A Midsummer Nights Dream

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TITANIA These are the forgeries of jealousy: And never, since the middle summer's spring, Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead, By paved fountain, or by rushy brook, Or on the beached margent of the sea, To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport. Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land, Hath every pelting river made so proud That they have overborne their continents: The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard: The fold stands empty in the drowned field, And crows are fatted with the murrion flock; The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud; And the quaint mazes in the wanton green, For lack of tread, are undistinguishable: The human mortals want their winter here; No night is now with hymn or carol blest:-- Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, Pale in her anger, washes all the air, That rheumatic diseases do abound: And thorough this distemperature we see The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose; And on old Hyem's thin and icy crown An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer, The childing autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries; and the maz'd world, By their increase, now knows not which is which: And this same progeny of evils comes From our debate, from our dissension: We are their parents and original.

OBERON Do you amend it, then: it lies in you: Why should Titania cross her Oberon? I do but beg a little changeling boy To be my henchman.

TITANIA Set your heart at rest; The fairy-land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot'ress of my order: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side; And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive, And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind; Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait Following,--her womb then rich with my young squire,-- Would imitate; and sail upon the land, To fetch me trifles, and return again, As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. But she, being mortal, of that boy did die; And for her sake do I rear up her boy: And for her sake I will not part with him.

OBERON How long within this wood intend you stay?

TITANIA Perchance till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moonlight revels, go with us; If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

OBERON Give me that boy and I will go with thee.

TITANIA Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away: We shall chide downright if I longer stay.

[Exit TITANIA with her Train.]

OBERON Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove Till I torment thee for this injury.-- My gentle Puck, come hither: thou remember'st Since once I sat upon a promontory, And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, That the rude sea grew civil at her song, And certain stars shot madly from their spheres To hear the sea-maid's music.

PUCK I remember.

OBERON That very time I saw,--but thou couldst not,-- Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid, all arm'd: a certain aim he took At a fair vestal, throned by the west; And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts; But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon; And the imperial votaress passed on, In maiden meditation, fancy-free. Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell: It fell upon a little western flower,-- Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,-- And maidens call it love-in-idleness. Fetch me that flower, the herb I showed thee once: The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid Will make or man or woman madly dote Upon the next live creature that it sees. Fetch me this herb: and be thou here again Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

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