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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
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Navigate this workA Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 2, scene 1
Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, quarrel over possession of a young Indian boy. Oberon orders Robin Goodfellow, a hobgoblin or “puck,” to obtain a special flower that makes people fall in love with the next creature they see. Oberon wants to make Titania fall in love with a beast and use her infatuation to get the Indian boy from her. Demetrius enters pursued by Helena, whom he tries to drive off. When Robin returns, Oberon, who sympathizes with Helena’s love, orders him to find the Athenian man (i.e., Demetrius) and apply some of the flower’s magic nectar to his eyes.Enter a Fairy at one door and Robin Goodfellow at
0365 How now, spirit? Whither wander you?
0366 Over hill, over dale,
0367 Thorough bush, thorough brier,
0368 Over park, over pale,
0369 5 Thorough flood, thorough fire;
0370 I do wander everywhere,
0371 Swifter than the moon’s sphere.
0372 And I serve the Fairy Queen,
0373 To dew her orbs upon the green.
0374 10 The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
0375 In their gold coats spots you see;
0376 Those be rubies, fairy favors;
0377 In those freckles live their savors.
0378 I must go seek some dewdrops here
0379 15 And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
0380 Farewell, thou lob of spirits. I’ll be gone.
0381 Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
0382 The King doth keep his revels here tonight.
0383 Take heed the Queen come not within his sight,
p. 370384 20 For Oberon is passing fell and wrath
0385 Because that she, as her attendant, hath
0386 A lovely boy stolen from an Indian king;
0387 She never had so sweet a changeling.
0388 And jealous Oberon would have the child
0389 25 Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild.
0390 But she perforce withholds the lovèd boy,
0391 Crowns him with flowers and makes him all her
0393 And now they never meet in grove or green,
0394 30 By fountain clear or spangled starlight sheen,
0395 But they do square, that all their elves for fear
0396 Creep into acorn cups and hide them there.
0397 Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
0398 Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
0399 35 Called Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he
0400 That frights the maidens of the villagery,
0401 Skim milk, and sometimes labor in the quern
0402 And bootless make the breathless huswife churn,
0403 And sometime make the drink to bear no barm,
0404 40 Mislead night wanderers, laughing at their harm?
0405 Those that “Hobgoblin” call you and “sweet Puck,”
0406 You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
0407 Are not you he?
ROBIN 0408 Thou speakest aright.
0409 45 I am that merry wanderer of the night.
0410 I jest to Oberon and make him smile
0411 When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
0412 Neighing in likeness of a filly foal.
0413 And sometime lurk I in a gossip’s bowl
0414 50 In very likeness of a roasted crab,
0415 And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob
0416 And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
0417 The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
0418 Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
p. 390419 55 Then slip I from her bum, down topples she
0420 And “Tailor!” cries and falls into a cough,
0421 And then the whole choir hold their hips and loffe
0422 And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
0423 A merrier hour was never wasted there.
0424 60 But room, fairy. Here comes Oberon.
0425 And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
Enter ⌜Oberon⌝ the King of Fairies at one door, with his
train, and ⌜Titania⌝ the Queen at another, with hers.
0426 Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
0427 What, jealous Oberon? ⌜Fairies,⌝ skip hence.
0428 I have forsworn his bed and company.
0429 65 Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord?
0430 Then I must be thy lady. But I know
0431 When thou hast stolen away from Fairyland
0432 And in the shape of Corin sat all day
0433 Playing on pipes of corn and versing love
0434 70 To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
0435 Come from the farthest steep of India,
0436 But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
0437 Your buskined mistress and your warrior love,
0438 To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
0439 75 To give their bed joy and prosperity?
0440 How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
0441 Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
0442 Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
0443 Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering
0444 80 night
0445 From ⌜Perigouna,⌝ whom he ravishèd,
p. 410446 And make him with fair ⌜Aegles⌝ break his faith,
0447 With Ariadne and Antiopa?
0448 These are the forgeries of jealousy;
0449 85 And never, since the middle summer’s spring,
0450 Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
0451 By pavèd fountain or by rushy brook,
0452 Or in the beachèd margent of the sea,
0453 To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
0454 90 But with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport.
0455 Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
0456 As in revenge have sucked up from the sea
0457 Contagious fogs, which, falling in the land,
0458 Hath every pelting river made so proud
0459 95 That they have overborne their continents.
0460 The ox hath therefore stretched his yoke in vain,
0461 The plowman lost his sweat, and the green corn
0462 Hath rotted ere his youth attained a beard.
0463 The fold stands empty in the drownèd field,
0464 100 And crows are fatted with the murrain flock.
0465 The nine-men’s-morris is filled up with mud,
0466 And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
0467 For lack of tread, are undistinguishable.
0468 The human mortals want their winter here.
0469 105 No night is now with hymn or carol blessed.
0470 Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
0471 Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
0472 That rheumatic diseases do abound.
0473 And thorough this distemperature we see
0474 110 The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
0475 Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
0476 And on old Hiems’ ⌜thin⌝ and icy crown
0477 An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
0478 Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
0479 115 The childing autumn, angry winter, change
0480 Their wonted liveries, and the mazèd world
p. 430481 By their increase now knows not which is which.
0482 And this same progeny of evils comes
0483 From our debate, from our dissension;
0484 120 We are their parents and original.
