A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) Script

The village of Monte Athena in Italy at the turn of the 19th century.

Necklines are high. Parents are rigid. Marriage is seldom a matter of love.

The good news: The bustle is in its decline, allowing for the meteoric rise of that newfangled creation, the bicycle.

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour draws on apace.

Four happy days bring in another moon.

But, O, methinks how slow this old moon wanes!

She lingers my desires like to a step-dame or a dowager, long withering out a young man's revenue.

Four days will quickly steep themselves in night, four nights will quickly dream away the time.

And then the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities.

Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke!

Thanks, good Egeus. What's the news with thee?

Full of vexation come I, with complaint against my child, my daughter Hermia.

Stand forth, Demetrius.

My noble lord, this man hath my consent to marry her.

Stand forth, Lysander.

This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.

Thou, thou Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, and interchanged love tokens with my child!

With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart, turned her obedience, which is due to me, to stubborn harshness.

And, my gracious Duke, be it so she will not here before your graze consent to marry with Demetrius, I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:

As she is mine, I may dispose of her.

And that shall be either... to this gentleman,

or to her death, according to our law immediately provided in that case.

What say you, Hermia?

Relent, sweet Hermia. And Lysander, yield thy crazed title to my certain right.

You have her father's love, Demetrius - let me have Hermia's. Do you marry him.

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.

I am, my lord, as well derived as he, as well possessed.

My love is more than his.

And, which is more than all these boasts can be, I am beloved 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.

I must confess I have heard so much.

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 grate that I may know the worst that may befall me in this case.

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 in shady cloister mewed, to live a barren sister all your life, chanting faint hymns to the cold, fruitless moon.

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.

Take time to pause.

By the next new moon, 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.

For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself to fit your fancies to your father's will.

Come, Hippolyta.

Demetrius, come. And come, Egeus.

I have some private schooling for you both.

How now, my love?

Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

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

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.

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, as 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.

Therefore hear me, Hermia.

I have a widow aunt, a dowager of great revenue, and she respects me as her only son.





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.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged cupid painted blind.

God speed, fair Helena! Whither away?

Call you me fair?

That fair, again, unsay! Demetrius loves your fair.

O... happy fair!

Sickness is catching, O, were favour so.

Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go.

O, teach me how you look, and with what art you sway the motion of Demetrius' heart!

His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

None but your beauty. Would that fault were mine!

Take comfort: He no more shall see my face.

Lysander and myself shall fly this place.

Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.

Tomorrow night, when Phoebe doth behold her silver visage in the watery glass, a time that lovers' flights doth still conceal, through Athens' gates have we devised to steal.

And thence from Athens turn away our eyes to seek new friends and stranger companies.

Hermia! Oh...


Farewell, sweet playfellow.

Pray thou for us.

And good luck Grant thee thy Demetrius.

Hermia! Oh...

Keep word, Lysander. I will, my Hermia.

Helena, adieu.

As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

Oh, spite!

Oh, hell!

Citizens of Monte Athena a dramatic competition to celebrate the wedding of grand Duke Theseus.

A small pension will be awarded to the winners.

Where's my husband? Where's that worthless dreamer?

Is all our company here? Here, Peter Quince.

You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

Here, here. Here.

Here is the scroll of every man's name which is thought fit, through all our town, to play in our interlude before the Duke and Duchess on his wedding day at night.

First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on, then read the names of the actors, and so grow to a point.

Marry, our play is "the most lamentable comedy and cruel death"

"of Pyramus and Thisbe".

A very good piece of work, I assure you - and a merry.

Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll.

Masters... spread yourselves.

So, answer as I call you.

Nick Bottom, the Weaver? Ready.

Name what part I am for, and proceed.

You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.

What is Pyramus? A lover or a tyrant?

A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.

That will ask some tears in the true performing of it.

If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes - I will move storms.

I will condole in some measure.

Now to the rest. ' Well... yet my chief humour is for a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely.

Or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. Francis Flute...

The raging rocks and shivering shocks shall break the locks of prison gates.

And Phibbus' car shall shine from fa-aa-ar

and make and mar the foolish fates.

This was lofty!

Ah... Pyramus.

Francis Flute, the bellows-mender? Here, Peter Quince.

Francis Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.

What is Thisbe? A wandering knight? It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

Nay, faith, let not me play a woman. I have a beard coming.

And I may hide my face. Let me play Thisbe too.

