Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen: Novelist Background, Plot Summary, Setting, Themes, Style And Characters















Buchi Emecheta is one of Nigeria’s most well-known writers. She graduated from the University of London, wrote over twenty novels, plays and short stories, and independently raised her five children.

Buchi Emecheta was born on July 21, 1944, in Lagos, Nigeria. Her parents were Igbos who had left the Igbo town of Ibuza located in  Delta State. She joined the husband in London (in 1962) where she worked as a librarian.

Second Class Citizen, her first published novel in 1974, is semi autobiographical – it is based on her childhood in Lagos and early life in London with her husband before she divorced him. It also depicts the struggle for women in receiving their education and surviving in a European white society while adapting to different religious beliefs and still following the beliefs of their people. She writes to expose the conditions wich the girls pass through until their womenhood as show in her The Joys of Motherhood. Onah passes through many catastrophe only to give birth to Nnuego. Nnuego continues after several failures only for the children to abandon her.


Second Class Citizen, which tells the story of Adah Ofili from childhood to her early years in London, opens with a discussion of dreams. The eight-year-old Adah, who was born in Lagos during World War 2, only dreams of going to school since she is not allowed to attend school because she is not a boy. One day, when her mother is distracted, Adah goes to the Methodist School where her neighbour teaches, and he allows her to learn with them for the day. She returns home meeting a group of policemen in their compound. Her mother is being punished for child neglect, yet Adah is allowed to continue attending school.

Months later, Adah’s father goes to the hospital but does not return. His demise makes his nuclear family to separate. His wife, Adah’s mother, is inherited by his brother. His son, Adah’s brother, goes to live with one of his (Adah father’s) cousins whereas Adah is sent to live with one of her mother’s brothers.

Adah is allowed to remain in school only because she could bring a higher bride price if educated. Suitors come; however, she is not interested in any of them. Instead, fascinated with the possibility of winning a scholarship to secondary school, Adah steals the money for the sitting fee and passes the examination. She wins the scholarship. She attends the Methodist Girls’ School and completes the four-year course.

Knowing full well that she will not be allowed to live on her own in the university, Adah marries a student named Francis Obi who is too poor to pay the bride price with the hope of being able to attend school and study at her own pace. She givbes birth to a daughter and begins working for the American Consulate Library. Having had the dream of going to the United Kingdom, she shares it with her husband. They decide to go, but his family, who depends upon her income, approves of his leaving but insists that Adah remain at home and continue to support the family. Her husband’s father does not approve of women going to England. At first, Adah is filled with rage, but she controls her anger and comes up with a plan – “Be as cunning as a serpent but as harmless as a dove,” she quoted to herself. Once again, she uses her cleverness to get what she wants. She sends Francis (her husband) off to England to study while she works and sends him money in the meantime.

Adah is known for her perseverance; she does not give up. When her husband writes to her a few months later that he is going to be in England for at least four or five years, she decides it is time to make her move. She convinces her in-laws that it is necessary for her to be in England with her husband, stating that her husband wants her there, which he did say to her in the letter. She soon books herself and her two children first class tickets on a ship to England. As a foreshadowing of all that is to come for her, Adah arrives England, welcomed by cold, rainy and cloudy skies. She is shocked by the greyness but will not give up on her dreams. Adah has arrived in the United Kingdom where she becomes a second class citizen. She is only a first class citizen in Nigeria.

Some of the main points of struggle for Adah are being a black woman in a predominantly white society, learning of the women’s right movement during the seventies, the fact that there is birth control available to her, and the struggle to pursue her goal in becoming a writer between four children and a lazy abusive husband.

The novel deals with many different issues and movements and how they all interconnect and relate to one another and also one woman. Just as the reader starts to find hope for Adah, another circumstance arises. And as the story progresses, one wonders how one woman can put up with so much, yet be so strong not only for herself, but also for her children. She neither gives up on them nor her dreams, not even when her first piece of work was burnt by her husband.

Setting of the novel

As regards the time, the novel is set in post colonial Nigeria. The physical locales of the novel are Nigeria and the United Kingdom as the plot of the novel moves from Nigeria to England, following the developmental process of the protagonist, Adah.

The Themes

1. The Theme of Determination
The determination to succeed against all odds is Adah’s watchword. This inbuilt virtue of the protagonist is portrayed right from her childhood in Nigeria to her early life in London. Adah breaks several protocols which seem to stand as barriers between her and her dreams. Even though the society she finds herself makes her believe that it is wrong for the girl child to be well educated, Adah, on several occasions, sneaks into the class of her neighbour (who is a teacher) in order to be lettered. Fascinated with the possibility of winning a scholarship to secondary school, Adah steals the money for the sitting fee, passes the examination and wins the scholarship. She eventually attends the Methodist Girls’ School and completes the four-year course. This can be achieved only when one is determined to succeed.

Again, Adah never lets the decision of her in-laws, especially her father-in-law who does not approve of women travelling abroad, stop her from achieving her dream of going to the United Kingdom. She uses her cleverness to calm the situation and do everything possible for herself and two children to meet her husband in London. Even when meets a husband who has changed from good to worst in London, she never hesitates to sign a divorce because she does not want anyone or anything to truncate her chances of surviving in London. This is the spirit of a determined soul. From the beginning of the story to the end, Adah is clad with determination.

2. Gender Inequality
One cannot adequately dissect Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen without paying a courtesy visit to the corridors of gender inequality. Gender inequality is a theme that is loudly projected in the novel. This is not done for a mere fanciful purpose; it is done to show how a typical African society gives too many privileges to men than women. Adah, the protagonist, is not allowed to go school because she is not a boy. At a point, she is allowed to go to school only because she could bring a higher bride price. As a married woman, her in-laws, especially her father-in-law, insist that her husband, Francis Obi, travel to the United Kingdom instead of her. According to them, a woman cannot travel abroad, leaving her husband behind.

3. Frustration
The same society that gives too many privileges to men also adorns them with a taxing responsibility – the responsibility of being the bread winners of their homes. Most men become frustrated when they fail in this task. This is the fate of Francis Obi, Adah’s husband, in the novel. Financially, Francis Obi is no match for his wife. But he never allows this to affect his sanity during his stay in Nigeria. However, after waiting for a number of years in the UK without getting a job, he becomes frustrated. His frustration grows into anger, which he always pours on his loving wife through physical abuse.

Although she signs a divorce, Adah understands how demanding her society is and the reactions of those who cannot really cope with its ever increasing demands. In her words: “Francis was not a bad man, just a man who could no longer cope with the over demanding society he found himself” (p. 110). This is a sad reality for most immigrant men or any man who does not have the ability to cope with the failure and setbacks of life. She divorces Francis because he becomes uncontrollably abusive and she does not want anyone or anything to truncate her stay in London. She is a goal getter.

4. Discrimination
Discrimination is the distinct treatment of someone because of their race, sex, culture, attitude etc. Upon moving to the UK with the hope of having a better life, Adah, who is successful and a first class citizen in Nigeria, is instantly demoted to the status of second class. Adah is discriminated by the political superstructure that is tainted by racial prejudices in the UK. Gender discrimination/inequality can as well be discussed under this theme.

Style in Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen

Style is a particular way, pattern, or design in which a work is written. It comprises the language/diction, tone, structure, narrative technique or point of view etc. Some elements of style used in Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen are:

1. Language/Diction
The language of the novel is simple and easy to understand. The sentences and words used are not very complicated. The reader can read the story with ease and understand every bit of it.

2. Point of View/Narrative Technique
The story is told from the third person point of view. The narrator is not presented as a character within the narrative; he is primarily omniscient, internally focalizing on Adah’s subjective experiences, emotions and interpretations. As a result, the thoughts and emotions of the other characters are not divulged to the reader. Instead, only their external actions and reactions are described from Adah’s subjective point of view.

3. Euphemism
Emecheta has used different euphemistic expressions to cover the harshness of sexual activities in the novel. Below are some examples:

i. “As soon as her husband touches her, she gets a swollen tummy…” (22). By “touch” here, the writer means “sex”, and by “swollen tummy”, she means pregnancy.

ii. “Is it too much for a man to want his wife?” (88). Here, “want” refers to sexual urge.

4. Tone
The tone of the story is melancholic, depicting Adah’s struggle within the patriarchal and colonial hegemonic structure. However, the story contains a tinge of hope because of the character of Adah who is determined and optimistic in the face of conflict.

5. The use of Imagery
The novel depicts vivid yet fast-paced description of Adah’s experiences through the use of certain words which create such pictures in the minds of readers. Adah’s childhood in Nigeria is reflected in the architecture of the house, the setting and the city of Lagos. The imagery of UK such as the ghetto in which Adah stays and its architecture such as the claustrophobic spacing of the house and lack of basic amenities projects a sharp dichotomy to Nigeria, and visually depict her demotion to a second class citizen.

1. Adah Ofili
She is the protagonist of the novel as the story is centred on her experiences and her determination to succeed against all odds. She is a good child, daughter-in-law and loving and caring wife.

2. Francis Obi
He is Adah’s caring and loving husband in Nigeria but an abusive husband in the UK due to his inability of the get a job after several years of searching for a job in the UK.

3. Mrs Ofili
She is Adah’s mother, the wife of Mr Ofili and a mother-in-law to Francis Obi. She is an Igbo woman.

4. Mr Ofili
Mr Ofili is Adah’s father, the husband of Mrs Ofili and a father-in-law to Francis Obi. He is also an Igbo man. He does not last long in the novel following ill-health. His demise predisposed Adah to hardship.

  1. 5. Victor
    Victor is Adah’s sickly son. His mom provides him with the best doctors from China and India for him to be medically fine.

6. Mr Cole
Mr Cole is Adah’s neighbour who works as a teacher in a Methodist Primary School. Adah always sneaks out of the house to his class just to be lettered. He gives Adah the privilege of learning with his students despite the fact that she does not pay necessary fees.

7. Pa
Pa is Francis Obi’s father and Adah’s father-in-law. He believes that a married woman should remain at home to be taking care of the home and not to abandon her responsibility as a wife. This is seen in his being sceptical over Adah leaving for U.K

8. Ma
She is the mother of Francis Obi and a mother-in-law to Adah.



SOURCE: Google.com, Second Class Citizen, etc


A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare



About the Play

A Midsummer Night’s Dream comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1597. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals), who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.


The Athenians

Theseus – Duke of Athens
Hippolyta – Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus
Philostrate – Master of the Revels
Egeus – father of Hermia, wants her to marry Demetrius
Nedar – father of Helena
Hermia – daughter of Egeus, in love with Lysander
Helena – in love with Demetrius
Lysander – in love with Hermia at first but later loves Helena and then goes back to love Hermia
Demetrius – in love with Hermia at first and then loves Helena at the end
Spirit 1&2 – Talk to Puck and Oberon

The Fairies

Oberon – Titania’s husband and King of the Fairies
Titania – Oberon’s wife and Queen of the Fairies
Robin Goodfellow/Puck – servant to Oberon
Peaseblossom – fairy servant to Titania
Cobweb – fairy servant to Titania
Moth – fairy servant to Titania
Mustardseed – fairy servant to Titania
First Fairy, Second Fairy

The Mechanicals (An acting troupe)

Peter Quince – carpenter, leads the troupe and plays Prologue
Nick Bottom – weaver, plays Pyramus
Francis Flute – bellows-mender, plays Thisbe
Robin Starveling – tailor, plays Moonshine
Tom Snout – tinker, plays Wall
Snug – joiner, plays Lion


The play consists of four interconnecting plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which is set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon.[1]

The play opens with Hermia, who is in love with Lysander, not wanting to submit to her father Egeus’ demand that she wed Demetrius, whom he has arranged for her to marry. Helena meanwhile pines unrequitedly for Demetrius. Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus, whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death. Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity while worshiping the goddess Diana as a nun.

Peter Quince and his fellow players plan to put on a play for the wedding of the Duke and the Queen, “the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe”.[2] Quince reads the names of characters and bestows them to the players. Nick Bottom, who is playing the main role of Pyramus, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate others by suggesting himself for the characters of Thisbe, the Lion, and Pyramus at the same time. He would also rather be a tyrant and recites some lines of Ercles. Quince ends the meeting with “at the Duke’s oak we meet”.

In a parallel plot line, Oberon, king of the fairies, and Titania, his queen, have come to the forest outside Athens. Titania tells Oberon that she plans to stay there until she has attended Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. Oberon and Titania are estranged because Titania refuses to give her Indian changeling to Oberon for use as his “knight” or “henchman,” since the child’s mother was one of Titania’s worshipers. Oberon seeks to punish Titania’s disobedience. He calls upon Robin “Puck” Goodfellow, his “shrewd and knavish sprite”,[3] to help him concoct a magical juice derived from a flower called “love-in-idleness”, which turns from white to purple when struck by Cupid’s arrow. When the concoction is applied to the eyelids of a sleeping person, that person, upon waking, falls in love with the first living thing they perceive. He instructs Puck to retrieve the flower with the hope that he might make Titania fall in love with an animal of the forest and thereby shame her into giving up the little Indian boy. He says, “And ere I take this charm from off her sight, / As I can take it with another herb, / I’ll make her render up her page to me.”[4]

Hermia and Lysander have escaped to the same forest in hopes of eloping. Helena, desperate to reclaim Demetrius’s love, tells Demetrius about the plan and he follows them in hopes of killing Lysander. Helena continually makes advances towards Demetrius, promising to love him more than Hermia. However, he rebuffs her with cruel insults against her. Observing this, Oberon orders Puck to spread some of the magical juice from the flower on the eyelids of the young Athenian man. Instead, Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, not having actually seen either before, and administers the juice to the sleeping Lysander. Helena, coming across him, wakes him while attempting to determine whether he is dead or asleep. Upon this happening, Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena. Oberon sees Demetrius still following Hermia and is enraged. When Demetrius decides to go to sleep, Oberon sends Puck to get Helena while he charms Demetrius’ eyes. Upon waking up, he sees Helena. Now, both men are in pursuit of Helena. However, she is convinced that her two suitors are mocking her, as neither loved her originally. Hermia is at a loss to see why her lover has abandoned her, and accuses Helena of stealing Lysander away from her. The four quarrel with each other until Lysander and Demetrius become so enraged that they seek a place to duel each other to prove whose love for Helena is the greatest. Oberon orders Puck to keep Lysander and Demetrius from catching up with one another and to remove the charm from Lysander. Lysander returns to loving Hermia, while Demetrius continues to love Helena.

Meanwhile, Quince and his band of six labourers (“rude mechanicals”, as they are described by Puck) have arranged to perform their play about Pyramus and Thisbe for Theseus’ wedding and venture into the forest, near Titania’s bower, for their rehearsal. Bottom is spotted by Puck, who (taking his name to be another word for a jackass) transforms his head into that of a donkey. When Bottom returns for his next lines, the other workmen run screaming in terror, much to Bottom’s confusion, since he hasn’t felt a thing during the transformation. Determined to wait for his friends, he begins to sing to himself. Titania, having received the love-potion, is awakened by Bottom’s singing and immediately falls in love with him. She lavishes him with attention and presumably makes love to him. While she is in this state of devotion, Oberon takes the changeling. Having achieved his goals, Oberon releases Titania, orders Puck to remove the donkey’s head from Bottom, and arranges everything so that Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena will believe that they have been dreaming when they awaken. Puck distracts Lysander and Demetrius from fighting over Helena’s love by mimicking their voices and leading them apart. Eventually, all four find themselves separately falling asleep in the glade. Once they fall asleep, Puck administers the love potion to Lysander again, claiming that all will be well in the morning.

