Act 2, Scene 2

[Enter Titania, Queen of the fairies, with her attendants]

Titania

Come, now a roundel and a fairy song,
Then for the third part of a minute hence:
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with reremice for their leathern wings
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep.
Then to your offices and let me rest.
[She lies down. Fairies sing and dance]

First Fairy

You spotted snakes with double tongue,
    Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong,
    Come not near our Fairy Queen.

Chorus

[Singing]
    Philomel with melody,
    Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby.
        Never harm
        Nor spell nor charm
    Come our lovely lady nigh.
    So good night, with lullaby.

First Fairy

Weaving spiders, come not here;
    Hence, you long-legged spinners, hence;
Beetles black approach not near;
    Worm nor snail do no offense.

Chorus

    Philomel with melody,
    Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby.
        Never harm
        Nor spell nor charm
    Come our lovely lady nigh.
    So good night, with lullaby.
[The song ends. Titania sleeps]

Second Fairy

Hence, away; now all is well.
One aloof stand sentinel.
[Exit all but Titania and the one fairy standing guard at a distance. Enter Oberon who's invisible to the guard. He drops the juice on Titania's eyelids]

Oberon

What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true love take,
Love and languish for his sake.
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye, that shall appear
When thou wak’st, it is thy dear.
Wake when some vile thing is near.
[Exit Oberon. Enter Lysander and Hermia who have fled from Athens. It’s getting dark, so they don’t notice the sleeping Titania]

Lysander

Fair love, you faint with wand’ring in the wood,
And, to speak truth, I have forgot our way.
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

Hermia

Be it so, Lysander. Find you out a bed,
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
[She lies down]

Lysander

One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

Hermia

Nay, good Lysander. For my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet; do not lie so near.

Lysander

O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
I mean that my heart unto yours is knit,
So that but one heart we can make of it.
Two bosoms interchainèd with an oath —
So, then, two bosoms and a single troth.
Then by your side no bedroom me deny,
For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.

Hermia

Lysander riddles very prettily.
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy,
Lie further off in human modesty.
Such separation, as may well be said,
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid.
So far be distant, and good night, sweet friend.
Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end.

Lysander

Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I,
And then end life when I end loyalty.
Here is my bed. Sleep give thee all his rest.
[He lies down away from her.]

Hermia

With half that wish the wisher's eyes be pressed!
[They sleep. Enter Robin (Puck) with the magic potion. After Oberon observed Demetrius cruelly rejecting Helena, he  instructed Robin to find the young Athenian nobleman and to put the magic potion on his eyes so that he'd fall in love with the young Athenian lady. Little did Oberon realize that there are two young Athenian couples wandering about in the woods.]

Robin (Puck)

Through the forest have I gone,
But Athenian found I none
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
Night and silence.
[Viewing Lysander]
                              Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear.
This is he my master said
Despisèd the Athenian maid.
[Viewing Hermia]
And here the maiden, sleeping sound
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul, she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe.
[He drops the juice on Lysander’s eyelid]
When thou wakest, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid.
So, awake when I am gone.
For I must now to Oberon.
[Exit Robin. Enter Demetrius running, with Helena in pursuit. They do not see Titania, Lysander, nor Hermia because of the darkness.]

Helena

Stay though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.

Demetrius

I charge thee hence, and do not haunt me thus.

Helena

O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so.

Demetrius

Stay on thy peril; I alone will go.
[Exit Demetrius]

Helena

O, I am out of breath in this fond chase.
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia wheresoe'er she lies,
For she hath blessèd and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears —
If so, my eyes are oftener washed than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear,
For beasts that meet me run away for fear.
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
Do as a monster fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
[Helena sees Lysander asleep, but not Hermia]
But who is here? Lysander, on the ground?
Dead or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
Lysander if you live, good sir, awake.
[Lysander awakes and and sees Helena, and due to the effect of the love potion he immediately feels an intense love for her (and an intense hatred for the man who has rejected her)]
 

Lysander

And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena, nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!

Helena

Do not say so, Lysander; say not so.
What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you; then be content.

Lysander

Content with Hermia? No, I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia but Helena I love.
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason swayed,
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season;
So I, being young, till now not ripe to reason.
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will,
And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.

Helena

Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
That I did never — no, nor never can —
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth, you do me wrong — good sooth, you do —
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well. Perforce I must confess
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady of one man refused,
Should of another therefore be abused!
[Exit Helena]

Lysander

She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there
And never mayst thou come Lysander near.
For as a surfeit of the sweetest things,
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings;
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive;
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me.
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honor Helen and to be her knight.
[Exit Lysander]

Hermia

[Waking from a nightmare]
Help me, Lysander, help me! Do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity. What a dream was here?
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear.
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
Lysander — what, removed? Lysander, lord —
What, out of hearing gone? No sound, no word?
Alack, where are you? Speak, and if you hear,
Speak, of all loves. I swoon almost with fear.
No? Then I well perceive you are not nigh.
Either death or you I'll find immediately.
[Exit]
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