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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 3, scene 2

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Scene 2
Enter Oberon, King of Fairies.

OBERON 
 I wonder if Titania be awaked;
 Then what it was that next came in her eye,
 Which she must dote on in extremity.

Enter Robin Goodfellow.

 Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit?
5 What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
ROBIN 
 My mistress with a monster is in love.
 Near to her close and consecrated bower,
 While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
 A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
10 That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
 Were met together to rehearse a play
 Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day.
 The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
 Who Pyramus presented in their sport,
15 Forsook his scene and entered in a brake.
 When I did him at this advantage take,
 An ass’s noll I fixèd on his head.
 Anon his Thisbe must be answerèd,
 And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
20 As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
 Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
 Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
 Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
 So at his sight away his fellows fly,
25 And, at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls.
 He “Murder” cries and help from Athens calls.
 Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus
 strong,
 Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;

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ACT 3. SC. 2

30 For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch,
 Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things
 catch.
 I led them on in this distracted fear
 And left sweet Pyramus translated there.
35 When in that moment, so it came to pass,
 Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
OBERON 
 This falls out better than I could devise.
 But hast thou yet latched the Athenian’s eyes
 With the love juice, as I did bid thee do?
ROBIN 
40 I took him sleeping—that is finished, too—
 And the Athenian woman by his side,
 That, 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 step aside.
DEMETRIUS 
45 O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
 Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe!
HERMIA 
 Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse,
 For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
 If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
50 Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep
 And kill me too.
 The sun was not so true unto the day
 As he to me. Would he have stolen away
 From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon
55 This whole Earth may be bored, and that the moon
 May through the center creep and so displease

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 Her brother’s noontide with th’ Antipodes.
 It cannot be but thou hast murdered him.
 So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.
DEMETRIUS 
60 So should the murdered look, and so should I,
 Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty.
 Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
 As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
HERMIA 
 What’s this to my Lysander? Where is he?
65 Ah, 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
 Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
 Henceforth be never numbered among men.
70 O, once tell true! Tell true, even for my sake!
 Durst thou have looked upon him, being awake?
 And hast thou killed him sleeping? O brave touch!
 Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
 An adder did it, for with doubler tongue
75 Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
DEMETRIUS 
 You spend your passion on a misprised mood.
 I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood,
 Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
HERMIA 
 I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
DEMETRIUS 
80 An if I could, what should I get therefor?
HERMIA 
 A privilege never to see me more.
 And from thy hated presence part I so.
 See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
She exits.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

DEMETRIUS 
 There is no following her in this fierce vein.
85 Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.
 So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
 For debt that bankrout sleep doth sorrow owe,
 Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
 If for his tender here I make some stay.
He lies down and falls asleep.
OBERON, to Robin 
90 What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite
 And laid the love juice on some true-love’s sight.
 Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
 Some true-love turned, and not a false turned true.
ROBIN 
 Then fate o’errules, that, one man holding troth,
95 A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
OBERON 
 About the wood go swifter than the wind,
 And Helena of Athens look thou find.
 All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer
 With sighs of love that costs the fresh blood dear.
100 By some illusion see thou bring her here.
 I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
ROBIN I go, I go, look how I go,
 Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.He exits.
OBERON, applying the nectar to Demetrius’ eyes 
 Flower of this purple dye,
105 Hit with Cupid’s archery,
 Sink in apple of his eye.
 When his love he doth espy,
 Let her shine as gloriously
 As the Venus of the sky.—
110 When thou wak’st, if she be by,
 Beg of her for remedy.


Enter Robin.


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ACT 3. SC. 2

ROBIN 
 Captain of our fairy band,
 Helena is here at hand,
 And the youth, mistook by me,
115 Pleading for a lover’s fee.
 Shall we their fond pageant see?
 Lord, what fools these mortals be!

OBERON 
 Stand aside. The noise they make
 Will cause Demetrius to awake.

ROBIN 
120 Then will two at once woo one.
 That must needs be sport alone.
 And those things do best please me
 That befall prepost’rously.

They step aside.

Enter Lysander and Helena.

LYSANDER 
 Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
125  Scorn and derision never come in tears.
 Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
  In their nativity all truth appears.
 How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
 Bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?
HELENA 
130 You do advance your cunning more and more.
  When truth kills truth, O devilish holy fray!
 These vows are Hermia’s. Will you give her o’er?
  Weigh oath with oath and you will nothing
  weigh.
135 Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
 Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
LYSANDER 
 I had no judgment when to her I swore.
HELENA 
 Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.

