Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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Enter [Oberon], King of Fairies

oberon I wonder, if Titania be awaked,

2Then what it was that next came in her eye,

3Which she must dote on in extremity.

[Enter Robin Goodfellow]

4Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit?

Editor’s Note5What night-rule now about this haunted grove?

pg 1107 6

robin My mistress with a monster is in love.

Editor’s Note7Near to her close and consecrated bower

Editor’s Note8While she was in her dull and sleeping hour

Editor’s Note9A crew of patches, rude mechanicals

10That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,

11Were met together to rehearse a play

12Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.

Editor’s Note13The shallowest thick skin of that barren sort,

Editor’s Note14Who Pyramus presented, in their sport

Editor’s Note15Forsook his scene and entered in a brake,

16When I did him at this advantage take.

Editor’s Note17An ass's nole I fixèd on his head.

18Anon his Thisbe must be answerèd,

Editor’s Note19And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy—

20As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,

Editor’s Note21Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,

22Rising and cawing at the gun's report,

Editor’s Note23Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky—

24So, at his sight, away his fellows fly,

25And at our stamp here o'er and o'er one falls.

Editor’s Note26He 'Murder' cries, and help from Athens calls.

27Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong,

28Made senseless things begin to do them wrong.

29For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch,

Editor’s Note30Some sleeves, some hats—from yielders all things catch.

31I led them on in this distracted fear,

Editor’s Note32And left sweet Pyramus translated there—

Link 33When in that moment, so it came to pass,

34Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.


oberon This falls out better than I could devise.

Editor’s Note36But hast thou yet latched the Athenian's eyes

37With the love juice, as I did bid thee do?


robin I took him sleeping; that is finished, too;

39And the Athenian woman by his side,

Editor’s Note40That when he waked of force she must be eyed.

Enter Demetrius and Hermia

oberon Stand close. This is the same Athenian.


robin This is the woman, but not this the man.

[They stand apart]

demetrius O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?

44Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.


hermia Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse;

46For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.

47If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,

pg 1108Editor’s Note48Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,

49And kill me too.

50The sun was not so true unto the day

51As he to me. Would he have stolen away

52From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon

Editor’s Note53This whole earth may be bored, and that the moon

Editor’s Note54May through the centre creep, and so displease

Editor’s Note55Her brother's noontide with th'Antipodes.

56It cannot be but thou hast murdered him.

Editor’s Note57So should a murderer look—so dead, so grim.


demetrius So should the murdered look, and so should I,

59Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.

60Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear

Editor’s Note61As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.


hermia What's this to my Lysander? Where is he?

63Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?


demetrius I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.


hermia Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou driv'st me past the bounds

66Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him then?

67Henceforth be never numbered among men.

Link 68O, once tell true; tell true, even for my sake.

69Durst thou have looked upon him being awake,

Editor’s Note70And hast thou killed him sleeping? O brave touch!

Editor’s Note71Could not a worm, an adder do so much?—

Editor’s Note72An adder did it, for with doubler tongue

73Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.

Editor’s Note74

demetrius You spend your passion on a misprised mood.

75I am not guilty of Lysander's blood,

76Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.


hermia I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

Editor’s Note78

demetrius And if I could, what should I get therefore?


hermia A privilege: never to see me more.

80And from thy hated presence part I so.

Editor’s Note81See me no more, whether he be dead or no.


demetrius There is no following her in this fierce vein.

83Here therefore for a while I will remain.

Editor’s Note84So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow

85For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe,

86Which now in some slight measure it will pay,

Editor’s Note87If for his tender here I make some stay.

[He] lies down [and sleeps]

oberon [to Robin] What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite,

89And laid the love juice on some true love's sight.

pg 1109Editor’s Note90Of thy misprision must perforce ensue

91Some true love turned, and not a false turned true.


robin Then Fate o'errules, that, one man holding troth,

Editor’s Note93A million fail, confounding oath on oath.


oberon About the wood go swifter than the wind,

Editor’s Note95And Helena of Athens look thou find.

Editor’s Note96All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer

Editor’s Note97With sighs of love that costs the fresh blood dear.

98By some illusion see thou bring her here.

Editor’s Note99I'll charm his eyes against she do appear.


robin I go, I go—look how I go,

Editor’s Note101Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.


oberon     Flower of this purple dye,

Link 103    Hit with Cupid's archery,

Editor’s Note104    Sink in apple of his eye.

[He drops the juice on Demetrius' eyelids]

105    When his love he doth espy,

106    Let her shine as gloriously

107    As the Venus of the sky.

108    When thou wak'st, if she be by,

109    Beg of her for remedy.

Enter [Robin Goodfellow, the] puck

robin     Captain of our fairy band,

111    Helena is here at hand,

112    And the youth mistook by me,

Editor’s Note113    Pleading for a lover's fee.

Editor’s Note114    Shall we their fond pageant see?

Editor’s Note115    Lord, what fools these mortals be!


oberon     Stand aside. The noise they make

117    Will cause Demetrius to awake.


robin     Then will two at once woo one.

Editor’s Note119    That must needs be sport alone;

120    And those things do best please me

121    That befall prepost'rously.

[They stand apart] Enter Lysander [following] Helena

lysander Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?

123    Scorn and derision never come in tears.

Editor’s Note124Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,

125    In their nativity all truth appears.

126How can these things in me seem scorn to you,

Editor’s Note127Bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?

pg 1110 Editor’s Note128

helena You do advance your cunning more and more,

Editor’s Note129    When truth kills truth—O devilish holy fray!

130These vows are Hermia's. Will you give her o'er?

Editor’s Note131    Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.

132Your vows to her and me put in two scales

Editor’s Note133Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.


lysander I had no judgement when to her I swore.


helena Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.

Link 136

lysander Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.

Editor’s Note137

helena [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]


demetrius [awaking] O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!

139To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?

140Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show

141Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!

Editor’s Note142That pure congealèd white—high Taurus' snow,

Editor’s Note143Fanned with the eastern wind—turns to a crow

144When thou hold'st up thy hand. O, let me kiss

Editor’s Note145This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!


helena O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent

147To set against me for your merriment.

