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- A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1/14 -


A Midsommer Nights Dreame

Actus primus.

Enter Theseus, Hippolita, with others.

Theseus. Now faire Hippolita, our nuptiall houre Drawes on apace: foure happy daies bring in Another Moon: but oh, me thinkes, how slow This old Moon wanes; She lingers my desires Like to a Step-dame, or a Dowager, Long withering out a yong mans reuennew

Hip. Foure daies wil quickly steep the[m]selues in nights Foure nights wil quickly dreame away the time: And then the Moone, like to a siluer bow, Now bent in heauen, shal behold the night Of our solemnities

The. Go Philostrate, Stirre vp the Athenian youth to merriments, Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth, Turne melancholy forth to Funerals: The pale companion is not for our pompe, Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my sword, And wonne thy loue, doing thee iniuries: But I will wed thee in another key, With pompe, with triumph, and with reuelling. Enter Egeus and 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 childe, my daughter Hermia.

Stand forth Demetrius.

My Noble Lord, This man hath my consent to marrie her.

Stand forth Lysander.

And my gracious Duke, This man hath bewitch'd the bosome of my childe: Thou, thou Lysander, thou hast giuen her rimes, And interchang'd loue-tokens with my childe: Thou hast by Moone-light at her window sung, With faining voice, verses of faining loue, And stolne the impression of her fantasie, With bracelets of thy haire, rings, gawdes, conceits, Knackes, trifles, Nose-gaies, sweet meats (messengers Of strong preuailment in vnhardned youth) With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughters heart, Turn'd her obedience (which is due to me) To stubborne harshnesse. And my gracious Duke, Be it so she will not heere before your Grace, Consent to marrie with Demetrius, I beg the ancient priuiledge 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 prouided in that case

The. What say you Hermia? be aduis'd faire Maide, 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 forme in waxe By him imprinted: and within his power, To leaue the figure, or disfigure it: Demetrius is a worthy Gentleman

Her. So is Lysander

The. In himselfe he is. But in this kinde, wanting your fathers voyce, The other must be held the worthier

Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes

The. Rather your eies must with his iudgment looke

Her. I do entreat your Grace to pardon me. I know not by what power I am made bold, Nor how it may concerne my modestie In such a presence heere to pleade my thoughts: But I beseech your Grace, that I may know The worst that may befall me in this case, If I refuse to wed Demetrius

The. Either to dye the death, or to abiure For euer the society of men. Therefore faire Hermia question your desires, Know of your youth, examine well your blood, Whether (if you yeeld not to your fathers choice) You can endure the liuerie of a Nunne, For aye to be in shady Cloister mew'd, To liue a barren sister all your life, Chanting faint hymnes to the cold fruitlesse Moone, Thrice blessed they that master so their blood, To vndergo such maiden pilgrimage, But earthlier happie is the Rose distil'd, Then that which withering on the virgin thorne, Growes, liues, and dies, in single blessednesse

Her. So will I grow, so liue, so die my Lord, Ere I will yeeld my virgin Patent vp Vnto his Lordship, whose vnwished yoake, My soule consents not to giue soueraignty

The. Take time to pause, and by the next new Moon The sealing day betwixt my loue and me, For euerlasting bond of fellowship: Vpon that day either prepare to dye, For disobedience to your fathers will, Or else to wed Demetrius as hee would, Or on Dianaes Altar to protest For aie, austerity, and single life

Dem. Relent sweet Hermia, and Lysander, yeelde Thy crazed title to my certaine right

Lys. You haue her fathers loue, Demetrius: Let me haue Hermiaes: do you marry him

Egeus. Scornfull Lysander, true, he hath my Loue; And what is mine, my loue shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her, I do estate vnto Demetrius

Lys. I am my Lord, as well deriu'd as he, As well possest: my loue is more then his: My fortunes euery way as fairely ranck'd (If not with vantage) as Demetrius: And (which is more then all these boasts can be) I am belou'd of beauteous Hermia. Why should not I then prosecute my right? Demetrius, Ile auouch it to his head, Made loue to Nedars daughter, Helena, And won her soule: and she (sweet Ladie) dotes, Deuoutly dotes, dotes in Idolatry, Vpon this spotted and inconstant man

The. I must confesse, that I haue heard so much, And with Demetrius thought to haue spoke thereof: But being ouer-full of selfe-affaires, My minde did lose it. But Demetrius come, And come Egeus, you shall go with me, I haue some priuate schooling for you both. For you faire Hermia, looke you arme your selfe, To fit your fancies to your Fathers will; Or else the Law of Athens yeelds you vp (Which by no meanes we may extenuate) To death, or to a vow of single life. Come my Hippolita, what cheare my loue? Demetrius and Egeus go along: I must imploy you in some businesse Against our nuptiall, and conferre with you Of something, neerely that concernes your selues

Ege. With dutie and desire we follow you.

Exeunt.

Manet Lysander and Hermia.

Lys. How now my loue? Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the Roses there do fade so fast? Her. Belike for want of raine, which I could well Beteeme them, from the tempest of mine eyes

Lys. For ought that euer I could reade, Could euer heare by tale or historie, The course of true loue neuer did run smooth, But either it was different in blood

Her. O crosse! too high to be enthral'd to loue

Lys. Or else misgraffed, in respect of yeares

Her. O spight! too old to be ingag'd to yong

Lys. Or else it stood vpon the choise of merit

Her. O hell! to choose loue by anothers eie

Lys. Or if there were a simpathie in choise, Warre, death, or sicknesse, did lay siege to it; Making it momentarie, as a sound: Swift as a shadow, short as any dreame, Briefe as the lightning in the collied night, That (in a spleene) vnfolds both heauen and earth; And ere a man hath power to say, behold, The iawes of darkness do deuoure it vp: So quicke bright things come to confusion

Her. If then true Louers haue beene euer crost, It stands as an edict in destinie:


A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1/14

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