A Midsummer Night’s Dream
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Navigate this workA Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 3, scene 2
Robin Goodfellow reports to Oberon about Titania and Bottom. When Demetrius enters wooing Hermia, Oberon discovers that Robin has anointed the eyes of the wrong Athenian. Oberon then orders Robin to fetch Helena while he anoints the eyes of the sleeping Demetrius. Helena enters pursued by Lysander vowing his love. Demetrius awakes, falls in love with Helena, and also begins to woo her. Helena believes both men are mocking her. When Hermia arrives and learns that Lysander has abandoned her for Helena, she threatens Helena, who thinks that Hermia is part of the conspiracy. Lysander and Demetrius prepare to duel to prove their right to Helena. At Oberon’s command, Robin impersonates each of the two men in turn in order to lead the other astray until both, exhausted, fall asleep. Helena and Hermia also fall asleep. Robin applies nectar to Lysander’s eyes to undo the spell that has drawn him to Helena.Enter ⌜Oberon,⌝ King of Fairies.
1012 I wonder if Titania be awaked;
1013 Then what it was that next came in her eye,
1014 Which she must dote on in extremity.
⌜Enter Robin Goodfellow.⌝
1015 Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit?
1016 5 What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
1017 My mistress with a monster is in love.
1018 Near to her close and consecrated bower,
1019 While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
1020 A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
1021 10 That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
1022 Were met together to rehearse a play
1023 Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day.
1024 The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
1025 Who Pyramus presented in their sport,
1026 15 Forsook his scene and entered in a brake.
1027 When I did him at this advantage take,
1028 An ass’s noll I fixèd on his head.
1029 Anon his Thisbe must be answerèd,
1030 And forth my ⌜mimic⌝ comes. When they him spy,
1031 20 As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
1032 Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
1033 Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
1034 Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
1035 So at his sight away his fellows fly,
1036 25 And, at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls.
1037 He “Murder” cries and help from Athens calls.
1038 Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus
1040 Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
1042 Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things
1044 I led them on in this distracted fear
1045 And left sweet Pyramus translated there.
1046 35 When in that moment, so it came to pass,
1047 Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
1048 This falls out better than I could devise.
1049 But hast thou yet latched the Athenian’s eyes
1050 With the love juice, as I did bid thee do?
1051 40 I took him sleeping—that is finished, too—
1052 And the Athenian woman by his side,
1053 That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.
Enter Demetrius and Hermia.
1054 Stand close. This is the same Athenian.
1055 This is the woman, but not this the man.
⌜They step aside.⌝
1056 45 O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
1057 Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe!
1058 Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse,
1059 For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
1060 If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
1061 50 Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep
1062 And kill me too.
1063 The sun was not so true unto the day
1064 As he to me. Would he have stolen away
1065 From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon
1066 55 This whole Earth may be bored, and that the moon
1067 May through the center creep and so displease
1069 It cannot be but thou hast murdered him.
1070 So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.
1071 60 So should the murdered look, and so should I,
1072 Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.
1073 Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
1074 As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
1075 What’s this to my Lysander? Where is he?
1076 65 Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
1077 I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
1078 Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou driv’st me past the bounds
1079 Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
1080 Henceforth be never numbered among men.
1081 70 O, once tell true! Tell true, even for my sake!
1082 Durst thou have looked upon him, being awake?
1083 And hast thou killed him sleeping? O brave touch!
1084 Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
1085 An adder did it, for with doubler tongue
1086 75 Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
1087 You spend your passion on a misprised mood.
1088 I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood,
1089 Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
1090 I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
1091 80 An if I could, what should I get therefor?
1092 A privilege never to see me more.
1093 And from thy hated presence part I ⌜so.⌝
1094 See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
1095 There is no following her in this fierce vein.
1096 85 Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.
1097 So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
1098 For debt that bankrout ⌜sleep⌝ doth sorrow owe,
1099 Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
1100 If for his tender here I make some stay.
⌜He⌝ lies down ⌜and falls asleep.⌝
OBERON, ⌜to Robin⌝
1101 90 What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite
1102 And laid the love juice on some true-love’s sight.
1103 Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
1104 Some true-love turned, and not a false turned true.
1105 Then fate o’errules, that, one man holding troth,
1106 95 A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
1107 About the wood go swifter than the wind,
1108 And Helena of Athens look thou find.
1109 All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer
1110 With sighs of love that costs the fresh blood dear.
1111 100 By some illusion see thou bring her here.
1112 I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
ROBIN 1113 I go, I go, look how I go,
1114 Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.⌜He exits.⌝
OBERON, ⌜applying the nectar to Demetrius’ eyes⌝
1115 Flower of this purple dye,
1116 105 Hit with Cupid’s archery,
1117 Sink in apple of his eye.
1118 When his love he doth espy,
1119 Let her shine as gloriously
1120 As the Venus of the sky.—
1121 110 When thou wak’st, if she be by,
1122 Beg of her for remedy.
1123 Captain of our fairy band,
1124 Helena is here at hand,
1125 And the youth, mistook by me,
1126 115 Pleading for a lover’s fee.
