Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Fancy: II. Fairies: Elves: Sprites
Compliment to Queen Elizabeth
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
From “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Act II. Sc. 1.

  OBERON.—My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou remember’st
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,        5
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid’s music.
  PUCK.—                I remember.
  OBERON.—That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all armed: a certain aim he took        10
At a fair vestal thronèd 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
Quenched in the chaste beams of the watery moon,        15
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy free.
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,        20
And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower.

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