148If you were civil, and knew courtesy,

149You would not do me thus much injury.

150Can you not hate me—as I know you do—

151But you must join in souls to mock me too?

152If you were men, as men you are in show,

Editor’s Note153You would not use a gentle lady so,

Editor’s Note154To vow and swear and superpraise my parts

155When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.

156You both are rivals and love Hermia,

157And now both rivals to mock Helena.

Editor’s Note158A trim exploit, a manly enterprise—

159To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes

Editor’s Note160With your derision. None of noble sort

Editor’s Note161Would so offend a virgin, and extort

162A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.


lysander You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so.

164For you love Hermia; this you know I know.

165And here with all good will, with all my heart,

166In Hermia's love I yield you up my part;

167And yours of Helena to me bequeath,

168Whom I do love, and will do till my death.


helena Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

Editor’s Note170

demetrius Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.

171If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.

Editor’s Note Link 172My heart to her but as guestwise sojourned,

pg 1111173And now to Helen is it home returned,

174There to remain.

lysander Helen, it is not so.


demetrius Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,

Editor’s Note176Lest to thy peril thou a-buy it dear.

[Enter Hermia]

177Look where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.

Editor’s Note178

hermia Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,

179The ear more quick of apprehension makes.

Editor’s Note180Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense

181It pays the hearing double recompense.

182Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;

183Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.

184But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?


lysander Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?


hermia What love could press Lysander from my side?


lysander Lysander's love, that would not let him bide:

188Fair Helena, who more engilds the night

Editor’s Note189Than all yon fiery O's and eyes of light.

190Why seek'st thou me? Could not this make thee know

191The hate I bore thee made me leave thee so?


hermia You speak not as you think. It cannot be.

Editor’s Note193

helena Lo, she is one of this confederacy.

194Now I perceive they have conjoined all three

Editor’s Note195To fashion this false sport in spite of me.—

196Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid,

Editor’s Note197Have you conspired, have you with these contrived

Editor’s Note198To bait me with this foul derisïon?

Editor’s Note199Is all the counsel that we two have shared—

200The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent

201When we have chid the hasty-footed time

202For parting us—O, is all forgot?

203All schooldays' friendship, childhood innocence?

Editor’s Note204We, Hermia, like two artificial gods

Editor’s Note Link 205Have with our needles created both one flower,

206Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,

207Both warbling of one song, both in one key,

208As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds

Editor’s Note209Had been incorporate. So we grew together,

210Like to a double cherry: seeming parted,

211But yet an union in partitïon,

212Two lovely berries moulded on one stem.

213So, with two seeming bodies but one heart,

Editor’s Note214Two of the first—like coats in heraldry,

215Due but to one and crownèd with one crest.

216And will you rend our ancient love asunder,

217To join with men in scorning your poor friend?

pg 1112218It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly.

219Our sex as well as I may chide you for it,

220Though I alone do feel the injury.


hermia I am amazèd at your passionate words.

222I scorn you not. It seems that you scorn me.


helena Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,

224To follow me, and praise my eyes and face?

225And made your other love, Demetrius—

Editor’s Note226Who even but now did spurn me with his foot—

227To call me goddess, nymph, divine, and rare,

228Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this

229To her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander

230Deny your love so rich within his soul,

Editor’s Note231And tender me, forsooth, affectïon,

232But by your setting on, by your consent?

Editor’s Note233What though I be not so in grace as you,

234So hung upon with love, so fortunate,

235But miserable most, to love unloved—

236This you should pity rather than despise.


hermia I understand not what you mean by this.

Editor’s Note238

helena Ay, do. Persever, counterfeit sad looks,

Editor’s Note239Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,

Editor’s Note Link 240Wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up.

241This sport well carried shall be chronicled.

242If you have any pity, grace, or manners,

Editor’s Note243You would not make me such an argument.

244But fare ye well. 'Tis partly my own fault,

245Which death or absence soon shall remedy.


lysander Stay, gentle Helena, hear my excuse,

247My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!


helena O excellent!

hermia [to Lysander] Sweet, do not scorn her so.

Editor’s Note249

demetrius [to Lysander] If she cannot entreat I can compel.


lysander Thou canst compel no more than she entreat.

251Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.—

252Helen, I love thee; by my life I do.

253I swear by that which I will lose for thee

254To prove him false that says I love thee not.


demetrius [to Helena] I say I love thee more than he can do.

Editor’s Note256

lysander If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.


demetrius Quick, come.

hermia Lysander, whereto tends all this?

Editor’s Note[She hangs on to him]
Editor’s Note258

lysander Away, you Ethiope!

demetrius No, no, sir, yield.

Editor’s Note259Seem to break loose, take on as you would follow,

260But yet come not. You are a tame man; go.

pg 1113 Editor’s Note261

lysander [to Hermia] Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose,

262Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.


hermia Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,

Editor’s Note264Sweet love?

lysander Thy love? Out, tawny Tartar, out!

Editor’s Note265Out, loathèd med'cine! O hated potion, hence!

Editor’s Note266

hermia Do you not jest?

helena Yes, sooth, and so do you.


lysander Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

Editor’s Note268

demetrius I would I had your bond, for I perceive

269A weak bond holds you. I'll not trust your word.

Link 270

lysander What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?

271Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.


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

Editor’s Note273Hate me—wherefore? O me, what news, my love?

274Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?

Editor’s Note275I am as fair now as I was erewhile.

276Since night you loved me, yet since night you left me.

277Why then, you left me—O, the gods forbid!—

278In earnest, shall I say?

lysander Ay, by my life,

279And never did desire to see thee more.

280Therefore be out of hope, of question, doubt.

281Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest

282That I do hate thee and love Helena.

Editor’s Note283

hermia [to Helena] O me, you juggëler, you canker blossom,

284You thief of love! What, have you come by night

Editor’s Note285And stol'n my love's heart from him?

helena Fine, i'faith.

286Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,

287No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear

288Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?

Editor’s Note289Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you!


hermia 'Puppet'? Why, so! Ay, that way goes the game.