1127 Shall we their fond pageant see?
1128 Lord, what fools these mortals be!
1129 Stand aside. The noise they make
1130 Will cause Demetrius to awake.
1131 120 Then will two at once woo one.
1132 That must needs be sport alone.
1133 And those things do best please me
1134 That befall prepost’rously.
⌜They step aside.⌝
Enter Lysander and Helena.
1135 Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
1136 125 Scorn and derision never come in tears.
1137 Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
1138 In their nativity all truth appears.
1139 How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
1140 Bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?
1141 130 You do advance your cunning more and more.
1142 When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray!
1143 These vows are Hermia’s. Will you give her o’er?
1144 Weigh oath with oath and you will nothing
1146 135 Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
1147 Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
1148 I had no judgment when to her I swore.
1149 Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.
1150 Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
DEMETRIUS, ⌜waking up⌝
1151 140 O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
1152 To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
1153 Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
1154 Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
1155 That pure congealèd white, high Taurus’ snow,
1156 145 Fanned with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
1157 When thou hold’st up thy hand. O, let me kiss
1158 This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
1159 O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
1160 To set against me for your merriment.
1161 150 If you were civil and knew courtesy,
1162 You would not do me thus much injury.
1163 Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
1164 But you must join in souls to mock me too?
1165 If you were men, as men you are in show,
1166 155 You would not use a gentle lady so,
1167 To vow and swear and superpraise my parts,
1168 When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
1169 You both are rivals and love Hermia,
1170 And now both rivals to mock Helena.
1171 160 A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
1172 To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
1173 With your derision! None of noble sort
1174 Would so offend a virgin and extort
1175 A poor soul’s patience, all to make you sport.
1176 165 You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so,
1177 For you love Hermia; this you know I know.
1178 And here with all goodwill, with all my heart,
1179 In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part.
1180 And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
1181 170 Whom I do love and will do till my death.
1182 Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
1183 Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.
1184 If e’er I loved her, all that love is gone.
1185 My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned,
1186 175 And now to Helen is it home returned,
1187 There to remain.
LYSANDER 1188 Helen, it is not so.
1189 Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
1190 Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear.
1191 180 Look where thy love comes. Yonder is thy dear.
HERMIA, ⌜to Lysander⌝
1192 Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
1193 The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
1194 Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
1195 It pays the hearing double recompense.
1196 185 Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
1197 Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.
1198 But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
1199 Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?
1200 What love could press Lysander from my side?
1201 190 Lysander’s love, that would not let him bide,
1202 Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
1203 Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light.
1204 Why seek’st thou me? Could not this make thee
1206 195 The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
1207 You speak not as you think. It cannot be.
1208 Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
1209 Now I perceive they have conjoined all three
1210 To fashion this false sport in spite of me.—
1211 200 Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid,
1212 Have you conspired, have you with these contrived,
1213 To bait me with this foul derision?
1214 Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
1215 The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent
1216 205 When we have chid the hasty-footed time
1217 For parting us—O, is all forgot?
1218 All schooldays’ friendship, childhood innocence?
1219 We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
1220 Have with our needles created both one flower,
1221 210 Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
1222 Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
1223 As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds
1224 Had been incorporate. So we grew together
1225 Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
1226 215 But yet an union in partition,
1227 Two lovely berries molded on one stem;
1228 So with two seeming bodies but one heart,
1229 Two of the first, ⌜like⌝ coats in heraldry,
1230 Due but to one, and crownèd with one crest.
1231 220 And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
1232 To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
1233 It is not friendly; ’tis not maidenly.
1234 Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
1235 Though I alone do feel the injury.
1236 225 I am amazèd at your words.
1237 I scorn you not. It seems that you scorn me.
1238 Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
1239 To follow me and praise my eyes and face,
1240 And made your other love, Demetrius,
1242 To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
1243 Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
1244 To her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander
1245 Deny your love (so rich within his soul)
1246 235 And tender me, forsooth, affection,
1247 But by your setting on, by your consent?
1248 What though I be not so in grace as you,
1249 So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
1250 But miserable most, to love unloved?
1251 240 This you should pity rather than despise.
1252 I understand not what you mean by this.
1253 Ay, do. Persever, counterfeit sad looks,
1254 Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,
1255 Wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up.
1256 245 This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
1257 If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
1258 You would not make me such an argument.
1259 But fare you well. ’Tis partly my own fault,
1260 Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
1261 250 Stay, gentle Helena. Hear my excuse,
1262 My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena.
1263 O excellent!
HERMIA, ⌜to Lysander⌝
1264 Sweet, do not scorn her so.
DEMETRIUS, ⌜to Lysander⌝
1265 If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
1266 255 Thou canst compel no more than she entreat.
