Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit    

Lesson 31: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act II, Scene ii

Performer: Librivox - Group

ACT II, SCENE ii. Another part of the wood.
ACT II, SCENE ii. Another part of the wood.
Enter TITANIA, with her train
Enter TITANIA, with her FAIRIES
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices and let me rest.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Let's dance in a circle and sing a fairy song
before going off.
Some kill worms in musk-roses.
Other battle bats to get their leather wings
to make my small fairies coats. Some fight
that noisy hooting owl who marvels
at our pretty fairies. Sing me asleep fairies.
Get to work and let me rest.
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm,
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.
Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
Philomel, with melody, and singing our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby
Never harm,
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.
You spotted stakes with forked tongues,
Prickly porcupines, stay hidden.
Newts and legless lizards be good.
Leave our fairy queen alone.
Nightingale, sing
our sweet lullaby
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby,
Don't hurt,
nor spell or charm,
or come near our lovely lady.
So good night with our lullaby.
Don't come here spinning spiders.
Get away, you long-legged spinners, get away!
Don't come near black beetles.
Don't bother us worm and snail.
Nightingale, sing our sweet lullaby
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby,
Don't hurt,
nor spell or charm,
or come near our lovely lady.
So good night with our lullaby.
Hence, away! now all is well:
One aloof stand sentinel.
Let's go. Everything is okay.
One of us will stand guard.
Exeunt FAIRIES. TITANIA sleeps
The FAIRIES leave. TITANIA sleeps
Enter OBERON, squeezes the flower on TITANIA's eyelids
OBERON enters and squeezes flower juice on TITANIA's eyelids
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 shall appear
When thou wakest, it is thy dear:
Wake when some vile thing is near.
OBERON (Fairy King)
What you see when you wake,
You'll take as your true love.
Love and suffer for his sake.
Whether its a lynx, cat, bear,
leopard, or boar with bristles,
Whatever you see
when you awaken you'll hold dear.
Awaken when some disgusting thing is nearby.
OBERON leaves
Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:
We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
LYSANDER (Loves Hermia)
Beautiful love, you're tired from walking in the woods.
And to be truthful I am lost.
We'll rest, Hermia, if you want to
and linger until walking is easier in the daylight.
Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed;
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Yes, Lysander. Find somewhere soft to sleep. I will rest my head upon this incline.
One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms and one troth.
LYSANDER (Loves Hermia)
Let's sleep together on the grass.
One heart, one bed, two bodies, and one pledge.
Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
No, Lysander. For my sake, my love,
sleep farther off. Don't sleep so near to me.
O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love's conference.
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 (Loves Hermia)
My intentions are innocent, dear.
Since we love each other, you should interpret my words with love.
I mean our hearts are joined together as one.
Our bodies linked with a single pledge.
So our bodies share a single truth.
Don't make me sleep apart from you.
As I lie next to you, Hermia, I won't lie.
Lysander riddles very prettily:
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, 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 6maid,
So far be distant; and, good night, sweet friend:
Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end!
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
You speak pretty words.
It would be rude if I meant to imply you lied.
But dear, please sleep further off for love and courtesy.
Sleep further off for the sake of modesty.
Sleeping separately is what principled men and ladies do.
So sleep distantly. Good night, sweetheart.
I pray your love for me will not change for the rest of your life!
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!
LYSANDER (Loves Hermia)
Amen to your wishes.
I pray my loyalty only ends when my life ends!
I'll sleep here. Rest well!
With half that wish the wisher's eyes be press'd!
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Rest well to you too!
They sleep
Hermia and Lysander sleep
Enter PUCK
Puck enters
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.--Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here 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 wakest, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.
I have searched the forest,
but haven't found an Athenian
on whose eyes I could sprinkle the flower juice.
What? Who is that?
He wears Athenian clothing.
This is the one my master told me about.
The one who hates the Athenian woman.
And here is the woman deeply sleeping
on the chilly and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! She doesn't dare
to sleep near this awful guy.
(squeezes flower juice on LYSANDER's eyes)
Peasant, I throw the power of the charm on your eyes.
When you awaken, let love keep you awake.
Awaken after I'm gone.
I must meet Oberon now.
PUCK leaves
Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running
DEMETRIUS and HELENA enter, running
Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Stop! Even if you kill me, sweet Demetrius.
I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
Get away from me. Stop chasing me.
O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Will you leave me in the dark? Don't do it.
Stay, on thy peril: I alone will go.
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
Stay here at your own peril. I'm going alone.
Demetrius leaves
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 wash'd than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me run away for fear:
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
Do, as a monster fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!
Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
Lysander if you live, good sir, awake.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Oh, I'm too tired to keep chasing him.
The harder I pray, the harder it gets.
Hermia is happily sleeping away.
For she is lucky and pretty.
How did her eyes get so bright? Not with tears,
because I cry more than her.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear.
Even beasts get scared and run away from me.
It's no surprise Demetrius runs away from me too.
What lying mirror
made me think I could compete with Hermia's starry eyes?
Who is that? Lysander, on the ground?
Is he dead or asleep? I see no blood or wound.
Lysander, if you're alive, wake up.
[LYSANDER waking]And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
LYSANDER (Enchanted to Love Helena)
I will run through fire for you, sweetheart.
I see through you Helena! Right through you into your heart.
Where is Demetrius? Oh, how I wish I could
destroy that vile name with 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.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Don't say that, Lysander. Don't say that.
Why do you care that he loves Hermia,
when she loves you? Be satisfied.

