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Quin. Bottom!—0 most courageous day! O most happy hour!
Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not what; for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you everything, right as it fell out.
Quin. Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
Bot. Not a word of me. All that I will tell you, is, that the duke hath dined: get your apparel together; good strings to your beards, new
ribands to your pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look o'er his part; for, the short and the long is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean linen; and let not him that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions, nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath ; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No words; away; go away.
Scene I.-The same. An Apartment in the
Palace of Tueseus. Enter Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, Puilostrate, Lords,
and Attendants. Hip. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers
speak of. Thes. More strange than true. I never may
believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend More than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, Are of imagination all compact : One sees more devils than vast hell can hold; That is, the madınan : the lover, all as frantick, Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt: The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to
heaven, And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
easy is a bush supposed a bear?
HELENA. Thes. Here come the lovers, full of joy and
mirth. Joy, gentle friends! joy, and fresh days of love, Accompany your hearts ! Lys.
More than to us Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed! Thes. Come now; what masks, what dances
shall we have,
Philost. Here, mighty Theseus.
evening? What mask? what music? How shall we beguile The lazy time, if not with some delight?
Philost. There is a brief how many sports are rife; Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[Giving a paper. LYSANDER reads. The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung, By an Athenian eunuch, to the harp. Thes. We'll none of that : that have I told my
Thes. That is an old device; and it was played When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
LYSANDER reads. The thrice three Muses mourning for the death Of learning, late deceased in beggary.
Thes. That is some satire, keen and critical, Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
Thes. Merry and tragical? tedious and brief? That is, hot ice, and wondrous strange snow. How shall we find the concord of this discord ? Philost. A play there is, my lord, some ten
Thes. What are they that do play it?
And now have toiled their unbreathed memories With this same play, against your nuptial.
Thes. And we will hear it.
Philost. No, my noble lord, It is not for you: I have heard it over, And it is nothing, nothing in the world, Unless you can find sport in their intents, Extremely stretched and conned with cruel pain, To do you service.
Thes. I will hear that play: For never anything can be amiss, When simpleness and duty tender it. Go, bring them in : and take your places, ladies.
[Exit PhilosTRATE. Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'er
charged, And duty in his service perishing. Thes. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such
thing. Hip. He says they can do nothing in this kind. Thes. The kinder we, to give them thanks for
nothing. Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake: And what poor duty cannot do, Noble respect takes it in might, not merit. Where I have come, great clerks have purposed To greet me with premeditated welcomes ; Where I have seen them shiver and look pale, Make periods in the midst of sentences, Throttle their practised accent in their fears, And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off, Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet, Out of this silence yet I picked a welcome; And in the modesty of fearful duty I read as much as from the rattling tongue Of saucy and audacious eloquence. Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity, In least, speak most, to my capacity.
Enter PhilosTRATE. Philost. So please your grace, the prologue is
addrest. Thes. Let him approach. (Flourish of trumpets.
That you should think, we come not to offend, But with good will. To shew our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end. Consider then, we come but in despite.
We do not come as minding to content you, Our true intent is. All for your delight,
We are not here. That you should here repent you, The actors are at hand; and, by their show, You shall know all that you are like to know.
Thes. This fellow doth not stand upon points.
Lys. He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt;
Enter PYRAMUS. he knows not the stop. A good moral, my
PYRAMUS. it is not enough to speak, but to speak true.
O grim-looked night! O night with hue so black ! Hip. Indeed he hath played on this prologue
O night, which ever art, when day is not ! like a child on a recorder; a sound, but not in
O night, О night, alack, alack, alack, government.
I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot! Thes. His speech was like a tangled chain ; And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall, nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is That stand'st between her father's ground and mine; next?
Thou wall, 0 wall, O sweet and lovely wall, Enter PYRAMUS and Thisbe, Wall, MOONSHINE,
Shew me thy chink to blink through with mine eyne.
[Wall holds up his fingers. and Lion, as in dumb show.
Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this! PROLOGUE.
But what see I? No Thisby do I see. Gentles, perchance, you wonder at this show ;
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss ; But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me! This man is Pyramus, if you would know ; This beauteous lady Thisby is, certain ;
Thes. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should This man, with lime and roughcast, doth present curse again.
