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Dramatis Personæ.

1
Theseus, Duke of Athens
2
Hippolita, Queene of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus
3
Philostrate, Master of the Sports to the Duke
4
Egeus, an Athenian Lord
5
Hermia, Daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander
6
Lysander, in love with Hermia
7
Helena, in love with Demetrius
8
Demetrius, in love with Hermia
9
Peeter Quince, the Carpenter
10
Snugge, the Ioyner
11
Nick Bottom, the Weauer
12
Francis Flute, the Bellowes mender
13
Tom Snowt, the Tinker
14
Robin Starueling, the Taylerrepresenting in the interludePrologueLyonPyramusThisbyWallMoonshine
15
Robin goodfellow, the Puck
16
A Fairie, a servant of the Fairy Queene
17
Oberon, King of the Fairies
18
Tytania, Queene of the Fairies
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Pease-blossome,
20
Cobweb,
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Moth,
22
Mustard-seede,Fairies
23
Attendants upon Theseus and Hippolita
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Other Fairies attending on the King and Queen

25

A

0.1

Midsommer nights

0.2

dreame.

0.3
Enter Theseus, Hippolita, with others.
2

Actus primus.

1
Theseus.
3
Now faire Hippolita, our nuptiall hower
4
Draws on apase: fower happy daies bring in
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An other Moone: but oh, me thinks, how slow
6
This old Moone waues! She lingers my desires,
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Like to a Stepdame, or a dowager,
8
Long withering out a yong mans reuenewe.
9
Hip. Fower daies will quickly steepe themselues in night:
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Fower nights will quickly dreame away the time:
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And then the Moone, like to a siluer bowe,
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Now bent in heauen, shall beholde the night
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Of our solemnities.
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The. Goe Philostrate,
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Stirre vp the Athenian youth to merriments,
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Awake the peart and nimble spirit of mirth,
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Turne melancholy foorth to funerals:
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The pale companion is not for our pomp.
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Hyppolita, I woo’d thee with my sword,
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And wonne thy loue, doing thee iniuries:
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But I will wed thee in another key,
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With pompe, with triumph, and with reueling.
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Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, and Lysander
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and Helena, and Demetrius.
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Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke.
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The. Thankes good Egeus. Whats the newes with thee?
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Ege. Full of vexation, come I, with complaint
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Against my childe, my daughter Hermia.
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Stand forth Demetrius.
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My noble Lord,
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This man hath my consent to marry her.
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Stand forth Lisander.
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And my gratious Duke,
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This man hath bewitcht the bosome of my childe.
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Thou, thou Lysander, thou hast giuen her rimes,
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And interchang’d loue tokens with my childe:
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Thou hast, by moone-light, at her windowe sung,
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With faining voice, verses of faining loue,
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And stolne the impression of her phantasie:
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With bracelets of thy haire, rings, gawdes, conceites,
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Knackes, trifles, nosegaies, sweete meates (messengers
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Of strong preuailement in vnhardened youth)
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With cunning hast thou filcht my daughters heart,
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Turnd her obedience (which is due to mee)
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To stubborne harshnesse. And, my gratious Duke,
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Be it so, she will not here, before your Grace,
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Consent to marry with Demetrius,
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I beg the auncient priuiledge of Athens:
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As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
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Which shall be, either to this gentleman,
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Or to her death; according to our lawe,
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Immediatly prouided, in that case.
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The. What say you, Hermia? Be aduis’d, faire maid.
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To you, your father should be as a God:
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One that compos’d your beauties: yea and one,
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To whome you are but as a forme in wax,
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By him imprinted, and within his power,
