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A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act III, Scene 2

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act III, Scene 2

Another part of the woods.

Robin tells Oberon about giving Bottom an ass' head and Titania falling in love with him. Robin also says he put the love potion in “the Athenian's” eyes, still not realizing it was the wrong Athenian. Oberon is delighted with the news. Hermia and Demetrius enter, and Robin admits that Demetrius is not the man that Robin enchanted. Demetrius tries to woo Hermia, but Hermia is convinced that Demetrius has killed Lysander. Hermia exits. Demetrius decides it is best not to follow her while she is so angry. Instead, he lies down on the ground and goes to sleep. Oberon instructs Robin to find Helena and bring her to where Demetrius lies. While Robin does so, Oberon enchants Demetrius' eyes with the flower's love juice. Helena and Lysander enter. Lysander is still in love with Helena and she still believes he is mocking her. Their arguing wakes Demetrius who immediately also falls in love with Helena. Hermia enters and chaos ensues. Lysander and Demetrius argue over who loves Helena more. Hermia is baffled why Lysander has abandoned her. Helena believes all three are making fun of her. Eventually the situation degenerates into accusations, name calling, and threats of violence. With Robin aiding in the confusion, the fours lovers wander around separately in the forest until they all fall asleep. Robin applies the love juice to Lysander's eyes so that he will fall in love with Hermia when he awakes.
  1. Enter King of Fairies, solus.
    Jul 6, 2021 Miko
    A stage direction meaning “alone”. “Solus” was applied to males and “sola” to females.
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto has both Oberon and Robin enter at the beginning of the scene. The First Folio has Robin enter after Oberon says “Which she must dote on in extremity”. The Folio's choice makes more sense because Robin enters and then Oberon says “Here comes my messenger”.

Oberon

1 - 5
  1. I wonder if Titania be awak’d;
  2. Then what it was that next came in her eye,
  3. Which she must dote on in extremity.
  4. Enter Puck.
  5. Here comes my messenger. How now, mad spirit?
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    unruly or wild
  6. What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Goings on during the night. This phrase might also mean revels or disorder during the night.
    Mar 27, 2019 Miko
    populated

Robin

6 - 34
  1. My mistress with a monster is in love.
  2. Near to her close and consecrated bower,
    Jul 3, 2021 Miko
    hidden
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    private or secret
  3. While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    asleep or drowsy
  4. A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Fools, simpletons, or clowns. The origin of the word “patch” to mean “fool” is uncertain. It may have originated as the nickname of Thomas Sexten, a jester. It might also have evolved from the Italian word “pazzo” which means “crazy” or “fool”.
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    unsophisticated
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    a general purpose term for lower class workers
  5. That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    They work for a living.
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    booths or workshops where products were sold
  6. Were met together to rehearse a play
  7. Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day.
  8. The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Yet another insulting term for someone who is unsophisticated.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    Robin is calling Bottom the stupidest of a stupid group.
  9. Who Pyramus presented, in their sport,
    Apr 24, 2019 Miko
    play
  10. Forsook his scene, and ent’red in a brake;
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    exited the stage
  11. When I did him at this advantage take,
  12. An ass’s nole I fixed on his head.
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    The head. Some modern editions use the more modern spelling of “noll”.
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    pronounced with two syllables
  13. Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
  14. And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    an actor who engages in comedy or cheap theatrics
  15. As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    someone who hunts wild birds
  16. Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort
    Mar 20, 2021 Miko
    having red or brown colored heads
    Mar 20, 2021 Miko
    a type of crow
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Russet is a cheap, reddish, woolen cloth that was popular among the lower class. A chough is a small chattery bird, usually applied to the jackdaw. The jackdaw, however, has a black and gray head (pate), not reddish. Different explanations have been proposed to resolve this discrepancy. One is that russet could also mean gray; some fruits and vegetables with gray skins are described as russet. Another possibility is that Robin refers to some other bird. As always with Shakespeare, there is also the possibility that he and/or the compositor wasn't concerned with accuracy and so there is no resolution to this discrepancy.
  17. (Rising and cawing at the gun’s report),
  18. Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky,
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    go in different directions
  19. So, at his sight, away his fellows fly;
    Jul 8, 2021 Miko
    When they saw Bottom, they flew away like birds that hear gun fire.
  20. And at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls;
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Fairies could supposedly stamp the ground hard enough to shake the earth. The only explanation given for why Robin says “our” instead of “my” is that he's being silly. Some editors suggest that the phrase should really be “at a stump”, meaning the mechanicals tripped over a stump.
  21. He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
  22. Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong,
  23. Made senseless things begin to do them wrong,
  24. For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
  25. Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch.
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Robin has both a specific and larger meaning to this sentence. Literally, he means that the briers and thorns caught the mechanicals' clothes as they ran away. In a larger sense, “from yielders all things catch” means that everything steals from or preys on those those who surrender or are timid.
  26. I led them on in this distracted fear,
  27. And left sweet Pyramus translated there;
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    Robin is probably sarcastic when he calls Bottom “sweet”.
  28. When in that moment (so it came to pass)
  29. Titania wak’d, and straightway lov’d an ass.

