Enter Theſeus, Hippolita, with others.
Ow faire Hippolita, our nuptiall houre
Drawes on apace: foure happy daies bring in
Another Moon: but oh, me thinkes, how ſlow
This old Moon wanes; She lingers my deſires
Like to a Step-dame, or a Dowager,
Long withering out a yong mans reuennew.
Foure daies wil quickly ſteep the[m]ſelues in nights
Foure nights wil quickly dreame away the time:
And then the Moone, like to a ſiluer bow,
Now bent in heauen, ſhal behold the night
Of our ſolemnities.
Stirre vp the Athenian youth to merriments,
Awake the pert and nimble ſpirit of mirth,
Turne melancholy forth to Funerals:
The pale companion is not for our pompe,
Hippolita, I woo’d thee with my ſword,
And wonne thy loue, doing thee iniuries:
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pompe, with triumph, and with reuelling.
Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, Lyſander, and Demetrius.
Happy be Theſeus, our renowned Duke.
Thanks good Egeus: what’s the news with thee?
Full of vexation, come I, with complaint
Againſt my childe, my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth Demetrius.
My Noble Lord,
This man hath my conſent to marrie her.
Stand forth Lyſander.
And my gracious Duke,
This man hath bewitch’d the boſome of my childe:
Thou, thou Lyſander, thou haſt giuen her rimes,
And interchang’d loue-tokens with my childe:
Thou haſt by Moone-light at her window ſung,
With faining voice, verſes of faining loue,
And ſtolne the impreſſion of her fantaſie,
With bracelets of thy haire, rings, gawdes, conceits,
Knackes, trifles, Noſe-gaies, ſweet meats (meſſengers
Of ſtrong preuailment in vnhardned youth)
With cunning haſt thou filch’d my daughters heart,
Turn’d her obedience (which is due to me)
To ſtubborne harshneſſe. And my gracious Duke,
Be it ſo ſhe will not heere before your Grace,
Conſent to marrie with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient priuiledge of Athens;
As ſhe is mine, I may diſpoſe of her;
Which ſhall be either to this Gentleman,
Or to her death, according to our Law,
Immediately prouided in that caſe.
What ſay you Hermia? be aduis’d faire Maide,
To you your Father ſhould be as a God;
One that compos’d your beauties; yea and one
To whom you are but as a forme in waxe
By him imprinted: and within his power,
To leaue the figure, or disfigure it:
Demetrius is a worthy Gentleman.
So is Lyſander.
In himſelfe he is.
But in this kinde, wanting your fathers voyce,
The other muſt be held the worthier.
I would my father look’d but with my eyes.
Rather your eies muſt with his iudgment looke.
I do entreat your Grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concerne my modeſtie
In ſuch a preſence heere to pleade my thoughts:
But I beſeech your Grace, that I may know
The worſt that may befall me in this caſe,
If I refuſe to wed Demetrius.
Either to dye the death, or to abiure
For euer the ſociety of men.
Therefore faire Hermia queſtion your deſires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether (if you yeeld not to your fathers choice)
You can endure the liuerie of a Nunne,
For aye to be in ſhady Cloiſter mew’d,
To liue a barren ſiſter all your life,
Chanting faint hymnes to the cold fruitleſſe Moone,
Thrice bleſſed they that maſter ſo their blood,
To vndergo ſuch maiden pilgrimage,
But earthlier happie is the Roſe diſtil’d,
Then that which withering on the virgin thorne,
Growes, liues, and dies, in ſingle bleſſedneſſe.