The Collected Complete Works of William Shakespeare - William Shakespeare - ebook
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William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet, and the "Bard of Avon". Collection of 38 Works of William Shakespeare________________________________________A Lover's Complaint By ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's Dream By ShakespeareAll's Well That Ends Well By ShakespeareAntony And Cleopatra By ShakespeareAs You Like It By ShakespeareCoriolanus By ShakespeareHamlet By ShakespeareHistory OF Henry The Sixth, First Part By ShakespeareHistory OF Henry The Sixth, Second Part By ShakespeareHistory OF Henry The Sixth, Third Part By ShakespeareJulius Caesar By ShakespeareKing Henry V By ShakespeareKing John By ShakespeareKing Lear By ShakespeareLove's Labour's Lost By ShakespeareMacbeth By ShakespeareMeasure for Measure By ShakespeareMuch Ado About Nothing By ShakespeareOthello By ShakespearePericles Prince of Tyre By ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet By ShakespeareShakespeare's Sonnets By ShakespeareThe Comedy of Errors By ShakespeareThe Life of Henry The Eighth By ShakespeareThe Merchant of Venice By ShakespeareThe Merry Wives of Windsor By ShakespeareThe Passionate Pilgrim By ShakespeareThe Phoenix and the Turtle By ShakespeareThe Rape of Lucrece By ShakespeareThe Taming of the Shrew By ShakespeareThe Tempest By ShakespeareThe Winter's Tale By ShakespeareTimon Of Athens By ShakespeareTitus Andronicus By ShakespeareTroilus and Cressida By ShakespeareTwelfth Night By ShakespeareTwo Gentlemen of Verona By ShakespeareVenus And Adonis By Shakespeare

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The Collected Complete Works of William Shakespeare

A Lover's Complaint By Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream By Shakespeare

All's Well That Ends Well By Shakespeare

Antony And Cleopatra By Shakespeare

As You Like It By Shakespeare

Coriolanus By Shakespeare

Hamlet By Shakespeare

History OF Henry The Sixth, First Part By Shakespeare

History OF Henry The Sixth, Second Part By Shakespeare

History OF Henry The Sixth, Third Part By Shakespeare

Julius Caesar By Shakespeare

King Henry V By Shakespeare

King John By Shakespeare

King Lear By Shakespeare

Love's Labour's Lost By Shakespeare

Macbeth By Shakespeare

Measure for Measure By Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing By Shakespeare

Othello By Shakespeare

Pericles Prince of Tyre By Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet By Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Sonnets By Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors By Shakespeare

The Life of Henry The Eighth By Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice By Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor By Shakespeare

The Passionate Pilgrim By Shakespeare

The Phoenix and the Turtle By Shakespeare

The Rape of Lucrece By Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew By Shakespeare

The Tempest By Shakespeare

The Winter's Tale By Shakespeare

Timon Of Athens By Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus By Shakespeare

Troilus and Cressida By Shakespeare

Twelfth Night By Shakespeare

Two Gentlemen of Verona By Shakespeare

Venus And Adonis By Shakespeare

A LOVER'S COMPLAINT

by William Shakespeare

From off a hill whose concave womb re-wordedA plaintful story from a sistering vale,My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,And down I laid to list the sad-tun'd tale;Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.

Upon her head a platted hive of straw,Which fortified her visage from the sun,Whereon the thought might think sometime it sawThe carcase of a beauty spent and done.Time had not scythed all that youth begun,Nor youth all quit; but, spite of Heaven's fell rageSome beauty peeped through lattice of sear'd age.

Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,Which on it had conceited characters,Laund'ring the silken figures in the brineThat season'd woe had pelleted in tears,And often reading what contents it bears;As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe,In clamours of all size, both high and low.

Sometimes her levell'd eyes their carriage ride;As they did battery to the spheres intend;Sometime diverted their poor balls are tiedTo th' orbed earth; sometimes they do extendTheir view right on; anon their gazes lendTo every place at once, and nowhere fix'd,The mind and sight distractedly commix'd.

Her hair, nor loose nor tied in formal plat,Proclaim'd in her a careless hand of pride;For some, untuck'd, descended her sheav'd hat,Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside;Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,And, true to bondage, would not break from thence,Though slackly braided in loose negligence.

