A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 15

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Believe me, King of Shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
360By the Athenian garment he had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have 'nointed an Athenian’s eyes.
And so far am I glad it so did sort,
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.


Believe me, King of Illusions, I made a mistake. Didn’t you tell me that I’d be able to recognize the man by the Athenian clothes he was wearing? So far I’ve done exactly what I was supposed to do—I put the love potion on an Athenian’s eyes. And so far I’m pleased with the way things have turned out, since I find all of this commotion very entertaining.


365Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight.
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night.
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
And lead these testy rivals so astray
370As one come not within another’s way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong.
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius.
And from each other look thou lead them thus,
375Till o'er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep.
(gives ROBIN another flower)
Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye,
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property
380To take from thence all error with his might
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision.
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
385With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy.
And then I will her charmèd eye release
From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.


As you can see, these lovers are looking for a place to fight. Hurry up, Robin, and make the night dark and cloudy. Cover the sky with a low-hanging fog, as dark as hell, and get these overeager rivals so completely lost in the woods that they can’t run into each other. Imitate Lysander’s voice and egg Demetrius on with insults. Then rant for a while in Demetrius’s voice, and egg Lysander on. That way you’ll get them away from each other until they’re so exhausted that they’ll sleep like the dead. ( OBERON gives a new flower to ROBIN) When they’re asleep, crush some of this flower’s juice into Lysander’s eyes. The flower’s juice has the power to erase all the damage that’s been done to his eyes, and to make him see normally, the way he used to. When they wake up, all this trouble and conflict will seem like a dream or a meaningless vision. Then the lovers will go back to Athens, united together until death. While you’re busy with that, I’ll go see Queen Titania and ask her once again for the Indian boy. And then I’ll undo the spell that I cast over her, so she won’t be in love with that monster anymore. Then everything will be peaceful again.