Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and
PHILOSTRATE, [Lords and Attendants].
1 'Tis strange my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
2 More strange than true: I never may believe
3 These antic fables, nor these fairy toys.
4 Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
5 Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
6 More than cool reason ever comprehends.
7 The lunatic, the lover and the poet
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 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 That if it would but apprehend some joy,
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!
23 But all the story of the night told over,
24 And all their minds transfigured so together,
25 More witnesseth than fancy's images
26 And grows to something of great constancy;
27 But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
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!
30 More than to us
31 Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
32 Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
33 To wear away this long age of three hours
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.
38 Here, mighty Theseus.
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?
42 There is a brief how many sports are ripe:
43 Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[Giving a paper.]
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.
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.
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.
56 "A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
57 And his love Thisby; very tragical mirth."
58 Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
59 That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
60 How shall we find the concord of this discord?
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 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.
71 What are they that do play it?
72 Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
73 Which never labor'd in their minds till now,
74 And now have toil'd their unbreathed memories
75 With this same play, against your nuptial.
76 And we will hear it.
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 Unless you can find sport in their intents,
80 Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,
81 To do you service.
81 I will hear that play;
82 For never anything can be amiss,
83 When simpleness and duty tender it.
84 Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.
85 I love not to see wretchedness o'er charged
86 And duty in his service perishing.
87 Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
88 He says they can do nothing in this kind.
89 The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
90 Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:
91 And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
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 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 And in the modesty of fearful duty
102 I read as much as from the rattling tongue
103 Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
104 Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
105 In least speak most, to my capacity.
106 So please your grace, the Prologue is address'd.
107 Let him approach.
[Flourish of trumpets.]
Enter [QUINCE for] the 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 Consider then we come but in despite.
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.
118 This fellow doth not stand upon points.
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.
122 Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child
123 on a recorder a sound, but not in
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.
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 By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
138 To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
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 And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
143 Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
144 Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
145 And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain:
146 Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
147 He bravely broach'd is 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 discourse, while here they do remain.
Exit [with Pyramus,] Thisby, Lion, and Moonshine.
152 I wonder if the lion be to speak.
153 No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many
154 asses do.
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 And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
164 Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
165 Would you desire lime and hair to speak
167 It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
168 discourse, my lord.
169 Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!
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!
182 The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse
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 as I told you. Yonder she comes.
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.
192 I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
193 To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
194 My love thou art, my love I think.
195 Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
196 And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
197 And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
198 Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
199 As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
200 O kiss me through the hole of this vild wall!
201 I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.
202 Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?
203 'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.
[Exeunt Pyramus and Thisby.]
204 Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
205 And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.
206 Now is the moon used between the two
208 No remedy, my lord, when walls are so
209 willful to hear without warning.
210 This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
211 The best in this kind are but shadows; and the
212 worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
213 It must be your imagination then, and not
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
Enter LION and MOONSHINE.
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 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.
227 A very gentle beast, of a good con-
229 The very best at a beast, my lord, that
230 e'er I saw.
231 This lion is a very fox for his valour.
232 True; and a goose for his discretion.
233 Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry
234 his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
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.
239 This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
240 He should have worn the horns on his
242 He is no crescent, and his horns are
243 invisible within the circumference.
244 This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
245 Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.
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?
249 He dares not come there for the candle; for, you
250 see, it is already in snuff.
251 I am aweary of this moon: would he would
253 It appears, by his small light of discretion, that
254 he is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in all
255 reason, we must stay the time.
256 Proceed, Moon.
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.
260 Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for all
261 these are in the moon. But, silence! here comes
263 This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?
[Thisby runs off.]
265 Well roared, Lion.
266 Well run, Thisby.
267 Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a
268 good grace.
[The Lion shakes THISBY's mantle, and exit.]
269 Well mous'd, Lion.
270 And then came Pyramus.
271 And so the lion vanished.
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.
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!
288 This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
289 go near to make a man look sad.
290 Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
291 O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
292 Since lion vile hath here deflower'd my dear:
293 Which isno, nowhich was the fairest dame
294 That 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.
307 No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
308 Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is
310 With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover,
311 and prove an ass.
312 How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisby comes
313 back and finds her lover?
314 She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
315 her passion ends the play.
316 Methinks she should not use a long one for
317 such a Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
318 A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus,
319 which Thisby, is the better; he for a man, God
320 warrant us; she for a woman, God bless us.
321 She hath spied him already with those sweet
323 And 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.
348 Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the
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 see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask
354 dance between two of our company?
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.
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 As much as we this night have overwatch'd.
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.
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.