Act III - Scene 2 ( cont )

Hermia What, can you do me greater harm than hate?

Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love!

Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander?

I am as fair now as I was erewhile.

Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me:

Why, then you left me — O, the gods forbid! —

In earnest, shall I say?

 

Lysander Ay, by my life;

And never did desire to see thee more.

Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;

Be certain, nothing truer; ’tis no jest

That I do hate thee and love Helena.

 

Hermia O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!

You thief of love! what, have you come by night

And stolen my love’s heart from him?

 

Helena Fine, i’faith!

Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,

No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear

Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?

Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!

 

Hermia Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.

Now I perceive that she hath made compare

Between our statures; she hath urged her height;

And with her personage, her tall personage,

Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail’d with him.

And are you grown so high in his esteem;

Because I am so dwarfish and so low?

How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;

How low am I? I am not yet so low

But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

 

Helena I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,

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 is something lower than myself,

That I can match her.

 

Hermia Lower! hark, again.

 

Helena 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 further: let me go:

You see how simple and how fond I am.

 

Hermia Why, get you gone: who is’t that hinders you?

 

Helena A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.

 

Hermia What, with Lysander?

 

Helena With Demetrius.

 

Lysander Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.

 

Demetrius No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.

 

Helena 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.

 

Hermia ‘Little’ again! nothing but ‘low’ and ‘little’!

Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?

Let me come to her.

 

Lysander Get you gone, you dwarf;

You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;

You bead, you acorn.

 

Demetrius 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.

 

Lysander   Now she holds me not;

Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,

Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.

 

Demetrius Follow! nay, I’ll go with thee, cheek by jole.

 

Exeunt Lysander and Demetrius

 

Hermia You, mistress, all this coil is ’long of you:

Nay, go not back.

 

Helena   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

 

Hermia I am amazed, and know not what to say.

 

Exit

 

Oberon This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest,

Or else committ’st thy knaveries wilfully.

 

Puck Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.

Did not you tell me I should know the man

By the Athenian garment 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.

 

Oberon Thou see’st 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 churchyards: damned spirits all,

That in crossways and floods have burial,

Already to their wormy beds are gone;

For fear lest day should look their shames upon,

They willfully themselves exile from light

And must for aye consort with black-brow’d night.

 

Oberon 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

 

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.

 

Re-enter Lysander

 

Lysander Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now.

 

Puck Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where art thou?

 

Lysander I will be with thee straight.

 

Puck Follow me, then,

To plainer ground.

 

Exit Lysander, as following the voice

 

Re-enter Demetrius

 

Demetrius   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.

 

Demetrius Yea, art thou there?

 

Puck Follow my voice: we’ll try no manhood here.

 

Exeunt

 

Re-enter Lysander

 

Lysander He goes before me and still dares me on:

When I come where he calls, then he is gone.

The villain is much lighter-heel’d than I:

I follow’d fast, but faster he did fly;

That fallen am I in dark uneven way,

And here will rest me.

 

Lies down

 

Come, thou gentle day!

For if but once thou show me thy grey light,

I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.

 

Sleeps

 

Re-enter Puck and Demetrius

 

Puck Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why comest thou not?

 

Demetrius Abide me, if thou darest; for well I wot

Thou runn’st before me, shifting every place,

And darest not stand, nor look me in the face.

Where art thou now?

 

Puck Come hither: I am here.

 

Demetrius Nay, then, thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this dear,

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

 

Re-enter Helena

 

Helena O weary night, O long and tedious night,

Abate thy hour! 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.

 

Lies down and sleeps

 

Puck Yet but three? Come one more;

Two of both kinds make up four.

Here she comes, curst and sad:

Cupid is a knavish lad,

Thus to make poor females mad.

 

Re-enter Hermia

 

Hermia Never so weary, never so in woe,

Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,

I can no further crawl, no further go;

My legs can keep no pace with my desires.

Here will I rest me till the break of day.

Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!

 

Lies down and sleeps

 

Puck   On the ground

Sleep sound:

I’ll apply

To your eye,

Gentle lover, remedy.

 

Squeezing the juice on Lysander’s eyes

 

When thou wakest,

Thou takest

True delight

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

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