Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

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


Actus Quintus.
Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Egeus and his Lords.
Hip. 'Tis strange my Theseus, y these louers speake of.
The. More strange then true. I neuer may beleeue
1795These anticke fables, nor these Fairy toyes,
Louers and mad men haue such seething braines,
Such shaping phantasies, that apprehend more
Then coole reason euer comprehends.
The Lunaticke, the Louer, and the Poet,
1800Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more diuels then vaste hell can hold;
That is the mad man. The Louer, all as franticke,
Sees Helens beauty in a brow of Egipt.
The Poets eye in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance
1805From heauen to earth, from earth to heauen.
And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things
Vnknowne; the Poets pen turnes them to shapes,
And giues to aire nothing, a locall habitation,
And a name. Such tricks hath strong imagination,
1810That if it would but apprehend some ioy,
It comprehends some bringer of that ioy.
Or in the night, imagining some feare,
Howe easie is a bush suppos'd a Beare?
Hip. But all the storie of the night told ouer,
1815And all their minds transfigur'd so together,
More witnesseth than fancies images,
And growes to something of great constancie;
But howsoeuer, strange, and admirable.
Enter louers, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia,
1820and Helena.
The. Heere come the louers, full of ioy and mirth:
Ioy, gentle friends, ioy and fresh dayes
Of loue accompany your hearts.
Lys. More then to vs, waite in your royall walkes,
1825your boord, your bed.
The. Come now, what maskes, what dances shall
we haue,
To weare away this long age of three houres,
Between our after supper, and bed-time?
1830Where is our vsuall manager of mirth?
What Reuels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing houre?
Call Egeus.
Ege. Heere mighty Theseus.
1835The. Say, what abridgement haue you for this eue-
ning?
What maske? What musicke? How shall we beguile
The lazie time, if not with some delight?
Ege. There is a breefe how many sports are rife:
1840Make choise of which your Highnesse will see first.
Lis. The battell with the Centaurs to be sung
By an Athenian Eunuch, to the Harpe.
The. Wee'l none of that. That haue I told my Loue
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
1845Lis. The riot of the tipsie Bachanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer, in their rage?
The. That is an old deuice, and it was plaid
When I from Thebes came last a Conqueror.
Lis. The thrice three Muses, mourning for the death
1850of learning, late deceast in beggerie.
The. That is some Satire keene and criticall,
Not sorting with a nuptiall ceremonie.
Lis. A tedious breefe Scene of yong Piramus,
And his loue Thisby; very tragicall mirth.
1855The. Merry and tragicall? Tedious, and briefe? That
is, hot ice, and wondrovs strange snow. How shall wee
finde the concord of this discord?
Ege. A play there is, my Lord, some ten words long,
Which is as breefe, as I haue knowne a play;
1860But by ten words, my Lord, it is too long;
Which makes it tedious. For in all the play,
There is not one word apt, one Player fitted.
And tragicall my noble Lord it is: for Piramus
Therein doth kill himselfe. Which when I saw
1865Rehearst, I must confesse, made mine eyes water:
But more merrie teares, the passion of loud laughter
Neuer shed.
Thes. What are they that do play it?
Ege. Hard handed men, that worke in Athens heere,
1870Which neuer labour'd in their mindes till now;
And now haue toyled their vnbreathed memories
With this same play, against your nuptiall.
The. And we will heare it.
Phi. No my noble Lord, it is not for you. I haue heard
1875It ouer, and it is nothing, nothing in the world;
Vnlesse you can finde sport in their intents,
Extreamely stretcht, and cond with cruell paine,
To doe you seruice.
Thes. I will heare that play. For neuer any thing
1880Can be amisse, when simplenesse and duty tender it.
Goe bring them in, and take your places, Ladies.
Hip. I loue not to see wretchednesse orecharged;
And duty in his seruice perishing.
Thes. Why gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
1885Hip. He saies, they can doe nothing in this kinde.
Thes. The kinder we, to giue them thanks for nothing
Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake;
And what poore duty cannot doe, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.
1890Where I haue come, great Clearkes haue purposed
To greete me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I haue seene them shiuer and looke pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practiz'd accent in their feares,
1895And in conclusion, dumbly haue broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me sweete,
Out of this silence yet, I pickt a welcome:
And in the modesty of fearefull duty,
I read as much, as from the ratling tongue
1900Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Loue therefore, and tongue-tide simplicity,
In least, speake most, to my capacity.
