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Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my face;

Lysander and myself will fly this place.-
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me:

O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto hell!

Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,)
Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet:
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
[Exit HERM.
Lys. I will, my Hermia.-Helena, adieu:
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind;
Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste :
And therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd.
As waggish boys in game1 themselves forswear,
So the boy love is perjur'd every where:
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,2
He hail'd down oaths, that he was only mine:
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt."
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight;
Then to the wood will he, to-morrow night,
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.
SCENE II. The same. A Room in a Cottage.—

Quin. Is all our company here?


Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.

Quin. Marry, our play is-The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.-Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll: Masters, spread yourselves.

Quin. Answer, as I call you.--Nick Bottom, the weaver.

Bot. Ready: Name what part I am for, and proceed.

Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Py


Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant? Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest :-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. "The raging rocks, With shivering shocks, Shall break the locks Of prison gates: And Phibbus' ear Shall shine from far,

And make and mar

The foolish fates."

This was lofty!-Now name the rest of the players. -This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. You must take Thisby on you.

Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight? Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.

Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice ;-Thisne, Thisne-Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!

Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus; and, Flute, you Thisby.

Bot. Well, proceed.

Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.

Star. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother. Tom Snout, the tinker.

Snout. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part:and, I hope, here is a play fitted.

Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study. Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will

Bot. You were best to call them generally, man exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. by man, according to the scrip.

1 Sport.

2 Eyes. 3 In this scene Shakspeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclina. tion to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first appears upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would

He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thisbe, and the Lion, at the same time.

4 Probably a burlesque upon the titles of some of our old Dramas.

5 This passage shows how the want of women on the old stage was supplied. If they had not a young man who could perform the part with a face that might pass for feminine, the character was acted in a mask, which was at that time a part of a lady's dress, and so much in use that it did not give any unusual appearance to the scene; and he that could modulate his voice to a female tone might play the woman very successfully.

roar, that I will make the duke say, Let him roar again, Let him roar again.

Quin. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.

All. That would hang us every mother's son. Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have. no more discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an' 'twere any nightingale.

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus: for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?

Quin. Why, what you will.

Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.2

Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced. But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moon-light; there will we rehearse for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties,4 such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not. Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely, and courageously. Take pains; be perfect, adieu.

Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough; Hold, or cut bow-strings.



In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savors:
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear."
Farewell, thou lob10 of spirits, I'll be gone;
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-

Take heed the queen come not within his sight.
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling:
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forest wild:
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her


And now they never meet in grove, or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled star-light sheen,"
But they do square ;13 that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there.

Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,

Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Call'd Robin Good-fellow are you not he,
That fright the maidens of the villagery:
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern,14
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;15
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work ;16 and they shall have good luck.
Are not you he?
Thou speak'st aright;


I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;17
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,

SCENE I. A Wood near Athens. Enter a Fairy And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.

at one door; and Рuck at another.

Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you? Fai. Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar," Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire.

I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moones sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,

To dew her orbs' upon the green:
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;

1 As if.

2 It seems to have been a custom to stain or dye the beard.

3 This allusion to the Corona Veneris, or baldness attendant upon a particular stage of, what was then termed, the French disease, is too frequent in Shakspeare, and is here explained once for all.

4 Articles required in performing a play. 5 To meet whether bowstrings hold or are cut is to meet in all events. But the origin of the phrase has not been satisfactorily explained.

6 So Drayton, in his Nymphidia, or Court of Fairy: "Thorough brake, thorough briar, Thorough muck, thorough mire, Thorough water, thorough fire.

7 The orbs here mentioned are those circles in the herbage commonly called fairy-rings, the cause of which is not yet certainly known.

The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe:
And yexen1 in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.-
But room, Faery, here comes Oberon.

Fai. And here my mistress :-'Would that he were gone!

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13 Quarrel, For the probable cause of the use of square for quarrel, see Mr. Douce's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 182.

14 A quern was a handmill.

15 And if that the bowle of curds and creame were not duly set out for Robin Goodfellow, the frier, and Sisse the dairy-maid, why then either the pottage was burnt next day in the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter would not come, or the ale in the fat never would have good head. But if a Peeterpenny, or an housle-egg were behind, or a patch of tythe unpaid, then ware of bull-beggars, spirits,' &c. 16 Milton refers to these traditions in L'Allegro. 17 Wild apple.

18 Dr. Johnson thought he remembered to have heard this ludicrous exclamation upon a person's seat slipping 8 The allusion is to Elizabeth's band of gentlemen from under him. He that slips from his chair falls as a pensioners, who were chosen from among the hand-tailor squats upon his board. Hanmer thought the pas somest and tallest young men of family and fortune; they were dressed in habits richly garnished with gold


9 In the old comedy of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600, an enchanter says,

'Twas I that led you through the painted meads Where the light fairies danc'd upon the flowers, Hanging on every leaf an orient pearl.'