291Now I perceive that she hath made compare

292Between our statures. She hath urged her height;

293And with her personage, her tall personage,

294Her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed with him.—

295And are you grown so high in his esteem

296Because I am so dwarfish and so low?

Editor’s Note297How low am I, thou painted maypole? Speak,

298How low am I? I am not yet so low

Editor’s Note299But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.


helena [to Demetrius and Lysander] I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,

pg 1114Editor’s Note301Let her not hurt me. I was never curst.

302I have no gift at all in shrewishness.

Editor’s Note Link 303I am a right maid for my cowardice.

304Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think

Editor’s Note305Because she is something lower than myself

306That I can match her—

hermia 'Lower'? Hark again.


helena Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.

308I evermore did love you, Hermia,

309Did ever keep your counsels, never wronged you—

310Save that in love unto Demetrius

Editor’s Note311I told him of your stealth unto this wood.

312He followed you; for love I followed him.

313But he hath chid me hence, and threatened me

314To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too.

Editor’s Note315And now, so you will let me quiet go,

316To Athens will I bear my folly back,

317And follow you no further. Let me go.

Editor’s Note318You 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.

Editor’s Note324

helena O, when she is angry she is keen and shrewd.

325She was a vixen when she went to school,

Editor’s Note326And though she be but little, she is fierce.


hermia 'Little' again? Nothing but 'low' and 'little'?—

328Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?

329Let me come to her.

lysander Get you gone, you dwarf,

Editor’s Note330You minimus of hind'ring knot-grass made,

331You bead, you acorn!

demetrius You are too officious

332In her behalf that scorns your services.

333Let her alone. Speak not of Helena.

Editor’s Note Link 334Take not her part. For if thou dost intend

335Never so little show of love to her,

Editor’s Note336Thou shalt aby it.

lysander Now she holds me not.

337Now follow, if thou dar'st, to try whose right,

338Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.

Editor’s Note339

demetrius Follow? Nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jowl.

[Exeunt Lysander and Demetrius]
pg 1115 Editor’s Note340

hermia You, mistress, all this coil is long of you.

Editor’s Note341Nay, go not back.

helena I will not trust you, I,

342Nor longer stay in your curst company.

Editor’s Note343Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray;

344My legs are longer, though, to run away.


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

Editor’s Note346

oberon This is thy negligence. Still thou mistak'st,

347Or else committ'st thy knaveries wilfully.


robin Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.

349Did not you tell me I should know the man

350By the Athenian garments he had on?—

Editor’s Note351And so far blameless proves my enterprise

352That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes;

Editor’s Note353And so far am I glad it so did sort,

Editor’s Note354As this their jangling I esteem a sport.


oberon Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight.

Editor’s Note356Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night.

Editor’s Note357The starry welkin cover thou anon

Editor’s Note358With drooping fog as black as Acheron,

359And lead these testy rivals so astray

Editor’s Note360As one come not within another's way.

361Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,

Editor’s Note362Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;

363And sometime rail thou like Demetrius,

364And from each other look thou lead them thus

365Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep

Editor’s Note366With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.

Link 367Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye—

Editor’s Note368Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,

Editor’s Note369To take from thence all error with his might,

Editor’s Note370And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.

Editor’s Note371When they next wake, all this derisïon

372Shall seem a dream and fruitless visïon,

Editor’s Note373And back to Athens shall the lovers wend

Editor’s Note374With league whose date till death shall never end.

375Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,

376I'll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;

Editor’s Note377And then I will her charmèd eye release

378From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.


robin My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,

Editor’s Note380For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,

Editor’s Note381And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger,

pg 1116382At whose approach ghosts, wand'ring here and there,

383Troop home to churchyards; damnèd spirits all

Editor’s Note384That in cross-ways and floods have burial

385Already to their wormy beds are gone,

386For fear lest day should look their shames upon.

387They wilfully themselves exiled from light,

Editor’s Note388And must for aye consort with black-browed night.


oberon But we are spirits of another sort.

Editor’s Note390I with the morning's love have oft made sport,

Editor’s Note391And like a forester the groves may tread

392Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,

Editor’s Note393Opening on Neptune with fair blessèd beams,

Editor’s Note394Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.

395But notwithstanding, haste, make no delay!

396We may effect this business yet ere day.


robin     Up and down, up and down,

398    I will lead them up and down.

399    I am feared in field and town.

Editor’s Note400    Goblin, lead them up and down.

401Here comes one.

Enter Lysander

lysander Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.

Editor’s Note403

robin [shifting places] Here, villain, drawn and ready. Where art thou?

Editor’s Note Link 404

lysander I will be with thee straight.

robin Editor’s Note[shifting place] Follow me then

Editor’s Note405To plainer ground.

Enter Demetrius

demetrius [shifting places] Lysander, speak again.

406Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?

407Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?


robin [shifting places] Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,

409Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars,

Editor’s Note410And wilt not come? Come, recreant! Come, thou child,

411I'll whip thee with a rod. He is defiled

412That draws a sword on thee.

demetrius [shifting places] Yea, art thou there?

Editor’s Note413

robin [shifting places] Follow my voice; we'll try no manhood here.

Editor’s NoteExeunt [Demetrius and Robin]

lysander He goes before me, and still dares me on;

415When I come where he calls, then he is gone.

416The villain is much lighter heeled than I;

417I followed fast, but faster he did fly,

Editor’s Note418That fallen am I in dark uneven way,

pg 1117Editor’s Note419And here will rest me.[Lying down] Come, thou gentle day;

420For if but once thou show me thy grey light,

421I'll find Demetrius, and revenge this spite.

[He sleeps] [Enter] Robin and Demetrius

robin [shifting place] Ho, ho, ho, coward, why com'st thou not?

Editor’s Note423

demetrius Abide me if thou dar'st, for well I wot

424Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place,

425And dar'st not stand nor look me in the face.

426Where art thou now?

robin [shifting place] Come hither, I am here.

Editor’s Note427

demetrius Nay, then thou mock'st me. Thou shalt buy this dear

428If ever I thy face by daylight see.

