Lys. A good perswasion; therefore heare me Hermia, I haue a Widdow Aunt, a dowager, Of great reuennew, and she hath no childe, From Athens is her house remou'd seuen leagues, And she respects me, as her onely sonne: There gentle Hermia, may I marrie thee, And to that place, the sharpe Athenian Law Cannot pursue vs. If thou lou'st me, then Steale forth thy Fathers house to morrow night: And in the wood, a league without the towne, (Where I did meete thee once with Helena. To do obseruance for a morne of May) There will I stay for thee

Her. My good Lysander, I sweare to thee, by Cupids strongest bow, By his best arrow with the golden head, By the simplicitie of Venus Doues, By that which knitteth soules, and prospers loue, And by that fire which burn'd the Carthage Queene, When the false Troyan vnder saile was seene, By all the vowes that euer men haue broke, (In number more then euer women spoke) In that same place thou hast appointed me, To morrow truly will I meete with thee

Lys. Keepe promise loue: looke here comes Helena. Enter Helena.

Her. God speede faire Helena, whither away? Hel. Cal you me faire? that faire againe vnsay, Demetrius loues you faire: O happie faire! Your eyes are loadstarres, and your tongues sweete ayre More tuneable then Larke to shepheards eare, When wheate is greene, when hauthorne buds appeare, Sicknesse is catching: O were fauor so, Your words I catch, faire Hermia ere I go, My eare should catch your voice, my eye, your eye, My tongue should catch your tongues sweete melodie, Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, The rest Ile giue to be to you translated. O teach me how you looke, and with what art You sway the motion of Demetrius hart

Her. I frowne vpon him, yet he loues me still

Hel. O that your frownes would teach my smiles such skil

Her. I giue him curses, yet he giues me loue

Hel. O that my prayers could such affection mooue

Her. The more I hate, the more he followes me

Hel. The more I loue, the more he hateth me

Her. His folly Helena is none of mine

Hel. None but your beauty, wold that fault wer mine Her. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face, Lysander and my selfe will flie this place. Before the time I did Lysander see, Seem'd Athens like a Paradise to mee. O then, what graces in my Loue do dwell, That he hath turn'd a heauen into hell

Lys. Helen, to you our mindes we will vnfold, To morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her siluer visage, in the watry glasse, Decking with liquid pearle, the bladed grasse (A time that Louers flights doth still conceale) Through Athens gates, haue we deuis'd to steale

Her. And in the wood, where often you and I, Vpon faint Primrose beds, were wont to lye, Emptying our bosomes, of their counsell sweld: There my Lysander, and my selfe shall meete, And thence from Athens turne away our eyes To seeke new friends and strange companions, Farwell sweet play-fellow, pray thou for vs, And good lucke grant thee thy Demetrius. Keepe word Lysander we must starue our sight, From louers foode, till morrow deepe midnight.

Exit Hermia.

Lys. I will my Hermia. Helena adieu, As you on him, Demetrius dotes on you.

Exit Lysander.

Hele. How happy some, ore othersome can be? Through Athens I am thought as faire as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinkes not so: He will not know, what all, but he doth know, And as hee erres, doting on Hermias eyes; So I, admiring of his qualities: Things base and vilde, holding no quantity, Loue can transpose to forme and dignity, Loue lookes not with the eyes, but with the minde, And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blinde. Nor hath loues minde of any iudgement taste: Wings and no eyes, figure, vnheedy haste. And therefore is Loue said to be a childe, Because in choise he is often beguil'd, As waggish boyes in game themselues forsweare; So the boy Loue is periur'd euery where. For ere Demetrius lookt on Hermias eyne, He hail'd downe oathes that he was onely mine. And when this Haile some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolu'd, and showres of oathes did melt, I will goe tell him of faire Hermias flight: Then to the wood will he, to morrow night Pursue her; and for his intelligence, If I haue thankes, it is a deere expence: But heerein meane I to enrich my paine, To haue his sight thither, and backe againe. Enter.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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