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OBERON, king of the fairies.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2.
Act V. sc. 2.
TITANIA, queen of the fairies.
Act IV. sc. 1
Appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1.
PUCK, or Robin Goodfellow, a fairy.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2.
Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 2.
PEAS-BLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD-SEED, fairies.
Pyramus, Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, Lion, characters in the Interlude
Other Fairies attending their King and Queen.
Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
SCENE, ATHENS, AND A WOOD near.
'A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM' was first printed in 1600. In that year there appeared two editions of the play;-the one published by Thomas Fisher, a bookseller; the other by James Roberts, a printer. The differences between these two editions are very slight. The play was not reprinted after 1600, till it was collected into the folio of 1623; and the text in that edition differs in few instances from that of the quartos.
A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.
SCENE I.-Athens. A Room in the Palace of Theseus. Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants. THE. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace; four happy days bring in Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how slow This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires, Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue.
HIP. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights; Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS. EGE. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke! THE. Thanks, good Egeus: What's the news with thee?
EGE. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
To stubborn harshness :-And, my gracious duke,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
THE. What say you, Hermia? Be advis'd, fair maid: To you your father should be as a god;
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 power
In himself he is:
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
HER. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
THE. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
In such a presence here, to plead my thoughts:
THE. Either to die the death, or to abjure
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
THE. Take time to pause; and, by the next new moon, (The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship,)
Upon that day either prepare to die,
Or else, to wed Demetrius, as he would;
For aye, austerity and single life.
DEM. Relent, sweet Hermia;-And, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
LYS. You have her father's love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.
EGE. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love;
Lys. I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he,
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius';
And, which is more than all these boasts can be.
I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
THE. I must confess that I have heard so much,
My mind did lose it.---But, Demetrius, come;
I must employ you in some business
[Exeunt Tues., HIP., EGE, DEM., and train.
Lys. How now, my love? Why is your check so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
HER. Belike for want of rain; which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes.
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
HER. O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!