429Now go thy way. Faintness constraineth me

430To measure out my length on this cold bed.

[He lies down]

431By day's approach look to be visited.

[He sleeps] Enter Helena

helena O weary night, O long and tedious night,

Editor’s Note Link 433    Abate thy hours; shine comforts from the east

434That I may back to Athens by daylight

435    From these that my poor company detest;

436And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye,

437Steal me a while from mine own company.

[She lies down and] sleeps

robin     Yet but three? Come one more,

439    Two of both kinds makes up four.

Editor’s Note[Enter Hermia]

Editor’s Note440    Here she comes, curst and sad.

441    Cupid is a knavish lad

442    Thus to make poor females mad.


hermia Never so weary, never so in woe,

444Bedabbled with the dew, and torn with briers,

445I can no further crawl, no further go.

446My legs can keep no pace with my desires.

447Here will I rest me till the break of day.

[She lies down]

448Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray.

[She sleeps]

robin     On the ground sleep sound.

450    I'll apply to your eye,

451        Gentle lover, remedy.

[He drops the juice on Lysander's eyelids]

452    When thou wak'st thou tak'st

453    True delight in the sight

454        Of thy former lady's eye,

455    And the country proverb known,

pg 1118456    That 'every man should take his own',

457    In your waking shall be shown.

Editor’s Note458        Jack shall have Jill,

459        Naught shall go ill.

Editor’s Note460The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.



Editor’s NoteEnter [Titania], Queen of Fairies, and [Bottom the] clown [with the ass-head], and fairies [Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed], and the King [of Fairies, Oberon] behind them

titania [to Bottom] Come, sit thee down upon this flow'ry bed,

Editor’s Note462    While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,

463And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,

464    And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.


bottom Where's Peaseblossom?


peaseblossom Ready.

Editor’s Note467

bottom Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where's Monsieur Cobweb?


cobweb Ready.

Link 469

bottom Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get you your weapons in 470your hand and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on the top of a thistle, 471and, good monsieur, bring me the honeybag. Do not fret yourself 472too much in the action, monsieur. And, good monsieur, have a care Editor’s Note473the honeybag break not. I would be loath to have you overflowen with 474a honeybag, signor.

Editor’s Note[Exit Cobweb]

475Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?


mustardseed Ready.

Editor’s Note477

bottom Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed. Pray you, leave 478your courtesy, good monsieur.


mustardseed What's your will?

Editor’s Note480

bottom Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavaliere Cobweb to 481scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur, for methinks I am marvellous 482hairy about the face; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but 483tickle me I must scratch.


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

Editor’s Note485

bottom I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have the tongs and 486the bones.

Editor’s Note[Music]

titania Or say, sweet love, what thou desir'st to eat?


bottom Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats. Editor’s Note489Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, Editor’s Note490hath no fellow.


titania I have a venturous fairy that shall seek

492The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee off new nuts.


bottom I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas. But I pray Editor’s Note494you, let none of your people stir me. I have an exposition of sleep 495come upon me.

pg 1119 496

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

Editor’s Note497Fairies, be gone, and by all ways away.

[Exeunt Fairies]

Editor’s Note498So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle

499Gently entwist; the female ivy so

500Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

Link 501O how I love thee, how I dote on thee!

[They sleep] Editor’s NoteEnter Robin Goodfellow

oberon Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?

503Her dotage now I do begin to pity;

504For meeting her of late behind the wood,

Editor’s Note505Seeking sweet favours for this hateful fool,

506I did upbraid her and fall out with her,

507For she his hairy temples then had rounded

508With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers,

Editor’s Note509And that same dew which sometime on the buds

Editor’s Note510Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls

511Stood now within the pretty flow'rets' eyes,

512Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.

513When I had at my pleasure taunted her,

514And she in mild terms begged my patïence,

515I then did ask of her her changeling child,

516Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent

517To bear him to my bower in fairyland.

518And now I have the boy, I will undo

519This hateful imperfection of her eyes.

520And, gentle puck, take this transformèd scalp

521From off the head of this Athenian swain,

Editor’s Note522That he, awaking when the other do,

Editor’s Note523May all to Athens back again repair,

524And think no more of this night's accidents

Editor’s Note525But as the fierce vexation of a dream.

526But first I will release the Fairy Queen.

[He drops the juice on Titania's eyelids]

527    Be as thou wast wont to be,

528    See as thou wast wont to see.

Editor’s Note529    Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower

530    Hath such force and blessèd power.

531Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.


titania [awaking] My Oberon, what visions have I seen!

533Methought I was enamoured of an ass.

Link 534

oberon There lies your love.

titania How came these things to pass?

535O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

pg 1120 Editor’s Note536

oberon Silence a while.—Robin, take off this head.—

537Titania, music call, and strike more dead

Editor’s Note538Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

Editor’s Note539

titania Music, ho!—music such as charmeth sleep.

Editor’s Note[Still music]

robin [taking the ass-head off Bottom] Now when thou wak'st with thine own fool's eyes peep.


oberon Sound music.

Editor’s Note[The music changes]

Come, my queen, take hands with me,

542And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.

[Oberon and Titania dance]

543Now thou and I are new in amity,

Editor’s Note544And will tomorrow midnight solemnly

545Dance in Duke Theseus' house, triumphantly,

546And bless it to all fair prosperity.

547There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be

548Wedded with Theseus, all in jollity.


robin     Fairy King, attend and mark.

550    I do hear the morning lark.

Editor’s Note551

oberon     Then, my queen, in silence sad

Editor’s Note552    Trip we after nightës shade.

Editor’s Note553    We the globe can compass soon,

554    Swifter than the wand'ring moon.


titania     Come, my lord, and in our flight

556    Tell me how it came this night

557    That I sleeping here was found

558    With these mortals on the ground.

Exeunt [Oberon, Titania, and Robin. The sleepers lie still.] Editor’s Note[Wind horns within]. Enter Theseus and all his train [including Egeus and Hippolyta]

theseus Go, one of you, find out the forester,

Editor’s Note560For now our observation is performed;

Editor’s Note561And since we have the vanguard of the day,

562My love shall hear the music of my hounds.

