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A Midsummer-Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

Illustrated by Arthur Rackham


A Midsummer-Night's Dream

   Act One

   Act Two

   Act Four

   Act Five

Dramatis Personae

THESEUS, Duke of Athens.
HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus.
EGEUS, Father to Hermia.
LYSANDER, In love with Hermia.
HERMIA, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander, but betrothed to Demetrius.
DEMETRIUS, In love with Hermia, but loved by Helena.
HELENA, In love with Demetrius.
PHILOSTRATE, Master of the revels to Theseus.
QUINCE, a carpenter.
BOTTOM, a weaver.
SNUG, a joiner.
FLUTE, a bellows-mender.
SNOUT, a tinker.
STARVELING, a tailor.
OBERON, King of the fairies.
TITANIA, Queen of the fairies.
PUCK, Or Robin Goodfellow.
COBWEB, fairy
MOTH, fairy
Other fairies attending their King and Queen.
Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.

The wood. TITANIA lying asleep

Titania lying asleep

BOTTOM. Are we all met?
QUINCE. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the Duke.
BOTTOM. Peter Quince!
QUINCE. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
BOTTOM. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?
SNOUT. By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
STARVELING. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
BOTTOM. Not a whit; I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not kill'd indeed; and for the more better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus am not Pyramus but Bottom the weaver. This will put them out of fear.
QUINCE. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.
BOTTOM. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
SNOUT. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
STARVELING. I fear it, I promise you.
BOTTOM. Masters, you ought to consider with yourself to bring in- God shield us!- a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to't.
SNOUT. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
BOTTOM. Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect: 'Ladies,' or 'Fair ladies, I would wish you' or 'I would request you' or 'I would entreat you not to fear, not to tremble. My life for yours! If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are.' And there, indeed, let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
QUINCE. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things- that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for, you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight.
SNOUT. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
BOTTOM. A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanack; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.
QUINCE. Yes, it doth shine that night.
BOTTOM. Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.
QUINCE. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lantern, and say he comes to disfigure or to present the person of Moonshine. Then there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby, says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.
SNOUT. You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
BOTTOM. Some man or other must present Wall; and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
QUINCE. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin; when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and so every one according to his cue.

[Enter PUCK behind ]

PUCK. What hempen homespuns have we swagg'ring here, So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen? What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor; An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
QUINCE. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
BOTTOM. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet-
QUINCE. 'Odious'- odorous!
BOTTOM. -odours savours sweet; So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear. But hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile, And by and by I will to thee appear.


PUCK. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here!


FLUTE. Must I speak now?
QUINCE. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
FLUTE. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue, Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew, As true as truest horse, that would never tire, I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
QUINCE. 'Ninus' tomb,' man! Why, you must not speak that yet; that you answer to Pyramus. You speak all your part at once, cues, and all. Pyramus enter: your cue is past; it is 'never tire.'
FLUTE. O- As true as truest horse, that y et would never tire.

[Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head]

BOTTOM. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
QUINCE. O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help!

O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted

[Exeunt all but BOTTOM and PUCK]

PUCK. I'll follow you; I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier; Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire; And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn, Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.


BOTTOM. Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them to make me afeard.

[Re-enter SNOUT]

SNOUT. O Bottom, thou art chang'd! What do I see on thee?

"O Bottom, thou art changed!"

BOTTOM. What do you see? You see an ass-head of your own, do you?

[Exit SNOUT ]
[Re-enter QUINCE ]

QUINCE. Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art translated.
[Exit ]

BOTTOM. I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir from this place, do what they can; I will walk up and down here, and will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.

I will sing,that they shall hear I am not afraid


The ousel cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill.

TITANIA. What angel wakes me from my flow'ry bed?

What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?


The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo grey,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay-
for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
Who would give a bird the he, though he cry 'cuckoo' never so?