Oberon

35 - 37
  1. This falls out better than I could devise.
  2. But hast thou yet latch’d the Athenian’s eyes
    Mar 24, 2019 Miko
    This word could have one or more of three meanings. 1) To seize or grasp. 2) To capture. 3) To moisten or anoint.
  3. With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Robin

38 - 40
  1. I took him sleeping (that is finish’d too)
  2. And the Athenian woman by his side;
  3. That when he wak’d, of force she must be ey’d.
  1. Enter Demetrius and Hermia.

Oberon

41
  1. Stand close; this is the same Athenian.

Robin

42
  1. This is the woman; but not this the man.

Demetrius

43 - 44
  1. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
  2. Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

Hermia

45 - 57
  1. Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse,
  2. For thou (I fear) hast given me cause to curse.
  3. If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
  4. Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Supposedly, Demetrius has spilled Lysander's blood until it is over his shoes. This phrase may be a reference to the idiom “over shoes, over boots” which means to have gone so far into an endeavor that you have to go further.
  5. And kill me too.
  6. The sun was not so true unto the day
  7. As he to me. Would he have stolen away
  8. From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon
  9. This whole earth may be bor’d, and that the moon
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    bored, as in to have a hole through it
  10. May through the center creep, and so displease
  11. Her brother’s noontide with th’ Antipodes.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Apollo, the god of the sun, was the brother of Diana, the goddess of the moon.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The sense of this complicated sentence is that moonlight will shine through a hole in the earth and show in mid-day to the people on the other side of the globe. “Antipodes” (derived from Greek for “feet opposite”) refers not to the other side of the Earth but to the people who live there. Hermia is saying that something impossible would happen before Lysander would abandon her.
  12. It cannot be but thou hast murd’red him;
  13. So should a murderer lookso dead, so grim.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto has “murtherer” here, and “murthered” in the next line.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    a double meaning: 1) pale, 2) deadly
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    cruel

Demetrius

58 - 61
  1. So should the murdered look, and so should I,
  2. Pierc’d through the heart with your stern cruelty.
  3. Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
  4. As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    In the Ptolemic system of astronomy, which was the standard belief of the time, planets and stars were attached to and moved with solid, clear spheres.

Hermia

62 - 63
  1. What’s this to my Lysander? Where is he?
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Hermia is asking what this has to do with Lysander.
  2. Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Demetrius

64
  1. I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.

Hermia

65 - 73
  1. Out, dog, out, cur! Thou driv’st me past the bounds
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    a derogatory word for a dog, particularly one that is not highly bred
  2. Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him then?
  3. Henceforth be never numb’red among men!
  4. O, once tell true; tell true, even for my sake!
  5. Durst thou have look’d upon him being awake?
  6. And hast thou kill’d him sleeping? O brave touch!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Hermia sarcastically calls the supposed murder a noble, brave action.
  7. Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    snake
  8. An adder did it! For with doubler tongue
  9. Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.

Demetrius

74 - 76
  1. You spend your passion on a mispris’d mood.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    anger based on a mistake
  2. I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood;
  3. Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

Hermia

77
  1. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

Demetrius

78
  1. And if I could, what should I get therefore?

Hermia

79 - 81
  1. A privilege never to see me more.
  2. And from thy hated presence part I so:
  3. See me no more, whether he be dead or no.
  1. Exit.

