Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Suzanne Westfall
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-465-3

    Copyright Suzanne Westfall. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    Bottome. Ready; name what part I am for, and
    Quince. You Nicke Bottome are set downe for Py-
    290Bot. What is Pyramus, a louer, or a tyrant?
    Quin. A Louer that kills himselfe most gallantly for
    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-
    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 Pyramus 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
    Quin. No no, you must play Pyramus, and Flute, you
    Bot. Well, proceed.
    320Qu. Robin Starueling the Taylor.
    Star. Heere Peter Quince.
    Quince. Robin Starueling, you must play Thisbies
    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-
    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.