A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act II, Scene 1
In the woods near Athens.
- Enter a Fairy at one door and Robin Goodfellow
- (Puck) at another.
- How now, spirit, whither wander you?
A Fairy2 - 17
- Over hill, over dale,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoMeans "through" but is pronounced with two syllables to match the meter. Mar 4, 2019 MikoThese lines have been compared to a line from "The Faerie Queene" by Edmund Spenser, published around 1590: "Through hills and dales, through bushes and through breres". It may be that one writer copied the other.
- Over park, over pale,
- Thorough flood, thorough fire,
- I do wander every where,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoPronounced with two syllables to preserve the meter.
- And I serve the Fairy Queen,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoThis phrase refers to "fairy rings" - circles of mushrooms, or circles of grass that is colored differently than the surrounding. These rings are caused by a fungus that grows outwards in a circle. They were believed to have been caused by fairies dancing in circles. Notice that at the beginning of Act II, scene 2, Titania calls for a roundel - a dance done in a circle.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikoguards or attendants for a person of royalty
- In their gold coats spots you see:
Mar 4, 2019 Mikogifts of affection or loyalty
- In those freckles live their savors.
- I must go seek some dewdrops here,
- And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikoa derogatory term meaning a lout or an oaf
- Our Queen and all her elves come here anon.
Robin18 - 31
- The King doth keep his revels here tonight;
- Take heed the Queen come not within his sight;
Mar 4, 2019 MikoFierce or angry. Our modern word "felon" descends from this word.
- Because that she as her attendant hath
- A lovely boy stolen from an Indian king;
Mar 4, 2019 Miko"Changeling" usually refers to a fairy baby that has been left in place of a stolen human baby. In this case, however, it refers to the stolen human baby with no implication that another baby was left in its place.
- And jealous Oberon would have the child
- Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild;
- But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
- Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy.
- And now they never meet in grove or green,
- By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
Feb 28, 2019 Mikoquarrel
- Creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there.
A Fairy32 - 42
Mar 4, 2019 MikoPronounced as one syllable to maintain iambic pentameter.
Apr 24, 2019 Mikomischievous Apr 11, 2019 Mikomischievous
- Call’d Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he
Apr 25, 2019 Mikovillages
Mar 4, 2019 Mikoa small hand operated mill for grinding grain
Mar 4, 2019 MikoWithout success. So the huswife churns but produces no butter. Mar 4, 2019 MikoHousewife. Pronounced "hussif", which works with iambic pentameter.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikothe yeasty froth on beer which was used to leaven bread
Mar 4, 2019 MikoThe grammatical accuracy of this sentence has been called into question, and has been supposedly fixed by some editors. However, the consensus is that "frights" matches with "he", but "skim", "labor", "make", and "mislead" match with "you".
Mar 4, 2019 Miko"Hobgoblin" is another name for Robin Goodfellow. "Hob" is a shortened form of "Robin". A goblin is any of a variety of scary or mischievous creatures from fairy tales.
- You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
- Are not you he?
Robin43 - 59
Mar 4, 2019 MikoSome editors feel that there is a syllable missing in these two lines. Taken together, they don't quite form a correct line of iambic pentameter like the lines around them. Some editors add "Fairy" to make the meter work: Are not you he? / Fairy, thou speakest 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;
Mar 4, 2019 MikoA gossip’s bowl was originally a cup used as part of a christening ceremony. The term evolved to mean a cup containing a spiced drink that was passed around among friends.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikocrabapple
- And when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
Mar 4, 2019 Mikothe fleshy part of the throat below the mouth
Mar 2, 2019 Mikoan old woman or a woman who talks a lot
- Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
- Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoDifferent ideas have been advanced to explain why the the old lady cries "tailor". 1) She cries "tailor" because she finds herself squatting on the floor in the way a tailor squats to do work. 2) The word somehow descends from the word "thief" (although we have been unable to find any source that clarifies that descent) 3) The word sounds like "tail" meaning her buttocks, and so she is crying "Oh, my butt!"
It might be worth noting that although modern texts put "tailor" in quotes, both the First Quarto and the First Folio do not have it in quotes, and, furthermore, it is spelled "tailour". Whether or not those details have any significance could be the subject of further speculation.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikoa choir, in this sense meaning a company of people
Mar 4, 2019 Mikowaxes, increases Mar 4, 2019 Mikosneeze
- A merrier hour was never wasted there.
Feb 28, 2019 MikoNumerous scholars have suspected that this line was intended to have another syllable in order to complete the meter. The First Folio reads "But roome Fairy, heere comes Oberon." Henry Irving changed it to "But room, room, fairy! Here comes Oberon." The 1905 Arden Shakespeare changed it to "But room, good, fairy! Here comes Oberon." Still other scholars, such as Samuel Johnson, have suggested that "fairy" is pronounced with three syllables.
- And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
- Enter the King of Fairies Oberon at one door
- with his Train, and the Queen Titania at another
- with hers.
- Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
Titania62 - 63
- What, jealous Oberon? Fairies, skip hence—
- I have forsworn his bed and company.
- Tarry, rash wanton! Am not I thy lord?
Titania65 - 74
Mar 4, 2019 MikoTitania says that if Oberon is her lord, then she must be his wife. She then goes on to accuse him of infidelity.
- When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
- And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoIn Shakespeare's day, "corn" referred to cereals (i.e. grassy grains). So this phrase refers to playing a pipe made from some grassy grain, probably oats.
Mar 4, 2019 MikoCorin and Phillida were a shepherd and shepherdess in traditional love poetry. Titania is accusing Oberon of disguising himself as a shepherd in order to woo a country girl.
- Come from the farthest steep of India?
- But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoA buskin was a boot that went up to at least the calf.
- To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
- To give their bed joy and prosperity.
Oberon75 - 81
- How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoCast suspicion on my reputation
- Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
- Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night
- From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
- And make him with fair Aegles break his faith,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoOberon lists women that Theseus loved, then deserted. Oberon blames Titania for Theseus' actions.
Titania82 - 118
Mar 4, 2019 Mikolies
Mar 4, 2019 Mikothe beginning of midsummer
- Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
Mar 4, 2019 Mikoa fountain with a pebbly bottom Apr 24, 2019 Mikocovered with or surrounded by rushes
Mar 4, 2019 MikoA variant of "margin". In this case, the edge of a sea.
- To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
- But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Mar 4, 2019 MikoTitani is saying that the winds made music for them ("piping") but did so in vain because they could not dance to the music.
- As in revenge, have suck’d up from the sea
- Contagious fogs; which, falling in the land,
Mar 4, 2019 MikoPaltry. Titania is saying that the storms were so severe that even small rivers overflowed their banks. Apr 23, 2019 Mikoflooded
Mar 4, 2019 Mikocontainers
- The ox hath therefore stretch’d his yoke in vain,
Apr 24, 2019 Mikoworked in vain
- Hath rotted ere his youth attain’d a beard.
Mar 5, 2019 Mikoa pen for animals
Mar 5, 2019 Mikoflesh of an animal that has died from disease
Mar 5, 2019 MikoIn nine men's morris, a game board is cut into turf. Two players compete using playing pieces called "men". Each player has nine men.
- And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
Mar 5, 2019 MikoThese lines refer to mazes that were cut into lawns. The mazes were kept visible because players continually ran along the paths. Because of the bad weather, nobody ran along the paths and so the paths disappeared.
- The human mortals want their winter here;
Mar 5, 2019 MikoThese confusing lines have been variously explained. Some editors change "here" to "cheer", meaning that because of the disastrous summer, winter is bleak because there is no food, and so there are no winter celebrations. J. S. Armour breaks the lines into two sentences, the first meaning that people wish it were winter, and the second meaning that hymns have not been sung to the moon (as referenced in the next line).
- Therefore the moon (the governess of floods),
Apr 25, 2019 Mikowettens
- That rheumatic diseases do abound.
Mar 5, 2019 MikoThis word can have one or both of two meanings. 1) Extreme and harmful weather conditions. 2) The disagreement between Titania and Oberon.
- The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
- Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
Mar 5, 2019 MikoWinter. Used poetically to present winter as a person.
Mar 5, 2019 MikoA wreath of flowers worn on the head.
Mar 5, 2019 MikoThe image here is of a wreath of summery flowers set on the head of old man winter.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikofertile May 24, 2019 Mikoexchange
Mar 5, 2019 MikoThe seasons change their usual appearances. Mar 5, 2019 Mikoconfused
- By their increase, now knows not which is which.
- And this same progeny of evils comes
- From our debate, from our dissension;
Apr 29, 2019 MikoIn this speech, Titania might be referring to the extremely wet weather in 1594 which caused massive loss of crops.
Oberon119 - 122
- Do you amend it then; it lies in you.
- Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
- I do but beg a little changeling boy,
Apr 11, 2019 Mikoa boy attendant
Titania123 - 139
- Set your heart at rest;
- The fairy land buys not the child of me.
Mar 5, 2019 Mikoa woman who has taken a vow, in this case to serve Titania
- And in the spiced Indian air, by night,
- Full often hath she gossip’d by my side,
Mar 5, 2019 MikoNeptune was the Roman god of the ocean
Mar 5, 2019 Mikowatching the trading ships
- When we have laugh’d to see the sails conceive
Mar 5, 2019 MikoThe sails look like pregnant bellies, the winds having made them pregnant. "Wanton" means sexually promiscuous or playful.
- Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,
- Following (her womb then rich with my young squire)
- Would imitate, and sail upon the land
- To fetch me trifles, and return again,
- As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
- 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?
Titania141 - 144
- Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding-day.
- If you will patiently dance in our round,
- And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
Mar 5, 2019 Mikostay away from the places you frequent
- Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Titania146 - 147
- Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away!
- We shall chide downright, if I longer stay.
- Exeunt Titania and her Train.