A thousand favours from a maund she drewOf amber, crystal, and of beaded jet,Which one by one she in a river threw,Upon whose weeping margent she was set;Like usury applying wet to wet,Or monarchs' hands, that lets not bounty fallWhere want cries 'some,' but where excess begs all.

Of folded schedules had she many a one,Which she perus'd, sigh'd, tore, and gave the flood;Crack'd many a ring of posied gold and bone,Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud;Found yet mo letters sadly penn'd in blood,With sleided silk feat and affectedlyEnswath'd, and seal'd to curious secrecy.

These often bath'd she in her fluxive eyes,And often kiss'd, and often 'gan to tear;Cried, 'O false blood, thou register of lies,What unapproved witness dost thou bear!Ink would have seem'd more black and damned here!'This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,Big discontent so breaking their contents.

A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh,Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knewOf court, of city, and had let go byThe swiftest hours, observed as they flew,Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew;And, privileg'd by age, desires to knowIn brief, the grounds and motives of her woe.

So slides he down upon his grained bat,And comely-distant sits he by her side;When he again desires her, being sat,Her grievance with his hearing to divide:If that from him there may be aught appliedWhich may her suffering ecstasy assuage,'Tis promised in the charity of age.

'Father,' she says, 'though in me you beholdThe injury of many a blasting hour,Let it not tell your judgement I am old;Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power:I might as yet have been a spreading flower,Fresh to myself, if I had self-appliedLove to myself, and to no love beside.

'But woe is me! too early I attendedA youthful suit (it was to gain my grace)Of one by nature's outwards so commended,That maiden's eyes stuck over all his face:Love lack'd a dwelling and made him her place;And when in his fair parts she did abide,She was new lodg'd and newly deified.

'His browny locks did hang in crooked curls;And every light occasion of the windUpon his lips their silken parcels hurls.What's sweet to do, to do will aptly find:Each eye that saw him did enchant the mind;For on his visage was in little drawn,What largeness thinks in paradise was sawn.

'Small show of man was yet upon his chin;His phoenix down began but to appear,Like unshorn velvet, on that termless skin,Whose bare out-bragg'd the web it seemed to wear:Yet show'd his visage by that cost more dear;And nice affections wavering stood in doubtIf best were as it was, or best without.

His qualities were beauteous as his form,For maiden-tongued he was, and thereof free;Yet if men mov'd him, was he such a stormAs oft 'twixt May and April is to see,When winds breathe sweet, unruly though they be.His rudeness so with his authoriz'd youthDid livery falseness in a pride of truth.

'Well could he ride, and often men would sayThat horse his mettle from his rider takes:Proud of subjection, noble by the sway,What rounds, what bounds, what course, what stop he makes!And controversy hence a question takes,Whether the horse by him became his deed,Or he his manage by the well-doing steed.

'But quickly on this side the verdict went;His real habitude gave life and graceTo appertainings and to ornament,Accomplish'd in himself, not in his case,:All aids, themselves made fairer by their place,Came for additions; yet their purpos'd trimPierc'd not his grace, but were all grac'd by him.

'So on the tip of his subduing tongueAll kind of arguments and question deep,All replication prompt, and reason strong,For his advantage still did wake and sleep:To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep,He had the dialect and different skill,Catching all passions in his craft of will;

'That he did in the general bosom reignOf young, of old; and sexes both enchanted,To dwell with him in thoughts, or to remainIn personal duty, following where he haunted:Consents bewitch'd, ere he desire, have granted;And dialogued for him what he would say,Ask'd their own wills, and made their wills obey.

'Many there were that did his picture get,To serve their eyes, and in it put their mind;Like fools that in the imagination setThe goodly objects which abroad they findOf lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign'd;And labouring in mo pleasures to bestow them,Than the true gouty landlord which doth owe them:

'So many have, that never touch'd his hand,Sweetly suppos'd them mistress of his heart.My woeful self, that did in freedom stand,And was my own fee-simple, (not in part,)What with his heart in youth, and youth in art,Threw my affections in his charmed power,Reserv'd the stalk, and gave him all my flower.

