A Midsummer Nights Dream

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HERMIA 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 Trojan 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, Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.

LYSANDER Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

[Enter HELENA.]

HERMIA God speed fair Helena! Whither away?

HELENA 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 air More 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 art You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart!

HERMIA I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

HELENA O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

HERMIA I give him curses, yet he gives me love.

HELENA O that my prayers could such affection move!

HERMIA The more I hate, the more he follows me.

HELENA The more I love, the more he hateth me.

HERMIA His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

HELENA None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!

HERMIA 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 hell!

LYSANDER Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her 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 devis'd to steal.

HERMIA And in the wood where often you and I Upon 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 sight From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.

LYSANDER I will, my Hermia.

[Exit HERMIA.]

LYSANDER Helena, adieu: As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

[Exit LYSANDER.]

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, holding 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 judgment taste; Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste: And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd. As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, So the boy Love is perjur'd everywhere: 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 dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt. I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight; Then to the wood will he to-morrow night Pursue her; and for this intelligence If I have thanks, it is a dear expense: But herein mean I to enrich my pain, To have his sight thither and back again.

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