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A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act IV, Scene 1

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act IV, Scene 1

Scene 1

Another part of the woods.

Titania and her fairies entertain Bottom. Bottom enjoys the entertainment until he and Titania fall asleep. Oberon tells Robin about meeting Titania when she and Bottom were on their way to her bower. Titania, enamoured with Bottom, gave the Indian boy to Oberon. Now Oberon feels sorry for Titania and removes the love spell from her eyes. Titania is disgusted with her former love for Bottom. Oberon tells Robin to change Bottom's head back to normal. Theseus, Hippolyta, and Egeus find the four lovers asleep on the ground. The lover's awake and, although they are still confused, explain that Demetrius and Helena are in love, and Lysander and Hermia are in love. Egeus complains, but Theseus overrules him, saying that the two couples will marry along with him and Hippolyta. Bottom awakes and thinks the previous night's events were a dream. He decides to have Quince write a ballad about it.
  1. Enter Queen of Fairies and Clown, and fairies,
  2. the King behind them.

Titania

1 - 4
  1. Come sit thee down upon this flow’ry bed,
  2. While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Many modern editions define this usage as "lovely". However, the Oxford English Dictionary provides no definition for that meaning of the word. Perhaps eloquent Titania really did mean the more common definition of "amiable" as "friendly", meaning that Bottom has a friendly face. Certainly Bottom's polite behavior to the fairies shows that he is very friendly.
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    stroke lovingly
  3. And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
  4. And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.

Bottom

5
  1. Where’s Peaseblossom?

Peaseblossom

6
  1. Ready.

Bottom

7 - 8
  1. Scratch my head, Peaseblossom. Where’s
  2. mounsieur Cobweb?

Cobweb

9
  1. Ready.

Bottom

10 - 18
  1. Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you
  2. your weapons in your hand, and kill me a
  3. red-hipp’d humble-bee on the top of a thistle;
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    bumble-bee
  4. and, good mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag.
  5. Do not fret yourself too much in the action,
  6. mounsieur; and, good mounsieur, have a care
  7. the honey-bag break not, I would be loath to
  8. have you overflowen with a honey-bag, signior.
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    submerged or covered
  9. Where’s mounsieur Mustardseed?

Mustardseed

19
  1. Ready.

Bottom

20 - 21
  1. Give me your neaf, mounsieur Mustardseed.
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    Fist. It's unclear why Bottom wants Mustardseed's fist, given that a fist is the worst position for a hand to scratch with. Most likely Bottom is just trying to be fancy and just wants Mustardseed's hand.
  2. Pray you, leave your curtsy, good mounsieur.
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    A curtsy was any sign of respect such as taking off a hat or bowing. Whatever such action Mustardseed was doing, Bottom is telling him he doesn't have to do it.

Mustardseed

22
  1. What’s your will?

Bottom

23 - 27
  1. Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    Bottom may be attempting to say "cavalier", a formal way to address a gentleman. He may also be trying to say the Italian word "cavaliere" - that would be in keeping with the other times he uses foreign forms of address with the fairies (e.g. "mounsieur").
  2. Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber’s,
    Mar 28, 2019 Miko
    Bottom, Shakespeare, or someone in the production process made a mistake here: Cobweb has been sent on the errand of getting honey from a bee. It was Peaseblossom who was directed to scratch, not Cobweb. It may be that the alliteration of "Cavalery Cobweb" was intended and the mistake lies in who Bottom sent to get the honey.
  3. mounsieur; for methinks I am marvail’s hairy
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Marvelous. Some modern editions do change this word to "marvelous". Other's keep it as "marvail’s" or have "marvels".
  4. about the face; and I am such a tender ass, if
  5. my hair do but tickle me, I must scratch.

Titania

28
  1. What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?

Bottom

29 - 30
  1. I have a reasonable good ear in music.
  2. Let’s have the tongs and the bones.
  1. Music. Tongs. Rural music.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Bottom here refers to the rural English tradition of making music with improvised instruments. In this case, the tongs are kitchen tongs. The bones are literally bones from animals (which to this day are still a popular instrument). "London Triumphant, or the City in Jollity and Splendour", a pageant in 1672, featured "severall Kitchen Musicians, that Play upon Tongs, Gridirons, Keys and other such-like confused Musick".

