SCENE I. The Wood. The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
[Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.]
Are we all met?
Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our
rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn
brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will
do it before the duke.
Peter Quince, —
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
There are things in this comedy of 'Pyramus and Thisby' that
will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill
himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?
By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Not a whit: I have a device to make all well. Write me a
prologue; and let the prologue seem to say we will do no harm
with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed; and for
the more better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus am not
Pyramus but Bottom the weaver: this will put them out of fear.
Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be
written in eight and six.
No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
I fear it, I promise you.
Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in,
God shield us! a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing:
for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living;
and we ought to look to it.
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen
through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through,
saying thus, or to the same defect, — 'Ladies,' or, 'Fair ladies, I
would wish you, or, I would request you, or, I would entreat you,
not to fear, not to tremble: my life for yours. If you think I
come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such
thing; I am a man as other men are:' — and there, indeed, let him
name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things; that
is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber: for, you know,
Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.
Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out
moonshine, find out moonshine.
Yes, it doth shine that night.
Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber-window,
where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.
Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a
lantern, and say he comes to disfigure or to present the person
of moonshine. Then there is another thing: we must have a
wall in the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby, says the
story, did talk through the chink of a wall.
You can never bring in a wall. — What say you, Bottom?
Some man or other must present wall: and let him have
some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to
signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that
cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every
mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin:
when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake; and so
every one according to his cue.
[Enter PUCK behind.]
What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
Speak, Pyramus. — Thisby, stand forth.
'Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,'
' — odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear. —
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.'
A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here!
[Aside. — Exit.]
Must I speak now?
Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand he goes
but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
'Most radiant Pyramus, most lily white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse, that would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.'