The fairies then disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene, during an early morning hunt. They wake the lovers and, since Demetrius does not love Hermia any more, Theseus overrules Egeus’s demands and arranges a group wedding. The lovers decide that the night’s events must have been a dream. After they all exit, Bottom awakes, and he too decides that he must have experienced a dream “past the wit of man”. In Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers watch the six workmen perform Pyramus and Thisbe. Given a lack of preparation, the performers are so terrible playing their roles to the point where the guests laugh as if it were meant to be a comedy, and everyone retires to bed. Afterwards, Oberon, Titania, Puck, and other fairies enter, and bless the house and its occupants with good fortune. After all other characters leave, Puck “restores amends” and suggests to the audience that what they just experienced might be nothing but a dream (hence the name of the play).

Sources and date

It is unknown exactly when A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written or first performed, but on the basis of topical references and an allusion to Edmund Spenser’s Epithalamion, it is usually dated 1595 or early 1596. Some have theorized that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding (for example that of Elizabeth Carey, Lady Berkeley), while others suggest that it was written for the Queen to celebrate the feast day of St. John. No concrete evidence exists to support this theory. In any case, it would have been performed at The Theatre and, later, The Globe. Though it is not a translation or adaptation of an earlier work, various sources such as Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale” served as inspiration.[5] According to John Twyning, the play’s plot of four lovers undergoing a trial in the woods was intended as a “riff” on Der Busant, a Middle High German poem.[6]

Publication and text

The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers Company on 8 October 1600 by the bookseller Thomas Fisher, who published the first quarto edition later that year. A second quarto was printed in 1619 by William Jaggard, as part of his so-called False Folio.[7] The play next appeared in print in the First Folio of 1623. The title page of Q1 states that the play was “sundry times publickely acted” prior to 1600. The first performance known with certainty occurred at Court on 1 January 1605.

Themes in the story


Both David Wiles of the University of London and Harold Bloom of Yale University have strongly endorsed the reading of this play under the themes of Carnivalesque, Bacchanalia, and Saturnalia.[8] Writing in 1998, David Wiles stated that: “The starting point for my own analysis will be the proposition that although we encounter A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a text, it was historically part of an aristocratic carnival. It was written for a wedding, and part of the festive structure of the wedding night. The audience who saw the play in the public theatre in the months that followed became vicarious participants in an aristocratic festival from which they were physically excluded. My purpose will be to demonstrate how closely the play is integrated with a historically specific upper-class celebration.”[9]


David Bevington argues that the play represents the dark side of love. He writes that the fairies make light of love by mistaking the lovers and by applying a love potion to Titania’s eyes, forcing her to fall in love with an ass.[10] In the forest, both couples are beset by problems. Hermia and Lysander are both met by Puck, who provides some comic relief in the play by confounding the four lovers in the forest. However, the play also alludes to serious themes. At the end of the play, Hippolyta and Theseus, happily married, watch the play about the unfortunate lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, and are able to enjoy and laugh at it.[11] Helena and Demetrius are both oblivious to the dark side of their love, totally unaware of what may have come of the events in the forest:3

Problem with time

There is a dispute over the scenario of the play as it is cited at first by Theseus that “four happy days bring in another moon”.[2] The wood episode then takes place at a night of no moon, but Lysander asserts that there will be so much light in the very night they will escape that dew on the grass will be shining[12] like liquid pearls. Also, in the next scene, Quince states that they will rehearse in moonlight,[13] which creates a real confusion. It is possible that the Moon set during the night allowing Lysander to escape in the moonlight and for the actors to rehearse, then for the wood episode to occur without moonlight. Theseus’s statement can also be interpreted to mean “four days until the next month”. Another possibility is that, since each month there are roughly four consecutive nights that the moon is not seen due to its closeness to the sun in the sky (the two nights before the moment of new moon, followed by the two following it), it may in this fashion indicate a liminal “dark of the moon” period full of magical possibilities. This is further supported by Hippolyta’s opening lines exclaiming ” And then the moon, like to a silver bow New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night Of our solemnities.”; the thin crescent-shaped moon being the hallmark of the new moon’s return to the skies each month. The play also intertwines the Midsummer Eve of the title with May Day, furthering the idea of a confusion of time and the seasons. This is evidenced by Theseus commenting on some slumbering youths, that they “observe The rite of May” (Act 4, Scene 1).

Loss of individual identity

Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University, writes of the blurring of the identities of fantasy and reality in the play that make possible “that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess associated with the fairies of the play”.[14] By emphasising this theme even in the setting of the play, Shakespeare prepares the reader’s mind to accept the fantastic reality of the fairy world and its happenings. This also seems to be the axis around which the plot conflicts in the play occur. Hunt suggests that it is the breaking down of individual identities that leads to the central conflict in the story.[14] It is the brawl between Oberon and Titania, based on a lack of recognition for the other in the relationship, that drives the rest of the drama in the story and makes it dangerous for any of the other lovers to come together due to the disturbance of Nature caused by a fairy dispute.[14] Similarly, this failure to identify and to distinguish is what leads Puck to mistake one set of lovers for another in the forest, placing the flower’s juice on Lysander’s eyes instead of Demetrius’.

Victor Kiernan, a Marxist scholar and historian, writes that it is for the greater sake of love that this loss of identity takes place and that individual characters are made to suffer accordingly: “It was the more extravagant cult of love that struck sensible people as irrational, and likely to have dubious effects on its acolytes”.[15] He believes that identities in the play are not so much lost as they are blended together to create a type of haze through which distinction becomes nearly impossible. It is driven by a desire for new and more practical ties between characters as a means of coping with the strange world within the forest, even in relationships as diverse and seemingly unrealistic as the brief love between Titania and Bottom the Ass: “It was the tidal force of this social need that lent energy to relationships”.[16]

The aesthetics scholar David Marshall draws out this theme even further [17] by noting that the loss of identity reaches its fullness in the description of the mechanicals and their assumption of other identities. In describing the occupations of the acting troupe, he writes “Two construct or put together, two mend and repair, one weaves and one sews. All join together what is apart or mend what has been rent, broken, or sundered”. In Marshall’s opinion, this loss of individual identity not only blurs specificities, it creates new identities found in community, which Marshall points out may lead to some understanding of Shakespeare’s opinions on love and marriage. Further, the mechanicals understand this theme as they take on their individual parts for a corporate performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. Marshall remarks that “To be an actor is to double and divide oneself, to discover oneself in two parts: both oneself and not oneself, both the part and not the part”. He claims that the mechanicals understand this and that each character, particularly among the lovers, has a sense of laying down individual identity for the greater benefit of the group or pairing. It seems that a desire to lose one’s individuality and find identity in the love of another is what quietly moves the events of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As the primary sense of motivation, this desire is reflected even in the scenery depictions and the story’s overall mood.

Ambiguous sexuality

In his essay “Preposterous Pleasures: Queer Theories and A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Douglas E. Green explores possible interpretations of alternative sexuality that he finds within the text of the play, in juxtaposition to the proscribed social mores of the culture at the time the play was written. He writes that his essay “does not (seek to) rewrite A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a gay play but rather explores some of its ‘homoerotic significations’ … moments of ‘queer’ disruption and eruption in this Shakespearean comedy”.[18] Green states that he does not consider Shakespeare to have been a “sexual radical”, but that the play represented a “topsy-turvy world” or “temporary holiday” that mediates or negotiates the “discontents of civilisation”, which while resolved neatly in the story’s conclusion, do not resolve so neatly in real life.[19] Green writes that the “sodomitical elements”, “homoeroticism”, “lesbianism”, and even “compulsory heterosexuality” in the story must be considered in the context of the “culture of early modern England” as a commentary on the “aesthetic rigidities of comic form and political ideologies of the prevailing order”. Aspects of ambiguous sexuality and gender conflict in the story are also addressed in essays by Shirley Garner[20] and William W.E. Slights[21] albeit all the characters are played by males.


Male dominance is one thematic element found in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysander and Hermia escape into the woods for a night where they do not fall under the laws of Theseus or Egeus. Upon their arrival in Athens, the couples are married. Marriage is seen as the ultimate social achievement for women while men can go on to do many other great things and gain societal recognition.[22] In his article “The Imperial Votaress”, Louis Montrose draws attention to male and female gender roles and norms present in the comedy in connection with Elizabethan culture. In reference to the triple wedding, he says, “The festive conclusion in A Midsummer Night’s Dream depends upon the success of a process by which the feminine pride and power manifested in Amazon warriors, possessive mothers, unruly wives, and wilful daughters are brought under the control of lords and husbands.”[23] He says that the consummation of marriage is how power over a woman changes hands from father to husband. A connection between flowers and sexuality is drawn. The juice employed by Oberon can be seen as symbolising menstrual blood as well as the sexual blood shed by virgins. While blood as a result of menstruation is representative of a woman’s power, blood as a result of a first sexual encounter represents man’s power over women.[24]

There are points in the play, however, when there is an absence of patriarchal control. In his book Power on Display, Leonard Tennenhouse says the problem in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the problem of “authority gone archaic”.[25] The Athenian law requiring a daughter to die if she does not do her father’s will is outdated. Tennenhouse contrasts the patriarchal rule of Theseus in Athens with that of Oberon in the carnivalistic Faerie world. The disorder in the land of the fairies completely opposes the world of Athens. He states that during times of carnival and festival, male power is broken down. For example, what happens to the four lovers in the woods as well as Bottom’s dream represents chaos that contrasts with Theseus’ political order. However, Theseus does not punish the lovers for their disobedience. According to Tennenhouse, by forgiving the lovers, he has made a distinction between the law of the patriarch (Egeus) and that of the monarch (Theseus), creating two different voices of authority. This distinction can be compared to the time of Elizabeth I in which monarchs were seen as having two bodies: the body natural and the body politic. Elizabeth’s succession itself represented both the voice of a patriarch as well as the voice of a monarch: (1) her father’s will which stated that the crown should pass to her and (2) the fact that she was the daughter of a king.[26] The challenge to patriarchal rule in A Midsummer Night’s Dream mirrors exactly what was occurring in the age of Elizabeth I.


Athens. The palace of THESEUS.

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
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.

Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling.

Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!
Thanks, good Egeus: what’s the news with thee?
Full of vexation come I, with complaint
Against 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 bewitch’d 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 sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden’d youth:
With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart,
Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent 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 gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law
Immediately provided in that case.
What say you, Hermia? be advised fair maid:
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties, yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it.
Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
So is Lysander.
In himself he is;
But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,
The other must be held the worthier.
I would my father look’d but with my eyes.
Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.
I do entreat your grace to pardon me.
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty,
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case,
If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
Either to die the death or to abjure
For ever the society of men.
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires;
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father’s choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun,
For aye to be in shady cloister mew’d,
To live a barren sister all your life,
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.
Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood,
To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;
But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
Take time to pause; and, by the next new moon–
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship–
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father’s will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana’s altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.
Relent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
You have her father’s love, Demetrius;
Let me have Hermia’s: do you marry him.
Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love,
And what is mine my love shall render him.
And she is mine, and all my right of her
I do estate unto Demetrius.
I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius’;
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
I must confess that I have heard so much,
And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come;
And come, Egeus; you shall go with me,
I have some private schooling for you both.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father’s will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up–
Which by no means we may extenuate–
To death, or to a vow of single life.
Come, my Hippolyta: what cheer, my love?
Demetrius and Egeus, go along:
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
With duty and desire we follow you.
Exeunt all but LYSANDER and HERMIA

How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But, either it was different in blood,–
O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low.
Or else misgraffed in respect of years,–
O spite! too old to be engaged to young.
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends,–
O hell! to choose love by another’s eyes.
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say ‘Behold!’
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
If then true lovers have been ever cross’d,
It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross,
As due to love as thoughts and dreams and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy’s followers.
A good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,
Steal forth thy father’s house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.
My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen,
When the false Troyan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke,
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

God speed fair Helena! whither away?
Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I’d give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.
I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
O that my prayers could such affection move!
The more I hate, the more he follows me.
The more I love, the more he hateth me.
His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!
Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem’d Athens as a paradise to me:
O, then, what graces in my love do dwell,
That he hath turn’d a heaven unto a hell!
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,
A time that lovers’ flights doth still conceal,
Through Athens’ gates have we devised to steal.
And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet;
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek new friends and stranger companies.
Farewell, sweet playfellow: pray thou for us;
And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius!
Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight
From lovers’ food till morrow deep midnight.
I will, my Hermia.

Helena, adieu:
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!

How happy some o’er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know:
And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, folding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia’s eyne,
He hail’d down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight:
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.

Athens. QUINCE’S house.

Is all our company here?
You were best to call them generally, man by man,
according to the scrip.
Here is the scroll of every man’s name, which is
thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our
interlude before the duke and the duchess, on his
wedding-day at night.
First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
on, then read the names of the actors, and so grow
to a point.
Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, and
most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a
merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your
actors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.
That will ask some tears in the true performing of
it: if I do it, let the audience look to their
eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some
measure. To the rest: yet my chief humour is for a
tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to
tear a cat in, to make all split.
The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates;
And Phibbus’ car
Shall shine from far
And make and mar
The foolish Fates.
This was lofty! Now name the rest of the players.
This is Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein; a lover is
more condoling.
Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Here, Peter Quince.
Flute, you must take Thisby on you.
What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.
That’s all one: you shall play it in a mask, and
you may speak as small as you will.
An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too, I’ll
speak in a monstrous little voice. ‘Thisne,
Thisne;’ ‘Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisby dear,
and lady dear!’
No, no; you must play Pyramus: and, Flute, you Thisby.
Well, proceed.
Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Here, Peter Quince.
Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby’s mother.
Tom Snout, the tinker.
Here, Peter Quince.
You, Pyramus’ father: myself, Thisby’s father:
Snug, the joiner; you, the lion’s part: and, I
hope, here is a play fitted.
Have you the lion’s part written? pray you, if it
be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will
do any man’s heart good to hear me; I will roar,
that I will make the duke say ‘Let him roar again,
let him roar again.’
An you should do it too terribly, you would fright
the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek;
and that were enough to hang us all.
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the
ladies out of their wits, they would have no more
discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my
voice so that I will roar you as gently as any
sucking dove; I will roar you an ’twere any
You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a
sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a
summer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man:
therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best
to play it in?
Why, what you will.
I will discharge it in either your straw-colour
beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your
perfect yellow.
Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and
then you will play bare-faced. But, masters, here
are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request
you and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night;
and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the
town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse, for if
we meet in the city, we shall be dogged with
company, and our devices known. In the meantime I
will draw a bill of properties, such as our play
wants. I pray you, fail me not.
We will meet; and there we may rehearse most
obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect: adieu.
At the duke’s oak we meet.
BOTTOM Enough; hold or cut bow-strings.

