[Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius are asleep at the back of the stage. Enter the Fairy Queen Titania, Bottom with the ass-head, and the fairies Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed.]
Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick muskroses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where's
Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get you your
weapons in your hand and kill me a red-hipped bumble-bee
on the top of a thistle; and, good monsieur,
bring me the honeybag. Do not fret yourself too much in the
action, monsieur; and, good monsieur, have a care
the honeybag break not. I would be loath to have you
overflown with a honeybag, signor.
Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?
Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed. Pray
you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.
Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavaliery
Peaseblossom to scratch. I must to the barber's,
monsieur, for methinks I am marvellous hairy about
the face; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do
but tickle me I must scratch.
What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?
I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have
Or say, sweet love, what thou desir’st to eat.
Truly, a peck of provender; I could munch your
good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a
bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee off new nuts.
I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
But I pray you, let none of your people stir me. I have an
exposition of sleep come upon me.
Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, and be always away.
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O how I love thee, how I dote on thee!
[They sleep. Enter Robin (Puck). Enter separately Oberon, king of the fairies, who sees his queen, Titania, sleeping with her arms wrapped around the ass-headed Bottom.]
Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity,
For, meeting her of late behind the wood
Seeking sweet favors for this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her,
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers.
And that same dew which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flow’rets' eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her,
And she in mild terms begged my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child,
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairyland.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes.
And, gentle puck, take this transformèd scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain,
That he, awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair,
And think no more of this night's accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the Fairy Queen.
[He drops a different flower nectar on Titania’s eyelid, an antidote to the love juice he had used earlier on her]
Be as thou wast wont to be,
See as thou wast wont to see.
Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
Hath such force and blessèd power.
Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.
[Waking] My Oberon, what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamored of an ass.
[Pointing to Bottom asleep nearby]
How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
Silence awhile – Robin, take off this head –
Titania, music call, and strike more dead
Than common sleep, of all these five, the sense.
Music, ho, music such as charmeth sleep.
[Removing the ass head from Bottom]
Now, when thou wak’st, with thine own fool's eyes peep.
[The music changes]
Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
[Oberon and Titania dance]
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will tomorrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity.
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded with Theseus, all in jollity.
Fairy King, attend and mark.
I do hear the morning lark.
Then, my queen, in silence sad
Trip we after the night's shade.
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wand’ring moon.
Come, my lord, and in our flight,
Tell me how it came this night
That I, sleeping, here was found
With these mortals on the ground.
[Exit Oberon, Titania, and Robin (Puck). The five sleeping mortals remain. Horns sound off stage. Enter Duke Theseus, his soon to be Queen, Hippolyta, the nobleman Egeus, and their attendants.]
Go, one of you, find out the forester.
For now our observation is performed,
And since we have the vanguard of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go.
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
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 bayed the bear
With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear
Such gallant chiding, for besides, the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flewed, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew,
Crook-kneed, and dewlapped like Thessalian bulls,
Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla'd to nor cheered with horn
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
[Seeing the four lovers and Bottom asleep]
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?
Go bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
[Exit servant. Shout off stage: “Horns.” The horns sound, and the lovers wake, startled to find themselves lying next to each other, and to find themselves in the presence of the Duke.]
[To the lovers] Good morrow, friends.
[To his attendants] Saint Valentine is past,
Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?
[The lovers kneel before the Duke]
[The lovers stand]
[To Demetrius and Lysander] 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, amazèdly,
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 do I bethink me so it is —
I came with Hermia hither. Our intent
Was to be gone from Athens where we might,
Without the peril of the Athenian law —
[To Theseus] 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.
[To Theseus] My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood,
And I, in fury, hither followed 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 gaud
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 betrothed ere I saw Hermia.
But like in 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 purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens. Three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.
[Exit Duke Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and the Duke’s attendants. The lovers are disoriented from having been up most of the night, especially Lysander and Demetrius who are suffering the after-effects of the magic potions.]
These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.
Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When everything seems double.
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own and not mine own.
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The Duke was here and bid us follow him?
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.
[Exit the lovers. Bottom wakes]
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! Stolen 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