A Midsummer Night's Dream By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 1

HIPPOLYTA
Indeed he hath played on this prologue like a child
on a recorder; a sound, but not in government.

THESEUS
His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impaired, but all
disordered. Who is next?

[Enter PYRAMUS and THISBE, WALL, MOONSHINE, and LION, as in dumb
show.]

PROLOGUE
Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
This beauteous lady Thisby is certain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;
And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper, at the which let no man wonder.
This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moonshine: for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which by name Lion hight,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And as she fled, her mantle she did fall;
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain:
Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain;
Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast;
And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain,
At large discourse while here they do remain.

[Exeunt PROLOGUE, THISBE, LION, and MOONSHINE.]

THESEUS
I wonder if the lion be to speak.

DEMETRIUS
No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.

WALL
In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall:
And such a wall as I would have you think
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone, doth show
That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.

THESEUS
Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

DEMETRIUS
It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
discourse, my lord.

THESEUS
Pyramus draws near the wall; silence.

[Enter PYRAMUS.]

PYRAMUS
O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so black!
O night, which ever art when day is not!
O night, O night, alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot! —
And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
That stand'st between her father's ground and mine;
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.

[WALL holds up his fingers.]

Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
But what see what see I? No Thisby do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss,
Curs'd be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

THESEUS
The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

PYRAMUS
No, in truth, sir, he should not. 'Deceiving me' is
Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through
the wall. You shall see it will fall pat as I told you. — Yonder
she comes.

[Enter THISBE.]

THISBE
O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me:
My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones:
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.

PYRAMUS
I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
Thisby!

THISBE
My love! thou art my love, I think.

PYRAMUS
Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
And like Limander am I trusty still.

THISBE
And I like Helen, till the fates me kill.

PYRAMUS
Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.

THISBE
As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.

PYRAMUS
O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.

THISBE
I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.

PYRAMUS
Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?

THISBE
'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.

WALL
Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.

[Exeunt WALL, PYRAMUS and THISBE.]

THESEUS
Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.

DEMETRIUS
No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear
without warning.

HIPPOLYTA
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

THESEUS
The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst
are no worse, if imagination amend them.

HIPPOLYTA
It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

THESEUS
If we imagine no worse of them than they of
themselves, they may pass for excellent men.
Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion.

[Enter LION and MOONSHINE.]

LION
You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam:
For, if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, 'twere pity on my life.

THESEUS
A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.

DEMETRIUS
The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

LYSANDER
This lion is a very fox for his valour.

THESEUS
True; and a goose for his discretion.

DEMETRIUS
Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry his
discretion, and the fox carries the goose.

THESEUS
His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour;
for the goose carries not the fox. It is well; leave it to his
discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

MOONSHINE
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present:

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