A Midsummer Night's Dream By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 1

Go, one of you, find out the forester; —
For now our observation is perform'd;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds, —
Uncouple in the western valley; go: —
Despatch, I say, and find the forester. —

[Exit an ATTENDANT.]

We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

I was with Hercules and Cadmus once
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chiding; for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee'd and dew-lap'd like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
Judge when you hear. — But, soft, what nymphs are these?

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

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?

It is, my lord.

Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

[Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER,HERMIA, and HELENA
awake and start up.]

Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

Pardon, my lord.

[He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.]

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 sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?

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 bethink me, so it is, —
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be,
Without the peril of the Athenian law.

Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough;
I beg the law, the law upon his head. —
They would have stol'n 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.

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

Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon. —
Egeus, I will overbear 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, Hippolyta.

[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and Train.]

These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.

Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When every thing seems double.

So methinks:
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel.
Mine own, and not mine own.

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

Yea, and my father.

And Hippolyta.

And he did bid us follow to the temple.

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


[As they go out, BOTTOM awakes.]

When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. My next is 'Most
fair Pyramus.' — Heigh-ho! — Peter Quince! Flute, the
bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God's my life,
stol'n hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare
vision. I have 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
patched 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 called Bottom's Dream, because
it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a
play, before the duke: peradventure, to make it the more
gracious, I shall sing it at her death.


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