Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 4, Scene 1

Michelle Pfeiffer 1999

2. amiable cheeks do coy: lovely cheeks do caress.
           Enter Queen of Fairies [TITANIA] and Clown [BOTTOM],
           and Fairies [PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH,
           MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending]; and the King
           [OBERON] behind them [unseen].

  1   Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
  2   While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
  3   And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
  4   And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

  5   Where's Peaseblossom?

  6   Ready.

  7   Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where's
  8   Mounsieur Cobweb?

  9   Ready.

kill me a red-hipped
humble-bee on the top of a thistle

by Arthur Rackham, 1908

16. overflown with: submerged by.

19. neaf: fist.
20. leave your curtsy: i.e., put on your hat.
 10   Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your
 11   weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped
 12   humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good
 13   mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret
 14   yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,
 15   good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;
 16   I would be loath to have you overflown with a
 17   honey-bag, signior. Where's Mounsieur Mustardseed?

 18   Ready.

 19   Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you,
 20   leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.

 21   What's your Will?

 22   Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help
23. Cavalery: cavalier (form of address for a fashionable gentleman). Cobweb Peaseblossom has been asked to do the scratching. This may be Shakespeare's slip or Bottom's.
 23   Cavalery Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's,
 24   monsieur; for methinks I am marvellous hairy
 25   about the face; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair
 26   do but tickle me, I must scratch.

 27   What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

 28   I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have
29. tongs and the bones: rustic musical instruments; the tongs were struck with a key (as a triangle), and the bones were rattled between the fingers (as clappers).
 29   the tongs and the bones.

           [Music. Tongs. Rural music.]

 30   Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

31. provender: fodder.
 31   Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch
 32   your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great
33. bottle: bundle. —Bottle is an old-fashioned, rural word for "small bundle." Shakespeare's audience might know this, but they would probably laugh at the absurd idea that hay would come in a glass bottle, like ale. 34. fellow: equal.

39. exposition: Bottom's blunder for disposition, i.e., desire, inclination.
41. all ways away: off in all directions.
 33   desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweet hay,
 34   hath no fellow.

 35   I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
 36   The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.

 37   I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
 38   But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I
 39   have an exposition of sleep come upon me.

 40   Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
 41   Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.

           [Exeunt fairies.]

 42   So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
 43   Gently entwist; the female ivy so
 44   Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
 45   O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!

           [They sleep.]

           Enter ROBIN GOODFELLOW [PUCK].

      OBERON  [Advancing.]
 46   Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this sweet sight?
47. Her dotage: Titania.
 47   Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
 48   For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
49. favors: i.e., flowers as love gifts.
 49   Seeking sweet favors from this hateful fool,
50. I . . . her: Oberon speaks of what he imagined when he saw Titania with Bottom. 51. rounded: encircled.
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers

53. sometime: formerly.
54. orient pearls: i.e., the most beautiful of pearls. 55. flouriets': flowerets'.

64. scalp: skull.

66. other: others.

68. accidents: events, incidents. 69. fierce: excessive, wild.
 50   I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
 51   For she his hairy temples then had rounded
 52   With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
 53   And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
 54   Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
 55   Stood now within the pretty flouriets' eyes
 56   Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
 57   When I had at my pleasure taunted her
 58   And she in mild terms begg'd my patience,
 59   I then did ask of her her changeling child;
 60   Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
 61   To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
 62   And now I have the boy, I will undo
 63   This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
 64   And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
 65   From off the head of this Athenian swain;
 66   That, he awaking when the other do,
 67   May all to Athens back again repair
 68   And think no more of this night's accidents
 69   But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
 70   But first I will release the fairy queen.

           [Squeezes juice in her eyes.]

 71         Be as thou wast wont to be;
 72         See as thou wast wont to see:
 73         Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
Dian's bud
agnus castus

73. Dian's bud: i.e., the herb of (2.1.184), (3.2.366), perhaps the flower of the agnus castus or chaste tree, thought to preserve chastity; or perhaps referring simply to Oberon's herb by which he can undo the effects of "Cupid's flower," the love-in-idleness.
 74         Hath such force and blessed power.
 75   Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.

 76   My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
 77   Methought I was enamour'd of an ass.

 78   There lies your love.

 78                                      How came these things to pass?
 79   O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!

 80   Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
 81   Titania, music call; and strike more dead
82. these five: i.e., the four lovers and Bottom.
 82   Than common sleep of all these five the sense.

 83   Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!

[Music, still.] i.e., soft music.
           [Music, still.]

 84   Now, when thou wakest, with thine own fool's eyes peep.

85. Sound, music!: Louder, music!.
 85   Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
 86   And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
87. new in amity: renewed in "friendship, friendliness; friendly relations; especially of public characters." 88. solemnly: ceremoniously.
 87   Now thou and I are new in amity,
 88   And will tomorrow midnight solemnly
 89   Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
 90   And bless it to all fair prosperity:
 91   There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
 92   Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

93. mark: note.
 93         Fairy king, attend, and mark:
 94         I do hear the morning lark.

95. sad: sober; serious.
 95         Then, my queen, in silence sad,
 96         Trip we after the night's shade:
97. compass: orbit.
 97         We the globe can compass soon,
 98         Swifter than the wandering moon.

 99         Come, my lord, and in our flight
100         Tell me how it came this night
101         That I sleeping here was found
102         With these mortals on the ground.

Wind horn: Blow horn.
           Exeunt. Wind horn.

           Enter THESEUS, [HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS,]
           and all his train.

