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1 Fai. Hail, mortal!

2 Fai.


3 Fai.


4 Fai. Hail!

Bot. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily.—I beseech your worship's name?

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Cob. Cobweb.

Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance,1 good master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, honest gentleman?

Peas. Peas-blossom.

Bot. I pray you, commend me to mistress Squash,2 your mother, and to master Peascod, your father. Good master Peas-blossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?

Mus. Mustard-seed.

Bot. Good master Mustard-seed, I know your patience3 well. That same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house. I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good master Mustard-seed.

Tita. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower. The moon methinks looks with a watery eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower, Lamenting some enforced chastity. Tie up my lover's tongue; bring him silently.


SCENE II. Another Part of the Wood.


Obe. I wonder if Titania be awaked;

Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.

1 "I shall desire you of more acquaintance." This kind of phraseology

was not uncommon.

2 A squash is an immature peascod.

3 The words are spoken ironically, as it was the prevailing opinion in Shakspeare's time, that mustard excited choler.

Enter PUCK.

Here comes my messenger.-How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule1 now about this haunted grove?
Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,3
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene, and entered in a brake;
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's now14 I fixed on his head;
Anon, his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes.
mimic comes. When they
When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky,
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly:
And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.

Their sense, thus weak, lost with their fears, thus


Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some, sleeves; some, hats; from yielders all things


I led them on in this distracted fear,

And left sweet Pyramus translated there;
When, in that moment, (so it came to pass,)
Titania waked, and straightway loved an ass.

1 Revelry.

3 Barren is dull, unpregnant. Sort is company. 5 The chough is a bird of the daw kind.

2 A patch was a common contemptuous term. 4 A head.

Obe. This falls out better than I could devise. But hast thou yet latched the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Puck. I took him sleeping,-that is finished, too,And the Athenian woman by his side; That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.


Obe. Stand close; this is the same Athenian. Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man. Dem. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so? Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

Her. Now I but chide, but I should use thee


For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.

The sun was not so true unto the day,
As he to me. Would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe, as soon,
This whole earth may be bored, and that the moon
May through the centre creep, and so displease
Her brother's noontide with the Antipodes.
It cannot be, but thou hast murdered him:
So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.

Dem. So should the murdered look; and so should 1,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.
you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.

Her. What's this to my Lysander? Where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Dem. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds. Her. Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou driv'st me past the bounds

Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never numbered among men!

1 Latched or letched, licked or smeared over.

O! once tell true, tell true, even for my sake.
Durst thou have looked upon him, being awake,
And hast thou killed him sleeping? O brave touch!1
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.

Dem. You spend your passion on a misprised 2 mood.
I am not guilty of Lysander's blood;
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. Dem. An if I could, what should I get therefore? Her. A privilege, never to see me more.And from thy hated presence part I so,See me no more, whether he be dead or no.

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Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein; Here, therefore, for a while I will remain. So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow, For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe; Which now, in some slight measure, it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay. [Lies down.

Obe. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken


And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight.
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue

Some true-love turned, and not a false turned true.

Puck. Then fate o'errules; that, one man holding troth,

A million fail, confounding oath on oath.

Obe. About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find.

All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer 3
With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear.*
By some illusion see thou bring her here;
I'll charm his eyes, against she doth appear.
Puck. I go, I go; look, how I
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.



1 A touch anciently signified a trick.

2 "On a misprised mood," i. e. in a mistaken manner.

3 Cheer here signifies countenance, from cera (Ital.).

4 Alluding to the ancient supposition, that every sigh was indulged at the expense of a drop of blood."

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Obe. Stand aside; the noise they make,
Will cause Demetrius to awake.

Puck. Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me,
That befall preposterously.


Lys. Why should you think, that I should woo in


Scorn and derision never come in tears.
Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born
In their nativity all truth appears.

How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?

Hel. You do advance your cunning more and


When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray! These vows are Hermia's. Will you give her o'er?

Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh. Your vows, to her and me, put in two scales, Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.

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