Page images

are your parts : and I am to entreat you, request you and desire you, to con them by tomorrow 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 me not,

Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely6 and courageously. Take pains ; be perfect : adieu.

Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough ; hold or cut bow-strings.7


[blocks in formation]



Bot. Are we all met?

Quin. 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.

Bot. Peter Quince,-
Quin. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that will never please. First Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?

Snout. By'r lakin, a parlous fear.

Star. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

Bot. 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 them that I Pyramus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver : this will put them out of fear.

Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.

Bot. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

Snout. Will not the ladies be afeared of the lion ?
Star. I fear it, I promise you.

Bot. 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 wildfowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to 't.

Snout. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.

Bot. 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

: no, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are ;' and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.

Quin. 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 Thisby meet by moonlight.

life :

Snout. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.

Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.

Bot. 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.

Quin. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, 10 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.

Sncut. You can never bring in a wall. you, Bottom?

Bot. Some man or other must present Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some roughcast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

Quin. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin : when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake: and so every one according to

What say

his cue.


SCENE II. Athens. QUINCE's House.

Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet? 11

Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is transported.

Flu. If he come not, then the play is marred: it goes not forward, doth it?

Quin. It is not possible : you have not man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.

Flu. No, he hath simply the best wit of any handi: craft man in Athens.

Quin. Yea, and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice.

Flu. You must say 'paragon:' a paramour is, God bless us, a thing of naught.

Enter SNUG.

Snug: Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married: if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life: he could not have 'scaped sixpence a day: an the duke had not given him sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged; he would have deserved it: sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing


Bot Where are these lads ? where are these hearts ?

Quin. Bottom ! O 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 every thing, 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 ribbons 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 garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. !

No more words : away! go, away! [Exeunt.


SCENE I. Athens. The Palace of THESEUS.
The. Come now; what masques,12 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.

Here, mighty Theseus.
The. Say, what abridgenient have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?

Phil. There is a brief 13 how many sports are ripe : Make choice of which your highness will see first.

[Giving a paper. The. [Reads] “The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.' We'll none of that : that have I told my love,

« PreviousContinue »