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To leaue the figure, or disfigure it:
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Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.
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Her. So is Lisander.
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The. In himselfe he is:
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But in this kinde, wanting your fathers voice,
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The other must be held the worthier.
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Her. I would my father lookt but with my eyes.
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The. Rather your eyes must, with his iudgement, looke.
66
Her. I doe intreat your grace, to pardon mee.
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I know not by what power, I am made bould;
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Nor how it may concerne my modesty,
69
In such a presence, here to plead my thoughts:
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But I beseech your Grace, that I may knowe
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The worst that may befall mee in this case,
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If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
73
The. Either to dy the death, or to abiure,
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For euer, the society of men.
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Therefore, faire Hermia, question your desires,
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Knowe of your youth, examine well your blood,
77
Whether (if you yeelde not to your fathers choyce)
78
You can endure the liuery of a Nunne,
79
For aye to be in shady cloyster, mew’d
80
To liue a barraine sister all your life,
81
Chaunting faint hymnes, to the colde fruitlesse Moone.
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Thrise blessed they, that master so there bloode,
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To vndergoe such maiden pilgrimage:
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But earthlyer happy is the rose distild,
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Then that, which, withering on the virgin thorne,
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Growes, liues, and dies, in single blessednesse.
87
Her. So will I growe, so liue, so die my Lord,
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Ere I will yield my virgin Patent, vp
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Vnto his Lordshippe, whose vnwished yoake
90
My soule consents not to giue souerainty.
91
The. Take time to pawse, and by the next newe moone,
92
The sealing day, betwixt my loue and mee,
93
For euerlasting bond of fellowshippe,
94
Vpon that day either prepare to dye,
95
For disobedience to your fathers will,
96
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,
97
Or on Dianaes altar to protest,
98
For aye, austeritie and single life.
99
Deme. Relent, sweete Hermia, and, Lysander, yeeld
100
Thy crazed title to my certaine right.
101
Lys. You haue her fathers loue, Demetrius:
102
Let me haue Hermias: doe you marry him.
103
Egeus. Scornefull Lysander, true, he hath my loue:
104
And what is mine, my loue shall render him.
105
And she is mine, and all my right of her
106
I doe estate vnto Demetrius.
107
Lysand. I am my Lord, as well deriu’d as hee,
108
As well possest: my loue is more than his:
109
My fortunes euery way as fairely rankt
110
(If not with vantage) as Demetrius:
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And (which is more then all these boastes can be)
112
I am belou’d of beautious Hermia.
113
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
114
Demetrius, Ile auouch it to his heade,
115
Made loue to Nedars daughter, Helena,
116
And won her soule: and she (sweete Ladie) dotes,
117
Deuoutly dotes, dotes in Idolatry,
118
Vpon this spotted and inconstant man.
119
The. I must confesse, that I haue heard so much;
120
And, with Demetrius, thought to haue spoke thereof:
121
But, being ouer full of selfe affaires,
122
My minde did loose it. But Demetrius come,
123
And come Egeus, you shall goe with mee:
124
I haue some priuate schooling for you both.
125
For you, faire Hermia, looke you arme your selfe,
126
To fit your fancies, to your fathers will;
127
Or else, the Law of Athens yeelds you vp
128
(Which by no meanes we may extenuate)
129
To death, or to a vowe of single life.
130
Come my Hyppolita: what cheare my loue?
131
Demetrius and Egeus goe along:
132
I must employ you in some businesse,
133
Against our nuptiall, and conferre with you
134
Of some thing, nerely that concernes your selues.
135
Ege. With duety and desire, we follow you.Exeunt.
136
Manet Lysander and Hermia.
137
Lysand. How now my loue? Why is your cheeke so pale?
138
How chance the roses there doe fade so fast?
139
Her. Belike, for want of raine: which I could well
140
Beteeme them, from the tempest of my eyes.
141
Lis. Eigh me: for aught that I could euer reade,
142
Could euer here by tale or history,
143
The course of true loue neuer did runne smoothe:
144
But either it was different in bloud;
145
Her. O crosse! too high to be inthrald to loue.
146
Lis. Or else misgraffed, in respect of yeares;
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Her. O spight! too olde to be ingag’d to young.
148
Lis. Or else, it stoode vpon the choyce of friends;
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Her. O hell, to choose loue by anothers eyes!
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Lys. Or, if there were a sympathy in choyce,
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Warre, death or sicknesse, did lay siege to it;
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Making it momentany, as a sound;
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Swift, as a shadowe; short, as any dreame;
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Briefe, as the lightning in the collied night,
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That (in a spleene) vnfolds both heauen and earth;
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And, ere a man hath power to say, beholde,
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The iawes of darkenesse do deuoure it vp:
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So quicke bright things come to confusion.
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Her. If then true louers haue bin euer crost,
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It stands as an edict, in destiny:
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Then let vs teach our triall patience:
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Because it is a customary crosse,
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As dewe to loue, as thoughts, and dreames, and sighes,
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Wishes, and teares; poore Fancies followers.
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Lys. A good perswasion: therefore heare mee, Hermia:
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I haue a widowe aunt, a dowager,
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Of great reuenew, and she hath no childe:
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From Athens is her house remote, seauen leagues.
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And she respectes mee, as her only sonne:
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There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee:
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And to that place, the sharpe Athenian law
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Can not pursue vs. If thou louest mee, then
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Steale forth thy fathers house, to morrow night:
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And in the wood, a league without the towne
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(Where I did meete thee once with Helena
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To do obseruance to a morne of May)
177
There will I stay for thee.
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Her. My good Lysander,
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I sweare to thee, by Cupids strongest bowe,
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By his best arrowe, with the golden heade,
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By the simplicitie of Venus doues,
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By that which knitteth soules, and prospers loues,
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And by that fire, which burnd the Carthage queene,
184
When the false Troian vnder saile was seene,
185
By all the vowes that euer men haue broke,
186
(In number more then euer women spoke)
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In that same place thou hast appointed mee,
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To morrow truely will I meete with thee.
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Lys. Keepe promise loue: looke, here comes Helena.
190
Enter Helena.
191
Her. God speede faire Helena: whither away?
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Hel. Call you mee faire? That faire againe vnsay.
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Demetrius loues your faire: ô happy faire!
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Your eyes are loadstarres, and your tongues sweete aire
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More tunable then larke, to sheepeheards eare,
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When wheat is greene, when hauthorne buddes appeare.
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Sicknesse is catching: O, were fauour so,
198
Your words I catch, faire Hermia, ere I goe,
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My eare should catch your voice, my eye, your eye,
200
My tongue should catch your tongues sweete melody.
201
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
202
The rest ile giue to be to you translated.
203
O, teach mee how you looke, and with what Art,
204
You sway the motion of Demetrius heart.
205
Her. I frowne vpon him; yet hee loues mee still.
206
Hel. O that your frowns would teach my smiles
207
such skil.
208
Her. I giue him curses; yet he giues mee loue.
209
Hel. O that my prayers could such affection mooue.
210
Her. The more I hate, the more he followes mee.
211
Hel. The more I loue, the more he hateth mee.
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Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
213
Hel. None but your beauty; would that fault were mine.
214
Her. Take comfort: he no more shall see my face:
215
Lysander and my selfe will fly this place.
216
Before the time I did Lisander see,
217
Seem’d Athens as a Paradise to mee.
218
O then, what graces in my loue dooe dwell,
219
That hee hath turnd a heauen vnto a hell!
220
Lys. Helen, to you our mindes wee will vnfould:
221
To morrow night, when Phœbe doth beholde
222
Her siluer visage, in the watry glasse,
223
Decking, with liquid pearle, the bladed grasse
224
(A time, that louers flights doth still conceale)
225
Through Athens gates, haue wee deuis’d to steale.
226
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I,
227
Vpon faint Primrose beddes, were wont to lye,
228
Emptying our bosomes, of their counsell sweld,
229
There my Lysander, and my selfe shall meete,
230
And thence, from Athens, turne away our eyes,
231
To seeke new friends and strange companions.
232
Farewell, sweete playfellow: pray thou for vs:
233
And good lucke graunt thee thy Demetrius.
234
Keepe word Lysander: we must starue our sight,
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From louers foode, till morrow deepe midnight.
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Exit Hermia.
237
Lys. I will my Hermia. Helena adieu:
238
As you on him, Demetrius dote on you.Exit Lysander.
239
Hele. How happie some, ore othersome, can be!
240
Through Athens, I am thought as faire as shee.
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But what of that? Demetrius thinkes not so:
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He will not knowe, what all, but hee doe know.
243
