A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LYSANDER

This lion is a very fox, for his valor.

LYSANDER

He’s as brave as a fox.

THESEUS

220True. And a goose for his discretion.

THESEUS

True. And as wise as a goose.

DEMETRIUS

Not so, my lord. For his valor cannot carry his discretion, and the fox carries the goose.

DEMETRIUS

Oh, that’s not true, my lord. He’s not brave enough to be wise.

THESEUS

His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valor, for the goose carries not the fox. It is well. Leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

THESEUS

He’s not wise enough to be brave. Anyway, he is what he is. Let’s listen to the moon.

MOONSHINE

(played by STARVELING)
This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present—

MOONSHINE

DEMETRIUS

He should have worn the horns on his head.

DEMETRIUS

THESEUS

He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference.

THESEUS

He’s not a crescent moon, so his horns must be invisible inside the circle.

MOONSHINE

This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present.
Myself the man i' th' moon do seem to be—

MOONSHINE

This lantern represents the moon. I myself am playing the man in the moon—

THESEUS

This is the greatest error of all the rest. The man should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the “man i' th' moon”?

THESEUS

Well then, that’s the biggest mistake of all. The man should be inside the lantern. How else is he the “man in the moon”?

DEMETRIUS

235He dares not come there for the candle. For you see, it is already in snuff.

DEMETRIUS

He can’t go in there because of the candle. It’s too hot.

HIPPOLYTA

I am aweary of this moon. Would he would change!

HIPPOLYTA

I’m tired of this moon. I wish he’d wax or wane off the stage.

THESEUS

It appears by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane. But yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time.

THESEUS

It seems like he’s waning, but out of politeness we’ll have to wait and see.