TITANIA. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again. Mine ear is much enamoured of thy note; So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape; And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me, On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee.
BOTTOM. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days. The more the pity that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
TITANIA. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
BOTTOM. Not so, neither; but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
TITANIA. Out of this wood do not desire to go; Thou shalt remain here whether thou wilt or no. I am a spirit of no common rate; The summer still doth tend upon my state; And I do love thee; therefore, go with me. I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee; And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep, And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep; And I will purge thy mortal grossness so That thou shalt like an airy spirit go. Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!


Enter Peaseblossom,Cobweb,Moth,and Mustardseed

MOTH. And I.
ALL. Where shall we go?
TITANIA. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman; Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; Feed him with apricocks and dewberries, With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries; The honey bags steal from the humble-bees, And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs, And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes, To have my love to bed and to arise; And pluck the wings from painted butterflies, To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes. Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
PEASEBLOSSOM. Hail, mortal!
MOTH. Hail!
BOTTOM. I cry your worships mercy, heartily; I beseech your worship's name.
COBWEB. Cobweb.
BOTTOM. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, honest gentleman?
PEASEBLOSSOM. Peaseblossom.
BOTTOM. I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
MUSTARDSEED. Mustardseed.
BOTTOM. Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well. That same cowardly giant-like ox-beef hath devour'd many a gentleman of your house. I promise you your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Mustardseed.
TITANIA. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower. The moon, methinks, looks with a wat'ry eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower; Lamenting some enforced chastity. Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.

Act three, Scene two

Another part of the wood
[Enter OBERON ]

OBERON. I wonder if Titania be awak'd; Then, what it was that next came in her eye, Which she must dote on in extremity.

[Enter PUCK ]

Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit! What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
PUCK. My mistress with a monster is in love. Near to her close and consecrated bower, While she was in her dull and sleeping hour, A crew of patches, rude mechanicals, That work for bread upon Athenian stalls, Were met together to rehearse a play Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day. The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort, Who Pyramus presented, in their sport Forsook his scene and ent'red in a brake; When I did him at this advantage take, An ass's nole I fixed on his head. Anon his Thisby must be answered, And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy, As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye, Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort, Rising and cawing at the gun's report, Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky, So at his sight away his fellows fly; And at our stamp here, o'er and o'er one falls; He murder cries, and help from Athens calls. Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong, Made senseless things begin to do them wrong, For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch; Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch. I led them on in this distracted fear, And left sweet Pyramus translated there; When in that moment, so it came to pass, Titania wak'd, and straightway lov'd an ass.

...russet-pated coughs,many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report

OBERON. This falls out better than I could devise. But hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?
PUCK. I took him sleeping- that is finish'd too- And the Athenian woman by his side; That, when he wak'd, of force she must be ey'd.


OBERON. Stand close; this is the same Athenian.
PUCK. This is the woman, but not this the man.
DEMETRIUS. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so? Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
HERMIA. Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse, For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse. If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep, And kill me too. The sun was not so true unto the day As he to me. Would he have stolen away From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon This whole earth may be bor'd, and that the moon May through the centre creep and so displease Her brother's noontide with th' Antipodes. It cannot be but thou hast murd'red him; So should a murderer look- so dead, so grim.
DEMETRIUS. So should the murdered look; and so should I, Pierc'd through the heart with your stern cruelty; Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear, As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
HERMIA. What's this to my Lysander? Where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
DEMETRIUS. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
HERMIA. Out, dog! out, cur! Thou driv'st me past the bounds Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him, then? Henceforth be never numb'red among men! O, once tell true; tell true, even for my sake! Durst thou have look'd upon him being awake, And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave touch! Could not a worm, an adder, do so much? An adder did it; for with doubler tongue Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
DEMETRIUS. You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood: I am not guilty of Lysander's blood; Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
HERMIA. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
DEMETRIUS. An if I could, what should I get therefore?
HERMIA. A privilege never to see me more. And from thy hated presence part I so; See me no more whether he be dead or no.


DEMETRIUS. There is no following her in this fierce vein; Here, therefore, for a while I will remain. So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe; Which now in some slight measure it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay.

[Lies down]

OBERON. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite, And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight. Of thy misprision must perforce ensue Some true love turn'd, and not a false turn'd tru