I'll speak in a monstrous little voice: "Thisne, Thisne."

"Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear! Thy Thisbe dear, and lady dear!"

"Ah..." No, no! You must play Pyramus.

Snout. And Flute, you Thisbe.

Robin Starveling, the tailor? Here, Peter Quince.

Snug the joiner, you, the lion's part.

And I hope we have a play well fitted.

Have you the lion's part written?

Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.

No, you may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

Let me play the lion too.

I will roar that I will do any man's heart good to hear me.

I will roar that I will make the Duke say "let him roar again, let him roar again!"

No, you should do it too terribly that you would fright the Duchess and the ladies and they would shriek - and that were enough to hang us all.

I grant you, friends, if I should fright the ladies out of their wits they would have no more discretion but to hang us.

But I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove.

I will roar you an't were any nightingale.

You can play no part but Pyramus.

Pyramus is a sweet-faced man.

A proper man as one shall see in a summer's day. A most lovely, gentleman-like man.

Therefore you must needs play Pyramus.


I will undertake it.

Masters, you have all your parts, and I am to entreat you to con them by tomorrow night and to meet in the palace wood, a mile without the town - there will we rehearse.

If we meet in the city, we will be dogged by company and our devices known.

I pray you, fail me not.

We will meet.

And there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously.

Take pains. Be perfect!


Ere Demetrius looked on Hermia's eyne, he hailed down oaths that he was only mine.

And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, so he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.

I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight.

Then to the wood this very night will he pursue her.

How now, spirit.

Whither wander you?

Over hill, over Dale, through bush, through briar, over park, over pale, through flood, through fire, I do wander everywhere.

Swifter than the moon's sphere.

And I serve the fairy queen, to dew her orbs upon the green.

Either I mistake your shape and making quite, or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite called Robin Goodfellow.

Are not you he, that frights the maidens of the villagery?


Skims milk, and sometimes labours in the quern, and bootless makes the breathless housewife churn - are not you he?

Thou speak'st aright. I am that merry wanderer of the night.

I jest to Oberon and make him smile, when I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, neighing in likeness of a filly foal.

And sometimes...


Farewell, thou lob of spirits!

I'll be gone.

The queen and all her elves come here anon.

The king doth keep his revels here tonight - take heed the queen come not within his sight.

For Oberon is passing fell and wrath.

Ill-met by moonlight, proud Titania.

What, jealous Oberon?

Fairies, skip hence: I have forsworn his bed and company.

Tarry, rash wanton. Am not I thy lord?

Then I must be thy lady.

Why art thou here, come from the farthest step of India, but that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon, your buskined mistress and your warrior love, to Theseus must be wedded, and you come to give their bed joy and prosperity.

How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, glance at my credit with Hippolyta, knowing I know thy love to Theseus?

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, but with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport.

Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, as in revenge have sucked up from the sea contagious fogs, which, falling in the land, hath every pelting river made so proud that they have overborne their continents.

And this same progeny of evils comes from our debate, from our dissension.

We are their parents and original.

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.

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 gossiped by my side.

And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, marking the embarked traders on the flood, when we have laughed to see the sails conceive and grow big-bellied with the wanton wind.

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.

How long within this wood intend you stay? Perchance till after Theseus' wedding day.

If you will patiently dance in our round, and see our moonlight revels, go with us.

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

Not for thy fairy kingdom!

Fairies, away!

We shall chide downright if I longer stay.

Well, go thy way- thou shalt not from this grove till I torment thee for this injury.

My gentle puck, come hither.

Thou rememb'rest 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?

That very time I saw - but thou couldst not - flying between the cold moon and the earth, cupid all armed.

A certain aim he took, and loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow.

Yet, marked I where the bolt of cupid fell.

It fell upon a little western flower - before, milk-white, now purple with love's wound.

Fetch me that flower.

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.

I'll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes.

Having once this juice, I'll watch Titania when she is asleep, and drop the liquor of it in her eyes.

The next thing then she waking looks upon, she shall pursue it with the soul of love.

And ere I take this charm from off her sight, I'll make her render up her page to me.

I love thee not, therefore pursue me not!

Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?

Thou told'st me they were stolen unto this wood, and here am I, and wood within this wood, because I cannot meet my Hermia!

Hence! Get thee gone and follow me no more!

Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair?

Or rather, do I not in plainest truth tell you I do not, nor I cannot, love you?

And even for that do I love you the more.

