Imatges de pÓgina

["I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid."]


SCENE I.-The Wood. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.


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 tyring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.

BOT. Peter Quince,

QUIN. What say'st thou, bully Bottom?


Bor. 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 'rlakina, 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 c.

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

SNOUT. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

STAR. I fear it, I promise you.

Bor. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in, God shield us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing15: for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion, living; and we ought to look to it. 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 life: 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 joiner16.

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.

SNUG. 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.

Bor. 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 lantern, 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. SNUG. You can never bring in a wall.-What say you, Bottom? Bor. Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster, or some lome, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; or let him hold

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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 his cue.

Enter PUCK behind.

PUCK. What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here,

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.

QUIN. Speak, Pyramus :-Thisby, stand forth.

PYR. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet.

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So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But, hark, a voice! stay thou but here a while,
And by and by I will to thee appear.

PUCK. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here!

THIS. Must I speak now?

[Exit. [Aside.-Exit.

QUIN. Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

THIS. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily white of hue,

Of colour 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,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.

QUIN. 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.

Re-enter Puck, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.

THIS. O,-As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
PYR. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine :—

QUIN. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted.
Pray, masters! fly, masters! help!

PUCK. I'll follow you, I 'll lead you about a round,


[Exeunt Clowns.

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;

Quince's description of Bottom going "to see a noise" is akin to Sir Toby Belch's notion of

to hear by the nose." (Twelfth Night,' Act II., Scene 3.)



And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,

Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.


Bor. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to make me afeard.

Re-enter SNOUT.

SNOUT. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?

BOT. What do you see? you see an ass-head of your own: Do you?

Re-enter QUINCE.

QUIN. Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.


BOT. 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.

The oosel-cock, so black of hue,

With orange-tawny bill 18,

The throstle with his note so true,

The wren with little quill;


TITA. What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?


BOT. 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?

TITA. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again :

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.

BOT. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that: And yet, to say

the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days: The

more the pity, that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek d upon occasion.

TITA. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

Bor. Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

Ass-head. So the quartos; and the folio, even more distinctly-" Asse-head."-The carefullest collation sometimes misses these small matters, and gives us "ass's head." With, in the quartos. The folio, and.

• This is the reading of the preceding five lines in the quarto printed by Fisher. In that by Roberts, and in the folio, two of the lines, namely, the third and fourth of Titania's speech, are transposed.

Gleek. This verb is generally used in the sense of to scoff; but we apprehend Bottom only means to say that he can joke.


TITA. 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;

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.

Peas-blossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustard-seeda!


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TITA. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes;
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 1",
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.

1 FAI. Hail, mortal!

2 FAI. Hail!

3 FAI. Hail!

4 FAI. Hail!

Bor. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily.-I beseech your worship's name. COB. Cobweb.

Bor. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good master Cobweb: If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you.— Your name, honest gentleman?

* This line looks like a stage-direction in the quartos, and we find no trace of it in the folio, except as a portion of the stage-direction, thus:-" Enter Peas-blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed, and four Fairies." If the Fairies are separate persons from Peas-blossom and his fellows, we ought to restore the stage-direction, as we have done. But we believe that the Fairies are not separate persons, although it is scarcely necessary to disturb the customary arrangement. Steevens omitted the "And I" of the fourth Fairy, and gave her the "Where shall we go?" • Dewberries. This delicate wild-fruit is perfectly well known to all who have lived in the country; but one of the commentators tells us dewberries are gooseberries, and another raspberries.

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