Author: Chris Cook
Summary: Willow and Tara stray into the forest on a Midsummer's eve when fairies are about.
Disclaimer: Based on characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer created by Joss Whedon and his talented minionators, and A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. It's worth noting that, aside from minor changes and inserted in-jokes, the lines remain largely unchanged from the original - I wouldn't dare suggest that I could do better.
SCENE, - The Town of MONTE ATHENA in Tuscany, and a Wood not far from it.
ATHENS. A Room in the Palace of GILES.
[Enter GILES, JENNY, WESLEY, and Attendants.]
Giles: Now, fair Miss Calendar, our nuptial hour
draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon; but I must say, how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
Like to a She-mantis preparing to mate,
Offering only illusion to her young male prey.
Jenny: Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, and its resident demon
Safely bound therein, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Giles: Go, Wesley,
Stir up the Athenian teens to merriments;
Awake their bored and lazy spirits to mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to the Bronze-
The pale companion is not for our pomp.-
Jenny, I woo'd thee with my bookish charm,
And won thy love despite accidentally causing
Thee to become a demon for a while;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
[Giles and Jenny draw close for a kiss. Enter IRA, WILLOW, TARA and XANDER.]
Ira: Happy be Giles, our renowned duke!
[Giles looks irritated, then forces a smile.]
Giles: Thanks, good Ira; what's the news with thee?
Ira: Full of vexation come I-
[Giles and Jenny share a 'what a surprise' look.]
Against my child, my daughter Willow. -
Stand forth Alexander. - My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her; -
Stand forth Tara; - and, my gracious duke,
This hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child.
[Willow and Tara look at each other and giggle. Ira rounds on Tara.]
Thou, thou, Tara, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchang'd love-tokens with my child;
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice, this 'under thy spell' nonsense;
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart;
Turned her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness. - And, my gracious duke,
Be it so she will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Alexander,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is my child I may dispose of her;
Which shall be either to this gentleman,
Or to the death of her art: the destruction
Of her spell-books and her consigned to a convent!
Giles: What say you Willow? Be advis'd, fair maid,
It is within your father's right to do as he has spoken.
Xander is a worthy gentleman.
Willow: So is Tara! Gentlewoman, I mean to say,
Thou knowest what I mean, that her virtue
Is no less than his.
Giles: In herself she is;
But, in this kind, wanting your father's voice,
The other must be held worthier.
Willow: I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
Giles: Rather your eyes must with his judgement look.
Willow: I do entreat your grace to pardon me,
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case
If I refuse to wed Xander.
Giles: Your fate should then be to abjure
For ever the society of wicca.
Therefore, fair Willow, question your desires,
Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,
You can endure the livery of a nun.
Willow: If Tara's hand in marriage be not mine,
No other hardship would have power to mark me.
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my life up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
Giles: Take time to pause; and by the next new moon, -
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship, -
Upon that day either prepare to suffer
For disobedience to your father's will;
Or else to wed Xander, as he would.
Xander: Relent, sweet Willow; - and, Tara, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right.
Tara: You have her father's love, Xander;
Let me have Willow's; and you marry him.
Willow (grinning): Me-ow!
Tara: Really? My modesty has until now kept me
From voicing thoughts worthy of 'me-ow'.
Ira: Scornful Tara! True, he hath my love;
And what is mine my love shall render him;
And she is mine; -
Willow: Oh for Gaia's sake, dad.
Ira: - And all my right of her
I do estate unto Alexander.
Tara: I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, -
By whatever system lower-middle-class
Counts as deriv'd, - and should thou value it,
Equally as well possess'd; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with masculinity, as Xander's;
And, which is more than all these boasts could be,
I am belov'd of beauteous Willow;
Why should I not prosecute my right -
And if it be that I am a woman, then I promise
Thy prejudice shall not matter when thou awake
Tomorrow in the form of a rat; And anyway,
Xander, I'll avouch it to his head,
Made love to D'Hoffryn's daughter, Anya,
And won her soul; and she, sweet demon, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
Xander (anxious): I have spots?
