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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Digital Library-A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

EGEUS With duty and desire we follow you.
Exeunt all but LYSANDER and HERMIA 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 Ay 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
bloodHERMIA O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low.

LYSANDER Or else misgraffed in respect of yearsHERMIA O spite! too old to be
engag’d to young.

LYSANDER Or else it stood upon the choice of friendsHERMIA O hell! to choose love
by another’s eyes.

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 childFrom Athens is
her house remote seven leaguesAnd 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 to-morrow
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.

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 Troyan 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, To-morrow 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.
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