I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius, the more you beat me, I will Fawn on you.

Use me but as your spaniel - spurn me, strike me, neglect me, lose me, but give me leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you.

What worser place can I beg in your love than to be used as you use your dog?!

Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee.

And I am sick when I look not on you!

You do impeach your modesty too much!

To leave the city and commit yourself into the hands of one that loves you not.

To trust the opportunity of night and the ill counsel of a desert place...

With the rich worth of your virginity.

Your virtue is my privilege.

For that it is not night when I do see your face, therefore I think I am not in the night.

Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company, for you, in my respect, are all the world.

I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes, and leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts!

The wildest hath not such a heart as you!

Run when you will. The story shall be changed:

Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase! The dove pursues the Griffin!

I will not stay thy questions! Let me go!

Or, if thou follow me, do not believe but I shall do thee mischief in the wood!

Ay, in the temple, in the town, in the field you do me mischief!


Fie, Demetrius!

Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex!

We cannot fight for love, as men may do.

We should be wooed, and were not made to woo.

I'll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell, to die upon the hand I love so well.

Fare thee well, nymph.

Ere he shall leave this grove, thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.

Hast thou the flower there?


I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding Violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk roses and with eglantine.

There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.

And there the snake throws her enamelled skin, weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.

And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes, and make her full of hateful fantasies.

Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove.

A sweet Athenian lady is in love with a disdainful youth: Anoint his eyes.

But do it when the next thing he espies may be the lady.

Thou shalt know the man by the Athenian garments he hath on.

And look...

Thou meet me ere the first cock crow.

Fear not, my lord. Your servant shall do so.

Sing me now asleep.

Then to thy offices and let me rest.

Hence away. Now all is well. One aloof stand sentinel.

What thou seest when thou dost wake, do it for thy true love take.

Love and languish for his sake.

Be it ounce, or cat, or bear, pard, or boar with bristled hair, in thy eye that doth appear when thou waks't, it is thy dear.

Wake when some vile thing is near.

Fair love...

You faint with wandering in the wood.

And to speak truth, I have forgot our way.

We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good, and tarry for the comfort of the day.

Be it so, Lysander.

Well, find you out a bed, for I upon this bank shall rest my head.


One turf shall serve as pillow for us both.

One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.

Nay, good Lysander. For my sake, my dear, lie further off yet, do not lie so near.

O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!

I mean that my heart unto yours is knit, so that but one heart we can make of it.

Two bosoms interchained with an oath, so, then, two bosoms and a single troth.

Then by your side no bed-room me deny, for lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.

Lysander riddles very prettily.

Nay, gentle friend.

For love and courtesy, lie further off!

In human modesty!

Such separation as may well be said becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid.

So far be distant.

And good night, sweet friend.

Thy love ne'er alter, till thy sweet life end! Amen.

Amen to that fair prayer, say I. And then, end life, when I end loyalty.

Here is my bed. Sleep give thee all his rest.

With half that wish, the wisher's eyes be pressed.

Through the forest have I gone, but Athenian found I none on whose eyes I might approve this flower's force in stirring love.

Night... and silence.

But who is here?

Weeds of Athens he doth wear!

This is he my master said despised the Athenian maid!

And there the maiden, sleeping sound on the dank and dirty ground.

Pretty soul.

She durst not lie near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.

Churl, upon thy eyes I throw all the power this charm doth owe.

When thou wak'st, let love forbid sleep his seat on thy eyelid.

And so awake when I am gone, for I must now... to Oberon!

I charge thee hence! And do not haunt me thus!

Would thou darkling leave me? Do not so!

Stay - on thy peril. I alone will go!

O, I am out of breath in this fond chase!

The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.

Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies, for she hath blessed and attractive eyes.

How came her eyes so bright?

Not with salt tears - if so, my eyes are oftener washed than hers.


No, no, no.

I am as ugly... as a bear.

For beasts that meet me run away for fear.


Dead or asleep?

Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake!


And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake!

Where is Demetrius? O how fit a word is that vile name to perish on my sword!

Do not say so, Lysander! Say not so!

What, though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?

Yet Hermia still loves you - then be content.

Content with Hermia?!

No! I do repent the tedious minutes I with her have spent!

Not Hermia, but Helena I love.

Who will not change a raven for a dove?

Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?

When at your hands did I deserve such scorn?!