Editor’s Note563Uncouple in the western valley; let them go.

564Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.

[Exit one]

565We will, fair Queen, up to the mountain's top,

566And mark the musical confusïon

567Of hounds and echo in conjunctïon.

Editor’s Note Link 568

hippolyta I was with Hercules and Cadmus once

Editor’s Note569When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear

Editor’s Note570With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear

pg 1121Editor’s Note571Such gallant chiding; for, besides the groves,

572The skies, the fountains, every region near

573Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard

574So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.


theseus My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,

Editor’s Note576So flewed, so sanded; and their heads are hung

577With ears that sweep away the morning dew,

Editor’s Note578Crook-kneed, and dewlapped like Thessalian bulls,

Editor’s Note579Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,

Editor’s Note580Each under each. A cry more tuneable

Editor’s Note581Was never holla'd to nor cheered with horn

582In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.

Editor’s Note583Judge when you hear. —But soft: what nymphs are these?


egeus My lord, this is my daughter here asleep,

585And this Lysander; this Demetrius is;

586This Helena, old Nedar's Helena.

587I wonder of their being here together.


theseus No doubt they rose up early to observe

589The rite of May, and, hearing our intent,

Editor’s Note590Came here in grace of our solemnity.

591But speak, Egeus: is not this the day

592That Hermia should give answer of her choice?


egeus It is, my lord.


theseus Go bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

Editor’s Note[Exit one] Editor’s NoteShout within. Wind horns. The lovers all start up
Editor’s Note595

theseus Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past.

596Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?


lysander Pardon, my lord.

[The lovers kneel]

theseus I pray you all stand up.

[The lovers stand] [To Demetrius and Lysander]

598I know you two are rival enemies.

599How comes this gentle concord in the world,

Editor’s Note600That hatred is so far from jealousy

Link 601To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?


lysander My lord, I shall reply amazèdly,

603Half sleep, half waking. But as yet, I swear,

604I cannot truly say how I came here,

605But as I think—for truly would I speak,

606And, now I do bethink me, so it is—

607I came with Hermia hither. Our intent

Editor’s Note608Was to be gone from Athens where we might,

Editor’s Note609Without the peril of the Athenian law—

pg 1122 610

egeus [to Theseus] Enough, enough, my lord, you have enough.

611I beg the law, the law upon his head.—

612They would have stol'n away, they would, Demetrius,

613Thereby to have defeated you and me—

614You of your wife, and me of my consent,

615Of my consent that she should be your wife.


demetrius [to Theseus] My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,

617Of this their purpose hither to this wood,

618And I in fury hither followed them,

Editor’s Note619Fair Helena in fancy following me.

620But, my good lord, I wot not by what power—

621But by some power it is—my love to Hermia,

622Melted as the snow, seems to me now

Editor’s Note623As the remembrance of an idle gaud

624Which in my childhood I did dote upon,

625And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,

626The object and the pleasure of mine eye

627Is only Helena. To her, my lord,

628Was I betrothed ere I saw Hermia.

Editor’s Note629But like a sickness did I loathe this food;

630But, as in health come to my natural taste,

631Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,

632And will for evermore be true to it.


theseus Fair lovers, you are fortunately met.

634Of this discòurse we more will hear anon.—

Link 635Egeus, I will overbear your will,

636For in the temple by and by with us

637These couples shall eternally be knit.—

Editor’s Note638And, for the morning now is something worn,

639Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.

640Away with us to Athens. Three and three,

641We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.

642Come, Hippolyta.

[Exit Duke Theseus with Hippolyta, Egeus, and all his train]

demetrius These things seem small and undistinguishable,

644Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.

Editor’s Note645

hermia Methinks I see these things with parted eye,

646When everything seems double.

helena So methinks,

647And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,

Editor’s Note648Mine own and not mine own.

demetrius Editor’s Note648.D1Are you sure

648.D2That we are awake?             It seems to me

649That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think

650The Duke was here and bid us follow him?


hermia Yea, and my father.

helena And Hippolyta.

pg 1123 652

lysander And he did bid us follow to the temple.


demetrius Why then, we are awake. Let's follow him,

654And by the way let us recount our dreams.

[Exeunt the lovers] Editor’s Note[Bottom wakes]

