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THESEUS, Duke of Athens.
EGEUS, Father to HERMIA.
LYSANDER, in love with Hermia.
DEMETRIUS, in love with HERMIA.
PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Sports to Theseus.
QUINCE, the Carpenter.
SNUG, the Joiner.
BOTTOM, the Weaver.
FLUTE, the Bellows-mender.
SNOWT, the Tinker.
STARVELING, the Taylor.
HIPPOLITA, Queen of the AMAZONS, betrothed to Theseus.
HERMIA, Daughter to Egeus, in love with LYSANDER.
HELENA, in love with DEMETRIUS.

OBERON, King of the Fairies.
TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies.


Characters in the Interlude performed by

the Clowns. Moonshine, Lyon,

Other Fairies attending their King and Queen : Attendants on


SCENE-Athens, and a Wood not far from it.

This PLAY, denominated probably from the season of its first representation, is supposed to have been written about the year 1595 ; the first hint of it is said to have been taken from Chaucer's Knight's Tale, and the character of Oberon from an old romance called * Sir Hugh of Bourdeaux."

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Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Philoftrate, with attendants.

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

Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights ;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a filver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.

The. Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments ;

withering out)-impairing, bringing to decay,

B 2


Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth ;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
*That pale companion is not for our pomp. (Exit Phil.
Hippolita, 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.

Enter Egeus, 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 child, my daughter Hermia.-
Stand forth, Demetrius ;—My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her :-
Stand forth, Lysander ;-and, my gracious duke,
This man hath 'witch'd the bofom of my child :
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhimes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :
Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love ;
And stoln the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats ; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth :
With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshnels:-And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her :

c The.

d bewitch'd. * the impression of ber fantasy)—inclinations, affection.

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Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death ; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that case.

The. What say you, Hermia ? be advis’d, fair maid :
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 form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his

power To leave the figure, or disfigure it. Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.

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

Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.

Her. I do intreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts :
But I beseech your grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. 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
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.

your blood

{ Know of]-confider, fcrutinize, bring it to the test. & For aye] -For ever.

B 3


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