Imatges de pÓgina
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['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?

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'rlakin," a parlous fear.

By'rlakin-by our ladykin-our little lady. b Parlous,-perilous. 2 A 2

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 afeard 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 Eight and six-alternate verses of eight and six syl. lables.


a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion, living; and we ought to look to it.

Shout. 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 think I come hither you 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 joiner.2

Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moon-light into a chamber: for you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moon-light.

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

Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find out moon-shine,3 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 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?

Bot. 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; 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 his cuc.

Enter PUCK behind.

Puck. What hempen home-spuns 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.

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Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here! [Aside.-Exit.

This. Must I speak now?

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! Ostrange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! help!

[Exeunt Clowns. Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,

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.

Bot. 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. [Exit. 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:

a 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 11. Sc. 111.)

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

The woosel-cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,

The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill;


Tita. What angel wakes me from my flowery
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


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 upon occasion.

Tita. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful. Bot. Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

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

And I will purge thy mortal grossness so,
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.—
Peas-blossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustard-

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Where shall we go?a
Tita. Be kind and courteous to this gen-


Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks, and dewberries ;b
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 moon-beams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
1 Fai. Hail, mortal!

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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.

a Steevens omitted the "And I" of the fourth Fairy, and gave her the "Where shall we go?" which the original copies assigned to all; and this he calls getting rid of "a useless repetition."

b 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.

c The patience of the family of Mustard in being devoured by the ox-beef is one of those brief touches of wit, so common in Shakspere, which take him far out of the range of ordinary writers. But his critics love common-place; and therefore Hanmer would read parentage,-Fariner, passions,-and Mason, passing. Reed then solemnly pronounces "no change is necessary;" and so half a page of the variorum Shakspere is filled.


SCENE II.-Another part of the Wood.


Obe. I wonder, if Titania be awak'd; Then, what it was that next came in her eye, Which she must dote on in extremity.

Enter PUCK.

Here comes my messenger.-How now, mad spirit?

What night-rule" now about this haunted grove?
Puck. My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to a close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thick-skin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented, in their sport
Forsook his scene, and enter'd in a brake:
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's now I fixed on his head;
Anon, his Thisbe must be answered,
And forth my mimic comes: When they him

As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky;
So at his sight away his fellows fly:

And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus

Made senseless things begin to do them wrong: For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch; Some, sleeves; some, hats; from yielders all things catch.

I led them on in this distracted fear,

And left sweet Pyramus translated there :
When in that moment (so it came to pass,)
Titania wak'd, and straightway lov'd an ass.

Obe. This falls out better than I could devise. But hast thou yet latch'dd the Athenian's eyes With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Puck. I took him sleeping, that is finish'd too,

And the Athenian woman by his side;
That when he wak'd of force she must be ey'd.

a Night rule-night-revel. The old spelling of reuel became rule; and by this corruption we obtained, says Douce, "the lord of mis-rule."

b Nowl-noll-head.

c Mimic-actor. Mimmick is the reading of the folio; minnock, and minnick, are found in the quartos.

d Latch'd-fastened, according to Hanmer.


Obe. Stand close; this is the same Athenian. Puck. This is the woman, but not this the


Dem. O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?

Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

Her. Now I but chide, but I should use thee


For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o' er shoes in blood, plunge in knee-deep,*
And kill me too.

The sun was not so true unto the day,
As he to me: Would he have stol'n away
From sleeping Hermia? I'll believe as soon,
This whole earth may be bor'd; and that the


May through the centre creep, and so displease
Her brother's noontide with the Antipodes.
It cannot be, but thou hast murder'd him;
So should a murderer look; so dead, so grim.

Dem. So should the murder'd look; and so should I,

Pierc'd through the heart with your stern cruelty: Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear, As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.

Her. What's this to my Lysander? where is


Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me? Dem. I had rather give his carcase to my


Her. Out, dog! out, cur! thou driv'st me

past the bounds

Of maiden's patience. Hast thou slain him then?
Henceforth be never number'd among men!
Oh! once tell true, tell true, even for my sake;
Durst thou have look'd upon him, being awake,
And hast thou kill'd him sleeping? O brave

Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
Dem. You spend your passion on a mispris'd

I am not guilty of Lysander's blood;
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

Her. I pray thee, tell me then that he is well. Dem. An if I could, what should I get therefore?

Her. A privilege never to see me more.— And from thy hated presence part I so :

See me no more, whether he be dead or no. [Erit.

a Knee-deep, suggested by W. S. Walker in the place of the deep.

Dem. There is no following her in this fierce vein:

Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.
So sorrow's heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrout sleep doth sorrow owe;
Which now, in some slight measure, it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.

[Lies down. Obe. What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite,

And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight:
Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
Some true-love turn'd, and not a false turn'd true.
Puck. Then fate o'er-rules; that one man
holding troth,

A million fail, confounding oath on oath.

Obe. About the wood go swifter than the wind, And Helena of Athens look thou find: All fancy-sick she is, and pale of cheer" With sighs of love, that cost the fresh blood dear. By some illusion see thou bring her here; I'll charm his eyes against she doth appear. Puck. I go, I go; look, how I go ;

Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.

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How can these things in me seem scorn to you,

Bearing the badge of faith, to prove them true? Hel. You do advance your cunning more and


When truth kills truth, O devilish-holy fray! These vows are Hermia's; Will you give her o'er?

Weigh oath with oath, and you will nothing weigh:

Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
Will even weigh; and both as light as tales.
Lys. I had no judgment, when to her I swore.
Hel. Nor none, in my mind, now you give
her o'er.

Lys. Demetrius loves her, and he loves not you.

Dem. [awaking.] O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!

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To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus' snow,6
Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow,
When thou hold'st up thy hand: O let me


This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!
Hel. O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me, for your merriment.
If you were civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join, in souls, to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so.
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When, I am sure, you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
And now both rivals, to mock Helena :
A trim exploit, a manly enterprize,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes,
With your derision! none of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin; and extort
A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport.

Lys. You are unkind, Demetrius; be not so;
For you love Hermia: this, you know, I know:
And here, with all good will, with all my heart,
In Hermia's love I yield you up my part;
And yours of Helena to me bequeath,
Whom I do love, and will do to my death.
Hel. Never did mockers waste more idle

Dem. Lysander, keep thy Hermia; I will


If e'er I lov'd her, all that love is gone.

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