bottom When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is Editor’s Note656'most fair Pyramus'. Heigh-ho. Peter Quince? Flute the bellows-mender? Editor’s Note657Snout the tinker? Starveling? God's my life! Stol'n hence, and left me 658asleep?—I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit Editor’s Note659of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about 660t'expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Editor’s Note661Methought I was, and methought I had—but man is but a patched fool Editor’s Note662if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not Link 663heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, 664his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I 665will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called Editor’s Note666'Bottom's Dream', because it hath no bottom, and I will sing it in the 667latter end of a play, before the Duke. Peradventure, to make it the more Editor’s Note668gracious, I shall sing it at her death.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
5.5 night-rule the state of things at night, revels, night-time entertainments
Editor’s Note
5.7 close private
Editor’s Note
5.8 dull drowsy
Editor’s Note
5.9 patches clowns, fools
Editor’s Note
5.9 rude mechanicals rough workingmen
Editor’s Note
5.13 barren sort witless lot
Editor’s Note
5.14 presented acted
Editor’s Note
5.15 scene stage
Editor’s Note
5.17 nole noddle, head
Editor’s Note
5.19 mimic clumsy actor
Editor’s Note
5.21 russet-pated choughs grey-headed jackdaws
Editor’s Note
5.21 in sort together, in a flock
Editor’s Note
5.23 Sever scatter
Editor’s Note
5.26 He one
Editor’s Note
5.30 from yielders all things catch everything robs the timid
Editor’s Note
5.32 translated transformed
Editor’s Note
5.36 latched caught, fastened
Editor’s Note
5.40 That so that
Editor’s Note
5.40 of force perforce, necessarily
Editor’s Note
5.48 Being o'er shoes i.e. having waded in this far (proverbial)
Editor’s Note
5.48 deep ocean
Editor’s Note
5.53 whole solid
Editor’s Note
5.54 centre of the earth
Editor’s Note
5.55 th'Antipodes the people on the earth's other (southern) hemisphere
Editor’s Note
5.57 dead deadly
Editor’s Note
5.61 sphere orbit
Editor’s Note
5.70 brave touch noble stroke (sarcastic)
Editor’s Note
5.71 worm serpent
Editor’s Note
5.72 doubler 'more forked' (of the adder), 'more deceitful' (of Demetrius)
Editor’s Note
5.74 spend vent
Editor’s Note
5.74 passion violent emotion
Editor’s Note
5.74 misprised mood misconceived anger
Editor’s Note
5.78 And if even if
Editor’s Note
5.78 therefore for that
Editor’s Note
5.81 whether (pronounced as one syllable: whe'er)
Editor’s Note
5.84 heaviness sadness (punning on 'drowsiness')
Editor’s Note
5.87 tender i.e. sleep's offer (legal 'tender') of the rest that it owes to sorrow
Editor’s Note
5.90 misprision mistake
Editor’s Note
5.93 fail, confounding default, subverting
Editor’s Note
5.95 look be sure to
Editor’s Note
5.96 fancy-sick love-sick
Editor’s Note
5.96 cheer face, expression
Editor’s Note
5.97 sighs (thought to cause loss of blood)
Editor’s Note
5.99 against in readiness for when
Editor’s Note
5.101 Tartar's Tartars were famed for archery.
Editor’s Note
5.104 apple pupil
Editor’s Note
5.113 fee reward
Editor’s Note
5.114 fond pageant foolish spectacle
Editor’s Note
5.115 what fools these mortals be This famous line can be delivered in tolerant humour, or tongue-in-cheek, or even in angry frustration.
Editor’s Note
5.119 alone unique
Editor’s Note
5.124 Look when whenever
Editor’s Note
5.124–5 vows … appears vows made weeping are sincere in origin
Editor’s Note
5.127 badge of faith tears
Editor’s Note
5.128 advance increase, display
Editor’s Note
5.129 truth kills truth i.e. one vow invalidates another
Editor’s Note
5.131 you will nothing weigh the scales will be even; you will be found to have no substance.
Editor’s Note
5.133 tales lies, fiction
Editor’s Note
5.137 The lack of a rhyme for 'divine' in the next line strongly suggests a missing line here; the dramatic action indicates that Helena should speak it.
Editor’s Note
5.137 helena Her retort, mocking Demetrius, has probably been omitted: it might have been something like 'I love you not you; Demetrius, I do.'
Editor’s Note
5.142 Taurus (range of high mountains in Turkey)
Editor’s Note
5.143 turns to a crow seems black by comparison
Editor’s Note
5.145 princess paragon
Editor’s Note
5.145 seal pledge
Editor’s Note
5.153 gentle noble, mild, kind
Editor’s Note
5.154 superpraise overpraise
Editor’s Note
5.154 parts qualities
Editor’s Note
5.158 trim fine (sarcastic)
Editor’s Note
5.160 sort social rank, nature
Editor’s Note
5.161 extort torture
Editor’s Note
5.170 will none won't have anything to do with her
Editor’s Note
5.172 guestwise like a visitor rather than a permanent resident
Editor’s Note
5.176 a-buy pay for
Editor’s Note
5.176 dear dearly
Editor’s Note
5.178 his its
Editor’s Note
5.180 Wherein to the extent that, because
Editor’s Note
5.189 O's and eyes stars (punning on the vowels)
Editor’s Note
5.193–5 Lo … of me Helena might speak these three lines aside to the audience.
Editor’s Note
5.195 in spite of to spite, vex
Editor’s Note
5.197 contrived plotted
Editor’s Note
5.198 bait torment (as Elizabethans set dogs to bait a bear)
Editor’s Note
5.199 counsel confidences
Editor’s Note
5.204 artificial artisan, artistically skilful
Editor’s Note
5.205 needles monosyllabic: 'nee'les'
Editor’s Note
5.209 incorporate of one body
Editor’s Note
5.214 of the first (technical phrase in heraldry referring to the first in a catalogue)
Editor’s Note
5.226 with his foot Helena can stomp her foot, or move to kick Hermia, or dance out a kick in imitation of Demetrius' kick.
Editor’s Note
5.231 tender offer
Editor’s Note
5.233 grace favour
Editor’s Note
5.238 sad serious
Editor’s Note
5.239 mouths upon faces, grimaces at
Editor’s Note
5.240 hold the sweet jest up keep up the joke
Editor’s Note
5.243 argument subject of merriment
Editor’s Note
5.249 entreat succeed by entreaty
Editor’s Note
5.256 withdraw come with me ('step outside')
Editor’s Note
5.257.1 She hangs on to him She could grab any part of his body, but must clearly physically attach herself in some way.
Editor’s Note
5.258 Ethiope insulting (and racist) allusion to Hermia's dark hair and complexion
Editor’s Note
5.258 yield give in (to Hermia)
Editor’s Note
5.259 take on as pretend
Editor’s Note
5.261 Hang off let go
Editor’s Note
5.264 Tartar another racist insult, alluding to people from Central Asia (including Turkey) who were said to be savage and intractable
Editor’s Note
5.265 med'cine any drug (including poison)
Editor’s Note
5.266 sooth truly
Editor’s Note
5.268–9 bond … bond oath, pledge … grip, restraint (i.e. Hermia's)
Editor’s Note
5.273 what news what's happened
Editor’s Note
5.275 erewhile awhile ago
Editor’s Note
5.283 juggëler trickster
