A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 5, Scene 1



           Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and
           PHILOSTRATE, [Lords and Attendants].

      HIPPOLYTA
1. that: that which, what.
  1   'Tis strange my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.

      THESEUS
2. may: can.
  2   More strange than true: I never may believe
3. antic: grotesque. fairy toys: trifling stories about fairy doings.
  3   These antic fables, nor these fairy toys.
  4   Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
5. shaping fantasies: fertile imaginations. apprehend: perceive, imagine. 6. comprehends: takes in, includes.
  5   Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
  6   More than cool reason ever comprehends.
  7   The lunatic, the lover and the poet
8. compact: formed, composed.
  8   Are of imagination all compact:
  9   One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
 10   That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
11. Helen: Helen of Troy, a paragon or beauty. in a brow of Egypt: in a gypsy's face.
 11   Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
 12   The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
 13   Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
 14   And as imagination bodies forth
 15   The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
 16   Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
 17   A local habitation and a name.
 18   Such tricks hath strong imagination,
19. would but: merely wishes to.
 19   That if it would but apprehend some joy,
20. comprehends some bringer of that joy: has no trouble including or creating in his fantasy some source of the joy. 21. some fear: something to be feared.
 20   It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
 21   Or in the night, imagining some fear,
 22   How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

      HIPPOLYTA
 23   But all the story of the night told over,
 24   And all their minds transfigured so together,
25. More . . . images: the multitude of witness statements seem to testify to something more than mere figments of the imagination (fancy). 26. grows to: arrives at. constancy: consistency, hence certainty. 27. howsoever: in any event. admirable: to be wondered at.
 25   More witnesseth than fancy's images
 26   And grows to something of great constancy;
 27   But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

      THESEUS
 28   Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.

           Enter lovers, LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS,
           HERMIA, and HELENA.

 29   Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love
 30   Accompany your hearts!

      LYSANDER
 30                                            More than to us
 31   Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!

      THESEUS
 32   Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
 33   To wear away this long age of three hours
34. after-supper: light repast following supper.
 34   Between our after-supper and bed-time?
 35   Where is our usual manager of mirth?
 36   What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
 37   To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
 38   Call Philostrate.

      PHILOSTRATE
 38                          Here, mighty Theseus.

      THESEUS
39. abridgment: pastime (to abridge or shorten the evening).
 39   Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
 40   What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
 41   The lazy time, if not with some delight?

      PHILOSTRATE
42. brief: short list; abstract. ripe: ready for presentation.






44. battle with the Centaurs: — One of the stories told about Theseus was a battle between the Centaurs . . . more 47. glory of my kinsman: One version of the tradition placed Hercules at the battle against the Centaurs. He and Theseus (according to Plutarch's The Life of Theseus) were kinsmen.
 42   There is a brief how many sports are ripe:
 43   Make choice of which your highness will see first.

           [Giving a paper.]

      THESEUS  [Reads.]
 44   "The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
 45   By an Athenian eunuch to the harp."
 46   We'll none of that: that have I told my love,
 47   In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

           [Reads.]

48-49. The riot . . . in their rage: Orpheus, the Thracian musician, was torn to pieces by Bacchanals at the height of their orgiastic frenzy. 50. device: show.




52-53. The thrice . . . beggary: Perhaps a topical allusion to Spenser's Tears of the Muses, 1591,    . . . more 54. critical: biting. 55. Not sorting with: not appropriate to.
 48   "The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
 49   Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage."
 50   That is an old device; and it was play'd
 51   When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.

           [Reads.]

 52   "The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
 53   Of Learning, late deceased in beggary."
 54   That is some satire, keen and critical,
 55   Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

           [Reads.]

 56   "A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
 57   And his love Thisby; very tragical mirth."
 58   Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
59. strange: perhaps an error, replacing some word (such as black), which, when combined with snow would produce an oxymoron with discord similar to hot ice.
 59   That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
 60   How shall we find the concord of this discord?

