Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be..."

For today's Poetry Wednesday, I thought I would deviate from rhyming/metered verse and give you a treat from Mr. Shakespeare.  Here is an excerpt of my favorite scene from within my favorite Shakespearean work, "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  There is a specific reason of personal circumstance that made me think to choose this section, but that's for another time, perhaps.  Grab you a bench seat and a flagon of ale (if you are temperance like me, it can be ginger ale!) and enjoy. ;)

(Middle of) Act 3, Scene 2

102         Flower of this purple dye,
103         Hit with Cupid's archery,
104         Sink in apple of his eye.
105         When his love he doth espy,
106         Let her shine as gloriously
107         As the Venus of the sky.
108         When thou wakest, if she be by,
109         Beg of her for remedy.
           Enter PUCK.
110         Captain of our fairy band,
111         Helena is here at hand;
112         And the youth, mistook by me,
113         Pleading for a lover's fee.
114         Shall we their fond pageant see?
115         Lord, what fools these mortals be!
116         Stand aside: the noise they make
117         Will cause Demetrius to awake.
118         Then will two at once woo one;
119         That must needs be sport alone;
120         And those things do best please me
121         That befall prepost'rously.
           Enter LYSANDER and HELENA.
122   Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
123   Scorn and derision never come in tears:
124   Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
125   In their nativity all truth appears.
126   How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
127   Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?
128   You do advance your cunning more and more.
129   When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
130   These vows are Hermia's: will you give her o'er?
131   Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh:
132   Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
133   Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
134   I had no judgment when to her I swore.
135   Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o'er.
136   Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
      DEMETRIUS  [Awaking.]
137   O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
138   To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
139   Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
140   Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
141   That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
142   Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
143   When thou hold'st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
144   This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
145   O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
146   To set against me for your merriment:
147   If you we re civil and knew courtesy,
148   You would not do me thus much injury.
149   Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
150   But you must join in souls to mock me too?
151   If you were men, as men you are in show,
152   You would not use a gentle lady so;
153   To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
154   When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
155   You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
156   And now both rivals, to mock Helena:
157   A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
158   To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes
159   With your derision! none of noble sort
160   Would so offend a virgin, and extort
161   A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.
162   You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
163   For you love Hermia; this you know I know:
164   And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
165   In Hermia's love I yield you up my part;
166   And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
167   Whom I do love and will do till my death.
168   Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
169   Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will none:
170   If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
171   My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd,
172   And now to Helen is it home return'd,
173   There to remain.
173                          Helen, it is not so.
174   Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
175   Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
176   Look, where thy love comes; yonder is thy dear.
           Enter HERMIA.
177   Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
178   The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
179   Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
180   It pays the hearing double recompense.
181   Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
182   Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound
183   But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
184   Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
185   What love could press Lysander from my side?
186   Lysander's love, that would not let him bide,
187   Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
188   Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light.
189   Why seek'st thou me? could not this make thee know,
190   The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
191   You speak not as you think: it cannot be.
192   Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
193   Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
194   To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
195   Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid!
196   Have you conspired, have you with these contriv'd
197   To bait me with this foul derision?
198   Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
199   The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
200   When we have chid the hasty-footed time
201   For parting us,—O, is it all forgot?
202   All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
203   We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
204   Have with our needles created both one flower,
205   Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
206   Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
207   As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
208   Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
209   Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
210   But yet an union in partition;
211   Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
212   So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
213   Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
214   Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
215   And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
216   To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
217   It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
218   Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
219   Though I alone do feel the injury.
220   I am amazed at your passionate words.
221   I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
222   Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
223   To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
224   And made your other love, Demetrius,
225   Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
226   To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
227   Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
228   To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
229   Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
230   And tender me, forsooth, affection,
231   But by your setting on, by your consent?
232   What though I be not so in grace as you,
233   So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
234   But miserable most, to love unloved?
235   This you should pity rather than despise.
236   I understand not what you mean by this.
237   Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
238   Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
239   Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
240   This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
241   If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
242   You would not make me such an argument.
243   But fare ye well: 'tis partly my own fault;
244   Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
245   Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse:
246   My love, my life my soul, fair Helena!
247   O excellent!
247                          Sweet, do not scorn her so.
248   If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
249   Thou canst compel no more than she entreat:
250   Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
251   Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
252   I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
253   To prove him false that says I love thee not.
254   I say I love thee more than he can do.
255   If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
256   Quick, come!
256                          Lysander, whereto tends all this?
257   Away, you Ethiope!
257                                 No, no; he'll
258   Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow,
259   But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!
260   Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose,
261   Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!
262   Why are you grown so rude? what change is this?
263   Sweet love?
263                      Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
264   Out, loathed med'cine! hated potion, hence!
265   Do you not jest?
265                              Yes, sooth; and so do you.
266   Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
267   I would I had your bond, for I perceive
268   A weak bond holds you: I'll not trust your word.
269   What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
270   Although I hate her, I'll not harm her so.
271   What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
272   Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love!
273   Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander?
274   I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
275   Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me:
276   Why, then you left me—O, the gods forbid!—
277   In earnest, shall I say?
277                                      Ay, by my life;
278   And never did desire to see thee more.
279   Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
280   Be certain, nothing truer; 'tis no jest
281   That I do hate thee and love Helena.
282   O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!
283   You thief of love! what, have you come by night
284   And stolen my love's heart from him?
284                                                               Fine, i'faith!
285   Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
286   No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
287   Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
288   Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
289   Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
290   Now I perceive that she hath made compare
291   Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
292   And with her personage, her tall personage,
293   Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.
294   And are you grown so high in his esteem;
295   Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
296   How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
297   How low am I? I am not yet so low
298   But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
299   I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
300   Let her not hurt me: I was never curst;
301   I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
302   I am a right maid for my cowardice:
303   Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
304   Because she is something lower than myself,
305   That I can match her.
305                                     "Lower"? hark, again.
306   Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
307   I evermore did love you, Hermia,
308   Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong'd you;
309   Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
310   I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
311   He follow'd you; for love I follow'd him;
312   But he hath chid me hence and threaten'd me
313   To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
314   And now, so you will let me quiet go,
315   To Athens will I bear my folly back
316   And follow you no further: let me go:
317   You see how simple and how fond I am.
318   Why, get you gone: who is't that hinders you?
319   A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
320   What, with Lysander?
320                                 With Demetrius.
321   Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
322   No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
323   O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd!
324   She was a vixen when she went to school;
325   And though she be but little, she is fierce.
326   "Little" again! nothing but "low" and "little"!
327   Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
328   Let me come to her.
328                                 Get you gone, you dwarf;
329   You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
330   You bead, you acorn.
330                                  You are too officious
331   In her behalf that scorns your services.
332   Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
333   Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend
334   Never so little show of love to her,
335   Thou shalt aby it.
335                              Now she holds me not;
336   Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
337   Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
338   Follow! nay, I'll go with thee, cheek by jowl.
           [Exeunt LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS.]
339   You, mistress, all this coil is 'long of you:
340   Nay, go not back.
340                               I will not trust you, I,
341   Nor longer stay in your curst company.
342   Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
343   My legs are longer though, to run away.
344   I am amazed, and know not what to say.

[For the entire play, click here.]

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