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

Lesson 33: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act III, Scene ii

Performer: Librivox - Group

ACT III, SCENE ii. Another part of the wood.
ACT III, SCENE ii. Another part of the wood.
OBERON, the Fairy King, enters
I wonder if Titania be awaked;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.
OBERON (Fairy King)
I wonder whether Titania is awake.
I wonder what she saw after I sprinkled the juice in her eyes,
which she must now worship completely.
Enter PUCK
PUCK enters
Here comes my messenger.
How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
OBERON (Fairy King)
Here comes my servant.
How's it going, crazy fairy?
What mischief have you caused in these haunted woods?
My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial-day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene and enter'd in a brake
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's nole I fixed on his head:
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly;
And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak,
lost with their fears thus strong,
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch.
I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there:
When in that moment, so it came to pass,
Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Titania is in love with a monster.
While she slept
in her flowery bed,
a group of crude human tradesmen
that work in Athens
met to rehearse a play
for great Theseus' wedding day.
The silliest one
who played Pyramus
finished his scene and entered a bush.
I took advantage of the opportunity
and gave him a donkey head.
When he had to answer Thisbe
and emerged from the bush, the others spotted him
like wild geese spotted by a hunter
these many reddish-brown birds
rise and squawk upon hearing a gunshot
and fly frantically through the sky.
Like the geese, the players flew from the donkey.
At my footsteps, one was so scared he fell,
cried out, "Murder!" and called to Athens for help.
They were so scared
they acted like mindless fools,
becoming frightened even by silly things
like the briars and thorns snatching their clothing
including their sleeves and hats.
I led them off
and left Pyramus with his donkey head there.
In that moment, it happened that
Titania woke up, saw the donkey, and fell in love with him.
This falls out better than I could devise.
But hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes
With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?
OBERON (Fairy King)
This worked out even better than I planned.
Did you also sprinkle the flower juice
on the Athenian's eyes as I ordered you?
I took him sleeping,--that is finish'd too,--
And the Athenian woman by his side:
That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Yes, I did that too while he slept.
The Athenian woman was right by his side.
She had to be the first thing he saw when he awoke.
Stand close: this is the same Athenian.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Move aside. Here comes the same Athenian.
This is the woman, but not this the man.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
That's the same woman, but not the same man.
O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
Why are you rejecting someone who loves you?
Keep your bitter words for your bitter enemies.
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.
The sun was not so true unto the day
As he to me: would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon
This whole earth may be bored and that the moon
May through the center creep and so displease
Her brother's noontide with Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murder'd him;
So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
You're lucky I'm only scolding you. You deserve worse.
You have given me plenty of reasons to swear at you.
If you killed Lysander in his sleep,
you're up to your ankles in blood. You may as well jump in
and kill me too.
Lysander was truer to me than the sun is to the day.
He wouldn't have left me sleeping alone.
I believe that like
I believe a hole can be drilled through the entire earth
and moon can pass through it
to Antipodes (the opposite side).
You had to have murdered him.
You look like a murderer should, pale and grim.
So should the murder'd look, and so should I,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty:
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
Both a murderer and I would look this way
when stabbed through the heart by your cruelty.
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright and clear
as the planet Venus glimmering in the sky.
What's this to my Lysander? where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
What does this have to do with Lysander? Where is he?
Oh please kind Demetrius, will you give him to me?
I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
I'd rather feed his dead body to my dogs than let you be with him.
Out, dog! out, cur!
Thou drivest me past the bounds of maiden's patience.
Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never number'd among men!
O, once tell true, tell true, even for my sake!
Durst thou have look'd upon him being awake,
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Get away, you dog, you cur!
You have used up my patience.
Did you kill him, then?
From now on, I don't consider you a man!
Oh, please, tell me the truth, for my sake!
Did you see him when he was awake
or did you kill him while he slept? What a coward!
It's exactly what a worm or a snake would do.
A snake did it, because no snake had
such a forked tongue or stung like you do.
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.
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
You're wasting your anger on a misunderstanding.
I did not kill Lysander.
He isn't dead, as far as I know.
I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Please, then promise me that he is okay.
An if I could, what should I get therefore?
