Read A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s I Know A Bank Where The Wild Thyme Blows soliloquy below with modern English translation & analysis:

Spoken by Oberon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 1

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove:
A sweet Athenian lady is in love
With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
But do it when the next thing he espies
May be the lady: thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on.
Effect it with some care, that he may prove
More fond on her than she upon her love:
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.

“I Know A Bank Where The Wild Thyme Blows” Soliloquy Translation:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips grow and violets nod their heads, canopied with luscious honeysuckle interspersed with sweet-smelling ramblers and wild roses. Titania sometimes sleeps there at night, lulled to sleep among the flowers after her dancing. It’s where snakes shed their bright skins, large enough for fairies to wrap themselves in. And I’m going to anoint her eyes with the juice of this and fill her mind with obscene fantasies. You take this and go searching through this grove.  A sweet Athenian lady is in love with a scornful youth. Anoint his eyes, but do it when the first thing he will see will be the lady. You’ll know the man by his Athenian clothes. Take trouble over it to make sure that he’ll be more infatuated with her than she with him. And be sure to meet me again before dawn.

 

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