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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    160A Midsommer nights Dreame.
    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 intents,
    Extreamely stretcht, and cond with cruell paine,
    To doe you seruice.
    Thes. I will heare that play. For neuer any thing
    1880Can be amisse, when simplenesse and duty tender it.
    Goe bring them in, and take your places, Ladies.
    Hip. I loue not to see wretchednesse orecharged;
    And duty in his seruice perishing.
    Thes. Why gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
    1885Hip. He saies, they can doe nothing in this kinde.
    Thes. 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 Clearkes 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 me 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 ratling tongue
    1900Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
    Loue therefore, and tongue-tide simplicity,
    In least, speake most, to my capacity.
    Egeus. So please your Grace, the Prologue is addrest.
    Duke. Let him approach. Flor. Trum.

    1905Enter the Prologue. Quince.
    Pro. If we 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 do not come, as minding to content you,
    Our true intent is. All for your delight,
    We are not heere. That you should here repent you,
    The Actors are at hand; and by their show,
    1915You shall know all, that you are like to know.
    Thes. This fellow doth not stand vpon points.
    Lys. He hath rid his Prologue, like a rough Colt: he
    knowes not the stop. A good morall my Lord. It is not
    enough to speake, but to speake true.
    1920Hip. Indeed hee hath plaid on his Prologue, like a
    childe on a Recorder, a sound, but not in gouernment.
    Thes. His speech was like a tangled chaine: nothing
    impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
    Tawyer with a Trumpet before them.

    1925 Enter Pyramus and Thisby, Wall, Moone-shine, and Lyon.
    Prol. Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show,
    But wonder on, till truth make all things plaine.
    This man is Piramus, if you would know;
    This beauteous Lady, Thisby is certaine.
    1930This man, with lyme and rough-cast, doth present
    Wall, that vile wall, which did these louers sunder:
    And through walls chink (poor soules) they are content
    To whisper. At the which, let no man wonder.
    This man, with Lanthorne, dog, and bush of thorne,
    1935Presenteth moone-shine. For if you will know,
    By moone-shine did these Louers thinke no scorne
    To meet at Ninus toombe, there, there to wooe:
    This grizly beast (which Lyon hight by name)
    The trusty Thisby, 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 Piramus, sweet youth and tall,
    And findes his Thisbies Mantle slaine;
    1945Whereat, with blade, with bloody blamefull blade,
    He brauely broacht his boiling bloudy breast,
    And Thisby, tarrying in Mulberry shade,
    His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
    Let Lyon, Moone-shine, Wall, and Louers twaine,
    1950At large discourse, while here they doe remaine.
    Exit all but Wall.
    Thes. I wonder if the Lion be to speake.
    Deme. No wonder, my Lord: one Lion may, when
    many Asses doe.
    1955 Exit Lyon, Thisbie, and Mooneshine.
    Wall. In this same Interlude, it doth befall,
    That I, one Snowt (by name) present a wall:
    And such a wall, as I vvould haue you thinke,
    That had in it a crannied hole or chinke:
    1960Through which the Louers, Piramus and Thisbie
    Did whisper often, very secretly.
    This loame, this rough-cast, and this stone doth shew,
    That I am that same Wall; the truth is so.
    And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
    1965Through which the fearefull Louers are to whisper.
    Thes. Would you desire Lime and Haire to speake
    Deme. It is the vvittiest partition, that euer I heard
    discourse, my Lord.
    1970Thes. Pyramus drawes neere the Wall, silence.
    Enter Pyramus.
    Pir. O grim lookt night, ô night with hue so blacke,
    O night, which euer art, when day is not:
    O night, ô night, alacke, alacke, alacke,
    1975I feare my Thisbies promise is forgot.
    And thou ô vvall, thou sweet and louely vvall,
    That stands between her fathers ground and mine,
    Thou vvall, ô vvall, o sweet and louely vvall,
    Shew me thy chinke, to blinke through vvith mine eine.
    1980Thankes courteous vvall. Ioue shield thee vvell for this.
    But vvhat see I? No Thisbie doe I see.
    O vvicked vvall, through vvhom I see no blisse,
    Curst be thy stones for thus deceiuing mee.
    Thes. The vvall me-thinkes being sensible, should
    1985curse againe.
    Pir. No in truth sir, he should not. Deceiuing me,
    Is Thisbies cue; she is to enter, and I am to spy
    Her through the vvall. You shall see it vvill fall.

    Enter Thisbie.
    1990Pat as I told you; yonder she comes.
    This. O vvall, full often hast thou heard my mones,
    For parting my faire Piramus, and me.
    My cherry lips haue often kist thy stones;
    Thy stones vvith Lime and Haire knit vp in thee.
    1995Pyra. I see a voyce; now vvill I to the chinke,
    To spy and I can heare my Thisbies face. Thisbie?
    This. My Loue thou art, my Loue I thinke.
    Pir. Thinke vvhat thou vvilt, I am thy Louers grace,
    And like Limander am I trusty still.
    2000This. And like Helen till the Fates me kill.
    Pir. Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
    This. As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
    Pir. O