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THESEUSNow, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 5Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.
HIPPOLYTAFour days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 10New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 15Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 20With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.
EGEUSHappy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
THESEUSThanks, good Egeus: what's the news with thee?
EGEUSFull of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 25Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 30And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 35Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 40Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 45Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.
THESEUSWhat say you, Hermia? be advised fair maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 50To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
HERMIASo is Lysander.
THESEUSAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 55In himself he is;
But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
HERMIAI would my father look'd but with my eyes.
THESEUSRather your eyes must with his judgment look.
HERMIAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 60I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your grace that I may know
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 65The worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
THESEUSEither to die the death or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 70Know 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 shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 75Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;
But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 80Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.
HERMIASo will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
THESEUSAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 85Take time to pause; and, by the nest new moon —
The sealing-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,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 90Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana's altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.
DEMETRIUSRelent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
LYSANDERAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 95You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
EGEUSScornful Lysander! true, he hath my love,
And what is mine my love shall render him.
And she is mine, and all my right of her
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 100I do estate unto Demetrius.
LYSANDERI am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 105And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 110And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
THESEUSI must confess that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 115But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me,
I have some private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 120To fit your fancies to your father's will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up —
Which by no means we may extenuate —
To death, or to a vow of single life.
Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my love?
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 125Demetrius and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
EGEUSWith duty and desire we follow you.
LYSANDERAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 130How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
HERMIABelike for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.
LYSANDERAy me! for aught that I could ever read,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 135Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But, either it was different in blood, —
HERMIAO cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low.
LYSANDEROr else misgraffed in respect of years, —
HERMIAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 140O spite! too old to be engaged to young.
LYSANDEROr else it stood upon the choice of friends, —
HERMIAO hell! to choose love by another's eyes.
LYSANDEROr, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 145Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say 'Behold!'
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 150The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
HERMIAIf then true lovers have been ever cross'd,
It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 155Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers.
LYSANDERA good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 160Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 165Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,
Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 170There will I stay for thee.
HERMIAMy good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus' doves,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 175By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage queen,
When the false Troyan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 180In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
LYSANDERKeep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
HERMIAGod speed fair Helena! whither away?
HELENACall you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 185Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 190Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'd give to be to you translated.
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 195O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
HERMIAI frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
HELENAO that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
HERMIAI give him curses, yet he gives me love.
HELENAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 200O that my prayers could such affection move!
HERMIAThe more I hate, the more he follows me.
HELENAThe more I love, the more he hateth me.
HERMIAHis folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
HELENANone, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
HERMIAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 205Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem'd Athens as a paradise to me:
O, then, what graces in my love do dwell,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 210That he hath turn'd a heaven unto a hell!
LYSANDERHelen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 215A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,
Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal.
HERMIAAnd in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 220There my Lysander and myself shall meet;
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us;
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 225Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers' food till morrow deep midnight.
LYSANDERI will, my Hermia.
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
HELENAAct 1 Sc 1 Ln 230How happy some o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know:
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 235So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, folding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 240Nor hath Love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 245So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 250I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
Act 1 Sc 1 Ln 255To have his sight thither and back again.