A Midsummer Night's Dream


SCENE I. The Wood.


MUSTARDSEED, and other FAIRIES attending; OBERON behind, unseen.]


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.


Where's Peasblossom?




Scratch my head, Peasblossom. -

Where's Monsieur Cobweb?




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, signior. -

Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?




Give me your neif, Monsieur Mustardseed.

Pray you, leave your curtsy, good monsieur.


What's your will?


Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavalero Cobweb to

scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for methinks I am

marvellous hairy about the face; and I am such a tender ass,

if my hair do but tickle me I must scratch.


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


I have a reasonable good ear in music; let us have the

tongs and the bones.


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


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.


I have a venturous fairy that shall seek

The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.


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.


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

Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle

Gently entwist, - the female ivy so

Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!

[They sleep.]

[OBERON advances. Enter PUCK.]


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 favours 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 fairy sent

To bear him to my bower in fairy-land.

And now I have the boy, I will undo

This hateful imperfection of 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.

Be as thou wast wont to be;

[Touching her eyes with an herb.]

See as thou was wont to see.

Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower

Hath such force and blessed power.

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


My Oberon! what visions have I seen!

Methought I was enamour'd of an ass.


There lies your love.


How came these things to pass?

O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!


Silence awhile. - Robin, take off this head.

Titania, music call; and strike more dead

Than common sleep, of all these five, the sense.


Music, ho! music; such as charmeth sleep.


Now when thou wak'st, with thine own fool's eyes peep.


Sound, music. [Still music.] 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.


Fairy king, attend and mark;

I do hear the morning lark.


Then, my queen, in silence sad,

Trip we after night's shade.

We the globe can compass soon,

Swifter than the wand'ring moon.


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. Horns sound within.]



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 music of my hounds, -

Uncouple in the western valley; go: -

Despatch, I say, and find the forester. -

[Exit an ATTENDANT.]

We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,

And mark the musical confusion

Of hounds and echo in conjunction.


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.


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-lap'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?


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.


No doubt they rose up early to observe

The rite 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?


It is, my lord.


Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

[Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER,HERMIA, and HELENA

awake and start up.]

Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;

Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?


Pardon, my lord.

[He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.]


I pray you all, stand up.

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?


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.


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.


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 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 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 a 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.


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.

[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and Train.]


These things seem small and undistinguishable,

Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.


Methinks I see these things with parted eye,

When every thing seems double.


So methinks:

And I have found Demetrius like a jewel.

Mine own, and not mine own.


It seems to me

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

The duke was here, and bid us follow him?


Yea, and my father.


And Hippolyta.


And he did bid us follow to the temple.


Why, then, we are awake: let's follow him;

And by the way let us recount our dreams.


[As they go out, BOTTOM awakes.]


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.


SCENE II. Athens. A Room in QUINCE'S House.



Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?


He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.


If he come not, then the play is marred; it goes not

forward, doth it?


It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens

able to discharge Pyramus but he.


No; he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in



Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour

for a sweet voice.


You must say paragon: a paramour is, God bless us, a thing of


[Enter SNUG.]


Masters, the duke is coming from the temple; and there is

two or three lords and ladies more married: if our sport had gone

forward, we had all been made men.


O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day

during his life; he could not have 'scaped sixpence a-day; an

the duke had not given him sixpence a-day for playing Pyramus,

I'll be hanged; he would have deserved it: sixpence a-day in

Pyramus, or nothing.

[Enter BOTTOM.]


Where are these lads? where are these hearts?


Bottom! - O most courageous day! O most happy hour!


Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not

what; for if I tell you, I am not true Athenian. I will tell you

everything, right as it fell out.


Let us hear, sweet Bottom.


Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is, that the

duke hath dined. Get your apparel together; good strings to

your beards, new ribbons to your pumps; meet presently at the

palace; every man look over his part; for the short and the long

is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean

linen; and let not him that plays the lion pare his nails, for

they shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors,

eat no onions nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath; and

I do not doubt but to hear them say it is a sweet comedy. No more

words: away! go; away!