A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 7

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155To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia,
And now both rivals to mock Helena—
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
160To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
With your derision! None of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin, and extort
A poor soul’s patience, all to make you sport.
Hermia’s love, and now you’re competing to see which one of you can make fun of me the most. That’s a great idea, a really manly thing to do—making a poor girl cry! No respectable person would offend an innocent girl just to have some fun.

LYSANDER

You are unkind, Demetrius. Be not so.
165For you love Hermia. This you know I know.
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia’s love I yield you up my part.
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
Whom I do love and will do till my death.

LYSANDER

Don’t be cruel, Demetrius. I know you love Hermia, and you know I know it. Right here, right now, I swear I’m giving up all my claims on her and handing her to you. In exchange, give up your claim to love Helena, since I love her and will love her until I die.

HELENA

170Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

HELENA

Nobody’s ever gone to so much trouble just to make fun of someone.

DEMETRIUS

Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.
If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned,
And now to Helen is it home returned,
175There to remain.

DEMETRIUS

Lysander, keep your Hermia. I don’t want her. If I ever loved her, all that love is gone now. My love for her was temporary. Now I’ll love Helena forever.

LYSANDER

Helen, it is not so.

LYSANDER

Helena, it’s not true.

DEMETRIUS

Disparage not the faith thou dost not know,
Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear.
Look, where thy love comes. Yonder is thy dear.

DEMETRIUS

Don’t insult a deep love that you don’t understand, or you’ll pay the price. Look, here comes the woman you love.
Enter HERMIA
HERMIA enters.

HERMIA

180Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes.
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense.

HERMIA

It’s hard to see clearly in the dark of night, but it’s easier to hear well.