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HERMIA I would my father look’d but with my eyes.
THESEUS Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
I do entreat your Grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold, Nor how it may concern my modesty In
such a presence here to plead my thoughts; But I beseech your Grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case, If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
THESEUS Either to die the death, or to abjure For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires, Know of your youth, examine well your
blood, Whether, if you yield not to your father’s choice, You can endure the livery of a
nun, For aye to be shady cloister mew’d, To live a barren sister all your life, Chanting
faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood To undergo such maiden pilgrimage; But
earthlier happy is the rose distill’d Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.
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 moonThe sealing-day betwixt my
love and me For everlasting bond of fellowshipUpon 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
LYSANDER You have her father’s love, Demetrius; Let me have Hermia’s; do you
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’;
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 upWhich by no means we may extenuateTo 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.