Page images

Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves : to bring in,-God shield us ka 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 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


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 things :—that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber ; for, you know, Pyramus and Thisbe 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.

life for yours.

[ocr errors]

Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.

Bot. 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 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 Thisbe, 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 loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisbe 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 home-spuns have we swag-

gering 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. - Thisbe, stand forth.
Pyr. Thisbe, the flowers of odious savours

Quin. Odours, odours.'

Pyr. – Odours savours sweet: So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe, dear. But, hark, a voice ! stay thou but here awhile, And by and by I will to thee appear.' [Exit. Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here !

[Exit. This. Must I speak now?

Quin. Ay, marry, must you ; for 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.

you must

Pyramus, enter : your cue 18 past; it is never tire.'

Re-enter Puck, and BOTTOM, with an ass's head This. 0!' As true as truest horse, that yet

would never tire.' Pyr. 'If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only

thine.'Quin. O monstrous ! O strange! we are haunted Pray, masters fly, masters !-help!

[Exeunt Clowns. Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you 'bout 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 asshead 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. I will walk

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


The ousel-cock, so black of hue,

With orange-tawny bill ;
The throstle with his note so true,

The wren with little quill ;

Tita. [Awaking.) 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 ?

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »