Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Quarto 1, 1600)

A Midsommer nightes dreame.
Tearing the Thracian singer, in their rage?
That is an olde deuise: and it was plaid,
When I from Thebes came last a conquerer.
The thrise three Muses, mourning for the death
1850Of learning, late deceast, in beggery?
That is some Satire keene and criticall,
Not sorting with a nuptiall ceremony.
A tedious briefe Scene of young Pyramus
And his loue Thisby; very tragicall mirth?
1855Merry, and tragicall? Tedious, and briefe? That is hot Ise,
And wōdrous strange snow. How shall we find the cōcord
Of this discord?
Philost. A Play there is, my Lord, some ten words long;
Which is as briefe, 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 Pyramus,
Therein, doth kill himselfe. Which when I saw
1865Rehearst, I must confesse, made mine eyes water:
But more merry teares the passion of loud laughter
Neuer shed.
These. What are they, that doe play it?
Phil. Hard handed men, that worke in Athens here,
1870Which neuer labour'd in their minds till now:
And now haue toyled their vnbreathed memories,
With this same Play, against your nuptiall.
The. And wee 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 entents,
Extreamely stretcht, and cond with cruell paine,
To do you seruice.
The. I will heare that play. For neuer any thing
1880Can be amisse, when simplenesse and duety tender it.