A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare

Act IV

Scene I. The same.

Lysander, Demetrius, Helena, and Hermia lying asleep.

Enter Titania and Bottom; Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and other Fairies attending; Oberon behind unseen

Titania Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

Bottom Where’s Peaseblossom?

Peaseblossom Ready.

Bottom Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where’s Mounsieur Cobweb?

Cobweb Ready.

Bottom Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and, good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?

Mustardseed Ready.

Bottom Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.

Mustardseed What’s your Will?

Bottom Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber’s, monsieur; for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.

Titania What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

Bottom I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have the tongs and the bones.

Titania Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

Bottom Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

Titania I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel’s hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.

Bottom I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.

Titania Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.

Exeunt fairies

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!

They sleep

Enter Puck

Oberon [Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.
See’st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets’ eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her
And she in mild terms begg’d my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That, he awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night’s accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.

Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see:
Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower
Hath such force and blessed power.

Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.

Titania My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.

Oberon There lies your love.

Titania How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

Oberon Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

Titania Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!

Music, still

Puck Now, when thou wakest, with thine own fool’s eyes peep.

Oberon Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

Puck Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.

Oberon Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night’s shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.

Titania Come, my lord, and in our flight
Tell me how it came this night
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.

Exeunt

Horns winded within

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and train

Theseus Go, one of you, find out the forester;
For now our observation is perform’d;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go:
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.

Exit an Attendant

We will, fair queen, up to the mountain’s top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

Hippolyta I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay’d the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem’d all one mutual cry: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

Theseus My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew’d, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee’d, and dew-lapp’d like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match’d in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla’d to, nor cheer’d with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?

Egeus My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena:
I wonder of their being here together.

Theseus No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace of our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

Egeus It is, my lord.

Theseus Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

Horns and shout within. Lysander, Demetrius, Helena, and Hermia wake and start up

Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

Lysander Pardon, my lord.

Theseus   I pray you all, stand up.
I know you two are rival enemies:
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?

Lysander My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear,
I cannot truly say how I came here;
But, as I think — for truly would I speak,
And now do I bethink me, so it is —
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,
Without the peril of the Athenian law.

Egeus Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,
Thereby to have defeated you and me,
You of your wife and me of my consent,
Of my consent that she should be your wife.

Demetrius My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood;
And I in fury hither follow’d them,
Fair Helena in fancy following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power —
But by some power it is — my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud
Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betroth’d ere I saw Hermia:
But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.

Theseus Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit:
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens; three and three,
We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, Hippolyta.

Exeunt Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and train

Demetrius These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far off mountains turned into clouds.

Hermia Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When every thing seems double.

Helena So methinks:
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.

Demetrius Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The duke was here, and bid us follow him?

Hermia Yea; and my father.

Helena And Hippolyta.

Lysander And he did bid us follow to the temple.

Demetrius Why, then, we are awake: let’s follow him
And by the way let us recount our dreams.

Exeunt

Bottom [Awaking] When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer: my next is, ‘Most fair Pyramus.’ Heigh-ho! Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God’s my life, stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was — there is no man can tell what. Methought I was — and methought I had — but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.

Exit

Scene II. Athens. Quince’s house.

Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling

Quince Have you sent to Bottom’s house? is he come home yet?

Starveling He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is transported.

Flute If he come not, then the play is marred: it goes not forward, doth it?

Quince It is not possible: you have not a man in all
Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.

Flute No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in Athens.

Quince Yea and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice.

Flute You must say ‘paragon:’ a paramour is, God bless us, a thing of naught.

Enter Snug

Snug Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married: if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

Flute O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life; he could not have ’scaped sixpence a day: an the duke had not given him sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, I’ll be hanged; he would have deserved it: sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom

Bottom Where are these lads? where are these hearts?

Quince Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy hour!

Bottom Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not what; for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.

Quince Let us hear, sweet Bottom.

Bottom Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is, that the duke hath dined. Get your apparel together, good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look o’er his part; for the short and the long is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean linen; and let not him that plays the lion pair his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion’s claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words: away! go, away!

Exeunt

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Last updated Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 22:19