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Theseus, duke of Athens.
Egeus, futher to Hermia.
in love with Hermia.
Philostrate, master of the revels to Thescus.
Quince, the carpenter.
Snug, the joiner.
Bottom, the weaver.
Flute, the bellows-mender.
Snout, the tinker.
Starveling, the tailor.
Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, betrothed to
Hermia, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
Helena, in love with Demetrius.
Oberon, king of the fairies.
Titania, queen of the fairies.
Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a fairy.
Characters in the interlude, per-
formed by the clowns, Lion, Other fairies attending their king and queen.
Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
Scene, Athens, and a wood not far from it.
SCENE I. Athens. A room in the palace of
Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Philostrate, and at
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
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New 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 ;
Turn 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,
pomp, with triumph*, and with revelling.
Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
The. Thanks, good Egeus: what's the news with
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 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 stol'n the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawdst, 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,
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, Hernia ? 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.
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 judgement
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 hiere, 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 adjure
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 earthlier happy 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, whose unwished yoke My soul consents not to give sovereignty.