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

Lesson 34: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act IV, Scene i

Performer: Librivox - Group

ACT IV, SCENE i. The wood. Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending; OBERON behind unseen
ACT IV, SCENE i. The wood. TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, and other FAIRIES enter while OBERON enters behind them unseen
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.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
[to BOTTOM] Come, sit down on the flowers,
while I caress your lovely cheeks
adorn your head with roses,
and kiss your lovely large ears, my darling.
Where's Peaseblossom?
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Where's Peaseblossom?
I'm here.
Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where's Monsieur Cobweb?
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where's Mr. Cobweb?
COBWEB (Fairy)
I'm here.
Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur,
get you your weapons in your hand,
and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee
on the top of a thistle;
and, good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag.
Do not fret yourself
too much in the action, monsieur;
and, good monsieur,
have a care the honey-bag break not;
I would be loath to have you
overflown with a honey-bag, signior.
Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Mr. Cobweb, my good man,
go get your weapons
and kill me a bumblebee
on top of a flower.
And good sir, bring me its honey.
Don't tire yourself
too much, sir.
And good sir,
make sure the honey-bag doesn't break.
I'd hate to see you
drowned in honey, sir.
Where is Mr. Mustardseed?
I'm here.
Give me your neaf, Monsieur Mustardseed.
Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Lend me your hand, Mr. Mustardseed.
Please, stop bowing, my good man.
What's your will?
What can I do for you?
Nothing, good monsieur,
but to help Cavalry Cobweb to scratch.
I must to the barber's, monsieur;
for 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.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Nothing much, good sir,
other than helping Sir Cobweb scratch me.
I must get to the barber's, sir.
For I think my face is
quite hairy, and
I am such a sensitive donkey,
if my hair tickles me,
I must scratch.
What, wilt thou hear some music,
my sweet love?
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Will you hear some music, sweetheart?
I have a reasonable good ear in music.
Let's have the tongs and the bones.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
I have a good ear for music.
Let's hear the triangle and the clappers.
Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Please tell me what you'd like to eat, sweetheart.
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.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
I'd like some grass.
I could eat some nice, dry oats.
I'd also like some hay,
good hay, sweet hay, has no equal.
I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
I have a adventurous fairy that will get
you some fresh nuts from a squirrel's stash.
I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me:
I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
I'd rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
But please, don't let your fairies bother me.
I'm suddenly very sleepy.
Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, 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!
[They sleep]
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Sleep sweetheart, and I will hold you in my arms.
Fairies, get lost in all directions.
I'll wrap my arms around you,
like woodbine around the honeysuckle
and ivy around the branches of the elm tree.
Oh, how I love you! How I adore you!
[They sleep]
OBERON advances. Enter PUCK.
OBERON advances. PUCK enters.
Welcome, good Robin.
See'st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favors from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets' eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her
And she in mild terms begg'd my patience,
I then did ask of her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That, he awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night's accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
[Touching her eyes with an herb]
Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see:
Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Welcome, good Puck.
Isn't this a sweet sight?
I'm beginning to feel sorry for Titania.
I recently saw her near the forest,
seeking the love of this ugly donkey.
I did scold her and argue with her.
She's crowned
the hairy head of this donkey
with a wreath of sweet-smelling flowers.
The pearls of dew on the flowers looked like tears of despair.
When I teased her and she begged me to stop,
I asked her for the Indian boy.
She gave him to me, and had her fairy
bring the boy to my home in fairy land.
Now that I have the boy, I'll reverse
this horrible enchantment of her eyes.
Dear Puck, take the donkey head
off the head of this Athenian pig.
So that he may return to Athens with the others,
all back to normal.
The Athenians will believe what happened last night,
was only a troubling dream.
But first I will undo Titania's enchantment.
[Oberon squeezes the flower cure into Titania's eyes]
Be like you used to be,
see like you used to see,
Diana's flower has the power to reverse
the enchantment of Cupid's love flower.
Now wake up, my sweet queen, Titania.
My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour'd of an ass.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Oberon, I've had such crazy dreams. I dreamed I loved a donkey.
There lies your love.
OBERON (Fairy King)
There lies your darling donkey.
How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
