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Strong in some hundred spearmen-only great
In that strange spell—a name.
Each hour, dark fraud,
Or open rapine, or protected murder,
Cry out against them. But this very day,
An honest man, my neighbour-there he stands—
Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope
Of sweet and quiet joy-there was the look
A summer bloom on his fair cheeks-a smile
For vengeance!-Rouse, ye Romans!-Rouse, ye slaves!
To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
Was greater than a king! And once again—
What be ye,
That thus in stern and watchful mystery
Cluster beneath the veil of night, and start
To hear a stranger's foot?
Meet ye, my countrymen ?
Ay, the voice
I knew thee by the words.
Big tear drops on thy cheeks, and thy young hand.
pause ? Hence with thee,
A dream! Dost see yon phalanx, still and stern?
Wait with suppressed impatience till they hear
At once on their proud foes. Join them.
Rie. Already he hath quitted Rome.
My kinsmen !
Thou shalt see
Rie. We are too strong for contest.
And their answer
Will be the gaol, the gibbet, or the axe.
And, but that I am held, amongst your great ones,
At every step dark warnings. The pure air,
Had died upon the ear; and low and hoarse
How shall I swear?
Rie. (To the people.)
I'll join ye;
[Gives his hand to Rienzi.
Friends, comrades, countrymen,
I bring unhoped-for aid. Young Angelo,
Hear me swear
By Rome-by freedom-by Rienzi! Comrades,
Those names have been so often steeped in blood,
The sound seems ominous-I'll none of them.
My honouring duty lies. Hark-the bell, the bell!
And listening heaven, proclaims the glorious tale
Quince. Is all your company here?
You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.
Quin. 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 duchess, on his wedding day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is-The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll-Masters, spread yourselves.
Quin. Answer, as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver. Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed. Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover or a tyrant? Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love. Bot. 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 humour is for a tyrant; I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. "The raging rocks, With shivering shocks, Shall break the locks Of prison gates: And Phibbus' car Shall shine from far,
And make and mar
The 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.
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight.
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard a coming.
Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too; I'll speak in a monstrous little voice:-Thisbe, Thisbe, Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby, dear! and lady dear!
Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus ;—and, Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother. Myself, Thisby's father;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part :—and, I hope, here is a play fitted.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it to me, for I am slow of study.
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; will roar that I will make the duke say, Let him roar again, Let him roar again.
Quin. 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.
All. That would hang us, every mother's son.
Bot. 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.
Quin. 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 you must needs play Pyramus.
Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?
Quin. Why, what you will.
Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. 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 moon-light; there will we rehearse: for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play I pray you, fail me not.
Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more freely, and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.