Is't not enough, is't not enough, young man, that I did never, no, nor never can, deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye, but you must flout my insufficiency?

But fare you well!

Perforce, I must confess I thought you lord of more true gentleness!

She sees not Hermia.

Hermia, sleepst thou there, and never mayst thou come Lysander near!

And, all my powers, address your love and might...

To honour Helen, and to be her knight!

Ay me!

For pity, what a dream was here!

Lysander, look how I do quake... with fear.




Here's a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal.

This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house.

And we will... do it in action, as we will do it before the Duke.

Peter Quince? What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and...

Thisbe. ..Thisbe that will never please.

First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself, which the ladies cannot abide.

By our lady, a parlous fear.

I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

Not a whit. I have a device to make all well.

Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed.

And, for the more better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but Bottom the Weaver. This will put them out of fear.

Ah, well, we will have such a prologue. And it shall be written in eight and six.

No, make it two more - let it be written in eight and eight.

But there is two hard things: That is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber, for, you know, Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.

Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

A calendar. A calendar!

Look in the almanac, find out moonshine.

It doth shine that night. It doth shine that night.

Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber window open, where we play, and the moon may shine in at the casement.

Two hard things - we must have a wall in the great chamber.

For Pyramus and Thisbe, says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.

You can never bring in a wall!

What say you, Bottom?

Some... man or other must present wall.

Snout. Snout.

And let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some roughcast about him, to signify wall.

And let him hold his fingers thus...

And through that cranny shall Pyramus and...

Thisbe. ..Thisbe whisper.

You can never bring in a wall. And if this may be, then all is well.

Pyramus, you begin, and when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake.

Thisbe, stand forth.

Left foot forward, and then antique gesture.

Pyramus, speak.

What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here, so near the cradle of the fairy queen?

Line? "Thisbe".

Thisbe, the flowers of odious savours sweet...

Odorous. Odorous.

Odorous savours sweet, so hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.

But hark! A voice!

Stay thou but here a while, and by and by I will to thee appear.

A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.

Psst. Must I speak now?

Ay, marry, must you - for he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

Most radiant... Most radiant...

Most radiant...

Most radiant Pyramus, most...

Lily-white of hue...

If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine...

I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.

That's "Ninus' tomb", man!

Why, you must not speak that yet - that you answer to Pyramus.

You speak all your part at once, cues and all.

Enter Pyramus!

Your cue is past. It is "never tire".

If I were fair, Thisbe... If I were fair, Thisbe...

If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine...

O, monstrous! O, strange! Fly, masters!

We are haunted!

Bottom, thou art changed. What do I see on thee?!

What do you see? What, you see an ass-head of your own, do you?

Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art translated!

Why do they run away?

I see their knavery!

This is to make an ass of me, to fright me, if they could.

But I will not stir from this place, do what they can.

And I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.

The ousel cock, so black of hue with orange-tawny bill the throstle with his note so true the wren with little qui-ii-ill what angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

The Finch, the sparrow, and the lark, the plain-song cuckoo Grey whose note, full many a man doth mark and dares not answer Na-aa-ay I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.

Mine ear is much enamoured of thy note.

So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape.

And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me on the first view, to say...

To swear, I love thee.

Mm“ Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that.

And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.

Nay, I can gleek upon occasion!

Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

Not so, neither.

If I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

Out of this wood do not desire to go!



Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.

I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee.

And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep, and sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep.

And I will purge thy mortal grossness so that thou shalt like an airy spirit go!

Peaseblossom! Cobweb!

Ready. And I.

Moth, and Mustardseed!

And I. And I.

Where shall we go?

Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.

Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes.

Feed him with apricocks and dewberries, with purple grapes, green figs and mulberries. Feed him with apricocks and dewberries, with purple grapes, green figs and mulberries.

Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

I cry your worship's mercy heartily. I beseech your worship's name?


I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Cobweb. Cobweb.

I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Cobweb.

If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, I pray you?


Ah, I know your Patience well. Your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now.

I shall desire you of more acquaintance, Mustardseed.

Hail, mortal.

Hail, mortal. Hail, mortal.

Hail, mortal.

Hail, mortal.

Hail. Hail. Hail.

I wonder if Titania be awaked, and what it was that next came in her eye, which she must dote on in extremity.

How now, mad spirit. What night-rule now about this haunted grove?

My mistress with a monster is in love.

This falls out better than I could devise.

But hast thou yet latched the Athenian's eyes with the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

I took him sleeping - that is finished too.

