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let not him, that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions, nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath ; and I do not doubt, but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words ; away ; go, away.
SCENE 1.-The same. An Apartment in the Palace of
THESEUS. Enter Theseus, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords, and Attendants.
Hippolyta. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
The. More strange than true. I never may believe
Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA.
Joy, gentle friends ! joy, and fresh days of love,
Lys. More than to us
The. Come now; what masks, what dances shall we have,
Phil. Here, mighty Theseus.
The. Say, what abridgment have you for this evening ?
Phil. There is a brief, how many sports are ripe ;
[Giving a paper.
The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage. That is an old device; and it was play'd When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceas'd in beggary. That is some satire, keen and critical, Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,
And his love Thisbe ; very tragical mirth.
Phil. A play there is, my lord, some ten words long ;
 By abridgment our author may mean a dramatic performance, which crowds the events of years into a few hours. STEEVENS.
17] i. e. a short account or enumeration. STEEVENS.
“0, I am nothing if not critical." STEEVENS.
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
The. What are they that do play it?
Phil. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens here,
The. And we will hear it.
Phil. No, my noble lord,
The. I will hear that play ;
[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,
 That is, unexercised, unpractised memories. STEEVENS.
 To intend and to attend were anciently synonymous. Intents therefore may be put for the object of their attention. We still say a person is intent on his business. STEEVENS.
 And what dutifulness tries to perform without ability, regardful generosity receives with complacency, estimating it not by the actual merit of the performance, but by what it might have been, were the abilities of the performers equal to their zeal.--Such, I think, is the true interpretation of this passage; for which the reader is indebted partly to Dr. Johnson, and partly to Mr. Steevens.
Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears,
should think, we come not to offend, But with good will. To shew our simple skill,
That is the true, beginning of our end.
We do not come as minding to content 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, certain."
 Recorder,-a kind of flute. Shakespeare introduces the same instrument in Hamlet ; and Milton says :--" To the sound of soft recorders." STEEVENS.
(5) A burlesque was here intended on the frequent recurrence of “ cerlain" as 8 bungling rhyme in poetry 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, while 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,
 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 the affectation of beginning 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 affectation. JOHNSON.
This alliteration seems to have reached the height of its fashion in the reign of
" Loe, leprous lurdeins, lubricke in loquacitie,
“ Repriving your Roy so renowned and radiant.” In Tusser's Husbandry, p. 19.4, there is a poem of which 79ry word begins with a T, STEEYENS.