SCENE I. The Wood. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
[Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.]
Are we all met?
Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal. This
green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in
action, as we will do it before the duke.
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
There are things in this comedy of 'Pyramus and Thisby' that will never
please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide.
How answer you that?
By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
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.
Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and
No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
I fear it, I promise you.
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.
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
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
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 Thisbe meet by moonlight.
Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out moonshine, find out
Yes, it doth shine that night.
Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber-window, where we
play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.
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.
You can never bring in a wall.--What say you, Bottom?
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.
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.]
What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too perhaps, if I see
Speak, Pyramus.--Thisby, stand forth.
'Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,'
'--odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee
A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here!
Must I speak now?
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,
Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as
truest horse, that would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.'
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.'
[Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.]
O,'--As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.'
'If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine:--'
O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters!
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,
horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them to make me afeard.
O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on thee?
What do you see? you see an ass-head of your own, do you?
Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.
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
and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.
The ousel cock, so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
with his note so true,
The wren with little quill.
What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer
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?
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again;
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth
On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee.
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.
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have
enough to serve mine own turn.
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
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me,
I'll give thee fairies to attend on
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.--
Peasblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!
[Enter Four Fairies.]
Where shall we go?
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and
The honey bags steal from the humble-bees,
And, for night-tapers, crop their
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed and
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moonbeams from his
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
I cry your worships mercy, heartily.--I beseech your
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?
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?
Good Master Mustardseed, 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
Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon, methinks, looks
with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower;
Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.