      PHILOSTRATE
 61   A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
 62   Which is as brief as I have known a play;
 63   But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
 64   Which makes it tedious; for in all the play
65. fitted: well cast.
 65   There is not one word apt, one player fitted:
 66   And tragical, my noble lord, it is;
 67   For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
 68   Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
 69   Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
 70   The passion of loud laughter never shed.

      THESEUS
 71   What are they that do play it?

      PHILOSTRATE
72. Hard-handed men: men who work with their hands.
 72   Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
 73   Which never labor'd in their minds till now,
74. toil'd: taxed. unbreathed memories: unexercised memory (unexercised brain implied). 75. against your nuptial: in preparation for your wedding.
 74   And now have toil'd their unbreathed memories
 75   With this same play, against your nuptial.

      THESEUS
 76   And we will hear it.

      PHILOSTRATE
 76                                     No, my noble lord;
 77   It is not for you: I have heard it over,
 78   And it is nothing, nothing in the world;
79. find sport in their intents: find amusement in their intention. 80. Extremely stretch'd: strained to the uttermost. conn'd: memorized.
 79   Unless you can find sport in their intents,
 80   Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,
 81   To do you service.

      THESEUS
 81                                 I will hear that play;
 82   For never anything can be amiss,
83. simpleness: sincerity.
 83   When simpleness and duty tender it.
 84   Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.

           [Exit PHILOSTRATE.]

      HIPPOLYTA
85. wretchedness o'er charged: feebleness or incompetence overburdened. 86. And duty in his service perishing: i.e., Hippolyta does not want to watch a man trying, but failing in his service.
 85   I love not to see wretchedness o'er charged
 86   And duty in his service perishing.

      THESEUS
 87   Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.

      HIPPOLYTA
88. in this kind: of this sort.
 88   He says they can do nothing in this kind.

      THESEUS
 89   The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
 90   Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:
91. noble respect: generous consideration.
 91   And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
92. Takes it in might, not merit: judges the play in relation to the abilities of the performers, not the merit of the performance. 93. clerks: scholars.
 92   Takes it in might, not merit.
 93   Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
 94   To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
 95   Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
 96   Make periods in the midst of sentences,
97. practic'd accent: i.e., rehearsed speech; or, usual way of speaking.
 97   Throttle their practic'd accent in their fears
 98   And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,
 99   Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
100   Out of this silence yet I pick'd a welcome;
101. fearful: timorous, frightened.
101   And in the modesty of fearful duty
102   I read as much as from the rattling tongue
103   Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
104-105. Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity / In least speak most, to my capacity.: i.e., Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity, though valued least, speak most to my judgment.
104   Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
105   In least speak most, to my capacity.

           [Enter PHILOSTRATE.]

      PHILOSTRATE
106. the Prologue is address'd: i.e., the speaker of the prologue is ready.
106   So please your grace, the Prologue is address'd.

      THESEUS
107   Let him approach.

           [Flourish of trumpets.]

           Enter [QUINCE for] the Prologue.

      Prologue
108   If we offend, it is with our good will.
109   That you should think, we come not to offend,
110   But with good will. To show our simple skill,
111   That is the true beginning of our end.
112. despite: ill will, defiance of your wishes.
112   Consider then we come but in despite.
113. minding: intending.
113   We do not come as minding to content you,
114   Our true intent is. All for your delight
115   We are not here. That you should here repent you,
116   The actors are at hand; and by their show,
117   You shall know all that you are like to know.

      THESEUS
118. stand upon points: (1) bother about trifles; (2) mind his punctuation. —The humor of Quince's speech is in the way he stops where he should start and vice-versa, as though his script were full of errors in punctuation. 119. rough: unbroken. 120. stop: (1) reining in a horse to a quick halt; (2) period. 121. true: (1) the truth; (2) correctly.
118   This fellow doth not stand upon points.

      LYSANDER
119   He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt; he knows
120   not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not
121   enough to speak, but to speak true.

      HIPPOLYTA
122   Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child
123. recorder: wind instrument resembling a flute or flageolet. 123-124. in / government: in control, managed.
123   on a recorder— a sound, but not in
124   government.

