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We have heard the chimes at midnight.

      — King Henry IV. Part II, Act III Scene 2


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A Midsummer Night's Dream


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Scene 1. The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.

Scene 2. Another part of the wood.


Act III, Scene 1

The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.

      next scene .


  • Quince. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place
    for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our
    stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house; and we
    will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.
  • Quince. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
  • Bottom. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
    Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must
    draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies
    cannot abide. How answer you that? 830
  • Snout. By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
  • Starveling. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
  • Bottom. Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
    Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to
    say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that 835
    Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more
    better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
    Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them
    out of fear.
  • Quince. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be 840
    written in eight and six.
  • Bottom. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
  • Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
  • Bottom. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to 845
    bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies, is a
    most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful
    wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to
    look to 't.
  • Snout. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion. 850
  • Bottom. Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must
    be seen through the lion's neck: and he himself
    must speak through, saying thus, or to the same
    defect,—'Ladies,'—or 'Fair-ladies—I would wish
    You,'—or 'I would request you,'—or 'I would 855
    entreat you,—not to fear, not to tremble: my life
    for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it
    were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I am a
    man as other men are;' and there indeed let him name
    his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner. 860
  • Quince. Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things;
    that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for,
    you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight.
  • Snout. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
  • Bottom. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find 865
    out moonshine, find out moonshine.
  • Quince. Yes, it doth shine that night.
  • Bottom. Why, then may you leave a casement of the great
    chamber window, where we play, open, and the moon
    may shine in at the casement. 870
  • Quince. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
    and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
    present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is
    another thing: we must have a wall in the great
    chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story, did 875
    talk through the chink of a wall.
  • Snout. You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
  • Bottom. Some man or other must present Wall: and let him
    have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast
    about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his 880
    fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus
    and Thisby whisper.
  • Quince. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
    every mother's son, and rehearse your parts.
    Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your 885
    speech, enter into that brake: and so every one
    according to his cue.

[Enter PUCK behind]

  • Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
    So near the cradle of the fairy queen? 890
    What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
    An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
  • Quince. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
  • Bottom. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—
  • Bottom. —odours savours sweet:
    So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
    But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
    And by and by I will to thee appear.


  • Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.


  • Flute. Must I speak now?
  • Quince. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes
    but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again. 905
  • Flute. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
    Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
    Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
    As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
    I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb. 910
  • Quince. 'Ninus' tomb,' man: why, you must not speak that
    yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your
    part at once, cues and all Pyramus enter: your cue
    is past; it is, 'never tire.'
  • Flute. O,—As true as truest horse, that yet would 915
    never tire.

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

  • Bottom. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
  • Quince. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray,
    masters! fly, masters! Help! 920


  • Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
    Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
    Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
    A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire; 925
    And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
    Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.


  • Bottom. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to
    make me afeard. 930

[Re-enter SNOUT]

  • Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
  • Bottom. What do you see? you see an asshead of your own, do

[Exit SNOUT]

[Re-enter QUINCE]

  • Quince. Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art


  • Bottom. I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; 940
    to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
    from this place, do what they can: I will walk up
    and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
    I am not afraid.
    [Sings] 945
    The ousel cock so black of hue,
    With orange-tawny bill,
    The throstle with his note so true,
    The wren with little quill,—
  • Titania. [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed? 950
  • Bottom. [Sings]
    The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
    The plain-song cuckoo gray,
    Whose note full many a man doth mark,
    And dares not answer nay;— 955
    for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish
    a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry
    'cuckoo' never so?
  • Titania. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
    Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note; 960
    So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
    And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
    On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
  • Bottom. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
    for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and 965
    love keep little company together now-a-days; the
    more the pity that some honest neighbours will not
    make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
  • Titania. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
  • Bottom. Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out 970
    of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
  • Titania. Out of this wood do not desire to go:
    Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
    I am a spirit of no common rate;
    The summer still doth tend upon my state; 975
    And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
    I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
    And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
    And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
    And I will purge thy mortal grossness so 980
    That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
    Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!


  • All. Where shall we go?
  • Titania. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
    Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; 990
    Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
    With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
    The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
    And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
    And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes, 995
    To have my love to bed and to arise;
    And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
    To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
    Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
  • Bottom. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily: I beseech your
    worship's name. 1005
  • Bottom. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
    Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with
    you. Your name, honest gentleman?
  • Bottom. I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
    mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
    Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
    acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
  • Bottom. Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well:
    that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
    devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise
    you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now. I
    desire your more acquaintance, good Master 1020
  • Titania. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
    The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
    And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
    Lamenting some enforced chastity. 1025
    Tie up my love's tongue bring him silently.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

Another part of the wood.


