A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter lovers: LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA
The lovers—LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA—enter.
THESEUS
Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.—
Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love
30Accompany your hearts!
THESEUS
Here come the lovers, laughing happily.—I wish you joy, my friends! I hope the days ahead are full of joy for you.
LYSANDER
    More than to us
Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
LYSANDER
We wish you even more joy, and hope joy comes to you in your royal walks, at your table, and in your royal bed!
THESEUS
Come now, what masques, what dances shall we have
To wear away this long age of three hours
Between our after-supper and bedtime?
35Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Call Philostrate.
THESEUS
Now, what kind of entertainment do we have to fill up the long three hours between dinner and bedtime? Where is our entertainment director? What performances have been prepared? Aren’t there any plays for us to enjoy while we wait in torture for bedtime to come? Let me see Philostrate.
PHILOSTRATE
  Here, mighty Theseus.
PHILOSTRATE
Here I am, Theseus.
THESEUS
Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
40What masque, what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time if not with some delight?
THESEUS
Tell us what entertainment you’ve prepared for the evening. Which plays, what music? How will we pass the time without some entertainment?
PHILOSTRATE
(giving THESEUS a document)
There is a brief, how many sports are ripe.
Make choice of which your highness will see first.
PHILOSTRATE
(giving THESEUS a piece of paper) Here’s a list of all of the acts that have been prepared. Choose which one you want to see first.
THESEUS
45 (reads)
 “The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
 By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.”
We’ll none of that. That have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
 “The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
 Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.”
That is an old device, and it was played
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
THESEUS
(reading) “The battle between Hercules and the Centaurs, to be sung by an Athenian eunuch, accompanied by a harp.” No, we won’t see that. I’ve already told that story to Hippolyta, while praising my cousin Hercules. What else? “The riot of the drunk Bacchanals who rip the singer Orpheus to shreds.” That’s an old show, and I saw it the last time I came back from conquering