Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition
Editor’s NoteEnter Theseus, Hippolyta, with others [including Philostrate]Link 1
theseus Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
2Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in
3Another moon—but O, methinks how slow
Editor’s Note4This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires
Editor’s Note5Like to a stepdame or a dowager
6Long withering out a young man's revenue.Editor’s Note7
hippolyta Four days will quickly steep themselves in night,
8Four nights will quickly dream away the time—
9And then the moon, like to a silver bow
10New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
11Of our solemnities.Editor’s NoteEnter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, and Lysander and Demetrius
theseus Go, Philostrate,
pg 108412Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.
13Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.
14Turn melancholy forth to funerals:
Editor’s Note15The pale companion is not for our pomp.[Exit Philostrate]
Editor’s Note16Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
17And won thy love doing thee injuries.
18But I will wed thee in another key—
Editor’s Note19With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.20
egeus Happy be Theseus, our renownèd Duke.21
theseus Thanks, good Egeus. What's the news with thee?22
egeus Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Link 23Against my child, my daughter Hermia.—
24Stand forth, Demetrius.—My noble lord,
25This man hath my consent to marry her.—
Editor’s Note26Stand forth, Lysander.—And, my gracious Duke,
27This hath bewitched the bosom of my child.
28Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes
29And interchanged love tokens with my child.
30Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung
Editor’s Note31With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
Editor’s Note32And stol'n the impression of her fantasy
Editor’s Note33With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits,
Editor’s Note34Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats—messengers
Editor’s Note35Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth.
36With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart,
37Turned her obedience (which is due to me)
38To stubborn harshness. And, my gracious Duke,
Editor’s Note39Be it so she will not here before your grace
40Consent to marry with Demetrius,
Editor’s Note41I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:
42As she is mine, I may dispose of her,
43Which shall be either to this gentleman
Editor’s Note44Or to her death, according to our law
Editor’s Note45Immediately provided in that case.46
theseus What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid.
47To you your father should be as a god,
48One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
49To whom you are but as a form in wax,
50By him imprinted, and within his power
51To leave the figure or disfigure it.
52Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.53
hermia So is Lysander.
theseus In himself he is,
pg 1085Editor’s Note54But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
55The other must be held the worthier.Link 56
hermia I would my father looked but with my eyes.57
theseus Rather your eyes must with his judgement look.58
hermia I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
59I know not by what power I am made bold,
Editor’s Note60Nor how it may concern my modesty
61In such a presence here to plead my thoughts,
62But I beseech your grace that I may know
63The worst that may befall me in this case
64If I refuse to wed Demetrius.Editor’s Note65
theseus Either to die the death, or to abjure
66For ever the society of men.
67Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires.
Editor’s Note68Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
69Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
Editor’s Note70You can endure the livery of a nun,
Editor’s Note71For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,
72To live a barren sister all your life,
Editor’s Note73Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
74Thrice blessèd they that master so their blood
75To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;
Editor’s Note76But earthlier happy is the rose distilled
77Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Editor’s Note78Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.79
hermia So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Editor’s Note80Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Editor’s Note81Unto his lordship whose unwishèd yoke
82My soul consents not to give sovereignty.83
theseus Take time to pause, and by the next new moon—
84The sealing day betwixt my love and me
85For everlasting bond of fellowship—
86Upon that day either prepare to die
87For disobedience to your father's will,
88Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,
Editor’s Note89Or on Diana's alter to protest
90For aye austerity and single life.Link 91
demetrius Relent, sweet Hermia; and, Lysander, yield
Editor’s Note92Thy crazèd title to my certain right.93
lysander You have her father's love, Demetrius;
94Let me have Hermia's. Do you marry him.95
egeus Scornful Lysander! True, he hath my love;
96And what is mine my love shall render him,
97And she is mine, and all my right of her
Editor’s Note98I do estate unto Demetrius.pg 1086 Editor’s Note99
lysander [to Theseus] I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
Editor’s Note100As well possessed. My love is more than his,
Editor’s Note101My fortunes every way as fairly ranked
Editor’s Note102(If not with vantage) as Demetrius';
103And—which is more than all these boasts can be—
104I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.
Editor’s Note105Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Editor’s Note106Demetrius—I'll avouch it to his head—
107Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
108And won her soul, and she, sweet lady, dotes,
109Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry
Editor’s Note110Upon this spotted and inconstant man.111
theseus I must confess that I have heard so much,
112And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
Editor’s Note113But, being over-full of self affairs,
114My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
115And come, Egeus. You shall go with me.
Editor’s Note116I have some private schooling for you both.
Editor’s Note117For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
Editor’s Note118To fit your fancies to your father's will,
119Or else the law of Athens yields you up—
Editor’s Note120Which by no means we may extenuate—
121To death or to a vow of single life.
Editor’s Note122Come, my Hippolyta; what cheer, my love?—
Editor’s Note123Demetrius and Egeus, go along.