1267 Thy threats have no more strength than her weak
1269 Helen, I love thee. By my life, I do.
1271 260 To prove him false that says I love thee not.
1272 I say I love thee more than he can do.
1273 If thou say so, withdraw and prove it too.
1274 Quick, come.
HERMIA 1275 Lysander, whereto tends all this?
⌜She takes hold of Lysander.⌝
1276 265 Away, you Ethiop!
DEMETRIUS, ⌜to Hermia⌝
1277 No, no. He’ll
1278 Seem to break loose. ⌜To Lysander.⌝ Take on as you
1279 would follow,
1280 But yet come not. You are a tame man, go!
LYSANDER, ⌜to Hermia⌝
1281 270 Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose,
1282 Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
1283 Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
1284 Sweet love?
LYSANDER 1285 Thy love? Out, tawny Tartar, out!
1286 275 Out, loathèd med’cine! O, hated potion, hence!
1287 Do you not jest?
HELENA 1288 Yes, sooth, and so do you.
1289 Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
1290 I would I had your bond. For I perceive
1291 280 A weak bond holds you. I’ll not trust your word.
1292 What? Should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
1293 Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so.
1294 What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
1295 Hate me? Wherefore? O me, what news, my love?
1296 285 Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
1297 I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
1298 Since night you loved me; yet since night you left
1300 Why, then, you left me—O, the gods forbid!—
1301 290 In earnest, shall I say?
LYSANDER 1302 Ay, by my life,
1303 And never did desire to see thee more.
1304 Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt.
1305 Be certain, nothing truer, ’tis no jest
1306 295 That I do hate thee and love Helena.
⌜Hermia turns him loose.⌝
1307 O me! ⌜To Helena.⌝ You juggler, you cankerblossom,
1308 You thief of love! What, have you come by night
1309 And stol’n my love’s heart from him?
HELENA 1310 Fine, i’ faith.
1311 300 Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
1312 No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
1313 Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
1314 Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
1315 “Puppet”? Why so? Ay, that way goes the game.
1316 305 Now I perceive that she hath made compare
1317 Between our statures; she hath urged her height,
1318 And with her personage, her tall personage,
1319 Her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed with him.
1320 And are you grown so high in his esteem
1321 310 Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
1322 How low am I, thou painted maypole? Speak!
1323 How low am I? I am not yet so low
1324 But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
1325 I pray you, though you mock me, ⌜gentlemen,⌝
1326 315 Let her not hurt me. I was never curst;
1327 I have no gift at all in shrewishness.
1328 I am a right maid for my cowardice.
1329 Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
1330 Because she is something lower than myself,
1331 320 That I can match her.
HERMIA 1332 “Lower”? Hark, again!
1333 Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
1334 I evermore did love you, Hermia,
1335 Did ever keep your counsels, never wronged you—
1336 325 Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
1337 I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
1338 He followed you; for love, I followed him.
1339 But he hath chid me hence and threatened me
1340 To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too.
1341 330 And now, so you will let me quiet go,
1342 To Athens will I bear my folly back
1343 And follow you no further. Let me go.
1344 You see how simple and how fond I am.
1345 Why, get you gone. Who is ’t that hinders you?
1346 335 A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
1347 What, with Lysander?
HELENA 1348 With Demetrius.
1349 Be not afraid. She shall not harm thee, Helena.
1350 No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
1351 340 O, when she is angry, she is keen and shrewd.
1352 She was a vixen when she went to school,
1353 And though she be but little, she is fierce.
1354 “Little” again? Nothing ⌜but⌝ “low” and “little”?
1355 Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
1356 345 Let me come to her.
LYSANDER 1357 Get you gone, you dwarf,
1358 You minimus of hind’ring knotgrass made,
1359 You bead, you acorn—
DEMETRIUS 1360 You are too officious
1361 350 In her behalf that scorns your services.
1362 Let her alone. Speak not of Helena.
1363 Take not her part. For if thou dost intend
1364 Never so little show of love to her,
1365 Thou shalt aby it.
LYSANDER 1366 355 Now she holds me not.
1367 Now follow, if thou dar’st, to try whose right,
1368 Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
1369 “Follow”? Nay, I’ll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
⌜Demetrius and Lysander exit.⌝
1370 You, mistress, all this coil is long of you.
1371 360 Nay, go not back.
HELENA 1372 I will not trust you, I,
1373 Nor longer stay in your curst company.
1374 Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray.
1375 My legs are longer though, to run away.⌜She exits.⌝
1376 365 I am amazed and know not what to say.⌜She exits.⌝
OBERON, ⌜to Robin⌝
1377 This is thy negligence. Still thou mistak’st,
1378 Or else committ’st thy knaveries willfully.
1379 Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
1380 Did not you tell me I should know the man
1381 370 By the Athenian garments he had on?
