A Midwinter Night's Dream

Hermia awaits her father's approval in time for christmas morning, but the clock is ticking... and Demetrius' hands are approaching.


3. Broken Oaths

'The clock is ticking to Christmas morning, at the feast I will arrive with no maiden to marry...Oh Hermia! Where are you hiding?' His voice calls through the wood, finally I'd found him, my Demetrius and giving up he is - just one more push shall cause him to fall into my arms where he'll stay forever.

'Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius!'

'I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus', embarrassment fills his weak voice, even if it's just my wandering thoughts, it makes me more hopeful and determined to catch my prize... what a present it would be if our engagement was announced on christmas day.

'O wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so. Let us stay together and celebrate the festive time of year...'

'Stay on thy peril. I alone will go'. Indeed, I let him run. Out of breath was I from the foolish chase - the more I prayer, the lesser is my grace. Happy is Hermia, wherever she lies for she hath blessed and attractive eyes. How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears for mine are more often washed than hers... I am as ugly as a bear - beasts that meet me run away with 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 starry eyes?

Round the corner of a tree I stepped, using what breath I received when arms and legs attached to a body sprawled across the ground in a puppet like fashion. 'But who is here? Lysander on the ground? Dead... or asleep? I see no wound, no blood - Lysander if you live good sir, awake'.

His eyes flew open almost instantly, appearing different than before, whether the night's presence added a glow, or an unusual event took place, they had changed.

'And run through the fire I will for thy sweet sake', he spoke as he graciously, and slowly rose from the ground,'Transparent Helena! Nature shows art that through thy bosom makes me see thy heart!' He stopped and frowned at his thoughts,'Where is Demetrius? O how fit a word is that vile name to perish on my sword!'

I ran through the events stored in my mind to seek what made Lysander so bothered with Demetrius' ways,'Do not say so, Lysander. Say not so! What do you care that he loves Hermia? Lord, what though? Yet Hermia still loves you. Then be content'.

'Content with Hermia?' I wonder back, as he spat on the ground, shocked with my discovery,'No. I do repent all the tedious minutes with her I have ever spent! Not Hermia, but Helena I love - who would not change a Raven for a dove?'

 I waken at once, in the mind rather than body. Jokes, and laughter clearly play in his head... still dizzy from coming out of bed,'Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born? When at your hands did I deserve this scorn? Is it not enough, is it 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 a disdainful matter for me to woo. Oh, that lady of a man refused should then of another to be abused!' I run forwards not looking back, at the horrible dream behind me...


I feel my heart pounding as I struggle to detach the slithering snake from my breasts, 'Help me, Lysander! Help me!' I cry as the creature remains in it's position,'To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast... Ay me for pity - what a dream was here! Lysander, look how I quake with fear', I glance down at the arms wriggling beneath my eyes,'Methought a serpent was going to eat my heart away while you sat smiling at the cruel pray -' I turn to see the guilt smothering his face to find no man surrounding the mad girl that speaks to herself '-Lysander! What removed? Alack, where are you? Speak if you hear! Speak if you loves, I swoon almost with fear.' I wait for his face to sneak out from behind a tree and beg for forgiveness, and that he meant no harm... but no face crept out from behind, 'No? Then I will perceive you all not nigh. Either death or I'll find you immediately...' I begin my journey through the wood, wondering what had driven him away, or taken from my presence.

'Hermia!' A voice comes from behind me, sweet Lysander it may be I wonder, but Demetrius' face I discover.

'Oh no, Demetrius... please leave me be - it is Lysander I love, not you!'

'...I took him sleeping - that is finished 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...'

'Oh, 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, hath given me cause to curse. If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,' I shoot at him, fearing he was behind my lovers disappearance,'Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep and kill me too! A murderer should look like you do, so pale and grim...'

'So should the murderer look, and so should I, pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty! Yet you... the murderer looks as bright, as clear, as yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere', he looks into the distance as he speaks, then looks back at me in the eye to say more,'come Hermia, and fix the damage... we'll make yours, mine and your father's christmas by heading to the feast hand in hand, and heart in heart'.

'No, Demetrius! And what does that have to do with my Lysander? Where is he? Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?' I plead with my heart, understanding now that it was not Demetrius who'd done the deed.

'I had rather give his carcass to my hounds!'

The anger I stored inside with such great pain boiled up and spat out of me, 'Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou drivest me past the bounds of maidens patience. Hast thou slain him then? Henceforth be never numbered among men!'

For once he feared me, for he wobbled as he spoke,'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', I whisper whilst speaking smiling out as well as inside,'tell me then that he is well!'

'And if I could, what should I get therefore?' He asked.

Once again, he crossed the line. He should not cheek, he should have gratitude to experience my pleasant presence.

'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!' Then I leave, turning around to see him sigh and drop asleep to the floor.

'...what hast thou done?...thou hast mistaken quite...the love juice placed on the wrong lovers sight...'

'...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... by some illusion see thou bring her here...I'll charm his eyes against she do appear...'

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