      THESEUS
125-126. nothing / impair'd: i.e., still unbroken (nothing means "in no respect, not at all").
125   His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothing
126   impair'd, but all disordered. Who is next?

           Enter PYRAMUS and THISBY and WALL
           and MOONSHINE and LION.

      Prologue
127   Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
128   But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
129   This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
130   This beauteous lady Thisby is certain.
131   This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
132   Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;
133   And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
134   To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.
135   This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
136   Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
137. think no scorn: think (it) no disgrace.
137   By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
138   To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
139. hight: is called.
139   This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
140   The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
141   Did scare away, or rather did affright;
142. her mantle she did fall: she let her sleeveless cloak fall.
142   And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
143   Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
144. tall: brave.
144   Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
145. Thisby's mantle slain: Thisby's bloody cloak.
145   And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain:
146   Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
147. broach'd: stabbed.
147   He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast;
148   And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
149   His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
150   Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
151. At large: in full, at length.
151   At large discourse, while here they do remain.

           Exit [with Pyramus,] Thisby, Lion, and Moonshine.

      THESEUS
152   I wonder if the lion be to speak.

      DEMETRIUS
153. No wonder: it will be no wonder if he does.
153   No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many
154   asses do.

      Wall
155   In this same interlude it doth befall
156   That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
157   And such a wall, as I would have you think,
158   That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
159   Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
160   Did whisper often very secretly.
161   This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
162   That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
163. right and sinister: running right and left, i.e., horizontal.
163   And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
164   Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.

      THESEUS
165   Would you desire lime and hair to speak
166   better?

      DEMETRIUS
167. wittiest: cleverest. partition: (1) wall (2) section of a learned treatise or oration.
167   It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
168   discourse, my lord.

           [Enter PYRAMUS.]

      THESEUS
169   Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!

      Pyramus
170. grim-look'd: grim-looking.
170   O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so black!
171   O night, which ever art when day is not!
172   O night, O night! alack, alack, alack,
173   I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot!
174   And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
175   That stand'st between her father's ground and mine!
176   Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
177   Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne!

           [Wall holds up his fingers.]

178   Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
179   But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
180   O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!
181   Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

      THESEUS
182. sensible: capable of feeling.
182   The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse
183. again: in return.
183   again.

      Pyramus
184   No, in truth, sir, he should not. 'Deceiving me'
185   is Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am to
186   spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will
187. fall pat: happen exactly.

Flute/Thisby Snout/Wall and Bottom/Pyramus
187   fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.

           Enter THISBY.

      THISBY
188   O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
189   For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
190   My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones,
191   Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.

      Pyramus
192   I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
193. an: if.
193   To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
194   Thisby!

      THISBY
194. My love thou art, my love I think: The QI punctuation is here retained, although it "doth not stand upon points. 5.1.118"
194                   My love thou art, my love I think.

      Pyramus
195. lover's grace: i.e., gracious lover.
195   Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
196. Limander: blunder for "Leander," who drowned while swimming across the Hellespont (now called the Dardanelles) to visit his lover Hero.
196   And, like Limander, am I trusty still.

      THISBY
197. Helen: blunder for "Hero."
197   And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.

      Pyramus
198. Shafalus, Procrus: blunders for "Cephalus" and "Procris," also famous lovers.
198   Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.

      THISBY
199   As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.

      Pyramus
200. vild: vile.
200   O kiss me through the hole of this vild wall!

      THISBY
201   I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.

      Pyramus
202   Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?

      THISBY
203. 'Tide: betide, come.
203   'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.

           [Exeunt Pyramus and Thisby.]

      Wall
204   Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
205   And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.

           [Exit.]

      THESEUS
206. Now is the moon used between the two neighbours: i.e., now that the wall is down, the two lovers will see each other by the light of Moonshine.
206   Now is the moon used between the two
207   neighbours.