Egeus. So please your Grace, the Prologue is addrest.
Duke. Let him approach.
Flor. Trum.
1905
Enter the Prologue. Quince.
Pro. If we offend, it is with our good will.
That you should thinke, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To shew our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
1910Consider then, we come but in despight.
We do not come, as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight,
We are not heere. That you should here repent you,
The Actors are at hand; and by their show,
1915You shall know all, that you are like to know.
Thes. This fellow doth not stand vpon points.
Lys. He hath rid his Prologue, like a rough Colt: he
knowes not the stop. A good morall my Lord. It is not
enough to speake, but to speake true.
1920Hip. Indeed hee hath plaid on his Prologue, like a
childe on a Recorder, a sound, but not in gouernment.
Thes. His speech was like a tangled chaine: nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
Tawyer with a Trumpet before them.
1925
Enter Pyramus and Thisby, Wall, Moone-shine, and Lyon.
Prol. Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show,
But wonder on, till truth make all things plaine.
This man is Piramus, if you would know;
This beauteous Lady, Thisby is certaine.
1930This man, with lyme and rough-cast, doth present
Wall, that vile wall, which did these louers sunder:
And through walls chink (poor soules) they are content
To whisper. At the which, let no man wonder.
This man, with Lanthorne, dog, and bush of thorne,
1935Presenteth moone-shine. For if you will know,
By moone-shine did these Louers thinke no scorne
To meet at Ninus toombe, there, there to wooe:
This grizly beast (which Lyon hight by name)
The trusty Thisby, comming first by night,
1940Did scarre away, or rather did affright:
And as she fled, her mantle she did fall;
Which Lyon vile with bloody mouth did staine.
Anon comes Piramus, sweet youth and tall,
And findes his Thisbies Mantle slaine;
1945Whereat, with blade, with bloody blamefull blade,
He brauely broacht his boiling bloudy breast,
And Thisby, tarrying in Mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lyon, Moone-shine, Wall, and Louers twaine,
1950At large discourse, while here they doe remaine.
Exit all but Wall.
Thes. I wonder if the Lion be to speake.
Deme. No wonder, my Lord: one Lion may, when
many Asses doe.
1955
Exit Lyon, Thisbie, and Mooneshine.
Wall. In this same Interlude, it doth befall,
That I, one Snowt (by name) present a wall:
And such a wall, as I vvould haue you thinke,
That had in it a crannied hole or chinke:
1960Through which the Louers, Piramus and Thisbie
Did whisper often, very secretly.
This loame, this rough-cast, and this stone doth shew,
That I am that same Wall; the truth is so.
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
1965Through which the fearefull Louers are to whisper.
Thes. Would you desire Lime and Haire to speake
better?
Deme. It is the vvittiest partition, that euer I heard
discourse, my Lord.
1970Thes. Pyramus drawes neere the Wall, silence.
Enter Pyramus.
Pir. O grim lookt night, ô night with hue so blacke,
O night, which euer art, when day is not:
O night, ô night, alacke, alacke, alacke,
1975I feare my Thisbies promise is forgot.
And thou ô vvall, thou sweet and louely vvall,
That stands between her fathers ground and mine,
Thou vvall, ô vvall, o sweet and louely vvall,
Shew me thy chinke, to blinke through vvith mine eine.
1980Thankes courteous vvall. Ioue shield thee vvell for this.
But vvhat see I? No Thisbie doe I see.
O vvicked vvall, through vvhom I see no blisse,
Curst be thy stones for thus deceiuing mee.
Thes. The vvall me-thinkes being sensible, should
1985curse againe.
Pir. No in truth sir, he should not. Deceiuing me,
Is Thisbies cue; she is to enter, and I am to spy
Her through the vvall. You shall see it vvill fall.
Enter Thisbie.
1990Pat as I told you; yonder she comes.
This. O vvall, full often hast thou heard my mones,
For parting my faire Piramus, and me.
My cherry lips haue often kist thy stones;
Thy stones vvith Lime and Haire knit vp in thee.
1995Pyra. I see a voyce; now vvill I to the chinke,
To spy and I can heare my Thisbies face. Thisbie?
