, I pickt a welcome: And in the modesty of fearefull duty,
I read as much, as from the ratling tongue Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Loue therefore, and tongue-tide simplicity, In least, speake most, to my capacity

Egeus. So please your Grace, the Prologue is addrest

Duke. Let him approach.

Flor. Trum.

Enter the Prologue. Quince.

Pro. If we offend, it is with our good will. That you should thinke, we come not to offend, But with good will. To shew our simple skill, That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then, we come but in despight. We do not come, as minding to content you, Our true intent is. All for your delight, We are not heere. That you should here repent you, The Actors are at hand; and by their show, You shall know all, that you are like to know

Thes. This fellow doth not stand vpon points

Lys. He hath rid his Prologue, like a rough Colt: he knowes not the stop. A good morall my lord. it is not enough to speake, but to speake true

Hip. Indeed hee hath plaid on his Prologue, like a childe on a Recorder, a sound, but not in gouernment

Thes. His speech was like a tangled chaine: nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?

Tawyer with a Trumpet before them.

Enter Pyramus and Thisby, Wall, Moone-shine, and Lyon.

Prol. Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show, But wonder on, till truth make all things plaine. This man is Piramus, if you would know;
This beauteous Lady, Thisby is certaine. This man, with lyme and rough-cast, doth present Wall, that vile wall, which did these louers sunder: And through walls chink (poor soules) they are content To whisper. At the which, let no man wonder. This man, with Lanthorne, dog, and bush of thorne, Presenteth moone-shine. For if you will know, By moone-shine did these Louers thinke no scorne To meet at Ninus toombe, there, there to wooe: This grizly beast (which Lyon hight by name) The trusty Thisby, comming first by night, Did scarre away, or rather did affright: And as she fled, her mantle she did fall; Which Lyon vile with bloody mouth did staine. Anon comes Piramus, sweet youth and tall, And findes his Thisbies Mantle slaine;
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blamefull blade, He brauely broacht his boiling bloudy breast, And Thisby, tarrying in Mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, Let Lyon, Moone-shine, Wall, and Louers twaine, At large discourse, while here they doe remaine.

Exit all but Wall.

Thes. I wonder if the Lion be to speake

Deme. No wonder, my Lord: one Lion may, when many Asses doe.

Exit Lyon, Thisbie, and Mooneshine.

Wall. In this same Interlude, it doth befall, That I, one Snowt (by name) present a wall: And such a wall, as I would haue you thinke, That had in it a crannied hole or chinke: Through which the Louers, Piramus and Thisbie Did whisper often, very secretly.
This loame, this rough-cast, and this stone doth shew, That I am that same Wall; the truth is so. And this the cranny is, right and sinister, Through which the fearfull Louers are to whisper

Thes. Would you desire Lime and Haire to speake better?
Deme. It is the wittiest partition, that euer I heard discourse, my Lord

Thes. Pyramus drawes neere the Wall, silence. Enter Pyramus.

Pir. O grim lookt night, o night with hue so blacke, O night, which euer art, when day is not: O night, o night, alacke, alacke, alacke, I feare my Thisbies promise is forgot.
And thou o wall, thou sweet and louely wall, That stands between her fathers ground and mine, Thou wall, o Wall, o sweet and louely wall, Shew me thy chinke, to blinke through with mine eine. Thankes courteous wall. Ioue shield thee well for this. But what see I? No Thisbie doe I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no blisse, Curst be thy stones for thus deceiuing mee

Thes. The wall me-thinkes being sensible, should curse againe

Pir. No in truth sir, he should not. Deceiuing me, Is Thisbies cue; she is to enter, and I am to spy Her through the wall. You shall see it will fall. Enter Thisbie.

Pat as I told you; yonder she comes

This. O wall, full often hast thou heard my mones, For parting my faire Piramus, and me
My cherry lips haue often kist thy stones; Thy stones with Lime and Haire knit vp in thee

Pyra. I see a voyce; now will I to the chinke, To spy and I can heare my Thisbies face. Thisbie? This. My Loue thou art, my Loue I thinke

Pir. Thinke what thou wilt, I am thy Louers grace, And like Limander am I trusty still

This. And like Helen till the Fates me kill

Pir. Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true

This. As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you

Pir. O kisse me through the hole of this vile wall

This. I kisse the wals hole, not your lips at all

Pir. Wilt thou at Ninnies tombe meete me straight way?
This. Tide life, tide death, I come without delay

Wall. Thus haue I Wall, my part discharged so; And being done, thus Wall away doth go.