Titania

31
  1. Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.

Bottom

32 - 35
  1. Truly, a peck of provender; I could munch your
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    a general purpose term for dry food, (such as oats) for animals
  2. good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to
  3. a bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    bundle
  4. fellow.

Titania

36 - 37
  1. I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
  2. The squirrel’s hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
    Apr 11, 2019 Miko
    where the squirrel keeps its nuts
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    This line doesn't scan correctly as iambic pentameter. Scholars suggest that "thee" should be followed by "thence", or that "hoard" is pronounced with two syllables.

Bottom

38 - 41
  1. I had rather have a handful or two of dried
  2. peas. But, I pray you, let none of your people
  3. stir me; I have an exposition of sleep come
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Bottom's attempt to say "disposition".
  4. upon me.

Titania

42 - 47
  1. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
  2. Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    scatter in different directions
  3. Exeunt Fairies.
  4. So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    Woodbine is a general term for plants that climb and wind around other plants and structures. Honeysuckle is a type of woodbine.
  5. Gently entwist; the female ivy so
  6. Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
  7. O, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!
  1. They sleep.
  1. Enter Puck.

Oberon

48 - 77
  1. Advancing.
  2. Welcome, good Robin. Seest thou this sweet sight?
  3. Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
  4. For meeting her of late behind the wood,
  5. Seeking sweet favors for this hateful fool,
  6. I did upbraid her, and fall out with her.
    Apr 25, 2019 Miko
    talk badly to
  7. For she his hairy temples then had rounded
  8. With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
  9. And that same dew which sometime on the buds
  10. Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Pearls from the east, e.g. India, were considered superior to pearls found in the seas around Europe.
  11. Stood now within the pretty flouriets’ eyes,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Small flowers. Some editions change the word to "flowerets". Doing so, however, adds a syllable to the word, which disrupts the meter of the line.
  12. Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Oberon is saying that the flowers on Bottom's head were crying because of the disgrace of being in his garland.
  13. When I had at my pleasure taunted her,
  14. And she in mild terms begg’d my patience,
  15. I then did ask of her her changeling child;
  16. Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
  17. To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
  18. And now I have the boy, I will undo
  19. This hateful imperfection of her eyes.
  20. And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
  21. From off the head of this Athenian swain,
    Apr 24, 2019 Miko
    man
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Change Bottom's head back to that of a human.
  22. That he, awaking when the other do,
  23. May all to Athens back again repair,
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    return
  24. And think no more of this night’s accidents
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    incidents
  25. But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    aggravation
  26. But first I will release the Fairy Queen.
  27. Touching her eyes.
  28. Be as thou wast wont to be;
    Apr 12, 2020 Miko
    used to
  29. See as thou wast wont to see.
  30. Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower
    Jul 9, 2020 Miko
    This phrase has led to speculation about what herb Oberon has that overrides the enchantment of the love-in-idleness. Diana was the goddess of chastity, so the plant might be agnus castus, also known as the chaste tree.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Oberon referred to this flower in Act II, scene 1, lines 187-188 when he said "And ere I take this charm from off her sight / (As I can take it with another herb)".
  31. Hath such force and blessed power.
  32. Now, my Titania, wake you, my sweet queen.

Titania

78 - 79
  1. My Oberon, what visions have I seen!
  2. Methought I was enamor’d of an ass.

Oberon

80
  1. There lies your love.

Titania

81 - 82
  1.                       How came these things to pass?
  2. O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    face

Oberon

83 - 85
  1. Silence a while. Robin, take off this head.
  2. Titania, music call, and strike more dead
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    call for music to be played
  3. Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Bottom, Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena. The folios and First Quarto say "fine". Modern editions change this to "five".

Titania

86
  1. Music, ho, music, such as charmeth sleep!
  1. Music, still.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    This stage direction is in the First Folio but not the First Quarto. It indicates to play soft ("still") music.

Robin

87
  1. Now, when thou wak’st, with thine own fool’s eyes peep.

