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Bot. Not a whit; I have a device to make all well. 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 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 joiner.3
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?
Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac ; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.
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 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 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; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper. Quin. If that may be, then all is well. mother's son, and rehearse your parts.
Come, sit down, every
when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and so every one according to his cue.1
Enter PUCK behind.
Puck. What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here, So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
Quin. Speak, Pyramus :-Thisby, stand forth.
'Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet'
Quin. Odours, odours.
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.-
Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here!
This. Must I speak now?
[Aside, and exit.
Quin. Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
'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,
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.' 'O-As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.' 'If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine :'
Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.
Quin. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! help!
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,
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? Bot. What do you see? you see an ass-head of your own, do you? [Exit SNOUT.
Quin. Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.
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.
The ousel-cock,5 so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill;
Tita. [Awaking.] What angel wakes me from my flowery-bed? Bot. [Sings.] The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
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,
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 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.
Tita. Out of this wood do not desire to go;
The summer still doth tend upon my state,
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee;
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.—
Peas-blossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustard-seed!
Where shall we go?
Bot. I cry your worships mercy, heartily.-I beseech your worship's name.
Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you.-Your name, honest gentleman ?
Bot. I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peasblossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
Bot. Good Master Mustard-seed, I know your patience well: that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Mustard-seed.
Tita. Come, wait upon him; lead him to my