This. My Loue thou art, my Loue I thinke.
Pir. Thinke vvhat thou vvilt, I am thy Louers grace,
And like Limander am I trusty still.
2000This. And like Helen till the Fates me kill.
Pir. Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
This. As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
Pir. O kisse me through the hole of this vile wall.
This. I kisse the wals hole, not your lips at all.
2005Pir. Wilt thou at Ninnies tombe meete me straight
way?
This. Tide life, tide death, I come without delay.
Wall. Thus haue I Wall, my part discharged so;
And being done, thus Wall away doth go.
Exit Clow.
2010Du. Now is the morall downe between the two
Neighbors.
Dem. No remedie my Lord, when Wals are so wil-
full, to heare without vvarning.
Dut. This is the silliest stuffe that ere I heard.
2015Du. The best in this kind are but shadowes, and the
worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
Dut. It must be your imagination then, & not theirs.
Duk. If wee imagine no worse of them then they of
themselues, they may passe for excellent men. Here com
2020two noble beasts, in a man and a Lion.
Enter Lyon and Moone-shine.
Lyon. You Ladies, you (whose gentle harts do feare
The smallest monstrous mouse that creepes on floore)
May now perchance, both quake and tremble heere,
2025When Lion rough in wildest rage doth roare.
Then know that I, one Snug the Ioyner am
A Lion fell, nor else no Lions dam:
For if I should as Lion come in strife
Into this place, 'twere pittie of my life.
2030Du. A verie gentle beast, and of good conscience.
Dem. The verie best at a beast, my Lord, yt ere I saw.
Lis. This Lion is a verie Fox for his valor.
Du. True, and a Goose for his discretion.
Dem. Not so my Lord: for his valor cannot carrie
2035his discretion, and the Fox carries the Goose.
Du. His discretion I am sure cannot carrie his valor:
for the Goose carries not the Fox. It is well; leaue it to
his discretion, and let vs hearken to the Moone.
Moone. This Lanthorne doth the horned Moone pre-
2040sent.
De. He should haue worne the hornes on his head.
Du. Hee is no crescent, and his hornes are inuisible,
within the circumference.
Moon. This lanthorne doth the horned Moone pre-
2045sent: My selfe, the man i'th Moone doth seeme to be.
Du. This is the greatest error of all the rest; the man
Should be put into the Lanthorne. How is it els the man
i'th Moone?
Dem. He dares not come there for the candle.
2050For you see, it is already in snuffe.
Dut. I am vvearie of this Moone; vvould he would
change.
Du. It appeares by his smal light of discretion, that
he is in the wane: but yet in courtesie, in all reason, vve
2055must stay the time.
Lys. Proceed Moone.
Moon. All that I haue to say, is to tell you, that the
Lanthorne is the Moone; I, the man in the Moone; this
thorne bush, my thorne bush; and this dog, my dog.
2060Dem. Why all these should be in the Lanthorne: for
they are in the Moone. But silence, heere comes Thisby
.
Enter Thisby.
This. This is old Ninnies tombe: where is my loue?
Lyon. Oh.
2065
The Lion roares, Thisby runs off.
Dem. Well roar'd Lion.
Du. Well run Thisby.
Dut. Well shone Moone.
Truly the Moone shines with a good grace.
2070Du. Wel mouz'd Lion.
Dem. And then came Piramus.
Lys. And so the Lion vanisht.
Enter Piramus.
Pyr. Sweet Moone, I thank thee for thy sunny beames,
2075I thanke thee Moone, for shining now so bright:
For by thy gracious, golden, glittering beames,
I trust to taste of truest Thisbies sight.
But stay: O spight! but marke, poore Knight,
What dreadful dole is heere?
2080Eyes do you see! How can it be!
O dainty Ducke: O Deere!
Thy mantle good; what staind with blood!
Approch you Furies fell:
O Fates! come, come: Cut thred and thrum,
2085Quaile, crush, conclude, and quell.
Du. This passion, and the death of a deare friend,
Would go neere to make a man looke sad.
Dut. Beshrew my heart, but I pittie the man.
Pir. O wherefore Nature, did'st thou Lions frame?
2090Since Lion vilde hath heere deflour'd my deere:
Which is: no, no, which was the fairest Dame
That liu'd, that lou'd, that lik'd, that look'd with cheere.