Wall,-that vile wall which did these lovers sunder: Bot. No, in truth, sir, he should not. “DeAnd through wall's chink, poor souls, they are content ceiving me," is Thisby's cue: she is to enter
To whisper; at the which let no man wonder. now, and I am to spy her through the wall. This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn, You shall see,-it will fall pat as I told you :Presenteth moonshine: for, if you will know,
yonder she comes. By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans, Did scare away, or rather did affright:
For parting my fair Pyramus and me: And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall;
My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones : Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain : Thy stones, with lime and hair, knit up in thee. Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
I see a voice ; now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. And, Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
Thisbe. His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
My love ? thou art my love, I think. Let lion, moonshine, wall, and lovers twain,
PYRAMUS. At large discourse, while here they do remain. [Exeunt PROLOGUE, THisbe, Lion, and
Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace ; MOONSHINE.
And like Limander am I trusty still. Thes. I wonder if the lion be to speak.
ThisBE. Dem. No wonder, my lord: one lion may,
And I, like Helen, till the fates me kill. when many asses do.
Not Shafalus to Procrus, was so true.
THISBE. That I, one Snout by name, present a wall :
As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you. And such a wall as I would have you think,
PYRAMUS. That had in it a crannied hole, or chink,
0, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall. Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.
PYRAMUS. And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway? Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
Thisbe. Thes. Would you desire lime and hair to speak "Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay. better?
WALL. Dem. It is the wittiest partition that ever I Thus have I, wall, my part dischargéd so ; heard discourse, my lord.
And, being done, thus wall away doth go. Thes. Pyramus draws near the wall: silence !
[Exeunt WALL, PYRAMUS, and Tuisbe.
Thes. Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.
Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning.
Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
Thes. The best in this kind are but shadows : and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
Thes. If we imagine no worse of them than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.
Enter Lion and MOONSHINE.
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Thes. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.
Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour.
Dem. Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
Thes. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour; for the goose carries not the fox. It is well: leave it to his discretion, aud let us listen to the moon.
Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head.
Thes. He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference,
Thes. This is the greatest error of all the rest : the man should be put into the lanthorn, how is it else the man i' the moon ?
Dem. He dares not come there for the candle: for you see it is already in snuff.
Hip. I am weary of this moon: would he would change!
Thes. It appears, by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane: but yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time.
Lys. Proceed, moon.
MOONSHINE. All that I have to say is, to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thornbush, my thornbush ; and this dog, my dog.
Dem. Why all these should be in the lanthorn; for they are in the moon. But silence; here comes Thisbe.
[The Lion roars.—THISBE runs off. Dem. Well roared, lion. Thes. Well run, Thisbe.
Hip. Well shone, moon. Truly, the moon shines with a good grace. Thes. Well moused, lion.
[The Lion tears THISBE's mantle, and exil. Dem. And then came Pyramus. Lys. And so the lion vanished.
I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright:
But stay ;-0 spite!
But mark;—Poor knight,
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be!
Thy mantle good,
What, stained with blood ?
O fates! come, come ;
Cut thread and thrum;
Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
Since lion vile hath here defloured my dear:
Come, tears, confound;
Out, sword, and wound
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop:
Now am I dead,
Now am I fled;
Tongue, lose thy light!
Moon, take thy flight!
Dem. No die but an ace for him; for he is
Lys. Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing.
Thes. With the help of a surgeon, he might yet recover, and prove an ass.
Hip. How chance moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes back and finds her lover ?
Thes. She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and her passion ends the play.
Enter Thisbe. 'Hip. Methinks she should not use a long one, for such a Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
Dem. A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe, is the better.
Lys. She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
Dem. And thus she moans, videlicet.
truly; and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your epilogue alone.
[Here a dance of Clowns. The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve: Lovers to bed; 't is almost fairy time. I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn, As much as we this night have overwatched. This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled The heavy gait of night.—Sweet friends, to bed. A fortnight hold we this solemnity, In nightly revels, and new jollity. [Exeunt.
What, dead, my dove ?
Speak, speak. Quite dumb ?
Dead, dead ? A tomb Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These lily lips,
This cherry nose,
Are gone, are gone :
Lovers, make moan!
O sisters three,
Come, come to me,
Lay them in gore,
Since you have shore
Tongue, not a word :
Come, trusty sword; Come, blade, my breast imbrue;
And farewell, friends ;
Thus Thisby ends :Adieu, adieu, adieu !
And the wolf behowls the moon;
All with weary task fordone.
Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
In remembrance of a shroud.
That the graves, all gaping wide,
In the churchway paths to glide:
By the triple Hecate's team,
Following darkness like a dream,
To sweep the dust behind the door. Enter OBERON and Titania, with their Train. Obe. Through this house give glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire :
Hop as light as bird from brier;
Sing, and dance it trippingly.
To each word a warbling note,
SONG, AND DANCE.
Through this house each fairy stray;
Thes. Moonshine and lion are left to bury the dead.
Dem. Ay, and wall too.
Bot. No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company.
Thes. No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it had played Pyramus, and hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and so it is,