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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,
Throttle their practised 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 saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.


Phil. So please your grace, the Prologue is address’d.
The. Let him approach.

[Flourish of trumpets.

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Enter QUINCE for the Prologue. Pro. If we offend, it is with our good will.

That you should think, we come not to offend, But with good will. To show 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 his 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 Lion. Pro. 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 certain. This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present 130

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 lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,

Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn

To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;

140 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, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
At large discourse, while here they do remain.

150 [Exeunt Prologue, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine. 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 in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show 160
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.

Enter PYRAMUS. The. Pyramus draws near the wall: silence! Pyr. O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so black! L.

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

I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot!
And thou, O 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 well for this !

But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss !

Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

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

181 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.

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, 190

To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. Thisby!

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.

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 straightway ?
This. 'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay. 201

[Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe. Wall. Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so: And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.

[Exit. 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 man and a lion.

213 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 lio come in
Into this place, 'twere pity on 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 valour; for the goose carries not the fox. It is well : leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

230 Moon. This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head.

The. He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference.

Moon. This lanthorn doth the horned moon present; Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.

The. This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the man i’ the moon?

Dem. He dares not come there for the candle; for, you see, it is already in snuff.

241 Hip. I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!

The. It appears, by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time.

Lys. Proceed, Moon.

Moon. All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thornbush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.

249 Dem. Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for all these are in the moon. But, silence! here comes Thisbe.


This. This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?
Lion. [Roaring] Oh---

[Thisbe runs of Dem. Well roared, Lion,

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