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
What do I get if I promise you that?
A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part I so:
See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
You'll never have to see me again.
I'll leave your hated presence.
You won't see me again, whether Lysander's alive or dead.
HERMIA leaves
There is no following her in this fierce vein:
Here therefore for a while I will remain.
So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe:
Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.
[Lies down]
DEMETRIUS (Loves Hermia, not Helena)
There's no use following her when she's so anger.
I'll stay here awhile.
I'm even more depressed
with a lack of sleep.
I'll get paid back some of that sleep,
by sleeping now.
[DEMETRIUS lies down and sleeps.]
What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite
And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight:
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
Some true love turn'd and not a false turn'd true.
OBERON (Fairy King)
[to PUCK] What did you do? You accidentally
put the flower juice on the wrong man's eyes.
Your mistake destroyed a true love
rather than turning a false love into true love.
Then fate o'er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Then fate overruled us. For every faithful man,
a million break their promises.
About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find:
All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer,
With sighs of love, that costs the fresh blood dear:
By some illusion see thou bring her here:
I'll charm his eyes against she do appear.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Run back to the woods
and find Helena of Athens.
She is lovesick
and stricken pale with sighs of love that drain her vitality.
Trick her into coming here.
I'll put flower juice on Demetrius' eyes when she gets here.
I go, I go; look how I go,
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
I'm going. Look how fast I'm going.
Faster than an arrow from a skilled archer's bow.
Puck leaves.
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 wakest, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
OBERON (Fairy King)
[Putting flower juice on DEMETRIUS' eyes] Purple flower
Hit by Cupid's arrow,
Penetrate the pupils of his eyes.
When he sees his love,
Let her shine like
the planet Venus in the sky.
[to DEMETRIUS] When you wake up, if she's near,
Beg her for her curing love.
Re-enter PUCK
PUCK re-enters
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!
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
King of the fairies,
Helena is nearby;
The other Athenian man [Lysander] I mistook for this one
Was begging her to love him.
Should we watch their silly antics?
My goodness, these humans are idiots!
Stand aside: the noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Stand down. Any noise
Will awaken Demetrius.
Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me
That befall preposterously.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
The two men will both love Helena;
That will be hilarious;
I really get a kick out of
preposterous situations like this.
Why should you think that I would woo in scorn?
Scorn and derision never come in tears:
Look, 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?
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Why do you think I'm mocking you when I say I love you?
People don't show scorn and hatred by crying.
Look, when I vow to love you, I cry; that's how vows are made.
Tears come with the truth.
How you mistake my love for scorn,
when my tears prove my love is 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:
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
You get more and more advanced at deception.
It can't be true that you love both Hermia and me.
Your love is Hermia's. Will you abandon her?
If you weigh the vows you made to me and
to Hermia, they offset and result in nothing.
Your vows are worth as much as lies.
I had no judgment when to her I swore.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
I had lost my senses when I vowed to love her.
Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
You still have no senses, in my opinion, now you've abandoned Hermia.
Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Demetrius loves Hermia, not you.
[Awaking] O Helen, goddess, nymph, 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!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
When thou hold'st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Helena, you divine goddess, you perfect nymph!
My love, what shall I compare your eyes to?
Crystal is too cloudy.
Your lips are as tempting as two touching cherries.
Your white hand makes make pure mountain snow
seem as black as a crow.
When you hold up your hand, oh, let me
experience bliss by kissing your white hand!
O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment:
If you were civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so;
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
And now both rivals, to mock Helena:
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes
With your derision! none of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin, and extort
A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Oh, heck no! I see you are all bent
on tormenting me for your own amusement.
If you were polite and well-behaved,
you would not hurt me so much.
Isn't hating me enough, as I know you do?
Why must you all gang up to make fun of me?
If you were gentlemen, not just pretending to be,
you would not treat a gentle lady this way.
Making promises, swearing oaths, praising me,
while you wholeheartedly despise me.
You are both fighting for Hermia's love,
and now you fight to see who can better make fun of me.
You're so manly,
to make a poor lady cry
by making fun of her! No gentlemen
would mistreat a lady and try
her patience just for fun.