Exit Clow.

Du. Now is the morall downe between the two Neighbours

Dem. No remedie my Lord, when Wals are so wilfull, to heare without warning

Dut. This is the silliest stuffe that ere I heard

Du. The best in this kind are but shadowes, and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them

Dut. It must be your imagination then, & not theirs

Duk. If wee imagine no worse of them then they of themselues, they may passe for excellent men. Here com two noble beasts, in a man and a Lion.
Enter Lyon and Moone-shine

Lyon. You Ladies, you (whose gentle harts do feare The smallest monstrous mouse that creepes on floore) May now perchance, both quake and tremble heere, When Lion rough in wildest rage doth roare. Then know that I, one Snug the Ioyner am A Lion fell, nor else no Lions dam:
For if I should as Lion come in strife Into this place, ’twere pittie of my life

Du. A verie gentle beast, and of good conscience

Dem. The verie best at a beast, my Lord, y ere I saw

Lis. This Lion is a verie Fox for his valor

Du. True, and a Goose for his discretion

Dem. Not so my Lord: for his valor cannot carrie his discretion, and the fox carries the Goose

Du. His discretion I am sure cannot carrie his valor: for the Goose carries not the Fox. It is well; leaue it to his discretion, and let vs hearken to the Moone

Moone. This Lanthorne doth the horned Moone present

De. He should haue worne the hornes on his head

Du. Hee is no crescent, and his hornes are inuisible, within the circumference

Moon. This lanthorne doth the horned Moone present: My selfe, the man i’th Moone doth seeme to be

Du. This is the greatest error of all the rest; the man Should be put into the Lanthorne. How is it els the man i’th Moone?
Dem. He dares not come there for the candle. For you see, it is already in snuffe

Dut. I am wearie of this Moone; would he would change

Du. It appeares by his smal light of discretion, that he is in the wane: but yet in courtesie, in all reason, we must stay the time

Lys. Proceed Moone

Moon. All that I haue to say, is to tell you, that the Lanthorne is the Moone; I, the man in the Moone; this thorne bush; my thorne bush; and this dog, my dog

Dem. Why all these should be in the Lanthorne: for they are in the Moone. But silence, heere comes Thisby. Enter Thisby.

This. This is old Ninnies tombe: where is my loue? Lyon. Oh.

The Lion roares, Thisby runs off.

Dem. Well roar’d Lion

Du. Well run Thisby

Dut. Well shone Moone.
Truly the Moone shines with a good grace

Du. Wel mouz’d Lion

Dem. And then came Piramus

Lys. And so the Lion vanisht.
Enter Piramus.

Pyr. Sweet Moone, I thank thee for thy sunny beames, I thanke thee Moone, for shining now so bright: For by thy gracious, golden, glittering beames, I trust to taste of truest Thisbies sight. But stay: O spight! but marke, poore Knight, What dreadful dole is heere?
Eyes do you see! How can it be!
O dainty Ducke: O Deere!
Thy mantle good; what staind with blood! Approch you furies fell:
O Fates! come, come: Cut thred and thrum, Quaile, crush, conclude, and quell

Du. This passion, and the death of a deare friend, Would go neere to make a man looke sad

Dut. Beshrew my heart, but I pittie the man

Pir. O wherefore Nature, did’st thou Lions frame? Since lion vilde hath heere deflour’d my deere: Which is: no, no, which was the fairest Dame That liu’d, that lou’d, that like’d, that look’d with cheere. Come teares, confound: Out sword, and wound The pap of Piramus:
I, that left pap, where heart doth hop; Thus dye I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead, now am I fled, my soule is in the sky, Tongue lose thy light, Moone take thy flight, Now dye, dye, dye, dye, dye

Dem. No Die, but an ace for him; for he is but one

Lis. Lesse then an ace man. For he is dead, he is nothing

Du. With the helpe of a Surgeon, he might yet recouer, and proue an Asse

Dut. How chance Moone-shine is gone before? Thisby comes backe, and findes her Louer. Enter Thisby.

