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Here will I rest me, till the break of day,
Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray !


OBERON advances.
Oberon. Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet

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 flow'rets' 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 fairies sent,
To bear him to my bower in fairyland.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection in her eyes.
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain ;
That he, awaking when the other 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.

Oberon. Sound, 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 prosperity.
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.

Oberon. Then, my queen, in silence sad,

Trip we after the night's shade :
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.

Titania. Come, my lord ; and in our flight,

Tell me how it came this night,
That I sleeeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.

[Horns sound.


Theseus. Go, one of you, find out the forester ;
For now our observation is perform'd;
And since we have the vaward 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.

Hippolyta. 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, for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry : I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

Theseus. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd, so sanded; 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,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly ;
Judge, when you hear.—But, soft ! what nymphs are these ?

Egeus. 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.

Theseus. No doubt they rose up early to observe
The right 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 ?

Egeus. It is, my lord.
Theseus. Go bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
[Horns sound. Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia and

Helena start up. Theseus. Good morrow, friends. St. Valentine is past : Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

Lysander. Pardon, my lord.

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


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 ?

Lysander. 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.-

Egeus. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
I beg the law, the law, upon his head.—
They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,
Thereby to have defeated you and me,
You of your wife, and me, of my consent;
Of my consent that she should be your wife.

Demetrius. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth, Of this their purpose hither to this wood; And I in fury hither follow'd them, Fair Helena in fancy following me. But, my good lord, I wot not of what power, (But by some power it is) my love to Hermia, Melted as doth the snow, seems to be now As the remembrance of an idle gawd 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.

Theseus. 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.


Hippolyta. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers

speak of. Theseus. More strange than true.

I never may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend More than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatick, the lover, and the poet, Are of imagination all compact One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is, the madman; the lover, all as frantick, Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt; The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,

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