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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

O, teach me how you look and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.
Oh, teach me how you look the way you do, and which tricks you used to make Demetrius fall in love with you.
HERMIA
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
HERMIA
I frown at him, but he still loves me.
HELENA
195Oh, that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
HELENA
Oh, if only my smiles could inspire love as effectively as your frowns!
HERMIA
I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
HERMIA
I curse him, but he loves me.
HELENA
Oh, that my prayers could such affection move!
HELENA
If only my prayers could inspire that kind of affection!
HERMIA
The more I hate, the more he follows me.
HERMIA
The more I hate him, the more he follows me around.
HELENA
The more I love, the more he hateth me.
HELENA
The more I love him, the more he hates me.
HERMIA
200His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
HERMIA
It’s not my fault he acts like that, Helena.
HELENA
None, but your beauty. Would that fault were mine!
HELENA
That’s true, it’s your beauty’s fault. I wish I had a fault like that!
HERMIA
Take comfort. He no more shall see my face.
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see
205Seemed Athens as a paradise to me.
Oh, then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell!
HERMIA
Don’t worry. He won’t see my face ever again. Lysander and I are running away from here. Before I saw Lysander, Athens seemed like paradise to me. But Lysander’s so attractive that he’s turned heaven into hell!
LYSANDER
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
Tomorrow night when Phoebe doth behold
210Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass
(A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal),
Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal.
LYSANDER
Helena, we’ll tell you about our secret plan. Tomorrow night, when the moon shines on the water and decorates the grass with tiny beads of pearly light (the time of night that always hides runaway lovers), we plan to sneak out of Athens.
HERMIA
(to HELENA) And in the wood where often you and I
215Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
HERMIA
(to HELENA) In the woods where you and I used to lounge around on the pale primroses, telling each other sweet secrets—that’s where Lysander and I will meet.