A wood near Athens.

Enter, from opposite sides, a Fairy, and PUCK
How now, spirit! whither wander you?
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I’ll be gone:
Our queen and all our elves come here anon.
The king doth keep his revels here to-night:
Take heed the queen come not within his sight;
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she as her attendant hath
A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling;
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild;
But she perforce withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers and makes him all her joy:
And now they never meet in grove or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,
But, they do square, that all their elves for fear
Creep into acorn-cups and hide them there.
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call’d Robin Goodfellow: are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck:
Are not you he?
Thou speak’st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip’s bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her wither’d dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But, room, fairy! here comes Oberon.
And here my mistress. Would that he were gone!
Enter, from one side, OBERON, with his train; from the other, TITANIA, with hers

Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence:
I have forsworn his bed and company.
Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord?
Then I must be thy lady: but I know
When thou hast stolen away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest Steppe of India?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin’d mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded, and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.
How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair AEgle break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa?
These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer’s spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck’d up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
Have every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch’d his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain’d a beard;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
The nine men’s morris is fill’d up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable:
The human mortals want their winter here;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.
Do you amend it then; it lies in you:
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.
Set your heart at rest:
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a votaress of my order:
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip’d by my side,
And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood,
When we have laugh’d to see the sails conceive
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following,–her womb then rich with my young squire,–
Would imitate, and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.
How long within this wood intend you stay?
Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round
And see our moonlight revels, go with us;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.
Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away!
We shall chide downright, if I longer stay.
Exit TITANIA with her train

Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid’s music.
I remember.
That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.
I’ll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes.

Having once this juice,
I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
She shall pursue it with the soul of love:
And ere I take this charm from off her sight,
As I can take it with another herb,
I’ll make her render up her page to me.
But who comes here? I am invisible;
And I will overhear their conference.
Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA, following him

I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
The one I’ll slay, the other slayeth me.
Thou told’st me they were stolen unto this wood;
And here am I, and wode within this wood,
Because I cannot meet my Hermia.
Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant;
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart
Is true as steel: leave you your power to draw,
And I shall have no power to follow you.
Do I entice you? do I speak you fair?
Or, rather, do I not in plainest truth
Tell you, I do not, nor I cannot love you?
And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love,–
And yet a place of high respect with me,–
Than to be used as you use your dog?
Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
For I am sick when I do look on thee.
And I am sick when I look not on you.
You do impeach your modesty too much,
To leave the city and commit yourself
Into the hands of one that loves you not;
To trust the opportunity of night
And the ill counsel of a desert place
With the rich worth of your virginity.
Your virtue is my privilege: for that
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night;
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world:
Then how can it be said I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?
I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will, the story shall be changed:
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger; bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues and valour flies.
I will not stay thy questions; let me go:
Or, if thou follow me, do not believe
But I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius!
Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex:
We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
We should be wood and were not made to woo.

I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.

Fare thee well, nymph: ere he do leave this grove,
Thou shalt fly him and he shall seek thy love.
Re-enter PUCK

Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
Ay, there it is.
I pray thee, give it me.
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.
Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.

Another part of the wood.

Enter TITANIA, with her train
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices and let me rest.
The Fairies sing

You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm,
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.
Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
Philomel, with melody, & c.
Hence, away! now all is well:
One aloof stand sentinel.
Exeunt Fairies. TITANIA sleeps

Enter OBERON and squeezes the flower on TITANIA’s eyelids

What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true-love take,
Love and languish for his sake:
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wakest, it is thy dear:
Wake when some vile thing is near.


Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:
We’ll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.
Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed;
For I upon this bank will rest my head.
One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms and one troth.
Nay, good Lysander; for my sake, my dear,
Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.
O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love’s conference.
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit
So that but one heart we can make of it;
Two bosoms interchained with an oath;
So then two bosoms and a single troth.
Then by your side no bed-room me deny;
For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie.
Lysander riddles very prettily:
Now much beshrew my manners and my pride,
If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy
Lie further off; in human modesty,
Such separation as may well be said
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
So far be distant; and, good night, sweet friend:
Thy love ne’er alter till thy sweet life end!
Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I;
And then end life when I end loyalty!
Here is my bed: sleep give thee all his rest!
With half that wish the wisher’s eyes be press’d!
They sleep

Enter PUCK

Through the forest have I gone.
But Athenian found I none,
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower’s force in stirring love.
Night and silence.–Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe.
When thou wakest, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.

Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running

Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius.
I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
O, wilt thou darkling leave me? do not so.
Stay, on thy peril: I alone will go.

O, I am out of breath in this fond chase!
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia, wheresoe’er she lies;
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes.
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears:
If so, my eyes are oftener wash’d than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me run away for fear:
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
Do, as a monster fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia’s sphery eyne?
But who is here? Lysander! on the ground!
Dead? or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
Lysander if you live, good sir, awake.
[Awaking] And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.
Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Is that vile name to perish on my sword!
Do not say so, Lysander; say not so
What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?
Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.
Content with Hermia! No; I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia but Helena I love:
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway’d;
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o’erlook
Love’s stories written in love’s richest book.
Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is’t not enough, is’t not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius’ eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.
But fare you well: perforce I must confess
I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady, of one man refused.
Should of another therefore be abused!

She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou there:
And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as tie heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive,
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,
Of all be hated, but the most of me!
And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honour Helen and to be her knight!

HERMIA [Awaking] Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel pray.
Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord!
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?
Alack, where are you speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
No? then I well perceive you all not nigh
Either death or you I’ll find immediately.

The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.

Are we all met?
Pat, pat; and here’s a marvellous convenient place
for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our
stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house; and we
will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.
Peter Quince,–
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must
draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies
cannot abide. How answer you that?
By’r lakin, a parlous fear.
I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to
say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that
Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more
better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them
out of fear.
Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be
written in eight and six.
No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
I fear it, I promise you.
Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to
bring in–God shield us!–a lion among ladies, is a
most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful
wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to
look to ‘t.
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must
be seen through the lion’s neck: and he himself
must speak through, saying thus, or to the same
defect,–‘Ladies,’–or ‘Fair-ladies–I would wish
You,’–or ‘I would request you,’–or ‘I would
entreat you,–not to fear, not to tremble: my life
for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it
were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I am a
man as other men are;’ and there indeed let him name
his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things;
that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for,
you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight.
Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find
out moonshine, find out moonshine.
Yes, it doth shine that night.
Why, then may you leave a casement of the great
chamber window, where we play, open, and the moon
may shine in at the casement.
Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is
another thing: we must have a wall in the great
chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story, did
talk through the chink of a wall.
You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
Some man or other must present Wall: and let him
have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast
about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his
fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus
and Thisby whisper.
If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts.
Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your
speech, enter into that brake: and so every one
according to his cue.
Enter PUCK behind

What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
What, a play toward! I’ll be an auditor;
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,–
Odours, odours.
–odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.

A stranger Pyramus than e’er played here.

Must I speak now?
Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes
but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I’ll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny’s tomb.
‘Ninus’ tomb,’ man: why, you must not speak that
yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your
part at once, cues and all Pyramus enter: your cue
is past; it is, ‘never tire.’
O,–As true as truest horse, that yet would
never tire.
Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass’s head

If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray,
masters! fly, masters! Help!

I’ll follow you, I’ll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.

Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to
make me afeard.
Re-enter SNOUT

O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
What do you see? you see an asshead of your own, do

Re-enter QUINCE

Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art

I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me;
to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
from this place, do what they can: I will walk up
and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
I am not afraid.

The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,–
[Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay;–
for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish
a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry
‘cuckoo’ never so?
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and
love keep little company together now-a-days; the
more the pity that some honest neighbours will not
make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out
of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!

And I.
And I.
And I.
Where shall we go?
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm’s eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
Hail, mortal!
I cry your worship’s mercy, heartily: I beseech your
worship’s name.
I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with
you. Your name, honest gentleman?
I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well:
that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise
you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now. I
desire your more acquaintance, good Master
Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my love’s tongue bring him silently.

Another part of the wood.

I wonder if Titania be awaked;
Then, what it was that next came in her eye,
Which she must dote on in extremity.
Enter PUCK

Here comes my messenger.
How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
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 nole I fixed on his head:
Anon his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic 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 waked and straightway loved an ass.
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?
I took him sleeping,–that is finish’d too,–
And the Athenian woman by his side:
That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed.

Stand close: this is the same Athenian.
This is the woman, but not this the man.
O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.
Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse,
For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse,
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day
As he to me: would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon
This whole earth may be bored and that the moon
May through the centre creep and so displease
Her brother’s noontide with Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murder’d him;
So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.
So should the murder’d look, and so should I,
Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty:
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.
What’s this to my Lysander? where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?
I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.
Out, dog! out, cur! thou drivest me past the bounds
Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never number’d among men!
O, once tell true, tell true, even for my sake!
Durst thou have look’d upon him being awake,
And hast thou kill’d him sleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
You spend your passion on a misprised mood:
I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood;
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.
I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.
An if I could, what should I get therefore?
A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part I so:
See me no more, whether he be dead or no.

There is no following her in this fierce vein:
Here therefore for a while I will remain.
So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe:
Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.
Lies down and sleeps

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.
Then fate o’er-rules, that, one man holding troth,
A million fail, confounding oath on oath.
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 costs the fresh blood dear:
By some illusion see thou bring her here:
I’ll charm his eyes against she do appear.
I go, I go; look how I go,
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.

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 wakest, if she be by,
Beg of her for remedy.
Re-enter 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!
Stand aside: the noise they make
Will cause Demetrius to awake.
Then will two at once woo one;
That must needs be sport alone;
And those things do best please me
That befal preposterously.

Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
Scorn and derision never come in tears:
Look, when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
In their nativity all truth appears.
How can these things in me seem scorn to you,
Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true?
You do advance your cunning more and more.
When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray!
These vows are Hermia’s: will you give her o’er?
Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh:
Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh, and both as light as tales.
I had no judgment when to her I swore.
Nor none, in my mind, now you give her o’er.
Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.
[Awaking] O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
Fann’d with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
When thou hold’st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment:
If you we re civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so;
To 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,
To 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.
You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
For 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.
Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
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 sojourn’d,
And now to Helen is it home return’d,
There to remain.
Helen, it is not so.
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.
Re-enter HERMIA

Dark 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.
Thou art not by mine eye, Lysander, found;
Mine ear, I thank it, brought me to thy sound
But why unkindly didst thou leave me so?
Why should he stay, whom love doth press to go?
What love could press Lysander from my side?
Lysander’s love, that would not let him bide,
Fair Helena, who more engilds the night
Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light.
Why seek’st thou me? could not this make thee know,
The hate I bear thee made me leave thee so?
You speak not as you think: it cannot be.
Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin’d all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid!
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,–O, is it all forgot?
All school-days’ friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, ’tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
I am amazed at your passionate words.
I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection,
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What thought I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved?
This you should pity rather than despise.
I understand not what you mean by this.
Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare ye well: ’tis partly my own fault;
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.
Stay, gentle Helena; hear my excuse:
My love, my life my soul, fair Helena!
O excellent!
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
If she cannot entreat, I can compel.
Thou canst compel no more than she entreat:
Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
Helen, I love thee; by my life, I do:
I swear by that which I will lose for thee,
To prove him false that says I love thee not.
I say I love thee more than he can do.
If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too.
Quick, come!
Lysander, whereto tends all this?
Away, you Ethiope!
No, no; he’ll [ ]
Seem to break loose; take on as you would follow,
But yet come not: you are a tame man, go!
Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! vile thing, let loose,
Or I will shake thee from me like a serpent!
Why are you grown so rude? what change is this?
Sweet love,–
Thy love! out, tawny Tartar, out!
Out, loathed medicine! hated potion, hence!
Do you not jest?
Yes, sooth; and so do you.
Demetrius, I will keep my word with thee.
I would I had your bond, for I perceive
A weak bond holds you: I’ll not trust your word.
What, should I hurt her, strike her, kill her dead?
Although I hate her, I’ll not harm her so.
What, can you do me greater harm than hate?
Hate me! wherefore? O me! what news, my love!
Am not I Hermia? are not you Lysander?
I am as fair now as I was erewhile.
Since night you loved me; yet since night you left
Why, then you left me–O, the gods forbid!–
In earnest, shall I say?
Ay, by my life;
And never did desire to see thee more.
Therefore be out of hope, of question, of doubt;
Be certain, nothing truer; ’tis no jest
That I do hate thee and love Helena.
O me! you juggler! you canker-blossom!
You thief of love! what, have you come by night
And stolen my love’s heart from him?
Fine, i’faith!
Have you no modesty, no maiden shame,
No touch of bashfulness? What, will you tear
Impatient answers from my gentle tongue?
Fie, fie! you counterfeit, you puppet, you!
Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail’d with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem;
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.
I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen,
Let her not hurt me: I was never curst;
I have no gift at all in shrewishness;
I am a right maid for my cowardice:
Let her not strike me. You perhaps may think,
Because she is something lower than myself,
That I can match her.
Lower! hark, again.
Good Hermia, do not be so bitter with me.
I evermore did love you, Hermia,
Did ever keep your counsels, never wrong’d you;
Save that, in love unto Demetrius,
I told him of your stealth unto this wood.
He follow’d you; for love I follow’d him;
But he hath chid me hence and threaten’d me
To strike me, spurn me, nay, to kill me too:
And now, so you will let me quiet go,
To Athens will I bear my folly back
And follow you no further: let me go:
You see how simple and how fond I am.
Why, get you gone: who is’t that hinders you?
A foolish heart, that I leave here behind.
What, with Lysander?
With Demetrius.
Be not afraid; she shall not harm thee, Helena.
No, sir, she shall not, though you take her part.
O, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school;
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
‘Little’ again! nothing but ‘low’ and ‘little’!
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her.
Get you gone, you dwarf;
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn.
You are too officious
In her behalf that scorns your services.
Let her alone: speak not of Helena;
Take not her part; for, if thou dost intend
Never so little show of love to her,
Thou shalt aby it.
Now she holds me not;
Now follow, if thou darest, to try whose right,
Of thine or mine, is most in Helena.
Follow! nay, I’ll go with thee, cheek by jole.

You, mistress, all this coil is ‘long of you:
Nay, go not back.
I will not trust you, I,
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though, to run away.

I am amazed, and know not what to say.

