Page images

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

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.
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 amaz

nazed, 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,

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 Lys

nder's eye; Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,

[ocr errors]


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

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,
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



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

Lys. I will be with thee straight.

Follow me, then,
To plainer ground. [Exit Lysander, as following the voice.

Re-enter DEMETRIUS. Dem.

Lysander! speak again : Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled ? Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?

Puck. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars, Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars, And wilt not come ? Come, recreant; come, thou child; I'll whip thee with a rod: he is defiled

410 That draws a sword on thee. Dem.

Yea, art thou there? Puck. Follow my voice: we'll try no manhood here.

[Exeunt. Re-enter LYSANDER. Lys. He goes before me and still dares me on: When I come where he calls, then he is gone. The villain is much lighter-heeld than I: I follow'd fast, but faster he did fly; That fallen am I in dark uneven way, And here will rest me. [Lies down.] Come, thou gentle

day! For if but once thou show me thy grey light, I'll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.

[Sleeps. Re-enter Puck and DEMETRIUS. Puck. Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why comest thou not? 421

Dem. Abide me, if thou darest; for well I wot
Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place,
And darest not stand, nor look me in the face.
Where art thou now?

Come hither: I am here.
Dem. Nay, then, thou mock'st me. Thou shalt buy this

dear, If ever I thy face by daylight see: Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me

[ocr errors]

To measure out my length on this cold bed.
By day's approach look to be visited. [Lies down and sleeps.

Re-enter HELENA.
Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night, 431

Abate thy hours! Shine comforts from the east, That I may back to Athens by daylight,

From these that my poor company detest: And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye, Steal me awhile from mine own company.

[Lies down and sleeps. Puck. Yet but three ? Come one more;

Two of both kinds makes up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad :
Cupid is a knavish lad,

440 Thus to make poor females mad.

Re-enter HERMIA.
Her. Never so weary, never so in woe,

Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
I can no further crawl, no further go;

My legs can keep no pace with my desires. Here will I rest me till the break of day. Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!

[Lies down and sleeps. Puck. On the ground

Sleep sound:
I'll apply

To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.

Squeezing the juice on Lysander's eyes.
When thou wakest,
Thou takest
True delight

In the sight
Of thy former lady's eye:
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown:


Jack shall have Jill;

Nought shall go ill;
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.




and HERMIA lying asleep.


MotH, MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending ; OBERON
behind unseen.
Tita. 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.
Bot. Where's Peaseblossom?
Peas. Ready.

Bot. Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where's Mounsieur
Cob. Ready.

9 Bot. 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 ?

Mus. Ready.

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

Mus. What's your will?


« PreviousContinue »