SCENE I. Athens. A room in the Palace of THESEUS.
[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.]
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring
Another moon; but, oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my
Like to a step-dame or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will
quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven,
shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert
and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals--
The pale companion is
not for our pomp. --
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love doing thee injuries;
will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
[Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.]
Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
Thanks, good Egeus: what's the news with thee?
Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter
Stand forth, Demetrius.--My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry
Stand forth, Lysander;--and, my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch'd the bosom
of my child.
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
voice, verses of feigning love;
And stol'n the impression of her fantasy
of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats,
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth;--
With cunning hast thou filch'd
my daughter's heart;
Turned her obedience, which is due to me,
harshness.--And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
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
Immediately provided in that case.
What say you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid:
To you your father should be
as a god;
One that compos'd your beauties: yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
So is Lysander.
In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
other must be held the worthier.
I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made
Nor how it may concern my modesty
In such a presence here to plead my
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society of
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery
of a nun;
For aye to be shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your
Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessed they that master
so their blood
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage:
But earthlier happy is the rose
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
Take time to pause; and by the next new moon,--
The sealing-day betwixt my
love and me
For everlasting bond of fellowship,--
Upon that day either prepare to
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
on Diana's altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.
Relent, sweet Hermia;--and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my
You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry
Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
And what is mine my love shall
And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
I must confess that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to
have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it.--But,
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me;
I have some private schooling
for you both.--
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your
Or else the law of Athens yields you up,--
Which by no means we may
To death, or to a vow of single life.--
Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along;
I must employ you in some business
nuptial, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
With duty and desire we follow you.
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, DEMETRIUS, and Train.]
How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do
fade so fast?
Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Between them from the tempest of
Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But either it was different in
O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!
Or else misgraffed in respect of years;--
O spite! too old to be engag'd to young!
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:
O hell! to choose love by another's eye!
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness, did lay
siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any
Brief as the lightning in the collied night
That, in a spleen, unfolds both
heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say, Behold!
The jaws of darkness do
devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
If then true lovers have ever cross'd,
It stands as an edict in
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross;
to love as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers.
A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me
Steal forth thy father's house tomorrow night;
And in the wood, a league without
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of
There will I stay for thee.
My good Lysander!
I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow,
By his best
arrow, with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus' doves,
By that which knitteth
souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,
false Trojan under sail was seen,--
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
more than ever women spoke,--
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
will I meet with thee.
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
God speed fair Helena! Whither away?
Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy
Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O,
were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;
My ear should catch your
voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'd give to be to you translated.
me how you look; and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart!
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
O that my prayers could such affection move!
The more I hate, the more he follows me.
The more I love, the more he hateth me.
His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
Take comfort; he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me:
then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn'd a heaven unto hell!
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed
A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,--
Through Athens' gates have we
devis'd to steal.
And in the wood where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger
Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till
morrow deep midnight.
I will, my Hermia.
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
How happy some o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
hath love's mind of any judgment taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd.
waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjur'd everywhere:
ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight;
Then to the wood will he to-morrow
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.