This is thy negligence: still thou mistakest,
Or else committ’st thy knaveries wilfully.
Believe me, king of shadows, I mistook.
Did not you tell me I should know the man
By the Athenian garment be had on?
And so far blameless proves my enterprise,
That I have ‘nointed an Athenian’s eyes;
And so far am I glad it so did sort
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
Thou see’st these lovers seek a place to fight:
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
And lead these testy rivals so astray
As one come not within another’s way.
Like to Lysander sometime frame thy tongue,
Then stir Demetrius up with bitter wrong;
And sometime rail thou like Demetrius;
And from each other look thou lead them thus,
Till o’er their brows death-counterfeiting sleep
With leaden legs and batty wings doth creep:
Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye;
Whose liquor hath this virtuous property,
To take from thence all error with his might,
And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.
When they next wake, all this derision
Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision,
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend,
With league whose date till death shall never end.
Whiles I in this affair do thee employ,
I’ll to my queen and beg her Indian boy;
And then I will her charmed eye release
From monster’s view, and all things shall be peace.
My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully themselves exile from light
And must for aye consort with black-brow’d night.
But we are spirits of another sort:
I with the morning’s love have oft made sport,
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.
But, notwithstanding, haste; make no delay:
We may effect this business yet ere day.

Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear’d in field and town:
Goblin, lead them up and down.
Here comes one.

Where art thou, proud Demetrius? speak thou now.
Here, villain; drawn and ready. Where art thou?
I will be with thee straight.
Follow me, then,
To plainer ground.
Exit LYSANDER, as following the voice


Lysander! speak again:
Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
Speak! In some bush? Where dost thou hide thy head?
Thou coward, art thou bragging to the stars,
Telling the bushes that thou look’st for wars,
And wilt not come? Come, recreant; come, thou child;
I’ll whip thee with a rod: he is defiled
That draws a sword on thee.
Yea, art thou there?
Follow my voice: we’ll try no manhood here.


He goes before me and still dares me on:
When I come where he calls, then he is gone.
The villain is much lighter-heel’d than I:
I follow’d fast, but faster he did fly;
That fallen am I in dark uneven way,
And here will rest me.
Lies down

Come, thou gentle day!
For if but once thou show me thy grey light,
I’ll find Demetrius and revenge this spite.


Ho, ho, ho! Coward, why comest thou not?
Abide me, if thou darest; for well I wot
Thou runn’st before me, shifting every place,
And darest not stand, nor look me in the face.
Where art thou now?
Come hither: I am here.
Nay, then, thou mock’st me. Thou shalt buy this dear,
If ever I thy face by daylight see:
Now, go thy way. Faintness constraineth me
To measure out my length on this cold bed.
By day’s approach look to be visited.
Lies down and sleeps

Re-enter HELENA

O weary night, O long and tedious night,
Abate thy hour! Shine comforts from the east,
That I may back to Athens by daylight,
From these that my poor company detest:
And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.
Lies down and sleeps

Yet but three? Come one more;
Two of both kinds make up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad:
Cupid is a knavish lad,
Thus to make poor females mad.
Re-enter HERMIA

Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew and torn with briers,
I can no further crawl, no further go;
My legs can keep no pace with my desires.
Here will I rest me till the break of day.
Heavens shield Lysander, if they mean a fray!
Lies down and sleeps

PUCK On the ground
Sleep sound:
I’ll apply
To your eye,
Gentle lover, remedy.
Squeezing the juice on LYSANDER’s eyes

When thou wakest,
Thou takest
True delight
In the sight
Of thy former lady’s eye:
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown:
Jack shall have Jill;
Nought shall go ill;
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.

The same.
lying asleep.

Enter TITANIA and BOTTOM; PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending; OBERON behind unseen

Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
Where’s Peaseblossom?
Scratch my head Peaseblossom. Where’s Mounsieur Cobweb?
Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your
weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped
humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good
mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret
yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,
good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;
I would be loath to have you overflown with a
honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?
Give me your neaf, Mounsieur Mustardseed. Pray you,
leave your courtesy, good mounsieur.
What’s your Will?
Nothing, good mounsieur, but to help Cavalery Cobweb
to scratch. I must to the barber’s, monsieur; for
methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I
am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me,
I must scratch.
What, wilt thou hear some music,
my sweet love?
I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let’s have
the tongs and the bones.
Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.
Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good
dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
I have a venturous fairy that shall seek
The squirrel’s hoard, and fetch thee new nuts.
I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas.
But, I pray you, let none of your people stir me: I
have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away.
Exeunt fairies

So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist; the female ivy so
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!
They sleep

Enter PUCK

[Advancing] Welcome, good Robin.
See’st thou this sweet sight?
Her dotage now I do begin to pity:
For, meeting her of late behind the wood,
Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool,
I did upbraid her and fall out with her;
For she his hairy temples then had rounded
With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers;
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flowerets’ eyes
Like tears that did their own disgrace bewail.
When I had at my pleasure taunted her
And she in mild terms begg’d my patience,
I then did ask of her her changeling child;
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent
To bear him to my bower in fairy land.
And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes:
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp
From off the head of this Athenian swain;
That, he awaking when the other do,
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night’s accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream.
But first I will release the fairy queen.
Be as thou wast wont to be;
See as thou wast wont to see:
Dian’s bud o’er Cupid’s flower
Hath such force and blessed power.
Now, my Titania; wake you, my sweet queen.
My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.
There lies your love.
How came these things to pass?
O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head.
Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep of all these five the sense.
Music, ho! music, such as charmeth sleep!
Music, still

Now, when thou wakest, with thine
own fool’s eyes peep.
Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus’ house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
Fairy king, attend, and mark:
I do hear the morning lark.
Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night’s shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wandering moon.
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.

Horns winded within


Go, one of you, find out the forester;
For now our observation is perform’d;
And since we have the vaward of the day,
My love shall hear the music of my hounds.
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go:
Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
Exit an Attendant

We will, fair queen, up to the mountain’s top,
And mark the musical confusion
Of hounds and echo in conjunction.
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
When in a wood of Crete they bay’d the bear
With hounds of Sparta: never did I hear
Such gallant chiding: for, besides the groves,
The skies, the fountains, every region near
Seem’d all one mutual cry: I never heard
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flew’d, so sanded, and their heads are hung
With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
Crook-knee’d, and dew-lapp’d like Thessalian bulls;
Slow in pursuit, but match’d in mouth like bells,
Each under each. A cry more tuneable
Was never holla’d to, nor cheer’d with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?
My lord, this is my daughter here asleep;
And this, Lysander; this Demetrius is;
This Helena, old Nedar’s Helena:
I wonder of their being here together.
No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace our solemnity.
But speak, Egeus; is not this the day
That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
It is, my lord.
Go, bid the huntsmen wake them with their horns.
Horns and shout within. LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA wake and start up

Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
Pardon, my lord.
I pray you all, stand up.
I know you two are rival enemies:
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?
My lord, I shall reply amazedly,
Half sleep, half waking: but as yet, I swear,
I cannot truly say how I came here;
But, as I think,–for truly would I speak,
And now do I bethink me, so it is,–
I came with Hermia hither: our intent
Was to be gone from Athens, where we might,
Without the peril of the Athenian law.
Enough, enough, my lord; you have enough:
I beg the law, the law, upon his head.
They would have stolen away; they would, Demetrius,
Thereby to have defeated you and me,
You of your wife and me of my consent,
Of my consent that she should be your wife.
My lord, fair Helen told me of their stealth,
Of this their purpose hither to this wood;
And I in fury hither follow’d them,
Fair Helena in fancy following me.
But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,–
But by some power it is,–my love to Hermia,
Melted as the snow, seems to me now
As the remembrance of an idle gaud
Which in my childhood I did dote upon;
And all the faith, the virtue of my heart,
The object and the pleasure of mine eye,
Is only Helena. To her, my lord,
Was I betroth’d ere I saw Hermia:
But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food;
But, as in health, come to my natural taste,
Now I do wish it, love it, long for it,
And will for evermore be true to it.
Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit:
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.
Away with us to Athens; three and three,
We’ll hold a feast in great solemnity.
Come, Hippolyta.

These things seem small and undistinguishable,
Methinks I see these things with parted eye,
When every thing seems double.
So methinks:
And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.
Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The duke was here, and bid us follow him?
Yea; and my father.
And Hippolyta.
And he did bid us follow to the temple.
Why, then, we are awake: let’s follow him
And by the way let us recount our dreams.

[Awaking] When my cue comes, call me, and I will
answer: my next is, ‘Most fair Pyramus.’ Heigh-ho!
Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout,
the tinker! Starveling! God’s my life, stolen
hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare
vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go
about to expound this dream. Methought I was–there
is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and
methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if
he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye
of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream
was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of
this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream,
because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the
latter end of a play, before the duke:
peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall
sing it at her death.

Athens. QUINCE’S house.

Have you sent to Bottom’s house ? is he come home yet?
He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is
If he come not, then the play is marred: it goes
not forward, doth it?
It is not possible: you have not a man in all
Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.
No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft
man in Athens.
Yea and the best person too; and he is a very
paramour for a sweet voice.
You must say ‘paragon:’ a paramour is, God bless us,
a thing of naught.
Enter SNUG

Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and
there is two or three lords and ladies more married:
if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made
O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a
day during his life; he could not have ‘scaped
sixpence a day: an the duke had not given him
sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, I’ll be hanged;
he would have deserved it: sixpence a day in
Pyramus, or nothing.

Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy hour!
Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not
what; for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I
will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.
Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
BOTTOM Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is, that
the duke hath dined. Get your apparel together,
good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your
pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look
o’er his part; for the short and the long is, our
play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have
clean linen; and let not him that plays the lion
pair his nails, for they shall hang out for the
lion’s claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions
nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I
do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet
comedy. No more words: away! go, away!

Athens. The palace of THESEUS.

‘Tis strange my Theseus, that these
lovers speak of.
More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy’s images
And grows to something of great constancy;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.

Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!
More than to us
Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
To wear away this long age of three hours
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Call Philostrate.
Here, mighty Theseus.
Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
There is a brief how many sports are ripe:
Make choice of which your highness will see first.
Giving a paper

[Reads] ‘The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.’
We’ll none of that: that have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

‘The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.’
That is an old device; and it was play’d
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.

‘The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of Learning, late deceased in beggary.’
That is some satire, keen and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

‘A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.’
Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?
A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious; for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted:
And tragical, my noble lord, it is;
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.
What are they that do play it?
Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
Which never labour’d in their minds till now,
And now have toil’d their unbreathed memories
With this same play, against your nuptial.
And we will hear it.
No, my noble lord;
It is not for you: I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world;
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretch’d and conn’d with cruel pain,
To do you service.
I will hear that play;
For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.

I love not to see wretchedness o’er charged
And duty in his service perishing.
Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
He says they can do nothing in this kind.
The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:
And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practised accent in their fears
And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence yet I pick’d a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.

So please your grace, the Prologue is address’d.
Let him approach.
Flourish of trumpets

Enter QUINCE for the Prologue

If we offend, it is with our good will.
That you should think, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then we come but in despite.
We do not come as minding to contest you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight
We are not here. That you should here repent you,
The actors are at hand and by their show
You shall know all that you are like to know.
This fellow doth not stand upon points.
He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt; he knows
not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not
enough to speak, but to speak true.
Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child
on a recorder; a sound, but not in government.
His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
Enter Pyramus and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, and Lion

Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
This beauteous lady Thisby is certain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;
And through Wall’s chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.
This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
To meet at Ninus’ tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisby’s mantle slain:
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach’d is boiling bloody breast;
And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
At large discourse, while here they do remain.
Exeunt Prologue, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine

I wonder if the lion be to speak.
No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.
In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
And such a wall, as I would have you think,
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
discourse, my lord.
Enter Pyramus

Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!
O grim-look’d night! O night with hue so black!
O night, which ever art when day is not!
O night, O night! alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Thisby’s promise is forgot!
And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
That stand’st between her father’s ground and mine!
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne!
Wall holds up his fingers

Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
No, in truth, sir, he should not. ‘Deceiving me’
is Thisby’s cue: she is to enter now, and I am to
spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will
fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.
Enter Thisbe

O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby’s face. Thisby!
My love thou art, my love I think.
Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace;
And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!
I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.
Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?
‘Tide life, ‘tide death, I come without delay.
Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe

Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.

Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.
No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear
without warning.
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst
are no worse, if imagination amend them.
It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
If we imagine no worse of them than they of
themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here
come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.
Enter Lion and Moonshine

You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lion-fell, nor else no lion’s dam;
For, if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, ’twere pity on my life.
A very gentle beast, of a good conscience.
The very best at a beast, my lord, that e’er I saw.
This lion is a very fox for his valour.
True; and a goose for his discretion.
Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry his
discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour;
for the goose carries not the fox. It is well:
leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;–
He should have worn the horns on his head.
He is no crescent, and his horns are
invisible within the circumference.
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
Myself the man i’ the moon do seem to be.
This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man
should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the
man i’ the moon?
He dares not come there for the candle; for, you
see, it is already in snuff.
I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!
It appears, by his small light of discretion, that
he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all
reason, we must stay the time.
Proceed, Moon.
All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the
lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this
thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for all
these are in the moon. But, silence! here comes Thisbe.
Enter Thisbe

This is old Ninny’s tomb. Where is my love?
[Roaring] Oh–
Thisbe runs off

Well roared, Lion.
Well run, Thisbe.
Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a
good grace.
The Lion shakes Thisbe’s mantle, and exit

Well moused, Lion.
And so the lion vanished.
And then came Pyramus.
Enter Pyramus

Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright;
For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.
But stay, O spite!
But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here!
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be?
O dainty duck! O dear!
Thy mantle good,
What, stain’d with blood!
Approach, ye Furies fell!
O Fates, come, come,
Cut thread and thrum;
Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
go near to make a man look sad.
Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
Since lion vile hath here deflower’d my dear:
Which is–no, no–which was the fairest dame
That lived, that loved, that liked, that look’d
with cheer.
Come, tears, confound;
Out, sword, and wound
The pap of Pyramus;
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop:
Stabs himself

Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead,
Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky:
Tongue, lose thy light;
Moon take thy flight:
Exit Moonshine

Now die, die, die, die, die.

No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing.
With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and
prove an ass.
How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes
back and finds her lover?
She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
her passion ends the play.
Re-enter Thisbe

Methinks she should not use a long one for such a
Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which
Thisbe, is the better; he for a man, God warrant us;
she for a woman, God bless us.
She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
And thus she means, videlicet:–
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Pyramus, arise!
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These My lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,
Are gone, are gone:
Lovers, make moan:
His eyes were green as leeks.
O Sisters Three,
Come, come to me,
With hands as pale as milk;
Lay them in gore,
Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.
Tongue, not a word:
Come, trusty sword;
Come, blade, my breast imbrue:
Stabs herself

And, farewell, friends;
Thus Thisby ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu.

Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.
Ay, and Wall too.
[Starting up] No assure you; the wall is down that
parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the
epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two
of our company?
No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all
dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he
that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself
in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine
tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably
discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your
epilogue alone.
A dance

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed; ’tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatch’d.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
In nightly revels and new jollity.

Enter PUCK

Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow’d house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
Enter OBERON and TITANIA with their train

Through the house give gathering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf and fairy sprite
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,
Sing, and dance it trippingly.
First, rehearse your song by rote
To each word a warbling note:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
Song and dance

Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate.
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be;
And the blots of Nature’s hand
Shall not in their issue stand;
Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.
Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and train

PUCK If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.


