Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords and Attendants
'Tis strange my Theseus, that theselovers speak of.
More strange than true: I never may believeThese antique fables, nor these fairy toys.Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,Such shaping fantasies, that apprehendMore than cool reason ever comprehends.The lunatic, the lover and the poetAre of imagination all compact:One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;And as imagination bodies forthThe forms of things unknown, the poet's penTurns them to shapes and gives to airy nothingA local habitation and a name.Such tricks hath strong imagination,That if it would but apprehend some joy,It comprehends some bringer of that joy;Or in the night, imagining some fear,How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
But all the story of the night told over,And all their minds transfigured so together,More witnesseth than fancy's imagesAnd grows to something of great constancy;But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENAJoy, gentle friends! joy and fresh days of loveAccompany your hearts!
Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA
More than to usWait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,To wear away this long age of three hoursBetween our after-supper and bed-time?Where is our usual manager of mirth?What revels are in hand? Is there no play,To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?Call Philostrate.
Here, mighty Theseus.
Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?What masque? what music? How shall we beguileThe lazy time, if not with some delight?
There is a brief how many sports are ripe:Make choice of which your highness will see first.Giving a paper
Giving a paper
[Reads] 'The battle with the Centaurs, to be sungBy an Athenian eunuch to the harp.'We'll none of that: that have I told my love,In glory of my kinsman Hercules.Reads'The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.'That is an old device; and it was play'dWhen I from Thebes came last a conqueror.Reads'The thrice three Muses mourning for the deathOf Learning, late deceased in beggary.'That is some satire, keen and critical,Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.Reads'A tedious brief scene of young PyramusAnd his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.'Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.How shall we find the concord of this discord?
A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,Which is as brief as I have known a play;But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,Which makes it tedious; for in all the playThere is not one word apt, one player fitted:And tragical, my noble lord, it is;For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,Made mine eyes water; but more merry tearsThe passion of loud laughter never shed.
What are they that do play it?
Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,Which never labour'd in their minds till now,And now have toil'd their unbreathed memoriesWith this same play, against your nuptial.
And we will hear it.
No, my noble lord;It is not for you: I have heard it over,And it is nothing, nothing in the world;Unless you can find sport in their intents,Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,To do you service.
I will hear that play;For never anything can be amiss,When simpleness and duty tender it.Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.Exit PHILOSTRATE
I love not to see wretchedness o'er chargedAnd duty in his service perishing.
Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
He says they can do nothing in this kind.
The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.Our sport shall be to take what they mistake:And what poor duty cannot do, noble respectTakes it in might, not merit.Where I have come, great clerks have purposedTo greet me with premeditated welcomes;Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,Make periods in the midst of sentences,Throttle their practised accent in their fearsAnd in conclusion dumbly have broke off,Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,Out of this silence yet I pick'd a welcome;And in the modesty of fearful dutyI read as much as from the rattling tongueOf saucy and audacious eloquence.Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicityIn least speak most, to my capacity.Re-enter PHILOSTRATE
So please your grace, the Prologue is address'd.
Let him approach.Flourish of trumpetsEnter QUINCE for the Prologue
Flourish of trumpets
Enter QUINCE for the Prologue
If we offend, it is with our good will.That you should think, we come not to offend,But with good will. To show our simple skill,That is the true beginning of our end.Consider then we come but in despite.We do not come as minding to contest you,Our true intent is. All for your delightWe are not here. That you should here repent you,The actors are at hand and by their showYou shall know all that you are like to know.
This fellow doth not stand upon points.
He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt; he knowsnot the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is notenough to speak, but to speak true.
Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a childon a recorder; a sound, but not in government.
His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothingimpaired, but all disordered. Who is next?Enter Pyramus and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, and Lion
Enter Pyramus and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, and Lion
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 presentWall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are contentTo 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 scornTo meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,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 is boiling bloody breast;And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twainAt large discourse, while here they do remain.Exeunt Prologue, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine
Exeunt Prologue, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine
I wonder if the lion be to speak.
No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.
In this same interlude it doth befallThat 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 showThat 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.
Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
It is the wittiest partition that ever I hearddiscourse, my lord.Enter Pyramus
Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!
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 fingersThanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!But what see I? No Thisby do I see.O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
Wall holds up his fingers
The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
No, in truth, sir, he should not. 'Deceiving me'is Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am tospy her through the wall. You shall see, it willfall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.Enter 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.
I see a voice: now will I to the chink,To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. Thisby!
My love thou art, my love I think.
Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!
I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all.
Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?
'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe
Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe
Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.Exit
Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.
No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hearwithout warning.
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worstare no worse, if imagination amend them.
It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
If we imagine no worse of them than they ofthemselves, they may pass for excellent men. Herecome two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.Enter Lion and Moonshine
Enter Lion and Moonshine
You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fearThe 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, amA lion-fell, nor else no lion's dam;For, if I should as lion come in strifeInto this place, 'twere pity on my life.
A very gentle beast, of a good conscience.
The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.
This lion is a very fox for his valour.
True; and a goose for his discretion.
Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry hisdiscretion; and the fox carries the goose.
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.
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;--
He should have worn the horns on his head.
He is no crescent, and his horns areinvisible within the circumference.
