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This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.

240 If you have any pity, grace, or manners, You would not make me such an argument. But fare ye well : 'tis partly my own fault; Which death or absence soon shall remedy.

Lys. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse :
My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena !

Hel. O excellent!
Her.

Sweet, do not scorn her so.
Dem. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.

Lys. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat : Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers. Helen, I love thee; by my life I do:

251 I swear by that which I will lose for thee, To prove him false that says I love thee not.

Dem. I say I love thee more than he can do.
Lys. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
Dem. Quick, come!
Her.

Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Lys. Away, you Ethiope !
Dem.

No, no; he'll ...
Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!

Lys. Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose, Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent !

Her. Why are you grown so rude? what change is this? Sweet love,

Lys. Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathed medicine ! hated potion, hence !

Her. Do you not jest?
Hel.

Yes, sooth; and so do you.
Lys. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

Dem. I would I had your bond, for I perceive
A weak bond holds you: I'll not trust your word.

261

Lys. What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead? Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.

270
Her. What, can you do me greater harm than hate ?
Hate me! wherefore ? O me! what news, my love!
Am not I Hermia ? are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me:
Why, then you left me -0, the gods forbid !-
In earnest, shall I say?
Lys.

Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest

280 That I do hate thee and love Helena.

Her. O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom !
You thief of love! what, have you come by night
And stolen my love's heart from him?
Hel.

Fine, i' faith!
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue ?
Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you !

Her. Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
Now 1 perceive that she hath made compare

290 Between our statures; she hath urged her height; And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him. And are you grown so high in his esteem, Because I am so dwarfish and so low? How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak; How low am I? I am not yet so low But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

Hel. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me: I was never curst;

300 I have no gift at all in shrewishness; I am a right maid for my cowardice : Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,

Because she is something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
Her.

Lower! hark again.
Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.

310
He follow'd you; for love I follow'd him ;
But he hath chid me hence and threaten'd me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back
And follow you no further: let me go:
You see how simple and how fond I am.

Her. Why, get you gone : who is 't that hinders you ?
Hel. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
Her. What, with Lysander?
Hel.

With Demetrius.

320 Lys. Be not afraid ; she shall not harm thee, Helena. Dem. No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.

Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd !
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And though she be but little, she is fierce.

Her. Little' again ! nothing but 'low' and 'little'!
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
Lys.

Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
Dem.
You are too officious

330
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend

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Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
Lys.

Now she holds me not ;
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Dem. Follow! nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jole.

[Exeunt Lysander and Demetrius.
Her. You, mistress, all this coil is ’long of you:
Nay, go not back.
Hel.
I will not trust you, I,

340
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though, to run away.

[Exit. Her. I am amazed, and know not what to say.

[Exit.
Obe. This is thy negligence, still thou mistakest,
Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.

Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
By the Athenian garments he had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,

350
That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes ;
And so far am I glad it so did sort
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.

Obe. Thou see'st these lovers seek a place to fight :
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night ; :
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
And lead these testy rivals so astray
As one come not within another's way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
And from each other look thou lead them thus,
Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep:
Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye;
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,

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360

380

To take from thence all error with his might,
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake all this derision

370
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision,
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I'll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmed eye release
From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.

Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards : damned spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They wilfully themselves exile from light
And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.

Obe. But we are spirits of another sort:
I with the morning's love have oft made sport,
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,

390
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
We may effect this business yet ere day.

[Exit. Puck. Up and down, up and down,

I will lead them up and down:
I am fear'd in field and town:

Goblin, lead them up and down.
Here comes one.

400 Re-enter LYSANDER. Lys. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou

now.

Puck. Here, villain ; drawn and ready. Where art thou ?

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