Stand close.

Now I but chide! But I should use thee worse, for thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.

If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep and kill me too!

This is the same Athenian.

This is the woman. But not this the man.

The sun was not so true unto the day as he to me!

Would he have stolen away from sleeping Hermia?

Where is he?

Good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

I had rather give his carcass to my hounds!

Out, dog! Out, cur!

Thou drivest me past the bounds of maiden's Patience.

And hast thou killed him while sleeping? O brave touch!

Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?

You spend your passion on a misprised mood! I am not guilty of Lysander's blood!

Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

And if I could, what should I get therefore?

A privilege - never to see me more!

There is no following her in this fierce vein.

Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.

What hast thou done?! Thou hast mistaken quite, and laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight!

About the woods go swifter than the wind, and Helena of Athens look thou find.

By some illusion look thou bring her here.

I'll charm his eyes against she do appear.

I go!, I go! Look how I go!

Swifter than arrow from the tartar's bow!

The moon, methinks, looks with a watery eye, and when she weeps, weeps every little flower, lamenting some enforced chastity.

Come, lead him to my bower.

Tie up my love's tongue. Bring him silently.

Flower of this purple dye, hit with cupid's archery, sink in apple of his eye.

When his love he doth espy, let her shine as gloriously as the Venus of the sky.

When thou ask'st, if she he by, beg of her for remedy .

Captain of our fairy band, Helena is here at hand, and the youth - mistook by me - pleading for a lover's fee.

Shall we their fond pageant see?

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Why do you think that I should woo in scorn?

Scorn and derision never come in tears!


When I vow, I weep!

And vows so born in their nativity all truth appears!

How can these things in me seem scorn to you, bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?

You do advance your cunning more and more.

When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!

These vows are Hermia's! Will you give her o'er?

Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh!

I had no judgement when to her I swore!

Nor none in my mind, now you give her o'er.

Demetrius loves her. And he loves not you!




Perfect. Divine.

To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne? Crystal is muddy!

O how ripe in show thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!

Helen! O spite! O hell!

I see you all are bent to set against me for your merriment!

Can you not hate me, as I know you do, but you must join in souls to mock me too?

Helen! Helen, it's not so!


Oh... Lysander!

Lysander! Love!

Why unkindly didst thou leave me so?

Why should he stay whom love doth press to go?

What love could press Lysander from my side?

Lysander's love, that would not let him bide.

Why seek'st thou me'!?

Could not this make thee know the hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?

You speak not as you think - it cannot be!

Lo, she is one of this confederacy!

Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid!

Have you conspired? Have you, with these, contrived to bait me with this foul derision?

Is all the counsel that we two have shared, the sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent, when we have chid the hasty-footed time for parting us - O, is all forgot?

And will you rent our ancient love asunder to join with men in scorning your poor friend?

It is not friendly! 'Tis not maidenly!

Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it, though I alone do feel the injury!

I understand not what you mean by this.

Ay, do.

Persever. Counterfeit sad looks.

Make mouths upon me when I turn my back.

If you have any pity, grace, or manners, you would not make me such an argument!

But fare you well.

'Tis partly my own fault, which death or absence soon shall remedy.

Helena, I love thee! By my life, I do!

O, excellent! I say I love thee more than he can do!

- Lysander, do you not jest?! Yes, sooth, and so do you!


Am not I Hermia? I am as fair now as I was erewhile!

Why, then you left me in earnest, shall I say?

I never did desire to see thee more.

Be certain, nothing truer, 'tis no jest, that I hate thee, and love Helena.

O me!

You... juggler!

You canker-blossom!

You thief of love!

What, have you come by night and stolen my love's heart from him?

O fine, i' faith!

Have you no modesty, no maiden shame, no touch of bashfulness?

What, will you tear impatient answers from my gentle tongue? Fie!

Fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you!

"Puppet"? Why so?

Ah, that way goes the game.

Now I perceive that she hath made compare between our statures!

She hath urged her height, and with her personage, her tall personage, her height, forsooth, she hath prevailed with him!

And are you grown so... high in his esteem because I am so dwarfish and so low?

Well, how low am I, thou painted maypole?

Speak! How low am I?

I am not yet so low but that my nails can reach into thine eyes!


O, I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, do not let her hurt me!

You perhaps may think, because she is somewhat lower than myself, that I can match her! "Lower"?! Hark, again!

Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.