[Enter OBERON]

  • Oberon. I wonder if Titania be awaked;
    Then, what it was that next came in her eye, 1030
    Which she must dote on in extremity.
    [Enter PUCK]
    Here comes my messenger.
    How now, mad spirit!
    What night-rule now about this haunted grove? 1035
  • Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.
    Near to her close and consecrated bower,
    While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
    A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
    That work for bread upon Athenian stalls, 1040
    Were met together to rehearse a play
    Intended for great Theseus' nuptial-day.
    The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
    Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
    Forsook his scene and enter'd in a brake 1045
    When I did him at this advantage take,
    An ass's nole I fixed on his head:
    Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
    And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
    As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye, 1050
    Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
    Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
    Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
    So, at his sight, away his fellows fly;
    And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls; 1055
    He murder cries and help from Athens calls.
    Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears
    thus strong,
    Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
    For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch; 1060
    Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all
    things catch.
    I led them on in this distracted fear,
    And left sweet Pyramus translated there:
    When in that moment, so it came to pass, 1065
    Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
  • Oberon. This falls out better than I could devise.
    But hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes
    With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?
  • Puck. I took him sleeping,—that is finish'd too,— 1070
    And the Athenian woman by his side:
    That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.


  • Oberon. Stand close: this is the same Athenian.
  • Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man. 1075
  • Demetrius. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
    Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
  • Hermia. Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse,
    For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse,
    If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, 1080
    Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
    And kill me too.
    The sun was not so true unto the day
    As he to me: would he have stolen away
    From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon 1085
    This whole earth may be bored and that the moon
    May through the centre creep and so displease
    Her brother's noontide with Antipodes.
    It cannot be but thou hast murder'd him;
    So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim. 1090
  • Demetrius. So should the murder'd look, and so should I,
    Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty:
    Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
    As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
  • Hermia. What's this to my Lysander? where is he? 1095
    Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
  • Demetrius. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
  • Hermia. Out, dog! out, cur! thou drivest me past the bounds
    Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
    Henceforth be never number'd among men! 1100
    O, once tell true, tell true, even for my sake!
    Durst thou have look'd upon him being awake,
    And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave touch!
    Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
    An adder did it; for with doubler tongue 1105
    Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
  • Demetrius. You spend your passion on a misprised mood:
    I am not guilty of Lysander's blood;
    Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
  • Hermia. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. 1110
  • Demetrius. An if I could, what should I get therefore?
  • Hermia. A privilege never to see me more.
    And from thy hated presence part I so:
    See me no more, whether he be dead or no.


  • Demetrius. There is no following her in this fierce vein:
    Here therefore for a while I will remain.
    So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow
    For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe:
    Which now in some slight measure it will pay, 1120
    If for his tender here I make some stay.

[Lies down and sleeps]

  • Oberon. What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite
    And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight:
    Of thy misprision must perforce ensue 1125
    Some true love turn'd and not a false turn'd true.
  • Puck. Then fate o'er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
    A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
  • Oberon. About the wood go swifter than the wind,
    And Helena of Athens look thou find: 1130
    All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer,
    With sighs of love, that costs the fresh blood dear:
    By some illusion see thou bring her here:
    I'll charm his eyes against she do appear.
  • Puck. I go, I go; look how I go, 1135
    Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.


  • Oberon. Flower of this purple dye,
    Hit with Cupid's archery,
    Sink in apple of his eye. 1140
    When his love he doth espy,
    Let her shine as gloriously
    As the Venus of the sky.
    When thou wakest, if she be by,
    Beg of her for remedy. 1145

[Re-enter PUCK]

  • Puck. Captain of our fairy band,
    Helena is here at hand;
    And the youth, mistook by me,
    Pleading for a lover's fee. 1150
    Shall we their fond pageant see?
    Lord, what fools these mortals be!
  • Oberon. Stand aside: the noise they make
    Will cause Demetrius to awake.
  • Puck. Then will two at once woo one; 1155
    That must needs be sport alone;
    And those things do best please me
    That befal preposterously.


