A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

(to LYSANDER)
  Take on as you would follow,
265But yet come not. You are a tame man, go!
(to LYSANDER) Pretend like you’re going to follow me, but then don’t come. You’re a coward, get out of here!

LYSANDER

(to HERMIA) Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent.

LYSANDER

(to HERMIA) Stop hanging on me, you cat, you thorn. Let go of me, or I’ll shake you off like a snake.

HERMIA

Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
Sweet love?

HERMIA

Why have you gotten so rude? What’s happened to you, my darling?

LYSANDER

  Thy love? Out, tawny Tartar, out!
270Out, loathèd medicine! O hated potion, hence!

LYSANDER

Your darling? Get out, you dark-skinned gypsy! Get out, you horrible poison. Get out!

HERMIA

Do you not jest?

HERMIA

Are you joking?

HELENA

  Yes, sooth, and so do you.

HELENA

Of course he is, and so are you.

LYSANDER

Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.

LYSANDER

Demetrius, I’m ready to fight you as promised.

DEMETRIUS

I would I had your bond, for I perceive
A weak bond holds you. I’ll not trust your word.

DEMETRIUS

I wish we had a signed legal contract. I can see you don’t keep your promises very well. I don’t trust you.

LYSANDER

275What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so.

LYSANDER

What? Do you want me to hit Hermia, hurt her, kill her? Sure, I hate her, but I wouldn’t hurt her.

HERMIA

(to LYSANDER)
What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me? Wherefore? O me! What news, my love?
280Am not I Hermia? Are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me. Yet since night you left me.
Why then, you left me—Oh, the gods forbid!—
In earnest, shall I say?

HERMIA

(to LYSANDER) Can you hurt me any more than by saying you hate me? Hate me? Why? What’s happened to you, my love? Am I not Hermia? Aren’t you Lysander? I’m as beautiful now as I was a little while ago. You still loved me when we fell asleep, but when you woke up you left me. So you left me—Oh, God help me!—For real?

LYSANDER

    Ay, by my life,
285And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt.

LYSANDER

I certainly did, and I never wanted to see you again. So stop hoping and wondering what I mean.