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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Actus Tertius.
    Enter the Clownes.
    Bot. Are we all met?
    815Quin. Pat, pat, and here's a maruailous conuenient
    place for our rehearsall. This greene plot shall be our
    stage, this hauthorne brake our tyring house, and we will
    do it in action, as we will do it before the Duke.
    Bot. Peter quince?
    820Peter. What saist thou, bully Bottome?
    Bot. There are things in this Comedy of Piramus and
    Thisby, that will neuer please. First, Piramus must draw a
    sword to kill himselfe; which the Ladies cannot abide.
    How answere you that?
    825Snout. Berlaken, a parlous feare.
    Star. I beleeue we must leaue the killing out, when
    all is done.
    Bot. Not a whit, I haue a deuice to make all well.
    Write me a Prologue, and let the Prologue seeme to say,
    830we will do no harme with our swords, and that Pyramus
    is not kill'd indeede: and for the more better assurance,
    tell them, that I Piramus am not Piramus, but Bottome the
    Weauer; this will put them out of feare.
    Quin. Well, we will haue such a Prologue, and it shall
    835be written in eight and sixe.
    Bot. No, make it two more, let it be written in eight
    and eight.
    Snout. Will not the Ladies be afear'd of the Lyon?
    Star. I feare it, I promise you.
    840Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with your selues, to
    bring in (God shield vs) a Lyon among Ladies, is a most
    dreadfull thing. For there is not a more fearefull wilde
    foule then your Lyon liuing: and wee ought to looke
    to it.
    845Snout. Therefore another Prologue must tell he is not
    a Lyon.
    Bot. Nay, you must name his name, and halfe his face
    must be seene through the Lyons necke, and he himselfe
    must speake through, saying thus, or to the same defect;
    850Ladies, or faire Ladies, I would wish you, or I would
    request you, or I would entreat you, not to feare, not to
    tremble: my life for yours. If you thinke I come hither
    as a Lyon, it were pitty of my life. No, I am no such
    thing, I am a man as other men are; and there indeed let
    855him name his name, and tell him plainly hee is Snug the
    Quin. Well, it shall be so; but there is two hard
    things, that is, to bring the Moone-light into a cham-
    ber: for you know Piramus and Thisby meete by Moone-
    Sn. Doth the Moone shine that night wee play our
    Bot. A Calender, a Calender, looke in the Almanack,
    finde out Moone-shine, finde out Moone-shine.
    Enter Pucke.
    Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.
    Bot. Why then may you leaue a casement of the great
    chamber window (where we play) open, and the Moone
    may shine in at the casement.
    870Quin. I, or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
    and a lanthorne, and say he comes to disfigure, or to pre-
    sent the person of Moone-shine. Then there is another
    thing, we must haue a wall in the great Chamber; for Pi-
    ramus and Thisby (saies the story) did talke through the
    875chinke of a wall.
    Sn. You can neuer bring in a wall. What say you
    Bot. Some man or other must present wall, and let
    him haue some Plaster, or some Lome, or some rough
    880cast about him, to signifie wall; or let him hold his fin-
    gers thus; and through that cranny shall Piramus and
    Thisby whisper.
    Quin. If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit
    downe euery mothers sonne, and rehearse your parts.
    885Piramus, you begin; when you haue spoken your speech,
    enter into that Brake, and so euery one according to his
    Enter Robin.
    Rob. What hempen home-spuns haue we swagge-
    890ring here,
    So neere the Cradle of the Faierie Queene?
    What, a Play toward? Ile be an auditor,
    An Actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
    Quin. Speake Piramus: Thisby stand forth.
    895Pir. Thisby, the flowers of odious sauors sweete.
    Quin. Odours, odours.
    Pir. Odours sauors sweete,
    So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby deare.
    But harke, a voyce: stay thou but here a while,
    900And by and by I will to thee appeare.
    Exit. Pir.
    Puck. A stranger Piramus, then ere plaid here.
    This. Must I speake now?
    Pet. I marry must you. For you must vnderstand he
    goes but to see a noyse that he heard, and is to come a-
    Thys. Most radiant Piramus, most Lilly white of hue,
    Of colour like the red rose on triumphant bryer,
    Most brisky Iuuenall, and eke most louely Iew,
    As true as truest horse, that yet would neuer tyre,
    910Ile meete thee Piramus, at Ninnies toombe.
    Pet. Ninus toombe man: why, you must not speake
    that yet; that you answere to Piramus: you speake all
    your part at once, cues and all. Piramus enter, your cue is
    past; it is neuer tyre.
