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Hefeus, Duke of Athens.
Egcus, an Athenian Lord.
Lyfander, in Love with Hermia.
Demetrius, in Love with Hermia.
Quince, the Carpenter.
Snug, the Joiner.
Bottom, the Weaver.
Flute, the Bellows-mender.
Snowt, the Tinker.
Starveling, the Tailor.
Hippolita, Princess of the Amazons, betrothed to Thefeus.
Hermia, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lyfander.
Helena, in love with Demetrius.
Oberon, King of the Fairies.
Titania, Queen of the Fairies.
Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a Fairy.
Other Fairies attending on the King and Queen.
SCENE Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
ACTI SCENE I
Enter Thefeus and Hippolita, with Attendants.
THESE U S.
OW, fair Hippolita, our Nuptial Hour
Draws on apace; four happy Days bring in
Another Moon: But oh, methinks, how flow
This old Moon wanes! She lingers my De-
Long withering out a young Man's Revenue.
Hip. Four Days will quickly fteep themfelves in Nights, Four Nights will quickly dream away the Time : And then the Moon, like to a Silver Bow, New bent in Heaven, fhall behold the Night Of our Solemnities.
Like to a Step-dame, or a Dowager,
The. Go, Philoftrate,
Stir up the Athenian Youth to Merriments,
Awake the pert and nimble Spirit of Mirth,
Turn Melancholly forth to Funerals:
The pale Companion is not for our Pomp.
Hippolita, 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, Hermia, Lyfander, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Thefeus, our renowned Duke.
The. Thanks, good Egens; 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 Confent to marry her.
Stand forth Lyfander. And, my gracious Duke
This hath bewitch'd the Bofom of my Child:
Thou, thou Lysander, thou haft given her Rhimes,
And interchang'd Love-tokens with my Child:
Thou haft, by Moon-light, at her Window fung,
With feigning Voice, Verfes of feigning Love,
And ftoll'n the Impreffion of her Fantafie,
With Bracelets of thy Hair, Rings, Gawds, Conceits,
Knacks, Trifles, Nofegays, Sweet-meats, Meffengers
Of ftrong Prevailment in unharden'd Youth;
With Cunning haft thou filch'd my Daughter's Heart,
Turn'd her Obedience, which is due to me,
To ftubborn Harfhnefs. And, my gracious Duke,
Be it fo fhe will not here before your Grace
Confent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the antient Privilege of Athens,
As the 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 Cafe.
The. What fay you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair Maid.
To you your Father fhould 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 Lyfander.
The. In himfelf he is;
But in this kind, wanting your Father's Voice,
The other muft be held the worthier.
Her. I would my Father look'd but with my Eyes. The. Rather your Eyes muft with his Judgment look. Her. I do intreat your Grace to pardon me, I know not by what Power I am made bold, Nor how it may concern my Modesty In fucha Prefence here to plead my Thoughts: But I beseech your Grace, that I may know The worst that may befal me in this Cafe, If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
The. Either to die the Death, or to abjure
For ever the Society of Men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, queftion your Defires,
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 fhady Cloifter mew'd,
To live a barren Sifter all your Life,
Chanting faint Hymns to the cold fruitless Moon.
Thrice bleffed they that mafter fo their Blood,
To undergo fuch Maiden Pilgrimage.
But earthlier happy is the Rofe distill'd,
Than that which withering on the Virgin Thorn,
Grows, lives, and dies, in fingle Bleffedness.
Her. So will I grow, fo live, fo die, my Lord,
E'er I will yield my Virgin Patent up
Unto his Lordship, to whofe unwish'd Yoak
My Soul confents not to give Sovereignty.
The. Take time to paufe, and by the next New Moon,
The fealing Day betwixt my Love and me,
For everlafting Bond of Fellowship,
Upon that Day either prepare to die,
For Difobedience to your Father's Will,
Or elfe to wed Demetrius as he would,
Or on Diana's Altar to proteft,
For aye, Aufterity and fingle Life.
Dem. Relent, fweet 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 Lyfander! true, he hath my Love;
And what is mine, my Love fhall render him.
And the is mine, and all my Right of her
I do eftate unto Demetrius.
Lys. I am, my Lord, as well deriv'd as he,
As well poffeft: My Love is more than his;
My Fortune's every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius:
And, which is more than all these Boafts can be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia.
Why should not I then profecute my Right?
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made Love to Nedar's Daughter, Helena,
And won her Soul; and the, fweet Lady, doats,
Devourly doats, doats in Idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconftant Man.
The. I must confefs, that I have heard fo much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But being over-full of Self-affairs,
My Mind did lofe it. But Demetrius come,
And come Egens, you shall go with me,
I have fome private fchooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermid, look you arm your felf,
To fit your Fancies to your Father's Will;
Or elle the Law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no Means we may extenuate)
To Death, or to a Vow of fingle Life.
Come my Hippolita, what Cheer, my Love?
Demetrius and Egeus go along,
I must employ you in fome Bufinefs
Againft our Nuptials, and confer with
Of fomething nearly that concerns your felves.
Ege. With Dury and Defire we follow you,
Manent Lyfander and Hermia.
Lyf. How now, my Love? Why is your Cheek fo pale? How chance the Roles there do fade fo faft?
Her Belke for want of Rain, which I could well
Ber em them from the Tempeft of mine Eyes.
Lyf. Hermia, for ought that ever I could read,