Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Ioyner, Bottome the
Weauer, Flute the bellowes-mender, Snout the Tinker, and
Starueling the Taylor.
Quin. Is all our company heere?
270Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by
man according to the scrip.
Qui. Here is the scrowle of euery mans name, which
is thought fit through all Athens, to play in our Enter-
lude before the Duke and the Dutches, on his wedding
275day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
on: then read the names of the Actors: and so grow on
to a point.
Quin. Marry our play is the most lamentable Come-
280dy, and most cruell death of Pyramus and Thisbie.
Bot. A very good peece of worke I assure you, and a
merry. Now good Peter Quince, call forth your Actors
by the scrowle. Masters spread your selues.
Quince. Answere as I call you. Nick Bottome the
285Weauer.
Bottome. Ready; name what part I am for, and
proceed.
Quince. You Nicke Bottome are set downe for Py-
ramus.
290Bot. What is Pyramus, a louer, or a tyrant?
Quin. A Louer that kills himselfe most gallantly for
loue.
Bot. That will aske some teares in the true perfor-
ming of it: if I do it, let the audience looke to their eies:
295I will mooue stormes; I will condole in some measure.
To the rest yet, my chiefe humour is for a tyrant. I could
play Ercles rarely, or a part to teare a Cat in, to make all
split the raging Rocks; and shiuering shocks shall break
the locks of prison gates, and Phibbus carre shall shine
300from farre, and make and marre the foolish Fates. This
was lofty. Now name the rest of the Players. This
is Ercles vaine, a tyrants vaine: a louer is more condo-
ling.
Quin. Francis Flute the Bellowes-mender.
305Flu. Heere Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisbie on you.
Flut. What is Thisbie, a wandring Knight?
Quin. It is the Lady that Pyramvs must loue.
Flut. Nay faith, let not mee play a woman, I haue a
310beard comming.
Qui. That's all one, you shall play it in a Maske, and
you may speake as small as you will.
Bot. And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbie too:
Ile speake in a monstrous little voyce; Thisne, Thisne, ah
315Pyramus my louer deare, thy Thisbie deare, and Lady
deare.
Quin. No no, you must play Pyramus, and Flute, you
Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
320Qu. Robin Starueling the Taylor.
Star. Heere Peter Quince.
Quince. Robin Starueling, you must play Thisbies
mother?
Tom Snowt, the Tinker.
325Snowt. Heere Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus father; my self, Thisbies father;
Snugge the Ioyner, you the Lyons part: and I hope there
is a play fitted.
Snug. Haue you the Lions part written? pray you if
330be, giue it me, for I am slow of studie.
Quin. You may doe it extemporie, for it is nothing
but roaring.
Bot. Let mee play the Lyon too, I will roare that I
will doe any mans heart good to heare me. I will roare,
335that I will make the Duke say, Let him roare againe, let
him roare againe.
Quin. If you should doe it too terribly, you would
fright the Dutchesse and the Ladies, that they would
shrike, and that were enough to hang vs all.
340All. That would hang vs euery mothers sonne.
Bottome. I graunt you friends, if that you should
fright the Ladies out of their Wittes, they would
haue no more discretion but to hang vs: but I will ag-
grauate my voyce so, that I will roare you as gently as
345any sucking Doue; I will roare and 'twere any Nightin-
gale.
Quin. You can play no part but Piramus, for Pira-
mus is a sweet-fac'd man, a proper man as one shall see in
a summers day; a most louely Gentleman-like man, ther-
350fore you must needs play Piramus.
Bot. Well, I will vndertake it. What beard were I
best to play it in?
Quin. Why, what you will.
Bot. I will discharge it, in either your straw-colour
355beard, your orange tawnie beard, your purple in graine
beard, or your French-crowne colour'd beard, your per-
fect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French Crownes haue no haire
at all, and then you will play bare-fac'd. But masters here
360are your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and
desire you, to con them by too morrow night: and meet
me in the palace wood, a mile without the Towne, by
Moone-light, there we will rehearse: for if we meete in
the Citie, we shalbe dog'd with company, and our deui-
365ses knowne. In the meane time, I wil draw a bil of pro-
perties, such as our play wants. I pray you faile me not.
Bottom. We will meete, and there we may rehearse
more obscenely and couragiously. Take paines, be per-
fect, adieu.
370Quin. At the Dukes oake we meete.
Bot. Enough, hold or cut bow-strings.
Exeunt