ACT 3, SCENE 1: The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.


BOTTOM: Are we all met?

QUINCE: 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.                          [5]

BOTTOM: Peter Quince,--

QUINCE: What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

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                      [10]
abide. How answer you that?

SNOUT: By'r lakin, a parlous fear.

STARVELING: I believe we must leave the killing out,
when all is done.

BOTTOM: Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.                             [15]
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                                 [20]
them out of fear.

QUINCE: Well, we will have such a prologue; and it
shall be written in eight and six.

BOTTOM: No, make it two more; let it be written in
eight and eight.                                                                                           [25]

SNOUT: Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

STARVELING: I fear it, I promise you.

BOTTOM: Masters, you ought to consider with yours-
elves: to bring in--God shield us!--a lion among
ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a                               [30]
more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and
we ought to look to't.

SNOUT: Therefore another prologue must tell he is
not a lion.

BOTTOM: Nay, you must name his name, and half his                              [35]
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                       [40]
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.                                                                                                           [45]

QUINCE: 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 moon-

SNOUT: Doth the moon shine that night we play our                                 [50]

BOTTOM: A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac;
find out moonshine, find out moonshine.

QUINCE: Yes, it doth shine that night.

BOTTOM: Why, then may you leave a casement of the                               [55]
great chamber window, where we play, open, and
the moon may shine in at the casement.

QUINCE: Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of
thorns and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure,
or to present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there                       [60]
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.

SNOUT: You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
Bottom?                                                                                                        [65]

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.                                                                 [70]

QUINCE: 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 ac-
cording to his cue.                                                                                      [75]

Enter PUCK behind.

PUCK: What hempen home-spuns 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.

QUINCE: Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.                                             [80]

BOTTOM: Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,--

QUINCE: Odours, odours.

BOTTOM: ----odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,                                     [85]
And by and by I will to thee appear.

PUCK: A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.

FLUTE: Must I speak now?

QUINCE: Ay, marry, must you; for you must under-
stand he goes but to see a noise that he heard,                                    [90]
and is to come again.

FLUTE: 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 yet would never tire,                              [95]
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.

QUINCE: '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.'                                               [100]

FLUTE: O,--As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.

Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.

BOTTOM: If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.

QUINCE: O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted.
Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help!


PUCK: I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,                                         [105]
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,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.                                [110]

BOTTOM: Why do they run away? this is a knavery of
them to make me afeard.

Re-enter SNOUT.

SNOUT: O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see
on thee?

BOTTOM: What do you see? you see an asshead of                                     [115]
your own, do you?

[Exit SNOUT.]

Re-enter QUINCE.

QUINCE: Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art

BOTTOM: I see their knavery: this is to make an ass
of me; to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir                         [120]
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
The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,                                                                        [125]
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,--

TITANIA: [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

BOTTOM: [Sings.]
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,                                                     [130]
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                           [135]
'cuckoo' never so?

TITANIA: 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                           [140]
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

BOTTOM: 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                               [145]
not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon

TITANIA: Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

BOTTOM: Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to
get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine                           [150]
own turn.

TITANIA: 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 state;                                        [155]
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
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                                             [160]
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!



COBWEB:                           And I.

MOTH:                           And I.

MUSTARDSEED:                           And I.

ALL:                           Where shall we go?

TITANIA: Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;                                            [165]
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,                                   [170]
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

PEASEBLOSSOM: Hail, mortal!                                                                         [175]


MOTH: Hail!


BOTTOM: I cry your worship's mercy, heartily: I
beseech your worship's name.                                                                [180]

COBWEB: Cobweb.

BOTTOM: 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?

PEASEBLOSSOM: Peaseblossom.                                                                       [185]

BOTTOM: I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash,
your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father.
Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?

MUSTARDSEED: Mustardseed.                                                                         [190]

BOTTOM: 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 your more acquaintance, good                                [195]
Master Mustardseed.

TITANIA: 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,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.                                                       [200]
Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.


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