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    A Midsummer Nights Dream

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

    A1S2>>> or cut bow-strings.
    Enter a Fairy at one door, and Robin Goodfellow at another.
    A1S2--- or cut bow-strings.
    Puck.
    How now spirit! Whither wander you?
    --- Whither wander you?
    1st_Fairy.
    Over hill, over dale,
    Through bush, through briar,
    Over park, over pale,
    Through flood, through fire,
    I do wander everywhere,
    Swifter than the Moon's sphere;
    And I serve the Fairy Queen,
    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,
    In those 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;
    Our Queen and all her Elves come here anon.
    --- come here anon.
    Puck.
    The King doth keep his Revels here tonight;
    Take heed the Queen come not within his sight;
    For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
    Because that she as her attendant hath
    A lovely boy stolen from an Indian King -
    She never had so sweet a changeling;
    And jealous Oberon would have the child
    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,
    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.
    --- hide them there.
    1st_Fairy
    Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
    Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
    Called 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,
    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.
    Are not you he?
    --- not you he?
    Puck.
    Thou speak'st aright;
    I am that merry wanderer of the night.
    I jest to Oberon, and make him smile
    When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
    Neighing in likeness of a silly foal,
    And sometime lurk I in a Gossip's bowl
    In very likeness of a roasted crab,
    And when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
    And on her withered dewlap pour the Ale.
    The wisest Aunt, telling the saddest tale,
    Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
    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 sneeze, and swear
    A merrier hour was never wasted there.
    But room, Fairy! Here comes Oberon.
    --- Here comes Oberon.
    1st_Fairy
    And here my Mistress. Would that he were gone!
    >>> he were gone!
    Enter the King of Fairies at one door with his train, and the Queen at another with hers.
    --- he were gone!
    Oberon.
    Ill met by Moonlight, proud Titania.
    --- Moon-light, proud Titania.
    Titania.
    What, jealous Oberon? Fairies skip hence;
    I have forsworn his bed and company.
    --- bed and company.
    Oberon.
    Tarry, rash Wanton; am not I thy Lord?
    --- I thy Lord?
    Titania.
    Then I must be thy Lady; but I know
    When thou hast stolen away from Fairy Land,
    And in the shape of Corin, sat all day
    Playing on pipes of Corn, and versing love
    To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
    Come from the farthest step of India,
    But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon
    Your buskin'd Mistress and your Warrior love,
    To Theseus must be Wedded, and you come
    To give their bed joy and prosperity?
    --- joy and prosperity?
    Oberon.
    How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
    Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
    Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
    Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
    From Perigouna, whom he ravished;
    And make him with fair Aegles break his faith,
    With Ariadne, and Antiopa?
    --- Ariadne, and Antiopa?
    Titania.
    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,
    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,
    As in revenge have suck'd up from the sea
    Contagious fogs; Which, falling in the Land,
    Hath every petty River made so proud
    That they have overborne their Continents.
    The Ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
    The Ploughman lost his sweat, and the green Corn
    Hath rotted ere his youth attained a beard;
    The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
    And Crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
    The nine men's Morris is filled up with mud,
    And the quaint Mazes in the wanton green,
    For lack of tread are undistinguishable.
    The human mortals want their winter cheer:
    No night is now with hymn or carol blest.
    Therefore the Moon, the governess of floods,
    Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
    That Rheumatic diseases do abound.
    And through this distemperature we see
    The seasons alter: hoary headed Frosts
    Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson Rose;
    And on old Hiem's chin and Icy crown,
    An odorous Chaplet of sweet Summer buds
    Is, as in mockery, set; the Spring, the Summer,
    The childing Autumn, angry Winter, change
    Their wonted Liveries; and the mazed world,
    By their increase, now knows not which is which.
    And this same progeny of evils comes
    From our debate, from our dissension;
    We are their parents and original.
    --- parents and original.
    Oberon.
    Do you amend it then: it lies in you.
    Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
    I do but beg a little changeling boy,
    To be my Henchman.
    --- be my Henchman.
    Titania.
    Set your heart at rest,
    The Fairy land buys not the child of me.
    His mother was a Votress of my Order;
    And in the spiced Indian air, by night,
    Full often hath she gossiped by my side;
    And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
    Marking th' embarked traders on the flood:
    When we have laughed 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
    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;
    And for her sake I will not part with him.
    --- part with him.
    Oberon.
    How long within this wood intend you stay?
    --- intend you stay?
    Titania.
    Perchance till after Theseus' wedding day.
