A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 2, Scene 2






1-8.Come . . . rest: Titania instructs her fairies . . . more 1. roundel: dance in a circle. 3. cankers: cankerworms. 4. rere-mice: bats.
7. quaint: pretty, dainty.
8. offices: duties.
           Enter TITANIA, Queen of Fairies, with her TRAIN.

      TITANIA
  1   Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
  2   Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
  3   Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
  4   Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
  5   To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
  6   The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
  7   At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
  8   Then to your offices and let me rest.

           FAIRIES sing.

      FIRST FAIRY
9. double: forked.
  9         You spotted snakes with double tongue,
 10         Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
11. Newts: water lizards. Newts, blind-worms (small snakes with tiny eyes), and spiders (line 20) were all thought to be poisonous.
 11         Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
 12         Come not near our fairy queen.

      Chorus
13. Philomel: the nightingale. —Philomela, daughter of King Pandion of Athens, was transformed into a nightingale, according to Ovid's Metamorphoses vi, after her rape by her brother-in-law Tereus.
 13         Philomel, with melody
 14         Sing in our sweet lullaby;
 15         Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:
 16         Never harm,
 17         Nor spell nor charm,
 18         Come our lovely lady nigh;
 19         So, good night, with lullaby.

      FIRST FAIRY
 20         Weaving spiders, come not here;
21. spinners: spiders or daddy-longlegs.
 21         Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence!
 22         Beetles black, approach not near;
 23         Worm nor snail, do no offence.

      Chorus
 24         Philomel, with melody, & c.

      SECOND FAIRY
 25   Hence, away! now all is well:
 26   One aloof stand sentinel.

           [Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps.]

           Enter OBERON [and squeezes the flower
           on TITANIA's eyelids].

      OBERON
 27   What thou seest when thou dost wake,
 28   Do it for thy true-love take,
 29   Love and languish for his sake:
30. ounce: lynx. cat: wildcat.
 30   Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
31. Pard: leopard.
 31   Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
32-33. In thy eye that shall appear / When thou wakest: i.e., whatever you see when you awake.
 32   In thy eye that shall appear
 33   When thou wakest, it is thy dear:
 34   Wake when some vile thing is near.

           [Exit OBERON.]

           Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA.

      LYSANDER
35. faint: become ever weaker.
 35   Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
36. troth: truth.
 36   And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:
 37   We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
 38   And tarry for the comfort of the day.

      HERMIA
 39   Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed;
 40   For I upon this bank will rest my head.

      LYSANDER
 41   One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
42. troth: pledged faith.
 42   One heart, one bed, two bosoms and one troth.

      HERMIA
 43   Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
 44   Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.

      LYSANDER
45. take the sense, sweet, of my innocence: interpret my meaning as entirely innocent. 46. Love takes the meaning in love's conference: i.e., Love enables lovers truly to understand one another.
 45   O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
 46   Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
 47   I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit
 48   So that but one heart we can make of it;
 49   Two bosoms interchained with an oath;
 50   So then two bosoms and a single troth.
 51   Then by your side no bed-room me deny;
52. I do not lie: i.e., I am not false (with a riddling pun on lie, recline).
 52   For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.

      HERMIA
53. prettily: ingeniously, skillfully.
 53   Lysander riddles very prettily:
54. beshrew: curse (but mildly meant), mischief take.
 54   Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
 55   If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
 56   But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
57. human: courteous, decorous.
 57   Lie further off; in human modesty,
 58   Such separation as may well be said
 59   Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
 60   So far be distant; and, good night, sweet friend:
 61   Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end!

      LYSANDER
 62   Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
 63   And then end life when I end loyalty!
 64   Here is my bed: sleep give thee all his rest!

      HERMIA
65. With half hat wish the wisher's eyes be press'd: i.e., may half of all sleep's rest (which "all" you have wished for me) be yours.
 65   With half that wish the wisher's eyes be press'd!

           [They sleep.]

           Enter PUCK.

