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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Act IV, Scene 1



lying asleep. [p][Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH,] [p]MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending; OBERON [p]behind unseen]

  • Titania. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
    While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
    And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
    And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
  • Bottom. Where's Peaseblossom? 1550
  • Bottom. Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where's Mounsieur Cobweb?
  • Bottom. Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your
    weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped 1555
    humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good
    mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret
    yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,
    good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;
    I would be loath to have you overflown with a 1560
    honey-bag, signior. Where's Mounsieur Mustardseed?
  • Bottom. Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you,
    leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.
  • Bottom. Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb
    to scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for
    methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I
    am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me,
    I must scratch. 1570
  • Titania. What, wilt thou hear some music,
    my sweet love?
  • Bottom. I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have
    the tongs and the bones.
  • Titania. Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat. 1575
  • Bottom. Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good
    dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
    of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
  • Titania. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
    The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts. 1580
  • Bottom. I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
    But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I
    have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
  • Titania. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
    Fairies, begone, and be all ways away. 1585
    [Exeunt fairies]
    So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
    Gently entwist; the female ivy so
    Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
    O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee! 1590

[They sleep]

[Enter PUCK]

  • Oberon. [Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.
    See'st thou this sweet sight?
    Her dotage now I do begin to pity: 1595
    For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
    Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,
    I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
    For she his hairy temples then had rounded
    With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers; 1600
    And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
    Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
    Stood now within the pretty flowerets' eyes
    Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
    When I had at my pleasure taunted her 1605
    And she in mild terms begg'd my patience,
    I then did ask of her her changeling child;
    Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
    To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
    And now I have the boy, I will undo 1610
    This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
    And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
    From off the head of this Athenian swain;
    That, he awaking when the other do,
    May all to Athens back again repair 1615
    And think no more of this night's accidents
    But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
    But first I will release the fairy queen.
    Be as thou wast wont to be;
    See as thou wast wont to see: 1620
    Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
    Hath such force and blessed power.
    Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
  • Titania. My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
    Methought I was enamour'd of an ass. 1625
  • Oberon. There lies your love.
  • Titania. How came these things to pass?
    O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
  • Oberon. Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
    Titania, music call; and strike more dead 1630
    Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
  • Titania. Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!

[Music, still]

  • Puck. Now, when thou wakest, with thine
    own fool's eyes peep. 1635
  • Oberon. Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
    And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
    Now thou and I are new in amity,
    And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
    Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly, 1640
    And bless it to all fair prosperity:
    There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
    Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
  • Puck. Fairy king, attend, and mark:
    I do hear the morning lark. 1645
  • Oberon. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
    Trip we after the night's shade:
    We the globe can compass soon,
    Swifter than the wandering moon.
  • Titania. Come, my lord, and in our flight 1650
    Tell me how it came this night
    That I sleeping here was found
    With these mortals on the ground.


[Horns winded within]

[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train]

  • Theseus. 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. 1660
    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 1665
    Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
  • Hippolyta. I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
    When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
    With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
    Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves, 1670
    The skies, the fountains, every region near
    Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
    So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
  • Theseus. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
    So flew'd, so sanded, and their heads are hung 1675
    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, 1680
    In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
    Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?
  • Egeus. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
    And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
    This Helena, old Nedar's Helena: 1685
    I wonder of their being here together.
  • Theseus. 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 1690
    That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
  • Theseus. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
    [Horns and shout within. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS,]
    HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up] 1695
    Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
    Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
  • Theseus. I pray you all, stand up.
    I know you two are rival enemies: 1700
    How comes this gentle concord in the world,
    That hatred is so far from jealousy,
    To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?
  • Lysander. My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
    Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear, 1705
    I cannot truly say how I came here;
    But, as I think,—for truly would I speak,
    And now do I bethink me, so it is,—
    I came with Hermia hither: our intent
    Was to be gone from Athens, where we might, 1710
    Without the peril of the Athenian law.
  • Egeus. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
    I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
    They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,
    Thereby to have defeated you and me, 1715
    You of your wife and me of my consent,
    Of my consent that she should be your wife.
  • Demetrius. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
    Of this their purpose hither to this wood;
    And I in fury hither follow'd them, 1720
    Fair Helena in fancy following me.
    But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,—
    But by some power it is,—my love to Hermia,
    Melted as the snow, seems to me now
    As the remembrance of an idle gaud 1725
    Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
    And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
    The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
    Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
    Was I betroth'd ere I saw Hermia: 1730
    But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;
    But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
    Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
    And will for evermore be true to it.
  • Theseus. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met: 1735
    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, 1740
    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.

[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train]

  • Demetrius. These things seem small and undistinguishable,
  • Hermia. Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
    When every thing seems double.
  • Helena. So methinks:
    And I have found Demetrius like a jewel, 1750
    Mine own, and not mine own.
  • Demetrius. Are you sure
    That we are awake? It seems to me
    That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
    The duke was here, and bid us follow him? 1755
  • Lysander. And he did bid us follow to the temple.
  • Demetrius. Why, then, we are awake: let's follow him
    And by the way let us recount our dreams. 1760


  • Bottom. [Awaking] When my cue comes, call me, and I will
    answer: my next is, 'Most fair Pyramus.' Heigh-ho!
    Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout,
    the tinker! Starveling! God's my life, stolen 1765
    hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare
    vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
    say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go
    about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there
    is no man can tell what. Methought I was,—and 1770
    methought I had,—but man is but a patched fool, if
    he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye
    of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
    seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue
    to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream 1775
    was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of
    this dream: it shall be called Bottom's Dream,
    because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the
    latter end of a play, before the duke:
    peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall 1780
    sing it at her death.