Speeches (Lines) for Theseus
in "Midsummer Night's Dream"

Total: 48

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

I,1,2

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.

2

I,1,13

Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.
[Exit PHILOSTRATE]
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.

3

I,1,25

Thanks, good Egeus: what's the news with thee?

4

I,1,50

What say you, Hermia? be advised fair maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

5

I,1,58

In himself he is;
But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

6

I,1,62

Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.

7

I,1,70

Either to die the death or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires;
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun,
For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;
But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.

8

I,1,88

Take time to pause; and, by the nest new moon—
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship—
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father's will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana's altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.

9

I,1,116

I must confess that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me,
I have some private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up—
Which by no means we may extenuate—
To death, or to a vow of single life.
Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my love?
Demetrius and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.

10

IV,1,1657

Go, one of you, find out the forester;
For now our observation is perform'd;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go:
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
[Exit an Attendant]
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

11

IV,1,1674

My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?

12

IV,1,1687

No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

13

IV,1,1693

Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
[Horns and shout within. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS,]
HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up]
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

14

IV,1,1699

I pray you all, stand up.
I know you two are rival enemies:
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?

15

IV,1,1735

Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit:
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens; three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, Hippolyta.

16

V,1,1832

More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

17

V,1,1858

Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
[Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA]
Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!

18

V,1,1864

Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
To wear away this long age of three hours
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Call Philostrate.

19

V,1,1872

Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?

20

V,1,1878

[Reads] 'The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.'
We'll none of that: that have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
[Reads]
'The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.'
That is an old device; and it was play'd
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
[Reads]
'The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of Learning, late deceased in beggary.'
That is some satire, keen and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
[Reads]
'A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.'
Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?

21

V,1,1908

What are they that do play it?

22

V,1,1913

And we will hear it.

23

V,1,1920

I will hear that play;
For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.

24

V,1,1927

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

25

V,1,1929

The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:
And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practised accent in their fears
And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence yet I pick'd a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.

26

V,1,1948

Let him approach.

27

V,1,1961

This fellow doth not stand upon points.

28

V,1,1967

His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?

29

V,1,1996

I wonder if the lion be to speak.

30

V,1,2008

Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

31

V,1,2012

Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!

32

V,1,2026

The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

33

V,1,2052

Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.

34

V,1,2056

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

35

V,1,2059

If we imagine no worse of them than they of
themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here
come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.

36

V,1,2071

A very gentle beast, of a good conscience.

37

V,1,2074

True; and a goose for his discretion.

38

V,1,2077

His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour;
for the goose carries not the fox. It is well:
leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

39

V,1,2082

He is no crescent, and his horns are
invisible within the circumference.

40

V,1,2086

This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man
should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the
man i' the moon?

41

V,1,2092

It appears, by his small light of discretion, that
he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all
reason, we must stay the time.

42

V,1,2106

Well run, Thisbe.

43

V,1,2110

Well moused, Lion.

44

V,1,2130

This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
go near to make a man look sad.

45

V,1,2155

With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and
prove an ass.

46

V,1,2159

She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
her passion ends the play.

47

V,1,2195

Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.

48

V,1,2201

No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all
dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he
that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself
in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine
tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably
discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your
epilogue alone.
[A dance]
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatch'd.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
In nightly revels and new jollity.

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