Enter the clowns: Bottom, Quince, Snout, Starveling,
Flute, and Snug
Are we all met?
yokel, rustic, country bumpkin; also: low comic character [in a play]
Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place
for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this
hawthorn brake our tiring-house, and we will do it in
action as we will do it before the Duke.
What sayest thou, Bully Bottom?
There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw
a sword to kill himself, which the ladies cannot abide.
How answer you that?
By 'r lakin, a parlous fear!
I believe we must leave the killing out,
when all is done.
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.
Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall
be written in eight and six.
No, make it two more: let it be written in eight
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
I fear it, I promise you.
Masters, you ought to consider with yourself, 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 look to't.
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a
Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
must be seen through the lion's neck, and he 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
bad thing, sad fate, calamity [for]
thing. I am a man, as other men are ’ – and there indeed
let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug
Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things:
that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber – for, you
know, Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.
Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac –
find out moonshine, find out moonshine!
Yes, it doth shine that night.
Why, then, may you leave a casement of the
Great Chamber window – where we play – open, and
the moon may shine in at the casement.
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 Thisbe, says the story, did talk through the
chink of a wall.
You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
Some man or other must present Wall; and let
him have some plaster, or some loam, or some roughcast
about him to signify Wall; and let him hold his fingers
thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisbe
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 speech, enter
into that brake; and so everyone according to his cue.
What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here
So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor –
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
Speak, Pyramus! Thisbe, stand forth!
BOTTOM as Pyramus
Thisbe, the flowers of odious savours sweet –
Odours – odours!
BOTTOM as Pyramus
...odours savours sweet.
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.
But hark, a voice. Stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.
Must I speak now?
Ay, marry must you; for you must understand he
goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come
FLUTE as Thisbe
Most radiant Pyramus, most lilywhite of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant briar,
Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb –
‘ Ninus' tomb ’, man! – Why, you must not speak
that yet. That you answer to Pyramus. You speak all
your part at once, cues and all. Pyramus, enter – your
cue is past. It is ‘ never tire.’
( as Thisbe)
As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
Enter Puck, and Bottom with an ass's head
BOTTOM as Pyramus
If I were fair, fair Thisbe, I were only thine.
O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted! Pray,
masters! Fly, masters! Help!
Exeunt Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, and Starveling
I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
Thorough bog, thorough bush, thorough brake, thorough briar,
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire,
And neigh, and bark, and grunt and roar and burn
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire at every turn.
Why do they run away? This is a knavery of
them to make me afeard.
O Bottom, thou art changed. What do I see on
What do you see? You see an ass head of your
own, do you?
Bless thee, Bottom! Bless thee! Thou art
I see their knavery! This is to make an ass of me,
to fright me, if they could; but I will not stir from this
place, do what they can. I will walk up and down here,
and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.
(sings) The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill.
What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plainsong cuckoo grey,
Whose note full many a man doth mark
And dares not answer ‘ Nay ’
– for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
Who would give a bird the lie, though he cry ‘ cuckoo ’
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again!
Mine ear is much enamoured of thy note.
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape,
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep
little company together nowadays – the more the pity
that some honest neighbours will not make them friends.
– Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Not so, neither; but if I had wit enough to get
out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
Out of this wood do not desire to go!
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate.
The summer still doth tend upon my state,
And I do love thee. Therefore go with me.
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed!
Enter the four Fairies
Where shall we go?
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries.
The honey bags steal from the humble bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worms' eyes
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
I cry your worships mercy, heartily. I beseech
your worship's name.
I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
Master Cobweb – if I cut my finger I shall make bold
with you! – Your name, honest gentleman?
I pray you commend me to Mistress Squash,
your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance,
too. – Your name, I beseech you, sir?
Good Master Mustardseed, I know your
patience well. That same cowardly, giantlike Oxbeef
hath devoured many a gentleman of your house. I
promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water
ere now. I desire your more acquaintance, good Master
Come, wait upon him. Lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my lover's tongue; bring him silently.
Exit Titania with Bottom and the Fairies