And now, so you will let me quiet go, to Athens will I bear my folly back, and follow you no further.

Let me go. You see how simple and how fond I am.

Why, get you gone! Who is it hinders you?

A foolish heart, that I do leave here behind.

What, with Lysander?! With Demetrius!

Be not afraid, she shall not harm thee, Helena.

No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part!

She was a vixen when she went to school, and though she be but little, she is fierce!

Little?! Little again?! Nothing but "low" and "little"?!

Why will you suffer her to flout me thus? Let me come to her!

Get you gone, you dwarf! You minimus, of hindering knotgrass made!

You bead, you acorn!

Now she holds me not.

Now follow, if thou dar'st, to try whose right, of thine or mine, is most in Helena.

Follow? Nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jowl!

You, mistress... all this coil is 'long of you.

Nay, go not back.

I will not trust you, I, nor longer stay in your curst company.

Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray. My legs longer, though, to run away!


I am amazed, and know not what to say!

This is thy negligence!

Still, still, still thou mistak'st! Or else...

Committ'st thy knaveries wilfully. Hm?

Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.

Did not you tell me I would know the man by the Athenian garments that he had on?

Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight.

Hie, therefore, Robin, overcast the night.

The starry welkin cover thou anon with drooping fog, as black as Acheron, and lead these... these testy rivals so astray that one come not within the other's way.

Then crush this herb into Lysander's... Lysander's eye.

Whiles I in this affair do thee employ, I'll to my queen, and beg her Indian boy.

Then I will her charmed eye release from monster's view, and all things shall be peace.

Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down.

I am feared in field and town. Goblin, lead them up and down!

Here comes one.

Where art thou, proud Demetrius?

- Here, villain! Where art thou? I'll be with thee straight!

Lysander? Speak again!

Thou runaway! Thou coward!

Art thou fled?!

Come, recreant. Come, thou child.

Yea! Art thou there?

Follow my voice.

We'll try no manhood here.

Oh, the villain is much lighter-heeled than I. I followed fast, but faster he did fly.

Then fallen am I in dark, uneven way.

And here will rest me.

Oh, come, thou gentle day.

Come hither! I am here!

Nay, then, thou mock'st me.

Thou shalt buy this dear, if ever I thy face by daylight see!

Now go thy way- faintness constraineth me to measure out my length on this cold bed.

By day's approach... look to be visited.

Never so weary.

Never so in woe.

I can no further crawl, no further go.

Here I will rest me till the break of day.

Heavens, shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!

O weary night, O long and tedious night, abate thy hours.

Shine comforts from the east that I may back to Athens by daylight, from these that my poor company detest.

And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow's eye, steal me awhile from mine own company.

Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed, while I thy amiable cheeks do coy, and stick musk roses in thy sleek, smooth head, and kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

I must to the barber's. Methinks I am marvelous hairy about the face.

And I am such a tender ass - if my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.

What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat?

Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats.

Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay.

Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

But I pray you, let none of your people stir me:

I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.

Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.

Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle gently entwist.

The female ivy so enrings the barky fingers of the elm.

O, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!

On the ground, sleep sound.

I'll apply to...

Your eye, gentle lover, remedy.

When thou wuk'st, thou tuk'st true delight in the sight of thy former lady's eye.

Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill, the man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.

Welcome, good Robin.

Seest thou this sweet sight?

Her dotage now I do begin to pity.

I shall undo this hateful imperfection of her eyes.

Be as thou wast wont to be.

See... as thou wast wont to see.

Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.

Oh... my Oberon!

What visions have I seen! Methought I was enamoured of an ass!

There lies your love.

How came these things to pass?!

Silence awhile.

Fairy king, attend and mark. I do hear the morning lark.

Then, my queen, in silence sad trip we after night's shade.

We the globe can compass soon, swifter than the wandering moon.

Come, my lord, and in our flight tell me how it came this night that I sleeping here was found with these mortals on the ground.

We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top, and mark the musical confusion of hounds, and echo in conjunction.

My hounds are bred out of the spartan kind, so flewed, so sanded, and their heads are hung...

With ears.

But soft... what nymphs are these?

My lord, this is my daughter here asleep.

And this, Lysander. This, Demetrius is. This, Helena - old Nedar's Helena.

I wonder of them being here together.

No doubt they rose up early to observe the rite of may

good morrow, friends.

Saint Valentine is past. Begin these wood birds but to couple now?