Demetrius

82 - 87
  1. There is no following her in this fierce vein.
  2. Here therefore for a while I will remain.
  3. So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
  4. For debt that bankrout sleep doth sorrow owe;
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    “Bankrupt”, which is what many modern editions change this word to.
  5. Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
  6. If for his tender here I make some stay.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Lysander is all the more sad because he has not had enough sleep. This sentence uses the metaphor of debt: sleep is bankrupt and in debt to Demetrius, so he will lie down and let sleep pay off some of its debt to him.
  1. Lie down and sleep.

Oberon

88 - 91
  1. What hast thou done? Thou hast mistaken quite,
  2. And laid the love-juice on some true-love’s sight.
  3. Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
    Apr 20, 2019 Miko
    mistake
  4. Some true love turn’d, and not a false turn’d true.

Robin

92 - 93
  1. Then fate o’errules, that one man holding troth,
    Jul 12, 2020 Miko
    loyalty or faith
  2. A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Then fate has overruled, because for every man that is faithful, a million are unfaithful, breaking oath after oath (or breaking one oath with another).

Oberon

94 - 99
  1. About the wood go swifter than the wind,
  2. And Helena of Athens look thou find.
  3. All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    love sick
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    1) face 2) the expression worn on her face
  4. With sighs of love, that costs the fresh blood dear.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    It was believed that a sigh caused a person to lose blood.
  5. By some illusion see thou bring her here.
  6. I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    in preparation for her appearance

Robin

100 - 101
  1. I go, I go, look how I go,
  2. Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The Tartars, today more commonly called the Taters, are an indigenous people of central Asia. They were famous for their archery, using bows that were considered stronger than those used by the English.
  1. Exit.

Oberon

102 - 109
  1. Flower of this purple dye,
  2. Hit with Cupid’s archery,
  3. Sink in apple of his eye.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    the pupil of his eye
  4. When his love he doth espy,
  5. Let her shine as gloriously
  6. As the Venus of the sky.
    Jul 12, 2020 Miko
    The planet Venus is the third brightest object in Earth's sky, after the sun and the moon.
  7. When thou wak’st, if she be by,
  8. Beg of her for remedy.
  1. Enter Puck.

Robin

110 - 115
  1. Captain of our fairy band,
  2. Helena is here at hand,
  3. And the youth, mistook by me,
  4. Pleading for a lover’s fee.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    This phrase is variously explained. Some scholars say it means a lover's privilege or right. Others say it means payment.
  5. Shall we their fond pageant see?
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    foolish spectacle
  6. Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Oberon

116 - 117
  1. Stand aside. The noise they make
  2. Will cause Demetrius to awake.

Robin

118 - 121
  1. Then will two at once woo one;
  2. That must needs be sport alone.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    It will be unequaled fun.
  3. And those things do best please me
  4. That befall prepost’rously.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Backwards. More generally, unnatural.
  1. Enter Lysander and Helena.

Lysander

122 - 127
  1. Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
  2. Scorn and derision never come in tears.
  3. Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
  4. In their nativity all truth appears.
    Apr 21, 2019 Miko
    origin
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Lysander claims that he must be telling the truth because he is crying.
  5. How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
  6. Bearing the badge of faith to prove them true?
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Lysander refers to his tears. Servants wore badges on their uniforms, so in this case his tears are badges that show his loyalty to faith.

Helena

128 - 133
  1. You do advance your cunning more and more;
  2. When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Lysander's new vows to Helena “kill” his previous vows to Hermia. The result is a battle that is both devilish (because of the killing) and holy because it is a battle between two truths. Today we might call such a situation a “holy war”.
  3. These vows are Hermia’s. Will you give her o’er?
  4. Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh.
  5. Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
  6. Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    lies or idle talk
    Apr 24, 2019 Miko
    Helena is using the metaphor of comparing the vows by their weight, testing them on a scale against each other.

Lysander

134
  1. I had no judgment when to her I swore.

Helena

135
  1. Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.

Lysander

136
  1. Demetrius loves her; and he loves not you.