I hope you enjoyed the previous pathetic story, Sextape from the constable of Nkeiru Cosmos. This is another heart-touching story from her bosom


The story of my life is a lesson to mothers of our days. The title of my story would have been better if it was “The Carelessness Of My Mother”, but I chose this title for some reasons.
My mum told me to stop sleeping in her room since I was two years old neither will I sleep in the children’s room but my father’s room. At a time, everyone started calling me the wife of my father, “iyawo baba e”. I grew up to understand what love was all about because my father showed me unreserved love. Sometimes I wouldn’t sleep except I slept on my father’s chest; his chest became my comfort and bed. My father could not withstand anyone beating me, not even my mother. The major quarrels I witnessed between my father and my mother were because my mother beat me and my father was not happy about it. There were times they kept malice for days just because of me.

My father was a successful engineer, a tall handsome man with charming voice. He used to sing in the choir. He was such a nice man that all and sundry will love to be with because he was also caring. He was tender-hearted and jovial. He gives me virtually everything I had ever wanted: including those that were detrimental to my growth as a girl child. There were many things he bought for me without my mother’s knowledge. He had packets of chocolate under his bed that my mother wasn’t aware of for many years. He served me two or three chocolate every night before sleep.
I loved playing with my father’s beards because they were well laid around his jaw. I sat on his lap and played with his beards anytime I was angry; it had a way of pacifying my anger. When I turned six, I realized that anytime I sat on my father’s laps he always had erection. As a child, I never knew what erection was or what it meant because we never had a brother neither did anybody tell us anything about erection. I loved it when I see his manhood struggling around his boxers. Then I began to play with his manhood anytime I see it rise. My father loved it when I played with it but he never allow me do it whenever my mother was around. My father’s manhood became my toy and any day I didn’t play with it, he reminded me, “Nike, you’ve not played with daddy’s toy”. When he noticed my mother may get to know one day, we restricted the toy play only to bedtime.
Fast forwarding, when I became ten, my father always instructed me to suck his manhood until he ejaculated. That continued until I was thirteen. It became an everyday affair, no suking, no chocolate. I became so addicted and inseparable to my father. Nobody ever educated me that what I was doing with my father was wrong. He kept assuring me of his love towards me. Of course, I had no doubt because he showed it. Anytime my father traveled, I seldom became sick all through and get well as soon as he arrived. My love for my father was exceptional. He could tolerate my excesses to a fault. My father was a good man I knew.

My father became my magical being; I almost could not do without him. I trusted him so much because he never hurt me. He tried to keep tears from dropping from my eyes. He was the friend I knew; he was close and listening. He was something different from my mother who was harsh, inconsiderate, unloving and hot-tempered. I wasn’t worried about anything because my father was also nice to my siblings alike. Grace and I took after my father in everything but Faith and Christy took after mum. They were unfriendly and difficult.

My bond and intimacy with my father continued until I finished my Junior Secondary School Education and my mother began to nurse the idea of changing my day school to boarding. From the onset, I knew that won’t work because my dad would not part with me neither will I ever want to stay away from dad for such a long time. So, it was going to be one against two. It became a serious battle between dad and mum for a long time. Grandma had to intervene but all to no avail. Our pastor intervened too on several occasions but my dad would not shift grounds. “I will not take any of my daughters to boarding school and allow anyone to initiate them into witchcraft”, my dad had said several times.
My dad was the first to know when I started menstruating. I had menstruated twice before my mum knew. Before mum could teach me what I needed to know about a woman’s circle, my dad already did. Mum’s lecture on womanhood was a revision. Dad already taught me everything I needed to know. My dad got to know a minute after I fell sick. My dad was readily available for us, unlike mum who gave so much time to her career. I would rather confide in my dad than waste my time with mum. She rarely had time to listen to you. If she does, she won’t act until something bad happens.
My mum was a successful banker, an occupation she held with high esteem. Her job meant so much to her because she worked hard to rise to the position she occupied in her bank. Even when mum was sick, she would manage to go to work.

The first lesson I learnt from my mum was; the danger of making your career a priority over your family. She gave her best to her career but little attention to us. Her intention sounded genuine but her mistakes could not justify her intention.
Dad was a nominal Christian but mum was a born again Christian with proofs of right standing with God. Dad still sneaked to smoke even though he was a prominent member of the choir. Mum was a prayer warrior and Sunday school teacher. Her fluent English and good communication skills made her one of the best Sunday school teachers in our church. Everyone liked her class because you will always learn a new vocabulary after her teaching. Dad was not a bad person but he was not as serious with God like mum.
They couldn’t stay in the same room because mum would not let dad have a smooth night with her unending prayers and vigils. Mum was not tolerant, she saw dad as an unbeliever, hence she nagged and yelled at dad almost every day. As I began to grow up, I realized that mum and dad hardly spent time together. Mum was just too busy with office and church work. Dad would have been lonely without us. We became his close confidants while mum was unavailable.

My dad understood my circle so well and he planned for it ahead of time. He bought my pads ahead of my monthly periods without my knowledge. After the first lecture mum gave to me on womanhood, she never did any follow up again. She left me with my fate. I would have got into lots of troubles if not for my dad who was available for me. This was why I couldn’t leave him for boarding school. Who will give me such attention? Who will be as friendly as my dad? Who will understand and tolerate me like him? These and more questions ran through my mind daily.

The journey to my woe started on the 2nd of June when my dad became sick and my mum wasn’t available to take good care of him. As young as I was then, I played the role of a mother and a wife all together. I filled in the vacuum my mum created because of her busy schedules. Three days after, my dad recuperated and bounced back. At this time, our bond for each other had grown beyond daughter and father relationship. On several occasions, I had noticed my dad starring at me lustfully and forgetting himself.
On the 2nd of June, my dad came into my room. I had stopped sleeping in his room because we could no longer justify why I should continue sleeping there, considering my age. He let me move into the other room to avoid suspicion.
“How are you Nike?”, he asked, looking straight into my eyes. I felt an unusual sensat!on all over me when he looked into my eyes. “I am okay dad”, I replied. He sat on my bed and began to massage my hair. Of course, that wasn’t the first time he was doing that. He did it to my other sisters too even in the presence of mum. But the feeling that day was quite different. He left after five minutes but that visit was what broke the camel’s back.
He came back after thirty minutes. “Nike, I hope you are okay?” Dad why are you worried about me? I am okay”. “Alright, come and give daddy a hug”. I moved closer and hugged my dad like other times but daddy seems to have ulterior motive this time from his look. “Nike, do you know how much I love you?”, he asked. “Yes daddy, I know you love me so well, I love you too.” He kissed my forehead and said, “That’s daddy’s baby.” I stopped playing with his manhood when I knew that wasn’t right to do with one’s father. He stopped asking me to suck too because he began to notice I was getting mature and I could let the cat out of the bag someday. But this day, he reminded me of those days. He sang my childhood favourite song to me again. His eyes were changed and this time I was grown enough to know. These eyes were sexy. I had so much confidence in my dad, so I had no fear for anything.
He held me so tightly and began to unbutton my blouse in a way that suggested he wanted to have canal knowledge of me. Before I could say Daddy, he grabbed my two boobs firmly. “Give me this one chance and I will prove to you how much I love you”, my dad begged me as his face was full of pity. I had never argued with or denied my dad anything but this was a cross road for me. How will I give my dad a chance to deflower me? I couldn’t look at my dad’s face as he continued to beg me for sex.
“But why do you want to do this to me daddy?” I asked, as tears began to run down my cheeks. “You are a beautiful girl with irresistible body. I want to do this because I haven’t done it with your mother for a long time. She practically denies me anytime I make advances. I am starved and I know you won’t let daddy to starve forever when you have the answer in between your legs.”

Mum was promoted to the position of a Branch Manager and was transferred to Ibadan to head a new branch. This was what she had worked for all these years. Becoming a Branch Manager was her utmost dream for many years. Mum was so happy with her new position but the transfer did not go well with dad and all of us. She never gave dad opportunity to protest her transfer when she started making out her plans. Within two weeks, mum had contacted an agent in Ibadan through a colleague who got her a two bedroom flat in the outskirts of Ibadan. When mum left for Ibadan I knew it was a journey to marital desolation for dad.
“I don’t want to say anything because you may think I don’t want your progress but leaving your family at this time is not healthy”, my dad protested. “So what should I had done? Resign the job or reject the offer? The position I have laboured for all through the years? This is God’s open door and I can’t afford to throw it away. Instead of you to rejoice with me, you are here talking about family. All our children are all grown and Nike can take care of her sisters well. I will always come home for weekend.” My mum replied as she ordered Faith and Christy to move her things into the waiting van outside. We were surely not going to miss mum because her temporary exit from the house would give us a level of freedom and peace. We would be free from her nagging and troubles.
That night mum left for Ibadan, my dad came into my room like the other times. From his eyes you could see lust and determination to get what he wanted. “Please daddy, don’t do this to me. I thought you said you love me? Why will you be the one to take away my virginity? Please daddy! Please daddy!! Please daddy!!!” All my beggings fell on deaf ears as my dad forced himself into me. It was really painful going through this evil act. He left my room without saying a word to me after.

Mum could not fulfil her promise to come home every weekend. Some months, she only came once and sometimes twice. I became hostile in the house and everyone knew something was wrong but no one among my sisters was mature enough to investigate further.
I perfected my plans to poison my dad but that was not easy. On two occasions, I had planned to put the poison in his food but I always discarded it. Seeing him got me irritated. I wished he could die of accident or one mysterious thing but none of these happened.
For three months, I rarely talked to my dad even though he lived under the same roof with me. All the time mum visited, she never suspected anything because I put up pretentious attitudes that looked like all was well. I would enter my shell again as soon as she returned back to Ibadan.
My dad became depressed because of the happenings around. Nike that used to be his close friend became his archenemy. My sisters started withdrawing from him because they saw me withdrew too. My dad became an addicted drunkard. He started going to club houses just to suppress his depression. I pitied him and talked to him casually. Life returned back to him and he began to pick up again. But our relationship had gone sour. He was buying me different gifts just to pacify me but all that was nothing. My desire to take his life got stronger by the day. I was loosing concentration in school because of what my dad did to me.

On Sunday, our pastor gave a powerful sermon on “forgiveness”. He highlighted seven reasons why forgiveness will do you good than whom you are forgiving. The sermon was so touching that I had no option than to drop my murderous plan. Pastor made an altar call for those who need grace to forgive those who had hurt them. I jumped out and he prayed for us. The prayer was like lifting a heavy rock off my chest. I became light and free. I wished I could die that moment and just go to heaven straight to rest from the trouble of this world. I got home that day and prepared my dad’s favourite food just to communicate my forgiveness to him. “Nike, I am grateful you have forgiven me”. He held my hand as I served him his food to whisper to my ear.

On Monday, my dad bought me a big phone he ordered from the UK. He knew how much I desired to own a phone but mum would not allow him buy me one. “This girl is too young to own a phone”, mum had warned dad several times. “If you buy her a phone I will smash it on the floor”, mum threatened. She insisted none of us would own a phone until we were eighteen. But all my friends in school had phones yet they concentrated on their studies. It was never a distraction like mum painted. I loved the phone dad bought for me because all my friends in school who had intimidated me with theirs began to respect me when they saw mine.
I was enjoying my phone for three months and mum didn’t know I owned a phone. When she’s around I put it off, remove the battery and hid it all through until she had gone.
As I was gaining my dad’s confidence, he struck again. This time he drugged me and raped me. In my sleep I had a dream a man came and forced himself into me. He beat me up after he raped me and warned me never to tell anybody again or else he would kill me with his machete. In the dream, I cried in pain until I woke up and noticed the pain all over my body. I couldn’t lift my hands nor legs. My dad did it again

It became a regular occurrence that my dad regularly took advantage of me. He did it almost every night. His act exposed me to spiritual husband. The man always came to molest me in the dream. My dad will do his physically, while the man will do his own spiritually. In no time, I lost the will to resist my dad. He destroyed my self esteem and pride. My academic performance started dropping. My position in class moved from 2nd and 3rd to 37th. I began to lose interest in my studies; my mind was clouded with sexual filthiness. At seventeen, I had turned to a sex addict. My dad could no longer meet my sexual needs so I arrange for my school boys and teachers to have sex with me when the urge comes.
I was caught with Ahmed having sex in the toilet and the matter was reported to the vice principal. He invited both of us to his office to investigate the matter but he was caught in the web of the seducing spirit in me. I slept with him three times and the case was closed. When the urge comes upon me, I can sleep with any guy available.

It was time to write WAEC and my vice principal had assured me of success if I continued giving him sex. I grabbed the opportunity and made use of it to clear all my papers. I didn’t bother to read my books because the vice principal had arranged everything in my favour. When our results were out, I had distinction in all my papers.
Mum was happy about my result and began to persuade my dad to let them send me abroad for my university education. My dad and mum began another quarrel over my university education. My dad’s business had almost collapsed so he only managed to feed us. Mum was the one responsible for our school fees and other major family bills.
On the 8th of March, I was feverish so I went to the nearest chemist in our neighbourhood to get some drugs for myself. After taking the drugs, I wasn’t getting better then I decided to go to Oxford clinic to run some tests. “Young lady, you are six weeks pregnant,” the lab attendant announced to me as he handed the tests result to me. I collected it without saying a word. When I got home I dropped the test result on dad’s bed and locked up the room so my sisters won’t barge into his room and see the result. Dad hardly lock his room, so he was surprised when he came back and found his room locked. He looked at me and Grace who were both in the living room when he arrived but I pretended I didn’t notice him. He seemed to understand there must be something fishy, so he removed his key and opened the door. Five minutes later he rushed out and invited me to his room. What is the meaning of this? He pointed the test result to me. I was angry and felt like slapping him. How can he ask me the meaning of the test result in his hand. Did he not know that having unprotected sex, would result to pregnancy? I looked at him with disdain.
“Nobody must hear this, let it be between me and you”, my dad pleaded. “We will get rid of it before anyone notices it”. He did not allow me go out for one week until he came with a taxi driver that morning. He drove us for a long journey. He took me to a small hospital between Lagos and Ogun state. A place very difficult to find anybody who knew us. An abortion was carried out on me. My first sexual encounter was with my dad, my first pregnancy was for my dad, my first abortion was by my dad.

It wasn’t easy hiding my affairs with dad from my siblings again. They became so curious and suspicious. They asked me many questions I had no answers to. I was running out of my mind after the abortion. My spiritual husband will also not give me breathing space. He used me every night with serious beating after having sex with me in the dream. One day I asked him, “Why do you always beat me after having sex with me?” “You are a cheat, you have been giving others what belongs to me. If you don’t stop sleeping with your father, I will kill him one day”, he replied. Intentionally, I continued to have sex with my dad so the spiritual man could kill him. I wanted to be free from him. I wanted his death desperately to be free from his prison. My loving dad was then a heartless man.
Getting admission into the higher institution became very difficult. Since the spiritual man had been having sex with me, nothing was moving for me and dad anymore. Everything I did always ended up in failure.