Come teares, confound: Out sword, and wound
The pap of Piramus:
2095I, that left pap, where heart doth hop;
Thus dye I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead, now am I fled, my soule is in the sky,
Tongue lose thy light, Moone take thy flight,
Now dye, dye, dye, dye, dye.
2100Dem. No Die, but an ace for him; for he is but one.
Lis. Lesse then an ace man. For he is dead, he is no-
thing.
Du. With the helpe of a Surgeon, he might yet reco-
uer, and proue an Asse.
2105Dut. How chance Moone-shine is gone before?
Thisby comes backe, and findes her Louer.
Enter Thisby.
Duke. She wil finde him by starre-light.
Heere she comes, and her passion ends the play.
2110Dut. Me thinkes shee should not vse a long one for
such a Piramus: I hope she will be breefe.
Dem. A Moth wil turne the ballance, which Piramus
which Thisby is the better.
Lys. She hath spyed him already, with those sweete
2115Dem. And thus she meanes, videlicit.
This. Asleepe my Loue? What, dead my Doue?
O Piramus arise:
Speake, Speake. Quite dumbe? Dead, dead? A tombe
Must couer thy sweet eyes.
2120These Lilly Lips, this cherry nose,
These yellow Cowslip cheekes
Are gone, are gone: Louers make mone:
His eyes were greene as Leekes.
O sisters three, come, come to mee,
2125With hands as pale as Milke,
Lay them in gore, since you haue shore
With sheeres, his thred of silke.
Tongue not a word: Come trusty sword:
Come blade, my brest imbrue:
2130And farwell friends, thus Thisbie ends;
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
Duk. Moone-shine & Lion are left to burie the dead.
Deme. I, and Wall too.
Bot. No, I assure you, the wall is downe, that parted
2135their Fathers. Will it please you to see the Epilogue, or
to heare a Bergomask dance, betweene two of our com-
pany?
Duk. No Epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs
no excuse. Neuer excuse; for when the plaiers are all
2140dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if hee that
writ it had plaid Piramus, and hung himselfe in Thisbies
garter, it would haue beene a fine Tragedy: and so it is
truely, and very notably discharg'd. But come, your
Burgomaske; let your Epilogue alone.
2145The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelue.
Louers to bed, 'tis almost Fairy time.
I feare we shall out-sleepe the comming morne,
As much as we this night haue ouer-watcht.
This palpable grosse play hath well beguil'd
2150The heauy gate of night. Sweet friends to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity.
In nightly Reuels; and new iollitie.
Exeunt.
Enter Pucke.
Puck. Now the hungry Lyons rores,
2155And the Wolfe beholds the Moone:
Whilest the heauy ploughman snores,
All with weary taske fore-done.
Now the wasted brands doe glow,
Whil'st the scritch-owle, scritching loud,
2160Puts the wretch that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shrowd.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graues, all gaping wide,
Euery one lets forth his spright,
2165In the Church-way paths to glide,
And we Fairies, that do runne,
By the triple Hecates teame,
From the presence of the Sunne,
Following darkenesse like a dreame,
2170Now are frollicke; not a Mouse
Shall disturbe this hallowed house.
I am sent with broome before,
To sweep the dust behinde the doore.
Enter King and Queene of Fairies, with their traine.
2175Ob. Through the house giue glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsie fier,
Euerie Elfe and Fairie spright,
Hop as light as bird from brier,
And this Ditty after me, sing and dance it trippinglie.
2180Tita. First rehearse this song by roate,
To each word a warbling note.
Hand in hand, with Fairie grace,
Will we sing and blesse this place.
The Song.
2185
Now vntill the breake of day,
Through this house each Fairy stray.
To the best Bride-bed will we,
Which by vs shall blessed be:
And the issue there create,
2190Euer shall be fortunate:
So shall all the couples three,
Euer true in louing be:
And the blots of Natures hand,
Shall not in their issue stand.
2195Neuer mole, harelip, nor scarre,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in Natiuitie,
Shall vpon their children be.
With this field dew consecrate,
2200Euery Fairy take his gate,
And each seuerall chamber blesse,
Through this Pallace with sweet peace,
Euer shall in safety rest,
And the owner of it blest.
2205Trip away, make no stay;
Meet me all by breake of day.