  • Lysander. Why should you think that I should woo in scorn? 1160
    Scorn and derision never come in tears:
    Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
    In their nativity all truth appears.
    How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
    Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true? 1165
  • Helena. You do advance your cunning more and more.
    When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
    These vows are Hermia's: will you give her o'er?
    Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh:
    Your vows to her and me, put in two scales, 1170
    Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
  • Lysander. I had no judgment when to her I swore.
  • Helena. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
  • Lysander. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
  • Demetrius. [Awaking] O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! 1175
    To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
    Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
    Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
    That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
    Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow 1180
    When thou hold'st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
    This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
  • Helena. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
    To set against me for your merriment:
    If you we re civil and knew courtesy, 1185
    You would not do me thus much injury.
    Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
    But you must join in souls to mock me too?
    If you were men, as men you are in show,
    You would not use a gentle lady so; 1190
    To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
    When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
    You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
    And now both rivals, to mock Helena:
    A trim exploit, a manly enterprise, 1195
    To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes
    With your derision! none of noble sort
    Would so offend a virgin, and extort
    A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.
  • Lysander. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so; 1200
    For you love Hermia; this you know I know:
    And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
    In Hermia's love I yield you up my part;
    And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
    Whom I do love and will do till my death. 1205
  • Helena. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
  • Demetrius. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:
    If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
    My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd,
    And now to Helen is it home return'd, 1210
    There to remain.
  • Demetrius. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
    Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
    Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear. 1215

[Re-enter HERMIA]

  • Hermia. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
    The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
    Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
    It pays the hearing double recompense. 1220
    Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
    Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound
    But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
  • Lysander. Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
  • Hermia. What love could press Lysander from my side? 1225
  • Lysander. Lysander's love, that would not let him bide,
    Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
    Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light.
    Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee know,
    The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so? 1230
  • Hermia. You speak not as you think: it cannot be.
  • Helena. Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
    Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
    To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
    Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid! 1235
    Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
    To bait me with this foul derision?
    Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
    The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
    When we have chid the hasty-footed time 1240
    For parting us,—O, is it all forgot?
    All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
    We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
    Have with our needles created both one flower,
    Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, 1245
    Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
    As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
    Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
    Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
    But yet an union in partition; 1250
    Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
    So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
    Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
    Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
    And will you rent our ancient love asunder, 1255
    To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
    It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
    Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
    Though I alone do feel the injury.
  • Hermia. I am amazed at your passionate words. 1260
    I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
  • Helena. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
    To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
    And made your other love, Demetrius,
    Who even but now did spurn me with his foot, 1265
    To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
    Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
    To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
    Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
    And tender me, forsooth, affection, 1270
    But by your setting on, by your consent?
    What thought I be not so in grace as you,
    So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
    But miserable most, to love unloved?
    This you should pity rather than despise. 1275
  • Hermia. I understand not what you mean by this.
  • Helena. Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
    Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
    Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
    This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled. 1280
    If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
    You would not make me such an argument.
    But fare ye well: 'tis partly my own fault;
    Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
  • Lysander. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse: 1285
    My love, my life my soul, fair Helena!
  • Hermia. Sweet, do not scorn her so.
  • Demetrius. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
  • Lysander. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat: 1290
    Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
    Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
    I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
    To prove him false that says I love thee not.
  • Demetrius. I say I love thee more than he can do. 1295
  • Lysander. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
  • Hermia. Lysander, whereto tends all this?
  • Demetrius. No, no; he'll 1300
    Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow,
    But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!
  • Lysander. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose,
    Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!
  • Hermia. Why are you grown so rude? what change is this? 1305
    Sweet love,—
  • Lysander. Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
    Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
  • Helena. Yes, sooth; and so do you. 1310
  • Lysander. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
  • Demetrius. I would I had your bond, for I perceive
    A weak bond holds you: I'll not trust your word.
  • Lysander. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
    Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so. 1315
  • Hermia. What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
    Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love!
    Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander?
    I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
    Since night you loved me; yet since night you left 1320
    Why, then you left me—O, the gods forbid!—
    In earnest, shall I say?
  • Lysander. Ay, by my life;
    And never did desire to see thee more. 1325
    Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
    Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest
    That I do hate thee and love Helena.
  • Hermia. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!
    You thief of love! what, have you come by night 1330
    And stolen my love's heart from him?
  • Helena. Fine, i'faith!
    Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
    No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
    Impatient answers from my gentle tongue? 1335
    Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
  • Hermia. Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
    Now I perceive that she hath made compare
    Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
    And with her personage, her tall personage, 1340
    Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.
    And are you grown so high in his esteem;
    Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
    How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
    How low am I? I am not yet so low 1345
    But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
  • Helena. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
    Let her not hurt me: I was never curst;
    I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
    I am a right maid for my cowardice: 1350
    Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
    Because she is something lower than myself,
    That I can match her.
  • Helena. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me. 1355
    I evermore did love you, Hermia,
    Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
    Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
    I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
    He follow'd you; for love I follow'd him; 1360
    But he hath chid me hence and threaten'd me
    To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
    And now, so you will let me quiet go,
    To Athens will I bear my folly back
    And follow you no further: let me go: 1365
    You see how simple and how fond I am.
  • Hermia. Why, get you gone: who is't that hinders you?
  • Helena. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
  • Lysander. Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
  • Demetrius. No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
  • Helena. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd!
    She was a vixen when she went to school;
    And though she be but little, she is fierce. 1375
  • Hermia. 'Little' again! nothing but 'low' and 'little'!
    Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
    Let me come to her.
  • Lysander. Get you gone, you dwarf;
    You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; 1380
    You bead, you acorn.
  • Demetrius. You are too officious
    In her behalf that scorns your services.
    Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
    Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend 1385
    Never so little show of love to her,
    Thou shalt aby it.
  • Lysander. Now she holds me not;
    Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
    Of thine or mine, is most in Helena. 1390
  • Demetrius. Follow! nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jole.