Duke. She wil finde him by starre-light. Heere she comes, and her passion ends the play

Dut. Me thinkes shee should not vse a long one for such a Piramus: I hope she will be breefe

Dem. A Moth wil turne the ballance, which Piramus which Thisby is the better

Lys. She hath spyed him already, with those sweete eyes

Dem. And thus she meanes, videlicit

This. Asleepe my Loue? What, dead my Doue? O Piramus arise:
Speake, speake. Quite dumbe? Dead, dead? A tombe Must couer thy sweet eyes.
These Lilly Lips, this cherry nose, These yellow Cowslip cheekes
Are gone, are gone: Louers make mone: His eyes were greene as Leekes.
O Sisters three, come, come to mee, With hands as pale as Milke,
Lay them in gore, since you haue shore with sheeres, his thred of silke.
Tongue not a word: Come trusty sword: Come blade, my brest imbrue:
And farwell friends, thus Thisbie ends; Adieu, adieu, adieu

Duk. Moone-shine & Lion are left to burie the dead

Deme. I, and Wall too

Bot. No, I assure you, the wall is downe, that parted their Fathers. Will it please you to see the Epilogue, or to heare a Bergomask dance, betweene two of our company? Duk. No Epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no excuse. Neuer excuse; for when the plaiers are all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if hee that writ it had plaid Piramus, and hung himselfe in Thisbies garter, it would haue beene a fine Tragedy: and so it is truely, and very notably discharg’d. but come, your Burgomaske; let your Epilogue alone.
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelue. Louers to bed, ’tis almost Fairy time.
I feare we shall out-sleepe the comming morne, As much as we this night haue ouer-watcht. This palpable grosse play hath well beguil’d The heauy gate of night. Sweet friends to bed. A fortnight hold we this solemnity.
In nightly Reuels; and new iollitie.


Enter Pucke.

Puck. Now the hungry Lyons rores,
And the Wolfe beholds the Moone:
Whilest the heauy ploughman snores, All with weary taske fore-done.
Now the wasted brands doe glow,
Whil’st the scritch-owle, scritching loud, Puts the wretch that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shrowd.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graues, all gaping wide,
Euery one lets forth his spright,
In the Church-way paths to glide,
And we Fairies, that do runne,
By the triple Hecates teame,
From the presence of the Sunne,
Following darkenesse like a dreame, Now are frollicke; not a Mouse
Shall disturbe this hallowed house. I am sent with broome before,
To sweep the dust behinde the doore. Enter King and Queene of Fairies, with their traine.

Ob. Through the house giue glimmering light, By the dead and drowsie fier,
Euerie Elfe and Fairie spright,
Hop as light as bird from brier,
And this Ditty after me, sing and dance it trippinglie, Tita. First rehearse this song by roate, To each word a warbling note.
Hand in hand, with Fairie grace,
Will we sing and blesse this place.

The Song.

Now vntill the breake of day,
Through this house each Fairy stray. To the best Bride-bed will we,
Which by vs shall blessed be:
And the issue there create,
Euer shall be fortunate:
So shall all the couples three,
Euer true in louing be:
And the blots of Natures hand,
Shall not in their issue stand.
Neuer mole, harelip, nor scarre,
nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in Natiuitie,
Shall vpon their children be.
With this field dew consecrate,
Euery Fairy take his gate,
And each seuerall chamber blesse,
Through this Pallace with sweet peace, Euer shall in safety rest.
And the owner of it blest.
Trip away, make no stay;
Meet me all by breake of day

Robin. If we shadowes haue offended, Thinke but this (and all is mended)
That you haue but slumbred heere,
While these Visions did appeare.
And this weake and idle theame,
No more yeelding but a dreame,
Gentles, doe not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And as I am an honest Pucke,
If we haue vnearned lucke,
Now to scape the Serpents tongue,
We will make amends ere long:
Else the Pucke a lyar call.
So good night vnto you all.
Giue me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends.