Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING
Is all our company here?
You were best to call them generally, man by man,according to the scrip.
Here is the scroll of every man's name, which isthought fit, through all Athens, to play in ourinterlude before the duke and the duchess, on hiswedding-day at night.
First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treatson, then read the names of the actors, and so growto a point.
Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, andmost cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
A very good piece of work, I assure you, and amerry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth youractors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?
A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.
That will ask some tears in the true performing ofit: if I do it, let the audience look to theireyes; I will move storms, I will condole in somemeasure. To the rest: yet my chief humour is for atyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part totear a cat in, to make all split.The raging rocksAnd shivering shocksShall break the locksOf prison gates;And Phibbus' carShall shine from farAnd make and marThe foolish Fates.This was lofty! Now name the rest of the players.This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover ismore condoling.
Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Here, Peter Quince.
Flute, you must take Thisby on you.
What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.
That's all one: you shall play it in a mask, andyou may speak as small as you will.
An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too, I'llspeak in a monstrous little voice. 'Thisne,Thisne;' 'Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisby dear,and lady dear!'
No, no; you must play Pyramus: and, Flute, you Thisby.
Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.Tom Snout, the tinker.
You, Pyramus' father: myself, Thisby's father:Snug, the joiner; you, the lion's part: and, Ihope, here is a play fitted.
Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if itbe, give it me, for I am slow of study.
You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I willdo 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.'
An you should do it too terribly, you would frightthe duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek;and that were enough to hang us all.
That would hang us, every mother's son.
I grant you, friends, if that you should fright theladies out of their wits, they would have no morediscretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate myvoice so that I will roar you as gently as anysucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere anynightingale.
You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is asweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in asummer's day; a most lovely gentleman-like man:therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I bestto play it in?
Why, what you will.
I will discharge it in either your straw-colourbeard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grainbeard, or your French-crown-colour beard, yourperfect yellow.
Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, andthen you will play bare-faced. But, masters, hereare your parts: and I am to entreat you, requestyou and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night;and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without thetown, by moonlight; there will we rehearse, for ifwe meet in the city, we shall be dogged withcompany, and our devices known. In the meantime Iwill draw a bill of properties, such as our playwants. I pray you, fail me not.
We will meet; and there we may rehearse mostobscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect: adieu.
At the duke's oak we meet.
Enough; hold or cut bow-strings.Exeunt