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LYSANDER 
 Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
DEMETRIUS, waking up 
140 O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
 To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
 Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
 Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
 That pure congealèd white, high Taurus’ snow,
145 Fanned with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
 When thou hold’st up thy hand. O, let me kiss
 This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
HELENA 
 O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
 To set against me for your merriment.
150 If you were civil and knew courtesy,
 You would not do me thus much injury.
 Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
 But you must join in souls to mock me too?
 If you were men, as men you are in show,
155 You would not use a gentle lady so,
 To vow and swear and superpraise my parts,
 When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
 You both are rivals and love Hermia,
 And now both rivals to mock Helena.
160 A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
 To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
 With your derision! None of noble sort
 Would so offend a virgin and extort
 A poor soul’s patience, all to make you sport.
LYSANDER 
165 You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so,
 For you love Hermia; this you know I know.
 And here with all goodwill, with all my heart,
 In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part.
 And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
170 Whom I do love and will do till my death.

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HELENA 
 Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
DEMETRIUS 
 Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.
 If e’er I loved her, all that love is gone.
 My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned,
175 And now to Helen is it home returned,
 There to remain.
LYSANDER  Helen, it is not so.
DEMETRIUS 
 Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
 Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear.
180 Look where thy love comes. Yonder is thy dear.

Enter Hermia.

HERMIA, to Lysander 
 Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
 The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
 Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
 It pays the hearing double recompense.
185 Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
 Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.
 But 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 
190 Lysander’s love, that would not let him bide,
 Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
 Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light.
 Why seek’st thou me? Could not this make thee
 know
195 The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
HERMIA 
 You speak not as you think. It cannot be.

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HELENA 
 Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
 Now I perceive they have conjoined all three
 To fashion this false sport in spite of me.—
200 Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid,
 Have you conspired, have you with these contrived,
 To bait me with this foul derision?
 Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
 The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent
205 When we have chid the hasty-footed time
 For parting us—O, is all forgot?
 All schooldays’ friendship, childhood innocence?
 We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
 Have with our needles created both one flower,
210 Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
 Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
 As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds
 Had been incorporate. So we grew together
 Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
215 But yet an union in partition,
 Two lovely berries molded on one stem;
 So with two seeming bodies but one heart,
 Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
 Due but to one, and crownèd with one crest.
220 And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
 To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
 It is not friendly; ’tis not maidenly.
 Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
 Though I alone do feel the injury.
HERMIA 
225 I am amazèd at your words.
 I scorn you not. It seems that you scorn me.
HELENA 
 Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
 To follow me and praise my eyes and face,
 And made your other love, Demetrius,

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230 Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
 To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
 Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
 To her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander
 Deny your love (so rich within his soul)
235 And tender me, forsooth, affection,
 But by your setting on, by your consent?
 What though I be not so in grace as you,
 So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
 But miserable most, to love unloved?
240 This you should pity rather than despise.
HERMIA 
 I understand not what you mean by this.
HELENA 
 Ay, do. Persever, counterfeit sad looks,
 Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,
 Wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up.
245 This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
 If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
 You would not make me such an argument.
 But fare you well. ’Tis partly my own fault,
 Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
LYSANDER 
250 Stay, gentle Helena. Hear my excuse,
 My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena.
HELENA 
 O excellent!
HERMIA, to Lysander 
 Sweet, do not scorn her so.
DEMETRIUS, to Lysander 
 If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
LYSANDER 
255 Thou canst compel no more than she entreat.
 Thy threats have no more strength than her weak
 prayers.
 Helen, I love thee. By my life, I do.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
260 To prove him false that says I love thee not.
DEMETRIUS 
 I say I love thee more than he can do.
LYSANDER 
 If thou say so, withdraw and prove it too.
DEMETRIUS 
 Quick, come.
HERMIA  Lysander, whereto tends all this?
She takes hold of Lysander.
LYSANDER 
265 Away, you Ethiop!
DEMETRIUS, to Hermia 
 No, no. He’ll
 Seem to break loose. To Lysander. Take on as you
 would follow,
 But yet come not. You are a tame man, go!
LYSANDER, to Hermia 
270 Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose,
 Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.
HERMIA 
 Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
 Sweet love?
LYSANDER  Thy love? Out, tawny Tartar, out!
275 Out, loathèd med’cine! O, hated potion, hence!
HERMIA 
 Do you not jest?
HELENA  Yes, sooth, and so do you.
LYSANDER 
 Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
DEMETRIUS 
 I would I had your bond. For I perceive
280 A weak bond holds you. I’ll not trust your word.
LYSANDER 
 What? Should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
 Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

HERMIA 
 What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
 Hate me? Wherefore? O me, what news, my love?
285 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!—
290 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
295 That I do hate thee and love Helena.
Hermia turns him loose.
HERMIA 
 O me! To Helena. You juggler, you cankerblossom,
 You thief of love! What, have you come by night
 And stol’n my love’s heart from him?
HELENA  Fine, i’ faith.
300 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.
305 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 prevailed with him.
 And are you grown so high in his esteem
310 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.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

HELENA 
 I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
315 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,
320 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 wronged you—
325 Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
 I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
 He followed you; for love, I followed him.
 But he hath chid me hence and threatened me
 To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too.
330 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 
335 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 
340 O, when she is angry, she is keen and shrewd.
 She was a vixen when she went to school,
 And though she be but little, she is fierce.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

HERMIA 
 “Little” again? Nothing but “low” and “little”?
 Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
345 Let me come to her.
LYSANDER  Get you gone, you dwarf,
 You minimus of hind’ring knotgrass made,
 You bead, you acorn—
DEMETRIUS  You are too officious
350 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 355 Now she holds me not.
 Now follow, if thou dar’st, to try whose right,
 Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
DEMETRIUS 
 “Follow”? Nay, I’ll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
Demetrius and Lysander exit.
HERMIA 
 You, mistress, all this coil is long of you.
Helena retreats.
360 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.She exits.
HERMIA 
365 I am amazed and know not what to say.She exits.
OBERON, to Robin 
 This is thy negligence. Still thou mistak’st,
 Or else committ’st thy knaveries willfully.
ROBIN 
 Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
 Did not you tell me I should know the man
370 By the Athenian garments he had on?

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 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 
375 Thou seest 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
380 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,
385 Till o’er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
 With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.
 Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye,
He gives a flower to Robin.
 Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
 To take from thence all error with his might
390 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.
395 Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
 I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
 And then I will her charmèd eye release
 From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.
ROBIN 
 My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
400 For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
 And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger,
 At whose approach, ghosts wand’ring here and
 there

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 Troop home to churchyards. Damnèd spirits all,
405 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-browed night.
OBERON 
410 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 blessèd beams,
415 Turns into yellow gold his salt-green streams.
 But notwithstanding, haste! Make no delay.
 We may effect this business yet ere day.He exits.
ROBIN 
 Up and down, up and down,
 I will lead them up and down.
420 I am feared in field and town.
 Goblin, lead them up and down.

 Here comes one.

Enter Lysander.

LYSANDER 
 Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.
ROBIN, in Demetrius’ voice 
 Here, villain, drawn and ready. Where art thou?
LYSANDER 425I will be with thee straight.
ROBIN, in Demetrius’ voice Follow me, then, to
 plainer ground.Lysander exits.

Enter Demetrius.

DEMETRIUS Lysander, speak again.
 Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
430 Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy
 head?

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ACT 3. SC. 2

ROBIN, in Lysander’s voice 
 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
435 child!
 I’ll whip thee with a rod. He is defiled
 That draws a sword on thee.
DEMETRIUS  Yea, art thou there?
ROBIN, in Lysander’s voice 
 Follow my voice. We’ll try no manhood here.
They exit.

Enter Lysander.

LYSANDER 
440 He goes before me and still dares me on.
 When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
 The villain is much lighter-heeled than I.
 I followed fast, but faster he did fly,
 That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
445 And here will rest me. Come, thou gentle day,
 For if but once thou show me thy gray light,
 I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
He lies down and sleeps.

Enter Robin and Demetrius.

ROBIN, in Lysander’s voice 
 Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why com’st thou not?
DEMETRIUS 
 Abide me, if thou dar’st, for well I wot
450 Thou runn’st before me, shifting every place,
 And dar’st not stand nor look me in the face.
 Where art thou now?
ROBIN, in Lysander’s voice 
 Come hither. I am here.
DEMETRIUS 
 Nay, then, thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this
455 dear

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 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.
He lies down and sleeps.

Enter Helena.

HELENA 
460 O weary night, O long and tedious night,
  Abate thy hours! 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,
465 Steal me awhile from mine own company.
She lies down and sleeps.
ROBIN 
 Yet but three? Come one more.
 Two of both kinds makes up four.
 Here she comes, curst and sad.
 Cupid is a knavish lad
470 Thus to make poor females mad.


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.
475 Here will I rest me till the break of day.
 Heavens shield Lysander if they mean a fray!
She lies down and sleeps.
ROBIN 
  On the ground
  Sleep sound.
  I’ll apply
480  To your eye,
 Gentle lover, remedy.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

Robin applies the nectar
 to Lysander’s eyes.

  When thou wak’st,
  Thou tak’st
  True delight
485  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.
490  Jack shall have Jill;
  Naught shall go ill;
 The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be
  well.

He exits.