Demetrius

137 - 144
  1. Awaking.
  2. O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
  3. To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
  4. Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
    Mar 20, 2021 Miko
    Compared to Helena's bright eyes, crystal looks dark like mud.
  5. Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
  6. That pure congealed white, high Taurus’ snow,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    a mountain range in present day Turkey
  7. Fann’d with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
  8. When thou hold’st up thy hand. O, let me kiss
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The snow looks black in comparison.
  9. This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    her hand

Helena

145 - 161
  1. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
  2. To set against me for your merriment.
  3. If you were civil and knew courtesy,
  4. You would not do me thus much injury.
  5. Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
  6. But you must join in souls to mock me too?
  7. If you were men, as men you are in show,
  8. You would not use a gentle lady so;
  9. To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
  10. When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
  11. You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
  12. And now both rivals, to mock Helena.
  13. A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    excellent, used sarcastically
  14. To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
  15. With your derision! None of noble sort
  16. Would so offend a virgin, and extort
  17. A poor soul’s patience, all to make you sport.

Lysander

162 - 167
  1. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
  2. For you love Hermia; this you know I know.
  3. And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
  4. In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part;
  5. And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
  6. Whom I do love, and will do till my death.

Helena

168
  1. Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

Demetrius

169 - 173
  1. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none.
  2. If e’er I lov’d her, all that love is gone.
  3. My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn’d,
    Jul 8, 2021 Miko
    stayed temporarily
  4. And now to Helen is it home return’d,
  5. There to remain.

Lysander

174
  1.                  Helen, it is not so.

Demetrius

175 - 177
  1. Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
  2. Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    pay dearly for it; atone for doing so
  3. Look where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.
  1. Enter Hermia.

Hermia

178 - 184
  1. Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
  2. The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
  3. Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
  4. It pays the hearing double recompense,
    Jul 9, 2020 Miko
    Hermia is saying that when you can't see, your hearing gets more sensitive.
  5. Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
  6. Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound.
  7. But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?

Lysander

185
  1. Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
    Apr 23, 2019 Miko
    urge

Hermia

186
  1. What love could press Lysander from my side?

Lysander

187 - 191
  1. Lysander’s love, that would not let him bide
  2. Fair Helena! Who more engilds the night
    Mar 5, 2019 Miko
    Helena puts forth a golden light and makes the night look gilded.
  3. Than all yon fiery oes and eyes of light.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The stars. Oes were round decorative pieces of metal. This phrase may also be a play on the phrase “with an O and an I”. That phrase was often used in songs, though its meaning is unclear.
  4. Why seek’st thou me? Could not this make thee know,
  5. The hate I bare thee made me leave thee so?

Hermia

192
  1. You speak not as you think. It cannot be.

Helena

193 - 220
  1. Lo! She is one of this confederacy.
  2. Now I perceive, they have conjoin’d all three
  3. To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
  4. Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid!
  5. Have you conspir’d, have you with these contriv’d
  6. To bait me with this foul derision?
  7. Is all the counsel that we two have shar’d,
  8. The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent,
  9. When we have chid the hasty-footed time
  10. For parting usO, is all forgot?
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    In this sense, “chid” is the past tense of “chide”. They chided time for keeping them apart.
  11. All school-days friendship, childhood innocence?
  12. We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    artistically skilled
  13. Have with our needles created both one flower,
  14. Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    a piece of embroidery done by a beginner
  15. Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
  16. As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds
  17. Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    united as a single body
  18. Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
  19. But yet an union in partition,
  20. Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
  21. So with two seeming bodies, but one heart,
  22. Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto, First Folio and Second Folio have “life”. Modern editors change this word to “like”.
  23. Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    In this simile, Helena describes a coat of arms divided into four parts, but with one crest over all of the parts.
  24. And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    to rend, to tear apart
  25. To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
  26. It is not friendly, ’tis not maidenly.
  27. Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
  28. Though I alone do feel the injury.

Hermia

221 - 222
  1. I am amazed at your passionate words.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    confused, bewildered
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    This word is not in the First Quarto but is in the First Folio. Without “passionate”, the line does not scan as iambic pentameter.
  2. I scorn you not; it seems that you scorn me.

Helena

223 - 236
  1. Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
  2. To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
  3. And made your other love, Demetrius
  4. (Who even but now did spurn me with his foot),
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    kick
  5. To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
  6. Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
  7. To her he hates? And wherefore doth Lysander
  8. Deny your love (so rich within his soul)
  9. And tender me (forsooth) affection,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    offer
  10. But by your setting on, by your consent?
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Why would Lysander say he loves me unless you wanted him to do so?
  11. What though I be not so in grace as you,
  12. So hung upon with love, so fortunate
  13. (But miserable most, to love unlov’d)?
  14. This you should pity rather than despise.

Hermia

237
  1. I understand not what you mean by this.

