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Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
For meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet savours for this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her, and fall out with her:
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers ;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flourets' eyes,
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her,
And she, in mild terms, begg'd my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes.
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That he awaking when the other 5 do,
May all to Athens back again repair ;
And think no more of this night's accidents,
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
Be, as thou wast wont to be.

[Touching her eyes with an herb.
See, as thou wast wont to see:
Dian's bud 6 o'er Cupid's flower

Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.

5 This was the phraseology of the time. So in K. Henry IV. Part 1.-—' and unbound the rest, and then came in the other.'

6 Dian's bud is the bud of the Agnus Castus, or Chaste Tree. • The vertue of this hearbe is, that he will kepe man and woman chaste.' Macer's Herbal, by Lynacre, b. l. no date. Cupid's flower is the Viola tricolor, or Love in Idleness.

Tita. My Oberon! what visions have I seen! Methought I was enamour'd of an ass. Obe. There lies


love. Tita.

How came these things to pass ? 0, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

Obe. Silence, awhile.—Robin, take off this head. Titania, musick call; and strike more dead Than common sleep, of all these five the sense. Tita. Musick, ho! musick: such as charmeth

sleep. Puck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own

fool's eyes peep. Obe. Sound, musick. [Still musick.] Come, my

queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity;
And will, to-morrow midnight, solemnly,
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair posterity :
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark;
I do hear the morning lark.

Obe. Then, my queen, in silence sad",
Trip we after the night's shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.

Tita. Come, my lord; and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night,
That I sleeping here was found,
With these mortals on the ground. [Exeunt.

[Horns sound within. 7 Sad here signifies only grave, serious.

Enter Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUs, and train.

The. Go, one of you, find out the forester;-
For now our observation is perform’d 8:
And since we have the vaward 9 of the day,
My love shall hear the musick of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; go:
Despatch, I say, and find the forester.
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
With hounds of Sparta : never did I hear
Such gallant chiding 10; for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual



heard So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, So few'd 11, so sanded 12 ; and their heads are hung With ears that sweep away the morning dew; Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls; Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells, Each under each. A cry more tuneable Was never holla’d to, nor cheer'd with horn,

8 i. e. the honours due to the morning of May. So in a former scene—'to do observance to a morn of May.'

9 Forepart.

10 Chiding means here the cry of hounds. To chide is used sometimes for to sound, or make a noise without any reference to scolding. So in K. Henry VIII.:

• As doth a rock against the chiding flood.' And in the 22d Book of Drayton's Polyolbion :

drums and trumpets chide.' 11 The flews are the large chaps of a deep-mouthed hound.

12 Sanded means of a sandy colour, which is one of the true denotements of a blood-hound.


In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge, when you hear.-But, soft; what nymphs

are these?
Ege. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep:
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
This Helena, old Nedar's Helena :
I wonder of their being here together.

The. No doubt, they rose up early, to observe
The rite of May; and, hearing our intent,
Came here in grace of our solemnity.-
But, speak, Egeus; is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

Ege. It is, my lord.
The. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their


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Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER,

HERMIA, and HELENA, wake and start up.
The. Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is

Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
Lys. Pardon, my lord.

[He and the rest kneel to Theseus.
I pray you all, stand

I know you are two rival enemies;
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?

Lys. My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half ’sleep, half waking: But as yet, I swear,
I cannot truly say how I came here:
But, as I think, (for truly would I speak,-
And now I do bethink me, so it is);
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be
Without the peril of the Athenian law.

Ege. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:


I beg the law, the law, upon his head.-
They would have stol'n away, they would, Demetrius,
Thereby to have defeated you and
You, of


wife; and me, of my consent; Of my consent that she should be


Dem. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither, to this wood;
And I in fury hither followed them;
Fair Helena in fancy 13 following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power
(But by some power it is), my love to Hermia,
Melted as doth the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gawd 14,
Which in my childhood I did dote upon:
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object, and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betroth'd ere I saw Hermia :
But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food :
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now do I wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.

The. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.-
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple, by and by with us,
These couples shall eternally be knit.
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purpos’d hunting shall be set aside.-
Away, with us, to Athens : Three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.--
Come, Hippolyta.

(Exeunt ThE. HIP. EGE. and train. 13 Fancy is here love or affection, and is opposed to fury. So in Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis :

A martial man to be soft fancy's slave.' Some now call that which a man takes particular delight in, his fancy.

14 Toy.

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