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MND - the missing scenes

Chapter Text

Oberon: But notwithstanding, haste, make no delay

          We may effect this business yet, ere day. 


Puck: Go you that way then, lord, and I will this

          To set to right what has been done amiss

          Up and down, up and down

          I will lead them up and down...

(Exit, singing)


Act 3, Scene 3.

Titania's bower.  Titania, asleep with Bottom.  Enter Oberon.


Oberon: What flowers and soft airs are lavished here

          On the unthinking Ass.  She clips him near,

          Fondles him, strokes him, feeds him with dainties, sings

          And so dotes that her full contentment brings

          A plenteous summer to her curtained bower,

          Here worms dance as stars, each fragrant flower

          Breathes musky blessing, and each herb beside

          Is crowned, dew-pearled, but I am denied.

(He approaches Titania.)

          Wake, sluggard Queen! You sleep too long,

          The night wastes.  Wake.  Amend your wrong

Titania: To break my soft dark night with peevish brawl

          Proves this Lord Oberon. Fairies, stand near,

          And guard my love.  (To Oberon) Begone; I am abed.

Oberon: Too long abed.  The moon mounts higher yet

          Our shadow-kingdom westward seeps away.

Titania: And am I not Titania?  Titan-sprung

          With Titan's power to send back the moon

          If I so please?

(She stands, and looks to the rising moon.)

                                      Phoebe will do no harm.

Oberon: She heralds day.  Release the boy to me.

Titania: Why must you have him? He is none of yours

          But sprung of princely stock in farthest Inde

          Where still th'imperial parent mourns his queen,

          Paces in silence alabaster halls,

          Weeping, as I did, once.

Oberon:                         Nor is he yours. 

          What was, has gone.  Surrender me the boy.

Titania: Not for your kingdom.   

Oberon:                                  No, but for this sphere

          Entire.  From us, you lessoned me, has come

          the pale destruction laying waste the land,

          that we have quarrelled, who should have the boy.

          From us comes this vexation and this grief,

          The cankered bud, the dark worm in the corn, 

          floods making sodden the once-fruitful fields

          to the most distant margin of the world.

          If this from us, then ours it is to heal.

          Resign your claim, Titania.   Be again

          My glorious queen of summer, and my friend.

Titania: This is more wisdom than of late you used,

          My king of shadows.  What is gone, is gone,


          and she is gone, and cannot be held here.

Oberon: Resign your claim. Set free the captive child.

Titania: Where we have wronged, we may restore and bless,

          Our discord may resolve to harmony.

          It shall be so.  Here is Titania's hand.

(Music. Flurry of birds in trees.)

          Fairies!  You hear your king! Then fly you hence

          We will for summer’s wrongs make recompense

          We will restore to all fecundity

          The land once wasted by our enmity

          and my sweet fosterling is here resigned

          that he may the more fitting warder find.

(Nightingales and doves call.)

          Away, and bear the boy to the king’s bower!

(Exeunt fairies .)

Oberon:  O, rightly ruled! and now I feel the day

          Close in the air.  I will no longer stay. 



Titania: Farewell.

(She looks again at the moon.)

                             True, that this little room of night

          Cramps up our pleasures.  Now let Titan's might

          Unfold and so bear down the day that this

          One night has space enough for my love's bliss.

          Nor ill attend this charm; I do but borrow

          One night's surfeit of darkness from the morrow. 

          (The moon returns, sinking; the night deepens; nightingales, doves.)


Act 3, Scene 4.  Another part of the wood. 

Enter Puck, singing.


Puck: ... I am feared in field and town

            Goblin, lead them up and down...


            Here comes one.

(Enter Lysander)



[Play continues as published, to Act 4, Scene 1, line 90]

Chapter Text


Puck: Fairy King, attend and mark

          I do hear the morning lark

Titania: (She takes Oberon's hand) Come, my lord, and in our flight

          Tell me how it came this night

          That I sleeping here was found

          With these mortals on the ground.

Oberon: Know'st thou the little purple flower

          Cupid-blessed, in happy hour

          Whose juice expressèd on the eyes

Titania: (She interrupts him, dropping his hand and moving apart.)

          I know the flower. 

                   (Her suspicions manifest as a low roll of thunder.)

                                      Its virtue is to cast

          Enchantment, to make love what next is seen.

Oberon: With that selfsame flowery balm

          I your own eyes so did charm

          While my merry henchman here

          (Puck looks up, apprehensively.)

Titania: Leave talk of henchmen, King of Fairyland.

          What did you do?

(Longer roll of thunder. Oberon is silent.)  

          Hast thou upon me, on thy lawful Queen

          Ventured enchantments?

Oberon:                                  You forswore my bed,

          Denied a trifling gift, a toy, which I

          Deigned to require of you, and asked again

          and was again refused.  

          (Trees begin to toss in wind. a bird screams.)

                                                What torment then

          Did you deserve of me, your lawful king?

(His anger brings lightning. Fairies begin to edge away.)

Titania: And that I had refused, rightly refused,

(Answering lightning. Trees toss more wildly.)

          To give my votress' child into your hands

          You in such shrinking, low, hedge-sneaking ways

          Essayed revenge?  I in another sort

          Will teach thee what I am, fire for fire.

Oberon: Essayed and did achieve!

(Huge crash of thunder and simultaneous lightning.)

                                                          and had you not

          Yielded the child to me, you still were charmed,

          Defeated Queen.

(Sudden calm.)

Titania:                         Yielded the child to thee? 

Oberon: Confess my victory! You gave your hand

          and bade your fairies take him to my bower.