      DEMETRIUS
208-209. when walls are so / willful to hear: when walls are so willful (act in a self-willed manner) as to hear or so perverse as to hear without warning: secretly or wilfully informing the parents—with humorous allusion to the proverb "Walls have ears" (certainly true of Snout!).
208   No remedy, my lord, when walls are so
209   willful to hear without warning.

      HIPPOLYTA
210   This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

      THESEUS
211. in this kind: of this profession, i.e., actors. shadows: mere likenesses or representations, without substance.
211   The best in this kind are but shadows; and the
212   worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

      HIPPOLYTA
213   It must be your imagination then, and not
214   theirs.

      THESEUS
215-216. If we imagine no worse of them than they of / themselves, they may pass for excellent men: Clever comment on the character of actors, Shakespeare's "co-workers."
215   If we imagine no worse of them than they of
216   themselves, they may pass for excellent men.
217   Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a
218   lion.

           Enter LION and MOONSHINE.

      Lion
219   You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
220   The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
221   May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
222   When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
223   Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
224. lion fell: cruel lion.  nor else no lion's dam: —Snug means to reassure everyone that he's not really a lion, gets his words mixed up and says he is not really the mother (dam) of a lion.
224   A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam;
225   For, if I should as lion come in strife
226   Into this place, 'twere pity on my life.

      THESEUS
227. gentle: polite.
227   A very gentle beast, of a good con-
228   science.

      DEMETRIUS
229   The very best at a beast, my lord, that
230   e'er I saw.

      LYSANDER
231. very fox for his valour: i.e., more crafty than courageous.
231   This lion is a very fox for his valour.

      THESEUS
232. goose for his discretion: as discreet as the honking of a goose, i.e., more foolish than crafty.
232   True; and a goose for his discretion.

      DEMETRIUS
233   Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry
234   his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.

      THESEUS
235   His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his
236   valour; for the goose carries not the fox. It
237   is well: leave it to his discretion, and let us
238   listen to the Moon.

      Moonshine
239. lanthorn: a variant of "lantern," pronounced "lant-horn," influenced by the fact that old-fashioned lanterns had sides of transparent horn.
239   This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;—

      DEMETRIUS
240-241. on his head: i.e., as a sign of cuckoldry (having an adulterous wife) and foolishness.
240   He should have worn the horns on his
241   head.

      THESEUS
242   He is no crescent, and his horns are
243   invisible within the circumference.

      Moonshine
244. horned moon: cresent moon.
244   This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
245   Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.

      THESEUS
246   This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man
247   should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the
248   man i' the moon?

      DEMETRIUS
249. for the candle: on account of the candle.
249   He dares not come there for the candle; for, you
250. in snuff: (1) offended; (2) in need of snuffing.
250   see, it is already in snuff.

      HIPPOLYTA
251   I am aweary of this moon: would he would
252   change!

      THESEUS
253   It appears, by his small light of discretion, that
254   he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all
255. stay: wait for.
255   reason, we must stay the time.

      LYSANDER
256   Proceed, Moon.

      Moonshine
257   All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the
258   lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this
259   thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.

      DEMETRIUS
260   Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for all
261   these are in the moon. But, silence! here comes
262   Thisby.

           Enter THISBY.

      THISBY
263   This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?

      Lion  [Roaring.]
264   O!

           [Thisby runs off.]

      DEMETRIUS
265   Well roared, Lion.

      THESEUS
266   Well run, Thisby.

      HIPPOLYTA
267   Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a
268   good grace.

           [The Lion shakes THISBY's mantle, and exit.]

      THESEUS
269. mous'd: shaken, torn (like a mouse in the jaws of a cat).
269   Well mous'd, Lion.

      DEMETRIUS
270   And then came Pyramus.

      LYSANDER
271   And so the lion vanished.

           Enter PYRAMUS.

      Pyramus
272   Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
273   I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright;
274   For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
275   I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.
276. spite: malicious stroke of fortune.
276         But stay, O spite!
277         But mark, poor knight,
278. dole: grievous sight.
278       What dreadful dole is here!
279         Eyes, do you see?
280         How can it be?
281       O dainty duck! O dear!
282         Thy mantle good,
283         What, stain'd with blood!
284       Approach, ye Furies fell!
285         O Fates, come, come,
286. thread and thrum: warp in weaving and the loose ends of the warp; here, the complete thread (of life). 287. Quail: overpower. conclude: bring to an end. quell: kill, destroy.
286         Cut thread and thrum;
287       Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!

