June 21, 2010
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.
Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
--Oberon to is queen
A lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing.
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 a 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!
The best in this kind are but shadows, and the
worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
(Side note: Theseus is a greatly underrated character in this play. I think he might be my favorite. And he certainly was my favorite part of the just ok film (1999), as played by David Strathairn.)