A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

But, my good lord, I wot not by what power—
But by some power it is—my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud
155Which in my childhood I did dote upon.
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betrothed ere I saw Hermia.
160But like in sickness did I loathe this food.
But as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.
I’m not sure how it happened—but somehow, something made my love for Hermia melt away like snow. My past love for Hermia now seems like a memory of some cheap toy I used to love as a child. Now the only person I love, and believe in, and want to look at, is Helena. I was engaged to her before I ever met Hermia. Then I hated her for a time, as a sick person hates the food he usually loves. But now I have my natural taste back, like a sick person when he recovers. Now I want Helena, I love her, I long for her, and I will always be true to her.
Fair lovers, you are fortunately met.
165Of this discourse we more will hear anon.—
Egeus, I will overbear your will.
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit.—
And, for the morning now is something worn,
170Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens. Three and three,
We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, Hippolyta.
You pretty lovers are lucky you met me here. We’ll talk more about this later.—Egeus, I’m overriding your wishes. These couples will be married along with me and Hippolyta in the temple later today.—And now, since the morning is almost over, we’ll give up on the idea of hunting. Come with us to Athens. We three couples will celebrate with a sumptuous feast. Come, Hippolyta.
THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and EGEUS exit with their followers.
These things seem small and undistinguishable,
175Like far-off mountains turnèd into clouds.
What exactly just happened? The events of last night seem small and hard to see clearly, like far-off mountains that look like clouds in the distance.
When everything seems double. Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
Yes, it’s like my eyes are out of focus, and I’m seeing everything double.
    So methinks.
Me too.