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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
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation, and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination;
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or, in the night, imagining some fear,

easy is a bush supposed a bear?
Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, Hermia, and

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,
To wear away this long age of three hours,
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Call Philostrate.

Philost. Here, mighty Theseus.
Thes. Say, what abridgment have you for this

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

In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

The riot of the tipsy bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.

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.

A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,
And his love Thisbe: very tragical mirth.

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

words long;
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long;
Which makes it tedious: for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And tragical, my noble lord, it is ;
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.

Thes. What are they that do play it?
Philost. Hardhanded men, that work in

Athens here,
Which never laboured in their minds till now ;

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.


If we offend, it is with our good will.

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.

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Lys. He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt;

Enter PYRAMUS. he knows not the stop. A good moral, my

lord :

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

To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which by name lion hight,

The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,

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,

And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain :
Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,

I see a voice ; now will I to the chink,
He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast;

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.
In this same interlude, it doth befall,

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,

Did whisper often very secretly.
This lime, this roughcast, and this stone, doth shew

I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.
That I am that same wall; the truth is so :

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.

You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear

The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,

When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam:
For if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, 't were pity on my life.

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.
Thes. True; and a goose for his discretion.

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.

This lanthorn doth the hornéd moon present;

Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head.

Thes. He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference,

This lanthorn doth the hornéd moon present;
Myself the man i' th’ moon do seem to be.

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.

Enter ThisBE.

This is old Ninny's tomb: Where is my love?


[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.


Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;

I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright:
For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering streams,
I trust to taste of truest Thisby's sight.

But stay ;-0 spite!

But mark;—Poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here!

Eyes, do you see?

How can it be!
O dainty duck! O dear!

Thy mantle good,

What, stained with blood ?
Approach, ye furies fell !

O fates! come, come ;

Cut thread and thrum;

Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
Thes. This passion, and the death of a dear
friend, would go near to make a man look sad.
Hip. Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.

O, wherefore, nature, didst thou lions frame ?

Since lion vile hath here defloured my dear:
Which is–no, no-which was the fairest dame,
That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked with cheer.

Come, tears, confound;

Out, sword, and wound
The pap of Pyramus:

Ay, that left pap,

Where heart doth hop:
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.

Now am I dead,

Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky :

Tongue, lose thy light!

Moon, take thy flight!
Now die, die, die, die, die !

[ Dies.
[Erit Moonshine.

Dem. No die but an ace for him; for he is

but one.

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.

Scene II.

Asleep, my love ?

What, dead, my dove ?
O Pyramus, arise,

Speak, speak. Quite dumb ?

Dead, dead ? A tomb Must cover thy sweet eyes.

These lily lips,

This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,

Are gone, are gone :

Lovers, make moan!
His eyes were green as leeks.

O sisters three,

Come, come to me,
With hands as pale as milk;

Lay them in gore,

Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.

Tongue, not a word :

Come, trusty sword; Come, blade, my breast imbrue;

And farewell, friends ;

Thus Thisby ends :Adieu, adieu, adieu !

Enter Puck.
Puck. Now the hungry lion roars,

And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,

All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,

Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
Puts the wretch, that lies in woe,

In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night

That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,

In the churchway paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run

By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,

Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallowed house :
I am sent with broom before,

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 :
Every elf and fairy sprite

Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,

Sing, and dance it trippingly.
Tita. First rehearse this song by rote:

To each word a warbling note,
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.

Obe. Now, until the break of day,

Through this house each fairy stray;
To the best bridebed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate;
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be:


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,

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