A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

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HELENA
And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you.
190Use me but as your spaniel—spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me. Only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love—
And yet a place of high respect with me—
195Than to be usèd as you use your dog?
HELENA
Yes, but that makes me love you even more. I’m your little dog, Demetrius. The more you beat me, the more I’ll love you. Treat me like you would treat a dog—kick me, hit me, neglect me, try to lose me. Just let me follow behind you, even though I’m not good enough for you. Could I ask for a worse place in your heart than to be treated as you would treat a dog? And yet I would consider it an honor to be your dog.
DEMETRIUS
Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit.
For I am sick when I do look on thee.
DEMETRIUS
Don’t push it. Just looking at you makes me sick.
HELENA
And I am sick when I look not on you.
HELENA
And I get sick when I can’t look at you.
DEMETRIUS
You do impeach your modesty too much,
200To leave the city and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not,
To trust the opportunity of night
And the ill counsel of a desert place
With the rich worth of your virginity.
DEMETRIUS
You’re risking your reputation by leaving the city and stalking someone who doesn’t love you. Standing around alone in a deserted area in the middle of the night isn’t the best way to protect your virginity.
HELENA
205Your virtue is my privilege. For that
It is not night when I do see your face.
Therefore I think I am not in the night.
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world.
210Then how can it be said I am alone
When all the world is here to look on me?
HELENA
I rely on your virtue to protect me. And because I can see your shining face, it doesn’t feel like nighttime to me. This forest doesn’t seem deserted when you’re here, because you are all the world to me. So how can anyone say I’m alone, when the whole world is here to look at me?
DEMETRIUS
I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
DEMETRIUS
I’ll run away from you and hide in the bushes, and leave you to the mercy of wild animals.
HELENA
The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
215Run when you will, the story shall be changed.
HELENA
The wildest animal isn’t as cruel as you are. Run whenever you want to. The story of Daphne and Apollo will be changed: