A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
80Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwishèd yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
I’d rather wither away than give up my virginity to someone I don’t love.
Take time to pause, and by the next new moon—
The sealing day betwixt my love and me
85For everlasting bond of fellowship—
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father’s will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,
Or on Diana’s altar to protest
90For aye austerity and single life.
Take some time to think about this. By the time of the next new moon—the day when Hippolyta and I will be married—be ready either to be executed for disobeying your father, to marry Demetrius as your father wishes, or to take a vow to spend the rest of your life as a virgin priestess of the moon goddess.
Relent, sweet Hermia—And, Lysander, yield
Thy crazèd title to my certain right.
Please give in, sweet Hermia.—And Lysander, stop acting like she’s yours. I’ve got more of a right to her than you do.
You have her father’s love, Demetrius.
Let me have Hermia’s. Do you marry him.
Her father loves you, Demetrius. So why don’t you marry him and let me have Hermia?
95Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love,
And what is mine my love shall render him.
And she is mine, and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
It’s true, rude Lysander, I do love him. That’s why I’m giving him my daughter. She’s mine, and I’m giving her to Demetrius.
(to THESEUS) I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
100As well possessed. My love is more than his.
My fortunes every way as fairly ranked,
(If not with vantage) as Demetrius'.
And—which is more than all these boasts can be—
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.
105Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,
And won her soul. And she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry
110Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
(to THESEUS) My lord, I’m just as noble and rich as he is. I love Hermia more than he does. My prospects are as good as his, if not better. And beautiful Hermia loves me—which is more important than all those other things I’m bragging about. Why shouldn’t I be able to marry her? Demetrius—and I’ll say this to his face—courted Nedar’s daughter, Helena, and made her fall in love with him. That sweet lady, Helena, loves devoutly. She adores this horrible and unfaithful man.