1383 That I have ’nointed an Athenian’s eyes;
1384 And so far am I glad it so did sort,
1385 As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
1386 375 Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight.
1387 Hie, therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
1388 The starry welkin cover thou anon
1389 With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
1390 And lead these testy rivals so astray
1391 380 As one come not within another’s way.
1392 Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue;
1393 Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong.
1394 And sometime rail thou like Demetrius.
1395 And from each other look thou lead them thus,
1396 385 Till o’er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
1397 With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.
1398 Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye,
⌜He gives a flower to Robin.⌝
1399 Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
1400 To take from thence all error with his might
1401 390 And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
1402 When they next wake, all this derision
1403 Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision.
1404 And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
1405 With league whose date till death shall never end.
1406 395 Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
1407 I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
1408 And then I will her charmèd eye release
1409 From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.
1410 My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
1411 400 For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
1412 And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger,
1413 At whose approach, ghosts wand’ring here and
1416 405 That in crossways and floods have burial,
1417 Already to their wormy beds are gone.
1418 For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
1419 They willfully themselves exile from light
1420 And must for aye consort with black-browed night.
1421 410 But we are spirits of another sort.
1422 I with the Morning’s love have oft made sport
1423 And, like a forester, the groves may tread
1424 Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
1425 Opening on Neptune with fair blessèd beams,
1426 415 Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams.
1427 But notwithstanding, haste! Make no delay.
1428 We may effect this business yet ere day.⌜He exits.⌝
1429 Up and down, up and down,
1430 I will lead them up and down.
1431 420 I am feared in field and town.
1432 Goblin, lead them up and down.
1433 Here comes one.
1434 Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.
ROBIN, ⌜in Demetrius’ voice⌝
1435 Here, villain, drawn and ready. Where art thou?
LYSANDER 1436 425I will be with thee straight.
ROBIN, ⌜in Demetrius’ voice⌝ 1437 Follow me, then, to
1438 plainer ground.⌜Lysander exits.⌝
DEMETRIUS 1439 Lysander, speak again.
1440 Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
1441 430 Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy
1443 Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
1444 Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars,
1445 And wilt not come? Come, recreant! Come, thou
1446 435 child!
1447 I’ll whip thee with a rod. He is defiled
1448 That draws a sword on thee.
DEMETRIUS 1449 Yea, art thou there?
ROBIN, ⌜in Lysander’s voice⌝
1450 Follow my voice. We’ll try no manhood here.
1451 440 He goes before me and still dares me on.
1452 When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
1453 The villain is much lighter-heeled than I.
1454 I followed fast, but faster he did fly,
1455 That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
1456 445 And here will rest me. Come, thou gentle day,
1457 For if but once thou show me thy gray light,
1458 I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
⌜He lies down and sleeps.⌝
⌜Enter⌝ Robin and Demetrius.
ROBIN, ⌜in Lysander’s voice⌝
1459 Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why com’st thou not?
1460 Abide me, if thou dar’st, for well I wot
1461 450 Thou runn’st before me, shifting every place,
1462 And dar’st not stand nor look me in the face.
1463 Where art thou now?
ROBIN, ⌜in Lysander’s voice⌝
1464 Come hither. I am here.
1465 Nay, then, thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this
1466 455 dear
1468 Now go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
1469 To measure out my length on this cold bed.
1470 By day’s approach look to be visited.
⌜He lies down and sleeps.⌝
1471 460 O weary night, O long and tedious night,
1472 Abate thy hours! Shine, comforts, from the east,
1473 That I may back to Athens by daylight
1474 From these that my poor company detest.
1475 And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
1476 465 Steal me awhile from mine own company.
⌜She lies down and⌝ sleeps.
1477 Yet but three? Come one more.
1478 Two of both kinds makes up four.
1479 Here she comes, curst and sad.
1480 Cupid is a knavish lad
1481 470 Thus to make poor females mad.
1482 Never so weary, never so in woe,
1483 Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
1484 I can no further crawl, no further go.
1485 My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
1486 475 Here will I rest me till the break of day.
1487 Heavens shield Lysander if they mean a fray!
⌜She lies down and sleeps.⌝
1488 On the ground
1489 Sleep sound.
1490 I’ll apply
1491 480 ⌜To⌝ your eye,
1492 Gentle lover, remedy.
to Lysander’s eyes.⌝
1493 When thou wak’st,
1494 Thou tak’st
1495 True delight
1496 485 In the sight
1497 Of thy former lady’s eye.
1498 And the country proverb known,
1499 That every man should take his own,
1500 In your waking shall be shown.
1501 490 Jack shall have Jill;
1502 Naught shall go ill;
1503 The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be