A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act II, Scene i

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream.         Act 2, Scene 1.      Oberon & Titania

(This text is featured in our interview with the Theatricum Botanicum)

OBERON
60  Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

TITANIA
61  What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence:
62  I have forsworn his bed and company.

OBERON
63  Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?

TITANIA
64  Then I must be thy lady: but I know
65  When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
66  And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
67  Playing on pipes of corn and versing love
68  To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
69  Come from the farthest Steppe of India?
70  But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
71  Your buskin’d mistress and your warrior love,
72  To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
73  To give their bed joy and prosperity.

OBERON
74  How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
75  Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
76  Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
77  Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
78  From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
79  And make him with fair Aegle break his faith,
80  With Ariadne and Antiopa?

TITANIA
81  These are the forgeries of jealousy:
82  And never, since the middle summer’s spring,
83  Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
84  By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
85  Or in the beached margent of the sea,
86  To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
87  But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
88  Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
89  As in revenge, have suck’d up from the sea
90  Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
91  Have every pelting river made so proud
92  That they have overborne their continents:
93  The ox hath therefore stretch’d his yoke in vain,
94  The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
95  Hath rotted ere his youth attain’d a beard;
96  The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
97  And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
98  The nine men’s morris is fill’d up with mud,
99  And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
100  For lack of tread are undistinguishable:
101  The human mortals want their winter here;
102  No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
103  Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
104  Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
105  That rheumatic diseases do abound:
106  And thorough this distemperature we see
107  The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
108  Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
109  And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
110  An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
111  Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
112  The childing autumn, angry winter, change
113  Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
114  By their increase, now knows not which is which:
115  And this same progeny of evils comes
116  From our debate, from our dissension;
117  We are their parents and original.

OBERON
118  Do you amend it then; it lies in you:
119  Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
120  I do but beg a little changeling boy,
121  To be my henchman.

TITANIA
122  Set your heart at rest:
123  The fairy land buys not the child of me.
124  His mother was a votaress of my order:
125  And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
126  Full often hath she gossip’d by my side,
127  And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands,
128  Marking the embarked traders on the flood,
129  When we have laugh’d to see the sails conceive
130  And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
131  Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
132  Following,–her womb then rich with my young squire,–
133  Would imitate, and sail upon the land,
134  To fetch me trifles, and return again,
135  As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
136  But she, being mortal, of that boy did die:
137  And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
138  And for her sake I will not part with him.

OBERON
139  How long within this wood intend you stay?

TITANIA
140  Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding-day.
141  If you will patiently dance in our round
142  And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
143  If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

OBERON
144  Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.

TITANIA
145  Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away!
146  We shall chide downright, if I longer stay.

(Exit TITANIA with her train)

OBERON
147  Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove
148  Till I torment thee for this injury.

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)