SCENE IIAthens. QUINCE'S house.
Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT and STARVELING.
Is all our company here?
You were best to call them generally,
man by man, according to the scrip.
Here is the scroll of every man's
name, which is thought fit, through all Athens,
to play in our interlude before the duke and
the duchess, on his wedding-day at night.
First, good Peter Quince, say what
the play treats on, then read the names of the (10)
actors, and so grow to a point.
Marry, our play is, The most lamentable
comedy, and most cruel death of
Pyramus and Thisby.
A very good piece of work, I assure
you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince,
call forth your actors by the scroll. Masters,
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom,
Ready. Name what part I am for,
You, Nick Bottom, are set down for
What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
A lover, that kills himself most gal-
lant for love.
That will ask some tears in the true
performing of it: if I do it, let the audience
look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will
condole in some measure. To the rest: yet
my chief humor is for a tyrant: I could play
Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to
make all split.
The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates;
And Phibbus' car
Shall shine from far
And make and mar
40The foolish Fates.
This was lofty! Now name the rest of the
players. This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein;
a lover is more condoling.
Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Here, Peter Quince.
Flute, you must take Thisby on you,
What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; (50)
I have a beard coming.
That's all one: you shall play it in
a mask, and you may speak as small as you
An I may hide my face, let me play
Thisby too, I'll speak in a monstrous little
voice, 'Thisne, Thisne;' 'Ah, Pyramus, my
lover dear! thy Thisby dear, and lady dear!'
No, no; you must play Pyramus:
and, Flute, you Thisby.
Well, proceed. (60)
Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Here, Peter Quince.
Robin Starveling, you must play
Thisby's mother. Tom Snout, the tinker.
Here, Peter Quince.
You, Pyramus'father: myself,
Thisby's father: Snug, the joiner; you, the
lion's part: and, I hope, here is a play fitted.
Have you the lion's part written?
pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
You may do it extempore, for it is (71)
nothing but roaring.
Let me play the lion too: I will roar,
that I will do any man's heart good to hear
me; I will roar, that I will make the duke
say 'Let him roar again, let him roar again.'
An you should do it too terribly,
you would fright the duchess and the ladies,
that they would shriek; and that were enough
to hang us all.
That would hang us, every mother's son.
I grant you, friends, if that you
should fright the ladies out of their wits, they
would have no more discretion but to hang
us: but I will aggravate my voice so that I
will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I
will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
You can play no part but Pyramus;
for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper
man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a
most lovely gentleman-like man; therefore (91)
you must needs play Pyramus.
Well, I will undertake it. What
beard were I best to play it in?
Why, what you will.
I will discharge it in either your
straw-color beard, your orange-tawny beard,
your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-
crown-color beard, your perfect yellow.
Some of your French crowns have
no hair at all, and then you will play bare-
faced. But, masters, here are your parts: 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,
for if we meet in the city, we shall be
dogged with company, and our devices known.
In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties,
such as our play wants. I pray you, fail
We will meet; and there we may rehearse
most obscenely and courageously. Take
pains; be perfect: adieu.
At the duke's oak we meet.
Enough; hold or cut bow-strings. [Exeunt.