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And she respects me as her only son.
My good Lysander!
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
Lys. Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.
Her. God speed fair Helena! Whither away? Hel. Call you me fair? That fair again unsay. Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair! Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's sweet air More tunable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
1 Shakspeare forgot that Theseus performed his exploits before the Trojan war, and, consequently, long before the death of Dido.
2 Fair for fairness, beauty-very common in writers of Shakspeare's age.
3 The lode-star is the leading or guiding star, that is, the polar-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone."
4 Countenance, feature.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Hel. O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!
Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love,-
Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my face; Lysander and myself will fly this place.— Before the time I did Lysander see, Seemed Athens like a paradise to me. O, then, what graces in my love do dwell, That he hath turned a heaven unto hell!
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I
Lys. I will, my Hermia.-Helena, adieu. As you on him, Demetrius dote on you!
1 i. c. changed, transformed.
Hel. How happy some o'er other some can be!
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
SCENE II. The same. A Room in a Cottage.
Enter SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, QUINCE, and STARVELING.
Quin. Is all our company here?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.
Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow on to a point.1
Quin. Marry, our play is-The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.-Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
Quin. Answer, as I call you.-Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Bot. Ready. Name what
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Bot. What is Pyramus? A lover, or a tyrant? Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some To the rest. Yet my chief humor is for a tyrant; I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
"The raging rocks,
Of prison gates;
This was lofty!-Now name the rest of the players. -This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
1 Grow on to a point. This is the reading of the first folio, and is probably a misprint for go on to appoint, i. e. appoint the actors to their several parts.
Flu. What is Thisby? A wandering knight? Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.
Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too. I'll speak in a monstrous little voice,- Thisne, Thisne-Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear ! And lady dear!
Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus; and, Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.-Tom Snout, the tinker.
Snout. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part:—and, I hope, here is a play fitted.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Bot. Let me play the lion too. I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say, Let him roar again, Let him roar again.
Quin. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.
All. That would hang us every mother's son.
Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us; but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man, a proper man, as one