'Yet did I not, as some my equals did,Demand of him, nor being desired yielded;Finding myself in honour so forbid,With safest distance I mine honour shielded:Experience for me many bulwarks buildedOf proofs new-bleeding, which remain'd the foilOf this false jewel, and his amorous spoil.

'But ah! who ever shunn'd by precedentThe destin'd ill she must herself assay?Or force'd examples, 'gainst her own content,To put the by-pass'd perils in her way?Counsel may stop awhile what will not stay;For when we rage, advice is often seenBy blunting us to make our wills more keen.

'Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,That we must curb it upon others' proof,To be forbod the sweets that seems so good,For fear of harms that preach in our behoof.O appetite, from judgement stand aloof!The one a palate hath that needs will taste,Though reason weep, and cry It is thy last.

'For further I could say, This man's untrue,And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling;Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew,Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling;Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling;Thought characters and words, merely but art,And bastards of his foul adulterate heart.

'And long upon these terms I held my city,Till thus he 'gan besiege me: Gentle maid,Have of my suffering youth some feeling pity,And be not of my holy vows afraid:That's to you sworn, to none was ever said;For feasts of love I have been call'd unto,Till now did ne'er invite, nor never woo.

'All my offences that abroad you seeAre errors of the blood, none of the mind;Love made them not; with acture they may be,Where neither party is nor true nor kind:They sought their shame that so their shame did find;And so much less of shame in me remains,By how much of me their reproach contains.

'Among the many that mine eyes have seen,Not one whose flame my heart so much as warm'd,Or my affection put to the smallest teen,Or any of my leisures ever charm'd:Harm have I done to them, but ne'er was harmed;Kept hearts in liveries, but mine own was free,And reign'd, commanding in his monarchy.

'Look here what tributes wounded fancies sent me,Of paled pearls and rubies red as blood;Figuring that they their passions likewise lent meOf grief and blushes, aptly understoodIn bloodless white and the encrimson'd mood;Effects of terror and dear modesty,Encamp'd in hearts, but fighting outwardly.

'And, lo! behold these talents of their hair,With twisted metal amorously empleach'd,I have receiv'd from many a several fair,(Their kind acceptance weepingly beseech'd,)With the annexions of fair gems enrich'd,And deep-brain'd sonnets that did amplifyEach stone's dear nature, worth, and quality.

'The diamond, why 'twas beautiful and hard,Whereto his invis'd properties did tend;The deep-green emerald, in whose fresh regardWeak sights their sickly radiance do amend;The heaven-hued sapphire and the opal blendWith objects manifold; each several stone,With wit well blazon'd, smil'd, or made some moan.

'Lo! all these trophies of affections hot,Of pensiv'd and subdued desires the tender,Nature hath charg'd me that I hoard them not,But yield them up where I myself must render,That is, to you, my origin and ender:For these, of force, must your oblations be,Since I their altar, you enpatron me.

'O then advance of yours that phraseless hand,Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise;Take all these similes to your own command,Hallow'd with sighs that burning lungs did raise;What me your minister, for you obeys,Works under you; and to your audit comesTheir distract parcels in combined sums.

'Lo! this device was sent me from a nun,Or sister sanctified of holiest note;Which late her noble suit in court did shun,Whose rarest havings made the blossoms dote;For she was sought by spirits of richest coat,But kept cold distance, and did thence removeTo spend her living in eternal love.

'But O, my sweet, what labour is't to leaveThe thing we have not, mastering what not strives?Paling the place which did no form receive,Playing patient sports in unconstrained gyves:She that her fame so to herself contrives,The scars of battle 'scapeth by the flight,And makes her absence valiant, not her might.

'O pardon me, in that my boast is true:The accident which brought me to her eye,Upon the moment did her force subdue,And now she would the caged cloister fly:Religious love put out religion's eye:Not to be tempted, would she be immur'd,And now, to tempt all, liberty procur'd.

'How mighty then you are, O hear me tell!The broken bosoms that to me belongHave emptied all their fountains in my well,And mine I pour your ocean all among:I strong o'er them, and you o'er me being strong,Must for your victory us all congest,As compound love to physic your cold breast.