Tara: It's a metaphor.
Giles: I much confess that I have heard so much.
Xander (alarmed): I do have spots?
Giles: To your meetings with Anya, I refer'd,
And with you I thought to have spoke thereof;
But, being over-full of self-affairs,
My mind did lose it. - But, Xander, come;
And come, Ira; you shall go with me;
I have some private schooling for you both. -
For you, fair Willow, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will,
Or else the law of Athens yields you up, -
Which by no means we may extenuate, -
To a life without the wiccan way. -
Come, my Jenny;
[Jenny frowns and turns away from Giles.]
What cheer, my love?
Xander, and Ira, go along.
Ira: With duty and desire we follow you.
[Exeunt Giles, Jenny, Ira, Xander, and Attendants.]
Willow (upset): I'll arm myself all right.
Tara: How now, my love! Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?
Willow: Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Sate them from the tempest of mine eyes.
Tara: Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or legend,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
Willow: If, then, true lovers have been ever cross'd,
Then let us stand 'gainst the forms of destiny;
If this world be unkind to our love let us find another,
For no power of man or nature will make me love thee less,
Or compel me to observe the cruelties of foul fate.
Tara: A good persuasion; therefore, hear me, Willow.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Who hath no contact with my other family;
From Athens is her home remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her daughter.
There, gentle Willow, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lov'st me, then,
Steal forth thy father's house tomorrow night;
And in the wood a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once during the night,
To do observance to a morn of May.
Willow (grinning): I remember that night well!
Tara: There will I stay for thee.
Willow: My good Tara!
I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus' doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prosper loves,
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.
Tara: Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Anya.
Willow: Goddess speed fair Anya! Whither away?
Anya: Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Xander loves your fair. O happy fair!
Your eyes are emerald; and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching; O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Willow, ere I go;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody,
In place of mine, which sing not but of tuneless duets
And song of bunnies that would woo no heart.
Were the world mine, Xander being bated,
The rest I'd give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look; and with what art
You sway the motion of Xander's heart.
Willow: I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
Anya: O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
Willow: I give him chaste friendship, yet he gives me love.
Anya: O that my frequent nakedness could such affection move!
Willow: I make it plain my affections are for women, not men.
Anya: Think you he might look upon me favourably if I had a girlfriend?
Willow: His folly, Anya, is no fault of mine.
Anya: None, but your beauty; would that fault were mine!
Willow: Take comfort; he no more shall see my face;
Tara and myself will fly this place. -
Before the time I did Tara see,
Seem'd Athens like a paradise to me;
But now no longing can this place stir,
And all that is paradise for me, is her.
Tara: Anya, to you our minds we will unfold;
Tomorrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, -
A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal, -
Through Athens' gates we have devis'd to steal.
Willow: And in the woods where once you and I
Upon fair primrose beds did attempt the spell
That would to you your locket return, -
Though that did not go so well, as I recall, -
Regardless, there my Tara and I shall meet;
And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
To seek a life beyond its walls
Where our love do prevail over all.
Farewell, sweet demon; pray thou for us,
And good luck grant thee thy Xander! -
Keep word, Tara; we must starve our sight
From lovers' food, till morrow deep midnight.
Tara: I will, my Willow.
As you on him, Xander dote on you!
Anya: How happy some o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Xander thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Willow's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Things base and vile, holding no quality,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste;
And therefore is love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjur'd everywhere;
For ere Xander look'd on Willow's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Willow felt,
So he dissolv'd, and showers of oaths did melt.
I dearly desire that my own wishes I could answer,
For Xander's change doth give me cause to grieve.
And yet I find it not within myself to wish him ill,
For love's fool an I made, and cannot but love him still.
I will go tell him of fair Willow's flight;
Then to the wood will he tomorrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense;
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.
Continue to Willow & Tara's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act One, Scene Two