Helena

238 - 245
  1. Ay, do! Persever, counterfeit sad looks,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Persevere. Pronounced perSEVer.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    make fake sad looks
  2. Make mouths upon me when I turn my back,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    To make ugly faces. This phrase might be a variation or corruption of “make mows”, which also means to make ugly faces.
  3. Wink each at other, hold the sweet jest up;
  4. This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
    Mar 21, 2021 Miko
    done
  5. If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
  6. You would not make me such an argument.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    the butt of the joke
  7. But fare ye well; ’tis partly my own fault,
  8. Which death, or absence, soon shall remedy.

Lysander

246 - 247
  1. Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse,
  2. My love, my life, my soul, fair Helena!

Helena

248
  1. O excellent!

Hermia

249
  1.              Sweet, do not scorn her so.

Demetrius

250
  1. If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Some scholars say that “she” refers to Hermia, others say “she” is Helena. Either way, the sense of the statement is the same: if she can't convince you to stop scorning, I will force you.

Lysander

251 - 255
  1. Thou canst compel no more than she entreat.
  2. Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prays.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto and First Folio have “praise”. However, “praise” doesn't really work here. This line and the previous line are parallel - Demetrius can't force her anymore than Hermia can implore. “Prays”, meaning to ask for something, fits the pattern much better. It is generally assumed that the compositor simply misspelled “prays”. Some modern editions put “prays”, others put “prayers”.
  3. Helen, I love thee, by my life I do!
  4. I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
  5. To prove him false that says I love thee not.

Demetrius

256
  1. I say I love thee more than he can do.

Lysander

257
  1. If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Lysander is challenging Demetrius to step aside (away from the ladies) and fight.

Demetrius

258
  1. Quick, come!

Hermia

259
  1.              Lysander, whereto tends all this?

Lysander

260
  1. Away, you Ethiop!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Another reference to Hermia's dark skin or dark hair. The term is used as a racist insult by comparing her to the dark skin of Africans.

Demetrius

261 - 263
  1.                   No, no; he’ll
  2. Seem to break loosetake on as you would follow,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Various explanations have been advanced for this confusing sentence. The most common explanation is that the original texts left out some words that would have made the sentence clearer.

    Another is that Lysander will only appear to break loose, but will either actually stay with Hermia, or will run away. This explanation fits well with subsequent statements in which Demetrius says that Lysander doesn't really have the courage to go through with the fight.

    Finally, another explanation is that Demetrius is saying “No, don't cling to Lysander, it would be best for him to separate himself so that we can fight.” Notice that the next lines of Lysander's indicate that Hermia is clinging to him. One definition of “seem” is “suitable”, so it would be suitable for him to break loose.

    The First Folio has a different wording: No, no, Sir, seeme to breake loose.

    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Act as if you will follow me. This might be an insult to Lysander, accusing him of cowardice, the implication being that Lysander will only pretend to go to a duel, but won't really do it.
  3. But yet come not. You are a tame man, go!

Lysander

264 - 265
  1. Hang off, thou cat, thou bur! Vile thing, let loose;
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    let go of me
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    a contemptuous term for someone who scratches like a cat
    Mar 21, 2021 Miko
    something that is clingy, like a bur from a bush
  2. Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!

Hermia

266 - 267
  1. Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
  2. Sweet love?

Lysander

268 - 269
  1.             Thy love? Out, tawny Tartar, out!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Another racist reference to Hermia's dark skin or hair.
  2. Out, loathed med’cine! O hated potion, hence!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    In this sense, medicine is not curative but is rather a poison.

Hermia

270
  1. Do you not jest?

Helena

271
  1.                  Yes, sooth; and so do you.
    Apr 20, 2019 Miko
    truth

Lysander

272
  1. Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

Demetrius

273 - 274
  1. I would I had your bond, for I perceive
  2. A weak bond holds you. I’ll not trust your word.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Demetrius uses a double meaning for bond. In the first instance, he means a promise, in the second a physical restraint. He implies that Lysander is not trying very hard to break from Hermia. This sentence supports the interpretation of lines 261-262 that Demetrius doesn't believe Lysander has the courage to break from Hermia and fight.

Lysander

275 - 276
  1. What? Should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
  2. Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so.

