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This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 8, 1600, by Thomas Fisher. It is probable that the hint for it was received from Chaucer's Knight's Tale.
There is an old black-letter pamphlet by W. Bettie, called Titana and Theseus, entered at Stationers' Hall, in 1608; but Shakspeare has taken no hints from it. Titania is also the name of the Queen of the Fairies in Decker's Whore of Babylon, 1607. STEEVENS.
The Midsummer-Night's Dream I suppose to have been written in 1594. MALONE.
Theseus, Duke of Athens.
Egeus, Father to Hermia.
LYSANDER, in love with Hermia.
PhilosTRATE, Master of the Revels to Theseus.
QUINCE, the Carpenter.
Snug, the Joiner.
BOTTOM, the Weaver.
FLUTE, the Bellows-mender.
Snout, the Tinker.
STARVELING, the Tailor.
HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus.
HERMIA, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander.
HELENA, in love with Demetrius.
OBERON, King of the Fairies.
TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies.
Puck, or Robin-goodfellow, a Fairy.
Characters in the Interlude, performed by
Other Fairies attending their King and Queen.
Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta.
SCENE, Athens, and a Wood not far from it.
1 The enumeration of persons was first made by Mr. Rowe. STEEVENS.
SCENE I. — Athens. A Room in the Palace of
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, and
Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; for happy days bring in
Another moon: but, oh, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man’s revenue.
Hip. Four days will quickly steep themselves in
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth :
Turn melancholy forth to funerals,
The pale companion is not for our pomp.-
Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
Enter Egeus, Hermia, LYSANDER, and DEMETRIUS.
Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
The. Thanks, good Egeus; what's the news with
Ege. Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against my child, my daughter Hermia. —
Stand forth, Demetrius ;-My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her:-
Stand forth, Lysander ;-and, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child :
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child :
Thou hast by moon-light at her window sung,
With feigning voice, verses of feigning love;
And stol’n the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds ', conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweet-meats; messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart ;
Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harslıness :-And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege 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 provided in that case.
The. What say you, Hermia ? be advis'd, fair maid: To you your father should be as a god;