Editor’s Note
5.283 canker blossom grub that devours blossoms (of love)
Editor’s Note
5.285 Fine, i'faith (a sarcastic commendation of Hermia's performance)
Editor’s Note
5.289 puppet counterfeit; miniature, doll
Editor’s Note
5.297 painted insulting allusion to the use of cosmetics
Editor’s Note
5.297 maypole (proverbial for someone tall and skinny)
Editor’s Note
5.299 thine eyes Hermia and Helena are fighting now. Hermia sometimes dives at Helena, they can fall to the floor, rolling (sometimes in dirt and mud), as their remaining clothes are torn to shreds.
Editor’s Note
5.301 curst quarrelsome
Editor’s Note
5.303 right proper
Editor’s Note
5.305 something somewhat
Editor’s Note
5.311 stealth stealing away
Editor’s Note
5.315 so if only
Editor’s Note
5.318 fond foolish
Editor’s Note
5.324 keen better, sharp
Editor’s Note
5.326 fierce Hermia might dive at Helena once more, breaking free from the grip of Demetrius.
Editor’s Note
5.330 minimus little thing (Latin)
Editor’s Note
5.330 knot-grass creeping, binding weed. Its sap was thought to stunt human growth.
Editor’s Note
5.334 intend plan (to show)
Editor’s Note
5.336 aby pay for
Editor’s Note
5.339 cheek by jowl side by side
Editor’s Note
5.340 coil bother
Editor’s Note
5.340 long because, by account
Editor’s Note
5.341 go not back don't retreat
Editor’s Note
5.343 fray fight, fracas
Editor’s Note
5.346 still perpetually
Editor’s Note
5.346 oberon Once the lovers exit, Oberon and Puck, who might be standing 'invisible' nearby, or hiding behind trees or columns (as in the 2014 Globe production), might move together conspiratorially, or call to each other from different parts of the stage. They sometimes 'invisibly' intervene in the preceding fights between the lovers.
Editor’s Note
5.351 so far to that extent
Editor’s Note
5.353 sort turn out
Editor’s Note
5.354 As in that, since
Editor’s Note
5.356 Hie hurry
Editor’s Note
5.357 welkin sky
Editor’s Note
5.358 Acheron (a river of hell, traditionally black)
Editor’s Note
5.360 As so that
Editor’s Note
5.362 wrong insult
Editor’s Note
5.366 batty bat-like
Editor’s Note
5.368 virtuous good, potent
Editor’s Note
5.369 his its
Editor’s Note
5.370 wonted usual, normal
Editor’s Note
5.371 derisïon mockery
Editor’s Note
5.373 wend go
Editor’s Note
5.374 date term, duration
Editor’s Note
5.377 charmèd enchanted
Editor’s Note
5.380 dragons (imagined as drawing the chariots of the goddess of night)
Editor’s Note
5.381 Aurora's harbinger herald of the goddess of dawn; the 'morning star' (planet Venus)
Editor’s Note
5.384 cross-ways crossroads (where suicides were buried without Christian sacrament). Like 'churchyards', this Christian reference is anachronistic in a play set in ancient Greece.
Editor’s Note
5.384 floods (in which the drowned were 'buried' without Christian sacrament)
Editor’s Note
5.388 for aye forever
Editor’s Note
5.390 morning's love the affection of Aurora, goddess of dawn (or Cephalus, Aurora's lover)
Editor’s Note
5.390 made sport gone hunting; made love
Editor’s Note
5.391 forester keeper of a royal forest or private park
Editor’s Note
5.393 Neptune ancient god of seas and oceans; hence, 'the sea'
Editor’s Note
5.394 salt salty
Editor’s Note
5.400 Goblin Robin, the puck/goblin, is addressing himself.
Editor’s Note
5.403 drawn with sword drawn
Editor’s Note
5.404 straight immediately
Editor’s Note
5.404.1 shifting place This stage direction is added by the Folio in the margin at 5.417, and apparently applies to the movements of Robin (or all the characters) in this sequence. Robin usually moves from place to place, misleading the two men who mime being unable to see him (or much of anything else). Robin might throw his voice or imitate the voices of Demetrius and Lysander alternately to draw them closer to each other.
Editor’s Note
5.405 plainer more level, clearer
Editor’s Note
5.405 plainer ground It's not absolutely necessary for Lysander to exit here (or re-enter at 5.414), within this magical, non-naturalistic scene, which is taking place in supposed darkness.
Editor’s Note
5.410 recreant wretch (literally 'apostate')
Editor’s Note
5.413 try test
Editor’s Note
5.413.1 Exeunt Demetrius might leave first, and Robin's 'Follow my voice' might be addressed to Lysander.
Editor’s Note
5.418 That with the result that
Editor’s Note
5.418 fallen (pronounced as a single syllable, as in 'kiln'; or the 'n' might be joined to the following word, as in 'fall'nas')
Editor’s Note
5.419 Lying down Lysander, exhausted and under a spell, might simply slip down to the floor where he stands, or find a spot under a tree where someone can easily lie down next to him. All four lovers must lie down, and Robin must be able to move among them without tripping over them. Demetrius and Helena usually end up close together, as do Hermia and Lysander.
Editor’s Note
5.423 Abide wait for
Editor’s Note
5.423 wot know
Editor’s Note
5.427 buy this dear pay dearly for this
Editor’s Note
5.433 Abate abbreviate
Editor’s Note
5.439.1 Enter Hermia The exact moment of her entrance is not specified in the early texts; it could be slightly earlier or later.
Editor’s Note
5.440 curst cross, annoyed
Editor’s Note
5.458 Jack shall have Jill boy gets his girl (proverbial)
Editor’s Note
5.460 The man … again things will get better (proverbial)
Editor’s Note
5.460.1–2 Enter … fairies The Folio begins Act 4 here, specifying that the lovers remain on stage, sleeping, throughout the intermission between the acts. The act division interrupts what was a long continuous central scene (Sc. 5) in the original staging. The lovers remain asleep onstage for another 136 lines.
Editor’s Note
5.462 amiable lovable
Editor’s Note
5.462 coy caress
Editor’s Note
5.467 Monsieur (French for 'master, gentleman', a salutation indicating elite status; the use of French is itself characteristic of elite, courtly discourse)
Editor’s Note
5.473 overflowen flowed all over
Editor’s Note
5.474.1 Exit Cobweb Bottom dismisses Cobweb here, but the fairy might re-enter almost immediately.
Editor’s Note
5.477 neaf fist
Editor’s Note
5.477 leave your courtesy i.e. 'stop bowing' or 'put on your hat'
Editor’s Note
5.480 Cavaliere (Italian for 'Cavalier', gallant horseman, knight on horseback)
Editor’s Note
5.485 tongs and the bones fire-tongs and clappers (elementary and rustic musical instruments)
Editor’s Note
5.486.1 Music Some music here seems probable, but it is not specified in the first edition. The Folio calls for 'Tongs. Rural Music', which may be a later addition. 'Rural' has been interpreted in many ways: it could be 'simple, unsophisticated', or like modern 'country music', or 'pastoral' (appropriate for fairies in the forest).
Editor’s Note
5.489 bottle bundle
Editor’s Note
5.490 fellow equal
Editor’s Note
5.494 exposition blunder for disposition
Editor’s Note
5.497 all ways in every direction
Editor’s Note
