1. SCENE I. The Wood.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee'd and dew-lap'd like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
Judge when you hear.--But, soft, what nymphs are these?
My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
And this Lysander; this Demetrius is;
This Helena, old Nedar's Helena:
I wonder of their being here together.
No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May; and, hearing our intent,
Came here in grace of our solemnity.--
But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
It is, my lord.
Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
[Horns, and shout within. DEMETRIUS, LYSANDER,HERMIA, and HELENA
awake and start up.]
Good-morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past;
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
Pardon, my lord.
[He and the rest kneel to THESEUS.]
I pray you all, stand up.
I know you two are rival enemies;
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?
My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half 'sleep, half waking; but as yet, I swear,
I cannot truly say how I came here:
But, as I think,--for truly would I speak--
And now I do bethink me, so it is,--
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might be,
Without the peril of the Athenian law.