      THESEUS
288-289. passion: violent expression of sorrow. This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near to make a man look sad: i.e., if one had other reason to grieve, one might be sad, but not from this absurd portrayal of passion.
288   This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
289   go near to make a man look sad.

      HIPPOLYTA
290   Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.

      Pyramus
291   O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
292   Since lion vile hath here deflower'd my dear:
293   Which is—no, no—which was the fairest dame
294. cheer: Almost certainly the meaning here is "countenance." 295. confound: destroy (me).
294   That lived, that loved, that liked, that look'd with cheer.
295         Come, tears, confound;
296         Out, sword, and wound
297. pap: breast.
297       The pap of Pyramus;
298         Ay, that left pap,
299         Where heart doth hop:

                 [Stabs himself.]

300       Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
301         Now am I dead,
302         Now am I fled;
303       My soul is in the sky:
304-305. Tongue, lose thy light; / Moon take thy flight: Pyramus means to say, "Moon, lose thy light; Tongue take thy flight." "Tongue, take your flight" would mean "be made silent (by death)."
304         Tongue, lose thy light;
305         Moon take thy flight:

                 [Exit Moonshine.]

306       Now die, die, die, die, die.

           [Dies.]

      DEMETRIUS
307. No die but an ace: not a whole die but a single face—the one-spot. one: (I) a single person; (2) in a class by himself.
307   No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.

      LYSANDER
308   Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is
309   nothing.

      THESEUS
310   With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover,
311. ass: With pun on ace.
311   and prove an ass.

      HIPPOLYTA
312   How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisby comes
313   back and finds her lover?

      THESEUS
314   She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
315. passion: passionate speech.
315   her passion ends the play.

           [Enter THISBY.]

      HIPPOLYTA
316   Methinks she should not use a long one for
317   such a Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.

      DEMETRIUS
318-319. which ... which: whether ... or.
318   A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus,
319   which Thisby, is the better; he for a man, God
320. God warrant us . . . God bless us: —Both phrases meant "God save us from."
320   warrant us; she for a woman, God bless us.

      LYSANDER
321   She hath spied him already with those sweet
322   eyes.

      DEMETRIUS
323. means: moans, laments. videlicet: as follows, to wit.
323   And thus she means, videlicet

      THISBY
324         Asleep, my love?
325         What, dead, my dove?
326       O Pyramus, arise!
327         Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
328         Dead, dead? A tomb
329       Must cover thy sweet eyes.
330         These My lips,
331         This cherry nose,
332       These yellow cowslip cheeks,
333         Are gone, are gone:
334         Lovers, make moan:
335       His eyes were green as leeks.
336. Sisters Three: the Fates.
336         O Sisters Three,
337         Come, come to me,
338       With hands as pale as milk;
339         Lay them in gore,
340. shore: shorn.
340         Since you have shore
341       With shears his thread of silk.
342         Tongue, not a word:
343         Come, trusty sword;
344. imbrue: stain with blood.
344       Come, blade, my breast imbrue:

           [Stabs herself.]

345         And, farewell, friends;
346         Thus Thisby ends:
347       Adieu, adieu, adieu.

           [Dies.]

      THESEUS
348   Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the
349   dead.

      DEMETRIUS
350   Ay, and Wall too.

      BOTTOM  [Starting up.]
351    No, I assure you; the wall is down that
352   parted their fathers. Will it please you to
353-354. Bergomask dance: a rustic dance named from Bergamo, a province in the state of Venice.
353   see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask
354   dance between two of our company?

      THESEUS
355-356. no / excuse: no extenuation of faults.
355   No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
356   excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all
357   dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he
358   that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself
359   in Thisby's garter, it would have been a fine
360   tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably
361   discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your
362   epilogue alone.

