Page images

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 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 't were any nightingale.

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus : for Pyramus is a sweetfaced man; a proper man as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentlemanlike 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


will. Bot. I will discharge it in either your strawcoloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crowncoloured beard, your perfect yellow.

Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play barefaced. 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 moonlight; there will we rehearse: for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogged with company, and our devices known. In the mean time, I will draw a bill of properties, 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 bowstrings.

(Exeunt. SCENE I.- A Wood near Athens.


Are not you

Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck at another.

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

Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moonés sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green:
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours ;

In those freckles live their savours :
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits, I'll be gone;
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-

night; 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, stolen from an Indian king; She never had so sweet a changéling: And jealous Oberon would have the child Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild : But she perforce withholds the lovéd boy ; Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her

joy: And now they never meet in grove or green, By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen, But they do square ; that all their elves, for fear, Creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there. Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making


Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Called Robin Goodfellow: are you not he
That fright the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck:

Puck. 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;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
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 waxen 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!

Scene II.

Enter Oberon, at one door, with his Train; and

Titania, at another, with hers.
Obe. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip bence; I have forsworn his bed and company.


Obe. Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord ? Obe. Do you amend it, then; it lies in you:

Tita. Then I must be thy lady. But I know Why should Titania cross her Oberon? When thou hast stolen away from fairy land, I do but beg a little changeling boy, And in the shape of Corin sat all day,

To be my henchman.
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love

Tita. Set your heart at rest;
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here, The fairy land buys not the child of me.
Come from the farthest steep of India ?

His mother was a votaress of my order:
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon, And, in the spicéd Indian air, by night,
Your buskined mistress and your warrior love, Full often hath she gossiped by my side;
To Theseus must be wedded; and you come And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Marking the embarkéd traders on the flood; Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, When we have laughed to see the sails conceive Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,

And grow big-bellied with the wanton-wind: Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ?

Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait, Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering Following (her womb then rich with my young night

squire), From Perigenia, whom he ravishéd ?

Would imitate; and sail upon the land And make him with fair Æglé break his faith, To fetch me trifles, and return again With Ariadne, and Antiopa ?

As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy: But she, being mortal, of that boy did die ; And never, since the middle summer's spring, And for her sake I do rear up the boy; Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,

And for her sake I will not part with him. By pavéd fountain, or by rushy brook,

Obe. How long within this wood intend you Or on the beachéd margent of the sea, To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, Tita. Perchance till after Theseus' weddingBut with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our

day. sport.

If you will patiently dance in our round, Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, And see our moonlight revels, go with us : As in revenge, have sucked up from the sea If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts. Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land, Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with Have every pelting river made so proud,

thee. That they have overborne their continents. Tita. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies away: The ox hath therefore stretched his yoke in vain, We shall chide downright, if I longer stay. The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn

[Exeunt Titania and her Train. Hath rotted ere his youth attained a beard : Obe. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from The fold stands empty in the drownéd field, The crows are fatted with the murrain flock; Till I torment thee for this injury.The nine-men's morris is filled up with mud; My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberst And the quaint mazes in the wanton green, Since once I sat upon a promontory, For lack of tread, are undistinguishable;

And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, The human mortals want their winter here; Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, No night is now with hymn or carol blest. That the rude sea grew civil at her song; Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, Pale in her anger, washes all the air,

To hear the sea-maid's music? That rheumatic diseases do abound.

Puck. I remember. And thorough this distemperature, we see

Obe. That very time I saw (but thou couldst The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts

Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose : Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
And on old Hyems' chin and icy crown, Cupid all armed : a certain aim he took
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds At a fair vestal, thronéd by the west;

, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer, And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazéd world, But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
By their increase, now knows not which is which : Quenched in the chaste beams of the watery
And this same progeny of evils comes

moon; From our debate, from our dissension ;

And the imperial votaress passéd on, We are their parents and original.

In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

this grove

Yet marked 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.
Fetch me that flower: the herb I shewed thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids 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. Obe. 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.

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 :
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

brakes, 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 changed; 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. Fie, Demetrius! Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex: We cannot fight for love, as men may do; We should be wooed, and were not made to

[blocks in formation]

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 stolen into this wood, And here am I, and wood within this wood, Because I cannot meet my Hermia. Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.

Hel. You draw me, you hardhearted adamant, 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


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 uséd as you use your dog? Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my

spirit; 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,

Re-enter Puck. Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.

Puck. Ay, there it is.

Obe. 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, Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight; And there the snake throws her enamelled 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.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »