A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase.
The dove pursues the griffin. The mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger—bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues and valor flies.
the lustful god Apollo runs away from the virginal nymph Daphne who pursues him, the dove chases after the griffin, which is usually its predator, and the gentle deer tries to hunt down the tiger—speed is useless when the cowardly person chases and the brave person runs away.
220I will not stay thy questions. Let me go.
Or if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
I’m not sticking around to listen to you any longer. Leave me alone. Or if you follow me, you’d better understand that I’ll do something bad to you in the forest.
Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
225Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex.
We cannot fight for love as men may do.
We should be wooed and were not made to woo.
Yes, you already hurt me in the church, in the town, and in the fields. Shame on you, Demetrius! Your behavior is an insult to all women. We cannot fight for love as men can. We should be pursued and courted. We weren’t made to do the pursuing.
I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.
I’ll follow you and turn this hell I’m in into a kind of heaven. It would be heavenly to be killed by someone I love so much.
HELENA exits.
230Fare thee well, nymph. Ere he do leave this grove,
Thou shalt fly him and he shall seek thy love.
Goodbye, nymph. Before he leaves this part of the forest, you’ll change places: you’ll be the one running away, and he’ll be in love with you.
ROBIN enters.
Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
Do you have the flower? Welcome, traveler.
Ay, there it is.
Yes, here it is.
  I pray thee, give it me.
(takes flower from ROBIN)
235I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.
Please, give it to me. (he takes the flower from ROBIN) I know a place where wild thyme blooms, and oxlips and violets grow. It’s covered over with luscious honeysuckle, sweet muskroses and sweetbrier.