Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1 Quotes

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hourDraws on apace; four happy days bring inAnother moon: but, O, methinks, how slowThis old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,Like to a step-dame or a dowagerLong withering out a young man revenue. Theseus
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;Four nights will quickly dream away the time;And then the moon, like to a silver bowNew-bent in heaven, shall behold the nightOf our solemnities. Hippolyta
Go, Philostrate,Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;Turn melancholy forth to funerals;The pale companion is not for our pomp. Theseus
Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword,And won thy love, doing thee injuries;But I will wed thee in another key,With pomp, with triumph and with revelling. Theseus
Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke! Egeus
Thanks, good Egeus: what’s the news with thee? Theseus
Full of vexation come I, with complaintAgainst my child, my daughter Hermia.Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,This man hath my consent to marry her.Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,This man hath bewitch’d the bosom of my child;Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,And interchanged love-tokens with my child:Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,With feigning voice verses of feigning love,And stolen the impression of her fantasyWith bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengersOf strong prevailment in unharden’d youth:With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart,Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,Be it so she; will not here before your graceConsent to marry with Demetrius,I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,As she is mine, I may dispose of her:Which shall be either to this gentlemanOr to her death, according to our lawImmediately provided in that case. Egeus
What say you, Hermia? be advised fair maid:To you your father should be as a god;One that composed your beauties, yea, and oneTo whom you are but as a form in waxBy him imprinted and within his powerTo leave the figure or disfigure it.Demetrius is a worthy gentleman. Theseus
So is Lysander. Hermia
In himself he is;But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,The other must be held the worthier. Theseus
I would my father look’d but with my eyes. Hermia
Rather your eyes must with his judgment look. Theseus
I do entreat your grace to pardon me.I know not by what power I am made bold,Nor how it may concern my modesty,In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;But I beseech your grace that I may knowThe worst that may befall me in this case,If I refuse to wed Demetrius. Hermia
Either to die the death or to abjureFor ever the society of men.Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires;Know of your youth, examine well your blood,Whether, if you yield not to your father’s choice,You can endure the livery of a nun,For aye to be in shady cloister mew’d,To live a barren sister all your life,Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood,To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,Than that which withering on the virgin thornGrows, lives and dies in single blessedness. Theseus
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,Ere I will my virgin patent upUnto his lordship, whose unwished yokeMy soul consents not to give sovereignty. Hermia
Take time to pause; and, by the nest new moon–The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,For everlasting bond of fellowship–Upon that day either prepare to dieFor disobedience to your father’s will,Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;Or on Diana’s altar to protestFor aye austerity and single life. Theseus
Relent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yieldThy crazed title to my certain right. Demetrius
You have her father’s love, Demetrius;Let me have Hermia’s: do you marry him. Lysander
Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love,And what is mine my love shall render him.And she is mine, and all my right of herI do estate unto Demetrius. Egeus
I am, my lord, as well derived as he,As well possess’d; my love is more than his;My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,If not with vantage, as Demetrius’;And, which is more than all these boasts can be,I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:Why should not I then prosecute my right?Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,Upon this spotted and inconstant man. Lysander
I must confess that I have heard so much,And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;But, being over-full of self-affairs,My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;And come, Egeus; you shall go with me,I have some private schooling for you both.For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourselfTo fit your fancies to your father’s will;Or else the law of Athens yields you up–Which by no means we may extenuate–To death, or to a vow of single life.Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my love?Demetrius and Egeus, go along:I must employ you in some businessAgainst our nuptial and confer with youOf something nearly that concerns yourselves. Theseus
With duty and desire we follow you. Egeus
How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?How chance the roses there do fade so fast? Lysander
Belike for want of rain, which I could wellBeteem them from the tempest of my eyes. Hermia
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,Could ever hear by tale or history,The course of true love never did run smooth;But, either it was different in blood, Lysander
O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low. Hermia
Or else misgraffed in respect of years Lysander
O spite! too old to be engaged to young. Hermia
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends, Lysander
O hell! to choose love by another’s eyes. Hermia
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,Making it momentany as a sound,Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;Brief as the lightning in the collied night,That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold!’The jaws of darkness do devour it up:So quick bright things come to confusion. Lysander
If then true lovers have been ever cross’d,It stands as an edict in destiny:Then let us teach our trial patience,Because it is a customary cross,As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers. HErmia
A good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.I have a widow aunt, a dowagerOf great revenue, and she hath no child:From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;And she respects me as her only son.There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;And to that place the sharp Athenian lawCannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,Steal forth thy father’s house to-morrow night;And in the wood, a league without the town,Where I did meet thee once with Helena,To do observance to a morn of May,There will I stay for thee. Lysander
My good Lysander!I swear to thee, by Cupid’s strongest bow,By his best arrow with the golden head,By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen,When the false Troyan under sail was seen,By all the vows that ever men have broke,In number more than ever women spoke,In that same place thou hast appointed me,To-morrow truly will I meet with thee. Hermia