You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
For you love Hermia; this you know I know:
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia's love I yield you up my part;
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
Whom I do love and will do till my death.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Stop being mean, Demetrius.
You love Hermia, you know I know this.
With the best intentions and all my heart,
I give Hermia's love to you;
In return you give up Helena to me,
who I will love until I die.
Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
You're wasting your breath making fun of me.
Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:
If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd,
And now to Helen is it home return'd,
There to remain.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Lysander, keep your Hermia. I don't want her.
If I ever loved her, that love is gone now.
My heart only briefly visited Hermia,
and now it has returned home to Helena
for good.
Helen, it is not so.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Helena, it isn't true.
Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Don't knock what you don't understand,
or you'll regret the dangerous consequences.
Look, here comes your dearest love.
HERMIA re-enters
Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
I can't see well in the dark,
but my hearing still works.
Darkness may prevent me from seeing,
but it makes my hearing twice as good.
I didn't find you with my eyes, Lysander.
I found you with my ears.
Why did you so unkindly leave me alone?
Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Why would I stay, when love insists I go?
What love could press Lysander from my side?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
What love could force Lysander to leave me?
Lysander's love, that would not let him bide,
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light.
Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee know,
The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
My love would not let me stay away from
the beautiful Helena, who makes the night sparkle
more brightly than the stars.
Why are you looking for me, Hermia?
Didn't you realize I left you because I hate you?
You speak not as you think: it cannot be.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
You don't mean it. It can't be true.
Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
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 it all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries molded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
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.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
So Hermia's in on the prank too!
All three of them are working together
to make fun of me.
Hurtful Hermia! You ungrateful woman!
Did you conspire against me with these guys
to torment me with this nasty trickery?
After all the advice we have shared,
We made vows of sisterhood and spent hours together,
when we longed for more time together.
Oh, have you forgotten?
Our friendship during school, our innocent childhood together?
We were once the best of friends.
We used to sew as one
the same sampler, together sharing one cushion.
We used to sing together in the same key,
as if we shared our hands, bodies, voices, and minds.
We grew together,
like two lovely berries
together, yet separate
united by a single stem.
We were two bodies sharing a single heart.
We had two bodies, like double coats in heraldry
but sharing a single crest.
Will you ruin our friendship
to torment me with these men?
It is not friendly or ladylike.
All women everywhere would scold you for it,
even though you only hurt me.
I am amazed at your passionate words.
I scorn you not:
it seems that you scorn me.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
I am bewildered by your anger.
I'm not mocking you.
Rather, it seems like you are mocking me.
Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection,
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What thought I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved?
This you should pity rather than despise.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Didn't you put Lysander up to this?
To follow me and flatter my eyes and face?
Did you ask your other love, Demetrius,
who kicked me,
to call me a goddess, a nymph, divine, precious, and heavenly? Why would he say these things to a woman he hates?
And why would Lysander
deny his true love for you?
Why would he give me affection
without your permission?
I'm not as lucky or beloved as you
and suffer miserably
from unrequited love,
so perhaps you should pity me rather than hate me.
I understand not what you mean by this.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
I don't understand what you mean.
Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare ye well: 'tis partly my own fault;
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
That's it, keep pretending with sad looks,
Make faces at me when I turn my back;
Wink at each other as you continue making fun of me.
Your prank should be recorded as a storybook.
If you have any decency,
you would not pretend to fight over my love.
But I partly brought this on myself by coming to the woods,
which either leaving or dying will soon fix.
Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse:
My love, my life my soul, fair Helena!
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Stay and listen to me, sweet Helena.
You are my love, my life, and my soul, beautiful Helena!
O excellent!
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Oh, that's just great.
[to LYSANDER]Sweet, do not scorn her so.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Sweetheart, stop making fun of her.
If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
If Hermia can't persuade you to stop, I can force you.
Thou canst compel no more than she entreat:
Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To prove him false that says I love thee not.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
You can't force me any more than Hermia can convince me.
Your threats are as weak as her pleas.
I love you, Helena. I swear it on my life.
I would give my life for you,
to prove Demetrius wrong when he says I don't love you.
I say I love thee more than he can do.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
I say that I love you more than he does.
If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
If you say so, prove it by fighting me.
Quick, come!
