A Midsummer Nights Dream – Act 2 Scene 1


Hello, spirit! Where are you going? I go over hills and valleys through bushes and thorns, over parks and fenced-in spaces, through water and fire. I wander everywhere faster than the moon revolves around the Earth I work for Titania, the Fairy Queen, and organize fairy dances for her in the grass. The cowslip flowers are her bodyguards. You’ll see that their petals have spots on them those are rubies, fairy gifts. Their sweet smells come from those little freckles Now I have to go find some dewdrops and hang a pearl earring on every cowslip flower. Goodbye, you dumb old spirit. I’ve got to go. The queen and her elves will be here soon. The king’s having a party here tonight. Just make sure the queen doesn’t come anywhere near him, because King Oberon is extremely angry. He’s furious because she stole an adorable boy from an Indian king. She’s never kidnapped such a darling human child before, and Oberon’s jealous. He wants the child for himself, to accompany him Instead, she puts flowers in the boy’s hair and makes a fuss over him. And now Oberon and Titania refuse to speak to each other, or meet each other anywhere—neither in the forest nor on the plain, nor by the river nor under the stars. They always argue, and the little fairies get so frightened that they hide in acorn cups and won’t come out. Unless I’m mistaken, you’re that mischievous and naughty spirit named Robin Goodfellow. Aren’t you the one? ou do their work for them and give them good luck. That’s you, right? What you say is true. That’s me you’re talking about, the playful wanderer of the night. I tell jokes to Oberon and make him smile. I’ll trick a fat, well-fed horse into thinking that I’m a young female horse Sometimes I hide at the bottom of an old woman’s drink disguised as an apple. When she takes a sip, I bob up against her lips and make her spill the drink all over her withered old neck. Sometimes a wise old woman with a sad story to tell tries to sit down on me, thinking I’m a three-legged stool. But I slip from underneath her and she falls down, crying, “Ow, my butt!” and starts coughing, and then everyone laughs and has fun. But step aside, fairy! Here comes Oberon. And here’s my mistress, Titania. I wish he’d go away! How not nice to see you, Titania. What are you jealous, Oberon? Fairies, let’s get out of here. I’ve sworn I’ll never sleep with him or talk to him again. Wait just a minute, you brazen hussy. Aren’t you supposed to obey me, your lord and husband? f you’re my lord and husband, I must be your lady and wife why are you here? The only reason you left India was to come here and see that butch Amazon Hippolyta. She was your boot-wearing mistress and your warrior lover, and now that she’s getting married to Theseus, you’ve come to celebrate their marriage. How can you stand there shamelessly talking about me and Hippolyta, when you know that I know about your love for Theseus? These are nothing but jealous lies. Since the beginning of midsummer, my fairies and I haven’t been able to meet anywhere to do our dances in the wind We haven’t been able to meet on a hill or in a valley, in the forest or a meadow, by a pebbly fountain or a rushing stream, or on the beach by the ocean without you disturbing us. And because you interrupt us so that we can’t dance for them, the winds have made fogs rise up out of the sea and fall down on the rivers so that the rivers flood, just to get revenge on you. Spring, summer, fertile autumn and angry winter have all changed places, and now the confused world doesn’t know which is which. And this is all because of our argument. We are responsible for this. Do something about it, then. You have the power to fix it. Why would Titania want to argue with her Oberon? All I’m asking for is to have that little human boy as part of my crew. Get over it. I won’t give up this child for all of Fairyland. His mother was one of my worshippers, and we always used to gossip together at night in India, sitting together by the ocean and watching the merchant ships sailing on the ocean. We used to laugh to see the sails fill up with wind so that they looked like they had big, pregnant bellies, as if the wind had gotten them pregnant. She would imitate them since she was already pregnant with the little boy and she would go sailing over the land herself to go get me little presents, and come back carrying gifts like she was a ship coming back from a voyage. But since she was a mortal, she died giving birth to that boy, and for her sake I’m raising him and will not give him up. How long do you plan to stay here in this forest? Maybe until after Theseus’s wedding day If you behave yourself and join us in our circle dance and moonlight celebrations, then you can come with us If not, leave me alone, and I’ll stay away from your turf. Give me that boy and I’ll come with you. Not for your entire fairy kingdom. Come, fairies, let’s go. We’re going to have an out-and-out brawl if I stay any longer. Well, go on your way, then you won’t leave this grove until I’ve paid you back for this insult My dear Puck, come here. You remember the time when I was sitting on a cliff, and I heard a mermaid sitting on a dolphin’s back sing such a sweet and