'My parts had pow'r to charm a sacred nun,Who, disciplin'd and dieted in grace,Believ'd her eyes when they t oassail begun,All vows and consecrations giving place.O most potential love! vow, bond, nor space,In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine,For thou art all, and all things else are thine.

'When thou impressest, what are precepts worthOf stale example? When thou wilt inflame,How coldly those impediments stand forth,Of wealth, of filial fear, law, kindred, fame!Love's arms are peace, 'gainst rule, 'gainst sense, 'gainstshame.And sweetens, in the suffering pangs it bears,The aloes of all forces, shocks and fears.

'Now all these hearts that do on mine depend,Feeling it break, with bleeding groans they pine,And supplicant their sighs to your extend,To leave the battery that you make 'gainst mine,Lending soft audience to my sweet design,And credent soul to that strong-bonded oath,That shall prefer and undertake my troth.

'This said, his watery eyes he did dismount,Whose sights till then were levell'd on my face;Each cheek a river running from a fountWith brinish current downward flow'd apace:O, how the channel to the stream gave grace!Who, glaz'd with crystal, gate the glowing rosesThat flame through water which their hue encloses.

'O father, what a hell of witchcraft liesIn the small orb of one particular tear!But with the inundation of the eyesWhat rocky heart to water will not wear?What breast so cold that is not warmed here?O cleft effect! cold modesty, hot wrath,Both fire from hence and chill extincture hath.

'For lo! his passion, but an art of craft,Even there resolv'd my reason into tears;There my white stole of chastity I daff'd,Shook off my sober guards, and civil fears;Appear to him, as he to me appears,All melting; though our drops this difference bore:His poison'd me, and mine did him restore.

'In him a plenitude of subtle matter,Applied to cautels, all strange forms receives,Of burning blushes or of weeping water,Or swooning paleness; and he takes and leaves,In either's aptness, as it best deceives,To blush at speeches rank, to weep at woes,Or to turn white and swoon at tragic shows;

'That not a heart which in his level cameCould scape the hail of his all-hurting aim,Showing fair nature is both kind and tame;And, veil'd in them, did win whom he would maim:Against the thing he sought he would exclaim;When he most burned in heart-wish'd luxury,He preach'd pure maid and prais'd cold chastity.

'Thus merely with the garment of a GraceThe naked and concealed fiend he cover'd,That the unexperienc'd gave the tempter place,Which, like a cherubin, above them hover'd.Who, young and simple, would not be so lover'd?Ay me! I fell, and yet do question makeWhat I should do again for such a sake.

'O, that infected moisture of his eye,O, that false fire which in his cheek so glow'd,O, that forc'd thunder from his heart did fly,O, that sad breath his spongy lungs bestow'd,O, all that borrow'd motion, seeming ow'd,Would yet again betray the fore-betray'd,And new pervert a reconciled maid.'

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

by William Shakespeare

Persons Represented.

THESEUS, Duke of Athens. EGEUS, Father to Hermia. LYSANDER, in love with Hermia. DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia. PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Revels to Theseus. QUINCE, the Carpenter. SNUG, the Joiner. BOTTOM, the Weaver. FLUTE, the Bellows-mender. SNOUT, the Tinker. STARVELING, the Tailor.

HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, bethrothed to Theseus. HERMIA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander. HELENA, in love with Demetrius.

OBERON, King of the Fairies. TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies. PUCK, or ROBIN GOODFELLOW, a Fairy. PEASBLOSSOM, Fairy. COBWEB, Fairy. MOTH, Fairy. MUSTARDSEED, Fairy.

PYRAMUS, THISBE, WALL, MOONSHINE, LION } Characters in the Interlude performed by the Clowns.

Other Fairies attending their King and Queen. Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.

SCENE: Athens, and a wood not far from it.

ACT I.

SCENE I. Athens. A room in the Palace of THESEUS.

[Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.]

THESEUS 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.

HIPPOLYTA 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.

THESEUS 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. --

[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.

[Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.]

EGEUS Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!

THESEUS Thanks, good Egeus: what's the news with thee?

EGEUS 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 bewitch'd 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 stol'n the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats,--messengers 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, 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.

THESEUS 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 wax, By him imprinted, and within his power To leave the figure, or disfigure it. Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

HERMIA So is Lysander.

