Read Shakespeare’s ‘I Am That Merry Wanderer Of The Night’ soliloquy from A Midsummer Night’s Dream below with modern English translation and analysis, plus a video performance.
‘I Am That Merry Wanderer Of The Night’, Spoken by Puck, Act 2, Scene 1
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip’s bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob
And on her wither’d dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
‘I Am That Merry Wanderer Of The Night’ Soliloquy Translation
I that merry wanderer of the night. I jest for Oberon and make him laugh when I trick a fat, bean-fed horse by neighing in imitation of a filly. And I sometimes hide in an old woman’s bowl, disguised as an apple, and when she drinks I bob against her lips and the beer spills down her sagging cheeks. The wisest old aunt, telling the saddest story, sometimes mistakes me for a three legged stool; then I slip out from under her bum and down she topples, crying, ‘oh, my arse,’ and begins to cough, which makes everyone laugh and say they’ve never had such fun.