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Let her not hurt me. I was never curst;
I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
I am a right maid for my cowardice;
Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
Because she's something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
Lower! hark, again.
Hel. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia;
Did ever keep your counsels; never wrong'd you;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood :
He follow'd you; for love I follow'd him;
But he hath chid me hence, and threaten'd me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back,
And follow you no farther. Let me go:
You see how simple and how fond I am.
Her. Why, get you gone: who is't that hinders you?
Hel. A foolish heart that I leave here behind.
Her. What! with Lysander?
Lys. Be not afraid: she shall not harm thee, Helena.
Dem. No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
Hel. O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd:
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And, though she be but little, she is fierce.
Her. Little again! nothing but low and little!--
Why will you suffer her to fout me thus?
Let me come to her.
Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hind'ring knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone; speak not of Helena ;
Take not her part: for if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
Now she holds me not;
Now follow, if thou dar’st, to try whose right,
Or thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Dem. Follow ! nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jole.
[Exeunt Lys. and DEM. VOL. II.
Her. You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
Nay, go not back.
I will not trust you, I;
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray;
My legs are longer though, to run away.
[Exit. Her. I am amaz’d, and know not what to say.
[Excit, pursuing HELENA. Obe. This is thy negligence: still thou mistak’st, Or else commit'sť thy knaveries wilfully.
Puck. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
By the Athenian garments he had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have ’nointed an Athenian's eyes :
And so far am I glad it so did sort,
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
Obe. Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight:
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog, as black as Acheron;
And lead these testy rivals so astray,
As one come not within another's way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
And from each other look thou lead them thus,
Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep:
Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye;
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might,
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision;
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I'll to my queen, and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmed eye release
From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.
Puck. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast;
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger,
At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to church-yards: damned spirits all,
That in cross-ways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon
They wilfully themselves exile from light,
And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.
Obe. But we are spirits of another sort:
I with the morning's love have oft made sport;
And, like a forester, the groves may tread
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams.
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay :
We may effect this business yet ere day. [Exit OBERON.
Puck. Up and down, up and down;
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear'd in field and town;
Goblin, lead them up and down.
Here comes one.
Lys. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now.
Puck. Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where art thou?
Lys. I will be with thee straight.
Follow me, then, To plainer ground [Exit Lys. as following the voice.
Lysander! speak again.
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
Speak. In some bush? where dost thou hide thy head?
Puck. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars,
And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come, thou child;
I'll whip thee with a rod: he is defiled
That draws a sword on thee.
Yea, art thou there? Puck. Follow my voice; we'll try no manhood here.
[Exeunt. Re-enter LYSANDER. Lys. He goes before me, and still dares me on; When I come where he calls, then he is gone. The villain is much lighter heeled than I: I follow'd fast, but faster he did fly; That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
And here will rest me. Come, thou gentle day! [Lies down.
For if but once thou show me thy gray light,
I'll find Demetrius, and revenge this spite.
[Sleeps. Re-enter Puck and DEMETRIUS. Puck. Ho, ho! ho, ho! Coward, why com’st thou not?
Dem. Abide me if thou dar'st; for well I wot
Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place;
And dar'st not stand, nor look me in the face.
Where art thou?
Come hither; I am here.
Dem. Nay, then, thou mock'st me. Thou shalt buy this
If ever I thy face by daylight see:
Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
To measure out my length on this cold bed.-
By day's approach look to be visited. [Lies down and sleeps.
Hel. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy hours! Shine comforts from the east,
That I may back to Athens by daylight,
From these that my poor company detest: And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye, Steal me awhile from mine own company.
[Sleeps. Puck. Yet but three? Come one more;
Two of both kinds makes up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad :-
Cupid is a knavish lad,
Thus to make poor females mad.
Her. Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew, and torn with briers;
I can no farther crawl, no farther go;
My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
Here will I rest me till the break of day.
Heaven shield Lysander, if they mean a fray! [Lies down.
Puck. On the ground
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
[Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER's eye.
When thou wak'st,
In the sight
Of thy former lady's eye:
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown:
Jack shall have Jill;
Nought shall go ill; The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.
[Exit Puck. - DEM., HEL., &c., sleep.
Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM, Fairies attending; OBERON
Tita. 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.
Bot. Where's Peasblossom?
Bot. Scratch my head, Peasblossom.-
Bot. Monsieur Cobweb; good monsieur, get 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 honeybag. 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 ?
Bot. Give me your neif, Monsieur Mustardseed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.
Must. What's your will?
Bot. 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.