THESEUS In himself he is: But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice, The other must be held the worthier.

HERMIA I would my father look'd but with my eyes.

THESEUS Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.

HERMIA 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.

THESEUS 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 shady cloister mew'd, 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 distill'd Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn, Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

HERMIA 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.

THESEUS 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.

DEMETRIUS Relent, sweet Hermia;--and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.

LYSANDER You have her father's love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.

EGEUS 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.

LYSANDER I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, As well possess'd; my love is more than his; My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd, If not with vantage, as Demetrius's; And, which is more than all these boasts can be, I am belov'd 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.

THESEUS 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.

EGEUS With duty and desire we follow you.

[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, DEMETRIUS, and Train.]

LYSANDER How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA Belike for want of rain, which I could well Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER Ah me! for aught that I could ever read, Could ever hear by tale or history, The course of true love never did run smooth: But either it was different in blood,--

HERMIA O cross! Too high to be enthrall'd to low!

LYSANDER Or else misgraffed in respect of years;--

HERMIA O spite! Too old to be engag'd to young!

LYSANDER Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:

HERMIA O hell! to choose love by another's eye!

LYSANDER 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 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.

HERMIA If then true lovers have ever cross'd, 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.

LYSANDER 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 remote 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 lovest 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 to a morn of May, There will I stay for thee.

HERMIA 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, 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.

LYSANDER Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

[Enter HELENA.]

HERMIA God speed fair Helena! Whither away?

HELENA Call you me fair? that fair again unsay. Demetrius loves your 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!

HERMIA I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

HELENA O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

HERMIA I give him curses, yet he gives me love.

HELENA O that my prayers could such affection move!

HERMIA The more I hate, the more he follows me.

HELENA The more I love, the more he hateth me.

HERMIA His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

HELENA None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!

HERMIA Take comfort; he no more shall see my face; Lysander and myself will fly this place.-- Before the time I did Lysander see, Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me: O, then, what graces in my love do dwell, That he hath turn'd a heaven unto hell!

LYSANDER Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the watery glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,-- A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,-- Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.

HERMIA 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 stranger companies. Farewell, sweet playfellow: 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.

LYSANDER I will, my Hermia.

[Exit HERMIA.]

LYSANDER Helena, adieu: As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit LYSANDER.]

HELENA 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 do 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 judgment taste; Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste: And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd. As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, So the boy Love is perjur'd everywhere: For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne, He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight; Then to the wood will he to-morrow 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.

[Exit HELENA.]

SCENE II. The Same. A Room in a Cottage.

[Enter SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, QUINCE, and STARVELING.]

QUINCE Is all our company here?

BOTTOM You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

QUINCE Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess on his wedding-day at night.

BOTTOM First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.

QUINCE Marry, our play is--The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

BOTTOM A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.-- Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll.-- Masters, spread yourselves.

QUINCE Answer, as I call you.--Nick Bottom, the weaver.

BOTTOM Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

QUINCE You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.

BOTTOM What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?

QUINCE A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

BOTTOM That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms; I will condole in some measure. To the rest:--yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.

The raging rocks And shivering shocks Shall break the locks Of prison gates:

And Phibbus' car Shall shine from far, And make and mar The foolish Fates.

This was lofty.--Now name the rest of the players.--This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein;--a lover is more condoling.

QUINCE Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.

FLUTE Here, Peter Quince.

QUINCE Flute, you must take Thisby on you.

FLUTE What is Thisby? a wandering knight?

QUINCE It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

FLUTE Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming.

QUINCE That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.

BOTTOM An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice;--'Thisne, Thisne!'-- 'Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!'

QUINCE No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute, you Thisby.

BOTTOM Well, proceed.

QUINCE Robin Starveling, the tailor.

STARVELING Here, Peter Quince.

QUINCE Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.-- Tom Snout, the tinker.

SNOUT Here, Peter Quince.

QUINCE You, Pyramus' father; myself, Thisby's father;--Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part:--and, I hope, here is a play fitted.

SNUG Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.

QUINCE You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

BOTTOM Let me play the lion too: I will roar that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar that I will make the duke say 'Let him roar again, let him roar again.'

QUINCE An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.

ALL That would hang us every mother's son.

BOTTOM I grant you, friends, if you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.

