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ACT III. SCENE I. 3
THE WOO D. 4 Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and
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,
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, s a parlous fear.
Star. 3 In the time of Shakespeare, there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were ondoubtedly very unskilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head. JOHNSON.
4 Enter Quince, &c.] The two quarto's 1600, and the folio, read only, Enter the Clowns. Steevens.
s By’rlakin, a parlous fear.] By our ladykin, or little lady, as ifakins is a corruption of by my faith. Parlous, a word corrupted from perilou', i. e. dangerous. So Phaer and Twyne translate Virg. Æn. 1.7. 302.
Quid Syries, aut Scylla mihi, quid vafia Charybdis
- 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 fay, we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not kill'd indeed : and, for 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 afraid of the lion ? Star. I fear it, I promise you. Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves : to bring in, God fhield us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing: 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 fame 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 joiner. Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard What good did Scylla me? what could prevail Charybdis
wood ? Or Sirtes parlous sands? VOL. III.
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
Bot. A kalendar, a kalendar! look in the almanack; find out moon. shine, find out moon-fhine.
Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.
Bor. Why then you may 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, and say, he comes to disfiguré, or to present, the person of moon-fhine. Then, there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby, says the ftory, did talk through the chink of a wall.
Snug. You never can bring in a wall.-- What say you, Bottom ?
Bot. Some man or other must prefent wall: and let him have some plaifter, or some lome, or some rough-cast, about him, to signify wall; or 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, fit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and fo every one according to his cue.
Enter Puck behind.
Quin. Speak, Pyramus :—Thisby, stand forth.
Pyr. Thisby, the flower of odious savours sweet.
So doth thy breath, my dearest Thisby, dear :
[Exit Pyramusa Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here !
[ Aside. This. Must I speak now? Quin. Ay, marry,
you must under: stand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
This. Most radiant Pyramus, most lilly white of hues
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Moj brisky Juvenal, and eke most lovely few,
As true as truest borse, 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 Bottom, with an ass head. This. Oz-As true as truest horse, that yet would never
So hath thy breath,
-stay tbou but bere a whit;) In the old editions,
-flay thou here a while ; The verses should be alternately in rhyme: but sweet in the 'close of the first line, and while in the third, will not do for this purpose. The author, doubtless, gave it,
-ftay thou but bere a whit; i. e. a little while for so it fignifies, as also any thing of no price or confideration; a trifle ; in which sense it is very frequent with our author. THEOBALD. E 2
Pyr. If I were, fair Thisby, I were only thine.
Quin. O monstrous ! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters ! Ay, masters! help!
[The Clowns exeunt. . Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake,
through bryer; 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."
Snout. O Bottom ! thou art chang'd! what do I see on thee?!
Bot. What do you fee? you see an ass head of your own; Do you ?
Re-enter Quineer 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
& Through bog, ibrough bush, through brake, through bryer ;] Here are two syllables wanting. Perhaps, it was written, Through bog, through mire,
JOHNSON. 9-10 make me aftard.] Throughout the old copies of this author, the word afraid is always thus spelt; I suppose, according to the vulgar pronunciation. Steevens.
Afrard is from to fear, by the old form of the language, as ar. bungred, from to bunger. So adry, for thirsty. JOHNSON.
To Bottom, thou art chang'd! what do I Joe on thee?] It is plain by Bottom's answer, that Snout mentioned an ass's bead. Therefore we should read,
Snout. O Bottom, thou art cbanged! wbat do I see on ther? An ass's head ? JOHNSON.