Queen Mab Translation

Queen Mab has been with you last night.
She helps fairies through birth and she comes
no bigger than a stone
on a rich man’s index finger,
riding with a team of small insects
Over menwhen they lie asleep.
Her wagon spokes made of spider legs;
The cover is made of grasshopper wings.
Her reins are of thin spider webs;
Her collars are made of moonbeams.
Her whip made of cricket bone and film;
Her wagoner is a gnat,
Not much bigger than a little worm,
from the finger of an idle maid.
Her chariot is made of a hollow hazel-nut shell,
Eaten by some squirrel or bug,
who have always been making coaches for the fairies.
She gallops night after night
And makes lovers dream of love
Over Courtiers knees makes them dream of curtsies
Over lawyers fingers which makes them dream of fees
Over ladies’ lips who dream of kisses,
Which sometimes she puts blisters on ladies’ lips
because they’ve had too much sweets.
Sometimes she goes over a courtier’s nose;
And then he dreams of taking pleas to court;
Sometimes she comes with the tenth born pig’s tail
tickling a minister’s nose as he’s asleep
Then he’ll dream of another gift.
Sometimes she drives over a soldier’s neck,
And he’ll dream of cutting throats,
of breaching, ambushes, and blades,
of good health as deep as the sea, and then
he’ll awaken with the sound of drums in his ears
and become frightened, and say a prayer or two,
andthen sleeps again. This is the Mab
that tangles the mane of horses at night,
and make knots in messy hair.
Which untangling brings bad luck.
This is the old hag that when maids lay down
that presses them and teaches them how to bear
making them women of good childbirth.