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.
This is the greatest error of all the rest: the manshould be put into the lanthorn. How is it else theman i' the moon?
He dares not come there for the candle; for, yousee, it is already in snuff.
I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!
It appears, by his small light of discretion, thathe is in the wane; but yet, in courtesy, in allreason, we must stay the time.
All that I have to say, is, to tell you that thelanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; thisthorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
Why, all these should be in the lanthorn; for allthese are in the moon. But, silence! here comes Thisbe.Enter Thisbe
This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?
[Roaring] Oh--Thisbe runs off
Thisbe runs off
Well roared, Lion.
Well run, Thisbe.
Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with agood grace.The Lion shakes Thisbe's mantle, and exit
The Lion shakes Thisbe's mantle, and exit
Well moused, Lion.
And so the lion vanished.
And then came Pyramus.Enter Pyramus
Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright;For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.But stay, O spite!But mark, poor knight,What dreadful dole is here!Eyes, do you see?How can it be?O dainty duck! O dear!Thy mantle good,What, stain'd with blood!Approach, ye Furies fell!O Fates, come, come,Cut thread and thrum;Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
This passion, and the death of a dear friend, wouldgo near to make a man look sad.
Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?Since lion vile hath here deflower'd my dear:Which is--no, no--which was the fairest dameThat lived, that loved, that liked, that look'dwith cheer.Come, tears, confound;Out, sword, and woundThe pap of Pyramus;Ay, that left pap,Where heart doth hop:Stabs himselfThus die I, thus, thus, thus.Now am I dead,Now am I fled;My soul is in the sky:Tongue, lose thy light;Moon take thy flight:Exit MoonshineNow die, die, die, die, die.Dies
No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing.
With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, andprove an ass.
How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comesback and finds her lover?
She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; andher passion ends the play.Re-enter Thisbe
Methinks she should not use a long one for such aPyramus: I hope she will be brief.
A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, whichThisbe, is the better; he for a man, God warrant us;she for a woman, God bless us.
She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
And thus she means, videlicet:--
Asleep, my love?What, dead, my dove?O Pyramus, arise!Speak, speak. Quite dumb?Dead, dead? A tombMust cover thy sweet eyes.These My lips,This cherry nose,These yellow cowslip cheeks,Are gone, are gone:Lovers, make moan:His eyes were green as leeks.O Sisters Three,Come, come to me,With hands as pale as milk;Lay them in gore,Since you have shoreWith shears his thread of silk.Tongue, not a word:Come, trusty sword;Come, blade, my breast imbrue:Stabs herselfAnd, farewell, friends;Thus Thisby ends:Adieu, adieu, adieu.Dies
Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.
Ay, and Wall too.
[Starting up] No assure you; the wall is down thatparted their fathers. Will it please you to see theepilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between twoof our company?
No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs noexcuse. Never excuse; for when the players are alldead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if hethat writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himselfin Thisbe's garter, it would have been a finetragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notablydischarged. But come, your Bergomask: let yourepilogue alone.A danceThe iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.I fear we shall out-sleep the coming mornAs much as we this night have overwatch'd.This palpable-gross play hath well beguiledThe heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.A fortnight hold we this solemnity,In nightly revels and new jollity.ExeuntEnter PUCK
Now the hungry lion roars,And the wolf behowls the moon;Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,All with weary task fordone.Now the wasted brands do glow,Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,Puts the wretch that lies in woeIn remembrance of a shroud.Now it is the time of nightThat the graves all gaping wide,Every one lets forth his sprite,In the church-way paths to glide:And we fairies, that do runBy the triple Hecate's team,From the presence of the sun,Following darkness like a dream,Now are frolic: not a mouseShall disturb this hallow'd house:I am sent with broom before,To sweep the dust behind the door.Enter OBERON and TITANIA with their train
Enter OBERON and TITANIA with their train
Through the house give gathering light,By the dead and drowsy fire:Every elf and fairy spriteHop as light as bird from brier;And this ditty, after me,Sing, and dance it trippingly.
First, rehearse your song by roteTo each word a warbling note:Hand in hand, with fairy grace,Will we sing, and bless this place.Song and dance
Song and dance
Now, until the break of day,Through this house each fairy stray.To the best bride-bed will we,Which by us shall blessed be;And the issue there createEver shall be fortunate.So shall all the couples threeEver true in loving be;And the blots of Nature's handShall not in their issue stand;Never mole, hare lip, nor scar,Nor mark prodigious, such as areDespised in nativity,Shall upon their children be.With this field-dew consecrate,Every fairy take his gait;And each several chamber bless,Through this palace, with sweet peace;And the owner of it blestEver shall in safety rest.Trip away; make no stay;Meet me all by break of day.Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and train
Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and train
If we shadows have offended,Think but this, and all is mended,That you have but slumber'd hereWhile these visions did appear.And this weak and idle theme,No more yielding but a dream,Gentles, do not reprehend:if you pardon, we will mend:And, as I am an honest Puck,If we have unearned luckNow to 'scape the serpent's tongue,We will make amends ere long;Else the Puck a liar call;So, good night unto you all.Give me your hands, if we be friends,And Robin shall restore amends.