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must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?
Snout. By'rlakin, a parlous1 fear.
Star. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Bot. 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.
Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.2
Bot. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion? Star. I fear it, I promise you.
Bot. 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
Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell, he is not a lion.
Bot. 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 joiner.
Quin. Well, it shall be so.
But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moon-light into a chamber;
1 Perilous; used for alarming, amazing.
2 That is, in alternate verses of eight and six syllables.
for you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight. Snug. our play?
Doth the moon shine that night we play
Bot. A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac; find out moon-shine, find out moon-shine. Quin. 'Yes, it doth shine that night.
Bot. Why, then you may leave a casement of the great chamber window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.
Quin. 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 moon-shine. 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.
Snug. You never can bring in a wall.-What say you, Bottom?
Bot. 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; or let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
Quin. 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.
Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
Quin. Speak, Pyramus.-Thisby, stand forth.
Pyr.odors savors sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.But, hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile, And by and by I will to thee appear.
Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here!
This. Must I speak now?
Quin. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
This. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue, Of color 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, I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
Quin. 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 Воттом with an ass's head. This. O-As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
Pyr. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.— Quin. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! help! [Exeunt Clowns. Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake, through
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.
Bot. Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them, to make me afeard.
1 Young man.
2 The cues were the last words of the preceding speech, which serve as a hint to him who was to speak next.
Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! What do 1 see on thee?
Bot. What do you see? You see an ass's head of your own; do you?
Quin. Bless thee, Bottom! translated.
Bless thee! Thou art
Bot. 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 here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid. [Sings.
The ousel-cock, so black of hue,
The throstle with his note so true,
Tita. What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
Bot. The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
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?
Tita. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.
Bot. Methinks, mistress, you should have little rea
1 The cuckoo, having no variety of note, sings in plain song (plano cantu), by which expression the uniform modulation or simplicity of the chant was anciently distinguished in opposition to prick-song, or variated music sung by note.
son for that; and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays. The more the pity, that some honest neighbors will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
Tita. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Bot. Not so, neither; but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own
Tita. Out of this wood do not desire to go;
The summer still doth tend upon my state,
Enter four Fairies.
1 Fai. Ready.
All. Where shall we go?
Tita. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
1 i. e. jest or scoff.
2 The fruit of a bramble called rubus casius; sometimes called also the blue-berry.