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Enter King of Fairies.

Ob. I wonder, if Titania be awak'd: Than what it was that next came in her Which she must doat on in extremity.


Enter Puck.


Here comes my meffenger! how now, mad fprite,
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
Puck. My miftrefs with a monster is in love,
Near to her clofe and confecrated bower,
While fhe was in her dull and fleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian ftalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Thefeus' nuptial day.
The fhallow'it thick-fkin of that barren fort,
Who Pyramus prefented, in their sport
Forfook his fcene, and enter'd in a brake;
When I did him at this advantage take,
An Afs's 9 now! I fixed on his head;
Anon, his Thisby muft be answered,

And forth my minnock comes: when they him fpy.
As wild geefe, that the creeping fowler eye,
Or ruffet-pated choughs, many in fort, 2
Rifing and cawing at the gun's report,

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Sever themselves, and madly fweep the sky;
So at his fight, away his fellows fly;

And, at our 3 ftamp, here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their fenfe thus weak, loft with their fears thus strong,
Made fenfelefs things begin to do them wrong.
For briars and thorns at their apparel fnatch,

4 Some, fleeves; fome, hats; from yielders all things catch.

I led them on in this diftracted fear,

And left fweet Pyramus tranflated there :
When in that moment (fo it came to pafs)
Titania wak'd, and ftraitway lov'd an afs.

Ob. This falls out better than I could devife.
But haft thou yet latch'd 5 the Athenian's eyes
With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Puck. I took him fleeping; that is finifh'd too; And the Athenian woman by his fide,

That when he wakes, of force fhe must be ey'd.

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Ob. Stand clofe, this is the fame Athenian.
Puck. This is the woman, but not this the man.
Dem. O, why rebuke you him that loves you fo?
Lay breath fo bitter on your bitter foe.

Her. Now I but chide, but I fhould ufe thee worfe;
For thou, I fear, haft giv'n me cause to curse :
If thou haft flain Lyfander in his fleep,
Being o'er fhoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too..

The fun was not fo true unto the day,

As he to me. Would he have ftoll'n away
From fleeping Hermia? I'll believe as foon,
This whole earth may be bor'd; and that the moon
May through the center creep, and so displease
Her brother's noon-tide with th' Antipodes.
It cannot be, but thou haft murder'd him;
So fhould a murderer look, fo* dread, fo grim.
Dem. So fhould the murder'd look; and fo fhould I,
Pierc'd through the heart with your ftern cruelty:
Yet you the murderer look as bright, and clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimm'ring fphere.

Her. What's this to my Lyfander? where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Dem. l'ad rather give his carcass to my hounds.
Her. Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv'it me paft the

Of maiden's patience. Haft thou slain him then?
Henceforth be never number'd among men.
O! once tell true even for my fake,

Durst thou have look'd upon him, being awake!

6 Being o'r fhoes in blood.] An allufion to the Proverb, Over Shoes, over boots.

• I. II. III. TV. all read fo dead, in my copy of III. fome reader has altered dead to dread. And

K 4


And haft thou kill'd him fleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder do fo much?

An adder did it, for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou ferpent, never adder stung.

Dem. You fpend your paffion on a mispris'd mood: $ I am not guilty of Lyfander's blood,

Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell...
Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
Dem. And if I could, what fhould I get therefore?
Her. A privilege never to fee me more;

And from thy hated prefence part I fo:

See me no more, whether he's dead or no.


Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein, Here, therefore, for a while I will remain: So forrow's heavinefs doth heavier grow, For debt, that bankrupt fleep doth forrow owe; Which now in fome flight measure it will pay, If for his Tender here I make fome ftay. [Lies down. Ob. What haft thou done? thou haft mistaken quite, And laid thy love-juice on fome true love's fight: Of thy mifprifion muft perforce enfue

Some true love turn'd, and not a false turn'd true. Puck. Then fate o'er-rules, that, one man holding troth,

A million fail, confounding oath on oath.

Ob. About the wood go fwifter than the wind, And Helena of Athens, fee, thou find.

All fancy-fick fhe is, and pale of cheer;

With fighs of love, that coft the fresh blood dear;
By fome illufion, fee, thou bring her here;
I'll charm his eyes, against she doth appear.

7- O brave touch.] Touch in Shakespeare's time was the fame with our exploit, or rather ftroke. A brave touch, a noble ftroke, un grand coup. Mafon was very merry, pleasantly playing both with

the fhrewd touches of many curft boys, and the fmall difcretion of many lewd fchoolmasters.

ASCHAM 8-mifpris'd.] Miftaken, fo below misprifion is mistake.


Puck. I go, I go; look, how I go; Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.


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Puck. Captain of our fairy-band,
Helena is here at hand,..

And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee.

Shall we their fond pageant fee?
Lord, what fools thefe mortals be?

Ob. Stand afide: the noife they make,

Will caufe Demetrius to awake.

Puck. Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone.
And thofe things do beft please me,
That befall prepoft'roufly.

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Enter Lyfander and Helena.

Lys. Why fhould you think, that I fhould woo in fcorn;

Scorn and derifion never come in tears.

Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows fo born,
In their nativity all truth appears:

How can these things in me feem fcorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?
Hel. Yo do advance your cunning more and more;
When truth kills truth, O devilish, holy, fray!


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