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    A Midsummer Nights Dream

    by William Shakespeare
    MFFE script v5.22 CloudReader v1.05
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  • Act One Scene One

    >>>Start of play
    Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, with others.
    ---!!! First speech of play
    Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
    Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
    Another Moon: but oh, methinks, how slow
    This old Moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
    Like to a Step-dame or a Dowager,
    Long withering out a young man's revenue.
    --- young man's revenue.
    Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
    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.
    --- Of our solemnities.
    Go, Philostrate,
    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.
    >>> for our pomp.
    Exit Philostrate.
    Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
    And won thy love doing thee injuries;
    But I will wed thee in another key,
    With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
    >>> and with revelling.
    Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius.
    --- and with revelling.
    Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke!
    --- our renowned Duke.
    Thanks, good Egeus. What's the news with thee?
    --- news with thee?
    Full of vexation come I, with complaint
    Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
    Stand forth Demetrius. My Noble Lord,
    This man hath my consent to marry her.
    Stand forth Lysander. And, my gracious Duke,
    This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.
    Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
    And interchang'd love-tokens with my child:
    Thou hast by Moonlight at her window sung,
    With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
    And stolen the impression of her fantasy
    With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits,
    Knacks, trifles, Nose-gays, sweetmeats (messengers
    Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth):
    With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart,
    Turned her obedience (which is due to me)
    To stubborn harshness. And, my gracious Duke,
    Be it so she will not here, before your Grace,
    Consent 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 our Law,
    Immediately provided in that case.
    --- in that case.
    What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair Maid,
    To you your Father should be as a God:
    One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
    To whom you are but as a form in wax
    By him imprinted, and within his power
    To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
    Demetrius is a worthy Gentleman.
    --- a worthy Gentleman.
    So is Lysander.
    --- So is Lysander.
    In himself he is;
    But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
    The other must be held the worthier.
    --- held the worthier.
    I would my father looked but with my eyes.
    --- with my eyes.
    Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
    --- his judgment look.
    I do entreat your Grace to pardon me.
    I know not by what power I am made bold,
    Nor how it may concern my modesty
    In such a presence here to plead my thoughts,
    But I beseech your Grace that I may know
    The worst that may befall me in this case,
    If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
    --- to wed Demetrius.
    Either to die the death, or to abjure
    For ever the society of men.
    Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
    Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
    Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
    You can endure the livery of a Nun,
    For aye to be in shady Cloister mewed,
    To live a barren sister all your life,
    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 distilled
    Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
    Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
    --- in single blessedness.
    So will I grow, so live, so die, my Lord,
    Ere I will yield my virgin Patent up
    Unto his Lordship whose unwished yoke
    My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
    --- 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 die
    For disobedience to your father's will,
    Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,
    Or on Diana's Altar to protest
    For aye, austerity, and single life.
    --- and single life.
    Relent, sweet Hermia; and Lysander, yield
    Thy crazed title to my certain right.
    --- my certain right.
    You have her father's love, Demetrius:
    Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
    --- you marry him.
    Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my Love;
    And what is mine my love shall render him;
    And she is mine, and all my right of her,
    I do estate unto Demetrius.
    --- estate unto Demetrius.
    I am, my Lord, as well derived as he,
    As well possessed; my love is more than his;
    My fortunes every way as fairly ranked,
    If not with vantage, as Demetrius;
    And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
    I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.
    Why should not I then prosecute my right?
    Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
    Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
    And won her soul: and she, sweet Lady, dotes,
    Devoutly dotes, dotes in Idolatry,
    Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
    --- 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, Demetrius, come,
    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 Father's will;
    Or else the Law of Athens yields you up
    (Which by no means we may extenuate)
    To death, or to a vow of single life.
    Come, my Hippolyta, what cheer, my love?
    Demetrius and Egeus go along;
    I must employ you in some business
    Against our nuptial, and confer with you
    Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
    --- that concerns yourselves.
    With duty and desire we follow you.
    >>> we follow you.
    Exeunt, Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and Demetrius, leaving Lysander and Hermia.
    --- we follow you.
    How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
    How chance the Roses there do fade so fast?
    --- fade so fast?
    Belike for want of rain, which I could well
    Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.
    --- of mine eyes.
