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Philoft. There is a brief, how many sports are ripe: (32) Make choice of which your Highness will lee first.
[Giving a paper.
Philoft. A play there is, my Lord, fome ten words long;
(32) bow many sports are rife :) I have chosen to refore from one of the old quarto's printed in 1600, ripe, as the most proper word here: ripe, fignifying any thing ready for use ;. rife, only the great increase of any thing.
(33) Lys. The battel with the Centaurs-] Here the fixteen lines, that follow, from the time of the first folio edition put out by the players, have impertinently been divided, by two verses alternately, betwixt Theseus and Lysander. But what has Lyfarder to do in the affair? He is no courtier of Theseus's, but only an occasional guest; and just come out of the woods, so not likely to know what sports were in preparation. I have taken the old quarto's for my guides, in regulating this passage. Theseus alks after entertainment. Pbiloftrate, who is his master of the revels, gives him in a lift of what fports are ready: upon which, Theseus reads the titles of them out of the list, and then alternately makes his remarks upon them. And chais, I dare say, was the Poet's own design and distribution.
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Thes. What are they, that do play it ?
Philoft. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens here, Which never labour'd in their minds 'till now; And now have toil'd their unbreath'd memories With this fame play against your nuptials.
Thef. And we will hear it.
Philoft. No, my noble Lord,
you can find sport in their intents, Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain, To do you service.
Thes. I will hear that play: For never any thing can be amiss, When simpleness and duty tender it. Go, bring them in, and take your places Ladies. (ExitPhil
Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd, And duty in his service perishing.
Thes. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing. Hip. He says, they can do nothing in this kind.
Thes. The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothingOur sport shall be, to take what they mistake; And what poor (willing] duty cannot do, (34) Noble respect takes it in might, not merit. Where I have come, great clerks have purposed To greet me with premeditated welcomes; Where I have seen them shiver and look pale, Make periods in the midit of sentences, Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears, And, in conclufion, dumbly have broke off,
(34) And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect
Takes it in might, not merit.] Vi har cars have these poeticat editors, to palm this line upon us is a ve te of Shakespeare? 'Tis certain, an epithet had Nipt out, and I have ventur'd to restore fuch a one as the sense ray dil,enfe with; and which makes the two verses flowing and perfect.
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
[Flour. Trumbo Enter Quince, for the prologue. Prol. If we offend, it is with our good will. That
hould think, we come not to offend, But with good will. To hew our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end. Consider then, we come but in despight..
We do not come, as minding to content you, (35) Our true intept is.-all for your delight,
We are not here.--that you should here repent you, The actors are at hand;--and by their show, You fall know, all, that you are like to know.
Thef. This fellow.doth not stand upon points.
Lyf. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt; he knows not the stop. A good moral, my Lord. It is not enough to speak, but to speak true.
Hip. Indeed he hath play'd on his prologue, like a child on the recorder ; a found, but not in government. (35) We do not come as minding to content you,
Our true intent is all for your delight,
The Aptors are at band ; &c ] Thus the late accurate editor, deviating from all the old copies, has, by a certain peculiar fatality, pointed this passage. The whole glee and humour of the prologue is in the actor's making false rests, and so turning every member of the sentences into flagrant nonsense. And Mi. Pope seems very cruel to our Author, (considering how many passages, which should have been pointed right, he has pointed wrong ;) that here, when he should print wrong, with a strange perverseness, and’unusual appetite for sense, he will point right.
T'hes. His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impair'd, but all disorder'd. Who is the next? Enter Pyramus, and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, 'and
Lion, as in dumb show.
This beauteous Lady, Thisby is, certain.
Wall, the vile wall, which did these lovers sunder : And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
To whifper, at the which let no man wonder. This man,' with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moon-shine: For, if you will know,
To meet at Ninus' comb, there, there to woo.
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did ftain.
And finds his trusty T'hifoy's mantle flain; Whereat; with blade, with bloody blameful blade
He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breaft.
His dagger drew, and died. For all the reft,
Exennt all but Wall.
when many affes do.
wbich Lion bight by name.] As all the other parts of this speech are in alternate rhyme, excepting that it closes with a cousples; and as no shyme is left to, name; we must conclude, either a , verfé is flipt out, which cannot now bé retriev'd ; or, by a transposition of the words, as I have placed them, the Poet intended a tri; let,
Wall. In this fame Interlude, it doth befal,
Tbej. Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
Dem. It is the wittiest partition, that ever I heard
O night which ever art, when day is not !
I fear, my Thisbe's promise is forgot.
That stands between her father's ground and mine;
Shew me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.
But what fee I? no Thisy do I see,
Curst be thy ftones for thus deceiving me.
Thes. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
Pyr. No, in truth, Sir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's cue; she is to enter, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.
(37) That I, one Flute by name,] Thus Mr. Pope gives it us, either from the old quarto's, or by accident. But accident, or authority, happens to be wrong in it: and we must restore, Snout, with the od folio'; for it appears in the first act, that Flute was to perform Fbisoe.