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I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor 26 cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the wholc quire hold their hips, and loffe;
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.-
But room, Faery, here comes Oberon.
Fai. And here my mistress :-'Would that he were
Enter OBERON, at one door, with his train, and
TITANIA, at another, with hers. Ole. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania.
Tita. What, jealous Oberon? Fairy, skip hence; I have forsworn his bed and
company. Obe. Tarry, rash wanton; Am not I thy lord ?
Tita. Then I must be thy lady : But I know When thou hast stol’n away from fairy land, And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress, and
warrior love, To Theseus must be wedded; and you come To give their bed joy and prosperity.
Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, Glance at my credit with Hippolyta, Knowing I know thy love to Theseus? Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night From Perigenia, whom he ravished ? And make him with fair Æglé break his faith, With Ariadne, and Antiopa?
Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy: And never, since the middle summer's spring 27, Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead, By paved fountain, or by rushy brook, Or on the beached margent of the sea, To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, But with thy brawls thou hast disturbid our sport. Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, As in revenge, have suck'd from the sea Contagious fogs; which falling in the land, Have every pelting 28 river made so proud, That they have overborne their continents.The ox bath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard: The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine-men's morris is fill'd up with mud 29;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable :
The human mortals want their winter here 30;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest.-
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatick diseases do abound:
And, thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissention;
We are their parents and original.
Obe. Do you amend it then; it lies in you:
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman 31,
Set your heart at rest,
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order:
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side;
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood;
When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive,
And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind:
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following, (her womb, then rich with my young
Would imitate ; and sail upon
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy :
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.
Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay?
Zita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day. If you will patiently dance in our round, And see our moon-light revels, go with us; If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Tita. Not for thy kingdom.-Fairies, away: We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.
[Excunt TITANIA, and her train. Obe. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this
Till I torment thee for this injury.—.
My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's musick.
Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou could'st not,)
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal 32, throned by the west;
And loos’d his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon;
And the imperial vot’ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell :
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound, -
And maidens call it, love-in-idleness 33.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I show'd thee once ;
The juice of it, on sleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again,
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes.
[Exit Puck. Obe.
Having once this juice,
I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes :
The next thing then she waking looks upon
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,