Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Normal Love (or: Jack Smith longed to play Oberon)


Another Part of the Wood. 
                                                                             [Enter Oberon.
  Oberon.  I wonder if Titania be awak’d;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.
Here comes my messenger.                                 [Enter Puck.
             How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?

  Puck.  My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play    
Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented in their sport
Forsook his scene, and enter’d in a brake,
When I did him at this advantage take;
An ass’s nowl I fixed on his head:
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimick comes. When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun’s report,
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky;
So, at his sight, away his fellows fly,
And, at our stamp, here o’er and o’er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong,
Made senseless things begin to do them wrong;
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch;
Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch.
I led them on in this distracted fear,
And left sweet Pyramus translated there;
When in that moment, so it came to pass,
Titania wak’d and straightway lov’d an ass.

  Oberon.  This falls out better than I could devise.
But hast thou yet latch’d the Athenian’s eyes
With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?
  Puck.  I took him sleeping,—that is finish’d too,—
And the Athenian woman by his side;
That, when he wak’d, of force she must be ey’d.

  Oberon.  What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite,
And laid the love-juice on some true-love’s sight:
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
Some true-love turn’d, and not a false turn’d true.
  Puck.  Then fate o’er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
  Oberon.  About the wood go swifter than the wind,
And Helena of Athens look thou find:
All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer
With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear.
By some illusion see thou bring her here:
I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
  Puck.  I go, I go; look how I go;
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.    [Exit.

  Oberon.  Flower of this purple dye,
Hit 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.
When thou wak’st, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.                                 [Re-enter Puck.
  Puck.  Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?     
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

  Oberon.  Stand aside: the noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.
  Puck.  Then will two at once woo one;    
That must needs be sport alone;     
And those things do best please me
That befall preposterously.

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