Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

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


Enter Quince, the Carpenter; and Snugge, the Ioyner; and
Bottom, the Weauer; and Flute, the Bellowes mender; &
Snout, the Tinker; and Starueling the Tayler.
Quin. Is all our company heere?
270Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by
man, according to the scrippe.
Quin. Here is the scrowle of euery mans name, which is
thought fit, through al Athens, to play in our Enterlude, be-
fore the Duke, & the Dutches, on his wedding day at night.
Bott. First good Peeter Quince, say what the Play treats on:
then read the names of the Actors: & so grow to a point.
Quin. Mary, our Play is the most lamentable comedy,
280and most cruell death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good peece of worke, I assure you, & a mer-
ry. Now good Peeter Quince, call forth your Actors, by the
scrowle. Masters, spreade your selues.
Quin. Answere, as I call you. Nick Bottom, the Weauer?
Bott. Readie: Name what part I am for, and proceede.
Quin. You, Nick Bottom are set downe for Pyramus.
290Bott. What is Pyramus? A louer, or a tyrant?
Quin. A louer that kils himselfe, most gallant, for loue.
Bott. That will aske some teares in the true performing
of it. If I doe it, let the Audience looke to their eyes: I wil
295mooue stormes: I will condole, in some measure. To the
rest yet, my chiefe humour is for a tyrant. I could play Er-
cles rarely, or a part to teare a Cat in, to make all split the
raging rocks: and shiuering shocks, shall breake the locks
of prison gates, and Phibbus carre shall shine from farre,
300and make & marre the foolish Fates. This was loftie. Now,
name the rest of the Players. This is Ercles vaine, a tyrants
vaine: A louer is more condoling.
Quin. Francis Flute, the Bellowes mender?
305Flu. Here Peeter Quince.
Quin. Flute, you must take Thisby, on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? A wandring knight?
Quin. It is the Lady, that Pyramus must loue.
Fl. Nay faith: let not me play a womā: I haue a beard cō-
Quin. Thats all one: you shall play it in a Maske: and you
may speake as small as you will.
Bott. And I may hide my face, let me play Thisby to: Ile
speake in a monstrous little voice; Thisne, Thisne, ah Py-,
315ramus my louer deare, thy Thysby deare, & Lady deare.
Qu. No, no: you must play Pyramus: & Flute, you Thysby.
Bot. Well, proceede. Qui. Robin Starueling, the Tailer?
Star. Here Peeter Quince.
Quin. Robin Starueling, you must play Thysbyes mother:
Tom Snowte, the Tinker?
325Snowt. Here Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus father; my selfe, Thisbies father;
Snugge, the Ioyner, you the Lyons part: And I hope here
is a Play fitted.
Snug. Haue you the Lyons part written? Pray you, if it
330bee, giue it mee: for I am slowe of studie.
Quin. You may doe it, extempore: for it is nothing but
roaring.
Bott. Let mee play the Lyon to. I will roare, that I will
doe any mans heart good to heare mee. I will roare, that
335I will make the Duke say; Let him roare againe: let him
roare againe.
Quin. And you should do it too terribly, you would fright
the Dutchesse, and the Ladies, that they would shrike: and
that were inough to hang vs all.
340All. That would hang vs, euery mothers sonne.
Bot. I grant you, friends, if you should fright the Ladies
out of their wits, they would haue no more discretion, but
to hang vs: but I will aggrauate my voice so, that I wil
roare you as gently, as any sucking doue: I will roare you,
345and 'twere any Nightingale.
Quin. You can play no part but Piramus: for Piramus is a
sweete fac't man; a proper man as one shall see in a som-
mers day; a most louely gentlemanlike man: therefore
350you must needes play Piramus.
Bot. Well: I will vndertake it. What beard were I best
to play it in?
Quin. Why? what you will.
Bot. I wil discharge it, in either your straw colour beard,
355your Orange tawnie bearde, your purple in graine beard,
or your french crowne colour beard, your perfit yellow.
Quin. Some of your french crownes haue no haire at all;
and then you will play bare fac't. But maisters here are
360your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and desire
you, to con them by to morrow night: and meete me in
the palace wood, a mile without the towne, by Moone-
light; there will wee rehearse: for if wee meete in the city,
wee shal be dogd with company, and our deuises known.
365In the meane time, I will draw a bill of properties, such as
our play wants. I pray you faile me not.
Bot. Wee will meete, & there we may rehearse most ob-
scenely and coragiously. Take paines, bee perfit: adieu.
370Quin. At the Dukes oke wee meete.
Bot. Enough: holde, or cut bowstrings.
Exeunt.