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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 4, Scene 1



The same

LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA sleep. Enter TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies, and BOTTOM with the ass’s head and fairies PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, OBERON the king behind them, unseen

LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA sleep. Enter TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies; and BOTTOM, with the ass’s head; and fairies PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED; OBERON the king behind them, unseen

TITANIA

(to BOTTOM) Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed

While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,

coy=caress

And stick musk roses in thy sleek, smooth head,

And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

 

TITANIA

(to BOTTOM) Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed

While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,

And stick musk roses in thy sleek, smooth head,

And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

 

BOTTOM

Where’s Peaseblossom?

 

BOTTOM

Where’s Peaseblossom?

 

PEASEBLOSSOM

Ready.

 

PEASEBLOSSOM

Ready.

 

BOTTOM

Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where’s Monsieur Cobweb?

 

BOTTOM

Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where’s Monsieur Cobweb?

 

COBWEB

Ready.

 

COBWEB

Ready.

 

BOTTOM

Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get you your weapons in your hand and kill me a red-hipped bumble-bee on the top of a thistle. And, good monsieur, bring me the honey bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur. And good monsieur, have a care the honey bag break not. I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey bag, signor.

overflown=submerged

Where’s Monsieur Mustardseed?

 

BOTTOM

Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get you your weapons in your hand and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a thistle. And, good monsieur, bring me the honey bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur. And good monsieur, have a care the honey bag break not. I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey bag, signor.

Where’s Monsieur Mustardseed?

 

Exit COBWEB

Exit COBWEB

MUSTARDSEED

Ready.

 

MUSTARDSEED

Ready.

 

BOTTOM

Give me your neaf (fist), Monsieur Mustardseed. Pray you,

leave your courtesy (stop bowing), good monsieur.

MUSTARDSEED

What’s your will?

 

BOTTOM

Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.

 

MUSTARDSEED

What’s your will?

 

BOTTOM

Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavalery (Cavalier) Cobweb (actually, Peaseblossom) to scratch. I must to the barber’s, monsieur, for methinks I am marvelous hairy about the face, and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.

 

BOTTOM

Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber’s, monsieur, for methinks I am marvelous hairy about the face. And I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.

 

TITANIA

What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

 

TITANIA

What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

 

BOTTOM

I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have the tongs and the bones (triangle and sticks).

 

BOTTOM

I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have the tongs and the bones.

 

TITANIA

Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

 

TITANIA

Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

 

BOTTOM

Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle (bundle) of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

peck of provender=one-quarter bushel of grain

 

BOTTOM

Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

 

TITANIA

I have a venturous fairy that shall seek

The squirrel’s hoard and fetch thee new nuts.

 

TITANIA

I have a venturous fairy that shall seek

The squirrel’s hoard and fetch thee new nuts.

 

BOTTOM

I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me. I have an exposition (he really means disposition) of sleep come upon me.

 

BOTTOM

I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me. I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.

 

TITANIA

Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.

Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.

all ways away=off in all directions

 

TITANIA

Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.

Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.

 

Exeunt FAIRIES

Exeunt FAIRIES

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle

Gently entwist. The female ivy so

female ivy=ivy that is supported by the tree

Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

Oh, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!

 

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle

Gently entwist. The female ivy so

Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

Oh, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!

 

TITANIA and BOTTOM sleep

TITANIA and BOTTOM sleep

Enter ROBIN

Enter ROBIN

OBERON

Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?

Her dotage now I do begin to pity.

For, meeting her of late behind the wood

Seeking sweet favors from this hateful fool,

I did upbraid her and fall out with her.

For she his hairy temples then had rounded

With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers,

And that same dew, which sometime on the buds

sometime=formerly

Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,

was wont=used to

Stood now within the pretty flowerets' eyes

Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.

When I had at my pleasure taunted her

And she in mild terms begged 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 Fairyland.

And now I have the boy, I will undo

This hateful imperfection of her eyes.

And, gentle Puck, take this transformèd scalp

From off the head of this Athenian swain,

[so] That, he awaking when the others do,

May all to Athens back again repair

repair=return

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

Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?

Her dotage now I do begin to pity.

For, meeting her of late behind the wood,

Seeking sweet favors from this hateful fool,

I did upbraid her and fall out with her.

For she his hairy temples then had rounded

With a 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 flowerets' eyes

Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.

When I had at my pleasure taunted her

And she in mild terms begged 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 Fairyland.

And now I have the boy, I will undo

This hateful imperfection of her eyes.

And, gentle Puck, take this transformèd 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.

 

(squeezing flower juice into TITANIA’s eyes)

(squeezing flower juice into TITANIA’s eyes)

Be as thou wast wont to be.

wast wont to be=used to be

See as thou wast wont to see.