Titania: I bade? My fairies better know my mind.

          Mustardseed! Peaseblossom!

Mustardseed:                                   Here.

Peaseblossom:                                            Here.

Titania: The king would know where lies my votress' child.

Peaseblossom: (cautiously) Where we were bidden take him.

Oberon:                                                     To my bower.

Mustardseed: (looking anxiously) To the king's bower.

Oberon:  You rightly ruled it when you so ordained;

          Therefore you were released from Cupid's charm

Titania:  And did my lord the king of Fairyland

          fly straight to see the child he so desired?

Oberon: I was much occupied.  Four lovers strayed…

(Puck, foreseeing trouble, exits.)

Titania: Though I had, as you thought, surrendered him

Oberon: Why 'as I thought'? 

(Rumble of rising thunder.)

                                                Your word was 'to my bower.'

Titania: My word was… fairies? Say!

Cobweb and Moth: (from shelter)             To the king's bower.

Titania: To where that king his father, stately dwells,

          In perfumed India.

Oberon:                         Tigress! Cozening kite!

          (Storm, wind and lightning. Birds scream.)

Titania: Though you uproot the trees, treacherous king,

          The child is gone. 

Oberon:                         Rank vixen! Harpy!

(Trees are now lashing furiously in the storm. Fairies flee.

Titania:                                                      Gone.

          And what more now, my lord? Call up wild beasts?

(Roaring and shadows of beasts. Exeunt remaining Fairies.)

          Well, so can I.  Rain fire and sulfrous hail?

(Rain of fire. Titania and Oberon are now alone.)

          So I.  Though we lay waste this dancing-ground

          He is gone from our hands, Lord Oberon.

(Another calm.)

          Gone to his father's realm, whose bounteous shores

          Teem with the largesse of the kindly gods,

          Where golden lamps hang in his emerald bower,

          But his best jewel holds his restorèd son.

Oberon: To me denied.

(Low, distant thunder.)

Titania:                         Denied, Lord Oberon?

          You tarried when you thought the boy was yours,

          Dawdling in th'Athenian lovers' broils.

          You did not want the gift; you rather sought

          To make occasion for this strife with me.

Oberon:  As you denied me, wanton, froward queen, 

          But to unloose your power to deny.

Titania:  No. (Pause, then, sadly)  No.  I thought that holding to her child

          I might yet hold the mortal who is gone,

          Who, being mortal, could not here be held.

(Oberon moves to Titania.

Silence, as the sky lightens toward dawn.)

          Still, king, I will confess I did enjoy

          This summer storm, this matching of our power.

(She looks to him.)

Oberon: We are well-met and well matched in this hour.

Titania: So were we not with that frail mortal's frame

(She rises a little from the ground.)

          He would not long endure our mazy game.

Oberon:  So were you not with your poor blundering ass.

(He rises to meet her in the air.)

          I will repent I brought you to that pass

          If aught should rankle from one prankish night.

Titania: Too strong a liquor is our fierce delight

          For unus'd palates, but what to them must burn

          Warms in our blood. You have done me no harm.

(Sound of hounds.)

Oberon: Give me your hand.  Day nears, and closely sounds

          The deep-mouthed music of Athenian hounds.

          The Duke rides to the hunt, and we, away

          To hunt the night before th'advancing day.

Titania: Westerly then, the dark chase to pursue

          until the moon and night are made anew.


(Exeunt, aloft.)


Chapter Text


To Will Shakspere,

Of the Ld Chamberlain’s Men

Though I write you so, Will, you are so no more, and nor am I, for our good Chamberlain has gone, suddainly, cutt down, and with him cutt our funding and supplies this season. 

Lord H. being gone we poor Players must perforce wait on his new lordship’s pleasure wh I thinke will bee no Pleasure to our Companie.  Sir G. is not so rich a man as his Fthr by worth of his place, and though he has done good service in the wars, lacks that good soldier money.  From which, our chief funder being gone, we have not now the wherewithal for those Engines and Devices requisite to make such Magickings and Tempests as you have writ in yr new Play.

Therefore your Faerie Queene must abjure calling the lightning down on her King, and forswear allso her playe with the Moone, since we cannot afford to pay for such.  To be brief, I have cutt those Sceenes entire, and yr Midsomer’s Night must be the shorter by so muche. Thatt this will not be by your good will, I know well, but needs must when beggary drives. 

Natheless, heart up, Will!  Sir G. has said that he will beg from his great Cousin that Place and Payment which his Fthr held, and we shall one day be in funds again, please Heaven and his Ldshp, to afford Storm-Engines, Bears, Flyings Aloft and I wot not else, and you shall then, an’t please you, write us such a Tempest as now we only dream of. 

Yrs, more than mine owne, since you have writ me new this many times.

Rich’d Burb’ge.



All that which can be done withouten Engines, as the Musick and the Hunte,  I have alloude, since Sir G. has given me surety that we shall still have his Hounds, at least, to run with your Athenian Duke, but Bear, Fire and Tygers, forsooth, Thunderings and Lightnings are all swept away.  There is no help for this, Will, and the companie even now has it in rehearsal so.  

I leave to you to rewrite the First Sceene.  Since that the business with the Moon is cutt, it will not do to let the Duke talk of fower days till the Moon is new, and then it to be new but three scant days after.  Though I out-Oberonned Oberon, still I think our groundlings would have the Witt to notice that Fower Days are past in Two Nights. 

But as you will, my Will, our Will, and above all, Your Own Will, as I am yr own


xxiv July.