0485 Do you amend it, then. It lies in you.
0486 Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
0487 I do but beg a little changeling boy
0488 To be my henchman.
TITANIA 0489 125 Set your heart at rest:
0490 The Fairyland buys not the child of me.
0491 His mother was a vot’ress of my order,
0492 And in the spicèd Indian air by night
0493 Full often hath she gossiped by my side
0494 130 And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands,
0495 Marking th’ embarkèd traders on the flood,
0496 When we have laughed to see the sails conceive
0497 And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
0498 Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,
0499 135 Following (her womb then rich with my young
0501 Would imitate and sail upon the land
0502 To fetch me trifles and return again,
0503 As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
0504 140 But she, being mortal, of that boy did die,
0505 And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
0506 And for her sake I will not part with him.
0507 How long within this wood intend you stay?
0508 Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding day.
0509 145 If you will patiently dance in our round
0510 And see our moonlight revels, go with us.
0511 If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
0512 Give me that boy and I will go with thee.
0513 Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away.
0514 150 We shall chide downright if I longer stay.
⌜Titania and her fairies⌝ exit.
0515 Well, go thy way. Thou shalt not from this grove
0516 Till I torment thee for this injury.—
0517 My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememb’rest
0518 Since once I sat upon a promontory
0519 155 And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
0520 Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
0521 That the rude sea grew civil at her song
0522 And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
0523 To hear the sea-maid’s music.
ROBIN 0524 160 I remember.
0525 That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
0526 Flying between the cold moon and the Earth,
0527 Cupid all armed. A certain aim he took
0528 At a fair vestal thronèd by ⌜the⌝ west,
0529 165 And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow
0530 As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts.
0531 But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
0532 Quenched in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon,
0533 And the imperial vot’ress passèd on
0534 170 In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
0535 Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
0536 It fell upon a little western flower,
0537 Before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
0538 And maidens call it “love-in-idleness.”
0539 175 Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed thee once.
0540 The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
0541 Will make or man or woman madly dote
0542 Upon the next live creature that it sees.
0543 Fetch me this herb, and be thou here again
0544 180 Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
0545 I’ll put a girdle round about the Earth
0546 In forty minutes.⌜He exits.⌝
OBERON 0547 Having once this juice,
0548 I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep
0549 185 And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
0550 The next thing then she, waking, looks upon
0551 (Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
0552 On meddling monkey, or on busy ape)
0553 She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
0554 190 And ere I take this charm from off her sight
0555 (As I can take it with another herb),
0556 I’ll make her render up her page to me.
0557 But who comes here? I am invisible,
0558 And I will overhear their conference.
Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.
0559 195 I love thee not; therefore pursue me not.
0560 Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
0561 The one I’ll stay; the other stayeth me.
0562 Thou told’st me they were stol’n unto this wood,
0563 And here am I, and wood within this wood
0564 200 Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
0565 Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
0566 You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant!
0567 But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
0568 Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw,
0569 205 And I shall have no power to follow you.
0570 Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
0571 Or rather do I not in plainest truth
0572 Tell you I do not, ⌜nor⌝ I cannot love you?
0573 And even for that do I love you the more.
p. 490574 210 I am your spaniel, and, Demetrius,
0575 The more you beat me I will fawn on you.
0576 Use me but as your spaniel: spurn me, strike me,
0577 Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave
0578 (Unworthy as I am) to follow you.
0579 215 What worser place can I beg in your love
0580 (And yet a place of high respect with me)
0581 Than to be usèd as you use your dog?
0582 Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
0583 For I am sick when I do look on thee.
0584 220 And I am sick when I look not on you.
0585 You do impeach your modesty too much
0586 To leave the city and commit yourself
0587 Into the hands of one that loves you not,
0588 To trust the opportunity of night
0589 225 And the ill counsel of a desert place
0590 With the rich worth of your virginity.
0591 Your virtue is my privilege. For that
0592 It is not night when I do see your face,
0593 Therefore I think I am not in the night.
0594 230 Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
0595 For you, in my respect, are all the world.
0596 Then, how can it be said I am alone
0597 When all the world is here to look on me?
0598 I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes
0599 235 And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
0600 The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
0601 Run when you will. The story shall be changed:
0602 Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase;
0603 The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
p. 510604 240 Makes speed to catch the tiger. Bootless speed
0605 When cowardice pursues and valor flies!
0606 I will not stay thy questions. Let me go,
0607 Or if thou follow me, do not believe
0608 But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
0609 245 Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
0610 You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
0611 Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.
0612 We cannot fight for love as men may do.
0613 We should be wooed and were not made to woo.
0614 250 I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell
0615 To die upon the hand I love so well.⌜Helena exits.⌝
0616 Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this grove,
0617 Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
0618 Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
0619 255 Ay, there it is.
OBERON 0620 I pray thee give it me.
⌜Robin gives him the flower.⌝
0621 I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
0622 Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
0623 Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
0624 260 With sweet muskroses, and with eglantine.
0625 There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
0626 Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.
0627 And there the snake throws her enameled skin,
0628 Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
0629 265 And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes
0630 And make her full of hateful fantasies.
0631 Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove.
p. 53⌜He gives Robin part of the flower.⌝
0632 A sweet Athenian lady is in love
0633 With a disdainful youth. Anoint his eyes,
0634 270 But do it when the next thing he espies
0635 May be the lady. Thou shalt know the man
0636 By the Athenian garments he hath on.
0637 Effect it with some care, that he may prove
0638 More fond on her than she upon her love.
0639 275 And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
0640 Fear not, my lord. Your servant shall do so.