Fuseli, Titania and Bottom, 1790
Fuseli, Titania and Bottom, 1790


The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time. . . .

Enter Robin Goodfellow with a broom


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 churchway 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 hallowed house.
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V, Scene 1

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