           [A dance.]

363. told: counted, struck ("tolled").
363   The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
364   Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
365   I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
366. overwatch'd: stayed up too late.
366   As much as we this night have overwatch'd.
367. palpable-gross: palpably gross; obviously crude or dull. 368. heavy: drowsy, torpid, dull.
367   This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
368   The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
369   A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
370   In nightly revels and new jollity.

           Exeunt.

           Enter PUCK.

      PUCK
371         Now the hungry lion roars,
372         And the wolf behowls the moon;
373         Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
374. foredone: exhausted.
374         All with weary task fordone.
375. wasted brands do glow: logs have burned down into glowing embers.
375         Now the wasted brands do glow,
376         Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
377         Puts the wretch that lies in woe
378         In remembrance of a shroud.
379         Now it is the time of night
380         That the graves all gaping wide,
381. Every one lets his sprite: every grave lets forth its ghost.
381         Every one lets forth his sprite,
382         In the church-way paths to glide:
383         And we fairies, that do run
384. triple Hecate's team: Hecate ruled in three capacities: as Luna (or Cynthia) in heaven, as Diana on earth, and as Proserpina in hell. Here she is the queen of night, drawn by her team of dragons (cf. 3.2.379). 387. frolic: merry.
384         By the triple Hecate's team,
385         From the presence of the sun,
386         Following darkness like a dream,
387         Now are frolic: not a mouse
388         Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
389         I am sent with broom before,
390. behind: i.e., from behind. In folklore, Robin Goodfellow was a household spirit who helped good housemaids and punished lazy ones, and was thus sent to clean the house in preparation for the coming of the fairy king and queen.
390         To sweep the dust behind the door.

           Enter the King and Queen of Fairies
           [OBERON and TITANIA] with all their train.

      OBERON
391         Through the house give glimmering light
392         By the dead and drowsy fire:
393         Every elf and fairy sprite
394         Hop as light as bird from brier;
395         And this ditty, after me,
396         Sing, and dance it trippingly.

      TITANIA
397         First, rehearse your song by rote
398         To each word a warbling note:
399         Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
400         Will we sing, and bless this place.

           [Song and dance.]

      OBERON
401         Now, until the break of day,
402         Through this house each fairy stray.
403         To the best bride-bed will we,
404         Which by us shall blessed be;
405. create: created.
405         And the issue there create
406         Ever shall be fortunate.
407         So shall all the couples three
408         Ever true in loving be;
409         And the blots of Nature's hand
410         Shall not in their issue stand;
411         Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,
412. prodigious: ominous birthmark.
412         Nor mark prodigious, such as are
413         Despised in nativity,
414         Shall upon their children be.
415. consecrate: consecrated.
415         With this field-dew consecrate,
416. take his gait: go his way.
416         Every fairy take his gait;
417. several: separate.
417         And each several chamber bless,
418         Through this palace, with sweet peace;
419         And the owner of it blest
420         Ever shall in safety rest.
421         Trip away; make no stay;
422         Meet me all by break of day.

           Exeunt [OBERON, TITANIA, and train].

      PUCK
423         If we shadows have offended,
424         Think but this, and all is mended,
425. That you have but slumber'd here: i.e., that it is only a "midsummer night's dream."
425         That you have but slumber'd here
426         While these visions did appear.
427         And this weak and idle theme,
428. No more yielding but a dream: yielding nothing more than a dream. Gentles: well-born people. do not reprehend: do not rebuke. 430. mend: do better the next time
428         No more yielding but a dream,
429         Gentles, do not reprehend:
430         if you pardon, we will mend:
431         And, as I am an honest Puck,
432         If we have unearned luck
433. serpent's tongue: hissing.
433         Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
434         We will make amends ere long;
435         Else the Puck a liar call;
436         So, good night unto you all.
437. Give me your hands: applaud.
437         Give me your hands, if we be friends,
438. restore amends: make amends in the future.
438         And Robin shall restore amends.

           [Exit.]