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ACT I. SCENE I.
The Palace of Thefeus in Athens.
Enter Thefeus, Hippolita, Philoftrate, with attendants.
The. Now, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how flow This old moon wanes! fhe lingers my defires, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager, Longwithering out a young man's revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly fteep themselves in nights; Four nights will quickly dream away the time; And then the moon, like to a filver bow New bent in heaven, fhall behold the night Of our folemnities.
The. Go, Philoftrate,
the Athenian youth to merriments;
withering out -impairing, bringing to decay.
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
That pale companion is not for our pomp.
Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my fword,
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, Lyfander, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Thefeus, our renowned duke!
The. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.-
Stand forth, Demetrius ;-My noble lord,
This man hath my confent to marry her :-
Stand forth, Lyfander;—and, my gracious duke,
This man hath witch'd the bofom of my child:
Thou, thou, Lyfander, thou haft given her rhimes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child:
Thou haft by moon-light at her window fung,
With feigning voice, verfes of feigning love;
And ftol'n the impreffion of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nofegays, fweet-meats; meffengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth :
With cunning haft thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harfhnets:-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 fhe is mine, I may dispose of her:
the impreffion of her fantafy]—inclinations, affection.
Which fhall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death; according to our law,
Immediately provided in that cafe.
The. What fay you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid:
To you your father fhould 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
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lyfander.
The. In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other muft be held the worthier.
Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The. Rather your eyes muft with his judgment look.
Her. I do intreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modefty,
In fuch a prefence here, to plead my thoughts:
But I beseech your grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this cafe,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the fociety 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 in fhady cloifter mew'd,
To live a barren fifter all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Know of]-confider, fcrutinize, bring it to the test.
For aye]-For ever.
Thrice blessed they, that mafter fo their blood,
To undergo fuch maiden pilgrimage :
But earthlier happy is the rofe diftill'd,
Than that, which, withering on the virgin-thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in fingle bleffedness.
Her. So will I grow, fo live, fo die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke
My foul confents not to give fovereignty.
The. Take time to paufe: and, by the next new moon, (The fealing-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, aufterity and fingle life.
Dem. Relent, fweet Hermia ;-And, Lyfander, yield Thy i crazed title to my certain right.
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
Ege. Scornful Lyfander! true, he hath my love;
And what is mine, my love fhall render him:
And she is mine; and all my right of her
I do 'eftate unto Demetrius.
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well poffefs'd; my love is more than his ;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all these boafts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia:
hearthlier happy-more happy as to this world-earthly happier ; earlier happy.
i crazed ]-feeble, infirm.
1 eftate unto]-fettle on.
Why should not I then profecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her foul; and fhe, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes,' dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconftant man.
The. I must confefs, that I have heard fo much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of felf-affairs,
My mind did lofe it. But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you fhall go with me,
I have fome private schooling for
fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or elfe the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of fingle life.-
Come, my Hippolita; What cheer, my love?-
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in fome business
Against our nuptial; and confer with you
Of fomething, nearly that concerns yourselves.
Ege. With duty, and defire, we follow you.
[Exeunt Thef. Hip. Egeus, Dem. and train.
Lyf. How now, my love? Why is your cheek fo pale?
How chance the roses there do fade fo faft?
Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well Beteem them from the tempeft of mine eyes.
Lyf. Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or hiftory,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
But, either it was different in blood;
Beteem them]-discharge, pour down upon them.