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Great, let's fight.
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Lysander, why are you doing this?
[HERMIA holds LYSANDER back.]
Away, you Ethiope!
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
[to HERMIA] Get away from me, woman from Ethiopia!
No, no; he'll seem to break loose;
Take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
No, no, he'll only pretend to get free.
You won't come and fight me.
You are too cowardly! Get out of here!
Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Get off me, you cat, you prickly burr. Let go disgusting thing,
or I'll fling you off me like a snake.
Why are you grown so rude? what change is this?
Sweet love,--
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Why are you being so rude? Why have you changed?
Sweet love,--
Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Your love? Get out, woman, get out!
Get out, you terrible poison! Get out now!
Do you not jest?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Are you joking?
Yes, sooth; and so do you.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Yes, of course he's joking, and so are you.
Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Demetrius, I'm still happy to fight you.
I would I had your bond, for I perceive
A weak bond holds you: I'll not trust your word.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
I wish I had a signed document,
for I think you are lying and I don't trust you.
What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
What, should I hurt Hermia, hit her, kill her dead to free myself?
Although I hate her, I won't hurt her.
What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love!
Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me:
Why, then you left me--O, the gods forbid!--
In earnest, shall I say?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
You can't hurt me any worse than by hating me.
Why do you hate me? Oh my! Why, my love?
Aren't I Hermia? Aren't you Lysander?
I am as pretty as I ever was.
You loved me last night, but you left me.
Oh lord no,
did you really leave me?
Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest
That I do hate thee and love Helena.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Yes, and I swear
I didn't want to see you again.
Therefore, give up your hope, your questions, and your doubts.
Accept that this is true; It is no joke
that I hate you 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?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Oh my! [to Helena] You cheater! You worm!
You thief! What, did you sneak in during the night
and steal Lysander's heart?
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!
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Please, spare me!
Have you no decency, no shame?
Are you trying to make me so angry
I give you answers?
Shame, shame! You liar, you puppet, you!
Puppet? why so? ay, 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 prevail'd with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem;
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Why am I a puppet? I get it now.
You're making fun of me
because I'm short.
You stole Lysander from me
with your tall figure.
He's decided you're better than me
because I'm so short.
How short am I, beanpole? Tell me,
How short am I? I am not so short
that my fingernails can't scratch out your eyes.
I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me: I was never curst;
I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
I am a right maid for my cowardice:
Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
Because she is something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Please, though you make fun of me,
Don't let her hurt me.
I'm not good at fighting.
I'm a a shy maiden:
Don't let her hit me. You might think,
because she's shorter than me,
that I can best her in a fight.
Lower! hark, again.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
You call me shorter again!
Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
He follow'd you; for love I follow'd him;
But he hath chid me hence and threaten'd me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
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.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Dear Hermia, don't be angry with me.
I always loved you, Hermia.
I kept your secrets and never betrayed you;
Other than, due to my love for Demetrius,
I told him of your plan to sneak into these woods.
He followed you, and I followed him out of love.
But he has scolded me and threatened to
hit me, reject me, even to kill me too:
And now let me return,
with my foolish mistakes back to Athens.
I won't follow you anymore. Let me go.
You see how naive and silly I am.
Why, get you gone: who is't that hinders you?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Great, get out of here. Who is stopping you?
A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
My silly heart, that I leave behind in the woods.
What, with Lysander?
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Leaving your heart with Lysander?
With Demetrius.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
No, I'm leaving my heart with Demetrius.
Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Don't be afraid, Helena. She will not hurt you.
No, sir, she shall not,
Though you take her part.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
No, sir, Hermia will not hurt Helena,
even though you take Hermia's side.
O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Oh, when Hermia is angry, she is smart and clever!
She was a she-devil in school.
Although she's short, she's a fierce fighter!
'Little' again! nothing but 'low' and 'little'!
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Short again! Nothing but short and small!
Why do you allow her to insult me this away?
Let me at her!
Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Get out of here, shorty.
You tiny weed.
You little bead, you acorn.
You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Why are defending Helena
when she doesn't want your help?
Leave Hermia alone. Don't talk about Helena
or try to take her side.
If you keep treating Hermia so poorly,
you'll regret it.
