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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,
Have 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 murrain 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 Hyems' 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.
Obe. 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.
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;
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.
Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay? Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round,
* Holes made for a game played by boys.
And see our moon-light revels, go with us;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Tita. Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away:
We shall chide down-right if I longer stay.
[Exeunt TITANIA, and her train. Obe. 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.
Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou could'st 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 wat'ry moon;
And the imperial vot'ress 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 show'd thee once;
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid,
Will make or man or woman sadly 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.
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 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.
Demetrius is pursued by Helena, who persists in proffers of her love, which Demetrius
still rejects. Oberon listens to their conversation.
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.
Puck. Ay, there it is.
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 lush woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine;
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull'd 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.
Puck mistakes Lysander for the lover, on whom he is commissioned by Oberon to exer cise his fairy spells.
SCENE.-Another part of the Wood.
Enter LYSANDER, and HERMIA.
Lys. 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.
Her. Be it so, Lysander, find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
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!
Lys. 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!
Her. With alf that wish the wisher's eyes be press'd.
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, 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 eye-lid.
So awake, when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.
Enter DEMETRIUS, and HELENA, running.
Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.
Dem. Stay, on thy peril; I alone will go.
Hel. 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.
Lys. And run through fire I will, for thy sweet sake. [Waking.
Transparent Helena! Nature here 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?
Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so:
What though he love your Hermia ? O, what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.
Lys. 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.
Hel. 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!
Lys. She sees not Hermia :-Hermia, sleep thou there;
And never may'st 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 honor Helen, and to be her knight!
Her. [Starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me! do tay best,
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ah 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, remov'd? 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.