A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
by William Shakespeare
There is unrest in the Fairy Kingdom, as King Oberon and Queen Titania fight over possession of a little Indian boy. Oberon and Puck have conspired to punish Titania using magic, and Titania has fallen in love with an actor whom Puck has given an ass’s head. Here Puck returns to Oberon to tell him the news.
My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play
Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day.
The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene and entered in a brake,
When I did him at this advantage take.
An ass’s nole I fixed on his head.
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy –
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky –
So at his sight away his fellows fly,
And at our stamp here o’er and o’er one falls.
He ‘Murder!’ cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong,
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong.
For briars and thorns at their apparel snatch,
Some sleeves, some hats. From yielders all things catch.
I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there;
When in that moment – so it came to pass –
Titania waked, and straightway loved an ass.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (play script)
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