Hermia

277 - 283
  1. What? Can you do me greater harm than hate?
  2. Hate me, wherefore? O me, what news, my love!
  3. Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
  4. I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    some time ago
  5. Since night you lov’d me; yet since night you left me:
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    since the start of the night
  6. Why then, you left me (O, the gods forbid!)
  7. In earnest, shall I say?

Lysander

284 - 288
  1.                          Ay, by my life;
  2. And never did desire to see thee more.
  3. Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
  4. Be certain! Nothing truer; ’tis no jest
  5. That I do hate thee, and love Helena.

Hermia

289 - 291
  1. O me, you juggler, you canker-blossom,
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    One who deceives through trickery.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    a caterpillar that eats and destroys blossoms
  2. You thief of love! What, have you come by night
  3. And stol’n my love’s heart from him?

Helena

292 - 296
  1.                                      Fine, i’ faith!
  2. Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
  3. No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
    Mar 20, 2021 Miko
    modesty
  4. Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
  5. Fie, fie, you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Helena is calling Hermia a fake. She is also insulting Hermia for being short, as indicated in Hermia's response.

Hermia

297 - 306
  1. Puppet”? Why so? Ay, that way goes the game.
  2. Now I perceive that she hath made compare
  3. Between our statures: she hath urg’d her height,
  4. And with her personage, her tall personage,
  5. Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail’d with him.
  6. And are you grown so high in his esteem,
  7. Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
  8. How low am I, thou painted maypole? Speak!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Hermia calls Helena tall and skinny, and also possibly implies that Helena wears too much makeup.
  9. How low am I? I am not yet so low
  10. But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

Helena

307 - 313
  1. I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
  2. Let her not hurt me. I was never curst;
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    disagreeable or shrewish
  3. I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
  4. I am a right maid for my cowardice.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    A true girl. Helena is saying she is just a timid girl.
  5. Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
  6. Because she is something lower than myself,
  7. That I can match her.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Just because she's smaller than I am doesn't mean I can fight as well as she does.

Hermia

314
  1.                       Lower”? Hark again.

Helena

315 - 326
  1. Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
  2. I evermore did love you, Hermia,
  3. Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong’d you;
  4. Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
  5. I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
  6. He followed you; for love I followed him.
  7. But he hath chid me hence, and threat’ned me
    Jul 9, 2020 Miko
    told me to go away
  8. To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too.
  9. And now, so you will let me quiet go,
  10. To Athens will I bear my folly back,
  11. And follow you no further. Let me go.
  12. You see how simple and how fond I am.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    foolish

Hermia

327
  1. Why, get you gone. Who is’t that hinders you?
    Jul 9, 2020 Miko
    Who's stopping you?

Helena

328
  1. A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.

Hermia

329
  1. What, with Lysander?

Helena

330
  1.                      With Demetrius.

Lysander

331
  1. Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.

Demetrius

332
  1. No, sir; she shall not, though you take her part.

Helena

333 - 335
  1. O, when she is angry, she is keen and shrewd!
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    cruel and evil
  2. She was a vixen when she went to school;
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Literally, a female fox. Often used metaphorically to describe an ill-tempered woman.
  3. And though she be but little, she is fierce.

Hermia

336 - 338
  1. Little again? Nothing but low and little”?
  2. Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
  3. Let me come to her.

Lysander

339 - 341
  1.                     Get you gone, you dwarf;
  2. You minimus, of hind’ring knot-grass made;
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    a very small creature, with also the implication of being insignificant
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Knot-grass (polygonum aviculare) is a weed that was thought to stunt growth. This is another reference to Hermia's short height.
  3. You bead, you acorn.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Lysander again calls Hermia small.

Demetrius

342 - 347
  1.                      You are too officious
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    enthusiastic, usually applied to someone who holds an office
  2. In her behalf that scorns your services.
  3. Let her alone; speak not of Helena,
  4. Take not her part. For if thou dost intend
  5. Never so little show of love to her,
  6. Thou shalt aby it.
    Jul 9, 2020 Miko
    pay or atone for

Lysander

348 - 350
  1.                    Now she holds me not;
  2. Now follow, if thou dar’st, to try whose right,
  3. Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.

Demetrius

351
  1. Follow? Nay; I’ll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    side by side
  1. Exeunt Lysander and Demetrius.

Hermia

352 - 353
  1. You, mistress, all this coil is long of you.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    This turmoil is because of you, with possibly more wordplay on Helena's height.
  2. Nay, go not back.