  • Hermia. You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
    Nay, go not back.
  • Helena. I will not trust you, I, 1395
    Nor longer stay in your curst company.
    Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
    My legs are longer though, to run away.


  • Hermia. I am amazed, and know not what to say. 1400


  • Oberon. This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest,
    Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.
  • Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
    Did not you tell me I should know the man 1405
    By the Athenian garment be had on?
    And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
    That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes;
    And so far am I glad it so did sort
    As this their jangling I esteem a sport. 1410
  • Oberon. Thou see'st these lovers seek a place to fight:
    Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
    The starry welkin cover thou anon
    With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
    And lead these testy rivals so astray 1415
    As one come not within another's way.
    Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
    Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
    And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
    And from each other look thou lead them thus, 1420
    Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
    With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep:
    Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye;
    Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
    To take from thence all error with his might, 1425
    And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
    When they next wake, all this derision
    Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision,
    And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
    With league whose date till death shall never end. 1430
    Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
    I'll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
    And then I will her charmed eye release
    From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.
  • Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste, 1435
    For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
    And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
    At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
    Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all,
    That in crossways and floods have burial, 1440
    Already to their wormy beds are gone;
    For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
    They willfully themselves exile from light
    And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.
  • Oberon. But we are spirits of another sort: 1445
    I with the morning's love have oft made sport,
    And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
    Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
    Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
    Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams. 1450
    But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
    We may effect this business yet ere day.


  • Puck. Up and down, up and down,
    I will lead them up and down: 1455
    I am fear'd in field and town:
    Goblin, lead them up and down.
    Here comes one.

[Re-enter LYSANDER]

  • Lysander. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now. 1460
  • Puck. Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where art thou?
  • Lysander. I will be with thee straight.
  • Puck. Follow me, then,
    To plainer ground.

[Exit LYSANDER, as following the voice]

[Re-enter DEMETRIUS]

  • Demetrius. Lysander! speak again:
    Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
    Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?
  • Puck. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars, 1470
    Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars,
    And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come, thou child;
    I'll whip thee with a rod: he is defiled
    That draws a sword on thee.
  • Puck. Follow my voice: we'll try no manhood here.


[Re-enter LYSANDER]

  • Lysander. He goes before me and still dares me on:
    When I come where he calls, then he is gone. 1480
    The villain is much lighter-heel'd than I:
    I follow'd fast, but faster he did fly;
    That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
    And here will rest me.
    [Lies down] 1485
    Come, thou gentle day!
    For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
    I'll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.


[Re-enter PUCK and DEMETRIUS]

  • Puck. Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why comest thou not?
  • Demetrius. Abide me, if thou darest; for well I wot
    Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place,
    And darest not stand, nor look me in the face.
    Where art thou now? 1495
  • Puck. Come hither: I am here.
  • Demetrius. Nay, then, thou mock'st me. Thou shalt buy this dear,
    If ever I thy face by daylight see:
    Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
    To measure out my length on this cold bed. 1500
    By day's approach look to be visited.

[Lies down and sleeps]

[Re-enter HELENA]

  • Helena. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
    Abate thy hour! Shine comforts from the east, 1505
    That I may back to Athens by daylight,
    From these that my poor company detest:
    And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye,
    Steal me awhile from mine own company.

[Lies down and sleeps]

  • Puck. Yet but three? Come one more;
    Two of both kinds make up four.
    Here she comes, curst and sad:
    Cupid is a knavish lad,
    Thus to make poor females mad. 1515

[Re-enter HERMIA]

  • Hermia. Never so weary, never so in woe,
    Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
    I can no further crawl, no further go;
    My legs can keep no pace with my desires. 1520
    Here will I rest me till the break of day.
    Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!

[Lies down and sleeps]

  • Puck. On the ground
    Sleep sound: 1525
    I'll apply
    To your eye,
    Gentle lover, remedy.
    [Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER's eyes]
    When thou wakest, 1530
    Thou takest
    True delight
    In the sight
    Of thy former lady's eye:
    And the country proverb known, 1535
    That every man should take his own,
    In your waking shall be shown:
    Jack shall have Jill;
    Nought shall go ill;
    The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well. 1540