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STAR. I believe, we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Bot. 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 Pryamus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: This will put them out of fear.
Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and fix.
Bot. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
SNOUT. Will notthe ladies be afeard of the lion ?
Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourfelves: 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.
Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell, he is not a lion.
Bot. Nay, you must name his name, and half his
Again, in Magnificence, an interlude, written by Skelton, and printed by Raftell :
By our lakin, syr, not by my will." Parlous is a word corrupted from perilous, i. e, dangerous. So Phaer and Twyne translate the following passage in the Æncid, Lib. VII. 302 :
Quid Syrtes, aut Scylla mihi? quid valla Charybdis
in eight and fix. ) i. e. in alternate verses of eight and fix syllables, MALONE,
face must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the fame 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.
Quin. Well, it ihall be so. But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moon-light into a chamber : for you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moon-light.
SNUG. Doth the moon shine, that night we play our play?
Bor. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out moon-fhine, find out moon-shine.
2 No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other wen are: - and there, indeed, let him name his name ; and tell them plainly, he is Snug the joiner. ] There are probably many temporary allusions to particular incidents and chara&ers scattered through our author's plays, which gave a poignancy lo certain passages, while the events were recent, and the persons pointed at, yet living. - In the speech now before us, I think it not improbable that he meant to allude to a fą& which happened in his time, at an entertainment exhibited before queen Elizabeth. It is recorded in a manuscript colleđion of anecdotes, stories , &c. entitled, Merry Passages and Jeafts, MS. Harl. 6395 :
6. There wa a fpe&acle presented to Queen Elizabeth upon the water, and among others Harry Goldingham was to represent Arion upon the dolphiu's backe; but finding his voice to be verye hoarse and unpleasant, wheu he came to perform it, he tears off his dis. guise, and swears he was none of Arion, not he, but even honest Harry Goldingham; which blunt discoverie pleased the queene better than if it had gone through in the right way: — yet he could order his voice to an instrument exceediug well.
The colle&or of these Merry Passages appears to have been nçphew to Sir Roger L'Ellrange. MALONE,
Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.
Bot. Why, then you may leave a casement of the great chamber window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.
Quin. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, and say, he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of moon-shine. 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.
Snug. You never can bring in a wall. - What say you, Bottom?
Bot. Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster, or some lome, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; or let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
Quin. 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.
3 that brake ;) Brake, in the present instance, signifies a thicket or furže-bush. So, in the ancient copy of the Norbrowns Mayde, 1521 :
for, dry or wete
6. But a brake hush, or :wayne.
STEEVENS. Brake in the west of England is used to express a large extent of ground overgrown with furze, and appears both here and in the next scene to convey the same idca. HENLEY.
Enter Puck behind.
Puck. What hempen home-fpuns have we swaga
Quin. Speak, Pyramus:-- Thisby, stand forth.
So doth thy breath, * my dearest Thisby dear. -
(afide. - Exit. This. Must I speak now?
• So doth thy breath, ] The old copies concur in reading:
" So hath thy breath, Mr. Pope made the alteration, which seems to be necessary.
STEEVENS. S stay thou but here a while, ] The verses should be alternately in rhyme: but sweet in the close of the first line, and while in the third, will not do for this purpose. The author, doubtless,
" ftay thou but here a whit," i. e.
e. a little while: for so it fignifies, as also any thing of no price or consideration; a trifle: in which sense it is very frequent with our author. 'THEOBALD.
Nothing, I think, is got by the change. I suspe& two lines to have been loft; the first of which rhymed with " savours sweet," and the other with “here a while." The line before appears to me to refer to some thing that has been loft. MALONE.
6 t than c'er play'd here! ] I suppose he means in that theatre where the piece was ading. STELVENS.
Quin. Ay, marry, must
you derstand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
This. Most radiant Pyramus, most lilly-white of hue.
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Moji brisky juvenal,' and eke most lovely few,
As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire, I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's lomb.
Quin. Ninus' tomb, man: Why you must not speak that yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your part at once, cues and all. 8
Pyramus enter; your cue is past; it is, never tire.
Re-enter Puck, and Bottom with an ass's head. This. 0,- As true as truest horse, that yet would
never tire. Pyr. If I were fair,' Thisby, I were only thine:
Quin. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters ! fly, masters! help!
[ Exeunt. Clowns.
- juvenal, ] i. c. young man. So, Falstaff, 6--the juvenab thy mafter. STEEVENS.
cues and all. ) A cue, in ftage cant, is the last words of the preceding speech, and serves as a hint to him who is to speak next. So Othello :
“ Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
• Without a prompter." Again, in The Return from Parnassus:
“ Indeed, master Kempe, you are very famous: but that is as well for works in print, as your part in ćue. Kompe was one of ShakSpeari's fellow comedians. STEEVENS,
9 If I were fair, &c.] Perhaps we ought to point thus: If I were, [i. c. as true, &c.] fair Thisby, I were only thine.