Dian’s bud o'er Cupid’s flower

Dian’s bud=the flower that Oberon has used

Cupid’s flower=heartsease

Hath such force and blessèd power.

Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.

 

Be as thou wast wont to be.

See as thou wast wont to see.

Dian’s bud o'er Cupid’s flower

Hath such force and blessèd power.

Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.

 

TITANIA

(waking) My Oberon, what visions have I seen!

Methought I was enamored of an ass.

 

TITANIA

(waking) My Oberon, what visions have I seen!

Methought I was enamored of an ass.

 

OBERON

There lies your love.

 

OBERON

There lies your love.

 

TITANIA

How came these things to pass?

Oh, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

 

TITANIA

    How came these things to pass?

Oh, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

 

OBERON

Silence awhile.—Robin, take off this head.—

Titania, music call, and strike more dead

Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

these five=the four lovers and Bottom

(strike the sense more dead than common sleep)

 

OBERON

Silence awhile.—Robin, take off this head.—

Titania, music call, and strike more dead

Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

 

TITANIA

Music, ho! Music such as charmeth sleep!

charmeth=acts like a magic spell

 

TITANIA

Music, ho! Music such as charmeth sleep!

 

Music

Music

ROBIN

(taking the ass’s head off BOTTOM)

Now when thou wakest, with thine own fool’s eyes peep.

 

ROBIN

(taking the ass’s head off BOTTOM)

Now when thou wakest, with thine own fool’s eyes peep.

 

OBERON

Sound, music!—Come, my queen, take hands with me,

And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.

(dances with TITANIA)

Now thou and I are new in amity,

And will tomorrow 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.

 

OBERON

Sound, music!—Come, my queen, take hands with me,

And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.

(dances with TITANIA)

Now thou and I are new in amity,

And will tomorrow 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.

 

ROBIN

Fairy King, attend and mark.

I do hear the morning lark.

 

ROBIN

Fairy King, attend, and mark.

I do hear the morning lark.

 

OBERON

Then, my queen, in silence sad,

sad=sober

Trip we after the night’s shade.

trip=dance

shade=sheltered spot

We the globe can compass soon

compass=encircle

Swifter than the wandering moon.

 

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, sleeping here, was found

With these mortals on the ground.

 

TITANIA

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 OBERON, TITANIA, and ROBIN

Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and ROBIN

Wind horn within. Enter THESEUS and all his train, EGEUS, and HIPPOLYTA

Wind horn within. Enter THESEUS and all his train, EGEUS, and HIPPOLYTA

THESEUS

Go, one of you, find out the forester.

For now our observation is performed.

observation=May Day festivities

And since we have the vaward of the day,

vaward=vanguard (morning)

My love shall hear the music of my hounds

Uncouple in the western valley. Let them go.

uncouple=unleashed

Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.

 

THESEUS

Go, one of you, find out the forester.

For now our observation is performed.

And since we have the vaward of the day,

My love shall hear the music of my hounds.

Uncouple in the western valley. Let them go.

Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.

 

Exit one of the train

Exit one of the train

We will, fair queen, [go] up to the mountain’s top

And mark the musical confusion

mark=observe

Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

HIPPOLYTA

I was with Hercules and Cadmus once

When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear

bayed=brought to bay

With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear

hounds of Sparta – famous for hunting ability

Such gallant chiding. For, besides the groves,

besides=beyond

The skies, the fountains, every region near,

Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard

So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

 

HIPPOLYTA

I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,

When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear

With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear

Such gallant chiding. For, besides the groves,

The skies, the fountains, every region near

Seemed 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 flewed, so sanded, and their heads are hung

flewed=having large upper lips like a bloodhound

sanded=sand-colored

With ears that sweep away the morning dew,

Crook-kneed and dew-lapped like Thessalian bulls,

dew-lapped=having extra skin at the throat

Slow in pursuit but matched in mouth like bells,

Each under each. A cry more tunable

Was never hollaed to nor cheered with horn

In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.

Judge when you hear.

(sees the four sleeping lovers)

  But, soft! What nymphs are these?

 

THESEUS

My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,

So flewed, so sanded, and their heads are hung

With ears that sweep away the morning dew,

Crook-kneed, and dew-lapped like Thessalian bulls,

Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,

Each under each. A cry more tunable

Was never hollaed to, nor cheered with horn,

In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.

Judge when you hear.

(sees the four sleeping lovers)

  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.

 

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 rite of May, and, hearing our intent,

Came here in grace our solemnity.

in grace our solemnity=in honor of our wedding

But speak, Egeus. Is not this the day

That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

 

THESEUS

No doubt they rose up early to observe

The rite of May, and hearing our intent

Came here in grace our solemnity.