I pray you all, stand up.

I know you two are rival enemies.

How comes this gentle Concord in the world, that hatred is so far from jealousy to sleep by hate and fear no enmity?

My lord, I shall reply amazedly, half sleep, half waking.

But as I think, for truly would I speak, I came with Hermia hither.

Our intent was to be gone from Athens, where we might, without the peril of the Athenian law... Enough! My lord, you have heard enough.

I beg the law, the law, upon his head! They would have stolen away.

They would, Demetrius, thereby to have defeated you and me - you of your wife, and me of my consent, of my consent that she should be your wife.

My good lord, I wot not by what power - but by some power it is - my love to Hermia melted as the snow.

And all the faith, the virtue of my heart, the object and the pleasure of mine eye, is only Helena.

Fair lovers, you are fortunately met.

Egeus, I will overbear your will.

For in the temple, by and by, with us these couples shall eternally be knit.

Away with us to Athens, three and three.

We'll hold a feast in great solemnity!

Come, Hippolyta.

When my cue comes, call me and I will answer.

My next is "most fair Pyramus".


Peter Quince?


Snout the tinker!


God's my life! Stolen hence and left me asleep!

I have had a most rare vision.

I have had a dream - past the wit of man to say what dream it was.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

Methought I was... There is no man can tell what.

Methought I was...

And methought I had...

But man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had.

The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.

I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream.

It shall be called "Bottom's..."


Because it hath no Bottom.

And I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the Duke.

Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.

Have you sent to Bottom's house? Is he come home yet?

He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is transported.

If he come not, then the play is marred. It goes not forward, doth it?

Masters! The Duke is coming from the temple.

And there is two or three lords and ladies more married.

If our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men!

O, sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life!

And the Duke had not given him sixpence for playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged.

He would have deserved it. Sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing.

Where are these lads?!


Where are these hearts?!

O, most happy hour!

Masters, I am to discourse wonders, but ask me not what.

Let us hear, sweet Bottom. Not a word of me.

All I will tell you is that the Duke hath dined.

Get your apparel together! Every man look o'er his part!

Let this be have clean linen.

Let not him that plays the lion pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion's claws!


If it please you!

These things seem small and indistinguishable, like far-off mountains turning into cloud.

And I have found my Demetrius, like a jewel, mine own - and not mine own.

'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.

More strange than true.

I never may believe these antique fables nor these fairy toys.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends.

Such tricks hath strong imagination that, if it would but apprehend some joy, it comprehends some bringer of the joy.

But all the story of the night told over, and all their minds transfigured so together, more witnesseth than fancy's images, and grows to something of great constancy.

But howsoever, strange and... admirable.

Joy, gentle friends.

Joy and fresh days of love accompany your hearts.

More than to us, wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!

Come now, what masques, what dances shall we have to wear away this long age of three hours between our aftersupper and bedtime?

Where is our usual manager of mirth? Here, mighty Theseus.

What revels are in hand? Is there no play to ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

There is a brief how many sports are ripe.

"'The battle with the centaurs', to be sung by an Athenian eunuch to the harp."

Yes... We'll none of that.

"The riot of the tipsy bacchanals, tearing the Thracian singer in their rage."

That is an old device, and it was played when I from Thebes came last a conqueror.

"The thrice three muses, mourning for the death of learning, late deceased in beggary."

Now that is some satire, keen and critical, not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

"A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus and his love Thisbe. Very tragical mirth."

Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?

That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.

What are they that do play it?

Hard-handed men, that work in Athens here, which never laboured in their minds till now, and now have toiled their unbreathed memories with the same play against your nuptial.

We will hear it. No, no, my lord...

I did hear it over, and it is nothing. Nothing in the world.

I will hear that play.

The short and long is...

Our play is preferred.

For never anything can be amiss when simpleness and duty tender it.

Go, bring them in.

Moonshine... shall shine in at the casement.

So please your grace, the prologue is addressed.

Let him approach.

Courage, man! Hurry!

In this same interlude it doth befall that I, one snout by name, present a wall:

And such a wall, as I would have you think, that had in it a crannied hole... or chink, through which the lovers...

Through which the lovers...

Pyramus and Thisbe.

Pyramus and Thisbe.

Pyramus and Thisbe!

Pyramus and Thisbe, did whisper often, very secretly.

And this the cranny is, right and sinister, through which the fearful lovers are to... whisper.

Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.

