A Midsummer Nights Dream

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HERMIA So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, Ere I will yield my virgin patent up Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke My soul consents not to give sovereignty.

THESEUS Take time to pause; and by the next new moon,-- The sealing-day betwixt my love and me For everlasting bond of fellowship,-- Upon that day either prepare to die For disobedience to your father's will; Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would; Or on Diana's altar to protest For aye austerity and single life.

DEMETRIUS Relent, sweet Hermia;--and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.

LYSANDER You have her father's love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia's: do you marry him.

EGEUS 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 her I do estate unto Demetrius.

LYSANDER I am, my lord, as well deriv'd 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's; And, which is more than all these boasts can be, I am belov'd 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.

THESEUS 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 yourself To 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 business Against our nuptial, and confer with you Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.

EGEUS With duty and desire we follow you.

[Exeunt THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, DEMETRIUS, and Train.]

LYSANDER How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

HERMIA Belike for want of rain, which I could well Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

LYSANDER Ah 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,--

HERMIA O cross! Too high to be enthrall'd to low!

LYSANDER Or else misgraffed in respect of years;--

HERMIA O spite! Too old to be engag'd to young!

LYSANDER Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:

HERMIA O hell! to choose love by another's eye!

LYSANDER Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it, Making it momentary 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.

HERMIA If then true lovers have 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.

LYSANDER A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Hermia. I have a widow aunt, a dowager Of 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 law Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then, Steal forth thy father's house tomorrow 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.

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