    915Thys. O, as true as truest horse, that yet would neuer
    Pir. If I were faire, Thisby I were onely thine.
    Pet. O monstrous. O strange. We are hanted; pray
    masters, flye masters, helpe.
    The Clownes all Exit.
    Puk. Ile follow you, Ile leade you about a Round,
    Through bogge, through bush, through brake, through
    Sometime a horse Ile be, sometime a hound:
    A hogge, a headlesse beare, sometime a fire,
    925And neigh, and barke, and grunt, and rore, and burne,
    Like horse, hound, hog, beare, fire, at euery turne.
    Enter Piramus with the Asse head.
    Bot. Why do they run away? This is a knauery of
    them to make me afeard.
    Enter Snowt.
    930Sn. O Bottom, thou art chang'd; What doe I see on
    Bot. What do you see? You see an Asse-head of your
    owne, do you?
    Enter Peter Quince.
    935Pet. Blesse thee Bottome, blesse thee; thou art transla-
    Bot. I see their knauery; this is to make an asse of me,
    to fright me if they could; but I will not stirre from
    this place, do what they can. I will walke vp and downe
    940here, and I will sing that they shall heare I am not a-
    The Woosell cocke, so blacke of hew,
    With Orenge-tawny bill.
    The Throstle, with his note so true,
    945The Wren and little quill.
    Tyta. What Angell wakes me from my flowry bed?
    Bot. The Finch, the Sparrow, and the Larke,
    The plainsong Cuckow gray;
    Whose note full many a man doth marke,
    950And dares not answere, nay.
    For indeede, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
    Who would giue a bird the lye, though he cry Cuckow,
    neuer so?
    Tyta. I pray thee gentle mortall, sing againe,
    955Mine eare is much enamored of thy note;
    On the first view to say, to sweare I loue thee.
    So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape.
    And thy faire vertues force (perforce) doth moue me.
    Bot. Me-thinkes mistresse, you should haue little
    960reason for that: and yet to say the truth, reason and
    loue keepe little company together, now-adayes.
    The more the pittie, that some honest neighbours will
    not make them friends. Nay, I can gleeke vpon occa-
    965Tyta. Thou art as wise, as thou art beautifull.
    Bot. Not so neither: but if I had wit enough to get
    out of this wood, I haue enough to serue mine owne
    Tyta. Out of this wood, do not desire to goe,
    970Thou shalt remaine here, whether thou wilt or no.
    I am a spirit of no common rate:
    The Summer still doth tend vpon my state,
    And I doe loue thee; therefore goe with me,
    Ile giue thee Fairies to attend on thee;
    975And they shall fetch thee Iewels from the deepe,
    And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleepe:
    And I will purge thy mortall grossenesse so,
    That thou shalt like an airie spirit go.
    Enter Pease-blossome, Cobweb, Moth, Mustard-
    980seede, and foure Fairies.
    Fai. Ready; and I, and I, and I, Where shall we go?
    Tita. Be kinde and curteous to this Gentleman,
    Hop in his walkes, and gambole in his eies,
    Feede him with Apricocks, and Dewberries,
    985With purple Grapes, greene Figs, and Mulberries,
    The honie-bags steale from the humble Bees,
    And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighes,
    And light them at the fierie-Glow-wormes eyes,
    To haue my loue to bed, and to arise:
    990And plucke the wings from painted Butterflies,
    To fan the Moone-beames from his sleeping eies.
    Nod to him Elues, and doe him curtesies.
    1. Fai. Haile mortall, haile.
    2. Fai. Haile.
    9953. Fai. Haile.
    Bot. I cry your worships mercy hartily; I beseech
    your worships name.
    Cob. Cobweb.
    Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
    1000Master Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold
    with you.
    Your name honest Gentleman?
    Pease. Pease blossome.
    Bot. I pray you commend mee to mistresse Squash,
    1005your mother, and to master Peascod your father. Good
    master Pease-blossome, I shal desire of you more acquain-
    tance to. Your name I beseech you sir?
    Mus. Mustard-seede.
    Peas. Pease-blossome.
    1010Bot. Good master Mustard seede, I know your pati-
    ence well: that same cowardly gyant-like Oxe beefe
    hath deuoured many a gentleman of your house. I pro-
    mise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere
    now. I desire you more acquaintance, good Master
    Tita. Come waite vpon him, lead him to my bower.
    The Moone me-thinks, lookes with a watrie eie,
    And when she weepes, weepe euerie little flower,
    Lamenting some enforced chastitie.
    1020Tye vp my louers tongue, bring him silently.