Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, ⌜and Philostrate,⌝ with others.
(FTLN 0001)  Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
(FTLN 0002)  Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in
(FTLN 0003)  Another moon. But, O, methinks how slow
(FTLN 0004)  This old moon ⌜wanes!⌝ She lingers my desires
(FTLN 0005)  Like to a stepdame or a dowager
(FTLN 0006)  Long withering out a young man’s revenue.
(FTLN 0007)  Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
(FTLN 0008)  Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
(FTLN 0009)  And then the moon, like to a silver bow
(FTLN 0010)  ⌜New⌝-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
(FTLN 0011)  Of our solemnities.
(FTLN 0012)  Go, Philostrate,
(FTLN 0013)  Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.
(FTLN 0014)  Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.
(FTLN 0015)  Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
(FTLN 0016)  The pale companion is not for our pomp.
(FTLN 0017)  Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword
(FTLN 0018)  And won thy love doing thee injuries,
(FTLN 0019)  But I will wed thee in another key,
(FTLN 0020)  With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.
Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, and Lysander and Demetrius.
(FTLN 0021)  Happy be Theseus, our renownèd duke!
(FTLN 0022)  Thanks, good Egeus. What’s the news with thee?
(FTLN 0023)  Full of vexation come I, with complaint
(FTLN 0024)  Against my child, my daughter Hermia.—
(FTLN 0025)  Stand forth, Demetrius.—My noble lord,
(FTLN 0026)  This man hath my consent to marry her.—
(FTLN 0027)  Stand forth, Lysander.—And, my gracious duke,
(FTLN 0028)  This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.—
(FTLN 0029)  Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes
(FTLN 0030)  And interchanged love tokens with my child.
(FTLN 0031)  Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung
(FTLN 0032)  With feigning voice verses of feigning love
(FTLN 0033)  And stol’n the impression of her fantasy
(FTLN 0034)  With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits,
(FTLN 0035)  Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats—messengers
(FTLN 0036)  Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth.
(FTLN 0037)  With cunning hast thou filched my daughter’s heart,
(FTLN 0038)  Turned her obedience (which is due to me)
(FTLN 0039)  To stubborn harshness.—And, my gracious duke,
(FTLN 0040)  Be it so she will not here before your Grace
(FTLN 0041)  Consent to marry with Demetrius,
(FTLN 0042)  I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:
(FTLN 0043)  As she is mine, I may dispose of her,
(FTLN 0044)  Which shall be either to this gentleman
(FTLN 0045)  Or to her death, according to our law
(FTLN 0046)  Immediately provided in that case.
(FTLN 0047)  What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid.
(FTLN 0048)  To you, your father should be as a god,
(FTLN 0049)  One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
(FTLN 0050)  To whom you are but as a form in wax
(FTLN 0051)  By him imprinted, and within his power
(FTLN 0052)  To leave the figure or disfigure it.
(FTLN 0053)  Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
(FTLN 0054)  So is Lysander.
(FTLN 0055)  In himself he is,
(FTLN 0056)  But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,
(FTLN 0057)  The other must be held the worthier.
(FTLN 0058)  I would my father looked but with my eyes.
(FTLN 0059)  Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
(FTLN 0060)  I do entreat your Grace to pardon me.
(FTLN 0061)  I know not by what power I am made bold,
(FTLN 0062)  Nor how it may concern my modesty
(FTLN 0063)  In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;
(FTLN 0064)  But I beseech your Grace that I may know
(FTLN 0065)  The worst that may befall me in this case
(FTLN 0066)  If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
(FTLN 0067)  Either to die the death or to abjure
(FTLN 0068)  Forever the society of men.
(FTLN 0069)  Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
(FTLN 0070)  Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
(FTLN 0071)  Whether (if you yield not to your father’s choice)
(FTLN 0072)  You can endure the livery of a nun,
(FTLN 0073)  For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,
(FTLN 0074)  To live a barren sister all your life,
(FTLN 0075)  Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
(FTLN 0076)  Thrice-blessèd they that master so their blood
(FTLN 0077)  To undergo such maiden pilgrimage,
(FTLN 0078)  But earthlier happy is the rose distilled
(FTLN 0079)  Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
(FTLN 0080)  Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.
(FTLN 0081)  So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
(FTLN 0082)  Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
(FTLN 0083)  Unto his Lordship whose unwishèd yoke
(FTLN 0084)  My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
(FTLN 0085)  Take time to pause, and by the next new moon
(FTLN 0086)  (The sealing day betwixt my love and me
(FTLN 0087)  For everlasting bond of fellowship),
(FTLN 0088)  Upon that day either prepare to die
(FTLN 0089)  For disobedience to your father’s will,
(FTLN 0090)  Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,
(FTLN 0091)  Or on Diana’s altar to protest
(FTLN 0092)  For aye austerity and single life.
(FTLN 0093)  Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield
(FTLN 0094)  Thy crazèd title to my certain right.
(FTLN 0095)  You have her father’s love, Demetrius.
(FTLN 0096)  Let me have Hermia’s. Do you marry him.
(FTLN 0097)  Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love;
(FTLN 0098)  And what is mine my love shall render him.
(FTLN 0099)  And she is mine, and all my right of her
(FTLN 0100)  I do estate unto Demetrius.
lysander, ⌜to Theseus⌝
(FTLN 0101)  I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
(FTLN 0102)  As well possessed. My love is more than his;
(FTLN 0103)  My fortunes every way as fairly ranked
(FTLN 0104)  (If not with vantage) as Demetrius’;
(FTLN 0105)  And (which is more than all these boasts can be)
(FTLN 0106)  I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.
(FTLN 0107)  Why should not I then prosecute my right?
(FTLN 0108)  Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,
(FTLN 0109)  Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,
(FTLN 0110)  And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
(FTLN 0111)  Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
(FTLN 0112)  Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
(FTLN 0113)  I must confess that I have heard so much,
(FTLN 0114)  And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
(FTLN 0115)  But, being overfull of self-affairs,
(FTLN 0116)  My mind did lose it.—But, Demetrius, come,
(FTLN 0117)  And come, Egeus; you shall go with me.
(FTLN 0118)  I have some private schooling for you both.—
(FTLN 0119)  For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
(FTLN 0120)  To fit your fancies to your father’s will,
(FTLN 0121)  Or else the law of Athens yields you up
(FTLN 0122)  (Which by no means we may extenuate)
(FTLN 0123)  To death or to a vow of single life.—
(FTLN 0124)  Come, my Hippolyta. What cheer, my love?—
(FTLN 0125)  Demetrius and Egeus, go along.
(FTLN 0126)  I must employ you in some business
(FTLN 0127)  Against our nuptial and confer with you
(FTLN 0128)  Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
(FTLN 0129)  With duty and desire we follow you.
⌜All but Hermia and Lysander⌝ exit.
(FTLN 0130)  How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?
(FTLN 0131)  How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
(FTLN 0132)  Belike for want of rain, which I could well
(FTLN 0133)  Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.
(FTLN 0134)  Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,
(FTLN 0135)  Could ever hear by tale or history,
(FTLN 0136)  The course of true love never did run smooth.
(FTLN 0137)  But either it was different in blood—
(FTLN 0138)  O cross! Too high to be enthralled to ⌜low.⌝
(FTLN 0139)  Or else misgraffèd in respect of years—
(FTLN 0140)  O spite! Too old to be engaged to young.
(FTLN 0141)  Or else it stood upon the choice of friends—
(FTLN 0142)  O hell, to choose love by another’s eyes!
(FTLN 0143)  Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
(FTLN 0144)  War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
(FTLN 0145)  Making it momentany as a sound,
(FTLN 0146)  Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
(FTLN 0147)  Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
(FTLN 0148)  That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and Earth,
(FTLN 0149)  And, ere a man hath power to say “Behold!”
(FTLN 0150)  The jaws of darkness do devour it up.
(FTLN 0151)  So quick bright things come to confusion.
(FTLN 0152)  If then true lovers have been ever crossed,
(FTLN 0153)  It stands as an edict in destiny.
(FTLN 0154)  Then let us teach our trial patience
(FTLN 0155)  Because it is a customary cross,
(FTLN 0156)  As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
(FTLN 0157)  Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.
(FTLN 0158)  A good persuasion. Therefore, hear me, Hermia:
(FTLN 0159)  I have a widow aunt, a dowager
(FTLN 0160)  Of great revenue, and she hath no child.
(FTLN 0161)  From Athens is her house remote seven leagues,
(FTLN 0162)  And she respects me as her only son.
(FTLN 0163)  There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
(FTLN 0164)  And to that place the sharp Athenian law
(FTLN 0165)  Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me, then
(FTLN 0166)  Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night,
(FTLN 0167)  And in the wood a league without the town
(FTLN 0168)  (Where I did meet thee once with Helena
(FTLN 0169)  To do observance to a morn of May),
(FTLN 0170)  There will I stay for thee.
