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William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream



A c t u s  Q u a r t u s .


Heinrich Füssli, Titania and Bottom 1793/94
Heinrich Füssli, Titania Awakening 1785/89

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

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?


Clow.Scratch my head, Pease-blossome. Wher's Moun-
sieuer Cobweb.


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 ouer-
flowne with a hony-bag signiour. Where's Mounsieur


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

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

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 fel-

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

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. Exeunt.

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 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? Starue-
ling? 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. Per
-aduenture, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it
at her death. Exit.

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

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 handy-
craft 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 Tem-
ple, and there is two or three Lords & Ladies more mar-
ried. If our sport had gone forward, we had all bin made

This.O sweet bully Bottome: thus hath he lost sixe-
pence a day, during his life; he could not haue scaped six-
pence 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 hap-
pie 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.
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