How did these things happen?
Oh, my eyes hate that donkey's face now!
Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Be quiet a bit. Puck, take off the donkey head.
Titania, have the fairies play some music.
Make the humans all sleep the sleep of the dead.
Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Fairies, play some music to keep these humans asleep.
Now, when thou wakest, with thine
own fool's eyes peep.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
[Takes the donkey head off BOTTOM]
When you wake up, you'll see again with your own foolish eyes.
Sound, music! [Still music.]
Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will tomorrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Fairies, keep playing music! [Music continues to play.]
Titania, take my hands
and dance with me to keep them asleep.
Now that we've made up,
tomorrow at midnight we'll
dance at Duke Theseus' wedding
and bless his marriage.
There Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetris, will be
married alongside Theseus and Hippolyta, with great happiness.
Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Listen, fairy king, I hear the lark.
Morning's arrived.
Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.
OBERON (Fairy King)
Then, Titania, we'll travel quietly and sadly,
chasing the nighttime around the globe,
swifter than the orbiting 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.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen)
Come, Oberon, and while we run
Tell me what happened last night.
How I wound up sleeping
with these humans on the ground.
Horns sound within
A horn blows
THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and their servants enter
Go, one of you, find out the forester;
For now our observation is perform'd;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; Go:
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
One of you find the forest ranger.
Since we're done with our rituals and have the rest of the day,
We'll hunt so Hippolyta can enjoy the music of the dogs barking.
Unleash the dogs in the western valley.
Now go and find the forest ranger.
Exit an Attendant
One servant leaves to fetch the ranger
We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
We will climb to the top of the mountain, Hippolyta.
We'll listen
to the echoes of the barking hunting dogs.
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem'd all one mutual cry: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
HIPPOLYTA (Amazon Queen)
Once, when I was with Hercules and Cadmus
in a Crete forest, the Spartan dogs trapped a bear.
I'd never heard such a heroic barking before.
The trees, the skies, everything near
combined the echoes into a single cry.
I'd never heard such thunderous music before.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tunable
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
My dogs are also Spartan.
They have the same coloring and
long ears that brush dew off the grass.
They have crooked knees and necks like the Spartan dogs.
They may be slow, but their barks ring like bells.
Their barks are in tune.
No one can match their barking,
Not Crete, Sparta, or Thessaly.
Listen and judge for yourself.
But wait, who are these people sleeping here?
My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
This Helena, old Nedar's Helena:
I wonder of their being here together.
EGEUS (Hermia's father)
My lord Theseus, this is my daughter, Hermia.
This is Lysander, Demetrius, and Nadar's daughter, Helena.
I wonder how they ended up here together.
No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
They must have rose early to watch
the rite of May, and learning we'd be here,
came to celebrate with us.
But tell me, Egeus. Isn't this the day
that Hermia must tell you whether she'll
marry Demetrius, become a nun, or choose death?
It is, my lord.
EGEUS (Hermia's father)
It is, my lord.
Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
Tell the hunters to blow their horns and wake them up.
Horns and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER, HERMIA, and HELENA awake and start up
Horns blow. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER, HERMIA, and HELEN wake up
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
Good morning, friends. Valentine's day is over.
Have you formed couples now?
Pardon, my lord.
LYSANDER (Loves Hermia)
Excuse me, my lord.
He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.
He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.
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?
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
Please, stand up.
I know Lysander and Demetrius are jealous rivals.
How are you here together,
as hate isn't too far from jealousy,
sleeping side-by-side without fear?
My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear,
I cannot truly say how I came here;
But, as I think,--for truly would I speak,
And now do I bethink me, so it is,--
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be,
Without the peril of the Athenian law.
LYSANDER (Loves Hermia)
My lord, I'm still only half awake,
but I swear I don't know how I ended up here.
All I truly know
is that I came here with Hermia.
We were fleeing Athens
to escape Athenian law and be married.
Enough, enough, my lord; you have 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.
EGEUS (Hermia's father)
You have enough, my lord.
to punish Lysander according to law.
Lysander and Hermia were running away
to thwart the plans of Demetrius and myself
Stolen Demetrius' wife and me of my wishes
Of my wishes that Hermia marry Demetrius.
My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood;
And I in fury hither follow'd them,
Fair Helena in fancy following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,--