Helena

354 - 357
  1.                   I will not trust you, I,
  2. Nor longer stay in your curst company.
  3. Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray;
  4. My legs are longer though, to run away.
  1. Exit.

Hermia

358
  1. I am amaz’d, and know not what to say.
    Apr 7, 2019 Miko
    This line is not in the First Folio.
  1. Exit.

Oberon

359 - 360
  1. This is thy negligence. Still thou mistak’st,
  2. Or else commit’st thy knaveries willfully.
    Apr 11, 2019 Miko
    mischief

Robin

361 - 367
  1. Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
  2. Did not you tell me I should know the man
  3. By the Athenian garments he had on?
  4. And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
  5. That I have ’nointed an Athenian’s eyes;
  6. And so far am I glad it so did sort,
  7. As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    quarreling
    Mar 26, 2021 Miko
    think of as

Oberon

368 - 391
  1. Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight;
  2. Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
  3. The starry welkin cover thou anon
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    the sky
  4. With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
    Mar 2, 2019 Miko
    A river in Hades over which the souls of the dead travelled. The term could also be used to refer to Hades or Hell in general.
  5. And lead these testy rivals so astray
  6. As one come not within another’s way.
  7. Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue;
  8. Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
  9. And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
  10. And from each other look thou lead them thus,
  11. Till o’er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
  12. With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.
  13. Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye;
  14. Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    potent
  15. To take from thence all error with his might,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    In this case, “his” refers to the herb.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Oberon mentioned in Act II, scene 1, lines 187-188 that he had an herb that could remove the magic qualities of the flower's love juice.
  16. And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Restore Lysander to being in love with Hermia.
  17. When they next wake, all this derision
  18. Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    inconsequential
  19. And back to Athens shall the lovers wend
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    travel
  20. With league whose date till death shall never end.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    They will be in love (“league” means covenant or marriage) with a duration (“date”) until they die.
  21. Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
  22. I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
  23. And then I will her charmed eye release
  24. From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.

Robin

392 - 401
  1. My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
  2. For Night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    The goddess Hecate drove a chariot pulled by dragons across the night sky. In Ovid's “Metamorphoses”, Hecate says “Not in vain, stars glittered in reply: not in vain, winged dragons bring my chariot, through the sky”.
  3. And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. In this case, Robin sees Venus, the morning star.
  4. At whose approach, ghosts, wand’ring here and there,
  5. Troop home to churchyards. Damned spirits all,
  6. That in crossways and floods have burial,
    Mar 22, 2021 Miko
    crossroads
  7. Already to their wormy beds are gone.
  8. For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
  9. They willfully themselves exile from light,
  10. And must for aye consort with black-brow’d Night.
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    In these creepy lines, Robins talks about the dead who are not buried in sacred grounds (churchyards). Suicides were commonly buried in crossroads so that their bodies would be trampled on. Robin also mentions those who have drowned, and so their bodies were never recovered. Because they are ashamed, these damned souls choose to forever (“for aye”) avoid the daylight.

Oberon

402 - 409
  1. But we are spirits of another sort.
  2. I with the Morning’s love have oft made sport,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    Oberon might be referring to Aurora, or he might be referring to Cephalus, Aurora's lover.
  3. And like a forester, the groves may tread
  4. Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
    Mar 25, 2019 Miko
    the dawn
  5. Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
  6. Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.
  7. But notwithstanding, haste, make no delay;
  8. We may effect this business yet ere day.
    Jul 9, 2020 Miko
    before
  1. Exit.

Robin

410 - 414
  1. Up and down, up and down,
  2. I will lead them up and down;
  3. I am fear’d in field and town.
  4. Goblin, lead them up and down.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    Robin was sometimes called Goblin.
  5. Here comes one.
  1. Enter Lysander.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    The entrances and exits for the rest of the scene are confusing. It's not always clear who is supposed to be on stage and when. Modern editions sometimes add entrances and exits to clarify the staging. We've chosen to simply keep the stage directions as they are in the First Quarto and First Folio. Modern productions generally disregard these stage directions anyway, choosing instead to have the actors on and off stage as best suits their staging.

Lysander

415
  1. Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Speak thou now.

Robin

416
  1. Here, villain, drawn and ready. Where art thou?
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    someone who is low-born or unintelligent, a scoundrel, but not necessarily a law-breaker
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    with sword drawn

Lysander

417
  1. I will be with thee straight.