    If you will patiently dance in our Round,
    And see our Moonlight revels, go with us;
    If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
    --- spare your haunts.
    Oberon.
    Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
    --- go with thee.
    Titania.
    Not for thy Fairy Kingdom. Fairies, away!
    We shall chide downright if I longer stay.
    >>> I longer stay.
    Exeunt Titania and her Fairies.
    --- I longer stay.
    Oberon.
    Well, go thy way; thou shalt not from this grove
    Till I torment thee for this injury.
    My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememb'rest
    Since once I sat upon a promontory,
    And heard a Mermaid on a Dolphin's back
    Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
    That the rude sea grew civil at her song
    And certain stars shot madly from their Spheres
    To hear the Sea-maid's music?
    --- the Sea-maid's music?
    Puck.
    I remember.
    --- I remember.
    Oberon.
    That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
    Flying between the cold Moon and the earth,
    Cupid all armed: a certain aim he took
    At a fair Vestal, throned by the West,
    And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow
    As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts.
    But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
    Quenched in the chaste beams of the watery Moon;
    And the imperial Votress passed on,
    In maiden meditation, fancy free.
    Yet marked 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'.
    Fetch me that flower; the herb I showed 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.
    Fetch me this herb, and be thou here again,
    Ere the Leviathan can swim a league.
    --- swim a league.
    Puck.
    I'll put a girdle round about the earth,
    In forty minutes.
    --- In forty minutes.
    Oberon.
    Having once this juice,
    I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
    And drop the liquor of it in her eyes:
    The next thing when she waking looks upon
    (Be it on Lion, Bear, or Wolf, or Bull,
    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)
    I'll make her render up her Page to me.
    But who comes here? I am invisible;
    And I will overhear their conference.
    >>> overhear their conference.
    Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.
    --- overhear their conference.
    Demetrius.
    I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
    Where is Lysander, and fair Hermia?
    The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
    Thou toldst me they were stolen into this wood;
    And here am I, and wood within this wood
    Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
    Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
    --- me no more.
    Helena.
    You draw me, you hard-hearted Adamant -
    But yet you draw not Iron, for my heart
    Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw,
    And I shall have no power to follow you.
    --- to follow you.
    Demetrius.
    Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?
    Or rather do I not in plainest truth
    Tell you I do not, nor I cannot love you?
    --- cannot love you?
    Helena.
    And even for that do I love thee the more.
    I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
    The more you beat me, I will fawn on you.
    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 -
    And yet a place of high respect with me -
    Than to be used as you do your dog?
    --- do your dog.
    Demetrius.
    Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
    For I am sick when I do look on thee.
    --- look on thee.
    Helena.
    And I am sick when I look not on you.
    --- not on you.
    Demetrius.
    You do impeach your modesty too much
    To leave the City and commit yourself
    Into the hands of one that loves you not,
    To trust the opportunity of night
    And the ill counsel of a desert place
    With the rich worth of your virginity.
    --- of your virginity.
    Helena.
    Your virtue is my privilege: for that
    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;
    Then how can it be said I am alone,
    When all the world is here to look on me?
    --- look on me?
    Demetrius.
    I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
    And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
    --- of wild beasts.
    Helena.
    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 Hind
    Makes speed to catch the Tiger - bootless speed,
    When cowardice pursues, and valour flies!
    --- and valour flies!
    Demetrius.
    I will not stay thy questions; let me go,
    Or if thou follow me, do not belleve,
    But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
    --- in the wood.
    Helena.
    Ay, in the Temple, in the Town, and Field,
    You do me mischief. Fie Demetrius!
    Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.
    We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
    We should be woo'd, and were not made to woo.
    >>> made to woo.
    Exit Demetrius.
    I follow thee, and make a heaven of hell,
    To die upon the hand I love so well.
    >>> love so well.
    Exit Helena.
    --- love so well.
    Oberon.
    Fare thee well, Nymph; ere he do leave this grove
    Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
    Hast thou the flower there? Welcome wanderer.
    >>> there? Welcome wanderer.
    Enter Puck
    --- there? Welcome wanderer.
    Puck.
    Ay there it is.
    --- there it is.
    Oberon.
    I pray thee give it me.
    I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
    Where Oxslips and the nodding Violet grows,
    Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet musk roses, and with Eglantine.
    There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
    Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
    And there the snake throws her enammelled skin,
    Weed wide enough to wrap a Fairy in;
    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 love
    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.
    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.
    --- first Cock crow.
    Puck.
    Fear not, my Lord, your servant shall do so.
    >>> shall do so.
    Exeunt Oberon and Puck.
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