| Original Text
| Modern Text
| Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and PHILOSTRATE, with others
| THESEUS and HIPPOLYTA enter with PHILOSTRATE and others.
| THESEUS Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hourDraws on apace. Four happy days bring inAnother moon. But oh, methinks how slowThis old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,Like to a stepdame or a dowagerLong withering out a young man’s revenue.
| THESEUS Our wedding day is almost here, my beautiful Hippolyta. We’ll be getting married in four days, on the day of the new moon. But it seems to me that the days are passing too slowly—the old moon is taking too long to fade away! That old, slow moon is keeping me from getting what I want, just like an old widow makes her stepson wait to get his inheritance.
| HIPPOLYTA Four days will quickly steep themselves in night.Four nights will quickly dream away the time.And then the moon, like to a silver bowNew bent in heaven, shall behold the nightOf our solemnities.
| HIPPOLYTA No, you’ll see, four days will quickly turn into four nights. And since we dream at night, time passes quickly then. Finally the new moon, curved like a silver bow in the sky, will look down on our wedding celebration.
| THESEUS Go, Philostrate,Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.Turn melancholy forth to funerals.The pale companion is not for our pomp.
| THESEUS Go, Philostrate, get the young people of Athens ready to celebrate and have a good time. Sadness is only appropriate for funerals. We don’t want it at our festivities.
| Exit PHILOSTRATE
| PHILOSTRATE exits.
| Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my swordAnd won thy love doing thee injuries.But I will wed thee in another key,With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.
| Hippolyta, I wooed you with violence, using my sword, and got you to fall in love with me by injuring you. But I’ll marry you under different circumstances—with extravagant festivals, public festivities, and celebration.
| Enter EGEUS and his daughter HERMIA, and LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS
| EGEUS enters with his daughter HERMIA, and LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS.
| EGEUS Happy be Theseus, our renownèd duke.
| EGEUS Long live Theseus, our famous and respected duke!
| Modern Text
| THESEUS Thanks, good Egeus. What’s the news with thee?
| THESEUS Thanks, good Egeus. What’s new with you?
| EGEUS Full of vexation come I with complaintAgainst my child, my daughter Hermia.—Stand forth, Demetrius.—My noble lord,This man hath my consent to marry her.—Stand forth, Lysander.—And my gracious duke,This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.—Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,And interchanged love tokens with my child.Thou hast by moonlight at her window sungWith feigning voice verses of feigning love,And stol'n the impression of her fantasyWith bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits,Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats—messengersOf strong prevailment in unhardened youth.With cunning hast thou filched my daughter’s heart,Turned her obedience (which is due to me)To stubborn harshness.—And, my gracious duke,Be it so she will not here before your graceConsent to marry with Demetrius,I beg the ancient privilege of Athens.As she is mine, I may dispose of her—Which shall be either to this gentlemanOr to her death—according to our lawImmediately provided in that case.
| EGEUS I’m here, full of anger, to complain about my daughter Hermia.—Step forward, Demetrius.—My lord, this man, Demetrius, has my permission to marry her.—Step forward, Lysander.—But this other man, Lysander, has cast a magic spell over my child’s heart.—You, you, Lysander, you’ve given her poems, and exchanged tokens of love with my daughter. You’ve pretended to be in love with her, singing fake love songs softly at her window by moonlight, and you’ve captured her imagination by giving her locks of your hair, rings, toys,...
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