« PreviousContinue »
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. Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in, God shield us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearfull 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 joiner.
Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard 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 play?
Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find out moon-shine, find out moon-shine.
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 lanthorn, and say, he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of moon-shine. 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 chinks of a wall.
Snug. You never can 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; 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, 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.
Quin. Speak, Pyramus :—Thisby, stand forth.
sweet, Quin. Odours, odours. Pyr.
Odours savours sweet : So doth thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.But, hark, a voice! stay thou but here a while,
And by and by I will to thee appear. [Exit. Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here!
[Aside.-Exit (1) Thicket.
This. Must. I speak now? Quin. Ay, marry, must you : for you must 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 colorir like the red-rose on triumphant brier, Most briskly juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire, I'U 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, cues2 and all. -Pýramus 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 :-
Quin. O monstrous ! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! Ay, masters ! help! [Ete. 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; 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, 3
Re-enter Snout. Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
(1) Young man. (2) The last words of the preceding speech, which serve as a hint to him who is to speak next.
Bot. What do you see? you see an ass's head 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.
(Sings. The ousel-cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The wren with little quill ;
[Waking. Bot. The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plain-song cuckool gray,
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 ?
Tita. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again : Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note, So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape; And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me, On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee.
Bot. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that: and yet, to say 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,2 upon occasion.
Tita. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
(1) The cuckoo, with his uniform note.
Bot. Not so, neither : but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
Tita. Out of this wood do not desire to go; Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. I am a spirit, of no common rate; The summer still doth tend upon my state, And I do love thee: therefore, go with me; I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee; And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep: And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep: And I will purge thy mortal grossness so, That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.Peas-blossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustard-seed!
Enter four Fairies. 1 Fai. Ready 2 Fai.
And I. 3 Fai.
And I. 4 Fai.
Where shall we go?
1 Fai. Hail, mortal!
Bot. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily.--1 beseech, your worship's name.