Act IV

Scene I. The same.


Lysander, Demetrius, Helena, and Hermia lying asleep.


Enter Titania and Bottom; Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and other Fairies attending; Oberon behind unseen


Titania 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.


Bottom Where’s Peaseblossom?


Peaseblossom Ready.


Bottom Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where’s Mounsieur Cobweb?


Cobweb Ready.


Bottom Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and, good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?


Mustardseed Ready.


Bottom Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.


Mustardseed What’s your Will?


Bottom Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery 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.


Titania What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?


Bottom I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have the tongs and the bones.


Titania Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.


Bottom Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.


Titania I have a venturous fairy that shall seek

The squirrel’s hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.


Bottom I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.


Titania Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.

Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.


Exeunt fairies


So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle

Gently entwist; the female ivy so

Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!


They sleep


Enter Puck


Oberon[Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.

See’st thou this sweet sight?

Her dotage now I do begin to pity:

For, meeting her of late behind the wood,

Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,

I did upbraid her and fall out with her;

For she his hairy temples then had rounded

With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;

And that same dew, which sometime on the buds

Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,

Stood now within the pretty flowerets’ eyes

Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.

When I had at my pleasure taunted her

And she in mild terms begg’d my patience,

I then did ask of her her changeling child;

Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent

To bear him to my bower in fairy land.

And now I have the boy, I will undo

This hateful imperfection of her eyes:

And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp

From off the head of this Athenian swain;

That, he awaking when the other do,

May all to Athens back again repair

And think no more of this night’s accidents

But as the fierce vexation of a dream.

But first I will release the fairy queen.


Be as thou wast wont to be;

See as thou wast wont to see:

Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower

Hath such force and blessed power.


Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.


Titania My Oberon! what visions have I seen!

Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.


Oberon There lies your love.


Titania How came these things to pass?

O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!


Oberon Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.

Titania, music call; and strike more dead

Than common sleep of all these five the sense.


Titania Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!


Music, still


Puck Now, when thou wakest, with thine own fool’s eyes peep.


Oberon Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,

And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.

Now thou and I are new in amity,

And will to-morrow midnight solemnly

Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly,

And bless it to all fair prosperity:

There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be

Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.


Puck Fairy king, attend, and mark:

I do hear the morning lark.


Oberon Then, my queen, in silence sad,

Trip we after the night’s shade:

We the globe can compass soon,

Swifter than the wandering moon.


Titania Come, my lord, and in our flight

Tell me how it came this night

That I sleeping here was found

With these mortals on the ground.




Horns winded within


Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and train


Theseus Go, one of you, find out the forester;

For now our observation is perform’d;

And since we have the vaward of the day,

My love shall hear the music of my hounds.

Uncouple in the western valley; let them go:

Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.


Exit an Attendant


We will, fair queen, up to the mountain’s top,

And mark the musical confusion

Of hounds and echo in conjunction.


Hippolyta I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,

When in a wood of Crete they bay’d the bear

With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear

Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves,

The skies, the fountains, every region near

Seem’d all one mutual cry: I never heard

So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.


Theseus My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,

So flew’d, so sanded, and their heads are hung

With ears that sweep away the morning dew;

Crook-knee’d, and dew-lapp’d like Thessalian bulls;

Slow in pursuit, but match’d in mouth like bells,

Each under each. A cry more tuneable

Was never holla’d to, nor cheer’d with horn,

In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:

Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?


Egeus My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;

And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;

This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena:

I wonder of their being here together.


Theseus No doubt they rose up early to observe

The rite of May, and hearing our intent,

Came here in grace of our solemnity.

But speak, Egeus; is not this the day

That Hermia should give answer of her choice?


Egeus It is, my lord.


Theseus Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.


Horns and shout within. Lysander, Demetrius, Helena, and Hermia wake and start up


Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:

Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?


Lysander Pardon, my lord.


Theseus   I pray you all, stand up.

I know you two are rival enemies:

How comes this gentle concord in the world,

That hatred is so far from jealousy,

To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?


Lysander My lord, I shall reply amazedly,

Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear,

I cannot truly say how I came here;

But, as I think — for truly would I speak,

And now do I bethink me, so it is —

I came with Hermia hither: our intent

Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,

Without the peril of the Athenian law.


Egeus Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:

I beg the law, the law, upon his head.

They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,

Thereby to have defeated you and me,

You of your wife and me of my consent,

Of my consent that she should be your wife.


Demetrius My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,

Of this their purpose hither to this wood;

And I in fury hither follow’d them,

Fair Helena in fancy following me.

But, my good lord, I wot not by what power —

But by some power it is — my love to Hermia,

Melted as the snow, seems to me now

As the remembrance of an idle gaud

Which in my childhood I did dote upon;

And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,

The object and the pleasure of mine eye,

Is only Helena. To her, my lord,

Was I betroth’d ere I saw Hermia:

But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;

But, as in health, come to my natural taste,

Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,

And will for evermore be true to it.


Theseus Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:

Of this discourse we more will hear anon.

Egeus, I will overbear your will;

For in the temple by and by with us

These couples shall eternally be knit:

And, for the morning now is something worn,

Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.

Away with us to Athens; three and three,

We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.

Come, Hippolyta.


Exeunt Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and train


Demetrius These things seem small and undistinguishable,

Like far off mountains turned into clouds.


Hermia Methinks I see these things with parted eye,

When every thing seems double.


Helena So methinks:

And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,

Mine own, and not mine own.


Demetrius Are you sure

That we are awake? It seems to me

That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think

The duke was here, and bid us follow him?


Hermia Yea; and my father.


Helena And Hippolyta.


Lysander And he did bid us follow to the temple.


Demetrius Why, then, we are awake: let’s follow him

And by the way let us recount our dreams.




Bottom[Awaking] When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer: my next is, ‘Most fair Pyramus.’ Heigh-ho! Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God’s my life, stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was — there is no man can tell what. Methought I was — and methought I had — but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.




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