SCENE IThe wood. Titania lying asleep.
Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT and STARVELING.
Are we all met?
Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous
convenient place for our rehearsal. This green
plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake
our tiring-house; and we will do it in action
as we will do it before the duke.
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
There are things in this comedy of
Pyramus and Thisby that will never please.
First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill him-
self; which the ladies cannot abide. How
answer you that?
By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
I believe we must leave the killing
out, when all is done.
Not a whit; I have a device to make
all well. Write me a prologue; and let the
prologue seem to say, we will do no harm with
our swords and that Pyramus is not killed
indeed; and, for the more better assurance,
tell that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus,
but Bottom the weaver: this will put them out
Well, we will have such a prologue;
and it shall be written in eight and six.
No, make it two more; let it be writ-
ten in eight and eight.
Will not the ladies be afeard of
I fear it, I promise you.
Masters, you ought to consider with
yourselves: to bring in--God shield us!--a
lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing;
for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than
your lion living; and we ought to look to 't.
Therefore another prologue must
tell he is not a lion.
Nay, you must name his name, and
half his face must be seen through the lion's
neck: and he himself must speak through,
saying thus, or to the same defect,--'Ladies,'
--or 'Fair ladies,--I would wish you,'--or 'I
would request you,'--or 'I would entreat you,
--not to fear, not to tremble: my life for
yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it
were pity of my life; no, I am no such thing;
I am a man as other men are;' and there in-
deed let him name his name, and tell them
plainly he is Snug the joiner.
Well, it shall be so. But there is two
hard things: that is, to bring the moonlight
into a chamber; for, you know, Pyramus and (51)
Thisby meet by moonlight.
Doth the moon shine that night we
play our play?
A calendar, a calendar! look in the
almanac; find out moonshine, find out moon-
Yes, it doth shine that night.
Why, then may you leave a casement
of the great chamber window, where we play,
open, and the moon may shine in at the casement.
Ay; or else one must come in with
a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, and say he
comes to disfigure, or to present, the person
of Moonshine. Then, there is another thing:
we must have a wall in the great chamber;
for Pyramus and Thisby, says the story, did
talk through the chink of a wall.
You can never bring in a wall.
What say you, Bottom?
Some man or other must present
Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some
loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify
wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and
through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby
If that may be, then all is well.
Come, sit down, every mother's son, and re-
hearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin; when
you have spoken your speech, enter into that
brake: and so every one according to his cue. Enter PUCK behind.
What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here, (80)
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
Thisby, the flowers of odious savors sweet,--
---odors savors sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.[Exit.
A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here. [Exit.
Must I speak now?
Ay, marry, must you; for you must
understand he goes but to see a noise that he
heard, and is to come again.
Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire. (99)
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
'Ninus' tomb,' man: why, you must
not speak that yet; that you answer to Pyramus:
you speak all your part at once, cues
and all. Pyramus enter: your cue is past; it
is, 'never tire.'
O,--As true as truest horse; that yet would never tire. Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.
If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
O monstrous! O strange! we are
haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help! [Exeunt Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.
I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round, (110)
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn. [Exit.
Why do they run away? this is a
knavery of them to make me afeard. Re-enter SNOUT.
O Bottom, thou art changed! what
do I see on thee?
What do you see? you see an ass-
head of your own, do you? [Exit Snout. Re-enter QUINCE.
Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou
art translated. [Exit.
I see their knavery: this is to make
an ass of me; to fright me, if they could. But
I will not stir from this place, do what they
can: I will walk up and down here, and I will
sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid. [Sings.
The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill, (130)
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,--
What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay;--
for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish
a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though
he cry 'cuckoo' never so?
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again: (141)
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
Methinks, mistress, you should have
little reason for that: and yet, to say the
truth, reason and love keep little company to-
gether now-a-days; the more the pity that
some honest neighbors will not make them (150)
friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Not so, neither: but if I had wit
enough to get out of this wood, I have enough
to serve mine own turn.
Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me; (160)
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep.
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed! Enter PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED.
Where shall we go?
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; (169)
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
I cry your worship's mercy, heartily:
I beeseech your worship's name.
I shall desire you of more acquaint-
ance, good Master Cobweb: if I cut my finger,
I shall make bold with you. Your name,
honest gentleman? (189)
I pray you, commend me to Mistress
Squash, your mother, and to Master Peascod,
your father. Good Master Peaseblossom, I
shall desire you of more acquaintance too.
Your name, I beseech you, sir?
Good Master Mustardseed, I know
your patience well: that same cowardly, giant-
like ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman
of your house: I promise you your kindred
hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire
your more acquaintance, good Master Mus- (201)
Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently. [Exeunt.