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THE title of this play was probably suggested (like Twelft which it was first performed; viz. at Midsummer th Entertainment of a Midsummer Night." No other grou has given to it; since the action is distinctly pointed o The piece was written in 1592; and, according to Steve Tale in Chancer, or, as Capell supposes, Shakspeare m ton's fantastical poem, called Nymphidia, or, The Court made use of the materials which Shakspeare had rendJohnson) that there is no analogy or resemblance betw other. The same critics are also at issue upon the ge clares that" all the parts, in their various modes, are w ages are insignificant--the fable meagre and uninteresti from any other female; and the solicitudes of Hermia childish and frivolous. Theseus, the companion of Herc rank and reputation: "he goes out a Maying; meets promote their happiness; but when supernatural eventand concludes the entertainment by uttering some misera These faults are, however, almost wholly redeemed, which Shakspeare has displayed in the poetry; by the of grossness) which enlivens the blunt-witted devices o admirable satire which he has passed on those self-conceit would monopolize the favours of the public, trample upBottom was perhaps the leading tragedian of some rival ass's head.

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To you your father should be as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties; yea,

Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's



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 :

Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
The. Take time to pause: and by the next

Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness :-And, my gracious

new moon,

For everlasting bond of fellowship,)
(The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For disobedience to your father's will:
Upon that day either prepare to die,
Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would:
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
For aye, austerity and single life.

Dem. Releut, sweet Hermia ;-And, Lysan-
der, yield

Lys. You have her father's love, Deme-
Thy crazed title to my certain right.

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:
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

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Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my

And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.

Lys. 1 am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more than bis;
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,

And, which is more than all these boasts can

Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

The. I must confess, that I have heard so

And with Demetrius

and But, being over-full of self-affairs,

My mind did lose it.-But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egens; you shall go with ine,
I have some private schooling for you both.-
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or else the law of Athens yield you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate,)
To death, or to a vow of single life.-
Come, my Hippolyta ; What cheer, my love ?--
I must employ you in some business
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Against our nuptial; and confer with you
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you.

[Exeunt THES. HIP. EGE. DEM. and

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


I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia:


The. Rather your eyes must with his judg.

ment look.

Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am inade 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 befall 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 your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's

You can endure the livery of a nun;
For ayet to be in shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chaunting faint bymns to the cold fruitless

that master 80 their

& Ever.

thought to bave spoke

Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?

How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

Her. Belike for want of rain; which I could

Beteem them + from the tempest of mine eyes.
Lys. Ah! me, for aught that ever I could
Could ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smooth:
But, either it was different in blood;

Her. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to

Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of years
Her. O spite! too old to be engag'd to

Lys. Or else it stood upon the choice of
Her. O hell! to choose love by another's eye t
• Wicked.

f Give, bestow.


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Demetrius loves your fair : O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's

sweet air

More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds

Sickness is catching; Oh! were favour § so!
Your's would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go ;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your


My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet

Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'll give to be to you translated.
O teach me how you look; and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me

Hel. Oh! that your frowns would teach my
smiles such skill!

Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me


Hel. Oh! that my prayers could such affection

move !

Her. The more I hate, the more he follows

• Black.
Pole stars.


Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me.










loves ;

And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage

When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever woman spoke ;-
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will meet with thee.



Lys. Keep promise, love: Look, here comes Win







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Scene III. able 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. Well, I will undertake it. were I best to play it in?

Quin. Why, what you will.

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

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

Quin. You, Nick Bottom are set down for

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

some tears in the true Bot. That will ask performing of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes: I will move storms, I will To the rest :-Yet condole in some measure. my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.

Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallant-moon-light; there will we rehearse for if we
meet in the city, we shall be dog'd with com-
In the mean
ly for love.
pany, and our devices known.
I pray you, fail me not.
time I will draw a bill of properties, such as
our play wants.
Bot. We will meet; and there we may re-
and courageously.
more obscenely,
Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.

Bot. Enough; Hold, or cut bow-strings. +

"The raging rocks,
"With shivering shocks,
"Shall break the locks

"Of prison-gates :
"And Phibbus' car
"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.
Plu. 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

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play
Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little
Toice ;-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, Pe.er Quince.
Starveling, you must
Quin. Robin
Thisby's mother.-Tom Snout, the tinker.
Snout. Here, Peter Quince.


Quin. You, Pyramus' 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.


What beard


SCENE 1.-A Wood near Athens.

Enter a FAIRY at one door, and Pvc at

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 bang us all.

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 every where,

Swifter than the moones sphere;


must go seek some dew-drops here, And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear. Farewell, thou lobý of spirits, I'll be gone : Our queen and all our elves come here anon. Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night;

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:

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 forests wild :
But she, perforce, withholds the loved 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 star-light sheen, [
But they do square; that all their elves, for

Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there.
Fei. Either 1 mistake your shape and making

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
1 will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar
I will
yo as gently as any sucking dove;
rear you an 'twere any nightingale.

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;
the breathless housewife
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern,
bear no
And bootless make
sometime make the drink to
barm; ++
laughing at
Mislead night-wanderers,
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Pack,
You do their work, and they shall have good


luck :

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus :
for Pyramus is a sweet-faced mar; a proper
man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a
man; therefore Are not you be?
most lovely, gentleman-like
you must needs play Pyramus.

• As if.

• Articles required in performing a play.
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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 sometimes 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 wither'd dew-lap 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, Fairy here comes Oberon.
Fai. And here my mistress :-'Would
he were gone!


Enter OBERON, at one door, with his train, and TITANIA, at another, with her's. Obe. Il met by moon-light, proud Titania. Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence;

I have forsworn his bed and company.

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, Playing 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 you come To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,

Glance at my credit with Hyppolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmer-
ing night

The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot'ress of my order: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side; And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, that Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laugh'u to see the sails conceive, And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind: Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait, (Following her womb, then rich with my young 'squire,)

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

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-

If you will patiently dance in our round,
And see our moon-light revels, go with as;
If not shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with

From Perigenia, whom he ravish'd ?
And make him with fair Æglé break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa?


Tita. 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 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: t The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green


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;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest :-
Therefore the moon, the governess 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;
Aud on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,
An oderous chaplet of sweet summer buds

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Is, as in mockery, set: The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter change
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, † now knows not which is

And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissention;
We are their parents and original.

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

Tita. Set your heart at rest,

Tita. Not for thy kingdom.-Fairies, away: We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay. [Exeunt TITANIA, and her train. Obe. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove, Till I torment thee for this injury.

My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.

Puck. I remember.

Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou couldst not,)

Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west;
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bon
As it should pierce a hundred thousand beasts:
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wathy


And the imperial vot'ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free. §
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

And maidens call it, love-in-idleness.
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 thon here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

uck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes. [Erit PLOK

Obe. Having once this juice,

Autumn producing flowers unseasonably. t Produce. I Page. Exempt from love.

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