Everything around my family went upside down. Grace fell ill and was diagnosed of a terrible heart condition that required an emergency surgical operation in India. The cost of transportation and medication were in thousands of dollars. Dad had no money anywhere because his business had practically stopped. Mum had to empty her account and borrow more money to fund Grace’s medical bills.
Grace and mum fled to India for the surgery. Everything was not as planned. The surgery was not successful, so they had to stay three extra weeks to carry out another operation. Mum’s leave elapsed and she couldn’t come back from India because of the three weeks extra they needed to stay back for another operation. After series of operations to save Grace’s life, she died while in India. It was a tough time for the family. Mum came back without Grace. Her job was at stake but she had huge loan in the office to offset. On her arrival she couldn’t resume work immediately until after one week. Mum would have gone back to work on Tuesday if not for our pastor who insisted she needed to stay back at home to mourn her daughter. While at home, mum could be on a call for hours.
Mum’s position was given to another person before she resumed. She was moved to the cash department as the cash officer while Mr. Paul was made the new branch manager. These new developments really brought darkness to Fowogbade’s family. My pursuit for admission was put on hold. Christy had to drop from school because of accumulated unpaid school fees. Faith had few months to write WAEC so her fee was paramount. Everywhere we turned to for help, there wasn’t any. Three days for Faith to start her WAEC she took ill and was rushed to the hospital. It was like hell was let loose on Fowogbade’s family. From one calamity to the other.
As if that was not enough. Mum lost her job. A job she held in high esteem. All the bank did, was to let her finish her loan before sacking her. The blow was too much. I had to engage in mini prostitution to help raise money for Faith’s medical bills. I slept with any man who could give me money. Our former vice principal became my main client. At a time, he gave me just a thousand naira after a round of sex. It was this bad. My parent knew I was not working but they had no effrontery to ask where the money was coming from.
I was much afraid of nemesis catching up with me some day, considering the number of men I had unprotected sex with. The threats and assaults from my spirit husband kept me in fear. Even when I was sick, I couldn’t talk to anyone about it in order not to compound my family’s problem. We began to live a beggarly life. The church was our lifeline. Dad had sold everything we had just to keep us going. Faith had practically missed her WAEC that year. Everything was against us. My tears of agony and pain were no more friendly. Our landlord was the only one who seemed to understand with us. But his understanding did not last for eternity. He came pleading that we should forget the outstanding and just vacate his house in three months. The man was kind-hearted but he needed to make the decision to recover his property. I had to sleep with our landlord five times for him to extend our stay for another six months. My parents were not aware of what I did that made the landlord give us six months extension.

Out of curiosity, I insisted I must know what was wrong with Faith since I was the major financier of her medical bills. No one was telling me until I stopped bringing money for anything. My mum reluctantly told me she did an abortion and it was not well managed and she had complications. “As I talk to you now, your sister’s womb has to be removed to save her life”. Immediately I heard this I went blank. After some minutes I asked mum if she revealed who impregnated her. “No, she said she doesn’t know who was responsible. Meanwhile the doctor advised we don’t bother her for now until she’s out of the hospital”.
I was mad in my spirit, “let it not be what I was thinking”, I mustered some words to myself. Could it be that dad had also been sleeping with Faith without my knowledge? Faith was a decent girl and she had never told me she had a boyfriend. We talked a lot and I would have known if she was seeing any guy.

My reaction got my mum worried but I couldn’t tell her what was going on in my mind. “If daddy is responsible for Faith’s pregnancy, I will kill him and kill myself”, I assured myself.
My heart was heavy and weak: “Why are all these things happening to us alone? O God have mercy on Fowogbade’s family. Grace was gone, mum lost her job, Faith is laying helpless in the hospital, dad’s business had totally collapsed, landlord had given us ultimatum to leave the house, I have become a sex addict, everyone had abandoned us, eating regular food and living a good life is elusive, Christy is at home because of school fees. What is our offense? Why are all these things happening to us at the same time? Who did we offend? What happened to those prayers mum did for the family? God, are you in existence?”
When I was left alone with Faith I hugged her passionately to my heart. “Dear, I love you and you will live to testify of God’s goodness”, I spoke many words of hope to her.
‘Faith, I know who is responsible for your pregnancy,” I said and looked straight into her eyes for a long time. “Is he the one?” She bent her head and tears rolled down uncontrollably. I looked at those tears and saw betrayal, disappointment, dashed hope, hatred and unexpressed agony. Without a word, I understood those tears. They were tears that spoke volume more than words. Dad had been doing it with Faith too. “But why would dad be this wicked? Why did dad wear the garment of an angel but a heart of a monster?” We held ourselves for minutes as we both sobbed bitterly in each other’s arms. (this is a case of a dad’s involvement, there were instances where an elder brother subjected the younger sisters to sucking his penis until he cums. Hmmm, things are happening – story for another day. They knew it was wrong but couldn’t talk as kids, but today as adults, the whole childhood early experience has contributed to the hatred meted out to him.)
Faith narrated what she has been through in dad’s prison. I thought my case was pathetic but Faith’s own was more terrible. Faith spent two hours telling me how it all started. Dad started sleeping with Faith at age 11. A time she was yet to menstruate. “He started by putting his finger in my pant, then he would tell me never to tell anybody. He told me he would kill me if I ever tell anybody.” “At a times, I couldn’t stand to hear the atrocities my dad had done to us. Mum was the genesis of our problems. She was never available for us when we needed her. Dad played the role of a father and a mother. Mum made dad’s life miserable because she saw him as an unbeliever. Dad never enjoyed mum’s intimacy hence he found solace in his daughters’ laps. If dad must die, mum should die first. I will take vengeance as I live”, I promised myself. I can no longer wait for God’s judgment or the threats of my spiritual husband. Their judgment is too slow.

Faith’s womb was damaged because dad had done abortion for her three times. But how manage I didn’t know all these when it was happening right under my nose? If I accused mum of carelessness, I think I was more careless than her. How can my sister be pregnant for my dad three times without me knowing? She did three abortions and I was not aware? “Adenike you’re very stupid and useless”, I insulted myself.
I had sat down to weigh the consequences of exposing dad and killing him. Killing him seemed better. It will clean the mess and save the family name from shame and disgrace. Exposing him would drag the family name to the mud and leave everlasting stigma on our generation. The stain will haunt us all: our lives and our unborn children. Who knows if he had done it with Christy and Grace too? That will be the worst of the blow. Grace was gone but I can find out from Christy if she had been abused by dad too.
I was deep in this though when I slept off. In my brief sleep I had a long dream. In my dream, I sent thugs to kidnap my spiritual husband who had been abusing me. They brought him into a thick forest where he was tied hands and foot. The leader of the gang gave me a gun to shoot him. I took the gun and pulled the trigger and blew his head off. As soon as I killed him, some police officers surrounded us and took us away. We were thrown behind bars with serious torture. Still in my dream we were charged to court and when the court clerk called my case she said “I hereby call up the case between Miss Adenike Fowogbade and the state”. The judge looked into the file before him and looked at my face, Miss Adenike Fowogbade, you were accused of the murder of Mr Temitayo Fowogbade on the 17th of September; are you guilty or not?” I had not said a word when the judge pronounced his judgment.
Having been found guilty of this offense of murder, you are hereby sentenced to death by……. That was the last thing I heard and the next I saw was that I was thrown into a dark bottomless pit and I was going down endlessly then I woke up. I was so frightened and my body was shaking uncontrollably for minutes. I became restless because I understood the dream. All messages I ever heard on hell fire flashed back in a jiffy.
I tried to pray but no single word came out of my mouth. I tried crying but my tears were held back. My knees were hitting each other. I lied on the floor for 25 minutes without knowing what to do. The earth was so empty as if rapture had taken place. I looked right and left nobody to talk to. I looked down, the fear of hell gripped me. So I decided to look up to God for help. I felt an invisible presence at my back saying “The prayer of a sinner is an abomination before God”. I picked my Bible but the pages were blank. O God have mercy on me! I know I had gone far away from you but please remember the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I wept in bitterness.

The fear and terror of hell made me suspend my plans to kill dad. As much as I wanted vengeance against him, the experience of hell I had in my dream was so scary and frightening. Hell is not a place to be for a minute talk more of eternity. I rather swallow the venom of vengeance than go to that terrible place. But why would someone I am related with or any human creature in God’s image consciously or unconsciously be the one to make me go to hell? Your end will be terrible and full of regrets.

The few minutes I spent in the bottomless pit cannot be described with man’s language. If you are reading this story I beg you never to go to hell. Some persons have sworn to take you to hell through the manipulation of their master the devil, please do not allow their plot to prevail over you. Please! Live a life that heaven would be happy with you for.
Faith’s womb was removed but mum never knew what the real problem was.

After Faith was discharged from the hospital, dad fell sick. He started losing his memory and his thoughts. He was transferred to the psychiatric hospital for more investigation. Dad spent two weeks at the psychiatric hospital before he was discharged. He began to gain his memory and thoughts back.
Our six months ultimatum given to us by our landlord would expire in some few weeks. He expected me to renew the rent like I did before, but it was late. I had made up my mind never to do evil again. I will keep my body for the Lord henceforth. I could not see what I saw in my dream and continue living a careless life.
My refusal to warm his bed got him angry so much that he gave us seven days to move out as against three weeks left from the original arrangement. I was not bothered this time because I had rather sleep on the street than offer him my body again.

We began to plan to move out before the seven days elapsed but had no money anywhere to even pay for a two-room apartment. I did not go back to those men again neither did I allow anyone to use me for a price again. Our pastor was contemplating we bringing our loads into the old children hall in the church. Our burden was just too heavy for the church at this time. Our uncles all abandoned us like they never existed. Leaving our house would generate lots of embarrassment because of the debts we are owing in the neighbourhood.
We eventually moved our things to the old children hall in our Church. We also slept in the hall for two days before dad went to scout with his friend. Mum, myself and Faith put up with a church member. The frustrations and humiliations was unbearable but we had no option at the moment. I went to a program with a friend in their church and the pastor made an altar call for those who wanted to give their lives to Christ. I was the first to walk out. The sermon was too powerful to resist a follow up call to give ones life to Christ. I rededicated my life to Christ and my peace began to come back again.

Dad became sick again so much that he was stinking. Taking care of him was really a big sacrifice. We had no money to give him good care. The church tried their best but couldn’t solve all our problems. I became a regular member in God’s People Church where I gave my life to Christ. I don’t miss their hour of visitations that usually take place every Friday.
Dad’s health deteriorated so badly. Deliverance was conducted on me and the spiritual husband left but the pastor said my deliverance and that of my family would only be complete if my dad confessed all his atrocities — For anyone who must have sexually molested anyone, please go and look for him or her and confess, apologize and be delivered for the curse to be broken over you and your generation. After my deliverance, the spiritual husband came into my dream to molest me like the other times but I resisted. He attempted raping me but we fought dirty and he sustained a big injury on his head and lost so much of blood. His men who used to be with him during other visits didn’t come with him this time. He laid down helplessly and that was his last visit.
Pastor Rotkam began to visit dad to persuade him to confess his sins and be free but dad was adamant for months until he became blind and his heart was failing.
On the 16th December my dad asked me to invite Pastor Rotkam and our pastor. I pleaded with Pastor Rotkam to please come and see my dad. He was reluctant because he seemed to have lost hope on my dad and resolved that he would let my dad die in his sins since he refused to confess his sins. He finally agreed and a meeting date was agreed upon.

“I am making this confession not because I want God to heal me, but so that my family can be free from what I caused them as a result of my atrocities. Pastor, please, I want more mothers to be invited to listen to my confession”, my dad requested. Our pastor called the women leader of our church and within thirty minutes the room was filled to capacity.
“First I want to plead for mercy from my beloved daughter, Adenike and her sisters for all I did to them. All that happened was caused by my wife: She placed her career above her family and left the care of the children to me. She was never available for us so I took over her role as a mother. I was my children’s father and mother. My wife starved me of sex all through our thirty years of marriage. Sometimes we could stay for eight months without meeting each other as husband and wife. She said I have evil spirit and she doesn’t want me to infect her with my evil spirit.
I found comfort in my children, the comfort I never find in my wife. They became my wife I never had and were so close to me. I threatened my wife with getting sexual satisfaction elsewhere if she will not give me and she gave me the go ahead and that was the beginning of evil in my family.
I have slept with all my daughters. I have aborted their pregnancies times severally except for Grace. I molested my daughters for over two decades and my wife was not aware. I did a charm on them to stop them from telling anyone about what I was doing to them. I know I may not live because the day I confesses, I will die, according to the juju man. I alsooooo………, dad could not complete that statement when he was attacked with hiccup and gave up the ghost.
The women in the room could not hold back their tears. It was a festival of tears. Everyone in the room wept bitterly not because my dad passed on but for the emotional confession. God forgave us but every member of the family was left with a scar. Faith lost her womb, I was tested HIV positive, mum went into comma and became paralyzed partially, Christy dropped out of school and Grace died.
Look at what the sin of one man caused my family. Mothers who are reading my story should remember that they will face God one day to give account of their role as mothers.
Fathers, no matter how much you love your female children, know when to set the boundary. Ladies and children who are going through what I and my sisters went through should speak up and be free. I may be HIV positive but I am free and happy especially with the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus.


Who really caused the atrocities?
Should you be allowed to judge, do you think the career driven wife
should have resigned from her job for family sake?


I hope you were entertained by My Father Impregnated Me. This is another amazing story from the stable of Nkeiru Cosmos


“Please stop this — my wedding is in two days time. It’s so wrong to have sex with you. I came to be with you for the last time because you begged so much.” Said Benita as she struggled to remove Andrew’s hands from her pant.
“Please, this is the last time I can be with you. Leave me with this one last memory — You know what I’m going through knowing I’m losing you to another man. Just for one last time, make love to me before you go.” .

Andrew was on the verge of losing tears too as he asked for Benita’s indulgence. He wouldn’t let go of her pant.
“I want the same thing also, but it’s not right. I’m engaged to another man. I’m sorry I can’t do this to him: I’ve to leave now.” Benita said and ran free from Andrew’s grasp. She adjusted her pant
and grabbed her skirt in a hurry to put it on. Andrew got desperate and pulled her back to the bed with a full swing.
“You can’t do this to me. You’ve to make love to me for the last time please.” Said Andrew as he tore her pant and roughly adjusted her bra to free her boobs. Her boobs jumped out in a rush and
dangled. He mounted on top of her and rushed her body with intense licking like a hungry dog licking a piece of bone.
“Okay, take it easy. Just this once and that is it. No more, okay?”
Benita finally yielded to his seduction.
“Okay.” Andrew smiled and relaxed. Benita slowly removed her bra and her full boobs pointed at Andrews lips. She adjusted her body and spread her legs to Andrew’s delight. His excitements grew wild as he watched.
“You can have my body; Do it to me as you wish for the very last time. Make love to me the way you want to live to remember it.” She tormented him. Andrew quickly claimed the moment and they made love for the last time.

