Midsummer Night's Dream (1918) Yale/Text/Act II
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Midsummer Night's Dream 1918 Yale/Text/Act II




Scene One

[A Wood near Athens]

Enter a Fairy at one door, and Robin Goodfellow at another.

Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you?

Fai. Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,4
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,8
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,12
In their freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits: I'll be gone;16
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night.
Take heed the queen come not within his sight;
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,20
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 child24
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,28
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But they do square; that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn-cups and hide them there.

Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,32
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are you not he
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;37
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;
Mislead night wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck:41
Are you not he?

Puck.Fairy, thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile44
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal;
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;48
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;52
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 laugh;
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear56
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But, room, fairy! here comes Oberon.

Fai. And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!

Enter the King of Fairies [Oberon] at one door with his train; and the Queen [Titania] at another with hers.

Obe. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.60

Tita. What! jealous Oberon. Fairies, 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,65
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,68
Come from the furthest steep of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come72
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Obe. How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?76
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair Ægle 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,84
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,88
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Hath every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents:92
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard:
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,96
And crows are fatted with the murrion 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:100
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,104
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,108
And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change112
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evil comes
From our debate, from our dissension:116
We are their parents and original.

Obe. Do you amend it then; it lies in you.
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,120
To be my henchman.

Tita.Set your heart at rest;
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a votaress of my order:
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,124
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side,
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laugh'd 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,132
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,136
And for her sake I will not part with him.

Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay?

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round,140
And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.

Tita. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away!144
We shall chide downright, 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,149
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,152
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,156
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 bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft161
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.164
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 wound,
And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.168
Fetch me that flower; the herb I show'd thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.172
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.Exit.

Obe.Having once this juice,176
I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,180
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
She shall pursue it with the soul of love:
And ere I take this charm off from her sight,
As I can take it with another herb,184
I'll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible,
And I will overhear their conference.

Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.

Dem. I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.188
Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
Thou told'st me they were stol'n into this wood;
And here am I, and wood within this wood,192
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence! get thee gone, and follow me no more.

Hel. You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant:
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart196
Is true as steel: leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.

Dem. Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth200
Tell you I do not nor I cannot love you?

Hel. And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:204
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love,208
And yet a place of high respect with me,
Than to be used as you use your dog?

Dem. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit,
For I am sick when I do look on you.212

Hel. And I am sick when I look not on you.

Dem. You do impeach your modesty too much,
To leave the city, and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not;216
To trust the opportunity of night
And the ill counsel of a desert place
With the rich worth of your virginity.

Hel. Your virtue is my privilege: for that220
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night;
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world:224
Then how can it be said I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?

Dem. I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.228

Hel. The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will, the story shall be chang'd;
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind232
Makes speed to catch the tiger: bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues and valour flies.

Dem. I will not stay thy questions: let me go;
Or, if thou follow me, do not believe236
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.

Hel. Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.240
We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
We should be woo'd and were not made to woo.

[Exit Demetrius.]

I'll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.Exit.

Obe. Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave this grove,245
Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.

Enter Puck.

Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.

Puck. Ay, there it is.

Obe.I pray thee, give it me.248
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:252
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:256
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove:
A sweet Athenian lady is in love260
With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
But do it when the next thing he espies
May be the lady. Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.264
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her than she upon her love.
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.

Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.



Scene Two

[Another Part of the Wood]

Enter Queen of Fairies, with her train.

Tita. Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,4
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices, and let me rest.8

Fairies sing.


'You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen;
Newts, and blind-worms, do no wrong;
Come not near our fairy queen.'12
'Philomel, with melody,
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm,16
Nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.'


'Weaving spiders come not here;20
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail, do no offence.

Philomel, with melody, &c.'24

Fai. Hence, away! now all is well.
One aloof stand sentinel.

She sleeps. [Exeunt Fairies.]

Enter Oberon [and squeezes the flower on Titania's eyelids].

Obe. What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true-love take;28
Love and languish for his sake:
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear32
When thou wak'st, it is thy dear.
Wake when some vile thing is near.[Exit.]

Enter Lysander and Hermia.

Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:36
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

Her. Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.40

Lys. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

Her. Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.44

Lys. O! take the sense, sweet, of my innocence,
Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
I mean that my heart unto yours is knit,
So that but one heart we can make of it;48
Two bosoms interchained with an oath;
So then two bosoms and a single troth.
Then by your side no bed-room me deny,
For, lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.52

Her. Lysander riddles very prettily:
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy56
Lie further off; in human modesty,
Such separation as may well be said
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
So far be distant; and, good night, sweet friend.
Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end!61

Lys. Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
And then end life when I end loyalty!

[Retires a little distance.]

Here is my bed: sleep give thee all his rest!

