A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 5, Scene 1
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and
PHILOSTRATE, [Lords and Attendants].
1'Tis strange my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
2More strange than true: I never may believe
3These antic fables, nor these fairy toys.
4Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
5Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
6More than cool reason ever comprehends.
7The lunatic, the lover and the poet
8Are of imagination all compact:
9One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
10That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
11Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
12The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
13Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
14And as imagination bodies forth
15The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
16Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
17A local habitation and a name.
18Such tricks hath strong imagination,
19That if it would but apprehend some joy,
20It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
21Or in the night, imagining some fear,
22How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
23But all the story of the night told over,
24And all their minds transfigured so together,
25More witnesseth than fancy's images
26And grows to something of great constancy;
27But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
28Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
Enter lovers, LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS,
HERMIA, and HELENA.
29Joy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love
30Accompany your hearts!
30More than to us
31Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
32Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
33To wear away this long age of three hours
34Between our after-supper and bed-time?
35Where is our usual manager of mirth?
36What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
37To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
38Here, mighty Theseus.
39Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
40What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
41The lazy time, if not with some delight?
42There is a brief how many sports are ripe:
43Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[Giving a paper.]
44"The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
45By an Athenian eunuch to the harp."
46We'll none of that: that have I told my love,
47In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
48"The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
49Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage."
50That is an old device; and it was play'd
51When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
52"The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
53Of Learning, late deceased in beggary."
54That is some satire, keen and critical,
55Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
56"A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
57And his love Thisby; very tragical mirth."
58Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
59That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
60How shall we find the concord of this discord?
61A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
62Which is as brief as I have known a play;
63But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
64Which makes it tedious; for in all the play
65There is not one word apt, one player fitted:
66And tragical, my noble lord, it is;
67For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
68Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
69Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
70The passion of loud laughter never shed.
71What are they that do play it?
72Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
73Which never labor'd in their minds till now,
74And now have toil'd their unbreathed memories
75With this same play, against your nuptial.
76And we will hear it.
76No, my noble lord;
77It is not for you: I have heard it over,
78And it is nothing, nothing in the world;
79Unless you can find sport in their intents,
80Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,
81To do you service.
81I will hear that play;
82For never anything can be amiss,
83When simpleness and duty tender it.
84Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.
85I love not to see wretchedness o'er charged
86And duty in his service perishing.
87Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
88He says they can do nothing in this kind.
89The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
90Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:
91And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
92Takes it in might, not merit.
93Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
94To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
95Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
96Make periods in the midst of sentences,
97Throttle their practic'd accent in their fears
98And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,
99Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
100Out of this silence yet I pick'd a welcome;
101And in the modesty of fearful duty
102I read as much as from the rattling tongue
103Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
104Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
105In least speak most, to my capacity.
106So please your grace, the Prologue is address'd.
107Let him approach.
[Flourish of trumpets.]
Enter [QUINCE for] the Prologue.
108If we offend, it is with our good will.
109That you should think, we come not to offend,
110But with good will. To show our simple skill,
111That is the true beginning of our end.
112Consider then we come but in despite.
113We do not come as minding to content you,
114Our true intent is. All for your delight
115We are not here. That you should here repent you,
116The actors are at hand; and by their show,
117You shall know all that you are like to know.
118This fellow doth not stand upon points.
119He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt; he knows
120not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not
121enough to speak, but to speak true.
122Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child
123on a recorder a sound, but not in
125His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothing
126impair'd, but all disordered. Who is next?
Enter PYRAMUS and THISBY and WALL
and MOONSHINE and LION.
127Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
128But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
129This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
130This beauteous lady Thisby is certain.
131This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
132Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;
133And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
134To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.
135This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
136Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
137By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
138To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
139This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
140The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
141Did scare away, or rather did affright;
142And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
143Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
144Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
145And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain:
146Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
147He bravely broach'd is boiling bloody breast;
148And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
149His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
150Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
151At large discourse, while here they do remain.
Exit [with Pyramus,] Thisby, Lion, and Moonshine.
152I wonder if the lion be to speak.
153No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many
155In this same interlude it doth befall
156That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
157And such a wall, as I would have you think,
158That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
159Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
160Did whisper often very secretly.
161This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
162That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
163And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
164Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
165Would you desire lime and hair to speak
167It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
168discourse, my lord.
169Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!
170O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so black!
171O night, which ever art when day is not!
172O night, O night! alack, alack, alack,
173I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot!
