“Four happy days bring in another moon …”
“Four days will quickly steep themselves in night,
Four nights will quickly dream away the time …”
Okay, we have to admit it: It takes some work to make the action of Midsummer fit into four days. It seems to fit better into two, or three. Here’s our best guess at the timeline Shakespeare was trying for.
Act I scene 1 — LYSANDER: Steal forth thy father’s house tomorrow night …
Act I scene 2 — QUINCE: and I am to entreat you, request you and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse …
Act II scene 1-Act III scene 2
Act IV scene 1 — THESEUS: … is not this the day / That Hermia should give answer of her choice?
THESEUS: For in the temple, by and by with us, / These couples shall eternally be knit.
Act IV scene 2 — BOTTOM: … for the short and long is, our play is preferred.
Act V scene 1