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?
The will of man is by his reason sway'd;
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to Love Helena)
Satisfied with Hermia? No, I regret
the boring time I've wasted on her.
I love you Helena, not Hermia.
Who would not exchange a raven for a dove?
Logic changes a man's desires.
And logically you are worthier than Hermia.
Growing things do not ripen until their season.
Being young, I did not ripen to logic until now.
Logic has finally controlled my desires
and has led me to your eyes,
where I now see all of the stories of love.
Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this 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?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well: perforce I must confess
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady, of one man refused.
Should of another therefore be abused!
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Why was I born to be made fun of?
What did I do to deserve your cruelty?
It isn't enough that I can never win Demetrius' affection,
but you must rub in my shortcomings too?
My goodness, you are hurtful.
How dare you pretend to woo me?
So goodbye. I must confess,
I once thought you were a gentleman.
Oh, that a lady rejected by one man
should be abused by another.
HELENA leaves
She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there:
And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive,
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honor Helen and to be her knight!
LYSANDER (Enchanted to Love Helena)
She didn't see Hermia. Hermia keep sleeping.
May you never come near me again.
Eating too many sweets
eventually makes the stomach sick.
The errors of the past
are hated most by those who made them.
So you, Hermia, my sickness and my mistake,
I hate the most.
I'll use all my powers and might
to honor Helena and be her servant!
[Starting] Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel pray.
Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord!
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?
Alack, where are you speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
No? then I well perceive you all not nigh
Either death or you I'll find immediately.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
[Waking] Help Lysander! Help me! Try your best!
Get this snake off of my body!
Pity me! What a nightmare.
Lysander, how I shake with fear.
I though a snake ate my heart
while you smiled at his cruelty.
Lysander? Are you gone? Lysander, lord!
Can't you hear me? No reply?
Oh no, where are you? Talk to me if you hear me!
Please say something.
I'm almost fainting with fear.
No? Then I guess you are not near.
I'll quickly either find you or my death.
HERMIA leaves

    Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit    

Lesson 31: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act II, Scene ii

Performer: Librivox - Group


Study the assigned Shakespeare scene over the week.

Over the week:

  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read along while listening to the lesson audio recording.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


In Act II, Scene ii of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Oberon squeezes the magic flower juice on Titania's eyes. Hermia and Lysander grow tired of walking through the forest and fall asleep. Believing Lysander is Demetrius, Puck squeezes flower juice on Lysander's eyes. Helena chases Demetrius through the forest, but he escapes her. Lysander awakens, sees Helena, and is enchanted to fall in love with her. When Lysander avidly proclaims his love to Helena, she thinks he's making fun of her. Lysander abandons his sleeping fiancé to pursue Helena through the forest.


Activity 1: Recite the Play Information

  • Recite aloud the play title, the numbers of the act and scene, and the author of the play.

Activity 2: Narrate the Scene

  • After reading or listening to the scene, narrate the events aloud in your own words.

Activity 3: Read Aloud the Dramatis Personae of the Scene

The Athenians

  • HERMIA, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander
  • HELENA, in love with Demetrius
  • LYSANDER, in love with Hermia
  • DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia

The Fairies:

  • OBERON, King of the Fairies
  • TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies
  • Other Fairies attending their King and Queen

Activity 4: Map the Play

  • The comedic play, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' takes place in and around the city of Athens, Greece.
  • Study the map featuring Greece.
  • What is the name of the sea to the south of Greece? Recite its name aloud.

Activity 5: Read the Modern Translation Aloud

  • With family or friends, choose roles and read the modern translation of the scene aloud.

Activity 6: Read the Original Text Aloud

  • With family or friends, choose roles and read the original text of the scene aloud.


  1. 'Shakespeare's Comedy of A Midsummer-Night's Dream,' by William Shakespeare and William Heath {1914, PD-US}. n.p.
  2. Illustrations from 'A Midsummer-Night's Dream for Young People,' by Lucy Fitch Perkins {1907, PD-US}. n.p.