103. forester: one who looks after the growing timber on an estate. 104. observation: observance, May-day rites (cf. 1.1.l67). 105. vaward: vanguard, early part.
103   Go, one of you, find out the forester;
104   For now our observation is perform'd;
105   And since we have the vaward of the day,
106   My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
107. Uncouple: Release (the dogs grouped in pairs).
107   Uncouple in the western valley; let them go:
108. Dispatch: make haste.
108   Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.

           [Exit an Attendant.]

109   We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
110   And mark the musical confusion
111   Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

112. Cadmus: mythical founder of Thebes (this story about him is unkown). 113. bay'd: brought to bay—trapped with no escape from the hunters. 114. hounds of Sparta: a breed famous in antiquity for their hunting ability. 115. chiding: baying; barking.
flew'd . . . sanded . . . dewlapp'd

120. flew'd: having a fleshy covering of the jaw. sanded: of a sandy color. 122. dewlapp'd: having a hanging flap of skin at the throat. 123-124. match'd . . . each: with voices of varying but harmonious pitch, like a peal of bells. 124. cry: pack of hounds. tuneable: melodious. 127. soft: stop.
112   I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
113   When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
114   With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
115   Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves,
116   The skies, the fountains, every region near
117   Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
118   So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

119   My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
120   So flew'd, so sanded, and their heads are hung
121   With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
122   Crook-knee'd, and dewlapp'd like Thessalian bulls;
123   Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
124   Each under each. A cry more tuneable
125   Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
126   In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
127   Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?

128. this': this is.
128   My lord, this' my daughter here asleep;
129   And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
130   This Helena, old Nedar's Helena:
131   I wonder of their being here together.

132   No doubt they rose up early to observe
133   The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
134. in grace our solemnity: to honor our observance of the same rites of May.
134   Came here in grace our solemnity.
135   But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
136   That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

137   It is, my lord.

138   Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

           [Exit an Attendant.] Shout within. Wind horns.
           They all start up.

139. Saint Valentine: It was supposed that birds chose their mates on St. Valentine's Day.
139   Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
140   Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

141   Pardon, my lord.

141                                 I pray you all, stand up.
142   I know you two are rival enemies:
143   How comes this gentle concord in the world,
144. jealousy: suspicion, apprehension of evil.
144   That hatred is so far from jealousy,
145. To sleep by hate: as to sleep side by side wilh a foe.
145   To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?

146. amazedly: perplexedly.
146   My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
147   Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear,
148   I cannot truly say how I came here;
149   But, as I think,—for truly would I speak,
150   And now do I bethink me, so it is,—
151   I came with Hermia hither: our intent
152. where we might: wherever we could.
152   Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,
153. Without the peril: beyond the dangerous reach.
153   Without the peril of the Athenian law,—

154   Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
155   I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
156   They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,
157. defeated: defrauded.

163. fancy: love. 164. wot: know.

167. idle gaud: worthless trinket.
157   Thereby to have defeated you and me,
158   You of your wife and me of my consent,
159   Of my consent that she should be your wife.

160   My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
161   Of this their purpose hither to this wood;
162   And I in fury hither follow'd them,
163   Fair Helena in fancy following me.
164   But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,—
165   But by some power it is,—my love to Hermia,
166   Melted as the snow, seems to me now
167   As the remembrance of an idle gaud
168   Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
169   And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
170   The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
171   Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
172   Was I betroth'd ere I saw Hermia:
173   But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;
174   But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
175   Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
176   And will for evermore be true to it.

177   Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
178. anon: shortly.
178   Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
179   Egeus, I will overbear your will;
180   For in the temple by and by with us
181   These couples shall eternally be knit:
182. for: since. something: somewhat
182   And, for the morning now is something worn,
183   Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
184   Away with us to Athens; three and three,
185   We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.
186   Come, Hippolyta.

           [Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and train.]

187   These things seem small and undistinguishable,

188. parted: out of focus.
188   Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
189   When every thing seems double.

190                                                     So methinks:
191-192. like a jewel, / Mine own, and not mine own: like some precious thing accidently found, so mine on the principle of "finders keepers," but once someone else's.
191   And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
192   Mine own, and not mine own.

192                                                  Are you sure
193   That we are awake? It seems to me
194   That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
195   The duke was here, and bid us follow him?

196   Yea; and my father.

196                                       And Hippolyta.

197   And he did bid us follow to the temple.

198   Why, then, we are awake: let's follow him
199   And by the way let us recount our dreams.


      BOTTOM  [Awaking.]
200   When my cue comes, call
201   me, and I will answer: my next is, "Most fair Pyramus."
202. Heigh-ho: A yawn.
202   Heigh-ho! Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender!
203. God's: God save.
203   Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God's my life,
204   stol'n hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most
205   rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of
206   man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass,
207. go about: attempt.
207   if he go about to expound this dream. Methought
208   I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I
209. patch'd: wearing motley, i.e., a dress of various colors. 210. offer: venture.
209   was,—and methought I had,—but man is but a patch'd
210   fool, if he will offer to say what methought I
211-214. The eye . . . was: A parody of I Corinthians 2:9; "The eye hath not seen, and the ear hath not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man . . . " (Bishops').
211   had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man
212   hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his
213   tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what
214   my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a
215. ballet: ballad.
215   ballet of this dream: it shall be called Bottom's
216. hath no bottom: i.e., is all tangled up because it lacks a core (bottom).
216   Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will
217   sing it in the latter end of a play, before the Duke.
218. gracious: attractive, elegant.
218   Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall
219. her: i.e., Thisbe's.
219   sing it at her death.