A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seemed all one mutual cry. I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
The forests, the skies, the mountains, everything around us seemed to echo the barks of the hounds. I’d never heard such raucous music, such pleasant thunder.

THESEUS

My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
105So flewed, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew,
Crook-kneed, and dew-lapped like Thessalian bulls,
Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tunable
110Was never hollaed to, nor cheered with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.
Judge when you hear.
(sees the four sleeping lovers)
  But, soft! What nymphs are these?

THESEUS

My dogs are bred from Spartan hounds. They have the same folds of flesh around their mouths, the same sandy-colored fur, and hanging ears that brush the morning dew off the grass. They have crooked knees and folds of skin under their necks, just like the Spartan hounds. They’re not very fast in the chase, but their barking sounds like bells ringing. Each bark is perfectly in tune with the others, like notes on a scale. No one, anywhere, has ever gone hunting with a more musical pack of dogs. Judge for yourself when you hear them. (he sees the four lovers sleeping) But wait a minute! Who are these women?

EGEUS

My lord, this is my daughter here asleep.
115And this, Lysander. This Demetrius is.
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena.
I wonder of their being here together.

EGEUS

My lord, that’s my daughter asleep on the ground over there, and this is Lysander here, and this is Demetrius, and this is Helena, old Nedar’s daughter. I don’t understand why they’re all here together.

THESEUS

No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent
120Came here in grace our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus. Is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?

THESEUS

They probably woke up early to celebrate May Day and came here for my celebration when they heard I’d be here. But tell me, Egeus. Isn’t today the day when Hermia has to tell us her decision about whether she’ll marry Demetrius?

EGEUS

It is, my lord.

EGEUS

It is, my lord.

THESEUS

Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.

THESEUS

Go tell the hunters to blow their horns and wake them up.
Exit one of the train
A servant exits.
Wind horns and shout within LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up
Someone shouts offstage. Horns are blown. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA, wake up.
125Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past.
Good morning, my friends. Valentine’s Day is over.