Pyramus draws near the wall - silence.

O grim-looked night!

O night with hue so black!

O night, which ever art when day is not!

O night, O night alack, alack, alack, I fear my Thisbe's promise is forgot! Alack, alack, alack, I fear my Thisbe's promise is forgot!

And thou O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall, that stand'st between her father's ground and mine, thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall, show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.

Thanks, courteous wall.

Jove shield thee well for this!

But what see I? No Thisbe do I see.

O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss, cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

No, in truth, sire, he should not.

"Deceiving me" is Thisbe's cue.

He... she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall.

You shall see - it will fall pat, as I told you.

Yonder she comes.

O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans, for... for parting... for parting my fair Pyramus and me.

My ch... cherry lips have often kissed thy stones - thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.

I see a voice! Now will I to the chink, to spy and I can hear my Thisbe's face.


My love! Thou art my love, I think!

Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace, and like Limander am I trusty still.

And I like Helen, till the fates me kill.

O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!

I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all!

Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb...

That's Ninus' tomb!

That's Ninus' tomb... meet me straightway?

'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay!

Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so, and being done, thus wall away doth go.

Ah, here come two noble beasts in - a man and a lion.

You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear the smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, may now, perchance, both quake and tremble here when lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.


For know that I as Snug the joiner am a lion fell, nor else no lion's dam.

For if I should as lion come in strife into this place, 'twere pity on my life.





Let me play the moon.

This lantern doth the horned moon present.

This lantern doth the horned moon present. Myself, the man in the moon do seem to be.

All I have to say is to tell you that this lantern is the moon, I'm the man in the moon, this thornbush, my thornbush, and this dog... my dog.

Oh, silence - here comes Thisbe.

Where is my love? Rraahh!

Well roared, lion. Well run, Thisbe!

Well shone, moon. And then came Pyramus.

Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams.

I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright.

For by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams, I trust to take of truest Thisbe sight.

But stay!

O spite!

But mark, poor knight, what dreadful dole is here?

Eyes... do you see?!

How can it be?!

O dainty duck! O dear!

Thy mantle good, what, stained with blood?!

Approach, ye furies fell!

O fates, come, come!

Cut thread and thrum!

Quail, crush, conclude...

And quell!

O wherefore, nature, didst thou lions frame, since lion vile hath here deflowered my dear?


Which is... no, no...

Which was the fairest dame that lived, that loved, that licked, that liked...

- That looked! "That looked with cheer.

Come tears, confound!

Out, sword, and wound the pap of Pyramus!

Ay, that left pap, where heart doth hop.

Thus... die I.




Now... am I dead.

Now am I fled.

No my soul... is in the sky.

Tongue, lose thy light, moon, take thy flight!

Now... die!





Asleep, my love?

What, dead, my dove?




Oh... O Pyramus, arise.

Speak. Speak.

Quite dumb?

Dead? Dead?

A tomb... must cover... thy sweet eyes.

These lily lips, this cherry nose, these yellow cowslip cheeks... Are gone, are gone...

His eyes... were green as leeks.

O sisters three, come, come to me, with hands as pale as milk.

Lay them in gore, since you have shore with shears his thread of silk.

Tongue, not a word.

Come, trusty sword.

Come, blade... my breast imbrue.

And farewell, friends - thus Thisbe ends.




Moonshine and lion are left to bury the dead.

Ay, and wall too.

No! I assure you, the wall is down that parted their fathers.

Will it please you to see the epilogue?

Or to hear a bergomask dance between two of our company?

No epilogue, I pray you, for your play needs no excuse.

Never excuse, for when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed.

"When the players are all dead..." "..There need none to be blamed."

No, no...

"Very notably discharged."

O happy hour!

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.

Lovers, to bed.

'Tis almost fairy time.

Now until the break of day, through this house each fairy stray.

To the best bride-bed will we, which by us shall blessed be, and the issue there create ever shall be fortunate.

So shall all the couples three ever true in loving be.

And each several chamber bless, through this palace, with sweet peace.

And the owner of it blest, ever shall in safety rest.

Trip away, make no stay, meet me all by break of day.

Very notably discharged!

If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended:

That you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear, and this weak and idle theme, no more yielding... but a dream.

Gentles, do not reprehend.

If you pardon, we will mend.

Else the puck a liar call.

And so, good night unto you all.

Give me your hands, if we be friends, and Robin shall restore amends.