5.498 So thus
Editor’s Note
5.498 woodbine bindweed or convolvulus
Editor’s Note
5.501.2 Enter Robin The Folio calls for Oberon to enter here, too. If Oberon enters here, he and Puck may arrive together, or enter from opposite directions and meet centre stage.
Editor’s Note
5.505 favours love-tokens (here, flowers)
Editor’s Note
5.509 sometime formerly
Editor’s Note
5.510 orient lustrous (because the best pearls came from the Far East)
Editor’s Note
5.522 other others
Editor’s Note
5.523 May all all may
Editor’s Note
5.525 fierce wild
Editor’s Note
5.529 Dian's bud (the herb of 3.184 and 5.367: perhaps the flowering shrub Vitex agnus castus or chaste tree, said to preserve chastity)
Editor’s Note
5.529 Cupid's flower (the little western flower of 3.166 , etc.)
Editor’s Note
5.536 Silence awhile i.e. 'we will discuss it later'
Editor’s Note
5.538 these five i.e. the four lovers and Bottom
Editor’s Note
5.539 charmeth enchants, produces a charmed
Editor’s Note
5.539.1 Still soft and mysterious
Editor’s Note
5.539.1 Still music Soft and mysterious music might be played (offstage, or by fairies on stage) in contrast to the tongs and bones requested by Bottom.
Editor’s Note
5.541.1 The music changes The musical shift here might help establish, tonally, the reconciliation of Oberon and Titania, as they dance in a lovers' embrace, at a turning-point in the action.
Editor’s Note
5.544 solemnly ceremoniously
Editor’s Note
5.551 sad sober
Editor’s Note
5.552 nightës night's (the obsolete two-syllable genitive inflection)
Editor’s Note
5.553 compass encompass, orbit
Editor’s Note
5.558.2 Wind horns This marks yet another change in the music, from the night-time dance of Oberon and Titania to the call of a morning trumpet.
Editor’s Note
5.560 observation 'observance to a morn of May' as at 1.167
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5.561 vanguard earliest part
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5.563 Uncouple release (the dogs, leashed in pairs)
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5.568 Cadmus mythical founder of Thebes. No source for the anecdote is known.
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5.569 bayed brought to bay
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5.569 bear (perhaps an error for 'boar')
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5.570 hounds of Sparta (famous in antiquity as hunting dogs)
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5.571 chiding barking
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5.576 flewed with large hanging fleshy chaps
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5.576 sanded sandy-colored
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5.578 dewlapped with hanging folds of skin under the neck
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5.579–80 matched … under each harmoniously matched in the pitch of their barking like a set of bells, each creating a lower sound than the next
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5.580 cry pack of hounds
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5.580 tuneable well-tuned, tuneful
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5.581 cheered encouraged, animated
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5.583 soft i.e. stop, look
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5.583 nymphs water-goddesses
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5.590 solemnity ceremony
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5.594.1 Wind horns This second and much louder blast wakes the lovers, who might start up confused, or sit up rubbing their eyes as they begin to realize that the Duke's hunting party has discovered them. Most modern productions have the lovers half-naked or dressed only in undergarments, dirty and dishevelled.
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5.594.2 Wind horns (perhaps the words shouted, as well as a stage direction for the blowing of horns)
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5.595 Saint Valentine Birds were said to choose their mates on Valentine's Day.
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5.600 jealousy suspicion
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5.608 where to where; wherever
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5.609 Without beyond the reach of
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5.619 fancy love
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5.623 idle gaud worthless trinket
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5.629 but like a sickness … food but I loathed her as though she were a sickness (but also suggesting 'I loathed her as only a person loathes food when sick')
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5.638 for since
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5.638 something somewhat
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5.645 parted improperly focused
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5.648 Mine own and not mine own i.e. mine on the principle of 'finders keepers', but once someone else's
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5.648.D1–D2 Are … awake? (apparently a rough first draft, deleted in the Folio)
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5.654.2 Bottom wakes He may start to wake before the four lovers are offstage. His first lines return to the moment just before he was transformed. He might speak them in a far-off day-dreaming way, or bounce right to his feet calling to his mates.
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5.656 Heigh-ho This might be performed with a suggestion of 'Hee-haw', the last vestige of Bottom as ass. He might catch himself, surprised at the noise he just made.
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5.657 Stol'n hence have they sneaked away
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5.659 go about try
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5.661 patched fool jester in a patchwork or motley costume; botched idiot
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5.662 offer venture
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5.662–4 The eye … dream was. Echoes of 1 Corinthians 2: 9–10: 'the eye hath not seen, and the ear hath not heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit: For the spirit searcheth all things,' (Bishops' Bible, 1568, read in churches); after 'all things' the 1557 Geneva Bible (which was more often read privately) reads 'yea, the bottom of God's secrets'. Shakespeare/Bottom seems to be combining phrases from both translations.
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5.666 hath no bottom is unfathomable, has no substance
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5.668 her (presumably Thisby's)
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