Oberon

88 - 96
  1. Sound music!
    Apr 15, 2019 Miko
    Some modern editions put a comma after "Sound". That punctuation is not in the First Quarto nor the folios.
  2. Louder music.
  3.               Come, my queen, take hands with me,
  4. And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Some modern editions indicate that Oberon and Titania dance after these lines. Others indicate (somewhat unclearly) that they somehow rock the ground like one would rock a baby carriage. No explicit stage direction is given in either the First Quarto or the First Folio.
  5. Now thou and I are new in amity,
  6. And will tomorrow midnight solemnly
  7. Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly,
  8. And bless it to all fair prosperity.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    The First Quarto says "prosperitie". The Second Quarto and the First Folio have "posterity". Most modern editions go with "prosperity". That parallels Titania's lines from Act II, scene 1 in which she says "To Theseus must be wedded, and you come / To give their bed joy and prosperity".
  9. There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
  10. Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.

Robin

97 - 98
  1. Fairy King, attend and mark;
  2. I do hear the morning lark.

Oberon

99 - 102
  1. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Somberly, seriously. Possibly pronounced "sade" to rhyme with "shade".
  2. Trip we after night’s shade.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Pronounced with two syllables to match the meter of the previous line.
  3. We the globe can compass soon,
  4. Swifter than the wand’ring moon.

Titania

103 - 106
  1. Come, my lord, and in our flight,
  2. Tell me how it came this night
  3. That I sleeping here was found,
  4. With these mortals on the ground.
  1. Exeunt. Wind horn within.
    Apr 13, 2020 Miko
    from backstage
  1. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and all his
  2. Train.

Theseus

107 - 115
  1. Go, one of you, find out the forester,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    huntsman
  2. For now our observation is perform’d,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Theseus refers to their observation of May Day. Lysander referred to May Day in Act I, scene 1, line 169.
  3. And since we have the vaward of the day,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    the early part of the day
  4. My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
  5. Uncouple in the western valley, let them go.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    unleash the hounds
  6. Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
  7. Exit an Attendant.
  8. We will, fair queen, up to the mountain’s top,
  9. And mark the musical confusion
  10. Of hounds and echo in conjunction.

Hippolyta

116 - 122
  1. I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    legendary founder of the city of Thebes
  2. When in a wood of Crete they bay’d the bear
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    pursued, presumably with a lot of barking
  3. With hounds of Sparta. Never did I hear
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Spartan hounds were famous for their hunting abilities.
  4. Such gallant chiding; for besides the groves,
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    angry or violent noise
  5. The skies, the fountains, every region near
  6. Seem all one mutual cry. I never heard
  7. So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.

Theseus

123 - 131
  1. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind;
  2. So flew’d, so sanded; and their heads are hung
    Mar 10, 2019 Miko
    large upper lips on a dog
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    sand colored
  3. With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
  4. Crook-knee’d, and dewlapp’d like Thessalian bulls;
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    fleshy folds on their throats below the mouth
    Apr 25, 2019 Miko
    Theseus is referring to taurokathapsia, a type of bull fighting sport in the northern Greek region of Thessaly.
  5. Slow in pursuit; but match’d in mouth like bells,
    Apr 20, 2019 Miko
    barking
  6. Each under each. A cry more tuneable
    Mar 4, 2019 Miko
    a pack of hounds, with word play on the baying sounds of hounds
  7. Was never hollow’d to, nor cheer’d with horn,
  8. In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Some enthusiasts say that Theseus' dogs are Basset Hounds.
  9. Judge when you hear. But soft! What nymphs are these?

Egeus

132 - 135
  1. My lord, this’ my daughter here asleep,
  2. And this Lysander, this Demetrius is,
  3. This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena.
  4. I wonder of their being here together.

Theseus

136 - 140
  1. No doubt they rose up early to observe
  2. The rite of May; and hearing our intent,
  3. Came here in grace of our solemnity.
    Mar 10, 2019 Miko
    in honor or observation of
  4. But speak, Egeus, is not this the day
  5. That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

Egeus

141
  1. It is, my lord.

Theseus

142 - 144
  1. Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
  2. Exit an Attendant. Shout within. Wind horns.
  3. They all start up.
  4. Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;
  5. Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    It was believed that birds chose their mates on Saint Valentine's Day. This is another of the many anachronisms in this play, because Saint Valentine lived many years after the time of Theseus.