Robin

418 - 419
  1.                               Follow me then
  2. To plainer ground.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    more level
  1. Enter Demetrius.

Demetrius

420 - 422
  1.                    Lysander, speak again!
  2. Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
  3. Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?

Robin

423 - 427
  1. Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
  2. Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars,
  3. And wilt not come? Come, recreant, come, thou child,
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    coward
  4. I’ll whip thee with a rod. He is defil’d
  5. That draws a sword on thee.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    Robin (as Lysander) says he will whip Demetrius instead of sword fighting; it would be dishonorable (defil'd) to use a sword on someone who is a coward.

Demetrius

428
  1.                             Yea, art thou there?

Robin

429
  1. Follow my voice; we’ll try no manhood here.
    Apr 11, 2019 Miko
    We won't fight here.
  1. Exit.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    Probably this exit applies to Demetrius and Robin.

Lysander

430 - 438
  1. He goes before me, and still dares me on.
  2. When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
  3. The villain is much lighter-heel’d than I;
    Apr 11, 2019 Miko
    faster
  4. I followed fast, but faster he did fly,
  5. Shifting places.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    This unclear stage direction is in the First Folio. A few lines later, Demetrius uses the phrase “shifting every place”.
  6. That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    therefore
  7. And here will rest me.
  8. Lie down.
  9.                        Come, thou gentle day!
  10. For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
  11. I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.
  1. Sleeps.
  1. Enter Puck and Demetrius.

Robin

439
  1. Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why com’st thou not?
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    Robin's traditional laugh.

Demetrius

440 - 443
  1. Abide me, if thou dar’st; for well I wot
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    wait for me
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    know
  2. Thou run’st before me, shifting every place,
  3. And dar’st not stand, nor look me in the face.
  4. Where art thou now?

Robin

444
  1.                     Come hither; I am here.

Demetrius

445 - 449
  1. Nay then thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this dear,
  2. If ever I thy face by daylight see.
  3. Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
  4. To measure out my length on this cold bed.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    stretch out on the ground
  5. By day’s approach look to be visited.
  1. Lies down and sleeps.
  1. Enter Helena.

Helena

450 - 455
  1. O weary night, O long and tedious night,
  2. Abate thy hours! Shine, comforts, from the east,
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    Make the hours shorter.
  3. That I may back to Athens by daylight,
  4. From these that my poor company detest.
  5. And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
  6. Steal me a while from mine own company.
  1. Sleep.

Robin

456 - 460
  1. Yet but three? Come one more;
  2. Two of both kinds makes up four.
  3. Enter Hermia.
  4. Here she comes, curst and sad.
  5. Cupid is a knavish lad,
  6. Thus to make poor females mad.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    A curious statement. It seems as if Robin is blaming the situation on Cupid instead of himself.

Hermia

461 - 466
  1. Never so weary, never so in woe,
  2. Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
    Mar 2, 2019 Miko
    to become unkempt or disheveled because of getting wet
  3. I can no further crawl, no further go;
  4. My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
  5. Here will I rest me till the break of day.
  6. Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    if they mean to fight
  1. Lies down and sleeps.

Robin

467 - 482
  1. On the ground,
  2. Sleep sound;
  3. I’ll apply,
  4. To your eye,
  5. Gentle lover, remedy.
  6. When thou wak’st,
  7. Thou tak’st
  8. True delight
  9. In the sight
  10. Of thy former lady’s eye;
  11. And the country proverb known,
  12. That every man should take his own,
  13. In your waking shall be shown.
  14. Jack shall have Jill;
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    Jack and Jill were common generic names for a man and woman. This line might be a reference to a line from “The proverbs of John Heywood” (1546): “Come chat at home, all is well; Jacke shall have Gill.”
  15. Nought shall go ill:
  16. The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.
  1. They sleep all the act.
    Mar 26, 2019 Miko
    This interesting stage direction from the First Folio tells us quite a bit about the staging of the play. The “act” in this case refers not to what today we call an act (a major division of the play) but to the music that is played *between* those divisions of the play. Those intervals were often timed because that was when it was necessary to replace burnt out candles. In Elizabethan theater, music was more popular in indoor theaters, where the acoustics were better. That in turn implies that this play was performed at least sometimes in indoor theaters, and that the lovers remained on stage during the music.
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