Oberon148 - 156
- 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
Mar 5, 2019 Mikobeautiful sounds
- That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
- And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
Apr 24, 2019 Mikomermaid's
- I remember.
Oberon158 - 177
- That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
- Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
- Cupid all arm’d. A certain aim he took
Mar 5, 2019 MikoIn general, a virgin. In this case, possibly one of the virgin priestesses at the temple of Vesta in Rome. Note a few lines later Oberon references her as a "vot’ress", a woman who has taken a vow to serve a deity. Many scholars believe this is a reference to Queen Elizabeth, "The Virgin Queen".
- And loos’d his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
- As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
- But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
- Quench’d in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon,
- And the imperial vot’ress passed on,
Mar 8, 2019 Mikofree from thoughts of love
- Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
- It fell upon a little western flower,
- Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
Mar 5, 2019 MikoA viola tricolor, also called a heartsease or a field pansy. Oberon says that the flower had been white but became purple. The viola tricolor has three colors: white, purple, and yellow. Any of those colors might be dominant or missing depending on growing conditions.
- Fetch me that flow’r; the herb I showed thee once.
- 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
Mar 6, 2019 MikoA large sea monster or a whale. The leviathan is mentioned in the Bible and in Hebrew poetry.
Robin178 - 179
- I’ll put a girdle round about the earth
Mar 9, 2019 MikoForty was often used as an indefinite number. So Robin was not necessarily saying that he would literally take forty minutes in his task.
Oberon180 - 191
- 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
- (Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
- On meddling monkey, or on busy ape),
- She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
- And ere I take this charm from off her sight
Mar 31, 2019 MikoOberon will later use this herb to remove the spell from Lysander's and Titania's eyes.
Apr 24, 2019 Mikorelinquish
- But who comes here? I am invisible,
- And I will overhear their conference.
- Enter Demetrius, Helena following him.
Demetrius192 - 198
- I love thee not; therefore pursue me not.
- Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
- The one I’ll slay; the other slayeth me.
- Thou toldst me they were stol’n unto this wood;
Mar 6, 2019 MikoExtremely angry. Pronounced "wood".
- Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
- Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Helena199 - 202
Mar 6, 2019 MikoIn Shakespeare's time, the word "adamant" as a noun had different meanings. In this sense, Helena is probably referring to lodestone, a form of iron oxide that is magnetic. So "You draw me" calls him magnetic and "you hard-hearted" compares his heart to a rock. The word also came to mean someone who is very charismatic.
- But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
- Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw,
- And I shall have no power to follow you.
Demetrius203 - 205
- 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?
Helena206 - 214
- And even for that do I love you the more;
Mar 9, 2019 MikoIn addition to meaning the type of dog, spaniel referred to someone who was excessively submissive.
- The more you beat me, I will fawn on you.
- Use me but as your spaniel; spurn me, strike me,
- Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
- Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
- What worser place can I beg in your love
- (And yet a place of high respect with me)
- Than to be used as you use your dog?
Demetrius215 - 216
- 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.
Demetrius218 - 223
Apr 11, 2019 Mikospeak poorly of
- 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.
Helena224 - 230
Mar 9, 2019 Mikobecause
- 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.
- Then how can it be said I am alone,
- When all the world is here to look on me?
Demetrius231 - 232
Mar 8, 2019 Miko"Brake" is an alternate word for "bracken", i.e., a thicket.
- And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
Helena233 - 238
- The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
- Run when you will; the story shall be chang’d:
Mar 8, 2019 MikoThe Greek god Apollo pursued Daphne. To escape him, she prayed to be transformed into a laurel tree and was so transformed.
Mar 8, 2019 Mikoa mythical, fierce creature with the body of a lion and the head, wings and claws of an eagle Mar 9, 2019 Mikoa female deer of at least three years of age
- Makes speed to catch the tiger—bootless speed,
- When cowardice pursues and valor flies.
Demetrius239 - 241
Helena242 - 248
- Ay, in the temple, in the town, 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 woo’d, and were not made to woo.
- Exit Demetrius.
- I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
- To die upon the hand I love so well.
Oberon249 - 251
- Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this grove,
- Thou shalt fly him, and he shall seek thy love.
- Enter Puck.
- Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
- Ay, there it is.
Oberon253 - 272
- I pray thee give it me.
Mar 4, 2019 Mikoblossoms
- Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Mar 8, 2019 Mikohoneysuckle
Mar 5, 2019 Mikoa type of rose, also called sweet-briar
- There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
- Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
Mar 15, 2019 Mikosheds
Mar 8, 2019 Mikoclothing
- 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
Mar 9, 2019 MikoThese two lines (and others with rhymes based on short 'a' and short 'o') have prompted speculation about how Shakespeare pronounced words like "man" and "on". These lines don't rhyme as we pronounce them today. Did Shakespeare pronounce "man" like "mon", or did he pronounce "on" like "ann"? Or perhaps there is some other explanation for this rhyme.
- Effect it with some care, that he may prove
- More fond on her than she upon her love;
- And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
- Fear not, my lord! Your servant shall do so.