    For ought that ever I could read,
    Could ever hear by tale or history,
    The course of true love never did run smooth;
    But either it was different in blood -
    --- different in blood -
    O cross! too high to be enthralled to low.
    --- enthralled to low.
    Or else misgraffed, in respect of years -
    --- respect of years -
    O spite! too old to be engaged to young.
    --- engaged to young.
    Or else it stood upon the choice of friends -
    --- choice of friends -
    O hell! to choose love by another's eye.
    --- 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 dream,
    Brief as the lightening 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.
    --- come to confusion.
    If then true Lovers have been ever crossed,
    It stands as an edict in destiny.
    Then let us teach our trial patience,
    Because it is a customary cross,
    As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
    Wishes and tears, poor Fancy's followers.
    --- poor Fancy' followers.
    A good persuasion; therefore hear me, Hermia.
    I have a Widow Aunt, a dowager
    Of great revenue, and she hath no child -
    From Athens is her house removed seven leagues -
    And she respects me as her only son.
    There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
    And to that place the sharp Athenian Law
    Cannot pursue us. If thou lov'st me then,
    Steal forth thy Father's house tomorrow night;
    And in the wood, a league without the town,
    (Where I did meet thee once with Helena.
    To do observance for a morn of May),
    There will I stay for thee.
    --- 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 love,
    And by that fire which burned the Carthage Queen
    When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
    By all the vows that ever men have broke,
    (In number more than ever women spoke),
    In that same place thou hast appointed me,
    Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.
    --- meet with thee.
    Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
    >>> here comes Helena.
    Enter Helena.
    --- here comes Helena.
    God speed fair Helena! Whither away?
    --- Helena, whither away?
    Call you me fair? That fair again unsay!
    Demetrius loves you fair: O happy fair!
    Your eyes are lode-stars, and your tongue's sweet air
    More tuneable than Lark to shepherd's ear,
    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.
    Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
    The rest I'd give to be to you translated.
    O, teach me how you look, and with what art
    You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
    --- of Demetrius' heart.
    I frown upon him; yet he loves me still.
    --- loves me still.
    O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
    --- smiles such skill.
    I give him curses; yet he gives me love.
    --- gives me love.
    O that my prayers could such affection move!
    --- such affection move.
    The more I hate, the more he follows me.
    --- he follows me.
    The more I love, the more he hateth me.
    --- he hateth me.
    His folly, Helena, is none of mine.
    --- none of mine.
    None but your beauty; would that fault were mine!
    --- fault were mine!
    Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
    Lysander and myself will fly this place.
    Before the time I did Lysander see,
    Seemed Athens like a Paradise to me.
    O then what graces in my Love do dwell,
    That he hath turned a heaven into hell.
    --- heaven into hell.
    Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
    Tomorrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
    Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
    Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass
    (A time that Lovers' flights doth still conceal),
    Through Athen's gates, have we devised to steal.
    --- devised to steal.
    And in the wood, where often you and I
    Upon faint Primrose beds were wont to lie,
    Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
    There my Lysander, and myself shall meet;
    And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
    To seek new friends, and strange companions.
    Farewell, sweet play-fellow; pray thou for us,
    And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!
    Keep word, Lysander; we must starve our sight,
    From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
    >>> morrow deep midnight.
    Exit Hermia.
    --- morrow deep midnight.
    I will, my Hermia. Helena adieu;
    As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
    >>> dotes on you!
    Exit Lysander.
    --- dotes on you!
    How happy some o'er other some can be!
    Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
    But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
    He will not know what all but he doth know;
    And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
    So I, admiring of his qualities.
    Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
    Love can transpose to form and dignity:
    Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
    And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind;
    Nor hath love's mind of any judgement taste:
    Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
    And therefore is Love said to be a child,
    Because in choice he is often beguiled.
    As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
    So the boy Love is perjured everywhere;
    For, ere Demetrius looked on Hermia's eye,
    He hailed down oaths that he was only mine;
    And when this Hail some heat from Hermia felt,
    So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
    I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
    Then to the wood will he, tomorrow night,
    Pursue her; and for this intelligence
    If I have thanks, it is a dear expense.
    But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
    To have his sight thither and back again.
    >>> and back again.
    Exit Helena.
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