Lysander

145
  1. Pardon, my lord.

Theseus

146 - 150
  1.                  I pray you all, stand up.
  2. I know you two are rival enemies.
  3. How comes this gentle concord in the world,
  4. That hatred is so far from jealousy
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    mistrust, hatred
  5. To sleep by hate and fear no enmity?

Lysander

151 - 158
  1. My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    in bewilderment
  2. Half sleep, half waking; but, as yet, I swear,
  3. I cannot truly say how I came here.
  4. But, as I thinkfor truly would I speak,
  5. And now I do bethink me, so it is
  6. I came with Hermia hither. Our intent
  7. Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,
  8. Without the peril of the Athenian law
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    outside the reach/danger of

Egeus

159 - 164
  1. Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough.
  2. I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
  3. They would have stol’n away, they would, Demetrius,
  4. Thereby to have defeated you and me:
  5. You of your wife, and me of my consent,
  6. Of my consent that she should be your wife.

Demetrius

165 - 181
  1. My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
  2. Of this their purpose hither to this wood,
  3. And I in fury hither followed them,
  4. Fair Helena in fancy following me.
  5. But, my good lord, I wot not by what power
  6. (But by some power it is), my love to Hermia
  7. (Melted as the snow) seems to me now
  8. As the remembrance of an idle gaud,
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    trinket, toy
  9. Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
  10. And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
  11. The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
  12. Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
  13. Was I betrothed ere I saw Hermia;
  14. But like a sickness did I loathe this food;
  15. But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
  16. Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
  17. And will forevermore be true to it.

Theseus

182 - 191
  1. Fair lovers, you are fortunately met;
  2. Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
  3. Egeus, I will overbear your will;
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    overcome
  4. For in the temple, by and by, with us
  5. These couples shall eternally be knit.
  6. And, for the morning now is something worn,
  7. Our purpos’d hunting shall be set aside.
  8. Away with us to Athens. Three and three,
  9. We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.
  10. Come, Hippolyta.
  1. Exeunt Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and Train.

Demetrius

192 - 193
  1. These things seem small and undistinguishable,
  2. Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.

Hermia

194 - 195
  1. Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
  2. When every thing seems double.

Helena

196 - 198
  1.                                So methinks;
  2. And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
  3. Mine own, and not mine own.

Demetrius

199 - 202
  1.                             Are you sure
  2. That we are awake? It seems to me
  3. That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
  4. The Duke was here, and bid us follow him?

Hermia

203
  1. Yea, and my father.

Helena

204
  1.                     And Hippolyta.

Lysander

205
  1. And he did bid us follow to the temple.

Demetrius

206 - 207
  1. Why then, we are awake. Let’s follow him,
  2. And by the way let’s recount our dreams.
    Jul 7, 2020 Miko
    as we travel
  1. Exeunt Lovers.

Bottom

208 - 229
  1. Awaking.
  2. When my cue comes, call me, and I will
  3. answer. My next is, Most fair Pyramus.”
  4. Heigh-ho. Peter Quince! Flute the
    Mar 26, 2021 Miko
    an exclamation indicating drowsiness
  5. bellows-mender! Snout the tinker! Starveling!
  6. God’s my life, stol’n hence, and left me asleep!
    Mar 10, 2019 Miko
    God save my life
  7. I have had a most rare vision. I have had a
  8. dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it
  9. was. Man is but an ass, if he go about t’
  10. expound this dream. Methought I wasthere
  11. is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and
  12. methought I hadbut man is but a patch’d
  13. fool, if he will offer to say what methought I
  14. had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear
  15. of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Bottom confusedly parodies 1 Corinthians 2:9: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
  16. to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart
  17. to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter
  18. Quince to write a ballet of this dream. It shall
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Ballad. Some modern editions do change this word to "ballad".
  19. be call’d Bottom’s Dream,” because it hath no
  20. bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a
  21. play, before the Duke. Peradventure, to make
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    perhaps
  22. it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her
    Mar 31, 2019 Miko
    Thisbe's
  23. death.
  1. Exit.
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