Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Suzanne Westfall
Not Peer Reviewed

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


Enter Theseus, Hyppolita, and Philostrate.
Hip. Tis strange, my Theseus, that these louers speake of.
The. More straunge then true. I neuer may beleeue
1795These antique 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 lunatick,
The louer, and the Poet are of imagination all compact.
One sees more diuels, then vast hell can holde:
That is the mad man. The louer, all as frantick,
Sees Helens beauty in a brow of Ægypt.
The Poets eye, in a fine frenzy, rolling, doth glance
1805From heauen to earth, from earth to heauen. And as
Imagination bodies forth the formes of things
Vnknowne: the Poets penne turnes them to shapes,
And giues to ayery nothing, a locall habitation,
And a name. Such trickes 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,
How easie is a bush suppos'd a Beare?
Hyp. But, all the story of the night told ouer,
1815And all their minds transfigur'd so together,
More witnesseth than fancies images,
And growes to something of great constancy:
But howsoeuer, strange and admirable.
Enter Louers; Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia and
1820
Helena.
The. Here come the louers, full of ioy and mirth.
Ioy, gentle friends, ioy and fresh daies
Of loue accompany your hearts.
Lys. More then to vs, waite in your royall walkes, your
1825boorde, your bedde.
The. Come now: what maskes, what daunces shall wee
To weare away this long age of three hours, betweene
Or after supper, & bed-time? Where is our vsuall manager
1830Of mirth? What Reuels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hower? Call Philostrate.
Philostrate. Here mighty Theseus.
1835The. Say, what abridgement haue you for this euening?
What maske, what musicke? How shall we beguile
The lazy tyme, if not with some delight?
Philost. There is a briefe, how many sports are ripe.
1840Make choyce, of which your Highnesse will see first.
The. The battell with the Centaures to be sung,
By an Athenian Eunuche, to the Harpe?
Weele none of that. That haue I tolde my loue,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
1845The ryot of the tipsie Bachanals,
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.
Goe bring them in, and take your places, Ladies.
Hip. I loue not to see wretchednesse orecharged;
And duery, in his seruice, perishing.
The. Why, gentle sweete, you shall see no such thing.
1885Hip. He sayes, they can doe nothing in this kinde.
The. 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 Clerkes 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 mee 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 rattling tongue
1900Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Loue, therefore, and tong-tide simplicity,
In least, speake most, to my capacity.
Philost. So please your Grace, the Prologue is addrest.
Duk. Let him approach.
1905
Enter the Prologue.
Pro. If wee 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 doe not come, as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight,
Wee are not here. That you should here repent you,
The Actors are at hand: and, by their showe,
1915You shall know all, that you are like to knowe,
The. This fellow doth not stand vpon points.
Lys. He hath rid his Prologue, like a rough Colte: hee
knowes not the stoppe. A good morall my Lord. It is not
enough to speake; but to speake true.
1920Hyp. Indeed he hath plaid on this Prologue, like a child
on a Recorder, a sound; but not in gouernement.
The. His speach was like a tangled Chaine; nothing im-
paired, but all disordered. Who is next?
Enter Pyramus, and Thisby, and Wall, and Moone-
1925shine, and Lyon.
Prologue. Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show.
But, wonder on, till truthe make all things plaine.
This man is Pyramus, if you would knowe:
This beautious Lady Thsby is certaine.
1930This man, with lyme and roughcast, doth present
Wall, that vile wall, which did these louers sunder:
And through wals chinke, poore soules, they are content
To whisper. At the which, let no man wonder.
This man, with lanterne, dogge, and bush of thorne,
1935Presenteth moone-shine. For if you will know,
By moone-shine did these louers thinke no scorne
To meete at Ninus tombe, there, there to wooe.
This grizly beast (which Lyon hight by name)
The trusty Thysby, 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 Pyramus, sweete youth, and tall,
And findes his trusty Thisbyes mantle slaine:
1945Whereat, with blade, with bloody blamefull blade,
He brauely broacht his boyling bloody breast.
And Thisby, tarying in Mulberry shade,
His dagger drewe, and dyed. For all the rest,
Let Lyon, Moone-shine, Wall, and louers twaine,
1950At large discourse, while here they doe remaine.
The. I wonder, if the Lyon be to speake.
Demet. No wonder, my Lord. One Lyon may, when
many Asses doe.
1955
Exit Lyon, Thysby, and Mooneshine.
Wall. In this same enterlude it doth befall,
That I, one Flute (by name) present a wall:
And such a wall, as I would haue you thinke
That had in it a cranied hole or chinke:
1960Through which the louers, Pyramus, and Thisby,
Did whisper often, very secretly.
This lome, this roughcast, and this stone doth showe,
That I am that same wall: the truth is so.
And this the cranie is, right and sinister,
1965Through which the fearefull louers are to whisper.
