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Lys. Content with Hermia? No: I do repent
Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born ?
[Erit. Lys. She sees not Hermia :-Hermia, sleep thou
+ “now I love." Malone.
7 — till now ripe not to reason ;] i. e. do not ripen to it. Ripe, in the present instance, is a verb.
8 — touching now the point of human skill,] i.e. my senses being now at the utmost height of perfection.
• Reason becomes the marshal to my will,] That is, my will now follows reason.
Most of more and might" [Erit.
So thou, my surfeit, and my heresy,
SCENE I.—The same. The Queen of Fairies lying
Enter QUINCE, SNUG, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and
Bot. Are we all met ?
Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal ; This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring-house; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.
Speak, of all loves ;] Of all loves is an adjuration more than once used by our author.
? In the time of Shakspeare there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very unskilful
Bot. Peter Quince,-
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 seem 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'.
Bot. No, make it two more ; let it be written in eight and eight.
Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion ?
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 wildfowl than your lion, living; and we ought to look to it.
Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell, he 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
and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head. Johnson.
3 By’rlakin, a parlous fear.] By our ladykin, or little lady. Parlous is a word corrupted from perilous, i. e. dangerous.
4 — in eight and six.] i. e. in alternate verses of eight and six syllables.
himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect, -Ladies, or fair ladies, I would wish 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 joiners.
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 moonlight.
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 lantern, and say, he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of moonshine. 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 bis time, at an entertainment exhibited before Queen Elizabeth. It is recorded in a manuscript collection of anecdotes, stories, &c. entitled, Merry Passages and Jeasts, MS. 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 roughcast 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 specch, enter into that brake'; and so every one according to his cue.
Enter Puck behind.
Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering
Quin. Speak, Pyramus :- Thisby, stand forth.
So doth + thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear. -
[Exit. Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here !
[Aside — Erit. 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.
7 — that brake ;] Brake signifies here a thicket, or furze bush.
+ “So hath”—MALONE.