QUINCE You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

BOTTOM Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?

QUINCE Why, what you will.

BOTTOM I will discharge it in either your straw-colour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.

QUINCE Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.-- But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse: for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.

BOTTOM We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.

QUINCE At the duke's oak we meet.

BOTTOM Enough; hold, or cut bow-strings.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

SCENE I. A wood near Athens.

[Enter a FAIRY at One door, and PUCK at another.]

PUCK How now, spirit! whither wander you?

FAIRY Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier, Over park, over pale, Thorough flood, thorough 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.

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, 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 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.

FAIRY Either I mistake your shape and making quite, Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are not you 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?

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 filly 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 loffe, And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear A merrier hour was never wasted there.-- But room, fairy, here comes Oberon.

FAIRY And here my mistress.--Would that he were gone!

[Enter OBERON at one door, with his Train, and TITANIA, at another, with hers.]

OBERON Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

TITANIA What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence; I have forsworn his bed and company.

OBERON Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?

TITANIA Then I must be thy lady; but I know When thou hast stol'n 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 steep 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.

OBERON How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, Glance at my credit with Hippolyta, Knowing I know thy love to Theseus? Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night From Perigenia, whom he ravish'd? And make him with fair Aegle break his faith, With 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 on 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 pelting 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 attain'd a beard: The fold stands empty in the drowned field, 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: 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, 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; And on old Hyem's 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, change Their wonted liveries; and the maz'd 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.

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.

TITANIA Set your heart at rest; The fairy-land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot'ress of my order: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, 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, 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 do I rear up her boy: And for her sake I will not part with him.

OBERON How long within this wood 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.

OBERON Give me that boy and I will go with thee.

TITANIA Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away: We shall chide downright if I longer stay.

[Exit TITANIA with her Train.]

OBERON 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, 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.

PUCK I remember.

OBERON That very time I saw,--but thou couldst not,-- Flying between the cold moon and the earth, 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 shaft Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon; And the imperial votaress passed on, In maiden meditation, fancy-free. 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. 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.

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

[Exit PUCK.]

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 then 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 from off 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.

[Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him.]

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 told'st me they were stol'n into this wood, And here am I, and wode within this wood, Because I cannot meet with Hermia. Hence, get thee gone, and follow 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.

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?

HELENA 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: 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 use your dog?

DEMETRIUS Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit; For I am sick when I do look on thee.

HELENA And I am sick when I look 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.

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?

DEMETRIUS I'll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to the mercy 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.

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

HELENA Ay, in the temple, in the town, the 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. I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love so well.

[Exeunt DEMETRIUS and HELENA.]

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

[Re-enter PUCK.]

Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.

PUCK Ay, there it is.

OBERON I pray thee give it me. I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, Where ox-lips 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, Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight; And there the snake throws her enamell'd 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.

PUCK Fear not, my lord; your servant shall do so.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE II. Another part of the wood.

[Enter TITANIA, with her Train.]

TITANIA 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, 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.

SONG. I. FIRST FAIRY You spotted snakes, with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; Newts and blind-worms do no wrong; Come not near our fairy queen:

CHORUS. Philomel, with melody, Sing in our sweet lullaby: Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby: Never harm, nor spell, nor charm, Come our lovely lady nigh; So good-night, with lullaby.

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

CHORUS Philomel with melody, &c.

FIRST FAIRY Hence away; now all is well. One, aloof, stand sentinel.

[Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps.]

[Enter OBERON.]

OBERON What thou seest when thou dost wake, [Squeezes the flower on TITANIA'S eyelids.] Do it for thy true-love take; Love and languish for his sake; Be it ounce, or cat, or bear, Pard, or boar with bristled hair, In thy eye that shall appear When thou wak'st, it is thy dear; Wake when some vile thing is near.

[Exit.]

[Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA.]

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

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

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

HERMIA Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear, Lie farther off yet, do not lie so near.

LYSANDER 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: 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.

HERMIA 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 courtesy 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!

LYSANDER Amen, amen, to that fair prayer say I; And then end life when I end loyalty! Here is my bed: Sleep give thee all his rest!

HERMIA With half that wish the wisher's eyes be pressed!

[They sleep.]

[Enter PUCK.]

