A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

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HERMIA

    “Lower”? Hark, again!

HERMIA

“Shorter!” See, she’s doing it again!

HELENA

315Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wronged you—
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
320He followed you. For love I followed him.
But he hath chid me hence and threatened me
To strike me, spurn me—nay, to kill me too.
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back
325And follow you no further. Let me go.
You see how simple and how fond I am.

HELENA

Good Hermia, please don’t act so bitter toward me. I always loved you, Hermia, and gave you advice. I never did anything to hurt you—except once, when I told Demetrius that you planned to sneak off into this forest. And I only did that because I loved Demetrius so much. He followed you. And I followed him because I loved him. But he told me to get lost and threatened to hit me, kick me—even kill me. Now just let me go quietly back to Athens. I’ll carry my mistakes back with me. I won’t follow you anymore. Please let me go. You see how naïve and foolish I’ve been.

HERMIA

Why, get you gone! Who is ’t that hinders you?

HERMIA

Well, get out of here then! What’s keeping you?

HELENA

A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.

HELENA

My stupid heart, which I’m leaving behind here.

HERMIA

What, with Lysander?

HERMIA

What, you’re leaving it with Lysander?

HELENA

    With Demetrius.

HELENA

No, with Demetrius.

LYSANDER

330Be not afraid. She shall not harm thee, Helena.

LYSANDER

Don’t be afraid. She can’t hurt you, Helena.

DEMETRIUS

(to LYSANDER)
No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.

DEMETRIUS

(to LYSANDER) That’s right, Hermia won’t hurt Helena even if you try to help her.

HELENA

Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school.
335And though she be but little, she is fierce.

HELENA

Oh, when you get her angry, she’s a good fighter, and vicious too. She was a hellcat in school. And she’s fierce, even though she’s little.

HERMIA

“Little” again? Nothing but “low” and “little”!—
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.

HERMIA

“Little” again? Nothing but “little” and “short”!— Why are you letting her insult me like this? Let me at her!.