      PUCK
 66         Through the forest have I gone.
 67         But Athenian found I none,
68. approve: test.
 68         On whose eyes I might approve
 69         This flower's force in stirring love.
 70         Night and silence.—Who is here?
 71         Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
 72         This is he, my master said,
73. Despised: who despised.
 73         Despised the Athenian maid;
 74         And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
 75         On the dank and dirty ground.
 76         Pretty soul! she durst not lie
 77         Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
78. Churl: rude fellow. 78-79. upon thy eyes I throw / All the power this charm doth owe: 79. owe: own, possess.
 78         Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
 79         All the power this charm doth owe.
 80         When thou wakest, let love forbid
 81         Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
 82         So awake when I am gone;
 83         For I must now to Oberon.

           Exit.

           Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running.

      HELENA
 84   Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.

      DEMETRIUS
85. haunt: follow persistently.
 85   I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.

      HELENA
86. darkling: in the dark.
 86   O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.

      DEMETRIUS
87. Stay, on thy peril: Stay here or risk peril (if you follow me).
 87   Stay, on thy peril: I alone will go.

           [Exit DEMETRIUS.]

      HELENA
88. fond: doting, foolish.
 88   O, I am out of breath in this fond chase!
89. my grace: the favor I am granted.
 89   The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
90. lies: is.
 90   Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies;
91. attractive: magnetic.
 91   For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
 92   How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears:
 93   If so, my eyes are oftener wash'd than hers.
 94   No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
 95   For beasts that meet me run away for fear:
 96   Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
97. as a monster: i.e., as he would fly from a monster.
 97   Do, as a monster fly my presence thus.
 98   What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
99. Made me compare: induced me to compare my eyes. sphery eyne: eyes as bright as stars in their spheres.
 99   Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
100   But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!
101   Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
102   Lysander if you live, good sir, awake.

      LYSANDER  [Awaking.]
103   And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
104. Transparent: (1) bright, radiant (2) capable of being seen through.
104   Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
105   That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
106   Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
107   Is that vile name to perish on my sword!

      HELENA
108   Do not say so, Lysander; say not so
109. What though: What does it matter if.
109   What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?
110   Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.

      LYSANDER
111   Content with Hermia! No; I do repent
112   The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
113   Not Hermia but Helena I love:
114   Who will not change a raven for a dove?
115. will: desire.
115   The will of man is by his reason sway'd;
116   And reason says you are the worthier maid.
117   Things growing are not ripe until their season
118. ripe not: (am) not ripened.
118   So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
119. touching: reaching. point: summit. skill: discernment, judgment.
119   And touching now the point of human skill,
120   Reason becomes the marshal to my will
121. o'erlook: survey, read.
121   And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
122   Love's stories written in love's richest book.

      HELENA
123. keen: bitter.
123   Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
124   When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
125   Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man,
126   That I did never, no, nor never can,
127. Deserve: earn.
127   Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
128   But you must flout my insufficiency?
129. Good troth: truly. good sooth: indeed; truly.
129   Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
130   In such disdainful manner me to woo.
131   But fare you well: perforce I must confess
132. lord of: i.e., possessor of. gentleness: courtesy; breeding. 133. of: by.
132   I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
133   O, that a lady, of one man refused,
134. abus'd: ill used or treated. of: by
134   Should of another therefore be abus'd!

           Exit [HELENA].

      LYSANDER
135   She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there:
136   And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
137   For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
138   The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
139   Or as the heresies that men do leave
140. of: by
140   Are hated most of those they did deceive,
141   So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
142. of: by
142   Of all be hated, but the most of me!
143   And, all my powers, address your love and might
144   To honour Helen and to be her knight!

           Exit [LYSANDER].

      HERMIA  [Awaking.]
145   Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best
146   To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
147   Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
148   Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
149. eat: ate (common preterite form, pronounced et).
149   Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
150. sate: sat. prey: act of preying.
150   And you sate smiling at his cruel prey.
151   Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord!
152   What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?
153. an if: if.
153   Alack, where are you speak, an if you hear;
154. of all loves: for the sake of all true love.
154   Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
155   No? then I well perceive you all not nigh
156   Either death or you I'll find immediately.

           Exit.