A Midsummer Night's Dream


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Quince the carpenter, and Snug the joiner, and

Bottom the weaver, and Flute the bellows-mender,

and Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor


QUINCE

Is all our company here?


BOTTOM

You were best to call them generally, man by

man, according to the scrip.
scrip (n.) 2 script, text


QUINCE

Here is the scroll of every man's name which is

thought fit through all Athens to play in our interlude
interlude, enterlude (n.) short play, theatrical performance [staged to fill an interval]

before the Duke and the Duchess on his wedding day at

night.


BOTTOM

First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats

on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a

point.


QUINCE

Marry, our play is The most lamentable comedy

and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe.


BOTTOM

A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a

merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors

by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.


QUINCE

Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver?


BOTTOM

Ready! – Name what part I am for, and

proceed.


QUINCE

You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.


BOTTOM

What is Pyramus? – a lover or a tyrant?


QUINCE

A lover that kills himself, most gallant, for love.


BOTTOM

That will ask some tears in the true performing

of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes! I will
do (v.) 5 perform, play one's part, act

move storms. I will condole, in some measure. To the
condole (v.) 1 lament, grieve, express great sorrow

rest. – Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant. I could play
humour (n.) 2 fancy, whim, inclination, caprice

Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split:
rarely (adv.) 1 splendidly, beautifully, excellently

The raging rocks

And shivering shocks
shivering (adj.) shattering, splintering

Shall break the locks

Of prison gates,

And Phibbus' car
car (n.) carriage, cart, chariot [often of the sun god]

Shall shine from far

And make and mar

The foolish Fates.

This was lofty! – Now name the rest of the players. –

This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein. A lover is more
vein (n.) 2 style, manner

condoling.
condoling (adj.) moving, affecting, poignant


QUINCE

Francis Flute, the bellows-mender?


FLUTE

Here, Peter Quince.


QUINCE

Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.


FLUTE

What is Thisbe? – a wandering knight?


QUINCE

It is the lady that Pyramus must love.


FLUTE

Nay, faith, let not me play a woman – I have a

beard coming.


QUINCE

That's all one: you shall play it in a mask, and

you may speak as small as you will.
small (adj.) 3 high-pitched, fluting, thin


BOTTOM

An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too.

I'll speak in a monstrous little voice: ‘ Thisne, Thisne!’
monstrous (adv.) exceedingly, wonderfully, extraordinarily

‘ Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisbe dear, and lady

dear.’


QUINCE

No, no; you must play Pyramus; and Flute, you

Thisbe.


BOTTOM

Well, proceed.


QUINCE

Robin Starveling, the tailor?


STARVELING

Here, Peter Quince.


QUINCE

Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe's

mother. Tom Snout, the tinker?


SNOUT

Here, Peter Quince.


QUINCE

You, Pyramus' father; myself, Thisbe's father;

Snug, the joiner, you the lion's part; and I hope here is

a play fitted.


SNUG

Have you the lion's part written? Pray you, if it be,

give it me; for I am slow of study.
study (n.) 5 preparation, learning, memorizing [of a part]


QUINCE

You may do it extempore; for it is nothing but
do (v.) 5 perform, play one's part, act
extempore (adj./adv.) 2 spontaneously, involuntarily, without thinking

roaring.


BOTTOM

Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will

do 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!’


QUINCE

An you should do it too terribly you would fright

the Duchess and the ladies that they would shriek; and
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count

that were enough to hang us all.


ALL Mechanicals

That would hang us, every mother's son.


BOTTOM

I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the

ladies out of their wits they would have no more discretion

but to hang us. But I will aggravate my voice so
aggravate (v.) 3 intensify; malapropism for ‘moderate’

that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove. I will
sucking (adj.) unweaned, suckling

roar you an 'twere any nightingale.


QUINCE

You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus

is a sweet-faced man; a proper man as one shall see in a
proper (adj.) 1 good-looking, handsome, comely

summer's day; a most lovely, gentlemanlike man. Therefore

you must needs play Pyramus.


BOTTOM

Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I

best to play it in?


QUINCE

Why, what you will.


BOTTOM

I will discharge it in either your straw-colour
discharge (v.) 2 play, perform, execute

beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
orange-tawny (adj.) dull yellowish brown
purple-in-grain (adj.) dyed bright red

beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect
French-crown-colour (adj.) light yellow coloured [as the French crown coin]

yellow.


QUINCE

Some of your French crowns have no hair at all;

and then you will play bare-faced! But, masters, here

are your parts, and I am to entreat you, request you, and

desire you to con them by tomorrow night, and meet me
con (v.) 1 learn by heart, commit to memory

in the palace wood a mile without the town by moonlight.

There will we rehearse; for if we meet in the city

we shall be dogged with company, and our devices
device (n.) 2 plan, scheme, intention

known. In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties
bill (n.) 4 inventory, list, catalogue
draw (v.) 3 draw up, draft, frame
property (n.) 4 (plural) stage requisites, accessories, props

such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need


BOTTOM

We will meet, and there we may rehearse most

obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect.
obscenely (adv.) malapropism possibly for ‘seemly’

Adieu!


QUINCE

At the Duke's oak we meet.


BOTTOM

Enough; hold, or cut bowstrings.
hold (v.) 1 keep, maintain, observe

Exeunt Bottom and his fellows

 
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