But speak, Egeus. Is not this the day

That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

 

EGEUS

It is, my lord.

 

EGEUS

It is, my lord.

 

THESEUS

Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

 

THESEUS

Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

 

Exit one of the train

Exit one of the train

Wind horns and shout within, LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up

Wind horns and shout within, LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up

Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past.

Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?

(birds chose mates on Saint Valentine’s Day)

Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past.

Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?

LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA kneel

LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA kneel

LYSANDER

Pardon, my lord.

 

LYSANDER

Pardon, my lord.

 

THESEUS

  I pray you all, stand up.

 

THESEUS

  I pray you all, stand up.

 

LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA stand

LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA stand

(to LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS)

(to LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS)

I know you two are 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?

to sleep by hate=sleep side-by-side with a foe

enmity=ill will

 

I know you two are 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 amazèdly,

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 do I bethink me, so it is—

I came with Hermia hither. Our intent

Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,

Without the peril of the Athenian law—

 

LYSANDER

My lord, I shall reply amazèdly,

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 do I bethink me, so it is—

I came with Hermia hither. Our intent

Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,

Without the peril of the Athenian law—

 

EGEUS

(to THESEUS) Enough, enough, my lord. You have enough!

I beg the law, the law, upon his head.—

(to DEMETRIUS) They would have stol'n 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.

 

EGEUS

(to THESEUS) 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 me,

You of your wife and me of my consent,

Of my consent that she should be your wife.

 

DEMETRIUS

(to THESEUS) 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 following me,

But, my good lord, I wot not by what power—

wot=know

But by some power it is—my love to Hermia,

Melted as the snow, seems to me now

As the remembrance of an idle gaud

gaud=trinket

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 betrothed ere I saw Hermia,

But like in sickness did I loathe this food,

But, as in health, come to my natural taste,

Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,

And will for evermore be true to it.

 

DEMETRIUS

(to THESEUS) 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 following me.

But, my good lord, I wot not by what power—

But by some power it is—my love to Hermia,

Melted as the snow, seems to me now

As the remembrance of an idle gaud

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 betrothed ere I saw Hermia.

But like in sickness did I loathe this food.

But as in health, come to my natural taste,

Now I do 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,

something worn=somewhat spent

Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.

Away with us to Athens. Three and three,

We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.

Come, Hippolyta.

 

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 purposed hunting shall be set aside.

Away with us to Athens. Three and three,

We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.

Come, Hippolyta.

 

Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train

Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train

DEMETRIUS

These things seem small and undistinguishable,

Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.

 

DEMETRIUS

These things seem small and undistinguishable,

Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.

 

HERMIA

When everything seems double. Methinks I see these things with parted (divided into two) eye.

 

HERMIA

When everything seems double. Methinks I see these things with parted eye,

 

HELENA

So methinks.

And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,

Mine own and not mine own.

 

 

HELENA

    So methinks.

And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,

Mine own, and not mine own.

 

DEMETRIUS

Are you sure

That we are awake? It seems to me

That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think

The duke was here and bid us follow him?

 

DEMETRIUS

    Are you sure

That we are awake? It seems to me

That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think

The duke was here, and bid us follow him?

 

HERMIA

Yea, and my father.

 

HERMIA

Yea, and my father.

 

HELENA

  And Hippolyta.

 

HELENA

  And Hippolyta.

 

LYSANDER

And he did bid us follow to the temple.

 

LYSANDER

And he did bid us follow to the temple.

 

DEMETRIUS

Why, then, we are awake. Let’s follow him

And by the way let us recount our dreams.

 

DEMETRIUS

Why then, we are awake. Let’s follow him

And by the way let us recount our dreams.

 

Exeunt LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA

Exeunt LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA

BOTTOM

(waking) When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is “Most fair Pyramus.” Heigh-ho! Peter Quince? Flute the bellows-mender? Snout the tinker? Starveling? God’s (God bless) my life, stol'n hence, and left me asleep? I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream—past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had—but man is but a patched (like a jester in patches) fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called “Bottom’s Dream” because it hath no bottom, and I will sing it in the latter end of a play before the duke. Peradventure, to make it the more gracious (pleasing), I shall sing it at her (Thisbe’s) death.

 

BOTTOM

(waking) When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is “Most fair Pyramus.” Heigh-ho! Peter Quince? Flute the bellows-mender? Snout the tinker? Starveling? God’s my life, stol'n hence, and left me asleep? I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream—past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had—but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called “Bottom’s Dream” because it hath no bottom. And I will sing it in the latter end of a play before the duke. Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.

 

Exit

Exit

 

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