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena. Lysander
God speed fair Helena! whither away? Hermia
Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet airMore tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,The rest I’d give to be to you translated.O, teach me how you look, and with what artYou sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart. Helena
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Hermia
O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill! Helena
I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Hermia
O that my prayers could such affection move! Helena
The more I hate, the more he follows me. Hermia
The more I love, the more he hateth me. Helena
His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine. Hermia
None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine! Helena
Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;Lysander and myself will fly this place.Before the time I did Lysander see,Seem’d Athens as a paradise to me:O, then, what graces in my love do dwell,That he hath turn’d a heaven unto a hell! Hermia
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth beholdHer silver visage in the watery glass,Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,A time that lovers’ flights doth still conceal,Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal. Lysander
And in the wood, where often you and IUpon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,There my Lysander and myself shall meet;And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,To seek new friends and stranger companies.Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us;And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sightFrom lovers’ food till morrow deep midnight. Hermia
I will, my Hermia. Lysander
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you! Helena
How happy some o’er other some can be!Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;He will not know what all but he do know:And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,So I, admiring of his qualities:Things base and vile, folding no quantity,Love can transpose to form and dignity:Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind:Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:And therefore is Love said to be a child,Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,So the boy Love is perjured every where:For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia’s eyne,He hail’d down oaths that he was only mine;And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight:Then to the wood will he to-morrow nightPursue her; and for this intelligenceIf I have thanks, it is a dear expense:But herein mean I to enrich my pain,To have his sight thither and back again. Helena
You were best to call them generally, man by man,according to the scrip. Bottom
Here is the scroll of every man’s name, which isthought fit, through all Athens, to play in ourinterlude before the duke and the duchess, on hiswedding-day at night. Quince
First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treatson, then read the names of the actors, and so growto a point. Bottom
Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, andmost cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby. Quince
A very good piece of work, I assure you, and amerry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth youractors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves. Bottom
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver. Quince
Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed. Bottom
You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Quince
What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant? Bottom
A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love. Quince
That will ask some tears in the true performing ofit: if I do it, let the audience look to theireyes; I will move storms, I will condole in somemeasure. To the rest: yet my chief humour is for atyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part totear a cat in, to make all split.The raging rocksAnd shivering shocksShall break the locksOf prison gates;And Phibbus’ carShall shine from farAnd make and marThe foolish Fates.This was lofty! Now name the rest of the players.This is Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein; a lover ismore condoling. Bottom
Francis Flute, the bellows-mender. Quince
Flute, you must take Thisby on you. Quince
What is Thisby? a wandering knight? Flute
It is the lady that Pyramus must love. Quince
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming. Flute
That’s all one: you shall play it in a mask, andyou may speak as small as you will. Quince
An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too, I’llspeak in a monstrous little voice. ‘Thisne,Thisne;’ ‘Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisby dear,and lady dear!’ Bottom
No, no; you must play Pyramus: and, Flute, you Thisby. Quince
Well, proceed. Bottom
Robin Starveling, the tailor. Quince
Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby’s mother.Tom Snout, the tinker. Quince
You, Pyramus’ father: myself, Thisby’s father:Snug, the joiner; you, the lion’s part: and, Ihope, here is a play fitted. Quince
Have you the lion’s part written? pray you, if itbe, give it me, for I am slow of study. Snug
You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring. Quince
Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I willdo any man’s heart good to hear me; I will roar,that I will make the duke say ‘Let him roar again,let him roar again.’ Bottom
An you should do it too terribly, you would frightthe duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek;and that were enough to hang us all. Quince
That would hang us, every mother’s son. All
I grant you, friends, if that you should fright theladies out of their wits, they would have no morediscretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate myvoice so that I will roar you as gently as anysucking dove; I will roar you an ’twere anynightingale. Bottom
You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is asweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in asummer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man:therefore you must needs play Pyramus. Quince
Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I bestto play it in? Bottom
Why, what you will. Quince
I will discharge it in either your straw-colourbeard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grainbeard, or your French-crown-colour beard, yourperfect yellow. Bottom
Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, andthen you will play bare-faced. But, masters, hereare your parts: and I am to entreat you, requestyou and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night;and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without thetown, by moonlight; there will we rehearse, for ifwe meet in the city, we shall be dogged withcompany, and our devices known. In the meantime Iwill draw a bill of properties, such as our playwants. I pray you, fail me not. Quince
We will meet; and there we may rehearse mostobscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect: adieu. Bottom
At the duke’s oak we meet. Quince
Enough; hold or cut bow-strings. Bottom