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

[Exit.]

[Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running.]

HELENA Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.

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

HELENA O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.

DEMETRIUS. Stay on thy peril; I alone will go.

[Exit DEMETRIUS.]

HELENA O, I am out of breath in this fond chase! The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. 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. No, no, I am as ugly as a bear; For beasts that meet me run away for fear: Therefore no marvel though Demetrius 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! Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound. Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.

LYSANDER [Waking.] And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake. Transparent Helena! Nature shows art, 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!

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

LYSANDER. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent The tedious minutes I with her have spent. 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. 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, And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook Love's stories, written in love's richest book.

HELENA Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born? 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? 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. O, that a lady of one man refus'd Should of another therefore be abus'd!

[Exit.]

LYSANDER She sees not Hermia:--Hermia, sleep thou there; And never mayst thou come Lysander near! 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; 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.]

HERMIA [Starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best 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! Methought a serpent eat my heart away, And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.-- Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord! What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word? Alack, where are you? speak, an if you hear; Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear. No?--then I well perceive you are not nigh: Either death or you I'll find immediately.

[Exit.]

ACT III.

SCENE I. The Wood. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.

[Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.]

BOTTOM Are we all met?

QUINCE Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.

BOTTOM Peter Quince,--

QUINCE What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

BOTTOM There are things in this comedy of 'Pyramus and Thisby' that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?

SNOUT By'r lakin, a parlous fear.

STARVELING I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

BOTTOM Not a whit: I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed; and for the more better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus am not Pyramus but Bottom the weaver: this will put them out of fear.

QUINCE Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.

BOTTOM No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

SNOUT Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

STARVELING I fear it, I promise you.

BOTTOM Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in, God shield us! a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing: for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to it.

SNOUT Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.

BOTTOM Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect,--'Ladies,' or, 'Fair ladies, I would wish you, or, I would request you, or, I would entreat you, not to fear, not to tremble: my life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are:'--and there, indeed, let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.

QUINCE Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber: for, you know, Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.

SNOUT Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

BOTTOM A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.

QUINCE Yes, it doth shine that night.

BOTTOM Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber-window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.

QUINCE Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lantern, and say he comes to disfigure or to present the person of moonshine. Then there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby, says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.

SNOUT You can never bring in a wall.--What say you, Bottom?

BOTTOM Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

QUINCE If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and so every one according to his cue.

[Enter PUCK behind.]

PUCK What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here, So near the cradle of the fairy queen? What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor; An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.

QUINCE Speak, Pyramus.--Thisby, stand forth.

PYRAMUS 'Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,'

QUINCE Odours, odours.

PYRAMUS '--odours savours sweet: So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.-- But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile, And by and by I will to thee appear.'

[Exit.]

PUCK A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here!

[Aside.--Exit.]

THISBE Must I speak now?

QUINCE Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

THISBE 'Most radiant Pyramus, most lily white of hue, Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew, As true as truest horse, that would never tire, I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.'

QUINCE Ninus' tomb, man: why, you must not speak that yet: that you answer to Pyramus. You speak all your part at once, cues, and all.--Pyramus enter: your cue is past; it is 'never tire.'

[Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.]

THISBE O,'--As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.'

PYRAMUS 'If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine:--'

QUINCE O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help!

[Exeunt Clowns.]

PUCK I'll follow you; I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier; Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire; And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn, Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.

[Exit.]

BOTTOM Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them to make me afeard.

[Re-enter SNOUT.]

SNOUT O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on thee?

BOTTOM What do you see? you see an ass-head of your own, do you?

[Re-enter QUINCE.]

QUINCE Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.

[Exit.]

BOTTOM I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir from this place, do what they can: I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.

[Sings.]

The ousel cock, so black of hue, With orange-tawny bill, The throstle with his note so true, The wren with little quill.

TITANIA [Waking.] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

BOTTOM [Sings.] The finch, the sparrow, and the lark, The plain-song cuckoo gray, Whose note full many a man doth mark, And dares not answer nay;-- for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird? Who would give a bird the lie, though he cry 'cuckoo' never so?

TITANIA I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again; Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note. So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape; And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me, On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee.

BOTTOM Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days: the more the pity that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.

TITANIA Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

BOTTOM Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.