Now she holds me not;
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Hermia's no longer holding me.
No follow me, if you dare, to fight
to determine who gets Helena.
Follow! nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jole.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Follow behind you? Never! I'll walk side-by-side with you.
You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
Nay, go not back.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
All this fighting is your fault, Helena.
Stay here.
I will not trust you, I,
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though, to run away.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
I don't trust you, Hermia.
I'm getting away from you.
You may be a better fighter,
but my long legs make me a faster runner.
HELENA leaves
I am amazed, and know not what to say.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
I don't know what to think or say about any of this.
Exit pursuing HELENA
HERMIA leaves to chase HELENA
This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest,
Or else committ'st thy knaveries willfully.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Puck, this is your fault. You keep making mistakes.
You caused this mischief purposefully.
Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
By the Athenian garment be had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes;
And so far am I glad it so did sort
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Believe me, king, it's an honest mistake.
All you told me was I'd know the man
by his Athenian clothing.
It's not my fault
that I sprinkled flower juice on the wrong Athenian's eyes.
I'm happy it worked out this way.
This situation is hilarious.
Thou see'st 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 testy rivals so astray
As one come not within another's way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
And from each other look thou lead them thus,
Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep:
Then crush this herb into Lysander's eye;
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might,
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision,
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I'll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmed eye release
From monster's view, and all things shall be peace.
OBERON (Fairy King)
You see Lysander and Demetrius seek a place to fight.
Go Puck, and darken the night.
Cover the stars
with a thick fog as black as Acheron (hell),
to leave these rivals astray
so they cannot find each other.
Mimic Lysander's voice,
insult Demetrius, and lead him away from Lysander.
Then mimic Demetrius's voice,
insult Lysander, and lead him away from Demetrius.
Lead them astray from one another
until they are so tired the sleep like the dead.
[OBERON gives flower to PUCK]
Then sprinkle the juice of this flower into Lysander's eyes
This flower can reverse the enchantment,
and return his sight to normal.
When they wake up, all of this trouble,
will seem like a dream or hallucination,
and the lovers will return to Athens,
friends together until they die.
While you do this,
I'll get the Indian boy from Queen Titania.
Then I'll reverse her spell, she'll stop loving the donkey,
and peace will be restored.
My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully exile themselves from light
And must for aye consort with black-brow'd night.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
My fairy king,
we must act quickly. The darkness will fade fast,
and the sun will rise soon.
When the sun rises, the ghosts will
return to their graveyards.
The spirits of the damned
will return to their roadway and river beds
where their wormy bodies rest,
for fear the sunlight will expose their sins of suicide.
Their shame keeps them in the darkness.
But we are spirits of another sort:
I with the morning's love have oft made sport,
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
We may effect this business yet ere day.
OBERON (Fairy King)
We are spirits of a different kind.
I frolic about in the morning
and stroll through the forest like a ranger
when the fiery-red sun rises
shining on the ocean
and turning the salty green seawater into gold.
But go quickly. Don't delay.
We have a lot to accomplish before sunrise.
OBERON leaves.
Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear'd in field and town:
Goblin, lead them up and down.
Here comes one.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down.
They fear me in the field and the town.
Fairy, lead them up and down.
Here comes an Athenian now.
LYSANDER re-enters.
Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
Where are you, arrogant Demetrius? Speak up now.
Here, villain; drawn and ready.
Where art thou?
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
I'm here, you villain. My sword is drawn and ready to fight.
Where are you?
I will be with thee straight.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
I'll be with you shortly.
Follow me, then, To plainer ground.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Follow me to an area better for fighting.
Exit LYSANDER, as following the voice
LYSANDER leaves, following the voice.
DEMETRIUS re-enters
Lysander! speak again:
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Lysander, speak up!
You coward, have you run away from me?
Speak up! Are you hiding in a bush?
Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
Telling the bushes that thou look'st for wars,
And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come, thou child;
I'll whip thee with a rod: he is defiled
That draws a sword on thee.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
You coward, are you bragging to stars?
Telling the bushes how you're looking for a fight?
But you won't come here? Come to me, you big baby.
I'll whip you with a stick.
It's beneath me to fight you with a sword.
Yea, art thou there?
