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THESEUS, Duke of Athens.
Egeus, an Athenian Lord.

Lyfander, in love with Hermia.

Demetrius, in love with Hermia,

Philoftrate, Master of the Sports to the Duke.

Quince, the Carpenter.

Snug, the Joiner.

Bottom, the Weaver.

Flute, the Bellows-mender.
Snowt, the Tinker.

Starvelling, the Tailor.

Hippolita, Princefs of the Amazons, betroth'd to Thefeus. Hermia, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lyfander. Helena, in love with Demetrius.


Oberon, King of the Fairies.

Titania, Queen of the Fairies.

Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a Fairy.





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Other Fairies attending on the King and Queen,

SCENE, Athens; and a Wood not far from it.
The various Readings of this Play.

I. A Quarto printed for James Roberts, 1600.

11. The Folio of 1623.

III. The Folio of 1632.

IV. The Folio of 1564.





The Duke's Palace in Athens.

Enter Thefeus, Hippolita, Philostrate, with attendants.



OW, fair Hippolita, our nuptial hour

Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how

This old moon wanes: the lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,

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Long withering out a young man's revenue. 1
Hip. Four days will quickly fteep themselves in

Four nights will quickly dream away the time:
And then the moon like to a filver bow,
Never bent in heaven, shall behold the night

1 Long WITHERING OUT a young Man's revenue.] Long withering out is, certainly, not good Englife. I rather think Shakespear wrote, Long WINTERING ON a

young man's revenue. WARBURT.

That the common reading is not good English, I cannot perceive, and therefore find in myfelf no temptation to change it.


Of our folemnities.

The. Go, Philoftrate,

Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments:
Awake the pert and nimble fpirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,

The pale companion is not for our pomp. [Exit Phi.
Hippolita. I woo'd the with my fword;

And won thy love, doing thee injuries :
But I will wed thee in another key,

With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.

Enter Egeus, Hermia, Lyfander, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Thefeus, our renowned Duke:
The. Thanks, good Egeus; what's the news with

Ege. Full of vexation, come I with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth, Demetrius. -My noble lord,
This man hath my confent to marry her.

Stand forth, Lyfander.And, my gracious Duke,
This man hath * witch'd the bofom of my child:
Thou, thou, Lyfander, thou haft giv'n her rhimes,
And interchang'd love tokens with my child:
Thou haft by moon-light at her window fung,
With feigning voice, verfes of feigning love;
And itol'n th' impreffion of her fantasie,
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nofegays, fweet-meats, meffengers
Of ftrong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning haft thou fiich'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: And, my gracious Duke,
Be't fo, fhe will not here before your Grace
Confent to marry with Demetrius;

I beg the antient privilege of Athens,
As the is mine, I may difpofe of her:

1. II. Ill. bewitch'd.

Which fhall be either to this gentleman,
Or to her death, according to our law, 2
Immediately provided in that cafe.

The. What fay you, Hermia? be advis'd, fair maid. To you your father fhould be as a God, 3

One, that compos'd your beauties; yea, and one,
To whom you are but as a form in wax

By him imprinted; and within his pow'er
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
Her. So is Lyfander.

The. In himself he is;

But in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other muft be held the worthier.

Her. I would, my father look'd but with my eyes.
The Rather your eyes must with his judgment


2 Or to her death, according to our Law.] By a Law of Solon's, Parents had the abfolute power of life and death over their children. So it fuited the poet's purpose well enough to fuppofe the Athenians had it before. Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the mat


is faid to be imprinted by him. 'Tis from the French relever. Thus they fay, Tapifleries relevées d'or. In the fame fenfe they ufe enlever, which Maundeville makes English of in this Manner And alle the avalles withinne ben covered with gold and fylver, in fyn Plates; and in the Plates ben Stories and Batayles of Knightes ENLEVED. p. 228. 3 To you your father fhould be Rablais, with a ftrain of buffoon as a God, One, who compos'd your beauties; yea, and one, To whom you are but as a form

in wax


By him imprinted; and within

his power To LEAVE the figure or disfigure it.] We fhould read, To 'LEVE the figure, &c. i. e. releve, to heighten or add to the beauty of the figure, which

humour, that equals the fober elegance of this paffage in our Poet, calls the small gentry of France, Gentilhommes de bas relief. WARBURTON.

I know not why fo harsh a word fhould be admitted with fo little need, a word that, spoken, could not be understood, and of which no example can be fhown. The fenfe is plain, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.

Her. I do intrear your Grace to pardon me:
I know not, by what pow'r I am made bold;
Nor how it may concern my modesty,

In fuch a prefence here, to plead my thoughts:
But, I beseech your Grace, that I may know
The worst that may befal me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.

The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
For ever the fociety of men.

Therefore, fair Hermia, queftion your defires :
Know of your truth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun;

For aye to be in fhady cloifter mew'd,
To live a barren fifter all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitlefs, moon?
Thrice blefied they, that maiter fo their blood,
To undergo fuch maiden pilgrimage!
But earthlier happy is the rofe diftill'd, 3
Than that, which withering on the virgin thorn,
Grows, lives and dies, in fingle bleffednefs.

Her. So will I grow, fo live, fo die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up

Unto his lordship, to whofe unwith'd yoak
My foul confents not to give Sov'reignty.

The. Take time to paufe: and by the next new


The fealing day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship,
Upon that day either prepare to die,
For difobedience to your father's will;
Or elfe to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana's altar to proteft,
For aye, aufterity and fingle life.

3 Thus all the copies, yet earthlier is fo harfh a word, and earthlier happy for happier earthly

a mode of fpeech fo unufual, that I wonder none of the Editors have proposed earlier happy. * I. II. Lordship, whofe unwished yoke.


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