10 Lubber or clown. Lob, lobcock, looby, and lubber, all denote inactivity of body and dulness of mind.

sage corrupt, and proposed to read rails or cries."

19 The old copy reads: And waren in their mirth, &c. Though a gliminering of sense may be extracted from this passage as it stands in the old copy, it seems most probable that we should read, as Dr. Farmer proposed, yexen. To yer is to hiccup, and is so explained in all the old dictionaries. The meaning of the passage will then be, that the objects of Puck's waggery laughed till their laughter ended in a yer or hiccup. Puck is speaking with an affectation of ancient phraseology.

SCENE II. Enter OBERON, at one door, with his | And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,

Train, and TITANIA, at another, with hers.
Obe. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania.
Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence;
I have forsworn his bed and company.

An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: The spring, the summer,
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
The childing autumn,10 angry winter, change11

Obe. Tarry, rash wanton: Am not I thy lord?
Tita. Then I must be thy lady: But I know
When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Paying on pipes of corn; and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded; and
To give their bed joy and prosperity.
Obe. How, canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,

By their increase, 12 now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.

Obe. Do you amend it then; it lies in you:
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.13

you come

Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?

Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering

From Perigenia, whom he ravished?

And make him with fair Ægle break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa ?2

Tito. These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's spring,"
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land,
Have every pelting river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard:
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable:
The human mortals' want their winter here;8
No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
Therefore the moon, the
of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;


I The shepherd boys of Chaucer's time had
Many a floite and litling horne

And pipes made of grene corne,


Set your heart at rest,
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order:

Full often hath she gossip'd by my side
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood;
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following (her womb, then rich with my young

Would imitate; and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die ;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy;
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.

Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay?
Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round,
And see our moon-light revels, go with us;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.
Tita. Not for thy fairy kingdom.-Fairies, away:

[Exeunt TITANIA and her Train. Obe. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this

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2 See the Life of Theseus in North's Translation of Plutarch. Egle, Ariadne, and Antiopa were all at dif- Forladen with the isycles, that dangled up and downe, ferent times mistresses to Theseus. The name of Pe-Upon his gray and hourie beard, and snowie frozen rigune is translated by North Perigouna.

3 Spring seems to be here used for beginning. The spring of day is used for the dawn of day in K. Henry IV. Part II.

4 A very common epithet with our old writers, to sig. rify paltry; pulting appears to have been its original orthography.

51. e. borne down the banks which contain them. 6 A rural game, played by making holes in the ground in the angles and sides of a square, and placing stones or other things upon them, according to certain rules. These figures are called nine men's morris, or merrils, because each party playing has nine men; they were generally cut upon turf, and were consequently choked up with mud in rainy seasons.

7 Human mortals is a mere pleonasm; and is neither ret in opposition to fairy mortals nor to human immortals, according to Steevens and Ritson. It is simply the language of a fairy speaking of men. See Mr. Douce's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 185.

Theobald proposed to read their winter cheer,' 9 This singular image was probably suggested to the poet by Golding's translation of Ovid, B. ii.: And lastly quaking for the colde, stoode Winter all forlorne,

With rugged head as white as dove, and garments all



10 Autumn producing flowers unseasonably upon those of Summer.

11 The confusion of seasons here described is no more than a poetical account of the weather which happened in England about the time when the Midsummer-Night's Dream was written. The date of the piece may be determined by Churchyard's description of the same kind of weather in his 'Charitie,' 1595. Shakspeare fauci fully ascribes this distemperature of seasons to a quar. rel between the playful rulers of the fairy world; Churchyard, broken down by age and misfortunes, is seriously disposed to represent it as a judgment from the Almighty on the offences of mankind.

12 Produce. So in Shakspeare's 97th Sonnet;
The teeming Autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime.'
13 Page of honour.

14 It is well known that a compliment to Queen Elizabeth was intended in this very beautiful passage. Warburton has attempted to show, that by the mermaid in the preceding lines, Mary Queen of Scots was iotended. It is argued with his usual fanciful ingenuity, but will not bear the test of examination, and has been satisfactorily controverted. It appears to have been no uncommon practice to introduce a compliment to Elizabeth in the body of a play.

And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts:
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon;
And the imperial vot'ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.1

Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,-
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it, love-in-idleness.2

Fetch me that flower: the herb I show'd thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb: and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.
[Exit PUCK.
Having once this juice,
I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,)
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.