The. Would you desire lime and haire to speake better?
Deme. It is the wittiest partition, that euer I heard dis-
course my Lord.
1970The. Pyramus drawes neare the wall: silence.
Py. O grim lookt night, o night, with hue so blacke,
O night, which euer art, when day is not:
O night, O night, alacke, alacke, alacke,
1975I feare my Thisbyes promise is forgot.
And thou ? wall, ? sweete, ? louely wall,
That standst betweene her fathers ground and mine,
Thou wall, ? wall, O sweete and louely wall,
Showe mee thy chinke, to blink through, with mine eyne.
1980Thankes curteous wall. Ioue shield thee well, for this.
But what see I? No Thisby doe I see.
O wicked wall, through whome I see no blisse,
Curst be thy stones, for thus deceiuing mee.
The. The wall mee thinkes, being sensible, should curse
1985againe.
Pyr. No, in truth Sir, he should not. Deceiuing mee is
Thisbyes cue: she is to enter now, and I am to spy
Her through the wall. You shall see it will fall
1990Pat as I told you: yonder she comes.
Enter Thisby.
This. O wall, full often hast thou heard my mones,
For parting my faire Pyramus, and mee.
My cherry lips haue often kist thy stones;
Thy stones, with lime and hayire knit now againe.
1995Pyra. I see a voice: now will I to the chinke,
To spy and I can heare my Thisbyes face. Thysby?
This. My loue thou art, my loue I thinke.
Py. Thinke what thou wilt, I am thy louers Grace:
And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
2000This. And I, like Helen, till the fates me kill.
Pyra. Not Shafalus, to Procrus, was so true.
This. As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
Pyr. O kisse mee, through the hole of this vilde wall.
This. I kisse the walles hole; not your lips at all.
2005Pyr. Wilt thou, at Ninnies tombe, meete me straight way?
Thy. Tide life, tyde death, I come without delay.
Wal. Thus haue I, Wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus wall away doth goe.
2010Duk. Now is the Moon vsed between the two neighbors.
Deme. No remedy, my Lord, when wals are so wilfull, to
heare without warning.
Dutch. This is the silliest stuffe, that euer I heard.
2015Duke. The best, in this kinde, are but shadowes: and
the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
Dutch. It must be your imagination, then; & not theirs.
Duke. If we imagine no worse of them, then they of thē-
selues, they may passe for excellent men. Here come two
2020noble beasts, in a man and a Lyon.
Enter Lyon, and Moone-shine.
Lyon. You Ladies, you (whose gentle hearts do feare
The smallest monstrous mouse, that creepes on floore)
May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,
2025When Lyon rough, in wildest rage, doth roare.
Then know that I, as Snug the Ioyner am
A Lyon fell, nor else no Lyons damme.
For, if I should, as Lyon, come in strife,
Into this place, 'twere pitty on my life.
2030Duk. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
Deme. The very best at a beast, my Lord, that ere I saw.
Lys. This Lyon is a very fox, for his valour.
Duk. True: and a goose for his discretion.
De. Not so my Lord. For his valour cannot carry his dis-
2035cretion: and the fox carries the goose.
Duk. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour.
For the goose carries not the fox. It is well: leaue it to his
discretion, and let vs listen to the Moone.
Moone. This lanthorne doth the horned moone present.
Deme. He should haue worne the hornes, on his head.
Duk. He is no crescent, and his hornes are inuisible, with-
in the circumference.
Moone. This lanthorne doth the horned moone present,
2045My selfe, the man ith Moone, doe seeme to be.
Duke. This is the greatest errour of all the rest; the man
should be put into the lanthorne. How is it else the man ith
Moone?
Deme. He dares not come there, for the candle. For,
2050you see, it is already in snuffe.
Dutch. I am aweary of this Moone. Would hee woulde
Duke. It appeares, by his small light of discretion, that
hee is in the wane: but yet in curtesie, in all reason, wee
2055must stay the time.
Lysan. Proceede, Moone.
Moon. All that I haue to say, is to tell you, that the lan-
thorne is the Moone, I the man ith Moone, this thorne bush
my thorne bush, and this dogge my dogge.
2060Deme. Why? All these should be in the lanthorne: for all
these are in the Moone. But silence: here comes Thisby.
Enter Thisby. Th. This is ould Ninies tumbe. Where is my loue? Lyon.Oh.
Dem. Well roard, Lyon.
Duke. Well runne, Thisby.
Dutchesse. Well shone Moone. Truly, the Moone shines,
with a good grace.
2070Duk. Well mouz'd, Lyon.
Dem. And then came Pyramus.
Lys. And so the Lyon vanisht.
Enter Pyramus.
Pyr. Sweete Moone, I thanke thee, for thy sunny beams.
2075I thanke thee, Moone, for shining now so bright.
