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Bot. Good Master Mustard-seed, I know your patience well. That same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many gentlemen of your house. I promise you your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you more acquaintance, good Master Mustard-seed.
OBERON enters unseen.
Tit. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
Bot. Where's Peas-blossom?
Bot. Scratch my head, Peas-blossom. Where's Monsieur Cobweb? Cob. Ready.
Bot. Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get up your weapons in your hands, and kill me a red-hipped humble bee on the top of a thistle; and, good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much with the action, monsieur; and, good monsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be loth to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior.-Where's Monsieur Mustardseed?
Bot. Give me your neif,* Monsieur Mustard-sced. Pray you, leave your courtesy, good monsieur.
Must. What's your will?
Bot. Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavaliero Cobweb to scratch. I must to the barber's, monsieur; for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me I must scratch.
Tit. What, wilt thou hear some musick, my sweet love?
Bot. I have a reasonable ear in musick: let us have the tongs and the bones.
Tit. Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.
Bot. Truly a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay. hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
Tit. I have a venturous fairy, that shall seek the squirrel's hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
Bot. I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas: - but, I pray you, let none of your people stir me; I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
Tit. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist ;-the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!
OBERON advances. Enter PUCK.
Ober. Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
For meeting her of late behind the wood,
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That she awaking when the other do,
Be as thou wert wont to be;
(Touching her eyes with a herb.)
See, as thou wert wont to see;
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
Ober. There lies your love.
Ober. Silence awhile. Robin, takes off this head.—
Than common sleep, of all these five the sense.
Tit. Musick! ho! musick! such as charmeth sleep.
hand with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight, solemnly
And bless it to all fair posterity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark;
* But as the fierce vexation of a dream.-This fine stray verse comes looking in among the rest like a stern face through flowers.
Ober. Then, my queen, in silence sad,*
Tit. Come, my lord, and in our flight
That I sleeping here was found
With these mortals on the ground.
[Exeunt. [Horns sound within.
5 Come from the farthest steep of India.
Shakspeare understood the charm of remoteness in poetry, as he did everything else. Oberon has been dancing on the sunny steeps looking towards Cathay, where the
Their cany waggons light.
THE BRIDAL HOUSE BLESSED BY THE FAIRIES.
Puck. Now the hungry lion roars, 6
* Sad.-Grave, serious (not melancholy).
Puts the wretch that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shroud.
That the graves all gaping wide,
In the church-way paths to glide:
By the triple Hecate's team,
Enter OBERON and TITANIA, with their train.
Ober. Through this house give glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf and fairy sprite,
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty after me
Sing and dance it trippingly.
Tita. First rehearse this song by rote:
To each word a warbling note,
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
SONG AND DANCE.
Ober. Now, until the break of day,