Andrew and Benita were lovers. They’ve dated for 3years. They planned to settle down as husband and wife but financial constraints thwarted the plans. Benita’s parents were not letting her breathe. They were urging her to get a husband as soon as possible. They insisted so much than Benita could bear. It was a difficult decision to make but she had to. After, Andrew agreed to let go. Besides, they were both AS. Getting married would be risky. Andrew still had a long way to go in life before settling down. With all the obstacles that stood before them, parting ways was the only option. It was a painful separation they had to come in terms with.

It was just two days to her wedding when Andrew cried on the phone to see her for the last time. She obliged because she was also going to miss him too. But her visitation resulted to sex, one last time.

She finally got happily married. Her husband’s name was Simon. Their marriage was blissful. They were a happy couple. Friends and family envied the love they shared. Simon loved Benita so much. Benita was proud of her marriage. She bragged about it to people. It irritated some people who were patiently waiting for something to go wrong in her marriage. If her marriage should fail, she’ll become an object of ridicule. She guided her marriage jealously. She did everything a wife should do for her husband.

9 months later

A cry of a new born baby filled the hospital. Simon was so joyful to welcome the arrival of their first male child and son. Benita wore a tired looking trace of happiness on her face. The delivery section shagged her out. She was delighted to see her husband happy for the arrival of their new family member.
“Oh my love, thank you for making me a father. You did well.” Simon rubbed his face against Benita’s tired face. Benita searched for his lips. She was yearning for a comforting kiss after the difficult delivering experience she had. Simon surprised her with a deep kiss to further reveal how happy he was with her. Simon spent the night in the hospital with mother and child. The next day he dash out in a hurry to purchase some necessary supplies for them. Benita was alone with
her baby when the Doctor came in.
“I’m sorry madam. Your son needs some special treatment. We just discovered he has a sickle cell anaemia.” The Doctor said. Benita was shocked and struggled to swallow.you mean my son is SS?” She tried to confirm.
“Yes madam.” Replied the Doctor. The Doctor took the baby away. Benita began to cry.

“My marriage has ended. Oh my God! How will I explain this to my husband? He’s AA and I’m AS. This must be Andrew’s baby.” She cried as she remembered that Andrew was AS. It then dawn on her that Andrew got her pregnant two days before her wedding. And there’s no way she could make Simon the father of the baby. The Doctor returned the baby and found Benita crying.
“Madam you don’t have to cry. Your baby will be alright.” He said and left. Benita looked at her baby with disgust.
“My husband will definitely find out. What am I going to do?” She mused. She thought about the mockery and the shame she’d be subjected to if her marriage failed. She knew Simon will not remain married to her when he discovers. She turned to the baby, picked up a syringe. She stabbed it on the baby’s immature belly button. Her baby cried out in deep pains. She muffled her baby’s cries with a pillow and stabbed the baby more with the syringe as she suffocated the baby at the same time. That moment the Doctor came in.
“What! Madam! What are you doing?” He asked with his eyes wide open in disbelief. “You just killed your innocent baby.” He said after checking for the baby’s pulse.
“Please, you must not tell my husband. I beg you. My marriage will end. The baby is not his. Please Doctor don’t tell him.” He cried to the Doctor.
“You’re a murderer. I can’t conceal this. Not from your husband — He has been my friend for over 15years now. I can’t lie to him!” The Doctor yelled. Benita begged so much and finally bribed the
Doctor with 5million bucks to keep shut. The Doctor accepted the bribe. The number was too huge to allow moral scruples on honesty to win his conscience. He cleaned up the dead baby.
He framed up the death and Benita cooperated with crocodile tears.

Simon returned and met his wife crying. He almost lost his sanity hearing that his baby was dead. It took him sometime to forget the lost.

Few days later, Benita paid the Doctor the agreed amount of money. And everything was swept under the rug. Simon never knew his wife killed their baby and he had a sickle cell anaemia. They lived as a happy couple as before, the usual way that draws jealousy from people. On a particular day, Benita went to visit his husband at his company. She ran into Andrew. They were both surprised. They never expected to meet again. Andrew told her he was recently employed in the
company. Benita told him the company belonged to her husband. Andrew collected her new number and returned to work. Benita begged her husband, Simon to sack Andrew. Simon insisted for a reason. Benita claimed he was her school mate. She didn’t like him back then because they had a misunderstanding. Simon refused to sack Andrew saying it was not enough reason to sack him.

Few days later Andrew called Benita on phone and insisted to see her. She refused until she was forced to go and meet him. Andrew requested for sex. Benita refused and warned
him never to ask for such again. Andrew showed her a sex video tape. Benita almost dropped dead when she discovered it was the sex she had with him two days before her wedding. Andrew recorded it. He threatened to show it to her husband if she didn’t comply with his request. Benita didn’t want to lose her marriage. She complied and had sex severally with Andrew. She did few back-alley abortions. She tried to pay him off but he refused. He finally collected a large sum of money and disappeared. Benita was ready to do anything to keep her marriage.

The Doctor called Benita and asked to see her. He Doctor tried to return the bribe he took from her because his conscience was pricking him so hard. He couldn’t keep mute anymore. He wanted to tell Benita’s husband the whole truth for friendship sake. Benita begged and cried, trying to make the Doctor realize how important her marriage was to her. The Doctor told her that his friendship with her husband was important to him too. He tossed the cheque of 5million bucks back to her and asked her to leave with it. Benita stood up, picked the cheque and left. The Doctor called Simon and asked him to see him in few hours. Benita barged in on the Doctor that instant almost naked.

“What nonsense!” The disgusted Doctor called out. “This nonsense is for my marriage.” She replied. She seduced the Doctor with so much desperation. She was too voluptuous to be resisted. The Doctor fell for it and had sex with her, ‘a quickie’. She stood up, put on her dress, tossed the cheque back to the Doctor.
“My marriage is so important to me Doctor. I’ll do anything to keep it. I’m sure this will keep your mouth shut.” She said and made her way to the door. She opened the door and wham!

Her husband was standing at the door. She almost died at the spot.
“Simon!” She called out loudly. “What in the world are you doing here?” Simon asked Benita.
“Oh…oh I came… I mean the Doctor… the Doctor asked to see me.” She replied glibly but refused to leave the door way.
“I am astonished. He did? He called me too. He asked me to see him in 2hours time. Fortunately I was driving by the hospital. So, I decided to see him . . . You’re sweating, unsettled and looking untidy. Are you okay?” Asked Simon.
“Oh…yes… sure, I’m alright. I hurried down to the hospital. I was driven by curiosity.” She said nervously and fought to attend to herself.
They went in and the Doctor fabricated another reason for asking to see them.
They left the hospital and returned home. Benita was surprised at the mood her husband returned with. He made love to her over and over again.

9 months later

Benita was in labour in the hospital. She gave birth to a twin. Two bouncing baby boys. Simon almost jumped into the sky. He was extremely joyful. His excitement twisted into a confused state when he discovered his babies were almost black in complexion. He and his wife, Benita were completely fair. The Doctor looked at the babies and instantly discovered the babies were his. Simon looked at the Doctor, turned to the baby and finally looked at his wife. He couldn’t say a word. That moment a friend called him and insisted to see him immediately. His friend told him it was very urgent as it concerned his wife. Simon left the hospital to meet his friend who showed him a sex video tape he downloaded from the internet. It was his wife and a man (Andrew). Someone took it from his phone and uploaded it on the net.
The sex video tape was everywhere in the internet. Three people were discussing it as they passed by them. Simon almost cried as his anger rose to the apex.
He returned to the hospital with an infuriated mind. He met some nurses also discussing it and his anger boiled and increased. He showed the sex video to Benita and yelled the
miserable life out of her. Benita cried like a dead child walking to hell. Simon abandoned her there. Benita couldn’t bear to manage the shame of her failed marriage and especially her sex video that has flooded the internet. She killed herself right there in the hospital. She expelled her last breath before the Doctor could save her. The Doctor confessed the truth to Simon later. He took the babies to his wife to look after. They were childless. So they both welcomed the babies. Simon moved on with his life because life must go on.

One Last Time resulted to Benita’s last breath.





Who should be blamed most?
Did Benita truly loved her marriage?
What do you have to say about the doctor?



Here comes an indigenous voice,
Crying louder and louder again,
Overlord calls my voice a noice,
No one to attain me again.
Oh the bedrock of our forefathers,
A benched other maters.

Oh citizens, a recalless fugitive,
Bringing up a date back agony,
Yet no soul to forgive,
Living unborn in perpetual poverty.
Oh the giant of Ikwo,
People of unkwon..

Her garments teared apart,
Her neckedness uncovered,
Oh Things Fall Apart,
Center Could not hold.
Oh culture sleeps,
The gods are slumber.

Tears and Blood overwhelmed my heart,
Like divide River Jordan, no conjunction,
Silent war is my people’s mat,
Mind restless, no solution.
Oh no, future….!
When shall we cline to your colour?

Chukwuku okike!!!! Our wrath
Covers our repentance,
Hanged a myopic
And lashed a prediction.
Lunching awkwardness,
Promoting prejudice.
Oh, hear help
And Trace maps.

When shall my people, come home,
My joy Twarthered to war tone.
Ancestors are vagabond,
Left me alone and bounds..
No brother in my home,
All are strangers.

Overlord! Lift landlord!
Repair my wounds
I can’t carry on,
I drop my weapons and guns,
Let me stand to challenge others,
When comes my son to delivers others
My story shall be heard across the globe.
No one shall regret to come my place.
oh Father, I lift my last voice,
Restore my vigor
And let my fragrance diffuse.
So, help me Creator.


The author used many figures of speech which include following:

There is use of exaggeration or overstatement by the writer. The use was to show the extent and to lay emphasis on the course of action. He puts it:
“he was known all over the village, both the born nd the unborn”. It is an over statement to say that even the “unborn” knows a living creature.

“those were the days opportunities were even found in gutters”. A reasonable being should think the possibility of an opportunity emerging from the gutters. It is an overstatement.

The author gave animate attribute to inanimate. Some of the instances are:
“lost monies grew wings whenever they saw him”. If critically examined, there is no way money could fly.
“fate was really after Eucheria”. ‘Fate’ was given animate quality.

The character of Matthew is a contrast to that of Eucheria. As Eucheria has a forgiving heart, Matthew has an unforgiving heart.
Also, as Matthew has a lurking bad luck, Eucheria has good luck in the stock.

Other figures of speech are:
1. Irony
2. metaphor
3. apostrophe
4. synecdoche
5. simile, etc


There are many themes in the short story. The author used the themes to illustrate his teachings. Some of the themes are:

The author puts it that before one is born, he is already entitled to what he would be in life. It does not matter what his enemies have against him. Matthew tried everything possible to frustrate Eucheria but her destiny still manifested. Her divorce by Matthew served as ample opportunity to excel. She met her destiny when a million myopic thinkers thought hers had come to an end.

Also, Matthew was unable to make it in life because his destiny had it that he must remain wretched for life. He tried everything in no avail to succeed but his destiny had the contrary in the stock.

The story educated on the relevance of generosity and hospitality. The first attempt and the first step of Eucheria to her destiny was occasioned by her hospitable act towards her patient, Dele. He willed everything he had to him.

As they say, pride goes before a fall. Matthew’s life was ruled by pride. no wonder he was unable to forgive his wives even when he knew they were not guilty of his accusations.

Also, pride caused him to delay in his apologies to his wife, Eucheria. He waited until it was too late for that. The author puts it that one is ought to put pride apart and verge for his desire. One in need biases his chances through pride. Humility does not change ones personality. It rather increases his opportunities.

Although the story is tragi-comedical, greater part of it is tragical. From the introduction of the story, Eucheria was faced by catastrophe. She toiled to make ends meat but fate would not let her through.

Also, Matthew served the longest term of tragedy. He fell from frying pan to the burning fire. Everything about him were story-surrounded. From the prison, be became sick, from which he became poorer. And at the end, he lost his life on an autocrash.

This theme was portrayed by the author through the introduction of marriage and other associations. There is love share between Matthew and Eucheria. They loved each other until poverty broke the chain.

Also, there is love encounter between Dele and Eucheria. Eucheria loved him so much that she shared her interior part to save him from dying; although he later died.

Apart from these two occasions of love, there was love share among the workers in ST. Mary’s hospital.


He was known all over the village, both the born and the unborn. All saw him as a failure to his peril but those that knew his pedigree knew he was more than ordinary hustler. When he passed, the crowd shout, “our man!”.

Those were the days he was still single. Ever since he got married to Eucheria, the story changed to . . . I may say, ‘it is alright’. He was nothing but a failure, including everything associated with him. His walks to roads defined him as a failure.

Matthew, as he was formally called met his wife as an orphan whose parents were alive. She had no where to go apart from serving as an auxiliary nurse in ST. Mary’s hospital where all mouth sang her eulogy routed from her skills and mastery in hospitality.

As a christian, Matthew frowned at impunity and unfaithfulness. He had great desire for discipline. It was a game he did not demand special skill to win. That was because he was bred in the family where quality was ascribed to uprightness. Many opportunities, as many greedy fellows would call it came to him many times but he remained steadfast.

Those were the days opportunities were even found in gutters. From the day Matthew started dating Eucheria, things changed to the worst. Lost monies on roads grew wings whenever they saw him. Even those that called him, “our man” where more scarce than a south- eastern man becoming the president of Nigeria. They rather mocked him instead. That was unrelated to his divorce of his former two wives in separate marriages.

Amara, his first wife was a victim because he found her sitting on the lap of another man. He divorced her, undermining the pleas of her parents. He turned them down because he would not reconcile on how a married woman should visit another man.
His second wife, Lydia was divorced because he realized she dated a man in her early primaries. According to him, any girl who dated a man as early as primary school must not remain faithful to her husband. To him, a sinner is a sinner forever.

Hmm! Those were when he was still in his early twelve and eighteen. He confided in Eucheria that he saw any body who said evil of her as an enemy of no comparison.
As a victim of poverty, Eucharia thought of what to do to better the life of her husband and hers. One day, in her usual hospitalized ways of life welcomed one Dele, a widower and a multimillionaire to their hospital. The man was so sick that all the nurses were rude and stigmatizing him. She showed uniqueness in her acclaimed profession. The man made her his personal nurse.
Dele invited her to his mansion which she succumbed to.

Dele had stayed for ten years after the death of his wife without intimacy. He continuously searched for any chance to fall in love again. He promised himself that any woman he met would inherit all his properties. That was between him and his lawyer, barrister Adebayo Ifetide.

Fate was really after Eucheria. She was facing opportunity under obstruction. Her husband was her bane.
Matthew was recently arrested by the man he collect an advance for job and failed. His wife went to every places she knew to borrow money to bail him but he seemed to have been destined to spend eternity in the prison. It was not long when the landlord served them quit notice for not paying three months rent.
All these boozed into Eucheria’s mind for scrutiny. She paused and pondered to know if perchance Dele would help out in her biased state of mind. She threw caution into the wind and went to Dele’s residence.
As fate has its due course, when Eucheria got to Dele’s room, he was at the verge of death. It took Eucheria much toils to resuscitate him. When he gained consciousness, he demanded that Eucheria had sexual intercourse with him. She asked him if that would prevent him from dying. As she was still struggling to stammer the last word, Dele collapsed.
She started crying, “oh sir! I’m sorry. I promise that if you mistakingly gain consciousness, i shall do whatever you want for you. Just give me this one chance, I promise I will not fail you”. As she was still wailing, Dele coughed and yawned simultaneously. She dismantled herself and swam together with him.
Dele had spent four months in the prison without any luminary to his defence. He was on the fence like a cockroach in the midst of lizards. His hope was his wife whose stipend was stopped for over six months. He was at the mercy of helplessness.