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Yes, are you there?
Follow my voice: we'll try no manhood here.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Follow my voice, we can't fight here.
LYSANDER re-enters
He goes before me and still dares me on:
When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
The villain is much lighter-heel'd than I:
I follow'd fast, but faster he did fly;
That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
And here will rest me.
[Lies down]
Come, thou gentle day!
For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
I'll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
LYSANDER (Enchanted to love Helena)
He's ahead of me and still eggs me on.
Each time I arrive where he calls from, he's gone.
Demetrius, that jerk, is much faster than me.
I followed quickly, but he ran faster.
I am lost in the dark.
I may as well get some rest.
[Lies down]
Hurry up, daytime!
If you shine your light,
I'll be able to find Demetrius and get my revenge.
PUCK and DEMETRIUS re-enter
Ho, ho, ho, ho! Coward, why comest thou not?
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Ha, ha, ha, ha! You coward, why aren't you coming to fight me?
Abide me, if thou darest; for well I wot
Thou runn'st before me, shifting every place,
And darest not stand, nor look me in the face.
Where art thou?
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Wait for me, if you dare.
You run ahead of me and hide,
and dare not stop and face me.
Where are you now?
Come hither: I am here.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Come here. I am right 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.
[Lies down and sleeps]
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
No, you're making fun of me. You shall regret it,
if I find you in the daylight.
Now, get out of here. I'm tired,
and will sleep on the cold ground.
I'll find you in the morning.
[Lies down and sleeps]
HELENA re-enters
O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy hour! 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.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Oh what a tedious and tiresome night!
I hope it ends soon! I hope the sun rises,
so I may return to Athens by daylight,
and get away from these detestable people.
Sometimes sleep temporarily cures sadness.
Sleep, take me away from myself!
[Lies down and sleeps]
Yet but three? Come one more;
Two of both kinds makes up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad:
Cupid is a knavish lad,
Thus to make poor females mad.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Only three people? Where's the other one?
Two ladies and two gentlemen make four people.
Here she comes, miserable and sad.
Cupid is a trickster,
making these poor women so crazy.
HERMIA re-enters
Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
I can no further crawl, no further go;
My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
Here will I rest me till the break of day.
Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!
[Lies down]
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
I've never been so tired and depressed.
I'm wet with dew and scratched by brambles.
I can't go on any further.
My legs refuse to walk farther.
I will sleep here until morning.
I hope Lysander's not hurt fighting Demetrius!
[Lies down and sleeps]
On the ground
Sleep sound:
I'll apply
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
[Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER's eye]
When thou wakest,
Thou takest
True delight
In the sight
Of thy former lady's eye:
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown:
Jack shall have Jill;
Nought shall go ill;
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Sleep soundly mortals
on the ground.
I'll put
this cure
into your eyes.
[Squeezes flower juice into LYSANDER's eyes]
When you wake up,
you'll again
be delighted
to see
There's a well-known saying
that Jack will have Jill.
Nothing will go wrong.
The man will have his woman again,
and everything will be okay.
PUCK leaves

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

Lesson 33: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act III, 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 III, Scene ii of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Oberon is delighted to learn that Titania's fallen in love with donkey-headed Bottom. Puck reports that he successfully spelled an Athenian's eyes, but they soon realize he's spelled the wrong Athenian when they see Demetrius pursuing Hermia through the woods. To fix the mistake, when Demetrius falls asleep, Puck goes off in search of Helena while Oberon sprinkles flower juice on Demetrius' eyes. Lysander, spelled to love Helena, is now trying to convince Helena he loves her. Demetrius wakes, spots Helena, and now both men are enchanted to vie for Helena's love. Helena and Hermia are bewildered by the men's actions. Hermia is distraught that Demetrius no longer loves her, and Helena believes everyone is conspiring against her. When Demetrius and Lysander decide to fight over Helena, Oberon orders Puck to cover the woods in fog and to keep the men separated until they fall asleep. The four Athenians fall asleep, and Puck squeezes a cure into Lysander's eyes.


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
  • Attendants (servants) to Theseus and Hippolyta

The Fairies:

  • OBERON, King of the Fairies

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 large island in southern 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.