A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

OBERON

(squeezing flower juice into DEMETRIUS ’s eyes)
Flower of this purple dye,
105Hit with Cupid’s archery,
Sink in apple of his eye.
When his love he doth espy,
Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
110When thou wakest, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.

OBERON

(putting flower juice on DEMETRIUS ’s eyelids)
You purple flower, hit by Cupid’s arrow, sink into the pupils of this man’s eyes. When he sees the girl he should love, make her seem as bright to him as the evening star. Young man, when you wake up, if she’s nearby, beg her to cure your lovesickness.
Enter ROBIN
ROBIN enters.

ROBIN

Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
115Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

ROBIN

Helena is nearby, boss. The young man who I mistook for this one is there too, begging her to love him. Should we watch this ridiculous scene? Lord, what fools these mortals are!

OBERON

Stand aside. The noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.

OBERON

Step aside. The noise they’re making will wake up Demetrius.

ROBIN

120Then will two at once woo one.
That must needs be sport alone.
And those things do best please me
That befall preposterously.

ROBIN

Then the two of them will both pursue one girl. That will be funny enough, and preposterous situations are my favorite thing.
Enter LYSANDER and HELENA
LYSANDER and HELENA enter.

LYSANDER

Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
125Scorn and derision never come in tears.

LYSANDER

Why do you think I’m making fun of you when I tell you I love you? People don’t cry when they’re mocking someone.