Quotes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Browse the following passages from Shakespeare's play, listen to the audio to hear them performed by the professional actors of Folger Theatre, and click the line numbers to read the quotes in context.

. . .For aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
But either it was different in blood—

—Spoken by Lysander in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 1, scene 1, lines 134–36

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire;
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere.
And I serve the Fairy Queen,

—Spoken by Fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 2, scene 1, lines 2–7

Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

—Spoken by Oberon in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 2, scene 1, line 62

I’ll put a girdle round about the Earth
In forty minutes.
Having once this juice,

—Spoken by Robin in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 2, scene 1, lines 181–82

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet muskroses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,

—Spoken by Oberon in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 2, scene 1, lines 257–60

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

—Spoken by Robin in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 3, scene 2, line 117

She was a vixen when she went to school,
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
“Little” again? Nothing ⌜but⌝ “low” and “little”?

—Spoken by Helena in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 3, scene 2, lines 341–42

I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bayed the bear
With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear

—Spoken by Hippolyta in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 4, scene 1, lines 116–18

. . .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

—Spoken by Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 4, scene 1, lines 220–24

The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to
heaven,
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination

—Spoken by Theseus in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 5, scene 1, lines 12–18

But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy’s images
And grows to something of great constancy,
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
Here come the lovers full of joy and mirth.—

—Spoken by Hippolyta in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 5, scene 1, lines 24–28

The best in this kind are but shadows, and
the worst are no worse, if imagination amend
them.
It must be your imagination, then, and not

—Spoken by Theseus in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream
Act 5, scene 1, lines 224–26

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