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And all my powers address your love and might
To bonour Helen, and to be her knight.
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
• Of all loves. We have this phrase in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor,' and in Othello.'
[“ I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.”]
Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, Snout, and STARVELING.
Bot. Are we all met?
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. 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. Bor. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in, God shield
us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing15: 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 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 joiner16. 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 Thisby meet by
moonlight. Snug. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play? Bor. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac ; find out moonshine 17, find
out moonshine. QUIN. Yes, it doth shine that night. Bor. 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; or let him hold
By ’rlakin—by our ladykin-our little lady. • Parlous-perilous.
Eight and six-alternate verses of eight and six syllables.
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 cue.
Enter Puck behind.
So near the cradle of the fairy queen ?
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
Pyr. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet.
odours savours sweet:
[Exit. 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 noisea that he heard, and is to come again. Tais. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
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. 0,-As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
Pyr. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine :-
[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;
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 II., Scene 3.)
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Erit. Bot. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to make me afeard.
SNOUT. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
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.
[Sings.] The oosel-cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill 18,
The wren with b little quill ;
[Waking. Bot. The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
And dares not answer, nayfor, 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;
On the first view, to say, to swear, I love theec.
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 d 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.
A88-head. So the quartos; and the folio, even more distinctly—" Asse-head."— The carefullest collation sometimes misses these small matters, and gives us “ ass's head."
• With, in the quartos. The folio, and.
• This is the reading of the preceding five lines in the quarto printed by Fisher. In that by Roberts, and in the folio, two of the lines, namely, the third and fourth of Titania's speech, are transposed.
a Gleek. This verb is generally used in the sense of to scoff ; but we apprehend Bottom only means to say that he can joke.