174And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
175That stand'st between her father's ground and mine!
176Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
177Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne!
[Wall holds up his fingers.]
178Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
179But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
180O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!
181Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
182The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse
184No, in truth, sir, he should not. 'Deceiving me'
185is Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am to
186spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will
187fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.
188O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
189For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
190My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones,
191Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
192I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
193To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
194My love thou art, my love I think.
195Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
196And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
197And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
198Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
199As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
200O kiss me through the hole of this vild wall!
201I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.
202Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?
203'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.
[Exeunt Pyramus and Thisby.]
204Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
205And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.
206Now is the moon used between the two
208No remedy, my lord, when walls are so
209willful to hear without warning.
210This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
211The best in this kind are but shadows; and the
212worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
213It must be your imagination then, and not
215If we imagine no worse of them than they of
216themselves, they may pass for excellent men.
217Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a
Enter LION and MOONSHINE.
219You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
220The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
221May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
222When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
223Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
224A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam;
225For, if I should as lion come in strife
226Into this place, 'twere pity on my life.
227A very gentle beast, of a good con-
229The very best at a beast, my lord, that
230e'er I saw.
231This lion is a very fox for his valour.
232True; and a goose for his discretion.
233Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry
234his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
235His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his
236valour; for the goose carries not the fox. It
237is well: leave it to his discretion, and let us
238listen to the Moon.
239This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
240He should have worn the horns on his
242He is no crescent, and his horns are
243invisible within the circumference.
244This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
245Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.
246This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man
247should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the
248man i' the moon?
249He dares not come there for the candle; for, you
250see, it is already in snuff.
251I am aweary of this moon: would he would
253It appears, by his small light of discretion, that
254he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all
255reason, we must stay the time.
257All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the
258lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this
259thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
260Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for all
261these are in the moon. But, silence! here comes
263This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?
[Thisby runs off.]
265Well roared, Lion.
266Well run, Thisby.
267Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a
[The Lion shakes THISBY's mantle, and exit.]
269Well mous'd, Lion.
270And then came Pyramus.
271And so the lion vanished.
272Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
273I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright;
274For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
275I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.
But stay, O spite!
But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here!
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be?
O dainty duck! O dear!
Thy mantle good,
What, stain'd with blood!
Approach, ye Furies fell!
O Fates, come, come,
Cut thread and thrum;
Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
288This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
289go near to make a man look sad.
290Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
291O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
292Since lion vile hath here deflower'd my dear:
293Which isno, nowhich was the fairest dame
294That lived, that loved, that liked, that look'd with cheer.
Come, tears, confound;
Out, sword, and wound
The pap of Pyramus;
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop:
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead,
Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky:
Tongue, lose thy light;
Moon take thy flight:
Now die, die, die, die, die.
307No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
308Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is
310With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover,
311and prove an ass.
312How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisby comes
313back and finds her lover?
314She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
315her passion ends the play.
316Methinks she should not use a long one for
317such a Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
318A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus,
319which Thisby, is the better; he for a man, God
320warrant us; she for a woman, God bless us.
321She hath spied him already with those sweet
323And thus she means, videlicet
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Pyramus, arise!
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These My lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,
Are gone, are gone:
Lovers, make moan:
His eyes were green as leeks.
O Sisters Three,
Come, come to me,
With hands as pale as milk;
Lay them in gore,
Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.
Tongue, not a word:
Come, trusty sword;
Come, blade, my breast imbrue:
And, farewell, friends;
Thus Thisby ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
348Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the
350Ay, and Wall too.
BOTTOM [Starting up.]
351No, I assure you; the wall is down that
352parted their fathers. Will it please you to
353see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask
354dance between two of our company?
355No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
356excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all
357dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he
358that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself
359in Thisby's garter, it would have been a fine
360tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably
361discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your
363The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
364Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
365I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
366As much as we this night have overwatch'd.
367This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
368The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
369A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
370In nightly revels and new jollity.
Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
Enter the King and Queen of Fairies
[OBERON and TITANIA] with all their train.
Through the house give glimmering light
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf and fairy sprite
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,
Sing, and dance it trippingly.
First, rehearse your song by rote
To each word a warbling note:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
[Song and dance.]
Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate.
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be;
And the blots of Nature's hand
Shall not in their issue stand;
Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.
Exeunt [OBERON, TITANIA, and train].
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.