harmonious song that it calmed the stormy sea and made stars shoot out of the sky so they could hear her better? Yes, I remember. That same night I saw Cupid flying from the moon to the earth, with all of his arrows ready. He took aim at a beautiful young virgin who was sitting on a throne in the western part of the world, and he shot his arrow of love well enough to have pierced a hundred thousand hearts. But I paid attention to where Cupid’s arrow fell. It fell on a little western flower, which used to be white as milk but now has turned purple from being wounded by the arrow of love. Young girls call it “love-in-idleness.” Bring me that flower. I showed it to you once. If its juice is put on someone’s eyelids while they’re asleep, that person will fall in love with the next living creature he or she sees. Bring me this plant, and get back here before the sea monster has time to swim three miles. I could go around the world in forty minutes. When I have the juice of that flower, I’ll trickle some drops of it on Titania’s eyes while she’s sleeping. She’ll fall madly in love with the first thing she sees when she wakes up— even if it’s a lion, a bear, a wolf, a bull, a monkey, or an ape. She shall pursue it with the soul of love. I can cure her by treating her with another plant I’ll make her give me that little boy as my page. But who’s that coming this way? I’ll make myself invisible and listen to their conversation. Look, I don’t love you, so stop following me around. Where are Lysander and beautiful Hermia? Lysander I want to stop, but Hermia stops my heart from beating. You told me they escaped into this forest. And here I am, going crazy in the middle of the woods because I can’t find my Hermia. Go away, get out of here, and stop following me. You attract me to you, you cruel magnet! But you must not attract iron, because my heart is as true as steel. If you let go of your power to attract me, I won’t have any power to follow you. Do I ask you to follow me? Do I speak to you kindly? Don’t I tell you in the clearest terms that I do not and cannot love you? Yes, but that makes me love you even more. I’m your little dog, Demetrius. The more you beat me, the more I’ll love you. Treat me like you would treat a dog kick me, hit me, neglect me, try to lose me. Just let me follow behind you, even though I’m not good enough for you. Could I ask for a worse place in your heart than to be treated as you would treat a dog? And yet I would consider it an honor to be your dog. Don’t push it. Just looking at you makes me sick. And I get sick when I can’t look at you. You’re risking your reputation by leaving the city and stalking someone who doesn’t love you. Standing around alone in a deserted area in the middle of the night isn’t the best way to protect your virginity. I rely on your virtue to protect me. And because I can see your shining face, it doesn’t feel like nighttime to me. This forest doesn’t seem deserted when you’re here, because you are all the world to me. So how can anyone say I’m alone, when the whole world is here to look at me? I’ll run away from you and hide in the bushes, and leave you to the mercy of wild animals. The wildest animal isn’t as cruel as you are. The story of Daphne and Apollo will be changed: the lustful god Apollo runs away from the virginal nymph Daphne who pursues him, the dove chases after the griffin, which is usually its predator, and the gentle deer tries to hunt down the tiger speed is useless when the cowardly person chases and the brave person runs away. I’m not sticking around to listen to you any longer. Leave me alone. Or if you follow me, you’d better understand that I’ll do something bad to you in the forest. Yes, you already hurt me in the church, in the town, and in the fields. Shame on you, Demetrius! Your behavior is an insult to all women. We cannot fight for love as men can. We should be pursued and courted. We weren’t made to do the pursuing. I’ll follow you and turn this hell I’m in into a kind of heaven. It would be heavenly to be killed by someone I love so much. Goodbye, nymph. Before he leaves this part of the forest, you’ll change places: you’ll be the one running away, and he’ll be in love with you. Welcome, traveler. Do you have the flower? Yes, here it is. Please, give it to me. I know a place where wild thyme blooms, and oxlips and violets grow. Titania sleeps there sometimes at night, lulled to sleep among the flowers by dances and other delights. Snakes shed their skin there, and the shed skin is wide enough to wrap a fairy in. I’ll put the juice of this flower on Titania’s eyes, and fill her with horrible delusions and desires. You take some of it too, and look around in this part of the forest. A sweet Athenian lady is in love with a young man who wants nothing to do with her. Put some of this flower’s juice on his eyes, and make sure to do it in such a way that the next thing he sees will be the lady. You’ll be able to tell it’s him because he’s wearing Athenian clothes. Do it carefully, so that he’ll end up loving her more than she loves him. And then make sure to meet me before the rooster’s first crow at dawn. Don’t worry, sir. I’m at your service.

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