124I must employ you in some busïness
Editor’s Note125Against our nuptial, and confer with you127Editor’s NoteExeunt [all but Lysander and Hermia]
egeus With duty and desire we follow you.128
lysander How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
129How chance the roses there do fade so fast?Editor’s Note130
hermia Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Editor’s Note131Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.132
lysander Ay me, for aught that I could ever read,
133Could ever hear by tale or history,
134The course of true love never did run smooth,
Editor’s Note135But either it was different in blood—136
hermia O cross!—too high to be enthralled to low.Editor’s Note137
lysander Or else misgrafted in respect of years—138
hermia O spite!—too old to be engaged to young.Editor’s Note139
lysander Or merit stood upon the choice of friends—140
hermia O hell!—to choose love by another's eyes.141
lysander Or if there were a sympathy in choice,
pg 1087142War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
143Making it momentary as a sound,
144Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Editor’s Note145Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
Editor’s Note146That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
147And, ere a man hath power to say 'Behold!',
148The jaws of darkness do devour it up.
Editor’s Note149So quick bright things come to confusïon.150
hermia If then true lovers have been ever crossed,
151It stands as an edìct in destiny.
152Then let us teach our trial patïence,
Editor’s Note153Because it is a customary cross,
154As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Editor’s Note155Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers.Editor’s Note156
lysander A good persuasion. Therefore hear me, Hermia.
157I have a widow aunt, a dowager
158Of great revènue, and she hath no child,
Editor’s Note159And she respects me as her only son.
Editor’s Note160From Athens is her house remote seven leagues.
Link 161There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,
162And to that place the sharp Athenian law
163Cannot pursue us. If thou lov'st me then,
Editor’s Note164Steal forth thy father's house tomorrow night,
Editor’s Note165And in the wood, a league without the town,
166Where I did meet thee once with Helena
Editor’s Note167To do observance to a morn of May,
168There will I stay for thee.
hermia My good Lysander,
169I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow,
Editor’s Note170By his best arrow with the golden head,
Editor’s Note171By the simplicity of Venus' doves,
172By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
Editor’s Note173And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
174When the false Trojan under sail was seen;
175By all the vows that ever men have broke—
176In number more than ever women spoke—
177In that same place thou hast appointed me
178Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.179Editor’s NoteEnter Helena
lysander Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.Editor’s Note180
hermia God speed, fair Helena. Whither away?181
helena Call you me fair? That 'fair' again unsay.
Editor’s Note182Demetrius loves your fair—O happy fair!
pg 1088Editor’s Note183Your eyes are lodestars, and your tongue's sweet air
Editor’s Note184More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear
185When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Editor’s Note186Sickness is catching. O, were favour so!
Editor’s Note187Your words I catch, fair Hermia; ere I go,
188My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
189My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Editor’s Note190Were the world mine—Demetrius being bated—
Editor’s Note191The rest I'd give to be to you translated.
192O, teach me how you look, and with what art
Editor’s Note193You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.Link 194
hermia I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.195
helena O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!196
hermia I give him curses, yet he gives me love.197
helena O that my prayers could such affection move!198
hermia The more I hate, the more he follows me.199
helena The more I love, the more he hateth me.200
hermia His folly, Helen, is no fault of mine.201
helena None but your beauty; would that fault were mine!202
hermia Take comfort. He no more shall see my face.
203Lysander and myself will fly this place.
204Before the time I did Lysander see
205Seemed Athens as a paradise to me.
206O then, what graces in my love do dwell,
207That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell?208
lysander Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
Editor’s Note209Tomorrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Editor’s Note210Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass,
Editor’s Note211Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass—
Editor’s Note212A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal—
213Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal.214
hermia And in the wood where often you and I
Editor’s Note215Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
216Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
217There my Lysander and myself shall meet,
218And thence from Athens turn away our eyes
Editor’s Note219To seek new friends and stranger companies.
220Farewell, sweet playfellow. Pray thou for us,
221And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius.—
222Keep word, Lysander. We must starve our sight
Editor’s Note223From lovers' food till morrow deep midnight.224Exit Lysander
lysander I will, my Hermia.Exit Hermia
225As you on him, Demetrius dote on you.Editor’s Note226Exit
helena How happy some o'er other some can be!
227Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
pg 1089 Link 228But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so.
229He will not know what all but he do know.
230And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
Editor’s Note231So I, admiring of his qualities.
Editor’s Note232Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
233Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Editor’s Note234Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
235And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Editor’s Note236Nor hath love's mind of any judgement taste;
Editor’s Note237Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
238And therefore is love said to be a child:
239Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
Editor’s Note240As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
241So the boy Love is perjured everywhere.
Editor’s Note242For ere Demetrius looked on Hermia's eyne
243He hailed down oaths that he was only mine,
244And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
Editor’s Note245So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
246I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight.
247Then to the wood will he tomorrow night
Editor’s Note248Pursue her, and for this intelligence
Editor’s Note249If I have thanks it is a dear expense.
250But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
251To have his sight thither and back again.