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Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holloo'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge, when you hear. But, soft, what nymphs are these?

Ege. My lord, this is my daughter here asleep,
And this Lysander, this Demetrius,
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena;
I wonder at their being here together.

The. 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?

Ege. It is, my lord.
The. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

Horns, and they wake. Shout within, they all start up.
The. Good morrow, friends; faint Valentine is paft:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

Lyf. Pardon, my lord.

The. 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 fleep by hate, and fear no enmity ?

Lyf. 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 I do methink me, so it is:
I came with Hermia hither. Our intent
Was to be


from Athens, where we might Be without peril of thAthenian law.

Ege. Enough, enough, my lord, you have enough; I beg the law, the law upon his head:


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They would have stoln 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.

Dem. 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 follow'd me:
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,
But by some power it is, my love to Hermia
Is melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaude
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 betrothed ere I Hermia saw;
But, like a sickness, did I loath this food;
Yet, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now do I wish it, love it, 'long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.

The. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we shall hear more anon.
Egeus, I will over-bear 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 purpos’d hunting shall be set aside.
Away, with us, to Athens, three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, my Hippolita.

[Exe. duke and lords.
Dem. These things seem small, and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.

Her. Methinks, I see these things with parted eye,
When every thing seems double.
Hel. So, methinks;


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And I have found Demetrius, a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.

Dem. It seems to me,
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The duke was here, and bid us follow him?
Her. Yea, and

Hel. And Hippolita.
Lyf. And he bid us to follow to the temple.

Dem. Why then, we are awake; let's follow him; And, by the way, let us recount our dreams. [Exeunt.

[Bottom wakes. S CE N E III. Bot. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is, most fair Pyramus — hey, ho! Peter Quince ! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snowt, the tinker! Starveling! god's my life! stol’n hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I 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 patch’d 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 call'd Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of the play before the duke: peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it after death.


Athens. Enter Quince, Flute, Snowt, and Starveling. Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet? Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.


Flute. If he come not, then the play is marr’d. It goes not forward, doth it?

Quin. It is not possible; you have not a man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.

Flute. No, he hath simply the best wit of any handy-craft man in Athens.

Quin. Yea, and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice.

Flute. You must say, paragon; a paramour is, God bless us ! a thing of naught.

Enter Snug

Snug. Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married; if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

Flute. O sweet bully Bottom! thus hath he lost fix-pence a-day, during his life; he could not have 'scap'd fix-pence a-day; an the duke had not given him fix-pence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd: he would have deserv’d it. Six-pence a-day in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom.
Bot. Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
Quin. Bottom ! o most courageous day! o most happy hour!

Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders; but ask me not what; for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you every thing as it fell out.

Quin. Let us hear, fweet Bottom.

Bot. Not a word of me; all I will tell you is that the duke hath dined. Get your apparel together, good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your pumps, meet presently at the palace, every man look o'er his part; for, the short and the long is, our play is preferred: in any case, let Thisby have clean linen; and let not him that plays the lion pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion's claws; and, most dear actors ! eat no onions, nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words; away, go away.



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IS strange, my Theseus, what these lovers speak of.

The. More strange than true. I never may believe
These antick fables, nor these fairy toys;
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatick, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact :
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold;
The madman. While the lover, all as frantick,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rowling,
Doth glance from heav'n to earth, from earth to heav'n;
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation, and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy:
So in the night imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush suppos’d a bear?

Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigur’d fo together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy;
Be’t howsoever strange and admirable.
Vol. I.



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