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Bot. Peter Quince,
Quin. What say'st thou, bully Bottom?

Bot. 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?

Snout. By’rlakin, a parlous fear.*

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 scem 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.

Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.5

Bot. No, make it two more ; let it be written in eight and eight.

Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion? Star. I fear it, I promise you.

Bot. 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.

Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell, hc is not a lion.

Bot. 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

4 By’rlakin, a parlous fear.] By our ladykin, or little lady. Parlous is a word corrupted from perilous, i. e. dangerous. : in eight and six.] i, e. in alternate verses of eight and six syllables.

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 shall 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?

Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out moon-shine, find out moon-shine. . 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.

6. No, I am no such thing, &c.] Shakspeare probably meant to allude to a fact which happened in his time, at an entertainment exhibited before Queen Elizabeth. It is recorded in a manuscript collection of anecdotes, stories &c. entitled, Merry passages and Jeasts, M$. Harl. 6395:

“ There was a spectacle presented to Queen Elizabeth upon the water, and among others Harry Goldingham was to represent Arion upon the dolphin's backe; but finding his voice to be verye hoarse and unpleasant, when he came to perform it, he tears off his disguise, 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 exceeding well.”. ..

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.

v be, then, and rehrave spoke

Enter Puck behind.

Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swag

gering 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.

Quin. Speak, Pyramus :-Thisby, stand forth.
Pyr. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,-
Quin. Odours, odours.
Pyr. odours savours sweet :

So doth thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.-
But, hark, a voice! stay thou but here a while,

And by and by I will to thee appear. [Erit. Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here!

[Aside.- Exit. This. Must I speak now? Quin. Ay, marry, must you: for you must understand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

bush.

that brake;] Brake signifies here a thicket, or furze

This., Most radiant Pyramus, most lilly-white of

hue, Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Most brisky juvenal,' and eke most lovely Jewe,

As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire, I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.

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.!— 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

nerer tire. Pyr. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine:

Quin. O monstrous ! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! help!

TExeunt Clowns. Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake,

through brier ; Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,

A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire; And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn, Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.

E.rit. Bot. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them, to make me afeard.

Re-enter SNOUT.

Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?

_ juvenal ;] i. e. young man. 9- cues and all.] A cue, in stage cant, is the last words of the preceding speech, and serves as a hint to him who is to speak next.

Bot. What do you see? you see an ass's head of your own; Do you?

Re-enter Quince.

Quin. Bless thee, Bottom ! bless thee! thou art translated.

[Exit. Bot. I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me if they could. But I will not stir from this place, do what they can: I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.

[Sing's. The ousel-cock, so black of hue,

With orange-tawney bill,
The throstle with his note so true,

The wren with little quill; Tita. What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

[1Vaking.

Bot. The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,

The plain-song cuckoo' gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,

And dares not answer, nay; for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry, cuckoo, never so?

Tita. I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again : Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note,

* Theousel-cock,] The ouzel-cock is generally understood to be the cock blackbird; but the Ouzel differs from the Black-bird by having a white crescent upon the breast, and is besides ratherlarger.

i- plain-song cuckoo, &c.] That is, the cuckoo, who, having no variety of strains, sings in plain song, or in plano cantu ; ny which expression the uniform modulation or simplicity of the chaunt was anciently distinguished, in opposition to prick-song, or variegated musick sung by note. VOL. II.

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