Imágenes de páginas

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

Such tricks hath strong imagination,

That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or, in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush suppos'd a bear!

Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigur'd so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images,

And grows to something of great constancy;

But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.—

Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA. Joy, gentle friends! joy, and fresh days of love

Accompany your hearts!


More than to us

Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!

The. Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have, To wear away this long age of three hours,

Between our after-supper and bedtime ?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?

What revels are in hand? Is there no play,

To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

[blocks in formation]

The. Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?

Philost. There is a brief,1 how many sports are ripe ;
Make choice of which your highness will see first.

[Giving a paper. The. [Reads.] The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung, By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.'

We'll none of that: that have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

"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.'

Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
That is, hot ice and wonderous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?

Philost. A play there is, my lord, some ten words long;

Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious: for in all the play
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?

Philost. 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.

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.

I will hear that play;

For never anything can be amiss,

When simpleness and duty tender it.

Go, bring them in; and take your places, ladies.


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,
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 saucy and audacious eloquence.

Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity,
In least speak most, to my capacity.


Philost. So please your grace, the prologue is address'd.
The. Let him approach.

[Flourish of trumpets.


Enter Prologue.

If we offend, it is with our good-will.

That you 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,

All for your delight,

Our true intent is.

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 LION, as in dumb show.3

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.

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 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:

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.

[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 lime, this rough-cast, and this stone, doth shew
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!



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

O night, which ever art when day is not!

O night, O 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,

Shew me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.

[Wall holds up his fingers.

« AnteriorContinuar »