Her. With half that wish the wisher's eyes be press'd!They sleep.

Enter Puck.

Puck. Through the forest have I gone,
Puck. But Athenian found I none,
Puck. On whose eyes I might approve68
Puck. This flower's force in stirring love.
Puck. Night and silence! who is here?
Puck. Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
Puck. This is he, my master said,72
Puck. Despised the Athenian maid:
Puck. And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
Puck. On the dank and dirty ground.
Puck. Pretty soul! she durst not lie76
Puck. Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Puck. Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
Puck. All the power this charm doth owe.
Puck. When thou wak'st, let love forbid80
Puck. Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
Puck. So awake when I am gone;
Puck. For I must now to Oberon.Exit.

Enter Demetrius and Helena, running.

Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.84

Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.

Hel. O! wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.

Dem. Stay, on thy peril: I alone will go.

Exit Demetrius.

Hel. O! I am out of breath in this fond chase.
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.89
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies;
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears:
If so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers.93
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me run away for fear;
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius96
Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!100
Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.

Lys. [Awaking.] And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,104
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O! how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword.

Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so.108
What though he love your Hermia? Lord! what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.

Lys. Content with Hermia! No: I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.112
Not Hermia, but Helena I love:
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway'd,
And reason says you are the worthier maid.116
Things growing are not ripe until their season;
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will,120
And leads me to your eyes; where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?123
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is 't not enough, is 't not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?128
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well: perforce I must confess
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.132
O! that a lady of one man refus'd,
Should of another therefore be abus'd.Exit.

Lys. She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there;
And never mayst thou come Lysander near.136
For, as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings;
Or, as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive:140
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honour Helen, and to be her knight. Exit.

Her. [Awaking.] Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best145
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast.
Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:148
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
Lysander! what! remov'd?--Lysander! lord!
What! out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?152
Alack! where are you? speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swound almost with fear.
No! then I well perceive you are not nigh:
Either death or you I'll find immediately.Exit.


Footnotes to Act II

Scene One

Scene One S. d. at one door; cf. n.
Robin Goodfellow; cf. n.
3 Thorough: through
4 pale: fence
7 moon's sphere; cf. n.
9 orbs; cf. n.
10 pensioners; cf. n.
12 favours: love-tokens
16 lob: bumpkin
17 anon: presently
20 passing fell: exceedingly angry
wrath: wroth
23 changeling; cf. n.
25 trace: traverse
29 sheen: bright
30 square: quarrel
that: so that
32 making: form
33 shrewd: malicious, mischievous
36 quern: hand-mill for grinding grain
37 bootless: fruitlessly
38 barm: froth
47 gossip's bowl; cf. n.
48 crab: crab-apple
51 saddest: soberest
54 tailor; cf. n.
55 quire: company
56 waxen: increase
56 neeze: sneeze
66 Corin; cf. n.
67 versing love: making love-verses
69 steep: mountain range
71 buskin'd: wearing a buskin, a high-heeled hunter's boot
75 Glance: hint maliciously
78 Perigenia; cf. n.
79, 80 Ægle Antiopa; cf. n.
81 forgeries: idle inventions
82 spring: beginning
84 paved fountain: spring with pebble-covered bottom
85 margent: margin
86 ringlets: circular dances
90 Contagious: noxious
91 pelting: petty
92 continents: boundaries
97 murrion: diseased
98 nine men's morris; cf. n.
99 wanton: luxuriant
101-103 Cf. n.
105 rheumatic diseases: colds, etc.
106 distemperature: disorder of the winds and moon (?), ill humor (?)
109 Hiems': winter's
112 childing: fruitful
113 mazed: bewildered
114 increase: produce
121 henchman: page of honor
123 votaress: woman under vows
145 chide: quarrel
147 injury: affront
148-169 Cf. n.
149 Since: when
168 Love-in-idleness: the pansy
171 or or: either or
174 leviathan: whale
192 wood wood: mad wood
195 adamant: hard stone with magnetic power
214 impeach: call in question
220 for that: because
224 respect: regard
227 brakes: thickets
231 Cf. n.
232 griffin: fabulous monster, half lion, half eagle
235 stay questions: listen to thy talk
249 blows: blooms
252 eglantine: sweetbriar
256 Weed: garment
257 streak: stroke

Scene Two

1 roundel: dance in a circle
4 rere-mice: bats
7 quaint: pretty, dainty
8 offices: duties
13 Philomel: the nightingale
30 ounce: lynx
cat: wildcat
31 Pard: leopard
36 troth: truth
54 beshrew: 'mischief on'
68 approve: test
79 owe: possess
86 darkling: in the dark
88 fond: foolish; also, loving
89 grace: good fortune
99 sphery: starry
119 point: summit
150 prey: preying
154 of: for the sake of
swound: swoon

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