And ere I take this charm off from her sight
(As I can take it with another herb,)
I'll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible;
And I will overhear their conference.

Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him.
Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander, and fair Hermia?
The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
Thou told'st me they were stol'n into this wood,
And here am I, and wood3 within this wood,
Because I cannot meet with Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant ;4
But yet you draw not iron,
for my heart
Is true as steel; Leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.

Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair? Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth Tell you-I do not, nor I cannot love you? Hel. And even for that do I love you

the more.

I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.

What worser place can I beg in your love,
(And yet a place of high respect with me,

Than to be used as you

do your dog?

Then how can it be said, I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?
Dem. I'll run from thee, and hide me in the

And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.

Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you. Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd; Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase; The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind Makes speed to catch the tiger. Bootless speed! When cowardice pursues, and valour flies.

Dem. I will not stay thy questions; let me go: Or, if thou follow me, do not believe But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.

Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field, You do me mischief. Fye, Demetrius ! Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex We cannot fight for love, as men may do We should be woo'd, and were not made to woo. I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love so well.

[Exeunt DEM. and HEL. Obe. Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave

this grove,

Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.

Re-enter PUCK.

Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer. Puck. Ay, there it is.

I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamel'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove:
A sweet Athenian lady is in love

With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
But do it, when the next thing he espies
May be the lady: Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her, than she upon her love:
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so

SCENE III. Another part of the Wood. Ente
TITANIA, with her train.

Tita. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy song;

Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;


For I am sick, when I do look on thee.

Hel. And I am sick, when I look not on you.
Dem. You do impeach your modesty too much
To leave the city, and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not;
To trust the opportunity of night,
And the ill counsel of a desert place,
With the rich worth of your virginity.

Hel. Your virtue is my privilege for that.
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night:
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company
For you, in my respect, are all the world:"

1 Exempt from the power of love.

2 The tricolored violet, commonly called pansies, or heartsease, is here meant; one or two of its petals are of a purple colour. It has other fanciful and expressive names, such as-Cuddle me to you; Three faces under a hood; Herb trinity, &c.

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Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds; Some, war with rear-mice1o for their leathern wings To make my small elves coats; and some, kee


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8 Steevens thinks this rhyme of man and on a sui cient proof that the broad Scotch pronunciation en prevailed in England. But our ancient poets were particular in making their rhymes correspond in soun and I very much doubt a conclusion made upon su slender grounds.

9 The roundel, or round, as its name implies, was dance of a circular kind. 11 Sports 12 Efts.

10 Bats.

13 Slow-worms.

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so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;

For beasts that meet me, run away for fear:
Therefore, no marvel, though Demetrius
Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
But who is here ?-Lysander! on the ground!

Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound:


And to speak troth, I have forgot our way;
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

Her. Be it so, Lysander; find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.

Lys. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
Her. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.

Lys. O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence ;
Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit;
So that but one heart we can make of it:
Two bosoms interchained with an oath;
So then, two bosoms, and a single troth.
Then, by your side no bed-room me deny;
For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.


Her. Lysander riddles very prettily:-
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say, Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
Le farther off; in human modesty
Such separation, as, may well be said,
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
So far be distant; and good night, sweet friend:
Thy love ne'er alter, till thy sweet life end!
Lys. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
And then end life, when I end loyalty!
Here is my bed: Sleep give thee all his rest!
Her. With half that wish the wisher's eyes be
[They sleep.

Enter PUCK.

Puck. Through the forest have I gone,

But Athenian found I none,
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
Night and silence! who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
On the dark and dirty ground.

1 The small tiger, or tiger-cat.
25.e. understand the meaning of my innocence, or
* Innocent meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy
In the conversation of those who are assured of
chother's kindness, not suspicion but love takes the

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Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.
Lys. And run through fire I will, for thy sweet
Transparent Helena; Nature shows her art,"
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!

Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so: What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?

Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.

Lys. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia, but Helena I love:

Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway'd;
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season:
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will,
And leads me to your eyes; where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When, at your hands, did I deserve this scorn?
Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well: perforce I must confess,
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady, of one man refus'd,
Should of another, therefore be abus'd!
Lys. She sees not Hermia!-Hermia, sleep thou


And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings;
Or, as the heresies, that men do leave,
Are hated most of those they did deceive;

4 Possess.

5 So in Macbeth:

Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid.'


6 i. e. the lesser my acceptableness, the favour I can gain.

7 The quartos have only-Nature shews art.' The first folio Nature her shews art. The second folio changes her to here. Malone thought we should read, "Nature shews her art.' 8 i. do not ripen to it.

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