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SCENE I. Athens.
A Room in the Palace of Theseus.
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and Attendants.
Theseus. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
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.[Exit PHILOSTRate. Hippolyta, I wooed 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.
Enter EGEUS, HERMIA, LYSANDer, and Demetrius.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!1 The. Thanks, good Egeus. What's the news with thee?
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against 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 hath bewitched' the bosom of my child. Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, And interchanged love tokens with my child; Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love; And stolen the impression of her fantasy With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds3, conceits, Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats; messengers Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth. With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart; Turned her obedience, which is due to me, To stubborn harshness;-And, my gracious duke, Be it so she will not here before your grace Consent 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 gentleman, Or to her death; according to our law, Immediately provided in that case.
The. What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair
you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
1 Duke, in our old language, was used for a leader or chief, as the Latin dur.
2 The old copies read, "This man hath bewitched." 3 Baubles, toys, trifles.
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
In himself he is. But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice, The other must be held the worthier.
Her. I would my father looked but with my eyes. The. Rather your eyes must with his judgment look. Her. I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
The. Either to die the death, or to abjure
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,
For aye to be in shady cloister mewed,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon.
Her. So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
The. Take time to pause; and, by the next new
(The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
Or on Diana's altar to protest,
Dem. Relent, sweet Hermia;-and, Lysander, yield
Lys. You have her father's love, Demetrius ;
Ege. Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love,
Lys. I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Upon this spotted1 and inconstant man.
The. I must confess, that I have heard so much,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come,
I must employ you in some business
1 As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked.
Ege. With duty and desire we follow you.
Lys. How now, my love! so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS,
Her. Belike, for want of rain; which I could well Beteem1 them from the tempest of mine eyes.
Lys. Ah me! For aught that ever I could read, Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth!
Her. O cross! too high to be enthralled to low!
Her. If then true lovers have been ever crossed,
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross;
As due to love, as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Lys. A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Her
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
great revénue, and she hath no child.
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
1 Bestow, or, according to Steevens, pour out.
3 Blackened, as with smut, coal.