A Midsummer Night's Dream

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Titania, Queen of Fairies, with her train
roundel (n.) dance in a circle


Come, now a roundel and a fairy song,

Then for the third part of a minute hence:

Some to kill cankers in the muskrose buds,
canker (n./adj.) 1 grub that destroys plant buds and leaves, cankerworm, parasite

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;
a (prep.) 6 variant form of ‘to’
quaint (adj.) 4 pretty, attractive, lovely

Then to your offices, and let me rest.
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Fairies sing
double (adj.) 2 forked, divided


You spotted snakes with double tongue,

Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;

Newts and blindworms, do no wrong,

Come not near our Fairy Queen.


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.


Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you longlegged spinners, hence!
spinner (n.) spider, cranefly, daddy-longlegs

Beetles black, approach not near,

Worm nor snail, do no offence.
offence (n.) 1 damage, injury, harm


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.

Titania sleeps


Hence, away! Now all is well.

One aloof stand sentinel!
aloof (adv.) a short distance away, to one side See Topics: Stage directions

Exeunt Fairies

Enter Oberon

He squeezes the flower on Titania's eyes


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
pard (n.) panther, leopard

In thy eye that shall appear

When thou wakest, it is thy dear.

Wake when some vile thing is near!


Enter Lysander and Hermia


Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;

And – to speak truth – I have forgot our way.
troth (n.) 1 truth, good faith See Topics: Swearing

We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,

And tarry for the comfort of the day.


Be it so, Lysander; find you out a bed,

For I upon this bank will rest my head.


One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;

One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.


Nay, good Lysander, for my sake, my dear,

Lie further off yet; do not lie so near.


O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!

Love takes the meaning in love's conference –
conference (n.) 1 conversation, talk, discourse

I mean that my heart unto yours is knit,

So that but one heart we can make of it.

Two bosoms interchained with an oath –

So then two bosoms and a single troth.

Then by your side no bed-room me deny,

For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.


Lysander riddles very prettily.
prettily (adv.) cleverly, ingeniously; or: charmingly

Now much beshrew my manners and my pride
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count

If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.

But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

Lie further off, in human modesty:

Such separation as may well be said

Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count

So far be distant, and good night, sweet friend;

Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end.


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.


With half that wish the wisher's eyes be pressed.

They sleep

Enter Puck


Through the forest have I gone,

But Athenian found I none

On whose eyes I might approve
approve (v.) 1 prove, confirm, corroborate, substantiate

This flower's force in stirring love.

Night and silence. – Who is here?

Weeds of Athens he doth wear.
weed (n.) 1 (plural) garments, dress, clothes

This is he my master said

Despised the Athenian maid;

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.
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

He squeezes the flower on Lysander's eyes

When thou wakest let love forbid

Sleep his seat on thy eyelid.

So awake when I am gone;

For I must now to Oberon.


Enter Demetrius and Helena, running


Stay though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius!


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


O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so!
darkling (adv.) in the dark, in darkness


Stay, on thy peril. I alone will go.



O, I am out of breath in this fond chase.
chase (n.) 1 pursuit, sequence, hunt
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad

The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
grace (n.) 7 success, favourable outcome, fortune

Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies,

For she hath blessed 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
dissembling (adj.) deceitful, hypocritical, false
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
compare (v.) vie, rival, compete
eyne (n.) [archaism] eyes See Topics: Archaisms
sphery (adj.) star-like, heavenly, celestial

But who is here? – Lysander on the ground?

Dead? – or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.

Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake!



And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake!

Transparent Helena, nature shows art
art (n.) 6 magic, enchantment, trickery

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!


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.
content (adj.) 3 satisfied, calm, easy in mind


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,
will (n.) 1 desire, wish, liking, inclination

And reason says you are the worthier maid.

Things growing are not ripe until their season;

So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason.
ripe (v.) ripen, mature

And touching now the point of human skill,
point (n.) 3 summit, apex, highest point
skill (n.) 2 discernment, discrimination, capacity to perceive
touch (v.) 4 achieve, accomplish, attain

Reason becomes the marshal to my will

And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
overlook (v.) 1 look over, peruse, read through

Love's stories written in love's richest book.


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
perforce (adv.) 2 of necessity, with no choice in the matter See Topics: Frequency count

I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
gentleness (n.) 1 nobility, good breeding, courtesy
true (adj.) 3 honourable, virtuous, sincere

O, that a lady of one man refused

Should of another therefore be abused!



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
address (v.) 3 direct, apply, turn
power (n.) 8 faculty, function, ability

To honour Helen and to be her knight.




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 ate my heart away,
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
prey (n.) 1 preying, violence, devouring

Lysander – what, removed? Lysander, lord!

What, out of hearing? Gone? No sound, no word?

Alack, where are you? Speak an 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.


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