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Flute. If he come not, then the play is marr'd. It goes not forward, doth it?

Quin. It is not poffible; you have not a man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.

Flute. No, he hath fimply the best wit of any handycraft man in Athens.

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

Flute. You muft 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.

Flute. O fweet bully Bottom! thus hath he loft fix-pence a-day during his life; he could not have 'fcap'd fix-pence a-day; an the Duke had not given him fix-pence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd: he would have deferv'd it. Six-pence a-day in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom.

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 as it fell out.

Quin. Let us hear, fweet Bottom.

Bot. Not a word of me; all I will tell you is that the Duke hath dined. Get your apparel together, good ftrings to your beards, new ribbons to your pumps, meet presently at the palace, every man look o'er his part; for the fhort and the long is, our play is preferred: in any cafe let Thisby have clean linnen; 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 not garlick, for we are to utter fweet breath; and I do not doubt to hear them fay, it is a fweet comedy. No more words; away, go away, [Exeunt.



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Enter Thefeus, Hippolita, Egeus, and bis Lords.

Hip.'TIS frange, my Thefeus, what thefe lovers fpeak of.

The. More ftrange than true. I never may believe
Thefe antick fables, nor thefe Fairy toys;
Lovers and madmen have fuch feething brains,
Such fhaping fantafies, that apprehend
More than cool reafon ever comprehends.
The lunatick, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact:

One fees more devils than vaft hell can hold;

The madman. While the lover, all as frantick,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.

The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rowling,

Doth glance from heav'n to earth, from earth to heav'n;
And, as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to fhape, and gives to aiery nothing
A local habitation and a name.

Such tricks hath ftrong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend fome joy,
It comprehends fome bringer of that joy:
So in the night imagining fome fear,
How eafie is a bush fuppos'd a bear?

Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigur'd fo together,
More witneffeth than fancy's images,
And grows to fomething of great conftancy;
Be't howfoever ftrange and admirable.

Enter Lyfander, Demetrius, Hermia and Helena.
The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!

Lyf. More than to us,

Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed!
The. Come now,
what masks, what dances fhall we have,
To wear away this long age of three hours,
Between our after-fupper and bed-time?
Where is our ufual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? is there no play


To eafe the anguish of a torturing hour?

Call Philoftrate.

Enter Philoftrate,

Phil. Here, mighty Thefeus, here.

The. Say, what abridgment have you for this evening? What mask? what mufick? how fhall we beguile The lazy time, if not with fome delight?

Phil. There is a brief how many sports are ripe : Make choice of which your Highnefs will fee first.

The. The battel with the Centaurs, to be fung [Reads.

By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.

We'll none of that. That have I told my love,
In glory of my kinfman Hercules.

The riot of the tipfie Bacchanals,


Tearing the Thracian finger in their rage.

That is an old device, and it was plaid

When I from Thebes came laft a conqueror.

The thrice three Mufes mourning for the death


Of Learning, late deceas'd in beggary.

That is fome fatyr keen and critical,
Not forting with a nuptial ceremony.
A tedious brief fcene of young Pyramus,
And his love Thibe; very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical? tedious and brief?
That is hot ice, and wond'rous fcorching fnow;
How fhall we find the concord of this difcord?


Phil. A play it is, my lord, fome ten words long,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;

But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious: for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And tragical, my noble lord, it is:
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I faw't rehears'd, I must confefs
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The paffion of loud laughter never shed.

The. What are they that do play it?

Phil. Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
́Which never labour'd in their minds 'till now;
And now have toil'd their unbreath'd memories

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With this fame play against your nuptials.
The. And we will hear it.

Plil. No, my noble lord,

It is not for you. I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world,
Unless you can find fport in their intents,
Extremely ftretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,
To do you fervice.

The. I will hear that play :

For never any thing can be amifs,

When fimpleness and duty tender it.

Go, bring them in; and take your places, ladies. [Ex. Phil. Hip. I love not to fee wretchedness o'ercharg❜d,

And duty in his service perishing.

The. Why, gentle fweet, you fhall fee no fuch thing. Hip. He fays, they can do nothing in this kind.

The. The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake;
And what poor willing duty cannot do,
Noble refpect takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
When I have feen them fhiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears,
And in conclufion dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, fweet,
Out of this filence yet I pick'd a welcome:
And in the modesty of fearful duty

I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
Of fawcy and audacious eloquence.

Love therefore, and tongue-ty'd fimplicity
In leaft fpeak moft, to my capacity.

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Enter Philoftrate.

Phil. So pleafe your Grace, the prologue iş addreft. The. Let him approach,

[Flor. Trum. SCENE II. Enter Quince for the prologue. Pro. If we offend, it is with our good will. That you fhould think we come not to offend, But with good will. To fhew our simple skill,


That is the true beginning of our end.
Confider then, we come but in defpight.
We do not come as minding to content you,
Our true intent is: all for your delight,

We are not here: that you fhould here repent you,
The actors are at hand ;- -and by their fhow,

You fhall know all, that you are like to know.

The. This fellow doth not ftand upon points.

Lyf. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt; he knows not the ftop. A good moral, my lord. It is not enough to fpeak, but to fpeak true.

Hip. Indeed he hath play'd on his prologue, like a child on the recorder; a found, but not in government.

The. His fpeech was like a tangled chain; nothing impair'd, but all diforder'd. Who is the next?

Enter Pyramus, and Thibe, Wall, Moon-fhine, and
Lion, in dumb show.

Pro. Gentles, perchance you wonder at this fhow,
But wonder on, 'till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
This beauteous lady, Thisby is certain.

This man, with lime and rou h-caft, doth present
Wall, the vile wall, which did thefe lovers funder:
And through wall's chink, poor fouls, they are content
To whisper. At the which, let no man wonder.
This man with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Prefenteth Moon-fhine: For, if you will know,
By moon-fhine did thefe lovers think no fcorn
To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
This grizly beaft, which Lion hight by name,
The trufty Thifty, coming first by night,
Did fcare away, or rather did affright:
And as the fled, her mantle fhe let fall;

Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did ftain.
Anon comes Pyramus, fweet youth and tall,
And finds his trufty Thisby's mantle flain;
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast.
And Thiby, tarrying in the mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the reft,
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