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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 saw rehears'd, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion 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'
With this same play, against your nuptial.

The. And we will hear it.

Phil. 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 sport in their intents,"
Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain,
To do you service.

The." I will hear that play ;
For never any thing can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in ;-and take your places, ladies.

(Exit Phil.
Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd,
And duty in his service perishing.

The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
Hip. He says, 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 duty cannot do,
Noble respect takes it in might, not merit."
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,

(1) Tbat is, udexercised, unpractised memories. STEEVENS.

12) To intend and to attend were anciently synonymous. Intents therefore may he put for the object of their allenlion. We still say a person is intent on his business. STEEVENS.

(3) And what dutifulness tries to perform without ability, regardrul generosity receives with complacency, estimating it not by the actual merit of the performance, but by sha: it might have been, vere the abilities of the performers equal to their zeal. --Such, I thiuk, is the true interpretation of this passage; for which the reader is indebted partly to Dr. Jobnson, and partly to Mr. Steevens.


Vol. III.

'Throttle their practis’d accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome : Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence, yet, I pick'd a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
Of sawcy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity,
In least, speak most, to my capacity.

Re-enter PhilOSTRATE.
Phil. So please your grace, the prologue is addrest.
The. Let him approach. (Flourish of trumpets.

Enter Prologue.
Prol. If we offend, it is with our good will.

should think, we come not to offend, But with good will. To shew our simple skill,

That is the true beginning of our end. Consider then, we come but in despite.

We do not come as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight,

We are not here. That you should here repent you,
The actors are at hand; and, by their show,
You shall know all, that you are like to know.

The. This fellow doth not stand upon points.

Lys. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt; he knows not the stop.

A good moral, my lord : It is not enough to speak, but to speak true.

Hip. Indeed he hath played on this prologue, like a child on a recorder;" a sound, but not in government.

The. His speech was like a tangled chain ; nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is next? Enter PYRAMUs and Thisbe, Wall, MOONSHINE, and Li

on, as in dumb show. Prol. “Gentles, perchance, you wonder at this show;

• But wonder on, till truth make all things plain. • This man is Pyramus, if you would know :

• This beauteous lady Thisby is, certáin.

[4] Recorder,--a kind of dute. Shakespeare introduces the same instrument is Hamlet ; and Milton says:-. To the sound of soft recorders." STEEVENS.

(5) A burlesque was bere inteoded on the frequent recurrence of certain" as a bungling rbyme io poelry more ancient than the age of Shakespeare.


'This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present

Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder: And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are content

• To whisper; at the which let no man wonder. 'This man, with lantern, dog, and bush of thorn,

• Presenteth moon-shine : for, if you will know, By moon-shine did these lovers think no scorn

• To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo. This grisly beast, which by name lion hight, The trusty Thisby, coming first by night, Did scare away, or rather did affright: * And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall ;.

• Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain : * Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall,

• And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain : "Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,"

• He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast; And, Thisby tarrying in mulberry shade,

• His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, • Let Lion, Moon-shine, Wall, and lovers twain, • At large discourse, wbile here they do remain.'

(Ex. Prol. This. Lion, and Moon-SHINE. The. I wonder, if the lion be to speak.

Dem. No wonder, my lord : one lion may, when many asses do.

Wall. In this same interlude, it doth befall, 'That I, one Snout by name, present a wall : And such a wall, as I would have you think, • That had it in a cranny'd hole, or chink,

(6) Hight, in old English, signifies—is called. I think it probable that a line, following the words-by night, has been lost. MALONE. (7) Mr. Upton rightly observes, that Shakespeare in this line ridicules tbe affectation or begioning many words with the same letter. He might have remarked the same of--The raging rocks, &c. Gascoigne, contemporary with our poet, remarks and blames the same afectation. JOHNSON.

This alliteration seems to bave reached the height of its fashion in the reign of
Henry VIII. The following stanza is quoted from a poem On the Fall and evil
Success of Rebellion, written in 1537, by Wilfride Holme:

* Loe, leprous lurdeins, lubricke in loquacitie,
" Vah, vaporous villeins, with venim vulnerate,
* Proh, prating parenticides, plexious to pinnositie,
“ Fie, frantike fabulators, furibund, and fatuate,
“ Out, oblatrant, oblict, obstacie, and obsecate,
"Ah addict algoes, in acerbitie acclamant,
* Magoall in mischief, malicious to mugilate,

" Repriving your Roy so renowned and radiant." In Tusser's Husbandry, p. 104, there is a poem of which every word begins with a T. STEEYENS.


• Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
• Did whisper often very secretly.
• This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone, doth show
• That I am that same wall; the truth is so.
* And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
• Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.'

The. Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

Dem. It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord. The. Pyramus draws near the wall : silence!

Pyr. O grim-look'd night! 0 night with hue so black !

• night, which ever art, when day is not ! • O night, 0 night, alack, alack, alack,

I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot ! • And thou, 0 wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,

• That stand'st between her father's ground and mine ; • Thou wall, O wall, O sweet, and lovely wall, Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.

(Wall holds up his fingers. • Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee wall for this !

• But what see I ? No Thisby do I see. O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss ; • Curst be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

The. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

Pyr. No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's cue : she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you :-Yonder she comes.

Enter Thisbe. This. • wall, full often hast thou heard my moans, • For parting my fair Pyramus and me : My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones ; Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.'

Pyr. • I see a voice : now will I to the chink, * To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. • Thishy!'

This. My love ! thou art my love, I think.' Pyr. “Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace ; And like Limander am I trusty still.” (8) Limarder and Helen, are spoken by the blundering player, for Leander and Ruro. Siaraius and Procru, for Cephalus and Procrig. JOHNSON.

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This. And I like Helen, till the fates me kill.'
Pyr. “Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.'
This. As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.'
Pyr. O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.'
This. •I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.'
Pyr. •Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straight-

way ?


This. • Tide life, tide death, I come without delay.' Wall. · Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so; And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.'

(Exeunt WALL, PYRAMUS, and THISBE. The. Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.

Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning.

Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

The. The best in this kind are but shadows : and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion.

Enter Lion and MOONSHINE. Lion. 'You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear · The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,

• When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
"Then know, that I, one Snug the joiner, am
'A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam ::
• For if I should as lion come in strife
• Into this place, 'twere pity of my life.'

The. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.
Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour.
The., True ; and a goose for his discretion.

Dem. Not so, my lord: for his valour cannot carry his discretion ; and the fox carries the goose.

The. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his val

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(9) That is, that I am Snug the joiner; and neither a lion, nor a lion's dam.

Dr. Johnson has justly observed jo a note on Aul's well that ends well, that nor in the phraseology of our author's time often related to two members of a senteoce, thougb only expressed in the latter. So in the play just mentioned :

contempt nor bitterness
" Were in his pride or sharpness." MALONE.

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