And as hee erres, doting on Hermias eyes:
244
So I, admiring of his qualities.
245
Things base and vile, holding no quantitie,
246
Loue can transpose to forme and dignitie.
247
Loue lookes not with the eyes, but with the minde:
248
And therefore is wingd Cupid painted blinde.
249
Nor hath loues minde of any iudgement taste:
250
Wings, and no eyes, figure, vnheedy haste.
251
And therefore is loue said to bee a childe:
252
Because, in choyce, he is so oft beguil’d.
253
As waggish boyes, in game, themselues forsweare:
254
So, the boy, Loue, is periur’d euery where.
255
For, ere Demetrius lookt on Hermias eyen,
256
Hee hayld downe othes, that he was onely mine.
257
And when this haile some heate, from Hermia, felt,
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So he dissolued, and showrs of oathes did melt.
259
I will goe tell him of faire Hermias flight:
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Then, to the wodde, will he, to morrow night,
261
Pursue her: and for this intelligence,
262
If I haue thankes, it is a deare expense:
263
But herein meane I to enrich my paine,
264
To haue his sight thither, and back againe.Exit.
265
Enter Quince, the Carpenter; and Snugge, the Ioyner; and Bottom,
266
the Weauer; and Flute, the Bellowes mender; & Snout, the Tinker; and
267
Starueling the Tayler.
268
Quin. Is all our company heere?
269
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by
270
man, according to the scrippe.
271
Quin. Here is the scrowle of euery mans name, which
272
is thought fit, through al Athens, to play in our Enter-
273
lude, before the Duke, & the Dutches, on his wedding
274
day at night.
275
Bott. First good Peeter Quince, say what the Play treats
276
on: then read the names of the Actors: & so grow
277
to a point.
278
Quin. Mary, our Play is the most lamentable come-
279
dy, and most cruell death of Pyramus and Thisby.
280
Bot. A very good peece of worke, I assure you, & a
281
merry. Now good Peeter Quince, call forth your Actors,
282
by the scrowle. Masters, spreade your selues.
283
Quin. Answere, as I call you. Nick Bottom, the
284
Weauer?
285
Bott. Readie: Name what part I am for, and
286
proceede.
287
Quin. You, Nick Bottom are set downe for Py-
288
ramus.
289
Bott. What is Pyramus? A louer, or a tyrant?
290
Quin. A louer that kils himselfe, most gallant, for
291
loue.
292
Bott. That will aske some teares in the true perfor-
293
ming of it. If I doe it, let the Audience looke to their eyes:
294
I wil mooue stormes: I will condole, in some measure.
295
To the rest yet, my chiefe humour is for a tyrant. I could
296
play Ercles rarely, or a part to teare a Cat in, to make all
297
split the raging rocks: and shiuering shocks, shall breake
298
the locks of prison gates, and Phibbus carre shall shine
299
from farre, and make & marre the foolish Fates. This
300
was loftie. Now, name the rest of the Players. This
301
is Ercles vaine, a tyrants vaine: A louer is more condo-
302
ling.
303
Quin. Francis Flute, the Bellowes mender?
304
Flu. Here Peeter Quince.
305
Quin. Flute, you must take Thisby, on you.
306
Flu. What is Thisby? A wandring knight?
307
Quin. It is the Lady, that Pyramus must loue.
308
Fl. Nay faith: let not me play a womã: I haue a
309
beard cõming.
310
Quin. Thats all one: you shall play it in a Maske: and
311
you may speake as small as you will.
312
Bott. And I may hide my face, let me play Thisby to:
313
Ile speake in a monstrous little voice; Thisne, Thisne, ah
314
Pyramus, my louer deare, thy Thysby deare, & Lady
315
deare.
316
Qu. No, no: you must play Pyramus: & Flute, you
317
Thysby.
318
Bot. Well, proceede.
319
Qui. Robin Starueling, the Tailer?
320
Star. Here Peeter Quince.
321
Quin. Robin Starueling, you must play Thysbyes
322
mother.
323
Tom Snowte, the Tinker?
324
Snowt. Here Peter Quince.
325
Quin. You, Pyramus father; my selfe, Thisbies father;
326
Snugge, the Ioyner, you the Lyons part: And I hope here
327
is a Play fitted.
328
Snug. Haue you the Lyons part written? Pray you, if it
329
bee, giue it mee: for I am slowe of studie.
330
Quin. You may doe it, extempore: for it is nothing
331
but roaring.
332
Bott. Let mee play the Lyon to. I will roare, that I
333
will doe any mans heart good to heare mee. I will roare,
334
that I will make the Duke say; Let him roare againe: let
335
him roare againe.
336
Quin. And you should do it too terribly, you would
337
fright the Dutchesse, and the Ladies, that they would
338
shrike: and that were inough to hang vs all.
339
All. That would hang vs, euery mothers sonne.
340
Bot. I grant you, friends, if you should
341
fright the Ladies out of their wits, they would
342
haue no more discretion, but to hang vs: but I will ag-
343
grauate my voice so, that I wil roare you as gently, as
344
any sucking doue: I will roare you, and ’twere any Nightin-
345
gale.
346
Quin. You can play no part but Piramus: for Pira-
347
mus is a sweete fac’t man; a proper man as one shall see in
348
a sommers day; a most louely gentlemanlike man: there-
349
fore you must needes play Piramus.
350
Bot. Well: I will vndertake it. What beard were I
351
best to play it in?
352
Quin. Why? what you will.
353
Bot. I wil discharge it, in either your straw colour
354
beard, your Orange tawnie bearde, your purple in graine
355
beard, or your french crowne colour beard, your per-
356
fit yellow.
357
Quin. Some of your french crownes haue no haire
358
at all; and then you will play bare fac’t. But maisters here
359
are your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and
360
desire you, to con them by to morrow night: and meete
361
mee in the palace wood, a mile without the towne, by
362
Moone-light; there will wee rehearse: for if wee meete in
363
the city, wee shal be dogd with company, and our deui-
364
ses known. In the meane time, I will draw a bill of pro-
365
perties, such as our play wants. I pray you faile me not.
366
Bot. Wee will meete, & there we may rehearse
367
most obscenely, and coragiously. Take paines, bee per-
368
fit: adieu.
369
Quin. At the Dukes oke wee meete.
370
Bot. Enough: holde, or cut bowstrings.Exeunt.
371

Actus Secundus.

372
Enter a Fairie at one doore, and Robin good-
373
fellow at another.