(FTLN 0171)  My good Lysander,
(FTLN 0172)  I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,
(FTLN 0173)  By his best arrow with the golden head,
(FTLN 0174)  By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
(FTLN 0175)  By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
(FTLN 0176)  And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen
(FTLN 0177)  When the false Trojan under sail was seen,
(FTLN 0178)  By all the vows that ever men have broke
(FTLN 0179)  (In number more than ever women spoke),
(FTLN 0180)  In that same place thou hast appointed me,
(FTLN 0181)  Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.
(FTLN 0182)  Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
(FTLN 0183)  Godspeed, fair Helena. Whither away?
(FTLN 0184)  Call you me “fair”? That “fair” again unsay.
(FTLN 0185)  Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!
(FTLN 0186)  Your eyes are lodestars and your tongue’s sweet air
(FTLN 0187)  More tunable than lark to shepherd’s ear
(FTLN 0188)  When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
(FTLN 0189)  Sickness is catching. O, were favor so!
(FTLN 0190)  ⌜Yours would⌝ I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go.
(FTLN 0191)  My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye;
(FTLN 0192)  My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet
(FTLN 0193)  melody.
(FTLN 0194)  Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
(FTLN 0195)  The rest ⌜I’d⌝ give to be to you translated.
(FTLN 0196)  O, teach me how you look and with what art
(FTLN 0197)  You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart!
(FTLN 0198)  I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
(FTLN 0199)  O, that your frowns would teach my smiles such
(FTLN 0200)  skill!
(FTLN 0201)  I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
(FTLN 0202)  O, that my prayers could such affection move!
(FTLN 0203)  The more I hate, the more he follows me.
(FTLN 0204)  The more I love, the more he hateth me.
(FTLN 0205)  His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
(FTLN 0206)  None but your beauty. Would that fault were mine!
(FTLN 0207)  Take comfort: he no more shall see my face.
(FTLN 0208)  Lysander and myself will fly this place.
(FTLN 0209)  Before the time I did Lysander see
(FTLN 0210)  Seemed Athens as a paradise to me.
(FTLN 0211)  O, then, what graces in my love do dwell
(FTLN 0212)  That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell!
(FTLN 0213)  Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
(FTLN 0214)  Tomorrow night when Phoebe doth behold
(FTLN 0215)  Her silver visage in the wat’ry glass,
(FTLN 0216)  Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass
(FTLN 0217)  (A time that lovers’ flights doth still conceal),
(FTLN 0218)  Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal.
(FTLN 0219)  And in the wood where often you and I
(FTLN 0220)  Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
(FTLN 0221)  Emptying our bosoms of their counsel ⌜sweet,⌝
(FTLN 0222)  There my Lysander and myself shall meet
(FTLN 0223)  And thence from Athens turn away our eyes
(FTLN 0224)  To seek new friends and ⌜stranger companies.⌝
(FTLN 0225)  Farewell, sweet playfellow. Pray thou for us,
(FTLN 0226)  And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius.—
(FTLN 0227)  Keep word, Lysander. We must starve our sight
(FTLN 0228)  From lovers’ food till morrow deep midnight.
(FTLN 0229)  I will, my Hermia.
(FTLN 0230)  Helena, adieu.
(FTLN 0231)  As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
(FTLN 0232)  How happy some o’er other some can be!
(FTLN 0233)  Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
(FTLN 0234)  But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so.
(FTLN 0235)  He will not know what all but he do know.
(FTLN 0236)  And, as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
(FTLN 0237)  So I, admiring of his qualities.
(FTLN 0238)  Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
(FTLN 0239)  Love can transpose to form and dignity.
(FTLN 0240)  Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind;
(FTLN 0241)  And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
(FTLN 0242)  Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste.
(FTLN 0243)  Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
(FTLN 0244)  And therefore is Love said to be a child
(FTLN 0245)  Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
(FTLN 0246)  As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
(FTLN 0247)  So the boy Love is perjured everywhere.
(FTLN 0248)  For, ere Demetrius looked on Hermia’s eyne,
(FTLN 0249)  He hailed down oaths that he was only mine;
(FTLN 0250)  And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
(FTLN 0251)  So he dissolved, and show’rs of oaths did melt.
(FTLN 0252)  I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight.
(FTLN 0253)  Then to the wood will he tomorrow night
(FTLN 0254)  Pursue her. And, for this intelligence
(FTLN 0255)  If I have thanks, it is a dear expense.
(FTLN 0256)  But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
(FTLN 0257)  To have his sight thither and back again.