For by thy gratious, golden, glittering beames,
I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.
But stay: ? spight! but marke, poore knight,
What dreadfull dole is here?
2080Eyes do you see! How can it bee!
O dainty duck, o deare!
Thy mantle good, what, staind with blood?
Approach ye Furies fell,
O fates come, come, cut thread and thrumme,
2085Quaile, crush, conclude, and quell.
Duke. This passion, & the death of a deare friend would
goe neere to make a man looke sad.
Dutch. Beshrewe my heart, but I pitty the man.
Pyr. O, wherefore, Nature, didst thou Lyons frame?
2090Since Lyon vilde hath here deflour'd my deare.
Which is, no, no: which was the fairest dame
That liu'd, that lou'd, that lik't, that look't with cheere.
Come teares, confound, out sword, and wound
The pappe of Pyramus:
2095I, that left pappe, where heart doth hoppe.
Thus dy I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead, now am I fled, my soule is in the sky.
Tongue loose thy light, Moone take thy flight,
Now dy, dy, dy, dy, dy.
2100Dem. No Die, but an ace for him. For he is but one.
Lys. Lesse then an ace, man. For he is dead, he is nothing.
Duke. With the helpe of a Surgeon, he might yet reco-
uer, and yet prooue an Asse.
2105Dut. How chance Moone-shine is gone before? Thisby
comes backe, and findes her louer.
Duk. Shee will finde him, by starre-light. Here shee
comes, and her passion ends the Play.
2110Dut. Me thinkes, she should not vse a long one, for such
a Pyramus: I hope, she will be briefe.
Demet. A moth will turne the ballance; which Pyramus,
which Thisby is the better: he for a man; God warnd vs:
she, for a woman; God blesse vs.
Lys. She hath spied him already, with those sweete eyes.
2115Deme. And thus she meanes, videlicet;
This. A sleepe my loue? What, dead my doue?
O Pyramus, arise,
Speake, speake. Quite dumbe? Dead, dead? A tumbe
Must couer thy sweete eyes.
2120These lilly lippes, this cherry nose,
These yellow cowslippe cheekes
Are gon, are gon: 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 threede of silke.
Tongue, not a word: come trusty sword,
Come blade, my breast imbrew:
2130And farewell friends: thus Thysby ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
Duke. Moone-shine and Lyon are left to bury the dead.
Deme. I, and Wall to.
Lyon. No, I assure you, the wall is downe, that parted
2135their fathers. Will it please you, to see the Epilogue, or to
heare a Bergomaske daunce, between two of our cōpany?
Duke. No Epilogue, I pray you. For your Play needs no
excuse. Neuer excuse: For when the Players are all deade,
2140there neede none to be blamed. Mary, if hee that writ it,
had played Pyramus, and hangd himselfe in Thisbies gar-
ter, 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 tolde twelue.
Louers to bed, tis almost Fairy time.
I feare we shall outsleepe the comming morne,
As much as wee this night haue ouerwatcht.
This palpable grosse Play hath well beguil'd
2150The heauie gate of night. Sweete friends, to bed.
A fortnight holde we this solemnitie,
In nightly Reuels, and new iollity.
Exeunt.
Enter Pucke.
Puck. Now the hungry Lyons roares.
2155And the wolfe beholds the Moone;
Whilst the heauie ploughman snores,
All with weary taske foredoone.
Now the wasted brands doe glowe,
Whilst the scriech-owle, scrieching lowd,
2160Puts the wretch, that lyes in woe,
In remembrance of a shrowde.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graues, all gaping wide,
Euery one lets forth his spright,
2165In the Churchway paths to glide.
And wee Fairies, that doe runne,
By the triple Hecates teame,
From the presence of the Sunne,
Following darkenesse like a dreame,
2170Now are frollick: not a mouse
Shall disturbe this hallowed house.
I am sent, with broome, before,
To sweepe the dust, behinde the dore.
Enter King and Queene of Fairies, with all their traine.
2175Ob. Through the house giue glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsie fier,
Euery Elfe and Fairy spright,
Hop as light as birde from brier,
And this dittie after mee, Sing, and daunce it trippingly.
2180Tita. First rehearse your song by rote,
To each word a warbling note.
Hand in hand, with Fairy grace,
Will we sing and blesse this place.
2185Ob. Now, vntill the breake of day,
Through this house, each Fairy stray.
To the best bride bed will wee:
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, hare-lippe, nor scarre,
Nor marke prodigious, such as are
Despised in natiuitie,
Shall vpon their children be.
With this field deaw consecrate,
2200Euery Fairy take his gate,
And each seuerall chamber blesse,
Through this palace, with sweete peace,
Euer shall in safety rest,
And the owner of it blest.
2205Trippe away: make no stay:
Meete me all, by breake of day.
Exeunt.