Two weeks later, after when Eucheria slept with Dele, She revisited him to ascertain his health status. When she got there, she discovered that he was dead. She cried so much that her heart nearly broke. She did not know what to cry of: should it be her pride of womanhood? Should it be her imprisoned husband? Or should it be her failed dream? All these were boko haramic to her; both struggling to the fore. “I do not know what to think about now. I am a failed woman now. My husband is helplessly in the prison and all I was able to do was sleeping with another man”, She muttered to herself. “Should I confess it to my husband? I think this is the best option. I have to tell him that I failed him for once”, she submitted.
As a man who had lost all hope, Matthew was in the prison hoping to be there forever.
It was not long as Matthew was contemplating when Eucheria banged in. She shyly told her husband, “I have something to tell you”. He was like, “what else does she have to tell me apart from reminding me my sorrows”. It looked as if he knew she was there to cause him more harm than good. “I am sorry my love. I have done what I had never done since I was born. I failed you my love”, Eucheria said. “What do you have to say?” Matthew inquired. “It was not my fault. It was because . . .”. “Say what you have to say and let me have my peace,” uttered Matthew. “I was sleeping when I felt a snake between my legs”, Eucheria submitted. “Okay; did you kill the snake?” Matthew asked in a haste. “I mean . . . I wonder how you my feel if I tell you this thing I am about to tell you”, Eucheria added. “Say whatever you want to say, I have my ears to hear all sorts of stories from you”, said Matthew. “Okay, let me open up; provided you will bear with me”, said Eucheria.
Eucheria’s heart started panting as she continued stammering: “I slept with him”. “Who did you sleep with young lady? Wait . . . are you referring to a lady?” “No, he wanted to die that was why I slept with him so that he would not die” “At my peril? You must be mad. just pray that I do not leave this prison. I shall show you the stuff I am made of.
The news was everywhere that Dele slept with Eucheria. The CEO of ST. Mary’s hospital was not left out; he was acquainted with the news and sacked Eucheria for toying with the norms of the hospital. She was so helpless that she thought her misfortune was routed from her affairs with Dele.

One rainy afternoon, Eucheria returned from the farm where she went to cultivate for money. That was because it was the only job one could do to earn money at that period of the year. It was particular to men but a beggar had no choice. Those that called her for labour were the men because they always wanted to know how she could cope as a cultivating woman. She always amazed them. She was always tired whenever she returned from work, although her customers thought she was a tireless lady. It was one of those days that she was cooling off from the drench of the rain that someone knocked on her door. She unlocked the door only to hear, “are you Miss Eucheria Matthew?” She was afraid that it could be one of the plots to worsen her situation. She responded, “yes, I am. Is there any problem?” “No.” the respondent answered. “I have a message from Mr Dele Afolabi”, he added. “Ehe! What is it?” Eucheria inquired. “he willed all his properties to you. I am his lawyer as you can see. Congratulations young lady.” he said finally.

As soon as Barrister Adebayo Ifetide finished with what he was saying, Eucheria went back to the room but that was after when she had filled a form given to her by the lawyer. It was not too long when her account was credited with five hundred billion naira. She took her first step by bailing her husband.

As if Matthew knew he was going to be freed that particular day, he had concluded in his mind that his wife was not going to spend a month with him in his house.
Eucheria had set up two million naira software business for her husband before she proceeded to the prison to bail him. In a week, Matthew was already a special rich man. He counted in millions. That was when he decided to cut his own pound of flesh from his wife. He told her to ly on the ground. He took an electric iron and started ironing it on her body.
One with a neighbour is more than a rich man. The wailing of Eucheria attracted neighbours. They pleaded with Matthew to pardon his wife. He agreed with them on the condition that she must pack out of the house at that very hour which she later agreed with. He seized everything she had on the condition that she came to his house empty. The document she received from the lawyer was also seized. He claimed everything that belonged to Eucheria.

After the divorce of Eucheria by Matthew, everything seemed to be detrimental to him. All the things he came in contact with always deemed negativity: both those he acquired from his wife, Eucheria.

Prayer houses were no more far as usual. All the proprietors of prayer centres began to suspect that Matthew was desperate. Alpha Ogunfemi was not apart. In one of his prayer and miracle days, Matthew appeared into his centre. He told him that he wanted a breakthrough; that whatever he touched were detrimental to him. The eye of the Lord told him that it was because he did not pay his tithe. He replied that he paid his complete tithe without any bias. He told him to sow a seed of one million naira and see what the Lord would do for him. He accepted on the hope that his worries would be over. He transfered the money into the man’s bank account immediately.

After two years from when Matthew went to Alpha’s prayer centre, things were continuously getting worse. He went back to the eye of the Lord only to be told that he lacked strong faith. He was retold that he should trust in the Lord as his personal Lord and saviour, that everything would be alright. He was further told to sow more one million naira but this time, he was very careful to avert stories that touch the heart. They reached an agreement that if the Lord did not answer his prayers, The eye of the Lord was going to balance him.
Men of God of nowadays are too cunning. They know the ways to justify their treacherous acts. It was on this vein that Alpha tricked Matthew. He made him . . . if I were ask, to become ill. The second visit of Matthew was no more to complain of failure of the said Lord to answer his prayers. It was to find an antidote to his ailment. Alpha through the sentiment he had against Matthew told him to pay the sum of five million naira as a deposit for the treatment of his sickness. Those were some of the ways all the monies and properties Matthew seized from Eucheria vanished.
Anyone who falls down the bridge during dry season realizes that the ground is dry. Also, a cow does not know the value of its tail until it is cut off. Matthew did not know the value of his wife until she was out of his life. The fall of misfortunes to Matthew made him to visit more than million prayer houses. Many of the Seers with four eyes revealed to him that he was a destined ill-luck man. They added that the little luck he found came from his wife; that if he did not beg and marry his wife back, he would end up as a living-dead. He was frightened by the prophesies. He imagined how a whole him would beg a woman to accept him back.
A trouble maker abides if he had never met serious case. A healthy man does not know the value of the hospital until he gets sick. These were akin to the mannerism of Matthew. He knew hubris could make a wise man foolish and turned a new leaf. He buried his pride and went to Eucheria for apologies.

Before Matthew concluded to beg Eucheria, it was six years after the year of their divorce. Eucheria had got married to an oil baron who even bought Hummer Jeeps for Eucheria’s poor parents. He built storey buildings for her parents and fenced their compound. Matthew could no more recognize the compound of his purported in-laws. He wallowed until dusk. When he got wearied, he saw a buzzing picnic Jeep galloping close to him. He ran away out of fear only to Hear a familiar voice from the direction of the Jeep. It was Eucheria, his former wife. He knelt down for apology but Eucheria’s husband started quarrelling at her that she invited a madman to insult him. In order to avoid disagreement between her and her husband, Eucheria zoomed off, leaving Matthew unattended.
Nemesis caught Matthew as he was grudgingly leaving the scene of his disgrace. He wanted to cross the road without looking back and met his destiny. He was crushed by a speedy vehicle. All attempt to resuscitate him failed woefully. He died instantly.



About the author


Read episode 1 here

Read episode 2 here





Fatai’s side of the story continues:

Oops! Sometimes, what we see as problem is preferrable to the real problem. I thought my education was my twinkling problem but I never knew the contrary was the worst. Identifying my real self was the problem I supposed to bother on rather than venturing into the contrary.

I was busy bothering on the old schoolness of my mistaken lover when the real self was up-to-do. Mary is her real name.
My conversation with her revealed that my formerly assumed Mary was my late brother’s suitor. He died on his way back from Edo state where he served. We sealed his whereabouts to avoid heartbreaks from consolers.

Meanwhile, since Taye was late, I had to possess his belongings. . . including his handset. I accepted many calls from his enamoured ones which among was my nicknamed Mary. I knew the real Mary long time ago but she never told me she had any identical sister. We agreed to meet in a joint which was not our first. Unfortunately, I saw her mother who I mistook for Mary and had sexual intrcourse with her. It was my worst mistake.

Vera’s side of the story continues:

Should I call myself a victim? It all happened like a hide and seek game. I accepted my fate but what should I teach my generations yet to emerge? That the one I dated slept with my sister, I and my mother?
I would rather die a victim than procreate my woe.

I wanted to blame my sister for dating my sweetheart but I thought otherwise. She was on the same fence with me but hers were in different guise. She seldom told me that she was once a victim of erroneous love. I could have merged her situation with mine only that she realized when there was still time for rethink. I regret having my so-called loving mother.

Mary’s side of the story:

Though it had once happened to me, I blame my twin sister for her neglegence. She was so careless that she was unable to identify the one she was truly in love with.

When I returned from service, I was amazed by the news that Taye was dating my twin sister. I was somewhat sceptical over the possibility. I was an eyewitness the day Taye was buried. I decided to return home to confirm my suspicion. The said late Taye was a twin brother to my heart-throb, Fatai.

Meanwhile, when I got to our house, I realized that the news I heard was parallel. I saw Fatai in the room I shared with Vera. I rushed to the guy hoping to accept a wormly embrace from him but there was a contrary. He was indifferent in his acceptance of the kiss I gave him. I thought, maybe he was not in the mood for that. Or that he was annoyed I did not tell him I was returning. Many things bumped into my brain for my perusal.

To show I cared for my sister, I explained everything to her. Instead of correcting her mistakes, she resumed threats of all sorts. I expected the worst from her until it came to pass.

Fatai’s side of the story continues:

It all happened after the day I confirmed that I was dating a wrong person. Mary was the right person but since I have had sexual intercourse with the three: Mary, Vera and their mother, I had to quit the relationship.

One day, I was invited by the two girls for reconcilation. I ate the food they gave me.
When I got home, I was asthmatic. I was rushed to the hospital where I was diagnosed food poisoning.
I cancelled all my conviction on the girls; although it was after when I had had my one hand out from stroke.

I wish someone had told me, “no matter how generous your enemy may be, never you trust him for once an enemy is an enemy forever”.

Mary’s side of the story continues:

It was Vera’s idea to poison Fatai in order to make him disabled. The idiot was to callous. How could he court a mother and her two daughters? It served him well. . . but the fool only had partial stroke.
“I am not regretting my deeds. Afterall, Fatai caused more heartbreaks to me” was what vera told me when I pleaded for his pardon. I had to give in since we were sisters . . . twins at such.


About the author


Read episode 1 here



Vera’s side of the story:

Since no one accepted to be responsible for my pregnancy, I buckled up. My parents abandoned me on the complaint that I marred their plans for me. I started hawking one commodity to another. From the proceeds, I invested on my guy’s education.

I tried everything to my ability to make sure he was well taken care of but he ended up as a nigerian. He demanded more than a girl would do if forced to school. He told me he would come back home if I fail to reach his demands. I accepted on the ground that I would get my rewards one day upon the fact that my parents never stopped their nags on my failure to take good care of my child. I did everything because I saw my spendings on him as an investment. To me, if he would be a graduate, I was already the one.

When it was his time to write JAMB, only God knows how I robbed Peter to pay Paul. I paid through my nose to see that he made best grades . . . men are ungrateful!

Five years later, Taye was due for NYSC. I met one Alhaji who I made carnal offer to help me see that he was posted to the zone he would be safe for me.

Fear dominated my heart because since the day I met my chaos at the doom pub, my man stopped being romantically attached to me . . . he barely kissed me despite all my complaints. I tried to let him know that I was not conversant with his disdain for me. I concluded that he was not in the mood to flirt with me. I reasoned if I had become an old school to him but he never showed any sign apart from his repeated and persistent claim that he was busy for his studies.

Taye’s side of the story continues:

My God is really alive. The pregnancy of Mary was seldom a trial to me. I thought my hope for education was a thing of the past. I prayed to my personal Chi, God to make her have miscarriage. I was so happy and lucky that she called me one day after when I wrote my SSCE that she was going to see that I continued my education since her own life was ruined by the devil. I felt very guilty when she told me that but my encouragement was that I was not responsible for her pregnancy, although I was the bone of contention: I invited her.

Yes, I changed my behaviour since the day I realized that I slept with her mother. My tradition says one does not sleep with a mother and marry her daughter. I would have told her but I was afraid she was going to misconcept my position. I had to lie low to let the sleeping dog lie. I really wanted her to help me further my education.

I wonder if a fool could say that I was . . . yes, my real problem was nothing unrelated to her old schoolnes. She’s a second-hand lady who would be better described as a mess. I always imagined how a young boy, a graduate at such would get married to an old chick in the name of love. When true time comes, one has to call a spade a spade. Fake love is blind. Real love is smart. A graduate is ought to make his final decision in the manner he would not regret it. I go to church and must run miles away from anything that can make me regret my choice in the future.

Vera’s side of the story continues:

My mother on the other hand is not a helping matter. She does not console me. I was always his darling but not when Taye was involved. She had once told me that many things had gone wrong which took me many days to realize. I never knew a mother could be so secretive to the extent of ruining the traditional life of her so-called darling daughter.
One morning when my nanny was much elated, she called me her usual pet name for me, “Ve! I am sorry that I have not let you know. Neither had you wanted to know why I usually say that many things had gone wrong. It all happened like a movie . . .” My heart panted furiously because what was in my heart was that she was going to tell me to buckle up for my education. She added, “that guy is not your match. look for a better guy to marry for one cannot eat his cake and have it”.

I felt like banging into mama’s heart to know what she meant that “. . . one cannot eat his cake and have it”. I tried my best to avoid being curious for our teacher told us a story of a curious rat that heard a noise and rushed out of its hole only to be caught by a cat.

After a million ponders, Mama told me that there was mistaken identity; that the guy I loved so much was not who I thought he was. She further told me that the person I loved died two years ago. She buttressed that the particular guy I took to be him was not Taye but Fatai. I did not understand what she was talking about until my elder sister returned from the university.

When my acclaimed boy banged into my apartment, Maria hugged him. The guy kissed her in what I can best describe as indifference. I left the room in confusion. In one of their conversations, I heard that the real name of the guy was not Taye as I percepted.

Fatai’s side of the story:

It was confused seeing two identical sisters. For sure, I was helped through my education years ago but I never imagined I had been dating the contrary.

One sunday morning, I went to my girl’s place only to come across a girl who gave me sign for a kiss. I accepted in an indifference to avoid the girl feeling insulted. She fired me the most disgusting. question, “how is you brother, Taye?” I was aloof that she even knew my late brother. She proceeded, “does he truly love my sister, Vera?” I was like, ‘who are you referring to?’ but was interrupted by the entrance of the girl I perceped to be Mary.



[To be continued]


Read final episode here