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MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.

ACT I. SCENE I.

Athens. A Room in the Palace of THESEUS.

Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attend

ants.

The. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace: four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes ! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man’s revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in

nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time';
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
Now bent in heaven”, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
The.

Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth :

1 Four Nights will quickly dream away the time ;] The 4to, by Roberts, has daies instead of " nights :" the 4to. by Fisher, and the folio, give it correctly.

? Now bent in heaven,] The old copies, 4to, and folio, are uniform in this reading: Rowe changed "now" to neu, but surely without necessity. The meaning of Hippolyta is, that “then the moon, which is now bent in heaven like a silver bow, shall behold the night of our solemnities.” Astronomically the alteration does not seem called for ; because, elsewhere in this act, we find that the nights were moonlight at the time when Hippolyta is speaking. In this restoration I am glad to fortify myself by the opinion of Mr. Amyot.

Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.-

[Exit PHILOSTRATE.
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love doing thee injuries ;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. .

Enter Egeus, with his daughter HERMIA, LYSANDER, and

DEMETRIUS. Ege. Happy be Theseus, 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 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, And interchang'd love-tokens with my child : Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stoln the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats (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, Be it so, she will not here, before your grace, Consent to marry with Demetrius,

3 Stand forth, Demetrius.-) It ought to be mentioned, that in all the old editions, “ Stand forth, Demetrius," and afterwards, “ Stand forth, Lysander," are printed as stage directions, and not as part of the text, to which they appear to belong, because they form portions of the lines completed in one case by the words, “my noble lord,” and in the other by the words, "and my gracious duke.” Egeus wished them to show themselves separately for greater distinctness.

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her,
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.

The. What say you, Hermia? be advis’d, fair maid. To

you your father should 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 power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

Her. So is Lysander.
The.

In himself he is;
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.

Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes !
The. Rather, your eyes must with his judgment

look.
Her. I 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 The worst that may befal me in this case, If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the society 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 shady cloister mew'd,
To live a barren sister all your life, ,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice blessed they, that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;

But earthly happier is the rose distill’d`,
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.

Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yokes
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
The. Take time to pause : and by the next 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,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would ;
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
For aye, austerity and single life.

Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia ;-and, Lysander, yield Thy 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 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
I do estate unto Demetrius.

Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd 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';
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia.
Why should not I then prosecute my right?

* But Earthly HAPPIER is the rose distill’d,] The old editions read, carthlier happy; but there can be little doubt that the printer mistook, and made the wrong word in the comparative degree. The change which the sense seems to require was recommended by Capell.

Cnto his lordship, to whose unwish'd yoke] The second folio gives the line as in the text. The sense is incomplete without “to,” which is not found in anterior editions, but had probably dropped out : “ to whose unwish’d yoke” is a very slight, but still important change.

Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, 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
To 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 Hippolita : what cheer, my love ?-
Demetrius, and Egeus, go along :
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
Ege. With duty, and desire, we follow you.

[Exeunt Thes. HiP. EGE. DEM, and train. Lys. How now, my love? Why is your cheek so

pale ? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

Her. Belike, for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.

Lys. Ah me! for aught that I could ever read?,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But, either it was different in blood,

6 BETEEM them -) To beteem in its common acceptation is to bestor, but Steevens suggests that it here means pour out.

? Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,] The folio of 1623 omits “ Ah me,” and places the adverb “ever,” before “I could," instead of after it; thus abandoning the 4to. by Roberts, and spoiling one of the most beautiful lines of a most beautiful passage.

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