Friday poem: ‘If we shadows have offended’
In honour of the bard, whose birth- and death-day was yesterday, here is Puck’s closing speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairies have had their fun with the four young lovers, Bottom is no longer a donkey, and Oberon and Titania have resolved their quarrel. It all sounds too fantastical to be real – perhaps it was a dream...
PUCK, or Robin Goodfellow:
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.
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