But by some power it is,--my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud
Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betroth'd ere I saw Hermia:
But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
My lord, Helen told me of Lysander and Hermia's plan
to flee through these woods.
In my anger, I followed them,
and Helena followed me.
But, my good lord, I don't know by what power,
But somehow my love for Hermia
melted like the snow.
My love for Hermia is now like a memory of some silly toy
that I adored long ago during childhood.
Now with all my belief and my heart, the thing that pleases my eyes,
is only Helena. My lord,
I was once engaged to Helena before I saw Hermia.
Then I hated Helena, like hating food during a sickness.
Now that I'm healthy, I love food again.
Now I wish for Helena, love her, long for her,
and will be true to her forever.
Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit:
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens; three and three,
We'll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, Hippolyta.
THESEUS (Duke of Athens)
Lovely couples, you are in luck.
We'll discuss this later.
Egeus, I'll no longer force Hermia to marry Demetrius.
For Hermia and Lysander along with Helena and Demetrius will be married
in the temple with Hippolyta and myself.
Now that morning has passed,
we'll save hunting for another time.
Let's return to Athens.
We three couples will enjoy a great feast.
Come with me, Hippolyta.
THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and their servants leave
These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
What happened seems far off and fuzzy,
like far-off mountains that look like clouds.
Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When everything seems double.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
My memories are foggy, like I'm seeing double.
So methinks:
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
Me too.
Although I stumbled upon Demetrius like some lost jewel.
He's mine, but might be lost again.
It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream.
Do not you think the duke was here,
and bid us follow him?
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
Perhaps we're still sleeping and dreaming.
Do you really think the Duke of Athens
was here in the forest and
asked us to follow him back to Athens?
Yea; and my father.
HERMIA (Loves Lysander)
Yes, the Duke was here. My father was here alse.
And Hippolyta.
HELENA (Loves Demetrius)
And Hippolyta too.
And he did bid us follow to the temple.
LYSANDER (Loves Hermia)
And the Duke asked us to follow him to the temple.
Why, then, we are awake: let's follow him
And by the way let us recount our dreams.
DEMETRIUS (Enchanted to love Helena)
We remember it the same. We must be awake.
Let's follow the Duke back to Athens.
On the way back, we'll tell each other about our dreams.
Exeunt. As they go out, BOTTOM awakes.
LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA leave. As they depart, BOTTOM awakes.
When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer:
my next is, 'Most fair Pyramus.' Heigh-ho!
Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout,
the tinker! Starveling! 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 Dream,
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.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Let me know when my cue comes, and I will answer.
The line is, 'Most fair Pyramus.'
Where is everyone? Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender!
Snout, the tinker! Starveling!
I fell asleep and they left me here.
What a strange dream.
It was so strange, that I can't describe it.
I'd be a donkey, if I tried to describe it.
I thought I was...I thought I had...but I'd be a fool
If I said what I thought I had.
No one has ever seen or heard or tasted
or imagined anything like my dream.
I will ask Peter Quince
to write a song about my dream.
I'll call it Bottom's Dream
because it has no bottom.
I will sing it during the latter part of a play
in front of Duke Theseus.
Perhaps, to make it more touching,
I'll sing it when a lady character dies.
BOTTOM leaves

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

Lesson 34: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act IV, Scene i

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 IV, Scene i of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Titania and her fairies dote on Nick Bottom, scratching his head and stealing him honey from the honeybees. We learn that offstage, Titania has given Oberon the little Indian boy. Oberon takes pity on Titania when he sees her sleeping entwined with Bottom and applies the antidote to her eyes. He also orders Puck to remove the donkey head from Bottom. When Titania awakens, she's horrified to learn her love for Bottom was not a dream. Titania and Oberon reconcile. Out on a morning hunt, Theseus, Egeus, and Hippolyta stumble across the four young Athenians as they sleep. When the four awaken, Lysander is once again in love with Hermia, and Demetrius is still spelled to love Helena. Theseus orders that the two couples will marry. Bottom awakens and finds himself alone and back to normal.


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

  • THESEUS, Duke of Athens
  • HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus
  • EGEUS, Father to Hermia
  • 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

Referred to as the Players, Clowns, or Mechanicals:

  • BOTTOM, the Weaver

The Fairies:

  • OBERON, King of the Fairies
  • TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies
  • COBWEB, Fairy
  • MOTH, Fairy
  • 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.
  • Point to the location of Greece on the map of the world.
  • To which continent does Greece belong?

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.